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Horses go onto the field of battle with armor, so why shouldn’t your guinea pig be afforded the same courtesy? Lucky looks like he could take on an army of Orcs, but sadly he passed away recently. His owner has decided to auction off Lucky’s armor with the proceeds going to Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue in Virginia. You can get some incredible handmade armor for your guinea pig and be helping his furry friends at the same time.
See more pictures after the break…
(via Obvious Winner)
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Yes, that is a crazy-eyed cat in a bow tie staring you down on this psychedelic sweater. If you look into his blue eyes long enough they start to follow you across the room. There’s nowhere to hide either because he’s on the front and the back of this polyester sweater. I fear any moment he will start shooting us with lasers. Frickin’ lasers!
See the back of the sweater after the break…
Product Page ($61.19)
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Moments later, I realized that this was unfair. Not every religious group has been openly hostile to the LGBT community. Some of the more liberal to moderate forms of Christianity, for example, have managed to be at least somewhat accepting. I was making a mistake by equating “religious” with “fundamentalist.” And of course, many LGBT adults were probably indoctrinated in a religious tradition during their childhoods. So it is silly that I would be surprised that most would not still believe in what they were raised to believe. Overcoming years of indoctrination is not an easy task.
The truly encouraging thing about the Pew results Hemant shared was that 17% of the LGBT adults surveyed identified themselves as atheist or agnostic compared with only 6% of the general public. I often see the “religiously unaffiliated” label used in these surveys being misinterpreted by atheists. I suspect most religiously unaffiliated persons still believe in god(s). So it was nice to see 17% in the atheist/agnostic category.
Of the many LGBT individuals I have known over the years, I’d say roughly half of them were not religious. Many are atheists; many more explain that they just don’t want anything to do with organized religion. Thus, my limited experience seems to fit the results of the survey quite well.
Hemant summarized the results by noting:
He mentions that one of the ways we atheists might be able to accelerate this process a bit is by making sure we welcome LGBT persons into our communities. That sounds good to me. I’ve long thought that atheists and LGBT persons were natural allies.
…the survey confirms that treatment and attitude toward the LGBT community is going to be a problem in the religious world for years to come. Young people are going to have to decide whether or not to support an institution that thinks gay and lesbian relationships are inferior to straight ones.
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On the eve of the G8 summit (taking place in a specially prepared Potemkin village in N. Ireland), the Guardian has published another Edward Snowden leak, this one describing how the UK spying agency GCHQ aggressively spied upon delegates to the G20 summit in 2009. According to the documents, UK spies attacked foreign delegates by “reading their email before they do” intercepting their BlackBerry messages and calls in real-time; capturing logins at special Internet cafes so as to spy on delegations after the event; getting NSA reports on attempts to crack Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev’s satellite calls; and continuously logging and analyzing who was calling whom.
The report suggests that British delegation was briefed throughout, and that the operation was “sanctioned in principle at a senior level in the government of the then prime minister, Gordon Brown.
A briefing paper dated 20 January 2009 records advice given by GCHQ officials to their director, Sir Iain Lobban, who was planning to meet the then foreign secretary, David Miliband. The officials summarised Brown’s aims for the meeting of G20 heads of state due to begin on 2 April, which was attempting to deal with the economic aftermath of the 2008 banking crisis. The briefing paper added: “The GCHQ intent is to ensure that intelligence relevant to HMG’s desired outcomes for its presidency of the G20 reaches customers at the right time and in a form which allows them to make full use of it.” Two documents explicitly refer to the intelligence product being passed to “ministers”.
According to the material seen by the Guardian, GCHQ generated this product by attacking both the computers and the telephones of delegates.
One document refers to a tactic which was “used a lot in recent UK conference, eg G20”. The tactic, which is identified by an internal codeword which the Guardian is not revealing, is defined in an internal glossary as “active collection against an email account that acquires mail messages without removing them from the remote server”. A PowerPoint slide explains that this means “reading people’s email before/as they do”.
The same document also refers to GCHQ, MI6 and others setting up internet cafes which “were able to extract key logging info, providing creds for delegates, meaning we have sustained intelligence options against them even after conference has finished”. This appears to be a reference to acquiring delegates’ online login details.
Another document summarises a sustained campaign to penetrate South African computers, recording that they gained access to the network of their foreign ministry, “investigated phone lines used by High Commission in London” and “retrieved documents including briefings for South African delegates to G20 and G8 meetings”. (South Africa is a member of the G20 group and has observer status at G8 meetings.)
I love that BlackBerrys are singled out as especially easy to intercept, something that is widely rumored. The entire piece is amazing, with specific revelations of spying. I’d love to know what the G8 delegations are making of all this as they head to NI. Perhaps GCHQ could tell us?
GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians’ communications at G20 summits [Ewen MacAskill, Nick Davies, Nick Hopkins, Julian Borger and James Ball/The Guardian]
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A mom finds out that Robert Downey Jr. is filming in their area and has a young son who is a big Iron Man fan. So she brings him to where they were shooting, thinking she’ll get Awesome Mom points, and says, “Here’s Iron Man!”… only to have her kid burst into tears upon seeing merely Robert Downey Jr.
Submitted by: Unknown (via The Wrap)
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Yep geeks, it’s that time of the year again! Today is Captain Picard day!
Captain Picard Day is celebrated on June 16th because it is the equivalent date to Stardate 47457.1, mentioned in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode entitled The Pegasus. In that episode, Captain Picard Day is an occasion for the Enterprise to host schoolchildren and show them what Starfleet is like.
If you want to learn more about this very special day, be sure to check out this fun article we posted back in 2009!
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Ouch, that hurts, but I’m getting one anyways. My PS3 isn’t as reliable as it used to be, and I’m not paying for a replacement when the PS4 will be out in just a few months.
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Watch then-Senator Joe Biden from 2006 directly refute each point made by his now-boss, President Barack Obama, about the NSA surveillance program at a news conference last week.
After a leaked FISA court document revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) is vacuuming up private data on millions of innocent Americans by collecting all the phone records of Verizon customers, President Obama responded by saying “let’s have a debate” about the scope of US surveillance powers.
At EFF, we couldn’t agree more. It turns out, President Obama’s most formative debate partner over the invasiveness of NSA domestic surveillance could his Vice President Joe Biden. Back in 2006, when the NSA surveillance program was first revealed by the New York Times, then-Senator Biden was one of the program’s most articulate critics. As the FISA court order shows, the scope of NSA surveillance program has not changed much since 2006, except for the occupant in the White House.
Watch this video, as Senator Biden from 2006 directly refutes each point President Obama made about the NSA surveillance program at his news conference last week.
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Michael Karkoc — a 94-year-old Ukranian immigrant who lives in a neighborhood of Minneapolis known for housing populations of both Eastern Europeans and artists — has turned out to be a former Nazi SS commander whose unit was involved in cracking down on the Warsaw uprising, as well as other brutal attacks on civilians. The Associated Press broke the story and Minnesota Public Radio has some great, in-depth coverage. Reached at his home, Karkoc told AP reporters, “I don’t think I can explain.” (Strangely, this has been a big week for Nazi-related news. Yesterday, Xeni posted a story about the discovery of a diary belonging to one of Hitler’s confidants.)
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Copyright scholars have long been pretty certain that “Happy Birthday to You” is in the public domain, despite the fact that Warner/Chappell claims copyright on it and charges impressive licensing fees to use it in public performances. Those fees, however, are much lower than a copyright lawsuit would be, so everyone shrugs and pays them. Until now.
A documentary film company working on a movie about “Happy Birthday” has assembled a huge body of evidence showing that the song has been in the public domain since the 1920s, and is suing Warner to get them to return the hundreds of millions they’ve improperly charged in licensing since. This is gonna be great.
The full lawsuit, embedded below, goes through a detailed history of the song and any possible copyright claims around it. It covers the basic history of “Good Morning to You,” but also notes that the “happy birthday” lyrics appeared by 1901 at the latest, citing a January 1901 edition of Inland Educator and Indiana School Journal which describes children singing a song called “happy birthday to you.” They also point to a 1907 book that uses a similar structure for a song called “good-bye to you” which also notes that you can sing “happy birthday to you” using the same music. In 1911, the full “lyrics” to Happy Birthday to You were published, with a notation that it’s “sung to the same tune as ‘Good Morning.’” There’s much more in the history basically showing that the eventual copyright that Warner/Chappell holds is almost entirely unrelated to the song Happy Birthday to You.
The detail in the filing is impressive, and I can’t wait to see how Warner/Chappell replies. As the filing notes, there are a variety of copyright claims around the song, but all are invalid or expired, and the very, very narrow copyright that Warner/Chappell might hold is not on the song itself. In other words, Warner/Chappell is almost certainly guilty of massive copyfraud — perhaps the most massive in history — in claiming a copyright it clearly has no right to.
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Danielle Powell had nearly finished her Bachelor’s Degree at Omaha’s Grace University when the school administration found out that she was a lesbian. They outed her to her family and fellow students and suspended her (Grace is a religious school, which requires that its students abstain from “sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex, adultery, and homosexual acts”). During her suspension, they made extensive queries to discover if she was still involved in same-sex relationships, and on discovering that she was, they did.
Powell has attempted to finish her degree at another university, but Grace refuses to provide her transcripts unless she pays back about $6,000 in merit scholarships that she received from the institution. Powell’s wife has started a petition to get the university to provide Powell’s transcripts and forgive the “debt.”
“They were doing a witch hunt,” Powell said, “calling around to see if I was in a same-sex relationship.”
James told Powell in a letter, a copy of which was provided to HuffPost, that she was being “deceitful” and said it would be “unethical” for the university to readmit her since it “would be impossible for the faculty of Grace University to affirm your Christian character, a requirement for degree conferral.”
By October 2012, as Powell was looking into attending another college, she said she was told that Grace would only transfer the credits from her three and a half years if she paid a $6,300 tuition bill from the semester during which she was suspended for being gay. The university denies they have withheld her transcripts, but Powell said she’s only been offered a student copy she cannot use to transfer.
Danielle Powell, Grace University Student Kicked Out For Being Lesbian, Must Repay Thousands: [Tyler Kingkade/HuffPo] (via Reddit)
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It’s not good to let someone lick your eyeballs. Y’know, conjunctivitis, corneal abrasions, that kind of thing. That said, “worming” or “oculolinctus” is not only a sexual fetish as you might expect, but apparently a fun classroom activity among some pre-teens in Japan, according to japanCrush. There are also YouTube videos of the practice. The video above does not show the licking, but it is titled “Oculolinctus” and the description reads “Just begging for a lickin’.”
“I don’t ask just anyone to do it,” Elektrika Energias, 29, told the Huffington Post. “Guys I like a lot are more likely to not think it’s so weird. I’ve never had anyone turn me down though. I got some weird offshoot of TB in my eye once. I ended up with corneal ulcers and I spent like a month in the hospital.”
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Photo: ICE HSI. Click to enlarge.
In Washington today, US officials and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum representatives announced the seizure of a long-lost diary maintained by a close confidant of Adolph Hitler.
The recovery of this historical document was the result of an extensive investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The author of the so-called “Rosenberg Diary” was Alfred Rosenberg, a leading member of the Third Reich and of the Nazi Party during World War II.
Rosenberg was one of the intellectual authors behind key Nazi beliefs, including persecution of Jewish people, expansionist “lebensraum” (living space) ideology, the “master race” theory, and the rejection of modern art as “degenerate.” He was tried at Nuremberg, sentenced to death, and hanged on October 16, 1946, after having been convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The diary will eventually be displayed in the Holocaust Museum. More photos, video from the press conference where the seizure was announced, video of Rosenberg speaking, and more of the story behind this important historic artifact are below.
Incidentally, yesterday, June 12, marks the birthday of another famous World War II diarist—Anne Frank.
Why is the Rosenberg diary significant? ICE Director John Morton said today, “As time marches on, there are fewer and fewer living victims and witnesses to the horrors of the Third Reich. 68 years have passed since the fall of Berlin, and soon there will be no more human testimony of what happened during the Holocaust, and just as important, how it happened. It is critical to locate and preserve all written records from this time period.”
Reuters reports that the diary was discovered to be in the possession of Herbert Richardson, an 80 year-old Canadian academic who operates a publishing house in Lewiston, NY. From the Reuters account:
Pages of the diary, which will eventually be turned over to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., were shown to reporters, including one entry dated April 1941. Rosenberg describes walking alone after “an important meeting” with Hitler, who told him: “Your great hour has come.”
Museum senior adviser Henry Mayer, who had been searching for the diary for 17 years, noted Rosenberg did not elaborate in the entry. “What Hitler described was so great, he couldn’t put it down,” Mayer told reporters.
Historians have long suspected that a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, Robert Kempner, smuggled the diary back to the US after the trials ended.
Photo: At left, Rosenberg; at right, Hitler. Photograph from Dr. Wilfried Bahnmüller, National Geographic
Alfred Rosenberg’s diary is one such artifact that has surfaced after more than a decade of Museum efforts to find it. The roughly 400 pages of loose-leaf paper cover the years 1936 through 1944, when Rosenberg was responsible for looting valuables in lands occupied by the Nazis and planning Nazi rule of conquered Soviet territories. The discovery of the diary will undoubtedly give scholars new insight into the politics of Nazi leaders and fulfills a Museum commitment to uncover evidence from perpetrators of the Holocaust.
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
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From the HSI press release today:
The “Rosenberg Diary” was written by Alfred Rosenberg, one of the most notorious members of the Third Reich and of the Nazi Party during World War II. Rosenberg was privy to much of the planning for the Nazi racial state, mass murder of the Jewish people, planning and conduct of World War II and the occupation of Soviet territory. As such, his diary entries could provide historians with a potential wealth of previously unknown information regarding the history of this period.
The recovery of the diary was announced Thursday by ICE Director John Morton; U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III, District of Delaware; and Henry Mayer, senior advisor on archives at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“Thanks to the tireless investigative work of HSI special agents, and years of perseverance by both the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the long-lost Rosenberg Diary has been recovered, not in Germany but in the United States,” said Director Morton. “This important record of the crimes of the Third Reich and the Holocaust is now preserved for all to see, study and learn from. The work of combating the international theft of cultural heritage is a key part of our work, and no matter how long these items may appear to be lost to history, that hard but important work will continue.”
“This seizure is the result of the joint efforts of this office and Homeland Security Investigations,” said U.S. Attorney Oberly. “The discovery and return of this long-lost, important historical document to the government of the United States is a significant achievement. Although it is a reminder of a dark time, the Rosenberg Diary is important to our understanding of history. Our hope is that it will provide valuable insight to historians.”
“The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is thrilled to have recovered the diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a leading Nazi ideologue,” said U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield. “As we build the collection of record on the Holocaust, having material that documents the actions of both perpetrators and victims is crucial to helping scholars understand how and why the Holocaust happened. The story of this diary demonstrates how much material remains to be collected and why rescuing this evidence is such an important museum priority.”
The Myth of the Twentieth Century, written by Rosenberg, articulated the philosophical underpinnings of national socialist ideology. Rosenberg served as head of the Nazi party’s foreign affairs department and as the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, which included the Baltic States, Ukraine and parts of Belorussia. As Reich Minister, Rosenberg played a significant role in the mass murder of the Jewish people in the Occupied Eastern Territories, as well as the deportation of civilians to forced labor camps to support the German war effort. Rosenberg also established and headed an organization, Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (Reichsleiter Rosenberg Taskforce), the mission of which was to loot cultural property from all over Europe.
Rosenberg was a defendant at the Nuremberg Trials in Nuremberg, Germany, from 1945 to 1946. He was found guilty on all four counts of the indictment for conspiracy to commit aggressive warfare, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Rosenberg was hanged Oct. 16, 1946.
Allied forces advancing through Germany seized documents, books, and other records of strategic or tactical importance. After the surrender of Germany in May 1945, governmental authority for Germany was placed into allied hands. This authority included ownership of all documents created by the defeated German government or captured by allied forces. To prepare for war crimes trials after the cessation of hostilities, agencies of the U.S. government examined and selected relevant documents as potential evidence.
Among the documents seized by allied forces was the Rosenberg Diary. On Aug. 10, 1945, the Records Subsection of the Documents Unit of the War Crimes Branch, U.S. Army, received from the Berlin Documents Control Center the “…private papers of Alfred Rosenberg, former Reichsminister for the Occupied Eastern Territories.” Among these papers, according to the receipt prepared Aug. 15, 1945, were “handwritten diary notes” from the years 1934 to 1944. These included notes, dated 1941, “dealing in the early part of (Apr 41) with the conspiracy to dominate Russia and preparations for this occupation (conferences with HITLER and others).”
Robert M.W. Kempner
Dr. Robert M.W. Kempner was a German lawyer who fled Germany for the United States during the war. At the conclusion of the war, Kempner served as the deputy chief counsel and was the chief prosecutor in the “Ministries Case” at the Nuremberg Trials. In this role, Kempner had access to seized Nazi documents in his official capacity as an employee of the U.S. government. At the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trials, Kempner returned to the United States and lived in Lansdowne, Pa. Contrary to law and proper procedure, Kempner removed various documents, including the Rosenberg Diary, from U.S. government facilities in Nuremberg and retained them until his death in 1993.
In November 2012, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware and HSI special agents received information from an art security specialist, who was working with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, regarding the search for Rosenberg Diary. The Rosenberg Diary was subsequently located and seized pursuant to a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.
HSI plays a leading role in criminal investigations that involve the illegal importation and distribution of cultural property, including the illicit trafficking of cultural property, especially objects that have been reported lost or stolen. The HSI Office of International Affairs, through its 75 attaché offices in 48 countries, works closely with foreign governments to conduct joint investigations, when possible.
Since 2007, HSI art and antiquities investigators have returned over 7,150 artifacts to 26 countries, including paintings from France, Germany, Poland and Austria, 15th to 18th century manuscripts from Italy and Peru, as well as cultural artifacts from China, Cambodia and Iraq.
Raw video from the press conference below.
More coverage around the web:
• Long-Lost Diary of Nazi Alfred Rosenberg Expected to Bring ‘New Insight’ Into Hitler’s Inner Circle (ABC)
• Missing Nazi Diary Recovered (National Geographic)
• Long-lost diary of top Hitler aide offers window into Nazi soul (Reuters)
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These appropriately named Settlers of the Noms: Breakfast O Rama breakfast plates come from the people over at the Kitchen Overlord blog.
All three of these edible Settlers of Catan boards are meant for a leisurely brunch afternoon full of gaming goodness. The host should be able to put the boards together before anyone arrives and let friends nom off them all day. If you’re a really good host, you’ll leave a big bowl of waffle batter next to a waffle iron and let people make fresh ones (as I call it, “hotel style”) whenever they’re in the mood.
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Jokes from the Soviet Union, from University of Louisville historian Bruce Adams’ 2005 collection Tiny Revolutions in Russia:
A man is walking along the road wearing only one boot. ‘Did you lose a boot?’ a passerby asks sympathetically. ‘No, I found one,’ the man answers happily.
What is it that doesn’t knock, growl or scratch the floor?
A machine made in the USSR for knocking, growling, and scratching the floor.
It is the middle of the night. There is a knock at the door. Everyone leaps out of bed. Papa goes shakily to the door. ‘It’s all right,’ he says, coming back. ‘The building’s on fire.’
A shopper asks a food store clerk, ‘Are you all out of meat again?’ ‘No, they’re out of meat in the store across the way. Here we’re out of fish.’
Why doesn’t the Soviet Union send people to the Moon?
They are afraid they won’t come back.
A man fell asleep on a bus. When someone stepped on his foot, he woke with a start and applauded. ‘What are you doing, citizen?’ ‘I was dreaming I was at a meeting.’
‘What is the difference between Pravda [Truth] and Izvestia [The News]?’
‘There is no truth in The News, and no news in the Truth.’
“In the Soviet Army,” said Stalin, “it takes more courage to retreat than advance.”
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It may not be as pricey as what Tony Stark would buy, but it would still look absolutely beautiful on Pepper Potts’ hand. This Iron Man Arc Reactor ring was made as a custom piece by Gino Arizmendi for a customer who first saw Gino’s Doctor Who TARDIS wedding band. It’s made of white gold with blue topaz and diamonds and he’s even designed Iron Man‘s mask into the sides.
See another picture after the break…
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