The hockey-stick from hell: US incarceration per 100,000 people, 1890-today


Vox parsed out the Bureau of Justice Statistics' numbers on incarceration in prisons (excluding jails) and produced this ghastly visualization tracking the transformaiton of America into the country with the highest rate of incarceration in the history of the world. Read the rest

McClatchy chain of more than 30 U.S. papers may close all foreign bureaus

An employee passes  McClatchy Co. owned newspapers in their DC office, 2008. REUTERS

The McClatchy Company, a chain of more than 30 U.S. newspapers, is expected to close its foreign bureaus by the end of the year. The media giant's chief executive denies the rumors, but it kind of sounds like the closures are likely anyway. Read the rest

Amazon launches “Etsy-killer” Handmade at Amazon, a marketplace for handmade goods


Online retail giant Amazon just launched a marketplace for handcrafted goods: Handmade at Amazon. It's “an arts-and-crafts bazaar online that squarely takes aim at a niche but growing market dominated by the Brooklyn-based Etsy,” as the New York Times puts it.

Handmade at Amazon went live early Thursday more than 80,000 items from roughly 5,000 sellers in 60 countries around the world. They're launching with only 6 categories — home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby.

Crafters can sell their crocheted pants or 3D-printed succulent cozies on the new Amazon marketplace, just as they've been able to for years at Etsy, a $2bn-a-year business .

Amazon's business is a lot bigger: $75 billion in annual sales. And Amazon's is growing, while Etsy appears to be challenged. One recent change at Etsy that allowed sellers to outsource their production to others is seen by many as a move away from its maker/seller roots.

Amazon, on the other hand, promises “Genuinely Handmade.” In the launch announcement, Amazon emphasizes that everything will be “crafted and sold directly from artisans.”

“We only approve artisans whose products are handcrafted,” said Amazon in a statement. “We are factory-free.”

Them's fighting words. Is this the end of Etsy as we know it? I hope not, I love Etsy.

Here's the full Amazon press release. And here's a snip from the Times story:

Amazon will start out with six categories — home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby — Mr.

Read the rest

Umbrella-sharing service: return it in 48h and it's free


Umbracity aims to solve the problem of unexpected urban showers with a shared-umbrella service. They've rolled it out in soggy Vancouver, and the deal is that you get to use an umbrella from any of their kiosks for free for 48h, but if you keep it longer, it's $2/day to a maximum of $20. Read the rest

Global coalition tells Facebook to kill its Real Names policy


The Nameless Coaltion, a global alliance of women's groups, LGBTQ groups, human rights and digital rights groups has asked Facebook to abandon its "Real Names" policy, which puts Facebook users in danger of reprisals including state violence, stalkers, and on-the-job harassment. Read the rest

Air France execs' clothes torn off by protesters after layoff announcement


Protesters angry over proposed layoffs stormed an Air France executive meeting and cornered Director Pierre Plissonnier and Resources Director Xavier Broseta, tearing off the men's jackets and ripping their shirts off, forcing them to scale a fence to get free. Read the rest

Botwars vs ad-tech: the origin story of universal surveillance on the Internet


Maciej Cegłowski's posted another of his barn-burning speeches about the Internet's problems, their origins and their solutions (previously), a talk from the Fremtidens Internet conference in Copenhagen called "What Happens Next Will Amaze You." Read the rest

Pokemon demands $4000 from broke superfan who organized Pokemon party


Larkin Jones is a hardcore Pokemon fan who loses money every year on his annual Pokemon PAX party; he makes up the shortfall from his wages managing a cafe. This year, Pokémon Company International sued him and told him that even though he'd cancelled this year's party, they'd take everything he had unless he paid them $5,400 in a lump sum (they wouldn't let him pay it in installments). Read the rest

Wyoming's Ag-Gag law makes it a crime to gather evidence of crime


With this year's "ag-gag" law, Wyoming has made it a crime to gather evidence of agricultural wrongdoing, from illegal pollution to animal cruelty, even from public land -- and also prohibits regulators from acting on information gathered in violation of the law. Read the rest

Apple removes Ifixit's repair manuals from App Store


Content-based App Store takedowns aren't just for drone killing anymore: Apple's also removed the Ifixit App, which offers you third-party manuals for fixing things you own, including your Apple products. Read the rest

With Roca Labs smackdown, the FTC slams non-disparagement clauses for the first time


I cheered the news that the Federal Trade Commission was suing Roca Labs, the sleazy "weight-loss" company that sold people industrial food thickeners as "non-surgical gastric bypasses" and made them sign contracts promising not to post about any negative experiences they after trying the scammy, high-priced "treatment." Read the rest

Execspeak singularity: the spectacular bullshit of Blackberry's CEO


It takes a top-notch MBA and years of training to be able to improvise and enunciate statements like this 2010 gem: "I'm going to really frame our mobile architectural distinction. We've taken two fundamentally different approaches in their causalness. It's a causal difference, not just nuance." Read the rest

Righstcorp's terrifying extortion script is breathtaking in its sleaze


Rightscorp is the notorious publicly traded shakedown outfit that accuses people of online infringement and threatens them with titanic fines and jail time for allegedly listening to music or watching movies the wrong way, offering to make the whole thing go away for a few hundred dollars -- less than a lawyer would charge to advise you on whether to pay up. Read the rest

Not just emissions: manufacturers' dirty tricks fake everything about cars


VW's diesel firmware detected when it was undergoing emissions testing and changed the engine tuning to produce 1/40 of its normal toxic output, fooling regulators. But though they're the only ones who've been caught using firmware to game emissions testing, they're not the only ones with something to hide. Read the rest

The future of photography, education, sharing, news, privacy and learning (seriously)


Jonathan Worth is a celebrated, successful, internationally recognized award-winning photographer who saw the writing on the wall for his business -- selling pictures to magazines -- when he found himself threatening a young girl for pirating his pictures, and decided there had to be a better way. Read the rest

Dooce quits mommyblogging amid toxic pressure from advertisers


As the supply of publishers went up, advertisers gained leverage they could use to insist on more invasive ads and more unethical editorial practices. Read the rest

UK film industry: our cinemas patrolled by Silence of the Lambs nightvision LARPers


For more than a decade, the UK movie industry makes a big deal out of announcing that audiences at the latest blockbuster movies will be surveilled by bored teenagers who get to LARP Buffalo Bill with greasy night-vision goggles that they'll use to catch camming pirates. Read the rest

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