The United States discreetly supported the creation of a website and SMS service that was, basically, a Cuban version of Twitter, the Associated Press reported Thursday. ZunZuneo, as it was called, permitted Cubans to broadcast short text messages to each other. At its peak, ZunZuneo had 40,000 users.
And what government agency made ZunZuneo? It wasn’t the CIA. No, it was the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, working with various private companies, including the D.C. for-profit contractor Creative Associates and a small, Denver-based startup, Mobile Accord.
The news about ZunZuneo broke Thursday morning, around 3 a.m. Eastern time. 11 hours before, I had been in the D.C. offices of none other than Mobile Accord, talking to the company’s president about a future product release.
Read more. [Image: Desmond Boylan/Reuters]
Oh it’s one in the morning maybe I should start the assignment due at 2 tomorrow since I’m in a solid block from 10 to 1. (I could probably pound out a two page paper in an hour but fuck I would be stressed out all morning dreading the idea I couldn’t so Imma gonna do it now and sleep less but better for it).
(Sleep is for other people anyway)
(I hear travel is supposed to be relaxing and restful. These people have clearly never traveled with my mother oh my god I love her and I love traveling with her but rest is not on the agenda the agenda is do all the things)
(Oh you just came back from Hawaii you must be tan and rested! /I didn’t have time to tan what is rest?/)
(I just want to write fics of Neville Longbottom being in nice loving relationships and having great sex with pretty much whoever I feel like because I’ve shipped him with pretty much everyone at some point in my head lately)
(I have got to reconsider my life choices)
When I’m introduced to someone as a writer, a now familiar pattern of events often follows.
“Oh, really! How interesting!” the someone—let’s call her Jane—says, sounding quite enthusiastic. “What do you write?”
“Science fiction,” I say.
Jane instantly glazes over. “I’m afraid I never read science fiction.”
In other instances, people who know me have read a book of mine out of curiosity and then told me, in some surprise, that they liked it—“even though I don’t normally like science fiction.” Indeed, when a short story collection of mine won a non-genre prize, it was apparently a surprise to the judges themselves: According to the chair of the judging panel, “none of [them] knew they were science-fiction fans beforehand.”
The assumption seems to be that a book that comes with a genre label like “science fiction” must necessarily be lightweight stuff—not really comparable with “non-genre” works.
This may partly be due to the fact that the word “genre” has two different meanings which are often muddled up. The basic meaning of “genre” is simply kind or category or form of fiction, and in that sense, any work of fiction can be assigned to some genre or another. But “genre” is also used in a different way to make a distinction between “genre” and “non-genre” fiction. “Non-genre” fiction is the stuff that is placed on the “general fiction” or “fiction and literature” shelves in Barnes and Noble. “Genre” fiction is the stuff that is placed in its own designated corners: Crime, Fantasy, Romance, Horror, Science Fiction.
"[W]hen Lacy auditioned for the Oakland Raiderettes a year ago, she made the squad. And the Raiderettes quickly set to work remaking her in their image. She would be known exclusively by her first name and last initial — a tradition across the NFL, ostensibly designed to protect its sideline stars from prying fans. The squad director handed Lacy, now 28, a sparkling pirate-inspired crop top, a copy of the team’s top-secret “bible” — which guides Raiderettes in everything from folding a dinner napkin correctly to spurning the advances of a married Raiders player — and specific instructions for maintaining a head-to-toe Raiderettes look. The team presented Lacy with a photograph of herself next to a shot of actress Rachel McAdams, who would serve as Lacy’s “celebrity hairstyle look-alike.” Lacy was mandated to expertly mimic McAdams’ light reddish-brown shade and 11/2-inch-diameter curls, starting with a $150 dye job at a squad-approved salon. Her fingers and toes were to be french-manicured at all times. Her skin was to maintain an artificial sun-kissed hue into the winter months. Her thighs would always be covered in dancing tights, and false lashes would be perpetually glued to her eyelids. Periodically, she’d have to step on a scale to prove that her weight had not inched more than 4 pounds above her 103-pound baseline.
Long before Lacy’s boots ever hit the gridiron grass, “I was just hustling,” she says. “Very early on, I was spending money like crazy.” The salon visits, the makeup, the eyelashes, the tights were almost exclusively paid out of her own pocket. The finishing touch of the Raiderettes’ onboarding process was a contract requiring Lacy to attend thrice-weekly practices, dozens of public appearances, photo shoots, fittings and nine-hour shifts at Raiders home games, all in return for a lump sum of $1,250 at the conclusion of the season. (A few days before she filed suit, the team increased her pay to $2,780.) All rights to Lacy’s image were surrendered to the Raiders. With fines for everything from forgetting pompoms to gaining weight, the handbook warned that it was entirely possible to “find yourself with no salary at all at the end of the season.”
Like hundreds of women who have cheered for the Raiders since 1961, Lacy signed the contract. Unlike the rest of them, she also showed it to a lawyer.
ON JAN. 22, Lacy T.’s attorneys filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court alleging that the Raiders fail to pay their cheerleaders minimum wage for all hours worked, withhold pay until the end of the season, require cheerleaders to cover their own business expenses, don’t provide lunch breaks and impose fines for minor infractions — all of which, according to the suit, constitute violations of the California Labor Code.
The provocation was unprecedented. When pro football’s first cheerleaders took the field in the 1920s, rah-rahing on the sidelines was a volunteer position, usually occupied by local high school and college cheerleaders interested in performing on a bigger stage. But as TV began to outpace radio, more and more teams stocked their sidelines with flashier — although still unpaid — performers. In 1972, Cowboys GM Tex Schramm upped the game. He’d seen Bubbles Cash, an artificially augmented local stripper, make the news after cameras caught her shimmying in the stands with a stick of cotton candy, and he wanted similar assets at his games. So he replaced his cheer director — a local high school teacher — with a Broadway choreographer, dismissed his squad of coed teenagers to make way for a team of (barely) legal women in stomach-baring tops and began paying them a meager salary. By 1976, they’d become a trademark part of a franchise. That year, Super Bowl X marked not only the end of the Cowboys’ season but the beginning of modern professional cheerleading: 73 million viewers watched as one cheerleader turned to the camera and winked, launching the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders as bankable stars of team-approved posters, calendars, public appearances and reality TV. These weren’t just cheerleaders; they were what Schramm called “atmosphere producers.”
But even as collective bargaining has caused players’ salaries to skyrocket, cheerleaders are still treated with the expendability of borrowed college students. Of the 26 teams that employ cheerleaders, only Seattle publicly advertises that it pays its squad an hourly minimum wage. The tenuous position of NFL cheerleaders is exacerbated by the fact that six teams don’t fork out any cash for squads. The Packers occasionally employ the services of a local collegiate squad. Other teams, such as the Lions, Browns and Giants, rely on unofficial squads willing to finance themselves through public appearances and calendar shoots for the opportunity to dance in a high-profile setting.”
one of my favorite things about fandom is that the exchange of intellectual and creative property is a legitimate form of gift giving. like ‘i’m so enchanted by you, i love you, let me tell you a story’
For history buffs — the National Archives in the UK have digitised the diaries of hundreds of soldiers from World War I, and have made them available online.
WOW WHAT AN EXCELLENT THING
Ooooooh interesting. They’re trying to do things like user participation I remember reading about (Help us tag/create metadata the dairies.) I mean it looks like a huge database and anyone not familiar with archival research is probably going to cry in frustration in finding something specific they want. But reading about their programme and their attempts to make the database usable I am SUPER EXCITED. And it’s so wonderful to have this resource, especially if you just want to experience reading random diaries to glimpse what it was like.
(I’m still waiting for 2017 when French records that have been locked since 1917 are opened… last I heard anyway they hadn’t been opened yet)