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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.

This Day in Blogging History: Wikileaks' Public Library of US Diplomacy; Basil Wolverton's Bible; Training speeders to slow down

One year ago today
Wikileaks opens Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD), searchable repository of 1970s US diplomatic and intel documents: PLUSD includes diplomatic cables, intel reports, congressional correspondence, and other formerly restricted material, now all online in searchable text form.

Five years ago today
Art from Basil Wolverton's Bible: Here's a preview of the artwork from old-school underground comix genius Basil Wolverton's The Wolverton Bible.

Ten years ago today
Training speeders to slow down, lab rat style: A sensor 350 feet away from a stoplight measures traffic, and if that traffic is traveling at more than 10mph above the posted speed limit, the light turns red for that/those driver(s).

Restoring CC attribution to Flickr, because Yahoo broke it

For years, Flickr has been one of the most important repositories of Creative Commons imagery in the world; now, thanks to a new design, it’s all but useless for serving and attributing the CC-licensed images it’s been entrusted with by museums, galleries, national archives, libraries, and millions of individuals.

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Some important facts about the Tex-Mex nipple-shields for men


Chantilly's Tex-Mex nipple-shields for men are not chili flavored, nor do they taste of tacos. They are for fashion (marathon runners, take note). There are no other flavors.

And now you know.

Tex Mex Nipple Shield for men, Tokyu Hands, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Just look at this crinkle-cut banana-slicer


Just look at it.

Crinkle-cut banana slicer ,Tokyu Hands, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

My daughter Poesy reviews Hilda and the Black Hound


Luke Pearson and London's Flying Eye Books have published the fourth Hildafolk kids' graphic novel, Hilda and the Black Hound. Like the earlier volumes (reviews: Hildafolk and Hilda and the Midnight Giant and Hilda and the Bird Parade), it's nothing less than magical, a Miyazaki-meets-Moomin story that is beautifully drawn and marvellously told.

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Australian civil servants ordered to fink on colleagues who criticize gov't online

Australia's far-right crybaby government is so terrified of civil servants criticizing its policies that it has ordered government employees to snitch on any colleagues who breathe an unhappy word about the politicians of the day online, even if the criticism is anonymous, because it is "unprofessional." Civil servants are also banned from editing Wikipedia in ways that make politicians and their policies look bad.

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Crowdfunding a makerspace for Portland, Maine

Jeremy writes, "I'm helping to build the first makerspace in Portland (Maine), The Open Bench Project. We launched an Indiegogo campaign on April 3rd and have raised about a quarter of our goal so far (not bad for a little town in Maine?)."

They're seeking $27.5K to pay for the first six months' lease on a space.

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Sony issues fraudulent takedown for Blender's open source movie


Alex writes, "This is a very good example of copyright abuse. The official Blender Foundation copy of Sintel on Youtube is currently blocked because Sony apparently claimed copyright over it. This is particularly distressing because Sintel is one of the precious few open-source movies in existence. Made with open-source tools, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, with the source files from the movie free to download, Sintel represents the diametric opposite of this type of ownership. "

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This Day in Blogging History: Ohio's illegal debtor's prisons; Red Cross says medical workers helped CIA torturers; 600 quintillion possible spellings of viagra

One year ago today
Widespread, illegal debtors' prisons in Ohio: A new ACLU report called The Outskirts of Hope documents the rise of illegal debtors prisons in Ohio. A majority of municipal and mayors' courts surveyed by the ACLU routinely imprison people for their inability to pay fines, a practice banned in both the US and state constitution. 20 percent of the bookings in the Huron County Jail are "related to failure to pay fines."

Five years ago today
Long-secret Red Cross Report Says Medical Workers Helped US Torture Terror Suspects: A 2007 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded that medical professionals helped the CIA torture detainees held at Guantánamo Bay prison and other "black sites" overseas, and said their participation in the abuse amounted to a "gross breach of medical ethics. The report was kept secret until recently.

Ten years ago today
600 quintillion possible spellings of viagra: Viagorea ViagDrHa V l a g r a VyAGRA via---gra viagrga via-gra 'V 1 @ G' Ra Viagzra viagdra via_gra ViaZUgra Viargvra ViagrYa Vii-agra ViagWra vi(@)gr@ Viagvra V-I-A-G-R-A Vi-ag.ra vigra Vkiagra via.gra v-ii-a=g-ra V l A G R A VIA7GRA V/i/a/g/r/a VIxAGRA Viaggra vi@gr|@| ViaTagra ViaVErga Viagr(a Viagr^a Viágrá Viagara Viag@ra Viag&ra vi@g*r@ V-i.a-g*r-a V1@grA ViaaPrga Vi$agra ViaJ1gra Viag$ra via---gra Vi.ag.ra Viaoygra

Furniture made from recycled boat-wood


All From Boats is a furniture maker that uses lumber recycled from decommissioned wooden boats as raw materials. The individual wooden pieces are each distressed in their own way, and are purchased from sailors on a fair-trade basis. They don't do any direct retail (the minimum wholesale order is $2000), but have a number of retailers around the world, including Tokyu Hands in Shibuya, Tokyo. They also sell raw planking for floors. The boats themselves come from around the Pacific Rim, mainly Bali and Indonesia. I saw a bunch of this stuff in person today and it's absolutely beautiful -- very well made and well designed.

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Edgar Allan Poe bronze coming to Boston


This beautiful life-sized bronze of Edgar Allan Poe with an enormous raven is Stefanie Rocknak's competition-winning entry for the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston's Edgar Allan Poe Square Public Art Project. It beat out 265 other pieces in the competition. Rocknak is also a professor of philosophy at New York's Hartwick College, and describes her work as depicting Poe "just off the train, the figure would be walking south towards his place of birth, where his mother and father once lived. Poe, with a trunk full of ideas -- and worldwide success -- is finally coming home."

Today's jam is Closed on Account of Rabies: Poems and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe , which features Christopher Walken's reading of "The Raven," Iggy Pop performing " The Tell-Tale Heart," Debbie Harry doing "The City And The Sea," Marianne Faithfull's rendition of "Alone" and "Annabel Lee," and loads more improbably fantastic stuff.

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This Day in Blogging History: This American Life's error-ridden disability report; Congressman claims he's helpless before predatory lenders; Wash-care label apologizes for Bush

One year ago today
This American Life's report on kids and disability claims riddled with factual errors: Many of the claims in the report are debatable, and many, many more and simply not true. A Media Matters report called This American Life Features Error-Riddled Story On Disability And Children systematically debunks many of the claims in the story, which NPR has modified slightly since posting online (though NPR and Ira Glass continue to stand behind the story).


Five years ago today
Congressman who's giving payday loan companies legal 391% APR loans says he's powerless to resist their lobbying: Key committee members have received large campaign contributions from the "payday" industry, and the committee chairman, Luiz Gutierrez (who also received contributions from the payday people) says the reason he's offering the industry this sweetheart deal after being on record as opposing this sort of thing is that their powerful lobbying has left him powerless to resist them: "...[T]hey're very powerful. Their influence should not be underestimated."

Ten years ago today
French-translation wash-care label apologises for Bush: Care instructions (in English and French) from a Seattle-made laptop bag. The last lines of the French instructions read 'We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We didn't vote for him.'

Private equity, an infection that is eating the world


In an amazing and terrifying essay called How to get beyond the parasite economy, Eric Garland describes how private equity infects industry after industry, sucking all productive capacity out of it through complex and fraudulent financial engineering, and abandoning the drained husk as it moves onto its next meal. Garland uses the case of Guitar Center as his example of this process in action, describing how Bain Capital bought and gutted Guitar Center, turning it into a financially complex, debt-riddled zombie that exists to float high-risk junk bonds to fill out the portfolios of the hyper-rich, without any connection to the real world of guitars, amplifiers and musicians.

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Squicked out alien describes human sex

Here's a nice use of science fiction's trick of describing cherished human behaviors and institutions through the ironic distance of an alien observer: Mallory Ortberg's short story Erotica Written By An Alien Pretending Not To Be Horrified By The Human Body:

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This Day in Blogging History: Ebert RIP; URL shorteners suck; Ripping off workers by doctoring digital timeclocks

One year ago today
Roger Ebert, 1942–2013: Roger Ebert, the legendary film critic, died today.

Five years ago today
Why URL shorteners suck: Delicious founder Joshua Schachter says that URL shorteners like TinyURL are a bad idea, because they make the web more fragile, dependent on the shortener services as central points of failure. They also assist spammers, undermine googlejuice, and expose users to security vulnerabilities.

Ten years ago today
Digital timeclocks being doctored by chain-store managers: Mr. Pooters, a father of five who left the Air Force in 1997 for a career in retailing, talks with disgust about photocopied Toys "R" Us records that he said showed how his manager made it appear that he had clocked out much earlier than he had.