Edward Snowden has a flair for the dramatic, so it comes as no surprise that his first tweet of all time is pretty darn great.


His second? A question for none other than universal treasure Neil deGrasse Tyson — and a very telling one at that.

Snowden just joined Twitter today. He had over 300,000 followers within hours, but he was following only one account.

Perfect.


Love him or hate him, Snowden touched off more than one critically important debate.

How much latitude should the U.S. government have to spy on its own citizens? What about on citizens of other countries? How freely should companies turn over their data to the government? Can you truly be a whistleblower if you flee the country to avoid facing legal consequences?

And what exactly ... is that facial hair? Exactly?

He's come in for his fair share of criticism to be sure.

Some have criticized Snowden's revelations as overblown. Many have accused him of hypocrisy for fleeing to Russia, a country which also practices extensive domestic surveillance. And others have blasted him for providing critical intelligence to enemies of the United States.

But Snowden's leak has actually led to some real change — and some positive change at that.

Snowden's massive document dump woke up some tech companies to the public relations nightmare that could result from helping governments spy on their users, and many have taken steps to provide more transparency about such requests.

In addition, some argue that the revelations paved the way for legal challenges to the NSA's power to flourish when several years ago they might have died quietly with little fanfare.

It's been slow, gradual change. But change nonetheless. Much of it resulting in more people having greater rights to privacy.

Welcome to Twitter, Edward Snowden.

Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images.

Regardless of how we feel about you, you're more than just a giant face on a far-away screen to us.

You're an interesting voice, with interesting things to say. And we're curious to keep on hearing what they are.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

Keep Reading Show less

Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

Keep Reading Show less