"Magic Is Privilege": The Insidious System At The Heart Of Harry Potter

Every year, the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA) delves into the themes and ideas of science fiction and fantasy. And this year, according to attendee Cecilia Tan, one big topic was the idea that Harry Potter's Wizarding World is "a metaphor for racism." » 3/30/15 11:18am Yesterday 11:18am

Yep, That Anti-Robot Protest At SXSW Was A Marketing Stunt [UPDATED]

When a group of plucky students organized a protest at SXSW against the rising threat of artificial intelligence, they got a ton of attention. Including interviews on NPR and the BBC. A grassroots anti-robot protest seemed almost too good to be true. And it's looking like maybe it was. [Updated!] » 3/16/15 1:30pm 3/16/15 1:30pm

How Police Body Cameras Were Designed to Get Cops Off the Hook

In the wake of protests over police violence against black men, many civil rights activists are calling for a high-tech solution: strapping wearable body cameras to cops. The idea is to hold police accountable for unnecessary violence. But the history of police body cams reveals that the devices have often had the… » 3/16/15 2:48pm 3/16/15 2:48pm

Philip K. Dick On Fine-Tuning Your B.S.-Meter To Spot "Pseudo-Realities"

How can you tell what's real, in a world where huge industries, governments and religions are all trying to force-feed you manufactured realities? Philip K. Dick sums up the challenges of detecting reality in a world that resembles Disneyland, in this great 1978 quote. » 2/25/15 12:36pm 2/25/15 12:36pm

When A Newspaper Gave Blade Runner's Replicant Test To Mayor Candidates

What if your city elected a Replicant as mayor and you didn't know it? There's only way to guard against this situation, and that's by administering the Voight-Kampff test to every single candidate during the mayoral election. One newspaper in San Francisco did that back in 2003, and the results were amazing. » 2/23/15 1:47pm 2/23/15 1:47pm

This Clip Will Make The Wait For Tonight's Person Of Interest Agonizing

Here's an exclusive clip from the new episode of Person of Interest, airing tonight. Warning: if you watch this very noir-ish clip, then you'll have a really hard time waiting until tonight to see the rest of the episode. Proceed at your own risk! Spoilers below... » 2/17/15 1:30pm 2/17/15 1:30pm

UMass Has Banned Iranian Students from Engineering and Science Programs…

Starting this month, the venerable University of Massachusetts at Amherst will no longer allow Iranian nationals to matriculate as graduate students in many of its programs in engineering and the natural sciences, including physics and electrical/computer engineering. » 2/17/15 3:30pm 2/17/15 3:30pm

The $1 Billion Movie Could Be An Endangered Species

Over the past half dozen years, the American movie industry has benefited massively from overseas box office, and a number of movies that underperformed domestically rocked out overseas. A number of movies made over $1 billion worldwide. But that could be about to change, thanks to a strong dollar. » 2/16/15 1:19pm 2/16/15 1:19pm

Why Do We Need More Science Fiction By LGBT Writers?

Last year, Lightspeed Magazine had a special issue in which "Women Destroy Science Fiction" (and horror, and fantasy.) Now, Lightspeed is following up with "Queers Destroy Science Fiction." And today's the last day to support the Kickstarter. But why should you care about getting more LGBT SF? The editors of the issue… » 2/16/15 9:30am 2/16/15 9:30am

Vaccine Advocates: Please Don't Discriminate Against My Autistic Son

Public opinion has turned, sharply and loudly, in favor of supporting vaccines. Yay! It took an outbreak of measles at Disneyland for it to happen. Boo! (Your grandmother might have survived her measles, but for others it can be fatal.) » 2/09/15 1:03pm 2/09/15 1:03pm

Welcome To Spy Week!

Spies are everywhere in pop culture (and real life.) We're fascinated with the glamour of espionage, as well as the gritty reality of spycraft. So this week, io9 and Gizmodo decided to celebrate Spy Week, an examination of all things dark and secret. » 2/09/15 9:41am 2/09/15 9:41am

Did the Internet Win Yet? No. But Here's What We Got.

It's a good day for the internet: Wired just published an op-ed by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler detailing his new proposal for strict net neutrality rules, rules that largely resemble the terrific plan President Obama outlined a few months ago. Great! But let's be real: An opinion piece is not a new policy. » 2/04/15 4:18pm 2/04/15 4:18pm

Burn It All Down: A Guide to Neo-Luddism

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Despite what you see in numerous daily tweets and hear in everyday conversation, luddism is not wasn't a passive refusal to adapt to technology and join with to modern world. The real historical Luddites sought to understand technology, even as they attempted to resist it. » 1/28/15 12:56pm 1/28/15 12:56pm

Jim Rockford Warned Us About Google And Facebook Back In 1978

Why didn't we listen? The fourth season of The Rockford Files, arguably the greatest television show of all time, features a "futuristic" storyline about a terrible threat. What if a private corporation used computers to gather personal information on hundreds of millions of Americans? Could we trust them with that… » 1/22/15 6:00pm 1/22/15 6:00pm

The Republican SOTU Live-Stream Cut Obama's Remarks On Climate Change

President Barack Obama took climate change deniers to task during his State of the Union Address, mocking the "I'm not a scientist" refrain that has become common among Republicans in recent months. But much of Obama's criticism was cut from the Republican party's official live stream of the speech. » 1/21/15 3:20pm 1/21/15 3:20pm

Oregon Was Founded As a Racist Utopia

When Oregon was granted statehood in 1859, it was the only state in the Union admitted with a constitution that forbade black people from living, working, or owning property there. It was illegal for black people even to move to the state until 1926. Oregon's founding is part of the forgotten history of racism in the… » 1/21/15 11:24am 1/21/15 11:24am

10 Territorial Disputes That Mean Your Maps Are Already Wrong

As it stands, there are well over 150 territorial disputes around the globe, some more urgent than others. Here are 10 you need to know about — and that could redefine the world map. » 1/15/15 10:10am 1/15/15 10:10am

The Doubt Factory Is Paolo Bacigalupi's Most Political Novel Yet

In today's mediascape, right and wrong don't matter: It's how you spin your story. In The Doubt Factory, Paolo Bacigalupi takes aim at the spin used by major companies and turns it into a compelling tale of a young woman who confronts the truth about her life. » 1/05/15 4:37pm 1/05/15 4:37pm

How To Start Your Own Micronation

Have you ever wanted to be king of your own nation? Do you want to test out a political experiment with a few dozen of your closest friends? Consider setting up your own micronation for fun, social experiments, and profit. » 12/26/14 11:20am 12/26/14 11:20am

Why The Dalai Lama Is Hinting That He Could Be The Very Last One

In a recent interview, the exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhism conceded that he may be the very last to hold the title. The reason, it would appear, has as much to do with metaphysics as it does with Chinese meddling. » 12/22/14 9:32am 12/22/14 9:32am