UN wants to give broadcasters rights over public-domain and CC-licensed shows

Under the revived WIPO Broadcast Treaty, broadcasters would have the right to stop you from using public domain and CC-licensed video footage as you choose, effectively giving them a new copyright over material simply by sending it out over the air. Read the rest

We know you love privacy, Judge Posner. We just wish you'd share.

As I wrote yesterday, 7th circuit judge Richard Posner's views on privacy (basically: "nothing to fear, nothing to hide" and "it should be illegal to made a phone the government can't search") are dismal and unsophisticated -- but they're also deeply hypocritical. Read the rest

Furry convention evacuated after chlorine-gas attack

The 15th Midwest Furfest was evacuated last week after 19 attendees were hospitalized by chlorine gas at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel; hazmat technicians cleared out an "intentional gas attack" apparatus in the 9th floor stairwell. Read the rest

New PES stop-motion film: Submarine Sandwich

Hurray! A new short film by stop-motion artist PES. In this one, a butcher makes a tasty sub sandwich out of baseball mitts, and other non-edible stuff. Read the rest

Blackphone announces privacy-oriented app store

Blackphone, the Swiss-based, secure hardware/OS mobile phone from PGP inventor Phil Zimmerman has announced that it will provide a store with privacy-oriented apps that are sandboxed to minimize data-misuse. Read the rest

The Most Hated Phrases in SciFi: Sword & Laser Podcast

This week we're busy. We congratulate the winners of several year-end awards. We kick off our December book pick, The Night Circus, a beautiful novel by Erin Morgenstern. And we dive into some of the most wretched and hated terms and phrases in the professions of authorship. Mary Sue is under siege!

Full show notes here! Support us on Patreon! Read the rest

Elderly man nailed for clever identity theft scheme: prosecutors say he changed victim's name to his own

An elderly Mexican man who lived illegally in the United States for decades has been arrested in an ID theft scheme that prosecutors say was so clever, “a court unwittingly changed the name of the U.S. citizen whose identity he assumed to his own real name.” Read the rest

Former porn star wears Pastafarian cap in driver license photo

From World's Best Ever: "Asia Carrera aka Asia Lemmon aka Jessica Steinhauser is the 4th person in the United States to be permitted to exercise her religious freedom and don the cap of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster for her driver’s license photo." Read the rest

Ex-CIA chief Michael Hayden: I am not a crook

The man who led the CIA during George W. Bush's second term said today, "I didn't lie and I didn't mislead Congress" about torturing war-on-terror detainees.

Harvard Business School professor apologizes to Chinese restaurant for being "very much out of line"

Ben Edelman, the Harvard Business School professor who played hardball with a Chinese restaurant who overcharged him, has posted an apology on his website:

Many people have seen my emails with Ran Duan of Sichuan Garden restaurant in Brookline.

Having reflected on my interaction with Ran, including what I said and how I said it, it’s clear that I was very much out of line. I aspire to act with great respect and humility in dealing with others, no matter what the situation. Clearly I failed to do so. I am sorry, and I intend to do better in the future.

I have reached out to Ran and will apologize to him personally as well.

Read the rest

Watch the U.S. Navy's new anti-drone laser weapon take out two ships in the Persian Gulf

The U.S. Navy has released a video of a new laser weapon performing perfectly during tests completed in November. Read the rest

Could CIA torture report open the U.S. to prosecution in the International Criminal Court?

Mark Kersten explores the question at Justice in Conflict blog.

“I was an interrogator at Abu Ghraib. I tortured.”

Don't miss this op-ed in the New York Times, by former Iraq interrogator Eric Fair. Read the rest

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

Harvard Business School professor goes to war over $4 worth of Chinese food

Ben Edelman (left) is an associate professor at Harvard Business School. Last week he ordered take-out Chinese food and when he looked at the receipt he learned that he'd been overcharged $4. What follows is the email exchange between Edelman and Ran Duan (right), son of the restaurant's founders. Read the rest

Tech companies should do something about harassment, but not this

Online harassment is real, it's terrible, and tech companies can and should do more about it -- but when the normally sensible Jessica Valenti wrote in the Guardian that tech companies could solve online harassment in a snap by implementing a system like Youtube's Content ID, she wasn't just wrong, she was dangerously wrong. Read the rest

Actor injuries that made it into the movie

Sometimes the blood you see in a movie isn't fake, but the result of a real injury. Read the rest

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