Usborne releases free PDFs of its classic 1980s computer programming books

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Jindo Fox writes, "A few years ago, Cory linked to some wonderful pictures in Usborne's 1983 classic Introduction to Machine Code for Beginners. Usborne has made PDF copies available of their whole line, with the only restriction that you link to their page, not to copy and redistribute the files themselves. Very cool. I have fond memories of wasting my childhood typing these listings into the mainframe terminal at my local university, and later on my Timex Sinclair 1000, which I somehow knew was the American version of the ZX-81 that was featured in these pages." Read the rest

Gauzy literary scarves: Poe, Holmes, Romeo and Juliet, Alice in Wonderland and more

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Fresh Comfy is a Thai scarf-seller whose gauzy chiffon scarves come screened with motifs from literary classics, in a variety of finishes (grey, black, off-white, full color): Anne of Green Gables cover; Harry Potter Marauders' Map; Map of Middle Earth; Pride and Prejudice cover; the Cheshire Cat; Romeo and Juliet title-page; Sherlock Holmes engravings; Alice in Wonderland interior page; Poe's The Raven and many more. Read the rest

Ikea for 2x4s: Building gorgeous furniture out of unfinished lumber

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The design idea of "counter-constraint" is to create things in such a way as to get around some constraint -- for example, open source hardware works without patents or copyrights. Read the rest

Laura Poitras's Astro Noise: indispensable book and gallery show about mass surveillance

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Laura Poitras is the Macarthur-winning, Oscar-winning documentarian who made Citizenfour. Her life has been dogged by government surveillance and harassment, and she has had to become a paranoid OPSEC ninja just to survive. Read the rest

Whimsical treasure hunt turns into a grim search-and-rescue

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When Forrest Fenn, a retired antiquities dealer, hid $2m worth of gold, jewels and artifacts in the Rockies and teased the location of the treasure with cryptic clues in his self-published memoir The Thrill of the Chase, he'd hoped to inspire readers "to get the kids off the couch and away from the game machine." Read the rest

First Second Books: a look back at ten years of world-changing graphic publishing

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First Second Books celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2016. From its inception, First Second was known for high quality graphic novels – books that told great stories for every age of reader, from kids to adults. Throughout the years, First Second has published graphic novels as diverse as Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese, Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost, Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamai’s This One Summer, Lucy Knisley’s Relish, and Faith Erin Hicks’ Friends With Boys. And First Second has broken ground with its publishing, bringing unprecedented acceptance and awards to the graphic novel form for kids and parents, teachers and librarians. The graphic novel market looks much different today than it did ten years ago!

Monkeys make surprisingly terrible random-number generators

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Back in 2002, artists at England's Plymouth University teamed up with Paignton Zoo to see if monkeys could write Shakespeare. Read the rest

Abusing the Internet of Things: Blackouts, Freakouts, and Stakeouts

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Nitesh Dhanjani's 2015 O'Reilly book Abusing the Internet of Things: Blackouts, Freakouts, and Stakeouts is a very practical existence-proof of the inadequacy and urgency of Internet of Things security.

Seminar on Jo Walton's Philosopher Kings novels

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Jo Walton (previously) is one of science fiction's great talents, a writer who blends beautiful insight about human beings and their frailties and failings without ever losing sight of their nobility and aspirations. Read the rest

Charlie Jane Anders's All the Birds in the Sky: smartass, soulful novel

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All the Birds in the Sky is everything you could ask for in a debut novel -- a fresh look at science fiction's most cherished memes, ruthlessly shredded and lovingly reassembled.

Negative Publicity: a book of paraphernalia from state kidnappings

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Crofton Black is a British counterterrorism investigator who has spent years tracking down the detritus of extraordinary rendition -- a polite euphemism for the government practice of snatching people, flying them to a distant country, and torturing them. Read the rest

Starve: the best, meanest new graphic novel debut since Transmetropolitan

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The launch of Starve, the new comic from Brian Wood, creator of the landmark DMZ and artists Danijel Žeželj and Dave Stewart, was widely celebrated as a major new comic that started as strong as Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan.

Transreal Cyberpunk! Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling's book of annotated, seminal cyberpunk fiction

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Rudy Rucker writes, "Rudy Rucker & Bruce Sterling's collection of nine jointly written stories is out in ebook and paperback: Transreal Cyberpunk!" Read the rest

Object Lessons: short, thrilling books and essays about everyday objects

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The Object Lessons project, edited by game theory legend Ian Bogost and cultural studies academic Christopher Schaberg, commissions short essays and small, beautiful books about everyday objects from shipping containers to toast. Read the rest

Book says Daddy Koch built Nazi oil refinery & hired a Nazi nanny for his boys, who blackmailed their gay brother

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New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer has a new book coming out, Dark Money, which chronicles the influence of a small handful of ultra-rich dynastic American families on US politics. Read the rest

Coming Out Like a Porn Star: collected memoirs of sex workers

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Coming Out Like a Porn Star is genderqueer porn star Jiz Lee's new anthology collecting the personal stories of porn stars and other sex-trade workers, in which they describe "coming out" to their friends and family as workers in the trade. Read the rest

Keep your scythe, the real green future is high-tech, democratic, and radical

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"Radical ecology" has come to mean a kind of left-wing back-to-the-landism that throws off consumer culture and mass production for a pastoral low-tech lifestyle. But as the brilliant science journalist and Marxist Leigh Phillips writes in Austerity Ecology & the Collapse-Porn Addicts: A Defence Of Growth, Progress, Industry And Stuff, if the left has a future, it has to reclaim its Promethean commitment to elevating every human being to a condition of luxurious, material abundance and leisure through technological progress.

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