http://twitter.com/#!/140elect/status/286502546879676417

https://twitter.com/GovChristie/status/286504780711464961

This afternoon, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie plans to address the scrapped Sandy relief bill. Some conservatives are hoping that Christie will take the opportunity to acknowledge the bill’s thick pork padding:

https://twitter.com/RBPundit/status/286506319559655425

https://twitter.com/RBPundit/status/286507702195212289

https://twitter.com/BiasedGirl/status/286507732436144129

But they’re right to not hold their breath:

https://twitter.com/GovChristie/status/286510325610725378

You can read their joint statement here.

https://twitter.com/GovChristie/status/286510925433937920

https://twitter.com/GovChristie/status/286511456575422466

https://twitter.com/GovChristie/status/286511577862139904

We can likely expect more of that at the presser.

https://twitter.com/RBPundit/status/286514345247117313

https://twitter.com/RBPundit/status/286516602705420288

Twitchy will continue to monitor this story as it develops.

***

Update:

Outrage: Christie rips House GOP, denies pork in pork-filled Sandy bill

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2013/01/02/gov-christie-to-hold-presser-on-scrapped-sandy-relief-bill/

Whatifchallenge

Let’s all just be glad that Earth keeps rotating.

In his new book, What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Situations, xkcd author Randall Munroe illustrates some of life’s most bizarre questions and conundrums. Munroe recently joined Mashable‘s social book club MashableReads with the #WhatIfChallenge, and is encouraging readers to submit their own one-panel comics depicting outrageous hypothetical situations on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Vine.

What If? debuts on Sept. 2, but to help get your creative juices flowing for the #WhatIfChallenge, here is a sneak peek at a chapter from Randall Munroe’s latest title, below:



GLOBAL WINDSTORM

Q. What would happen if
the Earth and all terrestrial
objects suddenly stopped
spinning, but the atmosphere
retained its velocity?
— Andrew Brown

A. NEARLY EVERYONE WOULD DIE. Then things would get interesting.

At the equator, the Earth’s surface is moving at about 470 meters per second — a little over a thousand miles per hour — relative to its axis. If the Earth stopped and the air didn’t, the result would be a sudden thousand-mile-per-hour wind.

The wind would be highest at the equator, but everyone and everything living between 42 degrees north and 42 degrees south — which includes about 85 percent of the world’s population — would suddenly experience supersonic winds.

The highest winds would last for only a few minutes near the surface; friction with the ground would slow them down. However, those few minutes would be long enough to reduce virtually all human structures to ruins.


1. Map, Global Windstorm - WHAT IF

My home in Boston is far enough north to be just barely outside the supersonic wind zone, but the winds there would still be twice as strong as those in the most powerful tornadoes. Buildings, from sheds to skyscrapers, would be smashed flat, torn from their foundations, and sent tumbling across the landscape.

Winds would be lower near the poles, but no human cities are far enough from the equator to escape devastation. Longyearbyen, on the island of Svalbard in Norway — the highest-latitude city on the planet — would be devastated by winds equal to those in the planet’s strongest tropical cyclones.

If you’re going to wait it out, one of the best places to do it might be Helsinki, Finland. While its high latitude — above 60°N — wouldn’t be enough to keep it from being scoured clean by the winds, the bedrock below Helsinki contains a sophisticated network of tunnels, along with a subterranean shopping mall, hockey rink, swimming complex, and more.


2. Helsinki, Global Windstorm - WHAT IF

No buildings would be safe; even structures strong enough to survive the winds would be in trouble. As comedian Ron White said about hurricanes, “It’s not that the wind is blowing, it’s what the wind is blowing.”

Say you’re in a massive bunker made out of some material that can withstand thousand-mile-per-hour winds.


3. Bunker 1, Global Windstorm - WHAT IF (1)

That’s good, and you’d be fine . . . if you were the only one with a bunker. Unfortunately, you probably have neighbors, and if the neighbor upwind of you has a less-well-anchored bunker, your bunker will have to withstand a thousand mile-per-hour impact by their bunker.


4. Bunker 2, Global Windstorm - WHAT IF

The human race wouldn’t go extinct.[1] In general, very few people above the surface would survive; the flying debris would pulverize anything that wasn’t nuclear-hardened. However, a lot of people below the surface of the ground would survive just fine. If you were in a deep basement (or, better yet, a subway tunnel) when it happened, you would stand a good chance of surviving.

There would be other lucky survivors. The dozens of scientists and staff at the Amundsen–Scott research station at the South Pole would be safe from the winds. For them, the first sign of trouble would be that the outside world had suddenly gone silent.

The mysterious silence would probably distract them for a while, but eventually someone would notice something even stranger:


5. Confusion, Global Windstorm - WHAT IF

The air

As the surface winds died down, things would get weirder.

The wind blast would translate to a heat blast. Normally, the kinetic energy of rushing wind is small enough to be negligible, but this would not be normal wind. As it tumbled to a turbulent stop, the air would heat up.

Over land, this would lead to scorching temperature increases and — in areas where the air is moist — global thunderstorms.
At the same time, wind sweeping over the oceans would churn up and atomize the surface layer of the water. For a while, the ocean would cease to have a surface at all; it would be impossible to tell where the spray ended and the sea began.

Oceans are cold. Below the thin surface layer, they’re a fairly uniform 4°C. The tempest would churn up cold water from the depths. The influx of cold spray into superheated air would create a type of weather never before seen on Earth — a roiling mix of wind, spray, fog, and rapid temperature changes.

This upwelling would lead to blooms of life, as fresh nutrients flooded the upper layers. At the same time, it would lead to huge die-offs of fish, crabs, sea turtles, and animals unable to cope with the influx of low-oxygen water from the depths. Any animal that needs to breathe — such as whales and dolphins — would be hard-pressed to survive in the turbulent sea-air interface.

The waves would sweep around the globe, east to west, and every east-facing shore would encounter the largest storm surge in world history. A blinding cloud of sea spray would sweep inland, and behind it, a turbulent, roiling wall of water would advance like a tsunami. In some places, the waves would reach many miles inland.

The windstorms would inject huge amounts of dust and debris into the atmosphere. At the same time, a dense blanket of fog would form over the cold ocean surfaces. Normally, this would cause global temperatures to plummet. And they would.
At least, on one side of the Earth.

If the Earth stopped spinning, the normal cycle of day and night would end. The Sun wouldn’t completely stop moving across the sky, but instead of rising and setting once a day, it would rise and set once a year.

Day and night would each be six months long, even at the equator. On the day side, the surface would bake under the constant sunlight, while on the night side the temperature would plummet. Convection on the day side would lead to massive storms in the area directly beneath the Sun. [2]


6. Sun, Global Windstorm - WHAT IF

In some ways, this Earth would resemble one of the tidally locked exoplanets commonly found in a red dwarf star’s habitable zone, but a better comparison might be a very early Venus. Due to its rotation, Venus — like our stopped Earth — keeps the same face pointed toward the Sun for months at a time. However, its thick atmosphere circulates quite quickly, which results in the day and the night side having about the same temperature.

Although the length of the day would change, the length of the month would not! The Moon hasn’t stopped rotating around the Earth. However, without the Earth’s rotation feeding it tidal energy, the Moon would stop drifting away from the Earth (as it is doing currently) and would start to slowly drift back toward us.

In fact, the Moon — our faithful companion — would act to undo the damage Andrew’s scenario caused. Right now, the Earth spins faster than the Moon, and our tides slow down the Earth’s rotation while pushing the Moon away from us.[3] If we stopped rotating, the Moon would stop drifting away from us. Instead of slowing us down, its tides would accelerate our spin. Quietly, gently, the Moon’s gravity would tug on our planet . . .


7. Moon 1, Global Windstorm - WHAT IF

. . . and Earth would start turning again.


8. Moon 2, Global Windstorm - WHAT IF

[1] I mean, not right away.
[2] Although without the Coriolis force, it’s anyone’s guess which way they would spin.
[3] See “Leap Seconds,” http://what-if.xkcd.com/26, for an explanation of why this happens.

Excerpted from WHAT IF?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 2nd, 2014. Copyright © 2014 by xkcd Inc. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.


Want more great book recommendations from Mashable? Join MashableReads, Mashable’s social book club. You’ll have the chance to win free copies of new novels, and participate in conversations with various authors.

BONUS: Authors in Conversation with MashableReads

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/08/23/what-if-randall-munroe-excerpt/

New federal complaints were filed Wednesday against University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Michigan, University of Toledo, and Valparaiso University Law School in Indiana. BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { if (BF_STATIC.bf_test_mode) localStorage.setItem(‘posted_date’, 1409752885); }); BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { document.getElementById(“update_posted_time_3435028”).innerHTML = “posted on ” + UI.dateFormat.get_formatted_date(1409752885); });

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Geri Lavrov / Via wire

The University of California, Santa Barbara.

Six current and former students filed federal complaints Wednesday against the University of California at Santa Barbara, claiming the school discouraged sexual assault survivors from reporting attacks, did not properly investigate allegations and impose sanctions, and created a hostile environment by failing to give survivors mandated academic accommodations, such as help with class scheduling and test extensions.

The complaints against the school, still recovering from a misogyny-fueled shooting rampage in May by 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, allege violations of federal equity law Title IX and the Clery Act, which requires schools to disclose campus sexual assaults.

Three other schools are also facing new Title IX and Clery Complaints as of Wednesday: the University of Michigan (which is already under investigation), University of Toledo in Ohio, and Valparaiso University Law School in Indiana. The complainants said in a press release that they hope the schools will join the more than 70 colleges and universities currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for alleged federal gender discrimination.

The only school that responded for comment by press time was the University of Toledo, which said it could not comment on specific situations but “is committed to a thorough process to evaluate and investigate any reported violations.”

Lead complainant Myra Crimmel, a recent UCSB graduate, wrote in her complaint that she was drugged and assaulted by two men in fall 2013. At first, Crimmel said, she asked only for a no-contact order; one of her alleged attackers was a classmate, and she was unable to study for a final exam with him around. However, according to her complaint, school administrators said her rape allegations were so severe that the university was obligated to open an investigation once she told them the name of her alleged assailant.

When Crimmel officially began the campus adjudication process on Sept. 18, she was told the process would be over in 60 days in adherence with UCSB’s strict sexual assault policy. Then, her alleged assailant hired a lawyer after he was offered the option of accepting a two-quarter suspension or going forward with a hearing. Suddenly, Crimmel wrote in her federal complaint, administrators started canceling meetings and stopped returning her calls and emails. It took six months to reach a final resolution. By that time, her alleged attacker had agreed to a hearing, but Crimmel was no longer interested; administrators warned her his lawyer would have the opportunity to cross-examine her and, she says, the director of Judicial Affairs told her that it was “so much work on our end.”

Eventually, UCSB told Crimmel’s family that the alleged assailant had withdrawn from school and would not be allowed to return until the fall quarter. Neither the incident nor the sanctions would be on his school transcript. An email detailing the final resolution said Crimmel’s alleged assailant could instead return to school as soon as Crimmel graduated in June 2014, giving him the opportunity to attend summer sessions.

Meanwhile, Crimmel said in the federal complaint, she was diagnosed with PTSD and missed classes due to depression. Less than a week after her assault, she was forced to explain personal details of her rape to her professor via email so he would allow her to take a test in a separate room from her alleged assailant, since her assigned crisis counselor who was supposed to help her with scheduling issues failed to do so. When the fall quarter finished and the new quarter began, Crimmel said officials promised her that she would not be in any classes with her alleged assailant — yet, Crimmel wrote in her complaint, she saw him in class the first week of school in January.

Crimmel’s attack occurred during the period of time that some researchers and advocates call the “red zone”: the 15-week period leading up to Thanksgiving break when freshmen are more likely to be sexually assaulted than at any other point during their college careers. Crimmel said she filed her complaint this week in part to help raise awareness of this problem.

At least two other UCSB students who shared their stories in the 81-page complaint were also assaulted during the “red zone.” But the notorious party culture in nearby Isla Vista, where the majority of residents are students at UCSB or at Santa Barbara City College (according to the 2010 census, 84.8% of Isla Vista’s population is between the ages of 18 to 24), doesn’t quit after Thanksgiving. And Crimmel said it contributes to an atmosphere of sexual violence against women.

“For so many people, UCSB is a dream school, the ultimate college experience,” Crimmel said. “But there’s this dark side people don’t talk about.”

Last February, two UCSB students reported separate gang rapes in Isla Vista. And in May, Elliot Rodger went on a deadly rampage near the UCSB campus that included the shooting deaths of two women outside a sorority house. In YouTube videos and a violent manifesto, Rodger had said that he wanted revenge against women who wouldn’t sleep with him.

UCSB “isn’t equipped to handle the culture of Isla Vista,” Crimmel said in a recent interview. However, she said, the way the school handled her case was worse than her assault.

Title IX complaints are difficult to compile, can take up to several years to investigate, and often result in nothing more than tepid resolution agreements. But, as many survivors have learned, they garner publicity. A spate of high-profile complaints filed in 2013, along with subsequent media coverage, prompted a White House Task Force report and bipartisan legislation aimed at curbing sexual assault on campus.

Some go to even greater lengths to draw attention to the cause. At Columbia University in New York, Emma Sulkowicz, a current undergraduate and one of 23 students who filed a federal complaint against her school, plans to carry a twin-size mattress to class until her alleged rapist moves off campus.

“People have to do extreme things to get their administrations to take sexual assault seriously,” said Sofie Karasek, a member of End Rape on Campus, a group that provides free support to students filing federal complaints against their schools. Karasek, a lead complainant in the filing against UC Berkeley, helped some of Wednesday’s complainants assemble their reports. She also started her first week of senior year.

“It’s really mentally and physically taxing to do this work,” Karasek said, “even if you aren’t actually carrying around a mattress.”

update

A UCSB spokesperson provided the below statement:

The university takes reports by our students of sexual assault extremely seriously. We offer numerous counseling, support and advocacy resources for survivors, and we have a strong adjudication process. We review our procedures regularly to ensure that we are using best practices and are in alignment with all UC, state and federal requirements. We have not received any official notification of a filing at this time. BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { if (BF_STATIC.bf_test_mode) localStorage.setItem(‘update_posted_date’, ‘2014-09-03 12:05:53 -0400’); }); BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { document.getElementById(“update_article_update_time_3732751”).innerHTML = UI.dateFormat.get_formatted_date(‘2014-09-03 12:05:53 -0400’, ‘update’); });

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/ucsb-is-one-of-four-new-schools-accused-of-mishandling-rape

Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Updated – 10:50 a.m., ET

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov offered his resignation ahead of an extraordinary session of parliament, expected to play a decisive role in the troubled post-Soviet country’s spiraling political crisis.

In a statement posted on the government website Tuesday, Azarov wrote that he had asked President Viktor Yanukovych to accept his resignation “in order to create additional possibilities for socio-political compromise [and] to deal with the conflict peacefully.

“Today the most important thing is to preserve the unity and integrity of Ukraine. That is far more important than anyone’s personal plans or ambitions,” Azarov added. “And that is exactly why I have taken this decision.”

Yanukovych issued a decree on his website Thursday afternoon accepting Azarov’s resignation. Under Ukraine’s constitution, the entire government must resign alongside the prime minister, but will remain in office for up to 60 days until a new one is formed. Azarov’s spokesman told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency that first deputy prime minister Sergei Arbuzov would replace him, starting tomorrow. Speculation has focused on Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire chocolate magnate and oppositionist former foreign minister, as a potential compromise caretaker prime minister.

Ukraine’s opposition welcomed the news cautiously. Vitaly Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxing champion and one of the three political leaders who have been negotiating with Yanukovych over a compromise for the last few days, said Azarov’s resignation was “a step towards victory for the opposition, but not yet a victory,” Ukrainian media reported.

The opposition had earlier declined an offer that would have appointed Arseny Yatsenyuk — leader of the largest parliamentary opposition party — prime minister, and Klitschko — the most popular leader — one of his deputies. Yanukovych also offered to fire Azarov and Oleh Tyahnibok, leader of the nationalist party Svoboda.

Azarov’s government had been expected to face a no-confidence vote Tuesday, an extraordinary session of parliament called to solve the increasingly violent and chaotic crisis gripping the country since late November, when Yanukovych’s U-turn from Europe to Russia and police brutality sparked the biggest protests since 2004’s Orange Revolution. Huge crowds occupied Kiev’s Independence Square, known as the Maidan, and were mostly peacefully until far-right radical groups began fighting riot police last week. At least four protesters died last week during the clashes. Several hundred more were injured.

Parliament voted Tuesday, however, to overturn a series of Russian-inspired repressive laws passed in violation of protocol earlier this month after Yanukovych reached a compromise with the opposition Monday evening. Three-hundred and sixty-one lawmakers voted to strike the laws off the books, with only two against and Communist Party lawmakers abstaining. Those laws effectively banned all forms of public protest in Ukraine, absolved officials from responsibility for the street violence and placed draconian limits on freedom of speech.

The laws, which critics said amounted to establishing “dictatorship” in Ukraine, revived popular anger that led to the violent clashes. The concessions are seen as vital to appease protesters on the square, who have booed the opposition leaders in recent days for their perceived lack of political accomplishments and say they will continue to take to the streets until Yanukovych is out of office.

By Tuesday afternoon, protesters remained unwilling to retreat from the barricades they set up around the Maidan or the government buildings they occupied last month. Several set about fortifying the barricades on adjoining Grushevskogo Street, which went up after the violence broke out last week. Alexey Paruby, a member of parliament and protest “commander,” told the independent Ukrainska Pravda newspaper that the encampments and occupations would remain until Yanukovych’s allies “vacated government buildings.”

Fears Yanukovych would declare a state of emergency, tantamount to martial law, have skyrocketed in recent days since Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko said, “Attempts to solve the conflict peacefully, without recourse to a confrontation of force, remain futile.” Justice Minister Olena Lukash threatened Sunday to ask the government to declare a state of emergency, but then claimed Tuesday that the issue had not yet been discussed.

Rumors that Russia, which bailed out Yanukovych with a last-minute $15 billion loan and gas discount in December, would intervene to keep Ukraine in the Kremlin’s fold and out of the West’s — even going as far as sending troops to help the government bloodily quell the conflict — have persisted here as the unrest spreads. The Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed senior Russian official saying that the terms of the loan, which have not been made public, would have to be reconsidered if Yanukovych accepted Azarov’s resignation. “There is no decision yet, but it is self-evident,” the official was quoted as saying.

Putin later said Tuesday, however, that Russia had loaned Ukraine the money out of “the need and desire not to support some specific government or other, but the Ukrainian people,” Russian state media reported. Putin added that Ukraine had asked Russia to delay repayments on the gas, including the cut-price gas from the December deal, but said that the agreement would remain in place despite the change of government. Shortly after Putin’s comments, Russian deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov, one of the Kremlin’s most senior economic figures, told Russian wires that the loan would not be withdrawn as long as Ukraine stuck to its conditions.

Putin went on to issue an implicit warning to European nations against attempting to regulate the conflict. “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” Putin said. “I think the Ukrainian people are capable of handling it themselves. In any case, Russia won’t interfere,” he added.

European officials have proved unwilling to play a zero-sum game with the Kremlin for Ukraine’s future or provide it with the financial aid the country’s moribund economy desperately needs to stave off default. The conflict has further soured relations between Russia and the EU, each of whom has accused the other of interfering in Ukraine’s sovereign affairs. The EU scrapped most of the Brussels summit, originally planned to last two days, including the official dinner in Putin’s honor, to show him that things were “not business as usual” earlier this month.

Over the last few days, anti-government protesters have seized power in eight provinces and attempted to in four others.

Via Twitter: @EuromaidanPR

Read Azarov’s full statement:

The conflict that has appeared in the country threatens the economic and social development of Ukraine and contains a threat for all Ukrainian society and every citizen.

The government did everything to solve the conflict peacefully throughout the clashes. We have done and continue to do everything to prevent bloodshed, an escalation of violence, and the violation of citizens’ rights. The government ensured that the economy and social safety net would function in extreme conditions.
However, the acuteness and danger of the conflict depends further responsible steps for our citizens and the future of Ukraine.

In order to create additional possibilities for socio-political compromise, to deal with the conflict peacefully, I have taken the personal decision to ask the President of Ukraine to accept my resignation from the post of Prime Minister of Ukraine.

All these difficult years I did everything I could so that Ukraine could develop normally as a democratic European country. I made decisions and took responsibility in the interest of the people of Ukraine. And so I can honestly look in the eyes of every citizen of our country, every fellow Ukrainian.

I am grateful to the President of Ukraine for his trust. I am grateful to all members of parliament who supported the government’s extremely difficult work on the modernization and reform of the country all these years.

I am grateful to all citizens of Ukraine who supported the government and me personally, who believed and still believe in the rightness of the political direction we took.

Today the most important thing is to preserve the unity and integrity of Ukraine. That is far more important than anyone’s personal plans or ambitions.
And that is exactly why I have taken this decision.

Via kmu.gov.ua

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/the-ukrainian-prime-minister-has-resigned

From the janitors who replace the toilet paper at Area 51 to the team that gathers intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command to the most highly trained signals intelligence collectors at the National Security Agency, an enormous amount of taxpayer money is spent trying to keep what these entities do on a daily basis a secret. And for good reason.

But the government often trips over itself to obscure even the basic outlines of secret units, even when in an age of ubiquitous information when it’s hard to keep quiet about anything.

About three-quarters percent of the information you’ll read below has been compiled from official government sources writing in unclassified papers and on their LinkedIn profiles. The rest comes from my reporting. No real secrets were harmed during the course of this production; I’ve left out several entities whose very existence is properly (at least to me) classified.

Via nsa.gov

The National Security Agency headquarters.

1.

F6 (The Special Collection Service) — In embassies across the globe, National Security Agency analysts work together with CIA teams to intercept signals intelligence (SIGINT) from denied areas — countries the US has to spy on. The folks who work on these teams are part of SCS, a joint CIA-NSA organization. It is not acknowledged by the NSA, although its internal division code, F6, can be found in material released through FOIA requests. If the CIA needs to break into a foreign embassy and bug a room, or set up fancy SIGINT collection equipment in a hotel across from it, its officers will work with SCS members based in the U.S. Embassy.

2.

Ground Applications Program Office — The more anodyne the name is, the more interesting the activities tend to be. GAPO, based at Ft. Belvoir, runs secret technology and procurement programs for Delta Force and for the most highly classified Army intelligence projects. Try to Google it, and you’ll come up with next to nothing. But a LinkedIn resume of a former GAPO director says the job is “Responsible for the development, fielding, and sustainment of 190 programs, projects, and equipment evaluations with an annual budget in excess of $500 million, each with its own cost, schedule, and performance standards. Its commander is “[s]elected by senior executives to manage the two top classified programs within the United States Special Operations Command.”

A U.S. military drone at Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base.

3.

Air Force Flight Test Center, Detachment 3 / 30th Reconnaissance Squadron (Area 51 at Groom Lake / Creech Air Force Base, NV) — Technically, Detachment 3 is based in California. But that’s a cover. The men and women of this unit serve as the principle managers of the Groom Lake test site for the U.S. Air Force and the CIA — the dream land known popularly as Area 51. The 30th Reconnaissance Squadron, based at nearby Creech Air Base, tests secret UAV projects at Area 51 and operates many forward deployed hovering sensors, like the RQ-170 drone that crashed in Iran in December.

4.

USAF 1st Helicopter Squadron, Joint Base Andrews, MD — Known by the call-sign “Mussel,” this unit is responsible for carrying out the Air Force’s continuity of government mission in the National Capital Region — the evacuation of key civilian government officials. It’s very easy to catch a glimpse of one of these UH-1N birds from the Mall in DC. At least two of them are in the air over DC on a near-constant basis.

The Boeing 757 used by the Department of Homeland Security and US Foreign Emergency Support Team.

5.

Unnamed Naval Annex, Potomac River, Washington, D.C. — Its construction in 2003 caused a hubbub in DC: the Navy was building a mysterious and highly classified building smack in the middle of the capital’s mall-scape. In order to give their blessing to the the required environmental reviews, members of DC Fine Arts Commission had to be sworn to secrecy about its purpose. A senior U.S official insists that providing the name of the Navy unit that operates the building and linking it to its purpose would constitute a breach of classified information. So all we can say is: it has something to do with highly-secret continuity of government plans in the national capital region.

6.

Special Capabilities Office — When JSOC or the CIA have an acute technology problem, the SCO can help them bypass the regular and time-consuming acquisition process that doesn’t keep pace with battlefield requirements. The SCO was set up as a free-floating entity that could find, develop, acquire, research and test – the testing is important, because SCO folks accompany operators onto the battlefield and make sure the stuff works. The SCO is responsible for several formerly classified systems that are now overt, like armed Predator drones and RFID tracking. SCO operates in addition to JSOC’s own secret procurement offices (see #4 above), and is considered the “black budget” component of the Rapid Equipping Force, which tries to speed new technology to the entire battlefield. On the Pentagon org chart, the SCO reports to the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Advanced Systems and Concepts.

The McGuire Air Force Base.

7.

227th SOF (Special Operation Flight) squadron, McGuire AFB, NJ — Members of this unit operate two Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) planes that are on stand-by at a moment’s notice to deploy U.S civilian intelligence and diplomatic personnel to the scenes of terrorist incidents and world crises.

8.

Army Compartmented Element, Ft. Bragg — Very little is known about ACE, other than its role in providing real-time intelligence to Army special forces. A detachment of ACE, known by the initials BI, is comprised entirely of highly trained female interrogators and intelligence collectors.

The Pope Air Force Base.

9.

486th Flight Test Squadron, Eglin AFB, FL — One of its six squadrons is on stand-by alert for special operations and intelligence missions world-wide; the 427th Special Operations Squadron, based at Pope Air Force Base, has its pilots flying missons for the secret squirrels of JSOC and the CIA.

10.

Mission Support Activity (MSA) — America’s unacknowledged 17th intelligence service, it was transferred from the Army to the Joint Special Operations Command in 2003. With an annual budget of around $80 million, MSA gathers intelligence to support the special missions of JSOC’s elite units, often operating in areas where the CIA isn’t able to tread. MSA has acquired a particular expertise in close-in signals intelligence collection, and they were deployed to Afghanistan in early 2002 under the cover name GRAY FOX. Their cover name, until two three years ago, was INTREPID SPEAR. Within JSOC, they’re known simply as “The Activity.” The current code name is classified. By the way: the openly perusable base directory at Ft. Belvoir, VA includes a listing for MSA.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/marcambinder/secret-armies-an-exclusive-look-at-10-secret-us

Michelle Broder Van Dyke / Via BuzzFeed

UPDATED — April 9, 9:35 a.m. ET:

Around the country, states are adopting or considering marijuana legalization measures, and a majority of Americans now say recreational use of marijuana should be legal, according to recent polls.

Following is a look at the states that have passed or are considering laws legalizing marijuana:

1. Alaska

What is legal? Marijuana possession was decriminalized in 1975 and medical marijuana was legalized in 1998.
What’s next? The push to legalize cannabis is strong in Alaska, with a group known as Campaign to Regulate Marijuana leading the movement. CRM gained more than 36,000 signatures on Jan. 15 for marijuana legislation based on Colorado’s law to be placed on the August ballot — it only needed 30,000 signatures. If the law passes, Alaska would be the third state to legalize marijuana.

2. Alabama

AP Photo/Dave Martin

AP Photo/Butch Dill

 

What is legal? Nothing as of now, and possession of even a single joint is punishable by up to a year in jail.
What’s next? The Alabama Legislature has passed a bill, called Carly’s Law, to allow the University of Alabama at Birmingham to study cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, for patients with seizures. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley on April 2.

3. Arizona

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

 

What is legal? Medical marijuana has been legal for cancer and chronic pain patients since 2010.
What’s next? There is a push now to add more to the list of approved medical marijuana conditions, such as PTSD. This year, a bill was introduced that would decriminalize weed, and Rep. Ruben Gallegos filed a bill to regulate and tax marijuana. Recreational marijuana advocates also hope to get something on the 2016 ballot that would be similar to Colorado’s marijuana legislation.

4. California

Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

What is legal? In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Marijuana possession is also decriminalized.
What’s next? A 2010 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana failed, and the issue will probably not get back on the ballot for another vote soon. Although Attorney General Kamala Harris noted that it would save the state hundreds of millions of dollars annually in law enforcement.

5. Colorado

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

What is legal? As of Jan. 1, 2014, cannabis cultivation, selling, and smoking became legal in Colorado.
What’s next? The profits have been evident since Colorado legalized marijuana, but opponents and supporters alike will be watching the state very closely to see what example it sets.

6. Connecticut

Jorge Duenes / Reuters / Reuters

Robert_Ford/Robert_Ford

 

What is legal? Connecticut became the 17th state to legalize medical marijuana in 2012 when Gov. Dannel Malloy signed it into law. Marijuana possession is also decriminalized.
What’s next? The state is currently implementing its medical bill: On Jan. 28, Connecticut announced which four locations would be allowed to grow marijuana, and it is still considering which dispensaries will be granted the state’s five licenses to sell weed.

7. Washington, D.C.

bbourdages/bbourdages

JeremyNathan/JeremyNathan

 

What is legal? Medical marijuana became legal here in 2011.
What’s next? Washington, D.C., is on the verge of decriminalizing marijuana: On March 4, the D.C. council voted in favor of a measure that would make the penalty for smoking a joint the equivalent of a parking ticket. If the measure is approved by Congress, D.C. would join 15 other states that have decriminalized marijuana. Support for marijuana has increased, according to a Washington Post poll, with 63% of residents currently in favor of legalization. Advocates have also filed a ballot initiative, which could ask voters as soon as this November if recreational marijuana should be legal.

8. Delaware

Molly_Wolff_Photography/Molly_Wolff_Photography

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

 

What is legal? In 2011 medical marijuana was legalized.
What’s next? The state only approved one pilot dispensary, so the program is still seeking more support from the state. Delaware also has harsh laws for possession, with a penalty of up to six months in jail for one joint.

9. Florida

JeremyNathan/JeremyNathan

 

What is legal? Nothing cannabis-related is legal in Florida yet, although a “medical necessity” defense has been established in court.
What’s next? This November, Florida residents will vote on a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana. Advocates gained over 683,000 signatures to get the measure on the fall ballot. Attorney General Pam Bondi is fighting the initiative and Gov. Rick Scott said that he would vote against it, but his office does not have the power to veto the measure if it does pass. In addition, a handful of bills have been introduced in the state legislature to reform Florida’s marijuana laws. On March 6, a medical marijuana bill sponsored by two republican lawmakers that would legalize cannabidiol for severe seizures was advanced by the House Committee on Criminal Justice.

10. Georgia

Dtamarack/Dtamarack

What is legal? Nothing currently.
What’s next? Rep. Allen Peake introduced a medical marijuana bill on Jan. 28 that would legalize cannabidiol for patients with severe seizure disorders. The Republican representative said he wanted to sponsor the bill after meeting a 4-year-old girl who suffers from a seizure disorder. The bill would allow academic institutions to produce the medical marijuana, not businesses or individuals. On March 3, the bill overwhelmingly passed the House, but died later in the month when it was not brought to the floor before the legislature session ended.

11. Hawaii

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

 

What is legal? Medical marijuana was legalized in Hawaii in 2000, but there aren’t any approved dispensaries that patients can buy from, so a license allows residents to grow their own plants or ask a caregiver to do it for them.
What’s next? Speaker of the House Joe Souki sponsored a bill to create a state-regulated marijuana market that could legally sell to adults 21 and older, but it died in committee. A bill to decriminalize marijuana was advanced out of the Senate but has not yet been considered by the House. In March, the House Health Committee voted unanimously to create a task force that would examine issues surrounding the development of a medical marijuana dispensary system in Hawaii. The resolution must now be passed by the House and Senate.

12. Illinois

AP Photo/Scott Eisen, File

What is legal? Medical marijuana was signed into law on Jan. 1, 2014, by Gov. Pat Quinn, making Illinois the 20th state to do so.
What’s next? The state’s medical marijuana program is still in its early stages, and patients will not be able to access weed until this spring. Additionally, Illinois’ marijuana penalties remain harsh; the state has the fifth-highest arrest rate for marijuana possession in the nation, according to the ACLU.

13. Indiana

DougLemke/DougLemke

What is legal? Nothing. Possession of small amounts of marijuana is punishable with up to a year of jail time and a $5,000 fine.
What’s next? Sen. Karen Tallian introduced a bill in January that would decriminalize marijuana, although it was not reviewed by a committee and therefore will not be heard by the General Assembly this year.

14. Iowa

AP Photo/Dave Kolpack, File

Baz Ratner / Reuters / Reuters

 

What is legal? Nothing. In Iowa, first time offenders caught with possession of even a single joint can be sentenced to up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
What’s next? In 2013, Rep. Bruce Hunter and Sen. Joe Bolkcom introduced medical marijuana legislation to the State Assembly, which would exempt patients in Iowa with cancer, HIV, severe pain, and other conditions from arrest for using marijuana with a doctor’s recommendations. It would also allow patients or caregivers to grow their own weed or to buy it from a nonprofit dispensary. The bill is considered dead this year, but Sen. Bolkcom and other medical marijuana advocates are still trying to raise awareness of the issue. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad said he fears medical marijuana would lead to unintended consequences.

15. Louisiana

tyalexanderphotography/tyalexanderphotography

What is legal? Nothing. People caught with possession of even small amounts of cannabis can be punished with up to six months in jail.
What’s next? An August 2013 survey found that 65% of residents support medical marijuana. A state committee met in January to hear testimony on reforming marijuana laws, but there is currently no active bill.

16. Kentucky

AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File

What is legal? Nothing cannabis-related is legal as of now.
What’s next? The battle to legalize medical marijuana is ramping up as the legislature is set to consider a bill this year that Sen. Perry Clark introduced. The state senator has introduced the bill twice before, but believes it has a good chance to pass this year. In February, Sen. Julie Denton also filed a bill that would legalize cannabis oil for children with epilepsy, which was unanimously passed by the Senate on March 12. The bill would allow the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville medical schools to research and allow anyone enrolled in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration trial to be treated with the oil. The bill now heads to the House, where it is expected to pass. The measure also has the support of Gov. Steve Beshear and the Kentucky State Police.

17. Kansas

tomofbluesprings/tomofbluesprings

What is legal? Nothing. Kansas has strict weed laws with possession of any amount punishable with up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Second time offenders could be convicted of a felony and face up to three and a half years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
What’s next? A survey conducted in Kansas found that 70% of residents support medical marijuana. In 2013, a medical marijuana bill was introduced to the state Senate and another to the state House. Although neither bill was heard by its respective committee last year, both bills carried over to 2014 and both committees are headed by a new chairperson.

18. Maine

What is legal? The state legalized medical marijuana in 2002 and the state has also decriminalized possession. In 2013, Portland, the largest city in the state, voted to legalize recreational marijuana, making it the first place on the East Coast to do so.
What’s next? The residents of Portland voted 70% in favor of legalization in November, and the rest of the state may follow this trend, meaning Maine could legalize weed when it appears on the ballot in 2016.

19. Maryland

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

What is legal? Not much, but Gov. Martin O’Malley has signed a bill that establishes a hospital-based medical marijuana research program, and has promised to sign a bill that would decriminalize weed in the state.
What’s next? Marijuana Policy Project and the ACLU did a joint poll that found 53% of Maryland voters want to tax and regulate cannabis like alcohol. On Jan. 16, 2014, a bill to legalize up to an ounce of weed and the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants for adults over age 21 was introduced, which has since been passed by the House. The bill would regulate and tax sales of cannabis in the state as well as wipe criminal records of past marijuana offenders clean, although based on the the legislatures previous decisions it probably will be an uphill battle to pass it. On April 7, the General Assembly passed a measure that would decriminalize weed. The bill imposes civil fines, rather than criminal sanctions, on people caught with less than 10 grams of marijuana. The Governor said he intends to sign the measure into law.

20. Massachusetts

Anthony Bolante / Reuters / Reuters

Songquan Deng/Songquan Deng

 

What is legal? In 2008, Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana. In 2012, the state legalized marijuana for medical use, becoming the 18th state to do so.
What’s next? The state is still setting up its medical marijuana program, with patients waiting to get proper identification cards. On Jan. 31, the state granted 20 provisional licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries, which can now begin building their facilities and growing marijuana. Rep. Ellen Story introduced a legalize bill in 2013 that could still be considered this year by the legislature, and if not, advocates hope to get a bill on the 2016 ballot.

21. Michigan

AP Photo/Jeff Barnard

 

What is legal? Medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan in 2008 with 63% of voters in favor, but questions of legality continue because of a court decision that said extractions, including resin and edibles, are not protected by the law. In November 2013, voters in three Michigan cities approved bills to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, adding to four other cities in the state that decriminalized weed in 2012.
What’s next? Rep. Mike Callton introduced a bill that would allow dispensaries to open for medical marijuana patients, which passed the House in December, but has yet to be considered by the Senate. Another bill to reclassify edibles as “usable marijuana” is also waiting to be heard by the legislature.

22. Minnesota

What is legal? In 2004, small amounts of marijuana were decriminalized in Minnesota, although possession of two ounces is punishable with five years of jail time and a $10,000 fine.
What’s next? The big push in Minnesota is to legalize medical marijuana, and a joint Senate and House bill was introduced last year that will likely be heard in 2014. A similar medical bill passed the full legislature in 2009, although it was vetoed by former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty with the support of law enforcement.

23. Mississippi

AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

Simplyphotos/Simplyphotos

 

What is legal? Marijuana possession is decriminalized in Mississippi, and first offenders who posses 30 grams or less are punished with a $250 fine.
What’s next? Sen. Deborah Dawkins has introduced a medical marijuana bill to the Mississippi legislature five times in the past, but it has been dismissed every time. The House voted on March 27 to make the marijuana oil legal in the state under tightly controlled circumstances. The Senate still must approve the agreement before it goes to Gov. Phil Bryant for his consideration. The vote was significant though, since the House had previously rejected the measure.

24. Missouri

Rick Wilking / Reuters / Reuters

 

What is legal? Missouri has strict marijuana laws, with a gram receiving punishment of up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
What’s next? Rep. Rory Ellinger introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana and a bill to reduce Missouri’s harsh marijuana penalties. In February 2014, Rep. Chris Kelly introduced a bill that would legalize marijuana and set up a system for growers and dispensaries as well as impose a 25% tax on marijuana. In addition, Show-Me Cannabis Regulation hope to get a voter initiative on the ballot in 2016, when they believe it would pass based on polling.

1. Mick Jagger originally bought the movie rights for $500.

2. Tim Curry turned down the role of Alex.

3. As well as Jeremy Irons.

4. Contrary to popular claims, the film was never banned in the UK, it was withdrawn by Stanley Kubrick himself.

5. The film was released again in the year 2000 after Kubrick’s death.

6. Kubrick’s first cut ran almost 4 hours.

7. All unused footage was destroyed per Kubrick’s request.

8. One of only two X-rated movies to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

The other being Midnight Cowboy (1969).

9. Malcolm McDowell’s eyes were anesthetized so that he could film without too much discomfort.

10. Nevertheless, his corneas got repeatedly scratched and was temporarily blinded.

11. The doctor standing over Alex as he is being forced to watch violent films was a real doctor.

12. Kubrick had the Korova’s milk dispensers emptied, washed and refilled every hour.

As the milk curdled under the studio lights.

13. The sped-up sex scene was originally filmed as an unbroken take lasting 28 minutes.

14. The final scene was done after 74 takes.

15. Gene Kelly was deeply upset about the way “Singing in the Rain” had been portrayed in the film.

16. It is often claimed that Malcolm McDowell nearly drowned while being waterboarded. This is not true.

During this scene, there is a barely perceptible microcut, in which Malcolm McDowell was able to use the oxygen mask that was hidden in the water.

17. It is said that Stanley Kubrick made this movie because of the failure of Waterloo.

After he completed 2001: A Space Odyssey, he had planned to film a movie about Napoleon Bonaparte’s life, but his financial backers pulled out.

18. The rape scene was so difficult for the actress originally cast in the role that she had to quit.

19. She was later replaced by Adrienne Corri, who told McDowell: “Well, Malcolm, today you’re going to find out I’m a real redhead.”

20. Pink Floyd’s “Atom Heart Mother Suite” was going to be used in the opening scene.

View this embed ›

However, because Kubrick wanted unlimited license to determine what portions or edits of the song he used, the band turned him down.

21. The album cover is still visible on a shelf in the music shop scene.

22. The band Heaven 17 was named after a fictional pop group in the film.

23. Stanley Kubrick and Malcolm McDowell would play table tennis while recording the narration.

And Kubrick never beat McDowell…

24. The film’s synthesized score features the first ever use of a vocoder.

25. After the film’s release, composer Walter Carlos became Wendy Carlos via a sex-change operation.

26. The doorbell at Alex’s house plays the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

27. Stanley Kubrick handled the promotional campaign, including the trailer, posters, ads, etc.

28. The car used by Alex and the droogs was the “Adams Probe 16,” one of three ever made.

29. Nadsat, the fictional language spoken by Alex and his droogs, is a mix of English, Russian and slang.

Nadsat Dictionary.

30. The snake was introduced by Kubrick when he found out Malcolm McDowell had a fear of reptiles.

31. Malcolm McDowell was 27 at the time of filming. Alex is 15 years old (17 in the latter half).

32. Korova Milk Bar was the only set built for the film.

This film was shot almost entirely on real locations.

33. Warner Bros highest grossing film of 1971.

34. There are many references in popular culture based on the film’s story and visual elements.

What a brilliant masterpiece!

More trivia on IMDb and Wikipedia.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/tob/34-things-you-might-not-know-about-a-clockwork-or-biby

In 1965, a 24-year-old Bob Dylan sat down at the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington, grabbed some stationery from the desk drawer, and scrawled what would become the last original draft of his iconic song “Like a Rolling Stone.”

Later Dylan would unsentimentally sell these sheafs of paper to an acquaintance he knew outside of music without thinking much about it. And now, many years later, that anonymous collector is cashing in. At a recent Sotheby’s auction the four pieces of paper went for more than 2 million dollars, nearly doubling the previous rock-manuscript record of $1.2M brought in by John Lennon’s “A Day in the Life” back in 2010.

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Here is a closer look at each of the sheets. While the song is clearly near its final form, you can see that he was still experimenting with a lot of lyrics that ended up scrapped…

Like a Rolling Stone draft - 02

Like a Rolling Stone draft - 03

Like a Rolling Stone draft - 04

Like a Rolling Stone draft - 05

Read more at The New York Times and NPR.

Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/see-the-original-draft-of-bob-dylans-like-a-rolling-stone-that-just-sold-for-2-million-5-pics/

How-zynga-can-save-itself-better-games-not-gambling-bbe3691540

Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

For those of us who lived through the dotcom crash of 2000, plummeting tech stocks are nothing new. But I can’t remember ever seeing a company lose 40% of its value in just a few hours — and that’s what happened to Zynga Wednesday afternoon.

The online gaming giant’s share price, which once stood as high as $16, has been trading in the region of $5 recently — until it released its second quarter earnings report Wednesday, and the price wilted like an untended FarmVille crop to $3 in after-hours trading.

Investors, it seemed, had finally lost patience with Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus, and his vague explanations of how the company will continue to grow.

I can’t say I blame them. I like Pincus; I knew him back in the days when he founded a great little social network called Tribe, which plugged the gap between Friendster and Facebook. But I also saw him interviewed on stage at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference last week in Aspen; it was hardly a bravura performance.

Pincus spoke haltingly; he was much more precise in defining Zynga’s challenges (for one, the smartphone boom has created an environment where people spend less time in his games) than in identifying solutions (there isn’t even a rough launch date for a FarmVille mobile app). No wonder a cheeky Twitter executive tweeted Wednesday that Zynga engineers were always welcome to come interview at his company. (The tweet has since been deleted.)

Gaming vs. Gambling

So how can Zynga right itself? Where do the future revenue streams lie, in a world where people are simply playing less Draw Something, having fewer Words With Friends, and slowly stepping away from nearly all of the Villes?

As I see it, there are two main possibilities: legalized gambling on the one hand, and smarter, more compelling, more original games on the other.

Gambling — or real-money gaming, as Pincus calls it — is a potential solution the CEO returns to a little too loudly and a little too often. As he points out, Zynga is already home to the world’s largest poker game, its biggest slots and bingo enterprise. Why, all it would take is a change in the entire federal regulatory environment, and Zynga would be a virtual Caesar’s Palace, but one the size of the entire Strip!

Investors aren’t buying it. Zynga is no Vegas casino, no offshore operation. It’s a company firmly rooted in California, with nearly all its customer base in states where gambling is illegal. Pincus is hardly the CEO to talk multiple governments into making a change to gambling law that would hurt the casino lobby. (One wonders if even Steve Jobs could meet that challenge.)

The End of Following

That leaves better-written, more compelling, more original gameplay. I’m told by Zynga sources there is a movement in this direction already — but that it’s hard to change the culture of a company with a tendency to either buy its games outright or be heavily influenced by others in its creativity, to put it mildly. (I hear jaws dropped and heads shook all around the Zynga building when The Ville, a game not entirely unlike The Sims, was unveiled.)


Pincus is right to say, as he does, that games should be social, simple to pick up, effortless to start playing, and capable of being consumed on the go, in bite-sized chunks. Do that and your audience is almost limitless. I give Zynga a lot of credit for shaking up the stodgy old computer and videogame industry with this model.

But he’s wrong to believe, as much of the evidence suggests, that games should be dumbed-down clickfests and meaningless reward loops. The great thing about gaming, especially when it’s social, is that it lets our imaginations soar. It lets us have fun by playing someone else — and playing the role of someone else.

I would argue that some of Zynga’s most successful games have been its smartest — the ones that sneak in some self-improvement while you’re enjoying yourself in your downtime. The Scrabble-like Words With Friends bestows an appreciation of the English language; Draw Something hones artistic skills, however mildly; FarmVille teaches agriculture, of all things. None would look particularly out of place in the classroom next to fully educational games such as Oregon Trail.

More Fun, Less Marketing

That pleasure wears off fast, however, when those titles are stuffed full of ads for other games, overly-eager requests to hook you up with more players, and nudges towards virtual goods purchasing. (The first two, plus a poor and completely unnecessary redesign, are the reasons I’ve been able to shed my long-standing Words With Friends addiction in recent weeks.)

I’d much rather drop a few dollars on a great game than constantly be on my guard for commercial purpose within it. Wouldn’t you? In-app purchases need to be super subtle, obviously optional; the game environment needs to tease our minds rather than our wallets.

For instance, my wife is addicted to DragonVale, a Zynga-esque game by Backflip Studios about breeding dragons. Ask her why she keeps returning to it, and she’ll tell you about the thoroughly silly descriptions you get to read when you buy a new dragon. There was attention to detail in the writing, and it paid off.

Mobile is a vast new frontier for gaming; we don’t know half of what works yet. What we do know is that the world is getting smarter, to the tune of an IQ point a year on average.

Maybe millions of us are ready for Choose Your Own Adventure-style text quests with multiple players, or games where you compete to compose the catchiest tune on a simplified instrument, or a galaxy-wide empire-building god game you only get to play five minutes at a time. Who knows until we try?

I’d like to see Zynga throw a thousand wacky, creative ideas at the wall and see which ones stick. Stop trying so hard to make them all look the same. Iterate fast, fail fast, and win with something you never expected — rather than trying to provide a platform for other developers to win on.

With more than a billion dollars in the bank, the company can certainly afford to invest in good game design — and investors may buy that strategy more than the unlikely promise of legalized gambling.

20. Emma in “Once Upon A Time”

Sure, she got left on the side of the road as a baby, but only because her parents are fairytale characters who lost their memories. Now she uses all that anger to fight evil and look fantastic in a red leather jacket.

19. Cataleya in “Colombiana”

That extreme PTSD from watching her whole family get shot to death in front of her as a child must make for great revenge fantasies while she’s on the treadmill.

18. Nikita in “La Femme Nikita”

Even the government thinks she’s crazy, and that’s pretty hot.

17. Mathilda in “The Professional”

Her whole family gets offed by Gary Crazy-Eyes Oldman, but instead of going to the police, she teams up with a French assassin and learns the trade. Sure, she’s only 12, but that choker makes her look, like, 14.

16. Lisbeth in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

Being declared legally insane at age 12 makes all those sexy piercings and tattoos pretty painless in comparison. Also, she swings both ways, so we’ve all got an equal shot at getting to gently run a spoon along that ribcage.

15. Katniss in “The Hunger Games”

Her dad died in a mining accident, her mom really needs some anti-depressants, and she’s trying to keep her family from starving. Then she gets recruited into a futuristic Olympics of Death. But hey, no one wears fire like her, and those bow-and-arrow skills are to die for. Literally.

14. Nina in “Black Swan”

Schizophrenia has never looked so sexy. And you’re rockin’ that tutu, crazygurl. Rockin’ it.

13. Jen Yu in “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”

This biddy is as insane as she is awesome, and she’s super insane. She moonlights as an unstoppable thief even though she’s already rich, she’s a master swordswoman, and she’s in love with a really sweet but kinda pathetic desert gypsy. Except she also kinda hates him. But loves him? But hates him.

12. Ripley in “Alien”

She’s the only badass betch who could defeat alien lifeforms AND make that haircut work. Especially when it’s all covered in space slime.

11. Sarah Connor in “Terminator”

Especially in Terminator 2, when her chiseled arms became a pop culture phenomenon and everyone tried to get really into pullups for a while.

10. Princess Leia in “Star Wars”

She watched her home planet get vaporized, accidentally made out with her brother, and there are always big carpets walking in front of her. This gurl has issues, but come on, that hair. THAT HAIR.

9. Dylan in “Charlie’s Angels”

All the Angels are pretty complicated and smokin’, but Dylan is the rebel. Remember when she kicked the sh*t out of Sam Rockwell while he was trying to fly a helicopter? And when she forgot to wear a bra under her tracksuit because she’s too emotionally damaged for bras? Oh, Dylan.

8. Selene in “Underworld”

Her family was murdered by werewolves and she was turned into a vampire by her replacement father figure, so she’s got some serious daddy issues, but also some sexy supernatural blue peepers!

7. Storm in “X-Men”

The fact that her parents died in an airstrike when she was a kid is probably what caused her to go gray/white early, but she’s owning it.

6. The Bride in “Kill Bill”

This betch is so bad, she doesn’t even remember giving birth. That’s one serious pain threshold. She’s also the only person in history to make a yellow tracksuit look good.

5. Ramona in “Scott Pilgrm vs. The World”

This gurl has so many emotions she has to dye her hair once a day, plus she did what we all threaten to do after a breakup and literally moved to Canada. But when she fights her college ex-girlfriend (hot), she’s a bona fide badass.

4. Black Widow in “The Avengers”

Her parents died in a fire and she was brainwashed by Russian spies, so it’s no wonder she’s a master manipulator who can rock a belted catsuit.

3. Trinity in “The Matrix”

She finds out the entire world is an illusion and what does she do? She buys an all-leather wardrobe and a lot of guns.

2. River in “Serenity”

No power in the ‘Verse can stop her, or give her a bad hair day.

1. Buffy in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

The ultimate in damaged chick badassery. Have you stabbed the love of your life with a sword to save the world? Have you died a lot? Were you named Class Protector in high school? Have you done it all while remaining perfectly manicured? Then shut your hellmouth and step back, gurl.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/thebumblekee/20-action-heroins-who-are-rocking-their-emotional-f750