More than 20 Texas cities and towns have been taken hostage by ransomware

The American ransomware epidemic shows no signs of slowing, as the confluence of underinvestment in IT and information security and the NSA's reckless stockpiling of computer vulnerabilities means that petty criminals can extort vast sums from distant municipalities by seizing their entire networked infrastructure. 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

Houstonites! Come see Hank Green and me in conversation tonight!

Hank Green and I are doing a double act tonight, July 31, as part of the tour for the paperback of his debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It's a ticketed event (admission includes a copy of Hank's book), and we're presenting at 7PM at Spring Forest Middle School in association with Blue Willow Bookshop. Hope to see you there! Read the rest

Insider sources say Apple is shutting its east Texas stores to escape the jurisdiction of America's worst patent court

The Eastern District of Texas is home to a crooked court that is in the pocket of patent trolls, handing down ludicrous rulings in favor of the trolls, whose "head offices" are tiny, unoccupied offices in empty, dusty office buildings, the rent on which entitles patent trolls to claim that their rights are being infringed in the demense of the Eastern District's terrible judges. Read the rest

Vehicle surveillance company's "free" deal turns Texas cops into bill-collectors

Vigilant Solutions is "one of the country’s largest brokers of vehicle surveillance technology" and they've got a great deal for Texas police forces: install our license-readers and we'll alert you every time someone with an overdue fine drives through your town. You pull them over and offer them a trip to jail or immediate payment, using our credit-card machines, for which we charge a 25% "fee" which goes straight into our pockets. Read the rest