John Henry the samurai racing a tireless killer robot

Yaskawa celebrated its 100th birthday by pitting one of its Motoman-MH24s against a samurai in a sword-swinging contest, proving once and for all that if you need to chop bamboo into small pieces without having to walk around, you need a robot, not a human. Read the rest

Connecticut teacher fired for reading Allen Ginsberg poem to AP class

Peter from the National Coalition Against Censorship writes, "During an AP class discussion about gratuitous language, a student asked a teacher to read an Allen Ginsberg poem. He did. He's not a teacher anymore." Read the rest

CVS security guards sue: "they made us tail black and Latino customers"

Four former CVS security employees in NYC have sued the company for making them enforce a "shopping while black" policy that had them tailing black and Latino customers around the store, watching them for theft. Read the rest

Russia's troll factory

An outstanding expose of Internet Research Agency, a St Petersburg, Russia-based army of trolls for hire who post pro-Kremlin messages to comment forums all day. Read the rest

Al Qaeda's job application form

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has released an al Qaeda job application form which they say they recovered from a thumb-drive captured during the raid on Osama Bin Laden's home in Pakistan. Read the rest

What Sony and Spotify's secret deal really looks like

The nitty-gritty details of Sony's deal with Spotify paint a picture of a very lopsided negotiation indeed, with Sony commanding an unbelievable "most favored nation" status from the streaming music provider that entitles it to top-up payments to match other labels whose music is more popular on the service. Read the rest

Nail salons in NYC: brutal sweatshops

"If you go to a [nail salon] with rock-bottom prices, that chances are the workers wages' are being stolen" -- the $10.50 New York City manicure was built on illegal, shameful labor practices that brutalize the vulnerable immigrant women who sleep on coffin-life pallets and give up their children to caregivers because they can't make ends meet. 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

Portraits of e-waste pickers in Ghana

German photographer Kevin McElvaney shot portraits of the itinerant pickers who work on Agbogbloshie, the toxic e-waste dump outside of Accra, Ghana. Read the rest

Marissa Mayer makes 1,100 Yahooers jobless, calls it a "remix"

Why would a CEO be so tone-deaf as to call a mass-firing a "remix?" Because the only audience that matters today are shareholders, not the public. Read the rest

How to Teach Adults: Get a Job; Plan Your Class; Teach Your Students; Change the World

Dan Spalding's How to Teach Adults (free download) is an extraordinary document that mixes the practical and the philosophical, a book that explains how to be a better teacher, and how better teachers make a better world.

Gov Walker caught lying about his rewrite of the U Wisc mission

Since 1904, the State of Wisconsin and its university system have been governed by the public service mandate of the "Wisconsin Idea" -- until Governor Scott Walker's office leaned on the university to change the Idea to be all about providing workers for the state's businesses, and then lied about it. Read the rest

When shirts cost $3,500

An eye-popping parable about the benefits of automation: 200 years ago, it took 479 hours worth of labor to make a shirt (spinning, weaving, sewing), or $3,472.75 at $7.25/hour. Read the rest

South Korea's brutalized, disabled slaves

Whole towns' worth of people on South Korea's remote southwest coast are complicit in the longrunning, open enslavement of mentally and physically disabled workers who are kidnapped from the streets of cities like Seoul and beaten into lives of forced labor. Read the rest

Teachers describe the terrible state of American education

Teachers from across America (including a Philly elementary school with a $160 annual budget for 400 students!) wrote to Gawker to explain what the No Child Left Behind, charter movement, and the overall war on teachers and education has turned America's classes into. Read the rest

Modern slavery: the Mexican megafarms that supply America's top grocers

A four-part series in the LA Times explores the corrupt labor conditions in Mexico's biggest farms, where the produce, destined for American grocers like Walmart and Whole Foods, is treated with infinitely more care than the workers, who are subject to illegal, inhumane treatment, including indentured servitude. Read the rest

Boutique jeans-maker hiring "breakers" to wear in denim

You have to promise to wear the jeans for six months without washing them and upload regular photos you breaking them in to the Historytag site, keyed to each pair's unique identifier; in return, you get 20% of the jeans' sale price. Read the rest

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