McMansion Hell awards its annual prize for the best gingerbread McMansion!

Last year, McMansion Hell (previously) inaugurated its annual gingerbread McMansion competition, inviting America's bakers to challenge themselves to build the largest, most ostentatious, most ill-conceived McMansion in gingerbread form. Read the rest

Rating the 30 most evil tech companies

Slate compiled a list of the 30 most evil companies in tech, starting with Mspy (#30) all the way up to Amazon (#1). I weighed in on Oracle (#17, "It takes a lot to make me feel like Google is being victimized by a bully, but Oracle managed it") and Apple (#6, "Apple won’t spy on you for ads, but they’ll help the Chinese government spy on its citizens to keep its supply chain intact"). Read the rest

Security expert offers hacking advice to students whose campuses have implemented pervasive wireless surveillance

After a late-December Washington Post story revealed a nationwide epidemic of colleges quietly installing pervasive wireless location-tracking systems on campus, which gathered data on students without meaningful consent, inside and outside of class, broken down by protected categories such as race and gender, as well as on potentially invasive lines such as whether a student is from abroad, security researcher Lace R Vick (previously) tweeted an offer to students to explain how they could "dismantle such a system." Read the rest

Kentucky's Whitefield Academy expels student for wearing a rainbow shirt in a Facebook photo

The Whitefield Academy is a "Christ-centered, college-preparatory school for grades PreK-12 fostering a passion for learning, others ahead of self, and the living and active Jesus." That is to say, it's a school for religious maniacs. Read the rest

Lil Dumpster Fire vinyl figurine

Celebrate the new decade with a $22 Lil Dumpster Fire figurine so that you can gaze upon your immortal petrochemical chum and recall fondly the days when the dumpster fire was merely figurative. (via Super Punch) Read the rest

Art installation uses science to age e-waste in geological time

Nathaniel Stern writes, "The World After Us: Imaging techno-aesthetic futures (Flickr set) is an art exhibition that asks, 'What will — and what can — happen to our gadgets over geological time?' For the last few years, I have been working scientists to artificially age phones and computers in different ways, growing plants and fungi in watches, phones, laptops, and more, and turning phones into ink (via blenders and oils), iMacs into tools (melting down the aluminum, and shaping it into a wrench, hammer, and screwdriver), and otherwise spiking electronic waste onto 12 foot towers and/or 'growing' them (intermingled with botanicals) across 1000 square feet of wall space. Here I want people to think and act differently in and with their media devices, their electronic waste, and the damage it does to create both in the first place." Read the rest

Massive auction of Disney rarities

A Boing Boing reader and superfan who wishes to remain anonymous is auctioning of an amazing collection of Disneyana with Potter & Potter: "Lots of original silk-screened park posters, Castmember costumes, original park signs, WDI art, blueprints, plus lots of souvenirs." Read the rest

You will be helped! Research using real-world situations fails to replicate the "bystander effect"

For decades, the "bystander effect" (previously) has been a bedrock of received psychological wisdom: "individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present; the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that one of them will help." Read the rest

Big Telco wants more federal money to offer slower rural broadband

Comments filed with the FCC by AT&T, Frontier, Windstream and Ustelcom (an industry group representing telcoms companies) have asked the FCC to change the rules for its next, $20.4 billion/10 year rural broadband subsidy fund to allow them to offer slower service than the (already low) speeds the FCC has proposed. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders is the most popular candidate among young people, who could determine the outcome of the 2020 election

The largest political party in America is the None of the Above Party, which garners more support than either the Democrats or the Republicans: that means that motivating eligible voters to go to the polls matters more than anything else when it comes to determining the outcome of federal elections. Read the rest

Med-tech company repossess veteran's artificial legs because the VA won't cover them

Jerry Holliman received Bronze Stars for his military service in Iraq and Vietnam, where he was dosed with Agent Orange. Now 69, Hollman has survived multiple cancers, but lost both his legs to complications from diabetes. Read the rest

Schneier: "It's really too late to secure 5G networks"

Bruce Schneier's Foreign Policy essay in 5G security argues that we're unduly focused on the possibility of Chinese manufacturers inserting backdoors or killswitches in 5G equipment, and not focused enough on intrinsic weakness in a badly defined, badly developed standard wherein "near-term corporate profits prevailed against broader social good." Read the rest

Newton's Principia Mathematica, George Washington's journal: archivist stole $8m worth of rare books from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Library

Gregory Priore -- former archivist for Pittsburgh's Carnegie Library -- has pleaded guilty of stealing $8m worth of rare texts from the collection over a 25 year period, fencing them through John Schulman's Caliban Book Shop (Schulman has also pleaded guilty, and admitted to forgery as well). Read the rest

Podcast: Inaction is a form of action

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my latest Locus column, Inaction is a Form of Action,, where I I discuss how the US government's unwillingness to enforce its own anti-monopoly laws has resulted in the dominance of a handful of giant tech companies who get to decide what kind of speech is and isn't allowed -- that is, how the USG's complicity in the creation of monopolies allows for a kind of government censorship that somehow does not violate the First Amendment. Read the rest

Tickets for Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) 2020 are now on sale!

Aestetix writes, "HOPE 2020 [ed: Hackers on Planet Earth, the triennial, astoundingly great hacker con put on by 2600 Magazine] is in a brand new location and will be bigger and better than ever with lots more activities and space - all without leaving New York City! It will be held from July 31st to August 2nd at St. John's University in Queens. Get your tickets now for only $200, while supplies lasts. Read the rest

The DHS classes nonviolent environmental activists in the same "domestic terrorist" category as Dylan Roof and James Fields

Property of the People (previously) used Freedom of Information Act requests to force the Department of Homeland Security to reveal that it tracks members of the Valve Turners -- a nonviolent environmental group that practices civil disobedience against oil pipelines -- alongside of white nationalist mass-murderers and killers like Dylan Roof (the mass murderer behind the 2015 shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston) and James Fields, who murdered Heather Heyer when he drove his car into an anti-Nazi counterprotest in Charlottesvilla. Read the rest

Charter/Spectrum sold customers expensive home security systems, then killed the program and left them high and dry

Prior to being acquired by Charter, the cable company Spectrum aggressively marketed home security systems to its customers, inducing them to spend hundreds of dollars on proprietary cameras and other equipment that integrated with their cable networks and offered them remote monitoring and other services. Read the rest

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