Boing Boing 

IT feudalism: the surveillance state and wealth gaps


My latest Guardian column examines the relationship between technology, surveillance and wealth disparity -- specifically the way that cheap mass surveillance makes it possible to sustain more unequal societies because it makes it cheaper to find and catch the dissidents who foment rebellion over the creation of hereditary elites.

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Proposed 1913 highway system separates cars and trucks

highway

An early proposal for the US highway system came from the National Highways Association. That wasn't a government office and didn't have much influence on congress, but as an evangelizer of "good roads," the NHA presented citizens with one of the first visions of interstate travel. Its 1913 maps advocate for three types of highways: main roads, truck roads, and links. Such infrastructure was not only important for national defense, but also for moral turpitude:

highways2

The precedent for our current roadmap, below, came from the American Association of State Highway Officials in 1926. A huge version of the map, with routes you're likely familiar with, is available by clicking on the image at the bottom of the io9 story.

highway3 A Map Of The First Proposed U.S. Highway Network [io9]

Improving the estimate of US police killings


Patrick Ball and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group applied the same statistical rigor that he uses in estimating the scale of atrocities and genocides for Truth and Reconciliation panels in countries like Syria and Guatemala to the problem of estimating killing by US cops, and came up with horrific conclusions.

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Interactive tour of nuclear arsenals since WWII

Explore how many nukes there are in the world, and where they are, courtesy of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' interactive Nuclear Notebook -- a useful way to discover whether some friendly superpower has stashed nukes in your harbour.

NYPD buying nationwide car surveillance database for about half a million bucks

vigilant

The NYPD is paying $442,500 for a three-year subscription to Vigilant Solutions' database of 2.2 billion license plate images of cars across America, according to Ars Technica. Advocates in law enforcement say the tool will help find suspects faster. Privacy advocates contend it could dramatically increase the police's ability to catalog and predict the movements of everyday Americans.

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Help the UK Pirate Party write its 2015 election manifesto

A reader writes: "The UK Pirate Party is launching their 2015 crowdsourced policy platform for their manifesto leading to the 2015 general election."

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North Korean defectors undermine totalitarianism with smuggled pirate sitcoms


In an amazing, long, in-depth investigative piece, Wired's Andy Greenberg recounts the story of North Korean dissidents who have escaped, but who mastermind ambitious smuggling efforts that send thousands of USB sticks and SD cards over the border stuffed with pirate media:

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Internet-fired elections and the politics of business as usual


I've got a new Guardian column, Internet-era politics means safe seats are a thing of the past, which analyzes the trajectory of Internet-fuelled election campaigning since Howard Dean, and takes hope in the launch of I'll Vote Green If You Do.

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Personal technology is political


Dan Gillmor, who was the San Jose Mercury News's leading tech columnist during the dotcom years, and was one of the first reporters to go Mac, has switched over to using all free/open source software: Ubuntu GNU/Linux on a Thinkpad, Cyanogenmod on an Android phone.

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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.Read the rest

Emma Thompson on tax-strike until HSBC tax evaders are jailed


The actor and her husband, Greg Wise, have vowed to withhold their tax until the UK tax authorities begin to imprison the tax-cheats who were revealed to be using HSBC's Swiss money-laundry, even if it means going to jail themselves.

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Don't argue about vaccination with Rob Schneider if you value your sanity

California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez made the mistake of returning actor Rob Schneider's deranged anti-vaxx phonecalls and lived to tell the tale: "That is 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back arguing that vaccines don't cause autism with Deuce Bigalow, male gigolo."

Yahoo's security boss faces down NSA director over crypto ban


During Monday's Cybersecurity for a New America conference in DC, Yahoo's Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos stood up and had an intense verbal showdown with NSA director Mike Rogers about the NSA's plan to ban working crypto, in which the nation's top spook fumfuhed and fumbled to explain how this idea isn't totally insane.

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"Stranger Danger" to children vastly overstated

Oft-cited stats about child abduction puts kidnappers behind every bush. But the numbers are old and frequently mangled, distorting our understanding of genuine risks to children.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;

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I'll Vote Green If You Do: electoral kickstarter for minority parties

The UK Green Party has built a version of the kickstarter for elections I proposed last year: they're signing up people who promise to vote Green if enough of their neighbours will do the same.

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Cognition, categories and oppression


Our minds naturally group things in culturally specific categories -- for Americans, robins are more "bird" than albatrosses -- and we're better at categorizing more prototypical items than outliers -- but what does this mean when we group humans in categories like "real Americans"?

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