Disney's Hall of Presidents show reportedly rolled back so Trumpbot won't get a speaking role

For decades, new US presidents were welcomed to Walt Disney World's Hall of Presidents with a robot carved in their honor, and which would deliver a short, recorded speech voiced by the incoming POTUS himself -- but the idea of a talking Trumpbot is so repugnant that the entire show is reportedly being rolled back to an earlier version (nominally to shorten it), eliminating the speaking roles of everyone except Lincolnbot and Washingtonbot. Read the rest

Theresa May promises a British version of Iran's Halal Internet

UK Prime Minister and noted authoritarian Theresa May has promised that if she wins the upcoming general election, her party will abolish internet access in the UK, replacing it with a government-monitored internet where privacy tools are banned and online services will be required to vet all user-supplied content for compliance with rules about pornography, political speech, copyright compliance and so on -- and search engines will have to emply special British rules to exclude banned material from their search results. Read the rest

The abysmal information security at Trump properties has probably already compromised US secrets

Propublica and Gizmodo sent a penetration-testing team to Mar-a-Lago, the Trump resort that has been at the center of series of controversial potential breaches of US military secrecy (for example, loudly discussing sensitive information about the North Korean missile launch in the club's full, public dining room); they discovered that it would be child's play to hack the Mar-a-Lago networks, and that indeed, the networks have almost certainly already been hacked. Read the rest

Apple, CTA and Big Car are working in secret to kill New York's Right to Repair legislation

Here's the list of companies that are quietly lobbying to kill New York State's Right to Repair legislation (previously), which would force companies to halt anticompetitive practices that prevent small businesses from offering repair services to their communities: "Apple, Verizon, Toyota, Lexmark, Caterpillar, Asurion, Medtronic" and the Consumer Technology Association "which represents thousands of electronics manufacturers." Read the rest

Translate between Charles Babbage's computing jargon and modern terminology

If you're intending to build an analytical engine with a six-sided prism to run Charles Babbage's weird cardboard vaporware program, you will need some help with Babbage's notes, as old Charles was inventing a whole technical vocab from scratch. Read the rest

Kickstarting a replica of the original Pioneer Plaque, manufactured by the original craftsman

You know what would go great with your Voyager Golden Record? A replica of the "galactic greeting card" plaque that rode along with the Pioneer 10 and 11 probes, designed by Frank Drake and Carl Sagan with artwork prepared by Linda Salzman Sagan. Read the rest

Put on Your Corbyn Face: a game you win by displaying empathy

Games for the Many sends us Put on Your Corbyn Face, "A web game where you are challenged to match the emotions of a photo Jeremy Corbyn. Possibly the first web game you play with empathy and emotion." Read the rest

Netflix app will no longer run on rooted Android devices

Netflix has become one of the main forces for DRM in the world, a driver behind the W3C's dangerous, web-scale DRM project, and now they've announced that their app will no longer run on rooted/bootloader unlocked Android devices, because these devices can run code that overrides Google Widevine DRM (Widevine doesn't work well under the best of circumstances, and it harbored unpatched, showstopper bugs since its very inception). Read the rest

Matt Ruff's "Lovecraft Country" adapted for TV by Jordan Peele and HBO

Well, this just made my day: Matt Ruff's outstanding anti-racist novel Lovecraft Country has been picked up for development into a TV show by Jordan "Get Out" Peele, JJ Abrams and HBO. Read the rest

Nominate your digital heroes for EFF's Pioneer Award

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's annual Pioneer Award honors people who have "contributed substantially to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications," and the 26th annual awards will be given out this year: nominations are open until May 23. Read the rest

Vancouver, I'll see you at tonight's Walkaway tour stop (then Burbank, Oxford, London...) (!)

Many thanks to the good folks who came out to Bellingham's Village Books for last night's Walkaway event; tonight, I'll be appearing in Vancouver before flying home to Burbank for an event at my local Dark Delicacies on Saturday and then going straight to the airport for the start of my UK tour. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning is a free woman

Today, the whistleblower Chelsea Manning stepped out of the Military Corrections Complex at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, having served the longest sentence in US history for whistleblowing; for the duration of her ongoing appeal, she is on "excess leave in an active-duty status" which entitles her to access to military health-care insurance and other benefits. Read the rest

Airline lobby group claims a laptop ban would cost $1B

The Trumpian trial-balloon on banning laptops in the cabins of planes coming from Europe has put the shits way up the airline industry (rightly), who have published their own (data-free) costings for such a ban: $1B, with $216M for delays, $655M from lost productivity, and $195M for renting airline-supplied devices to use while your laptop is in the cargo hold, awaiting its destiny in one or more of employee theft, gross destruction, or massive lithium-battery fires. Read the rest

Mocking the $2,145 "couture Ikea bag" with awesome Ikea bag hacks

Balenciaga sells a $2,145 leather bag that looks exactly like a cheap, big, blue plastic Ikea Frakta bag. Read the rest

Ranking authors by their adverb use

The famously spare Hemingway used 80 words ending in -ly per 10,000 words of prose; JK Rowling uses 140 adverbs per 10,000 words, and EL James uses 155. Read the rest

The new Apple campus has a 100,000 sqft gym and no daycare

Construction is near to completion on Apple's $5B campus in Cupertino, and the project has included many odd notes, like the insistence on not having thresholds on the floor of the doorways lest daydreaming engineers trip over them, and some weird ideas about where the bathrooms should go. Read the rest

Stephen Wolfram's "A New Kind of Science" goes open-access

It's been 15 years since the publication of Steven Wolfram's A New Kind of Science, a mindblowing, back-breaking 1,200-page book that (sort of) says the whole universe is made up of recursive fractals, also noteworthy for the frequent repetition of the phrase "A new kind of science" in its early chapters. Read the rest

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