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


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


"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

Lamar "SOPA" Smith dispatches GOP commissars to National Science Foundation

The Republican Texas Congressjerk maintains a flying squad of political officers who descend upon the NSF to pore through its grant records looking for evidence of ideologically impure science. Read the rest

Nate Anderson's "The Internet Police" -- now in paperback

I reviewed it when it was released in August 2013, calling it "brisk, eminently readable, and important history of the relationship between law, law enforcement, and the net, and as you'd expect, it's excellent" ($13 for the paperback) Read the rest

Steve Wozniak wants you to support Mayday.US and get money out of politics

Apple co-founder, nerd legend, and all-round Good Guy Steve Wozniak has recorded an excellent video explaining why he's supporting Larry Lessig's Mayday.US super PAC, which is raising $5M to elect lawmakers who'll promise to vote to abolish super PACs and effect major campaign finance reform.

Wozniak draws the connection between big money in politics and the overall corruption that gave us SOPA, NSA surveillance, cable company fuckery, and other horribles that arise when the only way to get elected is by sucking up to a tiny elite of the zottarich.

I am not a US citizen and I can't contribute to Mayday. If you are, I hope you will consider giving to the campaign, and throw in a couple extra bucks for me.

Mayday.US Read the rest

How advocacy beat ACTA in Europe

James Losey writes, "After the defeat of SOPA and PIPA in the United States attention turned to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in Europe. Like SOPA and PIPA, ACTA raised concerns that excessive measure to enforce copyright online would limit freedom of expression online. And while the approval by European Parliament once seemed inevitable, protests across Europe and advocacy by civil society lead to Parliament rejecting the Agreement in July 2012. But the protest, while highly visible, represented only a portion of the networked advocacy against ACTA in Europe." Read the rest

US trade rep demands end to other nations' healthcare, privacy rules, food labelling...

Public Citizen analyzes the new Obama 2014 National Trade Estimate Report, in which the US Trade Rep demands that: Japan abolish its privacy rules and its requirement that food be labelled with its ingredients; Canada abolish its rules limited pharmaceutical patents; Malaysia get rid of its tariffs on pork and booze; Mexico nuke its junk food taxes, and more. It's great reading, and leaves little room for doubt about the neoliberal future, in which anything that's bad for corporate profits -- even if it's good for society or reflects national values -- is killed in the name of free trade. Read the rest

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