Disney heiress condemns Trump for lowering her taxes: vote out the Republicans on Nov 6!

Abigail Disney is Walt Disney's grand-niece; she is an activist and documentarian and being the grand-daughter of Roy Disney, she is rich as hell. Read the rest

Against all evidence, city of Savannah claims googly eyes glued to Revolutionary War statue are "not funny"

An extremely funny prankster glued googly eyes to the statue of Revolutionary War commander Nathaniel Greene; the City of Savannah took to its Facebook page to insist that this was "not funny" but rather "vandalism" and saying that the police had been involved. Read the rest

Jared Kushner took home millions, paid little or no tax for years

Jared Kushner borrowed money to put down tiny down-payments on properties, paid himself millions from the rents generated by those properties, then used aggressive depreciation markdowns to declare an operating loss every year, meaning that he paid no tax at all from at least 2012 to 2016, and very little tax in the three years proceeding it. Read the rest

Just look at this 1943 Busby Berkeley banana dance

Just look at it. (Thanks, Greg Cook!) Read the rest

Forensics company advises cops not to look at seized Iphones, to avoid facial-recognition lockouts

A leaked police-training presentation from digital forensics company Elcomsoft (a company that made history due to its early run-in with the DMCA) advises officers not to look at Iphones seized from suspects in order to avoid tripping the phones' facial recognition systems -- if Iphones sense too many unlock attempts with faces other than those registered as trusted, they fall back to requiring additional unlock measures like passcodes or fingerprints. Read the rest

California ballot measure to reintroduce rent control met with millions in opposition from Wall Street landlords

California is one of the hot-zones in the world's urban housing crisis, driven by a combination of opposition to highrise/high-density living and the mass purchase of foreclosed properties following the 2008 crisis by giant Wall Street landlords who have steadily ratcheted up rents and evictions in a big to safeguard the flow of payments to bondholders who get a share of the rents extracted from struggling tenants living in dangerous, substanding housing. Read the rest

How trade unions are addressing automation

The first wave of computerized automation caught trade unions flat-footed; already reeling from the Reagan-era attacks on labor, union leadership failed completely to come up with a coherent response to the automation of manufacturing industries (a notable exception was the longshoremans' union, which ensured that containerization led to massive pay raises and generous retirements for the workers whose work was largely eliminated by better shipping techniques). Read the rest

Nation Park Service on the verge of blocking most White House protests: comments due by MONDAY!

Monday is the end of the comment period for a sweeping National Park Service proposal that will have a dramatic effect on the ability of Americans to protest in sight of their government. Read the rest

UPDATED: The US Patent and Trademark Office is ready to hand over an exclusive trademark for "Dragon Slayer" for fantasy novels

Update: The USPTO has withdrawn this from publication for "further review."

Michael-Scott Earle, a self-publisher of "pulp harem fantasies" is seeking a trademark on the use of "Dragon Slayer" in connection with fantasy novels. Read the rest

Fidget spinners + magnets: glorious chaotic motion

Hirotakaster's instructions for combining magnets and fidget spinners are a one-way ticket to glorious, chaotic motion, as complex systems emerge from grids of obsolete, post-fad plastic waste. (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

A year later, giant Chinese security camera company's products are still a security dumpster-fire

A year ago, Chinese white-label CCTV/DVR vendor Xiongmai announced a recall and security update for its devices, whose weak security meant that they had been conscripted into a massive, unstoppable botnet. Read the rest

Blame Big Data for CVS's endless miles of receipts

Buy a single item at CVS and you can end up with a 4'-6'-long ribbon of register tape, a kind of orgy of coupons and come-ons. Read the rest

Amazon trained a sexism-fighting, resume-screening AI with sexist hiring data, so the bot became sexist

Some parts of machine learning are incredibly esoteric and hard to grasp, surprising even seasoned computer science pros; other parts of it are just the same problems that programmers have contended with since the earliest days of computation. The problem Amazon had with its machine-learning-based system for screening job applicants was the latter. Read the rest

Student's DoNotPay app expands to include pushbutton small claims lawsuits

Joshua Browder launched DoNotPay when he started his computer science degree at Stanford; at first the app automated the process of fighting traffic tickets, then it expanded to helping homeless people claim benefits, then he automated suing Equifax for leaking all your financial data, then navigating the airlines' deliberately confusing process for getting refunds on plane tickets whose prices drop after you buy them. Read the rest

Artist creates miniature replicas of the rooms of Japan's "lonely deaths"

Japanese artist Miyu Kojima's dayjob is cleaning up apartments whose occupants have died "lonely deaths" (kodokushi/孤独死), where someone socially isolated declines unnoticed for months or years; the scenes of their death are both sad and grisly, as often they lie dead behind closed doors for a long time before they are missed. Read the rest

Notre Dame and 73 other institutions secretly conspired with the Trump administration to deny birth control

When Obamacare came into effect, Notre Dame and other religious institutions forced the administration into a baroque arrangement whereby the US government would insure birth control prescriptions for women otherwise covered by the institution, so that the institution could hew to a religious doctrine that abhors the idea of women controlling their own fertility. Read the rest

Family separations: the Trump administration stole thousands more children than previously reported

Amnesty International's new report on family separations reveals that the Trump administration stole at least 4,000 more children from their parents than the previous total of 2,500-3,000. Read the rest

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