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Puerto Rico sends United States a non-binding friend request

Amidst all the other election craziness last night, Puerto Ricans voted in favor of becoming the 51st U.S. state. Currently, Puerto Rico is a territory — they've got a non-voting rep in Congress, they don't pay taxes, and they get U.S. military protection and some social services. The results from last night don't actually change anything about that position, but they do put the ball in Congress' court. Puerto Rico wants to be a state. Now it's up to Congress to decide what to do about that. (Via Aaron Olsen)

TOM THE DANCING BUG: Hollingsworth Hound - Is There a Hurricane Problem?

Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH Hollingsworth Hound weighs important scientific climate information -- the fate of the world in the balance!Read the rest

Canada gets a huge raft of user-rights in copyright

Michael Geist sez,

This morning, the majority of Bill C-11, the Canadian copyright reform bill, took effect, marking the most significant changes to Canadian copyright law in decades. While there are still some further changes to come (the Internet provider notice-and-notice rules await a consultation and their own regulations, various provisions related to the WIPO Internet treaties await formal ratification of those treaties) and digital lock protections are part of the package, all the consumer oriented provisions are now active. These include:

- The addition of education, parody, and satire as fair dealing purposes.
- The creation of a non-commercial user generated content provision that creates a legal safe harbour for creators of non-commercial USG (provided they meet four conditions in the law) and for sites that host such content.
- The adoption of several new consumer exceptions including time shifting (recording of television shows), format shifting, and the making of backup copies.

Read the rest

Grime Writer: detergent-filled graffiti pen

Grime Writer is a detergent-filled graffiti marker that cleans away street-filth to leave your message behind. There's a good chance that the graffiti you create with these is no more legal than any other kind -- there've been successful prosecutions against companies in the UK that paid "street teams" to "reverse-graffiti" their messages by using detergent and stencils to selectively clean away grime from public walls, leaving behind commercial messages.

Grime Writer is a special chunky marker pen that can be filled with cleaning solution, and used to create art on a canvas of filth. Use it to tag your dirty vehicles & windows, or to transform dirt into artistic expression.

Much more socially acceptable than real graffiti and (more importantly) a lot less illegal - Grime Writer helps you leave your mark wherever you find muck. Use responsibly to help promote the phenomenon of negative graffiti, and brilliantly combine the crime of defacing a bridge with the community service time cleaning it up again afterwards, into one harmless, helpful, creative act.

Grime Writer : Cleans away grime to leave your message (via Super Punch)

Medical marijuana in Israel

"I've been a Holocaust child all my life. I'm now 80 and I'm still a Holocaust child, but I'm finally able to better cope." A Buchenwald survivor who uses cannabis for PTSD in a nursing home in Israel, in USA Today.

Early financial markets reaction to Obama reelection: Sell.

Stocks fell sharply this morning in early Wall Street trading, which may or may not indicate that investors are unhappy with Obama's reelection. "The Dow Jones industrial average fell 197 points, or 1.5%, to 13,048 shortly after the opening bell. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 21 points, or 1.5%, to 1,407. The Nasdaq was down 41 points, or 1.4%, to 2,971."

Trippy NYT election graphic on voting shifts

The New York Times is killing it with election-related infographics, and they're not even Flash-based!

This one sort of combines wind and voting. Readers in WA or CO may want to toke up before clicking.

(HT: Lena Groeger)

Karl Rove vs. math

Fox News analyst and GOP rainmaker Karl Rove went to war on election night against his own network's arithmetic. NBC and Fox called Obama's re-election at around 11:15PM ET; after Fox called Ohio (and, accordingly, the election) for the President, Rove started complaining—on Fox News!—that Fox had called it prematurely.

Read the rest

Particle physicists not yet willing to call the election for Obama

Sure, there's a 99.2% probability that he will win, but that is several standard deviations away from the 99.99995% confidence that the particle physicists would need to declare the election won. (This is satire, obviously.) Via Jennifer Ouellette.

WA and CO legalize recreational weed, MA okays medicinal use, but "don’t break out Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly"

Voters in Washington and Colorado chose to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, in addition to medicinal use, making them the first U.S. states to decriminalize the practice. Massachussetts voters said yes to medicinal marijuana, making it the 18th state (together with Washington, D.C.) to legalize medical use of pot.

What all of this means in practice will be interesting to watch. If the federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in California are any indication, it's not as simple as "state's rights." Marijuana is still a schedule 1 narcotic, the most restrictive class of illegal drug, with no recognized medical use by federal guidelines. Things may get ugly.

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Most Gangsta Lunchables Commercial ever

YouTuber Mike Dahlquist (@Mikediva) "discovered" this "banned" mid-90s video ad for Lunchables. (via Sean Bonner)

Minnesota defeats discriminatory marriage amendment

Last night, Minnesota became the first state to vote against a constitutional amendment banning gays and lesbians from marrying. We still don't have marriage equality in this state. But two other states — Maine and Maryland — voted in favor of legalizing gay marriage and a third, Washington, looks like it might do the same. Meanwhile, Iowans voted to retain a judge who played a role in making same sex marriage legal in that state.

To celebrate — especially on the Minnesota front, where we also rejected a voter ID amendment — I present this video of the Swedish Chef making meatballs.

Modern political ads are bo-RING

Election night's over, and in the Vintage Ads group, spuzzlightyear's closed it off with ten magnificent political ads from times gone by. Here are a couple of my favourites.

various political ads....

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Donald Trump calls for revolutionary overthrow of American government

He deleted it, but Wil Wheaton saved it for posterity.