Ok, last one. Whatever you may or may not think of Lady Gaga she absolutely does have a set of pipes on her and she nailed this performance from “Sound of Music”.

In case you missed last night’s 2015 Oscars because you had to work, or got stuck in traffic or just generally can’t stomach watching famous people stroke each other off this is the one part of the show that wasn’t pure celebrity fluff and worth watching.

Legend and Common brought the house down with their amazing performance of the song “Glory” from the movie “Selma”. The song, written by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn, won the Oscar for Best Original Song in a motion picture and if you’ve watched the above performance you can see why, there wasn’t as dry eye in the house or in the cast after the performance and after the announcement was made.

countdown-timer

On Feb 26 the FCC will vote to save net neutrality or let Comcast and other ISPs create Internet slow lanes. Some members of Congress, on behalf of their Cable donors, are trying to stop the FCC from protecting the Internet we love. There isn’t much time to stop them, contact them now.

When you visit this site for the next week you will see a small, unobtusive countdown timer toward the bottom of your screen. You can easily hit the “x” and close it out and ignore it or you can click on it and take a few minutes to help join in the fight for Net Neutrality.

Here’s an infographic that helps put into perspective what the internet will look like if certain corporations have their way, you can click here to see it.

A spectacular fireworks display on the Hudson river kicked off the weeklong celebration of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Goat.

The lunar new year actually begins tonight but last night’s fireworks launched “Happy Chinese New Year: Fantastic Art China,” a series of concerts, art exhibits and community events through February at the New York Philharmonic, Avery Fisher Hall, and the New-York Historical Society, as well as the Lunar New Year lighting of the Empire State Building from February 17-19.

2015 — a Goat Year

Chinese New Year 2015 will be the year of the goat. For people born in the year of the goat (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003 ), 2015 is considered an auspicious year.

People born in a year of the Goat are generally believed to be gentle mild-mannered, shy, stable, sympathetic, amicable, and brimming with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice.

They have very delicate thoughts, strong creativity, and perseverance, and acquire professional skills well. Although they look gentle on the surface, they are tough on the inside, always insisting on their own opinions in their minds. They have strong inner resilience and excellent defensive instincts.

Though they prefer to be in groups, they do not want to be the center of attention. They are reserved and quiet, most likely because they like spending much time in their thoughts. Goats like to spend money on fashionable things that give them a first class appearance. Although goats enjoy spending money on the finer things in life, they are not snobbish.

Photos courtesy of Chinese Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America

The number of people incarcerated in America’s jail system on any given day has increased by over 325% over the past 30 years, from housing around 224,000 in 1983 to 731,000 in 2013. This drastic increase is in spite of the fact that violent crime id down 50% and property crime is down 40% in the same period of time.

Jails across the country have become vast warehouses made up primarily of people too poor to post bail or too ill with mental health or drug problems to adequately care for themselves, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The study, “Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America,” found that the majority of those incarcerated in local and county jails are there for minor violations, including driving with suspended licenses, shoplifting or evading subway fares, and have been jailed for longer periods of time over the past 30 years because they are unable to pay court-imposed costs.

The report, by the Vera Institute of Justice, comes at a time of increased attention to mass incarceration policies that have swelled prison and jail populations around the country. This week in Missouri, where the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer stirred months of racial tension last year in the town of Ferguson, 15 people sued that city and another suburb, Jennings, alleging that the cities created an unconstitutional modern-day debtors’ prison, putting impoverished people behind bars in overcrowded, unlawful and unsanitary conditions.

incarcerations-front-door-infographic

Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America [PDF]

Incarceration’s Front Door – Report

Incarceration’s Front Door – Summary

RadioShack Suffered as Free Time Evaporated

Chain Built Itself as Hub of Leisure Activities Enjoyed to a Degree Now Hard to Fathom

In 1963, the year his company bought a nine-store chain then known by the two-word name Radio Shack, Charles D. Tandy explained to the New York Times why it made perfect sense for a retailer of do-it-yourself leather handicrafts to buy an electronics distributor.

“Leisure time is opening markets to us,” he told the Times. “The shorter workweek, human curiosity, idle hands—all offer opportunities in this business. Everyone’s spare time is our challenge.”

What Mr. Tandy couldn’t know was that the real challenge his company would eventually face was the slow erosion of the very leisure time his company profited from by filling. The company, now known as RadioShack , filed for bankruptcy protection last week.

It’s not just about how our free time has evaporated as we work more to make ends meet, with more than three quarters of Americans living paycheck to paycheck even if time wasn’t an issue disposable income is.

When you think of the word hobo it’s likely that it conjures up images of days gone by. A thing of the past, something that people did 50 years ago. You’d be wrong.

When photographer Mike Brodie turned 18 he spent five years riding the rails and documenting the people and places he encountered along the way. You can check out the entire gallery here.

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Best commercial for Super Bowl XLIX

This is the only commercial that I’ve ever seen that actually made me want to go out and actually buy the product. Liam Neeson is hilarious in this Clash of the Clans spot.

Worst Commercial for Super Bowl XLIX

Nothing livens up a Super Bowl party, or any party for that matter, like selling insurance with a fictional dead kid who was supposed to have died due to an easily avoidable accident.

Honorable mention #1

Nationwide managed to partially redeem itself with a humorous spot starring the self-effacing Mindy Kailing and Matt Damon.

Think you’re safe inside your house? Think you’re privacy is protected as long as you’re inside the four walls of your home? Think again. Police agencies all across the country have obtained a piece of equipment called Radar-R which can work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.

At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

Current and former federal officials say the information is critical for keeping officers safe if they need to storm buildings or rescue hostages. But privacy advocates and judges have nonetheless expressed concern about the circumstances in which law enforcement agencies may be using the radars — and the fact that they have so far done so without public scrutiny.

“The idea that the government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what’s inside is problematic,” said Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist. “Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have.”

Agents’ use of the radars was largely unknown until December, when a federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that “the government’s warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions.”

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h/t Indy Star