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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.

Zero-gee cocktail robotics


Samuel writes, "At Yuri's Night World Space Party in Los Angeles on April 11th 2014, my team and I will be announcing the Zero Gravity Cocktail Project. It's been nearly ten years in the making, and we still have a ways to go, but we have 3D printed glass designed to work in weightlessness. As part of the system we are also developing a 'drinkbot' which will mix and dispense a variety of drinks without the need for gravity."

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This Day in Blogging History: Spooky game; Statebook for the UK gov't; Museum of Unworkable Devices

One year ago today
The Guardian, a spooky free flash game: Dreamlike adventure about a boy with a girl's name who feels compelled to leave the village where he is shunned.

Five years ago today
Statebook: how UK gov't spooks see the Internet: A spoof government site, providing examples of the types of information the UK government holds an an individual citizen.

Ten years ago today
Museum of Unworkable Devices: Inventions that won't work because they go against one or more laws of physics.

EFF seeks student activists for campus network


The Electronic Frontier Foundation is launching a major campus organizing initiative and is looking to build a network of trusted campus activists to work with. They're sending staffers on a road-trip to speak at universities and colleges and want to hear from you. They've released a set of community organizing tools to help you get started.

There are plenty of ways to take part, no matter how much organizing experience you have.

* Start a group: Talk to friends and community members to gauge who else in your network is interested in digital freedom. Form a group that can discuss the issues and plan ways of advocating for your rights. For some tips on getting started, check out our guide on how to build a coalition on campus and in your community.

* Bring digital rights to an existing group: These issues are everybody's issues, no matter where on the political spectrum you lie. You can work with existing political, civil liberties, activist, and computer-related groups and urge members to take on a digital rights campaign.

* Organize an event: We have plenty of suggestions for events you can throw, from film screenings to rallies, parties to speaker series.

* Let your voice be heard: We are all part of the digital rights movement together, and your voice is as important as ours. Learn how to coordinate with local and national campaigns, and amplify your message by reading our tips on engaging with the press.

While many student groups and local community organizations are working on surveillance reform in light of the recent disclosures about massive government spying, it’s not only the NSA that we’re fighting: we’re demanding open access to publicly funded research; we’re fighting to protect the future of innovation from patent trolls; we’re urging companies and institutions to deploy encryption; we're defending the rights of coders and protecting the free speech rights of bloggers worldwide—the list goes on.

EFF is Expanding into Student and Community Organizing, and We Need Your Help

RIP, Sue Townsend

Sue Townsend has died. Ms Townsend wrote (among other things) the marvellous Adrian Mole books that have been a touchstone for me since I was 14 years old (I'm the same age as Adrian Mole, and grew up with him through Townsend's fictionalised diaries). Townsend has been legally blind due to complications from diabetes for some time, and had been writing her books by dictation. The BBC says that she died at home "after a short illness." I am so sad about this. She was one of the great comic writers, with all that implies: wisdom, wit, compassion and ruthless honesty. She was 68.

This Day in Blogging History: Brand on Thatcher; Vicodin ring; Bavarian Wild West themeparks

One year ago today
Russell Brand on Margaret Thatcher: When I was a kid, Thatcher was the headmistress of our country. Her voice, a bellicose yawn, somehow both boring and boring – I could ignore the content but the intent drilled its way in.

Five years ago today
Vicodin Ring: Crafter Becky Stern says: "To go along with my Vicodin earrings, I made this Vicodin ring from sterling silver.

Ten years ago today
Wild west themeparks kicking ass in Bavaria: Main Street features covered plank sidewalks, double-decker railings and cutout clapboard facades. Outside the sheriff's office, the town marshal, Big Joe - a Turkish-born character actor little more than three feet tall - obligingly poses for photos, pointing his six-gun at guests and ordering "Hände hoch!" ("Hands up!")...

SF in SF: Daniel Suarez and Andy Weir in San Francisco this Saturday

Rina writes, "Join SF in SF on Sat., April 12 for our author event! Authors Daniel Suarez (Influx) and Andy Weir (The Martian) will each read a selection from their work, followed by Q&A moderated by author Terry Bisson. Booksigning and schmoozing follows, with books for sale courtesy of Borderlands Books. The event will be podcasted by the Sword & Laser Podcast." Cory 2

Kickstarting a new Girl Genius collection

Phil Foglio writes, "Woo hoo! Excitements abounds! Today Studio Foglio flipped the Big Red Switch and we have launched our latest Kickstarter. This one is for Girl Genius Volume 13- Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City. Now, as some people might remember, we had a very successful Kickstarter last year. successful enough that you might be excused asking 'So what for do you need more money? Did you blow it all on coke' (On this point, you can rest assured. No one who does coke stays as fat as we are.) No, we calculated how much it would cost to get all of our books back into print, make tchotchkes like pins and patches and travel stickers, and hire us a business manager, and that is where the money went."

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Copy Me: a new critical animation series about copying, culture and copyright

Copy Me is a new webseries (here's its Indiegogo fundraiser) constituting a series of short animations presenting accessible, informative, concise information about copyright, copying and culture. It's marvellously promising, and, as Mike Masnick points out, it's a much-needed addition to a canon that includes such brilliant material as Nina Paley's Copying is Not Theft and Kirby Ferguson's Everything is a Remix. I donated.

Everything is a Remix vs Patent Trolls

Adi from EFF writes, "Engine Advocacy worked with artist Kirby Ferguson (of Everything is a Remix fame) to create this great primer on patent trolls. It beautifully and succinctly lays out the patent problem, which is one of the hottest topics on the Hill right now. EFF, Public Knowledge, and Engine are pushing for people to call their senators to demand strong patent reform, and we have a handy tool at fixpatents.org for all you to do so!"

This Day in Blogging History: Why majority supports gay marriage; 3D printing with maltodextrin; Jack Layton endorses P2P

One year ago today
Why the majority of people now favor marriage equality: The most common response involved coming into contact with someone that they learned was homosexual. A third of respondents said that knowing a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person was influential in making them rethink their position on gay marriage.

Five years ago today
Homemade 3D printer goop made from maltodextrin costs 1/50 of the real stuff: "Normally these supplies cost $30 to $50 a pound. Our materials cost less than a dollar a pound," said Ganter. He said he wants to distribute the free recipes in order to democratize 3-D printing and expand the range of printable objects.

Ten years ago today
Canada's NDP leader endorses P2P: "When I was at university there was a great fear that photocopying was going to destroy the publishing industry and that hasn't happened. It's sometimes best to muddle along, take things one step at a time and see what happens. Society can have a way of sorting things out."

NSA spies on human rights groups, including those in the USA

During video testimony to the Council of Europe, whistleblower Edward Snowden reiterated that the NSA targets human rights groups, including those in the USA, for surveillance. It uses its Xkeyscore technology to "fingerprint" communications from these groups and targets them for deep surveillance. Groups that have been targeted in this way include UNICEF and many others. Cory 23

Prosecutors wage war on judges who insist on fairness

When South Carolina State Supreme Court Justice Donald Beatty told a convention of prosecutors that judges would not permit "unethical conduct, such as witness tampering, selective and retaliatory prosecutions, perjury and suppression of evidence," prosecutors revolted, vilifying him. They're following the lead of San Diego prosecutors, who boycott judges who are to "pro-Fourth Amendment." And in Arizona, prosecutors are fighting an ethics rule that would require them to disclose "new, credible, and material evidence" of wrongful convictions. Cory 24

LAPD officers sabotage their own voice-recorders: nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

The Los Angeles Police Department is trying to do something about its notoriously bad human rights record: it has equipped officers with belt-worn voice-recorders that feed tamper-evident uploading stations in their cruisers. Unfortunately for anyone who advocates for the basic honesty of the LAPD, these have been widely sabotaged by officers, with more than half of the receiver antennas being vandalized or removed, which sharply reduces the recorders' range. Boston cops reacted the same way when logging GPSes were added to their cars. As Washington University law prof Neil Richards notes, it's a pretty ironic turn, in that the cops apparently feel like being surveilled while going about their normal business is an unreasonable impingement on their freedom. Cory 38

Online test-proctoring: educational spyware that lets third parties secretly watch and listen to you through your computer

Rebecca from EFF writes, "How would you feel about having your computer taken over by online test-taking software - complete with proctors peering through your laptop camera? Reporters at the Spartan Daily (the student paper for San Jose State University) have an interesting story about new software in use there, and the legitimate concerns that some students have. The data-broker connection is especially chilling to those worried about their personal information." The company's response? "We're a customer service business, so it’s really not advantageous for us to violate that trust." Oh, well, so long as that's sorted out then.

EU's highest court strikes down mass surveillance under the Data Retention Directive

The European Court of Justice, the highest court in the EU, has invalidated the European Parliament's Data Retention Directive, which required phone companies and ISPs to store your clicks, email subjects and to/from info, your location data, and other sensitive "metadata" for up to two years. The ECJ cited the UN Human Rights Committee's condemnation of this sort of data-retention and its call for the USA to halt its surveillance. We have Digital Rights Ireland and AK Vorrat Austria to thank for the ruling.

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