In an interview with Bob Costas this evening before the Opening Ceremonies of the Sochi Games, President Obama was asked about the inclusion of openly gay athletes in the official delegation.
"There is no doubt we wanted to make it very clear that we do not abide by discrimination in anything, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. One of the wonderful things about the Olympics is that you are judged by your merit, how good you are regardless of where you come from, what you look like, who you love and that I think is consistent with the spirit of the Olympics."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
As a sad addendum to this interview, Billie Jean King's mother died today at the age of 91. Our thoughts are with her.
The dry-erase board educators over at ASAPScience are gearing up for the Olympic season with a short special series on some "Amazing Olympic Facts." The first one covers the history of placement and medals, the meaning of the colors of the rings, the etymology of "gymnasium", and more interesting factoids.
The second looks at how bodies of Olympians have changed over the years.
The third will give you the odds of YOU becoming an Olympian.
For something Olympics-related which has nothing to do with arrests, oppression, corruption, failing infrastructure, or Putin, check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...
Dozens have been detained across Russia in efforts to silence protests ahead of the Sochi Games, the NYT reports:
From St. Petersburg to the Caucasus, the authorities detained at least 61 people on Friday for holding unauthorized protests ahead of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The detentions underscored the government’s efforts to stifle protests even far away from the Games.
Buzzfeed reports that those arrested in Moscow were beaten in the police station, and relayed these text messages to Buzzfeed's J Lester Feder:
Text message from me: We didn’t sign anything. Are you all still there?
From them: Yes, in cage. They beated [sic] two of us
Me: oh no, who? What can we do? Can you keep reporting? Are all of you in the same cage?
Them: Two queers. Before that they took us upstairs and said that we have to “suck their c--ks” and that we have to be burned. When we said that we gonna complain. So they bring us back to cage. So we dont let them close it without paper, pen and their names. So they beat two of us and then used cuffs
Them: Yes we are together. Now we are singing
New text from them: They beated [sic] our people again - cause we asked to let our public defender come to us. They didnt give us any docs
Chevrolet will premiere two new ads which feature gay families tonight during the Opening Ceremonies of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, GLAAD reports:
Said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis: "Chevrolet has nailed it with ads that truly reflect the fabric of our nation, which today includes gay and lesbian families. Recent LGBT-inclusive ads like these not only raise the bar for the advertising industry, but also reflect the growing support and acceptance of LGBT people. It's about time my children were able to turn on the television and see families like their own represented in mainstream advertising."
This first spot focuses on genuine moments between real families to show, per the ad's own narration that "while what it means to be a family hasn't changed, what a family looks like has." The second sixty-second spot takes a wider look at society through the lens of social media and includes both a gay couple and a nod to gay teen science prodigy, Jack Andraka.
Watch them both, AFTER THE JUMP...
TOMORROWLAND'S FORECAST is a recurring column related to all things tomorrow - from emerging tech and culture trends to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence to new entertainment and inventions that are helping change the way we experience and understand the world around us. In short, it's a glimpse into what the future might hold for humanity as we try and answer the ever-present question: What happens next?
The most famous fictional spy, James Bond, has a recurring habit of confronting adversaries that purposely mirror real-world concerns of the time period at hand. Examples of this pop up in the Cold War era Dr. No capitalizing on tensions between East and West and fears of nuclear proliferation and in 2008’s Quantum of Solace dealing with the world’s growing dependence on oil. It comes as no surprise then that Bond’s most recent on-screen appearance, 2012’s Skyfall, saw the British secret agent confronting a villain whose menace came not from armies or weapons of mass destruction, but from his skill with a computer.
Javier Bardem‘s standout performance as cyberterrorist Raoul Silva (pictured above) was one of the film’s highlights and illustrates the catastrophic potential of next generation security threats. In a report presented last week to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and top U.S. spies provided a breakdown of many of these emerging threats, including cyber attacks, counterintelligence, and counterspace capabilities:
Continue reading "Tomorrowland's Forecast: Technology Threats and the Next-Gen Battlefield" AFTER THE JUMP...
Citing major cyber attacks against the U.S. financial and military sectors last year, the report stresses the importance of securing a safe online infrastructure. Back in September, in one of the most serious infiltrations of U.S. government computer systems by Iran, officials reported that Iranian agents had hacked an unclassified Navy computer network containing the email accounts of the secretary of the Navy, the chief of naval operations, and commandant of the Marine Corps.
And as tensions between Washington and Tehran regarding Iran’s nuclear programs continue, U.S. officials are warning that these cyberintrusions may further escalate in the near future. The massive overseas cyberattack against Target stores that compromised 40 million payment cards (mine included) over the holiday season is yet another example of hackers that are ramping up their aggressive cyber-activities.
The report also details the growing vulnerability of the many aspects of everyday life that have begun migrating to digital networks. Everything from vehicles, to homes, to health care, to entire cities are going “online” and providing new and untested arenas for cyber threats to emerge. A hack-free self-driving car? Yes please.
A tangential concern is the threat of increasingly sophisticated counterintelligence efforts to obtain U.S. national security information. Clearly, insider threats and unauthorized disclosures will continue to be an evolving challenge for the U.S. government. One only has to look at the news surrounding Edward Snowden's disclosure of top secret NSA documents or watch The Fifth Estate, the film about news-leaking website WikiLeaks, to get a grasp on what’s at stake.
In regards to the “final frontier,” the report singles out Russia and China as potential adversaries who are pursuing disruptive and destructive counterspace capabilities. Back in 2007, for example, China conducted a destructive antisatellite test against its own satellite. More recently, China launched a rocket into space back in May that U.S. defense officials warned could eventually be used to destroy one of our very own satellites in orbit.
But it’s not just the threats that are starting to look like something out of Star Wars. The physical battlefield itself is also undergoing a serious upgrade in terms of technology. According to recent reports, the Pentagon now has over 7,000 unmanned drones, many of which are being used overseas against enemy combatants. Stateside, we are set to get our own batch of robot flyers later this year, following the FAA’s selection of six states as testing grounds for widespread drone usage in U.S. airspace.
Defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has also made a huge leap forward in the field of “weapons grade” lasers. Just last week, the company announced it had successfully demonstrated a 30 kilowatt fiber laser that pushes the technology closer to military deployment. Check out a video of the prototype laser destroy a test rocket back in April:
As the evolution of warfare continues, what other threats do you see emerging? Sound off in the comments section below.
News tips? Comments/Suggestions? Tweet me @kylergee.
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CHOIR! CHOIR! CHOIR!: A Sochi version of Sting's "Russians".
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