Bernie Sanders' new bill will force companies to reimburse governments for low-paid employees' welfare costs

Bernie Sanders has introduced the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies (STOP BEZOS) Act, which will force any corporation with more than 500 employees to reimburse the government for any workers whose wages are so low that they end up on food stamps, national school lunch/breakfast programs, Section 8 housing or Medicaid. Read the rest

Consortium of the largest science funders in Europe announce that they'll only fund open access research

Eleven of Europe's largest scientific research funders, responsible for €7.6B in annual grants, have announced "Plan S," whereby scientists will only be able to get research grants if they promise to first publish all their work in open access, no-cost journals. Read the rest

The Surreal Joys Of The Beautiful Book Of Exquisite Corpses

There was just one problem when I asked artists to contribute to The Beautiful Book of Exquisite Corpses, the new adult-creativity book that I edited: some of them had no idea what an Exquisite Corpse was. I soon discovered that a lot of them knew it, but had never heard the name: it was just "that game I play with my family where we fold up a piece of paper and draw a picture on sections of it, not knowing what the other people drew until we unfold the paper and see the results of our collaboration."

On the other end of the spectrum, some of the contributors got competitive about showing off their Exquisite Corpse expertise. Actor Stephen Fry had played André Breton--the French surrealist artist who concocted the Exquisite Corpse game back in 1925--in the movie Surrealismo, and so he was eager to try out one of Breton's inventions in real life. The musician Moby, however, not only knew the history of surrealism in detail, but could quote the French sentence produced by the first Exquisite Corpse word exercise that gave the game its name: "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau," or "The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine."

As that sentence indicates, Exquisite Corpses come in many flavors, both visual and verbal. For The Beautiful Book of Exquisite Corpses, we mostly went with drawn pictures, although there's also some storytelling games. There's 110 contributors in the book, each of whom got to have their way with one perforated piece of paper: you can rip that page out of that book and jump into a long-distance collaboration with Grace Slick or Chuck Klosterman. Read the rest

To do in LA this weekend: Scottworks, celebrating visionary composer, inventor and musician Raymond Scott

Cory Councill writes, "Musician, inventor, and visionary Raymond Scott (1908-1994) (previously) will be feted on September 8 at the Colony Theatre in Burbank, CA. As influential today as he ever has been, Scott’s musical and technological achievements have become more widely known over the past 20 years." Read the rest

Michigan school board members recalled for enacting LGBTQ-friendly policies

John Frost writes, "Four members of the Williamston, Michigan Board of Education are being recalled because they enacted policies that enable schools to treat children with respect regardless of their gender identities." Read the rest

Anonymous Trump official: Don't worry, America, us unelected nameless GOP hacks have quietly executed a coup

Trump is mentally incapable of functioning as president, writes one of his administration's senior officials, anonymously, in the New York Times. But not to worry, America. An administrative coup has been effected and we're making sure the GOP's agenda will be executed for as long as we can strap him to his horse.

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

It's so uninformative and lacking in detail that anyone could fake it and were it not for the Times' imprimatur, no-one would believe it was real. Nothing good will come of this, other than the fun of speculating who authored it and why.

What it smoothly describes is, in fact, worse than Trump: an administration run secretly by unnamed, unelected figures in the Republican Party. But that can't be the whole truth, because why would they publish an op-ed about it in the Times if they actually wanted to carry on with the plan?

This is probably just blather from some palace functionary or a cabinet member who wants to look good when it's all over, someone who knows that the editorial page of the New York Times is 2018's best place for bullshit.

Update: an unusual word in the article, "lodestar," is a favorite of Vice President Mike Pence. Read the rest

Everyone -- not just Europeans -- needs to save the internet from the EU's terrible copyright proposal

We have just a week until the European Parliament debates and votes on the new Copyright Directive, including the dreaded censorship machines (every website has to censor anything that appears to be a copyrighted work and link tax (no linking to news articles unless the platform you're using has negotiated a license with the site you're linking to). Read the rest

Airport "security" trays are filthy reservoirs of infectious agents

In Deposition of respiratory virus pathogens on frequently touched surfaces at airports, published in BMC Infectious Diseases, a University of Nottingham team reveal that the airport security trays they swabbed in the Helsinki airport contained more infectious agents than the airport's toilets. Read the rest

If Susan Collins confirms Kavanaugh, $300K will automatically be sent to her Democratic challenger

Ady Barkan's Be a Hero campaign is taking pledges of cash to go to the Democratic challenger for Maine Senator Susan Collins if she breaks her word and votes to confirm Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Read the rest

Internet of Things security camera sends customers' video feed to someone else

Shelan Faith has an internet-enabled home "security" system from Vivint Home Security; it includes cameras that spy on the interior and exterior of her home, as well as sensors that report on things like when her doors and garage are open or closed. Read the rest

The future is here today: you can't play Bach on Facebook because Sony says they own his compositions

James Rhodes, a pianist, performed a Bach composition for his Facebook account, but it didn't go up -- Facebook's copyright filtering system pulled it down and accused him of copyright infringement because Sony Music Global had claimed that they owned 47 seconds' worth of his personal performance of a song whose composer has been dead for 300 years. Read the rest

Wikipedia's warning: EU copyright changes threaten the internet itself

In just one week, Members of the European Parliament will debate and vote on the new EU Copyright Directive, which contains two of the worst, most dangerous internet proposals in living memory. Read the rest

This handbook of workshop tips has plenty of great ideas for everyone

A good shop tip is a meme in the original sense of the word (an idea so useful that it quickly spreads from one nervous system to another). My friend Gareth Branwyn has been collecting shop tips for many years, and he has assembled them into a new book called Tips and Tales From the Workshop, which is filled with hundreds of truly useful tips organized by topic. You'll learn about smart ways to keep track of small parts, plan projects, glue things, mark things, cut things, drill things, and paint things. The tips on 3D printing have greatly reduced my frustration level. Even if you don't have a workshop many of the tips here can save you time.

Here are a few sample pages:

Read the rest

Today in sadness: cut out carbs and red meat'll still kill you

I've been on a keto diet for the past month and change. I love it! I can eat all the meat, dairy and nuts I want to! I snack on beef jerky, cured meats and nuts when I'm hungry. I can still enjoy a lot of the vegetables I love! I can--oh shit.

From Popular Science:

In a recent study in The Lancet as well as in prior work, including this 2010 analysis, researchers have found that people who eat few carbs and rely on plant matter for their fat and protein intake—think beans and nuts—tend to be healthy, long-living specimens, relatively speaking. Those who eat few carbs and rely on animal proteins and fats, especially red meat, are the only low-carb dieters who seem to suffer for it. They tend to be less healthy in terms of cancer and cardiovascular disease, which are often the primary outcomes measured in these kinds of studies, and as a result they live shorter lives. This makes sense—plant protein is better for you than many animal proteins because plants contain less saturated fat, which can drive heart disease, and often have more fiber and nutrients.

I suppose I should be investing in a little more of all those tasty things other than red meat. And maybe cut down on the chicken. Also, fish.

That said, as Popular Science is quick to point out, "these studies, like virtually all nutrition studies, are merely finding associations between groups of people who are often self-reporting data. Read the rest

This year's Electromagnetic Field hacker campout demonstrated the awesome power of DIY cellphones and DIY stingrays

Every year, security researchers, hardware hackers and other deep geeks from around the world converge on an English nature reserve for Electromagnetic Field, a hacker campout where participants show off and discuss their research and creations. Read the rest

Try this new font made from corporate logos

Creative studio Hello Velocity's Brand New Roman is "the most corporate Corporate Font ever created!"

(via Laughing Squid) Read the rest

Tabloids turn on Trump, Brad and Jen reunite, and Natalie Wood’s death mystery solved, in this week’s dubious tabloids

The tabloid worm has turned. After three years of deifying Donald Trump and lauding his every utterance, there is no clearer indication of the tabloids turning against Trump than the Globe magazine’s cover tribute to “American hero” John McCain.

Trump famously said in 2015 that the Arizona senator was “not a war hero,” and the Globe dutifully obliged with the headline: “Trump Is Right: McCain is NOT a War Hero.” They followed up with the story of a dying McCain “sending tender goodbyes to his secret love” actress Connie Stevens.

But since Globe and National Enquirer chief David Pecker’s recent agreement to cooperate with federal prosecutors in the Trump investigation, the tabloids are no longer slavishly following the ranter-in-chief’s party line.

“John McCain FAREWELL!” screams the Globe cover, touting “his inspiring final words” (“Always believe in the promise and greatness of America”) and his “surprising last regret” (“He lost his bid to become president” – hardly a surprising regret, you’d think).

It’s a clear slap in the face to the president, and possibly a harbinger of things to come from the tabloids that are believed to have a secret trove of damaging Trump stories locked away in their vaults. Free from cult-like devotion to Trump’s warped world vision, the tabloids are returning to their own warped version of reality.

And what could be more important than the loving reunion of former husband and wife Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, both finally free of their subsequent spouses? “Brad & Jen’s Romantic Italian Dinner Date!” screams the Enquirer headline over an “Enquirer Exclusive” photo of the couple sharing a cozy dinner: Pitt in a black peaked cap, Aniston in large sunglasses. Read the rest

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