Join me at Politicon 2016, 'The Coachella of Politics' —Xeni

I'm speaking at Politicon, the “Non-Partisan Politics and Entertainment Fan-Fest,” June 25-26 in Pasadena. It's gonna be fun AND totally weird in the best way.

Sessions include an “Ann Coulter vs. Van Jones” smackdown, and Jon Ronson asking the timeless question, “Is Donald Trump a Psychopath.”

Some of the other politicians, pundits, and possible psychopaths on the schedule: Bill Nye, Sarah Palin, Larry Wilmore, Vicente Fox, James Carville, Glenn Beck. The original Daily Show cast will be in the house, too.

Holy hell, what a lineup. Join me there, and use the Boing Boing discount code BOINGBOING to get 25% off tickets. Read the rest

Safecast draws on power of the crowd to map Japan's radiation

[Video Link: YouTube, PBS.org]

I traveled to Japan with PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O'Brien to help shoot and produce a series of NewsHour stories about the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters. One of these just aired, and is above. It's the story of how a group of hackers and internet folks are working with Japanese volunteers to harness DIY technology to record and share data about radiation hotspots.

We traveled with Safecast on a radiation-data-gathering drive from Tokyo to inside the voluntary evacuation zone, close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. We monitored readings on the ground and in the air with the Safecast team all along the way. You'll see what those contamination levels were, and what and whom we encountered, in this video.

Some of the voices in this piece are familiar names to regular Boing Boing readers: Joi Ito, Sean Bonner, and others. One DIY/Maker/hacker culture hero we interviewed whose work you see is Bunnie Huang (I was thrilled that this project allowed me to meet Bunnie in person for the first time).

In the NewsHour story, airing exactly eight months to the day after the March 11 disaster, you'll see the geiger counters the Safecast team have developed with Sebastopol, California-based Dan Sythe and International Medcom. The successor to the "B-Geigie" Safecast is using now will be a device Bunnie designed (which looks really elegant, by the way). Oh, and these geiger kits were assembled in the very cool Tokyo Hacker Space, a central site for the Safecast movement. Read the rest