Vans sneakers boycotted in Hong Kong after they pulled a protest-themed shoe design from public competition

In Hong Kong, a boycott has begun of skateboard lifestyle brand Vans after the company pulled the above design from their annual Vans Custom Culture competition. In the contest, the public is invited to submit their designs in competition for a cash prize and having their shoe design manufactured. This particular design is themed around the current anti-government protests in Hong Kong and it was apparently doing quite well in the competition. From CNN:

The design, attributed to a Canada-based user named Naomiso, features a red bauhinia, the flower on Hong Kong's flag, and one of the yellow umbrellas synonymous with the city's 2014 pro-democracy protests. Illustrations on the sneaker's side depict a crowd of protesters wearing gas masks, goggles and hard hats.

On Saturday, with over a week of voting still to go, the submission was removed from the competition website. In a statement posted on Facebook in Chinese and English, the brand said that "a small number of artistic submissions have been removed ... to uphold the purpose of Custom Culture."

"As a brand that is open to everyone, we have never taken a political position and therefore review designs to ensure they are in line with our company's long-held values of respect and tolerance, as well as with our clearly communicated guidelines for this competition," the statement said, without referring specifically to the protest-themed design.

The statement drew condemnation on social media from Hong Kong protest supporters, where a number of posts were accompanied by the hashtag #boycottVans.

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Design competition to create graphics to illustrate cybersecurity stories

Illustrating abstract articles is a pain in the ass, and in the age of social media, a post without an illustration is likely to disappear without attaining any kind of readership, which leaves those of us who cover the field endlessly remixing HAL9000 eyes using walls of code, Matrix text-waterfalls, or variations on hacker-in-a-hoodie. Read the rest

If you correctly guess the secret word on Slack you'll win $1,000

The Word of the Day is a daily guessing game in Slack. It's easy enough to play. Just go there and enter words. If you are the first to match the secret word of the day, you win $1,000. The most recent winner was Erika Y. who correctly guessed "inscrutable."

FAQ

How and when will I get paid?

We will DM you on Slack for your Venmo handle, and you’ll get paid within 24 hours of winning.

How do you know who said the first correct word?

We built a slack bot to monitor the channel and notify everyone when someone wins.

What happens if no one gets the word right?

The slackbot will announce what the word was at 11:59PM EST. No one will get paid, and the $1000 will not roll over to the next day.

How many guesses do I get?

You can guess as many times as you want, but only in one word increments.

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Game design contest: remix America's new public domain!

This is the first day in 20 years for new works entering the American public domain, and to celebrate, Itch.io is hosting a 1923 public domain game jam, with prizes for best analog game, digital game, adaptation of a 9123 work, remix from multiple sources, deep cut, and visuals; judged by a group of archive, game and copyright nerds (including me!) -- here's a list of 1,000+ works that enter the public domain today to get you started! Read the rest

Avid reader wins his own bookstore in a raffle

When you walk into a bookshop, chances are that you weren't expecting to walk out with a bookshop. However, that's exactly what happened to Ceisjan Van Heerden after shopping at the Bookends bookstore in Cardigan, Wales. After opting for an early retirement due to medical issues, the bookshop's owner, Paul Morris, decided that he wanted to raffle it off and give a lucky book lover the opportunity to own a shop of their own.

From The Guardian:

Morris, who worked in the book industry for years before he opened his own shop, told the Guardian that he had chosen to take early retirement at 52 after his osteoarthritis worsened.

“I thought about selling it, but I thought instead, let’s give someone an opportunity in life which they might not otherwise have had. The principle was to make sure the shop continues in good hands,” he said. “[Ceisjan] is a regular customer and I’m really pleased it was him — he wants to run it. You can make a very good living from it — far too many bookshops have disappeared over the years.”

Van Heerden was in it to win it along with close to 60 other contestants. The only barrier to entry was spending over £20 (around $26) in the store. That doesn't sound like a whole lot of cheddar to hand over, for books or for the opportunity to own your own business. But, if it's a used bookstore that you're talking about, $26 is enough to fill a decent chunk of shelf space with new tomes to read. Read the rest

Essay competition: "Science Fiction & Information Law"

The University of Amsterdam's Institute for Information Law is soliciting English-language essays from 8,000-15,000 words dealing about ""our possible data-driven future, where data has been firmly established as an economic asset and new, data-driven smart technologies can change the way we live, work, love, think and vote." Read the rest

Watch: Video about competitive gravedigging

"The Best Gravediggers in the World" is a short documentary about competitive gravedigging:

In the industrial town of Trenčín, Slovakia, a small family-run funeral home has taken their gravedigging contest international. Here, teams of gravediggers from throughout Europe descend with shovels and hoes to see who can create the best eternal resting places, in the least amount of time.

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Frankenstein turns 200 this year: write a short story, win cool prizes

Arizona State University, Nanowrimo, and the Chabot Science Center are commemorating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with a series of events, including a short-story contest judged by Elizabeth Bear. Read the rest

Young Journalist contest: win admission to the HOPE hacker conference

This summer, NYC's Pennsylvania Hotel will once again fill with joyous hackers as 2600 Magazine celebrates the 11th Hackers on Planet Earth conference (HOPE): I'm giving a keynote, and if you're a student or young journalist, you can win admission to the conference by writing an article about subjects of interest to the event. Read the rest

Win all six books nominated for this year's Philip K Dick Award

The Philip K Dick Award is given to the best paperback original each year (past winners include Tim Powers' Anubis Gates, Rudy Rucker's Wetware, William Gibson's Neuromancer and Meg Elison's The Book of the Unnamed Midwife). Read the rest

Bite into a pastry, find a diamond

Tomorrow, buying a puff pastry in a French boulangerie will be as exciting as buying a chocolate Wonka Bar. Almost. But rather than looking for a golden ticket to win a magical chocolate factory, pastry lovers will have the chance of finding a faux diamond hidden in the almond cream of one of 800 galettes, which they can then exchange at a local boutique for a .20 carat diamond worth 600 euros.

On January 6, French bakers Nicolas and Julie Lelut will be holding their treasure hunt at two locations – one in their Paris shop, Delices de Belleville, where a pastry will reward someone with a white diamond. The second hunt will take place at their L’Amandine shop in Custines, where the winning pastry will offer a blue diamond. No word on whether or not they’ll pay the dentist bill in case of a chipped tooth.

Thanks Oddity Central! Read the rest

Win $1000 for your NSA Surveillance cartoon

From Global Voices Online: "The Web We Want invites cartoonists, creatives and artists to join The Day We Fight Back on February 11, 2014 by creating an original cartoon about online surveillance and the right to privacy. The cartoons should help increase awareness about the NSA and demand accountability for mass digital surveillance in a way that makes people want to click and share." Read the rest

Win a copy of the audiobook for Jeff VanderMeer's "Annihilation"

Jeff VanderMeer sez, "Want a copy of the awesome Blackstone audiobook for Annihilation, the first book in my Southern Reach trilogy? If you live in the United States, U.S. territories, or the Philippines you are eligible to win." Read the rest

There is a national competition for best-tasting tap water

Top contenders this year: Louisville and Fremont, Nebraska. Time to start filling out those brackets, water fans! Read the rest

Another prime number down, infinity to go

There are 17 million digits in the largest prime number we know of, so far. Its discovery is part of an ongoing distributed computing project aimed at exposing the existence of ever larger prime numbers, largely because prime numbers are there — flagrantly going around, only being divisible by themselves and the number 1. We'll show them, won't we? The Electronic Frontier Foundation foundation, for instance, is currently offering a $150,000 bounty for the first folks to bring in a 100-million-digit prime. Read the rest

Iron Egghead: Explain biology using eight everyday items

Enter Scientific American's video contest!

Carlton Cuse wants fans to create a title sequence for Bates Motel

In case there are any artistically-inclined fans of A&E's upcoming Bates Motel interested in creating a piece of the show, executive producer Carlton Cuse has put out a call for an opening title sequence. Through January 3, fans can submit videos, graphics, and other ideas to the show's Facebook page. Cuse, who will ultimately choose the winner, says, "We want to give fans the chance to participate in the show. We're looking for an awesome 15-second title sequence that captures the feel of Bates Motel -- not as a slasher/horror show, but as a complex, character-based thriller." Considering the prevalence of fan art, plus the current Hitchcock fever we've been experiencing, this seems like a really great opportunity to rouse a fan base that might have its doubts about a Psycho prequel series by making them feel like a significant part of the production. Bates Motel is set to premiere on A&E in March. (via The Hollywood Reporter) Read the rest

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