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18 Things You Need To Stop Doing In 2018

God & Man

1. Broadcasting things you wouldn’t say to someone’s face on social media.

The rule of thumb used to be something like, if you wouldn’t say it in front of your parents or grandma don’t say it. But now it should be, “If you wouldn’t say it to their face or want them to see it, don’t Tweet about it.” Don’t act like social media is a diary—it’s public and even if you delete it trust that it can still come back to get you. If you’d rather not explain it, probably shouldn’t put it on anything that people regularly stare at while they’re on their phones.

2. Not drinking enough water.

Face it: you need to drink water. Whether you follow the 8 glasses a day or half ounce per pound you weigh or just, “Two nalgenes”, you need to stop whining about forgetting and make sure to do your body this one favor. Hydrate. Your skin wants it, your brain wants it, your muscles want it, just YOU should want it.

3. Giving a shit if someone doesn’t like something you’re obsessed with.

The whole “stanning” culture has created an atmosphere where differentiating opinions about things as trivial as music, TV shows, and even people who make money by promoting things on Instagram is now an all out war. If someone doesn’t want to listen to “Look What You Made Me Do” or buy a lip kit, I promise you the world will in fact keep on turning. Respect that not everyone has to like what you like. In fact not only respect it, don’t even give it a second thought.

4. Refusing to listen to your gut.

You can’t always trust your heart because your heart is stupid and weak. It’s not always great to go with your head because your head has a way of running around with too many options and making you, for lack of a better word, overthink. But your gut? That part of you that always leans one way or the other when you’re faced with a decision? That part of you almost knows. And ignoring it is doing yourself and your wellbeing a disservice.

5. Blaming other people for the reasons you’re unhappy.

One of my best friends once said, “People are made up of actions.” And that applies not only to others, but to you as well. Your actions, your choices, are ultimately only determined by you. Yes—it’s normal to feel impacted or swayed by the things that happen around you. But whatever you choose to do is choice. And your unhappiness is (usually) a direct result of your choices—not anyone else’s. So stopping putting your emotions onto other people’s shoulders. Your own happiness is no one’s responsibility other than your own.

6. Being all talk with no action or execution.

If you want to make a change, make one. If you want to move, move. If you want to say something, speak up. If you want to do something, just do it. No one ever got anywhere by just thinking about it and not actually putting anything into practice. You have to actually do something in order to see results, in any aspect in life.

7. Insisting that things are “out of your control.”

Throwing your hands up dramatically and saying, “Welp, nothing I can do!” is for soap opera characters and confused children. You are not a tree. You can move, you can do things. For the most part, you have a say with what happens around you. And if there are circumstances that are beyond your control, find the moving parts where you actually can do something. Saying that something is beyond your capability of controlling is essentially giving up. Be better than giving up.

8. Saying you’ll move on instead of *actually* moving on.

Who are you trying to convince by saying, “I’m moving on!!!1!” for the 15th time? If you’ve actually moved on, you probably won’t have to talk about it so excessively. If you actually want to move, you really shouldn’t need to announce it from a metaphorical mountain top. You should just do it.

9. Having bad sex.

If someone doesn’t get you off you don’t need to keep sleeping with them. Telling your partner or whoever you’re in bed with what you want isn’t an overstep. It’s a necessity for everyone involved to have a good time. Stop pretending that acting like you’re having a good time between the sheets when you’re not is doing anyone some sort of favor or just being polite. If you’re adult enough to be sleeping with someone, you should be adult enough to make sure you’re not having a shitty time when you’re doing it.

10. Going out when you genuinely don’t want to.

There is no shame in having a quiet night at home. There is no shame in not going to a bar when you don’t want to. There is no shame in literally not doing something simply because you don’t want to. No excuses needed, just don’t do it.

11. Not giving yourself permission to take a day off.

No one can feasibly burn the candle at both ends 100% of the time without eventually, for lack of a better term, burning out. Everyone needs time to take a minute and just do nothing. To turn their brains off. To hit the pause button. To take some time off. You can’t be go go go all the time. You need to stop sometimes too. And by allowing yourself that time to stop you’ll be ever better, burning brighter, and going faster when you come back.

12. Insisting you’re “just fine.”

The words, “I’m fine,” in this day and age have been used so frequently they’re essentially devoid of all meaning. Because what is “fine” anyway? Fine is a placeholder we use instead of actually saying how we are. Stop saying “fine” and instead try to be honest. If you’re struggling, speak up. If you’re ecstatic, celebrate it. Remove fine from your vernacular unless you’re talking about your hair type.

13. Listening to that voice inside your head that tells you, “You aren’t enough.”

The little voices in your head are the ones coming from your own worst critic: yourself. They see you at your worst so they’re going to be able to pinpoint on your biggest insecurities and tell you all of the things that make you want to curl up under 12 blankets and never come out again. But these voices? Nobody else hears them. Nobody else is pinpointing in on these things and critiquing you as harshly or holding you to such an impossible-to-reach standard. You need to learn how to ignore the voices, and how to keep on in spite of them anyway.

14. Making the same mistakes over, and over, and over.

At a certain point the common denominator in the shitty situation you find yourself in every 6 weeks is you. At a certain point, you need to hold yourself accountable and stop making the mistakes and doing the things that make you miserable. Or you need to stop complaining about them. Those are your two options as far as I’m concerned.

15. Not allowing yourself the right to take some risks.

Routine can be incredibly healthy. Doing the same things most days and having a sense of balance can be so grounding and rewarding in a lot of ways. But you should give yourself permission to shake things up. To be spontaneous. To take some risks. The beautiful thing about routine is you can always come back to it. So do something crazy, and then remember that you still get to come home.

16. Lying to yourself.

Your gut is not only right about the decisions you should make, but your gut knows when you’re not being honest with yourself. Pretending like everything is okay, or you’re happy when you’re not, or you’re not at fault when you clearly are might not actually impact you at all for a while. But eventually those little lies will all come at you like a wave and the only person who will have to clean up your mess is you. Be honest with yourself. There are few things you can count on in life but being self-aware and knowing your truth should be something you can always 100% rely on.

17. Not being your own best advocate.

Have your own back. Stand up for yourself. Treat yourself and your self-worth like your most precious, lucrative investment and make sure that you’re getting what’s yours. Don’t wait for anyone to come sweep you off your feet and save you and make everything magically work out. Make shit work out for yourself.

18. Pretending like you’re not able to change your own life.

If you’re being stagnant or find yourself stuck in a repetitive pool of mediocrity, do yourself a favor and stop lamenting about it and actually make a change. You’re allowed to start over. You’re allowed to try again. But you have to be the person actively making steps to make those changes, to put things into action to start again. No one else is going to do it. Changing your own life will always start with you.

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Change has scam – Inquirer.net

Change has scam
Inquirer.net
I'll make up news stories, splice up unflattering video clips, know what I mean (wink-wink)? My super-lodi is Justice Secretary Aguirre. He can damage all of the president's enemies by simply mentioning their name in connection with any wrongdoing

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Report: The Cowboys have a new assistant special teams coach – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

Report: The Cowboys have a new assistant special teams coach
Blogging The Boys (blog)
There was a ripple effect on the Dallas Cowboys when Jon Gruden became the newest head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Chucky poached Rich Bisaccia away from Dallas, leaving the special teams coordinator chair empty and looking for someone to fill it

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Steve Hilton: ‘I’m rich, but I understand the frustrations people have’

David Camerons former blue-sky thinker says the rise of populism is due to the super-richs inability to put themselves in the shoes of those less well off before accepting a free cab ride and becoming lost for words about his own wealth

Steve Hiltons office looks so typically San-Fran tech-startup that it could be the work of a set designer. Surfaces are matt white, the centrepiece is the kitchen, and there are various bins for different types of recycling. The only thing missing is Hilton.

He cant call to say hes running 45 minutes late, because he doesnt own a smartphone. The CEO of Crowdpac ditched his five years ago. This presents another problem when he arrives, because he has to leave again in 15 minutes, having promised to attend an exhibition at his sons school. Would I mind coming too? We could do the interview in the back of an Uber?

Sure, I say, assuming hell call one. Doesnt he have an Uber account? He looks at me, bemused. I dont have a phone. So I call an Uber on my account, and we set off south together to Silicon Valley. We are an hours drive from the school, and a very long way from Downing Street.

In his old life, Hilton was David Camerons close friend, strategy director and blue-sky thinker, godfather to his eldest son, Ivan, and so close that Michael Gove once observed: Its impossible to know where Steve ends and David begins. Rumoured to have voted Green in 2005, he was the funky, liberal architect of Camerons detoxification programme, the acceptable face of the new Tories who dreamed up the Big Society and became famous for arriving at work barefoot in cycling shorts.

He also became famous for falling out with almost everyone in Whitehall, and in 2012 left for California and a new life with his wife, Rachel Whetstone, suddenly very much the second half of the power couple: Whetstone was then Googles director of communications and later moved to Uber; but she abruptly quit her job there this week. Hilton tells an illuminating story about his wife demonstrating an early prototype of Googles voice activation software. She spoke into a phone: OK Google, who is Steve Hilton? It replied: Steve Hilton is married to Rachel Whetstone.

Hilton
Hilton with George Osborne and David Cameron in 2015. The severing of relations since has been their choice. I dont think about it. Photograph: Dafydd Jones/Rex Shutterstock

But last year he resurfaced on the British political scene in the referendum campaign, arguing passionately for Brexit, and claiming that, were Cameron a backbencher, he would be supporting leave, too. Relations between the pair were reportedly strained to breaking point, though Hilton has until now maintained that they remained friends. He raised eyebrows even further by coming out as a Trump supporter and now he has joined Fox News, with a show called The Next Revolution, which will explore the rise of populism in a weekly primetime Sunday night slot.

Now 47, Hilton has lost none of his restless, bouncy energy, and talks flat-out for our whole journey. I want to know what a nice, green liberal is doing promoting Trump on Fox, but my questions seem to strike him as typical of the lefts lamentably lumpen way of looking at the world. Ive got Fox News all wrong, he says. Its the only place where there is actual political debate going on in America. When I ask if he didnt wince to see veteran Fox presenter Bill OReilly mocking the hairstyle of congresswoman Maxine Waters (he called it a James Brown wig), a suppressed smile dances round his mouth. I just think people make jokes, say things, you know. What Trump said about grabbing women by the pussy was disgusting, yes. But lets be honest, its not just Donald Trump that treats women with disrespect and sexualises them.

Had Bernie Sanders been the Democratic nominee, Hilton probably would have supported him. Hilton says he is not really a conservative or a liberal: Its hard to pin me down because Im a bit of Bernie Sanders, a bit of Rand Paul, bit of John Kasich. Hes pro-Trump simply because he was the candidate most likely to shake things up. What Hilton really is, he has realised, is a populist.

I only really heard of it as a political notion here in the campaign last year. I wont say ld literally never heard the word, but it definitely wasnt part of any thinking. Now he believes his 2015 book, More Human, was in fact a populist manifesto, and Crowdpac, his political crowdfunding tech company, a vehicle for promoting it. Populism may have more negative connotations than positive ones, but he intends to change all that through his Fox show. What I would love it to be is presenting the positive version of populism, which is what Ive always believed in, and thats been consistent.

Does his enthusiasm for populism extend as far as hoping for a Marine Le Pen victory in France? He wont say, because I just dont know enough about it, but he will say that hes fed up with liberals accusing politicians like her of racism.

steve
The thing that has always motivated me is that sense of unfairness Hilton with Cameron at No 10. Photograph: Rex Shutterstock

Last year, post-Brexit, Hilton expressed dismay at the anti-immigrant mood that quickly spread, but looks impatient now when I suggest that ugliness, even if unintended, is the all-but-inevitable consequence of populist rhetoric. I dont think its inevitable at all. I just think that we need massive revolutionary change in the way that we do things, and its not enough to say that we cant even talk about the necessity of that because it might have [ugly consequences]. The rise of populism, he says firmly, has nothing to do with values and everything to do with the collapse of economic security.

The median US household income is lower today than in 1999. Half of the country are on lower incomes, and the poorer you are, the worse it is, and the other half has gone up. Youve had such a catastrophic effect on peoples incomes and economic security from this agenda of unconstrained globalisation and all the things that a, kind of, Davos crowd believe in. The impact of that on real peoples lives thats ugly. And what youve got is a cry for the pain of people whose lives for decades have been really shit. The thing that has always motivated me is that sense of unfairness.

More than anything, what upsets Hilton is the staggering lack of empathy of the rich people for the lives of most people. Im rich, but I understand the frustration that people have. Does he think the rich people around him dont get it? They really, really dont.

He and Cameron last spoke in December 2015. At the infamous Sexy Fish party? Yes, I think that would have been the last time. Did lobbying for Uber, as has been alleged, take place at that party? He cites a long-standing pact with his wife never to discuss each others jobs, so cant say anything. But wasnt the alleged cosy chumocracy exactly the sort of thing Hilton rails against? Yes, and, you know, in many ways it feels frustrating that I cant get into that. But I think its a perfectly fair point, yes. I see that. But Im already doing more than I said I would in terms of talking about it.

He is scathing about George Osborne becoming Evening Standard editor while remaining an MP. I think it looks entitled. I guess in the UK, maybe, to a certain extent, constituents have got used to the idea that a lot of their MPs just dont really give a shit about them, and theyre off in London doing their stuff. It is, he says, the worst example of revolving-door syndrome, and if he were allowed to donate he would love to contribute to an #OsborneMustGo campaign someone has launched on Crowdpac.

Does he think he has been disloyal to his former friends? Well, not from my point of view. The severing of relations is their choice. I dont think about it. Hilton knew Cameron would be really cross about him campaigning for leave, but didnt realise it would cost him their friendship. And I still dont think it needs to. Hilton was shocked when he resigned, and sent his old friend an email telling him he didnt think hed had to, but Cameron never replied.

Hilton
Hilton with Boris Johnson. He knew supporting the Brexit leave campaign would make Cameron really cross. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

We pull up at the school, deep in Silicon Valley. Hes excited to show me round his sons classrooms; the school is experimental. It is also, nonetheless, private and highly exclusive. The cost of our journey here is never mentioned, in the way that one wouldnt think to mention paying someone back for a bus fare. Isnt Hilton himself a member of the very wealthy coastal elites he castigates?

Well, technically, yes. But thats my point about empathy. Just because youre part of it doesnt mean you cant empathise or understand life outside of it, you know. That I find really surprising, that so many people just havent been able to do that.

It has been a tour de force of fluent certainties, righteous passion and implacable self-belief; Hiltons self-image as a political pirate, a free-thinking radical on the side of the little guy, is impregnable. And then I ask one simple question, and the whole story he tells about himself unravels. Do he and his family deserve their wealth? He stares at me in surprise.

Er I think we definitely both work really hard. Sure, but do they deserve their level of wealth? Well such a good question. Im just trying to think. He falls silent for 11 seconds, searching his mind for an answer that doesnt undermine everything hes been saying.

Rachel
Hiltons wife, Rachel Whetstone, who quit her job at Uber this week. Photograph: Silverhub/Rex/Shutterstock

I guess, funnily enough, this is what I always felt about the debate about inequality. The problem that needs to be addressed is people not having that security, just worrying so much, and therefore you cant worry about peoples earnings at the top.

He must surely see that at the heart of inequality and what makes it so toxic is the sense people arent getting what they deserve, at either end of the pay scale? Yes. So can he tell the poor he cares about that he deserves what hes got?

I think thats not because in the end, its not a moral I think thats what all this conversation thats happening around about thats why thats the whole He becomes unquotably inarticulate. I just dont believe it makes sense to try to regulate pay, I just dont. But do they deserve their wealth? I dont even think thats the right way to think about it.

Does he not realise that its how the person who cleans his toilet thinks about it and every person who has worked hard, played by the rules, and still cant feed their family? Isnt that precisely whats fuelling populism? He thinks again.

A lot of people asked how it is that the person who represents that populist thing in America happens to be this billionaire, right? But its that sense of: is it a fair and legitimate and reasonable way to make money? So when they look at Trump they say, OK, well, he built buildings. Right, I get that, thats a thing. And he was on TV and he did this show that lots of people enjoyed watching. Thats fair enough. Thats stuff that I can understand. Whereas with Mitt Romneys wealth, its all from financial wheeler-dealing that I dont really understand.

Would they understand what Hilton and his wife do? He looks increasingly flustered. I think that they understand I just dont know. I think that it depends on I say I think theyd look at the job titles of most Silicon Valley millionaires and think that these guys didnt risk the roof over their head to build businesses; they just got corporate jobs that paid them in stock and made them super-rich. Yes, yes, he nods. I get that, but how are you going to actually do anything about that? In the end, you come back to, well, theres a market and thats how it works.

It seems a remarkable coincidence that the sole pillar of our economic system this radical blue-sky thinker wont challenge is the one that has made his family super-rich. He adds: The argument for markets is competitive markets, but this is a tricky defence to mount in Silicon Valley, I suggest, when the economics of the internet are notorious for creating monopolies Google, Amazon and so on. I agree, totally, yes.

So, I try once more: can he say that he and his family deserve their wealth? I think that were maybe overstating the degree to which were in that economic category. Were genuinely not.

Hilton lives in the second most expensive zip code in America, in a house that cost $20.5m. Whetstone is thought to have earned in excess of $50m at Google. Hes quite right, theres an empathy problem among the rich. Im just amazed he thinks hes miraculously unafflicted by it.

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Here’s What Really Goes Into Those ‘Flat Tummy Tea’ Instagram Posts

It’s no secret that some people can make big bucks on Instagram just by building a following, but it’s easy to forget the reality when we’re looking at perfectly curated images of someone else’s life. It’s not even just celebs who make money by trying to sell their followers on a glamorized version of their life, everyday people who happen to be beautiful and have an eye for aesthetics can build a brand as an “influencer” and command tens of thousands of dollars for a single post.

Here’s an email one influencer tweeted in which she was offered $11,850 (along with a commission) by one brand for a single post:

The whole thing seems even slimier when influencers simply copy and paste the instructions they get from the product’s marketing team, accidentally making it transparent that the whole things is very, very staged. Here’s a D list celebrity from MTV’s who left the staging instructions on her Instagram post:

Mackenzie McKee’s Instagram

The instructions read:

“Style: Be wearing active wear, have your tummy out and be facing square onto the camera. Now bend your knees a little babe (kind of like your mid shakin it!), shove the shakes box out front and be beaming at the camera with an expression that screams “OMG It’s finally here!!!)! We want the pic to look and feel like you’ve just been snapped in the middle of your shake it baby tummy wiggle!

Caption: #ad Girls! It’s actually here! @flattummyco JUST launched their Shake it Baby program, and I can’t wait to start shaking my booty off (and tummy!) this month! This stuff is going to be a lifesaver, it’s clinically proven to be 3 x more effective than diet and exercise alone, so I know I’m going to actually see some REAL results! Want to shake these extra few pounds with me? You’re in luck girls, it just dropped so you get it too 🙌 Check it out at flattummyco.com”

For comparison, here’s another post by Mackenzie in which she didn’t forget to delete the instructions from the company:

McKenzie McKee’s Instagram

The caption is written in the same voice, only this time we aren’t made aware that this isn’t McKenzie’s effervescent love for the product bubbling through, the whole thing is written by the product’s marketing team and copy/pasted by McKenzie into her Instagram. Considering the entire idea of a ‘detox’ has been throughly debunked, it’s insane to think how these people are making a living off of something so fake.

It’s also worth noting that Mackenzie bills herself as a personal trainer, something her followers might mistake for expertise when it comes to whether “flat tummy” teas and detoxes are effective.

The next time you look at a perfectly sculpted human being smiling at you over a vat of flat tummy tea or a weight loss smoothie remember how much money goes into marketing this image to you, and whether a product that really worked would need so many theatrics.

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6 People You’ve Never Heard Of (Who Secretly Rule The World)

Technically, monopolies are illegal — it’s why you go to jail every time you play it. And yet, despite antitrust ruling after antitrust ruling, the world is still run by 1 percent of the 1 percent. These select few people have more money and more power than a trillion Tony Montanas, and absolutely nobody is trying to stop them. And unlike Microsoft, Standard Oil, and AT&T, virtually nobody knows they even exist.

#6. Almost All Of The Porn On The Internet (Even The Illegally Downloaded Porn) Is Controlled By One Company

Despite a website that paints them as the blandest, most inoffensive corporation since Staples (they bill themselves as “a leader in web design, IT, web development, and SEO”), the nigh-invisible Internet conglomerate MindGeek runs all of the porn on the Internet. Even the pirated stuff. Considering that roughly 35 percent of all downloads are deposits into the stroke bank, it can be truly said that MindGeek holds the keys to the online kingdom.

There’s a very good reason their offices are all white.

Since 2007, MindGeek (then called Manwin) has established an absolute foothold in the pirated porn business, allowing any anonymous dick to upload any anonymous dick they want to any website in the MindGeek dugout. And they own a LOT of them. Have you ever fired a few potential heirs into a sock while watching YouPorn, PornHub, Xtube, Redtube, Extremetube, or SpankWire? You just made MindGeek even richer, because they own all those sites, plus about a hundred more.

All of which are tabbed on your computer, right now.

So how is it that MindGeek has avoided the fates of Napster and Pirate Bay, despite basing a huge part of their fortune on the distribution of copyrighted material? Well, the answer is pretty simple — MindGeek also owns the movies people are pirating. See, in addition to a nine-figure loan they got from some shadowy Wall Street investor, the company grew so rich hosting ill-gotten porn that they went out and purchased every actual porn studio they could get their hands on. Brazzers, Digital Playground, Mofos, MyDirtyHobby, Twistys, Reality Kings — all of those brands that you’re pretending not to recognize are directly owned by MindGeek. They even had a working relationship with Playboy, back when that actually mattered. So they profit off the movies being filmed, and then profit off the films being pirated. It’s a double penetration of profit.

Unfortunately, this arrangement isn’t so great for the people actually making the porn, since their videos are all owned by the same company pirating their content (and thus getting around that pesky little problem of having to pay them anything). But they can’t say a goddamn thing about it, because to do so would risk angering their bosses and lose them any chance of making any money for their videos. So any actors and actresses under the MindGeek umbrella basically have two choices — keep their mouths shut and hope that Vivid Video signs them, or go back to serving mozzarella sticks at T.G.I. Friday’s for less money than it costs to drive to work.

T.G.I. Friday’s: where even the buildings look like they’re ready to screw you.

So, why aren’t any officials speaking out about what sounds suspiciously like a monopoly? Presumably because … it’s porn. Nobody wants to touch it. No presidential candidate is going to start yelling about how the hardcore porn industry needs more regulation, although there is no denying it would be a pretty bold platform.

#5. The NSA Is Run By A Special Court Full Of Secretly Appointed Judges Who Don’t Answer To Anyone

The NSA is one of the most controversial government organizations in existence. This is because, among other things, their surveillance tactics have been ruled unconstitutional, but they get to continue doing whatever they want, because terrorism. You see, despite what some knee-knocking appeals court says, every bit of electronic surveillance the NSA conducts on private citizens is totally legal in the name of protecting this great nation from secret threats. Just ask their bosses at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, if you can find them. And trust us: You can’t.

And if you ask the NSA, they suddenly uncover a hundred different reasons to waterboard you.

The FISC was founded in 1978 to combat the rash of illegal Russian spies who were making it hard for illegal American spies to do their job properly. But after 9/11 made suspected terrorists of us all, the FISC quickly became the most powerful organization you’ve never heard of. It operates from a small office — there are 11 judges, and their terms of service in the FISC last for seven years. And each one of them is appointed to their position by no less than the chief justice of the Supreme Court. He hires these judges all on his own, without any supervision or fellow justices getting in the way to ensure he doesn’t accidentally appoint a violent sadist.

The main job of the FISC is to hear requests from the government for permission to wiretap, monitor, bug, or otherwise snoop on whatever target they deem sufficiently shady. So if anyone’s going to stop the NSA from pilfering through your DMs, it’s them. Except they probably won’t — out of the 33,900 requests to spy that the FISC received from 1979 (the year of its inception) to 2012, they rejected 11 of them. ELEVEN. Reality stars hear the word “no” more than the government does. It is equally important to note that there have not been 33,889 cases of espionage and organized terrorism in the past 30 years, so either the net they are casting is far too wide or they’ve successfully prevented 33,889 9/11s.

Those minuscule upticks in 2003 and 2007 are when the FISC put their foot down
and made the agencies eat their vegetables a whole eight times.

Thanks to the “I’m drunk, do whatever you want” parenting style of the FISC, the NSA has total power to pull flagrantly unconstitutional bullshit, such as keeping and using information that was “inadvertently” acquired. Basically, if the NSA happens to accidentally record a conversation that they didn’t have legal permission to record, they have the right to hang on to that conversation anyway and use it as evidence, which is basically the worst thing to happen to warrants since Nirvana. They can also hold on to information obtained during attorney-client conversations, which kind of makes having a lawyer seem completely pointless if anything you tell them can be recorded and used against you in your trial. And best of all, the FISC has allowed the NSA to select their surveillance targets without having to report to anybody first. That’s like asking for a warrant after you’ve already started searching someone’s house.

Furthermore, none of their rulings are published — they just make their decrees and scurry back into the darkness. One FISC judge defended this practice by explaining, “It’s difficult for a judge to summarize the work of another judge.” It is totally understandable to be confused by this statement, because the Supreme Court has had absolutely no problem publishing extensive writing for every single decision they’ve made over the past 225 years.

“All this time, we could’ve just said ‘cuz’ and moved straight on to the orgies? That’s way easier!”

For those having trouble deciding whether this whole thing sounds way too Kafkaesque to be true, here’s a fun quiz you can take. All you have to do is choose whether a court action/quote is taken from the FISC or Franz Kafka’s The Trial, where a man gets tried, convicted, and executed despite never being told why he was on trial. It’s a way harder quiz than it should be.

#4. One Tiny Company Decides What Shows Get To Stay On Television

You’ve likely never heard of the Media Rating Council, but they’re the reason all your favorite shows keep getting canceled, while Chuck Lorre gets to keep ice skating across fields of cocaine into giant piles of money. Founded in 1963 by the federal government to combat the rash of crooked TV quiz shows, the MRC is currently composed of five people who have total power to determine what gets to stay on television, and all they care about are the goddamn Nielsen ratings.

“Dear diary: Went to work and accidentally left the TV on during a Big Bang Theory marathon. God help us all …”

With each passing Netflix subscription, the once-revolutionary Nielsen ratings system — which monitors 25,000 random TVs via a laughably archaic control box to decide what the other 116,275,000 TVs in the U.S. are probably watching — increasingly comes across as disorganized and useless, because holy shit look at this fucking thing:

She’s either single-handedly deciding the future of our entertainment or opening a garage door.

Nielsen doesn’t take into account streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Roku, iTunes, or other types of tablet and smartphone streaming, even though Netflix alone would almost certainly crush every other major network in a ratings war. Meanwhile, the other major ratings guideline, Rentrak, tracks the same areas as Nielsen and often arrives at vastly different numbers. How is that possible? Well, one reason could be that Nielsen has been found to report incorrect figures and has been accused of accepting bribes to do so.

So, even though Nielsen numbers are potentially meaningless, the MRC still considers them the gold standard, spending 20,000 hours a year mercilessly auditing them. Rentrak, meanwhile, directly studies more homes (19 million boxes versus Nielsen’s 25K) and likely arrives at a more accurate conclusion. But they’re not accredited by the MRC, so their conclusions are taken about as seriously as an investment diversification proposal from a man in a Batman costume.

It’s not like they’re literally the only reason we know if movies make money or anything.

Currently, the MRC is in the midst of growing up by finally working to establish standards in online viewability — primarily so companies can know how many people are seeing their ads. Of course, a company needs MRC accreditation for their ad counts to count, and as of now only a handful of companies have passed muster. But as far as ratings are concerned, those companies’ ads are officially the only ones that exist, because five people in a tiny room said so.

Technically, monopolies are illegal — it’s why you go to jail every time you play it. And yet, despite antitrust ruling after antitrust ruling, the world is still run by 1 percent of the 1 percent. These select few people have more money and more power than a trillion Tony Montanas, and absolutely nobody is trying to stop them. And unlike Microsoft, Standard Oil, and AT&T, virtually nobody knows they even exist.

#6. Almost All Of The Porn On The Internet (Even The Illegally Downloaded Porn) Is Controlled By One Company

Despite a website that paints them as the blandest, most inoffensive corporation since Staples (they bill themselves as “a leader in web design, IT, web development, and SEO”), the nigh-invisible Internet conglomerate MindGeek runs all of the porn on the Internet. Even the pirated stuff. Considering that roughly 35 percent of all downloads are deposits into the stroke bank, it can be truly said that MindGeek holds the keys to the online kingdom.

There’s a very good reason their offices are all white.

Since 2007, MindGeek (then called Manwin) has established an absolute foothold in the pirated porn business, allowing any anonymous dick to upload any anonymous dick they want to any website in the MindGeek dugout. And they own a LOT of them. Have you ever fired a few potential heirs into a sock while watching YouPorn, PornHub, Xtube, Redtube, Extremetube, or SpankWire? You just made MindGeek even richer, because they own all those sites, plus about a hundred more.

All of which are tabbed on your computer, right now.

So how is it that MindGeek has avoided the fates of Napster and Pirate Bay, despite basing a huge part of their fortune on the distribution of copyrighted material? Well, the answer is pretty simple — MindGeek also owns the movies people are pirating. See, in addition to a nine-figure loan they got from some shadowy Wall Street investor, the company grew so rich hosting ill-gotten porn that they went out and purchased every actual porn studio they could get their hands on. Brazzers, Digital Playground, Mofos, MyDirtyHobby, Twistys, Reality Kings — all of those brands that you’re pretending not to recognize are directly owned by MindGeek. They even had a working relationship with Playboy, back when that actually mattered. So they profit off the movies being filmed, and then profit off the films being pirated. It’s a double penetration of profit.

Unfortunately, this arrangement isn’t so great for the people actually making the porn, since their videos are all owned by the same company pirating their content (and thus getting around that pesky little problem of having to pay them anything). But they can’t say a goddamn thing about it, because to do so would risk angering their bosses and lose them any chance of making any money for their videos. So any actors and actresses under the MindGeek umbrella basically have two choices — keep their mouths shut and hope that Vivid Video signs them, or go back to serving mozzarella sticks at T.G.I. Friday’s for less money than it costs to drive to work.

T.G.I. Friday’s: where even the buildings look like they’re ready to screw you.

So, why aren’t any officials speaking out about what sounds suspiciously like a monopoly? Presumably because … it’s porn. Nobody wants to touch it. No presidential candidate is going to start yelling about how the hardcore porn industry needs more regulation, although there is no denying it would be a pretty bold platform.

#5. The NSA Is Run By A Special Court Full Of Secretly Appointed Judges Who Don’t Answer To Anyone

The NSA is one of the most controversial government organizations in existence. This is because, among other things, their surveillance tactics have been ruled unconstitutional, but they get to continue doing whatever they want, because terrorism. You see, despite what some knee-knocking appeals court says, every bit of electronic surveillance the NSA conducts on private citizens is totally legal in the name of protecting this great nation from secret threats. Just ask their bosses at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, if you can find them. And trust us: You can’t.

And if you ask the NSA, they suddenly uncover a hundred different reasons to waterboard you.

The FISC was founded in 1978 to combat the rash of illegal Russian spies who were making it hard for illegal American spies to do their job properly. But after 9/11 made suspected terrorists of us all, the FISC quickly became the most powerful organization you’ve never heard of. It operates from a small office — there are 11 judges, and their terms of service in the FISC last for seven years. And each one of them is appointed to their position by no less than the chief justice of the Supreme Court. He hires these judges all on his own, without any supervision or fellow justices getting in the way to ensure he doesn’t accidentally appoint a violent sadist.

The main job of the FISC is to hear requests from the government for permission to wiretap, monitor, bug, or otherwise snoop on whatever target they deem sufficiently shady. So if anyone’s going to stop the NSA from pilfering through your DMs, it’s them. Except they probably won’t — out of the 33,900 requests to spy that the FISC received from 1979 (the year of its inception) to 2012, they rejected 11 of them. ELEVEN. Reality stars hear the word “no” more than the government does. It is equally important to note that there have not been 33,889 cases of espionage and organized terrorism in the past 30 years, so either the net they are casting is far too wide or they’ve successfully prevented 33,889 9/11s.

Those minuscule upticks in 2003 and 2007 are when the FISC put their foot down
and made the agencies eat their vegetables a whole eight times.

Thanks to the “I’m drunk, do whatever you want” parenting style of the FISC, the NSA has total power to pull flagrantly unconstitutional bullshit, such as keeping and using information that was “inadvertently” acquired. Basically, if the NSA happens to accidentally record a conversation that they didn’t have legal permission to record, they have the right to hang on to that conversation anyway and use it as evidence, which is basically the worst thing to happen to warrants since Nirvana. They can also hold on to information obtained during attorney-client conversations, which kind of makes having a lawyer seem completely pointless if anything you tell them can be recorded and used against you in your trial. And best of all, the FISC has allowed the NSA to select their surveillance targets without having to report to anybody first. That’s like asking for a warrant after you’ve already started searching someone’s house.

Furthermore, none of their rulings are published — they just make their decrees and scurry back into the darkness. One FISC judge defended this practice by explaining, “It’s difficult for a judge to summarize the work of another judge.” It is totally understandable to be confused by this statement, because the Supreme Court has had absolutely no problem publishing extensive writing for every single decision they’ve made over the past 225 years.

“All this time, we could’ve just said ‘cuz’ and moved straight on to the orgies? That’s way easier!”

For those having trouble deciding whether this whole thing sounds way too Kafkaesque to be true, here’s a fun quiz you can take. All you have to do is choose whether a court action/quote is taken from the FISC or Franz Kafka’s The Trial, where a man gets tried, convicted, and executed despite never being told why he was on trial. It’s a way harder quiz than it should be.

#4. One Tiny Company Decides What Shows Get To Stay On Television

You’ve likely never heard of the Media Rating Council, but they’re the reason all your favorite shows keep getting canceled, while Chuck Lorre gets to keep ice skating across fields of cocaine into giant piles of money. Founded in 1963 by the federal government to combat the rash of crooked TV quiz shows, the MRC is currently composed of five people who have total power to determine what gets to stay on television, and all they care about are the goddamn Nielsen ratings.

“Dear diary: Went to work and accidentally left the TV on during a Big Bang Theory marathon. God help us all …”

With each passing Netflix subscription, the once-revolutionary Nielsen ratings system — which monitors 25,000 random TVs via a laughably archaic control box to decide what the other 116,275,000 TVs in the U.S. are probably watching — increasingly comes across as disorganized and useless, because holy shit look at this fucking thing:

She’s either single-handedly deciding the future of our entertainment or opening a garage door.

Nielsen doesn’t take into account streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Roku, iTunes, or other types of tablet and smartphone streaming, even though Netflix alone would almost certainly crush every other major network in a ratings war. Meanwhile, the other major ratings guideline, Rentrak, tracks the same areas as Nielsen and often arrives at vastly different numbers. How is that possible? Well, one reason could be that Nielsen has been found to report incorrect figures and has been accused of accepting bribes to do so.

So, even though Nielsen numbers are potentially meaningless, the MRC still considers them the gold standard, spending 20,000 hours a year mercilessly auditing them. Rentrak, meanwhile, directly studies more homes (19 million boxes versus Nielsen’s 25K) and likely arrives at a more accurate conclusion. But they’re not accredited by the MRC, so their conclusions are taken about as seriously as an investment diversification proposal from a man in a Batman costume.

It’s not like they’re literally the only reason we know if movies make money or anything.

Currently, the MRC is in the midst of growing up by finally working to establish standards in online viewability — primarily so companies can know how many people are seeing their ads. Of course, a company needs MRC accreditation for their ad counts to count, and as of now only a handful of companies have passed muster. But as far as ratings are concerned, those companies’ ads are officially the only ones that exist, because five people in a tiny room said so.

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If Dogs Could Give Valentines, Your Dog Would 100% Give These Candy Hearts – Bravo (blog)


Bravo (blog)

If Dogs Could Give Valentines, Your Dog Would 100% Give These Candy Hearts
Bravo (blog)
… a lot of our hard-earned dog-blogging money on presents for a dog that has no idea that it is even a holiday, what a holiday is, or even the entire concept of a calendar year. We persist regardless, but what if this gift giving wasn't so one-sided

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Last blog standing, “last guy dancing”: How Jason Kottke is thinking about kottke.org at 20 – Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard


Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard

Last blog standing, “last guy dancing”: How Jason Kottke is thinking about kottke.org at 20
Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard
On the other hand, blogging is kind of everywhere. Everyone who's updating their Facebook pages and tweeting and posting on Instagram and Pinterest is performing a bloggish act. Owen: Who else is still around besides you? Kottke: John Gruber. Andy Baio

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Over one billion people log on to Facebook every single day

If your friend tells you they don’t use Facebook that much anymore, they’re probably lying. The social network revealed it now draws over one billion active daily users.

During its third quarter 2015 earnings call, Facebook revealed that it is attracting over 1.55 billion users each and every month, with a whopping one billion logging in each and every day. The increase in monthly visitors marks a 17 percent increase over the same three-month time frame of 2014.

Facebook celebrated its first day crossing the one billion user milestone on August 27 of this year and from the looks of it, those people never stopped coming back. During its second quarter earnings report earlier this year, Facebook tallied 968 million daily active users.

Most of the people logging onto the social network are doing so via mobile; the site reported 894 million mobile daily active users over the course of September 2015.

Much of the growth can be attributed to Facebook placing emphasis on its mobile presence, especially in developing countries. The social network released a stripped down, data-friendly version of its mobile app for Android devices called Facebook Lite earlier this year. Facebook has also continued pursue its mission to get more people online (and on Facebook) by any means necessaryincludingsolar powered drones the size of 747sthough its efforts aren’t always welcome.

All that growth doesn’t mean much for a business if it can’t make money off of it, of course, and Facebook was successful in that regard as well; it reported $4.5 billion in revenue and a profit of $1.46 billiona 40 percent rise over the same period last year.

But it’s that one billion daily active users figure that stands out the most in Facebook’s report. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 3.2 billion peoplewill be online by the end of 2015. About one in three of them will spend the day checking their Facebook profile. It’s no wonder that in some parts of the world, Facebook is synonymous with the Internet.Unfortunately, this means world is never going to get any work done ever again.

H/T Mashable |Illustration by Max Fleishman

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There are no silver bullets when it comes to fixing the Dallas cowboys – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

There are no silver bullets when it comes to fixing the Dallas cowboys
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Every year, the loud complaints arise about how Dallas does not make big plunges in free agency. This year, those are not going to be any quieter after the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl (believed to be the third sign of the Apocalypse
Cowboys could pursue Patrick Robinson as new slot corner247Sports

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