Red-baiting water speculator plans to drain the Mojave of its ancient water

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Scott Slater, a former water lawyer, is the CEO of Cadiz, Inc, a hedge-fund-backed company that's purchased the water rights for 45,000 acres of the Mojave on Route 66, 75 miles northeast of Palm Springs. He wants to pump 814 million gallons of ancient water out of the desert and send it to drought-stricken southern California, where he can soak the thirsty millions for $2.4 billion. Read the rest

Caught lying by an EFF investigation, T-Mobile CEO turns sweary

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On Monday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published an investigation into T-Mobile's "Binge On" video service, which allegedly optimizes videos for mobile download and does not count them against T-Mobile's bandwidth caps. Read the rest

Dear Comcast: broadband isn't gasoline

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Comcast's CEO Brian Roberts has been doing a lot of spinning lately to explain his company's plan to increase its prices (already some of the highest in the developed world) by turning on usage caps and charging up the wazoo for people who exceed them. Read the rest

The Entrepreneurial State: how the "free market" stalls without government-funded innovation

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Mariana Mazzucato's The Entrepreneurial State uses empirical research to demolish the capitalist orthodoxy that holds the state to be a feckless, harmful distorter of markets.

Airlines try auctioning off seat upgrades at the gate

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Because aviation isn't already a perfect model for class war, privilege and the market's ability to erode comfort, pleasure and humane treatment. Read the rest

Ex-copyright troll now sends letters inviting "pirates" to join fan-clubs

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Tommy Funderburk used to be a copyright troll whose company, Payartists, sent legal threats to people accused of copyright infringement, though they didn't represent any actual artists (the closest they came was in representing Frank Zappa's widow). Read the rest

Netflix launches in 130 new countries, but not in China, Syria, or North Korea

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Big streaming content news out of CES this morning: Netflix is now live in 130 additional countries, which makes its service available to billions of new users. The most notable exception: China.

CEO Reed Hastings made the announcement at the annual Consumer Electronics Forum in Las Vegas today.

"You are witnessing the birth of a global TV network," he said.

Netflix "won't be available in Crimea, North Korea and Syria due to U.S. government restrictions on American companies," the company said.

Countries where Netflix will now be available include Azerbaijan, India, Vietnam, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Saudia Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Turkey and Indonesia can now use Netflix--but presumably with certain restrictions, in certain nations.

"Netflix Is Now Available Around the World" [netflix press release]

[CNN via @brianstelter] Read the rest

Osama Been Loanin': head of Oregon terror-cell borrowed $530,000 from fed-backed loan program

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Ammon Bundy is the leader of the domestic terror group that has occupied the Malheur National Widlife Refuge Building near Burns, Oregon because they believe the US federal government is an illegitimate, oppressive entity that must be stopped. Read the rest

T-Mobile's "Binge On" is just throttling for all video

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T-Mobile claims that its Binge On service (video that doesn't count against subscribers' data-caps) is a bit of pre-processing magic that makes the videos you watch load with less jitter and buffering, but that's not what's going on under the hood. Read the rest

Paypal rolls out the welcome mat for hackers

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It's not bad enough that Paypal is prone to shutting down your account and seizing your dough if you have a particularly successful fundraiser -- they also have virtually no capacity to prevent hackers from changing the email address, password and phone numbers associated with your account, even if you're using their two-factor authentication fob. Read the rest

Normalizing deviance: why tech companies repeatedly do stupid, destructive things

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"The normalization of deviance" is a sociological term describing how groups of people become accustomed to ignoring safety rules and best practices, becoming plagued with (sometimes fatal) problems that no one can seem to fix. Read the rest

$10 "bean to bar" chocolates were made from melted down Valrhona

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The Mast Brothers, a pair of bearded chocolatiers in Brooklyn, have built an empire on beautifully packaged "artisanal" chocolates that run $10/bar, billed as "bean to bar" confections. Read the rest

Pirate Bay cofounder invents an infernal device that will utterly bankrupt the music industry

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The record industry insists that all unauthorized copies represent lost sales. So Peter "brokep" Sunde, co-founder of The Pirate Bay, has built a machine that makes 100 copies per second of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," storing them in /dev/null (which is to say, deleting them even as they're created). Read the rest

Mall of America sues #Blacklivematter activists to force them to tweet protest cancellation

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Organizers of a demonstration in protest of the police shooting of Jamar Clark by Minneapolis police have been hit with a lawsuit by the Mall of America, which is seeking a court order requiring them to tweet and text a message announcing the cancellation of their protest. Read the rest

Israeli company's product can (allegedly) pwn any nearby mobile phone

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The Interapp from Tel Aviv's Rayzone Group is an intrusion appliance that uses a cache of zero-day exploits against common mobile phone OSes and is marketed as having the capability to infect and take over any nearby phone whose wifi is turned on. Read the rest

Juniper Networks backdoor confirmed, password revealed, NSA suspected

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Juniper Networks makes a popular line of enterprise firewalls whose operating system is called Screen OS. The company raised alarm bells with a late-day-on-a-Friday advisory announcing that they'd discovered "unauthorized code" in some versions of Screen OS, a strange occurrence that hinted at a security agency or criminal enterprise had managed to tamper with the product before it shipped. Read the rest

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson secretly bought newspaper, ordered all hands to investigate judges he hated

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No one knew who the mystery buyer of the Las Vegas Review-Journal was, just that $140m had changed hands under mysterious circumstances. But every reporter on the paper was ordered to drop everything and try to dig up dirt on three Clark County judges. Read the rest

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