Republican New York State Assembly leader publishes anti-drunk driving PSA shortly before drunkenly crashing a state-owned car

On Christmas Eve, Brian Kolb [R-Canandaigua] -- then minority leader in the New York State Assembly -- published an op-ed urging New Yorkers to drive sober during the holidays; on New Year's Eve, Kolb wrecked a state-owned official vehicle and then failed a roadside blood-alcohol test. Read the rest

Students at elite Shanghai university protest the removal of "freedom of thought" from the school charter

Fudan University, one of China's elite centers of higher learning, has had its charter altered to remove "freedom of thought" from its values. In its place, the charter now promotes "arming the minds of teachers and students with Xi Jinping's new era of socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics." In response, students have launched a protest in the form of performances of the school song, which touts "academic independence and freedom of thought." Read the rest

Privacy activists spent a day on Capitol Hill scanning faces to prove that scanning faces should be banned

Activists from Fight for the Future prowled the halls of Congress in "jumpsuits with phone strapped to their heads conducting live facial recognition surveillance" to "show why this tech should be banned." Read the rest

The lawyer who caught UNC giving $2.5m to white nationalists orders the white nationalists to create a $2.5m fund for Black students or face a lawsuit

T Greg Doucette is the lawyer who put the pieces together on the University of North Carolina's $2.5m handout to the white nationalist group the Sons of Confederate Veterans, then found and published a smoking gun in the form of a "victory letter" written by the SOCV's "commander" Kevin Stone, which Stone and the SOCV used a fraudulent DMCA notice to censor. Read the rest

NSO Group employees kicked off Facebook for spying for brutal dictators are suing Facebook for violating their privacy

The NSO Group (previously) is an Israeli spyware company that sells tools to autocratic states that are used to spy on democratic opposition movements, journalists, and so on (the company's tools were used by the Saudi government to spy on Jamal Khashoggi in the runup to his kidnap and grisly murder). Read the rest

When Republicans say "How will you pay for Medicare for All?" Democrats should answer: "Mexico will pay for it"

The "pay-for game" is that gotcha game that Conservatives like to play, wherein the ridiculous boondoggles favored by the right (billions for Trump's wall, more than a trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy, massive increases in Pentagon and intelligence agency spending, even a $16 million bomb used for no military reason) can be financed with infinite amounts of deficit spending, while any program that benefits the majority of America needs has to be "fully funded," generally by making cuts in other programs that benefit the majority of America -- something that the idiotic Democratic establishment has bought into. Read the rest

Canada's election, in which Justin Trudeau's chickens come home to roost

Justin Trudeau is not your woke bae, he's just Joe Biden with abs: there's no policy so progressive that JT won't endorse it, provided that he never has to do anything to make good on that endorsement, which is how JT ended up being complicit in the #MuslimBan, making Canada's Patriot Act much worse, bailing out the Transcanada pipeline so in service to Alberta's filthy, planet-destroying tar sands, abandoning his promises for indigenous reconciliation, rescuing the giant Saudi arms deal, caving to Trump on NAFTA 2.0, and putting partisanship ahead of justice to get a corrupt, giant engineering company off the hook, throwing his indigenous Attorney General under the bus in order to preserve his relationship with a giant party donor. Read the rest

Onetravel sucks at dark patterns

Security research Ophir Harpaz was trying to book a flight using Onetravel; as she browsed available itineraries, she couldn't help but notice a prominent warning that "39 people are looking at this flight" (this is a cheap gimmick, one of the many "dark patterns" that once lured naive internet users to making rash decisions, but whose efficacy has since regressed to the mean). Read the rest

Part two of my novella "Martian Chronicles" on Escape Pod: who cleans the toilets in libertopia?

Last week, the Escape Pod podcast published part one of a reading of my YA novella "Martian Chronicles," which I wrote for Jonathan Strahan's Life on Mars anthology: it's a story about libertarian spacesteaders who move to Mars to escape "whiners" and other undesirables, only to discover that the colonists that preceded them expect them to clean the toilets when they arrive. Read the rest

"Martian Chronicles": Escape Pod releases a reading of my YA story about rich sociopaths colonizing Mars

Back in 2011, I wrote a young adult novella called "Martian Chronicles," which I podcasted as it was in progress; it's a story about the second wave of wealthy colonists lifting off from climate-wracked, inequality-riven Earth to live in a libertarian utopia on Mars. Read the rest

After the passage of the EU Copyright Directive, Google nukes Google News France

The passage of the EU's Copyright Directive last March marked the most controversial rulemaking process in EU history, with lawmakers squeaking a narrow victory that relied on confused MEPs pushing the wrong button. Read the rest

Elsevier: "It's illegal to Sci-Hub." Also Elsevier: "We link to Sci-Hub all the time."

Yesterday, I wrote about science publishing profiteer Elsevier's legal threats against Citationsy, in which the company claimed that the mere act of linking to Sci-Hub (an illegal open-access portal) was itself illegal. Read the rest

Cisco's failure to heed whistleblower's warning about security defects in video surveillance software costs the company $8.6m in fines

In 2008, a security researcher named James Glenn warned Cisco that its video surveillance software had a defect that made it vulnerable to a trivial-to-exploit attack; for four years afterward, the company continued to sell this software to schools, airports, hospitals, state/local governments, the US military, FEMA, the Secret Service and police departments without mitigating the defect or warning their customers that internet-connected randos could undetectably peer through their security cameras, unlock their doors, disable their alarms, and delete footage. Read the rest

Irish islamaphobe condemns Halal grocery as evidence of creeping islamification, is subsequently forcefully reminded of the global proliferation of Irish pubs

If racist Gemma O'Doherty (banned from Youtube for hate speech) thinks that the Halal grocer in her Irish town is cause for alarm, how does she suppose people in every city and town in every country in the world feel about their Irish pubs? Read the rest

Trade war: Hasbro is shifting manufacturing to Vietnam and India, drawing down production in China

Thanks to Trump's tariffs and saber-rattling, Hasbro is investing in factories in Vietnam and India, de-emphasizing its China operations: the world's biggest toymaker insists that the initiative -- which will cut China's share of its manufacturing from two-thirds to one-half -- is about "spreading our footprint and adding new geographies for production." Read the rest

#Rickyrenuncia: Bowing to popular pressure, Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rossello has resigned

After weeks of mass demonstrations touched off by the publication of a trove of leaked chats and evidence of mass corruption by Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism, Ricardo Rossello has done what he swore he would not: resigned. Read the rest

E-scooter companies are desperate for repo men to stop impounding their vehicles

E-scooter companies like Bird and Lime have sued Scootscoop -- a self-financed startup that tickets and impounds e-scooters that have been abandoned on private property -- claiming that the repo men are violating the same traffic laws that the same companies also say don't apply to scooters, a belief that is their basis for filling the sidewalks, streets, lawns and alleys of every city with e-waste that blocks wheelchairs, strollers and pedestrians. Read the rest

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