Walt Disney's plan for the FBI of tomorrow


Michael from Muckrock: "Union-busting Walt Disney became cozy with J. Edgar Hoover, the iconic animator's FBI files show, helping shut down dissident workers while infusing Disney programming with fond portrayals of federal enforcement. Disney even wanted to dedicate a special section of Tomorrowland to highlighting the Bureau of tomorrow -- which ended up being a step too far for America's head investigative agency." Read the rest

Digital rights news from 2025

European Digital Rights has published 300 Edrigrams -- crucial newsletters on all things digital in the EU -- and to celebrate, the 300th edition features 37 pages of news from the year 2025. Read the rest

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TBD: appreciating a catalog of the banal gadgets of tomorrow

David already posted about the amazing TBD Catalog, which is filled with "design fiction" about the devices of the future; but I just read it and I need to rave about it. Read the rest

Madeline Ashby's Hieroglyph story: "By the Time We Get To Arizona"

The Hieroglyph anthology was created by Neal Stephenson, challenging sf writers to imagine futures where ambitious technological projects improved the human condition. Read the rest

TBD: A SkyMall catalog of the future

Julian Bleecker and his Near Future Laboratory created the smart and provocative TBD Catalog that is essentially a science fiction SkyMall catalog.

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Salami cultured from celebrity muscle tissue

Bitelabs wants you to tweet your favorite celeb and ask them to submit to a biopsy so that they can culture salami from their muscle tissue, allowing you to experience celebs in a way you never have before. "The Franco salami must be smoky, sexy, and smooth... The Franco salami’s taste will be arrogant, distinctive, and completely undeniable." Nutritional information: "coming soon." Read the rest

How science fiction influences thinking about the future

Eileen Gunn writes, "What's science fiction good for? The May issue of Smithsonian magazine has an essay on the relationship between science, science fiction, and the future by Boing Boing buddy Eileen Gunn. Major writers -- Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Samuel R. Delany, Kim Stanley Robinson, Cory Doctorow and others -- talk about why science fiction likes to think about the future and how SF can be used to help scientists think about the uses and ethics of their inventions. The rest of the issue covers science and ethical issues of the near future." Read the rest

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Video: the lab of the future

Timo writes, "Digital Science Concepts showcases our thinking on how technology might shape the laboratory of the future. These are products that are not currently under development but one day they might be commonplace in laboratories...who knows? See how we imagine the lab of the future..."

In this video, the second in the Digital Science Concepts series, we take a look at how voice and gesture activated video augmented glasses might enhance the way we work at the bench. Such technology could allow scientists to view a protocol, check availability of reagents, book equipment, check the status of equipment in use, as well as checking email and video calling colleagues - all from your bench.

Digital Science Concepts: Protovision. Imagining the laboratory of the future [Laura Thomson/Digital Science] Read the rest

Crowdfunding an in vitro meat cookbook

Eindhoven's Next Nature Lab is running an IndiegOgO fundraiser for a "Meat the Future Cookbook" -- a piece of design fiction setting out recipes we might be able to prepare when in vitro meat-growth is the norm. There's meat grown from your own flesh, cultured in a medallion you wear around your neck while it matures; rainbow meatballs, meat that you knit, meat-paint that kids use to paint edible pictures, meat cultured from samples of extinct dodos and dinos, and transparent meat "sushi."

There's four days left, and &eur;25 gets you a copy of the cookbook (&eur;15 for a digital version). Next Nature produces some gorgeous books on these lines, so it's a good bet that Meat the Future will be a lovely little piece.

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Swedish seventies neoretrofuturism: the paintings of Simon Stålenhag

Koolburger sez, "Beautiful paintings by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag. Blending everyday life in Sweden in the 70's with neofuturist structures." These really are amazing, and have a strange air of plausibility that makes them into something like design fiction for a future that never was. He sells prints, too.

Simon Stålenhag Art Gallery Read the rest

Oversight: the future of bland, corporate ubiquitous surveillance

Tom Scott (who created last year's EULAs for the Afterlife video) has made a terrific and terrifying video called "Oversight: Thank you for volunteering, citizen;" a horribly plausible look at what the future of crowdsourced, privatised ubiquitous surveillance might look for. As always, Scott nails the weirdly upbeat and blandly evil voice of global corporatism and produces something that is chillingly convincing.

Oversight: Thank you for volunteering, citizen. (Thanks, Tom!) Read the rest

Vibrating train window to play ads through the skulls of tired commuters

A nightmarish vision straight out of The Space Merchants: a gadget that purportedly vibrates train windows at the right frequency to beam advertisements straight into your head by means of bone-conduction, should you tire and rest your head against them.

All the references to this point to one video posted by someone with no other videos in her or his account, and there's not much other detail (Adweek attributes it to BBDO Dusseldorf). I'm betting hoax and/or grad project-cum-design fiction, but in this topsy-turvy world, anything is possible. The comments on the YouTube video are even more internetrage than usual, and may be the most interesting thing about it.

The talking window Read the rest

Han Solo in Carbonite Pop-Tarts

Last October, IGN's Brian Altano announced a bold design fiction: an imaginary line of "Han Solo in Carbonite" Pop-Tarts. Several months have gone by and this is still not a thing. The world is broken.

Would You Eat These Star Wars Pop-Tarts? (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Genuinely funny response from a pharmacy trolled over its junk-mail

Andrew sez, "Sometimes I write silly emails to companies when I actually have a mundane request. Usually, they either ignore me or reply with boring customer-service talk (We apologize for... Thank you for shopping with...'). Recently I got a piece of mail from Canadian pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart that was addressed to someone who doesn't live here anymore. I had fun with the email I sent them, and their response (can be viewed in the link) was pure gold!"

This really is rather good. Andrew's letter asked Shopper's if the letter had possibly been addressed to a future tenant at his address, fallen through a time-hole. Shopper's responded with a list of products from the future that he could look for in its circulars to determine whether this was the case:

1) Now at Shoppers Drug Mart: Everexis Cure any disease instantly with Everexis! Great for headaches, colds, cancer and more! With no known side effects, nothing can possibly go wrong!

2) 20X The Points on Meat Products Got the Everexis munchies? Fill your strange and unspeakable hunger and get 20X The Points!

3) 20% Off Everexis Antidote Everexis left you slow, lumbering, and quick to anger? Take the Everexis antidote. It hasn't been fully tested, but it certainly can't make things any worse!

4) Hide in a Shoppers Drug Mart Refugee Shelter With over 1,200 locations still standing across Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart is the ideal place to hold up and hide from the hoard. Ration Nativa Cheese Puffs and Life Brand Vitamins while you wait for rescue!

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RFID your stuff, find it with your mobile phone

Mitch Wagner sez, "uGrokIt lets people attach RFID tags to their stuff, locate it with a device that attaches to a smartphone, just like in Cory's Makers." The Geiger counter-style audio cues are a nice touch, and I like the salaryman who uses the gizmo to remind him that he's left his phone-charger under one of those pointless stand-up cards next to the nearly pointless land-line phone in his hotel room.

UGrokIt (Thanks, Mitch!) Read the rest

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