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24 Sep 16:02

Inverse Duplicity

by submission

Author : S T Xavier

“Peter! I’m taking the kids out to dinner! Remember our meeting with the school in the morning!”

The yelling of his wife snaps him from his mindset, and he grimaces. With a sigh, he turns to the staircase and yells back, “Thank you, Marsha! I promise to come to bed at a decent hour!”

He turns back to the board and looks over the numbers again, but has completely lost his place. With a shake of his head, he turns his attention to the circuitry, giving it one last once-over. As he does, the basement light flickers once, then goes out, plunging his workshop into darkness.

Peter chuckles a wry chuckle as he stumbles through the darkness toward the flashlight on a shelf. Of course the light would burn out right before I’m ready to flip the switch, he thinks with a crooked grin.

Two steps away from the shelf, his foot catches on a stray cable. As he falls forward, he thinks it must be the cable connecting the doorway to the control panel. That’s the only cable running across the room. Sticking his hands out to catch himself, he reasons that he might need to cover it with something so he doesn’t trip over it again.

In the total darkness, he’s surprised when his hands collide with switches and knobs instead of the concrete basement floor. The feel of the control panel is immediately recognizable, but he’s surprised for a second that he was falling this way. He hits the control panel hard, grabbing it to steady himself from his fall.

As Peter hopes he didn’t mess anything up too badly, his thoughts are drowned out by a hum of power. He scrambles to collect himself as he realizes he must have flipped the switch! But, all of the settings, he thinks as he moves his hands over the darkness-shrouded control panel. The settings are all wrong! What have I done!?

A single flash from the doorway behind him illuminates the room briefly, then plunges it back into darkness. He looks at the control panel as his eyes adjust, waiting until he’s able to see it clearly to check the settings. A blue glow slowly settles over the controls, and he focuses on noting the changed settings.

It’s a full minute before he realizes the blue glow isn’t from his eyes adjusting, but from the doorway behind him. He stands slowly and turns, bit by bit, until he’s facing the doorway, which is now surrounded by a blue glow.

Looking at the doorway is like looking into a mirror. The basement on the other side, covered in the same blue glow, is exactly the same. The cable he tripped over is lying across the floor in the same place on both sides. The control panel is the same distance away. The person standing in front of the control panel is wearing the same rumpled red shirt and gray sweat pants as he is. The dirty brown socks and messy black hair are also the same. As he reaches up to remove his glasses, the person in the doorway also reaches up to remove hers.

And that stuns him into motionlessness, as it does to the woman who looks just like him on the other side. He works his mouth to say something, as does the woman. Finally, he’s able to speak, and the words come out of both mouths simultaneously. “Holy crap. You’re me. But, you’re not me!”

“You’re a woman!” he finishes his statement with.

“You’re a man!” she finishes her statement with.

They stare at each other for a few more seconds, then step forward and reach their right hands to each other. Both hands pass through the doorway to the other side before they realize they missed a handshake. Both shrug as they instead clasp wrists and shake up and down once.

Looking in each other’s eyes, they smile, then shake their heads in wonder. “Marsha’s never going to believe this.” They both say, to each other’s surprise.

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22 Sep 19:13

The Music of the Sphere

by submission

Author : Selso Sam Zaghloul

Cherry woke up at three o’clock local time, sweating and panting. She turned and looked out the window as the light from the smaller moon dripped into the room.

She had the dream again. The same dream she had nearly every night since the colony group had plopped their dull-gray prefab houses on this world. A dream of music, of an unearthly song bigger than everything, and of a light that would consume the heavens.

She trudged out of bed, dragging herself to the sink. She splashed ice cold water onto her face, as if trying to wash out the vision from here mind. It didn’t work. She could still hear the song echoing in here head, and the light dance before here whenever she blinked. She sighed. Cherry wished she had someone to talk to. But the other colonist lived in a compound about ten minutes away; a home to herself was supposedly Cherry’s reward for her work on the soil survey.

But the truth hung there, unspoken. They wanted Cherry and her dreams of heavenly music and all-embracing light as far away as possible, as if she was a useful, but dangerous animal. And maybe they were right to do so, she wondered in despair, maybe she was a ticking time bomb, waiting to go off.

Then she heard it. The same music from her dreams rose faintly into her ears. Cherry listened, at first in fear (this was it, she thought I’ve had finally lost my mind) and then in longing, greater longing than anything she had wanted in her entire life, until she could stand it no longer and ran out into the night, the melody pulling on her soul like a fishing line .

She didn’t care that it was the middle of the night, or that the song emanated from the untamed forest, or even that she was as naked as a newborn. The music made its siren’s call, and Cherry would answer, no matter what.

As she dashed through the spiral pines she nearly ran into pack of gecko-wolves, one the planet’s most vicious predator, who could strip a man to bone in seconds. She barely noticed them as they parted before her as if they were bowing before some sort of holy woman.

She exited the forest near seaside cliff. The Song was coming beneath her, from within the earth. She got on her knees and began to claw at the ground like a dog searching for the last bone in the universe. Hours later, she hit something.

The music stopped.

She had uncovered a black metal surface, barely visible in the light of the second moon. Cherry held her breath, and slowly reached for it with here index finger, trembling in both fear and excitement. The second she touched the metal’s cool surface, veins of light appeared on it, spreading quickly. The structure, a sphere the size of Cherry’s head, bursts out of the ground, knocking her on her ass, and floated over the clam sea.

The sphere disassembled itself into five pieces, like a puzzle in reverse. The floating pieces were still connected by the light, and from that light emerged five new structures, rectangles this time, and they too disassembled, and reattached themselves to the ends of the sphere-pieces. The process repeated-metal structures would come forth from the light, take themselves apart and attach the new individual parts to the ever expanding super-structure that had begun with the sphere.

By the time the larger moon rose, Cherry was no longer sitting before open space.

She was standing before a city.

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10 Sep 15:31

NSA whistleblower James Bamford profiles Edward Snowden

by Cory Doctorow

Bamford was the first-ever NSA whistleblower, whose bravery led to the Church Commission and the unprecedented curbs on the agency's spying powers -- his long, sympathetic Wired profile of Snowden is full of insight and wisdom.

There are so many passages in the article that I could quote, but the conclusion says it all:

But rather than the Russian secret police, it’s his old employers, the CIA and the NSA, that Snowden most fears. “If somebody’s really watching me, they’ve got a team of guys whose job is just to hack me,” he says. “I don’t think they’ve geolocated me, but they almost certainly monitor who I’m talking to online. Even if they don’t know what you’re saying, because it’s encrypted, they can still get a lot from who you’re talking to and when you’re talking to them.”

More than anything, Snowden fears a blunder that will destroy all the progress toward reforms for which he has sacrificed so much. “I’m not self-destructive. I don’t want to self-immolate and erase myself from the pages of history. But if we don’t take chances, we can’t win,” he says. And so he takes great pains to stay one step ahead of his presumed pursuers—he switches computers and email accounts constantly. Nevertheless, he knows he’s liable to be compromised eventually: “I’m going to slip up and they’re going to hack me. It’s going to happen.”

Edward Snowden: The Untold Story [James Bamford/Wired]

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10 Sep 15:01

New Pokémon Game Takes Place In The Real World

by Brian Ashcraft

New Pokémon Game Takes Place In The Real World

Today, the Pokémon Company unveiled its latest Pocket Monster experience. It’s called Pokemon Go.

“The day has finally come when Pokémon appear in the real world,” Pokémon designer Junichi Masuda said of the ambitious project.

Here’s the debut trailer.


The game is being developed by Niantic, a former Google start up known for it’s augmented reality smartphone game Ingress.

Niantic says it is working closely with the Pokémon Company and Nintendo to make a brand new style of Pokémon game. The idea is that players go outside, get some fresh air, and capture Pokemon at the same time.

The Pokémon Company has been working on the game for the past few years alongside Nintendo. At today’s press conference, Pokémon Go’s debut trailer was dedicated to Satoru Iwata.

New Pokémon Game Takes Place In The Real World

There is also a watch-like peripheral (mostly worked on by Nintendo) for the game called Pokémon Go Plus that allows you to basic things like throw a Poké Ball. It pairs with your phone and has a rumble and flash feature when you come across or interact with a Pokemon in the real world. The idea is that you can enjoy the world around you, instead of focusing only on your phone.

According to Shigeru Miyamoto, Pokémon Go Plus reminds him of Pokémon Snap. Miyamoto added that he likes the idea of kids wearing the Pokémon Go Plus that is paired with a parent’s phone. That way kids and parents can play Pokémon Go together.

New Pokémon Game Takes Place In The Real World

In the past, Pokémon games have been based loosely on real world maps, so as Pokémon Company boss Tsunekazu Ishihara pointed out in an announcement conference, it makes sense to bring Pokémon to the real world with AR.

This won’t necessarily be a standalone title. “I’m thinking about how this game will connect with titles in the main series of Pokémon games,” Masuda told the audience.

New Pokémon Game Takes Place In The Real World

Pokémon Go is for both Android and iOS, and is slated for release in 2016.

To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter@Brian_Ashcraft.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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10 Sep 14:55

Why Batman's Story Isn't Tragic At All

by Gergo Vas

Why Batman's Story Isn't Tragic At All

Bruce Wayne beating random thugs as Batman is probably not what Gotham needs, when corruption and poverty is all over the city, and as one of Gotham’s richest, he could be the one ending it.

Dorkly’s recent video also shows that Bruce Wayne’s childhood as an orphan is nothing compared to the life of that random thug he beats up every day.


To contact the author of this post, write to:

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10 Sep 14:50

Episode 1247: Drawing a Long Straw

Episode 1247: Drawing a Long Straw

Gaming is thirsty work, so there should always be drinks handy. Whether you go for soft drinks or something with a bit of a kick to it depends on just how crazy you want the heroes' plans to get over the course of the session.

10 Sep 04:24

Siege Rhino, Battle for Zendikar, and You, by Adam Yurchick

by Adam Yurchick

I'm not convinced about Ugin having a place in an agro deck, and I'm still not sold that Nissa is the best thing to be doing either on turn 3 or 7.

Adam takes a look at how some of the first Battle for Zendikar cards will affect Standard Abzan, starting with manlands, Ruinous Siege, and Ob Nixilis Reignited. How different will the clan look after rotation?
10 Sep 04:03

Jammed Rollercoaster Freed by Power of Music

by Brad

After suddenly finding themselves stuck at the top of a roller coaster track at an amusement park in Lithuania, the quick-thinking passengers cleverly manage to set themselves back in motion with the power of “What Is Love?”.

09 Sep 18:47

Take a quiz to see which US presidential candidate matches your views

by Mark Frauenfelder

My numbers look pretty similar to the image here. All the candidates are still disgusting people.


This nicely made quiz ranks presidential candidates by how closely they match your views on different issues, including domestic policy, healthcare, education, social, foreign policy, the economy, the environment, immigration, and electoral issues. I found out the Bernie Sanders and I are a 94% match. Not a big surprise. Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham are at the bottom of the barrel, with less than a 20% match. Again, not a big surprise.

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09 Sep 16:31

Researchers respond to developer’s accusation that they used crypto wrong

by Sean Gallagher

Researchers who developed a set of attacks against encryption schemes in CryptDB—a technology seen by many as key in creating secure cloud-based database applications—faced a rebuttal from one of the technology’s developers last week, who essentially claimed they were testing it the wrong way. In a series of e-mails to Ars, both the research team and CryptDB’s original lead developer have further responded to each other’s claims. And one of the researchers responded at length to the rebuttal in a blog post on Monday, further pressing his case.

As Ars reported last week, CryptDB is central to many efforts to easily add strong security to existing Structured Query Language-based applications—and to move some of those applications safely into private and public cloud database services.

“The awesome thing about CryptDB is that you can store your data in encrypted form without rewriting your apps,” said Charles Wright of Portland State University, one of the authors of the paper, in an e-mail to Ars. “That's what makes CryptDB such an exciting system, and why so many other groups have taken up the idea and run with it.”

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

09 Sep 15:19

Muslim flight attendant says she was suspended for refusing to serve alcohol

by Mark Frauenfelder


Religious freedom warrior Mike Huckabee is keeping curiously silent about the Muslim airline attendant suspended for refusing to serve alcohol as part of her job duties.

From CNN:

In a bid to get her job back, Charee Stanley filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday for the revocation of a reasonable religious accommodation.

She wants to do her job without serving alcohol in accordance with her Islamic faith -- just as she was doing before her suspension, her lawyer said.

"What this case comes down to is no one should have to choose between their career and religion and it's incumbent upon employers to provide a safe environment where employees can feel they can practice their religion freely," said Lena Masri, an attorney with Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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09 Sep 15:05

Brands vs. Reality: The "Educational" Channels

by Brad
08 Sep 14:10

The Licensor

by jon


Hey everyone! I’ve got some really cool news. Classic SFAM strips will be running over at GoComics every weekday, along with your favorite syndicated comics! Sign up for an account today and follow all your favorite comics all on one page.


The post The Licensor appeared first on Scenes From A Multiverse.

07 Sep 15:03

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

by András Neltz

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Yeah, this is the same guy who also did The Temple of Time and yes, it is similarly pretty. That’s Unreal Engine 4 for ya. Oh, and talent. Don’t forget talent.

Crafted by environment artist Michael Eurek (via DSOGaming), the map depicts Zora’s Domain from Zelda: Ocarina of Time, lovingly re-interpreted in UE4. There’s a flythrough vid and lots of screenshots below.


Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Ocarina of Time's Zora Cave Gets a Next-Gen Facelift

Original OoT screenshot via Zeldapedia.

Dayshot is an image-based feature that runs every morning, showcasing some of the prettiest, funniest game-related screenshots and art we can find. Send us suggestions if you’ve got them.

Questions? Comments? Contact the author of this post at andras-AT-kotaku-DOT-com.

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06 Sep 22:02

MeFi: I had summoned a very friendly Balrog.

by MartinWisse
It was like a mirror world to YouTube comments, where several dozen anonymous people had come together in love and harmony to write a complex, logically coherent document, based on a single tweet.

Fan is a tool using animal. Maciej Cegłowski on what happened when fandom was forced to migrate from Delicious to Pinboard and he asked what his site could do better.
06 Sep 19:04

Pen Pals

05 Sep 23:11

A Cartoon Made From YouTube Comments

by Don

This absurd creation is what happens when you make a cartoon based entirely on random comments from YouTube.

05 Sep 04:28

Getty Charges Blog for Socially Awkward Penguin

by Don

"Meme" should be a new criterion for fair use.


The German language site GetDigital revealed that Getty Images demanded $868 in licensing fees for posting examples of Socially Awkward Penguin, claiming the stock photo agency held copyright on the meme’s original image.

05 Sep 04:23

This Kid Kills it Doing the Cha-Cha Slide

by Don

This kid busts out some impressive moves while dancing to the DJ Casper remix of the “Cha-Cha Slide.”

04 Sep 22:17

Watch: Add butane to a bottle of Coke, get a totally unsafe high-powered bottle rocket

by Xeni Jardin

It's always the Russians, beating us in the never-ending arms race of Totally Unsafe Things That Are Fun to Watch.


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04 Sep 16:53

FBI, DEA and others will now have to get a warrant to use stingrays

by Cyrus Farivar

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced sweeping new rules Thursday concerning the use of cell-site simulators, often called stingrays, mandating that federal agents must now obtain a warrant in most circumstances.

The policy, which takes effect immediately, applies to its agencies, including the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Marshals Service, among others.

"Cell-site simulator technology has been instrumental in aiding law enforcement in a broad array of investigations, including kidnappings, fugitive investigations and complicated narcotics cases," Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement. "This new policy ensures our protocols for this technology are consistent, well-managed and respectful of individuals’ privacy and civil liberties."

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

03 Sep 17:00

Kids and Pets

by Jae Miles

Author : Jae Miles, Staff Writer

My world is Kayden, and it is orbited by a plethora of satellites with deadly defensive natures that all look really pretty from the ground. In higher orbit, space stations and roving warships patrol like sharks at idle. No ship matches it’s fellows in anything bar a small, radiant ‘K’ sent into a single panel. It’s about the size of a human child’s handprint, and that’s deliberate, because it’s the same size as his handprint.

Kayden was born into a prosperous merchant family and was expected to eventually fulfil some minor role, being fourth son. He lived six years of privilege before the family fortunes took a tumble at the hands of greedy investors. It’s a tale told so many times since man left Earth, and identical in many ways to all the others. Except for the details. The particular detail that changed this universe was Kayden being sold by his mother. He brought in a lot of money. He was told it was his purpose, that he had done well. He smiled through the tears as his new owners closed the door.

What happened to Kayden in the intervening three years can only be suspected. When Vealoris, my great-grandfather, found him, he was vomiting parts of himself into the dust of the partially-terraformed planet that would eventually bear his name. Grandfather noted that he eased Kayden’s hurts as best he could, but the damage was too much for the wasted body. Barely three months after Nursery Guardian Vealoris found him again, Kayden went on to a place where children could never be chattels.

That is why grandfather bought this world. He specified the last terraforming stages, the fauna levels and hazard distribution. Then he started rescuing children. After a while, he extended that to unwanted companion fauna as well. He said that while this place existed, no child would be without a place to be safe and loved, among those who would understand without question. All that on a world that is best described as paradise. You can sleep under the stars for most of the year. Nothing native is dangerous to the waifs and strays from a galaxy of civilisations with ancient, common problems.

Some of those first generation rescues stayed on. Some went to the stars. A few made fortunes. That trend continued in the second generation, and so on. And it all comes back to Kayden.

Slavers and orbital pimps fear K-ships. Their crews are motivated in ways that nothing can deter. Former adoptees of Kayden can call on K-ships too. It makes their businesses damn-near bandit proof.

But there’s no empire building going on. We are a single, resilient network dedicated to a simple, too-often-neglected purpose. That is more than enough.

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03 Sep 16:30

Pwn2Own loses HP as its sponsor amid new cyberweapon restrictions

by Dan Goodin

The next scheduled Pwn2Own hacking competition has lost Hewlett-Packard as its longstanding sponsor amid legal concerns that the company could run afoul of recent changes to an international treaty that governs software exploits.

Dragos Ruiu, organizer of both Pwn2Own and the PacSec West security conference in Japan, said HP lawyers spent more than $1 million researching the recent changes to the so-called Wassenaar Arrangement. He said they ultimately concluded that the legal uncertainty and compliance hurdles were too high for them to move forward.

"I am left being kind of grumpy now that HP is not involved," Ruiu told Ars. He said that he plans to organize a scaled-down hacking competition to fill the void at this year's conference, which is scheduled for November 11 and 12.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

03 Sep 15:57

NYT Claims U.S. Abides by Cluster Bomb Treaty: The Exact Opposite of Reality

by Glenn Greenwald

'For the NYT to tell its readers that the U.S. – one of the leading cluster bomb states on the planet – is actually one of the countries that “have not yet joined the treaty but have abided by its provisions” is nationalistic propaganda of the most extreme kind.'

The New York Times today has a truly bizarre article regarding the U.S. and cluster bombs. The advocacy group Cluster Munition Coalition just issued its annual report finding that cluster bombs had been used in five countries this year: Syria, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and Sudan. This is what The Paper of Record, in its report by Rick Gladstone, said this morning about the international reaction to that report (emphasis added):

The use of these weapons was criticized by all 117 countries that have joined the treaty, which took effect five years ago. Their use was also criticized by a number of others, including the United States, that have not yet joined the treaty but have abided by its provisions.

As Americans, we should feel proud that our government, though refusing to sign the cluster ban treaty, has nonetheless “abided by its provisions” — if not for the fact that this claim is totally false. The U.S. has long been and remains one of the world’s most aggressive suppliers of cluster munitions, and has used those banned weapons itself in devastating ways.

In December 2009 — just weeks after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize — President Obama ordered a cruise missile strike on al-Majala in southern Yemen. That strike “killed 35 women and children.” Among the munitions used in that strike were cluster bombs, including ones designed to scatter 166 “bomblets.”

Although the U.S. at first refused to confirm responsibility, a Yemeni journalist, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, visited the scene and found irrefutable proof that it was done by the U.S., a finding subsequently confirmed by Amnesty International as well as a cable released by WikiLeaks. As a result of Shaye’s reporting of U.S. responsibility, President Obama demanded that the Yemeni journalist be imprisoned and the Yemeni puppet regime complied; Amnesty’s Philip Luther said at the time that “there are strong indications that the charges against [Shaye] are trumped up and that he has been jailed solely for daring to speak out about U.S. collaboration in a cluster munitions attack which took place in Yemen.” So not only did Obama use cluster bombs against Yemeni civilians, but he then forced the imprisonment for years of the Yemeni journalist who reported it.

Five years later, Yemen is again being pummeled by cluster bombs. Human Rights Watch extensively documented last week that the “Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces appear to have used cluster munition rockets in at least seven attacks in Yemen’s northwestern Hajja governorate, killing and wounding dozens of civilians.” You’ll never guess where those cluster bombs came from: “Based on examination of remnants, Human Rights Watch identified the weapons used in all seven attacks as United States-made, ground-launched M26 cluster munition rockets.”

As Iona Craig reported for The Intercept this week from Yemen, “The American government has also supplied intelligence, in-flight refueling of fighter jets, and weapons [for the “Saudi-led” attack], including, according to rights organizations, banned U.S. cluster munitions.” Indeed, citing the Human Rights Watch findings, the New York Times itself reported in May that “the Saudi-led military coalition fighting a rebel group in Yemen has in the past few weeks used cluster munitions supplied by the United States.” The same article noted:

Both Saudi and American military forces have deployed cluster munitions in Yemen before the most recent conflict, according to human rights groups. In 2009, Saudi warplanes dropped cluster bombs during attacks on the Houthis in Saada, their home province.

The same year, United States naval forces fired one or more cruise missiles containing cluster munitions at a suspected Qaeda training camp in southern Yemen.

Reporting from Yemen for Rolling Stone in May, Matthieu Aikins described the ample evidence that U.S.-supplied cluster bombs are being used indiscriminately against civilians. Last month, Mother Jones’ Bryan Schatz wrote an excellent summary of all the ways the U.S. has been central to the horrific Saudi slaughter of Yemeni civilians, including the supplying of cluster munitions.

The U.S. has long been supplying cluster bombs to the Saudis. In August 2013, Foreign Policy noted a Defense Department press release proudly announcing that “the U.S. military [is] selling $640 million worth of American-made cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, despite the near-universal revulsion at such weapons.” As the headline of a superb May 2014 Vice article succinctly put it: “U.S. Cluster Bombs Keep Killing Civilians in Yemen”; the on-the-scene reporters, Ben Anderson and Peter Salisbury, provided extensive video and first-hand witness evidence to prove the truth of that statement.

The U.S. use and supply of cluster bombs is long and ugly. In 2006, Israel used American-made cluster munitions to kill hundreds of civilians in Lebanon; Hezbollah reportedly fired them into Northern Israel. The NYT’s Gladstone himself, in a 2014 article, actually noted the massive Israeli usage, though omitted that the weapons came from the U.S.’s re-supplying of the Israeli stockpile (emphasis added):

Israel’s military was widely criticized at home and abroad for its heavy cluster-bomb use in Lebanon, dropping around 1,800 of them, containing more than 1.2 million bomblets, particularly in the final days of the 34-day conflict with Hezbollah. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted a commander of the Israel Defense Forces as saying, “What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs.”

In that article, designed to warn of the increasing usage of cluster bombs in Syria, Gladstone cryptically noted that “only three other countries have suffered cluster bomb casualties that exceed Syria’s: Laos at 4,837, Vietnam at 2,080, and Iraq at 2,989.” Gladstone coyly doesn’t say, but guess who dropped most of those?

In 2011, The Daily Beast’s Lionel Beehner was shocked by Hillary Clinton’s audacity in condemning Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for using cluster bombs. He noted that the U.S. is “one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cluster bombs”; is “one of the few states, along with Libya, not to sign the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions”; that “American manufacturers love cluster bombs”; and that just “last year, the U.S. Air Force reportedly spent billions of dollars to purchase a batch of 4,600 cluster bombs from Textron, a New England-based arms manufacturer that also supplies munitions to Turkey, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.”

In 2009 and 2010, the Obama administration promulgated guidelines ostensibly to make their usage safer, including banning their sale starting in 2018 unless they have a dud rate of less than 1 percent (unexploded bombs pose massive risk to civilians, particularly children). But as Schatz detailed in a separate article in June, “Activists have reported finding more duds than allowed under the one-percent failure rate rule.” Ample evidence demonstrates these failures. Moreover, as Schatz reports:

The recent HRW reports also call [Textron’s] CBU-105’s performance into question. “What we’re seeing in Yemen is that they’re having trouble meeting this one percent criteria,” says [HRW’s Steve] Goose. “We have a photo with one of the canisters sitting on the ground with four skeets just sitting there. They never deployed.”

All of this makes the New York Times’ cluster bomb exoneration of the U.S. today nothing short of inexcusable. Under the treaty which The Paper of Record today claimed the U.S. honors, “States Parties may not stockpile cluster munitions, and must also destroy their existing stocks within eight years of joining.” The very first article of the Treaty states (emphasis added):

Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: (a) Use cluster munitions; (b) Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions; (c) Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.

The U.S. does not occasionally violate one of those provisions. It continually violates all of them, systematically and as a matter of policy doing exactly that which the treaty expressly bans. For the NYT to tell its readers that the U.S. — one of the leading cluster bomb states on the planet — is actually one of the countries that “have not yet joined the treaty but have abided by its provisions” is nationalistic propaganda of the most extreme kind.

The post NYT Claims U.S. Abides by Cluster Bomb Treaty: The Exact Opposite of Reality appeared first on The Intercept.

03 Sep 14:52

Stormtrooper's Laser Tag Alarm Clock

by Brad
03 Sep 02:23

Check Metal Gear Solid V On Your Birthday For A Cool Surprise

by Patricia Hernandez

Check Metal Gear Solid V On Your Birthday For A Cool Surprise

When you start a new game of Metal Gear Solid V, it asks you for your birthday. There’s a reason for that—the game actually uses it in a pretty sweet way.

Obviously, if you don’t want to be spoiled on this, you should stop reading now!

abRobert has found that, if you happen to play Metal Gear Solid V on your birthday, you will at some point be greeted with this heartwarming scene:


Aww, Kojima. You shouldn’t have.

I love how paranoid Big Boss is. C’mon buddy, it’s just a surprise birthday bash!

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02 Sep 20:04

FBI probes man’s videoed death by cops as ethics of posting footage questioned

by David Kravets

A Texas broadcaster's decision to publish a bystander's video capturing Texas deputies shooting a man with his hands raised has prompted an FBI investigation into the death of a 41-year-old San Antonio man whose killing has been viewed around the world.

"Experienced civil rights investigators from the FBI will thoroughly review the facts and circumstances surrounding the shooting," the FBI said in a statement Tuesday. "Our focus is to determine whether a civil rights violation took place as a result of a deputy willfully engaging in the use of excessive or unjustified force."

The Friday shooting, which was first published Monday by KSAT in San Antonio, has also prompted Bexar County officials in Texas to beef up the use of body and dash cameras. The Bexar County deputies involved in the shooting were not wearing body cameras and are on paid administrative leave.

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02 Sep 18:03

Reefer Badness Two: Revenge of the Reefer

by jon


Marijuana is bad for you! That’s why it’s illegal. Don’t do it or bad things will happen. Bad things! Monsters, maybe. Or Santa Claus will die from disappointment. Anything could happen, really. You have been warned.


The post Reefer Badness Two: Revenge of the Reefer appeared first on Scenes From A Multiverse.

02 Sep 15:26

Pokémon party organizer: we’ve got no money and were sued without warning

by Joe Mullin

Too bad he doesn't have the resources to fight it; I bet the party would be ruled fair use if it went to court.

Ramar Jones was in for a shock last week when his attempt to create a Pokémon-themed party led to a federal lawsuit. In an interview with Seattle's Geekwire, Jones said the news of the lawsuit came to him with no warning.

"Unfortunately, there was never a letter, a cease-and-desist or anything," Jones said. "We would have stopped it."

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02 Sep 15:21

Indiana State Police won’t give up stingray records due to “terrorism” risk

by Cyrus Farivar

A California-based privacy activist who has filed hundreds of public records requests to learn about how cell-site simulators are used nationwide had a request denied earlier this week by the Indiana State Police.

However, the reason for the denial is a bit strange—the department seems to claim that releasing the requested information constitutes a possible risk to terrorism or even "agricultural terrorism."

Indiana State Police cite agricultural terrorism in denying request for StingRay NDA with FBI @cfarivar @MuckRock

— Mike Katz-Lacabe (@mlacabe) August 30, 2015

The Indiana State Police specifically cited Indiana Code 5-14-3-4(b)(19), which states:

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