Boston Mayor Wants St. Patrick’s Day Parade to Accept Gay Groups


Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said Wednesday he will boycott his city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade next month unless it agrees to stop excluding gay and lesbian groups from its procession.

Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants, told the Boston Globe that he is trying to broker a deal with organizers of the March 16 parade to allow a gay veterans group to participate. A boycott would follow the lead of former Mayor Thomas Menino, who refused to march while in office since 1995. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also said earlier this month that he wouldn’t join in his city’s parade.

Boston parade organizers say they will not change their policy, pointing to a unanimous 1995 Supreme Court decision that gave the parade the right to exclude gay and lesbian groups. Parade organizer Philip J. Wuschke said the parade does not exclude individual gay or lesbian people who march…

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6 Proposals Denying Service to Gays You Haven’t Heard About


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer sent cheers rippling through a group of protesters gathered outside the state capitol on Wednesday evening when she vetoed a controversial bill that would have protected business owners who cited their religious views in denying service to gays. Ohio spiked a similar measure on Wednesday . Kansas lawmakers created the same kind of firestorm earlier this month when the House passed  a bill  allowing private and public employees to refuse to serve same-sex couples (the state Senate later  killed  that measure).

And this could still be just the beginning.

These two high-profile legislative debates are just part of a budding trend across the nation, with states pushing measures that proponents call religious freedom bills but opponents label state-sanctioned discrimination.

Here are six related proposals getting less attention than the battles in Kansas and Arizona.

Missouri Senate Bill 916: Introduced a week after the bill in neighboring…

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Now You Can Name a Crater on Mars After Yourself


Thanks to the space-education program Uwingu, you can now name a crater on Mars whatever you darn well please.

Using an interactive that maps Mars’ surface, you can click on a crater and pay–anywhere from $5 for a tiny one to $250 for an extra large one–to name that crater. The proceeds go to the Uwingu Fund,  which provides “grants to space researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs in this time of government cutbacks.”

According to the website:

For years, space mission rover drivers have named craters on Mars and Apollo astronauts have named landing site landmarks on their Moon missions.

Now it’s your turn, creating the first citizen’s Mars map with names for all of the approximately 500,000 largest, still unnamed craters on Mars! You can also help name the map grid rectangles of all the Districts and Provinces in our address system–the first ever address system for Mars.

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Math Proves You Should Always Order the Bigger Pizza


If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that pizza is delicious. Everyone loves pizza. Like, the United States government even took the time recently to prove that.

So, that’s one of the reasons why you should always opt for the bigger pie when you’re out at a pizzeria with friends (or alone — we don’t judge) so that you simply have more delicious pizza to enjoy. The other reason, though, is that it’s pretty much always a much better deal.

Some heroes at NPR crunched the numbers, looking at 74,476 prices from 3,678 pizza places across the U.S. They point out that a 16-inch pizza, for example, is really four times the size of an eight-inch pizza, though most people would probably think it would be double.  On average, consumers spend $16.59 for a 16-inch pie. To get the same amount of pizza, they’d have to…

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If You Put Down Your Smartphones for 10 Minutes, a Child Will Get a Day’s Worth of Clean Drinking Water


If you literally put your phone down on a flat surface for 10 minutes, corporate sponsors like Giorgio Armani Fragrances will donate money to the UNICEF Tap Project that will then be used towards water, sanitation and hygiene programs in the neediest countries. According to the organization, “768 million people do not have access to safe, clean drinking water, and 2.5 billion people live without proper sanitation.”

To start the challenge, participants have to go to UNICEF Tap Project‘s website on their phones. The longer you set your phone down, the more donations will be made.

As the clock starts ticking, facts about global water use flash across your screen. Messages like “538 million emails have been sent in the time you’ve been without your phone” may tempt you to switch browsers. Or check Facebook:


But if you resist, then you will see a message like this one:


While you’re technically…

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The NSA Is Spying on Your Webcam Sex


Unless you want a public sex tape, you should probably stop using any kind of digital machine to record your intimate acts. The latest leak from Edward Snowden shows how the NSA and the British equivalent Government Communications Headquarters collaborated to intercept webcam images from innocent Internet users.

The Guardianreveals the surveillance program, the ominously named Optic Nerve. Optic Nerve collected webcam stills from over 1.8 million Yahoo users “in bulk,” but it only grabbed an image every five minutes. The images were filtered using facial recognition technology to find specific targets.

But Optic Nerve couldn’t control what kind of material it was collecting—the documents show that there was plenty of naughty material from the haul. “It would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person,” the document reads. The Yahoo webcam system “appears sometimes to…

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Russia Scrambles Jets Near Ukraine, But Kerry Says Calm Will Prevail


Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that he received Russia’s assurances it will respect the sovereignty of Ukraine, as the ouster of the country’s Russian-backed president raised concerns of military intervention and Russian fighter jets patrolled the border.

Russia already launched a military exercise involving some 150,000 troops near its border with Ukraine, Reuters reports, and the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday it had put its fighter jets along the border on combat control. Kerry said he spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, who maintained that the exercises were previously planned and unrelated to the unrest in Ukraine, the Associated Press reports.

“Everybody needs to step back and avoid provocations,” Kerry said.

The parliament in Ukraine approved a new government on Thursday, less than a week after protests forced the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, who appealed Thursday for protection from his Russian allies while still claiming legitimacy…

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