Everything is a Remix, including Star Wars, and that's how I became a writer

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Kirby Ferguson, who created the remarkable Everything is a Remix series, has a new podcast hosted by the Recreate Coalition called Copy This and he hosted me on the debut episode (MP3) where we talked about copying, creativity, artists, and the future of the internet (as you might expect!). Read the rest

12 days of two-factor authentication: this Xmas, give yourself the gift of opsec

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched a new series, 12 Days of 2FA, in which every installment explains how to turn on two-factor authentication for a range of online services and platforms. Read the rest

Gorgeous handmade dieselpunk coats

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Xiaolizi is a design collective in Jiaozuo in Henan province, China; they've produced a remarkable line of gorgeous and moderately priced dieselpunk women's coats that are just on the line separating fashion and cosplay, much like Chicago's Volante Design -- my top pics are the Navy wool coat and the gray military coat, both $190 (with customizations available). (via Diesel Futures) Read the rest

Why the FBI would be nuts to try to use chatbots to flush out terrorists online

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Social scientist/cybersecurity expert Susan Landau (previously) and Cathy "Weapons of Math Destruction" O'Neil take to Lawfare to explain why it would be a dangerous mistake for the FBI to use machine learning-based chatbots to flush out potential terrorists online. Read the rest

Petition: commute Chelsea Manning's sentence to time served

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Evan from Fight for the Future sez, "Chelsea Manning has already spent more time behind bars than any other whistleblower in U.S. history. She's been systematically mistreated, subjected to torture, and denied access to desperately needed health care while serving a 35 year sentence in an all-male military prison." Read the rest

A checklist for figuring out whether your algorithm is a "weapon of math destruction"

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The Data & Society institute (dedicated to critical, interdisciplinary perspectives on big data) held an online seminar devoted to Cathy O'Neil's groundbreaking book Weapons of Math Destruction, which showed how badly designed algorithmic decision-making systems can create, magnify and entrench the social problems they're supposed to solve, perpetuating inequality, destabilizing the economy, and making a small number of people very, very rich. Read the rest

Macabre chocolates: bird skulls, conjoined fetal skulls, and dolls-head lollies

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Annabel Lector of Conjuror's Kitchen makes rather spectacular, macabre chocolates: gilded crow's skulls, kitten's skulls, conjoined fetal skulls, barn owl skulls and even a chocolate life-mask of Vincent Price and doll head lollipops. (via Wil Wheaton) Read the rest

William Gibson on individual privacy, governmental secrecy and the future of history

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In a thoughtful New York Times editorial, science fiction giant William Gibson mediates on the difference between the privacy that individuals have and deserve, the privacy that governments assert ("What does it mean, in an ostensible democracy, for the state to keep secrets from its citizens?"), and what this will mean for the historians of the future. Read the rest

What happens when you opt out of the "voluntary" pornoscanners at Berlin's Schönefeld airport

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Yesterday morning, Matthias Kirschner opted out of the "voluntary" full-body scanners at Berlin's Schönefeld, and discovered that "voluntary" means that "if you don't do it, they will barrack you endlessly about your choice, punitively repeatedly perform the same searches over and over, and attempt to delay you so you almost miss your flight." Read the rest

NYC will cease retaining data that Trump could use for mass deportations

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IDNYC is New York City's ID card program, and it has served as a critical means for undocumented migrants to get identity papers that they can use to establish utilities accounts, bank accounts, and so on. The city has announced a change to the program's data-retention policy, vowing to purge information that might be useful in the mass deportations promised by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Read the rest

In Africa, British spies target allied leaders, executives, and telcoms engineers

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Le Monde has published a new collection of documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden, showing that the British spy agency GCHQ targeted the leaders of allied countries in Africa, as well as business executives and employees of telecommunications companies, whose accounts were a means to gaining access to communications infrastructure across the continent. Read the rest

Macedonian designers make posters against dictatorship and for free and fair elections on Dec 11

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An anonymous reader writes, "(Anonymous) Macedonian designers have submitted posters calling for a vote against a dictatorship on the 11th December. Their motto "#GlasamProtiv [#VoteAgainst] is an initiative by a group of Macedonian designers to topple the dictatorship that has all of us captive. Vote your will on the 11-th of December and stand AGAINST corruption, crime, freedom of speech, party harassment, torture, submission..." Read the rest

Texas's terrible new abortion regulation is a con aimed at low-information/anti-abortion voters

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Texas passed a new regulation requiring "cremation or burial" of fetal tissue after a miscarriage or medical abortion, and to hear the lawmakers who passed this idiotic rule, this requires grieving women to dress up minute scraps of tissue in little funeral suits and stand contrite over a tiny casket while a clergyman excoriates them for disappointing god with their selfish uteruses. Read the rest

Robots vs the middle class: everyone's endangered, white people less so

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On Common Dreams, Paul Buchheit rounds up a ton of scholarly/economic papers on the ways that automation is coming to employment niches occupied by well-educated middle-class professionals, who face the same dilemma their "low-skilled" industrial colleagues have been living through for three decades and counting. Read the rest

Upstate New York Elvis impersonator uses original blueprints to build stunning, 13,000 sqft Star Trek Enterprise replica

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James Cawley is a 50 year old Elvis impersonator from Ticonderoga, NY; his friend William Ware Theiss was costume-designer for the original Star Trek series, and left Cawley the blueprints for the original Star Trek Enterprise sets in his will -- so Cawley rented out a 13,000 sqft shuttered supermarket and built an exquisite replica of the original there to use in elaborate fan-films, and now he gives one-hour tours. Read the rest

The latest generation of chatbot toys listen to your kids 24/7 and send their speech to a military contractor

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Last year's Hello Barbie chatbot toy sent all your kid's speech to cloud servers operated by Mattel and its tech partner, but only when your kid held down Barbie's listen button -- new chatbot toys like My Friend Cayla and the i-Que Intelligent Robot are in constant listening mode -- as is your "OK Google" enabled phone, your Alexa-enabled home mic, and your Siri-enabled Ios device -- and everything that is uttered in mic range is transmitted to Nuance, a company that makes text-to-speech tech (you probably know them through their Dragon-branded tools), and contracts to the US military. Read the rest

Name your price for Gaiman rarities and support UN Refugee Agency, Comic Book Legal Defense fund and others

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Neil Gaiman writes: "A little over a year ago I released my rarest, earliest, and hardest to find work -- books and comics -- through Humble Bundle to fund charities that do good work. People were all so generous and enthusiastic that we broke records. More importantly, they made it possible for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and for the charities supported by the Gaiman Foundation, including the CBLDF, to help make things better for people." Read the rest

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