McDonald's 1987 fashion catalog is a horrorshow

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The Smile Makers 88 was sent to McDonald's franchise managers in 1987, filled with garments they could buy for themselves, their families, and their workers. It. Is. Terrible. Read the rest

How to protect the future web from its founders' own frailty

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Earlier this month, I gave the afternoon keynote at the Internet Archive's Decentralized Web Summit, and my talk was about how the people who founded the web with the idea of having an open, decentralized system ended up building a system that is increasingly monopolized by a few companies -- and how we can prevent the same things from happening next time.

Undercover reporter spent four months as a prison guard in a Louisiana pen run by CCA

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Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is one of the world's largest private jailers; it runs prisons and immigration detention centers across the USA (and is diversifying into halfway houses, mental health center, and surveillance for poor neighborhoods). Mother Jones's Shane Bauer went undercover at CCA's Winn Prison in Louisiana, the state with the highest incarceration rate in the world, and spent four months meticulously documenting the way that CCA destroys the lives of the prisoners in its care and its own employees, while paying its CEO $3.4M/year. Read the rest

Google is restructuring to put machine learning at the core of all it does

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Steven Levy is in characteristic excellent form in a long piece on Medium about the internal vogue for machine learning at Google; drawing on the contacts he made with In the Plex, his must-read 2012 biography of the company, Levy paints a picture of a company that's being utterly remade around newly ascendant machine learning techniques. Read the rest

Misconfigured database exposes sensitive data for 154 million US voters

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A new US voter database leak has exposed the addresses, estimated income, ethnicity, phone numbers, political affiliation, and voting history of 154 million Americans.

Read the rest

To understand the Trump campaign, study real-estate developer hustle

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Thomas H Crown's Twitter rant about the Trump campaign compares it to the real-estate developer playbook, which is based on inveigling others into putting up all the capital for a high-risk venture that is sold on the basis of the developer's confidence and force of personality. Read the rest

Video: Guys whose boss made them illegally dump hazardous chemicals in the desert

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On March 3, a worker shot this video of him and his co-workers illegally pouring HOCUT 795-B out on the Nevada desert floor, then burning out the residue, at the insistence of their (unnamed) employer. Read the rest

Electronics repair shops overbill for labor when the customer has insurance

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In Insurance coverage of customers induces dishonesty of sellers in markets for credence goods , a research paper in PNAS by German and Austrian economists, the authors show experimental evidence that electronics repair shops are more likely to overcharge for labor when their customers have insurance. Read the rest

Being a Craigslist scammer is hard work

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Roger Grimes tracked down a Craigslist scammer and interviewed him for Infoworld, getting some surprisingly frank answers about what life is like as a small time online con-artist. Read the rest

Dieselgate for GPUs: review-units ship at higher clockspeeds than retail ones

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Techpowerup caught hardware giants MSI and Asus shipping them graphics cards that were preset for a software-based overlock mode, meaning that the cards performed better out of the box for reviewers than they would for customers. Read the rest

Donald Trump sources $6M worth of campaign expenditures from companies he and his family own

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When billionaires like Michael Bloomberg and Steve Forbes get into politics, they firewall their own companies off from their campaigns, demonstrating a basic care about the appearance of conflict of interest -- not so Donald Trump, who rents himself office space, sells himself private jet time, and supplies water, booze, and country club ballrooms.

Read the rest

Samantha Bee puts the NRA before a firing squad

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The NRA -- tone-deaf, intransigent, monied -- are seemingly unstoppable, but if anyone can shoot 'em down, it's Samantha Bee, whose tight, funny, rage-filled 5:30 on America's gun lobby is practically armor-piercing. (via Rolling Stone) Read the rest

Space botanists are beneficiaries of Canada's legal weed boom

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It's hard to fund space exploration research -- the commercial applications are speculative and far-off -- but there's never been a better time to study super-efficient, closed-loop botany of the sort that will someday accompany human interplanetary missions, thanks to the need to develop better grow-ops for the burgeoning legal weed market in Canada. Read the rest

Employees spanked for incompetence

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Inept employees at a business in China were publicly spanked for their poor performance, reports People's Daily.

In video captured on cellphone, a manager is seen upbraiding staff, lined up on stage before their colleagues at Chinese Rural Commercial Bank. Then he produces a baton and begins spanking them on the buttocks.

Though the employees are clothed, the manager's form is robust and the thwacks sharp. Read the rest

Air Force tried harder, now says that giant database can be recovered

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Last week, the Air Force announced that it had lost 12 years' worth of records of whistleblower reports, freedom of information requests, and corruption investigations because of unrecoverable database corruption that not even its contractor, Lockheed-Martin, could unsnarl. Read the rest

Supreme Court ruling is a blow to copyright trolling business-model

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In 2013, the Supreme Court heard Kirtsaeng, a copyright case brought by the publisher Wiley, who argued that legal books became illegal when brought into America, because their copyright licenses were nation-specific. Read the rest

Report from the prison-industrial complex's leading trade show

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The Guardian's Rupert Neate attended the 35th annual American Jail Association conference in Austin, and came back with a report on the way that the contractors for America's carceral state talk about their business when they're among themselves. Read the rest

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