In Panama, the "heist of the century" is blamed on a notorious Brazilian prison-gang

50 armed men in camou flak jackets driving armored cars cordoned off the roads leading to a transportation company's office in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay (a "smugglers' haven in the border region with Brazil and Argentina"), blew the entire face of the building up with demolition equipment, stole an estimated $40M and escaped by motorboat up the Panama River. Read the rest

Jimmy "Wikipedia" Wales just launched an anti-fake-news wiki: Wikitribune

Wikitribune (strapline: "Evidence-based journalism") is a newly launched project from Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, conceived of as a crowd-edited, crowd-funded tonic against fake news. Read the rest

John Scalzi's Collapsing Empire: an epic new space opera with snark, politics and action to burn

Regular Boing Boing readers need no introduction to John Scalzi, whose smartass, snappy, funny, action-packed science fiction novels are a treat to read; but new fans and old hands alike will find much to love in The Collapsing Empire, the first volume in a new, epic space-opera series.

Why magicians should never snap their fingers as part of a trick

Andy from The Jerx (previously) continues to develop the theory of "audience-centered magic" with an excellent post on the deficiencies of snapping one's fingers to mark the moment at which some magic effect is meant to be happening. Read the rest

Japan secretly funneled hundreds of millions to the NSA, breaking its own laws

The Intercept publishes a previously-unseen set of Snowden docs detailing more than $500,000,000 worth of secret payments by the Japanese government to the NSA, in exchange for access to the NSA's specialized surveillance capabilities, in likely contravention of Japanese privacy law (the secrecy of the program means that the legality was never debated, so no one is sure whether it broke the law). Read the rest

In 1982, Mattel fielded a teen-pregnancy Barbie toy

Midge is a semi-disavowed character in the Barbieverse, created in 1963 to counter claims that Barbie was oversexualized; weirdly, in 1982, Mattel made the decision to release a version of the doll, who appeared to be a young teen, as a pregnant lady, with a detachable bump containing an articulated foetus. Read the rest

Creepy, sketchy stalkerware vendor get hacked, announced bug-bounty program

Flexispy (previously) is the creepy, sketchy stalkerware company that makes tools that allow jealous, abusive spouses track their partners, and then hides their profits in offshore money-laundries. Read the rest

The work of the world's leading nutrition researchers appears to be riddled with statistical errors

Brian Wansink is one of the most-cited nutrition researchers in the world; 30,000 US schools use his advice to design their lunch programs, drawing on studies he's done that show that kids eat more carrots when they're called "X-ray vision carrots" and that putting out fruit bowls improves eating habits, and that smaller plates reduce portion sizes. Read the rest

Juvenile criminal defense attorneys forced to agree to Taser's terms of service to see the state's evidence

California criminal defense attorney Rick Horowitz had a juvenile client, he was shocked when the prosecutor in the case told him that to see the evidence against his client, he'd have to log in to evidence.com, run by Taser International (now rebranded as Axon). Read the rest

The Haunted Mansion Ghost Post wins a Themed Entertainment Award!

When I wrote about the Haunted Mansion loot crates ("Ghost Post") last March, what I couldn't say was that I was a writer on the project, penning the radio scripts, newspapers, letters, and associated gubbins and scraps that went along with the three boxes of custom-made props and merch, tying them together into a series of puzzles that the boxes' 999 owners solved together over the internet. Read the rest

John Scalzi on the ups and downs of book tours

John Scalzi's on tour with his new novel, The Collapsing Empire: he's posted a list of ten things every touring author knows, and very few other people ever get to see. Read the rest

The Humble Unicorn Bundle, get great, DRM-free fantasy novels, support environmental causes

Steven Boyett writes, "Humble Bundle has released a unicorn-themed Bundle, with proceeds to benefit the World Wide Fund for Nature and Fauna & Flora International. For as little as $1.00, you can get Ariel, by Steven R. Boyett (full disclosure: that's me); Unicorn Mountain, by Michael Bishop; Homeward Bound, by Bruce Coville; and Unicorn Triangle, by Patricia McKillip." Read the rest

John Deere just told the copyright office that only corporations can own property, humans can only license it

John Deere has turned itself into the poster-child for the DMCA, fighting farmers who say they want to fix their own tractors and access their data by saying that doing so violates the 1998 law's prohibition on bypassing copyright locks. Read the rest

This Earth Day, join the Global March for Science

All over the world, people who believe in science, facts, and reality are marching for action on climate change, against a backdrop of overt (Trump) and insidious (Trudeau) climate-change denial, which puts the future of our species and its habitat in grave peril. Read the rest

United's CEO just lost out on the Chairmanship of United's board

When United CEO Oscar Munoz lied about Dr David Dao, slandering the passenger that was beaten unconscious as a direct result of his employees enacting the policies he put in place, he was acting in the knowledge that he would shortly be elevated to the Chairmanship of United's board of directors. Read the rest

Portland hotel magnate withdraws overt Trump donation, funnels $1M through front companies instead

Gordon Sondland owns Provenance Hotels, with four PDX properties -- the Lucia, deLuxe, Sentinel and Westin. After he was outed as being the host for a Trump event last summer, he pulled out, saying that he'd broken with Trump over his racist anti-Muslim rhetoric. Read the rest

A gorgeous book-trailer for Walkaway

Walkaway, my first novel for adults since 2009, drops in four days, and today, my US publisher Tor Boooks unveiled a gorgeous, stylish book-trailer for the novel, created by Jaye Rochon from Circle of Seven. Read the rest

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