A dystopian reboot of some sponsored Internet of Shit content

Dan Hon (previously) took note of a sponsored tweet in The Atlantic's Twitter feed: "SPONSORED: The future city: What changes when everything is connected? #MSFTCloud #ad" and decided to have a go at answering the question. The results were fantastic. Read the rest

The wonderful thing about capitalism...

...is the wide range of choice it provides. Read the rest

Poll has Britons in full-throated approval of Corbynism (if not Corbyn)

Ever since he became leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has faced bitter attacks from the "left-wing" establishment, the press, and his own party, despite his repeated, unprecedented landslide victories in party leadership races. Read the rest

Fyre Festival founder to employees: you're not getting paid, but wanna work for free?

On Wednesday 25-year-old Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland -- who is being sued for $100M over his catastrophic schadenfreudefest -- gathered his long-unpaid employees on a conference call this week to tell them that "After conferring with our counsel and all financial people, unfortunately we are not able to proceed with payroll. We’re not firing anyone, we’re just letting you know that there will be no payroll in the short term." Read the rest

Michigan students stage sit-in in solidarity with laid-off teachers

Students of Avondale High School in the Detroit neighborhood of Auburn, MI are currently sitting in in the hallways of their school to protest the announcement that 6 of their teachers were to be laid off. Read the rest

Flint threatens to take away 8,000 families' homes for failure to pay bills for poisoned water

The city of Flint, Michigan notoriously poisoned a generation of its children with lead in the water supply, having ignored and covered up reports from whistleblowers and denied complaints from residents. Read the rest

Verizon mandates pre-installed spyware for all its Android customers

"Appflash" will come pre-installed on all Verizon Android handsets; it's a Google search-bar replacement, but instead of feeding telemetry about your searches, handset, apps and activities to Google, it will send them to Verizon. Read the rest

Monopoly capitalism destroyed American black businesses, which provided safe employment for civil rights activists

For a generation, Americas anti-trust enforcers have walked away from their duties, gripped by an ideology that says that bigger companies mean more profits (which benefit the rich) and lower prices (which benefit everyone else). Read the rest

CCTV-studded, teargas-shooting, water-cannon-ed riot-control killdozer

Are you an urban police force thinking about how to control your fellow humans? Look no farther! Your pals at Bozena have an all-new RIOT system, a crowd-control killdozer for all your protest-suppressing needs! Read the rest

Gimmicky technological conceptualism returns with a vengeance

Wow! An edible drone with extruded vegetable spars that can be flown into famine-affected areas! Reworded press release posts popped up everywhere last week with this image attached. Ian Bogost wasn't buying it. Read the rest

40% of households in Philadelphia can't pay their water bill

America is in the midst of an "invisible water crisis" as the post-war water infrastructure reaches the end of its duty-cycle and cash-strapped public utilities struggle to find the money to rebuild it. In cities like Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, and Detroit, families increasingly find themselves in water debt, and in Detroit, 50,000 households have had their running water cut off because of delinquency. Read the rest

The World Wealth and Income Database: data and visualizations from 110 researchers in 70 countries

Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty endorses the World Wealth and Income Database, where you will find "open and convenient access to the most extensive available database on the historical evolution of the global distribution of income and wealth, both within countries and between countries" in English, with upcoming translations in Chinese, Spanish, Arabic and French. Read the rest

The average FTSE 100 boss earns as much in 2.5 days as his (yes, his) median employee earns in a year

The great recession and austerity have been very good to the chief executives of Britain's biggest companies: according to the High Pay Center, the average compensation for FTSE 100 CEOs rose 10% in 2015, to £5.5m -- meanwhile, UK workers' wages have stagnated year on year, averaging £28,200. Read the rest

AI Alarmism: why smart people believe dumb things about our future AI overlords

Maciej Cegłowski (previously) gave this talk, "Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People," at Web Camp Zagreb last October, spending 45 minutes delving into the origin of the idea that computers are going to become apocalyptic, self-programming, superintelligent basilisks that end all live on Earth (and variations on this theme) and then explaining why this fundamentally evidence-free, fuzzy idea has colonized so many otherwise brilliant people -- including people like Stephen Hawking -- and why it's an irrational and potentially harmful belief system. Read the rest

Indiana's "educational achievement" bonuses: teachers in rich schools get 20x more than those in poor districts

Indiana is one of many GOP-led states that assume that the poor performance of schools in poor neighborhoods is the fault of bad teaching -- and not, say, systemic poverty, the absence of funds raised by rich parents, hunger, mass incarceration -- and so teachers are offered bonuses for "improving" their students' outcomes, which generally means their standardized test scores (since presumptively bad teachers can't be trusted to evaluate their students' qualitative improvements). Read the rest

Tim Cook confirms: tech met with Trump to ask for billions in tax breaks

A leaked memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook to his staff explaining why he met with Donald Trump -- a guy who called Apple traitors for refusing to defeat their own security -- explains the rationale: "tax reform." Read the rest

Politics got weird because neoliberalism failed to deliver

Ian Welsh says that the USSR collapsed because its promises -- "a cornucopia and a withering away of the state" -- conspicuously failed to materialize; now, neoliberalism's promises ("If the rich have more money, they will create more jobs; Lower taxes will lead to more prosperity; Increases in housing and stock market prices will increase prosperity for everyone; Trade deals and globalization will make everyone better off") are likewise being shown to be lies, and so we're in crisis. Read the rest

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