Locus Award 2016 winners: your summer reading!

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The readership of Locus magazine have chosen their favorite fantasy and science fiction works of 2015, and the winners make for a very exciting summer reading list indeed! Read the rest

Rubber fingertips to use with fingerprint-based authentication systems

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Mian Wei, a Chinese student at the Rhode Island School of Design, has created an experimental series of fake fingertips with randomly generated fingerprints that work with Apple and Android fingerprint authentication schemes, as well as many others. Read the rest

How I grilled the best steaks I've ever eaten

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It's been nearly a year since I moved from London to Burbank, and in that time, I've been slowly iterating through various online tutorials to be better at charcoal grilling, something I had almost no experience with when I got here. Read the rest

Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion law

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The Court ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt that the Texas law placed undue burdens on clinics that performed abortions by requiring them to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, use doctors with admitting privileges at local hospitals -- measures that led to the closure of three quarters of the state's abortion-providing facilities since 2013. Read the rest

Snowden's flesh is trapped in Russia, but his mind roams the world in a robot body

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The Snowbot -- a $14,000 Beampro telepresence robot that Edward Snowden pilots from Moscow -- is becoming a fixture at conferences, meetings, and in the halls of power in the USA, where Snowden is a frequent invited guest. Read the rest

China's $10B/year PR ministry mired in political fight with anti-corruption/loyalty enforcers

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China's Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (in English, "Publicity Department") spends $10B/year -- only part of its budget -- getting the official Chinese party line into foreign news outlets, with the rest of its activity directed internally, at government communications discipline and media censorship. Read the rest

Snowden publicly condemns Russia's proposed surveillance law

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Edward Snowden has taken to Twitter to condemn Russia's proposed "Yarovaya law," which provides prison sentences of 7 years for writing favorably about "extremism" on the Internet, criminalizes failure to report "reliable" information about planned attacks, and requires online providers to retain at least six months' worth of users' communications, 3 years' worth of "metadata" and to provide backdoors to decrypt this material. Read the rest

Brexit Leave campaign kills old website full of old promises

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The Leave campaign's old homepage, which once linked to screen after screen of promises about the UK's bright future out of the EU, is now just a static banner, with no way to navigate to those pages. Read the rest

Phishing for Bitcoin with fake 0-days

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Arriving in my inbox at a steady clip this morning: a series of phishing emails aimed at Bitcoiners, promising that the sender has found a bug in "the Bitcoin client" and promising "Pay 0.07 BTC today, get 10 BTC for 15 hours." Read the rest

Neoliberalism, Brexit (and Bernie)

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John Quiggin (previously) delivers some of the most salient commentary on the Brexit vote and how it fits in with Syriza, Podemos, Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders (etc) as well as Trump, French neo-fascists, and other hypernationalist movements. Read the rest

The Tory party

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By Happy Toast, from the B3ta Brexit Challenge. Read the rest

McDonald's 1987 fashion catalog is a horrorshow

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The Smile Makers 88 was sent to McDonald's franchise managers in 1987, filled with garments they could buy for themselves, their families, and their workers. It. Is. Terrible. Read the rest

Beyond "solutionism": what role can technology play in solving deep social problems

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Ethan Zuckerman -- formerly of Global Voices, now at the MIT Center for Civic Media -- has spent his career trying to find thoughtful, effective ways to use technology as a lever to make positive social change (previously), but that means that he also spends a lot of time in the company of people making dumb, high-profile, destructive suggestions for using technology to "solve" problems in ways that make them much worse. Read the rest

Donald Trump's annotated Walk of Fame star: MUTE

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Photographer unknown, spotted on Sunset Boulevard. Read the rest

Australian educational contractor warns of wifi, vaccination danger to "gifted" kids' "extra neurological connections"

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Wise Ones, an Australian "gifted" education programme offers students who test into it vaccination exemption forms, and advises them to avoid wifi, because they say that "gifted children" have "extra neurological connections" that make them vulnerable to "extra sensitivities to food or chemicals." Read the rest

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Pete notes, "What is scary is how easy it was to make." (Thanks, Pete Smith!) Read the rest

US Customs and Border Protection wants to ask for your "online presence" at the border

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The week, the US CBP published a notice in the Federal Register proposing a change to the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record paperwork that visitors to the US fill out when they cross the border, in which they announce plans to ask travellers to "please enter information associated with your online presence." Read the rest

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