forgot this dipshit was even running
|Courtney shared this story from Super Opinionated.|
Old Dude seeing me on my phone: Why don't you read the news instead of tweeting and texting.
Me: I'm actually reading an article from The Economist on my phone about Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan's mock elections. What are your thoughts on the topic?
Old Dude taken aback: I don't know.
Me: Well then why don't you read the news instead of chastising teenagers on their phones?
the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun
Officials: 3 shot, injured at Delaware State cookout
DOVER, Del. (AP) — Delaware State University officials say three people have been shot at a student event. The News Journal (http://delonline.us/1cJbMJJ ) reports that university president Harry L. Williams said in a release that the shooting happened at ...
Confirmed shooting at Delaware State UniversityWMDT
all 104 news articles »
meanwhile, in crowdfunding
Really happy to see this at my local library
OOOOH. *happy YA librarian dance*
I want this in every library, everywhere. After all, some kids won’t even google this stuff because they don’t want parents/siblings checking their browser history.
This is really awesome. And if you’re not familiar with how the Dewey Decimal system works - the numbers subject-based, which means these numbers are applicable in EVERY library. So if you see something you want to research on this list - look for those same numbers in any of your local libraries.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
#neverfly, unless it's this
' 1. R.C. Church. A prelate likely or worthy to be elected as pope.'
suddenly enjoying the association of RC Cola with Roman Catholics
yo, is it
Movement to Allow Concealed Weapons on College Campuses Triggers Debate
A handful of states are considering laws that would allow college students to carry concealed weapons on campus, triggering a fierce debate across the nation. Seven states already allow students over age 21 to carry guns on campus in certain circumstances ...
Texas House approves open carry billUPI.com
Gun-rights advocates score huge victory in TexasState Column
Texas set to approve open carry of handguns, seen as win for gun-rights activistsFox News
all 225 news articles »
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Brenham Veterinarian's Alma Mater Not Supporting Her in Cat Controversy
FORT COLLINS, Colorado - The school where Kristen Lindsey earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine is not standing behind the Brenham vet after she bragged on Facebook about killing a cat with a bow and arrow. Lindsey was fired by the Washington ...
Veterinarian under investigation for killing cat with arrowUSA TODAY
Texas vet accused of shooting cat with arrow a CSU gradThe Coloradoan
Vet posts pic of cat shot with arrowStatesmen News
all 274 news articles »
meanwhile, here's a cop shooting a black man with a knife and bible to death
St. Louis police kill armed man, release bodycam video
St. Louis County police released body camera video after officers shot and killed a 23-year-old man who authorities say charged toward officers holding a knife and a bible. Thaddeus McCarroll was shot multiple times late Friday night by two officers in ...
and more »
our dystopian present: it's news when a cop doesn't shoot someone
ps: cop and suspect both white
Ohio Cop Refuses to Resort to Deadly Force: 'I Wanted to Be Absolutely Sure'
A rookie Ohio cop is being praised for "great restraint and maturity" after he held off using deadly force against a double murder suspect who charged at him, his police chief said. In a confrontation Thursday with a man accused of killing his fiancee and his ...
and more »
'why exactly would a company take on such an ungodly amount of cash while claiming at the same time that is has no need for it?'
'While he insists that the funding is far more than Slack needs for day-to-day operations, Butterfield believes it's important in case a big opportunity presents itself. "The money is useful in terms of creating options. Just cause we aren’t going to immediately spend it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be great when we find a company we want to acquire."'
Slack announced yesterday that it raised $160 million at a $2.8 billion valuation. The company hasn't spent a penny of the $120 million it raised just last October. When Slack raised that money, founder Stewart Butterfield said it was enough to last them 60 years. Besides creating a Scrooge McDuck style swimming pool, why exactly would a company take on such an ungodly amount of cash while claiming at the same time that is has no need for it? We hopped on the phone with Butterfield to find out.
"It’s the best time ever in the history of the world, or at least the tech industry, to raise money. Will it get better? It’s possible. Six months from now, we might say darn it, we should have waited," Butterfield told me. "On the other hand it’s a pretty amazing deal. In a certain respect it would have been irresponsible not to take it for five-ish percent of the company on clean terms."
The best time in the history of the world to raise money
For those not familiar with venture capital, Butterfield means he only had to give up a small percentage of the ownership in Slack to get this new funding, and that the deal didn't come with a bunch of crazy terms which favored the new investors. Like we said before, HBO's parody of Silicon Valley simply can't keep up with the insanity of what's happening in the real world. But does a good deal alone justify raising money? And if so, how many times over?
There are some concrete factors that made raising more money attractive. "The market pressure is pretty crazy. I don’t have any data on inflation in salaries, but it seems like the expectations around salary and equity are 20 to 30 percent higher this year than last year, and the same is true for the year before that." Butterfield explains that hitting the magic mark of a billion dollar valuation, a unicorn in today's startup parlance, is also a psychological threshold that helps with hiring and customer acquisition.
A billion dollar valuation is table stakes for top talent
Along with the cost for talent, the price of real estate is also spiking in San Francisco. "We just moved out of our temp office. That was $62 a square foot when we first rented it, and now nine months later we can sublet it for $75 per square foot."
While he insists that the funding is far more than Slack needs for day-to-day operations, Butterfield believes it's important in case a big opportunity presents itself. "The money is useful in terms of creating options. Just cause we aren’t going to immediately spend it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be great when we find a company we want to acquire."
What are the margins like on the company? "We're growing so fast it's very hard to know," Butterfield said. The financial model might change if Slack decides to start spending anything on sales or marketing. Right now it's just spreading by word of mouth. Slack claimed 73,000 paying customers back in October of 2014. It says it has over 200,000 now. "The margins are like any other enterprise software company, which is to say, they are very good."
A war chest in case you need to wait out a winter
I asked Butterfield if he was concerned that the rapidly ballooning valuation of the company might outstrip what it can fetch at a public offering. There have been several enterprise software companies recently that found themselves underwater after their IPO.
He acknowledged it was a danger, but pointed to the success of Etsy, a company in which he was an early investor, as an example of thinking long term. "Is it something to be concerned about? Yes. But the way things are now, we have an indefinite amount of time before we have to go public. With this money, we can wait a decade if we have to, until the timing makes sense."
What would the impact be if this bubble were to pop? Butterfield believes it wouldn't be anything like the dot-com crash, pointing out that the total size of startup investments each year, roughly $50 billion, is just a fraction of our larger financial markets. "Will our growth slow down, of course, it's the law of large numbers," he admits. "But right now it's crazy. We keep doubling in size. It's hard to wrap your head around." The rest of the world is thinking the same thing.
The dreaded pay-TV bundles that result in US homes watching only about 10 percent of the channels they pay for aren't going away any time soon, but Verizon's FiOS TV service is taking a small step in the right direction.
Starting Sunday, new and existing FiOS customers will be able to choose from new "Custom TV" bundles that offer more flexibility and could (depending on one's interests) save subscribers a bit of money.
"It’s a simple way for customers to choose the types of channels they want without paying for those they don’t," Verizon said in a description of the new pricing system that was e-mailed to reporters.
Proving once again that platform loyalty is a powerful thing, two Tulsa, Oklahoma, roommates got into an argument over whether Android smartphones are better than Apple smartphones—and both ended up in jail.
Tulsa’s Channel 8 reports that police were called to a local apartment complex at around 1:00am on the morning of April 17 to investigate at least one report of a bloody person wandering around the parking lot. According to the Tulsa World, police found roommates Jiro Mendez and Elias Ecevo each in some distress—Mendez was the man in the parking lot and was covered in scratches and wounds, while Ecevo, similarly wounded, apparently had stayed inside their apartment.
The World indicates that Mendez told police that the wounds resulted from an argument between the roommates, which started over which roommate had the better smartphone—Apple or Android—and ended with both roommates allegedly stabbing each other with broken glass bottles, and Ecevo allegedly stealing Mendez’s car (police found the car near the apartment, with blood in the interior). Perhaps unsurprisingly, alcohol appears to have been a factor in the fight.
'The smooth tracking shots we saw in the aerial battles of the prequels will be replaced with a visceral shaky cam perspective. Personally, this is my favorite trademark of his'
Get ready for some (subtle) lens flare.
One of the great pleasures of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer is seeing a new director inject his own flourishes into an already visually distinctive series. The Star Wars visual catalog has a few staples that have stayed consistent throughout the series: think transitional wipes and pilot POV shots. Unfortunately, the prequels saw George Lucas expand the toolset with a lot of uninspired tricks: slow zooms on wide shots, Barbara Walters glow, and a stubborn use of a locked-down camera.
From the looks of the new Star Wars trailer, J.J. Abrams and his cinematographer, Dave Mindel, seem to be trading out the bad visual trademarks and replacing them with some of their own. Here are some examples of what we might be able to expect from Abrams’ visual take on the galaxy.
It’s a pretty basic camera move. The gist is that a camera, usually on a track or Steadicam rig, moves forward into the subject, going from a wide shot to a medium shot. J.J. Abrams does this a lot. Though it is a tried-and-true technique, what makes his dolly moves really dynamic is that while the camera moves forward on the Z-axis, there’s action moving on the X-axis.
So in this shot, you have the camera moving toward R2-D2 and embers flying from left to right. The combination of Z and X movement can also be seen in the previous Star Wars trailer. I won't add to the Star Wars visual repertoire, but it’s nice to see a killer dolly move in a series that rarely has them.
Wait, what? Where?!
It’s been exhaustively noted that J.J. Abrams loves his lens flares, and he hasn’t taken the criticism lying down. There was significantly less of it in Star Trek Into Darkness, for example. But if you think The Force Awakens will do away completely with this visual flourish, well you’d be wrong, yet also kind of right. There are lens flares in there, but they are subtle as all hell. J.J. Abrams actually falls in line with the Star Wars visual design. Anything more than what we saw in the Darth Maul fight scene would be pushing the boundaries. I think we can all agree with this amount of subtle lens flare; J.J. Abrams can love them all he wants.
It’s a visual holdover from his Star Trek films, and I think it will be a stake in the ground for the rest of the Star Wars saga. The smooth tracking shots we saw in the aerial battles of the prequels will be replaced with a visceral shaky cam perspective. Personally, this is my favorite trademark of his, and I’m glad to see it being put to use in Star Wars. The style really makes it feel like you’re in the environment, feeling the turbulence of the action.
We got a small taste of the director’s love of canted angles in the above shot. This is another one of Abrams’ visual choices that I love, because he really understands how to properly weigh the shot composition. The canted angle can be pretty hard to pull off correctly since it can quickly fall into hokeyness — a bad-looking canted angle has the subject in the center of the frame. But J.J. Abrams is really good at avoiding this pitfall, and creates a beautifully composed shot by populating one side of the frame more heavily than the other.
In the above shot, for example, you have the floaty TIE fighter lifting up the right side of the frame, while the explosions and the impact of the lasers pushing down the left side. It looks great, and the canted angle remains natural.
This snap zoom shot caused a lot of discussion among the Verge Staff. J.J. Abrams used the technique to great effect in the Star Trek films, and he’s using it again in Star Wars. It’s a precarious technique inspired by camcorder war footage. Surprisingly though, this technique actually fits within the Star Wars catalog of camera moves. You’ll see it used a couple of times in the Battle of Geonosis in Episode II. I’m ambivalent on the technique being used here. It can bring a sense of realism, but also make you feel like you’re in on the artifice of it all.
I think this is all great and has got me more excited about Star Wars than ever before. Based on the trailer it looks like J.J. Abrams and company are doing away with the series' stale camera work. In the end I hope this opens the gates for the Star Wars directors to have more authorship over the saga, avoiding the sameness that plagues the Marvel films.
Get a large group of people together at an event with even the faintest whiff of commercial underpinnings, and you're going to get some fascinating promotional events. Whether it's the Bates Motel at SXSW or the annual flood of tie-ins at Comic-Con, these brand activations are an opportunity for companies to hawk their wares by creating one-of-a-kind experiences that will get audiences talking.
But here's the dirty little secret: sometimes they're also pretty fun, and here at Star Wars Celebration EA has a booth in place to promote its upcoming game Star Wars: Battlefront. In what they're calling "The X-Wing Experience," attendees wait in an insanely long line, after which they strap on X-Wing pilot gear and sit down into a cockpit mock-up, complete with working switches, lights, and a control stick. A screen in front of you plays through the dogfighting sequence from the new Battlefront trailer, and you can lean and move in time with the playback, creating the sense of being in the battle. There's also a camera mounted in the cockpit, so when you're done the footage is cut into an abbreviated version of the trailer itself — which the EA staff kindly asks you to share on your social networks with the appropriate hashtag, of course.
I had to try it immediately.
Did it feel like I was really piloting the X-Wing? Not really. The path was preset, the cockpit itself didn't move, and the sequence wasn't nearly long enough to create a feeling of true immersion. But it was an X-Wing, dammit. I was wearing that familiar helmet, and as the cockpit slid shut I couldn't help but feel like Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron, Yahoo!-ing inside the fighter at the sheer thrill of it all.
The experience was almost over before I knew it, and when I received the trailer I was a little disappointed to discover that my brief bit of improvisation — "R2, try and increase the power!" — didn't make the cut. But that didn't change the fact that for 20 seconds or so, I achieved the goals of my 8-year-old self.
I flew an X-Wing.
Hint: Use the 's' and 'd' keys to navigate
The cockpit of my X-Wing.
The rear-projection screen builds out the rest of the ship, astromech droid and all.
Barreling through the canyon.
Nearby a bank of EA staff members cut the footage together.
Rebel flight gear.
Helmet and gloves. Fun fact: copious amounts of hand sanitizer were required before you could put on the gloves.
Moments before the cockpit slid shut.
ESPN is fighting back just hours after Verizon announced plans to offer new FiOS TV packages that split up channels into cheaper, semi-a la carte bundles. The massive sports network, owned by the Walt Disney Company, said in a statement provided to Recode that Verizon's new bundles "would not be authorized by our existing agreements." The statement continues, "Among other issues, our contracts clearly provide that neither ESPN nor ESPN2 may be distributed in a separate sports package."
The contracts that your cable provider signs to bring your favorite channels to your home often have many stipulations — most programmers, for instance, require that their powerhouse channels be offered alongside their less popular offerings. Extremely powerful networks, like ESPN, can even mandate that its channels are included in the most widely-distributed cable packages.
ESPN says custom bundles "would not be authorized by our existing agreements"
Verizon's announcement was somewhat noteworthy because it appeared to sidestep such stipulations, but now it seems that the operator may have jumped the gun before coming to agreements with its programming partners. The new customizable FiOS packages appear to violate ESPN's rules, as the sports network's channels are not included in the base TV bundle of 35 channels. Customers on the new plan get the base channels, broadband internet, and two additional add-on bundles for $65 per month. ESPN's channels are relegated to a separate sports package, which can either be counted against the two included bundles or can be added on for an extra $10 per month. There are a total of seven add-on bundles.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, FiOS president Tami Erwin said that the company designed the new plans such that it "expects to be in a position of compliance" with its programming contracts. But going off of ESPN's statement, it seems Verizon announced the new plans before hammering out all of the details in negotiations. It's possible the company used a public announcement as a bargaining move in an attempt to force an agreement.
The new "Custom TV" FiOS bundles were supposed to be available starting tomorrow, April 19th, but unless the two sides can come to an agreement, that date might get pushed back.
A federal judge issued a stern rebuke Friday to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's method for breaking up an illegal online betting ring. The Las Vegas court frowned on the FBI's ruse of disconnecting Internet access to $25,000-per-night villas at Caesar's Palace Hotel and Casino. FBI agents posed as the cable guy and secretly searched the premises.
The government claimed the search was legal because the suspects invited the agents into the room to fix the Internet. US District Judge Andrew P. Gordon wasn't buying it. He ruled that if the government could get away with such tactics like those they used to nab gambling kingpin Paul Phua and some of his associates, then the government would have carte blanche power to search just about any property.
"Permitting the government to create the need for the occupant to invite a third party into his or her home would effectively allow the government to conduct warrantless searches of the vast majority of residents and hotel rooms in America," Gordon wrote in throwing out evidence the agents collected. "Authorities would need only to disrupt phone, Internet, cable, or other 'non-essential' service and then pose as technicians to gain warrantless entry to the vast majority of homes, hotel rooms, and similarly protected premises across America."
Chris Pangilinan, a former San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency engineer who uses a wheelchair, has alleged that new private bus startup Leap is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As such, Pangilinan recently filed a formal complaint with the Department of Justice.
Leap recently launched its service, offering interested commuters a luxury transit option that includes things like Wi-Fi, more personal space, and refreshments. Leap charges riders $6 per fare (more than double what local buses charge), and riders use the company's smartphone app to pay for fare or refreshments as well as to monitor when the buses are approaching.
Pangilinan, who moved away from San Francisco before Leap launched its service, said he found the company’s lack of accessibility "pretty shocking." His complaint alleges that Leap "removed features that made the buses previously wheelchair accessible, such as the front door ramp, and wheelchair securement areas within the vehicle."