Boy Scouts Lift Ban on Gay Members: How Twitter Reacted



The Boy Scouts of America’s governing council voted on Thursday to allow openly gay scouts to join local troops for the first time in the organization’s 103-year history. Gay adults still can’t serve as troop leaders, but many see the decision as a significant step for forward for gay rights in America

As with many issues surrounding gay rights, online reaction to the decision was passionate and divided. Big name celebrities and ordinary citizens alike took to Twitter to voice their support or opposition to the decision — as well as, of course, to crack jokes. We’ve collected a handful of responses from around the Twitter web here Read more…

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CTIA 2013: Ashton Kutcher on the trouble with Twitter, Facebook as the ‘new religion’

CTIA 2013: Ashton Kutcher on the trouble with Twitter, Facebook as the 'new religion'

An actor giving a keynote at a tech show is like Slayer playing the county fair. No one knows how they got the gig and it’s hard to tell if anyone there wants to hear it.

But at CTIA 2013, Ashton Kutcher proved to be an entertaining and thoughtful speaker. While the casually dressed Hollywood star looked out of place speaking to the Oxford and khakis crowd, his fireside chat with CNBC’s Julie Boorstin was an injection of life this year’s CTIA show sorely needed.

Kutcher’s talk ranged from mobile app development to his own personal tech investments to the future of digital media. Though Kutcher has been an early investor in a number of startups, including Twitter, Uber and Square, he insisted that he was “just a consumer.”

The actor was relaxed and affable throughout the chat, which opened the final day of this year’s CTIA. Though the “That 70’s Show” star did have a few Kelso moments when he waxed philosophical about Facebook as the “new religion,” and the problem of users posting pics of their privates on the web.

Kelso burns Facebook and Twitter

CTIA 2013 Ashton Kutcher

“If you’re not mobile you’re antiquated,” he quipped at one point. Throughout his talk, Kutcher stressed the importance of companies being able to serve customers on the go.

He called for restraint in the mobile space, bemoaning sites that meet users at the gate with a pitch to download an app. The star even called out Twitter, a network where he has a massive presence, for being too much of an advertising space.

“When Twitter first started it felt like the democratization of media, but now it just feels like the media.”

He added that making retweeting easier “has hurt Twitter the most. It’s a lot of people selling sh*t I don’t want.”

Kutcher went on to praise the ad tailoring on Facebook, but said that it has lost its intimacy. He described it as a “weak-tie network,” saying that he has too many relative strangers in his feed, which makes him less inclined to share things there.

Ashton’s apps

When Boorstin asked Kutcher if Facebook has mastered mobile, he replied that, “no one has mastered mobile.” The CNBC correspondent then asked what apps he likes, and the actor whipped out a white iPhone 5 and rattled off a few recommendations from his home screen.

CTIA 2013 Ashton Kutcher

Kutcher said that Flipboard was part of his morning routine, and that Spotify was his music service of choice.

The actor also mentioned Next Door, a social network that connects people with their neighbors, and Couple, an app designed for intimate communication between two people.

Ashton the actor and investor

The subject of digital distribution of media was enivitable for a Hollywood star at a tech show, especially with Netflix’s new season of “Arrested Development” days away. Kutcher said that services like Amazon developing its own content is far from a huge mistake, but investing in them early on could be.

When Boorstin asked why Kutcher isn’t investing in these platforms, the actor explained that online distributors will only beat out television once they can produce content of the same quality, and to do that, big money needs to be spent. Profit margins will therefore shrink, so he doesn’t see them as a sound investment for his portfolio.

Kutcher went on to say that peer-to-peer technology interested him as an investment. When asked to name specific startups, Kutcher smirked slyly and said he’d, “rather not say.”

Let’s get weird

This sort of succinct talk characterized Boorstin’s chat with Kutcher, but things did get a bit strange when the actor/investor compared Facebook to religion. He said that when society moved from tribal life to metropolitan cities, people judged neighbors by their choice of religion.

He arrived at the not unreasonable point that people now use social networks to vet each other. He said that, “technology removes time, space and motion,” and that with Facebook, “strangers become friends of friends.”

We understand what Kutcher was getting at, but his explanation was obtuse. It felt like the kind of hazy logic that takes place in the circle on “That 70s Show.”

Odd digressions aside, Kutcher carried himself like a knowledgeable everyman. Anyone can appreciate his closing dig at expensive cell phone service, saying that, “If Apple wanted to turn on a unified hot spot, I don’t think I would need a carrier.”

  • Want to know what other celebrity was at CTIA 2013? Read more here.

Google Takes Street View To the Galapagos Islands

Nerval’s Lobster writes “In the early days, Street View must have been a relatively easy project for Google to execute, considering the financial resources and employees at its disposal: strap a set of high-tech cameras to a fleet of vehicles and drive the latter around urban areas all over the world, recording every inch for viewers’ clicking-and-dragging pleasure. But there’s only so much of the world accessible via well-paved roads (or close to gas stations, for that matter), which meant Google had to regress a bit: instead of cars, it began strapping all that fancy camera equipment to human beings, who are a little bit maneuverable over rough terrain and narrow dirt paths than a four-door sedan. Google sent its Street View cyborgs into the Grand Canyon, where they recorded the craggy pathways and steep cliffs. Then it sent them to some of the world’s highest peaks. Now comes the next exotic locale: the Galapagos Islands, land of giant tortoises and other unique species, where Charles Darwin researched his famous theory of evolution. ‘It’s critical that we share images with the world of this place in order to continue to study and preserve the islands’ unique biodiversity,’ read a May 23 note on the Google Lat Long blog. ‘Today we’re honored to announce, in partnership with Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Galapagos National Parks Directorate (GNPD), that we’ve collected panoramic imagery of the islands with the Street View Trekker.’ That imagery will appear on Google Maps later in 2013. Nobody’s asked the tortoises how they feel about it.”

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