Stonewall Uprising Documentary on PBS’s American Experience

Tonight’s American Experience program on the Stonewall Uprising ended with Seymour Pine, Deputy Inspector, Morals Division, NYPD, one of the police officers who barricaded themselves inside the Stonewall Inn, saying, “And they were, they were kids. You knew you could ruin them for life. And you felt bad that you were part of this, when you knew they broke the law, but what kind of law was that?”

The Stonewall Uprising is a documentary that reflects on what others have called the Stonewall Riots through moving interviews with people who were there at the flashpoint. The program ends with the founding of the first Gay Pride Parade, which highlights the importance of solidarity through a growing community awareness.

You can watch Stonewall Uprising online and find other resources (including a transcript) here.

Love and Respect on National Coming Out Day 2010

I’m straight, and I respect LGBT folk unreservedly as equal human beings.

Theirs is not a life by choice any more than my life as a straight man is a conscious decision.

They love as we all love, and they should not be made to suffer for the natural love that they feel.

They deserve equal rights and protection under the law.

Please show love and respect to your friends, family, employees, and constituents regardless of their sexual orientation.

Life is too short and precious to disparage anyone’s fundamental right to love another person or restrict their access to legal benefits and privileges straight people enjoy.

Amazonfail on the New York Times and Slashdot

Today, the New York Times carried a story about the recent page rank/search delisting of books, which can be found here.  Also, the post and resulting commentary about the debacle can be found on Slashdot here.

The comment by calmofthestorm on Slashdot’s post raises the same kinds of questions that I have about how Amazon can claim that a technical glitch would have such a surgical effect on particular books and not all the books in the categories, which Amazon claims were effected:

I don’t know, one time I was writing a Huffman compressor for an applied information theory class and I couldn’t find this weird bug where it would email racist statements to everyone in your address book every time you tried to compress a file larger to 50kb. Took me several hours to fix, and my solution was under 100 lines of Python.

I can fully sympathize with companies who have to deal with overly sensitive people who think that bugs like this, which emerge quite frequently in sufficiently complex systems, are the result of bad calls or poor intent, rather than the simple technical glitches that they are.

Even in sufficiently complex systems, these kinds of things don’t “just happen.”  Was it something did on its own, or was it perpetrated by a third party hacker?  I don’t know, but as my friend Seth said earlier today, “It doesn’t pass the smell test.”