Epic Games is suing a 14 year old for making a cheat tutorial and his brilliant mother is PISSED

Epic Games makes the wildly successful multiplayer free-to-play game Fortnite, which is the locus of a pitched battle between players and publisher over game-mods, especially cheat-hacks that give unfair advantage to some players. Read the rest

Celebrate Xmas with your little makers with conductive play-doh kits from Technology Will Save Us

Back in July, I blogged the Kickstarter campaign for Technology Will Save Us's Dough Universe kits: kits for 4-7 year olds that use conductive dough to make squishy circuits that can power all kinds of electronics projects. Read the rest

Reverse-engineering a connected Furby toy, revealing its disturbing security defects

When Context Labs teamed up with UK consumer group Which? to produce an outstanding report on the surveillance, privacy and security risks of kids' "connected toys," it undertook the reverse-engineering of Hasbro's new Furby Connect, a device that works with a mobile app to listen and watch the people around it and interact with them. Read the rest

America's private health-care is rationed, but socialized medicine is luxury medicine

To hear America's fearmongering private health-care shills describe it, socialized medicine is a kind of Soviet death march, where rationed care and long waits are imposed on all and sundry; but if that state of affairs sounds familiar, it's because of how neatly it describes America's dysfunctional private care system, where you need to change doctors every time you change employers, where your care is denied and your prescriptions are deemed unnecessary by faceless insurance-company bureaucrats, and where three quarters of your family doctor's overheads are dedicated to filling in insurance forms in triplicate and chasing payment in a kind of LARP of Terry Gilliam's Brazil or a Stalinist hospital in deepest Siberia. Read the rest

Congress's spending proves the GOP believes life begins at conception and ends at birth

What does it mean to be a Republican "values voter?" Well, for sure, it means hating abortion and coming up with grotesque, rapey, lethal, cruel, absurd, unconstitutional (very, very unconstitutional), racist, regulations; tricking women into unwanted pregnancies; turning a blind eye to terrorism, and targeting vulnerable teens, while charging women with murder and defunding programs that prevent unwanted pregnancies (and thus reduce abortions), while spinning fairytales about the big profits realized by the doctors who risk their lives to help women choose when to become mothers. Read the rest

Consumer groups' labs advise parents not to buy connected toys, claim risk of strangers listening and talking to kids over the internet

Two leading European consumer groups -- the UK's Which? and Germany's Stiftung Warentest -- have published an advisory with the results of their lab tests on the security of kids' connected toys, warning that these toys are insecure and could allow strangers to listen in and talk to your kids over the internet. Read the rest

Roy Moore's scandal is just the tip of American evangelical Christianity's child bride problem

When Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore was accused of sexually molesting children as young as 14, his fellow hardcore evangelicals shrugged at the scandal -- it was "common knowledge" that Moore had a fondness for young teens. Read the rest

Youtube Kids spammers rack up billions of views on disturbing, violent, seemingly algorithmic videos

James Bridle takes a deep dive into the weird world of Youtube Kids videos, whose popular (think: millions and millions of views) genres and channels include endless series of videos of children being vomited on by family members and machinima-like music videos in which stock cartoon characters meet gory, violent ends. Read the rest

Adorable 5-year-old sings the theme from the Haunted Mansion

Mari writes, "My daughter loves everything spooky--especially Disney's Haunted Mansion! She loves it so much she's memorized the song and likes to dress up as one of the cast members. Her fave ghost of the 999? The Bride, of course!" Read the rest

Family on overnight BA flight refused seat switch as they were gnawed by bedbugs

A family of three (including a 7 year old girl) on a British Airways overnight from Vancouver to London spotted bedbugs crawling on their seats and alerted the crew, but the crew said the flight was sold out and wouldn't move them, so they spent 9 hours getting gnawed by bedbugs, arriving with their skin "absolutely covered" in bites. Read the rest

Kids' smart watches are a security/privacy dumpster-fire

The Norwegian Consumer Council hired a security firm called Mnemonic to audit the security of four popular brands of kids' smart watches and found a ghastly array of security defects: the watches allow remote parties to seize control over them in order to monitor children's movements and see where they've gone, covertly listen in on them, and steal their personal information. The data the watches gather and transmit to offshore servers is copious and sent in the clear. The watches incorporate cameras and the photos children take are also easily plundered by hackers. Read the rest

A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars: a child's garden of infinity

In A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars, Seth Fishman and illustrator Isabel Greenberg (previously) present a the astounding, nearly incomprehensible size of the universe in a picture book that even the very youngest readers will delight in; when I blurbed it, I wrote "Dazzling: the astounding, mind-boggling scale of the magnificent universe and our humbling and miraculous place in it, rendered in pictures and words that the youngest readers will understand."

Lifelong Kindergarten: how to learn like a kid, by the co-creator of Scratch

Mitchel Resnick is one of the most humane, accomplished and prolific creators of educational technology in the world, one of the co-creators of Logo and Lego Mindstorms, and founder the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten group, where the open source, kid-friendly, open-ended Scratch software development tool was born; in a new book (also called "Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play") Resnick analyzes the extraordinary successes that have emerged from his kid-centered view of learning with technology, sketching out a future in which kids program their classroom computers, not the other way around.

Incredible Doom: a new Patreon-supported comic about "teens in the 90s getting into life and death situations online"

Matthew Bogart's new comic Incredible Doom launches today, online and in print, "about a group of teenagers in the 90s getting into life and death situations over the early internet." Read the rest

Trump's pick for EPA pollution czar says kids are less sensitive to pollution than adults

The Intercept's Sharon Lerner is Read the rest

Lumberjanes 5 & 6: the life aquatic (with riotmrrrrs!)

The Lumberjanes (previously) are headed toward a TV screen near you, but despite the furious effort that must entail, it's a sure thing that no one is neglecting their duties to the comic book. Two more collections have been published since I last reviewed the collections, and they are pure Lumberjanes dynamite: anarchic, sweet, funny, and full of more memorable characters from more magical races than the entire Monster Manual and the Fiend Folio.

Sweary mums are scaring off Mumsnet's advertisers

Mumsnet bills itself as "the UK's most popular parenting website," and it makes substantial revenues from the ads that run alongside the sprawling, vigorous discussions among the eponymous mums (and the occasional dad). Read the rest

More posts