Menlo Park: Council to begin creating district boundaries

Menlo Park officials will begin the process of moving from at-large to district-based elections at a meeting next week.

On Wednesday, the council could begin carving out district boundaries and forming an independent or advisory group to oversee the work. The council also could initiate steps to turn Menlo Park into a charter city.

The goal is to have everything done before the November 2018 election, when three council seats are up for grabs.

At Wednesday’s meeting, council members will gather residents’ input, including suggestions for drawing district boundary lines. According to a staff report, each district must contain a nearly equal number of cross-section residents.

The city last month started moving away from at-large elections, where candidates can be elected by everyone instead of by residents within particular districts, in response to the threat of a discrimination-tinged lawsuit.

City Attorney Bill McClure urged the council to change the voting system because a lawsuit could cost millions of dollars and no public agency has prevailed in cases involving alleged Voting Rights Act violations. The council on Oct. 4 authorized a contract with National Demographics Corp. to assist with the transition and appropriated $75,000 from budget reserves to cover the cost.

Currently, four of the five council members live between downtown and Sharon Heights and one lives in The Willows. Depending on how voting boundaries eventually are drawn, one or more incumbents could end up competing against each other for the same district in future elections.

On Aug. 21, the city received a letter from Kevin I. Shenkman, an attorney with Malibu-based law firm Shenkman & Hughes, stating that it is violating the California Voting Rights Act of 2001. Shenkman threatened to sue unless the current voting system is changed to one that better represents Latino and African-American residents, who predominantly live in the Belle Haven neighborhood. He …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

On Thanksgiving, the NFL Faces a Collision of Crises

The National Football League’s tradition of playing on Thanksgiving Day is also its oldest. Back in 1920, the year the league was founded, 12 proto-football teams squared off in six Turkey Day matchups. Since then the NFL has hosted Thanksgiving games in every year but four—all during World War II—with the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions emerging as annual hosts and other teams rotating through to play in front of a tryptophan-tripping, football-mad nation.

And as the NFL has ballooned into the most popular professional sports league in North America, its Thanksgiving custom has grown as well, adding pyrotechnics and halftime shows to impress massive TV audiences. Aside from the Super Bowl, no celebration better represents the NFL’s largesse, cultural might, spectacle, and promise of escapism than Thanksgiving—the league’s entire self-image, shrunken down to one day.

This Thanksgiving, however, the NFL faces a cornucopia of crises, from backlash over player protests to allegations of collusion to rising concerns over head injuries to sliding TV viewership. Fans fret over the league’s quality of play and sponsors bemoan sagging ratings. Players decry racism in and out of football, while owners fear how such expression will affect their bottom lines. At times this fall, the games themselves have wound up smothered by one cacophonous controversy after another. This has been the NFL’s most tumultuous season in recent memory and the first time in at least a generation the league’s problems have seemed to overwhelm its product.

The top storyline in the NFL this season has not been Tom Brady’s continued excellence or Carson Wentz’s timely emergence or the surprising Rams and Jaguars. It has instead been the dozens of players across the league who have knelt, sat, or raised their fists during the national anthem in protest of police …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Culture

YouTube will block ads against creepy videos targeted at children (GOOG)

Peppa Pig

Multiple reports show that there’s a growing trend on YouTube for disturbing content featuring children — like showing them tied up or wearing revealing clothing.
Another trend involves showing cartoon characters that are popular with children doing weird and disturbing things — like Peppa Pig drinking bleach.
YouTube will crack down on channels that make money from advertising by showing these kinds of videos.
It will ban predatory comments left under videos showing minors.

There’s a weird category of YouTube video which involves mistreating kids for entertainment — like tying them up with tape, or showing them wearing vulnerable clothing. There’s another, almost equally disturbing, trend towards showing popular cartoon characters like Peppa Pig doing weird things like drinking bleach.

That’s according to multiple reports from blogger James Bridle, BuzzFeed, and The Verge, which found popular, verified channels showing disturbing content targeted at kids.

And YouTube is finally cracking down.

The site said it would remove videos that “may be endangering a child,” even if the uploader didn’t intend to cause harm. As a result, it’s deleted 50 channels and thousands of videos.

In response to reports that people were leaving creepy comments under videos featuring kids, YouTube said it would block all predatory comments. The Verge found that, in the case of one home video showing two young girls doing gymnastics, a commenter had described the children as “beautiful.” Another commenter asked if viewers had an erection.

YouTube has also stopped funding 3.5 million videos that feature disturbing cartoons. One example found by James Bridle shows the cartoon character Peppa Pig drinking bleach. YouTube has now blocked the video. YouTube said it would remove ads from inappropriate videos targeting families, “even if done for comedic or satirical purposes.” Where cartoons are obviously …read more

Source:: Business Insider

Get this wireless HP laser printer for just £20 during Black Friday

There was a time when you’d probably need to sell a kidney to buy a laser printer. But now these peripherals are almost as cheap as (posh) chips and a great asset for any household or business.

Right now, you can get the HP LaserJet Pro M102W for an astonishing value. It costs £69.98 at Ebuyer with free delivery but until the end of November, you can claim £50 cashback from HP, slashing the price of the printer down to £19.98.

Details of the cashback can be found on the product page on Ebuyer’s website. It is not only fast (it can print up to 23 pages per minutes) but also wireless and networkable. There’s even a USB cable in the box, something that more vendors are omitting to cut costs.

Check out the best deals on Black Friday …read more

Source:: TechRadar – All the latest technology news