The All in the Family cast's 1975 protest of 'The Family Viewing Hour'

Once, the 8-9pm time slot was plagued with violent TV shows like All in the Family. This was before the onset of 24 hour news channels offering a live feed of missile strikes or freeway chases with the Juice. Unjustifiably, the FCC issued a policy demanding prime time television be family friendly! For two years, 1975 and 1976, adult themes were banned from "The Family Viewing Hour."

Courts didn't let this stand for very long. The prime time slot was back under advertiser control by 1977.

Wikipedia:

Indeed, many television series suffered from the Family Viewing Hour mandate. All in the Family, which was the runaway top-rated show in the U.S. since 1971, was moved to 9 p.m. on Mondays after five seasons leading the Saturday night lineup. Producer Norman Lear, citing an infringement on creative freedom and on his First Amendment rights, mounted a lawsuit. With the support of varying guilds, including the WGA, he won the case.[1] The show's cast responded by recording a satirical, never-aired rendition of the show's theme song, retitled "These Are the Days".[3]

On November 4, 1976, United States district court Judge Warren J. Ferguson declared the Family Viewing Hour null and void, starting with the fall 1977 season. Ferguson stated while the idea was good in theory, the FCC had overstepped its bounds in having it instituted; the FCC privately lobbied the three major networks to adopt the policy instead of holding public hearings on the matter, and Ferguson ruled on those grounds that the Family Viewing Hour had no binding merit.

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Vote by mail in California? Check your ballot status online!

Californian vote-by-mail voters can check with their county to ensure their vote was received and counted. Read the rest

Clever 'Yes on Question 3' ad in Massachusetts

Massachusetts voter Question 3 is whether or not to maintain an existing anti-discrimination law. This ad explains why the freedom to just be whomever the heck you are is so important in Massachusetts. Read the rest

Fortnite solo player achieves new record, 35 eliminations in one game

Player 'Rizart' eliminated 35% of a solos lobby! Blasting through the previous record of 32 players eliminated, this video shows amazing skill!

The Dark Bomber skin with the creepy jack-o-lantern rocket launcher is great. Read the rest

White supremacist hate groups find approval in Trump's words

President Trump continues to scream his racist, anti-semitic, and homophobic slogans; Sarah Sanders says he didn't say that.

From the NYT:

Right-wing extremists — a catchall category for a messy constellation of neo-Nazis, white nationalists, crypto-fascists, nihilists and attention-seeking trolls — vary widely in style and ideology. Some congregate out in the open, on forums like 4chan and Reddit as well as public platforms like Gab, the Twitter-like social network used by the suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Others communicate in private channels on Discord, a chat platform, or over encrypted messaging apps like Telegram or Wire. Some are ardent supporters of Mr. Trump, while others oppose him on the grounds that he is not extreme enough.

What they have in common is a feeling of empowerment — a sense that the boundaries of acceptable speech are widening in the Trump era, and a suspicion that when they talk, Mr. Trump, or those with access to him, may be listening.

Even small phrases can set off speculation. Last month, when Mr. Trump tweeted an unfounded accusation that left-wing protesters outside the confirmation hearings for Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh were “paid for by Soros and others,” some extremists took it as evidence that the president shared their view of a global Jewish-led conspiracy led by Mr. Soros, a leading donor to many liberal causes.

“Trump has officially named the Jew,” wrote one user on 4chan. “Trump knows,” wrote another, who said that the “others” Mr. Trump referred to in his tweet might be a sly reference to other shadowy Jewish benefactors.

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Watch a unicorn complete a gymnastics bars routine

My daughter competes in the Jr Olympics gymnastics program and loves every minute of it. This video is the kind of shenanigans she can appreciate. Read the rest

Watch NASA and JPL test the 2020 Mars lander parachute

JPL and NASA have tested their incredible 2020 Mars mission parachute three times. The video is a joy. Read the rest

Former US President Carter asks Georgia Secretary of State Kemp to resign

Today Jimmy Carter, a former US President who also served as Governor of Georgia, has called for Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's resignation. Kemp is accused of viciously robbing Georgians of their right to vote.

Conveniently, most of the people Kemp is accused of disenfranchising are in demographics largely assumed to be voting for his opponent.

Via NPR:

In his letter to Kemp, Carter said it was his decades of experience assisting elections abroad that persuaded him to wade into the bitter dispute now roiling the Georgia gubernatorial race. Kemp has been under fire for deciding to purge tens of thousands of voters from the voter rolls — months after declaring his intent to run for governor.

"In Georgia's upcoming gubernatorial election, popular confidence is threatened not only by the undeniable racial discrimination of the past and the serious questions that the federal courts have raised about the security of Georgia's voting machines, but also because you are now overseeing the election in which you are a candidate," wrote Carter, who served as Democratic governor of Georgia himself before winning the presidency in 1976.

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Change.org petition to light Sauron's Eye above Salesforce Tower San Francisco

While US Senator, and former SF Mayor, Diane Feinstein is no fan of Salesforce Tower, local Tolkien fans have found a way to turn the phallic wonder into a Halloween decoration.

Why this is a one night only thing, I do not understand.

Via Change.org:

Dear San Francisco,

We believe in the power of the internet as a gathering place for people to share ideas and affect real world change. Our goal is to create a breath of creatively fresh air amid an otherwise barren political landscape.

Salesforce (or Boston Properties) has raised the highest flag in San Francisco, itself a beautiful piece of innovation, on which we mostly experience very pedestrian content. Often traffic, seagulls, and sometimes literal pedestrians. We invite the organization who has redefined the San Francisco skyline and, in the process, contributed to small and large business worldwide, to stand not only as a beacon for capitalist pursuit but to tip their hat to the people, culture, and community of this great city. A city built on creativity, exploration, and burning self-expression. We invite the organization to fly a flag for all who dare to dream, uniting the districts, strengthening the ties, and fortifying the bridges by lighting an LED fire atop this sanctuary city. In the process embracing a fun, artistic, and timely show of creativity that the whole city can enjoy - for one night only.

It has been said that bonds are formed through shared experiences, the strongest of which are forged in fire.

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A handful of psychedelic "Atlantis" mushrooms in Amsterdam

Frites, truffles and canals are awesome. Also doner kebab. Read the rest

A new species of Archaeopteryx

New scanning methods have helped determine an already well examined fossil is actually a separate species of Archaeopteryx, the evolutionary bridge between bird and reptile. Named Archaeopteryx albersdoerferi, only further research will show if it is truly a stand alone species and not just plain old Archaeopteryx lithographica or Archaeopteryx siemensii.

From Gizmodo:

This particular fossil was discovered in 2009 (it’s referred to as number eight), but a new scanning technique was used for the analysis, so it’s classic case of an old fossil being view through new eyes. That the authors of the new study would declare the specimen a distinct species shouldn’t come as a surprise. Virtually every new fossil of Archaeopteryx has, at first, been declared a new species before eventually being slotted back into one of the two known species, either Archaeopteryx lithographica or Archaeopteryx siemensii, after further scrutiny. The same could happen to Archaeopteryx albersdoerferi, but only time will tell.

Archaeopteryx is one of the most intriguing dinosaurs in the paleontological record. Discovered back in the 1860s, this Jurassic-era dinosaur was celebrated as being a conspicuous demonstration of evolution in action. Not quite lizard and not quite bird, it seemed to show, almost literally, lizards evolving into birds. Archaeopteryx was thus branded a “transitionary” species—a so-called missing link between extinct dinosaurs and modern birds.

I once spent a fantastic day trying to find the "London specimen" in the British Museum. The woman I was with wanted to see the Archaeopteryx, and regardless how hard it seemed for us to find we were gonna! Read the rest

This pillow helps me survive hours and hours of coach air travel

This self-inflating lumbar back pillow got me through over 24 hours of international travel in coach. Read the rest

80 percent of Americans agree they disagree

A new study unsurprisingly shows Americans overwhelmingly know they are sharply divided.

Via TPM:

The newly released survey found that more than 8 in 10 Americans think the country is greatly divided about important values. Just 20 percent of Americans say they think the country will become less divided over the next few years, and 39 percent think things will get worse. A strong majority of Americans, 77 percent, say they are dissatisfied with the state of politics in the country.

The poll was conducted Oct. 11-14 in the final sprint to the midterm elections, in which President Donald Trump has been rallying his supporters to turn out to vote in November. Overall, 59 percent of Americans disapprove of how Trump, a Republican, is handling his job as president, while 40 percent of Americans approve.

A clear majority also think the President is a failure, while few hold out hope that we'll settle our differences. Read the rest

Probiotics are poorly regulated, just like other supplements

Probiotics are as likely to surprise you with their contents as they are to fulfill their marketing promises.

Via the NYT:

Probiotics have the potential to improve health, including by displacing potentially harmful bugs. The trouble is that the proven benefits involve a very small number of conditions, and probiotics are regulated less tightly than drugs. They don’t need to be proved effective to be marketed, and the quality control can be lax.

In a recent article in JAMA Internal Medicine, Pieter Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, urges us to consider the harms as well as the benefits. Among immune-compromised individuals, for instance, probiotics can lead to infections.

Consumers can’t always count on what they’re getting. From 2016 to 2017, the Food and Drug Administration inspected more than 650 facilities that produce dietary supplements, and determined that more than 50 percent of them had violations. These included issues with the purity, strength and even the identity of the promised product.

I have more confidence in my dog's veterinarian supplied supplements than I do in my OTC ones. Read the rest

Federal court thinks Georgia should count citizens' votes

Georgia voters are in a battle against their own Secretary of State for the right to vote. This week a Federal court tried to ensure citizens forced to provisional ballots are given the ability to confirm their vote, and to contest claims their signature was not their own.

Via USA Today:

"The court does not understand how assuring that all eligible voters are permitted to vote undermines integrity of the election process," May said. "To the contrary, it strengthens it."

"Permitting an absentee voter to resolve an alleged signature discrepancy ... has the very tangible benefit of avoiding disenfranchisement," said the judge, a nominee of President Barack Obama.

May gave lawyers until noon Thursday to comment on whether the language in her order is “confusing or will be unworkable.”

Her decision was applauded by Sophia Lakin, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney.

“This ruling protects the people of Georgia from those who seek to undermine their right to vote," Lakin said. "It’s a huge victory, especially with the midterms just days away."

Candice Broce, spokeswoman for the Georgia secretary of state’s office, declined to comment and referred all questions to the attorney general’s office.

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Fortnite's "Fortnitemares" halloween content looks fantastic

Zombies, the pumpkin launcher, a new fan firing six-gun, and our old friend the crossbow all make appearances in this trailer for Fortnite's "Fortnitemares" Halloween celebration.

I can not wait to play.

In Season Three the hardest damn challenge, over all 10 weeks, was to get a crossbow kill. Bringing that thing out of the vault is pretty cruel, but maybe they've improved it. I can see how a fan firing Colt Peacemaker type revolver would be a lot more fun than the former Fortnite revolver. That thing was a piece of junk and belongs in the vault.

My Xbox is updating now. Read the rest

12 members of Nevada GOP gubernatorial candidate's family publish op-ed opposing him

On Monday 12 members of Nevada Republican candidate for Governor Adam Laxalt's family published an op-ed denouncing his credentials, his record, and his connection to Nevada.

Via the Reno Gazette:

...All of these shortcomings come down to a lack of real, authentic connection to our state, and a failure to understand what is important to real Nevadans. We are a state driven by a modern economy and a diverse population, and we take deep pride in our rich, complicated history. Nevadans value their independence and their ability to share in the beauties of our wild state, while still respecting each other’s autonomy. If Adam is elected governor, these values will be put in danger. Public lands will become less accessible for hunters and fishers and backpackers. Adam’s positions on health care and reproductive rights would limit how Nevadans care for their bodies, or be free from government interference in relationships as sacred and personal as marriage. Adam wants to repeal hundreds of millions of dollars of education funding, even though he knows full well that Nevada is ranked 49th in the nation for pre-K-12 education.

If he responds to this column at all, it will probably be to say that he hardly knows the people writing this column. And in many ways that would be true. We never had a chance to get to know him, really — he spent his life in Washington, D.C., while we lived in Northern Nevada and grew up in public schools and on public lands.

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