Campaigners search Londoners' phones to help them understand the Snoopers Charter

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Campaigners from Liberty, a civil liberties group, took to the streets of London (and the lobby of the Home Office!) and grabbed peoples' phones, browsing them while explaining that they just wanted to build a detailed dossier of their lives by looking at their communications, browsing history and location data -- mirroring the way that the Snoopers Charter, pending mass surveillance legislation, will allow UK government agencies to harvest "bulk data" and store and search it, without suspicion or warrant. (via B2FXXX) Read the rest

British Royals' celebrations with narration from North Korean patriotic parade

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This is a genius piece of media criticism: mapping the BBC's own slavishly patriotic broadcast of the British royals' 2015 "celebrations" onto its breathless voice-over for a North Korean patriotic demonstration in celebration of a Kim birthday. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Musical salute to mechanical keyboards

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The latest Pseudorandom installment features Limor "Lady Ada" Fried and Collin Cunningham extolling the virtues of mechanical keyboards for 40 fascinating minutes:

The climax of this is the video at the top of this post in which a musical number is backed with an all-mechanical-keyboard rhythm section. Read the rest

Why Internet voting is a terrible idea, explained in small words anyone can understand

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In this 20 minute video, Princeton computer science prof Andrew Appel lays out the problems with Internet-based voting in crisp, nontechnical language that anyone can understand. Read the rest

UK Chancellor exempts families of "Politically Exposed Persons" from money laundering scrutiny

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George Osborne, the Tory chancellor of David Cameron's UK government, has amended the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill to exempt the families of "Politically Exposed Persons" -- Members of Parliament and other elites -- from money laundering investigations. Read the rest

Colorado school district wants to arm security staff with military-style rifles

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Richard Payne, director of Douglas County School District security, spent $12,000 on 10 Bushmaster semi-automatic long rifles that will be given to the district's in-school security guards. Read the rest

Unseen Magic: tricks that make you want to perform

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Patrick Kun's Unseen Magic videos compile 5-10 second clips of beautifully executed magic tricks that combine manual dexterity with fabulous showmanship. Read the rest

Competing construction companies stage a bulldozer fight in a busy street

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In this video, we see a rare bulldozer duel between construction rivals in Xingtang county, Hebei province. Read the rest

To do in San Francisco: 2016's first Ignite event, 4/26

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Brady Forrest writes, "Ignite SF's first event of 2016 is on 4/26. We've got lots of great speakers. Eva Galperin (EFF) is going to talk about the FBI, Apple & your iPhone. Renee Diresta is going to dive into conspiracy theories and how algorithms influence policy." Read the rest

John Oliver and the cast of Sesame Street on lead poisoning

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In light of Flint lead catastrophe, John Oliver gets the cast of Sesame Street to update their 20-year-old segment warning kids to steer clear of lead paint, making it over into an economic parable about moral hazard and aligning incentives. (via Rolling Stone) Read the rest

China's Internet censors order ban on video of toddler threatening brutal cops

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China's Internet censors have ordered the country's social media companies to block further sharing of a viral video that shows a toddler threatening members of the notorious urban management police squad with a long pole, telling them to leave his grandmother alone. Read the rest

Crowdfunding new Commodore 64s, desktop and handheld

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The 64 is a crowdfunded rebuild of the classic Commodore 64, to ship with an as-yet-unannounced collection of games and software from the beloved gaming platform. Read the rest

Smart radiator covers let New Yorkers keep their windows closed

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Becky Stern writes, "I recently investigated my building's new smart radiator cover installation and found a company bringing steam heat into the 21st century and allowing residents to keep their windows closed when the heat is on!" Read the rest

The Divide: important new documentary about income inequality based on "The Spirit Level"

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Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson's 2011 book The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger was an instant classic for the way it described the impact of wealth inequality on the lives of both poor and rich people, driving them both to completely unsustainable working lives that destroyed their families and made them deeply unhappy. Read the rest

Congresscritters spend 4 hours/day on the phone, begging for money

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John Oliver is, as always, a flamethrower crisping the Shield of Boringness that protects a corrupt, terrible system: this time, it's Congressional fundraising, which sends our elected reps off-site for four hours a day to a cubicle-filled call-center where they strap on a headset and wheedle strangers for money, and, on every third day, sends them to DC restaurants to host rubber-chicken fundraiser dinners. Read the rest

John Oliver versus credit-reporting and background checks

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1 in 20 credit reports contains grave errors that seriously harm the people whom the reporting bureaus are libeling; the credit reporting industry -- which controls access to rental accommodation, employment, and loans -- says this is proof that the system is working, because they're only ruining the lives of 10,000,000 people. Read the rest

Babymetal, live on Colbert!

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Babymetal, Japan's greatest synthetic all-woman heavy metal band, just released their second album, Metal Resistance, an occasion they celebrated with an outstanding live appearance on Colbert, performing Gimme Chocolate, their biggest hit. (via Metafilter). Read the rest

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