Senator Mark Warner's Stop STUPIDITY Act would protect federal employees' pay during shutdowns

Senator Mark Warner [D-VA] has introduced the Stop STUPIDITY (Shutdowns Transferring Unnecessary Pain and Inflicting Damage In The Coming Years) Act, which would "keep the government running in the case of a lapse in funding by automatically renewing government funding at the same levels as the previous year," while continuing to leave the the legislative branch and the Executive Office of the President unfunded, which "will force Congress and the White House to come to the negotiating table without putting at risk the economy or hurting the American public." Read the rest

Republican Arizona lawmaker revives doomed "porn tax" to fund Trump's doomed border-wall

Anti-porn troll Chris Sevier (previously) has built his career by convincing grandstanding Republican state lawmakers to introduce doomed, unconstitutional porn-tax laws that would require in-state ISPs to implement default-on censorship of "adult sites" (or, more specifically, "sites appearing an an arbitrary, unaccountable secret blacklist of allegedly adult material") and then charge $20/subscriber to turn off the filters. Read the rest

An annotated bibliography of anarchism in science fiction

Ben Beck has relaunched his 30+ year-old AnarchySF site, with new contributions from Eden Kupermintz and Yanai Sened; it's billed as "an open-source repository of anarchist or anarchy-adjacent science fiction" and the relaunch incorporates "modern content management frameworks to allow a community to form around the archive and help maintain it." My cursory examination confirms that the site is an excellent resource already, but still really use work, especially on non-English sources. Read the rest

The sad history of Livejournal as a lens for understanding the state of social media today

Like Facebook, Livejournal was built in a bright student's dormroom; but unlike Facebook, LJ wasn't built "for nonconsensually rating the fuckability of stolen photos of undergrads," but rather as a community-minded platform for self-expression and connection-forging. Read the rest

Matt Taibbi on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vs the US political establishment

Matt Taibbi (previously) is in characteristically fine form here: the average Congressjerk is mythologized as a "brilliant 4-D chess player" but "would lose at checkers to a zoo gorilla": they are only in office because "someone with money sent them there, often to vote yes on a key appropriation bill or two. On the other 364 days of the year, their job is to shut their yaps and approximate gravitas anytime they’re in range of C-SPAN cameras." Read the rest

Teen Vogue explainer: what are "resistance, rebellion, and revolution?"

Teen Vogue continues its excellent tradition of radical reporting with Lucy Diavolo's explainer on the definitions and relative merits and demerits of "resistance," "rebellion" and "revolution." Read the rest

English and Welsh Ramblers have seven years left to catalogue the nation's footpaths, or they will be absorbed into private lands

There are an estimated 140,000 miles of footpaths in England and Wales, public rights of way that cut across all manner of private land, and due to various quirks of history they have never been fully mapped. Read the rest

A list of all the booze in Casablanca (surprisingly long!)

Bruce Sterling cataloged all the onscreen booze in Casablanca, producing a surprisingly long list (Sterling: "ranted, they’ve all got plenty to drink about, but gee whiz.") Read the rest

Latvia opens up its KGB files and names 4,000+ "informants," many of whom claim they were framed

When Latvia attained independence in 1991, the retreating KGB left behind two sacks and two briefcases containing indexed records of the secret informants who had been paid to turn in their neighbors for offenses including anti-Kremlin activism and watching pornography. Read the rest

Shoshana Zuboff discusses her new book, "Surveillance Capitalism"

Ever since academic Shoshana Zuboff coined the term "Surveillance Capitalism" in 2015, it's become a touchstone for the debate over commercial surveillance (we've cited it hundreds of times). This week, Zuboff published her (very thick) book on the subject, to excellent early notices; I haven't read it yet, but it's next on my list. Read the rest

The EU's ambitious, fearless antitrust czar is unlikely to win another term

Margrethe Vestager (previously) has been the EU antitrust commissioner for five years, and now she is getting ready to step down (her party is unlikely to prevail next year, so she will likely be replaced), having presided over an unprecedented era of antitrust enforcement that has seen billions of euros extracted in penalties from Google, Apple and Facebook, with Amazon now under her microscope. Read the rest

The Boing Boing blog turns 19 today

Nineteen years ago today, Mark decided to do some research on the new Blogger service for an article in The Industry Standard, and so he created a blog and started posting to it (the Standard spiked the story, on the basis that blogging was probably a passing fad). Read the rest

"Capitalism has outlived its usefulness" -Martin Luther King, Jr

"I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive, viz, to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most human systems, it falls victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes." Read the rest

CES-goer says his camera was killed by a self-driving car's LIDAR

Jit Ray Chowdhury attended CES in his capacity as an autonomous vehicle engineer, and while there, snapped a picture of a self-driving car equipped with a LIDAR system from Aeye; he says the LIDAR's laser lanced through his camera's aperture and zapped its optical sensor, burning a permanent spot into it and ruining the camera (Aeye has offered to replace it). Read the rest

Fundraising to save Burbank's horror bookstore Dark Delicacies

Burbank's amazing quarter-century institution Dark Delicacies is a horror book-, memoribilia- and clothing-store that is a community hub for genre creators, hosting a wonderful stream of events, signings, and even an annual chance to get your photo took with Krampus at a Christmas open-house. Read the rest

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!

Neil Gaiman says Edgar Allan Poe should be read aloud, and he's right: he recorded this video of him reading "The Raven" in 2016 as part of Pat Rothfuss's Worldbuilders charity drive. It's Poe's birthday today, and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than to listen to it again. Read the rest

The EU's plan to impose mandatory copyright filters is on life-support and may die

This Monday, the final "trilogue" (a meeting between the European Parliament, the European Presidency, and the EU member-states) was supposed to convene to wrap up the negotiations on the first update to the Copyright Directive since 2001, including the controversial Article 13 (mandatory copyright filters for online services) and Article 11 (letting news sites decide who can link to them and charging for the privilege). Read the rest

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