A lot of people will try to measure their dick with their iPhones now

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Apple released an update to iOS, the operating system running on iPhones & iPads, last Monday. Among iOS 12’s new features is the Measure app, which gives people the ability to measure things with their cameras using an “augmented reality” ruler — just point your camera at something and bam! The ruler will measure it. Naturally many people immediately thought about using the Measure app on their penises. But you should know that the Measure app may not be entirely accurate for this kind of measurement.

In one test someone used the Measure app to figure out the dimensions of a picture frame. The frame was 78 centimetres by 101 centimetres, but the app said it was 63 centimetres by 82 centimetres, a nearly 20% difference.

When that same user repeatedly measured a 55-centimetre wooden flute with the Measure app, it gave three different length measurements — 51, 53 and 57 centimetres — each depending on the lighting.

This news comes as a real bummer for guys & girls around the world. Whether you’re insecure or proud of your penis length, odds are that what we’d hoped would be state-of-the-art penis measurement iPhone technology will say your penis is shorter than it actually is! (Which, yeah, could help you catfish guys by adding a few “augmented reality” centimetres, but you wouldn’t do that, would you?)

Perhaps we’ll just have to measure our penises in photographs the old-fashioned way: by comparing them to water bottles, toilet paper tubes and video game controllers. Thanks for nothing, Apple!

Grindr kicks of Kindr campaign

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Grindr wants to take a step to combat racist and shaming language on user profiles. RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant The Vixen, former Queer Eye host Jai Rodriguez, Joel Kim Booster, Malcolm Robinson, Rakeem Cunningham, Ray (Emilio Amador), and Jasmine are featured in the “kindr” campaign from Grindr against sexual racism, speaking about their experiences of racism on- and offline.

“If you don’t put ‘no Asians’ in your profile, it doesn’t mean you have to f**k Asians now,” says Booster. “It just means I don’t have to see it….For you to say ‘I know what every Asian guy looks like and I know for a fact that I would not be attracted to any of them?’ That comes from a racist place. Because you don’t know what we all look like. That’s ugly.”

“You don’t know what the person on the other side of the phone is going through,” adds Rodriguez. “You have no idea what their experience is, or what else they have going on, or what that comment might do to them.”

Grindr, also released a statement further elaborating on the Kindr initiative:

Sexual racism, transphobia, fat and femme shaming and further forms of othering such as stigmatization of HIV positive individuals are pervasive problems in the LGBTQ community. These community issues get brought onto our platform, and as a leader in the gay dating space, Grindr has a responsibility to not only protect our users, but also to set the standard for the broader community that we serve.

Online discrimination has reached epidemic proportions affecting not only Grindr but other social networks. Our ‘Kindr’ initiative is a rallying call for Grindr and our community to take a stand against sexual racism and all forms of othering.

Grindr can tell anyone your exact location to room-level accuracy

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The developers of gay hook-up app Grindr have always claimed that the geo-locating functionality is vague enough to be convenient rather than unnerving. That may be true of the app itself, but the data it provides third parties can be easily exploited, according to an investigation by Queer Europe.

The site found that using a third-party app – the unimaginatively named “Fuckr” – users can uncover up to 600 Grindr users within minutes. That may sound similar to the main app, except that Fuckr deobfuscates the location, bringing it to an accuracy of 2 to 5 meters (6 to 16 feet). Given the app can also leach the photo, this is an early Christmas present to stalkers, opening to the potential to tie down users to a single room of a house.

It works through trilateration. In-app, Grindr will tell you that someone is “X feet away”, but by creating virtual accounts around the target, and then moving them closer and further away, a third-party app is able to get a more exact figure from the original data. Because Fuckr has access to Grindr’s private database, this is just scratching the surface of the information it can draw out: body type, ethnicity, HIV status, last HIV test date and the kind of sensitive sexual information you’d be unlikely to garner from a LinkedIn leak.

But it’s not just the stalking concerns which are a real problem here. Although Grindr has disabled location tracking in countries where gay men face persecution like Russia, Nigeria, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, there are plenty of nations where it’s still enabled. In other words, gay men and trans people with Grindr accounts in Qatar, Turkey, Algeria, Abu Dhabi and the United States could be pinpointed by those looking to harass, arrest or much worse..

GitHub, which hosted the app’s repository, has disabled public access to Fuckr, but that doesn’t stop the main issue: the API is alarmingly open to abuse, and a private API in the wrong hands ceases to be private. For the time being, it’s best to disable location services for Grindr until the company gets its privacy house in order. Please stay safe.

Headspace

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For some not affected by it, it’s probably hard to visualise the type of discomfort and small acts of discrimination transgender people face on a daily basis.

Public bathrooms are an easy one to identify because of the months-long controversy surrounding them, but the potential danger also extends to places like locker rooms and doctors’ offices. In the short film Headspace, trans individuals think through day-to-day obstacles that can arise.

Gay Life flourished in Berlin before the Nazis snuffed it out

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Last year, close to 13 million people visited Berlin, twice the number of annual visitors recorded 10 years previously. The city is positively bursting at the seams. Not many years ago, a vast number of Berlin apartments stood empty; these days, a pervasive housing shortage threatens to get worse. Berlin is in. But Berlin is also a projection surface for dreams and desires, a promise of a different, freer, better life.

Now, this Berlin enthusiasm is nothing new. Close to a century ago – as the Weimar Republic was nearing its end – Berlin was already a vibrant metropolis the likes of which could not be found anywhere else in the world.

“The city looks to me like a scintillating gem,” the American dancer and singer Josephine Baker observed.  “These big coffee shops are like ocean steamers, and the orchestras are their machines that resound all over the place, keeping it in motion. The music is everywhere.”

Visitors both German and foreign, such as the two English writers W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood, felt almost magically attracted by Berlin – by the city’s great size, by its rhythm, but most of all by its gay scene. “Berlin,” Auden remarked, “is a dream for pederasts.” And Isherwood, years afterward, expressed the city’s fascination most succinctly: “To Christopher,” he wrote, “Berlin meant boys.” Everything seemed possible; everything was possible.

As the capital city of the German Empire (the Second Reich, dissolved in 1919), Berlin was already the home of a multibranched, many-sided queer subculture. In the 1920s, Berlin could offer more than a hundred cafés, bars, and taverns that were mainly frequented by queer people of all stripes.

The writer Emil Szittya remembered a visit to a transvestite bar named “Mikado”: “At the piano sat the Herr Baron Sattlergrün, who however preferred to be called ‘Baroness.’” Another legendary spot was Silhouette, a small, permanently smoke-filled pub that did a thriving business well into the wee hours of the morning. While the guests ate chicken soup, a pale young man, wearing woman’s clothes and accompanied by a blind pianist, would sing melancholy songs; Marlene Dietrich and the composer Friedrich Hollaender were two of Silhouette’s regular customers.

In the evening hours, certain parts of the Tiergarten (the large park in the middle of the city) were turned into gay playgrounds; moreover, there were veritable gay brothels, camouflaged as bathhouses or massage parlors, where men could meet and have sex.

Read on…