Australian PM Tony Abbot ousted in own-party coup

Australia's Liberal Party voted out its own leader, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and replaced him with Malcolm Turnbull. Read the rest

BBC fires UK government's Meterological Office, opens up weather prediction to global firms

It's a complex story -- partly about the Beeb facing privatisation and being required to bid out its work; partly about the Met having made some spectacular recent blunders in providing the weather. Read the rest

America's terrible trains are an ideological triumph

America's trains suck on purpose: "Ride a fast train to Washington today and you’ll start thinking about national health insurance tomorrow." Read the rest

British austerity: a failed experiment abandoned by the rest of the world

Writing in the Guardian, Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman analyses the last five years of British austerity, using other developed nations in the EU and elsewhere as a benchmark for the growth we could have had -- it's not a pretty picture. Read the rest

World War 3 Illustrated: prescient outrage from the dawn of the Piketty apocalypse

The Reagan era kicked off a project to dismantle social mobility and equitable justice began. This trenchant, angry, gorgeous graphic zine launched in response.

Grim meathook future, Singapore style

Charlie Stross's "Different Cluetrain" is a set of theses describing the future we live in, where capitalism not only doesn't need democracy -- it actually works better where democracy is set aside in favor of a kind of authoritarian, investor-friendly state. Read the rest

The Tory war on science in Canada: a chronology

Nine years of cuts; muzzlings; bad science, retaliatory firings, burned libraries, layoffs, closed investigations, censorship, withdrawal from international accords; Read the rest

Livestream: students occupy Newark school superintendent's office to protest forced privatization

Greg Costikyan writes, "Newark public school students have occupied the office of Cami Anderson, the state-appointed superintendent of Newark's public school system, in protest against plans to privatize the entire city school system over the protest of the city's mayor and virtually its entire population." Read the rest

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

No future for you: cultural institutions can't afford to play along with pointy-headed bosses

My new Guardian column, Go digital by all means, but don't bring the venture capitalists in to do it, is an open letter to the poor bastards who run public institutions, asking them to hold firm on delivering public value and not falling into the trap of running public services "like a business." Read the rest

David Graeber's The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber follows up his magesterial Debt: The First 5000 Years with a slim, sprightly, acerbic attack on capitalism's love affair with bureaucracy, asking why the post-Soviet world has more paperwork, phone-trees and red-tape than ever, and why the Right are the only people who seem to notice or care.

Bottom line: are humans sensors or things to be sensed?

A magesterial longread from Hans de Zwart of the Netherlands' Bits of Freedom steps carefully through all the ways in which the modern technological landscape focuses on ubiquitous surveillance for the purposes of social control and increased profitability for corporations. Read the rest

Philadelphia schools have $5/student/year for supplies

"Education reform," the charter school movement (that siphons state funding for well-off kids into private hands), the racialized segregation of inner-city and suburban school districts, No Child Left Behind, and the scapegoating of teachers' unions has produced an education system that hardly even qualifies as a 12-year babysitting service. Read the rest

Hungary's Internet tax arouses mass opposition

The economically precarious country has a remarkably low rate of corporate tax, and makes up the difference with high, regressive consumption taxes, including the one of the highest rates of VAT in Europe. Read the rest

What's financialism, and how is it destroying your life?

As businesses start retaining and investing larger cash-reserves, they're turning into banks. Banks, meanwhile, need to find another line of work: they become asset traders. Meanwhile, your wages have been stagnant for decades, which means that in order to survive, you must become a debtor. Read the rest

SF predicting the present: novel anticipated Detroit water crisis

Paul Di Filippo describes Ben Parzybok's new novel, Sherwood Nation: "The book is obviously as headline-friendly as the Ferguson riots, inequality debates, Occupy protests and climate change reports; but there's also a Joseph Conrad-Grahame Greene-Shakespeare style concern with the nature of power, the roles that are thrust upon us, and the limits of friendship and love." Read the rest

Stephen Harper sells Canada: China can secretly sue to repeal Canadian laws

Under the terms of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, approved by PM Harper on Friday, China can sue Canada in secret tribunals to repeal national and provincial laws that interfere with Chinese investments, including laws limiting construction of the Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline. Read the rest

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