Zippo's amazing, weird new colors

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Zippo went a bit crazy with its lighter colors, introducing a rainbow of material-science wonders that, alas, I have no more use for, being a 15-year ex-smoker with the muscle-memory of an entire repertoire of obsolete Zippo tricks. Read the rest

5 years after Texas GOP's attack on women's reproductive health, TX leads developed world in maternal mortality

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Remember when Texas governor Rick Perry and the GOP state government led an unprecedented assault on women's reproductive health in the name of preventing abortions, using dirty tricks to pass an unconstitutional law that led to a boom in unsafe home abortions and a black market for day-after pills, while ending Planned Parenthood's vital cancer-screening program, before defunding Planned Parenthood altogether? Read the rest

Bill Gates' net worth hits $90B, proving Thomas Piketty's point

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When Thomas Piketty published his 2013 book Capital in the 21st Century, he said that capitalism's primary beneficiaries aren't those who make amazing things that improve the world (as its proponents claim) -- rather, it favors those who have a lot of money to begin with. Read the rest

You didn't find a meteorite

Randy L. Korotev from the Washington U in St Louis Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences presents this handy flowchart (based on this one by Deborah Guedes) for deflating your excitement at having found rock that may be a meteorite but almost certainly isn't. Today's XKCD offers a handy abridgment if you find this one excessive. Read the rest

The Xbox Onesie is a kigurumi for gamer astronauts

Microsoft has announced an Xbox Onesie that looks like a cuddly spacesuit, and comes with pockets sized to fit game-controllers, forearm grips to prevent slippage at key moments, and roomy hoods that can accommodate enclosed gamer headsets. Read the rest

Heavy steel cutlery with bottle-opener handles

Brew Cutlery raised over $20K on Kickstarter to make these handsome, heavy (150g) utensils with integrated bottle-openers in their handles; the backers who got the early sets are effusive in their praise of the look, materials (18/8 stainless steel) and craftsmanship (each piece is hand-finished). Not cheap, though: $50/set. Read the rest

Bronx cops can steal anything they want by calling it "evidence"

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In the Bronx (and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere) when your belongings are seized as "evidence," it can be impossible to ever get them back, even if you're never charged with a crime. Read the rest

Robert Moses wove enduring racism into New York's urban fabric

Robert Moses gets remembered as the father of New York's modern urban plan, the "master builder" who led the proliferation of public benefit corporations, gave NYC its UN buildings and World's Fairs, and the New Deal renaissance of the city: he was also an avowed racist who did everything he could to punish and exclude people of color who lived in New York, and the legacy of his architecture-level discrimination lives on in the city today. Read the rest

EFF takes a deep dive into Windows 10's brutal privacy breaches

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Microsoft's deceptive hard-sell to gets users to "upgrade" to Windows 10 (the most control-freaky OS to ever come out of Redmond) is made all the more awful by just how much personal, sensitive, compromising data Microsoft exfiltrates from its users' PCs once they make the switch. Read the rest

Inside the "sweatshop" terminally ill Britons must call to get benefits

An anonymous phone-bank worker at Britain's Department of Work and Pensions describes the cruel system under which call are handled, designed to purge the faintest hint of sympathy and to likewise deny callers access to basic, vital information without which their benefits will not be approved, or can be terminated. The DWP is who you call if you've been widowed and need help caring for your children, or when you get a cancer diagnosis, or when your organs fail. Read the rest

How the New York Public Library made ebooks open, and thus one trillion times better

Leonard Richardson isn't just the author of Constellation Games, one of the best debut novels I ever read and certainly one of the best books I read in 2013; he's also an extremely talented free/open source server-software developer who has been working for the New York Public Library on a software project that liberates every part of the electronic book lending system from any kind of proprietary lock-in, and, in the process, made reading library ebooks one trillion times better. Read the rest

The Equation Group's sourcecode is totally fugly

With the leak of exploits developed by The Equation Group, the long-secret, NSA-adjacent super-elite hacking squad -- published by The Shadow Brokers, who have some extremely heterodox theories about auction design -- it's now possible to audit the source code of some of the NSA's crown-jewel cyberweapons. Read the rest

Hugo Award Winners 2016

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Tonight in Kansas City, MO, at Midamericon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, the Hugo Awards were presented to a rapt audience in person and online, with voters weighing on a ballot that had been partially sabotaged by a small clique of people who objected to stories about wowen and people who weren't white. Read the rest

Help wanted: Director of Technology Policy for Consumer Reports

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This is a pretty amazing vacancy: "You will lead Consumer Reports in our effort to realize a market where consumer safety is protected through strong encryption; consumers’ rights to test, repair, and modify their devices are supported by copyright, security, and consumer protection laws; and consumers are empowered to make informed choices about IoT products while being protected by privacy policies regulating the collection, use, and storage of their data. This is a chance to build something big, meaningful, and new." Read the rest

Woman sues cops because they destroyed her empty house, thinking a suspect was hiding in it

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The police in Caldwell, Idaho told Shariz West that they thought her ex-boyfriend might have run into her house and they asked for permission to look inside; she said yes, but then the cops engaged in a 10-hour armed standoff against her empty home (the family dog was inside, but there were no humans), blasting holes in the walls, crashing through the ceilings, smashing out the windows, and filling the house with tear-gas, which destroyed most of the family's possessions. Read the rest

Lost in Space prop computer remake

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Brian Mix shows off his replica Jupiter 2 computer, a remake based on the 1960s TV Lost in Space show -- which was also used as the 1966 Bat Computer in the Batman TV show. Read the rest

Blame the War on Drugs for stoned, face-eating murderers

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No one know if the 19 year old who murdered a man in Florida and gnawed on his face while wearing a Donald Trump hat was high, and if so, what he had taken, but the bizarre, violent behavior is consistent with people who take flakka, a popular South Florida synthetic drug meant to mimic cocaine. Read the rest

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