Boston Globe previews a front page from the Trump presidency

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The Boston Globe's front page today is a piece of design fiction that offers a glimpse of the first days of a Trump presidency, with headlines like "DEPORTATIONS TO BEGIN: President Trump calls for tripling of ICE force; riots continue"; "Curfews extended in multiple cities"; "Markets sink as trade war looms"; "US soldiers refuse orders to kill ISIS families"; and many sly digs, including the news that "NASA engineers halted the launch of an unmanned probe amid fears that its new gold leaf trim would interfere with radio communications." Read the rest

A perfect storm of broken business and busted FLOSS backdoors everything, so who needs the NSA?

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In 2014, Poul-Henning Kamp, a prolific and respected contributor to many core free/open projects gave the closing keynote at the Free and Open Source Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) in Belgium, and he did something incredibly clever: he presented a status report on a fictional NSA project (ORCHESTRA) whose mission was to make it cheaper to spy on the Internet without breaking any laws or getting any warrants. Read the rest

Backslash: a toolkit for protesters facing hyper-militarized, surveillance-heavy police

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Backslash -- an "art/design" project from NYU Interactive Technology Program researchers Xuedi Chen and Pedro G. C. Oliveira -- is a set of high-tech tools for protesters facing down a "hyper-militarized," surviellance-heavy state adversary, including a device to help protesters keep clear of police kettles; a jammer to foil Stingray mobile-phone surveillance; a mesh-networking router; a "personal cloud" that tries to mirror photos and videos from a protest to an offsite location; and tools for covertly signalling situational reports to other protesters. Read the rest

Near-future Ikea catalog: the Internet of Things' flat-pack as a service

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Julian Bleecker and his Near Future Laboratory have followed up on their amazing Skymall-of-the-future catalog with an imaginary near-future Ikea catalog that jam an insane amount of witty futuristic speculation into elegantly presented, arresting images.

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Walt Disney's plan for the FBI of tomorrow

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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

Smart Pipe: a design fiction from the Internet of Things dystopia

11 minutes seems like a long ask for a gag video about an Internet-of-Things toilet-analyzer, but man, is it worth it. Read the rest

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

Video from a dystopian future: how location data can be abused

The ACLU has produced a video based on its Meet Jack. Or, What The Government Could Do With All That Location Data slide presentation from 2013. It's a chilling and sometimes funny look at the way that location data can be used to compromise you in ways large and small. As Josh from the ACLU notes, "It's especially interesting after the news yesterday about the DHS plan for a national license plate location history database (which got scrapped after it was exposed)."

Meet Jack. Or, What The Government Could Do With That Location Data (Thanks, Josh!) Read the rest

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

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