In 1937, a judge quietly asked Meyer Lansky to form a squad of Nazi-punching gangsters to raid Bund meetings

Meyer Lansky was an infamous and ruthless gangster -- albeit one so personally charming that his life is chronicled in a book called But He Was Good to His Mother -- and no friend of New York State Judge Nathan Perlman; nevertheless, as the Nazi-supporting German-American Bund staged more and more toxic rallies in New York City, Perlman quietly asked Meyer to form a squad of Jewish gangsters to disrupt their meetings. Read the rest

THEFT: A History of Music

It's been seven years since we previewed Theft: A History of Music, a comic book that explains the complicated history of music, borrowing, control and copyright, created by a dynamic duo of witty copyright law professors from Duke University as a followup to the greatest law-comic ever published: the book was due out years ago, but the untimely and tragic death of illustrator Keith Aoki delayed it -- until today.

Three kinds of propaganda, and what to do about them

Jonathan Stray summarizes three different strains of propaganda, analyzing why they work, and suggesting counter-tactics: in Russia, it's about flooding the channel with a mix of lies and truth, crowding out other stories; in China, it's about suffocating arguments with happy-talk distractions, and for trolls like Milo Yiannopoulos, it's weaponizing hate, outraging people so they spread your message to the small, diffused minority of broken people who welcome your message and would otherwise be uneconomical to reach. Read the rest

Google's aborted Ara phone was supposed to launch with an aquarium module full of wriggling tardigrades

Back in 2014, Google announced Project Ara, a click-in/click-out modular concept-phone that you could customize by adding or removing modules as you saw fit. Read the rest

To understand trumpism, study the self-professed "betas" of 4chan

Dale Beran's been writing about 4chan, /b/ and Anonymous for years, and lurking on their message-boards, and he traces the rise of the self-professed "betas" who embody fragile, toxic masculinity and have been important bellwethers for many internet and real-world phenomena, linking them to Trump as "the loser who won": "Someone who is all brash confidence and then outrageously incompetent at everything he does." Read the rest

Conservation biologist warns that "cyber-poachers" could use tracking tags to hunt endangered animals

In Troubling issues at the frontier of animal tracking for conservation and management, Carleton University biologist Steven Cooke and colleagues describe a series of incidents in which poachers have used tracking tags placed on wild animals for conservation purposes to find and kill those animals. Read the rest

Techdirt is being sued by the "I invented email" guy and needs your money

Indie news outlet Techdirt is being sued for $15M by Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims to have invented email in 1978, eight years after Ray Tomlinson sent an email over ARPANET; Ayyadurai is represented by Charles Harder, a key figure in the Gawker-killing legal campaign that Peter Thiel financed, and who is also representing Melania Trump in her $150m lawsuit against The Daily Mail. Read the rest

So It Is: a Cuban-inspired album from the astounding Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Announced today: So It Is, a new album of Cuban-inspired jazz from the monumentally amazing Preservation Hall Jazz Band (previously), due out on April 21. Available today: Santiago, an instrumental track from the album that will MAKE YOU DANCE. Read the rest

EFF is hiring! Ops manager, legislative counsel, legal fellow, technologist, membership ass't, tech projects manager

Help wanted: Operations Manager (personable, resourceful, and demonstrates outstanding attention to detail); Civil Liberties Legislative Counsel (advocacy, public speaking, blogging and other social media, media appearances and legislative and regulatory matters related to a variety of high technology public interest legal issues); 2017-19 Frank Stanton Fellowship (recent law school graduates or law students who will be graduating this Spring and have an interest in developing an expertise in First Amendment issues as they relate to new technologies); Staff Technologist/Senior Staff Technologist; Membership Assistant (energetic and enthusiastic Membership Assistant to support fundraising operations and outreach to EFF's 30,000+ annual donors); Technology Projects Manager/Technology Projects Director. Read the rest

Customs officials refuse to allow passengers to debark a domestic flight unless they show ID

Two CBP officials boarded a Delta flight from New York to SFO after it landed on Wednesday and demanded that passengers show government-issued "documents" before they would be allowed to debark. Read the rest

Pope to greedheads: better to be an atheist than the kind of Catholic who screws the poor

During an "improvised sermon" in his residence during morning mass, Pope Francis excoriated Catholics who lead a "hypocritical double life," going to mass and joining religious organizations while living from the exploitation of others -- the Pope said these people should say to themselves, "my life is not Christian, I don't pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, I do dirty business, I launder money, (I lead) a double life'." Read the rest

Putinology considered harmful: the many legends we tell ourselves about Vladimir Putin

Russian emigre -- and Putin opponent -- Keith Gessen writes at length and very well about the different guises that Vladimir Putin takes on in the imaginations of western political writers: genius, nothing, secret stroke survivor, KGB agent, killer, kleptocrat, a man with the suspicious name of "Vladimir." Read the rest

Networking by flickering lights gets some commercial traction

Philips has acquired Luciom, a French startup that makes Li-Fi products, which allow for very fast network connections over short distances by flickering an LED at speeds that are too fast to register on the human eye, and which can ever work in the dark by operating at low dimness settings the human eye perceives as "off." Read the rest

Federal magistrate judge in Illinois rules that being forced to unlock your phone with a fingerprint could violate your rights

M. David Weisman, a magistrate judge in Illinois's Eastern Division, denied a federal warrant application that would have allowed law enforcement officers to force suspects to unlock their mobile devices with a fingerprint, ruling that the suspects' Fourth Amendment (undue search and seizure) and Fifth Amendment (self-incrimination) rights protected them from being forced to unlock their devices. Read the rest

The automated, invisible revert-wars of Wikipedia's bot ecosystem

In Even good bots fight, a paper written by Oxford Internet Institute researchers and published in PLOS One, the authors survey the edits and reverts made by Wikipedia's diverse community of bots, uncovering some curious corners where bots -- rate-limited by Wikipedia's rules for bots -- slowly and remorseless follow one another around, reverting each other. Read the rest

Found at a thrift shop: the last record of a doomed Apple DRM effort from 1979

Redditor Vadermeer was in a local Goodwill Outlet and happened on a trove of files from Apple engineer Jack MacDonald from 1979-80, when he was manager of system software for the Apple II and ///. Read the rest

Haunting photographs of Nara Dreamland, a rotting Japanese theme park

We love and celebrate the people who sneak into derelict themeparks and photograph their ruins! Beijing, Orlando, Sichuan, South Carolina, Japan, Berlin, New Orleans, even Walt Disney World! Read the rest

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