N.F.L.ʼs Alternate ʻCheerleadersʼ Donʼt Cheer or Dance

Juliet Macur reporting for The New York Times:

Several N.F.L. teams determined cheerleading programs had a scarcity problem on game days. If cheerleaders were on the sideline dancing, none were available to serve as scantily clad hostesses who could mingle with fans high up in the cheap seats or in the luxury suites, where teams catered to big-money customers.

I don’t see this going well.

In interviews with a dozen women who have worked for N.F.L. teams as noncheering cheerleaders and six others who had direct knowledge of the noncheering squads, they described minimum-wage jobs in which harassment and groping were common, particularly because the women were required to be on the front lines of partying fans.

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

One of the worst parts of the day was the morning inspection.

Dennis Greene was head of business operations for the Redskins from 2007 until recently. He was ultimately in charge of the ambassador program, and his job was to sell suites and keep the suiteholders happy. He would have the ambassadors line up so he could examine them and choose two to accompany him to suites during the game.

“He would look each of us up and down and say, I want that one and that one, and everyone hates when you got selected for that,” a former ambassador said of the lineups that occurred just a few years ago. “It was humiliating, like we were cattle.”

This is disgusting, but this is only the latest in a few reports of harassment and abuse against cheerleaders in the NFL. It’s time for the NFL to scrap the cheerleader program which is designed to treat women as nothing more than sexual objects for its predominantly male audience. Will they do it? Probably not, because, you know, kneeling during the national anthem is a bigger issue than making sure women are treated with basic human decency. The NFL has their priorities in order for sure.

ICANN Continues to Fight GPDR

Samantha Lloyd writing for the Hover official blog:

This action was taken because of a disagreement between Tucows and ICANN on how the GDPR should be interpreted, with respect to our contracts. While we look forward to defending our position in court, we also and it important to provide our customers some context and insight into the dispute. Our position is a customer-centric one that focuses on protecting your privacy and data, as is consistent with our Hover values.

Another example of ICANN’s continued efforts to make the DNS, WHOIS, Domain registration process as minimally GPDR compliant as possible while maintaining as much of the current status quo as possible.

Halide: One Year Later

Ben Sandofsky writing at the official Halide blog:

We set out to build Halide after trying every major camera app and being left unsatisfied. We wanted an app for thoughtful, deliberate photography, not selfies. We wanted a tactile experience that felt like a high-end physical camera. We wanted the professional tools you’d end on a DSLR.

We hoped others shared our experience. We hoped critics understood what we were going for, and would forgive a few missing features. We hoped the app economy wasn’t dead, and you could still make a few bucks. […]

One year later we can say Halide has exceeded our wildest expectations.

Halide is my camera app of choice. I know it’s built with professionals in mind, and there is definitely a lot of power packed into it, but even if you want a little more control than what the native app gives you, you could use automatic settings for what you don’t want to fiddle with. I’ve been blown away by how good it is and how much I’ve been able to learn by experimenting with different settings. Happy first year to Halide, and I hope it’s around for many more.


The wife made me watch the NBA Western Finals. Basketball is fine. Don’t get the fouls and what not, but I think I can get into it.


Border Patrol Agent Detains American Citizens After He Heard Them Speaking Spanish

Amy B. Wang, reporting for The Washington Post:

Suda said she felt uncomfortable and began recording the encounter with her cellphone after they had moved into the parking lot. In the video Suda recorded, she asks the agent why he is detaining them, and he says it is specifically because he heard them speaking Spanish.

Suda, 37, was born in El Paso and raised across the border in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, but has spent much of her adult life moving around the United States with her husband and young daughter. Hernandez is originally from central California, Suda said.

Despite explaining this to the agent and showing him their IDs, Suda said, he kept them in the parking lot for 35 to 40 minutes.

I honestly can’t tell you if the uptick in these types of incidents, like those involving black men and the police, or the recent slew of school shootings, is an actual increase in the raw number, or if the increased attention to them due to our current political climate is causing them to be reported on more often. But either way, this is reprehensible. The ACLU has already issued a statement on this incident, and I wholeheartedly agree, speaking Spanish, or any language that is not English should NOT be grounds for suspicion.

Teen Phone Monitoring App Leaked Thousands of User Passwords

Zack Whittaker, reporting for ZDNet:

The mobile app, TeenSafe, bills itself as a “secure” monitoring app for iOS and Android, which lets parents view their child’s text messages and location, monitor who they’re calling and when, access their web browsing history, and find out which apps they have installed.[…]

But the Los Angeles, Calif.-based company left its servers, hosted on Amazon’s cloud, unprotected and accessible by anyone without a password. […]

The database stores the parent’s email address associated with TeenSafe, as well as their corresponding child’s Apple ID email address. It also includes the child’s device name — which is often just their name — and their device’s unique identifier. The data contains the plaintext passwords for the child’s Apple ID. Because the app requires that two-factor authentication is turned off, a malicious actor viewing this data only needs to use the credentials to break into the child’s account to access their personal content data.

As was noted by John Gruber over at Daring Fireball, it seems like the app extracts it’s data from a device’s iCloud backups, which is why they require two-factor authentication turned off. Setting aside the discussion about whether an application / service like this is actually useful / necessary, if a company is going to ask you to trust them with your child’s personal information, I would hope they’d do better than storing the information in plaintext on a server without a password.


Welp, with today’s announcement that Twitter is going to go through with being user hostile and stupid, it looks like I’ll be using micro.blog more often.


Insidious Schemes: Apple Has Them

Great writing by The Macalope for Macworld pointing out how people will take anything Apple says and turn it into a negative, even if it takes some serious logical leaps and word gymnastics to get there.

FCC Chair Ajit Pai Cancels His CES Appearance Days Before Show

Jon Brodkin writing for Ars Technica:

Ajit Pai was scheduled to appear at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 9 to speak and answer questions in a “candid conversation” about Federal Communications Commission policy-making. But Pai canceled his appearance, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which runs the CES conference.

“Unfortunately, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is unable to attend CES 2018,” CTA CEO Gary Shapiro said in an announcement emailed to journalists attending CES yesterday.

If I were the head of the organization who decided they were going to take away Net Neutrality and whose reasons for doing so were shown to be false by their own report, I wouldn’t want to avail myself for questioning by people who strongly disagree with that decision either. As I’ve said before, no one likes being called out on their bullshit.

Meet “Raw” Water—Ludicrously Priced Unfiltered Water with Random Bacteria

Beth Mole writing for Ars Technica:

Mukhande Singh (né Christopher Sanborn), founder of Live Water, told the Times that tap water was “dead” water. “Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” he said. “Chloramine, and on top of that they’re putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.” (Note: There is plenty of data showing that fluoride improves dental health, but none showing water-based mind control.)

I don’t know how people get sucked up into this stuff. The mention of the founder of the Juicero in this article is also not surprising. I’ll be sticking to my filtered and sanitized water that definitely won’t give me dysentery, thanks.

rams.com Is Exactly What You Think It Is … a Site About Rams

Alden Gonzalez writing for ESPN:

The Los Angeles Rams are finally good and exciting again. And the guess here is that a lot of you have probably typed “rams.com” in your search bar for the first time in recent weeks, which means you were probably surprised by what came up — a site about rams.

Not the Rams. Rams. The male sheep — the bighorn sheep, specifically — with those distinctive curved horns. And it is a pretty thorough website, too. There’s a helpful “About The RAMS” section (they recently migrated 1,800 miles west) and others that explored ram threats (probably Falcons, Panthers and Seahawks), ram behavior (suddenly assertive after years of acquiescence) and ram types, with surprisingly no mention of Todd Gurley or Aaron Donald or Jared Goff.

This guy has jokes. And I have in fact ended up at this website by mistake. Almost every time I want to go the therams.com I inevitably forget “the” and end up with a eye full of Rams.

Advanced Truedepth Camera, Face ID “Major Drivers” of iPhone X User Satisfaction

Daniel Dilger writing for Apple Insider:

A consumer sentiment report of early iPhone X adopters indicates that its TrueDepth camera is a “major driver among positive ratings,” and that the features it enables—including [Face ID] and Animoji—are key market differentiators driving interest in the high end phone

Face ID is the killer feature for me on the iPhone X. It makes so many interactions more natural when the authentication just happens rather than having to actively do something to make it happen. Touch ID is still great, but Face ID is definitely better.

Corker on Media: ‘I Had a Newfound Empathy’ for Trump

Louis Nelson writing for Politico:

Sen. Bob Corker, among Donald Trump’s most frequent Republican critics, said Thursday that he has developed a new empathy for the president’s “fake news” crusade against the media after reports swirled about a “Corker kickback” that some allege prompted the senator to change his vote on the White House-backed tax reform bill

No one likes being called out on their bullshit.

A Recount Just Knocked Virginia’s Statehouse out of Republicans’ Hands — by a Single Vote

Andrew Prokop reporting for Vox:

The recount of the vote tally for a key race in last month’s Virginia House of Delegates elections concluded on Tuesday. And incredibly enough, when the dust settled, the Democratic challenger led the Republican incumbent by just one vote — an outcome that would deprive Republicans of their majority in the chamber.

This one’s for those of you out there who say your vote doesn’t matter.

White House will take down Obama’s ‘We the People’ petition site on Tuesday

Stacey Leasca writing for Mic:

The site, the White House Official told the AP, will be taken down at midnight on Tuesday and will be replaced with a brand new site sometime in January. All of the existing petitions will also be restored. According to the official, this move will somehow save American taxpayers $1.3 million annually.

Yeah, ok.