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Current Topic: Society

Think Progress » Mississippi Middle School Segregates Student Government Officers: Only Whites Can Run For President
Topic: Society 1:49 pm EDT, Aug 27, 2010

With the election of President Barack Obama, the country heralded the coming of an age in which an African-American could overcome significant historical prejudice to ascend to the presidency. But while the country celebrates this collective step forward, a Nettleton, Mississippi public school is taking a clear step back. According to Nettleton Middle School’s rules, children running for certain class officer posts must meet a specific race requirement: to be president, the child must be white.

It completely blows my mind that this is happening in 2010. Shame!

Think Progress » Mississippi Middle School Segregates Student Government Officers: Only Whites Can Run For President

Mike Musgrove - Where Tinkerers Take Control of Technology -
Topic: Society 4:30 pm EDT, Apr 19, 2009

HacDC, based out of a church in Columbia Heights, is a sort of a co-op space for tinkerers, with about 25 members paying monthly dues of $50 to rent out the 600-square-foot space. For the money, members get round-the-clock access to the space and its collection of donated tools. Non-members are also welcome to hang out.

These guys are hackers, perhaps, but not in the bad, steal-your-passwords meaning of the word. Hacking, in the HacDC sense, refers to the act of tearing into the latest technology to build or do something not originally intended by a device's creators. A couple of years ago, I wrote about a guy who'd figured out how to wirelessly control his Roomba vacuum cleaner with a Nintendo DS. That's the sort of activity we're talking about here.

"Hacking is about discovering possibilities," said Nick Farr, the group's founder. "It's what Benjamin Franklin did. It's what Thomas Edison did."

"It's about taking control of technology, rather than taking what the consumer electronics industry decides to give you," Collins said. "I believe you need to take control of technology -- or it controls you."

HacDC gets some WaPo coverage...

Mike Musgrove - Where Tinkerers Take Control of Technology -

Ken Starr helping lawmakers fight paparazzi -
Topic: Society 11:27 pm EDT, Jun 10, 2008

Los Angeles city Councilman Dennis Zine:

"We believe that the Constitution needs to be upheld [but] at the same time, we need to protect our celebrities."

Something about that quote sends a chill down my spine...

Ken Starr helping lawmakers fight paparazzi -

Grandmother from Sam's Club accidental shooting a magistrate judge
Topic: Society 2:13 am EDT, Jun 10, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Authorities say a four-year-old girl from Salley is recovering after she grabbed a gun out of her grandmother's purse and shot herself in the Harbison Blvd. Sam's Club Monday.

Where's video surveillance when you need it?

Imagine getting to write a lede/headline combination like that? Wow.

Grandmother from Sam's Club accidental shooting a magistrate judge

Peter Thiel Makes Down Payment on Libertarian Ocean Colonies
Topic: Society 10:23 am EDT, May 19, 2008

With a $500,000 donation from PayPal founder Peter Thiel, a Google engineer and a former Sun Microsystems programmer have launched The Seasteading Institute, an organization dedicated to creating experimental ocean communities "with diverse social, political, and legal systems."

"Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that Seasteading was an obvious step towards encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public-sector models around the world," Thiel said in a statement.

But if the idea turns out to be just crazy enough that it works, Friedman, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, envisions transforming the way that government functions.

"Government is an industry with a really high barrier to entry," he said. "You basically need to win an election or a revolution to try a new one. That's a ridiculous barrier to entry. And it's got enormous customer lock-in. People complain about their cellphone plans that are like two years, but think of the effort that it takes to change your citizenship."

Peter Thiel Makes Down Payment on Libertarian Ocean Colonies

NNDB Mapper: Tracking the entire world
Topic: Society 4:20 pm EDT, May 14, 2008

The NNDB Mapper allows you to explore NNDB visually by graphing the connections between people. Over 32,000 individuals are listed in our network.

This is a great tool for conspiracy theorists.

NNDB Mapper: Tracking the entire world

BBC NEWS | Magazine | World's best-known protest symbol turns 50
Topic: Society 1:34 pm EDT, Mar 20, 2008

It started life as the emblem of the British anti-nuclear movement but it has become an international sign for peace, and arguably the most widely used protest symbol in the world. It has also been adapted, attacked and commercialised.

Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. The "Ban the Bomb" symbol was born.

BBC NEWS | Magazine | World's best-known protest symbol turns 50

No Torture. No Exceptions.
Topic: Society 5:21 pm EDT, Mar 17, 2008

It is in the hopes of keeping the attention of the public, and that of our elected officials, on this subject that the writers of this collection of essays have put pen to paper. They include a former president, the speaker of the House, two former White House chiefs of staff, current and former senators, generals, admirals, intelligence officials, interrogators, and religious leaders. Some are Republicans, others are Democrats, and still others are neither. What they all agree on, however, is this: It was a profound moral and strategic mistake for the United States to abandon long-standing policies of humane treatment of enemy captives. We should return to the rule of law and cease all forms of torture, with no exceptions for any agency. And we should expect our presidential nominees to commit to this idea.

No Torture. No Exceptions.

Picture: Israeli Robot Crushes Suicide Bomber (Updated) | Danger Room from
Topic: Society 11:11 am EST, Feb  6, 2008

A pair of suicide bombers struck in the Israeli town of Dimona yesterday -- the first strike of its kind in more than a year. Once it was all over, a bomb disposal robot removed one of the attacker's jacket, to make sure there were no more explosives on him. (His bomb failed to go off, and police shot and killed him.) Then the machine rolled over him, to double-check. The likely NSFW picture is after the jump.


Picture: Israeli Robot Crushes Suicide Bomber (Updated) | Danger Room from

China blogger beaten to death -
Topic: Society 4:58 pm EST, Jan 11, 2008

Contrast this:

With this:

Authorities have fired an official in central China after city inspectors beat to death a man who filmed their confrontation with villagers, China's Xinhua news agency reports.

"Wei is the first 'citizen journalist' to die in China because of what he was trying to film," the group said in a statement.

"He was beaten to death for doing something which is becoming more and more common and which was a way to expose law-enforcement officers who keep on overstepping their limits."

China blogger beaten to death -

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