April 23, 2016

You Need This Many Because?


This Day In History: April 23, 1348

The Most Noble Order of the Garter is the oldest and most exclusive British civil and military honor. At any given time, the Order consists only of the Monarch, the Prince of Wales, and 25 hand-picked knights who have served the country in an exemplary manner, held public office, or have served the King or Queen personally.

The origins of the Order are disputed as the earliest records of its existence were destroyed by a fire. The traditional tale is that Edward III wished to bring back the days of Camelot and King Arthur’s Round Table. On April 23, 1348, he saw the perfect chance to be chivalrous when a lady at court, traditionally believed to be Joan of Kent, his future daughter-in-law, lost one of her garters. …

Bill Maher Calls U.S. Military ‘Mass Murder Machine’

The host of HBO’s ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ criticized the size of our military and unloaded on his favorite punching bag, Donald Trump.

Bill Maher, the unapologetically outspoken political satirist, began his program Real Time Friday night by assessing the recent New York presidential primaries. The HBO host was, naturally, a bit crestfallen that his preferred candidate, Bernie Sanders, lost out to by 16 points to Hillary Clinton—and that his nemesis, Donald Trump, won his home state handily.

“The conventional wisdom is that it’s just Hillary and Trump. Those are our two choices,” said Maher during his monologue. “They both won big. Hillary was so stoked she was drinkin’ hot sauce right out of the bottle! Bernie never got a chance because they didn’t let independents vote in New York.”

The most controversial statement by Maher, however, came during the panel portion of the evening. Maher, joined by guests Van Jones, Lesley Stahl, and Charles Cooke, criticized the fear mongering on the part of Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz when it comes to ISIS, as well as their near-constant demand that America bulk up its military. …

CAUTION: Some language may not be appropriate for work or children.

CAUTION: Some language may not be appropriate for work or children.

CAUTION: Some language may not be appropriate for work or children.

CAUTION: Some language may not be appropriate for work or children.

THANKS to HBO and Real Time with Bill Maher for making this program available on YouTube.

Colbert Can’t Keep It Together During Segment About RNC Chairman

On “The Late Show” Thursday, Stephen Colbert took a closer look at RNC chairman Reince Priebus. Priebus has his work cut out for him this summer when the (potentially contested) Republican National Convention happens in Cleveland this year. …

10 Outrageous Conspiracy Theories Surrounding Famous Music Artists

Music is a dominant force worldwide that brings people together under many different circumstances. But the people behind the music will never get away from the spotlight—or the conspiracy theories that follow them.

10. P. Diddy

The terrorist attacks in America on September 11, 2001, have been the center of bizarre rumors and conspiracy theories for many years. Some people have blamed Dick Cheney, saying that he purposely failed to order the military to intercept the hijacked planes. Others have argued that a lack of airplane debris at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and the Shanksville crash sites points to an “inside job” spearheaded by the US government

Even though these theories have been thoroughly debunked many times, some people insist that something more than terrorism occurred that day. In possibly the strangest conspiracy theory so far, a woman named Valerie Joyce Wilson Turks filed documents for a restraining order against hip-hop superstar P. Diddy in 2011.

Her reasons for the restraining order included claims of date rape against Diddy as well as his alleged involvement in bringing down the World Trade Center on 9/11. Supposedly, he did this with the help of his ex-girlfriend Kim Porter and Rodney King. …

The splinter is coming: the Republican race is a real life Game of Thrones plot

Donald Trump, the man who would be king, is pivoting from the ‘chaos candidate’ to a walking, talking politician as Ted Cruz schemes in the wings, plotting his convention takeover. What fresh plot twists await Republican voters?

Warning: this story contains a minor handful of Game of Thrones spoilers

The political battlefield is strewn with corpses. One man “goes into this thing, he’s competing against senators and governors at the highest level of our nation”, Donald Trump declared of himself in the third person on Friday: “And one by one they get knocked off.”

“Bom, bom, bom, bom. Now I’m left with two guys. Hardly two guys. Maybe you could say one. A half and a half.”

If this were Game of Thrones, the fantasy epic that returns for a sixth series on both sides of the Atlantic on Sunday, Trump would be describing some gory dismemberment. But in America’s Republican party equivalent, the businessman obsessed with gold has slashed his way through a field of 17 election candidates, as contemptuous of foes as Tywin Lannister, the patriarch of Westeros’ most wealthy family. …

Riots, Guns, Bribes: TR’s Contested Convention

For Theodore Roosevelt’s supporters, forcibly wresting political control away from the party bosses was always an acceptable option.

Would a candidate for president of the United States ever officially condone a riot on the floor of a national convention? Would a candidate actually ever seek to provoke one? Should delegates at a convention be permitted to carry guns? Can supporters of a candidate try to buy delegate votes? Could any of these things happen at a contested Republican Convention this year in Cleveland?

It seems unlikely, but there would be precedents. Amazingly, in 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt tried to wrest the nomination from William Howard Taft, there were plans for riots, plenty of guns, and more than a few attempted and perhaps actual bribes.

Even though he had groomed Taft as his handpicked successor in 1908—describing him as the most lovable man he knew—Roosevelt decided to come out of retirement in 1912 and challenge the sitting president for the Republican nomination. Up to then, delegates to national conventions were picked by party leaders, but when it became clear that he could not win over the men who controlled the party machinery, Roosevelt embraced a new idea: presidential primaries. His campaign theme became: “Let the people rule.” There were 13 primaries that year, and when Roosevelt won nine of them and 70 percent of the elected delegates, he claimed to have right to the nomination. But most of those delegates had been picked in the old-fashioned way. So when Taft’s supporters used the power of his incumbency to pressure delegates and control the proceedings, Roosevelt—or men acting in his name—resorted to more creative and belligerent tactics.

Some of those same themes have been in the news this year. …

10 Biological Mysteries That Continue To Baffle Scientists

For centuries, scientists have used biology to help understand life. Many phenomena that our ancient ancestors have attributed to the gods and spirits are now easily explained with biology. This important scientific field of study has helped us better understand ourselves and the world we live in. But despite the many advances we’ve made in biology, there are still some questions that even our best and most intelligent scientists can’t answer.

10. Why Do Hammerhead Sharks Look Like That?

Out of all the shark species in the world, hammerhead sharks are the most mysterious. These sea creatures got their name from the unusual shape of their heads, but their heads don’t really resemble a hammer. Scientists prefer to use the term “cephalofoil” when referring to the unique shape of the shark’s head. According to David Jacoby of the Zoological Society of London, hammerhead sharks are “the youngest extant species of sharks.” While the first shark species appeared 450 million years ago, hammerheads are only 20 million years old. …

Mike Holmes: Asbestos is like a sleeping monster best left undisturbed lest danger ensues

The National Day of Mourning is on April 28 — that’s a time to remember those people who have been affected by workplace injuries or death. It serves as a reminder for all of us to make sure we have the right processes and systems in our workplace to prevent illnesses, injuries and even deaths.

Some of the biggest threats on the job site are the ones you can’t see, such as asbestos.

What makes asbestos so dangerous is its fibres.

Asbestos is a generic term that refers to a number of different mineral fibres. Because of their strength, durability and resistance to fire, these fibres were used widely in building materials and added to residential construction products. …

Chinese Cartoon Warns Against ‘Dangerous Love’ With Foreigners Who May Be Spies

Click to embiggen

In a colorful, 16-panel cartoon called “Dangerous Love,” China is warning female government workers that romancing handsome foreigner strangers can lead to heartbreak — and espionage.

Posters seen around Beijing show a cartoon government worker named Xiao Li striking up a relationship with a bespectacled, red-haired “visiting scholar.” They share a romantic dinner and stroll through a leafy park. “Having a handsome, romantic, talented foreign boyfriend is pretty nice!” Li says to herself, according to The New York Times’ translation. …


Today in History: April 23, 1014

The Battle of Clontanf was not a heat-of-the-moment type event. Instead, is was the result of two centuries of broken treaties, misalliances, dirty dealings and general loathing between the native Irish Celtic chieftains and the Norsemen who had invaded and settled in Ireland two hundred years earlier.

The Vikings arrived on the shores of the Emerald Isle and plundered its monasteries for their gold, priceless manuscripts and other valuable items before gradually establishing settlements of their own and engaging in trade with the Irish. The Irish may have traded with the Vikings, but that didn’t mean they didn’t resent their presence. This was especially true in Munster, where their king, Brian Boru, had engaged and defeated the Vikings several times over the years. …

On the internet, you can never be quite sure who said what

Trump may think Einstein said it – actually it was Dianne Feinstein. The way quotes circulate online is bizarre, often hilarious, but sometimes downright scary.

‘It’s much harder to convince someone that you never said something than to prove that you did.’

Every few weeks, I’ll get an angry email or tweet about a terrible, stupid thing I supposedly said. The irritated person will point to a stern-looking photo of me paired with this quote: “The patriarchy is using equality to oppress women. Now we need a new wave of feminism to be more equal than men.” I have no problem admitting this is an absurd statement, mostly because I never wrote or said it.

Despite the line being entirely fabricated, it’s been shared and attributed to me countless times over the years, most recently in an article published by a well-known conservative magazine. Then, I was able to get a correction; otherwise I’ve had to accept that this stupid thing I never said will live on with my name attached to it in perpetuity. Thanks, internet!

While we’ve come to accept the existence of online hoaxes or fake memes as inevitable, what we haven’t sorted out is our collective responsibility to the truth. Do we pause before sharing something if we’re not certain of its true origin? Should there be consequences for tweeting or sharing something false? …

Documenting Stories of Homelessness

A new project seeks to share the experiences of Americans in shelters and on the street.

According to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than half a million Americans are homeless on any given night. HUD counted 1.5 million people who used a shelter in 2014, and then there are those who are crashing at a friend’s house or sleeping on the street.

Those big numbers point to the scale of the problem nationally, especially in cities. But often homelessness can seem like an issue that’s too big to deal with on an individual level, something that’s hard to reconcile with daily life. It’s for this reason that Justin Doering, a media-studies student in Idaho who recently graduated from Boise State University, started a project aimed at bridging the gap between those big numbers and real-life stories of homeless Americans.

“No one talks to these people … I used to just try to avoid eye contact with them,” says Doering. “But these are people that no one really knows anything about and are choosing to ignore. So I figured their stories are a really great one to tell.” …

Realities Of Being A Gay Phone Sex Operator (Who’s Straight)

Before people were able to stream porn directly to their phones, anyone who wanted to get nasty without vacating the dent in their Barcalounger had to turn to … the phone. The old-style phone, we mean — the one you used to speak into instead of poke at and ignore when it makes that strange ringy sound. And some of them still do use the phone to get off, because tradition is important, even when you’re masturbating. We spoke to a man who was a phone-sex worker, and he told us …

#6. The Most Important Thing In Phone Sex Is Not To Laugh

Whether you’re flipping horse-meat hamburgers, cleaning up jizz, or selling $700 septic tank cleaners on a cold call (all of which are jobs I’ve had), the powers that be expect one thing: that you keep a straight face. Gay phone sex was no exception. A classifieds ad labeled “actors/actresses wanted” led me to a nondescript call center office back in 2000, and for my audition, the lady there handed me a piece of paper with a cartoon drawn on it. “Please read the following lines as best you can,” she instructed. I looked down at the sheet and saw a Tarzan-looking character in a loincloth. I proudly read the printed line: “I want to eat your big banana.”

There were more lines like that, and many of the others auditioning giggled like schoolgirls while saying them. Each was turned away. But a few others and me managed to do it totally deadpan. That was it — we were hired. And once I eventually settled into my desk and headset, holding back laughter would prove to be downright essential.

They paid my rent. They could use any produce-related dick metaphor they wanted.

Is Liberalism Really “Smug”?

Vox says smugness has reshaped the Democratic Party. How droll.

Is liberalism “smug”? In an essay for Vox, Emmett Rensin says yes. “There is a smug style in American liberalism,” he writess. “It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence … but by the failure of half the country to know what’s good for them.”

This “smug style” is informed by programs like The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and its offshoots, The Colbert Report and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. It manifests on Twitter and Facebook, in tweets and status updates and displays of liberal arrogance. It’s present in how liberals talked about figures like Kim Davis, how they relate to people who disagree with them, in public and private. …

A Snapshot of the U.S. Prison System’s Racial Realities

This short excerpt from the forthcoming documentary, In an Ideal World, follows three men in California’s Soledad State Prison. The film was shot over the course of seven years, and highlights what has become an institutionalized system largely based on ethnic solidarity. The men in the film have learned how to navigate prison’s complex, violent and deeply entrenched, racially divided culture—yet there is increasing pressure from courts to integrate and move beyond these realities. The full-length film will premiere on WORLD Channel on April 26, 2016, as a part of the AMERICA REFRAMED series. The film will also be available to stream online for 30 days following the broadcast.

Health Care Industry Moves Swiftly to Stop Colorado’s “Single Payer” Ballot Measure

The campaign in Colorado to create the nation’s first state-based “single payer” health insurance system, providing universal coverage and replacing insurance premiums with higher taxes, has barely begun.

But business interests in Colorado are not taking anything for granted, and many of the largest lobbying groups around the country and in the state are raising funds to defeat Amendment 69, the single-payer ballot question going before voters this November.

The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, a national trade group, is mobilizing its member companies to defeat single payer in Colorado. “The council urges Coloradans to protect employer-provided insurance and oppose Proposition 69,” the CIAB warns. The group dispatched Steptoe & Johnson, a lobbying firm it retains, to analyze the bill. …

10 Symptoms Of The Modern World That Aren’t Modern At All

From Victorian selfies and Ancient Rome’s own Facebook to a medieval atheistic movement that puts Richard Dawkins’ followers to shame, many modern quirks and movements are actually just cases of history repeating.

Lazy, entitled millennials, selfies, slash fiction, a vacuous culture focused on nothing but remakes—every era has its problems, but those of the second decade in the 21st century seem especially odd. Forget eternal stuff like wars and terrorism; it’s the small things that show just how uniquely dumb our modern world is, right?

Maybe not. Take a look at almost any symptom of our time here on Earth, and you’ll find that it has plenty of historical antecedents. As the saying goes, there’s nothing new under the Sun.

10. Millennials

They’re lazy, entitled narcissists who wouldn’t know an honest day’s work if it slapped them in the face. They care about nothing but selfies, Instagram, and other pointless wastes of time. They are millennials, and they’ve been around since the dawn of time.

Although the word “millennials” is new to our vocabulary, the traits we associate with them aren’t. Fun as it might be to single out millennials as the downfall of Western civilization, everything that supposedly defines them has been said before about other generations. Repeatedly. …

How The Onion Is Helping Univision Grow Beyond the Spanish-Language Market

Fake news site now part of newly created Fusion Media Group

In ove many in the industry expected, Univision took sole ownership Thursday of Fusion, which launched in 2013 as a joint venture with ABC.

In doing so, Univision found a home for some of its recent English-language acquisitions including satirical news site The Onion and the African-American skewing The Root. The two properties will be under The Fusion Media Group, which also includes Fusion, Flama, Unvision Digital, Univision Music and a stake in Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey network.

“A lot of folks in the marketplace today have a lot of audience, but they may not have as deep the brands we have,” said Mark López, evp of Univision Digital. “For a while we’ve been executing against what we think is the next wave of growth in the U.S.” In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau expects the country’s Hispanic population to nearly double by 2050, reaching about 106 million. …

How Americans pretend to love ‘ethnic food’

There is a lie we like to tell ourselves, a bending of the truth that permeates most of the food world in the West. We like burgers and fries, and other quintessentially American dishes, but we also love foreign cuisines, the vast and varied bucket of foods we rush to dub “ethnic.”

Surely you have told someone that you adore curry, or that you like nothing better than a bowl of pad Thai. Admit it, you have thought, at one point or another, that an unfamiliar dish, whatever it was, was so spicy it must be authentic.

But behind our public enthusiasm for Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Korean, and the many other foreign cuisines that can be enjoyed in cities like New York, there is also private, and yet pronounced, form of bias, a subtle hypocrisy that suggests we think these foods are inferior. …


Piot R. asks: Where do mosquitoes disappear to during the daytime?

Mosquitoes are the bane of anyone who steps outside during the hours around dusk and dawn. If not caught in time, the creatures take a drink of blood, and then leave behind an itchy bump, and maybe a disease or two. But very rarely do the insects come out for a meal during daylight hours unless the sky is cloudy. So where do mosquitoes go during the daytime?

First things first, the only mosquitoes that consume blood are female. Also, your blood does not provide them with anything they need nutritionally for their own health. Rather, they consume the blood of humans and other animals as a way to get certain nutrients needed for the proper development of their eggs. Yes, your blood is being used to make more mosquitoes. …

Video Goodnesses
(and not-so-goodnesses)

CAUTION: Some language may not be appropriate for work or children.


CAUTION: Some language may not be appropriate for work or children.