History Lessons

It feels weird to call the forty-four-year-old playwright and director Robert O’Hara a major figure in the American theatre, because the phrase sounds oddly ossifying—like an honor one is bestowed at the end of a long, satisfying career. But I do think he’s a virtuoso, and has been since his first play, “Insurrection: Holding History,” was produced in New York, at the Public Theatre, in 1996. The Cincinnati-born author, who directed the show himself, was mentored by the institution’s artistic director at the time, George C. Wolfe. It was inevitable that Wolfe’s influence—particularly when it came to sending up blackness as it was portrayed in the American theatre—showed in “Insurrection.” Its protagonist was a black gay man who, during a stay in a Virginia motel, travels back in time to the eighteen-thirties; there, he falls for one of the guys in Nat Turner’s posse.

O’Hara’s early work drew from other great sources. His interest in time travel is reminiscent of the novelist Octavia Butler’s forays into America’s slave-owning past. His sometimes dense, humorous speech owed a bit to Suzan-Lori Parks’s plays, in which history would not leave her characters alone. During the past fifteen or so years, though, O’Hara has worked hard to become himself. The hallmark of his comedic dramas is the way he examines the deeply complex relationship that blacks have with homosexuality, and what gay people themselves feel about homosexuality.

O’Hara’s latest full-length play, “Bootycandy,” which begins previews at Playwrights Horizons on Aug. 22, is somewhat autobiographical. In it, we first meet a little boy named Sutter, whose mother criticizes not only the way he describes his penis but its uses. From there, O’Hara takes us through a number of very funny and often scathing scenes depicting Sutter’s coming of age and beyond. Gays dismantle gayness, and a lesbian couple reverse their commitment-ceremony vows by saying things like “Wherever you go, I will not be there.” The punch line in O’Hara’s work? His recognition and dissection of that ill-fitting straitjacket called political correctness. 

Article source: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/08/25/history-lessons-4

Room with a view toward better student health

Space for future fitness center

Unused space at Greenville Central School will become the district’s fitness center. Photo by Audrey Matott



Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2014 2:00 am

Room with a view toward better student health

By Audrey Matott
Columbia-Greene Media

thedailymail.net

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The Greenville Central School District’s buildings and grounds staff has been hard at work for the past three months to clear out space in a storage area on the ground floor of middle school that will be used as a fitness center for students.

The storage room has been used for the past 10 years as a means for storage of surplus equipment. Recently, it became apparent that a weight room would help enhance the district’s athletic programs.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014 2:00 am.

Article source: http://www.thedailymail.net/news/article_e46fc9ce-2508-11e4-8060-001a4bcf887a.html

Video: An oral history – Former Xbox boss Ed Fries on the early days

Back in May, Halo 2600 developer and former Xbox executive Ed Fries spoke at length about his history and his work at Microsoft as part of the Computer History Museum’s ongoing series of “Oral History” interviews with notable figures in the tech industry.

Speaking to museum representative Dag Spicer, Fries covers everything from his origin story as the child of engineers in Bellevue, Washington to his experience working as a programmer at Microsoft (where he earned the nickname “Fast Eddie” and coded game projects like Microsoft Fish-O-Rama in his spare time) on software like Excel, as well as his eventual progression to helping pitch the Xbox project to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

It’s an interesting peek into what it was like to work at Microsoft while the company was reaching new peaks of influence in the industry, and developers will likely appreciate Fries’ anecdotes about working on projects like Microsoft’s Bungie acquisition and the decision process that led him to code the Atari 2600 game Halo 2600 in 2010.

The interview was recorded and published to the museum’s YouTube channel, and we’ve taken the liberty of embedding it above. If you find it interesting, take the time to comb back through the museum’s channel and check out similarly interesting presentations like this conversation between Mark Cerny and EA’s Rich Hillieman or this 3dfx history panel.

Article source: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/223417/Video_An_oral_history__Former_Xbox_boss_Ed_Fries_on_the_early_days.php

Is your data really safe? These are the 8 worst security breaches in history

Can your online data ever really be safe? Not when malicious hackers are lurking around every virtual corner, constantly developing devious new ways to steal sensitive data including passwords and credit card information. Online security is constantly improving, of course, but even the biggest companies in the world are susceptible to security breaches. And the sad truth of the matter is that there’s nothing you can do to protect your data once it’s stored on a company’s servers.

In case that harsh realization isn’t scary enough on its own, a new graphic helps remind us of the eight worst online security breaches in recent history.

FROM EARLIER: How to disappear online

Just a couple of days after sharing an infographic containing 25 insanely great Google Search tricks you won’t believe you ever lived without, the team at WhoIsHostingThis.com is back with another solid graphic. This time, however, the subject matter is a bit different.

“By hacking into computer systems and wireless networks, computer-savvy thieves can install malware to capture information like credit card numbers, usernames, and passwords at the press of a button,” the group wrote in a blog post. “In some of the top security breaches in history, millions of credit card numbers have been captured by a single hacker. In 2012 alone, according to a study by McAfee, more than 25% of Americans were victims of a data security breach.”

The post continued, “Even seemingly invulnerable giants like eBay and Adobe were susceptible to hacker attacks, losing the encrypted private data of millions of their customers. In the case of some government security breaches, the person who leaked the data didn’t have to hack into a single computer, but was handed those secrets in the course of their jobs, only to turn it over to the public, sometimes putting lives at risk.”

With that, WhoIsHostingThis.com created a terrific infographic that ranks the top eight worst security breaches and offers some information alongside each one. The full graphic can be seen below.

Article source: http://bgr.com/2014/08/14/top-8-worst-security-breaches/

Helen Gurley Brown Trust gives $7.5 M. to Natural History

Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown may never once have used a computer in her lifetime, but her trust is granting the American Museum of Natural History $7.5 million to establish a new program that will give young women and economically disadvantaged students computer science skills and the opportunity to apply them practically.

This fall, Bridge Up: Science will recruit about 30 girls with an interest in science and technology from high schools in New York City and prepare them to create web and mobile applications relevant to their community.

The program’s objective is to create “a social community of women who can feel comfortable and confident as computer scientists,” Eve Burton, Hearst Corporation’s senior vice president and executor of Brown’s trust, told Capital.

Through the Bridge Up: Science program, the American Museum of Natural History will also offer after-school classes on coding and related scientific fields to 100 middle school students, girls and boys, from underserved New York City schools. Three or four women selected from university science and entrepreneurship programs will help teach and supervise the high school and middle school students.

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“I think this offers a twofer for these young people,” museum president Ellen Futter told Capital. “They’re getting these computer technology skills, but they’re not getting them in a vacuum. They’re getting them tied to an understand, an appreciation of science, hopefully inspiration to pursue science.” The museum runs a broad spectrum of education programs, including some courses that train students to teach the sciences.

It’s the fourth educational institute to benefit from the philanthropy of Helen Gurley Brown and her husband, the movie producer and executive David Brown, who died in 2012 and 2010 respectively. The Helen Gurley Brown Trust has given $1 million to Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, $2 million to Smith College, $30 million to Columbia and Stanford universities to create the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation and $15 million to the New York Public Library to establish a Bridge Up program that provides academic and social support to underprivileged New York City students who might not otherwise attend college.

Brown’s legacy reflects her belief in the power of individual achievement: the influential editor, who grew up poor in Arkansas and whose highest degrees were a high school diploma and a secretarial certificate, wanted to invest her estate in individual people and ideas. Programs like Bridge Up: Science reward participants who propose innovative projects with non-bureaucratic “Magic Grants.” Their long-reaching aim is to propogate similar programs across the country, Burton said.

“[Brown] wasn’t a big lover of large institutions, or institutional gifts or large endowments,” Burton said, “but she was a huge proponent of investing in transformative ideas and people who transform the world.”

Although the American Museum of Natural History program only took its final shape after Brown’s death (planning with the museum began about five months ago), Burton said Bridge Up: Science follows as an example its namesake, which Brown and her trustees conceived together. Both devote their attention to a relatively small number of grade school students.

The second time around, the board of trustees examined data predicting a shortage of computer scientists and technologists five years from now, Burton said. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, the employment of computer scientists will grow by 15 percent from 2012 to 2022. It’s also evident that women are underrepresented in the field, and the board helped chose a woman, mathematician and coding scientist Christina Wallace, to direct the program.

While the first Bridge Up program is primarily an anti-poverty measure, this second is distinctly pro-women: “Brown was born and raised extremely poor. She had very little opportunity, so that’s where she first put her focus,” Burton said. But “this one is because she loved girls. She wanted to do something for girls.” The Browns never had any children of their own.

Helen Gurley Brown did, however, enjoy the company of Cardinal Hayes students who interned at the Hearst Tower her last few summers there. Seated at her typewriter, she would dictate letters to Gloria Vanderbilt, Liz Smith and Regis Philbin while the boys typed up her correspondence on an Apple computer she never touched.

 

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Article source: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2014/08/8550743/helen-gurley-brown-trust-gives-75-m-natural-history

Seahawks News: Computer Picks Seattle to Lose Super Bowl

The computers have spoken. According to the all-knowing buttons and switches, the Seattle Seahawks will make the Super Bowl this season. However, they will lose to…wait for it…the Denver Broncos!

Alright, you can stop laughing now. Don’t hurt the computer’s feelings. It worked hard on this particular result.

First of all, we have to state the obvious. Computers are fallible. Computers are programmed by people. Therefore, much like the BCS “standings,” you cannot easily differentiate between computer polls and “human” polls. Art imitates life, or in this case, programming.

Also, don’t tell me that history repeats itself. It doesn’t. That is one of the more incorrect statements that continues to get repeated (ironically). Too many factors change for us to confidently suggest that there is a predictable cycle to humanity. Computers are going to predict the future based on the past, and that past is already gone.

But, that is side note. The point is still that the computers think the Broncos will edge the ‘Hawks in the next Super Bowl.

For Seattle fans, this is a laughable scenario. It would be different if the Seahawks had barely defeated the Broncos in New York. However, that game was no contest. It was beautifully one-sided, and while the rosters of the two teams have changed, they haven’t changed that much.

Apparently the computer did these calculations 50,000 times, as if that is supposed to mean something. Most people know just enough about statistics to be dangerous, but in this case the number of calculations is irrelevant. What is more important is the variables.

The bottom line is these predictions are good for some short-term amusement, but they are ultimately irrelevant. For the Seahawks, the challenge may be more about getting out of the NFC, and less about who they might face if they make the Super Bowl.

Maybe this scenario unfolds, and we get a rematch in Super Bowl 49. Still, the Broncos beating the Seahawks is hard to fathom.

Article source: http://emeraldcityswagger.com/2014/08/12/seahawks-news-computer-picks-seattle-lose-super-bowl/

Touch of Gray seeks out over-50 set

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Della A. Rhoades of Della’s Creative Stitches was one of several home business owners who participated in A Touch of Gray on Saturday at the Maryville Community Center. The merchants fair spotlighted goods and services popular with consumers over age 50.



Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2014 3:47 pm
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Updated: 4:02 pm, Sun Aug 10, 2014.

Touch of Gray seeks out over-50 set

By TONY BROWN
News editor

maryvilledailyforum.com

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0 comments

If one has to grow old, why not grow old with grace, health, money and lots of cool stuff.

That was the idea behind A Touch of Gray, a merchants fair Saturday at the Maryville Community Center sponsored by 97.1 the ‘Vill.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014 3:47 pm.

Updated: 4:02 pm.

Article source: http://www.maryvilledailyforum.com/news/article_97d13bc6-20cf-11e4-a197-0019bb2963f4.html

Canadian Computer Museum Plans Special ‘Boot-up’ Day

There was a time…

When mice were not wired or wireless – they were rodents!

When a bluish glow late a night meant the moon was full – or something even more romantic!

When 64 K was all you needed!

The history of the personal computer is filled with missteps, mistakes and yes, milestones of significant accomplishment along the way.

Today, we carry computers in our pocket, or wear them on our wrist – but in the past, a really big desktop was needed.

One of the first personal desktop computers was shown at the 1964 World’s Fair: the early Italian job weighed like 35 kilos – 70 pounds – and cost more than $3,000 at the time, something like $30,000 today!

Nevertheless, it led to thousands of other models over the years, and many of them are represented in the collection of the Personal Computer Museum, based in Brantford, ON.

Started up by local computer enthusiast and professional IT specialist Syd Bolton in 2005, the Canadian PC Museum now has more than 25,000 artifacts in its holdings.

There are old VIC-20s and Commodore 64s, along with machines from Apple, IBM, Timex, Radio Shack and more – in fact, Bolton notes, not all the PCs in the collection can even be shown at one time, so a selection of most interesting, engaging and popular units are on display at any one time.

Bolton says he had the museum in mind for some 20 years, and that his collection is not only about computers: “It’s Canada’s only interactive computer museum,” he adds. “The museum not only preserves and shares the history of personal computers, but other technologies as well such as video games, cell phones and other electronic consumer devices.”

The operation is a volunteer-run (about 40 regulars contribute greatly) labour of love; as such, its hours of operation are limited, and days when the collection is open for public viewing are a special occasion.

Coming up in a week or so, on Saturday August 16, the Museum will be open from 10 AM to 4 PM. As a special bonus, Bolton noted that the day’s special plans include screening of a video-game related movie on the Museum’s giant screen – the movie starts at 2 pm.

Students from TriOS College of London visit the Personal Computer Museum in Brantford, during one of its recent open houses – the Museum is next open on Saturday, August 16, 2014.

The Museum’s open house is a great chance to see some of the technological predecessors of our current age, and to understand just what people had to go through ‘back then’ just to type and print a letter, much less share a personal video with folks half way ‘round the world.

Admission to the Museum is free, although Bolton encourages and appreciates financial donations “to help us keep the lights on” if not equipment donations that supplement the collection.

Of course, he’s looking for the rare and original, but Bolton says even PCs that are already well represented are good to have in the collection.

“Extra machines work well for us as spare parts since some of these machines break down easily. We are mostly looking for machines from the 70′s and 80′s, but will take anything,” he says, listing of course the PC itself but also original software programs, instruction books or other items that go with the machine.

“We also now collect things like cellular phones, manual typewriters, music players (like iPods), video games, laser video discs and more.”

In return, Bolton gives any donor full recognition at the Museum, along with an honourary lifetime membership. Equipment can be dropped off during an open house, or he will even make arrangements for pick-up if and when convenient time.

In some cases, people can actually leave the Museum with a PC – Bolton operates a giveaway program that provides free computers for families that can’t otherwise afford one.

He noted that the Canadian PC Museum program has given out more than 2,000 computers to date.

Luckily for the users, they have more than 64 K on board!

(Of related interest, the U.S.-based Computer History Museum, established in 1996, is based in Mountain View, CA, where it works to preserve and present the stories and artifacts of the information age, and to explore the computing revolution and its impact on society. Less fixed in location but dedicated to a similar mandate are Vintage Computer Festivals, held around the world.

Also, a quick reference here to the TV Museum – a great collection of television sets and accessories amassed over the years by Canadian broadcaster and entrepreneur Moses Znaimer – it’s located in Toronto.)

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submitted by Lee Rickwood

 

 

 

 

Students from TriOS College of London visit the Personal Computer Museum in Brantford, during one of its recent open houses – the Museum is next open on Saturday, August 16, 2014.

Article source: http://whatsyourtech.ca/2014/08/08/canadian-computer-museum-plans-special-boot-up-day/

Computers can’t share human history

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Article source: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ee88def4-0c2c-11e4-a096-00144feabdc0.html

The Computer Virus Catalog Is A Bizarre Illustrated Guide To The Deadliest …


By Karyne Levy


Posted Aug. 2, 2014 @ 4:25 pm


Article source: http://www.hillsdale.net/article/20140802/BUSINESS/308029993/-1/news