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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Congress

It Came From Outer Space

Congress Might Have Doomed Us All to an Asteroid Apocalypse. Thanks, Guys.

The last few months have seen several asteroids unexpectedly buzz our planet, a fact that has caused a bit of concern for Congress. After all, while the chances of a catastrophic asteroid impact are tiny, if one does manage to hit us the effect could be pretty bad. Like, end of humanity bad. So it makes sense that Congress would want someone monitoring near-Earth asteroids just in case one should come barreling towards us.

Hmmm. Who does Congress have to turn to when they need someone to watch the skies?

NASA.

Whose budget has Congress drastically cut in recent years?

NASA.

You see where this is going.

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No. No no no no no no no. no.

Goodbye, Tax-Free Online Shopping

Gone are the sweet, sweet days of tax-free online shopping. At least, they might be soon, if an upcoming bill in Congress that would make sales tax standard online passes. Now might be a good time to check out those bookmarked shopping carts.

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Meanwhile...

The Facebook Privacy Issue Is Heading to Capitol Hill

The cherry blossoms are a-blooming, and that means it’s time for a Washington, D.C.-related post, following the inner workings of the sausage factory we call the government. And in this case, it finally doesn’t involve transvaginal probing! No, this is an update to a story we brought you yesterday, concerning the issue of employers asking potential hires for their Facebook usernames and passwords. We briefly mentioned that one U.S. senator was introducing federal legislation to stop that, and now another has joined him. Which leads us to ask: “So, what do you think Chuck Schumer is really trying to hide on his Facebook profile, you guys?”

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Today in Boobs

Navy Ship Named For Wounded U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords was elected to Congress three times and represented Arizona’s 8th congressional district. If you’re not familiar with her name strictly from politics, you may remember she was a victim of a shooting in Tuscon, Arizona in which six people were killed and 13 wounded last January. Giffords was one of the lucky survivors. Yesterday it was announced she would become the fourth women ever to have a Naval war ship named for her. 

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Rights of Passage

Which Sites Are Going Black to Protest SOPA/PIPA?

If you found yourself wondering what the name of the second general of the Dutch Revolution was, or if that was even real, and you ventured on over to Wikipedia to look it up, you probably noticed that the site looked different today. Different, as in blacked out. And then you may or may not have panicked, because now how would you satisfy you thirst for random trivia that is probably somewhere else on the internet, but your go-to site has shut itself down, and now your brain must find something else to do for the next — hey, someone mentioned you on Twitter. You should check that out.

Anyway, you most likely heard about this earlier in the week, when the site’s administrators announced that in protest of the highly controversial internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA, they would “censor” their own site for 24 hours. But Wikipedia is not the only site protesting today. After the jump, find out who else has shut themselves down, and see what the internet will look like should these bills become law.

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BAD IDEAS FROM SMART PEOPLE

Marvel Comics Listed As A SOPA Supporter

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), or Protect-IP Act as it’s called in the House of Representatives, has been the talk of the internet-town (and regular towns) for  months. Once everyone realized the implications this particular bill, they got extremely nervous and concerned phone calls and letters started pouring into Washington. The matter is still waiting to be settled when Congress returns from their winter recess but a list has surfaced showing particular companies who are in support of the controversial bill. And one of them is Marvel Entertainment. 

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Rights of Passage

Latest SOPA Defense: Sweden’s Apparently Non-Existent Yet Thriving Film Industry

The lawmakers on Capitol Hill are running out of ways to get people on board to vote for the U.S. Senate’s highly controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (known as the Protect-IP Act in the House of Representatives), so now they’re claiming that those scurvy-ridden internet pirates have completely obliterated the film industries of several countries, including Sweden. Sweden, a country that has apparently not produced any feature films since the advent of the internet … except for, I don’t know, Let the Right One In, the entire original Millennium Trilogy, you know. Nothing anyone’s ever heard of … if they are living under a Washington Monument-sized rock. Or they’re just lying. But here’s the good news: one lawmaker has a great idea to make this bill seem really unsavory to support: porn.

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Rights of Passage

What the Deal Was With Tumblr Today (And A Few Other Sites): The Protect IP Act

To the left is a screencap of Tumblr from earlier today, and you’re probably curious to know what it’s about. Well, we’re here to tell you, and you’re not going to like it. And not like “Kristen Stewart might be in Akira” “not like it.” Like “the United States government is taking cues from Iran and China and wants to put people in prison for five years for linking to a copyrighted site” “not like it.” In the name of protecting “prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation,” there is a bill currently being debated in Congress, the PROTECT-IP Act and its House version, the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA), concerning censorship of the internet that intends to leave legal windows open to prosecute regular users like you, me, and your Aunt Ethel, who just wanted to show you what her cat was doing on YouTube and happened to be playing the soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera in the background. This is a matter of taking freedom of expression out of the hands of the people and giving it to corporations, who can then turn to all their consumers and say, “We have PR firms and advertising agencies to tell people about our TV show/album/movie — stop linking to it or we’ll have you pay for it.” And the worst part is that anyone who tries to read this thing in order to better understand it will find themselves even more confused — and possibly in serious trouble.

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There And Back Again

Congress Should Really Let Stephen Colbert Make All the LOTR References [Video]

Okay, we’ve been talking about Stephen Colbert this week, like we’re trying to get his attention or something crazy like that. (Is it working? Hahahaha, I’m totally kidding.) But when Congress tries to make a Lord of the Rings reference while talking about raising the debt ceiling, it’s going to take a true Lord of the Rings geek to set them straight. And Stephen just happens to be one. I mean, he has Aragorn’s sword. It was given to him by Aragorn. (Or, more accurately, Viggo Mortensen.) He is worthy.

(Colbert Nation via Mediaite)

Vital Information for Your Everyday Life

New Round of Gaming Statistics: Gaming Audience Getting Older, Slightly More Female

A new report by the Entertainment Software Association has the latest statistics about the gaming industry, sending a message that such a successful, widespread industry would probably be a good place to focus on concerning job growth — 72 percent of the American population plays video games, so perhaps America would be a great place to hire people to make them. Other new stats: the median age of gamers has increased to 37, the percentage of female gamers increased to 42 percent, and the country spent over $25 billion on video games. News of the Obvious: the video game industry is pretty gigantic right now.

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