Tag Archives: Google

Amazon, Microsoft, other titans team up for transgenders to use restrooms of their choice

Bullies trying to force their choices on the rest of society regardless of accepted standards of privacy. As if I needed another reason to despise Microsoft.

transgender bathroom

Via Seattle Times: A coalition of corporate heavyweights Friday evening planned to announce its opposition to the initiative campaign seeking to restrict access to bathrooms and locker rooms for transgender people.

The endorsement list for Washington Businesses Won’t Discriminate features a host of local, regional and national players, including Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Adobe, Airbnb, Microsoft, Vulcan and Google. A news release says the number of businesses tops 150.

The formal announcement will come Friday night at the Amazon Event Center, with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Vicci Martinez, a finalist in the TV show “The Voice,” leading the event. The coalition adds to a number of political and community members opposed to proposed Initiative 1515.

The I-1515 campaign, Just Want Privacy, will need to turn in about 246,000 valid signatures by July 8 to get the initiative on the ballot. Joseph Backholm, one of the campaign’s leaders, acknowledged Friday that his group may not get enough signatures.

I-1515 would amend state anti-discrimination law so access to “private facilities” could be limited to those who are “biologically” male or female regardless of their gender identity, according to a summary of the ballot measure.

It also calls for restricting state and local regulations regarding gender-identity discrimination and permitting lawsuits against schools that allow access to facilities based on gender identity.

The businesses gathering Friday “are really standing up against discrimination,” said Heather Weiner, spokeswoman for Washington Won’t Discriminate.

Businesses also oppose the initiative because, she said, “they are not able to compete unless they are able to attract the best employees, some of whom are transgender men and women,” Weiner said. (Oh please….at least be honest and just admit you are pushing a progressive policy. Out of 100 people, two might be transgender. And what are the odds that those two people are going to be the best employees that fit their needs in their specific field? Pretty slim, IMO.)

Laws similar to I-1515 in other states, such as North Carolina, have sparked economic boycotts by businesses and entertainers.

I-1515 comes after a state regulation by the Human Rights Commission took effect in December, guaranteeing access to locker rooms, restrooms and similar facilities according to an individual’s gender identity. It affects public and private buildings, including schools, restaurants, stores and most places of employment. The commission has said the rule just clarifies a 2006 state law.

But it ignited a backlash among some conservatives and others who said they worry such access could let sexual predators more easily enter private spaces and potentially harm women or children.

Just Want Privacy has gathered about 25,000 signatures, according to its website. The group hasn’t drawn the large contributions often necessary to organize a statewide ballot campaign. Public records show it has raised about $126,000, with $7,500 spent on paid signature gatherers.

“We have a lot of work to do,” said Backholm, who is also executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington.  Backholm said he was unaware of the Friday event by Washington Businesses Won’t Discriminate.


PepsiCo CEO asks North Carolina governor to repeal new law

Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi

Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi

Via Fox News: The CEO of PepsiCo, Inc., has joined the growing list of company heads and municipal officials voicing opposing to North Carolina’s new law that prevents specific anti-discrimination rules for LGBT people for public accommodations and restroom use.

The Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina released Friday the names of another 10 company executives that have signed on to a letter criticizing the law and seeking its repeal, bringing the number of names to more than 120. New executives include those from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Qualcomm and EMC Corp.

Gov. Pat McCrory

Gov. Pat McCrory

The law, approved by the Republican legislature and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, responded to a Charlotte City Council ordinance approved in February that would have extended protections to gays and lesbians as well as bisexual and transgender people while at hotels, restaurants and stores. Charlotte also would have allowed transgender people to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity.

Also on Friday, Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi sent a letter to McCrory calling on him to consider repealing the measure when the General Assembly convenes in Raleigh later this month.

Nooyi said she was taken aback by the law as well as McCrory’s decision to sign it so quickly. She said the measure is “completely inconsistent” with the way her company treats its workers, and that it undermines efforts to advance North Carolina’s long-term interests.

Pepsi-Cola traces its roots to North Carolina, where it was created in the late 1890s by New Bern pharmacist Caleb Bradham. PepsiCo’s annual shareholder meetings have been held in New Bern in the past several years.

Separately Friday, the venture capital arm of Google’s parent corporation confirmed it won’t invest in North Carolina startup businesses while the law is in place. GV spokeswoman Jodi Olson cited written comments by CEO Bill Maris in which he asked his firm’s partners to flag possible North Carolina investments because he’s “not comfortable deploying dollars into startups there until the voters there fix this.” The move was first reported by Re/code, a tech-focused news site.

The new law blocked Charlotte’s rules and prevented other local governments from approving similar ordinances. And government agencies of all kinds must now require people who use multi-stall public restrooms to use the one that corresponds with their biological sex.

NCAA President Mark Emmert says he has spoken to North Carolina’s governor about the state’s new law excluding LGBT people from antidiscrimination protections, making clear if it remains in place it will affect the state’s chances to host major college athletic events.

A rally was held early Friday night in front of the Legislative Building to support transgender people and to oppose the law. Supporters of the new law held prayer vigils Thursday night in multiple locations in eastern North Carolina. One was held across from the Executive Mansion, where McCrory lives.

Supporters of the law say hundreds of businesses support the law and have signed on to their own letter praising McCrory and the legislature. McCrory and a key lawmaker this week suggested some changes are possible to the law. But Senate leader Phil Berger, has no appetite for them because “an overwhelming majority of North Carolinians we’ve heard from support” the law, spokeswoman Shelly Carver said in a release. The General Assembly reconvenes April 25.

Read the whole story here.


Protestors soon to be unemployed: Super-cool robots are taking over jobs

Pretty soon the “Fight for $15” crowd will be fighting just to find a job.

Domino's new trial pizza delivery robot in New Zealand is just under a metre (three foot) high and contains a heated compartment that can hold up to 10 pizzas. (AFP Photo/)

Domino’s new trial pizza delivery robot in New Zealand is just under a metre (three foot) high and contains a heated compartment that can hold up to 10 pizzas. (AFP Photo/)

Via SF Gate: Domino’s announced last Friday it’s testing a pizza deliveryman robot in New Zealand with a four-wheeled, short and squat droid who looks like a cross between a Wall-E and an R2D2. At the same time, Carl’s Jr. CEO Andy Pudzer told Business Insider this week he wants to build a fully-automated restaurant.

What’s more, Google is in the news  for sending a letter to U.S. transportation officials saying it should be legal to market and sell self-driving cars if they can pass standardized federal safety tests. Once this all gets sorted out, Uber, Lyft and taxi car drivers will be out of jobs.

A robot is any machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions and typically programmable by a computer—and we’re increasingly seeing these high-tech machines replacing jobs once performed by humans. At the airport ticket counter, at the grocery store checkout line and at the bridge tool booth, we’re less frequently looking a human in the eye when we hand over our money. Instead, we’re dealing with a computer.

At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., in February, Professor Moshe Vardi said robots will take over most jobs in 30 years, the British Telegraph reported. “We are approaching a time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task,” said Vardi, a professor in computational engineering at Rice University.

He added: “Robots are doing more and more jobs that people used to do. Pharmacists, prison guards, boning chicken, bartending, more and more jobs we’re able to mechanize them.”

The high-tech world is even finding ways to use computers to do jobs that seem as if they’d require a human mind. The LA Times uses what’s known as QuakeBot to quickly write and publish news about recent earthquakes.

Businesses are turning to robots because they can save money.  Carl’s Jr.’s Pudzer said he’s investing in the automated restaurants because minimum wages continue to go up across the country.

“With government driving up the cost of labor, it’s driving down the number of jobs,” he told Business Insider. “You’re going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants.”

But as technology advances and swallows up an increasing number of jobs, some question whether the bottom line should only be about money. What about the loss of jobs? And the overall loss of human connection? Research shows that people benefit from social interactions and can happen at the grocery store, at the bank, at the library when there’s an actual person behind the counter or at the cash register.

At the Advancement of Science conference Professor Vardi posted a profound question: “Does the technology we are developing ultimately benefit mankind?”

See the gallery of some super-high-tech robots replacing jobs at the SF Gate web site here.


Danger Will Robinson!

Meet Atlas

Boston Dynamics in Waltham, MA was recently purchased by Google, and is producing some amazing machines.


Is anybody else as creeped out as I am right now? 



FCC won’t force Google and Facebook to stop tracking you

I quite Facebook over a year ago and don’t miss it one bit. And I stay far, far away from Google.


NY Post: US regulators rejected an effort on Friday to force Google, Facebook and other popular websites to honor “Do Not Track” requests from users, in a setback for digital privacy advocates. The FCC dismissed a petition that would have required Internet giants to let consumers opt out of having their online activity tracked.

The FCC said it “has been unequivocal in declaring that it has no intent to regulate edge providers,” or companies that provide content and services over the Internet. Yet you have to wonder what their (the government’s) true intentions are given that they must be aware of Facebook’s policy which allows third parties (themselves) like the CIA, FBI, NSA etc. to collect information from your computer, phones and other devices where you access Facebook.

You would think that you could submit a “Do Not Track” request to tell a website not to collect information and some web sites do honor “Do Not Track” requests, but doing so is largely voluntary.

The Consumer Watchdog group is on top of this fight.  “It’s outrageous that users of Google and Facebook, which has a billion users, won’t have the same online privacy protections as AT&T and Verizon,” Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, told Reuters. Court said his group may file for reconsideration before the FCC, and that it would continue to seek Do Not Track legislation in Congress.

Two peas in a pod...

Two peas in a pod…

As the government’s top consumer protection body, you’d think the FCC would protect consumer rights. Yet it’s apparent that Facebook and Google are working with the government to massively spy on American and foreign citizens.

See also:


Know where to spend your money: Companies celebrate U.S. Supreme Court ruling to legalize homosexual marriage

Daily Mail: Companies have thrown their support behind the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize homosexual marriage nationwide by announcing a host of commemorative products and gimmicks. Several businesses marked the landmark decision to allow homosexual marriage in all 50 states across America with tweets of support, snazzy marketing gimmicks and new products.

Among the most creative ideas was Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, which announced it would temporarily rename its chocolate chip cookie dough to ‘I Dough, I Dough.’ The ice cream flavor will be available in a commemorative pint sleeve at participate ice cream shops for a limited time.


Another high profile firm – Google – changed the logo on its building in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan to one that featured a rainbow flag. The company’s office is the second-largest after the company’s headquarters in Mountain View.

Meanwhile, Facebook commemorated the big day by allowing its social media users to put a rainbow overlay on their profile picture by clicking on a link, according to ABC News. CEO Mark Zukerberg led the way by changing his profile page to one that featured the bright colors.

Passengers who used car-service Uber took screen shots of the moving icons of vehicles in the app as they had rainbow flags trailing behind them.


The Maytag Man’s official Twitter account displayed two Maytag men as matching washer and dryer appliances. The slogan ‘perfect together’ was splashed across the image. And the tweet read: ‘Here’s to finding the one who completes you. #SCOTUSMarriage.’


American Airlines tweeted an image of a plane’s television screens decked out in the colors of the rainbow. It tweeted the message: ‘We’re on board. Diversity strengthens us all & today we celebrate #Marriage equality & the landmark #SCOTUSMarriage decision.

Twitter users like Airbnb used the hashtag ‘#LoveWins’ and tweeted ‘Dear Supreme Court, We hope it’s not too soon to ask, but will you marry us? Love Airbnb

Hoards of official Twitter accounts including American Airlines, The White House and Hillary Clinton changed their profile images to include rainbow colors.  Snapchat users were offered two filters with rainbow themes to celebrate the historic ruling.

The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides homosexual couples the right to marry, handing a historic triumph to the American homosexual rights movement.

The court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law mean that states cannot ban homosexual marriages. With the landmark ruling, homosexual marriage becomes legal in all 50 states.

As for me? I celebrated homosexual marriage by going to Chick-fil-A for dinner Saturday night!

See also:


5M Gmail accounts hacked. Change your password *now*!


Fidel Martinez for Fusion.net, Sept. 10, 2014:

Time to change your password again. A database containing nearly 5 million Gmail user accounts and passwords was leaked on Bitcoin Security, a popular Russian website devoted to the cryptocurrency.

The text file was published on Tuesday night by user tvskit, according to CNews, the Russian news outlet that first broke the story. The leaker claimed that the majority of the accounts belong to users who speak English, Russian, or Spanish, and that approximately 60 percent are active. The passwords not only give access to Gmail, but a slew of other Google services such as Drive and the mobile payment system Google Wallet.

Svetlana Anurova, a Google representative, told CNews that the tech giant is aware of the breach and encouraged users to select a stronger password and enable two-step verification, a security measure where users are required to provide a passcode sent to their mobile devices before any changes can be made to their account.

The Gmail leak comes on the heels of two other major security breaches leaked on the same Bitcoin forum, which targeted Russian email service prodiver Mail.ru and search engine Yandex. Those two breaches affected nearly 6 million Internet users.

Find out if your account was compromised

You can verify whether your account was affected by clicking here and entering your gmail address. It’s that simple. You can also enable Google’s 2-step verification by following the company’s easy steps.

UPDATE 3:01 PM Google issued the following statement to Fusion:

“The security of our users’ information is a top priority for us. We have no evidence that our systems have been compromised, but whenever we become aware that accounts may have been, we take steps to help those users secure their accounts.”