Googlers circulate petition demanding a moratorium on contracts with US border agencies

Despite the departure of its most prominent leaders amid claims of harassment and retaliation, the Googler Uprising lives on, with Google employees circulating an internal petition demanding that the company not contract with US border agencies to provide any kind of services, on the grounds that US immigration authorities are notorious abusers of human rights. Read the rest

Defeating Apple's Faceid's proof-of-life by putting tape over glasses' lenses

Apple's Faceid -- a facial recognition tool that unlocks mobile devices -- has a countermeasure that is designed to prevent attackers from scanning an sleeping/unconscious (or dead) person's face to unlock their phone, by scanning the face for signs of consciousness. Read the rest

Kickstarting a clever, tiny wireless mouse/presentation controller designed for tight spaces

I am addicted to Thinkpads in large part because of the trackpoint (AKA "The Nipple") -- the little wiggly joystickbetween the G, H and B keys that allows me to control fine mouse-movements without bending my hand into the RSI-inducing trackpad position; between that and the amazing, best-in-class warranties, I am a committed Thinkpad user, to the point that I actually bought and returned three different systems this year because (between the new Intel chipset and the new Nvidia cards), I couldn't get any flavor of GNU/Linux to run on them (many thanks to Canonical for eventually getting me running on a Thinkpad extreme). Read the rest

My appearance on the MMT podcast: compelling narratives as a means of advancing complex political and economic ideas

I've been following the Modern Monetary Theory debate for about 18 months, and I'm largely a convert: governments spend money into existence and tax it out of existence, and government deficit spending is only inflationary if it's bidding against the private sector for goods or services, which means that the government could guarantee every unemployed person a job (say, working on the Green New Deal), and which also means that every unemployed person and every unfilled social services role is a political choice, not an economic necessity. Read the rest

The Past and Future of The Internet: A Symposium for John Perry Barlow

The Duke Law and Technology Review has released a special edition dedicated to examining the legal and philosophical legacy of John Perry Barlow: co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; junior lyricist for the Grateful Dead; biofuel entrepreneur; philosopher; poet; hacker Zelig; and driven, delightful weirdo. Read the rest

The only path to victory in the Middle Earth election is to appeal to the moderate orc voter

David Howard, McSweeney's: "Let me tell you, it’s hard out here for an orc. We experience tremendous insecurity, not knowing whether we’ll have a job, or be able to raid peaceful villages, or if our friends will eat us. Sauron appeals to us economically challenged goblins because he offers us the chance of a decent wage, respect for our values, and renewed pride in being the corrupted spawn of Morgoth." (Image: Guise, CC BY-SA, modified; Chicago Costume Company) (via Bruce Sterling) Read the rest

If the election was held today, Bernie would beat Trump by 8 points

All the Democratic frontrunners outpoll Trump, but Bernie beats him 50-42 in a new Surveyusa poll; Biden has the same margin, while Warren and Harris have leads that are smaller than the margin of error. (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

"Evermore": a short technohorror film about the struggle between gratification and equanimity

Victoria Hogan writes, "My fiancee and I made a short film about creativity, yearning, and the scary forces of technology that might interact with those desires. More than a few people have called this a ‘Three Minute Black Mirror Episode’ - though to me, it’s more about living with the difficulties of pursuing your passion vs. stepping out of those difficulties for less gratification but more equanimity. I wanted to leave the ending open-ended rather than provide an answer/solution to this subject, though I do think the topic doesn’t have a clear answer, and is worth discussing." Read the rest

Creating a first-person adventure game with Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker 2 is designed to let you create your own Mario platformer levels, but the tools are flexible enough that a sufficiently ingenious creator can make all kinds of amazing things with them. Read the rest

Stephen Wolfram recounts the entire history of mathematics in 90 minutes

Stephen Wolfram's podcast features a 90-minute lecture that he delivered at the 2019 Wolfram Summer School (MP3), recapitulating the history of mathematics from prehistory to the present day. Read the rest

Rule of Capture: Inside the martial law tribunals that will come when climate deniers become climate looters and start rendering environmentalists for offshore torture

In 2017, science fiction author Christopher Brown burst on the scene with Tropic of Kansas, an apocalyptic pageturner about martial law in climate-wracked America; now, with his second novel, Rule of Capture, Brown turns everything up to 11 in a militarized, oil-saturated, uninhabitable Texas where private mercs, good ole boys, and climate looters have plans to deliver a stolen election to a hyper-authoritarian president. Read the rest

Adversarial Fashion: clothes designed to confuse license-plate readers

Adversarial Fashions have a line of clothes (jackets, tees, hoodies, dresses, skirts, etc) designed to confound automated license-plate readers; one line is tiled with fake license plates that spell out the Fourth Amendment (!); the designers presented at Defcon this year. (via JWZ) Read the rest

Barnes and Noble's new boss is James Daunt, who rescued the UK's Waterstones

James Daunt gave up a brief career in banking and opened a small, family-owned chain of London bookstores bearing the family name (the original store, in Marylebone High Street, is literally the most beautiful English-language bookstore I've ever set foot in); in 2011, he took over management of Waterstones, the UK's last, foundering bookstore chain, and effected a miraculous turnaround by devolving purchasing to the managers who knew local tastes best, ending the practice of soliciting "co-op" payments from publishers to order in and stock massive piles of their frontlist titles, most of which would end up being returned. Read the rest

Baking bread from dormant, 4,500-year-old yeast extracted from Egyptian bread-making ceramics

Seamus Blackley, "father of the Xbox," worked with Egyptologist Serena Love and microbiologist Richard Bowman to extract yeast from 4,500-year-old Egyptian bread-making and beer-making potter held in the collection of Harvard's Peabody Museum; though nearly all of the samples are being cultured for analysis and addition to a microorganism library, Blackley cultured one sample to use in a dough-starter for a baking project. Read the rest

Science fiction and the law: beyond mere courtroom drama

Christopher Brown is a lawyer and science fiction writer; his debut, 2017's Tropic of Kansas, was an outstanding novel of authoritarianism and resistance, and his next book, Rule of Capture (out on Monday, watch for my review!) is a legal thriller about disaster capitalism, climate catastrophe, and hard-fought political change. Read the rest

CHESSES: chess variants for nonexperts, nonplayers, and the very playful

Pippin Barr (previously) writes, "I have a history of making variations on existing games (see also: PONGS, BREAKSOUT, SNAKISMS), and Chesses (source, CC BY-NC) is a continuation of that. I find chess a really interesting game to play around with because it's so classic and sort of monolithic - it's fun to mess with tradition. Other than kind of formal enjoyment involved, I suspect the variations might level the playing field a bit and allow non-experts (or even non-players?) to play some chess." Read the rest

Eastern Blocks: photographs of the brutalist towers of the former USSR

Zupagrafika's new book Eastern Blocks (subtitle: "Concrete Landscapes of the Former Eastern Bloc") collects more than 100 beautiful photos of the brutalist towers of ex-Soviet nations, "‘Sleeping districts’ of Moscow, Plattenbauten of East Berlin, modernist estates of Warsaw, Kyiv`s Brezhnevki." Read the rest

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