Call for Speakers: Copycamp Warsaw, with Birgitta Jónsdóttir and Cory

Marta writes, "This is an open call for 10-minute presentations at the 3rd International CopyCamp Conference (November 6-7, 2014 in Warsaw, Poland), devoted to social impacts of copyright. This year, we'll have two special guests: Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a poet and member of the Icelandic parliament, Internet activist, freedom of information and freedom of speech defender and Cory Doctorow, the co-editor of this website." Read the rest

Tiny letter service

Look at this adorable tiny letter the folks at Leaf Cutter Designs sent me (it took a while for it to get forwarded from the Make offices to my home in LA). You can place an order to send a letter like this to someone. Read the rest

2084 wants to have a word with 2014 about Net Neutrality

Chris Burke writes, "Apparently in the future we are all Team Fortress 2 characters and Net Neutrality is dead.

This video was a co-production of two machinima pioneers: myself and Frank Dellario of Pixel Valley Studio and was made for the NoSlowLane campaign." As a reminder, Here's EFF's guide to commenting on the FCC net discrimination proposal.

net neutrality,videos,youtube,corruption,telcoms,games,business,regulation,regulatory capture Read the rest

Privacy vs network effects

Respected cryptographer and security researcher Ross Anderson has a fascinating new paper, Privacy versus government surveillance: where network effects meet public choice [PDF], which explores the "privacy economics" of mass surveillance, pointing out the largely overlooked impact of "network effects" on the reality of who spies, who is spied upon, and under what circumstances.

My first big point is that all the three factors which lead to monopoly – network effects, low marginal costs and technical lock-in – are present and growing in the national-intelligence nexus itself. The Snowden papers show that neutrals like Sweden and India are heavily involved in information sharing with the NSA, even though they have tried for years to pretend otherwise. A non-aligned country such as India used to be happy to buy warplanes from Russia; nowadays it still does, but it shares intelligence with the NSA rather then the FSB. If you have a choice of joining a big spy network like America's or a small one like Russia's then it's like choosing whether to write software for the PC or the Mac back in the 1990s. It may be partly an ideological choice, but the economics can often be stronger than the ideology.

Second, modern warfare, like the software industry, has seen the bulk of its costs turn from variable costs into fixed costs. In medieval times, warfare was almost entirely a matter of manpower, and society was organised appropriately; as well as rent or produce, tenants owed their feudal lord forty days’ service in peacetime, and sixty days during a war.

Read the rest

Divorce complaint of Richard Feynman's second wife

(Via Clifford Pickover) Read the rest

Scooby Doo's masterful, spooky background paintings

The background paintings on Scooby Doo were far and away the best thing on the show, as this 2007 post from Secret Fun Blog ably demonstrates. The mediocre dialog and plotting and indifferent animation were totally mismatched with this spooky masterpieces. Read the rest

Women in Game of Thrones [Boars, Gore, and Swords]

Since this season’s “Breaker of Chains” episode, Game of Thrones’ handling of women and sex has been under intense scrutiny, and with a break in the show over Memorial Day, we dedicate an entire episode to bringing on two of our favorite guests and comedians to discuss exactly these topics.

Literally: portraits of booksellers

Photographer Steve Kenward's Literally is a series of portraits of booksellers in their native habitats (their bookstores). As a former member of the tribe myself, I recognize these for the fine specimens they are: magnificently nearsighted, slightly askew, and posed with the treasures they have personally assembled and arrayed for the public's delectation. Each portrait is accompanied by a list of favorite books, which is the only part of this that rings hollow -- a bookseller with only one favorite book is like a chef who only likes one dish. Impossible. Read the rest

Critical cruelty at One-Star Book Reviews

“First of all, the whole thing is almost all dialogue.”

Further to our old friends at You Can’t Please Everyone, a Tumblr devoted to “reviews of classic books, culled from the internet’s think tank”: One-Star Book Reviews. Read the rest

Surveillance camera bird-feeder

Thinkgeek's Security Camera Birdfeeder ($15.99) is a bit of gallows humor for the post-Snowden age. Feed animals in your yard while they perch unwittingly into an icon of the corporate-government surveillance apparatus, and try not to think about the CCTVs -- metaphorical and literal -- watching you as you watch them. Then ask yourself: "Who's the birdbrain around here?" Read the rest

Here's what that huge fire in Alaska looks like from a NASA satellite

Here's a false-color image from the Landsat 8 satellite of the not-at-all funny Funny River Fire in Alaska, captured on May 20, 2014--just one day after it began. And below, an un-enhanced natural color image. Read the rest

David Pogue -- guest on new Cool Tools podcast

Kevin Kelly and I launched a new podcast at Cool Tools. In our inaugural episode, we pick the brain of guest David Pogue, founder of Yahoo Tech, for some lesser-known tips, tools, and life hacks. We move from discussing productivity apps, to office products, to kitchen appliances. Read the rest

How to request your US Border file (and what you're likely to get)

Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the United States Customs and Border Protection agency for his own travel records, including the notoriously comprehensive "Passenger Name Record" -- what he got was '72 pages of shit,' a redacted jumble of arbitrarily collected and retained nonsense. He didn't get his PNR. If you want to give it a try, he's signposted the procedure. Read the rest

Really Creepy Bundle: name your price for amazing, transmedia horror

Jamie from Vodo writes, "We've launched the Really Creepy Bundle, a brand new collection of terrifying, chilling and downright disturbing indie creativity that includes four highly-rated games (Oknytt, Finding Teddy, The Path and Sang Froid), award winning fiction (Nebula nominee Stranger In Olondria, and a month subscription to Nightmare magazine), four spooky short films, an 8 track compilation from LA's Not Not Fun Records, laden with doom plus the definitely disturbing and massively entertaining graphic novel (The Furry Trap) -- which Boing Boing rated one of the best damn comics of the year in 2013. Check out the whole bundle and choose your own price. 5% of earnings are going to the Electronic Frontier Foundation!"

The Really Creepy Bundle Read the rest

China cracks down on popular news messaging app WeChat

The popular messaging WeChat, whose Chinese name translates to "micromessage", is on the Chinese government's ban-list. State media reported today that the government is initiating a month-long crackdown on the service, which is used in China to share news that the country's heavily censored internet would otherwise not permit. Read the rest

Ohio man: goddamn meteorite bashed my Buick

Joe Massa said he was driving home Sunday morning around 2AM when his Buick was struck by something. And that something, he says, was a freakin' meteorite. Read the rest

Why did the 9/11 'falling man' image disappear?

At Design Observer, a fascinating piece on how photographer Richard Drew's iconic, disturbing image of a man falling to his death from the World Trade Center on 911 has been erased from public view. Read the rest

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