Trump is apparently still terrified about financial conflicts so now he's tweeting about flag-burning and CNN

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Last weekend, the New York Times published an outstanding, meticulously reported investigative story about Trump's financial conflicts of interest -- the sorts of things that could lead to forced divestiture, impeachment, or worse, triggering a tweetstorm from the president-elect about an imaginary, millions-strong cohort of fraudulent voters. Read the rest

Trump Tower has two "privately owned public spaces" that anyone is entitled to visit

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In order to get permission to add an extra 20 floors to Trump Tower's plan, Donald Trump had to promise to build public amenities, "including access to restrooms, an atrium, and two upper-level gardens." Read the rest

America's "most prolific" transparency advocate is crowdfunding to force disclosures from Trump

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Ryan Shapiro, the punk Freedom of Information Access ninja, is crowdfunding a warchest to fund his inevitable lawsuits against the Trump government when he subjects it to the same relentless bombardment of transparency requests he visited upon the Obama administration. Read the rest

America's top spy won't stick around to watch Donald Trump wield his doomsday device

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James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence, has tendered his resignation. He says he will serve through the handover to the new administration, whereupon Donald Trump will inherit an arsenal of cyberweapons and a $52B/year army of 107,000 secret, unaccountable spies that Clapper has strengthened and emboldened in one of the most sustained and successful exercises in empire-building in US governmental history. Read the rest

Here are the devastating capabilities of the weapons Obama will leave behind for Trump

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Even the extreme legal theories of the George W Bush administration were mild compared to some of the "compromise" positions Obama's DoJ argued for, and now Donald J Trump gets to use those positions to further its own terrifying agenda of mass deportations, reprisals against the press, torture and assassination, and surveillance based on religious affiliation or ethnic origin. Read the rest

Fact-checking Trump's plan for the first 100 days

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After a campaign characterized by vagueness and tiny hand-waving, Donald Trump finally released a semi-detailed plan for his first 100 days in office yesterday, including "a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated" and "cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama." Read the rest

How science fiction can help us survive Trump's America

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Tor Books associate publisher Patrick Nielsen Hayden found himself presiding over a "long-planned major meeting" the morning after the election of Donald Trump, and used the chance to explain why, on that day, he was "very grateful that I work in science fiction." Read the rest

Watch Obama get adorably excited about White House trick-or-treaters

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“That's POTUS!” Read the rest

Joi Ito interviews Barack Obama for Wired: machine learning, neurodiversity, basic research and Star Trek

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Joi Ito (previously) -- director of MIT Media Lab, former Creative Commons chief, investor, entrepreneur, and happy mutant -- interviewed Barack Obama for a special, Obama-edited issue of Wired. Read the rest

Julian Assange volunteers to be imprisoned in the USA if Obama gives Chelsea Manning clemency

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Wikileaks has tweeted an offer for founder Julian Assange to leave the Ecuadorean embassy where he has been a political asylum seeker since 2012, and turn himself in for a US jail sentence, if President Obama grants clemency Chelsea Manning, who is serving a 35-year sentence for providing documents to Wikileaks while serving in the US Army. Read the rest

The weird, humiliating nicknames George W Bush gave to everyone

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Remember when "Turd blossom" was the affectionate nickname the President of the United States used to refer to his chief advisor? Read the rest

The first-ever tech expert on Obama's NSA advisory board is *A*W*E*S*O*M*E*

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The president's NSA advisory board grew teeth in the wake of the Snowden revelations, and they have done good service in identifying the civil liberties issues raised by the NSA's program of secret mass surveillance. Read the rest

Proposal: keep the nuclear launch codes in an innocent volunteer's chest-cavity

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In 1981, Harvard law professor Roger Fisher, director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, published a thought experiment in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: what if the codes to launch nuclear war were kept inside the chest-cavity of a young volunteer, and the President would have to hack them out of this young man's chest before he could commence armageddon? Read the rest

Salmon splooges on President Obama's shoes

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Awkward.

Cecily Strong crushes it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

Not since Colbert's roast of GWB in 2006 has a comedian's Nerd Prom monologue been so outrageously funny. Obama's bit was pretty awesome, too.

Read the rest

Zuckerberg phones Obama to complain about NSA spying

The day after a Snowden leak revealed that the NSA builds fake versions of Facebook and uses them to seed malicious software in attacks intended to hijack "millions" of computers, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg telephoned President Obama to complain about the NSA's undermining of the Internet's integrity.

As many have pointed out, it would have been nice to hear Zuckerberg taking the Internet's side before his own stock portfolio was directly affected, but better late than never. Zuckerberg's post on his conversation excoriates the US government for its Internet sabotage campaign, and calls on the USG to "be the champion for the internet, not a threat." Curiously, Zuckerberg calls for "transparency" into the NSA's attacks on the Internet, but stops short of calling for an end to government-sponsored attacks against the net.

In the end, though, Zuckerberg calls on companies to do a better job of securing themselves and their users against intrusive spying. It's not clear how that will work for Facebook, though: its business model is predicated on tricking, cajoling, and siphoning personal data out of its users and warehousing it forever in a neat package that governments are unlikely to ignore. I'm told that 90% of US divorce proceedings today include Facebook data; this is a microcosm of the wider reality when you make it your business to stockpile the evidentiary chain of every human being's actions. Read the rest

State of the Union Machine: mixes of previous SOTUs

Nicko from the Sunlight Foundation writes, "Tomorrow night, President Barack Obama will give the annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress and today the Sunlight Foundation unveiled the State of the Union Machine. It allows you to generate your own random speech modeled on the language from different presidents' previous addresses.

The project uses natural language processing on the corpus of nine previous presidents to generate random text based on the sliders that adjust the weight given to each president. The speeches are a mix of eloquent presidential prose and uncomfortable executive dissonance." Read the rest

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