Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, voted on Tuesday to pass a measure banning the distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to anyone under the age of 18, which, in reality, criminalizes any kind of media or event that acknowledges the existence of gay people, supports gay rights or compares gay relationships to straight relationships.
More on the bill from the Guardian:
Russia’s anti-gay law, whose text was softened to remove explicit referrals to “homosexual propaganda”, introduces fines of up to 100,000 roubles (£1,975) for individuals who have used the media or internet to promote “non-traditional relations”. Organisations can be fined up to 1m roubles and closed down for up to 90 days.
The bill, which must be signed by Putin to become law, also says foreigners can be detained for up to 15 days and deported, as well as fined up to 100,000 roubles, for breaking the law.
A gay rights demonstration against the bill ended in violence on Tuesday, after hundreds of Orthodox and pro-Kremlin demonstrators attacked gay rights advocates outside parliament. Anti-gay demonstrators chanted “Russia is not Sodom,” while throwing rotten eggs at and assaulting gay protestors.
Gay rights activists in the country have blamed Vladimir Putin, the country’s political leadership and a growing body of anti-gay legislation for sanctioning discrimination against gays and lesbians and, in effect, condoning violence against them: “I am wondering whether those State Duma deputies who… are now adopting a law against homosexual propaganda realize that these beer bottles have essentially been planted by them?” Russian film critic Alexander Timofeevsky wrote on Facebook, in reference to a report that the victim had been sexually assaulted with beer bottles.
Nikolai Alexeyev, head of activist group Gay Russia also believes that growing influence from the Orthodox Church and recent legislation are fueling homophobia and violence toward gays and lesbians, as he told AFP: “Homophobic hysteria is being increasingly promoted in Russia.”
Lyudmila Alexeyeva, one of Russia’s most prominent rights activists, called the ban “a step toward the Middle Ages.”
“In normal countries, no one persecutes representatives of sexual minorities,” Alexeyeva told the Interfax news agency. “A modern person knows that these people are different from the rest just like a brunette is different from a blonde. They are not guilty of anything.”
The “gay propaganda” ban now moves to a vote of the upper house, where it is expected to pass.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.