David Graeber and Thomas Piketty on whether capitalism will destroy itself

Graeber wrote the magisterial Debt: The First 5,000 Years; Piketty, of course, wrote the essential Capital in the 21st Century -- in a must-read dialog, they discuss their differences and similarities and offer views on whether capitalism will collapse.

Read the rest

Three ways fearful parents are ruining Hallowe'en

It's the safest night of the year for your kids: no kid has ever been poisoned by a stranger, and the 31st usually has fewer assaults on children than other days of the year (but more kids do get hit by cars!).

Lenore Prepares for Halloween — Heh, Heh, Heh

USPS usage declines, but sloppy postal surveillance is way, way up

Surveillance requests for "postal metadata" climbed 600% in recent years, often undertaken with badly formed or expired warrants.

Read the rest

Optical illusions: auto detailing reflections

uKMaAVT

Auto detailing can be an art form in the right hands, as air2thethrown shows in this beautiful photo of a field reflected in a car's surface. The regulars at Detailing Bliss would say shooting at such a severe angle is a cheat, but it's a cool effect regardless.

Read the rest

Koch Brothers buy ads on Daily Show, Jon Stewart mercilessly skewers them


Reading between the lines, I'm guessing Viacom's sales force got eleventy-nine metric fucktons of money from Koch to run ads against TDS, and Stewart decided to show them who was boss.

Read the rest

Big ISPs' efforts to squeeze Netflix lead to slow connectivity for you

1*Kr9KXH42VFKkHC_v9WaaZg

Over at Backchannel, Susan Crawford reveals how the crap Internet speeds everyday people get from the likes of Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T isn't a tech issue but rather a terrible side effect of those companies trying to punish their competitors like Netflix into paying them for access to you.

Read the rest

Vladimir Putin takes the gloves off

In a virulently anti-Western and uncharacteristically blunt speech, Russian spy-turned-president Vladimir Putin set out his agenda for Russia and its relationship to "western elites." The speech wasn't widely reported in the west, but Dmitry Orlov has helpfully translated, transcribed and summarized it.

Read the rest

Open-source cyborg pirate ghost

Over in the forums, mutant Brainspore made a template for an articulated Halloween decoration: "break out the markers."

Teller's latest video about living in a zombie world

Since 2008 Teller (Penn's partner) has been making a video show about living in a zombie infested world. His latest episode, the fifth in the series, was posted today.

Millions in dark money via U.S. Chamber of Commerce influencing midterm elections

USChamber

The Chamber has spent $32 million in dark money from undisclosed donors, 96% of which has gone to oppose Democratic congressional candidates, according to a new Public Citizen report. Average spending topped $900,000 per race.

Read the rest

Anti-violence activists charged in violent attack

ardeno"Two 'Stop the Violence' organizers allegedly beat one of their colleagues so severely that he vomited blood and was left unconscious in critical condition." -- AP

Cat grooming bag doubles as feline gimp suit

Fortunately, my three cats are happy to sit in my lap while I trim their nails, so I don't have to put them in this miniature gimp suit.

Google Maps euthanizes Auckland cat

google-maps-cat

Sad news from New Zealand. The beautiful smiling cat that appeared briefly in a mangrove swamp on the Google map of Auckland has been euthanized.

Read the rest

Pizzeria asks judge to find rival's flavor to be trademark-infringing


New York Pizzeria claimed that Gina's Italian Kitchen -- founded by an ousted exec -- violated its trademark by creating a pizza that tasted the same as its own pie. The judge wasn't buying it.

Read the rest

History of spirit communication devices

Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "Just in time for Halloween, my colleague Lisa Hix has written a lengthy history of Spiritualism, séances, planchettes, and Ouija boards. One of the many people she interviewed was Brandon Hodge, who collects planchettes and other "spirit-communication" devices."

Séance sitters, while they might be very religious, would also arrive expecting a certain amount of titillation. “The intimacy of the séance is one thing that drives not only the popularity of mediums—particularly when they’re attractive young women like Florence Cook, or Kate or Maggie Fox—but also the popularity of the planchette and, later, the talking boards,” Hodge says. “Everyone’s seated around a table. The lights are dimmed. You place your fingers on the table, and everyone overlaps pinkies. You’ve got a woman prancing around the room in a glow-in-the-dark muslin sheet and nothing else on underneath. And they would say, ‘No, really, reach out and touch the ghost. You can feel her.’ How many people got to feel up a woman in the 1870s in public with permission—with their neighbors watching?”