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Stephen Colbert on David Letterman

Last night Stephen Colbert sat down with David Letterman. The conversation is fantastic.

I will dearly miss Letterman, however I haven't been regularly watching the show in years. I remember sneaking after my bedtime, as a young kid, to watch Dave and Paul in the early 80s. Hal Gurney's network time killers changed my life.

I can not wait to see Colbert's version of the Late Show. I'm already a fan!

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Petition against UK sell-off of private tax data

Pam writes, "The Open Rights Group has set up a petition in response to last week's news that the British government is planning to sell access to private tax records."

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Obama official responsible for copyright chapters of TPP & ACTA gets a job at MPAA; his replacement is another copyright lobbyist


Stan McCoy is the assistant US Trade Representative who oversaw the creation of the disastrous, far-reaching copyright provisions in ACTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership. He's left the Obama administration for a high-paid job at the MPAA, which represents companies that stood to reap massive profits and permanent control over Internet governance and innovation thanks to his efforts while in government. Now, the Obama administration has headhunted a software industry lobbyist (who supported SOPA) to take over his job. McCoy is one of more than a dozen USTR officials who've left the government to work for copyright lobbying bodies, including former Obama copyright czar Victoria Espinel, who now gets her paycheck from the Business Software Alliance.

Timothy Lee has an excellent piece on the revolving-door relationship between the USTR and the entertainment industry and other copyright lobbyists. When Obama was campaigning for office, he vowed that "lobbyists won't work in my White House."

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This Day in Blogging History: Scarfolk, trapped in a 1969-79 loop; Meat business-cards; Leaked memo reveals Diebold's illegal voting machines

One year ago today
Wyndhamesque missives from Scarfolk, an English horror-town trapped in a 1969-79 loop: I'm loving the Scarfolk site, where "Dr R Littler" chronicles the mysteries of an English town stuck in a Wyndham-esque loop betwen 1969 and 1979. It's full of the most lovely horrors.

Five years ago today
Business cards made from meat: We start with 100% beef jerky, and SEAR your contact information into it with a 150 WATT CO2 LASER.

Ten years ago today
A New Pentagon Papers Case - Newspapers, Blogs and the Diebold/Jones Day Memos: Last Tuesday it was revealed that Diebold was informed by its lawyers that using uncertified e-voting software in California was probably illegal. Where did this information come from? Leaked legal memos from Diebold's law firm, Jones Day.

How the Russian surveillance state works

In case you (like Edward Snowden) want to know about the full scope of Russia's program of mass domestic and international surveillance, World Policy's overview of the Russian surveillance state is brilliant and terrifying. As Snowden said, "I blew the whistle on the NSA's surveillance practices not because I believed that the United States was uniquely at fault, but because I believe that mass surveillance of innocents – the construction of enormous, state-run surveillance time machines that can turn back the clock on the most intimate details of our lives – is a threat to all people, everywhere, no matter who runs them."

The World Policy report has impeccable credentials, having been jointly researched by Agentura.Ru, CitizenLab, and Privacy International.

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This Day in Blogging History: Tombstone euphemisms for "death"; Biden promises Hollywood a blank check; Silmarillion in 1,000 words

One year ago today
Early American tombstone euphemisms for death: Caitlin GD Hopkins collected 101 euphemisms for "died" from early American epitaphs. The epitaphs came from tombstones pre-1825, to qualify, the euphemism had to appear in the main text of the tombstone.

Five years ago today
Joe Biden promises a blank check to the entertainment cartel: VP Joe Biden stood up in front of a bunch of Hollywood execs and promised to appoint a copyright czar, and furthermore, that this would be the "right" person to protect their interests. [Ed: Biden gave them Victoria Espinel, who produced a series of dreadful, industry-friendly policies and then walked out into a lucrative job at the Business Software Alliance]

Ten years ago today
Silmarillion in 1,000 words: The Silmarillion is a dense book chronicling the minutest minutae of Tolkien's Middle Earth. Reading it is something of an accomplishment in itself -- but now you can fake it.

Eternal vigilance app for social networks: treating privacy vulnerabilities like other security risks

Social networking sites are Skinner boxes designed to train you to undervalue your privacy. Since all the compromising facts of your life add less than a dollar to the market-cap of the average social network, they all push to add more "sharing" by default, with the result that unless you devote your life to it, you're going to find your personal info shared ever-more-widely by G+, Facebook, Linkedin, and other "social" services.

Arvind Narayanan has proposed a solution to this problem: a two-part system through which privacy researchers publish a steady stream of updates about new privacy vulnerabilities introduced by the social networking companies (part one), and your computer sifts through these and presents you with a small subset of the alerts that pertain to you and your own network use.

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US intel chief's insane new secrecy directive forbids intel employees from "unauthorized" contact with reporters


U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The US Director of National Intelligence has issued a Directive [PDF] that forbids most intelligence community employees from talking to journalists about “intelligence-related information” unless they have explicit authorization to do so.

Intelligence community employees “must obtain authorization for contacts with the media” on any intel-related matters, and “must also report… unplanned or unintentional contact with the media on covered matters,” according to the Directive signed by James Clapper.

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Gweek podcast 143: The World's Greatest Neurozine!

In most episodes of Gweek, Dean Putney and I invite a guest to join us in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. This time we didn't have a guest. Dean and I talked mainly about the origins of Boing Boing and Make.

This episode is brought to you by:

NatureBox, makers of delicious, wholesome snacks delivered to your door. Go to NatureBox.com/gweek to get 50% OFF your your first box.

iFixit, the world’s free online repair manual for everything.. Use coupon code GWEEK at checkout and get $10 off your order of $50 or more.

Dean's picks:

Wizard People Dear Reader

Mark's picks:

Blinkist book summaries. 15 minute versions of popular non-fictions books - $3/month for all you can read

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Bruno the bear's tragic demise commemorated in sleeping bag form


In 2006, Bruno the bear appeared in Bavaria, the first wild bear spotted in the region for 170. So they hunted him down and killed him.

Artist Eiko Ishizawa has commemorated Bruno's life and death with a sculptural sleeping bag shaped like Bruno's hide and head, which you climb into and zip shut. She's making a limited run, based on commissions. They're $2350 for adult bears and $2050 for kid-sized bears. If you buy one, Ishizawa would like you to photograph yourself in it around the world for a gallery of the wanderings of Bruno's avatars.

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Project Thirty-Three: a website devoted to beautiful, minimal vintage album cover design

Project Thirty-Three is a lovely website honoring beautiful minimalist graphic design on vintage album covers. The site was created and is maintained by Jive Time Records, a Seattle-based store specializing in used vinyl. Above and below, some of the amazing examples they've collected.

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Rockabillly space-skeleton DJ backpack


This is a pretty perfect dads-and-grads season item: a backpack featuring: a) a skeleton with; b) sideburns and a quiff, wearing; c) a spacesuit, standing on d) the moon, while e) working a set of turntables. That's the whole package, all right.

Mojo Blast Off Backpack (via Crazy Abalone)

Spotters' guide to UFOs, 1967


Found in Bruce Sterling's tumblr: UFO typologies, 1967

Magical ring juggling

Hypnotic and astonishing contact juggling of rings by Lindzee Poi.

John and Yoko in love and on love

"It's all true folks. All you need is love." (Blank on Blank)