Category Archives for Blogging

Blogger struggles to gain readers – The Times and Democrat (blog)

Blogger struggles to gain readers
The Times and Democrat (blog)
DEAR HARRIETTE: After being told to start a blog by multiple friends and family members, I took the plunge. Although I felt like I had a lot of support, nobody is reading or commenting on my posts. I thought I could've turned myself into a brand, and

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Teen Locks Herself in Bathroom With 4-Yr-Old. When Mom Gets a Text, Her Heart Stops.

As a teenager, theres literally no better way to make money in your spare time than babysitting around the neighborhood. Not only do you collect some major cash, but you experience a whole new level of adult-like independence.

Fourteen-year-old Savannah Jones was recently babysitting her 4-year-old niece, Zoyee.

It was about three in the afternoon when Savannah heard a knock at the door of her home in Montclair, California. The teen quietly looked through the peep-hole and did not recognize the stranger standing on her porch, so she didnt answer.

It turned out that the man wasnt just a stranger in pursuit of selling something to a homeowner. He was an intruder.

After Savannah didnt open the door, the knocking turned into aggressive pounding. She could see the door knob shaking and starting to come lose. Savannah was alarmed, and jumped into action.

The babysitter scooped up her niece and quietly locked themselves in the master-bathroom, then panickily texted her mother what was happening. It wasnt long before the pounding stopped, and Savannah knew the intruder was in the house.

She says she was more concerned about Zoyees safety than her own, but she couldnt call 911, in fear that the intruder would hear her.Savannah was completely terrified, but she managed to keep Zoyee quiet as the man began rummaging around in the master bedroom. He was just a door away from the young girls.

“I felt like time was standing still,” said Savannah.

Through the text messages to her mother, help was on the way, and the police showed up, but not before the intruder was able to flee the scene.

Savannahs sisterZoyees momis calling her younger sister a hero. The 14-year-olds experience is a lesson in stranger-danger-safety that teens and adults alike can learn from.

“When I do think about it, I do get kind of emotional, I guess, thinking about what could have happened and thinking that he was in the same room with us,”said the teen.

Kudos to this brave young babysitterfor her quick thinking and courage in the face of danger to protect the little one in her care.

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More Men Should Become Storytellers—Here's Why – The Good Men Project (blog)

The Good Men Project (blog)

More Men Should Become Storytellers—Here's Why
The Good Men Project (blog)
Most of the world has been saturated with the idea that you should only start sharing stories if you want to make money, and while that's a possibility, there should also be a pull for some people to start blogging simply to share their lives and to

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Will Dak Prescott Face Tougher Sledding In 2017? – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

Will Dak Prescott Face Tougher Sledding In 2017?
Blogging The Boys (blog)
With the new schedule out, let's return to a subject we touched on back in January when we knew Dallas's 2017 opponents, but not the schedule – real quarterback rating differential. by VAfan@vafanbtb Apr 22, 2017, 1:00pm CDT. tweet · share · pin · Rec.

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Donald Glovers Atlanta Skewers Transracial Identity in Most Ambitious Episode Yet

Donald Glover’s brilliantly unconventional show takes on the Rachel Dolezals of the world in its seventh episode. Warning: spoilers ahead. “>

From the start, Donald Glovers Atlanta has been a highly unconventional TV show. Its 30 minutes long, but its definitely not a sitcom. Its ostensibly about the rise of an underground rapper named Paper Boi and his cousin/manager Earn Marks, but in its first six episodes, it has frequently veered away from that narrative, choosing mood over plot at nearly every turn.

Atlanta is the first show Glover has conceived and created on his own, after spending time writing for and acting in broader TV comedies like 30 Rock and Community. Instead of hiring TV veterans, he brought on writers like his brother Stephen Glover, who had never written for television before, along with director Hiro Murai, who had mostly helmed music videos. With no rules to guide them, the team has managed to deliver the freshest and most surprising show of the fall season.

The pilot opens with a tense confrontation one character describes in the moment as crazy dj vu, a joke that only comes into focus when the scene begins to repeat itself at the end of the episode. The next week, Glover isolated the character he plays, Earn, from the rest of the characters in a jail holding cell for the majority of the action. In another episode, Atlanta cast black actor Austin Crute as Justin Bieber with no explanation. And this past week, the show turned its focus onto its sole recurring female character, finally giving the excellent actress Zazie Beetz the screen time she deserves.

But none of that approaches the big swing Atlanta takes with its seventh episode, which airs tonight on FX. (Warning: spoilers ahead.) Titled B.A.N., this installment, written and directed by Donald Glover, is essentially a show within a show on the fictional Black American Network. The premise finds Alfred Paper Boi Miles (the increasingly intriguing Brian Tyree Henry) as one of two guests on Montague, which looks and sounds much like Tavis Smileys PBS talk show.

We quickly learn that Paper Boi is there for damage control after he sent some tweets about not wanting to fuck Caitlyn Jenner. Confronted about his transphobia by both the host and his other guest, Center for Trans-American Issues head Dr. Deborah Holt, Paper Boi replies, I just dont have to have sex with Caitlyn Jenner because you say so. He doesnt dislike transgender people, he says. In fact, he just found out they exist.

Watching the episode, we keep waiting for the talk show construct to break and the real show to resume, but it never does. The only reference to Donald Glovers lead character is when Paper Boi looks off-screen and calls his name to complain about not getting paid for the appearance. Keith Stanfields Darius, a consistent presence on the show up until now, is nowhere to be seen.

And any viewers who DVR Atlanta will want to be careful about fast-forwarding through the commercials. Thats because the episode includes a number of dead-on parody ads for real brands, including a series of spots for the Dodge Charger that play throughout the show and dont pay off until near the end. Other ads for Arizona Iced Tea (The price is on the can, though) and pre-dump Swisher Sweets play on some of the same racial stereotypes that the show has been tackling from the beginning. An extended animated commercial for Coconut Crunch-os takes direct aim at the issue of police brutality in a way the show has so far avoided.

But the episode truly enters uncharted territory during the second segment of the talk show, when the host presents a special report titled TRANS-RACIAL. The deadpan field piece follows Harrison, a black teenager who believes himself to be a 35-year-old white man. Using the language of the transgender movement, Harrison birth name Antoine Smalls has embraced a transracial identity and can be seen in B-roll footage playing golf and perusing a farmers market.

Asked by the correspondent when he first knew he was white, Harrison responds, Well, Ive always felt different. I go to the store or the movies and just be thinking to myself, why do I not get the respect I deserve? And then, it just hit me: Im white. And 35. As for the people who dont get it, Harrison says, they just dont understand that race is a made-up thing. He also talks about his plans to get an experimental surgery to complete his transition.

The piece is not just laugh-out-loud funny, but also brings up some of the same questions about race and gender that were raised most recently during the uproar over Rachel Dolezal.

Dolezal, a chapter president of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington, had been passing herself off as an African-American woman when her white parents essentially outed her for misrepresenting her race. Like the Harrison character on Atlanta, Dolezal told interviewers that she identifies as black. 

As The Daily Beasts Samantha Allen wrote at the time, By expressing her racial identity in this now-familiar I identify as format, Dolezal is drawing a direct parallel between her own fraudulent behavior and transgender identity in a post-Jenner moment when the public was beginning to accept the latters psychological legitimacy.

But just as some conservatives used the Dolezal story to discredit the legitimacy of transgender people, many on the left used the transgender example as a way to help understand and accept Dolezal at her word.

By simultaneously parodying and giving voice to this idea of trans-racial identity, Glover seems to be representing both sides of the argument. On the one hand, Harrison argues that his parents generation grew up with labels that he just doesnt see. On the other, when Harrison appears via satellite later in the episode wearing a blond wig, Paper Boi laughs in his face, saying, This is dumb and You look like a fake Ellen DeGeneres. The punchline comes when Harrison admits that despite the discrimination he has faced, hes against transgender rights and same-sex marriage.

Perhaps the truest expression of what Glover and the shows writers believe comes through when Paper Boi admits that hes afraid to speak about issues like these. You cant say real shit anymore without somebody making sure you never make money forever, he says, adding, Its hard for me to care about this when nobody cares about me as a black, human man.

I dont have a problem with gay people, trans people, because thats tolerance. But wheres tolerance for people like me? Paper Boi continues. Look, I should be able to say something thats weird without people hating on me. To those who find his lyrics offensive, he has three words: Freedom of speech.

Thankfully, no one can take away Glovers right to keep saying weird things with Atlanta.

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Cowboys Open As 5.5-point Favorites Over Giants In 2017 Season Opener – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

Cowboys Open As 5.5-point Favorites Over Giants In 2017 Season Opener
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Sportsbooks usually set the line to make sure that the money being bet is spread 50/50 over both teams (the key to remaining a profitable bookmaker). So while these opening odds reflect the bookmakers' best guess as to where the action would remain

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12 ways to maintain your existing community: How you deal with difficult conversations? –

12 ways to maintain your existing community: How you deal with difficult conversations?
… what they want to do is not right for the project? How do you tell a new contributor that their contribution isn't good quality? Get your blog post included in next week's roundup by tagging your post with #osscommunities on Twitter by next

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The Age of the Hyperloop Has Arrived. Well, for the Most Part

With a deep hum, linear induction motors spun up a powerful magnetic field along 200 feet of track in the Nevada desert. A shiny sled whizzed forward in a blur. Fifteen hundred pounds of aluminum reached 120 mph in just 1.5 seconds, accelerating to 300 mph before plowing into a sand berm.

Hyperloop works, you guys. Mostly. Kinda.

The transportation of tomorrow that billionaire rocketeer-automaker Elon Musk dreamed up in 2012passed its first test Wednesday. Yes, this version would still turn any human passengers into meat jelly. But at least it flies.

This was a major technology milestone, says Rob Lloyd, the CEO of Hyperloop One. More than that, it is asignificant step toward his company’s goal of sending people zooming through tubes before the decade is out.

Proponents of this outlandish idea say such a system will fundamentally change transportation, making neighbors of distant cities, rendering carbon-spewing trucks all but obsolete, and obviating the misery of air travel while sidestepping the political battles and massive cost associated with high-speed rail. (Yeah. Right.).

They call it the fifth great mode of transport—after the ship, the train, the automobile, and the airplane—and consider it every bit as revolutionary. “Hyperloop is faster, greener, safer, and cheaper than any other mode of transportation, Lloyd says.

Faster? Definitely. Greener and safer? Possibly. Cheaper? Theoretically. Of course, it’s all academic. Beyond some snazzy images rendered with computers and complex equations scrawled on whiteboards, Hyperloop doesnt exist. Wednesday’s test featured a test sled on a short stretch of rail.

Hyperloop in Brief

Lloyd is undeterred. He sees three lines running by 2020. “Were building this thing,” he says. Where that building will happen, though, is an open question. Lloyd says he’s interested in linking cities a few hundred miles apart, and connecting ports to inland transportation centers. Beyond suggesting the Port of Long Beach though, he doesn’t cite examples.

As crazyas that might sound, Hyperloop One is not alone in pursuing this dream. At least two other startups and students from dozens of universities are figuring out how to fling people vast distances at great speed. Even Musk, who tossed out the idea in a white paper before gettingback to cars and rockets, is building a test track near his Southern California spaceship factory.

Although the idea is new, the forces behind it are not:theconfidence bordering on hubris, the profligatespending of money and time, the excitement of engineers who say it can be done, and the skepticism of those who insistit cannot. The men and women populating these new Hyperloop efforts have every intention of being this century’s pioneers.

Building Things

It’s hard to take someone like Brogan BamBrogan seriously when you first meet him. Theres the name, of course, which he had legally changed from Kevin Brogan two years ago, and the unbuttoned shirt and the mustache that is somehow gray only on the left side. But then you talk to him, and you start to think, yeah, maybe this could actually work.

Maglev trains offer a cautionary tale. The technology clearly works; passengers cross Germany, China, and Japan at 300 mph or more. But maglevs are expensive to build, operate, and maintain. Theres a reason technological leaps in transportation are rare, Petroski says. They usually dont work quite as well as hoped.

Lloyd and BamBrogan understand this. And while they may want to reinvent transportation to eliminate the barriers of time and distance, they see this starting small.Lloyd likes to use the Port of Long Beach as an example. A hyperloop line between the port and a truck depot farther inland would keep all those semis from clogging the roads and sullying the air around LA, provide steady revenues, and make fatalities less likely in the event of an accident.

That’s just an idea. To find more potential routes, Hyperloop One is holding a “global challenge” in which government agencies, corporate entities and regular people can submit proposals and outline why they deserve a hyperloop. Its a clever way to identify where regulations and public approval will be easier to secure.They’ll select the winners by March 2017, giving them just a couple of years to actually plan and build the thing.

The Hyperloop One office is decorated with possible routes for the futuristic system, but the company hasn’t settled on any actual locations.Hyperloop


Of course, before Hyperloop One, or anyone else, can consider any of this, someone will have to figure out how to make the technology actually work. Lloyd and BamBrogan have poached about 150 people from Tesla Motors, Boeing, Lufthansa, and SpaceX. We hire people that have built things, he says. They fill the company’s HQ, a former ice factory in downtown Los Angeles.

For all the eyebrows he raises, BamBrogan is a convincing salesman. While giving me a tour, he rattles off the top tier schools whose graduates now populate the open office. He shows off a custom wind tunnel the size of a 1950s TV set, which measures the lift and drag of the compressor that will sit on the front of the pod, sucking in whatever air’s left in the tunnel. The “levitation rig” resembles an industrial oven, and holds a spinning steel disc that tests the use of air bearings for floating above the track. Fanuc welding robots populate the yard behind the building, along with sections of test tube and rail tracks left behind by a former tenant.

As he walks, BamBrogan insists none of the core technologies involved are particularlyrevolutionary, or even that hard to master. The challenge is in making them all work together. Hyperloop is like, done,” he says. “We could absolutely build the Hyperloop today and deploy it. It would just be very expensive.The work right now is making every element as efficient as possible, and driving costs down to Lloyd’s proposed $10 million mile.

On Wednesday, May 11, Hyperloop One successfully tested its propulsion system in North Las Vegas.Hyperloop

Wednesdays test—the first demonstration of a full-scale component designed specifically for hyperloop—shows the company can make things move. That’s tangible progress. BamBrogans team is experimenting with passive magnetic levitation and air bearings—small jets that fire air downward, creating a cushion between the pod and the tube. It’s like an air hockey table, if the puck moved at Mach 0.5.

The tube that carries the pod? Not so challenging, given all the oil pipelines and subway lines criss-crossing the world. Maintaining a near vacuum within the tube is an issue, but doable, Lloyd says. Same for managing the aero- and thermodynamics. To help move things along, Hyperloop One is working with industrial players like engineering giant Aecom, industrial designers Arup; Swiss tunneling firm Amberg Group; and French railroad engineering firm Systra.

Lloyd and BamBrogans may be the biggest outfit in this field (it just closed an $80 million series B funding round), but it’s hardly alone. A company called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has a deal to build a system in Slovakia and a license to use passive maglev technology developed by a national lab. Toronto-based Transpod is angling for deals with the Canadian government and rail operators to push its technology forward. And then theres the army of student engineers working on their own ideas. Theyre supported by Elon Musk—who, based on past examples, is liable to jump in for himself at any moment.

They’ve all got more than enough work. They can’t settle for making the Hyperloop function—it has to be better than today’s alternatives. It has to be affordable, safe, and comfortable. It has to run logical routes. It has to make money. If it does all that, Clarke says, “it’ll be built.” And then maybe Elon will finally get that 30-minute commute from LA to San Francisco.

Peter Bohler for WIRED

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DNC email leak: Russian hackers Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear behind breach

Cybercriminals also referred to as Guccifer 2.0 have invaded the White House, state department and German Bundestag between them, security firms say

Guccifer 2.0, the hacker behind the recent Democratic party email leak, is not a single operator but Russian cybercriminals designated Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear by investigators who have invaded the White House and the Bundestag between them, according to leading cybersecurity firms.

Security firm ThreatConnect issued a comprehensive report on Tuesday using their own data and data from previous reports by rivals CrowdStrike, Mandiant and Fidelis.

Crowdstrike associates Fancy Bear with other Russian intrusions, notably one into the German Bundestag in May and another into French television network TV5 Monde. Cozy Bear has dug into the state department the joint chiefs, and the White House, said CrowdStrike, which analyzed those hacks.

The hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is now being investigated by the FBI. DNC emails leaked by Guccifer 2.0 caused immense embarrassment ahead of the Democratic national convention. The leaks led to the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC chair, after they revealed party staffers had favored Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over rival Bernie Sanders.

Weve had lots of experience with both of these actors attempting to target our customers in the past and know them well, wrote CrowdStrikes Dmitri Alperovitch. In fact, our team considers them some of the best adversaries out of all the numerous nation-state, criminal and hacktivist/terrorist groups we encounter on a daily basis.

The new ThreatConnect report suggests that the person who has been giving interviews under the name Guccifer 2.0 to the press isnt a hacker at all.

I find it interesting

In June, Guccifer contacted Vocativ writer Kevin Collier through Twitter to offer a story about the DNC leaks, insisting on encryption; Collier said the story he received by email was so offbeat he asked Guccifer what good it could possibly be. I find it interesting was the only reply.

Collier also said there was something else odd about the email: it had come from a French AOL service so insecure that it included the senders IP address in the email.

Its baffling, Collier told the Guardian. Hes either an amateur, made a huge mistake, or this is part of an incredibly intricate disinformation campaign. Since the going theory of the DNC hack is that it was perpetrated by Russian government groups that then passed this information to propagandists or professional trolls to spread, my best guess is it was just a rookie mistake.

The sender had used a proxy, but the proxy masking Guccifers location was Russian.

Guccifer 2.0 had always claimed to be Romanian like the original Guccifer, imprisoned hacker Marcel Lazr Lehel, but the 2.0 version had regularly communicated with journalists in Russian. When Motherboard reporter Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai asked Guccifer 2.0 to speak Romanian, the few sentences that came back were filled with mistakes.

Then there was the way Guccifer claimed to have attacked the DNC with a zero-day hack into a software called Votebuilder used by the DNC. A zero-day hack finds a vulnerability in the software that was previously unknown to the target.

A backdoor into Votebuilder would only be valuable to someone attacking the DNC; most black-market activity focuses on exploitation of widely used software that can be used on multiple targets to make money until it is discovered and closed down.

Toni Gidwani, director of research operations for ThreatConnect, said: There are much easier ways to get in.

Another security company, Secureworks, found what may be the culprit: a fake Google login page targeting the Clinton campaign.

Gidwani said the various mistakes and inconsistencies indicate to ThreatConnect that a lot of the decisions around the hack appear to have been arrived at by committee with varying degrees of knowledge about hacking.

It would suggest to us that the operators of the Guccifer 2.0 persona were not the actors who breached the DNC, she said. Youre looking at the operations guys who dont have the same technical credibility as these very sophisticated actors who exploited these networks. Youve got a lot of cooks in this kitchen here, not just one actor.

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