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Bigot Fired

Technically, A&E merely "suspended indefinitely" Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, following his remarks about gay people. But they know there'll be hell to pay should he be permitted to return.

Interesting, mind you, that they're more afraid of progressive-led criticism than the backlash they're going to get now instead from the bigot community. Progress! Entertainment Weekly's James Hibberd:

The network issued the following statement to EW: “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”

This is where some Christian conservatives do that thing where the First Amendment is held to guarantee Freedom of Reality Show, isn't it?

P.S. This reminds me that Ender's Game really did end up bombing hard despite the promising opening weekend. Data points!

The creationists' last stand

In Texas, the same old fight: conservative Christians desperately trying to excise evolution, reproductive health and much science in general from school textbooks. [Dallas Observer via Metafilter] Rob 24

Facebook "Likes" are protected speech, says court

Joe Palazzolo, at the WSJ: '“Liking” something on Facebook is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, reviving a closely watched case over the extent to which the Constitution shields what we say on social media.' Rob 3

The police, an open door, and probable cause

Seven things Maggie Koerth-Baker and Her Husband Learned at 4 am on a Tuesday

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Three Friends, a Breakdown, and a Lawsuit

Two and a half years ago, James Siddle moved to London for a new job; in two weeks time, he’ll be moving out to a small town in the country, defeated.

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Turkish Airlines bars staff from wearing lipstick

Europe's fourth-largest airline said the ban was aimed at keeping crews "artless and well-groomed with makeup in pastel tones", reports Ayla Jean Yackley; Turkey's move toward a more conservative brand of Islam has secularists concerned. [Reuters] Rob

The right to "unlock" your cellphone is just the start

Derek Khanna writes that a more permanent solution is needed to the underlying legal mess, "ensuring consumer rights, protecting small businesses, and fostering innovation." [The Atlantic] Rob

Fans fix Aliens: Colonial Marines' amateurish game trailer

UPDATE: Reader Pat David went the extra mile and improved the trailer a different way: by keeping the music and sound effects but removing the dreadful voiceover: "turns out it's a center-panned vocal - so just inverted the LR stereo channels." Pat's edit is pasted above, UberWaz's is below.

After years of waiting, Alien fans were shocked yesterday by the appalling state of the trailer for Aliens: Colonial Marines. Badly-acted and terribly-scripted, it made the forthcoming game look amateurish and cheesy; the project's lead writer immediately and publicly disowned it. But what a difference a day makes: Rock Paper Shotgun reader UberWaz remixed the clip with new audio, creating something that perfectly matches the franchise's gloomy mix of science fiction and horror.

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Objectify a Male Tech Writer Day (UPDATE: called off)

UPDATE: Having made such a positive splash already, organizer Leigh Alexander decided to nix the day itself lest it get out of hand:

#Objectify has gotten much bigger than I expected. At first I was excited, but now I see the scale of the discussion and coverage is creating a number of valid risks -- and as a result, I'd like to call off the event. ...

The dialogue's been great, but the end result -- a day of circulating a hashtag on Twitter -- runs the risk of catching fire with people who miss the point. #Objectify is not about celebrating objectification or about making people feel uncomfortable, but I'm increasingly worried that point will be lost and that harm can be done.

The first annual Objectify a Male Tech Writer Day brings attention to the ways, subtle and otherwise, in which female journalists are objectified and trivialized. Here's organizer (and BB contributor) Leigh Alexander, writing in The New Statesman:

The purpose of the exercise isn’t to “get revenge” or to make anyone uncomfortable: simply to help highlight by example what a gendered compliment looks like, and to get people talking in a funny and lighthearted way about how these kinds of comments distract from meaningful dialogues and make writers online feel like their point of view is only as relevant as how attractive they are.

Roll Up For The First Annual Objectify A Man in Tech Day [newstatesman.com]

Mugshot sites sued

David Kravets, at Wired: "An Ohio man who found his police booking photo on several privately run mugshot websites is suing those sites under a novel legal theory: that the mugshot publishing industry is violating his right of publicity". Here's more at NPR. [Thanks, Jemma Hostetler]

Lately: "Potential Prostitutes" site lets users label women as prostitutes, charges "removal" fees Rob

Warrantless email snooping could still be killed

Buzzfeed's John Stanton: "Backers of new protections against warrantless monitoring of private citizens’ emails said Wednesday that Congress has a good shot of passing digital privacy legislation next year — despite complaints that a bill passed last week didn't include the provisions." Rob

Animal personhood

When does an animal count as a person? At io9, George Dvorsky reviews recent moves to secure legal protections for "highly sapient" animals such as great apes, elephants and cetaceans. Rob

Survey: 60% want web tracking regulated

The New York Times offers a blunt reminder for tech companies which claim defaulting to "Do Not Track" deprives users of the right to make the "decision" for themselves: users do not want to be tracked. According to one new survey, a majority now wants it banned outright: "Sixty percent said they prefer regulation to 'prevent Web sites from collecting information' about them." Rob

7 rules for recording the police

Rule #6: Master Your Technology. [Steve Silverman at Gizmodo] Rob

Defendant's encrypted laptop yields secrets

After seizing an encrypted laptop from defendant Ramona Fricosu, prosecutors headed into difficult waters: could she be forced to unlock it? A judge ordered her to give up the password, raising issues of unreasonable search and seizure and the right not to incriminate oneself. Fricosu's lawyers suggested she had forgotten it, but a showdown was averted: she either turned the password over or they figured it out some other way. [Wired] Rob