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Cory Doctorow

I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

Scattered: Short film adapted from Ken MacLeod story

Joshua sez, "This atmospheric film is the first ever screen-adaptation of the work of award-winning sci-fi author Ken MacLeod. Scattered examines society's relationship with its past through a son's relationship with his father, and challenges our established ideas of destruction and terrorism through a crime that is as surprising as it is all-consuming. As all great sci-fi should, Scattered offers a vision of the future that illuminates the present."

McCloud's work is brilliant -- have a look at my review of his dystopian masterpiece Intrusion. (Thanks, Joshua!)

UK tax authority caught sneaking in plan to sell Britons' private financial records

Just weeks after a plan to sell "anonymized" sets of British health-records collapsed in the face of massive public criticism, a new plan has emerged to sell the country's tax records to companies and researchers, prompting an even more critical response. One Tory MP called the plan "borderline insane," and tax professionals are in an uproar. The plan was buried as a brief mention in the autumn budget. HMRC's defense rests on the idea that the information in the datasets will be anonymized, something that computer scientists widely believe is effectively impossible.

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Spooky music made by abusing turntables and cutting up and reforming vinyl records

Knitmeapony sez, "This is the raddest, most atmospheric thing ever. All kinds of delightful, spooky distortions, creepy static, half-heard voices and mashed-up music, created by physically altering vinyl records and record players and manipulating them as they go. A serious delight."

Kickstarting a film adaptation of "Dark Side of Disney" - guide to getting high, drunk & laid while on Disney vacation

Ricky sez, "Director Philip B. Swift has announced a feature-length documentary film called 'The Dark Side of Disney' based on Leonard Kinsey's travel guide of the same name, to feature topics like finding and buying dirt cheap park tickets and time shares, drinking around Epcot, having sex in the parks, obtaining and using drugs while on an Orlando vacation. The film has just hit Kickstarter, trying to raise $20,000. Last year Swift released 'The Bubble,' a documentary about the Disney-created town of Celebration just outside Walt Disney World."

The Dark Side of Disney [Amazon]

“The Dark Side of Disney” documentary film to explore adult side of theme park vacations, hits Kickstarter for funds [Ricky Brigante/Inside the Magic]

(Thanks, Ricky!)

Army comes clean about its recruitment AI, accidentally discloses info about pedophile- and terrorist-catching chatbots that roam the net

Dave from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "Not too long ago, Boing Boing covered EFF's (at the time) unsuccessful attempt to retreive records about Sgt. Star (the Army's recruiter-bot) using the Freedom of Information Act. We've now received the files and compiled our research: It turns out Sgt. Star isn't the only government chatbot -- the FBI and CIA had them first.

The information about the terrorist/child-abuser bots only came to light because the spy agencies failed to fully redact their responses (the type was legible through the black strikeouts).

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This Day in Blogging History: How is a $12 phone possible? UK wine-sellers declare that wine has horoscopes; Burger King Subservient Chicken

One year ago today
How is a $12 phone possible? Bunnie's teardown shows a little bit about how this $12 piece of electronics can possibly be profitable, but far more tantalizing are his notes about Gongkai, "a network of ideas, spread peer-to-peer, with certain rules to enforce sharing and to prevent leeching."

Five years ago today
UK wine-sellers declare that wine has horoscopes, advise wine-drinkers to avoid certain moon-days: The idea that the taste of wine changes with the lunar calendar is gaining credibility among the UK's major retailers, who believe the day, and even hour, on which wine is drunk alters its taste.

Ten years ago today
Food Porn -- Burger King Subservient Chicken: ...For when "your way" calls for an enslaved chicken, Burger King invites you to "have chicken your way" by offering you the newest in ads even veteran AdBusters won't want to bust: The Subservient Chicken.

British Pathe puts 85,000 newsreels on Youtube

Jason sez, "British Pathe just dumped 85,000 newsreels from 1896 to 1976 on Youtube under a Creative Commons license."

Update: No Creative Commons, alas. False alarm.

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Wolfgang Pauli opera in Austin: For Fear the Glass May Shatter


Jon Lebkowsky sez, "My amazing friend, neurocomputing specialist, musician & composer David Demaris has created the most geek-tastic opera ever, For Fear the Glass May Shatter. It's been produced as part of Austin's Fusebox Festival, and is running through this weekend at the Vortex Theatre here."

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This Day in Blogging History: TODOCAT; Jokes from the Cultural Revolution; Mickey Mouse's dwindling brand

One year ago today
TODOCAT: a cat-meme-based to-do-list manager: I fucking hate cat memes, but I love to-do lists. I love this cat meme to-do list manager.

Five years ago today
Jokes from the Cultural Revolution: Wang Hongwen went to see Marshal Zhu De, requesting him to hand over power. "You may take over, but only if you can make this egg stand upright," Zhu said, while handling him an egg. After trying for several days, Wang was still unable to make it stand, so he went to see Deng Xiaoping for help.

Ten years ago today
Mickey Mouse's dwindling brand: Mr. Sendak is hardly alone in mourning the mouse's decline. "Boring," "embalmed," "neglected," "irrelevant," "deracinated" and, perhaps most damning, "over" are some of the adjectives that cropped up in recent interviews with people in the cartoon, movie and marketing businesses.

Video: Bart Gellman and Cory opening for Ed Snowden at SXSW

Last month, Barton Gellman and I opened for Edward Snowden's first-ever public appearance, at the SXSW conference in Austin. The kind folks at SXSW have put the video online (the Snowden video itself was already up). I think we did a good job of framing the big questions raised by the Snowden leaks.

UK Tory MP who helped kill Legal Aid is wiped out by defending himself against sexual assault claim

Alan sez, "At least he's got the sense to own up and say he's sorry. Nigel Evans used to be in Parliament. While there he helped cut legal aid. As a result, people who are charged by the government but found innocent can't recover costs. Mr Evans is now looking at a (UKP) 130,000 legal bill (plus VAT) after defending successfully against an allegation of sexual assault. Of course, were he in the US he'd be in the same or worse shape."

He's been wiped out, and has pledged to try to undo the damage he's done to Legal Aid if he gets reelected. Meanwhile, the real victims of this are poor crime victims, especially women in abusive relationships, who are grappling with a system where only rich people get lawyers.

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Miyazaki beer label


I could (and probably will) write an essay about all the ways in which the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo is amazing and totally different from the usual museum (shortlist: limited capacity managed through waiting lists instead of price-hikes; exhibits that are intended to be handled, even the fragile ones; no cult of personality for founders; emphasis on both wonder and production; modest and beautifully stocked shop; overall non-commercial emphasis; quirkiness that is commensurate with the actual films), but for now, I'll leave you with this: the beautiful Miyazaki-esque beer-labels from the hot-dog and ice-cream stand.

Miyazaki beer label, Ghibli Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Web developers: EFF needs your help with important pro-democracy tool!

Rainey from the Electronic Frontier Foundation sez, "The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Sunlight Foundation, and Taskforce.is have teamed up to build a public domain tool that makes it easier for everyday people to contact Congress. EFF wants to use it so that Internet users can effectively stop Congress from enacting laws that don't make sense for technology and advocate for laws that protect our rights. But once it's done, it will be free software that anybody will be able to use it and improve.

"There's already a functional prototype, but it's not quite finished: we need web developers to donate time to help us finish off creating individual files for each member of Congress. Please pitch in for a few hours if you can, and help us make the voices of Internet users heard in the halls (or at least the inboxes) of Congress."

Dear Web Developers: EFF Needs Your Help

(Thanks, Rainey!)

Renaissance Space Invaders art


Artist Dan Hernandez painted a gorgeous series of frescoes depicting Space Invaders and other vintage game screengrabs as Renaissance and Byzantine art. They're hanging in a show called "Genesis" at the Kim Foster Gallery in NYC.

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This Day in Blogging History: Hidden mural at LA hotel; Our "Missing" Chromosomes; Final Transmetropolitan collection

One year ago today
The secret history of a hidden mural at a Los Angeles hotel: During the clearance sale, a puzzling discovery was made: a fifteen-foot mosaic mural commissioned by The Los Angeles Petroleum Club was found behind some old wood paneling.

Five years ago today
Our "Missing" Chromosomes: So here's the thing: We have 46 chromosomes. Our nearest great ape relatives have 48. On the surface, it looks like we must have lost two.

Ten years ago today
Final Transmet collection available: The final Transmetropolitan collection, "Transmetropolitan: One More Time," is available for pre-order on Amazon. It's the tenth book, collecting issues 55-60: there are nine other books collecting the earlier issues, and as good as those issues were, it's in this, the final volume of the most original and invigorating sf comic I've ever read, that Ellis outdoes himself, pulling together a finale to his five-year serial that's triumphant, sad and brave.