Ifixit is the new Justice League of America and Kyle Wiens is its Superman


Motherboard's Jason Koebler follows Kyle Wiens around the Electronics Reuse Conference -- Burning Man for the service-people who fix your phones, laptops, and other devices -- in New Orleans. Wiens is founder and CEO of Ifixit, whose mission is to tear down every single thing you own, write a repair manual for it, and source or manufacture the parts you need to fix it yourself. Read the rest

Hoverboard: massive, mysterious XKCD game (with a hidden story?)


Sgt Crispy writes, "XKCD creator Randall Munroe, has made a spiffy little hoverboard game. Looks to be small, however, when you realize that boundaries are made to be broken, A massive world opens up to be explored." Read the rest

Glorkian Warrior stickers


They're $4 from Stickermule -- a great way to show your Glorkian pride. Read the rest

Cultural appropriation? Hindu nationalists used yoga as an anti-colonialist export


A kerfuffle about a Canadian university where yoga classes were cancelled after concerns about cultural appropriation were raised by the Centre for Students with Disabilities sparked Michelle Goldberg, author of a biography of yoga pioneer Indra Devi to discuss the complicated issue of cultural exports, cultural appropriation, and the history of yoga. Read the rest

Leaked recording: pollution lobbyists discuss exploiting Syrian refugee crisis


A leaked recording made of a conference call posted by the Edison Electric Institute, which lobbies for the power industry, reveals lobbyists for high pollution companies talking about how they can exploit the Syrian refugee crisis to get a rider inserted into a pending bill that would kill the EPA's Waters of the United States rule, which protects America's waterways from pollution. Read the rest

Dell apologizes for preinstalling bogus root-certificate on computers

serial-number (1)

Yesterday, Dell was advising customers not to try to uninstall the bogus root certificate it had snuck onto their Windows machine, which would allow attackers to undetectably impersonate their work intranets, bank sites, or Google mail. Today, they apologized and offered an uninstaller -- even as we've learned that at least one SCADA controller was compromised by the bad cert, and that Dell has snuck even more bogus certs onto some of its machines. Read the rest

Veronica Belmont on being overtaken by a meme

animation (1)

A long time ago, Veronica Belmont was featured in a blooper reel for her old TV show in which she clowned around with a Cthulhu t-shirt, wiggling back and forth and saying "So lifelike." A creepy Internet person turned the moment into a GIF that has followed her around ever since, so that other creepy Internet people post it every time she opens her mouth online, and creepy Internet porn companies use it in their ads. Read the rest

J Edgar Hoover was angry that the Boy Scouts didn't thank him effusively enough


Michael from Muckrock writes, "From Boy Scouts to movie stars, no one was safe from J. Edgar Hoover's all-watching surveillance apparatus at the FBI -- or his sharp tongue. MuckRock has put together a collection of his most biting insults to serve up at Thanksgiving, in case you need to put any of the in-laws on notice." Read the rest

WTO rules against US dolphin-safe tuna labels because they're unfair to Mexican fisheries


The barb in trade agreements' tail is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system, which lets companies sue governments to repeal rules that interfere with their profitability. It's let tobacco giants fight anti-smoking campaigns, and now it's letting fisheries attack rules aimed at preventing the wholesale slaughter of dolphins. Read the rest

Shamrock shake: Pfizer's Irish "unpatriotic loophole" ducks US taxes


Pfizer's used a tax-dodge called a "reverse-inversion" to sell itself to a much smaller, Irish pharma company, moving its corporate nationality to Ireland at the stroke of a pen. Read the rest

Square, lightweight plastic flask from Stanley


I've been using Stanley's classic flask for years (I literally packed one, full of nice bourbon, in my suitcase this morning for the Melbourne/Sydney/Berlin trip I'm leaving on tonight), and I have no complaints: it's beautiful, easy to close, and rugged. Read the rest

Randall "XCKD" Munroe's Thing Explainer: delightful exploded diagrams labelled with simple words

Randall "XKCD" Munroe's Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words arrives in stores today: it combines technical diagrams and wordplay in pure display of everything that makes XKCD brilliant and wonderful in every way.

What's inside a "Hello Barbie" surveillance toy?


Mattel's Hello Barbie has a microphone and a wifi interface, and it transmits the phrases it hears to a central server in order to parse them and formulate a response. Mattel claims that the data isn't being retained or harvested for marketing purposes, and assures parents that they can make Barbie stopping eavesdropping on them at will. But does it work? Read the rest

US cops seized more through asset forfeiture in 2014 than US criminals stole through burglary


US police seized $4.5 billion through civil asset forfeiture (through which police can take money and valuables away from citizens without charging anyone with any crimes) in 2014; in the same period, the FBI estimates that burglars accounted for $3.9B in property losses.

Read the rest

J Edgar Hoover loved Efrem Zimbalist's "FBI"


Michael from Muckrock writes, "While J. Edgar Hoover wasn't a big fan of much media in the 60s -- he worked to rewrite one of Hitchcock's scripts and made Walt Disney re-work Tomorrowland -- there was one show that struck a chord: ABC's The FBI." Read the rest

Open source hardware autonomous tractor uses repurposed drone autopilot


Matt Reimer's homebrew autonomous tractor uses open source components to accomplish the kind of automation that John Deere's super-proprietary tractors are known for. Read the rest

Not just Lenovo: Dell ships computers with self-signed root certificates


Last February, Lenovo shocked its security-conscious customers by pre-installing its own, self-signed root certificates on the machines it sold. These certificates, provided by a spyware advertising company called Superfish, made it possible for attackers create "secure" connections to undetectable fake versions of banking sites, corporate intranets, webmail providers, etc. Read the rest

More posts