Leaks: Mercenaries targeted Standing Rock water protectors with anti-terrorist tactics

Tigerswan, a secretive private mercenary company, was hired by Energy Transfer Partners to run campaigns against Dakota Access Pipeline protesters in five states, including states in which they were not licensed to operate -- the measures they deployed were developed as counterterrorism tactics, including Read the rest

The Malta Files: a European version of the Panama Papers, revealing a global web of corruption

On Friday, a variety of news outlets around the world published the Malta Files, a cache of 150,000 documents leaked "from a Malta-based provider of legal, financial and corporate services," revealing, among other things, that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was secretly given a $25M oil tanker (!) by Azeri billionaire Mübariz Mansimov, a "friend" of Trump's who was present at the inauguration. Read the rest

The Realist: trenchant, beautifully surreal Israeli comics about a sweet and complicated existence

Asaf Hanuka is a celebrated Israeli cartoonist whose astonishing, surreal illustrations serve as counterpoint to sweet (sometimes too-sweet) depictions of his family life, his complicated existence as a member of a visible minority in Israel, the fear he and his family live with, and his own pleasures and secret shames -- a heady, confessional, autobiographical brew that has just been collected into The Realist: Plug and Play, the second volume of Hanuka's comics.

19th century reporters carried clubs and knives to defend themselves against murderous Congressjerks

Hey, who knew? The reporter-beating crazed thug (and now Congressjerk!) Greg Gianforte is part of a long and dishonorable tradition of American Congressional reps who lashed out at the press! Read the rest

Watch: Endoscopic video of beatboxer's larynx and throat

Beatboxer Tom Thum had ENT doctor and laryngeal surgeon Dr Matthew Broadhurst shine an endoscopic camera down his throat while beatboxing: "I wanted to find out how my larynx functioned when beatboxing compared to how it functions normally with speech, and whether or not there were any abnormalities in my laryngeal anatomy. I also had very little idea of what the inside of my throat and all my noise producing mechanisms actually looked like. The results were fascinating yet horrifyingly graphic and will probably make a few people spew in their laps." (via JWZ) Read the rest

Gastric bypass surgery radically improves subjects' gut biomes

Gastric bypass surgery is remarkably effective at promoting weight-loss (it cuts the long-term risk of early death from morbid obesity by 40%), and it's long been presumed that the major action by which it worked was that, by bypassing the parts of the gut where most food absorbtion takes place, it limited the calories that subjects' bodies could harvest from the food they ate. Read the rest

Medical implants and hospital systems are still infosec dumpster-fires

Medical devices have long been the locus of information security's scariest failures: from the testing and life-support equipment in hospitals to the implants that go in your body: these systems are often designed to harvest titanic amounts of data about you, data you're not allowed to see that's processed by code you're not allowed to audit, with potential felony prosecutions for security researchers who report defects in these systems (only partially mitigated by a limited exemption that expires next year). What's more, it can get much worse. Read the rest

Most Chipotle restaurants were hacked by credit-card stealing malware

Did you think you got away clean when you ate at Chipotle without dying of listeria? Not so fast! Read the rest

A multitool that's also a belt-buckle

SOG's $60 Sync II "wearable belt buckle" multitool isn't the only multitool/buckle on the market, but it does add a couple very sensible innovations, like a clip-on/clip-off base that lets you use your tool without taking off your belt, and a squared-off form factor (like a pair of folding travel sewing scissors) that adapts the folded tool for the buckle form-factor. Read the rest

With Briggs Land, Brian Wood gets inside the scariest terror threat in America: white nationalists

Stories matter: the recurring narrative of radical Islamic terror in America (a statistical outlier) makes it nearly impossible to avoid equating "terrorist" with "jihadi suicide bomber" -- but the real domestic terror threat is white people, the Dominionists, ethno-nationalists, white separatists, white supremacists and sovereign citizens who target (or infiltrate) cops and blow up buildings. That's what makes Brian Wood's first Briggs Land collection so timely: a gripping story of far-right terror that is empathic but never sympathetic.

Birmingham, I'll see you today on the Walkaway tour! (then Hay, SF, NYC...) (!)

I could not have asked for a nicer crowd than the ones who turned up for last night's event at Liverpool One's Waterstones; now I'm looking forward to today's lunchtime signing at Birmingham Waterstones, on my way to tomorrow's Hay Festival event with Adam Rutherford. Read the rest

Trump Organization to Congress: Upholding the Constitution "diminishes the experience of our brand"

Remember the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, the one that says that presidents aren't supposed to get gifts or payments from foreign governments without Congressional approval? Read the rest

Neil Gaiman will read the Cheesecake Factory menu if we raise $500K for the UN High Commission on Refugees

The campaign to raise $500K for the UN High Commission on Refugees started with author/comedian Sara Benincasa daring Neil Gaiman to do a dramatic reading of the Cheesecake Factory menu; Gaiman responded that if she raised the half-mil, he'd not only read the Cheesecake Factory's (notoriously florid) menu, he'd follow up with a reading of Dr Seuss's Fox in Socks if the funds hit $1m (I hasten to point out that this activity involves some risk to Gaiman, given the Seuss estate's penchant for bullying acts of copyfraud). Read the rest

90,000 young Britons register to vote in one day

...and they're likely to vote for the "unelectable" Jeremy Corbyn, a guy significantly to the left of, say, Bernie Sanders, who has survived multiple attempts by the finance-capital wing of his own party to unseat him, and who is riding on a national wave of disillusionment with Thatherism, Neo-Thatcherism, and May-Thatcherism. Read the rest

Liverpool, I'll see you tonight on the Walkaway tour! (then Birmingham, Hay-on-Wye, San Francisco...) (!)

Thanks to everyone who came out for last night's final London event on the UK Walkaway tour, at Pages of Hackney with Olivia Sudjic; today I'm heading to Waterstones Liverpool One for an event with Dr Chris Pak, followed by a stop tomorrow at Waterstones in Birmingham and then wrapping up in the UK with an event with Adam Rutherford at the Hay Festival. Read the rest

Remembering the original, Harold Pinter screen adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale

Zachary Smith writes, "Almost 30 years before Hulu's take on Margaret Atwood's feminist classic, a less-successful adaptation was filmed in Durham, NC. Here's a well-researched look at the making of that film, and its strange parallels to the community." Read the rest

Colombian biologist won't go to jail for 8 years for sharing a scientific paper (probably)

Timothy writes, "Diego Gómez is a Colombian conservation biologist. When he was a college student, he shared a single research paper online so that others could read and learn from it, just as he did. Diego was criminally prosecuted for copyright infringement, and faced up to 8 years in prison." Read the rest

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