Vladimir Putin during the nationwide phone-in in Moscow. Photograph: RIA Novosti/Reuters
Today's question-and-answer session on Russian TV between NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not go as Snowden had hoped. "I questioned the Russian president live on TV to get his answer on the record, not to whitewash him," Snowden says in an op-blog in the Guardian:
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Novelist Gabriel García Márquez, whose One Hundred Years of Solitude "established him as a giant of 20th-century literature," died today at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.
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So, this happened.
“I’d like to ask you,” NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asked Russian leader Vladimir Putin on a televised call-in show, “does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?” Putin, a former KGB agent and head of Russia's intelligence service, spoke about what they had in common: spycraft.
“Mr. Snowden, you are a former agent,” the president replied. “I used to work for an intelligence service. Let’s speak professionally.”
“Our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law,” Mr. Putin said. “You have to get a court’s permission first.” He noted that terrorists use electronic communications and that Russia had to respond to that threat.
“Of course we do this,” Mr. Putin said. “But we don’t use this on such a massive scale and I hope that we won’t.”
“But what is most important,” Mr. Putin concluded, “is that the special services, thank God, are under a strict control of the government and the society, and their activities are regulated by law.”
More in this New York Times report
'X-Men' director Bryan Singer. Photo: Reuters
A 2007 mugshot of sex offender Marc Collins-Rector, former chairman of DEN. He is mentioned in the 2014 lawsuit against Singer.
Bryan Singer, the director of the forthcoming film “X-Men: Days of Future Past
” is accused in a lawsuit filed today in Hawaii federal court
of drugging and raping a teenage boy in 1999. The case is a civil case, not a criminal case, and Singer's attorney says the charges are "without merit." AP reports that the lawsuit was filed
in Hawaii "because of a state law that temporarily suspends the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases."
Also mentioned in the lawsuit is Marc Collins-Rector, a sexual predator and founder and chairman of Digital Entertainment Network (aka DEN or <EN), an early internet video startup that made headlines for high capitalization and sex parties involving founders and teen boys. Collins-Rector is a registered sex offender who fled to Spain, and was arrested there in 2002. In 2004, Collins-Rector pled guilty to charges he lured minors across state lines for sexual acts. The allegations of sexual abuse involving Collins-Rector and other DEN executives shocked the web startup world in 1999, and led to the collapse of DEN's IPO.
Variety reports on the charges against Brian Singer filed today:
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A still from the video of a marmoset exhibiting behavior that resembles human grieving.
A sad story of two marmosets documented by animal behavior researcher Bruna Bezerra, who was observing the primates in their northeast Brazil home:
The pair had been the dominant male and female since observations began. When the female fell out of the tree, her partner engaged in a number of behaviors, including embracing her, sniffing at her, chasing other monkeys away, sitting by her, and trying to copulate with her. He also emitted alarm calls normally used when a predator is near. And several months after her death, the male disappeared from the marmoset group, never to be seen again.
More: Do Monkeys Grieve for Fallen Mates? | Science/AAAS
. Here's the study, in the journal Primates
. There's video, too
. [via Ed Yong
Noted horrible shitbag Donald Rumsfeld has one thing in common with you and I, dear reader: he is not happy with the IRS, and wishes he hadn't spent so much money preparing and filing his taxes. Here is his annual open letter to the Internal Revenue Service, no doubt to promote his stupid narcissistic book. Here are my thoughts on the matter. Read Rummy's letter below.
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Worth a trip to Finland after September 2014 just to buy a few and send postcards to conservative US lawmakers or, say, the Pope.
Slate: This fall, the country will begin selling stamps that feature the “confident and proud homoeroticism” of Tom of Finland, an artist renowned as “beyond question the most influential creator of gay pornographic illustration.”
Tom of Finland, aka Touko Laaksonen, once famously said "If I don't have an erection when I'm doing a drawing, I know it's no good."
Reuters photog Jim Urquhart captured this surreal photograph of Eric Parker, who lives in central Idaho, aiming his gun from a bridge as pro-states' rights protesters assemble at the Bureau of Land Management base camp in Bunkerville, Nevada. The Atlantic has a good explainer on the case
, which involves rancher Cliven Bundy not paying grazing fees to the BLM
, and now essentially squatting his "ancestral land" with support from a lot of very angry white people with guns. This is militia culture in the United States.
Image: mreclipse.com, via NASA.gov
Stay up tonight online to watch an awesome lunar eclipse with our astronomer pals at NASA:
Spring is here and ready to capture the world's attention with a total lunar eclipse. The eclipse will begin early on the morning of April 15 at approximately 2 a.m. EDT. If you have questions about the eclipse, this will be your chance! NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams and astrophysicist Alphonse Sterling will also answer questions in a live web chat, beginning on April 15 at 1 a.m. EDT and continuing through the end of the eclipse (approximately 5 a.m. EDT). The chat module will go live on this page at approximately 12:45 a.m. EDT. Convert to your local time here.
A live Ustream view of the lunar eclipse will be streamed on this page on the night of the event, courtesy of Marshall Space Flight Center. The feed will feature a variety of lunar eclipse views from telescopes around the United States.