Predictive policing predicts police harassment, not crime

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In Chicago, the "Heat List" system is used to direct policing resources, based on data-mining of social media to identify potential gang-members; the model tells the cops where to go and who to arrest, and is supposed to reduce both violent crime and the likelihood that suspects themselves will be killed -- but peer-reviewed analysis (Scihub mirror) of the program shows that while being on the Heat List increases your chances of being harassed and arrested by Chicago PD, it does not improve crime rates. Read the rest

The NSA's program of tech sabotage created the Shadow Brokers

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The more we learn about the Shadow Brokers, who claim to be auctioning off "cyberweapons" that crafted for the NSA's use, the scarier the breach gets: some of the world's biggest security companies are tacitly admitting that the exploits in the Shadow Brokers' initial release can successfully penetrate their products, and they have no fix at hand. Read the rest

Walmarts are high-crime zones thanks to staff cuts, but America gets the bill

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Starting in 2000, Walmart began an aggressive cost-cutting campaign that removed greeters, reduced floor staff, and replaced cashiers with automated checkouts; the more this went on, the higher the crime-rate at Walmart soared, everything from shoplifting to deadly violence. In true Walmart style, the world's largest retailer has offloaded the costs associated with this crime to tax-funded law-enforcement. Read the rest

The secret skylines of high-magnification computer chips

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Christoph Morlinghaus got a gig photographing motherboards for Cisco and discovered that the chips he was shooting were spectacular at extreme magnifications, prompting him to create Motherboard, a collection of arty, high-rez images of boards. Read the rest

The 13 Clocks: Grimm's Fairytales meet The Phantom Tollbooth

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I discovered The 13 Clocks by reading Neil Gaiman's introduction to the 2008 New York Review of Books edition (which I found in The View from the Cheap Seats, a massive collection of Gaiman's nonfiction), where he calls it "Probably the best book in the world" -- how could I resist?

UC Davis Chancellor spent $400K+ to scrub her online reputation after pepper-spray incident

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Back in April, we learned that UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi had hired a sleazy "reputation-management" company to scrub her reputation and that of the university after the 2011 incident in which university police lieutenant John Pike hosed down peaceful protesters with pepper spray, jetting chemical irritant directly into their open mouths and eyes. Read the rest

Podcast: How we'll kill all the DRM in the world, forever

I'm keynoting the O'Reilly Security Conference in New York in Oct/Nov, so I stopped by the O'Reilly Security Podcast (MP3) to explain EFF's Apollo 1201 project, which aims to kill all the DRM in the world within a decade. Read the rest

Improv Everywhere: Dance Captain Wanted

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Charlie from Improv Everywhere writes, "We set up 100 dancers in a park and put a platform in front of them. Watch what happens." Read the rest

The guy who started Serbia's ethnic cleansing led a pro-Trump rally in Belgrade

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Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party and loud-mouthed bigot whose racist invective kicked off Serbia's horrific ethnic cleansing campaign, led a pro-Trump rally in Belgrade to protest the state visit of Democratic VP Joe Biden. Read the rest

Kickstarting "The Founder": a dystopian business simulator

Francis Tseng's simulator game invites you to "grow your startup and please those investors until there’s nothing left to give" by building biotech, defense, machine learning, cloud computing, drone and space companies with a crew of employees whose low wages can be mitigated with bulletproof coffee and whose products can be sold with "causewashing" sponsorships of hip music festivals. Read the rest

The surprising spryness of fighters in 15th C armor

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Paris's Musée national du Moyen Âge teamed up with The University of Geneva to make this video demonstrating the fighting techniques available to people in 15th century armor, which are much more fluid and athletic that I had presumed -- turns out you can really move in those tin cans. (via We Make Money Not Art) Read the rest

Reputation systems work because people are mostly good

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Economist Tim Harford writes about holidaying in prosperous Bavaria, where hotels let you run up bills of €1000+ without a credit-card and all room-keys are stored in a cupboard where any guest can get at them, and asks how this can all work without being destroyed by dishonesty? Read the rest

Europe's banks want to store billions in cash to fight back against negative interest

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The economic orthodoxy of austerity means that governments facing recession can't just spend their way out of it by creating New Deal-like stimulus that gets the economy moving again: instead, they handed trillions to banks and then watched in dismay as the banks failed to lend any of that out to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Read the rest

Neil Gaiman's nonfiction: what makes everything so great

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The View from the Cheap Seats, Neil Gaiman's mammoth collection of nonfiction essays, introductions, and speeches, is a remarkable explanatory volume in which Gaiman explains not just why he loves the things he loves, but also what makes them great.

Kill Rock Stars president explains why the radio plays the same songs over and over

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Gus the hacker puppeteer writes, "Many of us hoped the Internet would disrupt the music industry along with all other media industries, giving more power -- and more pay -- to musicians and songwriters. And yet, somehow the amount musicians get paid each time their songs stream is a tiny fraction of a cent." Read the rest

People being stabbed in medieval art and lovin' it

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Medieval manuscripts were the imageboards of their day, full of murderous rabbits and lewd butts, a new (to me) subgenre is "people who don't seem to mind that they've just been stabbed" -- perhaps the origin of the Black Knight? Read the rest

Snowden explains the Shadow Brokers/Equation Group/NSA hack

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The news that a group of anonymous hackers claimed to have stolen some of the NSA's most secret, valuable weaponized vulnerabilities and were auctioning them off for bitcoin triggered an epic tweetstorm from Edward Snowden, who sets out his hypothesis for how the exploits were captured and what relation that has to the revelations he made when he blew the whistle on illegal NSA spying in 2013. Read the rest

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