What Ada Palmer’s University of Chicago Papal election LARP can teach us about our own future.

“Cesare Borgia oath of Fealty,” from the 2019 Papal election LARP. Photo by Ada Palmer. Used with permission.

Ada Palmer is a wonder. Not only is she a tenured University of Chicago historian who specializes in the forbidden information of Florence during the Inquisitions (witchcraft, homosexuality, heresy and other fascinating subjects); she’s also a composer, librettist and performer whose album-length retelling of Norse mythos is, astoundingly, exceeded by…

#1yrago Educator sued for criticising “invigilation” tool https://pluralistic.net/2020/10/17/proctorio-v-linkletter/#proctorio

Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist, and blogger. He has a podcast, a newsletter, a Twitter feed, a Mastodon feed, and a Tumblr feed. He was born in Canada, became a British citizen and now lives in Burbank, California…

And it’s a serial killing.

Last May, the profitable Chicago Tribune was acquired by the notorious vulture firm Alden Global Capital. They suffered waves of downsizing, including a sell-off of the iconic Tribute Building. Today, a skeleton crew puts out the Trib from “a newsroom the size of a Chipotle.”

In a long, deeply reported…

AKA, “infosec is a team sport.”

1945 radio premium: Captain Midnight decoder badge. Image: Sobebunny https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Captain-midnight-decoder.jpg CC BY-SA: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

If you’re an Internet Person of a Certain Vintage, you’ll likely experience the same thrill of delight I felt this morning when I discovered ROT8000, a Unicode version of the old ROT13 cipher. But after I finished smiling, I got to thinking.


ROT13 is a toy cipher with a…

2001, 2006, 2016, 2020.

#20yrsago Delta flight delay after Islamaphobe mistakes orthodox Jews for Muslims https://web.archive.org/web/20011016000622/http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20011015/od/delta_dc_1.html

#15yrsago Play Money: memoir of a year selling game-gold https://memex.craphound.com/2006/10/15/play-money-memoir-of-a-year-selling-game-gold/

#5yrsago After being outed for massive hack and installing an NSA “rootkit,” Yahoo cancels earnings call https://www.huffpost.com/entry/yahoo-hacking-verizon_n_5800eef7e4b0e8c198a78b14

2001, 2011, 2016, 2020.

#20yrsago John Norman decries Worldcon “monothink” http://www.locusmag.com/2001/Departments/Letters10Norman.html

#20yrsago Bruce Sterling’s predictions for a post-9/11 world https://web.archive.org/web/20011102212150/http://www.edge.org/documents/whatnow/whatnow_sterling.html

#10yrsago Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow: a chapbook in PM Press’s Outspoken Authors series https://craphound.com/category/gbbt/

#5yrsago Ikea Shanghai to elderly, lonely Chinese people: buy something or get out https://qz.com/806990/lonely-shanghai-seniors-now-have-to-buy-something-if-they-want-to-cruise-all-day-in-ikeas-cafeteria/

Solutionism at its worst.

An old Apple ‘There’s an app for that’ ad; the screen of the phone has been replaced with a blown up, pixelated image of a skeletal chest, and the Indian tricolor flag has been superimposed on the background.

The term “solutionism” gets thrown around a lot. Any time an attempt to address a problem fails, it’s easy to point at the technological elements of the failure and deride the whole enterprise as a solutionist muddle.

Which is a pity, because solutionism is real, and it’s a scourge. …

A free-as-in-surveillance-free Flash installer is gone thanks to a bogus copyright claim.

A spooky graveyard; in the foreground, a tombstone bearing the Adobe Flash logo, with a hand bursting out of the soil before it, bearing a copyright symbol. In the background, another tombstone sports the eye of 2001’s HAL 9000. Image: Cryteria (modified) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HAL9000.svg CC BY: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en Genusfotografen (Tomas Gunnarsson) (modified) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Extended_arm.jpg CC BY-SA: https://creativ

The death of Adobe Flash in January 2021 was long overdue; Adobe’s hyper-proprietary interactive runtime was a source of persistent, terrifying security vulnerabilities that had harmed web users for decades.

But the demise of Flash also meant that all the Flash-based media that had been created since its debut (as…

Cory Doctorow

Writer, blogger, activist. Blog: https://pluralistic.net; Mailing list: https://pluralistic.net/plura-list; Twitter: https://twitter.com/doctorow

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