Alex Jones falsely accused a guy of being the Parkland school shooter, so now he's being sued for more than $1,000,000

Self-described roaring performance artist has a simple business model: he spouts outrageous lies to bring in an audience, then sells them quack remedies whose market has been proven by Gwyeneth Paltrow. Read the rest

A detailed, cross-disciplinary syllabus for a "Cybersecurity Law and Policy" graduate course

University of Texas law professor Bobby Chesney has developed a detailed syllabus for a course in "Cybersecurity Foundations: Law, Policy, and Institutions" that is aimed at grad students from law, business, engineering, and computer science. Read the rest

Police say the Austin bomber killed himself as they closed in on him

five bombs have gone off in the Austin area this month (a sixth bomb was defused); they seemed to target people of color. Read the rest

Austin bombings: literal American carnage meets with Trumpian indifference

Remember when Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to make Americans safe, and promised an end to "American carnage" at his inauguration? Yeah, neither does he. Read the rest

A Texas brewery made a purple, glittery ale with Peeps

Easter is on April Fools Day this year but what I'm about to share is not a joke.

A brewery in Texas, The Collective Brewing Project in Fort Worth, has crafted a Peeps-filled ale that will be ready for the holiday. It's a collaboration with local bar Lone Star Taps and Caps, according to Dallas Morning News' Guide Live:

Called Peep This Collab, the beer is a sour ale brewed with Peeps, vanilla and butterfly pea flower, which will turn the beverage purple. Brewers added more than 30 boxes of the marshmallow candy, says Steven Roman, general manager of Taps and Caps. And once the beer has fermented, they'll add edible glitter to really make it shine.

Collective's head brewer and co-founder Ryan Deyo says, "Several of us were just sitting around the brewery talking about how beer has become this super serious thing. I've been on a kick to assert beer should be a fun thing... We make a beer with ramen noodles, so Peeps isn't really a stretch." Read the rest

To do at SXSW: Cypherpunks Strike Back! and Cyborg Pride Parade

EFF-Austin's Jon Lebkowsky writes: "Every year while thousands flock to a certain large festival that temporarily colonizes Austin, EFF-Austin throws a honking big geek soiree. Keynote speakers are this year are Caroline Old Coyote and Michael Running Wolf, Native American VR/AR activists who are using technology to preserve their culture and heritage. Additional speakers include EFF Investigative Researcher David Maass discussing police surveillance, government transparency, and legislation in California, former EFF-Austin president Jon Lebkowsky, Carly Rose Jackson with Texans For Voter Choice, and Vikki Goodwin, Democratic candidate for Texas House District 47. Also music by Michael Garfield, Pilgrimess, and UBA, plus custom video game consoles, lockpicking, and cosplay. " Read the rest

Witness the amazing beginnings of a 10,000-year clock build in this timelapse

Friends of mine at Because We Can (a local Bay Area "design build architecture" firm) shared some good news:

Congratulations to the Long Now Foundation on beginning installation of the 10,000 year clock. This is a must-see video showing publically for the first time just how far along they are on this bold, ambitious, and world-changing project.

Here's some info about the incredible clock from the Long Now site:

There is a Clock ringing deep inside a mountain. It is a huge Clock, hundreds of feet tall, designed to tick for 10,000 years. Every once in a while the bells of this buried Clock play a melody. Each time the chimes ring, it’s a melody the Clock has never played before. The Clock’s chimes have been programmed to not repeat themselves for 10,000 years. Most times the Clock rings when a visitor has wound it, but the Clock hoards energy from a different source and occasionally it will ring itself when no one is around to hear it. It’s anyone’s guess how many beautiful songs will never be heard over the Clock’s 10 millennial lifespan.

The Clock is real. It is now being built inside a mountain in western Texas. This Clock is the first of many millennial Clocks the designers hope will be built around the world and throughout time. There is a second site for another Clock already purchased at the top of a mountain in eastern Nevada, a site surrounded by a very large grove of 5,000-year-old bristlecone pines.

Read the rest

Rancher takes feds to court over camera they placed on his property without permission

Ricardo Palacios, a 74-year old rancher, had gotten used to Customs and Border Protection officials tromping across his south Texas ranch lands without permission over the years. But finding a wireless surveillance camera set up in one of his trees? Not OK. Upon discovering the device, Palacios removed it immediately. It wasn't long after that he started receiving calls from CBP and the Texas Rangers demanding that he turn the camera over to them or face charges.

Having taken enough of their shit, instead of turning the camera over, Palacios gave the feds something else instead: a lawsuit.

According to Ars Technica, Palacios, who's been a lawyer for 50 years,  named the two agencies and a CBP agent in a lawsuit that accuses them of violating his constitutional rights, by trespassing on his land, and setting up cameras where ever they damn well please. It's an important case: CBP claims it has a right, within a 100-mile radius of the American border, to stop people (including U.S. citizens, which flies in the face of the Fourth Amendment,) search cars and personal belongings in the name of border security, without a warrant. But this doesn't allow them to go traipsing on to private property in the name of their duties without permission. They're only allowed to  do that within 25 miles of the border.

Palacios' ranch? It's 35 miles away from the edge of the U.S./Mexican border. This alone would be enough to warrant a suit against the government. But there's more:

As Palacios alleges in the civil complaint, his interactions with CBP began in April 2010 when his two sons were stopped at a checkpoint along I-35.

Read the rest

A huge trove of vintage movie posters from the University of Texas's Ransom Center archive

The University of Texas's Ransom Center (previously) has posted a gorgeous selection of digitized movie posters from its Movie Poster Collection, from the 1920s to the 1970s. Read the rest

Texas attorney general demands more armed church-goers

More guns is clearly the answer! Texas attorney general Ken Paxton appeared on FoxNews to urge folks to carry guns in church. Regardless how odd or uncomfortable it might feel, someone has to be there to stop the next attacker!

Via ThinkProgress:

“All I can say is, you know, in Texas at least we have the opportunity to have concealed-carry, And so if it’s a place where somebody has the ability to carry, there’s always the opportunity that gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people,” Paxton replied.

Shawn pressed Paxton on this point, noting that carrying a gun while “praying to the Lord” are two “diametrically opposite concepts.” Paxton was unswayed.

He agreed that carrying a gun to church can seem unnatural and that’s why many people don’t do it. (Some faith communities in Texas have also actively resisted efforts to allow guns in places of worship.) But, Paxton argued, we need to be “arming some of the parishioners or the congregation so that they can respond if something like this, when something like this happens again.”

Read the rest

To do in Austin: Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute Plays

Austinites! You have two more nights to catch Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute Plays, "an artistic and cultural dialogue around our divergent understandings of privacy." Read the rest

Zombie Peepshow's spiky, monstrous, elaborate shoes (mostly wedges, but flats too)

Austin shoesmith Kayla Stojek (AKA "Zombie Peepshow") mods wedges, Vans, heels and other shoes (and boots) with huge, deadly spikes, cute dioramas, horror pumpkins, whimsical scares, and such, all made to order: if heels aren't your thing, Stojek will mod you up some spiky Vans. Read the rest

Fearing deportation, Houston's undocumented immigrants improvise storm survival strategies

Pablo writes, "In Houston, half-a-million undocumented immigrants, many of them victims of Hurricane Harvey, fear seeking help from state and federal relief efforts." Read the rest

Floating islands of fire ants

A fresh hell for the flooded plains of Texas: Yes, That's a Huge Floating Mass of Live Fire Ants in Texas. (Photo: Brant Kelly / CC BY 2.0)

Sarah Zhang:

“Holy crap. I have never, in my entire career as an ant researcher, seen *anything* like this,” tweeted Alex Wild, curator of entomology at University of Texas at Austin, in response to the image below. Of course, Wild told me, it is all perfectly logical. “They actually love floods,” says Wild. “It’s how they get around.” Fire ants displaced by water form rafts; a lot of fire ants displaced by a lot of water will form really big rafts. But still! The sheer size of them is incredible.

Dish soap breaks the surface tension and they sink. Read the rest

Harvey hits hard, TX governor issues mandatory evacuations as 'catastrophic flood' risks loom

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas just gave an update on the impact of Harvey, formerly a category 4 hurricane, and now a tropical storm that made landfall near Corpus Christi late Friday night. There are no confirmed storm fatalities yet. At this time, 338,000 power outages are reported across the state. The governor is issuing a mandatory evacuation order for central parts of Texas. Read the rest

Texas Republicans will now require women to carry "rape insurance" if they need abortions

HB 214 signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott [R], bans abortion coverage from all public and private health insurance plans, and mandates that abortion insurance be sold as a separate product to women who are concerned that they'll need an abortion in future due to risks to their lives, unplanned pregnancies, unviable pregnancies, or rape-related pregnancies. Read the rest

Ted Cruz's Democratic challenger is a small-dollars fundraising monster who won't take PAC money

Rep. Beto O’Rourke [D-El Paso] raised over $2.1 million last quarter for a Senate race against bad person Ted Cruz [R-Satan's Asshole], in the form of 46,574 donations, primarily from in-state donors, with $0 coming from PACs. Read the rest

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