Just in time for the 2012 US elections, Wired lets you finger your politician’s sponsors–NASCAR-style.

Try it before you vote!

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Valve Handbook  02If you worked at Valve, the videogame company that brought you Half-Life and Portal, you wouldn’t get a title, a boss, or a pre-defined department (or even team). What you would get is a job with perhaps the most innovative company in the industry today.

Studies suggest 3 million jobs are still open if you have the skills, and some companies are even willing to train you on the job. This sneak peak at Valve’s employee handbook tells you what they expect of their employees, from peer reviews to T-shaped people.

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AlienIt’s been a mixed season for copyright champions and opponents. On the side of copyright maximalism are the Supreme Court’s upholding 6-figure filesharing fines and the revelation that astronomer Carl Sagan had to get copyrights before beaming songs into space.

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Have you ever entered (shudder!) a fake name into a Web site? Now that Interpol has helped arrest 25 alleged Anonymous hackers, you might be interested to learn that behaviors most netizens have practiced since the third grade qualifies as hacking under current US law.

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Based on an assignment for a class in variable media. Rory McGuire’s to blame for inspiring me to waste 30 perfectly good minutes of my life.

If you have no idea what this is, try these links entries on the pepper spray and Han Shot First memes.

As covered previously on NMDnet, Wikipedia will interrupt its usual service to netcast a clear signal that proposed antipiracy legislation in the US congress would hurt the Internet more than pirates.

“Should Wikipedia shut down to protest censorship?”

http://www.nmdnet.org/2011/12/17/should-wikipedia-shut-down-to-protest-censorship/

Wikipedia is the latest Web site to plan a blackout for Wednesday to protest two Congressional bills intended to curtail copyright violations on the Internet….

“This is going to be wow, ” Mr. Wales wrote. “I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday. Tell everyone you know!”

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=5d1438dc4f2f5b3c65104aba659248c4

Whether sea levels rise or fall, your amphibious house will ride the waves of climate change.

A controversial new study suggests that most of humankind’s maladies — from wars to epidemics to economic downturns — can be traced to climate fluctuations….

Climate shifts were a statistically significant cause of social disturbance, war, migration, epidemics, famine, and nutritional status, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And climate caused famines, economic downturns, and catastrophic human events far more often than did any of the other 14 variables. The most direct way in which extreme climate shifts influence human society is through agriculture, Zhang says; a falling supply of crops will drive up the price of gold and cause inflation. Similarly, epidemics can be exacerbated by famine. And when people are miserable, they are likely to become angry with their governments and each other, resulting in war.

But golden ages rise out of these dark periods, the team argues. For instance, a 100-year cold period beginning in 1560 caused shortened crop growing seasons. The researchers found a causal linkage with a decline in average human height by nearly an inch during this period, and the century was rife with disease and conflict. But the world began to warm in 1650; when Charles II was crowned king of England in 1660, the coronation sparked the Enlightenment era in Europe.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/3KOUud3C3M4/

Meanwhile a different study pins a mini Ice Age in Europe on Christopher Columbus.

“Science News reports on a story which blames a centuries long cooling of Europe on the discovery of the new world. Scientists contend that the native depopulation and deforestation had a chilling effect on world-wide climate. ‘Trees that filled in this territory pulled billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, diminishing the heat-trapping capacity of the atmosphere and cooling climate, says Richard Nevle, a geochemist at Stanford University.’

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/10/14/0345253/columbus-blamed-for-mini-ice-age

In this century, rising sea levels have inspired a new architectural style that might be called the ‘amphibian avant-garde.’

“Venice may soon be sharing its ‘Floating City’ moniker thanks to a research project developing ‘amphibian houses’ that are designed to float in the event of a flood. The FLOATEC project sees the primary market for the houses as the Netherlands, whose low-lying land makes it particularly susceptible to the effects of rising sea levels. Such housing technology could also allow small island-states in the Indian and Pacific Oceans that are at the risk of disappearing in the next 100 years to maintain their claim to statehood through the use of artificial, floating structures.”

http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/09/05/007211/Floating-Houses-Designed-For-Low-Lying-Countries

Yet another reason to choose a Facebook photo that’s hotter than you really are.

With Carnegie Mellon’s cloud-centric new mobile app, the process of matching a casual snapshot with a person’s online identity takes less than a minute. Tools like PittPatt and other cloud-based facial recognition services rely on finding publicly available pictures of you online, whether it’s a profile image for social networks like Facebook and Google Plus or from something more official from a company website or a college athletic portrait. In their most recent round of facial recognition studies, researchers at Carnegie Mellon were able to not only match unidentified profile photos from a dating website (where the vast majority of users operate pseudonymously) with positively identified Facebook photos, but also match pedestrians on a North American college campus with their online identities. … ‘[C]onceptually, the goal of Experiment 3 was to show that it is possible to start from an anonymous face in the street, and end up with very sensitive information about that person, in a process of data “accretion.” In the context of our experiment, it is this blending of online and offline data — made possible by the convergence of face recognition, social networks, data mining, and cloud computing — that we refer to as augmented reality.’ http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/09/30/1422217/Cloud-Powered-Facial-Recognition-Is-Terrifying

But then again, who really pays attention to dry academic studies? The FBI, for one.

“The FBI by mid-January will activate a nationwide facial recognition service in select states that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects in photos, bureau officials told Nextgov. The federal government is embarking on a multiyear, $1 billion dollar overhaul of the FBI’s existing fingerprint database to more quickly and accurately identify suspects, partly through applying other biometric markers, such as iris scans and voice recordings.” http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/07/2342240/FBI-Plans-Nationwide-Face-Recognition-Trials-In-2012

Donkeys, solar power, and trash are the Internet Service Providers for censored Syrians, beleaguered Afghans, and others without government-sponsored Internet.

These DIY ISPs would make great solutions to the privacy concerns about social networks cited in some recent NMDnet posts–and give new meaning to the term “data mules.”

Syrians Using Donkeys Instead of DSL After Gov’t Shuts Down Internet

“Rebelling Syrians are using all possible alternate methods to pass information to the world amidst a total blackout on the internet by the Government. Believe it or not, Donkeys are a part of the revolution now. From the article: ‘To get the news out, activists have been smuggling videos to Jordan through the desert and across a nearly 80-kilometer border Jordan shares with Syria. Some risk approaching the border with Jordanian cellphones to report to the outside world and send clips. It’s a dangerous task because the Syrian and Jordanian armies traditionally have the area under heavy surveillance to prevent the smuggling of drugs and weapons into the kingdom or further to the Gulf states.’”

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/05/15/1810215/Syrians-Using-Donkeys-Instead-of-DSL-After-Govt-Shuts-Down-Internet

The US military is taking note:

Move Over, Robots: Army Prefers Flesh-and-Blood Mules

The experimental four-legged, pack-hauling robots aren’t gonna be ready for frontline duty any time soon. So the Army is considering a big step backward in frontline logistics: more mules and donkeys, with a revived “Animal Corps” to oversee the four-legged recruits.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/ct7GAqIUi8Y/

The Afghans are at it:

Afghans Build Open Source Internet From Trash

“Residents of Jalalabad have built the FabFi network: an open-source system that uses common building materials and off-the-shelf electronics to transmit wireless ethernet signals across distances of up to several miles.”

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/06/26/0322238/Afghans-Build-Open-Source-Internet-From-Trash

And there’s more:

Look Ma, No Internet! Free Software Gives Text-Messaging New Reach

Frontline SMS, an open source software that turns a laptop into an internet-free communication hub has been used in more than 50 countries by thousands of organizations.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/C4bjgmQ7rT8/

Berkeley’s working on solar-powered cell phone networks.

Low-Cost DIY Cell Network Runs On Solar

Shareable writes with word of the intriguing work of a Berkeley professor who has developed a “low-cost, low-power cell base station featuring easy, off-the grid deployment with solar or wind power; local services autonomous from national carriers; and an impressive portfolio of voice & data services (not just GSM). It’s designed to connect rural areas in the developing world, but could have wider application like disaster recovery.”

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/08/28/0048211/Low-Cost-DIY-Cell-Network-Runs-On-Solar.

Limewire’s founder wants to distribute pedals as well as MP3s.

Peer-to-Peer Pioneer Sees New York Bicycles Pier-to-Pier

Mark Gorton founded LimeWire, but his true passion is transit — specifically, bikes — and sharply curtailing the role of cars in our cities. We sit down with him to find out why. http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/8SOZGbSiQ84/

Governments and vigilantes are using Facebook and other social media to identify and jail protesters–even if they never left their keyboards.

A Chat With Zavilia, a Tool For Identifying Rioters

“Social media isn’t just great for starting ‘social unrest,’ it’s proving to be quite helpful for quashing it too. Not long after the bricks began to fly in London’s latest kerfuffle, locals angry over raging mobs scrambled to assist the police in their attempt to identify street-fighters and free-for-all hooligans … Now with more than 1,000 people charged over the chaos, a few citizen groups continue to provide web-based rioter identification platforms, in hopes of being good subjects, maintaining the country’s pursuit of order, and keeping their neighborhoods safe.”

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/08/19/0248220/A-Chat-With-Zavilia-a-Tool-For-Identifying-Rioters

In Britain, a Meeting on Limiting Social Media

Government officials and representatives of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry met to discuss voluntary ways to limit or restrict the use of social media to combat crime and periods of civil unrest.

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=bc98f459d24fe76a1cb358676020620b

UK Men Get 4 Years For Trying to Incite Riots Via Facebook

“In addition to the 12 arrests from last week, a judge has sentenced 20-year-old Jordan Blackshaw and 22-year-old Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan to four years in prison for their failed attempts to use Facebook to incite riots in the UK. The judge said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent. The two men were convicted for using Facebook to encourage violent disorder in their hometowns in northwest England.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/18/0224214/UK-Men-Get-4-Years-For-Trying-to-Incite-Riots-Via-Facebook

Slashdot / Soulskill nonprofiteer writes “A bunch of vigilantes are organizing a Google Group dedicated to using recently revealed facial recognition tools to identify looters in the London riots. While Vancouver discussed doing something similar after the Stanley Cup riots, the city never actually moved forward on it. Ring of Steel London, though, is far more likely to incorporate FRT into its investigative work.” A related article points out how development of face-recognition technology has been kept under wraps by some organizations, but we’re getting to the point where it’ll soon be ubiquitous.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/10/062225/The-London-Riots-and-Facial-Recognition-Technology

When police and vigilantes fail, there’s always PayPal.

PayPal Joins London Police Effort

“PayPal has joined a music copyright association and the City of London police department’s bid to financially starve websites deemed ‘illegal.’ When presented with sufficient evidence of unlicensed downloading from a site, the United Kingdom’s PayPal branch ‘will require the retailer to submit proof of licensing for the music offered by the retailer,’ said the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s latest press release.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/2345217/PayPal-Joins-London-Police-Effort

Meanwhile, Egyptian activists are getting in trouble for what they post on Facebook.

Egyptian Charged For Threatening Facebook Post

“The Egyptian Military Prosecution has charged 26-year-old activist and blogger Asmaa Mahfouz for allegedly defaming the country’s ruling generals and calling for armed operations against the military and the judiciary. Mahfouz, a prominent activist, was accused of using Facebook to call for the assassinations of Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) members and certain judges.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/15/0156222/Egyptian-Charged-For-Threatening-Facebook-Post

Imagine a future in which a single worldwide currency is distributed among peers rather than centralized in a handful of wealthy banks. Freed from the intrusions of national governments and the manipulation of Wall Street fat cats, these virtual coins could be “mined” and spent by individual citizens anywhere on the Internet. Based on an open-source standard and difficult to trace, these immaterial coins would quickly become the ideal payment option for privacy advocates, political dissidents, and narcotics dealers.

This future is already here, and it’s called Bitcoin.

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Anonymous Wikileaks LogoUS security consultants may have been conspiring in secret to bring WikiLeaks down, but Britain’s former intelligence chief links WikiLeaks with the downfall of oppressive regimes in the Middle East. And then there’s WikiLeak’s staunchest supporter, Anonymous, which caught said security consultants with their pants down (and may have even erased their CEO’s iPad).

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Over the past month, new media scholars have spilled a lot of digital ink arguing whether the Internet actually fostered the 2011 revolution in Egypt, Tunisia, and other Middle East countries–or whether it simply created a dependency that governments can shut down to stymie protesters. Here’s a “Middle East Internet Scorecard” showing where and when governments have cut off their citizens’ access to the net. 

How hard would it be for, say, President Beck to shut down Google, Facebook, and the like in the US of A? Read this Middle East censorship roundup to find out what Egyptians, Libyans, and the rest of us can do to safeguard access to a global electronic network.

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High-tech engineering for those who want more privacy for their privates. Will Victoria’s Secret come out with a Kevlar-lined bra in time for the holidays?

http://idle.slashdot.org/story/10/11/23/150207/Underwear-Invention-Protects-Privacy-At-Airport

Thanks to Jeff Buske you don’t have to be embarrassed while going through the full body scanners at the airport. Buske has invented radiation shielding underwear for the shy traveler. From the article: “Jeff Buske says his invention uses a powdered metal that protects people’s privacy when undergoing medical or security screenings. Buske of Las Vegas, Nev.-Rocky Flats Gear says the underwear’s inserts are thin and conform to the body’s contours, making it difficult to hide anything beneath them. The mix of tungsten and other metals do not set off metal detectors.”

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Nov 072010

On our inner city permaculture farm we find heroin needles in between the broccoli plants. We have a barbed wire fence that wraps around the entire 2.5 acres of our “freeway food forest” — a food forest that is rising from the ruins of a freeway that collapsed and then lay dormant for 20 years. At night there is a pregnant cat that makes the place her own (all the sheet mulching has stirred up the mice and rats). Other folks crawl through the fence at night too. With perhaps one exception, the people that come at night aren’t the same people that come during the day. Often “fresh” needles appear in the morning. The stories we write about here all have to do with the chain link and barbed wire fence that was on site when we arrived. The forces it is meant to keep out, the forces it is meant to contain, the edge it creates around our site, the fact that it is there at all.

please join the chapter fourteen email list to read the rest of the post and the ensuing dialog. join the conversation!

/m

Hello,
My name is Dennis St. Pierre, I am an MFA student in the Intermedia Program here at the University of Maine.

I am announcing a new light hearted, humorous and informative voice opposed to the Tea Party Movement. Everything is explained below in a press release I wrote.

We are still adding content on a daily basis to our site, especially the intelligence, (aren’t we all) and there are lot’s of products that are not in our online store yet.

Hopefully everything will be completed soon. None the less, it is time to announce.

So please visit our site, purchase goods in our effort to stand up to the Tea Baggers and fight for our country while at the same time raising money and awareness for important causes. Help us go viral and spread the call.
Any advice, feedback, links to great information and content you think would be appropriate to add to our site, would be greatly appreciated.

I hope life finds you all well. I wish you all great happiness.

Dennis St.Pierre

Hello Everyone,
I am Dennis St. Pierre, an ordinary worker, a student, an artist and most important a citizen! I am a Perturbed Passionate Patriotic Pacifist (say that 4 x fast) who is tired of the high jacking of our Democratic Republic by the Tea Party and feel it’s time to do something about it. So I and some Friends, have created the NOT TEA (yes naughty) Party. We have decided to fight back using humor, intelligence and common sense.

Like most of you, we have little time to go to meetings and assemblies, coffee party’s etc. We are so busy just staying afloat. But that doesn’t mean we have nothing to say and the time to speak up is passing us by.

By not voicing our opposition, by remaining silent and complacent, we are allowing a possible takeover of our government and ultimately our country. This is the work of the ultra wealthy and the extremely misinformed in the guise of “Patriots”, who call themselves the “Tea Party”.

It is through simple acts of defiance that we can defeat this opposition. We all know the power of marketing; we all know how powerful a few words can be. We all can defeat this rhetoric filled and misinformed group and take our country back.

How? We fight back without malice, but instead armed with humor, common sense and strong intelligence as our weapons, We take simple actions like that of wearing a T-shirt, placing a bumper sticker on our car, placing a sign on our lawn to be our voice when we don’t feel like direct confrontation. We take time to gain knowledge by reading and debate. Suddenly, you gain strength, armed with the knowledge of being one of many. Suddenly you feel strong enough to stand up and confront the bullies directly.

We believe as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. believed that it is through many little acts of non violence and intelligent defiance that true power prevails. These acts include the use of Humor, Knowledge and Good Will.

That being said; we are attempting to give you the means to defeat this takeover. We have created a website www.notteacompany.com or www.notteaparty.com . It is being updated constantly with News, A Library, Links, Cartoons, Humorous Videos, a place to exchange knowledge, as well as a Mercantile where you can buy products to voice your displeasure of the Tea Party. Products with humorous double entendre rally cries! “I’m NOT TEA”, “Sooooo NOT TEA”, “NOT TEA & NICE”, “It’s Nice 2 B Naugh-Tea” and many others that support the “NOT TEA PARTY” idea. We will soon have “Wicked Not Tea Coffee” as well. 15% of all profits go to NON PROFITS.

So, I hope you will go to our website and our store and become part of a “Wicked Not Tea Party”. So laugh, be informed and perform acts of Good Will all while being NOT TEA!!!

Sincerely,

Dennis St. Pierre
The NOT TEA COMPANY

For more info please contact me via email at [email protected]

“Remember…… try to be good and if that’s impossible, Be reeeaaalllly bad and tell me how good it was!!!! :-)

“Imagine” john lennon

Hey all,

I’m writing from San Francisco, my home these days. San Francisco is at the forefront of an amazing urban gardening movement, and it is very exciting! I’ve been working very closely with one urban farm in particular, called Hayes Valley Farm. It’s a 2.3 acre food forest rising from a freeway that collapsed during the ’89 earthquake. I hold the title of Lead Researcher on the Biodiversity Team. Most recently for 350.org’s 10-10-10 global day of action to prevent climate change, we began an effort to research and steward what edible and medicinal plants do well in the multiple microclimates within the city. We gave away 150 permaculture kits to initiate healthy ecosystems in folks’ backyards, front yards, planter pots, or vertical wall gardens (we get creative in the city). Our ultimate question is “how many people can you feed on how little urban land?” I like to think it is possible to have sustainable cities, but I wonder too if they stay cities or become something new…. This teeters on an artistic and pedagogical piece I recently did for Mary Walling Blackburn’s Radical Citizenship: the Tutorials, called Root, City, Thorn.

Anyway, I’m also very involved in thinking about the human organizational models that encourage healthy ecosystems and healthy people. We are facing some very juicy challenges on the farm and are seeking answers from lots of different sources. To this end, and in the spirit of exchanging insight, I’ve just launched an email list called Chapter Fourteen. I hope all you UMaine alumns involved in permaculture and/or participatory models of communication will join this list and share what you’ve learned from your own communities, as well as stories about where you’re stuck.

Please join! http://lists.beforebefore.net/listinfo.cgi/chapter_fourteen-beforebefore.net Beginning on the new moon November 5th we’ll have roughly 2 week discussions around the topic a moderator initiates. Please let me know if you’re interested in facilitating a discussion, and I’ll sign you up!

Thanks Jon for getting NMDnet going!

xoxo

You gotta feel for corporate polluters like BP. First people stop buying their stuff. Now banks aren’t giving them loans. But not to worry: the Department of Homeland Security has them covered.

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=4a789757de0e1bd810cb25cebc71312b via Byline Monsanto, the giant of agricultural biotechnology, has been buffeted by setbacks this year that have prompted analysts to question whether its winning streak is coming to an end.

Even banks are smelling a change in attitude:

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=4bace2ca10b06640e129403b82716628 via Byline Some lenders are taking a stand on practices like mining and deforestation that may be risky to their reputations.

But don’t worry, Homeland Security to the rescue! (At least Nixon had the decency to keep his blacklists to himself.)

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/09/14/2254235/PAs-Dept-of-Homeland-Security-Shared-Oil-Shale-Protester-Info-With-Companies?from=rss via Byline Western Pennsylvania’s shale oil deposits have lately attracted interest not only from companies who have been extracting some of that oil, but from locals who object to what they perceive as sharp dealing by the companies involved, favorable treatment by the state government, and environmental degradation as a result of the extraction. Some of the most visible of those protesters, it turns out, have been tracked (including “Web traffic”) by Pennsylvania’s own Homeland Security department, and that information about them has been shared not only within the department, but with the oil companies themselves. Homeland Security director James Powers defended the information shared with the oil companies as part of a triweekly bulletin, saying “We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies.”

New in the “They Can Do That?” Department: Your Facebook friends can add you to groups without your approval, and the only way to make sure that never happens is to *have no friends*. Oh, and the FBI can bug your car without a warrant. While it’s in your driveway.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/10/08/1358232/Lighthearted-Facebook-Friends-Could-Make-You-Join-NAMBLA-Group?from=rss via Byline mykos writes “The Facebook groups feature is causing bit of a stir with its users. TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington was allegedly added to a group about NAMBLA, and in turn, he added Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It’s all in good (albeit tasteless) fun, except when a harmless joke goes awry and you find yourself being detained by customs when a friend decided to drag you into a mock terrorist group. Facebook representatives are aware of the matter, but are dismissive of it. A Facebook spokeswoman said, ‘If you have a friend that is adding you to Groups you do not want to belong to, or they are behaving in a way that bothers you, you can tell them to stop doing it, block them or remove them as a friend — and they will no longer EVER have the ability to add you to any Group.’ In somewhat related news, guillotines ensure you won’t have dandruff on your shoulders anymore.”

Did I mention the guy with his car bugged was a college student? The FBI was pretty keen to get it back, too.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/10/08/1413240/College-Student-Finds-GPS-On-Car-FBI-Retrieve?from=rss via Byline mngdih writes with this excerpt from Wired: “A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online. The post prompted wide speculation about whether the device was real, whether the young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism investigation and what the authorities would do. It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted their expensive device back … His discovery comes in the wake of a recent ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals saying it’s legal for law enforcement to secretly place a tracking device on a suspect’s car without getting a warrant, even if the car is parked in a private driveway. … ‘We have all the information we needed,’ they told him. ‘You don’t need to call your lawyer. Don’t worry, you’re boring.’”

Given his McCarthy-esqe methods, it’s easy to dismiss Wertham as a power-hungry quack. Some of his observations about air rifles and knives being advertised alongside violent comics, however, suggest layers of influence that go beyond even what we expect from videogames Wertham would have freaked to see Grand Theft Auto, but might have been consoled by the rarity of in-game advertisements.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/08/30/1624221/Library-of-Congress-Opens-Records-of-Anti-Comic-Book-Shrink?from=rss via Byline eldavojohn writes “Some light is being shone on comic book history today as the Library of Congress opens up the 222 boxes of a German psychiatrist’s evidence and papers against comic books. Dr. Fredric Wertham is well known by comic book fans as the author of Seduction of the Innocent, a bestselling book linking comic books and juvenile delinquency — leading to a full blown congressional investigation (some say witch hunt) of the comic book industry. Wertham was long involved with criminal trials before campaigning against comic books and promoting industry and government censorship for children. Ars adds a little more context for the younger crowd and notes that he later tried to move against television violence but couldn’t find the publisher backing he had against comic books.”

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