The Huffington Post :
A group of atheists unveiled a monument to their nonbelief in God on Saturday to sit alongside a granite slab that lists the Ten Commandments in front of the Bradford County courthouse.
I grew up in the South, surrounded by undereducated hillbillies who feel the compulsion to shove their curiously non-Christ-like beliefs down everyone’s throats. This monument in Florida makes me giggle with glee.
Oh, wait…the atheists in this story aren’t from Florida. Yeah, that checks out.
Ben Brooks takes to task the thick-headed notion that letting people work in cafés is bad for the coffee-selling business:
Coffee Shops started sprouting up everywhere in the U.S. because of massive demand for the coffee shop — not massive demand for coffee, mind you, but for the seats in the shops. This is evident with the way most shops are setup, but no more evidence needed than to look at the move of Starbucks providing free WiFi, instead of paid WiFi they started with.
My own behavior can obviously only serve as anecdotal evidence, at best, but speaking as someone who often chooses and/or needs to get outside the house and work: I will never, ever buy coffee from a shop that won’t let me hang out for a while with a computer. That’s the whole point of a coffee shop.
I find myself less and less likely to spend any time—or money—at the downtown location of Philz here in Palo Alto, despite the fact that theirs is my favorite coffee in the world. I simply cannot stand the fact that their WiFi access is provided by Facebook, and requires me to “check in” before I can log on. Philz loses a lot of money I’d otherwise be giving them for even this. If they became completely antagonistic to their customers and tried to shoo them along, I’d soon find myself never buying anything from them ever again.
The A.V. Club nails it:
Issuing a plea to set prejudices aside and adopt a more open-minded, progressive approach to accepting things solely on their inherent worth, Orson Scott Card has asked that people stop persecuting the upcoming Ender’s Game [film adaptation] simply because he is a homophobe.
Idiots can say whatever they want–it’s a free country. Fortunately, we’re also perfectly within our rights when we ridicule hateful idiots.
Joshua Kopstein, The Verge :
…a federal judge ruled Monday that the Obama administration can not use its “state secrets” privilege to block a lawsuit originally brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2008.
That’s big news: until now, the administration has repeatedly invoked the privilege to block almost every legal challenge the NSA has faced over its surveillance activities, even after a secret court ruled that the programs had violated the Constitution “on at least one occasion.” But the ultimate goal — an official Constitutional ruling that would ostensibly bring an end to NSA’s warrantless data collection programs — is still a ways off, if it happens at all.
Let’s go ahead and assume that this whole case will be swallowed by a giant U.S.A.-shaped black hole eventually—as Kopstein notes, the government can always shut the case down with an invocation of “sovereign immunity.” For now, though, it’s nice to think that some judge might actually have to try to square PRISM with the Fourth Amendment.
By the way, here’s the full court document, for those interested.
The new Hostess Brands, which bought the rights and recipe to make Twinkies and other Hostess snacks out of bankruptcy court earlier this year, says that when Twinkies return they’ll have a 45-day shelf life. That’s significantly longer than the 26-day shelf life they previously had.
It’s great to see the return of an iconic American brand. And now we know Twinkies will never go away again, because not even two million years of entropy can break down their chemical structure. I think these things might become popular in the construction business–cheaper than bricks, and yet far more durable.