When law-enforcement depends on cyber-insecurity, we're all at risk


It's not enough to pass rules limiting use of "stingray" mobile-phone surveillance devices by civilians: for so long as cops depend on these devices, the vulnerabilities they exploit will not be fixed, leaving us all at risk.

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Firefox's new start page is a gateway drug to awesome Web literacy


The Mozilla Foundation -- who make Firefox -- have been doing some really cool things with Firefox's "start page" (the blank screen you get when you open a new browser tab or window), but this is the coolest: an interactive doodle that invites you to learn to code in the simplest, least-intimidating, most fun way possible.

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Blogging History: Teens' weed-smuggling empire; Depression is a pro-survival adaptation; How long can America stay scared?

One year
The 1960s high schoolers who started a major pot smuggling empire: Epic tale about a group of friends from Coronado High in the 1960s who started the first major pot smuggling empire, with the help of their former Spanish teacher. What started as a bunch of hippies swimming small bales across the border with surfboards turned into a super sophisticated operation, bringing in Moroccan hash, Mexican grass, and Thai stick by the ton. They made more than $100m over a decade, and lived the life of Riley until it all came crashing down.

Five years
Depression as a pro-survival adaptation that solves hard problems: Analysis requires a lot of uninterrupted thought, and depression coordinates many changes in the body to help people analyze their problems without getting distracted.

Ten years
How long can America stay scared? A terrorist alert that instills a vague feeling of dread or panic, without giving people anything to do in response, is ineffective. Even worse, it echoes the very tactics of the terrorists. There are two basic ways to terrorize people. The first is to do something spectacularly horrible, like flying airplanes into skyscrapers and killing thousands of people. The second is to keep people living in fear. Decades ago, that was one of the IRA's major aims. Inadvertently, the DHS is achieving the same thing.

Giant mural made of 1700 color-organized product packages

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Artist Gerlinde Gruber of Vienna, Austria made this mural out of roughly 1700 packages from Mayr-Melnhof Packaging.

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Lessig's U Chicago lectures on corruption this fall


Levi says, "Lawrence Lessig will be lecturing at the University of Chicago in October, launching a new series with a series of talks on institutional corruption, with separate talks on the problem in Congress, finance, the media, and the academy, then wrapping up with a lecture that covers possible remedies."

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DNA tests show that much-praised Chicago cop stuck gun barrel in suspect's mouth

A Chicago police commander frequently praised for his tough approach to crimefighting has been charged in connection with a 2013 incident in which he allegedly placed the barrel of his gun into a suspect’s mouth.

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Pit bull goes bonkers for bubbles

This pittie really enjoys playing with soap bubbles.

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Ever wonder what Ghostbusters' Janine is hunting these days?

Our pal Joe Sabia interviewed Annie Potts, the actress behind one of my favorite "Ghostbusters" characters, for an ongoing Vanity Fair online video series.

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Tomato Shark tears through tomatoes

I have dozens of tools and gadgets in my kitchen. Years working in the restaurant and catering world left me with an inventory of items that I bought for this job or that party.

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Open Intellectual Property Casebook: free, superior alternative to $160 textbook


James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins, eminent copyright scholars at the Duke Center for the Public Domain, have released their 788-page Open Intellectual Property Casebook as a free, open, CC-licensed download, replacing textbooks that normally sell for $160 (you can get a hardcopy is $24); it's not just a cheaper alternative, either -- it's a better one, enlivened with sprightly writing, excellent illustrations (including comics in the vein of Boyle and Jenkins's Bound By Law).

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Otter sits and eats at the table like a proper little gentleman

Translated from the Japanese intro: "To eat and lie it always, since had to eat the bait to stand on a chair well behaved unusually, I took the video (^ ^), but I started to eat it lying down ride on the table as usual after all was I have, ha-ha σ ( ^ _ ^);" Video Link.

Kubrick, an art show tribute in San Francisco

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San Francisco's Spoke Art gallery is presenting an art show tribute to the films of director Stanley Kubrick, from September 6-27.

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Bedbugs continue to wreak havoc in NYC subway system

Bedbug infestations are notoriously difficult to eradicate. Hotels are terrified of them because they will get reported on Yelp and Trip Advisor. Now bedbugs have taken to the subways of NYC. The lilliputian turnstile jumpers are biting conductors and shutting down trains. Officials have deployed bedbug-sniffing dogs to help out in their efforts to rid the subway system of the blood sucking insects. (Thanks, Carla!)

Vases made from hundreds of pencils

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Studio Markunpoika transforms hundreds of pencils into a vase.

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As Office of US Courts withdraws records for five top benches, can we make them open?


Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has announced that they are removing the archives for 5 important courts from their infamous PACER system. PACER is the ten-cent-per-page access to U.S. District and Appeals courts dockets and opinions."

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