Video Flips The Script On The Ridiculous Reasons Women ‘Should Not Be Pastors’

Despite the remarkable strength and vibrancy of their spirituality, women are still having trouble breaking through the stained-glass ceiling. 

Many of the largest religious denominations in America, including Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and the Southern Baptist Convention, don’t allow women to be ordained into the priesthood or hold the top leadership positions within the church.

And even within the religious organizations that do allow women to lead, it’s rare for women to serve at the very top.

Sojourners, a faith-based social justice organization, released a video on Tuesday that took a satirical look at this nearly 2,000-year-old trend.

In “7 Reasons Men Should Not Be Pastors,” women from the Sojourners staff listed out reasons why they thought men were unfit to serve as ministers, a parody of the reasons often invoked to disqualify women from positions of power.

“Some men are handsome,” one of the participants said in the video. “They could be too distracting for us on Sunday.”

“They’re too emotional to be priests or pastors,” another woman said. “Go to a March Madness game and tell me I’m wrong.”

The video is the organization’s take on a blog post that has been popular in progressive Christian circles for quite some time. Eugene Cho, founder and lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington, wrote a post on the topic in 2008, basing his list on an older list posted in 2005, which was assembled by Dr. David M. Scholer, a popular Fuller Theological Seminary professor.

Elaina Ramsey, Sojourner’s Women & Girls Campaign Director told The Huffington Post that the staff wanted to revive the message of this blog in a new medium. After celebrating Women’s History Month, they wanted to look forward and try “to honor the future of women’s leadership.”

“We’re all equal in faith, yet women still struggle to be heard or taken seriously in their congregations and communities,” Ramsey told The Huffington Post in an email. “The messages that women and girls receive undermine their sacred worth when they aren’t represented in the pulpit or are restricted to leadership roles based on traditional gender norms.”

“It’s 2016 – it’s time for churches to support women’s leadership,” she added.

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Seattle Declares State Of Emergency On Homeless Crisis

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine this week declared states of emergency for their homeless crises, pledging millions to better serve residents living on the streets.

Seattle on Monday outlined a $5.3 million plan to address the crisis, while King County proposed an additional $2 million.

The emergency declarations come months after Seattle failed to meet its goal of ending chronic homelessness in 10 years. That shortcoming is likely partly due to Seattle’s massive growth — it was the fastest-growing U.S. city last year — driving up housing prices and displacing lower-income residents.

The annual “One Night Count” on Jan. 23 in Seattle’s King County identified 3,772 individuals living on the streets — a 21 percent jump from the previous year’s count — with more than 2,800 of them in Seattle. The combined number of homeless people living on King County streets, shelters and transitional housing rose from 9,294 in 2014 to 10,047 this year, according to the count, organized by the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness.

The emergency funding will add to Seattle’s annual spending of more than $40 million and King County’s $36 million to help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Murray said the local governments need more outside funding.

The City is prepared to do more as the number of people in crisis continues to rise, but our federal and state partners must also do more,” Murray said in a statement. “Cities cannot do this alone. Addressing homelessness must be a national priority with a federal response.

About half of Seattle’s $5.3 million will be designated as flexible funds to “quickly move people through the emergency shelter system into stable housing,” establish more support and case management for homeless youth, improve data collection on homelessness and manage public health and waste at homeless encampments.

The homelessness organization All Home King County applauded the city and county leaders’ emergency declarations.

“Their commitments of local resources are action steps toward our strategies for addressing the immediate crisis of homelessness, and making it brief and only a one-time occurrence,” All Home King County said in a statement.

Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles and the state of Hawaii all declared homeless states of emergency earlier this year.

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Uber settles with the government over its consumer privacy breaches

Lacking in privacy.

Image: DAVID CHANG/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Remember when Uber employees were reportedly tracking their ex-girlfriends and Beyonc with a secret God View feature?

Uber just admitted that it had flaws in its privacy guarantees. The ride-hailing giant agreed to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission that it deceived customers by failing to monitor employee access to their personal information and that it failed to secure sensitive consumer data stored in the cloud.

Uber failed consumers in two key ways: First by misrepresenting the extent to which it monitored its employees access to personal information about users and drivers, and second by misrepresenting that it took reasonable steps to secure that data, FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen said in a statement. This case shows that, even if youre a fast-growing company, you cant leave consumers behind: you must honor your privacy and security promises.

As part of its settlement agreement, Uber will implement a new privacy program, and be regularly and independently audited every two years for the next 20 years. Uber is also prohibited from misrepresenting how it monitors internal access to consumer information and how it protects consumer data.

“We are pleased to bring the FTCs investigation to a close,” Uber said in a statement. “The complaint involved practices that date as far back as 2014. Weve significantly strengthened our privacy and data security practices since then and will continue to invest heavily in these programs. In 2015, we hired our first Chief Security Officer and now employ hundreds of trained professionals dedicated to protecting user information. This settlement provides an opportunity to work with the FTC to further verify that our programs protect user privacy and personal information.”

The allegations specifically go back to November 2014, when news reports revealed these potential privacy failures. The next month, Uber developed an automated system for monitoring employee access to consumer information, but stopped using it less than a year later, the FTC said. These breaches applied to the personal information of both Uber riders and drivers.

As for cloud security, Uber relied on Amazon Web Services. A hacker accessed personal information about 100,000 Uber drivers in May 2014, which was especially bad from the FTC’s perspective because Uber promised its customers that data was “securely stored within [its] databases.”

WATCH: Gorgeous Aurora Borealis puts on show over Scotland in timelapse video

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Why you don’t see snake emoji on Taylor Swift’s Instagram


Lose celebrities on Instagram and risk the entire platform collapsing. That’s something Kevin Systrom, CEO and cofounder of Instagram, realized last yearit inspired him to transform his app into a more “safe and inclusive” community, according to a new profile in Wired.

Instagram’s first test case: Taylor Swift and her snakes.

The pop singer, an active Instagram user who would frequently post photos of herself and her squad, was being harassed on the platform.

In the summer of 2016, after her public fallouts with Calvin Harris, Katy Perry, and Kim Kardashian, the comments below her posts “were followed almost entirely by snake emoji: snakes piled on snakes, snakes arranged numerically, snakes alternating with pigs,” the Wired piece reads.

Instagram took action. Now, you’ll most likely just see praise on praise on praise.

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Oct 24, 2016 at 5:39pm PDT

The platform had “quietly built a filter that would automatically delete specific words and emoji from users feeds.” For Swift, that meant no more snake emoji.

Instagram has continued to work to make Instagram a cleaner place. Last year, users were gifted the ability to disable all comments. In June, Instagram introduced new filters that will automatically block “certain offensive comments” and spam.

And we come back to Swift. Instagram has been training its technologya system named DeepTextwith, of all things, Kanye West’s rap lyrics.

“It also had trouble recognizing Kanye West lyrics,” the Wired piece reads, referencing West’s song Famous and the lyric: “I feel like me and Taylor still might have sex.”

“It was entirely at ease, however, with more creative Kanye insults like You left your fridge open / somebody just took a sandwich,” the piece continued.

But at least the snake filter is perfect.

WATCH: Gorgeous Aurora Borealis puts on show over Scotland in timelapse video

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Amazon Macie helps businesses protect their sensitive data in the cloud

Amazons AWS cloud computing service hosted its annual NY Summit today and it used the event to launch a new service: Amazon Macie. The idea behind Macie is to use machine learning to help businesses protect their sensitive data in the cloud. For now, you can use Macie to protect personally identifiable information and intellectual property in the Amazon S3 storage service, with support for other AWS data stores coming later this year (likely at the re:Invent conference in November).

The company says the fully managed service uses machine learning to monitor how data is accessed and to look for any anomalies. The service then alerts users of any activity that looks suspicious so they can find the root cause of any data leaks (whether those are malicious or not). To do all of this, the service continuously monitors new data that comes into S3. It then uses machine learning to understand regular access patterns and the data in the storage bucket.

The service also automatically detects certain data types like full names, addresses, credit card numbers, IP addresses, driver license IDs (U.S. only), social security numbers and birth dates, but it also can automatically detect different content types (email, SEC forms, data logs, database backups, source code, etc.).

All of this data then flows into a central dashboard that highlights high-risk files and other information about how users and other applications are accessing data.

As with all AWS services, pricing is complicated, but mostly based on the number of events and data the service processes every month. Because a lot of costs are bound to the initial classification of the data, the first month of usage is also likely the most expensive.

For now, Macie is only available in AWSs U.S. East (Northern Virginia) and U.S. West (Oregon) regions, though this footprint will likely expand over time.

Its worth noting that Amazon also announced that Glue, the companys service for preparing and loading data into its various database and storage services, is now available to all customers. In addition, the company used todays event to launch a new migration hubfor enterprises that want to migrate some of their workloads to the cloud, as well as updates to the Elastic File System (now with encryption at rest), AWS Config and AWS CloudHSM for better key management.

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Amazon Enlists Bond Market in Its Quest for Grocery Dominance

Jeff Bezos has an army full of bond investors ready to back Inc.’s conquest of the supermarket industry.

The world’s largest online retailer sold $16 billion of unsecured bonds in seven parts to fund its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. And in a sign of market interest, the longest portion of the offering, a 40-year security, was sold at a yield of 1.45 percentage points above Treasuries, down from initial talk of 1.6 percentage points to 1.65 percentage points, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Amazon is expected to reduce prices at the iconic yet struggling high-end supermarket chain, which is trying to lure more low- and middle-income shoppers. The deal, which rattled the grocery world when announced in June, could intensify a price war in an industry beset by razor-thin margins and persistent deflation.

The debt sale marks Amazon’s first bond-market foray since 2014. The company has more than $21 billion stashed away in cash and other short-term investments that could have been deployed as a bigger allocation in the acquisition financing. But Amazon needs to preserve cash, and now is an opportune time for issuers to take advantage of low interest rates, said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral.

“This route is cheaper and gives them flexibility,” Waral said. “The expansion plan Amazon has gotten on with buying Whole Foods is just the beginning, not the end.”

The bonds may be attractive to investors who want exposure to Amazon, but are reluctant to buy the stock, which has more than quadrupled in value over the past five years, while the S&P 500 hasn’t even doubled. The share price can be volatile with investors balancing their excitement over Amazon’s sales growth and dominance in e-commerce with the company’s slim profits and Bezos’s big spending ways. Shares have fallen about 7 percent from their July 26 record close.

Mega Deals

The e-commerce giant’s trip to the debt market follows mega bond deals from AT&T Inc. ($22.5 billion) and British American Tobacco Plc ($17.25 billion), and this deal is the year’s fourth biggest following a $17 billion offering from Microsoft Corp. It also comes at a time when tech companies have been active debt issuers, including a debut offering from Tesla Inc. on Aug. 11 as well as Apple Inc., which sold its first Canadian-dollar bond also on Tuesday.

Amazon, whose identity straddles between a tech and retail company, has been the source of the latter’s industry’s problems as consumer preferences have shifted to shopping online instead of in stores. That’s what makes this offering attractive and was expected to be “very well-received,” said Matt Brill, a money manager at Invesco Ltd.

“You don’t want to own retail because of Amazon — this is the the source of everyone’s problems,” said Brill, who planned to participate in the deal. “You get the chance to buy the category killer.”

Buy Recommendation

The bond sale also earned Amazon a higher analyst rating from CreditSights, which now rates the debt as outperform from underperform.

“We are comfortable buying Amazon’s bonds across the entire curve given its strong operating trends and competitive position in both its e-commerce and cloud computing businesses,” analysts led by Jordan Chalfin said in a report.

Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. managed the bond sale, the person said.

Amazon has been an infrequent issuer in the investment-grade bond market, with only $7.8 billion of debt outstanding as of June 30. It’s rated Baa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and four notches higher by S&P Global Ratings.

“Despite the increase in debt, the Whole Foods acquisition is an immediate credit positive for the company on a variety of fronts,” Moody’s analyst Charlie O’Shea said in a report Monday, revising Amazon’s outlook to positive from stable. “Whole Foods provides Amazon with greater scale and a crucial brick-and-mortar presence in a segment where it has been trying to grow.”

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Snapchat Crowd Surf stiches together everyones concert videos

Snapchats got a new trick to stay one step ahead of Instagram by turning everyones quick video clips from concerts into a much more watchable music video you control.

Snapchat Crowd Surf usesartificial intelligence machine learning technology to analyze when lots of people are all recording the same musical performance at the same time. It can then lace together the different angles while keeping the song playing smoothly so you can choose where to watch from and see more than 10 seconds of footage in a row. You can see a demo recorded by TechCrunch below:

Snap tested out Crowd Surf last night at pop singer Lordes performance at San Franciscos Outside Lands music festival. When she played her hit Green Light and everyone thrusted their phones in the air, Snapchat combined the clips. You can watch the Crowd Surf in the Snapchat Featured section below your friends recent Stories, and tap to see a new angle whenever the flipping phone Crowd Surf icon is lit up.

The result is remarkably fun to watch. You can hop from the center of the crowd to the front row to the side stage to get an immersive look at what it was like to see the concert in person. In fact, I did see the show in person, but Crowd Surf lets me watch how everyone else was enjoying the same moment.

Several now-defunct startups like Vyclone and CrowdSync have tried to build whole apps around the Crowd Surf idea, but most failed because they werent getting enough content submissions. Bolting the feature onto an already wildly popular app should prove more successful for Snapchat. The company pioneered the crowdsourced Our Story three years ago at the EDC music fest, and now its back pushing the bar higher.

Which begs the questionhow long until Instagram Stories copies this? Both Snap and Instagram are in a heated war for users, with Snap inventing new features and Facebooks giant Instagram team quickly cloning them to the detriment of Snaps growth.

Each wants to encourage users to submit their posts for public display. Snap lets you syndicate your post to Our Stories before you share it, which then appear in curated Our Stories, search results, and the new Snap Map. Instagram Story Search pulls together posts tagged with locations and hashtags for dedicated Stories about different places and topics.

Weve asked Snapchat for more details on how Crowd Surf works. The company says its based on in-house AI technology and will roll out slowly to more events. Mashable spotted it this morning. Snapchat previously offered Story Explorer that let you check out similar Snaps to one you enjoyed during a Live Story by analyzing location and time, but not audio.

Crowd Surf is set to be available at more public events in the future including concerts and speeches, but will require tons of people shooting and submitting Snaps from the same moment. That could limit it to huge events like music festivals, though perhaps it could work for parades, sports events, or political rallies too. And the mere existence of the feature could attract more submissions.

If people think their Snaps could get chosen for Crowd Surfs and get extra viewers, they might be more likely to shoot and share on Snapchat when theyre watching a concert.

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