A new Snowden leak reveals that the NSA and major US mobile phone carriers colluded to gather the location of millions of people around the world, including Americans in the USA, people not suspected of any crime, in order to data-mine them and ascribe guilt to people based on whether they were in proximity to suspected terrorists.
The program, called CO-TRAVELLER, tracks at least "hundreds of millions" of devices on "a planetary scale, and comprises at least 27 terabytes of data. According to an NSA document, they are gathering location data more quickly than they can store it, and have been building out more capacity at speed.
Less than one percent of the Snowden documents have been made public to date. Snowden was tasked by his employer with consolidating training and briefing materials from the NSA, and so he had access to enormous amounts of sensitive details on the NSA's internal programs.
Another tranche of police documents on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been released [474 page (!) PDF]. Despite the mayor's insistence that all of his secrets were now out in the open and he had nothing more to hide, the new materials contain several bombshells, including allegations of heroin use, bribing crooks with marijuana, and lying about the infamous crack video.
What is smarm, exactly? Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves. Smarm would rather talk about anything other than smarm. Why, smarm asks, can't everyone just be nicer?
The most significant explicator of the niceness rule—the loudest Thumper of all, the true prophetic voice of anti-negativity—is neither the cartoon rabbit nor the publicists' group nor Julavits, nor even David Denby. It is The Believer's founder and impresario, Dave Eggers.
As mentioned earlier, the new edition of A Theory of Fun For Game Design by Raph Koster ships today -- with updated text and color illustrations. It's an absolutely indispensable book about the phenomenon of fun, full of mind-blowing and very applicable insights into games, from a legendary designer (Koster led the design of Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima Online, among other accomplishments). Just as Understanding Comics is a fascinating read, even if you never plan on making a comic book, so will A Theory of Fun fascinate and inform everyone, not just games-makers.
Check out some of the great videos we've blogged lately, which you can watch in our video archives:
Scary tire commercial from Japan
Blues Brothers mall car-chase recreated in Lego
Sugru + magnets = anything stuck to anything
• Kaki King shreds
Cookie Monster in The Hungry Games: Catching Fur
Glitchy A/V art installation about "space-time compression"
Project L0SS is a fantastic collection of images that show us what can be in found in that which is lost. Ellie Pritts was fascinated with the artifacts created in photos constantly re-coded in .JPG (a lossy file format, if configured as such,) and shares with us this collection of images.
Streaming live from Kevin Kelly's house right now: the first Cool Tools Show and Tell meetup! A couple of dozen folks are demonstrating and talking about their favorite tools, and Kevin will show everyone his new book, Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities. Watch the live stream here or at the Google Plus event page.
One year ago today How to learn hiragana in one hour or less: Dr. Moku's Hiragana Mnemonics presents each character as an appealing and memorable cartoon - a rabbit eyeing a carrot, a dude with food, a farting cow.
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