The astounding science and engineering of printer jams

Anil Dash's third law holds that "Three things never work: Voice chat, printers and projectors." But Joshua Rothman's long, fascinating, even poetic profile of the Xerox engineers who work on paper-path process improvements is such a bit of hard-science whimsy that it almost makes me forgive every hour I've spent swearing over jammed paper. Read the rest

How a kid cartoonist avoided Scholastic's digital sharecropping trap

I'm an 8th grade middle school student at a public school in NYC. In my humanities class we are studying muckraking journalism, and we have an assignment to write a muckraking article about a modern issue. (For those who didn't pay attention during class, muckraking journalism is journalism that became prominent in the late 19th century. A muckraking article digs up and exposes problems in society.) Coincidentally, I recently had a personal experience with a muckrake-able issue. I chose to make lemonade out of lemons, and got a very interesting topic for my assignment--and one that I could write about both professionally and privately. So, I'm posting my homework here.

Charlie Stross on the sorry state of science fictional worldbuilding

Charlie Stross explains that he's more-or-less stopped reading science fiction, no longer capable of stomaching the paper-thin worldbuilding that refuses to contemplate the profound ways in which technology changes human relations and motivations. Read the rest

Unpaywall: a search-engine for authorized, freely accessible versions of scholarly journal articles

Unpaywall is a service that indexes open access repositories, university, government and scholarly society archives, and other sources that make articles available with authorization from the rightsholders and journals -- about 47% of the articles that its users seek. Read the rest

Teen Bo$$: a magazine advising tweens on how to get rich by being "social media brands"

Bauer Media's Teen Boss is a new quarterly magazine, launched last summer for "Gen-Z entrepreneurs" aged 8-15 who want to pursue careers as "influencers." Read the rest

See 130 years of National Geographic covers in two minutes

For more than a century, National Geographic has continued to "believe in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world." I still want to believe.

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Web developers publish open letter taking Google to task for locking up with web with AMP

I have often thought that you can divide up the risks of the big internet platforms by plotting a 2X2 grid; on one axis is "wants to spy on everything you do" and on the other is "wants to control everything you do" -- Apple scores low on the first axis (they don't much want to spy on you), and high on the second (they want to control you in intimate and pervasive ways); Google is the reverse (wants to spy on you, but is so capable of following you wherever you go that it doesn't need to control you to do it), while Facebook gets top marks on both (they spy on everything you do and they want to control you from start to finish). Read the rest

Donald Trump is suing my publisher, and its response is magnificent

Henry Holt is a division of Macmillan (owners of Tor Books, who publish my novels); they're the folks who published Michael Wolff's bestselling Fire and Fury, which has so thoroughly embarrassed Donald Trump that the President of the United States has threatened to sue them. Read the rest

Complying with the new EU data protection directive requires a top-to-bottom redo of the adtech industry

Back in 2016, the EU passed the General Data Protection Regulation, a far-reaching set of rules to protect the personal information and privacy of Europeans that takes effect this coming May. Read the rest

Scientist who synthesized the active ingredient in the powerful psychedelic salvia also broke ground on open access publishing

Salvia divinorum is a plant that is legal in most of the USA and the world, a uniquely powerful psychedelic whose effects are as short-lived (5-10 minutes from first onset to the end of the experience) as they are profound (users generally need to have a "sitter" nearby because they lose control over their bodies and perceptions). Read the rest

The excellent Standards Manual design series announces next title

Standards Manual is one of the greatest recent projects in archival graphic design. Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth painstakingly recreate notable graphics standards manuals from NASA, the EPA, the American Bicentennial, and the New York Transit Authority. Next up is Identity: Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, an overview of the iconic design firm behind many logos still in use today. Read the rest

txt.fyi and "antisocial media"

Wired published an article about txt.fyi, the minimalist publishing "platform" I made: "Write something, hit Publish, and voilà: your deathless prose, online. "

But here’s the thing: txt.fyi has no social mechanics. None. No Like button, no Share button, no comments. No feed showing which posts are most popular. Each post has a tag telling search engines not to index it, so it won’t even show up on Google. The only way anyone will see it is if you send them the URL or post it somewhere. ... So, does antivirality actually affect what people do and say?

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Crowdfunding Lupiga, a progressive, independent voice combating rising fascism in Croatia

Lupiga is a longrunning, much-loved independent news source in Croatia that is virtually single-handedly doing battle with the country's surging fascist movement; they're crowdfunding to continue operations. Read the rest

Gawker alumni are crowdfunding to outbid Peter Thiel for control of Gawker's assets

Gawker was bankrupted by Peter Thiel, who secretly backed Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against the network of news, entertainment and gossip sites in an act of petty revenge. Read the rest

Broccoli, lifestyle magazine for women who love cannabis

Broccoli is a beautifully designed new magazine for women who love weed. The online version is free, or you can get it mailed to you. No word on whether the glossy pages would make good rolling paper. Read the rest

The original legacy of Wendy and Richard Pini's ElfQuest

In this excerpt from Dark Horse Comics's 40th Anniversary Ashcan issue of ElfQuest, available today in comic stores, Hannah Means-Shannon explains how Wendy and Richard Pini showed indies the way in an age before crowdfunding.

Kickstarting an antifascist cyberpunk RPG

Game designer Chad Walker is crowdfunding his latest game: SIGMATA: This Signal Kills Fascists, shooting for USD10,000 in pre-orders to produce "a cyberpunk tabletop role-playing game about ethical insurgency against a fascist regime, taking place in a dystopian vision of 1980's America." Read the rest

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