HOL UP!! –> Google Glass

Today marks news from Google that they’re moving out of the “project” phase and into a whole new testing cycle with a recently announced contest for Google Glass aimed at people who aren’t entrenched in the tech field. To kick off the “contest” they launched a new website that details simplistic questions for the augmented reality glasses like “how it feels,” “what it does” and “how to get one.” Google’s accepting applications until February 27 with those passionate about the project answering questions and paying a $1,500 USD fee to be the first to test out the built-in voice recognition, on-board, hands-free video recording, voice recognition, and photo and video capture. Up until now, the only people wearing Google Glass have been Google employees, developers and Sergey Brin. Head here to learn of the exact specifics to get your hands on a pair.

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*Wow…* Girl Who Performed at Inaugural Events Killed in Chicago

Just a week after performing with her King College Prep band and drill team at Washington, D.C. events surrounding President Obama’s second Inauguration, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed at a park on Chicago’s South Side Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reports. The unique narrative surrounding the majorette and volleyball player’s tragic death will no doubt highlight the city’s murder rate (earlier on the 29th, the official count was 40 homicides in January), and underscore the urgency of the national conversation about how to combat gun violence.

Pendleton and 16-year-old boy wounded in the attack were shot in a park near the school about 2:20 p.m., in the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue, police said…

Most of those who were in the park were gang members, and those in the group did not stay on scene to help after the shootings, according to police. The shooting occurred around 2:20 p.m. in the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue…

“She was awesome,” one girl said of Pendleton outside the hospital’s ER.

Friends of the slain girl said King was dismissed early today because of exams, and students went to the park on Oakenwald–something they don’t usually do.

Friends said the girl was a majorette and a volleyball player, a friendly and sweet presence at King, one of the top 10 CPS selective enrollment schools. Pendleton performed with other King College students at President Barack Obama’s inaugural events.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

via Girl Who Performed at Inaugural Events Killed in Chicago.

Brazil: 232 Die in Nightclub Fire Stampede

The Associated Press is reporting that a fire ripped through a crowded nightclub in Southern Brazil early Sunday, killing 232 people as the air filled with deadly smoke and patrons stampeded toward the exits, police and witnesses said. It appears to be the world’s deadliest nightclub fire in more than a decade.

The tragedy comes as Brazil prepares to host the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Witnesses said that a flare or firework lit by band members may have started the fire.

Police Maj. Cleberson Braida Bastianello said by telephone that officials counted 232 bodies that had been brought for identification to a gymnasium in the city of Santa Maria, at the southern tip of Brazil near the borders with Argentina and Uruguay.

Another 117 people were being treated at hospitals, he said, and President Dilma Roussef arrived to visit victims after cutting short participation at a Latin American-European summit in Chile.

Bastianello said the recount lowered the toll from 245 earlier believed killed.

Television images showed smoke pouring out of the Kiss nightclub as shirtless, young male partygoers joined firefighters in wielding axes and sledgehammers, pounding at windows and walls to break through to those trapped inside. Teenagers sprinted from the scene desperately trying to find help. Others carried injured and burned friends away in their arms.

Read more at the Associated Press. 

Pentagon laying off 46,000 employees

Pentagon building

The Pentagon has begun laying off 46,000 contract and temporary civilian employees in an effort to cut back on military spending, the No. 2 Pentagon official said on Friday.

Full time civilian employees, which number in the hundreds of thousands, also will be furloughed for one day a week for 22 weeks, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in an interview with wire service reporters.

His comments were confirmed by a Pentagon spokesman.

The moves are part of a Defense Department effort to reduce spending given the potential for billions in mandatory cuts beginning as early as this spring should Congress fail to reach a deal on deficit reduction.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered military services to begin implementing cost cutting measures to mitigate the risk of the cuts to the military budget should no congressional deal emerge.

Panetta said earlier this month that he had asked services to begin “prudent” measures, which included curtailing maintenance for non-critical activities and delaying hiring.

The measures must be ‘reversible’ and minimize harmful effects on military readiness, Panetta said.

Umm… check out the Gay-Obama Newsweek Cover

Newsweek's Gay-Obama Cover Is Ridiculous

Rolling Out‘s Terry Shropshire challenges Newsweek’s decision to label President Obama the “first gay president,” pointing out that no one dared call John F. Kennedy or Lyndon B. Johnson the “first black president” because both of them openly supported civil rights.

In his cover story, Sullivan tries to justify his title this way: he writes that Obama went through a similar identity crisis back in his youth. “He had to discover his black identity and then reconcile it with his white family, just as gays discover their homosexual identity and then have to reconcile it with their heterosexual family,” Sullivan writes …

Yes, Sullivan, that sounds nice. But this doesn’t make Obama “the first gay president.” First of all, there is a prerequisite being a gay president: you have to be, in fact, gay. Obama, at last check, is not.

Secondly, I’m not so sure that Obama supports same-sex marriage as much as he was pushed into a corner politically and had to come down one way or another on the issue.  Some believe that Obama sold out his principles for votes. Some don’t even think it will have much impact in the general elections in November.

Thirdly, no one dared called Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson the “first black presidents” because they openly supported civil rights. They didn’t call Robert F. Kennedy the “first black attorney general” because he took steps against segregationists from blocking African Americans who sought to exercise their rights to vote, to go to college and to use any public restroom in the South.

Read Terry Shropshire’s entire piece at Rolling Out.

President Obama Endorses Gay Marriage: Evolution on the Issue Finally Complete

President Obama has affirmed his support for same-sex marriage. In a taped interview on Wednesday with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, to be aired in full on the show’s Thursday broadcast, Obama said that he is no longer standing on the issue’s sidelines.

“I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient, that that was something that would give people hospital visitation rights and other elements that we take for granted,” Obama said, listing a few of his policy accomplishments for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, including his repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and no longer defending the Defense of Marriage Act. “And I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word ‘marriage’ was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.”

But over the course of several years, Obama said, he has come to embrace marriage equality:

As I talk to friends, family and neighbors; when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed, monogamous same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained — even now that “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is gone — because they’re not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.

via President Obama Endorses Gay Marriage: Evolution on the Issue Finally Complete.

Rihanna, Lil Wayne Among Top Billboard Music Awards Finalists

Rihanna and Lil Wayne 

Adele, LMFAO, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Lil Wayne lead the finalists for the 2012 Billboard Music Awards, it was announced today.

 

Adele keeps rolling in the accolades. The British powerhouse is a finalist in 18 categories including Top Artist, Top Female Artist, and Top Billboard 200 Artist, while electro-pop duo LMFAO follows in 17 award categories.

Last year’s leader Rihanna scores recognition in 13 categories this year, while Lil Wayne and Lady Gaga tie with 10 categories.

Adele, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, and Katy Perry will compete for Top Artist, while the Top New Artist category welcomes Wiz Khalifa, Bad Meets Evil, Big Sean, Foster the People, and Scotty McCreery.

The show will air live from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas on May 20 with performances from Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, LMFAO, and The Wanted. More performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

2012 Billboard Music Awards Finalists

Top Artist
Adele
Lady Gaga
Lil Wayne
Katy Perry
Rihanna

Top Hot 100 Song
“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele
“Party Rock Anthem” – LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett and GoonRock
“Moves Like Jagger” – Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
“E.T.” – Katy Perry feat. Kanye West
“Give Me Everything” – Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer

Top Billboard 200 Album
21 – Adele
Christmas – Michael Bublé
Take Care – Drake
Born This Way – Lady Gaga
Tha Carter IV – Lil Wayne

Top New Artist
Bad Meets Evil
Big Sean
Foster the People
Scotty McCreery
Wiz Khalifa

Top Male Artist
Justin Bieber
Chris Brown
Drake
Lil Wayne
Bruno Mars

Top Female Artist
Adele
Lady Gaga
Nicki Minaj
Katy Perry
Rihanna

Top Hot 100 Artist
Adele
LMFAO
Bruno Mars
Katy Perry
Rihanna

Top Billboard 200 Artist
Adele
Justin Bieber
Michael Bublé
Lady Gaga
Lil Wayne

Top Digital Songs Artist
Adele
LMFAO
Bruno Mars
Katy Perry
Rihanna

Top Radio Songs Artist
Adele
Katy Perry
Bruno Mars
Rihanna
Nicki Minaj

Top R&B Artist
Beyoncé
Chris Brown
Cee Lo Green
Miguel
Rihanna

Top Rap Artist
Drake
Lil Wayne
LMFAO
Wiz Khalifa
Nicki Minaj

See the full list of finalists here.