A flat-earther finally tried to fly away. His rocket didn’t even ignite. (Washington Post)

The day’s must-read political news and opinion pieces
are scattered across hundreds of news outlets and blogs,
too many for any one person to read.

Fortunately, memeorandum arranges all of these links in a single, easy-to-scan page. It auto-generates a news summary every 5 minutes, drawing on experts and pundits, insiders and outsiders, media professionals and amateur bloggers.

via http://bit.ly/2bb39XC http://bit.ly/2EdNzOb


Why Do Some Men Have A Fetish For Pregnant Women?

Why Do Some Men Have a Fetish For Pregnant Women?

According to industry analytics, searches for pregnancy-related adult content have shot up by nearly 20 percent since 2014.

Pregnant women often say they get a lot of smiles. They’ll talk about people opening doors for them, or offering them a seat on a crowded subway. They’ll talk about friends and relatives patting their belly. It is decidedly less often they’ll talk about being propositioned for sex. But, of course, it does happen.

It’s no secret that some men harbor a fetish for pregnant women. According to porn industry analytics, searches for pregnancy-related content have shot up by nearly 20 percent since 2014; and the term “pregnant” is now the 107th most popular porn search in the United States, putting it right up there with “redhead” and “babysitter.” Unsurprisingly, the NSFW corners of Reddit are filled with thousands of posts containing erotic images and ideas relating to women who are expecting.

The pregnant form has been worshipped by societies for millennia, be it via fertility goddesses or simply treating women who are expecting with the adoration often reserved for kings and queens. But that was mainly due to the fact that women can carry and deliver children, and thus prolong the bloodline. What is it that drives such fervent fetishization of pregnant women in society today?

“With some fetishes, we believe there’s an imprinting process,” explains Michael Aaron, a NYC-based sex therapist who specializes in alternative sexualities. “Something very impressionable may have happened when they were young, and they eroticized it.”

In 2010 study that was later published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, a team of researchers found that early exposure to pregnancy and lactation can lead to an adult interest in pregnant women down the line. Older siblings, researchers found, are more likely to develop this kind of attraction than those who never witnessed the birth of a baby brother or sister.

In his book Modern Sexuality, Aaron explains that testosterone has been shown to influence a predisposition to fetishistic interests, which is why members of the pregnancy fetish community appear to be overwhelmingly male. “We don’t have much research on it, but most accounts indicate that men have much higher prevalence of object-oriented fetishes,” he explains. “That tends to come out as their sexuality develops. Men may be more likely to fetishize a round belly, or larger breasts heavy with milk.”

As it happens, lactation has been so frequently eroticized that adult breastfeeding have become somewhat of a staple in the community. Hell, this kind of kink has proved so popular that even certain devout Christians are getting into it.

“There are different aspects to the fetish just like there are different aspects to pregnancy,” explains Aaron. “You can have 10 different people in a room doing the same thing for 10 different reasons.”

Some people simply enjoy embracing the taboo Aaron explains, as such might make it more erotic. “Here you are having hot sex with someone who is preparing for motherhood,” he says. “It’s sort of like trying to have sex with a nun.”

Dating Pregnant Women (dot com),  a personal site that connects interested individuals to pregnant women in their area, describes the adoration of expecting women as such: “There is something about pregnant women that is just so beautiful. Women look their best when they are carrying a child. Their skin is flawless, they have a happy sparkle in their eyes and the bigger they are, the better.”

And this hints at another dynamic at play, one that’s not nearly as kinky as the fetishists would have you think: Blood flow increases during pregnancy, giving some women that special “glow.” The influx of hormones can give you thicker nails and shiny hair, making them more attractive to the opposite sex. It’s also an obvious sign of fertility, something that strikes men looking to procreate. One study published in the Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality found that men desire their partners more so during pregnancy than ever before.

But this, of course, isn’t all about catering to the male gaze. The hormonal surge women experience during pregnancy can also make them horny as hell, making things like pregnancy porn and sex while expecting especially hot.

Indeed, those who fall into the niche community informally known as pregnancy fetishists want to have sex with women because they’re pregnant. But it’s worth noting that many more simply want to have sex with women because, well, they simply want to have sex with women, pregnant or not.

via digg.com/rss/top.rss http://di.gg/2EdNlGP

Germany Considering A Ban On Loot Boxes In Video Games

There is a bit of controversy surrounding the concept of loot boxes in video games. Loot boxes have been around for a while now, although in more recent times debate has arisen about the feature in which some wonder if it could potentially constitute as gambling. In Germany it seems that they do consider it as gambling and could be making moves to ban it.

In a report from Welt, a study by the University of Hamburg has found that there is an increasing amount of gambling-like elements in video games and as a result, the German Youth Protection Commission is now considering a ban on loot boxes. This is because if it does contain gambling elements, it could be seen as promoting gambling to children and adolescents, which is a violation of laws that prohibits such tactics.

No decision has been made yet, but the Youth Protection Commission is expected to render its decision in March, which means we should find out in about a month’s time. However we expect that even if they do decide to ban it, they will probably face a bit of resistance from developers and publishers who might launch appeals to try and reverse the ban.

Like we said, loot boxes is a hot topic at the moment where there are some governments who want it banned, while other governments disagree that it is a form of gambling.

Germany Considering A Ban On Loot Boxes In Video Games , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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This hyperlocal news site in San Francisco is reinventing itself with an automated local news wire

It was once a San Francisco-based news site that covered news on a granular, neighborhood-by-neighborhood level. Hoodline’s work always had a technological bent to it, and its staffers looked hard at data and documents to surface the kinds of hyperlocal stories that people living in SF neighborhoods might want to know about. Did a favorite bakery re-open elsewhere? What’s happening with that new bus lane down the block? Those types of stories were Hoodline’s bread and butter.

Now, Hoodline’s major offering is an automated news wire service focused on the local stories that can be found by mining large data sets, whether from city governments or from private companies like Yelp and Zumper. It handles the raw data and data analysis side of things: collecting available public data sets, forming partnerships with private companies to use their data, and narrowing trends and other local news topics that might be worth pursuing as stories down to the neighborhood level. Then it generates articles from this cleaned-up data using automation software (with help from Automated Insights, also used by the Associated Press), which are then available to news organizations interested in data-backed stories helpfully localized for the communities they cover.

“In our earlier days at Hoodline, we tried to take a tech-heavy approach to help our work scale more. We were combining all the neighborhood blogs in San Francisco, we built our own CMS, we mined public data, we had full-time editors, we had freelancers in all the neighborhoods,” Eric Eldon, Hoodline’s editor-in-chief, said. (It still maintains some news coverage on its own site>.) Finding a business model that could support hiring enough editorial staff to keep up high-quality neighborhood-level coverage became a roadblock. “By late last year, we had done enough tests with basic data sets that we realized: We could actually publish a lot of stories at once, based on analysis of information available in these data sets, and then feed these stories out to partner news organizations. We think this could, potentially, do a lot for local publishers. And fundamentally, the stories we do are not competing with the kinds of stories local news would do themselves.”

The origin story of the new Hoodline can be traced back to the late summer of 2016, when another startup, Ripple News, a newcomer to the local news scene, acquired Hoodline and much of its editorial staff (Ripple.co simply redirects to Hoodline now). Early on, Ripple had gotten into some trouble when it automatically scraped stories from the websites of news outlets like DNAInfo and Gothamist that hadn’t given the startup permission to reprint their stories. Joining forces, the Hoodline-Ripple News group still hoped to make the dream of a financially sustainable local news business that offers up substantive, original local stories work, and work at scale.

Last year, Hoodline joined a Disney accelerator. During that time, the team connected with Disney’s Wendy McMahon, now the president of ABC’s owned television stations group, which includes TV stations in Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco, and began testing its automated news wire service with these stations. (McMahon wouldn’t discuss the financials of the partnership.)

“Hoodline is so tapped in at the hyperlocal level. They have access to and are aware of news stories bubbling up at the neighborhood level that, say, we at KGO in the San Francisco and Bay Area might not be,” McMahon said. “What we’ve done with them works well from a resource-sharing perspective. If you think about our newsrooms: we need to be local brands. We have reporters who do their jobs fantastically well. But think about markets like New York or L.A., and how many neighborhoods there are in each, and that what’s relevant to someone in Orange County might not be relevant to someone in Pasadena or in Burbank. We can work with Hoodline to make sure news served to someone in Pasadena is Pasadena-based.”

The ABC channels have been in the process of improving their news apps to allow users the ability to better customize their news streams to their locations, which is where Hoodline also comes in: “If you say, hey, give me all the content for Orange County and L.A., there’s a good chance you’ll see Hoodline-created stories on Orange County. We’re using the partnership to help make these personalized experiences more robust.”

Local Hoodline-produced stories touch everything from activities to do in the Bay Area over the weekend to examinations of empty storefronts in a particular neighborhood, to a peek at the cheapest available apartments in a specific neighborhood (by the way, in this neighborhood, $3,768 for a one-bed).

Disney’s ABC has been Hoodline’s biggest newswire partner so far, but it’s also testing the waters with other chains like Digital First Media and Hearst. (Hoodline’s own blog post about its product cites some improvements in clickthrough rates. Let’s wait and see.)

“There are so many stories news organizations could potentially do, that nobody can afford to, because it’s expensive and time-consuming to have that many people on the ground,” Eldon sad. “We’re starting with the simple stuff right now: New business openings, rental price trends — simple story types that we can produce using data sets that cover a lot of geographical places and then distribute to a lot of people. Over time, we’ll want to get more sophisticated with how we analyze the data we have.”

The ultimate sophistication of the local news stories will depend in part on how much data Hoodline is able to collect and clean; it’s in talks with half a dozen other companies about access to their data, according to Eldon. It’ll also depend on what Hoodline’s data scientists and editorial staff are able to glean from their subsequent analyses, which is the main bottleneck in the process of generating localized data news stories. Private companies like Yelp or Better Doctor, another SF-based company that provides healthcare directories and doctor reviews, might give Hoodline access to their data, but those data sets are structured for internal use.

“Take a story, for instance, comparing the typical house you could get in one neighborhood versus another. If we want to do that story, we could take Zillow data, or other real estate site data, and try to extract what we can, and not just do it for one house or a few particular houses, but run large-scale statistics on the whole set,” Shwetank Kumar, Hoodline CTO, said. Work on its data wire service started about a year ago, and the company now has around 13 people on the tech team, including four data scientists.

Kumar and Eldon were quick to rebut a fear I hadn’t actually raised. It seemed they were anticipating some backlash to the idea of automating some parts of local news. They stressed that, in the case of Hoodline, robots are definitely not going to take over human journalists’ work. Hoodline’s local news wire is meant to amplify the work local reporters are uniquely positioned to do.

“We’ve gone through a phase to figure out the stories we could write that would be of local interest in the first place,” Kumar said. “We have to make sure we’ve tested that the stories we write are interesting enough.”

The data wire is still in its pilot stage, so the business model has yet to really be tested. It’s run affiliate links on real estate–related stories, for instance, pointing back to real estate listings.

“We’ve been playing around with the business model, either giving it away for free, or at an economical rate that would work for everyone,” Eldon said. “We think we can do this at a large enough scale that local publishers would be able to greatly increase the number of data-driven stories they’re doing within the geographical area they cover. It would allow them to cover more ground, and could help with their traffic, and all of that could help with their own existing revenue models, as well.”

Image of a skateboarder in the Lower Haight, by

Brandon Doran

, used under a Creative Commons license.

via Nieman Lab http://bit.ly/2sbuMxb

80% of major government projects are at ‘risk of failure’ as civil servants struggle to cope with Brexit

Irish borderCharles McQuillan/Getty Images

  • Billions of pounds worth of government projects are at risk of failing.
  • The government is confident of delivering just 20% of its projects, new report claims.
  • And that’s before Brexit-related projects are added to the pile.
  • Chopping and changing at ministerial level is harming Brexit preparations. 


LONDON — Theresa May’s government is confident of successfully delivering just one-in-five of its major projects, according to a worrying new report out today.

Analysis of official government risk assessments by The Institute for Government has found that 80% of projects across various government departments are classed as being either in doubt, hindered by problems, or virtually unachievable.

Worryingly for Prime Minister Theresa May and her Cabinet, the bulk of projects in question does not include the majority of Brexit-related projects that will need to be delivered urgently, in areas like immigration and customs.

There could be up to 14 Brexit-related projects that "would be critical for immediate implementation" as soon as Britain leaves the European Union, according to National Audit Office research cited in the IfG report.

The total cost of projects is £455 billion, according to the IgG. However, the government doubts whether four-fifths of them will be delivered, which raises the question of how much public money could be wasted on failed projects.

A third of projects with costs over £1 billion are either in doubt or seen as unachievable.

The IFG based its research on data published in the Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s annual reports.

Here is a chart produced by the IgG:

UK government projectsInstitute For Government

Responding to the report, a spokesperson for the IPA told Business Insider that assessments of projects are taken at a specific point in time, and that their status is subject to change depending on what action is taken.

A spokesperson said: "If a project is rated Red or Amber/Red, it doesn’t mean it will continue to be unachievable, rather at that point, assuming no mitigation actions are taken.

"The IPA provides assurance and support to improve delivery confidence and likelihood of success."

Government instability has harmed Brexit preparation

The IfG report also concluded that high turnover at ministerial level has disrupted Brexit planning.

It found that 85 out of 122 ministers have been moved to a new post since the June general election.

This includes in the Justice Department which has had six secretaries of state since 2010, and the Department for Work and Pensions, which has had five in just three years.

"New ministers will need to get up to speed quickly to face the challenges in public services, major projects and Brexit," report author Gavin Freeguard said.

The report adds that the delay to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill in passing through Parliament is leaving little time for the government to pass up to 1,000 pieces of secondary legislation needed for Britain’s exit from the EU.

This process, the IfG claims, could take over 100 days of Parliament.

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via Business Insider http://read.bi/2GFDA1N