The S3: a desktop fidget toy from machinist/sculptor Chris Bathgate

Since 2016, machinist/sculptor Chris Bathgate (previously) has been building an exciting, marvelous series of fidget toys, which he is now bringing to a close (he thinks). Read the rest

A vital guide to the Canadian encryption debate

Canada's two leading digital rights groups, CIPPIC (previously) and Citizen Lab (previously) have issued a joint report called Shining a Light on the Encryption Debate: A Canadian Field Guide , and every Canadian should read it. Read the rest

Exit West: beautifully wrought novel about refugees, mobility and borders

Mohsin Hamid's Exit West is a science fiction novel with a simple, allegorical premise: what if the poor, oppressed, and alienated could simply vanish through mysterious doorways and emerge somewhere else?

Innovation should be legal; that's why I'm launching NeTV2

I’d like to share a project I’m working on that could have an impact on your future freedoms in the digital age. It’s an open video development board I call NeTV2.

FanFlick Editor: an entry in EFF's Catalog of Missing Devices

Wonderful EFF supporters keep on coming up with great new entries for EFF's Catalog of Missing Devices, which lists fictional devices that should exist, but don't, because to achieve their legal, legitimate goals, the manufacturer would have to break some Digital Rights Management and risk retaliation under Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Now, EFF supporter Rico Robbins has sent us the "FanFlick Editor," a welcome addition to the Catalog, alongside of Dustin Rodriguez's excellent list of missing devices like the Software Scalpel and MovieMoxie; and Benjamin MacLean's Mashup Maker.

If you have your own great ideas for additions, send them to me and maybe you'll see them on EFF's Deeplinks!

Meet the FanFlick Editor. With this revolutionary video editor, you can directly rip your favorite movies from DVDs or Blu-rays or even digital copies from iTunes, Google Play, and any other service. Edit the film to your heart's content and then distribute the edit decision list (EDL) -- a file that contains instructions that other people can use to edit their own copies during playback while they watch, so they can experience your vision for the movies you both love (or even the ones you hate!).

Used your own footage, graphics, or audio? No problem! FanFlick Editor keeps track of what you made and what you ripped, and packages up your other content with your FanFlick EDL. That way, you only distribute material whose copyright you control, or that is in the public domain, or that fair use permits.

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Bite-Sized Linux: a zine collecting awesome *nix tutorial webtoons

Julia Evans's Twitter feed is a treasure trove of her Bite-Size Linux comics that explain core concepts in Unix system use and administration in friendly, accessible graphic form. Read the rest

Feral House publisher Adam Parfrey, RIP

Adam Parfrey died yesterday at the age of 61. Carla, David, Xeni, and I knew him for many years. He was one of the most interesting people I've ever met, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the arcane, the esoteric, and the unusual. He was a great dinner host, too. I spent many memorable evenings in his amazing 1920s storybook style house in Los Angeles.

Adams' publishing house, Feral House, published a wide variety of books about subcultures, cults and mass movements, crime, sexuality, political theory, and history. Many of our friends wrote books for Feral House, such as Martin Olson's Encyclopedia of Hell ("Written by and for demons, instructing them on how to destroy mankind"), Sean Tejaratchi's Liartown USA, and Al Ridenour's The Krampus, and The Old, Dark Christmas Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil.

Adam also wrote or edited excellent books about old, weird America: It's A Man's World: Men's Adventure Magazines, The Postwar Pulps, Citizen Keane: The Big Lies Behind the Big Eyes, Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society, Love, Sex, Fear, Death: The Inside Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment, and many other titles. He re-published one of my all time favorite books, You Can't Win, the 1926 autobiography of a hobo burglar.

"We do not publish fiction," says the About Us page at Feral House's website. "But, if a personal obsession has caused you to investigate a fascinating piece of history or cultural phenomenon, or if you are an artist or photographer interested in unusual subject matter, we’d be interested to hear about it." I don't know if anyone else is capable of carrying on Adam's outstanding work. Read the rest

How to Win Friends and Convince People to Watch Eurovision

If you don't know what I mean when I say the word Eurovision -- Greetings, fellow American! Much like the World Cup and universal health care, it is hard for many of our countrymen to grasp just how big a deal this thing few here have heard of or care about has become outside our borders, and how popular it really is.

See in the Dark: a machine learning technique for producing astoundingly sharp photos in very low light

A group of scientists from Intel and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign have published a paper called Learning to See in the Dark detailing a powerful machine-learning based image processing technique that allows regular cameras to take super-sharp pictures in very low light, without long exposures or the kinds of graininess associated with low-light photography. Read the rest

Kickstarting "Drawn to Sex": Oh Joy Sex Toy's sex-ed book

A couple months back, I was delighted to learn that the good, good people at Oh Joy Sex Toy were launching a sex-ed book aimed at explaining the basics, ins, outs, whats and wherefores of sex "for those looking to learn about sex and wince at our bad dad jokes." Read the rest

Should I use an algorithm here? EFF's 5-point checklist

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jamie Williams and Lena Gunn have drawn up an annotated five-point list of questions to ask yourself before using a machine-learning algorithm to make predictions and guide outcomes. Read the rest

The BBC on Afrofuturism

The BBC has published a long and welcome feature on Afrofuturism, the term coined by former Boing Boing guestblogger Mark Dery to describe (in the words of Steve Barnes) "science fiction, fantasy and horror created by or featuring the children of the African diaspora (people of African origin living outside of the continent)." Read the rest

"I Agree": Visualizing terms of service with long scrolls of colored paper

"I Agree" is a Dima Yarovinsky's art installation for Visualizing Knowledge 2018, with printouts of the terms of service for common apps on scrolls of colored paper, creating a bar chart of the fine print that neither you, nor anyone else in the history of the world, has ever read. Read the rest

Congrats to Tom the Dancing Bug, which has won a Kennedy Journalism Prize!

Our own Ruben Bolling, creator of the Tom the Dancing Bug comic, has won a Kennedy Journalism Prize, given for works that "provide insights into the causes, conditions, and remedies of human rights violations and injustice, and critical analyses of relevant policies, programs, individual actions, and private endeavors that foster positive change." Couldn't have happened to a sweller feller! Congrats, Ruben! Read the rest

Three artificial pancreases: a special trio of Catalog of Missing Devices entries

EFF has just published an update to its Catalog of Missing Devices (a catalog of things that don’t exist thanks to the chilling effects of Section 1201 of the DMCA): a trio of ads for future artificial pancreas firmwares that illustrate the way that control over devices can magnify or correct power imbalances.

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Syllabus for a course on Data Science Ethics

The University of Utah's Suresh Venkatasubramanian and Katie Shelef are teaching a course in "Ethics in Data Science" and they've published a comprehensive syllabus for it; it's a fantastic set of readings for anyone interested in understanding and developing ethical frameworks for computer science generally, and data science in particular. Read the rest

Tech conferences are relocating from the USA to Canada to attract attendees and speakers who don't want to come to Trump's America

One of the USA's sources of "soft power" in the world is as a convener and crossroads for academics, businesspeople, professionals, and other members of international communities that gather every year or two in huge global conferences and trade shows, often choosing the USA for their event's site. Read the rest

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