One of the reasons why the Ashley Madison hack has swept through the US’ imagination to such a profound degree is how all-encompassing it seemed. The hack clawed its way into communities all across the country — well, not quite every community.
Gawker’s Gabrielle Bluestone has uncovered that there are precisely three ZIP codes across the country that have no record of Ashley Madison users. That’s ZIP codes, not area codes. And what do they have in common? They’re partially lacking two things: the internet and a large number of people.
Gawker’s discovery highlights a pretty dark truth. These three ZIP codes are probably the only ones in the US that don’t house spouses looking to cheat — at least not by using Ashley Madison.
When Gawker asked a local why no one in her town was on Ashley Madison, she replied that there was maybe only 10 households in the entire town that had internet. This town is also predominantly indigenous Alaskan.
Polvadera, New Mexico (87828) — Population: 269 (2010 Census)
An employee at the county clerk’s office told Gawker that there probably was no one on Ashley Madison because you can’t get reception in that area, which is about 4 square miles of rural peace.
And there you have it. Those are the last vestiges of the US left untouched by Ashley Madison — though of course there is the possibility that there are other bastions of innocence that have fake accounts registered to them.
Even so, the ubiquity of Ashley Madison is striking.
Good news: the Marina Abramović Institute is hiring! Bad news: all four positions listed in this fresh New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) ad are unpaid — ahem, volunteer. They’re probably great “opportunities,” though, right?
Let’s take a look.
1. Administrative Volunteer
Work: “general administrative duties, planning art-based special events, and development.”
Skills required: “excellent writing skills, the ability to multi-task, proficiency in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, and prior experience working in a fast-paced arts non-profit or other administrative position.”
(Nonmonetary, intangible) benefits: “the opportunity to grow within the organization and expand professional networks.”
2. Tech and Production Volunteer
Work: “development and maintenance of IMMATERIAL, MAI’s digital journal.”
(Nonmonetary, intangible) benefits: “a unique opportunity to hone technology skills on a highly visible, emerging arts platform.”
Bonus job volunteer position: “We also have volunteer opportunities for assistance with video and audio production, photo editing, and print layout.” Awesome, because I was wondering about that.
3. Special Projects Volunteer
Work: “preparing and working on collaborative in-person and digital projects.”
Skills required: “excellent organization and communication skills, proficiency in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite and basic HTML / CSS coding, familiarity with non-profit administration, comfort collaborating with partners in and outside of the arts and strong passion for the expanding the role of arts and sciences in various communities”
(Nonmonetary, intangible) benefits: none, but “artists are encouraged to apply”!
4. Research Volunteer
Work: “researching for the content of IMMATERIAL”
Skills required: “based in New York City and have a college-level background in art history, performance art, and/or performance art studies. Strong writing skills required. Additional background in at least two of the following: the sciences, research assistance, curatorial practice, performing arts, fine arts, photography / video.”
(Nonmonetary, intangible) benefits: none, unless you are “a critical thinker who wants to apply their skills to a large-scale collaborative project” and find that this fits the bill.
All of these positions have at least two-day-a-week commitments — which, amazingly, makes them sound even more like part-time work than they already do.
Wake up and smell the lessons … what have we learned from the Star Wars trailer launch?
Eighty-eight seconds of JJ Abrams’s instalment in the Star Wars saga were released today. Ben Child has sifted through the evidence and come to these conclusions
The Force awakens in Tatooine
Where else to kick off a new Star Wars trilogy than the home world of Luke and Anakin Skywalker, the desert planet which features heavily in both 1977’s Star Wars and (sorry) 1999’s The Phantom Menace?
Persistent Force Awakens rumours have suggested the storyline for JJ Abrams’ movie concerns two young adventurers (played by John Boyega and Daisy Ridley) from Tatooine who begin their journey amongst the sand dunes before heading off in search of our heroes from the original trilogy, Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo. So far, so spot on.
Max Von Sydow knows his Force
Do we detect a Swedish lilt discussing the return of the Force in the manner of Obi Wan Kenobi? If so, we have to assume he’s playing a Sith, a Jedi or perhaps one of the new Inquisitor baddies that were recently introduced in spin-off TV show Star Wars Rebels.
It’s an unbroken Star Wars rule (at least in the original trilogy) that only characters skilled in the use of the Force ever discuss it in any kind of detail. One rumour is that Von Sydow plays an Imperial leader who has stepped into the power vacuum left by the demise of Emperor Palpatine.
John Boyega is indeed a Stormtrooper
Here’s another rumour apparently confirmed, that the British star of Attack the Block plays an Imperial Stormtrooper turned to the good side of the force (or at least with Rebel sympathies). And there he is, centre stage in the first few seconds of the trailer.
Could this be a typical Abrams curveball? After all, the first time Luke met Leia it was in the guise of a diminutive member of the Empire’s ivory-suited clone-based army. Does this revelation torpedo the rumour that The Force Awakens opens with a severed robot hand (possibly belonging to Luke Skywalker) tumbling from space?
Lightsabers have had a makeover …
The Phantom Menace (again, sorry) gave us the double-edged lightsaber, and Samuel L Jackson got a purple job in Attack of the Clones. The new teaser shows a shadowy, cloaked figure wielding a crucifix-effect number.
Whether this innovation has any particular purpose will no doubt be revealed, but it suggests Abrams already has the confidence to tinker with canonical furniture that would once have been the exclusive preserve of Lucas. As radical shifts go, it’s a whole lot better than retrofitting Jabba the Hutt with the ability to perambulate.
… and R2-D2 could be in need of one
While the original Star Wars trilogy took place in a time of struggle, with a once-prosperous society devolved into chaos and division, it still seems remarkable that the future of the galaxy was entrusted on more than once occasion to a trundling tin can and his garrulous golden sidekick.
The new teaser offers a glimpse of the next generation of droids, who seem to have taken a leaf out of the Back to the Future book. Where The Force Awakens is going, they don’t need wheels, and indeed this is exactly the kind of outdated tech that could cause extreme traffic chaos on planets where the nearest thing to a road is a flattened sand dune. Still, R2’s going to look like a Morris Minor in a Formula One race when he eventually turns up. Can this be a good thing?
The trailer’s brief glimpse of the Inside Llewyn Davis actor shot face first in the new, upgraded X-Wing is enough to get the hairs standing up on the back of any self-respecting Star Wars fan’s neck. But might this mean Isaac is only getting a bit-part as an airborne Rebel grunt?
Apart from Luke Skywalker himself, X-Wing pilots were Star Wars’ equivalent of Star Trek’s red-shirted engineering corps, cannon fodder who were always getting killed off by Imperial forces just as they thought they might have a chance of blowing up the Death Star.
Then again, this is a Star Wars universe in which a Stormtrooper looks set to play a vital role: what price that an X-Wing pilot could also be set to move centre stage?
The Millennium Falcon can still make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs
It’s already been caught on camera by over-zealous pilots taking a day trip over Pinewood Studios, but the teaser trailer offers proof that the Star Wars universe’s most iconic spacecraft is about to get its first run out since Return of the Jedi. And she’s still looking pretty zippy. Is that Han Solo in the cockpit, excusing himself from culpability for yet another failure to jump to light speed as he fends off Imperial fire?
Reports of the death of CGI have been greatly exaggerated
Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy is not the only Star Wars head honcho to have talked up a return to the use of real sets and models, rather than the over-reliance on CGI which pretty much ruined the prequel trilogy, for The Force Awakens. Still, don’t try to tell me that droid wasn’t born on a computer, or that the Falcon doesn’t look suspiciously shiny.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that: most Star Wars fans have no problem with digital effects being used sparingly in combination with more realistic techniques, they just don’t want to see appalling computer game aliens parachuted incongruously into non-digital scenes (as with the remastered versions of the original trilogy).
There’s a balance to be struck here: too little CGI, and The Force Awakens might take on a depressingly retro vibe. Too much, and the knives will be out for Star Wars’ new boss man chief. But at first glance, Abrams looks like he can be trusted to get it right.
It is just over 10 years since Nicholas Berg, an American businessman working in Iraq, was brutally decapitated on video by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the thuggish leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
With the murder of the American journalist, James Foley, on Tuesday, the US and its Western allies were vividly reminded of the worst excesses of the Iraqi insurgency in the wake of the 2003 invasion.
But it is not just in the manner of its bloodlust that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) and AQI share a gruesome symmetry.
The two organisations also share a lineage. The threadbare remnants of AQI – all but crushed by the US troop surge in Iraq of 2007 and the “sons of Iraq” movement to turn Sunni tribes against the jihadis – morphed into the earliest version of Isis.
But more importantly, Isis is also the operational, strategic and ideological twin of its predecessor.
“There is almost no difference in the organisations,” says Afzal Ashraf, a former RAF captain in Iraq and now consultant at the Royal United Services Institute.
Mr Ashraf points in particular to the shared heritage of Isis and AQI in drawing on former members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime. Both are “parasitic insurgencies” that co-opt disenfranchised factions to their cause, he says.
It is perhaps for this reason that both AQI and Isis have historically shared a primary concern with the “near enemy” – other Arabs – rather than the far enemy – Western infidels – as their main targets. Isis, like AQI, is primarily a sectarian organisation, dedicated to eradicating the Shia governments in Baghdad and the Alawite regime in Damascus.
Military analysts also point to the similarity in battleground tactics used by Isis with those used by AQI, in particular the way both deploy force in circles of pressure, particularly around cities, using waves of car and truck bombs.
For Fawaz Gerges, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and an expert in al-Qaeda and Islamic extremism, the defining characteristic of the Isis/AQI approach, however is the their particular “use of violence”.
“Groups like al-Qaeda used violence in a tactical way, in a way proportional to their aims,” he says. “For Isis and AQI the savagery is the point. The action is what matters, not the ideas. To Zarqawi and Baghdadi [the Isis leader], the spectacle and the limitless force – beheadings, crucifications, people being buried alive – is what matters.”
So with the amount of 4K content available increasing every day, you may have been thinking about buying a 4K set so you too can bask in the glow of 3,840 x 2,160 resolution.
But 4K sets don’t come cheap, and you’re going to want to do a bit of research before dropping that much cash. While we don’t really review televisions here at Engadget, we’ve done the next best thing, compiling the opinions of trusted critics from across the web.
Which set offers you the most bang for your buck? Do bells and whistles like a curved screen make a difference? Check out a few members of the 4K Class of 2014 below.
PANASONIC LIFE+SCREEN AX800At first blush, the Panasonic AX800 series has a lot going for it. It’s a nice-looking set thatPC Mag says is “minimalist and unique,” suited for both TV stands and entertainment centers. Turn it on, and the picture is equally impressive, delivering what AVForums calls “rich textures and nuanced lighting,” while Reviewed.com thinks this LCD could stand toe to toe with a good plasma set, due to its “good black levels, accurate colors and reliable screen uniformity.”
But if you’re looking to sit down and enjoy some House of Cards in beautiful 4K, you’ll be disappointed — Netflix on the AX800 is limited to 1080p (and lower). Given the relative scarcity of commercial 4K content, the inability to watch a major provider like Netflix is a big ding on an otherwise stellar UHD set. Price: $2,300 and up
SAMSUNG U9000Walk into a room and the first thing you’ll notice about the Samsung U9000 is its curved screen, which CNET says adds a “unique, futuristic look” to a set that is overall “drop-dead gorgeous.” It says the picture is equally stunning, offering “deep black levels, accurate color and great bright-room viewing qualities.”
But what about that curve? Though it’s meant to create a feeling of depth and immersion, CNET found it “didn’t have any major effect on the picture aside from reducing reflections somewhat,” and Reviewed.com found it actually made some reflections worse, such that “lamps and lights are occasionally stretched across the entire arc of the screen.” It’s worth noting that the U9000 also includes an improved Smart Hub experience, but you can also find other Samsung sets that are a lot cheaper (and less curvy). Price: $3,297 and up
SAMSUNG U8550The Samsung U8550 is a set that eschews the curved screen of its high-end sibling U9000 in favor of “trim bezels and a very narrow panel” that Reviewed.com says “lend this television a modern air.”
The picture also does it credit, with LCD TV Buying Guidecomplimenting its “brilliant images in 4K,” while Sound+Vision was impressed with the “crisp detail and the clean, smooth clarity” of its upconversions.As on the U9000, the Smart Hub has been upgraded with “subtle improvements” that “hit the mark” according to LCD TV Buying Guide, and Reviewed.com says it provides “all of the streaming content and web-browsing functions you’d expect for the price.”
And that’s a price that undercuts the competition by $1,000, leaving you some extra cash for an awesome sound or gaming system on the side. Price: $1,597 and up
SONY X900BAt first glance, it’s clear that the Sony X900B is very different from other UHD sets, and even many regular ol’ HDTVs, due to its huge set of front-facing speakers.
The sacrifice of a slim bezel is well worth it, though, as What Hi-Fi compliments its “rich, open and detailed sound quality,” while CNET calls it the “best sound of any TV we’ve heard, bar none.” The picture is also up to the challenge, offering quality that HDTVTest calls “spectacular” andCNET says is the “best picture quality of any 4K TV we’ve tested so far.”
Sure, the X900B isn’t as cheap as some other sets, but unlike the AX800, it supports Netflix and, with those massive speakers flanking the screen, you won’t need to fork out the extra dough for a quality sound system. Price: $2,998 and up
According to prosecutors, David William Noll shattered the glass protecting the Banksy murals in Park City on New Year’s Eve, and then further damaged one of the works, an image of a boy praying on his knees, with dark brown paint.
Noll faces a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison; according to Bates, a plea deal is being negotiated, with a hearing scheduled for September 15. Police say they have video of Noll at the scene of the alleged crime.
In a television interview with a local California station shortly after prosecutors charged him with the crime, Noll said he supports only “commissioned” graffiti.
The murals appeared on Park City’s main street in 2010, after Banksy attended the Sundance Festival on behalf of “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” the “mockumentary” he starred in and helped produce.
Both local property owners, recognizing the value of a Banksy work, paid to protect the murals with glass, as others have done in cities around the world–one Brooklyn property owner even installed a metal gate and hired guards.
Banksy’s solo works have sold at auction for as much as $1.3 million; a collaboration with artist Damien Hirst sold for $1.9 million.
There’s a chance a huge volcano in Iceland could blow.
Lorcan Roche Kelly at Agenda Research tipped us off to the news that the Icelandic government on Monday changed the status of Bardarbunga, a volcano in Iceland located under Europe’s largest glacier, to “orange,” meaning there is a heightened risk of eruption and ash cloud.
A report from Reuters on Monday noted that this is the second-highest risk level on the government’s five-level risk scale.
“Presently there are no signs of eruption, but it cannot be excluded that the current activity will result in an explosive subglacial eruption, leading to an outburst flood and ash emission,” said Iceland’s Met Office.
Bardarbunga, a volcano in Iceland located under Europe’s largest glacier.
Kelly noted, however, that Bardarbunga sits under 700m of ice, or nearly half a mile’s worth, and to break through this an eruption would have to be quite massive.
Reuters noted that the 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano affected more than 10 million air travelers in Europe and cost $1.7 billion.
Kelly runs through a few scenarios if Bardarbunga erupts. Though, of course, we are still very much in the “if” stage.
Here is Kelly’s basic outline:
First, to restate, there is a chance there will be no eruption.
It could be too small to matter. There was an eruption in the area in 1996 that did not break through the ice. While this eruption did lead to a destructive jökulhlaup a rapid flood of melted water from the glacier damage was restricted to areas the flood hit. There was no ash cloud.
It could break though the ice, cause a small ash cloud, but lead to minimal disruption to air traffic. The 2011 eruption of Grimsvotn, also under Vatnajokull, had these characteristics. That eruption only lead to the cancellation of 900 flights and some re-routing on north Atlantic routes.
It could be a repeat of Eyjafjallajokull. If the volcano erupts, breaks through the ice-cap and produces large volumes of ash, we will likely see major air travel disruption during what is still peak holiday season.
There is a very small chance that an eruption could be something very much larger, along the scale of the 1783 Laki eruption. In the case of an eruption this size, the major problem would not be flight disruption caused by ash, although that certainly would happen but rather the devastating impact on climate and farming across the northern hemisphere. To give an idea of the scale, some research points to the Laki eruption being a trigger for the French Revolution.
This graphic from the Icelandic Meteroloigcal Office shows the increased risk of a volcano eruption, denoted by the orange triangle over Bardarbunga.