Boston Fans Buried Their Stanley Cup Sorrows in a Porn Avalanche


After the Boston Bruins lost the NHL championship to the Chicago Blackhawks Monday night, fans consoled themselves with porn, according to stats from PornHub. You might not have a Stanley Cup win, but you always have amateur adult films!

PornHub monitored traffic during the final game, from the hours of 8-11pm EST Monday night. Surprise, surprise, it was down from normal levels because bros were out watching the big game. Then at 11, traffic in Chicago stayed down because the whole town was celebrating. But in Boston? Not so much. Incoming PornHub traffic from Beantown skyrocketed by nearly a quarter. If you’re not feeling up to rioting for your hockey team, well, at least there’s always PorunHub. [CBS Sports via Digg]


Supreme Court’s ruling won’t help same-sex couples in Illinois now

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Wednesday to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act would do little now for gay and lesbian couples in Illinois.

The ruling that allows equal access to federal benefits will apply only to states that have legalized same-sex marriage.

However, the ruling gave new momentum to so-far failed efforts to legalize same-sex marriage here — but not by way of the Illinois General Assembly.

Illinois’ best chance now, activists and legal experts say, is through an ongoing court battle. They argue that the court’s legal conclusion that it is unconstitutional to deny federal benefits to same-sex married couples bolsters an ongoing Illinois court battle in which legal experts — including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan — argue that the Illinois constitution already allows for legal same-sex marriages.

“We think this really tees this up in allowing us to move forward in the case,” said Edwin Yohnka, director of communications and public policy for the American Civil Liberties Union. “We have a much stronger hand to play now even than we did in May.”

On May 31, the last day of the session, the Illinois House was poised to call the same-sex marriage bill — called the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act — but never did, disappointing dozens of gay and lesbian couples who packed into the Capitol. The measure had passed the Illinois Senate but its support lost steam, lacking the critical 60 votes to put it over the top. Now, advocates say the Supreme Court’s ruling may affect Illinois lawmakers.

“This changes the landscape tremendously,” Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the measure’s chief House sponsor, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Without a court ruling or change in Illinois state law, however, the Supreme Court’s Wednesday decision means Illinois couples would not have access to benefits enjoyed by legally married couples.

“What this underscores is what we now have is a situation where there will be people in Minnesota or Iowa that have benefits that will not be extended to couples in Illinois,” Yohnka said. “Even having a civil union does not carry with it 1,100 areas of federal law where being married either offers protections or extends particular benefits.”

Tony Tovar, of Chicago, and his partner, are among those people.

“It’s like a halfway victory,” said Tovar, 29. He and Orlando Rodriguez became partners through a civil union in Illinois in 2011. “I hope that the state of Illinois will step up and say, ‘Yeah, let’s pass marriage here.’ I have not heard that. That kind of scares me now. Our politicians definitely need to just get it together.”

Politically, the development offers an interesting twist. Some of the blame for the lack of action in Springfield on the issue was directed at House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) who runs his chamber with an iron fist. Now, his daughter, Lisa Madigan, who appears to be positioning for a gubernatorial run, may take a bigger role in helping accomplish what the general assembly couldn’t.

“In striking down DOMA, the Supreme Court has given added strength to our court fight to overturn Illinois’ ban on same sex marriage,” Lisa Madigan said in a statement. The state has filed as an intervener in the ongoing case brought by a group supportive of gay rights. “Today’s decision also intensifies the need to pass a marriage equality bill in our state and ensure that all Illinois couples have access to the full rights and benefits of civil marriage.”

While the impact of dual U.S. Supreme Court rulings strengthening gay rights rippled across the country Wednesday, it didn’t appear to have the same seismic effect in Springfield.

Gov. Pat Quinn, a supporter of Harris’ legislation, also weighed in favorably on the court’s rulings, which struck down the denial of federal benefits to gay and lesbian couples and, in a separate case, moved California closer to resuming same-sex marriages.

Neither Quinn nor Harris would offer a specific timetable on when the House might vote on the contentious issue — silence that seemed to be a clear indicator that the head count of supporters remains shy of 60 votes.

“The Supreme Court took a historic step by providing equal access to more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits for same-sex couples,” the governor said in a prepared statement. “Members of the Illinois House now have more than 1,100 new reasons to make marriage equality the law in Illinois.”

“I’ve always said I’d call this for a vote when the time is right and the votes are there,” Harris said, “and right now, I think it’s premature to say a specific date [for a vote]. But I’d like to make this the law of the land sooner rather than later.”

Neither he nor the governor Wednesday advocated a special legislative session to deal with the issue, heightening the likelihood that there will be no action before the six-day fall veto session, which starts on Oct. 22.

And even then, the political calendar is no friend to the governor or Harris.

On-the-fence legislators pressed to vote for the legislation could still wind up facing an unwelcome primary opponent because the final day to submit nominating petitions is Dec. 2, giving last-minute opponents nearly a month to gather signatures after the veto session’s scheduled Nov. 7 conclusion.

Still, Wednesday’s court rulings brought signs of some movement, including within the 20-member House Black Caucus. At the end of May, only five lawmakers in the caucus had publicly committed to voting in favor of the same-sex marriage bill.

State Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago), a vocal critic of Harris’ plan, told the Chicago Sun-Times that she now is “much more inclined” to vote for it because gay couples in other states will now have access to federal benefits but those in Illinois will not.

“I don’t want to hurt their Social Security,” Davis said. “Surely you cannot have people in one state getting Social Security and have people in another who do not. That cannot go.”

But another leading member of the House Black Caucus said Wednesday’s decisions aren’t a game-changer for him.

“I won’t call it a non-factor,” said state Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood), who has been noncommittal on the same-sex marriage question. “But I don’t think it necessarily changes how I vote on the issue. . . . I have to pay attention to the people who live in my district.

“I’m not sure what impact, for many, that will have moving forward,” Davis said of the rulings.

The two Davises and others within the caucus have faced a withering lobbying pitch from black ministers, while Cardinal Francis George and fellow Catholic bishops have tried to persuade Roman Catholic House members to vote against Harris’ bill.

One of the leading voices among the black ministers, former state Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago), wouldn’t comment on the impact of Wednesday’s rulings, but the Catholic leaders shows absolutely no softening of their resolve.

In a statement, Cardinal George called the court’s action “illogical and pretentious.”

“This morning, in the guise of technical legal language, the United States Supreme Court advanced the project of making marriage in the United States a genderless institution,” the statement said. “Since women and men are not interchangeable, the Court’s action is illogical and pretentious. The Court abuses its own authority when it permits civil law to alter the definition of marriage, which is a natural institution. What is truly at stake in these decisions is not the right of adults to love whom they please, but rather the right of children to have both a mother and a father.

“Today’s decisions also bring us one step closer to the day when those who continue to distinguish between genuine marital unions and same-sex arrangements will be regarded as “bigots,” George’s statement said. “We have already seen the negative result of gender-free unions on Catholic social services here in Illinois and other states. We can all be grateful that the Court did not create a new “right” to same-sex marriage, allowing Illinois and other states to continue to acknowledge in law what nature and nature’s God already tell us: that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for the sake of family.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson: no need to make Paula Deen a “sacrificial lamb.”

Paula Deen’s brand value was falling fast when Harrah’s Casino Joliet separated from the former Food Network star on Wednesday.

Hours after Caesars Entertainment, which owns Harrah’s Casino Joliet, announced that it would rebrand Paula Deen’s Kitchen restaurants, Wal-Mart ended its relationship with the celebrity chef.

Food Network dropped Deen on Friday after news reports that she had admitted using a racial slur in the past.

While corporate America was shunning Deen, the Rev. Jesse Jackson came to her defense, saying there was no need to make her a “sacrificial lamb.”

“I sense she is deeply troubled by what happened . . . Her legacy and reputation are at stake and [she wants] a way out,” Jackson said. “We are providing a way out.”

The Joliet restaurant is one of four Paula Deen’s Kitchens that Caesars Entertainment will replace. In a statement, the company said it had “reached a mutual agreement with Paula Deen Enterprises not to renew the two companies’ business relationship.”

A little more than a year ago, Deen was welcomed to Joliet with pride that the culinary star would put her name on a restaurant in the downtown business district. By Wednesday, the glamor was gone.

“They definitely made the right decision,” said Pam Owens, executive director of the Joliet City Center Partnership, which promotes business development downtown. “Why would you want to continue a relationship with the Paula Deen name if that’s the connotation attached to it?”

Deen became famous for her Southern cooking, her Food Network show and her cookbooks.

Her image survived a hit when it was learned just before the Joliet restaurant opened that Deen had diabetes.

She vowed while in Joliet that she would continue to eat Southern foods but cut back on the portions.

On Wednesday, she appeared on the “Today” show and tried to rebuild a reputation that was suffering from reports that she had used the “n-word” — something that came out in a deposition for a lawsuit brought by a former employee.

Deen said she could only recall using the word once, although that appeared to contradict earlier statements.

Deen called to those in the “Today” show audience who had never said anything they regretted to “please pick up that stone and throw it at my head so hard it kills me. I want to meet you. I want to meet you.

“It is what it is, and I’m not changing,” she said. “There’s someone evil out there that saw what I worked for and wanted it.”

Jackson’s comments seemed to reflect some sympathy for what Deen was losing.

“She may be a symbol of intolerance, but she should not be a sacrificial lamb,” he said.

Likewise, a black pastor in Joliet, Herbert Brooks Jr., who also is speaker of the Will County Board, seemed to make a distinction between the sin and the sinner, or at least her restaurant, when he commented on the Deen controversy.

“I don’t like the comments she made, but I would like to see the business succeed,” Brooks said, noting that Joliet and Will County needed the jobs and the business that came with the Paula Deen name.

Brooks attended the ribbon cutting for Deen’s Joliet restaurant and said at the time, “I was impressed with her.”

Earlier this week, pork producer Smithfield Foods said Deen would no longer be a company spokeswoman. Wal-Mart, which started carrying Paula Deen-branded products in 2011, said it will not place “any new orders beyond what’s already committed.”

New Maps Show Where Plant Life Thrives On Earth


This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration video shows where plants thrive on Earth and how this "greenness" changes with the seasons.

The week-by-week changes in vegetation make allow scientists to assess fire danger, improve relief efforts in drought stricken areas, or anticipate malaria outbreaks (since malaria-carrying mosquitoes need moist green areas to grow).

The data can also aid everything from smarter land use to better weather reports. Water runoff, surface temperature, and the relative humidity of an area are all meteorological factors influenced by levels of plant life.

You can see here how the Nile River is a crucial source of water for plant life — bringing the Delta to life in the middle of a a dry, hot region:



"As humans, we do have impact on the color of Earth," the video’s narrator says. "But the cycle of seasonal growth continues to be a constant rhythm on our green planet."

Here we can see how elevation changes limit the amount of greenness in the Pacific Northwest. The Rocky, Cascade, and Coast Mountain Ranges dominate the landscape below, then give way to potato and other agriculture in the plains of Idaho at the bottom center of this image:



The Pacific Northwest of the United States features the Rocky, Cascade, and Coast Mountain Ranges. At the bottom of the image the Rockies give way to the plains and potato fields of Idaho.

There’s also an interactive version of the map, which you can use to see your favorite places, like this image of Florida: Everglades of Florida from NOAA Suomi NPP Satellite.


Greenery across Florida, from Lake Okeechobee through the Everglades

The data that comes from the Suomi NPP satellite, which collects data about Earth to help scientists understand its subtle and dramatic changes. It recently also gave us some beautiful images of how Earth looks from space at night.

John Oliver Applauds Wendy Davis Filibuster, Slams Texas Republicans For ‘One Of The Shadiest Moves Of All Time’


On Wednesday, after first celebrating the demise of DOMA, John Oliver then took some time to applaud the epic filibuster of Texas Senator Wendy Davis. Oliver explained, "I don’t know if you watched our show last night. If you did, big mistake. You should not have done that. Why? Because you missed something incredible happening in the Texas State Senate."

After taking us through the superhuman feat that was Davis’ effort – and suggesting that a sneaker endorsement might be in her future – Oliver took some swipes at Texas Republicans who tried to push the vote through anyway despite running out of time. Calling their attempt to subvert the rules "one of the shadiest moves of all time," Oliver at least credited the opposition’s with being consistent.

"They simply believe that if late one night when you’re swept away by your emotions you make a stupid mistake, you should always have a chance to fix it later and not have to live with the consequences."

Watch the clip above and then check out Kristen Schaal’s effort to keep the fight going below.

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MillerCoors announces 100% waste-free brewery


The MillerCoors brewery in Golden, Colo., the largest brewery in the U.S., has gone zero waste, the company announced.

Joining MillerCoors’ four other breweries that are landfill-free, the Golden Brewery has successfully eliminated an average of 135 tons of waste monthly that was previously sent to the landfill.

MillerCoors began reducing the municipal waste sent from the Golden Brewery to landfill in 2011, complementing process improvements with nearly $1 million in new infrastructure and equipment, the report said.

The brewery reuses and recycles 100% of waste, including all glass, paperboard, plastics, metal and brewing byproducts, like spent grain. Residual refuse, such as cafeteria waste and floor sweepings, is sent to a waste-to-energy facility, according to the news release.

"Environmental stewardship is part of our company DNA, and we challenge ourselves daily to be more sustainable throughout our operations," said MillerCoors CEO Tom Long in a statement. "Through our commitment to continuously improving, we’ve found a way to eliminate trips to the landfill and developed a zero waste model that’s scalable to our other facilities."