Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Legislature passes a bill giving gay couples the right to marry, adopt children and enjoy the same status as heterosexual couples. The Catholic Church and conservatives speak out against it.
A gay rights supporter rallies for passage of the bill in front of the Mexico City legislature. Lawmakers approved the bill, 39-20, and even removed a provision that would have barred gay couples from adopting children. (Alfredo Estrella / AFP/Getty Images / December 21, 2009)
The leftist-dominated legislature of this massive city of about 20 million people turned aside opposition from the influential Roman Catholic Church and ended lively debate to approve the measure by a 39-20 vote. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard is expected to sign the bill into law.
"Mexico City has put itself in the vanguard," said legislator Victor Hugo Romo. "This is a historic day."
Mexico City's initiative goes further than any other in Latin America by rewriting the law to redefine marriage as a "free union between two people," not only between a man and a woman. It gives homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual pairs, including the right to adopt, inherit, obtain joint housing loans and share insurance policies.
Several countries, most of them in Europe, and a handful of U.S. states have legalized same-sex marriage in recent years, and the issue is being hotly debated in parts of predominantly Roman Catholic Latin America. Uruguay was the first Latin American nation to recognize same-sex unions, as well as adoptions by gay couples, and some cities in Argentina have adopted similar laws.
Proponents praised the bill as helping remove the stigma and discriminatory practices that hurt gays, while opponents decried what they called an affront to the institution of family.
"This is wonderful," gay rights activist Judith Vasquez said from the noisy legislature floor, where proponents chanted, "Yes, we could!" and waved rainbow flags. Gay "couples have effectively been together for years, decades, centuries," she said. "But now it is our right."
Most of the opposition in the city's legislature came from President Felipe Calderon's conservative National Action Party, which has threatened to take the city to court if Ebrard does not veto the measure.
Also opposed was the Roman Catholic Church, which labeled the proposal immoral, saying marriage must hold the promise of procreation. Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera said the law created the "perverse possibility" that "innocent children" would be adopted by gay couples.
"It is an aberration," said activist Jorge Serrano Limon. "Marriage cannot be between men. That is absurd."
Mexico City, as a rule, is less conservative than much of the rest of the country, relatively open to sexual freedoms and expressions.
Under Ebrard and his Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, which controls the legislature, Mexico City has been at the forefront of social policy, often taking stances a far distance from other parts of the country.
The city, for example, legalized abortion in 2007, a decision that has since backfired and prompted states across Mexico to dig in their heels against abortion.
"They have given Mexicans a very bitter Christmas," Armando Martinez Gomez, president of the College of Catholic Attorneys, told The Times. "They have eliminated the word 'father' and 'mother.' "
It was unclear when Ebrard planned to sign the gay rights bill into law, and Martinez called on the mayor to veto the bill.
He noted that it went even further than the city executive had intended when legislators removed a clause that would have forbidden adoption. PAN lawmakers also demanded that Ebrard exercise his veto.
Martinez and other opponents had sought a citywide referendum on the issue, similar to the one California held last year, instead of a vote in the legislature. He said surveys taken by his organization showed overwhelming opposition to same-sex marriage. (Another survey published last week by the Reforma newspaper showed opinion more evenly divided.)
He also predicted a backlash against gays. "There will be repercussions, the unleashing of homophobia. Ours is not a very tolerant society."
Before Monday's vote, Mexico City already had on the books a law that allowed a kind of legal union between unmarried people, under which they could avail themselves of a limited number of services and benefits. Only 680 couples have done so since the law took effect in 2007.
It was unclear how many gays and lesbians might be expected to rush to the altar (or, as required in Mexico, the judge's chambers).
"For centuries, unfair laws prohibited marriage between whites and blacks, between Europeans and Indians," legislator Romo, of the PRD, said. "Today, all the barriers have disappeared."
Times staff writer Ken Ellingwood contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times
If you're a BitTorrent lover but aren't too keen on all the pop-ups, racy ads, and clutter that's everywhere on most torrent sites, new BitTorrent site Nerrot is the cleanest, most bare-bones torrent site we've ever seen.
Just head to the homepage (this is also the page on the site), type in the most accurate search you can come up with, and submit your search. Nerrot searches for the closest match with the highest ratio of seeders/the healthiest swarm, then automatically downloads what it determines to be the best torrent file for your search.
Nerrot is refreshing in its simplicity, but the fact remains that for a lot of torrents, it's still going to be worth your time to read through comments and check different versions yourself before downloading. For those times you don't really care, Nerrot is like the Google "I'm feeling lucky" search of BitTorrent sites.
Published by houroc
Doug Benson is a funny guy. If you are unfamiliar with him, he is the guy that did a weed spoof of Super Size Me where instead of eating junk food, he smokes all day everyday for 30 days. The name of that flick was Super High Me. Of course.
Anyway, Benson is getting set to kick off the medical marijuana tour. He is going to visit the 13 states that have allowed medical marijuana in 13 days. That means Maine to Hawaii. That’s nuts. Here is the list of the 13 states that have allowed medical marijuana:
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island
If you live in one of these states and you want to try and give Doug a shout, make sure you hit him up on his twitter or myspace page. This should be a fun tour and I’m mad that I didn’t come up with this idea first. Have fun Doug and good luck to Graham Elwood too. Hope you guys make it through. Shout outs to my friends at G4TV for getting this interview and shouts out Mike Cann for puttin me up on this.
3D printing to order is a regular subject on TreeHugger; we love the idea of making things when you need them, where you need them. And soon you will be able to order up body parts, at a sort of Ponoko for pancreas. Now people sit on waiting lists, hooked up to expensive equipment while they wait for donors and fly body parts all over the world; soon you will order them up fresh and hot. Perhaps, like Philip K. Dick did, we might even call them artif-orgs.
Organovo is trying to build "tissue on demand", building 3D printers that work with living cells.
"By marrying a knowledge of biophysics and cell biology with the precision of computer aided design and high precision deposition, we can recreate the microarchitecture of even the most complex human tissue. By precisely placing cells with an organ printer, and providing them with the proper natural developmental cues, the cells do exactly what they do in nature: they self assemble into fully formed, functional tissue."
They have just taken delivery of their first commercial printers from Australian manufacturer Invetech.
Ken Murphy, President of Organovo said in a press release:
"Scientists and engineers can use the 3D bio printers to enable placing cells of almost any type into a desired pattern in 3D," said Murphy. "Researchers can place liver cells on a preformed scaffold, support kidney cells with a co-printed scaffold, or form adjacent layers of epithelial and stromal soft tissue that grow into a mature tooth. Ultimately the idea would be for surgeons to have tissue on demand for various uses, and the best way to do that is get a number of bio-printers into the hands of researchers and give them the ability to make three dimensional tissues on demand."
So instead of having to find kidney or liver donors, doctors could grow new ones from a patient's own cells, solving the donor supply and rejection problems. Via Next Big Future
The future of 3D printing? from On Art and Science: Bioprinting & Pygmalion's Dream? Vladimir Mironov MD, PhD
Matt unboxes the Nokia N900 but not your average unboxing. This is the Nokia Hackerbox PR pack.
Browse brilliant personal mini-homes built specifically for child's play
Long gone are the days of sheet-and-pillow forts. Today’s kids have much more modern hideaways. Here, check out the most awe-inspiring models—some that cost thousands of dollars and boast fancy features like leatherette-finished bunks and built-in TV/DVD players. These pint-sized dwellings put a whole new spin on what it means to "play house."
Designer Barbara Butler built this 32' x 44' x 16' wooden castle in 1999 for two boys to complement their parents’ 1910 English-style country home in Litchfield, Connecticut. Photo courtesy of Barbara Butler.
Also built by Butler in 2001, this Pacific Ocean overlook and play fort in Malibu was inspired by images of lighthouse, sea waves and driftwood. Photo courtesy of Barbara Butler.
This 51'-long Butler-built playhouse—assembled in 2007 in Silicon Valley—summons a Mediterranean-inspired charm with its color palette and many bridges and hideaways. Photo courtesy of Barbara Butler.
Perched atop a 9'-tall stump, this tree fort—built in 2003, also by Butler—sits in a deep ravine, and offers kids a Swinging Bridge, a Look-Out Deck, a Trap Door, a Catwalk, a Rock Climbing Tower and more. Photo courtesy of Barbara Butler.
Americana Del Mar
Built in 2008 by Bill Mitchell and his University of California team, Irvine Facilities Management (who also did the interior design), this 10' x 8' playhouse mimics coastal cottages in Corona del Mar, California, and has a kitchen, a loft, and a flatscreen DVD player. Photo courtesy of David Heath of Western Exposure and Project Playhouse.
Train Play Station
Built in 2001 in Heber City, Utah, by Devrle Wells, who’s the former owner of WoodManor Playhouses, this little red residence is the perfect escape for any young kid who loves locomotives. Photo courtesy of WoodManor Playhouses.
Thoroughly Modern Manor
Designed by Bloomfield Hills, Michigan–based AZD Associates Architects, this 10' x 10' castle—featuring a curved metal roof, electric heat, built-in TV/DVD and creativity station—is a far cry from the sheet-shantied shacks of yesteryear; it was auctioned off for $30,000. Photo courtesy of AZD Associates Architects.
This Pirate-themed playhouse—from which protrudes an 8' x 6' galleon-style pirate bow—was available at Costco in 2006 for $18,499.99. Also included: An oversize log (of which no two were the same), swing, fireman’s pole and ship’s wheel. Photo courtesy of DisneyFrontier.com.
This truck-crossed tree house—featuring a Victorian-style clubhouse and truck-bed balcony—allows kids a place to relax and, better yet, experience stationary adventures in the driver’s seat of the playhouse’s orange truck. Photo courtesy of Daniels Wood Land, Inc.
St. James Castle
This pretty-in-pink princess castle, whose morphed features conjure up thoughts of a carnival funhouse, is made of redwood log and includes a drawbridge, a turbo spiral slide, faux rock accents, a redwood dragon carving and more—all perfect for summoning any prince for a playdate. Photo courtesy of Daniels Wood Land, Inc.
Red Beard’s Revenge Pirate Ship House
Constructed of mahogany and steam-curved poplar planks, this 12' x 18' playhouse—which boasts leatherette-cushioned sleeping bunks, a waterproof roof, cannonball-riddled mast and rigging, and upper and lower decks constructed from Douglas fir—goes for a whopping $52,000 (to the luckiest kid in the room). Photo courtesy of PoshTots.com.
Designed by Manuel Villa, this nature-surrounded dwelling—built in a family’s garden in Bogota, Colombia—is meant to embrace both children and adults alike while acting as an independent space from day-to-day activities. Photo courtesy of Inhabitots.com.
qb playhouses—currently only sold in Europe—are fully customizable. Kids can pick the color and print which will decorate the front of the sustainable wood-harvested frame and/or upload a print of their choice to the qb website,. Though expensive (€619–€749), proceeds are donated to Right to Play—a humanitarian organization that uses sport and play as a tool for the development of children. Photo courtesy of quubi.nl/.
Have a dusty LCD or plasma TV screen? Check out our 6 easy steps on how to clean your LCD or plasma TV screen..
Some HDTV manufacturers will suggest using LCD/plasma cleaners, but these are often expense and unnecessary. In fact, the main ingredient in most “professional” cleaning solutions on the market is water. We suggest making your own simple solution with half water and half isopropyl alcohol. This is probably the cheapest solution you can come by, and it works great—very mild, and harmless. The main reason you would need to clean your HDTV screen, whether plasma or LCD, is to getrid of smudges and fingerprints. Be mindful of your HDTV’s LCD or plasma screen: Try not to touch them that often because the less you have to wash them, the longer they’ll last. Here are our 6 easy steps to cleaning your LCD or plasma TV screen.
What You’ll Need
6 Easy Steps to Clean a LCD or Plasma TV
1. Turn TV off and let it cool off. Ensure that your TV has been off long enough that it doesn’t feel warm to the touch. Turn it off and let it cool down before proceeding with cleaning the screen.
2. Dust the screen. Wipe your screen with part of the soft, lint-free cloth to remove dust. If there are no visible smudges after dusting, stop here.
3. Make a mild mixture. There are a lot for cleaning solutions out there, but most HDTV manufacturers say that they best and cheapest cleaning solution for your LCD or plasma screen is to make your own equal-part mixture of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water. Using a measuring cup, make a solution with equal parts of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol.
4. Dip and wipe. Dip the clean end of the same cloth into the solution. Squeeze it to ring out the excess solution—you want the cloth damp, not wet. Then wipe the damp cloth over the LCD or plasma screen very gently.
5. Q-tip the Edges. Dip one end of the Q-tip in your mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water, then press it against the inside of the container holding the cleaning solution to squeeze excess moisture out of the cottony tip. Drag the damp end of the Q-tip along the outside edge of the LCD or plasma screen gently.
6. Dry with second clean, soft cloth. Use the second clean cloth to dry your LCD or plasma screen. Don’t leave any moisture on your screen, especially before turning the TV back on.
- The less you have to clean your screen, the longer it will last—so be careful with touching your screen
- Always use a clean cloth—tiny hard particles can get trapped in cloth fibers and could scratch your LCD or plasma screen
- Get the cloth damp, not wet, just damp
- Don’t use Windex or other glass cleaners! These contain ammonia and WILL hurt your LCD screen.
- Do not use paper towels
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more unusual circus, or father-daughter performing duo. The Moscow Cat Theatre is just that: a travelling show of cats that perform amazing tricks for the owners who love and train them. Everybody in Russia may be used to seeing cats perform tricks, as the theatre’s manager explains in this funny, charming film, but felines walking tightropes, crossing the stage on giant balls and walking upside down is not a common sight in most countries. As a balalaika and accordion circus score plays in the background, Creative Director Vladimir and his daughter Maria combine their love of cats and stage to create a captivating act and illustrate the tricks of the trade – giving new meaning to the expression ‘herding cats’.
- Thousands of people evacuated from base of Mayon volcano in Philippines
- Scientists warn that the volcano is about to explode
- The volcano has already erupted 49 times since 1616
- Audible booming and rumbling sounds first heard Sunday
(CNN) -- Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes as scientists warn the towering Mayon volcano is about to explode in the Philippines, the country's national news agency reported Monday.
More than 9,000 families -- a total of 44,394 people -- are being housed in evacuation camps after authorities Sunday raised the alert status of the country's most active volcano, Albay Province Gov. Joey Salceda said.
But officials said not everyone is heeding their warnings -- some villagers were spotted within the danger zone checking on their homes and farms on the foothills of the volcano.
The government is trying to enforce a "no man's land" rule in the designated danger zone, with military and police instructed to double the personnel manning the nine checkpoints and double their foot patrol operation inside the restricted area, PNA reported.
Video: Volcano ready to blow
Philippine authorities raised the alert status to Level 4 on Sunday which "means that a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within days," according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
"Audible booming and rumbling sounds were first reported in the eastern flank of the volcano" Sunday afternoon, and 1,942 volcanic earthquakes were detected by the institute's seismic network in the 24 hours to 7 a.m. local time on Monday (6 p.m. ET on Sunday), the institute said.
One was "an explosion-type earthquake" that launched a cloud of ash about 500 meters (1,640 feet) into the air, according to the statement.
Level 4 means an eruption is considered imminent and Level 5, the highest, means an eruption is taking place.
The Institute recommended extending already-established danger zones of 8 km (4.9 miles) south of the summit and 7 km (4.3 miles) north of the summit of the the 8,077-foot volcano.
People in surrounding Albay Province have flocked to town centers to catch a glimpse of glowing lava cascading down the slopes of Mayon since the mountain began oozing fiery lava and belching clouds of ash last week.
The volcano, located about 500 km (310 miles) south of the Philippine capital of Manila, has erupted 49 times since its first documented eruption in 1616.
The Philippines is situated in the so-called Ring of Fire, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Mayon's most violent eruption, in 1814, killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns. Its last major eruption was in 1993. Since then, it has remained restless, emitting ash and spewing lava.
Grateful police say they've "never seen anything like this before"By Paul McNamara
Maybe the Supreme Court ought to consider this scenario as it grapples with legal issues surrounding private electronic communications filtering into and out of the workplace.
The guy logs on, calls up the video feed, and bingo: Two burglars are having their way with his stuff. He calls the cops, who I'm going to presume have rarely had an easier collar.
From a MetroWest Daily News report:
Kevin John Fegan, 27, and Joshel Garcia, 18, both of Framingham, were inside the 205 Beaver St. apartment when police arrived and arrested them at 9:30 a.m., never knowing they were being watched via computer, Deputy Police Chief Craig Davis said.
The break-in and theft were also recorded for future use in court proceedings, the deputy chief said.
"I've never seen anything like this before," said Davis. "It's awesome."
Police have not released the name of citizen crime-fighter (nor his tape), perhaps partly due to the fact that one of the "suspects" lives nearby.
Burglars are caught in the act all the time by commercial surveillance equipment -- examples here, here and this one where some knucklehead hit a Las Vegas store catering to mixed martial artist fans. And I presume those home-protection services snag a miscreant or two now and then. But I don't recall reading of a do-it-yourselfer having this kind of success.
Hope his neighbors are properly expressing their gratitude.
Cool Stop-Motion Student Project - Watch more Funny Videos
break.com — Over 300 French students at the ESCP Business School used stop-motion techniques to create a film designed to represent the spirit of their school.
We live in a strange world, not content with what’s already on offer in the hospitality world, these eccentric hoteliers have come up with quite literally some of the weirdest places to get a bed for the night. If you want to experience something a little different from your standard en-suite room with a view, or simply just want a bit of entertainment, keep reading...we have selected the world’s most bizarre:
A giant dog, Idaho, US
Calling all dog lovers… Yes folks, this oversized canine cutout really is a B&B guesthouse! The Dog Park Inn was built by a couple of chainsaw artists who evidently got a little saw-happy, complete with private 2nd storey deck and oodles of doggie memorabilia. No pets allowed mind.
A drainpipe, Austria
These concrete drainpipes situated in the middle of a park in Ottensheim, Austria come complete with a double bed, blankets and power point for all you sleepy souls out there. And good news for those of you on a budget – there is no fixed fee to stay at the Dasparkhotel, all they ask is a donation for whatever you thought the accommodation was worth. No complaints there.
A crane, Netherlands
It may look like just any old industrial crane, but inside this particular crane in Harlingen, the cabin section boasts luxurious accommodation for two guests with designer furnishings, a plush bed and a double shower. There are even controls in the bedroom where you can actually operate the crane so it swings around. Yikes!
A lighthouse, Netherlands
Brought to you by our fellow crane hosts (above), this lighthouse hotel, also located in Harlingen, offers guests a surprising amount of space and luxury – with panoramic views of the harbour to boot. Climb to the top and you can even dine beneath the original copper dome peak. Hmmm, more wonderful than weird this one we think.
A Lifeboat, Netherlands
Not content with their crane and lighthouse facilities, this lifeboat hotel is yet another offering from our quirky Dutch hosts. If you love the seafaring life, be sure to book yourself into the Lilla Marras – it is something of a work of art. Having been lovingly restored and adapted from its original use, the plush lower deck is now a haven for lovers of all things nautical. Welcome on board!
A Boot, New Zealand
As small as this hotel looks, this boot has a roaring fireplace, a double bed and a small cosy sofa. Sleeping only two, this is a perfect novelty getaway for a couple.
A railway carriage, England
Why discard of a perfectly good railway carriage when you can convert it into a hotel? Well that’s what the owners of The Old Railway Station in Petworth, West Sussex thought, anyway. Seeped in railway paraphernalia, the accommodation is a little ‘old school’ to say the least, so if you like your hotels sleek and modern, you may want to go elsewhere. Enjoy your journey!
A tree, India
For all you eco-warriors out there, The Wild Canopy Reserve in India ticks all the boxes. As well as getting a bed for the night, you can rest assured that you are doing your bit for the environment – the treehouse is solar powered and ecologically friendly, and your hosts encourage sustainable methods. Be sure to watch out for snakes lurking in the branches though…
A cave, USA
Get back to your indigenous roots and enjoy a night’s stay at the Beckham Creek Cave Haven in Parthenon, US. And if you thought caves couldn’t be luxurious, think again – this former bomb shelter, built into the Ozark Mountains, boasts natural rock formation walls and Jacuzzis for guests to relax in after a long day’s exploring.
An igloo, Canada
Well, not quite an igloo, but it might as well be. The Ice Hotel in Quebec, incredibly, is created from scratch each year out of 15,000 pounds of snow and 500 pounds of ice. Guests can choose from facilities including an ice chapel and an ice art gallery. With beds carved from ice, you’d better not forget your hot water bottle! Brrrr.
A bullring, Mexico
Thankfully no longer in use, this converted 17th century bullring in Zacatecas, Mexico is now a luxury hotel. Retaining its original character, many of the bedrooms overlook the main plaza, where bulls would once have seen red. Go on, release the matador within you!
If you know of anymore weird hotels around the world, let me know in the comments below and I'll add them to the list!