"Purposeful objects that solve their own problems"

Dan Grayber's Cavity Mechanism series of sculptures are a hymn to "purposeful objects that solve their own problems," in which gravity acts upon systems of pulleys and scaffolds and wires to suspend weighty rocks in motionless perfection under glass domes. Read the rest

Trump's no-experience, fake-degree wedding planner will be in charge of billions in NYC housing spending

Lynne Patton has no experience with housing policy, claims to have a law degree from a university that says she dropped out after two semesters, claims an affiliation with Yale that no one can explain, and is implicated in the Eric Trump charity scam that directed cash earmarked for children's cancer research into the Trump Organization's pockets -- and as of July 5, she'll oversee billions in spending in the New York housing authorities. On the plus side, she reportedly did a great job as Eric Trump's wedding-planner. Read the rest

American regions with high immigration enjoy persistent, long-term higher incomes and lower unemployment

If you're an American who's lucky enough to live somewhere that received large influxes of immigrants during the "Age of Mass Migration" (1860 to 1920), congratulations! The immigrants who came to your territory brought along higher incomes, lower unemployment, higher levels of educational attainment -- and no reduction in social cohesion! Read the rest

Not just savers! Wells Fargo also defrauded bankrupt mortgage borrowers

A class action suit against Wells Fargo alleges that the bank -- which is still embroiled in a scandal over creating literally millions of fraudulent accounts and firing and blacklisting low-level employees who blew the whistle or simply refused to break the law -- silently altered the mortgages of borrowers who were in bankruptcy to extend their repayment schedules by decades, so that they would pay tens -- or hundreds -- of thousands of extra dollars in interest. Read the rest

What's worse than shitty, hacked voting machines? Unauditable, shitty voting machines

The news of attempts by Russian hackers to compromise US voting systems will forever throw into question the results of close US elections -- but that's not just because voting machines are security tire-fires, it's because they're security tire-fires whose vote-counts cannot be audited. Read the rest

Germany mulls sweeping surveillance bill, crypto backdoors and fingerprinting kids

Germany's interior ministry has announced sweeping new surveillance powers ahead of the coming national election, which would include the right to infect residents' computers with malware in order to spy on their encrypted communications (shades of the illegal Bundestrojaner program), ordering tech companies to deliberately introduce defects into their cryptography, and fingerprinting children as young as 6. Read the rest

An excerpt from Tropic of Kansas, a novel about a Trumpian, dystopian America

On Tor.com, an excerpt from Christopher Brown's forthcoming debut novel Tropic of Kansas, an outstanding and well-timed thriller about a corporate-presidency dystopia (you may recall it from Brown's essay in March). Read the rest

How to get a signed, personalized copy of Walkaway sent to your door!

The main body of the tour for my novel Walkaway is done (though there are still upcoming stops at Denver Comic-Con, San Diego Comic-Con, the Burbank Public Library and Defcon in Las Vegas), but you can still get signed, personalized copies of Walkaway! Read the rest

Trollcakes: sleuthing bakers will hunt down your trolls, inscribe their hate in icing, and deliver edible words

Ever wish the anonymous jerks who comments on your online life would be made to eat their words? Wish no more, Trollcakes is here. Read the rest

Leaked tax-haven data shows that the super rich are way, way richer than suspected

When Thomas Piketty and his team undertook their landmark study of wealth inequality in the world, they had to rely on the self-reported income of the super rich to see just how income was distributed -- by definition, they couldn't directly measure the unreported income hidden in tax havens (though they did estimate it, with what was eventually shown to be pretty good precision). Read the rest

What colors do you get when you spell words in hex?

The hexidecimal color #C0FFEE (192 Red, 255 Green, 238 Blue, on a scale of 0-255) is a pleasing greenish color, while #BEADED is a kind of mauve. Read the rest

A Hong Kong parking space just sold for USD664K

The 188 square foot parking space went for HKD5.18m (USD664,300) -- HKD27,500/sqft. Read the rest

London fire: just last year, Tory landlord-MPs rejected Labour's tenant safety law

The death-toll on London's Grenfell Tower fire continues to mount, it's worth remembering that there are no "natural disasters," only human disasters, created by people who weigh different interests in the balance and create policies based on the way the scales come up. Read the rest

Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland's DODO novel mashes up D&D, time-travel and military bureaucracy

While all of Neal Stephenson's -- always excellent -- novels share common themes and tropes, they're also told in many different modes, from the stately, measured pace of the Baroque Cycle books to the madcap energy of Snow Crash to the wildly experimental pacing of Seveneves. With The Rise and Fall of DODO, a novel co-written with his Mongoliad collaborator, the novelist Nicole Galland, we get all the modes of Stephenson, and all the tropes, and it is glorious.

Steven Boyett on Fata Morgana, his new WWII/alt-history mashup novel

Today on John Scalzi's Whatever blog, Steven R Boyett (author of the classic fantasy novel Ariel) writes about Fata Morgana, the new alternate history/WWII novel he's just published with Ken Mitchroney. Read the rest

Shareholder revolt at Mylan over Epipen-gouging CEO's $98M bonus

The board of directors at Mylan have rewarded former CEO Robert Coury with a $98m bonus as he steps into the executive chairman's role, having overseen a price-gouging scandal over the Epipens used by people prone to life-threatening allergic reactions. Read the rest

Journalism After Snowden: essays about a free press in a surveillance state

Journalism After Snowden: The Future of the Free Press in the Surveillance State is a new essay collection from Columbia Journalism Review Books with contributions from Ed Snowden, Alan Rusbridger (former editor-in-chief of The Guardian); Jill Abramson (former New York Times executive editor; Glenn Greenwald, Steve Coll (Dean of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism), Clay Shirky, Cass Sunstein, and Julia Angwin. Read the rest

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