Scary Swedish bedtime stories for awful children

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The creators of the game Year Walk have prepared a special treat for us: a free e-book of Swedish scary stories to tell in the dark.

Pirate Bay down after Swedish police raid

The administrators of The Pirate Bay had previously boasted that their servers were mirrored on cloud hosts all over the world, and that they could be back up and running very quickly after a raid, but the site's been down for a day and more now. Read the rest

Sweden awards Snowden the "Right Livelihood" award

The parliament gave him several standing ovations as he accepted by video-link from Moscow. Read the rest

Pirate Bay and Flattr founder Peter "brokep" Sunde released from prison

He spent more than five months inside, having his reading material censored and having been denied adequate food, losing more than 15kg. Read the rest

A prison visit with The Pirate Bay's Peter "brokep" Sunde

Julia Reda, a German Pirate Party MEP, was allowed to visit Sunde in a Swedish prison, and came away with a sad and important report on his tenure there, and his views on the future of the Internet and copyright. Read the rest

Steampunk spring-heeled jack stiltwalker

Spotted yesterday at the Swecon Steampunkfestival in Gavle, Sweden: a magnificent steampunk spring-heeled jack cosplayer whose stilts were the hit of the show. Read the rest

HOWTO demo your homebrew laser CNC without zapping bystanders

Do you have a home-made, high-powered laser that you fear demonstrating because you might hurt someone? Here's the solution: fit it to a pen-holder/plotter derived from Evil Mad Scientist Labs's Watercolorbot. Read the rest

Chinese censor prosecuted for taking bribes to censor remarks companies and government officials disliked

Censorship invites abuse. In China, the widespread practice of Internet censorship means that lots of people are authorized to hand down censorship orders and lots more people naturally turn to censorship when something on the Internet bugs them. This week, Chinese authorities prosecuted an "Internet policeman" who took payments from companies in return for censoring unfavorable remarks about them on social media. He's accused of censoring more than 2,500 posts in return for over $300K in payments. He also collaborated with another official to censor critical remarks about government officials. It seems unlikely that Gu, the Internet policeman who was arrested, and Liu, his collaborator, were the only two censors-for-hire in the Chinese system.

Lest you think that this problem is uniquely Chinese, consider that when Wikileaks leaked the Great Firewall of Australia's blacklist, we learned that more the half the sites on the list didn't meet the censorship criteria. And when the Danish and Swedish blacklists were analyzed, it emerged that more than 98 percent of the sites blocked did not meet the official criteria for censorship. And in the UK, the national firewall once blocked all of Wikipedia.

China Prosecuted Internet Policeman In Paid Deletion Cases Read the rest

Gross-out makeup: flayed-skin domino mask

Makeup artist Psycho Sandra created an amazing, gross-out effect for her Hallowe'en costume last year: she created the illusion that she had made a domino mask of her own flayed skin. She's got a whole gallery of bloody makeup effects on her site, including a crazy zombie to die (and come back) for.

Halloween 2013 (via IO9) Read the rest

Swedish yule goat burns. Again

Linguinineenie writes, "Despite the best efforts of the authorities, vandals have managed yet again to burn down the Yule Goat in the city of Gavle. This is at least the 24th burning since Gavle started putting up a giant version of the traditional Yule Goat in 1966. While illegal, it's become something of a cat and mouse game between the erectors and the destroyers." Read the rest

Sweden's telcos hand over mass spying powers to police, tax authority, customs and other agencies

Under a new, extra-legal voluntary arrangement, Swedish telcos will turn over detailed call records, location data, and billing information to a wide variety of government agencies, including the tax authorities, police, and customs. The data will also include codes necessary to bypass Swedes' SIM PINs and covertly activate them over the air. Because this is a voluntary arrangement, there is no legal framework for it -- it wasn't the result of a law or act of Parliament. It's just a cozy arrangement between Sweden's carriers and the Swedish state. Read the rest

Swedish cinemas rate films on their Bechdel Test score

Four Swedish movie theaters have started publishing gender scores for the movies they exhibit, based on the films' ability to pass the Bechdel Test ("must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man"). A surprising number of movies fail this test. The initiative is supported by the Swedish Film Institute, a government agency that represents a major source of funding for Swedish film, and one of the region's cable operators is devoting a Sunday to movies that pass the test, which comes from Alison Bechdel's excellent comic, Dykes to Watch Out For. Read the rest

Testicle-eating fish spotted in Swedish/Danish waters

Experts from the Danish National History Museum have warned that pacus -- a relative of the piranha -- have been spotted in the Danish/Swedish Øresund channel. The pacu has been known to bite swimmers, and have been known to attack men's testicles, because "testicles sit nicely in their mouth." So men are being cautioned to avoid nude swimming in the channel, though the museum's Henrik Carl stresses that the risk is not very high, in the grand scheme of things: "You're more likely to drown than get your nuts bitten off." Read the rest

Mouldering city built of bread is a metaphor for Earth without humans

Swedish artist Johanna Mårtensson created this installation depicting a cityscape made of bread in 2009, and photographed it as it decayed, creating a series of pictures representing the destiny of all human folly come the day that we make ourselves extinct and vanish from the face of the Earth:

I was inspired by an article about how well the earth would do without us. Within 500 years all buildings would be half fallen or fallen, perfect homes for animals and plants. The forrest would soon grow in cities. After hand buildings as well as pollutions would be taken care of by bacterias and micro-organisms. An ufo that came here in a couple of of hundred thousand years would not see many signs of that a gang of primates ones thought that they where the lords of the planet.

Decor Photoinstallation by Johanna Mårtensson (via Crazy Abalone) Read the rest

UK spooks' candid opinions of the Assange affair revealed

Julian Assange has presented a set of freedom-of-information data protection act liberated messages from GCHQ, the UK spy headquarters, concerning his own case. According to Assange, the messages reveal that UK spies believed that the Swedish rape inquiry against him was a "fit up" aimed at punishing him for his involvement in Wikileaks (many believe that the Swedish government would have aided in Assange's extradition to the USA, where there is a sealed Grand Jury indictment against him). He also revealed cables relating to the spies' candid opinion about his sheltering in the Ecuadorian embassy:

A message from September 2012, read out by Assange, apparently says: "They are trying to arrest him on suspicion of XYZ … It is definitely a fit-up… Their timings are too convenient right after Cablegate..."

...A second instant message conversation from August last year between two unknown people saw them call Assange a fool for thinking Sweden would drop its attempt to extradite him.

The conversation, as read out by Assange, goes: "He reckons he will stay in the Ecuadorian embassy for six to 12 months when the charges against him will be dropped, but that is not really how it works now is it? He's a fool… Yeah … A highly optimistic fool."

GCHQ acknowledges that the messages are real, but, "The disclosed material includes personal comments between some members of staff and do not reflect GCHQ's policies or views in any way."

Julian Assange reveals GCHQ messages discussing Swedish extradition [Giles Tremlett and Ben Quinn/Guardian] Read the rest

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