Microsoft obsolete

Microsoft obsolete, Microsoft is perhaps one of the powerful and biggest companies in the world. In the last financial year, it made an operating profit of approximately twenty billion dollars. However, over the past few years, Microsoft grip on the operating system market and internet related businesses are starting to erode. It is quite a change in attitude compared to six years ago when governments around the world complained that it has a too big of a monopoly.

Here are three reasons why Microsoft influence and monopoly are eroding quickly:

1. Microsoft used to be the biggest Internet Company in the world. Microsoft Internet Explorer was only internet browser that everyone should use. However, open source internet browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome has given consumer free choices. Not only were they free, they were better and faster than their own software. As a result, millions of computer users changed software and started to change their computer habits.

2. The latest computers don't need to run new Windows operating system. Today, most people are satisfied with their current version of windows. Windows XP handles most tasks easily without upgrading to the latest Vista version. In fact, your computer may have more problems if you upgrade. The Vista operating system was bloated and requires the consumer to buy more hardware to be compatible.

3. Microsoft main competitor, Google, keeps releasing out free and better software. Google search engine is used more widely that Microsoft own search engine, Bing. In addition, Google is planning to give out more free services like Google Maps and Gmail.

Disney layoffs

A part of the signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, California, May 7, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser 
Disney layoffs, Walt Disney Co expects to begin layoffs at its studio and consumer product divisions within the next two weeks, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, in the latest cost-reduction step to emerge from a company-wide review.

The studio job cuts will center on the marketing and home video units and include a small number from the animation wing, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans had not been made public.

It is unknown how many jobs will be lost at either division.

Staff reductions at the consumer products unit will largely result from attrition, another person said.

On Wednesday, Disney began layoffs at the 30-year-old LucasArts games studio it inherited with the acquisition of George Lucas' film company last year, as it focuses on licensing its "Star Wars" brand externally.

A Disney spokeswoman had no comment.

Disney, headquartered in Burbank, California, started an internal cost-cutting review late last year to identify cutbacks in jobs it no longer needs because of improvements in technology, one of the people said.

It is also looking at redundant operations that could be eliminated following a string of major acquisitions over the past few years, said the person.

Disney cut about 200 people at its Disney Interactive video game last year, as the company moved away from console games to focus on online and mobile entertainment. An additional 100 staffers have been laid off in two cuts since.

The company also made cuts at the publishing unit last year when Disney moved its operations to Burbank from New York as part of a restructuring of its consumer products unit.

Williams sisters



Williams sisters, Matches for top-ranked Serena Williams and her sister, Venus, at the Family Circle Cup were postponed Thursday after a rain delay of nearly 7 1/2 hours.

The long wait wiped out most matches in the busy round of 16, including those of the tournament's headling Williams' sisters.

Serena, riding an 11-match winning streak here, was scheduled to play American qualifier Mallory Burdette. Venus will take on Varvara Lepchenko for a spot in the quarterfinals. Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki moved on without hitting a ground-stroke when opponent Andrea Petkovic withdrew with a calf injury a few hours before their scheduled match.

The rain fell steadily at the Family Circle Tennis Center until dinner time when crews were finally able to start drying the large puddles on the gloppy, green clay surfaces.

Once play began, ninth-seeded Jelena Jankovic — the 2007 champion here — needed just 64 minutes to oust 19-year-old American Jessica Pegula in straight sets. Pegula, whose father Terry owns the Buffalo Sabres, won the first two professional matches of her career this week before falling to the former world No. 1, 6-0, 6-4.

Stefanie Voegele defeated 10th-seeded Julia Goerges, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.

The delay means the year's first clay-court event has some ground to make up to finish by Sunday. Without further rain, there would still be four round-of-16 matches to be played on Friday before the quarterfinals were set.

Serena Williams, who was not sharp despite winning her opening match over Camila Giorgi here on Tuesday , will have waited almost three days to play again. Venus defeated 19-year-old Monica Puig in three sets Wednesday night. The sisters would each need to win twice more to set up an all-Williams semifinal here. They haven't met in a tournament since 2009.

Both have enjoyed championship moments at the Family Circle. Serena won titles in 2008 and 2012. Venus won the crown in 2004 and last September clinched the winning points as the Washington Kastles took the World Team Tennis title on Billie Jean King Court.

Others who had matches delayed were sixth-seeded Lucie Safarova against 11th-seeded Sorana Cirstea and the all-American match of Madison Keys and Betthanie Mattek-Sands.

Cirstea, like Serena Williams, also hasn't played since winning on Tuesday.

It took tournament crews more than three hours to dry the stadium court enough for Stosur and Eugenie Bouchard to close the chilly, damp night. Tournament director Bob Moran said the clay surface sopped up plenty of water during the steady rain. "Our court maintenance team worked extremely hard to get the court ready and suitable for play," he said.

Jankovic said it was difficult keeping sharp and loose as the delay stretched through the afternoon. "I wanted to take a nap, but I couldn't," she said. "We joked that if they rained it out, we have a go shopping day."

Instead, Jankovic felt fortunate to move to the quarterfinals when so many other competitors will likely have to play twice Friday. "At the end of the day, I was lucky," she said. "I came out and played quite well."

Petkovic was Jankovic's doubles partner this week. Jankovic had enjoyed the pairing so far and looked forward to seeing what they could to here. Instead, Petkovic said in a statement she might do more damage to her leg if she competed.

"It is a very beautiful tournament and I loved every part of it here," Petkovic said. "So I hope to come back under better conditions."

Ryan Gosling PETA

Ryan Gosling PETA, Ryan Gosling doesn't think milk does a body good -- at least, not for the cows it comes from.

The 32-year-old "Place Beyond the Pines" star sent a letter earlier this week to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). In the letter, the actor implores the federation to cease the "barbaric practice" of dehorning cattle by choosing instead to breed hornless (aka polled) cows.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) published Gosling's letter, which was dated April 1 and addressed to Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of NMPF .

"I was shocked to learn from my friends at PETA about a practice in the dairy industry called 'dehorning,' which involves painfully burning horn tissue or gouging cows' horns out of their heads, often without the use of any painkillers," Gosling wrote. He added, "The American Veterinary Medical Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and third-party animal welfare auditing groups recognize the benefits of polled genetics for the dairy industry, so there is absolutely no reason -- and no excuse -- for the cruel, unnecessary practice of dehorning to continue." 

PETA called Gosling their "hero" in 2011 after he wrote to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, urging it to use carbon dioxide (aka "whole-house gassing") to make diseased chickens and turkeys unconscious before being killed. This technique differs from the "extremely cruel foam-based suffocation system" it was reportedly using at the time.

A year prior, the Ontario native had sent a letter to McDonald's on PETA's behalf, asking CEO Jim Skinner to stop scalding chickens to death in defeathering tanks and to use instead "controlled-atmosphere killing" to make the animals' deaths less painful.

And in both 2003 and in 2008, Gosling penned notes to Kentucky Fried Chicken in the U.S. and Canada, respectively, asking them to stop abusing their chickens by leaving them "crammed into dark sheds with countless other birds."

Ten years later, the Canadian hottie is still as thoughtful as ever.

URI gunman


URI gunman, Many students panicked at the University of Rhode Island Kingston campus Thursday after the report of a gunman in Chaffee Hall led police to lock down the school and initiate an "active shooter" response.

"A phone call was made from the URI campus reporting an active shooter on campus," said State Police Col. Steven O'Donnell.

After several hours of searching the eight-story tower room-by-room, O'Donnell said police believe there was never a gun or an active shooter, but he said they did recover a Nerf gun.

One student told The Associated Press the incident, which was declared over at 2:15 p.m., was prompted by what happened midway through her 11 a.m. physiology class.

"All of a sudden, we heard someone yell, 'You're a nice guy! You're a nice guy!' and sounding scared," said Tori Danielson, who was sitting in the back of a lecture hall in a class of more than 350 people. "Everybody started running and screaming out of the room, and our professor told us all to run. And everybody just ran out."

Danielson said she did not hear gun shots and did not see anyone get hurt.

Students Michael Wharton and Robert Ferrante were on their way to an animal science class at Chafee Hall when they saw people streaming out of the building.

Wharton, an 18-year-old freshman, said he heard someone yell 'Go, go! He's got a gun." The two roommates then ran back to their dorm room.

"It was chaos," Ferrante, a 19-year-old freshman, said of the scene.

Paige Comstock, a 19-year-old sophomore, was on the second floor of Chafee Hall in a journalism class when the incident occurred. She said some of her classmates said they heard screams, though she did not. An alarm went off and a voice came over the loudspeaker warned of an emergency in the building.

"We didn't know if it was a drill," she said, but then an administrator told everyone to leave immediately.

O'Donnell said state police are not calling the incident a hoax. The university canceled classes for the remainder of the day on the Kingston campus and halted shuttle bus service for several hours.
Photos: Lockdown at URI Kingston campus


The University of Rhode Island Kingston campus was in lockdown Thursday morning after the report of a gunman on campus.

Legalize pot poll

Marijuana
Medical marijuana plants for sale at the Farmacy, a California medical marijuana dispensary. (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times)

Legalize pot poll, A majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana, a new poll indicates, with the change driven largely by a huge shift in how the baby boom generation feels about the drug of their youth.

By 52% to 45%, adult Americans back legalization, according to the survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. The finding marks the first time in more than four decades of Pew's polling that a majority has taken that position. As recently as a decade ago, only about one-third of American adults backed making marijuana legal.

Two big shifts in opinion go along with the support for legalization and likely contribute to it. Most Americans no longer see marijuana as a "gateway" to more dangerous drugs, and most no longer see its use as immoral. As recently as 2006, half of respondents said in a Pew survey that marijuana use was “morally wrong.” Now, only one-third do, while half say that marijuana usage is “not a moral issue.”

By an overwhelming margin, 72% to 23%, respondents said the federal government’s efforts against marijuana “cost more than they are worth.”

Similarly, by nearly 2-to-1, respondents said the federal government should not enforce its anti-marijuana laws in states that allow use of the drug.

The Obama administration has been vague on what stand it will take concerning federal law enforcement in states such as Washington and Colorado, which have legalized marijuana for recreational use, or in states such as California that allow medical use. Federal prosecutors in California have brought charges against some sellers of medical marijuana.

Read the full survey from Pew Research

In December, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. acknowledged a “tension between federal law and these state laws” and said that a clarification of federal policy would come “relatively soon.” That has not yet happened. So far, 24 states and the District of Columbia either have decriminalized personal use of marijuana, legalized it or allowed it to be used for medical purposes. Federal law currently treats marijuana as a dangerous drug with no legitimate medical uses.

The poll suggests a shift in federal law may be slow. A notable political split exists on the issue, with conservative Republicans heavily against legalization, while majorities of Democrats, independents and liberal and moderate Republicans back it. Conservatives have strong sway among Republicans in the House.

But on two issues, opinion is more uniform: the belief that current enforcement efforts are not worth the cost, and acceptance of the idea that marijuana has legitimate medical uses. By 77% to 16%, poll respondents said they agree on that, with support for medical marijuana cutting across partisan and generation lines.

Support for legalization is strikingly uniform among states, with the percentage virtually the same in the states that have decriminalized, legalized or allowed medical use and in the 26 where marijuana remains fully illegal. There is little variation among various regions of the country either -- a sharp contrast with other cultural issues, on which coastal states tend to be more liberal and the South more conservative.

That finding contradicts the strategy that supporters of marijuana legalization have followed over the past decade, in which they have pushed first to allow medical marijuana in the belief that states that have taken that step would more likely back full legalization. The new data suggest either that such careful strategizing was unnecessary or that a broader cultural shift in favor of full legalization has made it obsolete.

The percentage of people who say they have used marijuana in the last year (about one in 10) or at any point in their lives (about half) is virtually identical in states that have legalized some marijuana use and those that have not, suggesting that more liberal laws have simply made usage more visible, not increased it, as some have feared.

The main divisions on marijuana legalization are those of age: Younger Americans back legalization more than their elders, although the poll shows legalization gaining support among all generations.

Among those age 30 to 49, parents are less likely to support legalization than non-parents. Those with children 18 or younger at home are closely divided, 50% to 47%, while those without children at home support legalization by a 62%-35% margin.

The effect of parenthood may also be part of the most striking shift in opinion -- the change among members of the baby boom generation. During the 1970s, when baby boomers were in their teens and 20s, a plurality supported legalizing pot, with support hitting 47% in a 1978 survey. But as they aged, boomers changed their minds, with support for legal marijuana dropping to fewer than one in five baby boomers by 1990, when members of the generation were in their 30s and 40s. Since then, they've shifted again, and the new poll shows 50% now support legalizing the drug.

Contrary to the image of boomers turning to pot to assuage the aches and pains of middle age, however, only 7% of those age 50 to 64 said they had used marijuana in the past year.

Overall, 48% of poll respondents said they had used marijuana at some point in their life. Those who admit using the drug are far more likely to support legalization than those who say they never have used it, although support for legalization has grown among both groups.

The percentage now saying they have used marijuana at some point is up considerably from the 38% who said so a decade ago. The poll does not make clear how much of that shift involves an increase in recent usage versus people being more willing to admit past marijuana use or, simply, the passing of an older generation that was much less likely to have used the drug.

Just over one in 10 people in the current survey said they had used marijuana in the past year. Among those younger than 30, more than one in four said they had done so. Among those who had used marijuana in the past year, just over half said they had done so at least in part for medical reasons, with 47% saying they had done so “just for fun.”

The Pew survey was conducted March 13-17 by telephone, including cellphones and land lines, among 1,501 American adults. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Target dress apology: 'Manatee' gray label sparks customer fury

Target dress apology, Target has outraged customers after labeling one of their plus-size dresses as 'Manatee Gray', while the standard size of the same item was called simply 'Dark Heather Gray'.

A shopper was browsing the website when she spotted the unfortunate discrepancy and brought it to the attention of the retailer via Twitter.

Target have since fixed the error, explaining that the mix-up was due to a lack of communication between the two different teams of buyers handling the dresses.


Offensive mistake: Target sparked an outrage after a plus-size dress (pictured) was listed as 'Manatee Gray' on their website, while the standard size version of the same item was called 'Dark Heather Gray'



Admitting their error: Target have since apologized, explaining that the mix-up was due to a lack of communication between the two different teams of buyers handling the dresses

Target spokesman Joshua Thomas told Forbes.com that Manatee Gray is a common color name for many of their products.

Indeed, a search on the website today produced towels, sheets, rain boots and T-shirts, all listed as Manatee Grey.

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Unfortunately, the two different teams responsible for the standard and plus-size Mossimo Kimono maxi dress did not coordinate color names when they entered the product information for the site.

The repentant retailer quickly tweeted back to the customer: 'We apologize for this unintentional oversight and never intend to offend our guests. We've heard you, and we're working to fix it ASAP.'



Angered customer: A shopper was browsing the website when she spotted the unfortunate discrepancy and brought it to the attention of the retailer via Twitter



Clarification: A Target spokesman explained that Manatee Gray is a common color name for many of its products including towels, sheets, pillows, rugs and clothes


Color inspiration: The manatee is an endangered aquatic mammal also known as a sea cow

That particular product has since been removed from the website, and Target has said that the description of the plus-size dress will be updated to match that of the standard one.

This is not the first time a major retailer has sparked outrage following the use of an offensive color name.

In 2010, Urban Outfitters sold a T-shirt listed as 'Obama/Black,' reports The Huffington Post.

After backlash from customers, the store recalled the item and issued an apology: 'We screwed up, and are sincerely sorry,' they said in a press statement.

James Holmes threats

James Holmes threats, A psychiatrist who treated James Holmes told campus police a month before the Colorado theater attack that Holmes had homicidal thoughts and was a danger to the public, according to documents released Thursday.

Dr. Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado, Denver, told police in June that Holmes also threatened and intimidated her. It was more than a month before the July 20 attack at a movie theater that killed 12 and injured 70.

In the days after the attack, campus police said they had never had contact with Holmes, who was a graduate student at the university.

But campus police told investigators after the shooting that Fenton had contacted them, following her legal requirement to report specific threats to authorities, according to a search warrant affidavit.

“Dr. Fenton advised that through her contact with James Holmes she was reporting, per her requirement, his danger to the public due to homicidal statements he had made,” the affidavit said.

University police referred calls for comment Thursday to a campus spokeswoman who did not immediately return a message.

The documents previously were sealed, but the new judge overseeing the case ordered them released Thursday after requests from media organizations including The Associated Press.

Holmes last week offered to plead guilty in the attacks. Prosecutors rejected that offer and announced Monday they would seek the death penalty.

Holmes sent Fenton a package in the days before the shooting, including a notebook that the released documents describe as a “journal.” The package wasn’t discovered until four days after the attack.

In court, prosecutors suggested Holmes was angry at the failure of a once promising academic career, and stockpiled weapons, ammunition, tear gas grenades, and body armor as his research deteriorated and professors urged him to get into another profession. Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson said Holmes failed a key oral exam in June, was banned from campus and began to voluntarily withdraw from the school.

The documents — including arrest and search warrant affidavits — were unsealed by the new judge in the case. District Judge Carlos Samour took over the case earlier this week after the previous judge, who had sealed the documents, removed himself. Judge William Sylvester handed off to Samour on Monday, saying prosecutors’ decision to seek the death penalty against Holmes meant the case would take up so much time that he couldn’t carry out his administrative duties as chief judge of a busy four-county district.

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys had raised concerns about releasing the documents. Prosecutors said they were worried about the privacy of victims and witnesses if the records were released. Attorneys for Holmes said they didn’t want to hurt his chances for a fair trial.

Sylvester had said he was reluctant to release the documents before the preliminary hearing, when prosecutors laid out evidence for him to decide whether Holmes could be brought to trial. That hearing was held in January, with investigators giving the names and injuries of every theater victim in graphic detail.

Witnesses testified that Holmes spent weeks amassing an arsenal and planning the attack. They also said he set up an elaborate booby trap in his apartment designed to explode at the same time the theater attack occurred miles away.

Media organizations said there has been a “wealth of information already made public in the proceedings thus far.” They argued there was no basis for the documents to remain sealed.

With the preliminary hearing over, Samour said lawyers failed to show that releasing the records would cause any harm, or that keeping the documents sealed would prevent any harm.

Target dress apology

Target dress apology, Target says it’s treating a potentially offensive goof in product labeling as a “learning experience" it won't repeat.

A savvy online shopper on Wednesday noticed Target.com listed a plus-size dress in “manatee gray” while offering the same frock in standard sizes as “dark heather gray.”

Susan Clemens tweeted the discrepancy to Target, which responded quickly with an apology.

On Thursday, Target spokeswoman Jessica Deede called the incident an “unintended oversight.”

“We never want to offend any of our guests. We apologize for any discomfort that we may have caused,” she told.
@suZen / Twitter
Twitter user Susan Clemens posted this screengrab of the dress from Target's website.

The “manatee gray” version of the dress in question, Mossimo Women's Plus-Size Kimono Maxi Dress, no longer appears on Target’s website.

“We are in the process of fixing the discrepancy and updating Target.com so the gray dress will be available in all styles," Deede said. "We’re working on updating our systems right now.”

Deede noted that the color “manatee gray” is a seasonal color found on many products across numerous categories on the company website, including towels, rain boots and T-shirts.

“We’ll use this instance as a learning experience so we can do better moving forward,” Deede said.

Jason Hanson retires

Jason Hanson retires, The Atlanta Falcons’ plan for a $1 billion retractable-roof stadium in downtown Atlanta passed its final significant hurdle Thursday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The paper said that the city’s economic development arm approved issuing more than $200 million in bonds covered by city hotel-motel taxes by an 8-1 vote. The team intends to have the stadium completed by 2017.

Mayor Kasim Reed told the Journal-Constitution that the deal will keep the Falcons in Atlanta for the next 30 years.

In a statement, the Falcons said the remaining construction costs will come from the team and other private funds.

—Jason Hanson announced his retirement from the NFL after 21 seasons as the Detroit Lions’ kicker.

Hanson, a second-round pick in 1992, opted to retire when a contract agreement couldn’t be reached with the Lions for the 2013 season. Hanson said he didn’t want to play for another team.

No player in NFL history has played more games with one team (327). The 42-year-old is the NFL-record holder with 52 field goals of 50-plus yards and is third all-time with 2,150 points and 495 field goals.

—Defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who had 20.5 sacks last season, said was playing less than 100 percent from Week 1.

Watt dislocated his elbow in the first week of the Houston Texans’ training camp, and it remained sore while he played wearing a brace the entire season.

“In the beginning, it definitely affected me,” Watt told Sports Radio 610 in Houston. “All the ligaments in there were torn, they were all gone, so they had to have time to recover and regroup. So obviously, I wasn’t at full strength.”

—The Arizona Cardinals are scheduled to hold a private workout Saturday at USC for quarterback Matt Barkley, according to ESPN.

The Cardinals own the seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft. Despite completing a deal for quarterback Carson Palmer on Tuesday, the Cardinals are still interested in finding a long-term solution replacement. Like Barkley, Palmer is a USC alum.

Barkley also worked out for the Buffalo Bills in Los Angeles on Monday. At his pro day last week, he completed 56 of 62 passes, including two drops, according to USA Today. He didn’t attend the NFL Scouting Combine in February because he was resting his injured right shoulder.

—Veteran linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo was released by the Baltimore Ravens, but general manager Ozzie Newsome propped the door open for a potential reunion.

The 10-year veteran is primarily a special teams player. He turns 37 before the start of next season. He had 30 tackles on defense in 2012.

His minimum salary given his total years of NFL service will be more than $900,000 next season. Because he doesn’t play in the base defense, Ayanbadejo might be pressed to find work in a role that typically is filled by younger and much cheaper backup defensive players.

—The Atlanta Falcons released starting right tackle Tyson Clabo, leaving another hole on their offensive line.

The move was designated as a post-June 1 release in order to save the Falcons room under the 2013 salary cap.

Clabo joined the organization in 2005 when he signed with the Falcons’ practice squad, and emerged as one of the better run-blocking right tackles in the NFL. He has started all 101 games he appeared in for Atlanta, including all 16 regular-season games each of the past five seasons.

—Pat White was signed by the Washington Redskins, have re-signed cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who was released March 11.

Washington will take a look at White during offseason workouts, but where he potentially fits within the offense remains a question. The team also re-signed Rex Grossman, who served as the third quarterback behind Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins last season.

—The Kansas City Chiefs signed free-agent linebacker Frank Zombo on linebacker.

Zombo, 26, has played in 25 games in three NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers, beginning in 2010. He came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent after a collegiate career at Central Michigan.

—Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson took to Twitter to attempt to make light about a potentially hostile situation.

As a photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un surfaced last week with a U.S. map showing potential missile targets, Johnson suggested another potential destination, the Bills’ AFC East rivals, the New England Patriots.

“War is nothing to be played with. I apologize North Korea……..but if y’all do bomb 1st… Bomb Foxboro, Mass. Sincerely,#BillsMafia,” Johnson tweeted.

In response to fan outrage, Johnson apologized a few hours later.

“i know some of yall took it too serious.. but i have Much Respect for The Pats along with Every other NFL Team. Gonna to be a Great #NFL2013.”

—With a stated mission to regain traction in the home vs. stadium football experience, the NFL plans to install cameras in the home team locker room to enrich the gameday access of their paying customers.

The league also intends to mandate replays be shown in every stadium after “key plays.” In many venues, questionable or disputable calls aren’t always replayed on jumbotrons.

Footage of halftime and postgame from the home team locker room will not be required to be shown by the NFL, but the league will push for teams to make it available to fans on team apps and other mobile platforms. Commissioner Roger Goodell shared parts of the plan in February, and last year made a commitment to have wireless internet available free of charge in all 32 stadiums by 2013.

There will be no cameras in visitor locker rooms and fans who aren’t accessing the video on that stadium network will not be permitted to view locker-room footage.

Lollipop hoax


Lollipop hoax, A recent video posted to YouTube purports to show a man in Singapore making lollipop sculptures using only his mouth.

But, as many have guessed, it’s too good to be true.

In the original video, posted March 27, a tourist sits down with “Uncle” to witness the making of the lollipop art. “Supposedly, this dude molds stuff, like, with a lollipop," he says. "Let’s see what he does. It’s been like 10 minutes now."

When Uncle removes the lollipop from his mouth, a miraculous thing seems to have occurred: It's intricately crafted to bear a striking resemblance to the tourist’s face.

The video quickly went viral and has so far been viewed more than 950,000 times.

But those who bothered to click the pop-up invite at the end of the video to see "the reveal" are taken to a second video, “Chupa Chups Street Artist Revealed.”

In it, a young woman posing as a reporter confronts Uncle about whether the face moldings are real. At first, it seems like a legitimate news clip. But with each successive camera cut from the reporter to the man, more and more Chupa Chups lollipops appear in the frame, eventually replacing the microphone itself.

So, it was yet another marketing gag by a company hoping to generate some buzz in social media circles. As we discussed in another recent Sideshow blog post, it’s part of a trend of companies pulling April Fools’ Day pranks on days other than April 1. In our book, that’s just making stuff up as opposed to a genuinely creative prank. But ultimately, the clip is harmless. And in its defense, Chupa Chups actually admitted to the hoax on its Facebook page on April 1.

Bonnie in Scotland! Duchess of Cambridge gets into the spirit in tartan coat which hides THAT baby bump (but not her legs)



The Duchess of Cambridge gave a nod to her Scottish title today as she arrived for the beginning of her two-day Scottish tour wrapped up against the chill in a short tartan coat.

Known as the Countess of Strathearn when north of the border, the duchess often pays tribute to the people of Scotland by wearing a flash of tartan.

Today's tribute came courtesy of a £425 blue and grey coat by British label moloh, a Gloucestershire and Pimlico-based boutique where Kate has shopped before.





Kate, who customarily wears a flash of tartan when over the border as a nod to her Scottish title, chose a rather short tartan coat for the start of her Scottish tour today







Kate was greeted by hundreds of well-wishers keen to congratulate the duchess on her pregnancy






Not for you! A little girl showed Prince William a flower then hung onto it, saying it was for his wife instead





Are those for me? The now giggling toddler hands the smiling Duchess of Cambridge a flower





Together with William, Kate paid a visit to one of the venues for events at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The royal couple visited the Emirates Arena, including the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, where the two watched riders in a practice session.

The engagement is part of a two-day tour of Scotland.









$1.4 trillion stimulus

$1.4 trillion stimulus

$1.4 trillion stimulus, A mixed bag of news from central banks around the globe prompted investors to tap on the brakes Thursday.

First out of the gate was Japan’s central bank, which announced plans to expand its stimulus program in an effort to breathe life into the country’s flagging economy.

The news was welcomed by investors. Japan’s Nikkei reversed early losses and closed 2.2% higher, the yen weakened against the dollar and the yield on Japanese 10-year notes fell to their lowest level since 2003.

Next up: the Bank of England left rates at 0.5% and maintained its asset purchasing program. And finally, the European Central Bank also kept rates steady at 0.75%.

“Central banks, central banks, central banks. That’s what people are watching this morning,” said Paul Powers, head of trading at Raymond James. “Japan delivered, but the ECB fell flat.”

ECB President Mario Draghi’s comments were seen as leaving the door open to further stimulus but investors were disappointed that the ECB didn’t do more in the face of weakening economic trends in the eurozone.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.2%, while the Nasdaq was little changed.

Meanwhile, oil prices declined for the second day in a row, dropping nearly 2% on a combination of factors: a large inventory build-up and signs of weakness in the global economy.

Four Fed officials are also due to speak Thursday, including Federal Reserve vice chair Janet Yellen, who is delivering a speech at a Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in Washington.

Weak U.S. economic data: The Labor Department said that initial jobless claims rose to 385,000 last week. That’s more than the 345,000 analysts had expected and comes one day ahead of the government’s closely watched monthly jobs report.

Economists expect 192,000 jobs to have been added in March, according to Briefing.com.

What’s moving: Shares of Best Buy surged after the retailer announced that it will feature boutique stores that sell Samsung products at more than 1,400 U.S. locations.

Lululemon Athletic said its chief product officer, Sheree Waterson, was leaving, effective April 15. The announcement comes after Lululemon issued a recall last month of unintentionally see-through yoga pants.

Shares of Carnival Corp. slumped more than 2%, a day after the troubled cruise liner’s Triumph broke free of its dock in Mobile, Ala.

Facebook unveiled Facebook Home, a new Android smartphone interface at an event. Shares of the social network rose

European markets closed down between 0.7% and 1.2%. Exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai were closed for a holiday.

The dollar lost ground against the euro and the British pound. Gold prices dipped slightly.

The price on the 10-year Treasury yield rose, pushing the yield down to 1.78% from 1.81% late Wednesday.

Homeless man wins lotto: $50,000 jackpot

Homeless man wins lotto

Homeless man wins lotto - A homeless male man wins the lotto but decides to keep living in a tent outside. On April 4, Huffington Post reported that Dennis Mahurin won a $50,000 jackpot prize in the Michigan lottery but decided to use the money to help his friends in the homeless community -- which he has been a part of since 1978.

"With all the other homeless people around here, I've made up my mind. I'm gonna give them each $100," Mahurin said. While $50,000 is enough money to get Mahurin off the streets, he has chosen to spread the wealth around. $100 obviously isn't a lot of money, but for someone homeless, it buys them a couple of good meals.

The homeless man wins the lotto after purchasing the ticket at a local gas station. While some think he's doing a selfless act, others are already debating that Mahurin is making a huge mistake. Do you think he should use the money to better his life?

"He is a great guy, has an awesome sense of humor. I care deeply for him and he is a very decent gentleman. He comes into my store three to four times a day," said Sandra Rankin, an employee at the gas station where Mahurin bought the ticket (via Huffington Post). It sounds like he spends his cash on the lottery quite a bit... perhaps he's waiting to hit the "big one."

When a homeless man wins the lotto, no one expects him to give the money away -- but as most people know, being homeless is a way of life for many people... it's all they have known for so long and some don't want that to change.

Homeless Man Wins Lotto

Homeless Man Wins Lotto
Homeless Man Wins Lotto, After winning a $50,000 jackpot, Dennis Mahurin could’ve moved out of the tent he’s been living in for more than 20 years and paid for a major life upgrade. But the Illinois man isn’t making any grand plans.

Mahurin, who’s been living in the Bloomington homeless community since 1978, was shocked when he scratched off the winning ticket, but he quickly decided he’s staying put in his tent digs and will use some of the money to help others, CINewsNow.com reports.

"With all the other homeless people around here, I've made up my mind,” Mahurin told the news outlet. “I'm gonna give them each $100."

Those who know the nomadic do-gooder say he’s always been an upstanding guy.

“He is a great guy, has an awesome sense of humor,” Sandra Rankin, an employee at the gas station where Mahurin bought the ticket, told ABC. “I care deeply for him and he is a very decent gentleman. He comes into my store three to four times a day.”

While some say that taking home the jackpot also comes with a curse, other down-and-out winners, like Mahurin, have shown that it’s possible to put the newfound cash to good use.

Film critic Roger Ebert dies at 70

http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20130404&t=2&i=719258246&w=460&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&r=CBRE9331K7700
Movie critic Roger Ebert gives the thumbs-up after receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood June 23, 2005. Ebert passed away Thursday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Roger Ebert dies - Roger Ebert, who was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize and became an unlikely TV star while hosting a movie review show with fellow critic Gene Siskel, died in Chicago on Thursday, two days after he disclosed his cancer had returned.

"It is with a heavy heart we report that legendary film critic Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) has passed away," the Chicago Sun-Times, the newspaper where Ebert, 70, worked for decades, said on Twitter.

"There is a hole that can't be filled. One of the greats has left us," the newspaper added.

Ebert, who was dubbed by Forbes magazine in 2007 as the most powerful pundit in America, was one of the mostly widely read U.S. movie critics, known for more than 40 years of insightful, sometimes sarcastic and often humorous reviews.

"For a generation of Americans - and especially Chicagoans - Roger was the movies," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "When he didn't like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive - capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical."

Ebert's reviews appeared in more than 200 newspapers and in 1975 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, the first film critic to do so. But his most visible role was as one of the hosts of a popular television movie review show with Gene Siskel, a reviewer from the rival Chicago Tribune.

The program began airing in the 1970s on a Chicago public television station and eventually ran nationally under various names, including "Siskel & Ebert." The sometimes sparring pair later trademarked their "Two thumbs up!" seal of approval for movies.

After Siskel died in 1999 at age 53 due to complications from surgery for a brain tumor, Ebert teamed with critic Richard Roeper on another movie review show. He later left the program for health reasons.

Ebert lost his ability to speak and eat after surgeries for thyroid and salivary gland cancer in 2002 and 2003 and again in 2006.

But it did not stop him from working.

On Tuesday, Ebert had posted a blog entry saying he was taking a "leave of presence" and scaling back his work after doctors diagnosed his cancer had returned. He said it was discovered by doctors after he fractured his hip in December.

"The 'painful fracture' that made it difficult for me to walk has recently been revealed to be a cancer," Ebert said in the blog posting, giving no further details about the type of cancer or diagnosis.

"I am not going away," he added. "My intent is to continue to write selected reviews ... What's more, I'll be able at last to do what I've always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review."

News of Ebert's death provoked an outpouring of tributes on Twitter.

"A great man. I miss him already," tweeted Roeper, his fellow Sun-Times film critic and TV co-host.

Millions of thumbs up for you," wrote documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, referring to his catchphrase. Comedian Steve Martin tweeted: "Goodbye Roger Ebert, we had fun. The balcony is closed."

"Rest in Peace, Roger. You were simply the best," wrote "Jaws" actor Richard Dreyfuss on Twitter.

MOVIE BOOKS, SCREENPLAY, COOKBOOK

Born on June 18, 1942, in Urbana, Illinois, south of Chicago, Ebert attended the University of Illinois and was editor of the school newspaper, the Daily Illini. From 1958 until 1966, he worked at the News Gazette in Champaign-Urbana, where he had snagged a job as a sportswriter at the age of 15, then moved to the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967.

Along with film criticism, Ebert authored several books on movies and filmmakers, including 1980's "Werner Herzog: Images at the Horizon," about the famed director, as well as titles like "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie," in 2000.

He even co-wrote the screenplay for the 1970 film "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

But it was reviewing movies that Ebert loved most and he was prolific at cranking out criticism. In print, his reviews were voluminous and omnivorous, reflecting an encyclopedic knowledge about and appetite for the genre.

He liked to say he would go out of his way to review foreign films, documentaries and little-known independent movies that other critics passed on, and he cranked out hundreds of reviews and essays annually.

Ebert's earlier bouts of cancer cost him his lower jaw. He communicated through notes and a mechanized voice as well as on the Internet, but he could not eat normally and received nutrition through a tube.

"I can remember the taste and smell of everything, even though I can no longer taste or smell," he told a New York Times interviewer in 2010, when Ebert published a cookbook, "The Pot and How to Use It."

"The jokes, gossip, laughs, arguments and shared memories I miss," he wrote of missing out on the talk at table.

Majority of Americans favor legalizing pot, poll shows

For the first time since it began asking the question four decades ago, the Pew Research Center has found that a majority of Americans support marijuana legalization.

Fifty-two percent of Americans said marijuana use should be legal, according to the national survey, conducted March 13-17. Another 45 percent of Americans said it should not be legal.

The debate over marijuana laws has ratcheted up in recent years, with voters in two states in 2012 -- Colorado and Washington -- approving recreational use of the drug among adults over the age of 21. Marijuana use of any kind, however, is still illegal under federal law. It's unclear at this point how the Obama administration intends to respond to the changes in state laws.

The Pew poll also found that most Democrats (59 percent) and Republicans (57 percent) agree that the federal government should not enforce federal laws in the states that permit marijuana use. Nearly a quarter of Americans, 72 percent, say that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they're worth.

Support for marijuana legalization has increased by 11 points in the Pew poll since 2010. Other polls have shown similar trends: A CBS News poll conducted in November 2012 showed Americans split on the issue.

The Pew poll shows demographic differences on marijuana legalization. Sixty-five percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 32 support it, though just half of Baby Boomers do.

Do below-the-line commenters have the right to remove their own comments?



What happens when people regret comments they've left online? Legally, it comes down to whether they count as journalism
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Tim Gough
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 4 April 2013 12.42 BST
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'When someone leaves a comment on an article, their personal data is being processed if the person is identifiable to the audience or to the organisation.' Photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters


A politician makes a joke which she later regrets. A footballer says something on the pitch which he quickly realises was unfortunate. A person leaves a comment beneath an article which he then wishes he hadn't made. All can now be found reported online accurately. All of these people have all expressed an opinion they later regret. Which of them have the legal right to have their words deleted upon request?

Current UK data protection law requires that for the use of personal data by an organisation to be lawful that it meets at least one of a number of criteria (legitimising conditions). They include consent, legal obligation, to fulfil a contract with an individual, to protect life, and so on. Consent is the most relevant here – consent can be given, and it can also be taken away. For example, you can agree to receive marketing emails, but you must be given the opportunity to unsubscribe from them too, as email marketing is consent driven by law.

But does this give the commenter a right to have a comment deleted by withdrawing their consent? Probably not.

Journalism (as defined in the Data Protection Act) is exempt from the requirement to meet one of the "legitimising conditions", and for a number of reasons. Journalism is not a consent-based process under the Data Protection Act. Someone providing their opinion is not, strictly speaking, consenting to their personal data being published under this particular piece of law. It would be impossible for journalists (or those conducting acts of journalism) to ask for consent from the individual for every opinion they gather, for every speech they wish to report, and that's without even considering the requirements of investigative journalism.

When someone leaves a comment on an article, their personal data is being processed if the person is identifiable to the audience or to the organisation. They may agree to the terms of use of the site which explains how their data will be used, and may assign their rights to the news organisation. But what they are not doing is providing their consent for the information to be published for data protection law purposes, because it's not needed. This does not mean an organisation has to reject all requests for deletion, but it has the choice whether to action the request.

So the crux of the issue here is whether providing an opinion beneath an article is journalism. Does it matter whether the opinion is given to a journalist and included in the article, or is offered in the comments beneath? In the digital media age, are acts of journalism only committed by journalists, or do we commit acts of journalism when we leave our opinion online? Or does it depend what the article itself is about?

So, should a commenter have an automatic right to have their opinion deleted? Should the footballer have the right to delete the slur he made on the pitch? Should the politician be allowed to have her bad joke erased? I would guess that most people would sympathise with the first request more than the other two, even though the person has been informed fully how their data will be used, has had an opportunity to craft their own words, and it is reported word-for-word. Not that it matters – what we have to ask ourselves is, is it journalism?

How to delete your digital life



Advice on how to successfully wipe out your online past. Add your own tips and views in the thread below
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Charles Arthur
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 4 April 2013 12.47 BST
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Here's how to get rid of your digital past. Photograph: Martin Rogers/Workbook Stock for the Guardian




Wiping away your digital life means getting rid of the traces you've left – the mistakes you made, the embarrassing photos, the unwise comments, the flawed social media profiles where you've left too much visible.

But how easy is that? The following steps provide a start to reducing your digital footprint and taking back control of your online life.

1) If you have a Facebook account, change every setting in the Privacy tabs to "private" or "not shared" or "off" (there's a special "privacy settings" shortcut in the blue bar near the top).

2) Find out what photos you're tagged in on Facebook. These should appear in the Photos tab on the left hand side. If you hover over the picture, a star and a pencil appear in the top right. Choose "Report/remove tag" and pick "I want to untag myself" from the list.

3) If you have a Google Blogger account, delete your profile there. That means that blogposts or comments you've made there will vanish.

4) If you've got a Tumblr or Wordpress blog, delete that too.

Now start using a search engine, and begin searching on your name (put the first name and surname together in quotes; this works in pretty much all search engines to identify that as a phrase you're after). Note that some sites, such as newspapers, generally won't agree to removing your name if you've appeared in a news or other story.

5) If you've posted in forums, go back and see if you can delete your posts. If you can't, try asking the administrators of the sites (nicely) if they can remove your post. Have a very good reason. You should always bear in mind the Streisand effect, which can have the reverse effect – spreading what you don't want to draw notice to around the internet, with the equivalent of a klaxon attached to it. (In 2003 the singer Barbra Streisand tried to remove some aerial pictures of her California beach house from a collection, via a lawsuit. The outcry meant the pictures were more widely spread, rather than the reverse.)

6) Remove any photos you've added to sites such as Flickr or, of course, Facebook. Try searching on your name in Google Images (put quotes around your name) and see what comes up: then visit those sites and ask if they would remove the photos. Again, be aware of the Streisand effect.

7) Keep doing searches on your name and finding out what turns up, and getting in touch with the owners of the sites. Be prepared to get rebuffed, especially if the site is in the US.

8) Be aware that anything that you've posted outside Facebook, Blogger or Wordpress might still live on in the Internet Archive – which aims to crawl the entire web again and again and store what it finds, for ever. The Internet Archive doesn't have an explicit way to remove sites once they're in its index – which is colossal. And as it sees itself as a repository of the web, which would otherwise be short-lived. It does take a case-by-case approach to requests for removal.

9) Be aware too that even if you remove explicit mentions of your name, a determined searcher may be able to dig up your past through leftover postings and hints of whatever sort. Mentions by other people, photos where even though you're not tagged, you're mentioned in related information.

In this, we've not taken the more extensive move of deleting your Google web search history – though if you don't want to be (silently) tracked by Google, then stop using Google's search (there are plenty of other search engines that won't track you, such as DuckDuckGo.com or Blekko.com. DuckDuckGo is improving all the time, and saw a big jump in traffic with the change in Google's privacy policies last year.

Expunging yourself from the internet is very, very hard. As far as is known, nobody's succeeded – though of course if they had, how would we know?

What other tips, links and suggestions do you have for reducing your digital footprint? Do you think it should be easy for people to airbrush their digital footprint? Leave your ideas and views in the thread below.

Rihanna smacks Cera: This Is the End Trailer




Rihanna smacks Cera - Rihanna know there was about to be some serious "bumper" grabbing

With the way she shakes her booty on stage it's probably safe to say Rihanna is a pretty confident and feisty lady.

But the singer, 25, shows off an even more powerful side to her personality in the trailer for her new film This Is The End – she is seen slapping actor Michael Cera hard across the face after he grabs her impressive bum at a party.

Ok, so when we say Rihanna is demonstrating her powerful personality in the promo, that's not strictly true because there may be quite a few cheeky chaps who try to grab her bottom on a daily basis and we doubt she smashes their faces in – she only punched Michael because she was acting and she was probably paid a load of cash to do it.

Right, so now we've cleared that up, let's establish exactly how our RiRi, whose boyfriend Chris has just revealed he's had sex on a plane, comes to smash Michael round the chops.

She's starring in a film alongside a whole host of other famous names including Jason Segal, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan and Emma Watson who all, randomly, play themselves.


The last person to grab Rihanna's "bumper" before her fictional death was Michael Cera. Who knew

The gang are pals with James Franco (obviously), who also plays himself, and they become trapped at a party at his house while a series of cataclysmic events happen around them in Los Angeles.

Anyway, we digress, lets get back to the rather amazing Rihanna's behind. While everyone is having plenty of fun, a rather drunken Michael Cera stumbles up behind RiRi and gives her bum a right old slap.

The totally and utterly disgusted singer puts down her umbrella (she's not actually holding one but that's our attempt at a joke) and proceeds to wallop Michael round the face, shouting: “Don't touch my f****** bumper b****!”

However, karma soon comes back to bite Rihanna on the... erm... bumper as she meets a grisly end when the ground she's standing on collapses and she tumbles down into a deep black hole.

Want to see Rihanna smashing up Michael Cera? Then watch this with your eyeballs...

Check out trailer

Cornell wrestler charged with rape 'after sleeping woman awoke to find him on top of her and her friend took photos to identify him'

  • Peter Mesko, 22, of Honesdale, Pa., was charged on Tuesday with first-degree rape
  • Alleged victim's friend took photos of the accused with his pants around his ankles to identify him after the attack on Saturday morning
  • Mesko is a junior in the school of agriculture and last year he took third place in a New York State intercollegiate wrestling tournament
  • The alleged victim is also a student at the Ivy League college
| 
Accused: The women, who haven't been named, managed to fight Peter Mesko, 22, pictured, of Honesdale, Pa., off and run away after the alleged rape on Saturday morning
Accused: The women, who haven't been named, managed to fight Peter Mesko, 22, pictured, of Honesdale, Pa., off and run away after the alleged rape on Saturday morning
A Cornell University wrestler has been charged with rape after a female student, who caught him having sex with her friend while she slept, took pictures of him with his pants around his ankles to show police.
The two women, who haven't been named, managed to fight Peter Mesko, 22, of Honesdale, Pa., off and run away after the Saturday morning incident.
But the alleged victim's friend went back after the attack to take photos of the accused, which the two used to look him up on the Ivy League school's athletic department website, police said.
Mesko was charged on Tuesday with first-degree rape. He was freed on $5,000 bail for a court appearance tomorrow.
According to the Ithaca Journal, court papers said the two women had gone out to a Collegetown tavern with friends at around 11 p.m. on Friday night then fell asleep at the friend's house at around 1 a.m.
The alleged victim told police she had had two beers, a shot of tequila and a whiskey and Coke.
The friend was awakened around 1:30 a.m. by the noise of her housemates and their friends playing drinking games outside her room. She noticed some Cornell wrestlers among them when she went out to ask them to quiet down.
 
The alleged victim said she woke up at 4:45 a.m. to find a stranger raping her, and her cries awoke her partner.
'I woke up confused and uncomfortable and said, "I don't like that, stop!"' she recalled, according to the Journal.
The two women managed to shove Mesko off and ran from the room, police said, though not before the friend recognized the attacker as one of the wrestlers from the party.
Charged: Mesko, pictured, was charged on Tuesday with first-degree rape. He was freed on $5,000 bail for a court appearance tomorrow
Charged: Mesko, pictured, was charged on Tuesday with first-degree rape. He was freed on $5,000 bail for a court appearance tomorrow
The friends locked themselves in an upstairs room but a few minutes later, the friend crept downstairs to take pictures of the man she recognized.
'I quickly took two pictures of him, he said aloud "no" when he recognized that I had taken them,' the woman recalled. 
She ran back upstairs before Mesko allegedly followed and attempted to kick the door down.
'He tried to push the door twice and was twisting the door knob,' the victim recalled. 'I said "it's occupied" and then we heard his footsteps go away from the door.'
About half an hour later they dashed from the building and noticed Mesko still at the house, asleep on a futon.
Scene: Kent Hubbell, the Dean of Students at Cornell, pictured, said the arrest has 'shocked' the university community
Scene: Kent Hubbell, the Dean of Students at Cornell, pictured, said the arrest has 'shocked' the university community
The alleged victim went to an emergency room to have a rape exam done, then contacted police.
According to the Cornell website, Mesko is a junior in the school of agriculture. Last year, the wrestler took third place in a New York State intercollegiate tournament.
Police said they did not know if he had a lawyer. His phone number was unlisted, and a call to his parents' home on Thursday went unanswered.
Police Officer Jamie Williamson said the assault took place off campus. He declined to say whether the alleged victim was a Cornell student. University officials had no comment.
'The arrest this week of a Cornell student charged with raping a fellow student has shocked our community,' Cornell Dean of Students Kent Hubbell said in a statement posted on the university website.
He said a new website has been set up to provide support for victims of sexual violence as well as those troubled by the reported rape.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2304144/Peter-Mesko-arrest-Cornell-wrestler-arrested-rape-sleeping-woman-awoke-her-friend-took-photos-identify-him.html#ixzz2PWvNUvSs 
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Right to erasure protects people's freedom to forget the past, says expert



Viktor Mayer-Schönberger says the ability to forget our past, both on and offline, is an essential part of what makes us human
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Kate Connolly in Berlin
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 4 April 2013 12.50 BST


Viktor Mayer-Schönberger: 'Digital memories will only remind us of the failures of our past.' Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian


He describes himself as the "midwife" of the idea of the right to be forgotten. And for Viktor Mayer-Schönberger , it's not just about the legal, moral and technical arguments – but about what it is to be human.

"The more I've worked on data protection over the past 20 years, the more I've realised that at the heart of this, what matters as much as the privacy aspect is the issue of human decision-making," said Mayer-Schönberger, professor of internet governance at the Oxford Internet Institute. "Humans need to make decisions about the present and the future. The beauty of the human brain is that we forget, which enables us to think in the present. That is necessary to help us make decisions."

He cites the case of AJ, a woman from California, later identified as Jill Price, whose story came to light about six years ago. Price suffers from hyperthymesia, a neurological condition that means she cannot forget anything that has ever happened in her life. Mayer-Schönberger says that if everything about us is kept on internet databases, the effect, while not as drastic as in Price's case, is nevertheless similar.

"Our brains reconstruct the past based on our present values. Take the diary you wrote 15 years ago, and you see how your values have changed. There is a cognitive dissonance between now and then. The brain reconstructs the memory and deletes certain things. It is how we construct ourselves as human beings, rather than flagellating ourselves about things we've done.

"But digital memories will only remind us of the failures of our past, so that we have no ability to forget or reconstruct our past. Knowledge is based on forgetting. If we want to abstract things we need to forget the details to be able to see the forest and not the trees. If you have digital memories, you can only see the trees."

Digital memories, he said, are very different to analogue, photographic ones. "Photos, whether blurry or not, still leave a lot of room for interpretation, unlike, say, a high-definition video, where there's no escaping everything you said and did."

Mayer-Schönberger, who advises companies, governments and international organisations on the societal effects of the use of data, advocates an "expiration date" (a little like a supermarket use-by date) for all data so that it can be deleted once it has been used for its primary purpose. "Otherwise companies and governments will hold on to it for ever."

He cites surveys showing that people increasingly approve of the right to be forgotten. A survey by the University of Berkeley two years ago, he said, "clearly shows that people want the right to be forgotten to be legislated by US congress." He said the survey found 90% of the 60+ generation want this.

"There has hardly been a legislative issue in US history that has received such high acceptance," he said.

But what is of even more significance, he said, was the "84% of 18- to 24-year-olds – those born into the digital age – who want the right to be forgotten to be legislated. Their desire is not much less than that of the 60+ year-olds. There's a deep-seated concern in the population that the internet companies and data users have too much power."

Among the more refined arguments that the lobbyists use, he said, are that "right to-be-forgotten legislation violates and invalidates freedom of speech and expression. But this is bullshit. It's a ridiculous mis-statement" of what new EU legislative proposals set out.

Another lobbyist argument, he says, is that it is "technically impossible to implement the right to be forgotten, because of the many back-ups of back-ups of back-ups that take place".

"But if you can be deleted from Google's database, ie if you carry out a search on yourself and it no longer shows up , it might be in Google's back-up, but if 99% of the population don't have access to it you have effectively been deleted," he said.