Buying Sex Should Not Be Legal – The New York Times

I cringe when I hear the words “sex work.” Selling my body wasn’t a livelihood. There was no resemblance to ordinary employment in the ritual degradation of strangers’ using my body to satiate their urges. I was doubly exploited — by those who pimped me and those who bought me.

Source: Buying Sex Should Not Be Legal – The New York Times

Eggplant parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is a classic casserole dish in the United States. In this recipe, the bread crumbs used are Progresso Italian Style Bread Crumbs, and any seasoned or Italian flavored brand from the store will work.

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The oil used to fry and prepare the eggplant for the casserole is grapeseed oil. There are many other oils that have high smoke points depending on your budget.

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I am so thankful for our access to local, farm fresh produce in the Boston area. If you can’t make it to the farmer’s market, consider a local area CSA or pickup for great deals.

Visit localharvest.org to browse farmer’s market products via e-commerce, or find a local CSA membership program that you and your family or roommates can join.

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Eggplant Parmesan

Choose eggplants that have bright green stems and healthy, shiny skin for freshest taste. This dinner can easily be reheated and frozen for even more delicious leftovers anytime you need a quick, filling meal.

  • Prep Time: 45m
  • Cook Time: 45m
  • Total Time: 1h 30m

Ingredients

  • 3 medium eggplants
  • 1 egg
  • 2 c milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 c italian bread crumbs
  • 2 c grapeseed oil
  • chopped fresh basil leaves (garnish)
  • 1 jar italian tomato sauce
  • 1 c shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 pkg mozzarella (sliced)
  • ground fresh black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice eggplants into 3/4" sices. Beat egg and mix with milk and salt in a bowl for dipping. In another bowl, pour breadcrumbs.
  2. Dip each eggplant slice into the egg and milk mixture. Then, dip the slice into the breadcrumbs. Repeat this process for all eggplant slices and discard leftover milk, egg, and bread crumbs.
  3. Heat approximately 3 tablespoons oil in a cast iron skillet to medium. Once oil is hot, fill pan discs to fry. Flip after golden brown on each side. Set finished and fried eggplant slices on a plate or pan lined with paper towel for cooling.
  4. With completed fried eggplant, fill 9x13" pan with a bottom layer of tomato sauce, placing the eggplant on top in a single layer. Then, cover with tomato sauce again. Cover with half of parmesan cheese, and half of sliced mozzarella cheese. Place another layer of eggplant on top of the cheese layer, and cover that with tomato sauce. Repeat by covering with parmesan cheese, then the remaining sliced mozarella cheese.
  5. Cover with fresh ground pepper, and set to bake in a 350°F oven for 30-45 minutes, until bubbly. Garnish with fresh sliced basil to serve with a spatula.

12 of the most eclectic food blogging businesses on WordPress

The future of technology for food entrepreneurship and small businesses is a bright one. From $135 million funding rounds to innovative ways to generate revenue from recipe content, food is having a moment online.

At Simmer, we started with one of the easiest ways to achieve the unmet software needs of food businesses today with our recipe publishing plugin. Whether it’s rustic food styling and presentation or innovative cross-cultural fusion, food blogging is here to stay. Today you can find a food blog for nearly every kind of dietary preference or restriction, too. The selection has never been wider. To help you sift through the noise in the food blogging world, here’s a list of 13 of the most eclectic food blogs online today, with most focusing on vegan and vegetarian recipes on a plant based diet.

Each of these businesses are powered through WordPress, an open source website (including mobile) and app framework. Instagram is the preferred network and social media tool for culinary artists who want to generate strong community engagement with their recipe content, too.


What Clark Cooked

What Clark Cooked is a new recipe blog by Melissa Fairchild-Clark. Hailing originally from Brooklyn, NY, this chef now lives in the Bay Area after attending culinary school. Her recipes are focused on a wide variety of seasonal produce, and are fresh, rustic, and eclectic. Follow @mfairchildclark on Instagram  📷

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Continue reading 12 of the most eclectic food blogging businesses on WordPress

June strawberries & sweet treats

June’s fruitful bounty is one of the sweetest of the summer thanks to 🍓 strawberry season.

This vanilla cake base is exceptionally easy to prepare. When this cake is combined with fresh fruit like these strawberries befor going in the oven, it becomes a perfect, well-balanced sweet treat.

What are your favorite fruits to bake when in season?

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This is the exact 9″ pie plate photographed in this recipe. It’s held up over many years of continual baking and serving.

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Continue reading June strawberries & sweet treats

Bringing 25% of the web to scale

The advent of the WP REST API is the most explosive update to happen to agile software development for the web and mobile this decade. It is a project that will instantly scale over 24% 25% of the entire Internet this 2015 and 2016.

EDIT: Check out this fantastic tutorial on how to build your own app with the new WP API and Facebook’s React.js. And, of course, here’s a tutorial for creating a WordPress fueled app with Google’s Angular.js, too!

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The WP REST & JSON API founded by Rachel Baker and Ryan McCue transforms WordPress into a fully fledged application development framework. The WP API plugin page reads, “This plugin provides an easy to use REST API, available via HTTP. Grab your site’s data in simple JSON format, including users, posts, taxonomies and more. Retrieving or updating data is as simple as sending a HTTP request.”

With the official release of the WP API in the core version 4.3 this August, web and mobile app creators around the globe can use WordPress (already 24% of the Internet open web) to instantly scale new products. The backward compatibility and inherently agile approach that the WP API affords software engineers will guarantee lower costs and faster iteration paces for all kinds of future projects. In fact recently Founder Ryan McCue even asked readers in a partly satirical post to imagine the year 2020: when “an estimated 15% of all native apps use WordPress purely as a backend.”

ryan mccueJSON is a data format that’s meant to be inherently human-friendly. It provides encoders and decoders for 100s of major programming languages, including some forms of code that couldn’t be used with WordPress in a “native” format previously. The choice of JSON by the WP API team makes it easy for WordPress and any third-party application to send information back and forth to each other in a mutually understandable format, opening the doors wide for alternate front and back end implementations of WordPress.

As a result, WordPress will now be able to scale at rates never previously seen in its over 12 years of existence. Scaling WordPress to meet complex software and technology needs–from enterprise all the way to the SMB level–has never been faster or easier. The modulization that the WordPress ecosystem already provides for plugins, themes, widgets, and the customizer will carry over into the future of the WP API, too. These modules will continue to grow in a variety of ways to fit a wide net of commercial needs.

Thanks to this quickened pace, a wide breadth of new technologists and entrepreneurs will be driven to more affordable and immediate business models, meaning greater strength for the existing B2B WordPress economy as a whole. My estimate is that we will see the biggest points of innovation and hyper growth happen with mobile, local, and alternative e-commerce.

While initially scheduled for release in the core version of WordPress 4.1, the WP API is now optimistically penciled in for version 4.3 around mid-August 2015. Advanced engineers and developers at places like the New York Times have already begun using the new WP API in its plugin format for most of 2014 and 2015 already–be sure to check out Scott Taylor’s 2015 keynote at WordCamp Maine to see how the Times has been using it at the bottom of this post in the resources section.

The WP API’s growing and maturing scope and milestone delays are easily par for the course for a project of this magnitude, and doesn’t affect developers already implementing the API in advanced WordPress cases.

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Building an API for 24% of the web

Web developers love acronyms. API is short for Application Program Interface. An API is an agreed upon set of standardized methodologies that explain in developer’s terms how a particular piece of software can be used. These API parameters often define how an application can interact with the wider world online and how other pieces of software can “talk” to the application too.

When we talk about creating developer APIs for a system that already runs 24% of the Internet open web–including sites and apps like Bloomberg, Google Ventures, and the New York Times–and pairs automatically with millions of different permutations of independent commercial plugins, themes, and other future software solutions already, the massive scale of the new API becomes abundantly clear.

WordPress is also home to the #1 e-commerce tool, WooCommerce, just acquired by Automattic earlier this year, on its way to likely monetize any WordPress.com store that wants to set up shop. Considering this trend and the advent of the WP API, it isn’t unlikely that someday we’ll see WordPress running the base for 24% of all mobile apps in the iOS store (for example), too.

So what does this mean for technology startups and small businesses building things with WordPress?

Universality & simplicity

A REST API is a particular architectural approach to putting together the parameters for an application. REST stands for Representational State Transfer. It’s a methodology designed to let programs talk to each other in as simple a way as possible. While JSON provides the actual encoders and decoders, REST is the core methodology and philosophy behind it all. Remember, developers love acronyms.

REST APIs are meant to be inherently flexible, but follow a set of core practices which a recent WPMUdev article covers in more detail. Using JSON and the REST methodology, the WP API transforms WordPress into an application development framework or “base” for an application.
To gain a better understanding of what this vast increase in simplicity and universality means for small businesses and enterprise, Baker reflected recently,

“A good example is Wired Magazine. Wired recently replaced multiple WordPress installs with one install, linked to multiple front-ends via the REST API. His favorite part about this project is that the REST API will allow developers to choose their own way of working with WordPress. No longer will developers have to use a theme in the traditional way. They can use the JSON data any way they want.”

This is great news for developers building apps with Javascript and libraries such as React or Node, developed by Facebook and Google respectively. In fact, as of 2015 many leaders in the web and mobile industries have remarked that Javascript is eating the world of software. Now, to build an application with WordPress, an understanding of its complex PHP and related original code structure isn’t even necessary with the new WP API. You can use JavaScript instead.

“That’s one of the use cases I really like,” Ryan said. “The fact that someone who doesn’t know WordPress that well can go and start creating frontend websites with this… It expands how many people can use and develop for WordPress.”

WordPress at scale: enterprise & B2B

WordPress is inherently wonderful for entrepreneurs. Its open source philosophies and community allow anyone to dive straight in and execute a business plan online almost immediately. This opens up the floodgates where WordPress previously may not have played as major a role especially in e-commerce, mobile, open source, and the greater commercial modulization of WordPress as a whole beyond just plugins & themes.

One of the most obvious impacts of the new flexibility and universality of the WP API will be to enterprise software solutions. For example, if an engineer was deciding on coding languages, libraries, and frameworks for a new large scale or highly secure web or mobile application for millions of users, WordPress would have previously been immediately crossed off the list due to the original core’s rigidity with very specific PHP.

By opening up the doors to exponentially more coding languages, major corporations, hospitals, banks, and other types of very large enterprise projects can be fully executed at a secure scale with WordPress as its application framework. Small business SaaS or related software can also be brought to scale to serve business customers (especially SMBs) with the ability for scale and size that the WP API provides as well.

Businesses like WordPress.com (Automattic, Inc) and Reactor (AppPresser, Inc) who are already empowering small business creators will continue to rise in popularity among SMBs as SaaS. Automattic’s own WordPress.com VIP currently dominates in managed enterprise hosting for these types of very large solutions.

I expect that with the WordPress ecosystem growing to include so many more potential permutations for enterprise apps, that new services and companies like WordPress.com VIP will certainly continue to flourish. Successful enterprise software begets successful software for small businesses.

Successful enterprise software begets successful software for small businesses. Click To Tweet

I am extremely confident that this increased rate of sale for B2B products and modules for WordPress will supercharge the flow of dollars towards creators that specifically build tools to empower small business online, providing unprecedented small business growth online as a result. Importantly, this growth is also thanks to the open source qualities and philosophies that WordPress engenders at every level as well.

Contributing to the WP API is easy through Github.
Contributing to the open source WP API project is easy through Github.

A new mobile app framework

The most obvious startup growth to consider with the advent of the WP API are mobile apps.

Mobile applications provide both individual and in-app purchase opportunities to entrepreneurs building e-commerce revenue. For example, a single cookbook app can be created with the WordPress framework and sold for $4.99 each on the iOS App Store. Or a new app structured with the dynamically updated databases can create new in-app purchase opportunities anytime for training videos, individual products, and more.

Reactor/AppPresser is one WordPress company already excitedly at work building automated software for the construction of mobile apps with WordPress, making the process even easier for entrepreneurs new to the area. In a recent article they detailed three excellent reasons why WordPress is your best choice as an entrepreneur to build a mobile app:

  1. Ownership: WordPress and the WP API are open source, meaning you maintain total ownership over everything you add to build your app while building on an ever improving and completely open core
  2. Ease of use: WordPress already has one of the best backend admin panels, easily used to build and edit an app
  3. Control: With the total flexibility of the new WP API and ease of use inherent to WordPress, you can control every detail of your app’s user experience (UX)

“Most apps require some sort of database, and possibly creating a UI for a client. WordPress already does this, so why not modify WordPress instead of re-inventing the wheel?”

With Reactor and similar mobile app software companies for WordPress beginning to take off in the second half of 2015, the WP REST API has already manifested success at a place still very early in its lifecycle.

Psst: Consider building your app with Reactor: they have super affordable monthly pricing for businesses of all types. Want to build recipes into your app as well? Simmer is open source and is the first WordPress recipe plugin with multiple developer APIs for your food data for maximum extensibility and universality.

A “generic” API for building other APIs

WordPress as a framework can even build other APIs, by taking away the core endpoints. That’s exactly what we did at Simmer with our developer APIs for recipe data released recently. Josh Pollock also elaborated on the enormity of the potential APIs that can be built through this system:

This project isn’t just about creating a perfect API that works for tens of millions of sites. It’s really about adding a standard set of tools for anyone to make their own API, as well as a totally functional, but generic API.

The Internet of Things 💗 WordPress

One final, truly exciting potential for the new WP API is its future place in the IoT.

Imagine a kitchen where your favorite recipes are ported to a flexible, futuristic augmented reality (AR) UI near your countertop via Simmer. Your handy artificial intelligence assistant (robot?) lets you know when something’s going to burn or even go stale in your fridge, all through the power that WordPress provides at the root of your kitchen’s applications with its APIs.

How cool is that?

Let me know what you think of this article by sharing how your organization or startup plans to use the WP API. Drop your answers in the comment section below or with me on Twitter @laralfield. 👋

Learning Resources

The learning process for the WP REST API never stops. To get started, check out these resources and keep an eye as many new projects develop.

Photo at dawn by Jasper Boer 📷

Zucchini fritters with lemon garlic white sauce

Meat isn’t just expensive and unhealthy if eaten nightly; it can complex and challenging to prepare, too! An abundance of summer zucchini around this time of year means this recipe is referenced often. ☀️

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Add in spices to personalize these fritters or substitute scallions instead of onions depending on your preference. This same recipe can also be used for potato pancakes, too: just use grated potato instead of zucchini.

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No fritter is complete without a dipping sauce, and ? This zesty white sauce is the perfect accompaniment to any type of savory dish.

I used grapeseed oil to fry these fritters because it has a high smoke point. You can also easily use vegetable oil, peanut oil, or coconut oil depending on what you prefer.

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Zucchini Fritters Frying in a Pan

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Zucchini Fritters

Fritters can be made 30 minutes ahead; keep warm in a 200°F oven. Fritters can also be frozen and reheated at 350°F for 8 minutes for up to 1 month.

  • Prep Time: 25m
  • Cook Time: 15m
  • Total Time: 40m

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c grapeseed oil or vegetable oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 lb zucchini (about 3 medium or 2 large), grated

Instructions

  1. Place zucchini in a colander set in the sink and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then press grated zucchini into edges of colander to expel remaining liquid.
  2. Place zucchini in a large bowl and gently mix in egg, flour, onions, and cornstarch. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop tablespoon fulls of zucchini mixture into skillet, flattening them as you go. As you scoop and place the mixture into the pan, be sure to keep the size of your fritters small so that they do not fall apart when you flip them. Smaller fritters are easier to store and re-heat in the oven later, too!
  4. Cook until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer fritters to a paper towel-lined plate; season with salt. Serve with garlic lemon sour cream.

Garlic Lemon Sour Cream

This recipes makes a great white sauce for nearly any meat or savory vegetable dish.

  • Prep Time: 5m
  • Yield: 2 cups
  • Category:

Ingredients

  • 1 pinch dried dill
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 c sour cream

Instructions

  1. Mince or use a garlic press to combine garlic and sour cream.
  2. Squeeze juice from lemon, add salt and dried dill. Mix thoroughly and serve.

Adrian Chen on Russian Troll Farms

If you haven’t yet read Adrian Chen’s latest piece on Russian troll farms entitled “The Agency” featured in the New York Times June 2, 2015, I highly recommend it. If you read the language, be sure to check it out in Russian, too.

Troll farms in Russia have a rich history previously little documented. Trolls by their very definition are meant to “spoil” the Internet. Social media are just a few of their tools of digital warfare.

Adrian’s piece studies this phenomenon in a truly nail-biting tale of real world and online sleuthing. It ends with his own case of being set up as a Neo-Nazi supporter in a final assault meant to debase his credibility once the Russian agency became aware of his plans for the front page story. I first studied Russian trolling in my 2011 thesis on the subject for Columbia University. Trolls, at their very best, “get into the head” of their abuse victims.

A few days later, Soshnikov chatted with me on Skype. “Did you see an article about you on FAN?” he asked. “They know you are going to publish a loud article, so they are trying to make you look stupid in front of the Russian audience.”

I explained the setup, and as I did I began to feel a nagging paranoia. The more I explained, the more absurd my own words seemed — the more they seemed like exactly the sort of elaborate alibi a C.I.A. agent might concoct once his cover was blown. The trolls had done the only thing they knew how to do, but this time they had done it well. They had gotten into my head

Thankfully, there are some tell-tale signs of Russian trolling, which are covered in the article that can help most discerning readers separate fact from fiction, especially in the English language.

These techniques of modern warfare aren’t only limited to Russia, either:

As the Internet has grown, the problem posed by trolls has grown more salient even as their tactics have remained remarkably constant. Today an ISIS supporter might adopt a pseudonym to harass a critical journalist on Twitter, or a right-wing agitator in the United States might smear demonstrations against police brutality by posing as a thieving, violent protester. Any major conflict is accompanied by a raging online battle between trolls on both sides.

This June 10, 2015 piece, “Russian Propaganda Kills” at RFE/RL also provides a well-rounded picture of the current state of warfare caused by Russian trolls.

Fighting back

Today digital publications such as RFE/RLStopFake.org and many others have started to document the very real acts of deceit and abuse that Russian trolls carry out on an hourly basis and whose targets reach far around the globe.

As groups like ISIS and other inherently troll driven organizations like Russia’s Internet Agency continue to wage warfare on Twitter and beyond, the best solution is awareness building and careful understanding of one’s digital “surroundings.” A strong culture of technological security is what we need to ensure our future safety and sanity online.