NSA can wiretap Skype wholesale

Another gem from the latest Der Spiegel NSA leaks: the NSA can listen in on all Skype traffic and read Skype messages, because Microsoft hands over its keys. Read the rest

Coach-minus: a new low in high-flying travel

An unnamed airline is said to be planning a "coach-minus" service that features smaller, more crowded seats. They say they're providing cheaper tickets to passengers who demand it. Read the rest

FBI can secretly spy on Americans even if its useless oversight court says no

In theory, the FBi needs to get the FISA court to sign off on requests for secret warrants to spy on Americans -- in practice, it almost always rubberstamps those requests. But on the rare occasions when the FISA court says no, the FBI just gets a National Security Letter (AKA "the other secret warrant") and gets spying. Read the rest

Crypto puzzles and games for kids

Dev Gualtieri's newly published Secret Codes & Number Games: Cryptographic Projects & Number Games for Children Ages 5-16 is a thoughtfully designed introduction to crypto for kids. Read the rest

Exclusive Neil Gaiman recording to Comic Book Legal Defense Fund donors

Charles writes, "Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is thanking folks who make a donation in any amount before the 12/31 tax deadline with a download of Neil Gaiman's reading Live At the Aladdin. The Fund has used our donors' contributions to protect the freedom to read, including our 2014 annual report and an infographic showcasing how our donations are used." Read the rest

Mystery Box Playing Cards presented by J.J. Abrams

I use standard Bicycle 808 playing cards most of the time (I buy them by the dozen), but I love the Mystery Box playing cards created by Theory 11 (with input from amateur magician J.J. Abrams). The new "Black Edition" was just released. I won't say much about them, other than the fact that they are gorgeous, because I don't want to spoil any surprises. I will add that you should study the cards and box closely. Read the rest

A "Mail... Kimp?" song you can dance to

Some crazed genius made a song from the MailChimp ad at the introduction to every Serial episode. Read the rest

Video: Simple science pranks

Fun selection of kitchen science pranks! Read the rest

Blackmail paradoxes

From Futility Closet:

We covered one paradox regarding blackmail in 2010: If it’s legal for me to reveal your secret, and it’s legal for me to ask you for money, why is it illegal for me to demand payment to keep your secret? In the words of Northwestern University law professor James Lindgren, “Why do two rights make a wrong?”

Here’s a second paradox: If you had initiated the same transaction — if you had offered to pay me for my silence, and I’d agreed — then we’d have the same outcome, but this time it’s legal. “It is considered paradoxical that the sale of secrecy is legal if it takes the form of a bribe, yet is illegal where the sale of secrecy takes the form of blackmail,” writes Loyola University economist Walter Block. “Why should the legality of a sale of secrecy depend entirely upon who initiates the transaction? Why is bribery legal but blackmail not?”

Read the rest

Play-Doh frosting extruder to be redesigned

If you want this frosting extruder included in Play-Doh Cake Mountain playset, you'd better be quick about it. Today, Play-Doh posted the following on its Facebook page: Read the rest

The zen of building gaming PCs

This year, I'd like to write a lot more game reviews, so the task is upon me: build or buy a new gaming PC. Wasim Salman's article about "the ups and downs of building and owning computers that are more powerful than they need to be" has made me think I should probably just grab an Alienware Alpha and stop worrying. Read the rest

Nearly 20 Percent of Dark-Web Visits Relate to Subjects Other Than Pedophilia, Study Finds

Wired: "Over 80 Percent Of Dark-Web Visits Relate to Pedophilia, Study Finds" Read the rest

"Wheeled" dolphin looks like penis

"Yeah. That looks like a dolphin on wheels." [via] Read the rest

Rep. Steve Scalise's "no Google" excuse is bogus

In 2002 US House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise gave a speech at a white supremacist conference. First he said didn't remember doing it, then he said he might have done it, and now he says he did do it but was "without the advantages of a tool like Google" to research hate groups in 2002. He's wrong. Google was started in 1998. Read the rest

Toddler shoots, kills woman in Walmart

In an Idaho Walmart, a 2-year old reached into a woman's purse, grabbed her concealed firearm, then shot and killed her. Read the rest

FBI targets companies that hire hackers to protect them against hackers

US businesses are frustrated by the federal government's weak response to hacker attacks. They are hiring cybersecurity firms to launch counterstrikes against foreign-based hackers. Now, that's something the FBI is eager to investigate. Read the rest

Beautiful photos of dead animals

Over at Vantage, Maria Lonova Gribina's photographs of dead animals lovingly set into floral backdrops: A Childhood Ritual Transforms Roadkill Into Art

Read the rest

More posts