2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Viral video documents New York street harassment
    Viral video documents New York street harassment

    NEW YORK (AP) — A video recording the comments a woman hears as she walks around the nation's biggest city is a testament to the pervasiveness of street harassment women face, its creators said.

  • Scary new malware uses a Gmail trick to steal your data
    Scary new malware uses a Gmail trick to steal your data

    A new piece of malware that can spy on a user’s computer has been discovered, Wired reports, with researchers also having found a clever way for the program to communicate with its creators: Google’s popular Gmail email service. FROM EARLIER: You can force your way into Google’s Inbox even without an invite Security startup Shape Security says it found a new strain of malware that’s able to read instructions from Gmail drafts and respond to the hacker’s commands without the user actually noticing anything happening on the computer. “What we’re seeing here is command and control that’s using a fully allowed service, and that makes it superstealthy and very hard to identify,” Shape security researcher Wade Williamson said. “It’s stealthily passing

  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "A Fractured House" Review: Home Sweet Home
    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "A Fractured House" Review: Home Sweet Home

    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S02E06: "A Fractured House" Marvel made several big movie announcements on Tuesday, and would you believe that it didn't say a single word about how all its upcoming films could theoretically overlap with possible future seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Just once, I wish the comic giant would think about my needs, and about this little TV show it created with ABC, because if S.H.I.E.L.D. continues on the path its forged in Season 2 (and which really began in Season 1), I think it's plausible that the show could live to see the release of at least a few more Marvel blockbusters. Sure, S.H.I.E.l.D.'s ratings could use some Red Bull (I'm hoping ABC's break-up with its lead-in, Manhattan Love Story, will help), but creatively, the show is still going strong, and this week's "A Fractured House" was another totally cool, well-paced, quip-filled example of that. I could start with the latest FitzSimmons development that broke my heart, or the Bobbi/Hunter dynamic that brings light to my otherwise dark life, but I think we all know that I can't begin with anything other than the big beard in the room. Ward's backstory has truthfully never been all that interesting to me, even since he became the show's most interesting character when he was outed as a traitor, and I'm not entirely certain I care that much about his brother Christian ( White Collar's Tim DeKay) or their relationship. However, I like the game of "Who's the Bigger Liar?" that we're playing right now. I don't know who to trust, and that fills every scene involving Ward with new tension. Last season, Ward told us that his older brother was a bully who made him torture their younger brother, and this week Christian turned the tables and told Coulson that it's actually Ward who's the terrible human being. Going forward, we have to keep in mind that A) we know Ward is a master manipulator, and B) as a politician, Christian literally makes a living by twisting other people's words and making a lot of false promises while appearing to be the epitome of sincerity. Folks, what we have here is a classic "Wasn't me!" scenario that I think many of you with siblings will recognize. The only difference here is that such conflicts are usually about who broke mom's vase and not, you know, who terrorized their younger brother (or worse). We also know that Ward was locked up in juvie for setting fire to his house while his brother was in it, and that that's where Garrett found him and took him under his wing. What we still don't know is this: Who is Grant Ward? We've spent nearly 30 episodes with the guy, but I don't have a firm grasp on who he is or what he really wants. And I love it, because it keeps me on my toes. I've been conflicted about how I want S.H.I.E.L.D. to handle Ward's storyline this season. There's certainly no denying that he's much, much more interesting when he's breaking bones, slipping out of handcuffs, and assaulting the men assigned to stop him from breaking bones, slipping out of handcuffs, and assaulting people. Having him play Hannibal Lecter in a basement wasn't doing S.H.I.E.L.D. any favors, and breaking him out promises to infuse the show with a renewed sense energy. We still don't know whether we can trust Ward—I'm still inclined to believe his feelings for Skye are genuine and that he honestly doesn't care one bit about Hydra, but that doesn't mean he's a good person or trustworthy on a larger scale. I like that the series is holding off on the possibility of a redemption arc for his character, but even more importantly, I like that it isn't letting him off the hook for his crimes. I'm pretty certain Coulson knew Ward was going to escape, but seeing him lay into Ward this week helped prove to me that he's capable of running S.H.I.E.L.D. I like that playing by the rules for a few months while locked up wasn't enough time to make everyone forget what Ward had done. I don't know what the plan is for Ward, but even though so much of what made Coulson a likable figure in the beginning was tied to his friendly demeanor, sense of honor and duty, and positive outlook, in this job he's got to be a stronger, more diligent, and more skillful leader—and he's been evolving a bit with each episode. "You are not, nor will you ever be on my team," Coulson told Ward before running down just a small list of the reasons why: "You dropped FitzSimmons out of a plane. You murdered Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig. You betrayed every one of us, you deluded son of a bitch." If you didn't fist pump the air after that outburst, then we can't be friends, because it was perfection. And hearing Simmons threaten Ward's life if she should ever see him again was just the icing on the cake. It would have been easy for the show to slide right into a redemption story for Ward this season, and I'm still not even opposed to one down the line, but Ward needs to earn the right to be redeemed first. Handing over bits of information here and there isn't going to prove to anyone that he's changed or that he's worthy of anything. As far as I'm concerned, this is a seasons-long journey for a character who's personally responsible for the rift between Fitz and Simmons right now. It was clear during their brief reunion last week when Simmons returned from her undercover role within Hydra that there was still a lot of emotional baggage between the two former best friends. This week Fitz confirmed what I've been saying since the season began, which is that he viewed Simmons' departure from the team as her abandoning him in his time of need. He thinks she gave up on him, but Simmons insisted to Mack that she left because her presence was the one thing that made him worse. As I first wrote a few weeks ago: Mack only knows this version of Fitz, and he likes this version, which is why their friendship is so important right now. He helps Fitz both in the lab and outside of it in ways that Simmons cannot, because there aren't any expectations that Fitz will suddenly be someone he's not. Simmons knows this, and yet she's still unable to put aside her own expectations for Fitz. It's a problem seen in the real world every day with people who've suffered some sort of trauma, but people do get through it. It's painful to know the one thing Fitz loves and wants nearby is the one thing that threatens his recovery, but it had to have been similarly difficult for Simmons to admit that she's the problem. Their relationship is the emotional bedrock of the entire series, and in its fractured state it's providing some wonderful angst to counteract the action provided by May, Bobbi, and Hunter, but I do hope that one day Fitz will be the man he once was. If that's not possible, here's hoping Simmons can accept that, and that we can accept it, too. I would, I think, like to see Simmons tell him the truth about why she left, though. It might hurt like a bitch, but it might also be helpful to hear. He still thinks she left because he confessed his feelings and she didn't feel the same way. The truth will set you free, Simmons! All in all, "A Fractured House" was another fun and balanced hour of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a line of (mostly) very solid episodes. The Mockingbird/Hunter dynamic is electric, but also light enough to counteract the emotional anchors of FitzSimmons, Ward, and Skye; I can't help but wish that in addition to making all those movie announcements, Marvel and ABC had promoted Adrianne Palicki to series regular. She's stepped into the role of a S.H.I.E.L.D. team member with ease, the way Mockingbird herself slips into and out of various spy situations. In fact, all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s cast additions this season have been on-point in terms of what they bring to the table. Now that Ward has escaped, I worry a bit about how all of the show's various storylines will intersect and whether future episodes will suffer under the weight of so many characters, but I currently don't have any reason to believe that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't up to the task of juggling them all. DECLASSIFIED CASE FILES – Talbot seems to be coming around a bit more on S.H.I.E.L.D., and his condolences to May when she told them how many men they'd lost was a nice touch. – Having Bobbi/Mockingbird also allows the show to work in more fight sequences, which have mostly been relegated to May and Ward. I very much love Hunter and Bobbi for their banter, but having more bodies for fight scenes is equally enjoyable. – "Excuse me for doing my job thoroughly... and with style." – "Guess being a douchebag runs in the family." – "I made a few changes. It's funnier now." thekaitling:list:agents-of-shield-what-did-you-think-of-a-fractured-house/

  • Kimberly-Clark faces $500 million suit over Ebola protection gown

    By Siddharth Cavale (Reuters) - A Southern California law firm has sued Kimberly-Clark Corp for more than $500 million, alleging that the Kleenex tissue maker committed fraud by marketing and selling some of its surgical gowns as protection against Ebola. Law firm Eagan Avenatti said it filed a class-action lawsuit in a Los Angeles court on Wednesday, stating that Kimberly-Clark had falsely represented to health regulators and healthcare workers that its "MICROCOOL Breathable High Performance Surgical Gowns" are impermeable and provide protection against Ebola. ...

  • Magic Mushrooms Create a Hyperconnected Brain
    Magic Mushrooms Create a Hyperconnected Brain

    The active ingredient in the psychedelic drug, psilocybin, seems to completely disrupt the normal communication networks in the brain, by connecting "brain regions that don't normally talk together," said study co-author Paul Expert, a physicist at King's College London.

  • Sweden recognizes Palestinian state; Israel upset
    Sweden recognizes Palestinian state; Israel upset

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm.

  • San Francisco Giants fans take to streets after World Series win
    San Francisco Giants fans take to streets after World Series win

    By Rory Carroll SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Fans of the San Francisco Giants took to the streets to celebrate on Wednesday night after their team won the baseball World Series, topping the Kansas City Royals, but the festivities were marred by raucous fans and fires. Hundreds, many clad in the team's orange and black, flooded Valencia Street in San Francisco's Mission District after the final out in the seventh game of the baseball championship. "(Pitcher Madison) Bumgarner blew my mind tonight!" said Beau Adams, a San Francisco native sporting a Giants tattoo.

  • Sweden recognises Palestinian state, Israel recalls envoy
    Sweden recognises Palestinian state, Israel recalls envoy

    Sweden on Thursday officially recognised the state of Palestine, becoming the first EU member in western Europe to do so, prompting Israel to recall its ambassador to Stockholm. We're choosing the side of the peace process," Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem told reporters as she explained the controversial decision. Just hours after the Swedish announcement, Israel said it was recalling its ambassador to Stockholm for "consultations". "This indeed reflects our irritation and annoyance at this unhelpful decision, which does not contribute to a return to (peace) negotiations," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon told AFP.

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