Before standing for the Democratic nomination in a NY congressional race, Patrick Ryan was in business spying on union organizers and left-wing activists

Patrick Ryan wants to be the Democratic nominee for New York's 19th district in the Hudson Valley, a Republican seat that Dems hope to flip; he's gone on record stating that he can do the job because of his entrepreneurial success -- but he didn't mention that he built his career at Berico Technologies by pitching a product to help businesses spy on union organizers and left-wing activists, a plan that included spying on left-wing Democrats and planting fake documents in order to discredit labor unions. Read the rest

Trump's tiny sausage fingers too small to mask his "how to human" crib-sheet for mass shooting presser

On Wednesday, President Trump met with mass-shooting survivors to dismiss their pleas for basic gun safety laws that might negatively impact gun manufacturers' profits by instead proposing stupid shit like filling schools with armed veterans and giving guns to teachers. Read the rest

It could happen here: How China's social credit system demonstrates the future of social control in smart cities

Adam Greenfield (previously) is one of the best thinkers when it comes to the social consequences of ubiquitous computing and smart cities; he's the latest contributor Ian Bogost's special series on "smart cities" for The Atlantic (previously: Bruce Sterling, Molly Sauter). Read the rest

Now that Trump's FCC has killed Net Neutrality, we all need to participate in instrumenting the net to document violations

Ajit Pai's Net Neutrality-killing order is scheduled to go into effect on April 23, and when that happens, it'll be open season on the free, fair and open internet. Read the rest

Judge finds that Disney "misused copyright" when it tried to stop Redbox from renting download codes

Redbox buys DVDs and then rents them through automated kiosks, including DVDs from Disney that come with download codes to watch the videos through a DRM player. Read the rest

Fully Automated Small Screen Luxury Communism: Amazon is making a TV show out of Iain Banks's Culture novels

The late, lamented Scottish writer Iain Banks (previously) was several kinds of writer, but one of his main claims to fame is his role in developing the idea of fully automated luxury communism, in his beloved Culture novels, a series of wildly original space operas about a post-singularity, post-scarcity cooperative galactic civilization devoted to games, leisure, and artistic pursuits, populated by AIs, city-sized space cruisers, spy networks, and weird bureaucracies. Read the rest

In 2009 a NJ judge banned hooking up voting machines to the internet, but that's exactly how ES&S's "airgapped" machines work

Connecting voting machines to the internet is a terrible idea: the machines are already notoriously insecure, and once they're online, anyone, anywhere in the world becomes a potential attacker. Read the rest

Astronauts share their experiences seeing Earth from space

What's it really like to gaze at Earth from space? Does an offworld view of the Pale Blue Dot shift your perspective forever? For the cover story in the new issue of National Geographic, talented science writer Nadia Drake talks to astronauts about how the rarified experience of seeing our planet from space changed them forever. “You’ve got this planet beneath you, and a lot of what you see, especially during the day, does not necessarily point to a human presence," Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti told Drake. "If you look at it on a geologic timescale, it’s almost like we are this flimsy presence, and we really have to stick together as a human family to make sure we are a permanent presence on this planet and not just this blink of an eye.”

It's a beautiful and moving story. Nadia writes:

For the bulk of human history, it’s been impossible to put Earth in cosmic perspective.

Bound by gravity and biology, we can’t easily step outside it, above it, or away from it. For most of us, Earth is inescapably larger than life. Even now, after nearly six decades of human spaceflight, precious few people have rocketed into orbit and seen the sun peeking out from behind that curved horizon. Since 1961, a mere 556 people have had this rarefied experience. Fewer, just 24, have watched Earth shrink in the distance, growing smaller and smaller until it was no larger than the face of a wristwatch. And only six have been completely alone behind the far side of the moon, cut off from a view of our planet as they sailed in an endlessly deep, star-studded sea...

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Some free short stories from Soviet-era science fiction author Anatoly Dneprov

This week I found several stories by Anatoly Dneprov, shared free on the series of tubes we call the internet.

Anatoly Dneprov, a science teacher, wrote wonderful, fast-paced, and oh-so very representative of Russia science fiction in the 1950s and 1960s. Not only does Dneprov masterfully communicate the headspace of living in a dystopic society, but his ideas about self-replicating machines, 3D printing and number of other things-to-come are eerie to the point of disbelief.

The Purple Mummy is a fantastic story about first contact coming from someplace completely unexpected. In just a few pages, as these stories are short, Dneprov launches quite a few huge ideas, and brings the story to a conclusion that doesn't feel lacking. Advances in medicine, the birth of 3D printing, and some very Russian existentialism over an anti-Universe are all strung together in a way that makes more sense than it should.

I also enjoyed his short The Maxwell Equations.

Links are via the Internet Archive and offer all the e-versions you might want.

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Fantastic video of New York City's Gay Pride Parade in 1989

In the 1980s, Nelson Sullivan was ubiquitous in the downtown NYC art and club scene, documenting his community and culture on his handheld video camera.

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Ursula K. Le Guin on vinyl! "Music and Poetry of the Kesh"

Ursula K. Le Guin's "Always Coming Home" (1985) is a combination novel and anthropological study of the Kesh, a culture that "might be going to have lived a long, long time from now in Northern California." Early editions of the book included a cassette of faux "field recordings," indigenous songs, and other audio of the Kesh. Now, the good people at Freedom to Spend are bringing the Kesh experience to vinyl in a lovely limited edition that includes an LP containing the audio of the original cassette, "a deluxe spot printed jacket with illustrations from Always Coming Home, a facsimile of the original lyric sheet, liner notes by Moe Bowstern, multi-format digital download code and a limited edition bookmark letterpressed by Stumptown Printers in Portland, OR." From Freedom to Spend:

For Music and Poetry of the Kesh, the words and lyrics are attributed to Le Guin as composed by Barton, an Oregon-based musician, composer and Buchla synthesist (the two worked together previously on public radio projects). But the cassette notes credit the sounds and voices to the world of the Kesh, making origins ambiguous. For instance, “The River Song” description reads, “The prominent rhythm instrument is the doubure binga, a set of nine brass bowls struck with cloth-covered wooden mallets, here played by Ready...”

The songs of Kesh are joyful, soothing and meditative, while the instrumental works drift far past the imaginary lands. “Heron Dance” is an uplifting first track, featuring a Wéosai Medoud Teyahi (made from a deer or lamb thigh bone with a cattail reed) and the great Houmbúta (used for theatre and ceremony).

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A simple Sunday routine for a more productive life

Although the YouTube channel The Financial Diet usually offers financial advice, in this video host Chelsea Fagan talks through the Sunday routine that’s helped her become more productive despite her naturally lazy, type-B personality. Read the rest

This European city center has no street names

As part of his Amazing Places series, YouTuber Tom Scott explores how the Quadratestadt of Mannheim, Germany confounds modern computer mapping systems because it doesn’t name its streets.

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LEGO's 60th anniversary 'Fun Future' set

LEGO is releasing a number of 60th anniversary sets. The Robot and Spaceman from the Fun Future kit are already making waves.

Sets in the multi-piece LEGO style of old, rather than the single purpose build-a-thing sets, get a lot less playtime here, with my daughter. These 60th anniversary sets, however, have sucked her in.

186 pieces in a small box, with limited instructions? That is a lot of fun!

LEGO Classic Fun Future 10402 Building Kit (186 Piece) via Amazon

Image via Amazon Read the rest

20th Anniversary Edition of "Your Woman"

Your Woman was a 1997 one-hit wonder from White Town, AKA Jyoti Prakash Mishra, notable for its ultra low-fi stylings, as if right out of the KLF's legendary Manual. A British musician whose second hit was the phrase "better than a no-hit wonder," Mishra recently created this 20th Anniversary Edition for everyone's enjoyment.

To celebrate TWENTY YEARS since the original charted around the world, here's a version that would have sounded pretty sweet 100 years ago. Enjoy!

The original:

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Venezuelans with transplanted organs are dying due to a lack of drugs

Venezuela is in crisis. The South American country has been a sore festered with political turmoil and socioeconomic woes for years now. Unemployment is a pandemic in the country and, thanks to the devaluation of their currency, what little food can be had there, is largely unaffordable by the nation's people. As a result of these conditions, crime has become rampant, countless businesses in the country have shuttered and shortages of the staples we take for granted have become commonplace. Reuters reports that the shortages have begun to effect an unexpected, exclusive group of Venezuelans: organ transplant recipients.

According to Reuters, there are around 3,500 organ transplant recipients living in Venezuela today. Thanks to modern medicine, theses recipients have been able to lead largely normal lives. But as the country's ability to afford medicines made in other countries, make their own drugs or pay medical personnel diminishes, the lives of its organ transplant recipients are being put at risk. The drugs needed to keep their new organs from being rejected by their bodies have run out. So far, at least seven of the country's citizens have died as a result, with 35 additional transplant recipients reporting that their new organs are now being rejected by their bodies.

The suck doesn't stop there: thanks to the fact that only around half of Venezuela's dialysis machines are operating, tens of thousands of people waiting for lifesaving surgeries are at risk of dying as their blood can't be cleaned of toxins. The doctors who are still working to keep people alive in the country are exhausted and frustrated by the conditions they're now forced to work in:

"It's incredibly stressful.

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Now you can send bouquets of donuts instead of flowers

When you care enough to send the very best, skip the Hallmark cards and flowers and ship a bouquet of donuts to a loved one.

It's a thing. A bunch of donut bouquet shops have popped up around the globe. Here's what I could find:

-- Los Angeles: Donut Princess LA, prices start at $20 for three donuts

-- London: Donut Bouquets, prices start at £34.99 (~$48.87) for eight donuts, delivered in a "luxurious black box"

-- Australia (various cities): Dessertboxes.com.au, prices start at $78 AUD (~$61.15) for eight donuts, also in a fancy box

-- Las Vegas and Henderson: The Donut Bouquet, prices at $49.95 for a dozen, customizations available

This is not to be confused with the evil clown donut delivery service.

image via Donut Princess LA Read the rest

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