Boing Boing 

Koch brothers raise 2016 election warchest that's on par with either party's spend

The Kochs will raise $889M from conservative millionaires and billionaires to spend in the 2016 election, which, thanks to Citizens United, can be used to buy effectively unlimited political advertising to support policies that will make more money for the donors.

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Alien overlord: stop blaming me for your city's housing bubble!


Zathbog of Planet Cibwarv wants us to stop blaming him for buying up all the property in your favorite big city, ensuring that even families with solid double incomes can barely afford to rent, and will never own a home of their own; after all, you should see the hardships he endured while building up his immense off-planet fortunes in the the interstellar mining industry.

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Pacific Edge, the most uplifting novel in my library

This utopian story, about a world where people live together without the need for extreme haves and have-nots, is available as a DRM-free audiobook

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Privatized offshore cities: the new climate apartheid


Financier-developers with ties to some of the century's most notorious war criminals are building Eko Atlantic, an offshore city near Lagos, to house the burgeoning, confiscatory millionaires of Nigeria, while in the oft-bulldozed slums of Lagos genuine, climate-resilient floating buildings are taking to sea.

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London: the dead-eyed banker psycho dream

PSYCHO

"Its protagonist lives in a world of almost continual night, with the hungry eyes and dead affect of an Ayn Rand wet dream: his world is constituted of chrome, glass, a palette of white-to-taupe, a spatter-pattern rug and one book, a single book, on graphic design" - Piercepenniless on the Redrow London property development promo video.

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Thomas Piketty turns down the Legion of Honor

"I do not think it is the government's role to decide who is honourable."

Why you're so busy


The Economist's feature on time-poverty is an absolute must-read, explaining the multi-factorial nature of the modern time crunch, which combines the equivalence of time and money (leading to leisure hours that are as crammed as possible in order to maximize their value), the precarity of the American workplace (meaning that affluent workers work longer hours), and the pace of electronically mediated communications (which makes any kind of refractory pause feel like a wasteful and dull eternity).

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A modest proposal for Wall Street's future


Michael "Flash Boys" Lewis gives us a wish-list of eight (implausible) steps that Wall Street could take to check its feckless, reckless, destructive lurch through the 21st century.

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Toronto's public library under threat from Rob Ford's Library Board

The Toronto Library Board appointed by the disgraced former mayor Rob Ford has continued its programme of cutting library budgets, cutting way past the bone and threatening the Toronto public library system altogether.

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Toys are more gendered now than they were 50 years ago


Before Reagan's FCC deregulated kids' TV and allowed toy-makers to produce 22-minute commercials disguised as cartoons, there had been major strides in de-gendering toys, grouping them by interest, rather than by constraining who was "supposed" to play with them.

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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.

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Corporate sovereignty: already costing the EU billions


"Corporate sovereignty" -- in which foreign companies get to sue the government to penalize it for passing environmental and labor laws that undercut profits -- is the one of the most controversial elements of the TAFTA/TTIP trade agreement the EU is negotiating with the US.

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The high cost of being poor

An excerpt from Linda Tirado's 2014 book Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America lays out some of the ways that being poor costs more than having a comfortable income -- it's more than having to pay for high daily rents in a motel because you can't afford first-and-last.

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Angela Merkel calls for end to net neutrality


The German Chancellor -- whose party is closely aligned with the telcoms sector -- says she wants a two-tier Internet; on the "fast" Internet, carriers will be allowed to slow down access to services that haven't paid bribes for "premium" carriage; on the "regular" Internet, ISPs will just give you the data you ask for.

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Uberdystopian: the surge-priced nightmare future


Paul Ford's short story "One Day, I Will Die on Mars," depicts a chilling, all-too-believable dystopian world where Uber becomes a massive transhuman immortal colony-organism that treats its labor force as its gut-flora, to be continuously measured and perfected or discarded.

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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.

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Luxury South African safari train where work is forbidden


The 3-day, $2750/person Rovos Rail train safari from Pretoria to Durban is pulled by 1930s steam trains; features giant, luxurious staterooms with their own bathtubs; offers high tea; and, true to its Edwardian time-warp, passengers are prohibited from working in public areas, lest this break the atmosphere of idle wealth and privilege.

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GOP set up Twitter "numbers stations" to get around Super PAC rules

Super PACs are allowed to raise unlimited funds to support election campaigns, but can't coordinate with those campaigns; this especially means that campaigns can't share expensive private poll data with PACs to help fine tune their campaigns -- which is exactly what Republicans did with their cryptic, unlabelled Twitter accounts that acted as dead-drops with messages like "CA-40/43-44/49-44/44-50/36-44/49-10/16/14-52-->49/476-10s" to let affiliated PACs know what the polls had shown.

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Plutocrats' visual guide to rigging elections


From the Mayday.US super PAC (which backs candidates who promise to abolish super PACs).

David Graeber and Thomas Piketty on whether capitalism will destroy itself

Graeber wrote the magisterial Debt: The First 5,000 Years; Piketty, of course, wrote the essential Capital in the 21st Century -- in a must-read dialog, they discuss their differences and similarities and offer views on whether capitalism will collapse.

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Potato-chip surveillance: once you start, you just can't stop

The ongoing revelations about UK domestic spying on political activists, continued in some case for decades, and which included an incident in which an undercover police officer fathered a child with the woman he was spying on, illustrate an important point: once you decide someone is suspicious enough to follow around, there's no evidence that you can gather to dispel that suspicion.

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Verizon's new big budget tech-news site prohibits reporting on NSA spying or net neutrality


They're positioning the new site "Sugar String" as a well-funded competitor to Wired, but reporters are not allowed to mention NSA spying (in which Verizon was an enthusiastic partner) or net neutrality (which Verizon has devoted itself to killing, with campaigns of overt lobbying and covert dirty tricks).

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Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, in 20 minutes

Piketty's bestselling economics book is seismic, a vital infusion of data into the ideological debate over economics -- but it's also 700 pages long.

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"Hive" (middle class colony collapse)


Jud Turner writes, "'Hive (middle class colony collapse)' is the latest in my series of sculptures depicting hallucinatory factory scenes, and ponders the loss of bees and an ever-shrinking middle class, both likely results of modern industrial methods and monopoly capitalism."

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Walmart heirs' net worth exceeds that of population of a city the size of Phoenix


It's grown 6,700% since 1983, to $144.7B in 2013 -- greater than the net worth of 1,782,020 average Americans.

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Why the UK middle class should be rioting in the streets


Alex Proud, a lifestyle columnist for the right-of-centre UK daily The Telegraph, has an incendiary and essential column about the end-game of financialized capitalism, which, having destroyed the lives of working class people, has now set its sights on the middle class, as private equity firms buy up productive businesses, saddle them with debt, cash out huge dividends, and leave the businesses to collapse.

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Eric Holder: creator of the "Too Big to Jail" bankster


While you contemplate Eric Holder's track record of surveilling, intimidating and indicting journalists, remember that he also invented the Too Big to Jail doctrine, the failed idea that the answer to breathtaking criminal activity by gigantic banks is big fines, not criminal prosecutions.

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GOP's not-so-secret weakness: unfairness


"A capital gains tax rate (making money off money) that is lower than the earned income rate (making money off work) is just not fair; bestowing that rate on hedge-fund managers through a specially designed loophole is just not fair" -Wick Allison, American Conservative, Nov 12, 2012.

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When all the jobs belong to robots, do we still need jobs?


Zeynep Tufekci's scathing response to the establishment consensus that tech will create new jobs to replace the ones we've automated away makes a lot of good points.

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