Laser-cut, wall-mounted Millennium Falcon clock

The $38 Millennium Falcon wall clock is handmade to order from plywood, birch and MDF by Hamstercheeks in Nottingham, UK, who uses a laser-cutter to turn orders around in 2-5 business days (the clock itself is an AA-powered quartz sweep movement). (via Geekymerch) Read the rest

The average FTSE 100 boss earns as much in 2.5 days as his (yes, his) median employee earns in a year

The great recession and austerity have been very good to the chief executives of Britain's biggest companies: according to the High Pay Center, the average compensation for FTSE 100 CEOs rose 10% in 2015, to £5.5m -- meanwhile, UK workers' wages have stagnated year on year, averaging £28,200. Read the rest

Drive a nail through 2016 with Charlie "Black Mirror" Brooker's Screenwipe

Literally one of the most exciting moments I had in 2016 was the realization, well into the year, that Charlie Brooker -- creator of Black Mirror, Nathan Barley and TV Go Home -- was going to have to make sense of the entire annus horribilis in his annual Screenwipe special (previously). Read the rest

Uber's VAT-avoidance means it owes millions to EU states and will face huge cuts to future EU profits

The 2015 UK Employment Tribunal case that determined that Uber drivers were employees means that Uber will have to give the UK government 16.67% of its drivers' earnings for Value-Added Tax, going back four or more years (that would be £20M for 2015 alone); and the ruling will likely apply to Uber's EU-wide rules (because VAT rules are harmonized across the EU) -- so not only does Uber owe hundreds of millions to EU governments for the past 4+ years' earnings, but it will face a 16.67% (or more) reduction to all future earnings. Read the rest

Europe's top court says UK surveillance rules are unconstitutional

Last July, the European Court of Jutice's Advocate General ruled that the UK's mass surveillance regime was unconstitutional, triggering an appeal to the ECJ itself, which has affirmed that under European law, governments cannot order retention of all communications data; they must inform subjects after surveillance has concluded; must only engage in mass surveillance in the pursuit of serious crime; and must get independent, judicial authorization. Read the rest

Europe's Brexit negotiators will offer Britons the right to opt into EU citizenship

The European Parliament's Chief Negotiator plans to offer British nationals the right to opt into "associate citizenship" in the EU, with the right to travel and work in the continent. Read the rest

Macabre chocolates: bird skulls, conjoined fetal skulls, and dolls-head lollies

Annabel Lector of Conjuror's Kitchen makes rather spectacular, macabre chocolates: gilded crow's skulls, kitten's skulls, conjoined fetal skulls, barn owl skulls and even a chocolate life-mask of Vincent Price and doll head lollipops. (via Wil Wheaton) Read the rest

In Africa, British spies target allied leaders, executives, and telcoms engineers

Le Monde has published a new collection of documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden, showing that the British spy agency GCHQ targeted the leaders of allied countries in Africa, as well as business executives and employees of telecommunications companies, whose accounts were a means to gaining access to communications infrastructure across the continent. Read the rest

UK cops beat phone encryption by "mugging" suspect after he unlocked his phone

Detectives from Scotland Yard's cybercrime unit decided the easiest way to get around their suspect's careful use of full-disk encryption and strong passphrases on his Iphone was to trail him until he made a call, then "mug" him by snatching his phone and then tasking an officer to continuously swipe at the screen to keep it from going to sleep, which would reactivate the disk encryption. Read the rest

Crooks can guess Visa card details in six seconds by querying lots of websites at once

In Does The Online Card Payment Landscape Unwittingly Facilitate Fraud?, a new paper in IEEE Security & Privacy, researchers from the University of Newcastle demonstrate a technique for guessing secruity details for credit-card numbers in six seconds -- attackers spread their guesses out across many websites at once, so no website gets enough bad guesses to lock the card or trigger a fraud detection system. Read the rest

British politicians exempt themselves from warrantless spying under the Snoopers Charter

The Snoopers Charter is the most invasive surveillance law ever passed by a "democracy", requiring service providers to retain records of virtually everything you do online and with your phone, and then allowing virtually "everyone" to search that data, without a warrant or even record-keeping, so it's virtually impossible to catch systemic abuse of the system. Read the rest

Behold, the short-lived, wonderful 19th century Waverley Type-Writer

Typewriter historian Martin Howard (previously) writes, "I was able to pick up a rare and exquisite Waverley typewriter (1896) this summer in Scotland and have just the other day posted it to my website all cleaned and ready to show." Read the rest

UK reports of webcam blackmail (sextortion, RATting, etc) more than double in 2016

So far 864 people in the UK have reported instances of "webcam blackmail" to police in 2016, more than double the number of reported incidents in 2015. Read the rest

Malcolm McLaren's son torched his punk collection to protest the 40th anniversary of punk "celebrations"

Joe Corre -- founder of the Agent Provocateur lingerie stores; son of Sex Pistols impressario Malcolm McLaren and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood-- torched £5m worth of punk tat in the middle of the Thames, topped with effigies of Tories including Boris Johnson, George Osborne and David Cameron. Read the rest

To see what Trump will do to America, look to his disastrous walled Scottish golf course

Trump International Golf Links was built on the site of a protected 4,000-year-old sand dune; he bullied anyone who wouldn't sell their homes to him to build it and then sent the holdouts a bill for the 15-foot-high wall he built around their homes to block their view of the ocean; he promised a $1.25B investment and ended up investing no more than $50m; he promised 6,000 jobs and created 95; he promised two golf courses and only opened one; he promised to build a 450-room luxury hotel and 950 apartments and built neither -- and now he does everything he can to prevent the creation of clean-energy wind-turbines off the coast. Read the rest

Daily Mail finds new depths to plumb, blames hypothetical immigrants for neo-Nazi's murder of Labour MP

Last June, Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by a neo-Nazi who was outraged by her anti-Brexit stance; that man is now on trial. Read the rest

UK's new surveillance law creates a national browser history with a search engine to match

The Snoopers Charter, an extreme surveillance bill that passed last week, and it's the most extensive domestic spying regime that any "democratic" country has passed, and is a potential blueprint for Orwellian surveillance elsewhere in the years to come. Read the rest

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