Why President Obama’s gay marriage position has gotten completely absurd, why the DEA is after ebonics linguists and why Jane Austen just couldn’t hack it in today’s publishing world.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

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The Straight Poop on an Unmentionable Problem I own a copy of The Humanure Handbook and have long been interested in the practice of safely using human waste for horticultural and agricultural purposes. OK, I’m a odd guy.

Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts DEA wants “Black English” linguists to decipher bugged calls …

Disgrace: Obama’s increasingly absurd gay marriage position … James Downie has assembled a fascinating timeline of Obama’s statements on gay marriage over the past 14 years, stretching from 1996 to earlier this month, when the White House responded to a judge’s ruling on Prop 8 by reiterating that it opposes same-sex marriage. What the timeline shows is a pattern that can only be described as illogical and cynical.

Iran Unveils Its First Unmanned Bomber Aircraft President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the plane could serve as a “messenger of death”, but that its key message was one of friendship.

Mafia Communicated Through Texts to Unknowing TV Program Popular football programme unwittingly scrolled texts across screen among innocent messages of support for teams.

Apple Applies for a Patent to Control Unauthorized Use of iPhones Apple has applied for a patent covering various methods for identifying and disabling unauthorized use — including jailbreaking and other hacks — of electronic devices, such as its popular iPhone and iPad products.

Jane Austen’s punctuation prejudice If Jane Austen submitted her original manuscripts to one of today’s publishers, her poor punctuation would almost guarantee a rejection.

Average Briton Spends Half of Waking Life Using Media The statistics from regulator Ofcom suggest people in the UK spend seven hours a day watching TV, surfing the net and using their mobile phones …

Becoming a Squinter Nation “The information age has taken a toll on our eyesight,” says Jeffrey Anshel, an optometrist in Carlsbad, Calif.

Suppose you threw an autograph party and no one came? Convention circuit lures the faded and still famous who bank on fans paying $20 for an autograph.

Scandals: Why we can’t live without them It’s only when a great scandal breaks after a protracted dry spell that you realize how much delight other people’s transgressions provide the community and how monotonous things get when everyone plays by the rules.

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