Police say the Austin bomber killed himself as they closed in on him

five bombs have gone off in the Austin area this month (a sixth bomb was defused); they seemed to target people of color. Read the rest

Austin bombings: literal American carnage meets with Trumpian indifference

Remember when Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to make Americans safe, and promised an end to "American carnage" at his inauguration? Yeah, neither does he. Read the rest

SXSW panel on Thursday: Art, technology, and the Voyager Golden Record

Are you at SXSW this week? On Thursday (3/15) at 12:30pm, I'll be on a panel about art and technology titled: "Why are artists vital to tech's future (and ours?)" Moderated by Heather Sparks of ScienceSparksArt, the panel also includes artist Rhonda Holberton and curator Aimee Friberg. I'll be speaking about the Voyager Golden Record as a futurist talisman at the intersection of science, art, and wonder. From the panel description:

In a recent report from Silicon Valley's Institute for the Future, technology is said to be "on an inexorable path toward redefining the human experience." Our lives will soon be entirely networked and analyzed by for-profit interests. Yet art—from Carl Sagan's Golden Record on the Voyager, to the works of many artists today—offers a different vision. Join this panel to discuss how artists are vital in steering technology—and therefore humanity—toward a more beneficent and beautiful future.

I hope to see you there!

image above: Rhonda Holberton; below: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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To do at SXSW: Cypherpunks Strike Back! and Cyborg Pride Parade

EFF-Austin's Jon Lebkowsky writes: "Every year while thousands flock to a certain large festival that temporarily colonizes Austin, EFF-Austin throws a honking big geek soiree. Keynote speakers are this year are Caroline Old Coyote and Michael Running Wolf, Native American VR/AR activists who are using technology to preserve their culture and heritage. Additional speakers include EFF Investigative Researcher David Maass discussing police surveillance, government transparency, and legislation in California, former EFF-Austin president Jon Lebkowsky, Carly Rose Jackson with Texans For Voter Choice, and Vikki Goodwin, Democratic candidate for Texas House District 47. Also music by Michael Garfield, Pilgrimess, and UBA, plus custom video game consoles, lockpicking, and cosplay. " Read the rest

To do in Austin: Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute Plays

Austinites! You have two more nights to catch Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute Plays, "an artistic and cultural dialogue around our divergent understandings of privacy." Read the rest

SXSW condemns Texas's state-level law banning "sanctuary cities" like Austin

SXSW has made good on its promises to walk the talk on supporting immigration rights, coming out in support of the city of Austin's lawsuit against the state of Texas over SB-4, the Texas law that bans "sanctuary cities" where law enforcement officers do not check or take action on arrestees' immigration status unless it is relevant to their alleged crimes. Read the rest

See you tonight in Austin! (then Houston, Scottsdale, San Diego...) (!)

We had a fantastic event last night at Denver's Tattered Cover -- thanks to everyone, especially the Denhack crew, for making it so great -- and now I'm headed to the airport to fly to Austin for an event tonight at Bookpeople with a special guest appearance from EFF-Austin! Read the rest

Bruce Sterling's SXSW 2017 keynote: what should humans do?

Every year, Bruce Sterling closes the SXSW Interactive Festival with a wide-ranging, hour-long speech about the state of the nation: the format is 20 minutes' worth of riffing on current affairs, and then 40 minutes of main thesis, scorchingly delivered, with insights, rage, inspiration and calls to action. Read the rest

Going to SXSW? Attend the EFF/EFF-Austin's Cyberpunk2017 bash!

Old-school bOING bOING editor Jon Lebkowsky invites everyone to Cyberpunk2017, the Annual EFF/EFF-Austin SXSW Afterparty in Austin, Texas, Saturday, March 11, 2017, from 5pm to 1am! It's free!

Jon writes:

Our latest EFF/EFF-Austin event takes a cyberpunk perspective on 2017, exploring how our vision of the future has changed over the last forty years of science-fiction made real, and considering this year as a turning point in the way we live our lives and participate in our society, as well as our sense of personal autonomy.

Cyberpunk imagined a world where the average person’s autonomy and privacy is commoditized and exploited by the shadowy machinations of global forces beyond our comprehension. “Information wants to be free,” and when a person’s image, voice, and words all manifest as data, their personal identity is potentially free for the taking.

In a world where dead actors are resurrected as data objects in major motion picture blockbusters, where a billion people’s account data can be stolen by a few rogue hackers, where software can edit video to show a person doing and saying things they never actually did or said, where services are free because users are the product, where truth is secondary to narrative, how can we hope to ensure that privacy and the right to one’s data and representation remains a fundamental, enshrined, and preserved right?

Taking place at The Butterfly Bar/The Vortex on Saturday, March 11th from 5:00pm-1:00am, there will be free drinks for our supporters who register in advance as well as illuminating talks from a variety of speakers including Cory Doctorow, Jon Lebkowsky, David DeMaris, Todd Manning, Jonathan Morgan, Owen McNally, and others.

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To do in Austin: Privacy Settings: A Promethean Tale on stage (and streaming!)

Jon writes, "Austin, Texas theater maven Heather Barfield energizes the discussion of personal privacy with her highly interactive play 'Privacy Settings: A Promethean Tale,' running through June 18 at the Vortex Theatre in Austin (and streaming June 10)." Read the rest

The gift economy at the heart of open source

With the 18th O'Reilly Open Source convention approaching, Tim O'Reilly has written a stirring editorial on the value that inspires him about FLOSS: "to create more value than you capture." Read the rest

EFF-Austin panel commemmorating the 20th anniversary of the Steve Jackson Games raid

The Secret Service raid on Austin's Steve Jackson Games started the fight over freedom and privacy online, and resulted in the founding of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and EFF-Austin. Read the rest

Wheels of Aurelia's '70s Italian roadtrip looks enchanting

"Half racing game, half interactive fiction, it tells the story of Lella, a restless woman driving on the roads of the western coast of Italy, the famous Via Aurelia."

31 communities vow to create local gigabit broadband

Across the US, 31 communities have joined forces to make the dream of fast, affordable, and reliable gigabit-speed broadband a local reality. The Next Century Cities program, launched this week, hopes to defeat the forces holding broadband back. The 31 inaugural signatories are: Read the rest

Kickstarting Chris Locke's book of post-it note portraits

Christopher Locke (modern fossils, TSA confiscation sculptures, adult coloring book) sez, "I want to hand-draw a few hundred portraits on Post-It Notes, then compile them into a book, so I'm asking people to buy the portraits in order to fund the project: $25 gets you hand-drawn likeness of yourself, arriving in the mail and suitable for framing. The process will help me in teaching middle-schoolers about dedication to long-term projects." Read the rest

Wolfgang Pauli opera in Austin: For Fear the Glass May Shatter

Jon Lebkowsky sez, "My amazing friend, neurocomputing specialist, musician & composer David Demaris has created the most geek-tastic opera ever, For Fear the Glass May Shatter. It's been produced as part of Austin's Fusebox Festival, and is running through this weekend at the Vortex Theatre here." Read the rest

Film about Austin's psychedelic history

Dirt Road To Psychedelia is a documentary about the underground culture and music scene in Austin, Texas during the 1960s. Above is the trailer.

"With a folk-singing Janis Joplin, the 13th Floor Elevators, peyote, LSD and the first psychedelic music venue in Texas, Austin was a fertile ground for the emerging counterculture of the 1960s," says director Scott Conn.

If you're lucky enough to be in Waxahachie, Texas this Sunday (3/23), check it out live at the wunderkammer that is the Webb Gallery as part of their "Big Hair & Sparkly Pants" Texas-themed group art show. You can also buy the DVD on Amazon. Read the rest

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