In 1943, the chairman of the NY Fed backed Modern Monetary Theory: "Taxes for Revenue Are Obsolete"

Modern Monetary Theory is the latest incarnation of chartalism, the economic theory that holds that government spending -- and a federal jobs guarantee -- doesn't create inflation, so long as the spending is on things that the private sector isn't buying: if a factory can produce ten widgets but is only producing five because that's all the public sector wants to buy, the government can put in an order for five more widgets, putting more workers to work, without driving up the price of widgets. (more…)

This personal AC cleans and dehumidifies the air as it cools

With the rising temperatures on tap this summer, the climate is going to be a frequent topic of conversation, and those conversations won't be happy ones. Luckily, there's a way to do a little climate change of your own - in a safe and sustainable way. When it comes to personal air conditioners, EvaPolar is putting out some innovative gear, and their EvaChill EV-500 is a particularly affordable example.

This compact unit does more than just cool the air, though it does that extraordinarily well. It uniformly and quickly lowers the temperature in a 45 square foot area in front of it, and it does it without the use of Freon or other toxic elements. The filter and other components are made from non-organic EvaBreeze material that's completely biodegradable and won't harbor bacteria. Those same properties also enable it to filter dust and other allergens out of the air. As if that weren't enough, the EV-500 also functions as a dehumidifier. With all that working in tandem, you'll notice the change in air quality within a few breaths of turning it on.

The EvaChill EV-500 is now available for $79, a full 20% off the list price. It's available in white and gray.

How To: play Vlad Taltos in an RPG

Vlad Taltos is the (anti)hero of Steven Brust's stupendous, longrunning fantasy series (which is nearly complete, a generation after it was begun!); Issue 220 of Dragon magazine (August 1995) included a feature by Ed Stark explaining how to play the human assassin and witch who lives amidst a race of nearly immortal elves, against whom he bears a serious grudge. I just love that there's a stats-sheet for Vlad! The only thing that would make me happier would be the next goddamned book.

Podcast: Occupy Gotham

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my essay Occupy Gotham, published in Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman, commemorating the 1000th issue of Batman comics. It's an essay about the serious hard problem of trusting billionaires to solve your problems, given the likelihood that billionaires are the cause of your problems.

A thousand issues have gone by, nearly 80 years have passed, and Batman still hasn't cleaned up Gotham. If the formal definition of insanity it trying the same thing and expecting a different outcome, then Bruce Wayne belongs in a group therapy session in Arkham Asylum. Seriously, get that guy some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy before he gets into some *serious* trouble.

As Upton Sinclair wrote in his limited run of *Batman: Class War*[1], "It's impossible to get a man to understand something when his paycheck depends on his not understanding it."

Gotham is a city riven by inequality. In 1939, that prospect had a very different valence than it has in 2018. Back in 1939, the wealth of the world's elites had been seriously eroded, first by the Great War, then by the Great Crash and the interwar Great Depression, and what was left of those vast fortunes was being incinerated on the bonfire of WWII. Billionaire plutocrats were a curious relic of a nostalgic time before the intrinsic instability of extreme wealth inequality plunged the world into conflict.

MP3

Kevin Smith to do a theatrical reading of his Clerks III script

Director Kevin Smith wrote Clerks III more than a decade ago but it was never made, the director has said, because Jeff Anderson, who plays Randal, wasn't game. Today, Smith announced that he and some unnamed "friends" will do a reading of the script at the First Avenue Playhouse in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. It's a benefit for the playhouse which is where Smith held open auditions for the first Clerks film 25 years ago. There were only 80 seats available (at $100/each) and, yes, it sold out instantly.

Astonishing encounter with a nearly human-size jellyfish

UK TV host and wildlife biologist Lizzie Daly and her crew were diving off the southwestern coast of England as part of their Wild Ocean Week initiative when they met this magnificent and massive barrel jellyfish. Typically, barrel jellyfish aren't bigger than meter long but this one was closer to 1.5 meters. From The Guardian:

Daly and an underwater camera operator, Dan Abbott... stayed with the abnormally large, translucent bell-mushroom-shaped animal for about an hour before it swam away.

The pair said they were not surprised by the animal’s behaviour. “It has got a very mild sting and poses no threat to humans – some people don’t even feel it,” Daly said. “Many people would be immediately worried, but it is not dangerous. Its a majestic creature.”

View this post on Instagram

SO THIS JUST HAPPENED😱💙 Diving with a giant barrel jellyfish! I could not think of a better way to celebrate the end of #WildOceanWeek. The full video of the dive is LIVE right now! I'll put the link in my stories if anybody wants to spend just two minutes watching this breathtaking moment coming face to face with a barrel jellyfish THE SAME SIZE AS ME while diving off of the coast of Falmouth 💙 What an unforgettable experience, I know barrel jellyfish get really big in size but I have never seen anything like it before! For anybody who is in Cornwall do come on down to Maenporth tomorrow at 12pm for a beach clean. There should be a good crowd of us rounded up now so it will be fun - and it will be followed by a small talk about the trip! Thank you Wild Ocean Week and of course the @sharkman_dan for the incredible footage 🎥😍

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Border Patrol investigating 62 employees, 8 ex-employees over racist CBP Facebook group

A U.S. border official told the Associated Press today that 62 Customs and Border Patrol employees, and 8 ex-employees, are all under investigation over that racist and violent CBP Facebook group.

In I'm 10-15, the secret CBP Facebook group that was full of racism, sexism, and jokes about migrant deaths, agents made social media posts that mocked refugees on the US-Mexico border, and promoted violence against lawmakers including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

There were more than 9,500 members at the group's peak, before it was shut down.

Looks like the Border Patrol has a few more bad apples to round up.

Inaugural Heavy Metal Knitting World Championship title goes to Japan's Giga Body Metal

The inaugural Heavy Metal Knitting World Championship were an unqualified success, with competitors from the US, Russia, Japan and beyond converging on Joensuu, Finland to thrash and knit: competitors such as Woolfumes, Bunny Bandit and 9" Needles thrashed to heavy metal music while knitting, for an audience of about 200. The winners were the five-person Japanese team Giga Body Metal. Scottish competitor Heather McLaren (a Ph.D candidate in engineering) told the AP, "When I saw there was a combination of heavy metal and knitting, I thought 'that’s my niche.'"

Excellent video about why the SHA 256 hash algorithm is so cool and useful

SHA 256 is an algorithm that takes a digital input of any length and returns a string of 256 bits (typically converted to 64 hexadecimal digits). It's a one-way algorithm, which means there's no known way to practically retrieve the input from the output. As far as anyone knows, there has never been an instance of two different inputs having the same output, which means the hash of an input is a reliable unique digital fingerprint.

In this 6-minute video, Matthew Weathers explains why SHA 256 is "useful for digital signatures, cryptography, authentication, and is a central part of the Bitcoin protocol."

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