Lyft Donates $1 Million to ACLU After ‘#MuslimBan’ Protest

Ride-sharing company Lyft has announced that it would donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the wake of weekend protests against President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting travel from several terror-prone countries.

In a letter to customers, Lyft’s co-founders, John Zimmer and Logan Green, wrote (original emphasis):

We created Lyft to be a model for the type of community we want our world to be: diverse, inclusive, and safe.

This weekend, Trump closed the country’s borders to refugees, immigrants, and even documented residents from around the world based on their country of origin. Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.

We know this directly impacts many of our community members, their families, and friends. We stand with you, and are donating $1,000,000 over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution. We ask that you continue to be there for each other – and together, continue proving the power of community.

Lyft’s co-owners provided no evidence that the executive order was based on banning people based on “faith” or any criteria other than national origin — something previous administrations, including President Barack Obama, have done for national security and other reasons.

Rival ride-sharing company Uber came under criticism after it dropped surge pricing for travelers at New York’s JFK airport during Saturday night’s protest. Though Uber apparently intended the gesture as a way to support the demonstration, it inadvertently broke a strike by local taxi drivers that had been organized to protest the executive order.

The ACLU has reportedly garnered more than $20 million in donations as a result of its leadership in filing lawsuits to stay the execution of Trump’s executive order, and its prominent role at the protests.

Delta Resumes Limited U.S. Domestic Operations After Systems Outage

(Reuters) — Delta Air Lines Inc said it had resumed limited operations after a systems outage grounded its domestic U.S. flights on Sunday evening.

“Delta flights are departing and a ground stop has been lifted as IT systems begin to return to normal after a systems outage,” the company announced on Twitter at about midnight EST Sunday, some four hours after the problem took hold.

Delta said it had canceled about 150 flights scheduled for departure on Sunday night or in the early hours of Monday, with more expected, and advised travelers that “not all delays/cancellations are being reflected on Delta systems.”

Delta’s website, which was also down, was restored early on Monday. Earlier an advisory warned of “problems on delta.com and our mobile applications” and recommended that customers needing to check in for flights use airport self-service kiosks or see an agent.

Actor Livestreams Suicide On Facebook Following Arrest for Sexual Assault

Frederick Jay Bowdy, an aspiring actor, killed himself while recording a Facebook Live video earlier this week, following his arrest on suspicion of sexual assault.

A family member who was aware of Bowdy’s live-stream called the Los Angeles Police Department on Monday morning, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Responding officers failed to reach Bowdy, who was in a parked car, before he killed himself.

“The gentleman may have shot himself as officers were approaching the vehicle,” said Craig Harvey, a spokesman with the Los Angeles County Coroner. “It’s being investigated as a possible suicide.”

Facebook has removed the gruesome video from Bowdy’s profile.

Bowdy’s death came just days after he was arrested in Santa Clarita on suspicion of sexual assault. The Texas-based actor was released after posting $100,000 bail, and had not been charged with a crime.

The actor’s sister, Carolyn Bowdy, said she hopes her brother’s death will help bring healing to others who may be contemplating suicide.

“You leave behind a lot of people. You leave behind questions,” said Carolyn. “We didn’t want the action to be done at all. It doesn’t matter if it was on Facebook or not, for his family. Millions of people now know our pain.”

Bowdy’s suicide via Facebook Live comes just one day after a 14-year-old girl live-streamed her suicide on the social media platform.

China Girlfriend Rental App Gets Leg Up from Lunar New Year Demand

(Reuters) — As millions in China head home to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday with their families, 24-year-old Luoluo is busy answering messages on a mobile app from desperate men looking to hire an instant girlfriend whom they can present to mom and dad.

On visits home during the holiday, which kicks off on Friday, single people are often subjected to tough lectures from relatives keen on reinforcing the importance of marriage and securing the family blood line.

Some singles resort to hiring fake girlfriends and boyfriends to appease their parents. But an explosion in smartphone use in recent years means one can now pay for such a date through a handful of mobile apps, with just a few clicks.

“Over 1,000 users on our platform have signed up as dates for hire for the New Year break,” Cao Tiantian, founder of date-for-hire app Hire Me Plz, told Reuters.

Antifa Doofuses Discuss Masks to Hide Their Identities… In A Public Facebook Group

he Colorado Springs Anti-MILO ANTIFA group discuss why they should wear face coverings to protest MILO events, all the while using their real names in a public Facebook group.

Consider how eager they were to release the private emails of MILO event attendees last night in Boulder, here’s what they have to say, with their full names:

Gabe Valdovinos says he’s on his way to punch MILO, supported by other members in the group. He’s a Colorado Springs resident who likes brandishing (potentially fake) weapons with poor trigger discipline.

Yael Meola describes herself as “passionate about activism, and intersectional feminism.” Her preferred pronouns are “they/them.” Her header image reads, “We Will Resist.”

Gabriel Palcic is a socialist, promoting his communist Facebook group. He describes himself as an “antithesis,” someone who believes religion distracts us from spirituality. Gabriel also adds his political views, saying:

  • International Socialist Organization & International Marxist Tendency
  • i.e. Marxist. if you maintain a different political position you either don’t know enough about the world or you don’t care about the world.”

His spoken languages are English and “African American Vernacular English”. His partner is Jenny Contreras.

Issac Hutcheson believes the UC Davis protest tactics, including smashing barricades and assaulting attendees, should be used as a guide for the Colorado Springs protest. He claims he’s written to the school to stop MILO, citing a “pyramid of hate“.

Matt Smalls is a slightly older communist activist, and a resident of the town as well. He’s another “resist” advocate.

Salk Institute Creates Human-Pig Hybrid Embryo

The Salk Institute has successfully implanted a human-pig hybrid into a sow and observed its successful development over the course of a month.

Infant “pluripotent” cells — that is, those that have the potential to develop into any adult cell — were placed inside pig embryos and successfully combined into an embryonic hybrid. Once that was accomplished, scientists from the Salk Institute implanted the experiment into the womb of a mature sow and observed the embryo’s maturation over the course of a month.

Lead Researcher Izpisua Belmonte wanted to “know whether human cells can contribute at all to address the ‘yes or no’ question,” regarding the potential for growing human organs from pigs. She’s concluded that the study was “long enough for us to try to understand how the human and pig cells mix together early on without raising ethical concerns about mature chimeric animals.”

Despite the success of the experiment, the resulting cells were very weak. Still, it was an “important first step” that brings Belmonte and his peers closer to the “ultimate goal” to “grow functional and transplantable tissue or organs.” And while he believes “we are still far away from that,” they do have a lead: “Now that we know the answer is yes, our next challenge is to improve efficiency and guide the human cells into forming a particular organ in pigs.”

To do so, they will need to edit the pig genome itself, to make it a better host for the development of human cellular structures. Pigs are already our best candidates for such work — their organs are extremely similar to our own. With a lack of human donors on the proverbial table, the research could provide our best hope yet for manufacturing human organs for transplant. It might be the only way to save the twenty-two people who die every day waiting for an organ transplant.

There are, of course, a multitude of ethical concerns in the creation of human-animal hybrids. The Salk Institute has been forced to rely on private donations to fund the experiment, because such experiments remain ineligible for government funding.

All told, the research has created 186 surviving chimeric embryos, each with about 1 in 100,000 human cells. The human cells also seemed to slow the overall growth rate. University of North Carolina stem cell expert Ke Cheng says that the overwhelming predominance of pig tissue would very likely cause human bodies to resist the creations in their current form. And while there are “other steps to take,” he’s called the development “very intriguing.”

This isn’t the first experiment, nor will it be the last. Recently, human glial brain cells were implanted in mice. The mice solved mazes and memory tests twice as fast as their unmodified competitors. It’s a new scientific frontier, with as many hard questions — both moral and methodological — as it has potential answers.

Govt Employees Among Nearly 180,000 Users Exposed in ‘Upskirt’ Voyeur Porn Site Leak

Nearly 180,000 users of an “upskirt” and voyeur porn websitehave been exposed following a database leak, including 19 government employees and 70 members of the military.

178,201 email addresses, usernames, hashed passwords, dates of birth, logs, and IP addresses were included in the leak. However, “financial data,” such as credit card details, were reportedly kept safe.

Users on the site, which is known as “The Candid Board,” photograph and upload voyeuristic pictures of unsuspecting women in public– often opting for upskirt or secret beach pictures.

After speaking to a source who had obtained the leaked information, the International Business Times claim that the details have now been secured.

“Rather than try to track down a forum administrator, who probably doesn’t want to be tracked down, I decided to contact the hosting company Webair,” said the alleged source who had obtained the details. “I made my way through an automated system and pushed the buttons for tech support.”

“When I described the issue to the support on the other side, he immediately understood what the problem was. It was almost as if they were aware of the problems in their system,” they continued. “We didn’t talk for long. He said he would contact the client and then we hung up.”

“It’s amazing how much personal data people will entrust sites of this nature with,” said security expert and HaveIBeenPwned manager Troy Hunt on the situation. “Members provided accurate email addresses and birthdates which combined with their IP address now very clearly ties them back to a site of very questionable legal status.”

The International Business Times also reported that 19 government email addresses were found in the leak, including state employees from the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States of America, while 70 users with military email addresses were also discovered.

Last year, nearly 800,000 users of the porn site Brazzers had their information leaked, while adultery hookup site Ashley Madison were ordered to pay out $1.6 million to exposed users following a leak that left 36 million users vulnerable and exposed.

The Federal Trade Commission also sanctioned the site’s parent company following the discovery that Ashley Madison had created fake female profiles in order to entice male users to the site, and had retained information on users who had paid a fee to delete their account data.