Origami lounge-chairs that flat-pack to the size of a briefcase

The Flux chair is a $130, 12lb "origami-style" polypropylene lounge chair designed by Douwe Jacobs; it sets up in minutes and is stable and lovely (there's also a $65 kids' version and a whole range of furnishings including a bar, coffee table, countertop, end-table, etc). (via Yanko Design) Read the rest

Australia announces plan to ban working cryptography at home and in the US, UK, New Zealand, and Canada

The Australian Attorney General and a key Australian minister have published a memo detailing the demand they plan on presenting to the next Five Eyes surveillance alliance meeting, which will be held next week in Ottawa. Read the rest

Leaked transcript: US soldier and security advisor aghast at Trump's reckless Syrian strike

In April, Donald Trump ordered a massive strike against Syria to retaliate for an alleged chemical weapons attack against civilians, despite widely circulated US intelligence that said that no chemical weapons had been used. Read the rest

Republicans are the primary beneficiaries of gerrymandering

As the Supreme Court makes ready to rule on the blatant gerrymandering in Wisconsin, the AP has conducted a study using "a new statistical method of calculating partisan advantage" to analyze "the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election last year" and report "four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones." Read the rest

Public Enemy's sign-language interpreter is AMAZING

Sign Language Interpreter during Public Enemy performance

But as always, don't read the comments. Read the rest

Millennials, women and college grads are most prolific library users

A Pew survey found that the majority of millennials have visited a public library this year, making them the most prolific library-using generation. An ALA spokesperson attributed this to the libraries' commitment to providing free, fast broadband and the ability to borrow devices such as tablets -- but the survey found that very few patrons use the libraries' apps. Read the rest

A non-scientist's guide to reading scientific papers

Jennifer Raff -- a bioanthropologist and geneticist who researches and teaches at U Kansas and U Texas -- provides some excellent advice and context on how to read a scientific paper, from figuring out which papers and journals are worthy of your attention to understanding the paper in its wider context in the relevant field. Read the rest

Theresa May and the Holy Grail

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's merciless mashup of the UK's bumbling pound-shop Thatcher with Monty Python's classic work of historical documentary is bound to infuriate the reactionary wing of the Pythons, but it brought a lasting smile to my face. (Thanks, Robbo!) Read the rest

Watch: Jeremy Corbyn addresses Glastonbury

The eminently electable Jeremy Corbyn, whose exemplary, inclusive election manifesto rescued the Labour Party (including its traitorous establishment Blairite wing) from history's dustbin and delivered a brutal blow to the nasty Tory party, the man who is arguably the UK's Prime Minister in waiting, addressed a roaring crowd at the Glastonbury Festival, damning war, Trump, austerity and the pitting of one generation against another. It's a hell of a speech. Read the rest

Philando Castile's killers secretly tried to order Facebook to let them spy on Castile's girlfriend

After shooting Philando Castile dead during a traffic stop -- a killing that was livestreamed on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds -- the police obtained a secret warrant for Reynolds's Facebook account, including her private messages and deleted messages, accompanied by a gag order that banned Facebook from every discussing the warrant's existence. Read the rest

Remembering Prisoners of Gravity, the greatest science fiction TV show of all time

From 1989 to 1994, the public broadcaster TV Ontario ran Prisoners of Gravity, a brilliant science fiction TV show that used a goofy framing device (a host trapped in a satellite who interviewed science fiction writers stuck down on Earth) for deep, gnarly, fascinating dives into science fiction's greatest and most fascinating themes, from sex and overpopulation to cyberpunk and religion. Read the rest

Canada: Trump shows us what happens when "good" politicians demand surveillance powers

The CBC asked me to write an editorial for their package about Canadian identity and politics, timed with the 150th anniversary of the founding of the settler state on indigenous lands. They've assigned several writers to expand on themes in the Canadian national anthem, and my line was "We stand on guard for thee." Read the rest

For one year, the internet in a town in Bahrain has been switched off every day

Every day for the past year, the government of Bahrain has shut off the internet in Duraz between 7PM and 1AM, making this the longest internet shutdown in the history of the region, and one of the longest internet shutdowns in world history. Read the rest

Crowdfunding a pro-vaccination bus to follow the anti-vaxxer bus

Jack writes, "Craig Egan has been a thorn in the side of the anti-vaccination movement for years. Now he's taking that passion for truth and facts on the road, following the Anti-Vaccination people in the Vaxxed bus. He's crowdfunding the tour and donating excess proceeds to a pro-Vaccination charity." Read the rest

Quantifying the influence of 4chan's alt-right trolls on normies' discourse

In a proceedings paper presented at a Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence social media conference, a team of British, Italian, and Cypriot academics who worked with a Telefonica researcher presented their work analyzing 8,000,000 comments from 4chan's "politically incorrect" (AKA /pol/) boards, a hive of alt-right racism and hate. Read the rest

A Chinese vitamin MLM cult is replacing healthcare for poor Ugandans

Uganda is so poor that few can afford medical care, giving it one of the lowest life-expectancies on the planet -- this toxic combination made the country ripe for infiltration by Tiens, a Chinese Multi-Level-Marketing "nutritional supplements" cult whose members set up fake medical clinics that diagnose fake ailments and proscribe fake medicines, then rope patients into becoming cult recruiters who convince their friends to sign up for the cult. Read the rest

Robot wisdom from a deep learning system trained on ancient proverbs

Janelle Shane trained a recurrent neural network with a data-set of more than 2000 ancient proverbs and asked it to think up its own: "A fox smells it better than a fool’s for a day." Read the rest

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