One More For the Road: The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats are back!

Back in 2007, Adam "Apelad" Koford created a marvellous, funny, weird alternate history for the then-viral phenomenon of LOLcats, running-gag memes of cats whose superimposed dialog had many odd grammatical quirks: the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats," a pair of comic-strip hobo cats straight out of the 1930s, who found obscure and clever ways to riff on our contemporary LOLcats. Read the rest

One year later: kids smart-watches are still a privacy and security dumpster fire

A year ago, the Norwegian Consumer Council commissioned a study into kids' smart watches, finding that they were incredibly negligent when it came to security and incredible greedy when it came to surveillance: a deadly combination that meant that these devices were sucking up tons of sensitive data on kids' lives and then leaving it lying around for anyone to take. Read the rest

America has an epidemic of workplace miscarriages, caused by pregnancy discrimination

America has some of the weakest anti-pregnancy-discrimination rules in the world (the federal statute says that companies only have to give pregnant people lighter duties if they make similar accommodations for those "similar in their ability or inability to work); and this has produced an epidemic of workplace miscarriages among women who have frequently begged their supervisors for lighter duties, even presenting doctor's written notes with their pleas. Read the rest

A database of instructions for making different paper airplanes

Fold N Fly is a visual database of paper airplane designs, sortable by aerodynamic properties (distance, airtime, etc), and difficulty of folding. Some pretty exotic designs, too! (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Kickstarting the Makerphone: an open-source hardware phone kit, programmable with python and Scratch

Circuitmess's fully funded Makerphone kickstarter is raising money to produce open source hardware smartphone kits to teach kids (and grownups) everything from soldering to programming. Read the rest

Apple's new parental control: Daily Stormer is in, sex-ed is out

The new parental controls in Ios 12 have all the same problems that all parental controls have: they overblock legit material (with a bias for sex-ed, especially sex-ed targeted at girls and queer kids, including Teen Vogue) and underblock all kinds of other material (neo-Nazi publications like The Daily Stormer and Reddit's pornographic /r/Gonewild are not blocked). Read the rest

One in ten of New York's public school students is homeless

114,659 of New York's public school students is homeless, bouncing from shelters to relatives' beds: homelessness is a predictor of poor academic performance for all the obvious reasons, including very long commutes to school (some students' families have ended up at shelters that are two boroughs away from their schools). Read the rest

Virginia towns' trick-or-treat laws threaten over-12s with jail-time

In Chesapeake, VA, trick-or-treaters over 12 face fines of $25-100 and up to six months in jail (under-12s who trick-or-treat after 8PM face fines of $10-100 and up to 30 days in jail). Read the rest

Austistic boy hates being in photos, mom lets him wear T-Rex suit for family pics

Photographer and mom Samantha, aka Roaming Magnolias, shared this incredible gallery of photos on Reddit/IMGUR today. One of her sons is autistic and hates being photographed. His sibling does not mind it. Mom's creative parenting solution, and some amazing images, below. Read the rest

Middle school cop who arrested seventh graders "to prove a point" may yet face consequences

In 2013, Deputy Luis Ortiz was the "school resource officer" at Etiwanda Intermediate in San Bernardino County, California, when he arrested a group of 12- and 13-year-old girls, cuffing them and taking them to jail in a police vehicle; at the time and afterward, Ortiz said he arrested them "to prove a point" because he felt they were "unresponsive and disrespectful" and in his belief, introducing them to the criminal justice system would make them "mature a lot faster." Read the rest

Korean 'Uncle Service' lets you hire thugs to intimidate your kids' bullies

For 500,000 KRW (443 USD), an Uncle Service will send a rough-looking, hulking man to your bullied kid's school to warn the bullies to stop picking on them -- or else. This is called the "Uncle Package." Read the rest

To do in LA this Saturday: I'm speaking at the Pasadena Loves YA festival!

Angelenos! Bring your teens to the Pasadena Loves YA festival this Saturday; I'm chairing a panel on graphic novels with Mairghread Scott and Tillie Walden; other panels and events go on all day, from 11-4PM, at the Central Branch of Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena CA 91101. Admission is free! Read the rest

The company you hired to snoop on your kids' phones uploaded all their data to an unprotected website

As you might imagine, Spyfone is a company that offers to spy on other peoples' phones for you: its major market is parents and bosses who infect and surveil the phones their kids/minions use, peeking on their texts, emails, Facebook messages, passwords, photos, browsing history, etc. Read the rest

Parenting done right: Baby's first word is "taco"

As one of the most important words in any language, having a baby utter "taco" as their first word is a massive parental victory. Read the rest

Cat Wishes: a picture book about being a wish come true

Calista Brill is a legendary comics and picture-book editor, part of the powerhouse team at Firstsecond (she's my editor!), and with Cat Wishes, a picture book that's sweet and surprising, she shows just how well she understands the form she practices.

The secret RPG history of an enabler of America's border child kidnapping policy

When Bryant Durrell was in college, he played D&D with an amazing Dungeon Master, Eric, who was obsessed with the moral dimension of the game, constructing thoughtful, elaborate campaigns to get the players to reflect on the nature of good and evil -- the players jokingly called the setting Eric created "Catholic World." Read the rest

Secret recording of weeping children begging for their parents while a Border Patrol official mocks them

"Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is a conductor." That's the voice of a Border Patrol official, mocking a sobbing group of 10 terrified Central American children who've been separated from their parents at a US border-crossing. Read the rest

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