Syndicated columnist censored for writing about the risks of hedge funds and billionaires buying papers

Jim Hightower is a longstanding, respected columnist distributed by Creators Syndicate -- but Creators refused to distribute his latest column, "Free the Free Press from Wall Street Plunderers," which warns about Wall Street vultures like Digital First Media and GateHouse Media buying up newspapers, including the Austin Statesman. Read the rest

Outstanding podcast on the Canadian government's plan drop $600m on a bailout for the national press

The latest installment of the Canadaland media criticism podcast (MP3) (previously) features an outstanding and nuanced discussion between host Jesse Brown and NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen (previously), regarding the Trudeau government's plan to hand Canada's press a $600 million bailout, with large tranches of that money to be funneled to billionaire media barons who ran their businesses into the ground by loading them up with predatory debt while mass-firing their newsrooms and paying themselves millions in bonuses -- Brown and Rosen don't just discuss the merits and demerits of this proposal, but get into a fascinating debate/discussion about what a better version of this would look like. Read the rest

Rhode Island lawsuit argues that the Constitution guarantees a right to sufficient education to be an informed citizen

In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution does not guarantee Americans "equal" education (which would require similar per-student funding in both rich and poor neighborhoods), merely "adequate" education. Read the rest

Superb makeup transformation from young woman to elderly genius

Frustratingly, this video has no data about the identity of the incredible genius featured therein. Who is she? Read the rest

Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949 and thereafter enjoyed the best per-capita GDP growth in the region

In 1948, Costa Rica weathered a civil war, and in 1949, they abolished their military. Since then, Costa Rica has emerged as the Central American success story, more politically stable and richer than its neighbors. Read the rest

How Doonesbury helped turn George HW Bush into a mass-murdering war criminal

George HW Bush was a mass murderer and a war criminal and now he is dead. Read the rest

Uber is a "bezzle," doomed to disappoint the suckers who buy into its IPO

Writing in New York Magazine, Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith draws on Hubert Horan's outstanding series on the underlying economics of Uber to describe why the company's IPO will be a terrible bet for the investors who buy into it. Read the rest

Haunted Mansion wallpaper, wrapping paper, and fabric!

Spoonflower's gorgeous selection of Haunted Mansion patterns can be printed on demand on wallpaper, giftwrap, or fabric: from the green strips of the maids' uniforms to the purple and black stripes of the butler's vests, to motifs picked up from the characters and decor (tightrope walker girl's floral print, hitchhiking ghosts, Leota's seance room), the variety is amazing. (via Disney's Haunted Mansion) Read the rest

Argentine hacker mods Furby so it quotes Borges, creates a "Borgy"

Argentine hacker [Roni Bandini] modded a 1998 Furby so that it responds to stimulus by rattling off a random quote from Jorge Luis Borges. He calls it "Borgy." Read the rest

Merry Mixmas! It's time again for DJ Riko's badass Christmas mashup

Every year, DJ Riko drops a longform "mixmas" of Christmas mashups; this year's mix is out (MP3 link), featuring everyone from Run DMC to Harry Belafonte to Eels (here's how to get all 16 installments in the series!). Read the rest

Cragne Manor, an 84-room horror "exquisite corpse" text adventure that's a tribute to the classic game Anchorhead

It's the 20th anniversary of Anchorhead, Michael Gentry's seminal horror text adventure; to commemorate the occasion, Ryan Veeder and Jenni Polodna worked with 84 developers to create Cragne Manor, a tribute, whose puzzles are ingenious, frustrating and amazing. Read the rest

Uber forces its drivers to arbitrate, rather than sue, but Uber also won't arbitrate

Binding arbitration agreements were formalized in 1925, allowing two corporate entities of roughly equal size to resolve their disputes outside of a court, saving both parties a lot of money, but since then, the primary use of arbitration is to force employees, customers, patients and other comparatively weak parties to surrender their right to sue (or join class actions) as a condition of going to work, seeking care, or simply shopping. Read the rest

Literal breadboarding, with toast and Vegemite

Vegemite has enough salt to be conductive, and is viscous enough to draw distinct traces with on suitable medium (say, toast that has been cooked such that most of the water has evaporated, making it a good insulator), as Luke Weston has ably demonstrated. Read the rest

$30 plug-and-play kit converts a Bird scooter into a "personal scooter"

When scooter companies like Bird started illegally deploying their gadgets in city streets, there was intense interest in both the street value of the components to be found within each of these VC-backed ewaste-in-waiting devices, and tactics for hotwiring them. Read the rest

An annual Christmas craft tradition: the Die Hard Air Duct ornament

Combine a paperclip, tin foil, a cereal box, and a print out to make the Die Hard John McClane Air Duct Christmas Ornament. PS: Die Hard is a Christmas movie. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Top FTC official is so such a corporate shill that he has conflicts of interest for 100 companies, including Equifax and Facebook

Andrew Smith is Trump's chief of the FTC Consumer Protection Bureau, in charge of investigating companies that abuse Americans -- but he can't, because he has previously provided services for over 100 of America's largest companies, including Facebook, a whack of payday lenders, Amazon, American Airlines, Amex, BoA, Capital One, Citigroup, John Deere, Equifax, Expedia, Experian, Glaxosmithkline, Goldman Sachs, Jpmorgan, Linkedin, Microsoft, Paypal, Redbubble, Twitter, Sotheby's, Transunion, Uber, Verizon, Visa, Disney and Wells Fargo. Read the rest

Ha-ha, only serious: McSweeney's on price-gouging in the emergency room

Emergency rooms at for-profit hospitals are notorious price-gougers, where an ice-pack and a bandage can cost $5,000, and where no one will tell you how much your care is costing until months after the fact. Read the rest

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