Thursday, November 7, 2013

Olympic wrestling gold medalist Jordan Burroughs decides against MMA

Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler’s lightweight title rematch Saturday night at Bellator 106 thrilled fans and prompted one particular high profile one to let the world know that MMA is too rough for him. World and Olympic freestyle wrestling champion Jordan Burroughs had previously said that he’d get into MMA after the 2016 Olympic games but over the course of Alvarez vs. Chandler II and several tweets, the American wrestler appeared to think better of the idea.

Jordan Burroughs ‏@alliseeisgold2 Nov

Watching Bellator. @MikeChandlerMMA is a stud. I wrestled him 2x in college. I would much rather wrestle him than fight him!

Jordan Burroughs ‏@alliseeisgold2 Nov

That was a great fight. Congrats to both of those guys. Well done.

Jordan Burroughs ‏@alliseeisgold2 Nov

MMA is brutal. Great sport, but not for me. I will never step foot in the Octagon.

Jordan Burroughs ‏@alliseeisgold3 Nov

I'm a wrestler at heart. Always have been. Always will be.

MMA has always had champions with a strong amateur wrestling background. Mark Coleman, Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier and Ben Askren to name just several. It appears as if Burroughs has no intention of trying to become the next.

Physical skills are only one part of fighting – the will to fight and all the associated psychology are also requisite. Do you think Burroughs is making a mistake in ruling out MMA or do you think he’s better off sticking to wrestling?

Let us know in the comments section. But first, check out some wrestling highlights from Burroughs below.

Follow Elias on Twitter @EliasCepeda

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Swedish cinemas launch feminist movie rating

STOCKHOLM (AP) — You expect movie ratings to tell you whether a film contains nudity, sex, profanity or violence. Now movie theaters in equality-minded Sweden are introducing a new rating to highlight gender bias, or rather the absence of it.

To get an "A'' rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.

"The entire 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, all 'Star Wars' movies, 'The Social Network,' 'Pulp Fiction' and all but one of the 'Harry Potter' movies fail this test," said Ellen Tejle, the director of Bio Rio, an art-house movie theater in Stockholm's trendy Sodermalm district.

Bio Rio is one of four Swedish movie theaters that launched the new rating last month to draw attention to how few movies pass. Most visitors have reacted positively to the initiative "and for some people it has been an eye-opener," said Tejle, reclining in one of Bio Rio's cushy red seats.

Beliefs about women's roles in society are influenced by the fact that movie watchers rarely see "a female superhero or a female professor or person who makes it through exciting challenges and masters them," Tejle said, noting that the rating doesn't say anything about the quality of the film. "The goal is to see more female stories and perspectives on cinema screens."

The state-funded Swedish Film Institute supports the initiative, which is starting to catch on. Scandinavian cable TV channel Viasat Film says it will start using the ratings in its film reviews and has scheduled an "A'' rated "Super Sunday" on Nov. 17, when it will show only films that pass the test, such as "The Hunger Games," ''The Iron Lady" and "Savages."

The Bechdel test got its name from American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who introduced the concept in her comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For" in 1985. It has been discussed among feminists and film critics since then, but Tejle hopes the "A'' rating system will help spread awareness among moviegoers about how women are portrayed in films.

In Bio Rio's wood-paneled lobby, students Nikolaj Gula and Vincent Fremont acknowledged that most of their favorite films probably wouldn't get an "A'' rating.

"I guess it does make sense, but to me it would not influence the way I watch films because I'm not so aware about these questions," said Fremont, 29.

At least one Hollywood star sounded excited by the idea when asked about it by The Associated Press.

"A feminist ratings system? That's so interesting!" actress-producer Jada Pinkett Smith said in Beverly Hills, California, where she was attending a benefit dinner for gender equality. "I say, hey, let's see if it works!"

The "A'' rating is the latest Swedish move to promote gender equality by addressing how women are portrayed in the public sphere.

Sweden's advertising ombudsman watches out for sexism in that industry and reprimands companies seen as reinforcing gender stereotypes, for example by including skimpily clad women in their ads for no apparent reason other than to draw eyeballs.

Since 2010, the Equalisters project has been trying to boost the number of women appearing as expert commentators in Swedish media through a Facebook page with 44,000 followers. The project has recently expanded to Finland, Norway and Italy.

For some, though, Sweden's focus on gender equality has gone too far.

"If they want different kind of movies they should produce some themselves and not just point fingers at other people," said Tanja Bergkvist, a physicist who writes a blog about Sweden's "gender madness."

The "A'' rating also has been criticized as a blunt tool that doesn't actually reveal whether a movie is gender-balanced.

"There are far too many films that pass the Bechdel test that don't help at all in making society more equal or better, and lots of films that don't pass the test but are fantastic at those things," said Swedish film critic Hynek Pallas.

Pallas, who moved from communist Czechoslovakia to Sweden in the 1970s, also criticized the state-funded Swedish Film Institute — the biggest financier of Swedish film — for vocally supporting the project, saying a state institution should not "send out signals about what one should or shouldn't include in a movie."

Research in the U.S. supports the notion that women are underrepresented on the screen and that little has changed in the past 60 years.

Of the U.S. top 100 films in 2011, women accounted for 33 percent of all characters and only 11 percent of the protagonists, according to a study by the San Diego-based Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

Another study, by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, showed the ratio of male to female characters in movies has remained at about two to one for at least six decades. That study, which examined 855 top box-office films from 1950-2006, showed female characters were twice as likely to be seen in explicit sexual scenes as males, while male characters were more likely to be seen as violent.

"Apparently Hollywood thinks that films with male characters will do better at the box office. It is also the case that most of the aspects of movie-making — writing, production, direction, and so on — are dominated by men, and so it is not a surprise that the stories we see are those that tend to revolve around men," Amy Bleakley, the study's lead author, said in an email.

In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director for "The Hurt Locker." That movie — a war film about a bomb disposal team in Iraq — doesn't pass the Bechdel test.


Associated Press writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this report from Los Angeles.




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Discharged Female Cadet Sues Aussie Gov't for Sexual Harassment

Today in international tech news: A former member of the Australian Defense Force plans to sue the government over a Skype-streamed sexual encounter with a fellow cadet. Also: eBay apologizes for Holocaust-related auction items; Swisscom to build a less vulnerable cloud; and a mammoth patent lawsuit takes shape.

An Australian woman formerly in the Australian Defense Force said that she plans to sue the nation's federal government for grievances stemming from a sordid saga in which a fellow cadet filmed the two of them having sex and then streamed it via Skype.

The woman, known in the media as "Kate," said she will file suit against the defense department in the Australian Human Rights Commission. She alleged that she was sexually harassed and subsequently victimized for speaking out.

"It's basically been hell for me and my family," she told Australian media.

Kate's story has led to a series of reviews into the ADF's treatment of women. The nation's army chief said in June that more than 100 Defense Force personnel were being investigated for degrading emails involving up to 10 women.

[Source: The Age]

eBay Apologizes for Holocaust Artifacts

eBay removed 30 items from its website and issued an apology after people realized the site was hosting auctions for artifacts once owned by Holocaust victims.

The items in question included a uniform purported to have belonged to a Polish baker who died in Auschwitz; it was on sale for more than US$17,000. Other items included shoes and a toothbrush of a victim, as well as Star of David armbands.

In addition to saying it was "very sorry," eBay noted that it doesn't allow such items on its site, and that it dedicates "thousands of staff to policing" for such objectionable material. The company padded its apology with a charitable donation of nearly $40,000.

[Source: The Guardian]

Swisscom Says Its New Cloud Is Safe(r)

Like its neighbors to the north, Switzerland is trying to turn data collection fears into a marketing tool.

Swiss telecom Swisscom is building a cloud service that will be able to shield sensitive data from prying foreign eyes.

Swisscom's head of IT services said that the company's decision to set up a safe, domestic cloud was unrelated to NSA revelations, but the timing seems fortuitous: a groundswell of data angst and a cloud that claims to protect data from snoopers.

Swiss providers might be in a better position, legally speaking, to protect data than their American counterparts. Unlike in the U.S., where government authorities are reportedly snooping on companies without the companies' knowledge, Swiss law requires a prosecutor to file a formal request, which would then have to be received by Swisscom. So, it's possible for the data to be accessed to a third party -- just harder.

Swisscom is currently focusing on Switzerland-based clients but said it could expand should foreign companies show demand.

[Source: Reuters]

Mammoth Lawsuit Takes Shape

The Rockstar Consortium, a group of tech heavyweights, is suing Google, Samsung, HTC and more because of alleged mobile phone patent infringements.

Rockstar is going after manufacturers of Android devices, claiming that Google infringed seven patents relating to how Internet search terms match advertising. Android devices accounted for more than 80 percent of smartphone shipments in the third quarter of this year.

Rockstar is jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson and Sony, so this lawsuit includes most all of the big boys.

Last month, Samsung offered to quit making patent infringement allegations for five years after European Union authorities complained that the company was a bit too sue-happy.

Samsung and Apple are engaged in lawsuits in more than 10 European nations.

[Source: BBC]

David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.

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Twitter is powerful, but where are the profits?

NEW YORK (AP) — It can help overthrow dictators. But can it make money?

Protesters famously used Twitter to organize during the Arab Spring three years ago. President Barack Obama announced his 2012 re-election victory using the short messaging service. Lady Gaga tweets. So does the pope.

But for all its power and reach, Twitter gushes losses — $65 million in the third quarter, nearly three times more than it lost a year ago.

As Wall Street analysts size up Twitter ahead of its first public stock sale this week, more than a few are expressing concern about the company's lack of profits.

Those misgivings are echoed by average investors. Some 47 percent of Americans believe Twitter won't be a good investment, according to a recent AP-CNBC poll.

Of course, a company's pre-IPO losses are no indication its stock will do poorly. had big losses before it went public 16 years ago and still occasionally posts them. Yet its stock is up more than 18,000 percent since the IPO.

Even so, future Twitter shareholders poring over the company's more than 200-page IPO document are being asked to take a leap of faith. The document never makes clear when the company will sell enough ads to stanch the red ink and deliver sustainable profits.

What's Twitter's sales pitch to potential investors?

"They're taking you to the edge of a swamp and saying, 'Someday, this is going to be paradise,'" says Anthony Catanach, a professor of accounting at Villanova University.

Pessimists who have gazed at that swamp believe Twitter is going public too soon but can't resist exploiting a market in which investors are eager to look past losses as stock prices soar to record highs. Optimists refuse to believe a company that has turned itself into a worldwide water cooler in just seven years can't make big money — at least someday.

"Twitter is in its infancy, and it's a site a lot more people will go to," says Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. "They'll figure out how to sell advertising."

Many money managers seem to agree. In a reflection of high demand from them for the stock, Twitter on Monday increased its expected IPO price to $25 per share, up from $20.

To the optimists, Twitter's losses are expected, even welcome, as the company spends hundreds of millions of dollars to attract users and build an ad business.

Twitter, those who are bullish about the company point out, is allowing TV advertisers to grab the attention of people who are using Twitter to engage in running commentary on the shows they're watching.

When the lights went out during the Super Bowl in February, for instance, Oreo-maker Mondelez tweeted a picture of the cookie with the caption, "You can still dunk in the dark." People re-tweeted the ad 15,000 in a few hours.

Another example: Earlier this month, moments after New England quarterback Tom Brady was intercepted in a big game, the NFL sent its Twitter followers a video replay, preceded by an eight-second Verizon ad.

Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at research firm eMarketer, sees plenty more opportunity for Twitter to shake up the ad world. She says Twitter is an ideal medium for targeting people with ads while they're away from home because it's mostly accessed by smartphones and other mobile devices.

Williamson muses about a future in which you tweet that you're hungry for a particular snack, and Twitter, using the location service on your device, sends you a coupon and directs you to a store nearby.

Unfortunately, that's not all that potential Twitter investors are left to muse over after studying the company's IPO document. What companies are its biggest advertisers? The document doesn't say. When does it hope to make profits? It's not clear.

What we do know from the document raises questions about whether Twitter's race to grow quickly is faltering. Twitter had 232 million users in September, up 6 percent from June. The number of people using Twitter had been growing at double-digit rates last year.

Another problem: Those 232 million users are just one-fifth of the 1.19 billion monthly users on Facebook, a big rival for social-media ad dollars.

Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group, says investors shouldn't be put off by Facebook comparisons. He says Twitter is a "niche" business, but one with potentially a bright future selling ads. He reckons the company is worth maybe $29 per share.

But even bulls like Wieser say Twitter is a gamble. Twitter is less developed than most companies going public, he says, and is therefore an investment perhaps better suited for a venture capitalist than a public investor.

"They have to invent the ad products. They have to evangelize to marketers," he says. "They have to get advertisers to cut checks."

As with any company in the early stages of building its business, investors should expect plenty of hiccups, and in surprising places.

Take Twitter's supposed strength — all those users accessing it via smartphones. Skeptics say that because of the small screen, Twitter could easily alienate users as it tries to squeeze in more tweets from advertisers.

One thing Twitter pessimists can't deny about the IPO: The timing seems perfect. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index is up 30 percent in 2013, and the stocks of plenty of unprofitable companies have soared.

Zynga, a maker of games played over the Internet, is losing money this year and is expected to do the same in 2014. Its stock is up 56 percent this year. Yelp, the user-generated review site, is a big money loser, too. Its stock has more than tripled.

"People get very excited about social media," says Villanova's Catanach. "The passionate user-base wants to invest."

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IK Multimedia ships iLoud wireless Bluetooth speaker for musicians with $300 price tag

We first got our mitts on IK Multimedia's iLoud wireless speaker (above left) back at NAMM in January and now you can do that same. If you're in need of a refresher, the Bluetooth unit houses a 1/4-inch input with the outfit's iRig circuitry, power and gain controls, an aux input and front-mounted ...

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South Park hilariously nails everyone's problem with cable companies

Sure, complaining about cable is probably the quintessential first world problem but it's like cable companies get off in screwing you over. South Park captures the cable screw job perfectly: every customer wants changes to be made with cable but every cable company is just enjoying how many different ways they can say no to you.


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Google Finally Acknowledges Mystery Barges, Encourages More Mystery

Google Finally Acknowledges Mystery Barges, Encourages More Mystery

After two weeks of free press, Google finally confirmed the existence of its so-called "mystery barges" parked near San Francisco and Portland, Maine (and who knows where else). That doesn't mean they've explained what's inside, however.



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