Let me tell you about living my life on the road

In passing, I've talked about the fact that my wife and I are full-time nomads. Lemme expand on that.

A few years back, we bought a 21-year-old RV with the intention of living in it while my wife completed her degree in Vancouver, Canada. Typically, winters in Vancouver are mild by comparison to the rest of the country. The climate is similar to what you see in Seattle. Not so while we were there. It dropped to below freezing for weeks at a time. Snow, a largely unknown commodity in British Columbia's lower mainland, hung around for months. We were cold. We blew through hundreds of dollars worth of propane trying to stay warm.

We were poor.

Shortly before we were to make the drive over the mountains, I was informed that, after five years of service to a site that I had built, my services were no longer needed. It shattered me emotionally and financially. I was sent scrambling to find enough work, piecemeal, to make end's meet. There was cash coming in barely enough to keep afloat. Staying in a campground in the lower mainland costs around $800 per month. We couldn't foot the bill. We made do. Weekly, we would sneak into a local university sports complex for a shower. On one occasion, we had to decide between buying food or propane for heat. We chose food. This ended up costing us $1200, money that could have kept us going for months, to replace our hot water tank as it iced up and cracked in the cold. Read the rest

Review: Microsoft's Surface Go is almost everything I want in a travel computer

Every year, I wait for Apple to announce mouse support for the iPad. Every year, I am left unfulfilled. Apple's nailed the apps that I need to do my job on the go, but the lack of a mouse for interacting with text slows my workflow way the hell down. Tapping on my tablet's display and dragging words around is a poor substitute. As such, I'm constantly searching for a tablet that can give me what I need. Read the rest

A lovely little story about a sentient tank that attends a comic-con

John Wiswell's story "Tank!" tells the sweet, sad story of a fannish tank that wants to attend a comic-con and is confounded by their nonbinary gender, their social awkwardness, and the fact that no one will believe that their main gun has been peace-bonded. (via Super Punch) Read the rest

Cool video by Kodacrome uses marionettes and miniature sets

"What began as a simple concept," says the band Kodacrome, "snowballed into an all-consuming project, consisting of nine sets, electrically-wired lights and motors, and a borderline-obsessive stockpile of dollhouse-sized set pieces."

Here's how they made it: Read the rest

California's Delta Fire: 15,294+ acres scorched in 24 hours, 'human involvement' blamed

The area burning from the massive Delta fire in Shasta County, California tripled in size overnight, scorching 15,294 acres and counting as of Thursday afternoon, per California fire authorities. Human involvement is blamed. Read the rest

Don't just fine Big Tech for abuses; instead, cut them down to size

My latest Locus Magazine column is Big Tech: We Can Do Better Than Constitutional Monarchies, and it's a warning that the techlash is turning into a devil's bargain, where we make Big Tech pay for a few cosmetic changes that do little to improve bullying, harassment, and disinformation campaigns, and because only Big Tech can afford these useless fripperies, they no longer have to fear being displaced by new challengers with better ways of doing things. Read the rest

Mexico: 166 human skulls found in Veracruz clandestine mass grave

[Warning: Post contains graphic images.] Mexican investigators said Thursday they have discovered 166 human skulls in a clandestine burial pit in a central area of the Gulf state of Veracruz. Read the rest

LA libraries replace fines for young readers with in-library "read-offs"

Stan Rehm writes, "An uncommonly sensible new policy in Los Angeles libraries now allows children with overdue book fees to 'read off' their fines in the library." Read the rest

The Copenhagen Letter: a set of principles for ethical technology

The techlash has sparked a most welcome interest in the ethics of technology (there are hundreds of university courses on the subject!) and with it, a bustling cottage industry in the formulation and promulgation of "statements of principles" meant to guide technologists in their work. Read the rest

Alex Jones finally banned from Twitter after posting video of abusive exchange with CNN reporter

Twitter made its decision one day after Jones accosted CNN reporter Oliver Darcy on Capitol Hill, and livestreamed the encounter through Periscope, which Twitter owns. Read the rest

Get a nice Nintendo Switch case for $5.35

If you like neon yellow-green (I do!) this is a good deal on a Nintendo Switch case ($5.35) from the generally excellent line of Amazon Basics products. Besides keeping your Switch clean and safe, the case also has ten slots for cartridges, and a mesh pocket for cables and extra controllers.

Read the rest

Brett Kavanaugh: Birth Control = 'abortion inducing drugs.' #StopKavanaugh.

Well, this is a big old red flag. And an anti-science lie. Read the rest

"Free market" conservatives, aghast at Big Tech's hostility, become overnight Roosevelt-style trustbusters

They say "a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged" -- whether or not that's true, it's becoming abundantly clear that "a trustbuster is a neoliberal who's been on the wrong side of the online platforms' monopoly power" -- Big Tech was the first beneficiary of Reagan's assault on anti-trust law and has perfected a number of next-generation, bleeding-edge tactics for suppressing competition during 40 years' worth of free rein. Read the rest

Actor Burt Reynolds has died at 82. Here are some of our favorite clips from his work.

Burt Reynolds, the onetime jock from Florida who became an American screen icon, has died. Read the rest

How to make a 3D printed rolling marble clock

gocivici made this amazing mechanical clock with a 3D printer and generously shared the plans on Instructables.

[via Evil Mad Scientist] Read the rest

Woman knits stellar map as a giant tapestry

Australian software engineer Sarah Spencer used a 1980s knitting machine to create a gorgeous equatorial star map in the form of a huge tapestry.

From Space.com:

The piece features all 88 constellations as seen from Earth, as well as the equatorial line with the zodiac constellations running along it, stars scaled according to their real-life brightness, the Milky Way galaxy, the sun, Earth's moon and all of the planets within our solar system. Spencer made sure to put the planets, sun and moon in specific, strategic positions so that the heavenly bodies indicate a specific date in time.

Read the rest

This November, Florida may reverse more than a century of mass Black disenfranchisement

Florida is one of three states where felons who have completed their sentences are still barred from voting; it's also a notoriously inhospitable place for Black people, where the combination of racial profiling, understaffed public defenders' offices, and the threat of farcically long minimum sentences has led to 1.5 million black people with fully discharged felony convictions on their records who are nevertheless banned from voting. Read the rest

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