Apolitical Archives - Page 4 of 191 - SaintPetersBlog

Drunk is the new barefoot and pregnant

Drunk is the new barefoot and pregnant. Both work equally well to keep women from posing a threat to men in the marketplace, which may explain why “heavy drinking has been normalized” for the sex that isn’t built to metabolize alcohol.

Men can be stewed to the gills and nevertheless stay in high places for an entire career. For women, the distance from first drink to rode hard, put away wet is a lot shorter. It’s not fair, but the science is conclusive. Women have smaller bodies than men, and a smaller quantity of the enzymes needed to process toxins in the tequila.

Blood alcohol levels in women climb faster and stay elevated longer than they do in men. Women who can avoid debilitating hangovers, date rape and DUIs may have a harder time avoiding breast cancer, heart disease and atrophy of the brain. Liver disease starts earlier and progresses faster in women than in men. A woman may get on the wagon, but liver disease will continue to progress in ways it does not in a man who dries out.

When it comes to pleasures of the flesh, science is never a match for marketing, and marketing is the steamroller behind what The Washington Post calls a “profound cultural shift: Women in America are drinking far more, and far more frequently, than their mothers and grandmothers did, and alcohol consumption is killing them in record numbers.”

In 2013, more than a million of them turned up in emergency rooms. Middle-aged women were the demographic most likely to be suffering from severe intoxication.

Over in Africa, it’s always Wine O’Clock for a growing population of professional women who need to ” … unwind after a hard day’s work money to spend on more expensive drinks.”

For working moms and stay-at-home moms who don’t have time to wash stemware, there’s a wineglass big enough to hold an entire bottle of fruits of the vine with names like Mommy’s Time Out, Mommy Juice and Mommy’s Little Helper. It’s a road we’ve been down before, and even the Rolling Stones know where it ends.

Birth control and higher education have made it possible for girls of 20th-century vintage to gain a toehold on the ladder of success.  But we won’t have equality until a drunk woman can go as far in life as a drunk man, and stay alive long enough to enjoy it.

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Orlando, Miami ranked among top places for New Year’s Eve celebrations

If you can’t make it to Times Square to ring in 2017, have no fear: The nation’s best place to party might be closer than you think.

A new WalletHub report ranked Orlando as the best place to celebrate New Year’s Eve. And the Central Florida city wasn’t the only Sunshine State city on the best list. Miami ranked No. 7, while Tampa landed in the No. 13 spot on the WalletHub list.

The company compared the 100 biggest cities “based on 20 key indicators of an epic New Year’s Eve.” Analysts compared the cities across three areas — entertainment and food, costs, and safety and accessibility — and complied 20 metrics, including luxury shopping, average cost of a New Year’s Eve party ticket, and walkability.

Orlando ranked No. 1 overall, with a total score of 76.96 points. It ranked eighth in costs and 82nd in the safety and accountability category. The town the Mouse built came in second in the entertainment and food category.

The City Beautiful fared well in several other categories, including where to find the lowest average price of a New Year’s Eve party ticket and one of the communities with the most nightlife options per capita. When it comes to nightlife options, Orlando was tied for first with San Francisco, Portland, Las Vegas, Atlanta and New Orleans.

Orlando also ranked high in the number of restaurants per capita, sharing the top spot with Miami.

Miami ranked No. 7 in WalletHub’s overall list of the best place to for New Year’s Eve, with a total score of 66.96. It landed in the No. 7 spot in the entertainment and food category, and was ranked 48th in the safety and accessibility category. The South Florida city was ranked 65th when it comes to costs.

Tampa was in the No. 13 spot, with a score of 62.71. It was ranked 20th when it comes to entertainment and food, and earned the No. 14 spot in the safety and accessibility category. It landed in the No. 37 spot in the costs category.

Jacksonville (No. 53), St. Petersburg (No. 63), and Hialeah (No. 90) also earned a spot on WalletHub’s list.

And in case you were wondering, North Las Vegas was ranked No. 100 on WalletHub’s list of the “Best Places for New Year’s Eve Celebrations.”

Source: WalletHub
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rape protest

Florence Snyder: Now in her 80s, Susan Brownmiller continues to inspire

At age 81, the journalist, historian, and feminist icon Susan Brownmiller has lost none of the youthful mix of outrage and optimism that fueled the four furious years of research and reporting that became “Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape.”

Brownmiller in 1975 (AP)

The highly influential tome was front page news when first published in 1975.

Since then, the book has informed and inspired generations of lawyers, social workers, and everyday people who are trying to bend the arc of history in the direction of justice for rape victims.

As this year full of extraordinary loss comes to a close, it is reassuring to know that Brownmiller is of sound and generous mind, giving interviews to Al-Jazeera, PBS, and fan-girls from Florida who call to say “thank-you.”

Brownmiller was in her 30s when she began reporting on the movement then-known as “women’s liberation.” Somewhere in a consciousness-raising group, “I realized that rape had a history,” said Brownmiller, and someone needed to tell the story of those who, since ancient times, had been violated, and thereafter shamed in to silence.

“Against Our Will” maps the weaponization of male genitalia from the Trojan War to Vietnam.

“It’s still a battle strategy,” Brownmiller said last week, when, for too-brief a moment, People on TV were talking about Aleppo.

Today’s news that Boko Haram is teaching child soldiers how to rape comes as absolutely no surprise to Brownmiller’s audience.

When Brownmiller began her research at the New York Public Library, its card catalogue contained more entries for rapeseed than for rape.  Police and prosecutors viewed rape as a property crime against fathers and husbands, if they thought about it at all.

The ratio of rape to rapeseed has changed in today’s digital card catalogue, thanks to women like Brownmiller who did the hard and largely thankless work of bringing light to dark corners where women’s spirits are broken.

Even though rape remains a ubiquitous weapon of war, Brownmiller continues to “hope that changes in our lifetime.”

“I have to feel optimistic,” she said. “The fires of good always burn, and pendulums shift all the time.”

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Second-half run powers No. 20 Florida St. over Wake Forest

Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 23 points apiece as No. 20 Florida State opened Atlantic Coast Conference play with an 88-72 victory over Wake Forest on Wednesday.

Florida State trailed most of the game and was down 66-61 before it went on a run of 17 straight points over a 4:02 span. The Seminoles made seven straight shots from the field during the run while the Demon Deacons committed four turnovers.

Jonathan Isaac added 13 points and CJ Walker had 12 for Florida State (12-1, 1-0), which has won nine straight for the first time since 2003-04 and is off to its best start since going 16-1 in 1988-89.

Keyshawn Woods and Bryant Crawford led the Demon Deacons (9-3, 0-1) with 16 each.
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With the loss of its celebrities, Gen X ponders mortality

Princess Leia was our first girl movie heroine, and we made our moms braid brunette yarn so we’d have earmuff buns for Halloween. Carol Brady of “The Brady Bunch” was the ideal mother we probably didn’t have, because our moms had to work and left us latchkey kids home alone, with TV and processed food our only companions.

Carrie Fisher and Florence Henderson — and other icons of Generation X’s youth — are now gone, stolen by the cruel thief that is 2016. The year has left the generation born between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s wallowing in memories and contemplating its own mortality.

“It’s a very melancholy time,” sighed Shelly Ransom, a 47-year-old speech-language pathologist in Darien, Connecticut. “This is really bringing back a lot of teen angsty feelings. These people are supposed to still be the voices of my generation. It’s sad to see these artists not there to be our voice.”

Or, as weary, 51-year-old Lawrence Feeney, a filmmaker from New Port Richey, Florida, put it: “You lose George Michael and Carrie Fisher in a three-day span, you feel like you’ve gotten a couple of daggers thrown at you.”

Throughout the year, office conversations, dinner party discussions and social media have exploded with incredulity, sadness and fear, as one ’80s celebrity after another died, starting in January with David Bowie.

The feelings have been particularly acute for Gen X, whose members came of age when many of these cultural figures were popular.

We adored Bowie in the movie “Labyrinth” and danced to “Modern Love” at prom. We remember reading the words “Purple Rain” on the theater marquee and wondered why that little guy in high heels was so sexy. We made out fervently in cars in high school as George Michael crooned on the FM dial (Remember radio? It came decades before Spotify, and you couldn’t pick your music).

“We were the generation that was going to change the world. When I was a young man, I watched people my age stand in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square and tear down the Berlin Wall. Now I find myself complaining about arthritis in my hands and taking care of my aging parents,” lamented Rob Withrow, a 43-year-old landscape business owner in Palm Bay, Florida.

He added: “The musicians I admired growing up are now dying off. Hopefully, I still have quite a few more decades left in me, but the reality of dying is much clearer to see.”

Of course, this happens to every generation: Our idols die off, and we suddenly feel our youth slipping away.

But Lou Manza, a professor of psychology at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania, said baby boomers and older generations weren’t as invested in or connected to their celebrities. Gen X had MTV, which put pop stars like Prince and Bowie into our homes in heavy rotation.

That, combined with the immediacy and intimacy of 21st-century social media – we knew when platinum-haired punk rocker Billy Idol turned 61 because Facebook informed us, for instance – amplifies the sadness.

“Our parents in the ’70s would hear about a celebrity death on the nightly news, or the next day in the newspaper,” Manza said. “Now, there’s more and more of an immediacy with every successive generation.”

Sarah McBride Wagner, a 37-year-old writer in Weirton, West Virginia, said social media has created a place for collective mourning.

“We’ve never met these people. Yet we’re all so affected by it,” she said. “Being a shared grief both makes it bigger and easier.”

For some, the death of beloved childhood figures reminds us of the passing of people closer to us and of the march of time, which seems more like a fast jog.

“We’re at the age now when we really start to see ourselves in our parents. My son just turned 10, and it occurred to me as he hung out with my parents that it’s really not going to be too many more years before my husband and I are my parents, and he is us,” said Amanda Forman, a 38-year-old mother of three and a writer from Flourtown, Pennsylvania.

“The celebrity deaths of people we’ve admired exacerbate those feelings. I think in the case of those who passed who are slightly older, it makes us feel like we are that much closer, that our generation is next. And it makes us feel like our childhood is that much further behind us.”

Reprinted with the permission of the Associated Press

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Mitch Perry’s Top Ten films, books and music events of the year

Self indulgence warning.

As I’ve been doing since my first year with Creative Loafing (2009), I’ve assembled a top ten list of my favorite movies, music and books of the year.

When it comes to movies, I remain a stalwart in seeing moving pictures on the big screen. Living within a couple of movie houses helps considerably, but it also hurts — I’ve seen far too many terrible comedies on some weekends because I just wanted to get out of the house – regretting it deeply afterward.

I mean, seeing Robert DeNiro in “Bad Grandpa” – specifically in one scene with his pants around his ankles – was legitimately disturbing, and was a sight that nobody deserves to see.

As someone who goes to the cinema probably an of fifty times a year, I can also honestly say that until the fall season came around, this really was a bad year for Hollywood’s line of products. And there seemed to be less interesting foreign movies/documentaries making their way into the market. I suppose if you have a Netflix membership you can get around that, but I’m limiting this list to movies seen in a cinema, which is why Ezra Edelman‘s,” OJ Simpson Made in America,” won’t be getting any love from this corner.

When reading the top ten movie list, as always, it comes with a caveat that some of the most acclaimed films of the year haven’t been released in the Tampa Bay area market as of December 20, and thus the list can and probably will change in another month or so.

Best Movie

1. Loving directed by Jeff Nichols

2. Manchester By the Sea by Kenneth Lonergan

3. Hacksaw Ridge by Mel Gibson

4. Moonlight by Barry Jenkins

5. Christine by Antonio Campos

6. A Bigger Splash by Luca Guadagnino

7. Nocturnal Animals by Tom Ford

8. Weiner by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg

9. The Hologram for a King by Tom Tykwer

10. The Eyewitness by James Solomon

When it comes to music and books, I probably saw less live music than I ever have in my life, and that is not a good thing. Part of that has to do with the fact my work prevented me from going to some weekday shows I might want have checked out, but there were also fewer shows I was into seeing. It didn’t help that my annual trip to see a festival – this past year, the Governors Ball in New York — was marred by bad weather that resulted in the final day of the event being canceled.

However, I think I’ve probably never read more fiction that in the past year, and that’s something that will continue.

Best Music

1. David Bowie – Blackstar

2. M83 – Go

3. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

4. Beck in concert/Governors Ball, NYC June 4

5. DIIV – Is the Is Are

6. Savages – Adore Life

7.  Wild Nothing – Life of Pause

8.  Hope Sandoval and Kurt Vile – “Let Me Get There” single

9. Car Seat Headress — Teens of Denial

10. Peter Hook doing New Order’s Substance Nov 19, Ritz Theatre Ybor City

Best books

Fiction:

1. The Nix by Nathan Hill

2. Here I am by Jonathan Safron Foer

3. Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta

4. Sweet bitter by Stephanie Danler

5. Bright, Precious Days by Jay McInerney

Nonfiction:

6. American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin

7.  Strangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild

8. The Accidental Life by Terry McDonnell

9. Disrupted by Dan Lyons

10. The Last Innocents by Michael Leahy

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Uber, MADD, Hillsborough County want New Year’s Eve celebrants to #LeaveTheKeys for safety

As 2016 draws to a close, more Tampa Bay area residents than ever will turn to Uber for safe, affordable rides to and from New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Once again, Uber is partnering with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Tampa Police Department and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), to provide area residents and visitors a few of the best tips to get around safely this holiday season.

In addition, Uber and MADD are asking Hillsborough County residents to pledge to keep roads safe and #LeaveTheKeys when they go out to celebrate the upcoming new year.

“At the Tampa Police Department, we are focused on keeping our roads safe and that includes educating the public about the many transportation options they have access to after a night out,” said TPD Sergeant John Womack. “If holiday plans include alcohol, we urge residents and visitors to have a designated driver or take public transportation.”

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 973 drunken driving deaths took place nationwide between Thanksgiving and new year’s eve 2015 – an increase from 957 the year before. In total, 10,265 people died from alcohol-related crashes in the United States in 2015 –including 508 in Florida. During the new year’s holiday period (6 p.m. Dec. 31, 2014, to 5:59 a.m. Jan. 5, 2015) there were 31 killed per day in drunken driving crashes — 139 deaths over 4.5 days.

“Raising awareness about the dangers associated with alcohol-impaired driving this holiday season is one of our top priorities,” said Colonel James Burton, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. “When local leaders and organizations come together to arm residents and visitors with information on safe ways of getting from one place to another, we can help reduce drunken driving.”

Uber and MADD launched a national campaign to help save lives this season by reminding people of the safe ride alternative. Everyone is encouraged to take a pledge not to drink and drive during the holidays.

The campaign includes the #LeaveTheKeys promotion, which Uber recently rolled out in a new in-app messaging on the pledge and road safety.

“Uber is proud to team up with MADD to raise awareness about the dangers associated with alcohol-impaired driving,” said Susan Hendrick, of Uber Safety Communications. “There is never an excuse to get behind the wheel after drinking. Pledge to keep the roads safe and ensure you have a designated driver.”

MADD works to educate people to ensure everyone knows the travel choices available in their city, town or county,” said Linda Unfried, co-founder of Hillsborough County MADD. “Ridesharing has a significant impact on communities, including Tampa Bay, by connecting them with a safe and reliable alternative to getting behind the wheel after a night out.”

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Mall fights send post-holiday shoppers scrambling for exits

Fights broke out at malls around the country Monday night sending shoppers, who were looking for post-holiday deals, scrambling for the exits.

No one was seriously injured in the mall melees, which, during the panic, also prompted numerous false reports of gunfire.

Police in Ohio told Cleveland.com that officers used pepper spray to disperse a large crowd following a fight at an upscale shopping mall in Beachwood, just outside of Cleveland.

A report of shots fired was later determined to be unfounded.

One male juvenile was arrested for allegedly trying to hit an officer during the incident, which police said appeared to have been “loosely organized on social media.”

There were similar disturbances at malls around the country including in New York, New Jersey and North Carolina, where chaos erupted at a mall in Fayetteville and emergency medical personnel were called in to assist someone who had a medical episode while fleeing.

In Memphis, Tennessee, police arrested several people following fights at two malls there. No one was injured and no gunshots were fired, despite reports indicating otherwise.

“Somebody yelled ‘gun!’ and youths stampeded through the mall,” Deputy Chief Terry Landrum told The Commercial Appeal.

Police in Aurora, Colorado, near Denver, evacuated a mall due to multiple skirmishes.

The trouble reportedly began during an arrest when an unruly crowd surrounded the scene.

Aurora police spokesman Sgt. Chris Amsler said that as the suspect was being taking into custody, the crowd, which mushroomed in size to about 500 people, advanced on the officer and fights broke out. Five juveniles were arrested. No one was hurt.

In Aurora, Illinois, outside of Chicago, a mall there was temporarily shut down due to a large disturbance. Videos posted on Twitter showed mall security trying to get the situation under control.

There was no official word on whether any of the fights, which were also reported in Arizona, Texas, Indiana and Connecticut, were connected.

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Hold the door on the DSOs

Now that Pitbull has opened Pandora’s Box, all sorts of corporate welfare stories are flying around where Richard Corcoran can see them. Last week, the University of Central Florida (UCF) put itself on the radar with its unprecedented decision to turn a private, not-for-profit outfit called Limbitless into a university direct-support organization (DSO).

Limbitless is by all accounts doing the Lord’s work. A creation of UCF engineering students, the company makes artificial limbs from 3D printers and enlists celebrities like Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., to deliver them to kids who would otherwise have to do without. So far, around 15 families have benefited from Limbitless’ ingenuity and generosity.

Everyone should hope that these kinds of young people can build these kinds of ideas into ventures that generate profits and enable them to do well by doing good.  And everyone who thinks that government should not be in the business of “picking winners and losers ” should say, “Whoa!”

As a nonprofit, Limbitless has had to compete in the real world for whatever it needs to fund its overhead. With the magic and fairy dust of DSO status, the overhead burdens are lifted. UCF will furnish Limbitless with free office space, lawyers, flacks, and the priceless imprimatur of the nation’s second-largest university.

DSOs have been proliferating like kudzu for decades and performing the same function. The whole point of a DSO is to provide a thick and shady haven. Reporters are rarely seen, except when the DSO does something spectacularly stupid, which has been known to happen.

Nonprofits, too, have been breeding grounds for scandal. What UCF has done is unprecedented for a reason. Let’s hope it’s not too late to hold the door.

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Blake Dowling: Hacking, weaponized artificial intelligence, ransomware and other fun just for you

Breaches, hacking, ransomware, cyber threats, weaponized AI, smart toothbrushes are but a few examples of scary tech out there to make your day less than fantastic.

Weapons systems that think on its own are in production, with governments racing to catch up on how to regulate these fast-paced advancements.

Police and military already use drones and robots to eliminate threats, but (as far as we know) it’s hardware controlled by humans.

For example, in the Republic of Texas, police this year loaded a robot with explosives and — in true Lone Star State fashion — blew a sniper from whence he came. Who knows how many lives this effort saved?

That robot was controlled by a human. What happens when the robot can think on its own?

Maybe it decides it does not identify with being a robot, turning off the explosives?

Even if governments of the world (minus North Korea, Yemen, California, and Russia) enacted bans on this type of tech, what would stop rogue nations from creating their own? What vicious circle will we see here?

If such rouge nations start deploying them, we might have to implement them ourselves as a countermeasure.

Around and around we go. Scary stuff.

Maybe Stephen Hawking knew the 411 when, back in 2014, he said: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

Moving on to ransomware.

The first CryptoLocker threat was devious. Click on a fake UPS or American Express site, and your files are encrypted. The originator of the threat then offers you the encryption keys — if you pay a ransom.

Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

The latest version of ransomware, however, moves from devious to “Emperor Palpatine” mode. This one is called Popcorn Time.

Popcorn Time follows the same pattern as CryptoLocker, but with a twist.

In a true Dark Side manner, Popcorn Time creators also want to recruit you to become a loyal member of their version of the Sith. Once your files are encrypted, they ask you to pay the ransom or send a link containing the same virus to two people that you know.

If those people download the virus, they will give you the keys to unlock your files.

Whoa.

Talk about playing on people’s dark side (the trail of puns just keeps coming).

Security is only as good as the weakest link in the chain; generally, users have weak chains (who hasn’t come across a phishing email ever?). Ransomware is resolved relatively quickly, by relying on data backups.

It should go without saying, although you may be shocked by how many people fail at this.

Backups should also be redundant, copies of anything important both in the cloud (though a lot of malware can look for any drive associated with your computer, even Google Drive) and burned to a disc (surefire method).

Or you can go BC and chisel it into rock tablets in cuneiform (Moses knew what he was doing).

Cyber threats are out there, and if backed by a nation state with almost unlimited resources (like Russia), they will get you. Just ask former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

It’s like hitting the town with Johnny Manziel — sooner or later, the cops are going to get involved.

As mentioned above, backups are essential. Make sure they are redundant, keep passwords long and complicated (like a letter from the IRS); use two-factor authentication with financial institutions, and don’t send anything in an email you don’t want people to see.

Also, keep your anti-virus and anti-spam solutions up to date; have an enterprise-level firewall deployed at your office. We set ours (and our clients) to block any traffic not coming from the U.S. This is a great front line of security as so many cyber threats originate in Africa, Russia, China, etc.

Be safe out there, and Happy New Year!

___

Blake Dowling is CEO at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology column is published monthly. Contact him at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com or at www.aegisbiztech.com.

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