Buck Rogers and the Copyright Trolls

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Remember the Sherlock Holmes case where the Conan Doyle Estate was shaking everyone down for sub-litigation payoffs and asserting claims over Holmes (despite serious copyright scholars all saying they had no right to do so) until Les Klinger stuck to his guns?

Now it’s happening again, with some minor variations, only this time the weapon of choice is Buck Rogers.

Amazing, surreal science fiction photo-collages

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Good photo-collages are pretty easy to make, just contrasting things in ways that are quirky and eye-catching. But great photo-collages are hard, and when they work: woah. Read the rest

The Enigma Machine wristwach: a wearable Arduino recreation

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Alan Turing and the codebreakers of Bletchley Park invented modern crypto and computers in the course of breaking Enigma ciphers, the codes that Axis powers created with repurposed Enigma Machines -- sophisticated (for the day) encryption tools invented for the banking industry -- to keep the Allies from listening in on their communications. Read the rest

Line-art: squirming criminals in an authoritative hand

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In 1948, the Institute of Applied Science commissioned an unknown illustrator to depict a fistful of squirming, terrified criminals caught in an authoritative fist, under the headline "CAUGHT BY THEIR FINGERTIPS" -- they were advertising a home Criminal Investigation and Identification course. Read the rest

LA Whiskey Society tastes and reviews "medicinal" whiskey from Prohibition

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From 1920 to 1933, the only way to drink whiskey in America was to get a doctor's prescription, which would be pasted on the bottle (max one bottle/person/week) -- much like the "medical marijuana" of today. Read the rest

Bloom County on the heyday of newspaper funnies

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The triumphant return of Bloom County is a reminder of the glory days of newspaper funnies, but this weekend's color strip was a hell of a reminder of how far we've come since the newspapers were the home of our daily chuckle. Read the rest

IBM's lost, glorious fabric design

It's a pity that IBM hasn't made this fabric since 1950 or so, because I would rock a pair of pajamas in this pattern (or hell, a big suit!).

Textile, IBM, ca. 1950 [Angelo Testa/Cooper Hewitt] Read the rest

EFF-Austin panel commemmorating the 20th anniversary of the Steve Jackson Games raid

The Secret Service raid on Austin's Steve Jackson Games started the fight over freedom and privacy online, and resulted in the founding of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and EFF-Austin. Read the rest

Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, 100 artists' tribute to Jazz Age comic legend

Locust Moon Press's Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream is a kickstarted tribute to Winsor McKay's seminal Jazz Age comic strip, with contributions from Peter Bagge, Paul Pope, Charles Vess, Carla Speed McNeil, Bill Sienkiewicz and many others. Read the rest

Nichelle Nichols: Lieutenant Uhura's Starship Enterprise Star Trek workout

In an amazing set of photos from the Desilu studios set of the original Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols (" Lieutenant Uhura") epitomizes grace, athleticism and poise. Read the rest

Gallery: 13 images that helped define the look of the electronic age

In INSIDE THE MACHINE: Art and Invention in the Electronic Age [W. W. Norton & Company], cultural historian Megan Prelinger guides readers through the history of electronics.

Inside the Machine: a visual history of electronics, technology and art

Archivist Rick Prelinger writes, "It's been a long wait, but Inside the Machine, my spouse Megan's visual history of electronics, technology and art is finally out and propagating throughout the world, and we're having a release party in San Francisco at the McRoskey Mattress Factory on Monday, August 24!" Read the rest

Overshare: Justin Hall's biopic about the first social media/blogging

"Overshare: The links.net" is Justin Hall's biopic telling the story of how he became one of the earliest, most prolific, transparent humans of the net and one of the first real web-writers. Read the rest

UK ECHELON journalist: "Snowden proved spies need accountability"

Legendary investigative journalist Duncan Campbell describes his life of being kidnapped by the London Metropolitan Police's Special Branch, being surveiled and harassed by UK spies and ministers, and reveals the identity of the whistleblower who leaked the details of ECHELON to him. Read the rest

WWII slang from the front

As seen in War Slang: American Fighting Words & Phrases Since the Civil War: "Royal Order of Whale Bangers. An 'exclusive' club open only to airmen who have mistakenly dropped depth charges on whales, supposing them to be enemy submarines." Read the rest

Kickstarting an omnibus of seminal punk zine BLT

It's been 25 years since the zine BLT started, the early intersection of punk and and desktop publishing. Read the rest

1950s fashion from the cover of Life Magazine, 1914

In 1914, nudity was easy to imagine, but not gentlemen in public without hats. Read the rest

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