The Poet of Code

The following is a sponsored post produced by WIRED Brand Lab for Hennessy.

Joy Buolamwini is a poet.

But she isn’t the kind of poet who fills journals with purple prose hoping to some day be published in an obscure literary magazine. Instead, the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League is a self-proclaimed “poet of code” who combines engineering with powerful language and compelling performance to ask urgent social questions of tomorrow’s technology.

In July, Buolamwini was invited by Hennessy to be one of the bright minds visiting company headquarters in Cognac, France, as part of a celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège. And this was a party with a purpose.

Hennessy gathered masters in arts and design, science, technology, music and entertainment, business, aerospace, and the culinary arts for a series of conversations, workshops, and experiences to explore a single question: What is the future of mastery? How does poetry in code relate to the intuition, skill, and tradition flowing through Hennessy’s own distilleries?

Part of the answer is in Buolamwini’s moniker, which juxtaposes the art of poetry with the applied science and research of code. This is also where Hennessy’s mastery lies, in the realm between unquantifiable yet perfect taste—and an expertise in using all technology has in order to offer to iterate and improve.

Buolamwini uses poetry and science in a very distinctive and important way: “I use art alongside rigorous technical research to highlight overlooked ways AI can inadvertently propagate stereotypes of gender and race and other kinds of discrimination,” she says. Read the rest

Peer pressure your friends into voting with Outvote

Boing Boing is proud to welcome Outvote.io as a sponsor.

Want to get Dems and progressives elected in the 2018 midterm elections? In 5 minutes? From your couch? There’s an app for that.

The majority of registered voters missed the last midterm. Unsurprisingly, most people won’t admit it. Young people are the worst when it comes to pretending that they’ve voted.

So how can we get people into the voting booth this November? It turns out that reminding your friends to vote is surprisingly effective.

The bottom line is that people trust their friends. If your longtime pal tells you something about a candidate, you’re much more likely to trust their opinion than a TV ad. In fact, during the 2018 primaries, friends that got a single text via Outvote became 10% more likely to vote.

The Outvote app shows you which of your contacts have missed a recent election by matching them to publicly available voting data provided by the state they live in. It then makes it easy to send reminders to everyone that needs them.

The app will even tell you which of your friends live in the critical swing districts that are needed to take back the House this November.

The average person has about 500 contacts. You could easily have 50 votes sitting in your pocket that aren’t going to show up unless you text them.

MoveOn, Swing Left, Flippable and Democratic State Parties across the country are all using Outvote to get Democrats and progressives to the polls this year. Read the rest

Win a free copy of David Graeber's 'Bullshit Jobs'

Boing Boing is proudly sponsored by David Graeber's Bullshit Jobs!

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Bullshit Jobs.

Is your job bullshit?

David Graeber, author of Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, analyzes the rise of the menial, hapless, unfulfilling jobs and their consequences.

There are millions of people—HR consultants, communication coordinators, telemarketing researchers, corporate lawyers—whose jobs are useless, and, tragically, they know it. These people are caught in bullshit jobs. Graeber explores one of society’s most vexing and deeply felt concerns, indicting among other villains a particular strain of finance capitalism that betrays ideals shared by thinkers ranging from Keynes to Lincoln. Bullshit Jobs gives individuals, corporations, and societies permission to undergo a shift in values, placing creative and caring work at the center of our culture. This book is for everyone who wants to turn their vocation back into an avocation.

Enter here to win a free copy of David Graeber's Bullshit Jobs! Read the rest

Playboy lawsuit over

In January, we let you know that Playboy had sued us. On Valentine's Day, a court tossed their ridiculous complaint out, skeptical that Playboy could even amend it. Playboy didn't bother to try.

We are grateful this is over. We are grateful for the wonderful work of the EFF, Durie Tangri, and Blurry Edge, our brilliant attorneys who stood up to Playboy's misguided and imaginary claims. We are glad the court quickly saw right through them.

Playboy damaged our business. This lawsuit cost our small team of journalists, artists and creators time and money that would otherwise have been focused on Boing Boing's continued mission to share wonderful things.

We are glad the legal system has reaffirmed that linking is legal.

Here is a unicorn:

(Unicorn courtesy of Trolli) Read the rest

Playboy is suing Boing Boing - but linking is not copyright infringement

A few weeks ago we were shocked to learn that Playboy had, without notifying us, sued us over this post (we learned about it when a journalist DM'ed us on Twitter to ask about it). Today, we filed a motion to dismiss, asking the judge to throw out this baseless, bizarre case. We really hope the courts see it our way, for all our sakes.

Playboy’s lawsuit is based on an imaginary (and dangerous) version of US copyright law that bears no connection to any US statute or precedent. Playboy -- once legendary champions for the First Amendment -- now advances a fringe copyright theory: that it is illegal to link to things other people have posted on the web, on pain of millions in damages -- the kinds of sums that would put us (and every other small publisher in America) out of business.

Rather than pursuing the individual who created the allegedly infringing archive, Playboy is pursuing a news site for pointing out the archive’s value as a historical document. In so doing, Playboy is seeking to change the legal system so that deep-pocketed opponents of journalism can shut down media organizations that displease them. It's a law that they could never get from Congress, but which they hope the courts will conjure into existence by wiping us off the net.

It's not just independent publishers who rely on the current state of copyright law, either. Major media outlets (like Playboy!) routinely link and embed media, without having to pay a lawyer to research the copyright status of something someone else posted, before discussing, explaining or criticizing it. Read the rest

The sophisticated DJI Spark drone

Boing Boing is proud to welcome Wellbots as a sponsor!

DJI Spark is the best and most affordable drone on the market. It has a sophisticated design, latest technology and can serve all of your amateur or consumer based purposes. Spark is super easy to fly and shoot incredible videos. Check it out right there! (link: https://www.wellbots.com/dji-spark-mini-drone/)

Don’t forget to look at the combo pack to get the full range of accessories: smart flight battery, charging hub, propeller guards…

If you’re feeling like flying, let us help with a $30 coupon using the code BOING30.

For the DJI Spark Fly More Combo, with the code BOING40, users get $40 off.

The DJI Spark on Wellbots! Read the rest

Hack networking with this easy to use app

What’s the next step in your career? If it’s landing a better job, you need to start growing your network to make sure that when the ideal position opens up, you're the first name that comes to mind. If you aspire to be your own boss or run a business, you need to meet the right people to help you, such as cofounders or marketing gurus. If you have no idea what your dream career path is, maybe it’s time to start meeting other interesting professionals and get inspired by their trajectories. No matter where you see yourself in five years, one thing is clear: you will need help and inspiration from other professionals to get there. Luckily for you, there is an easy way to start making the right connections for your career.

Shapr is a free app that makes networking simple. It connects people based on their interests, skills, and professional goals, facilitating useful conversations with potential mentors, future colleagues, and collaborators.

The way the app works is deceptively easy. Every day, members of the Shapr community are algorithmically matched with a few relevant people who share their interests or career paths. Then, you can swipe to either connect or pass. If you connect, Shapr will initiate a chat, encouraging you and your new connection to meet up for lunch or coffee. It’s simple, fast and efficient, and you can build a meaningful network in a few swipes a day.

“This app is a game changer,” says Sarah Yuro, an entrepreneur based in Atlanta. Read the rest

Support Boing Boing by trying Amazon Prime for free!

All of us at Boing Boing use the hell out of our Amazon Prime memberships to get free two-day shipping on most stuff along with digital benefits like streaming shows, movies, and music. If you don't already have an Amazon Prime membership, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial today and support Boing Boing at the same time! For each qualifying Amazon Prime trial signup, Boing Boing will receive a few bucks that will help us continue bringing you the weird, wonderful, and important news of the day. This benefit ends, for us anyway, at 3 AM ET on Wednesday, July 12. We appreciate your support!

Sign up for a free Amazon Prime Membership Trial and support Boing Boing!

(And if you do try it but don't like it, here's how to turn it off before it automatically converts to a paid membership at the end of the trial period.) Read the rest

Growing things at home is easy, and fun!

Boing Boing welcomes our new sponsor Hydrosys!

Having great success keeping that fern in the corner of your apartment alive? Thinking you might want to step up your gardening game, but have no outdoor space? Afraid your neighbors might object to what you are growing in those buckets on your deck? Relax. Things just got a whole lot easier...

Growing things at home is fun, safe, and doesn't have to be complicated! Hydrosys hydro- and aeroponic kits can help you become a master indoor farmer with ease! Ten or fifteen years ago it was enough to brew your own beer, now if you want to be cool you probably need to cultivate your own hops.

Hydrosys stocks and sells, everything you might need to start growing anything you could possibly imagine, like really almost anything... maybe tomatoes? Or some basil? Perhaps you may even grow some mandrake root!

Small home kits can throw off a bounty of salad fixings, flowers or other things that might entertain your guests. I am considering growing a crop of wheat and baking my own bread.

Seriously, Hydrosys has an incredible selection of gear for whatever your needs may be. If you are planning a small tabletop hydroponic selection of spices, or want to start your own cartel in your garage, Hydosys has you covered. They sell everything, even media and nutrients, irrigation systems, and seedling nurseries, Hydrosys is your online any-kind-of-plant you wanna grow hydro- and aeroponic superstore.

Based in merry old London Town, in the UK, Hydrosys ships from a warehouse in beautiful Spain. Read the rest

Toothstars has a galaxy of tooth whitening information to share

Boing Boing proudly welcomes our newest sponsor, Toothstars!

Sure draining the blood from an innocent is a heck of a lot of fun, but it really stains your teeth. If you want to stalk prey on the streets of a major metropolitan center you will need to hide the demon that lives inside you by keeping your smile pearly white. You need Toothstars!

Toothstars has a massive library of information that can help whiten and brighten any smile, even yours you blood sucking, awful monster. Coffee? Nicotine? O+? Toothstars has a solution, and chances are it will work. There is an entire blog of tips, tricks and secret methods to hide even the most outward signs of your dark secret. Try all their DIY tooth whitening, teeth cleaning, and dental hygiene recommendations. You can also read detailed reviews of dental hygiene and tooth care tools, like water picks, sonic tooth brushes and floss! There is nothing these Toothstars won't try!

You have already tried all of those suggestions? Your teeth are permanently the muddy brown of a vein puncturing immortal? Guess what? The super stars at Toothstars have created an incredible directory of licensed and certified dental care professionals. Read reviews, consider locations and find a doctor that suits your needs. While they do not specifically indicate which dentists happily service the undead, simply use your supernatural eye sight to read between the lines.

Additionally, Toothstars employs a huge team of experts to review and rate dental care products. Which floss is flossiest? Read the rest

Legalize it? We think so!

Boing Boing proudly welcomes our new sponsor, LIWTS!

One of the positive trends sweeping the nation appears to be marijuana legalization! Regardless how you feel about the state of the world, it is nice that marijuana is becoming more and more available to help you cope with whatever ails you.

Marijuana, THC and CBD are fast becoming recognized as very effective in treating pain, appetite, anxiety, insomnia and even cancer, but there is a lot of quackery out there. Where do you look? Who do you trust? Who really knows what is what in the world of weed?

LIWTS is looking to become your source for news, reviews and stories about this budding new world!

Full of reviews of the latest, and greatest, vaporizers, strains, oils, edibles and awesome snacks, Legalize It We Think So has dedicated itself to being the go-to site for your marijuana and THC related content.  There are forums for discussion and advice, a head shop full of toys and tools, and news about legalization efforts around the world. A quick glance at the entertainment sections shows everything from specialty weed to enhance female orgasms, to which cheese grants you a pot-like high. LIWTS covers all the bases.

You can also use their strain database to find out more about that flower you wanted to grow, or if that indication will put you out instead of just make the couch really comfortable.

Unlike myriad other MMJ/THC sites, LIWTS treats their audience as marijuana enthusiasts who want to be informed, rather than raging stoners thrilled every time someone flies a cannabis leaf flag! Read the rest

Manage electronic signatures painlessly

Boing Boing proudly welcomes our new sponsor Eversign: Legally binding electronic signatures at work, at home or on the go!

Taking your company paperless is a wonderful goal, but without a fantastic electronic signature system you will create problems faster than you solve them. Enter Eversign!

Eversign is a full-suite electronic document management system non-pariel! Beyond merely allowing you to identify signature blocks on documents, and securely send documents to another signing party, Eversign adds a world of features and integration. So many features you'll be kinda shocked this is just a document signing service!

Eversign easily manages any document. From simple agreements for your first born to complex documents with long lists of signators. Documents can be signed serially, or in parallel, enabling folks to sign in a precise order if desired, just like the Lesser Key of Solomon requires.

Documents can be signed with any device, and in-person signing options also exist for times when you and a colleague want to mutually execute a document in the field! The second your client agrees to that crazy idea? Get them to sign on your phone right there! The only signing option Eversign seems to lack is blood.

Eversign also allows users to type, upload, or draw their thoroughly authenticated and unique digital signatures. Forget cursive! Want to use a sketch of your favorite 70s Saturday morning cartoon character superimposed with an image of the devil? That is your legally binding signature now, baby!

Eversign is also packed with conveniences like document editing, when you need to correct a last minute mistake, contact management and document management databases. Read the rest

An awesome bong packed full of 'frop takes your Slack to the next level

Happy Mutants! All hail Boing Boing’s new sponsor Herbtools!

Ever wonder why J. R. "Bob" Dobbs wears that perpetual smile? It's the habifropzipulops mariphasa lupina in his pipe. When smoked, this remarkable herb, which grows on yeti droppings in Tibet, succeeds where science fails: removing the terror of the The Gods.

When that fear grabs you, grab a bong o' 'frop, my friend!

Bikini bongs not only offer a shortcut to Slack, they look great too! Let other natty psychonauts know you’re flying the flag of cognitive freedom, right in the middle of your very own living room, cell, or bathysphere on the floor of the Marianas Trench! Bongs are great for attracting fellow Discordians, Happy Mutants, and SubGenii, as well as scaring off the pinks and gorps.

Some find power in their bong! Legend has it that Yog-Sothoth, his own bad self, hit the 'frop from a bong fashioned from a yeti skull.

Well mannered 'frop-heads know that being cool is the rule! Revel in your Slack. Embody it. Feel the vibrations of the universe as you vigorously bubble fumes of Klaatu himself though the wondrous head of a grey overlord! Remember your youth, or your future, with a Bikini bong! I know I left mine around here some place...

Remember, with frop as with everything: too much is always better than not enough!

Herbtools has amazing bongs! Read the rest

Charitable Giving Guide 2016

A guide to the charities we support in our own annual giving.

Boing Boing Gift Guide: Toys and more!

Enjoy the third and final part of this year's gift guide: toys! Also included are everything else that doesn't quite fit into our picks among the books and gadgets to enchant and enwonderize us in 2016. What cool and weird objects of fascination did you find this year?

Makey MakeyIt’s easier to understand what Makey Makey is by watching this video of it in action than by describing it, but I’ll give it a shot. Makey Makey is a printed circuit board that you connect to any computer with a USB cable (included). You don’t need to install any software. Your computer thinks Makey Makey is a keyboard. And it is a keyboard of sorts. But it doesn’t use standard keys. Instead, you connect wires from Makey Makey to anything that conducts electricity: a piece of fruit, a bowl of water, a cup of soup, a scrap of aluminum foil, blobs of Play-Doh. When you touch the object with your finger, your computer will think you are pressing a key on a standard keyboard. You can assign the object to be a spacebar key, an arrow key, or a letter key. And you can connect several objects to Makey Makey at the same time, so that you can create game controllers, musical interfaces, and other button-controlled devices.

It might not sound like much fun, but the possibilities are endless, and Makey Makey’s ease of use encourages quick-and-dirty experimentation. My 12-year-old was instantly transfixed by Makey Makey and she started making all sorts of things with it, including a drum machine triggered by apple slices, and a game controller out of a cardboard box and bits of foil. Read the rest

Boing Boing's 2016 Gift Guide: Gadgets

A staggering array of gadgetry gets posted to Boing Boing every year, which makes picking just some of the stuff seem like a big job. But it's easy when you just ask yourself: what made our lives better? What looks fun? Here's a few dozen tech toys that generated laughs, light and lovely smoothies.

Most of the links here include Amazon Affiliate codes; this helps us make ends meet at Boing Boing, the world's greatest neurozine. Don't miss our favorite books and toys from 2016, too Read the rest

Boing Boing's 2016 Gift Guide: Books

When we got to rounding up our favorite books for our annual Gift Guide, we found that there were simply too many this time to throw in the Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukah/Yule/Solstice/Nonspecific Winter Celebration/New Year/Chalica hopper along with the tech and toys.

It's almost as if 2016 made the traditional way of learning more about our world — and of sharing dreams of other worlds — somehow more enticing.

Here's 65 of the best, then, from fairy-tales to furious politics, from the comic to the catastrophic, all waiting for you to turn the page.

Most of the links here include Amazon Affiliate codes; this helps us make ends meet at Boing Boing, the world's greatest neurozine. Don't miss this year's guides to Gadgets and toys too! Read the rest

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