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A quick note from the road…

It’s just past Christmas here in Germany. After spending a few days relaxing with my wife and a few friends in Berlin, I’ve taken my leave and headed north to Hamburg to report on 32c3, the annual Chaos Computer Club conference. And I gotta admit, I’m a bit unnerved.  (more…)

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Posted: December 27th, 2015

Adelanto California

Originally published in NSFWCORP on April 16, 2013.

When I first started reporting on the subprime suburb of Victorville, I little expected that the neighboring town of Adelanto would become ground zero for a fight between billionaires on one side, and poor, vulnerable minority parents and children on the other.

I first heard about the fight through the local right-wing paper, the Victorville Daily Press, which gleefully announced on its front page that a local school, Desert Trails Elementary, had just made history as the first school in the nation to be privatized under California’s new “parent trigger” law. The paper described the takeover as “promising a fresh start to the failing elementary school,” and claimed it had received widespread support from parents. (more…)

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Posted: December 5th, 2015

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A bit of random war nerd porn from my Surveillance Valley archive research. This one comes courtesy of a taxpayer funded military rag called “Army Research & Development.” It shows a rare specimen: a 1969 vintage Pentagon Quadruped Hotrod. Kinda looks like Google’s Cheetah Drone, which as it happens was developed with Pentagon funding but is now controlled by Google. (more…)

Posted: November 9th, 2015

surveillance valley yasha levine (art brad jonas)Support Yasha Levine’s “Surveillance Valley” Kickstarter campaign here.

For the past year-and-a-half I’ve been covering the “Surveillance Valley” beat for Pando Daily — investigating the for-profit surveillance business that powers Silicon Valley and the way this technology is increasingly being used to monitor and control our lives.

My reporting has taken me deep inside the modern surveillance state — a place where where giant tech companies work hand in hand with the military-industrial complex and make billions by spying on our private lives. (more…)

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Posted: February 23rd, 2015

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On Friday morning, 23-year-old Paul Ciancia walked into Terminal 3 of the Los Angeles LAX airport, pulled a Smith & Wesson AR-15 semi-automatic rifle from a duffel bag and started shooting his way through a security checkpoint. He specifically targeted TSA agents, killing one screener and wounding three other people before an airport cop took him down with a shot to the face. (more…)

Posted: November 5th, 2013

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Ever since Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath” came out in early October, he’s been on a non-stop promotional tour. He’s appeared on the BBC and the Daily Show, he’s done Twitter group chats and Ted Talk Q&As, and has had negative and positive reviews published in dozens of media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian. But despite all this PR attention, as far as I can tell, no one’s really described in plain English what the book is about. And that’s just weird…

So let me be the first: The book is about pitying the rich. Its central thesis: being poor, crippled and/or discriminated against helps you succeed in life. (more…)

Posted: October 26th, 2013

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Our story begins late last week when I got a tweet from @AlphaInvictus telling me to go check “who’s sponsoring BuzzFeed today.”

I wasn’t expecting much… After all, BuzzFeed’s known for creating custom posts for advertisers, like the “15 Delicious Things You Can Stuff In A Crescent Roll” post it created for Pillsbury. Weird, yes. Possibly even shady, given how BuzzFeed’s sponsored content looks almost exactly the same as its regular posts. But given the scandal over the Atlantic’s advertorial for Scientology, most sites have become ultra-cautious about allowing controversial sponsors to brand their “content.” How bad could BuzzFeed’s latest sponsor be? (more…)

Posted: May 15th, 2013