3/4 of Hobby Lobby's investment funds include contraception, abortion services

Hobby Lobby is so offended by the idea of contributing to its employees' birth control expenses that it fought all the way to the Supreme Court over the issue. But its retirement plan has over $73M sunk into funds that include companies that make contraception. Read the rest

Pomplamoose covers "Come Together"

Pomplamoose is heading out on tour, and they've celebrated with this wonderful cover of the Beatles' "Come Together." Read the rest

Time-lapse of American seizure of indigenous land, 1776-1887

Rodney writes, "Between 1776 and 1887, the U.S. seized over 1.5 billion acres, an eighth of the world, from America's indigenous people by treaty and executive order. This 1:27 video maps it year by year." Read the rest

Blogging History: Snowden seeks Russian asylum; Goldman Sachs, vampire squid; EFF's patent hitlist

One year ago today NSA leaker Edward Snowden asks Russia for asylum, issues statement via Wikileaks: A Russian consular official confirms Edward Snowden has asked for political asylum in Russia.

Five years ago today Taibbi on Goldman Sachs: "Planet-eating Death Star," "Vampire squid": Matt Taibbi's epic Rolling Stone piece this month, he describes the financial firm as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity"; and "the planet-eating Death Star of political influence".

Ten years ago today 10 Internet patents that are going DOWN: EFF has picked its list of ten dumb-and-bustable Internet patents after a public competition, and we're saddling up to gather invalidating prior art we can submit to the US Patent and Trademark Office to have them struck down. Read the rest

Kickstarting a Lovecraftian game where the object is to stay sane and alive

Labratory's kickstarting a new game: "Shadows of Arkham," which is pure Lovecraftian Ameri-trash for people who know that you can't fight the Elder Gods, but you might be able to avoid mind-death if you're quick enough. Read the rest

Inkssentials Craft Sheet

From online discussions and reviews, it seems that nearly everyone who buys one of these non-stick, heat-resistant worksheets has the same initial reaction: “I paid $14 for THIS?” Quickly, that skepticism turns to appreciation, if not outright tool evangelism. I am one such skeptic. For too long, I’ve taken the “self-healing” billing of my cutting mat far too literally, subjecting it to paints, glues, epoxies, clay, heat — all sorts of indignities from which it never heals. Besides cutting, every other crafting/hobby activity should happen on some other surface, and for me, I now don’t want to use anything but one of these heavy duty (5 mil) PTFE (Teflon) sheets.

The Craft Sheet first seems rather fragile and insubstantial, but it’s virtually indestructible. Almost nothing sticks to it. And besides it acting as a protective surface, you can also use it for techniques like low-brow paper marbling (mix some paints on the sheet and swirl paper through it). To clean the sheet, you just wipe with a rag – good as new. You can buy direct from sealersupply.com for cheaper (and larger sizes), but you’ll have to pay for shipping. -- Gareth Branwyn

Ranger 15-Inch-by-18-Inch Inkssentials Craft Sheet: $14 Read the rest

3D weaving produces strong, flexible solids

Oluwaseyi Sosanya, a Nigerian American student at London's Royal College of Art, produced an amazing technique for 3D weaving, computer-controlled weavers to produce stable, three dimensional topologies. Read the rest

Dear fellow zillionaires: they're coming for us with pitchforks

Nick Hanauer, a hereditary millionaire who increased the family fortune with some shrewd early dotcom inventions has written an open letter to his fellow "zillionaires" warning that their corruption of the US political system has given rise to an unstable situation of wealth inequality that has turned their potential customers into impoverished pitchfork-wielding revolutionaries who are coming for their heads. Read the rest

Rolf Harris convicted of indecent assault, but they're still talking about a "witch hunt"

Rolf Harris, a beloved Australian children's TV entertainer resident in Britain since the 1950s, was sent down yesterday on sexual assault charges stemming from encounters dating back decades. His victims were as young as 7 years old. Artist Harris, for whom the Queen sat, faces the rest of his life in prison.

More victims have come forward recently, reports The Guardian and news.com.au. His paintings have been withdrawn from sale, but you can still buy limited edition prints.

Two years ago, Sir Jimmy Savile was posthumously exposed as a sexual abuser of children, with more than 500 people reportedly victimized. Savile's high position within the BBC, and the protection it afforded the star entertainer, drew the corporation much criticism.

Then, of course, there is Gary Glitter. And Max Clifford. And Chris Denning.

These men walked in the same circles, and to those of us who grew up with post-war Britain's light entertainment TV monoculture, their dethronings are amazing (If not unexpected in the case of Savile, left).

People knew, but it was only mentioned in the form of insinuations in TV comedy and radio remarks.

Which gets us to the outside-the-court interviews with some of Harris's light entertainment contemporaries following his conviction, embedded below. I don't quite know what to say about these interviews, except that they are strange.

The subjects are so nervous, but they babble on, shifting between performance, incredulity, and what they think is subtle cynicism.

When people should have spoken, they were quiet; now, when they would be wise to say nothing, they just can't stop themselves. Read the rest

Supercomputing center in a beautiful, deconsecrated church

Allison writes, "The Barcelona Supercomputing Center is not only gorgeous with its soaring ceilings, it also was an instrumental site for developing modern microchip technology." Read the rest

UK cinemas ban Google Glass from screenings

UK cinema exhibitors -- which already makes a practice of recklessly confiscating mobile phones full of sensitive, unprotected data during preview screenings -- have announced that it will not allow Google Glass wearers into cinemas, lest they commit an act of piracy (Glass has a 45 minute battery life when in recording mode). Read the rest

H.L. Mencken translates the Declaration of Independence into American English

In episode 16 of the Futility Closet podcast we'll hear H.L. Mencken's translation of the Declaration of Independence into American English, and learn why a merchant repeatedly auctioned the same 50-pound sack of flour, raising $250,000.

Man videotapes Salt Lake City police after officer shot his dog

"Sean Kendall shot this video of his interaction with Salt Lake City police after learning an officer had shot his dog in his backyard."

The officers on the scene explained that a police officer was looking for a lost child, went into Kendall's backyard, and shot the dog when it threatened the officer. Read the rest

Kentucky gay marriage ban struck down

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to wed in the state of Kentucky, and that it must also recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. USA Today:

In Tuesday's ruling in favor of two Louisville couples, Heyburn rejected the only justification that lawyers for Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear had offered — that traditional marriages contribute to a stable birth rate and the state's long-term economic stability.

"These arguments are not those of serious people," he said.

From The Meaning of Liff:

Kentucky. adv. Fitting exactly and satisfyingly. The cardboard box that slides neatly into an exact space in a garage, or the last book which exactly fills a bookshelf, is said to fit 'real nice and kentucky'.

Read the rest

The end of a company with a very dumb idea

Washboard, a subscription service that that sold US quarters for 37.5 cents, called it quits after being in business for two weeks.

Washboard founder Caleb Brown wrote:

Nearly 100% of the internet thought Washboard was an absolutely absurd concept. I had a very difficult time convincing people the service was even real but we did have customers that were excited for it. I apologize to those folks but we have decided to shut down Washboard.

(Via Weird Universe) Read the rest

Lou Reed saved $30m despite no "breakout hit"

The Guardian notes careful money management, but I take exception to the final paragraph. Read the rest

Larry Lessig explains how Mayday.US can win the fight on corruption

Slashdot recorded a must-watch video with Lawrence Lessig about the Mayday.US anti-PAC that is raising money to elect politicians who'll enact meaningful campaign finance reform. Read the rest

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