Letter from the post-work dystopian future

Joel Johnson's short sf story "Hello and Goodbye in Portuguese" is a series of letters between a brother and sister on either side of the post-work divide: the have, and the have-not. Read the rest

A startup that will feed you while making airplane noises

The startup that will come to your house and put your trashcans out and bring them in again implies a dystopian world of entitled one percenters and vast, desperate piece-workers, but I never dreamed it would go as far as Here Comes the Airplane. Read the rest

UPDATED: New York school makes poor kids huddle indoors while richer students attend carnival

Flushing's PS 120 asked kids to contribute $10/each to a carnival held in the school-yard during school hours, and kids who couldn't pay had to sit in the auditorium watching old Disney movies and listening to the shrieks of delight from outside. Read the rest

Portraits of homeless people using libraries

Libraries, "the last bastion of democracy," are a haven for America's 500,000 homeless people, where literature, Internet access, and nonfiction can come together to provide respite from the relentless brutality of life on the streets. Read the rest

Poverty is a tax on cognition

In an outstanding lecture at the London School of Economics, Macarthur "genius award" recipient Sendhil Mullainathan explains his research on the psychology of scarcity, a subject that he's also written an excellent book about. Read the rest

Hedge funds buy swathes of foreclosed subprimes, force up rents, float rent-bonds

When a giant hedge fund is bidding on all the foreclosed houses in a poor neighborhood, living humans don't stand a chance -- but that's OK, because rapacious investors make great landlords. Read the rest

The Subprimes: a novel of the Piketty/Klein apocalypse

The Harvard Business Review asked me to review Karl Taro Greenfield's magical econopocalypse novel The Subprimes, and I was delighted. Read the rest

Loopholes let billionaires duck NYC property tax

The rules for tax on NYC condos is so sinister and stultifyingly boring that it's not really surprising that they disguise a raft of loopholes that let the richest New Yorkers duck the property taxes that keep the city running. Read the rest

Class of 2015: most indebted in history

A report (issued by a college savings business, caveat lector) says that the US graduating college class of 2015 has more debt than any other class in history. Read the rest

Disrupting Richard Scarry

Updating Richard Scarry's beloved Busy Town for Silicon Valley corpthink been done before, but never with the depth and persistence of the Welcome to Business Town Tumblr. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Stephen King versus Maine's lying governor

Maine's Tea Party Governor Paul LePage (R) has doubled down on his lie that Stephen King left Maine to avoid paying income tax; King is a proud taxpayer who views "taxes as a way of paying back the state that has given us so much." Read the rest

Obama moots mandatory voting

I agree that mandatory voting is a powerful check against moneyed interests hijacking the government, but Australia, which has both mandatory voting and preferential ranked ballots, has still managed to elect some fucking awful politicians. Read the rest

Insider view of the cash-for-gold ripoff

Cash-for-gold is a con so dodgy that it's visible from space, but Clancy Martin's inside account of working in his brother's rip-off high-class Texas pawnbroker is an especially compelling view of the internals of the ripoff. Read the rest

Following the key Trans-Pacific Partnership senator with a 30' blimp

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "The folks who wrote SOPA are trying to get extremist copyright provisions into the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement -- the one that Congress is trying to 'Fast Track' right now." Read the rest

Constituent silenced by spammer-turned-UK Tory party chairman was telling the truth

Grant Shapps, the spam kingpin who moonlighted as UK Tory party chairman and then an MP, sued a constituent who accused him of working for his "marketing" company after taking office. Read the rest

NYPD caught wikiwashing Wikipedia entries on police brutality

Anonymous users from NYPD's IP block have made questionable edits to the Wikipedia entries on high-profile police brutality victims including Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo. Read the rest

Portland cops charge homeless woman with theft for charging her phone

In Portland, OR, "Jackie," a homeless former social worker with muscular dystrophy, was hit with a misdemeanor theft charge for charging her phone from a plug on a planter-base on a sidewalk; she spent a day in jail when she missed her arraignment. Read the rest

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