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What would happen if the whole world went face blind?

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Hello and welcome to newest addition to the Boing Boing podcast family! Flash Forward is a podcast produced and hosted by me, Rose Eveleth. Every week we really overthink what the future has in store for us. Every episode we tackle one possible (or, not so possible) future scenario — everything from a sudden ice age, to the end of antibiotic effectiveness, to a world in which contact sports are banned due to head injury — and try to work out how that future would really go down.

Today, about two percent of the population has prosopagnosia — a condition that makes them unable to remember faces. But what if we all had it? On this week’s episode, we travel to a future where nobody can recognize one another by face.

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In the episode we discuss what causes face blindness and the tricks that people use to remember their friends. We also go through all the things that would be easier (spying, hiding) and harder (police lineups, cocktail parties) in a world where we were all faceblind.

▹▹ Full show notes Read the rest

The Democratic Party's SOPA-loving, Snowden-hating, Hillary-partisan power-broker has her first-ever primary challenger

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a powerful, corrupt Democratic Party official, the chair of the DNC who has tilted the rules to give the advantage to Hillary Clinton (Wasserman Schultz co-chaired the Clinton 2008 campaing), publicly threatened staffers who questioned her Clinton partisanship, voted against medical marijuana, co-sponsored SOPA, demanded the extradition and prosecution of Edward Snowden, takes massive corporate donations, and stands unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination in South Florida in every election -- except this one. Read the rest

India's Internet activists have a SOPA moment: no "poor Internet for poor people"

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My latest Guardian column, 'Poor internet for poor people': India's activists fight Facebook connection plan, tells the story of how India's amazing Internet activists have beaten back Facebook's bid to become gatekeeper to the Internet for the next billion users. Read the rest

Facebook's FUDdy, full-page anti-Net-Neutrality Indian newspaper ads

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Facebook is desperate to ensure that the Internet never takes hold in developing nations -- they want a walled garden that they get to own and operate. Read the rest

A roadmap for killing TPP: the next SOPA uprising!

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The Trans Pacific Partnership is the largest "trade deal" in history, negotiated in secret and encompassing many issues unrelated to trade, including rules that make the Internet less secure, easier to censor and spy on, and more subject to corporate dominance. Read the rest

How the NDP and Liberals can defeat the Tories: a data-driven approach

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Ali Kashani, a data-scientist, has run the numbers on Canada's electoral constituencies (called "ridings") and concluded that if the candidates from the NDP and Liberal parties in sixteen of those ridings agreed to one or the other withdrawing, the Conservative Party could not form the next government. Read the rest

Piracy vs the MPAA: yet another box-office record smashed

The movie studios continue to demand Lord High Internet Executioner status because "piracy is destroying the film industry," even as box office records are smashed anew: Straight Outta Compton put its studio over the $2B mark in record time. Read the rest

Fried Jesus: architect of State Fair deep-fried butter

Abel Gonzales Jr was raised by Tex-Mex restaurateurs, and began his career as God of the deep fryer out of necessity, when he was desperate to come up with a dish for the Texas State Fair's Big Tex Choice Award, and all he had was a fryer. Read the rest

What it’s like to be profoundly face-blind

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"It doesn’t matter if I know the person: I’ve walked right past my husband, my own mother, my daughter, my son, without being able to recognize them." -- 47-year-old consultant, writer, and part-time EMT, with developmental prosopagnosia. Alexa Tsoulis-Reay interviewed her for Science of Us.

Image: Shutterstock Read the rest

EFF's 25th Anniversary Party with me and Wil Wheaton: July 16/SF

It's been a quarter-century since the Electronic Frontier Foundation was founded by John Perry Barlow, John Gilmore, and Mitch Kapor, and we're celebrating! Read the rest

USA Freedom Act: the good, the bad, and what's next

With the sunsetting of Section 215 of the Patriot Act and the passage of the USA Freedom Act, Congress has, for the first time since the 1970s, put limits on the surveillance powers of America's spooks. Read the rest

The PATRIOT Act is uglier than you thought, and what to do about it

The most outstanding and urgent hour of audio you'll hear this week is the On the Media history of the PATRIOT Act (MP3), and the most important website you'll visit this week is Sunset the PATRIOT Act, which lets you do something about it. Read the rest

Following the key Trans-Pacific Partnership senator with a 30' blimp

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "The folks who wrote SOPA are trying to get extremist copyright provisions into the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement -- the one that Congress is trying to 'Fast Track' right now." Read the rest

What should the next Aaron Swartz do when the DOJ knocks?

Aaron Swartz found out the hard way that you can't expect justice from the Department of Justice: what should the next Aaron Swartz do when facing decades in prison for information activism?

How to honor Aaron Swartz’s life

Today is two years and a day after the suicide of Aaron Swartz.

Aaron was one of my closest friends. That night was the worst of my life.

In the weeks and months that followed, many of his friends and family — and many people that never knew him personally — asked themselves and each other the same question: what’s the best way to honor Aaron’s death?

Was it to reform the archaic laws (including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, passed in the 80s during the hysteria around the fictional film War Games) that had been used to prosecute him? Was it to make academic research available freely to the public? Was it reforming the criminal justice system as a whole, and academia, and the political system?

Yes, yes, and yes — all of the above. But also something more than that — something personal: what I and others concluded was that the best way we could honor Aaron’s life and death was in the way we lived our own lives.

In short, by living to make the biggest difference we could. By staying focused on the big questions — and never letting ourselves grow satisfied that we had all the right answers or were doing enough.

Aaron left a guide for how to do this, both in his own writing and in how he led his life. Read the rest

Join the New Hampshire Rebellion

Politicians will do anything to avoid embarrassing questions about how money corrupts politics, but we're walking to remind them they can't dodge them forever. Make a video to cheer us on!

Telcos' anti-Net Neutrality argument may let the MPAA destroy DNS

The telcos' ongoing battle against Net Neutrality have led them to make a lot of silly legalistic arguments, but one in particular has opened the whole Internet to grave danger from a legal attack from the entertainment industry, which may finally realize its longstanding goal of subverting DNS to help it censor sites it dislikes, even if it makes life much easier for thieves and spies who use DNS tricks to rob and surveil. Read the rest

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