Every Backyard Was Sorely Lacking in the Fires of Mount Doom. Until Now.

angelchrys shared this story from io9.

Every Backyard Was Sorely Lacking in the Fires of Mount Doom. Until Now.

There was only one and now it’s gone. One firepit to rule them all, now in the hands of some lucky etsy customer. I really hope it was Sauron, decorating Mordor with things found on Pinterest.

A) This is awesome. B) So many joke possibilities, but I think I’m going with “Hold out your hand, it’s quite cool.”

Every Backyard Was Sorely Lacking in the Fires of Mount Doom. Until Now.

Every Backyard Was Sorely Lacking in the Fires of Mount Doom. Until Now.

Every Backyard Was Sorely Lacking in the Fires of Mount Doom. Until Now.

Every Backyard Was Sorely Lacking in the Fires of Mount Doom. Until Now.

[via Sp0oky Box Forts on Tumblr]



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Cubist watercolors

angelchrys shared this story from kottke.org.

Man, I don’t know what to call this style of painting (rectanglism?) but Adam Lister does these cool pseudo-bitmappy paintings of famous artworks and notable pop cultural icons.

Adam Lister Picasso

Adam Lister Vermeer

Adam Lister R2d2

Prints are available.

Tags: Adam Lister   art

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Fragment of a work in progress

angelchrys shared this story from Bark Like A Fish, Damnit!.

           “Do you have a name?” asked Gerta.
            “I do,” said the raven.
            Gerta waited.
            The raven fluffed its beard. “I am the Sound of Mouse Bones Crunching Under the Hooves of God.”
            Gerta blinked a few times. “That’s…quite a name.”
            “I made it myself,” said the raven, preening. “I stole the very shiniest words and hoarded them all up until they made something worth having. Sound and God were particularly well-guarded. Crunching I found in a squirrel nest, though.”
            “May I call you Mousebones?” asked Gerta. “It’s…a lot to say all at once.”
            It was hard for a creature with a beak to scowl, but the raven managed, mostly with the skin around its eyes. “I suppose,” it said. “If you must.”
            “Mine’s Gerta,” said Gerta.
            “There’s your problem right there,” said Mousebones. “Much too short and not enough in it. I don’t know how you expect to become anything more than you are, with a name like that.”

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It’s alive! New Frankenstein, MD episode -…

angelchrys shared this story from Pemberley Digital:
It’s Creature Day!



It’s alive! New Frankenstein, MD episode - “Birth” - with Anna Lore, Steve Zaragoza, and Evan Strand. 

_____________

Link to episode - http://pbly.co/FMDep15

Link to playlist - http://to.pbs.org/frankensteinmd 

Website - http://pemberleydigital.com

Twitter - http://twitter.com/pemberleydig

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/PemberleyDigital

Check out the Merch - http://pbly.co/FMDmerch



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A Yarny Weekend at Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival: Part 1 - Animals!

angelchrys shared this story from indie.knits.

off12

Oh hi!

So this last weekend, my awesome friend Rebecca organized a trip for a small group of us to take a trip down to the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival. I had an amazing time hanging out with my friends - established and new alike! - and meeting some really cool artisans, fiber enthusiasts, and designers. Everyone I met was super gracious, letting me take photos and nerd out about yarn with them. Every time I go to a small, fiber-focused event like this, I am reminded of what a vibrant community this is, and how lucky I feel to be a part of it.

off13 off17off11 off15

First up, I wanted to talk about the animals. It’s always nice to be reminded of the origins of my yarn, and to remember that stewardship and sustainability are an integral part of a community like this. From shepherds and mills, to independent dyers and designers, we are all connected by these animals, and sheep & wool festivals are a great way to experience that connection.

So, after wandering around the market for a bit on Saturday, we went to the barns and met some wooly friends. I’d mostly seen alpacas and sheep at sheep & wool festivals before, so I really enjoyed seeing so many llamas. I was really taken by their spunky personalities, and surprised by how beautiful and agile they are. Unshorn llamas are where it’s at in the majesty department! We stayed and watched some llamas walk an obstacle course with their trainers, which really demonstrated how different each animal’s personality and strengths were.

They were super photogenic, too: they would stand there and mug for the camera for minutes at a time. I love photographing animals, but most are so active that it can be tricky to get shots in focus. Not so with llamas: they’d grab some hay and then chew and stare into my camera lens deeply and soulfully until I had plenty of shots. I’m sure they’d be masters of the selfie.

Stay tuned - I’ll be talking about yarn people and vendor highlights in the coming week!


via angelchrys’s blurblog http://blog.indieknits.com/2014/09/a-yarny-weekend-at-oregon-flock-fiber.html

California Governor Signs Statewide Ban Of Plastic Bags

angelchrys shared this story from Consumerist.

How many of you, faithful readers, have a closet full of reusable bags that without fail you forget each time you venture to the grocery store? Well if you live in California you might want to put a sticky note on the door reminding you to grab your bags because the state officially became the first in the nation to outlaw single-use plastic bags.

The Sacramento Bee reports that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law today a bill that will phase out plastic bags at grocery stores and other retailers.

Under the new law, consumers will have to bring their own reusable bag, purchase a reusable bag from the retailer or pay at least ten cents for a paper bag or a multi-use plastic carrier that meets state durability standards.

Retailers that don’t discontinue the use of single-use plastic bags could face local government fines of up to $5,000.

Tuesday’s historic signing by Brown came after years of contentious fighting between lawmakers, retailers as well as consumer and environmental groups. Back in 2010, California lawmakers rejected a bid to ban the bags.

Since then, a number of California cities have enacted their own bans on the bags. The movement to phase out the bags has been sweeping the U.S. with cities such as Portland and Chicago signing their own laws.

While the Governor’s signature probably hasn’t had much time to dry on the new bill, opponents have already began planning their repeal efforts.

Shortly after Tuesday’s bill signing, American Progressive Bag Alliance vowed to begin efforts to overturn the law through a referendum on the 2016 ballot.

“Our research confirms that the vast majority of California voters are opposed to legislation that bans recyclable plastic bags and allows grocers to charge and keep fees on other bags,” a release from the organization said.

The group called the bill “a back room deal between the grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit – all under the guise of environmentalism.”

Still, officials and retailers who have already begun adhering to the ban said they have had few issues.

The manager at a local grocery store in Davis, which began adopting the ban this summer, tells the Sacramento Bee that the transition has been seamless.

Additionally, officials with the San Francisco Department of the Environment say the city has not levied a single fine against retailers, crediting a campaign to educate and prepare consumers about the ban.

California plastic bag ban signed, setting off sweeping changes [The Sacramento Bee]

PREVIOUSLY IN PLASTIC BAG BAN-WAGON NEWS:
Is Seattle Plastic Bag Ban Actually Leading To More Shoplifting?
L.A. Bans Plastic Supermarket Shopping Bags
Portland (The One In Oregon) Jumps On The Plastic Bag Ban-Wagon
California Decides Not To Ban Plastic Bags
Walmart Testing Plastic Bag-Less Stores In California
Should Plastic Shopping Bags Be Banned?



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The Gender Politics of Pockets

angelchrys shared this story from Master Feed : The Atlantic.

The iPhone 6 may be the great catalyst in including this oft-ignored aspect of women’s fashion.

I am one of the 10 million people who acquired an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus ten days ago.

Coming from Planet Android, I wasn’t as put off by the larger dimensions as everyone else in the technosphere seemed to be. But I was, as usual, put off by one thing that both the Apple product and its archnemesis from Google shared: the unpocketability of the phone, particularly by females.

This isn’t a new problem for women. Our skinny jeans have pockets, but there is no way an object bigger than a standard issue ID card fits in the front, and everyone knows that slipping a phone in your back pocket is an invitation for a treacherous dive into a toilet, or a backflip resulting in heartbreaking shatters. Purses have enclosures that were once suitable for the flip phone generation but have since become too snug for newer models. Throwing it into the main compartment seems risky, at best.

But the biggest problem might be the lack of pockets in the first place: women’s slacks, dresses, and blazers often have no pockets, or worse, “fake” pockets that serve no utilitarian purpose besides sartorially leading the wearer on to believe they have a handy wardrobe aide, until it’s too late.

So how can an industry that focuses on women—whether it be models or products created primarily for a female demographic—consistently dodge the very people it markets to? Camilla Olson, creative director of an eponymous high tech fashion firm, points to inherent sexism within the industry. Mid-range fashion is a male dominated business, driven not by form and function, but by design and how fabric best drapes the body.

“I honestly believe the fashion industry is not helping women advance,” Olson said. And the lack of functional designs for women is one example. “We [women] know clearly we need pockets to carry technology and I think it’s expected we are going to carry a purse. When we’re working we don’t carry purses around. A pocket is a reasonable thing.”

Sara Kozlowski, who works in professional development at the Council of Fashion Designers of America and is a visiting critic with Parsons The New School of Design, is more blunt. She squarely places the blame on fast fashion labels busily churning out copies of high-end designs that aren’t adapted to the lives of a normal person who isn’t strutting down a runway.

“I think when you’re going to the upper price points of designer clothes, people tend to be less conscious of trends and more into quality and longevity,” Kozlowski said. So for them, it makes sense not to design around the latest smartphone model. “But in mid-market, contemporary brands, trends are what drive the industry. In that regard, it’s an epic fail.”

Olson believes the industry is overly focused on the visual appeal of clothing rather than how it can help women—and men, for that matter—live simpler, easier lives. She thinks it’s this preoccupation that’s kept the fashion industry from becoming relevant in today’s technocentric society.

“I find it discouraging, Olson said. Fashion looks selectively at who they let in and keeps women at a certain place. It’s not helping women move forward in the workplace.” Olson says that some designers have deemed pockets “too ugly” for clothing, while others simply don’t think women need them. And these decisions, she says, have created a chasm in women’s fashion, and hold women back.

A man can simply swipe up his keys and iPhone on the way to a rendezvous with co-workers and slip them into his pocket. A woman on the way to that same meeting has to either carry those items in her hand, or bring a whole purse with her—a definitive, silent sign that she is a woman.

Fashion fans know that it takes time for new designs to go from runway to the streets, and, in the case of adjusting pockets in fashion, forecasters are looking at Fall 2015 for the earliest adopters of iPhone 6 pocketability. The Spring 2015 lines we saw featured on the latest slew of Fashion Weeks were developed six months before the season, according to Olson, with designs sketched out about six months before that. Given that the release of iPhone renditions are often top secret affairs, the timetable isn’t looking too promising for pockets in the next year or so. But given that designers have had years of large smartphone designs from other companies beyond the ballyhooed iPhone, expectations for a pocket revolution aren’t too high.

Conditions are ripe for a revolution in pockets for women—but while we’re beginning to get places to put things, the revolution will not be swift.

“More women are expecting and demanding pockets,” Olson said of trends in the industry. “I was hearing more about pockets on the runway in recent shows. Pockets are becoming more interesting, but they aren’t the size to carry around an iPhone, much less an iPhone [6] Plus.”

However convenient pockets may be, they may not always be the ideal solution, Olson told me. Women’s pockets are often located near the hip area, where many women would prefer not to attract attention. For that problem, Olson thinks a holster-type of product would work best—a compromise between having a purse and placing an unsightly bulge around what is culturally perceived in the West as a “problem area.”

“It’s got to be an accessories solution,” she theorized. “Chanel just came out with a holster type of thing that is really, really pretty. Or a fanny pack that was stylish. Or a shape to wear about [the body]. But not belts. Something that’s comfortable, that’s important.”

Kozlowski thinks sporting goods for women have a head start on how to stylishly integrate pockets into female wardrobes.

“Active brands are relevant,” she said, referring to running designs that seamlessly maintain shape while holding technology. “Patagonia has high levels of functionality. It’s all about the architecture of the garments. You can’t be too gadgety—if form overtakes function, it won’t be elegant. You have to be elegant.”

It’s not as if this thought process is revolutionary with regards to moving the pocket to another location: There are shirts that cleverly disguise your phone, belts that double as hiding places for your beloved device, and even a bra that takes the term “bosom friend” to a whole new level. (Cargo pants, however, have been unanimously dissed by the fashion savvy as the solution of choice for the smartphone dilemma women face.)

That said, most designers don’t consider pockets as part of the functionality of women’s clothes just yetthey’re still looking at purses as the way for women to carry their smartphones and other technological devices. And surprisingly, some major brands haven’t come up with a clear plan about how to design for new technology. Tom Mora, head of women’s design at J. Crew, the preppy line that feeds into many a work wardrobe, acknowledged that technology such as tablets and smartphones are nearly impossible to live without. But as to what exactly J. Crew—or other brands—would do to fit these devices into clothing was vague; Mora simply wrote in an email that J. Crew “consider[s] every aspect of the way our customers live their lives … We think about these details, whether it’s introducing new tech accessories for the new iPhone 6, or special interior pockets to carry the various generations of iPads or tablets.” Mora admitted, however, that there’s nothing that fits that description available from J. Crew at the moment.

Kozlowski agrees with Olson that most companies are driven by how the product appears on a body, and have to be reminded that fashion serves a purpose beyond beauty.

“Things are just more aesthetically driven to silhouette and embellishment and approach to design in general,” she said. “I have to remind my students [if they’re designing a] $5000 coat that they might want a pocket.”

Still, it’s “curious” to Olson that it took six generations of the iPhone and multiple other smartphone iterations to incite debate about pockets.

The bright side to a lack of pockets for women? #Bendghazi, Apple’s bendy phone scandal, probably isn’t as much of a problem.



via angelchrys’s blurblog http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/09/the-gender-politics-of-pockets/380935/?single_page=true

’90s Slang We Need To Bring Back Immediately

angelchrys shared this story from HelloGiggles » ’90s Slang We Need To Bring Back Immediately.

The ’90s were a glorious time. I mean, when else was it socially acceptable to wear tye-dyed jeans or drink Surge like water or have a very legitimate crush on a member of N*SYNC? If those qualities aren’t enough to convince you, think about all the wonderful slang that came out of the period. Anyone watching movies from that era would think that they’ve encountered an entirely different language, some super secret form of communication known only to kids who used to wear their hair in pigtails or read Goosebumps. Let’s review:

1) Bounce (v.): to leave

Ex. Let’s make like Tigger and bounce, man.

More entertaining than the word itself is the image that it puts into my head of people, usually nerdy guys wearing backwards caps and fake “bling,” literally bouncing away from a conversation. Nothing says “I’m part of a real tough crew” than hopping, with two feet, hopscotch-style, to some destination. Unfortunately, though, bounce was not used in this sense.

2) Buggin’ (v.): to freak out unnecessarily

Ex. I told her Britney Spears accidentally did it again and she just started buggin’.

I’ve always thought that buggin’ was a reference to how the eyes of bugs seem like they’re always on the verge of popping out of their head, but no source I’ve found seems to corroborate that theory. While I’ve always thought the word was a product of Clueless (along with some of these terms), it appears in other places before 1995, including Spike Lee’s popular film Do the Right Thing (1989).

3) Crib (n.): house

Ex. My crib’s got everything you could ever want: a blankie, a binkie, and a flat screen TV.

The shock and confusion that comes when a guy, after inviting you to “see his crib,” leads you into a bedroom and presents a decked out baby crib is the only positive thing that has come out of this definition’s drop in popularity. Had we kept the momentum of this word going, MTV Cribs could have stayed on the air and explored the crib of JK Rowling or Beyonce.

4) Home skillet/Home slice (n.): a friend

Ex. What’s happening, home skillet?! How’s that cooking class going?

I really couldn’t tell you why “home skillet” caught on or where it came from. As far as I’m aware, cooking enthusiasts are not leading the language revolution, and skillet pans are not particularly friendly. (If someone spent all day cracking eggs over your head, I don’t think you’d be very happy either.) All I know is, “home skillet” is written approximately 23 times in my middle school yearbook, so there’s no denying the word’s lasting impact.

5) No duh: a response to someone pointing out the obvious

Ex. Furbies are creepy? No duh!

Did “Thanks, Captain Obvious” come before “no duh” or after? This is the eternal question I’ve been pondering for the past few years. Both share the same sarcastic undertone and can be used to instantly put someone down, but only the first one seems to really make sense grammatically. Wouldn’t “duh” be a suitable response to something obvious? What’s the point of adding “no” in front of it? This phrase is so illogical, it would fit right in with some of the slang words we have today.



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Let’s talk about that bass

angelchrys shared this story from Feministe.

Chances are, you’ve heard the much-lauded pop song of late summer, Meghan Trainor’s body-acceptance anthem “All About That Bass.” (Chances are, just reading that title has driven the season’s most pernicious earworm directly into your brain, and for that, I apologize.) You may or may not like it. You may or may not be disappointed that it wasn’t better, like I was, which seems unfair because nothing’s perfect, but there’s so much promise that the problematic stuff is extra frustrating.

Now, I accept that this song might not be meant for me. I’m what blogger Jenny Trout refers to as “fatcceptable” — more than size 8, less than size 14, the area in which women are lauded for being comfortable and proud in a body that’s three whole sizes larger than the average U.S. actress. My shape and size don’t fit society’s ideal and have caused me a great deal of misery in my life, but they haven’t been a major source of (perceptible) oppression. Then again, it may be meant for me, though, since Trainor is about my size, meaning that she and I might both have all the right junk in all the right places. To some subpopulations, she and I might both be considered fatasses, and to others, we might be called skinny bitches.

Like my reaction to “All About That Bass” the first time I heard it on the radio:

“Well, that’s catchy. … Okay, this is about things that boys chase… Yes! Indeed, that Photoshop ain’t real. Cut it out. … Every inch of you is perfect! That’s a nice message. … Well, really, a variety of women’s figures are attractive to various men, assuming you’re even basing your sense of attractiveness on the approval of the hetero male gaz — ‘Skinny bitches.’ Okay, then.”

Because for all the love-your-body messaging in the song, a lot of it comes in the form of a specific definition of hotness. This is hotter than that. Don’t be that way, because this is what boys like. J/k about the “skinny bitches” thing — they’re fine because they also think they’re fat. Still dictating standards of hotness, just with the scale inverted.

Don’t do that stuff, y’all.

There is definitely thin privilege in much of western society, and it’s strong, and it’s systemic. Most aspects of a woman’s life are in some way affected by her size, and that almost universally leans in favor of thinner bodies. But (privilege being what it is) not being subject to systemic oppression doesn’t mean that life is automatically awesome for thin women, because it’s not just about being thin — it’s about falling within that specific Fuckability Range that lays as many arbitrary specifics about conventional beauty as possible, making sure we worry about precisely how much junk we’re meant to have and in which places it’s meant to go. A thin woman without rounded breasts and hips, a woman with little lipid tissue and visible bones, a woman whose womanliness is called into question because “real women have curves,” a woman who complete strangers think should eat a sandwich — she’s still not getting any love from the Fuckability Standards Commission, and now a body-acceptance anthem is deriding her as a stick figure. Super positive. (Yeah, I know, call the waaambulance, and you can carry two skinny chicks in it side by side because they’re skinny. I get it.)

As the aforementioned Jenny Trout said in her analysis of the song,

“I see the magazines workin’ that Photoshop/We know that shit ain’t real, C’mon now, make it stop/If you got beauty beauty, just raise ‘em up/Cause every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”

This verse is what “All About That Bass” could have been. Look how perfect it is. It celebrates the body of every woman and encourages them to celebrate their beauty in turn. Granted, beauty is a subjective construct that women shouldn’t have to worry about in the first place, so there is a problematic ideology that’s still inherent in these lyrics. But let’s focus on how rare it is to hear this message in pop music in the first place.

Like I said, it’s what this song could have been, because after that we’re right back to:

“Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size/She says boys like a little more booty to hold at night”

Again, the message isn’t really, “I have value, even though I don’t fit the mold I’ve been told I should fit,” but, “I have value, in fact I have more value than some other women who don’t share my body type, because I’m the one a heterosexual man should be attracted to.” And I say should be, because the next few lines say exactly that:

“You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll/So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along”

“If you’re not a heterosexual man willing to objectify me over other women, then HA HA! I am rejecting you first.”

At what point did “body positivity” become, or need to become, yet another method to police each other’s bodies?

And there’s the video, an adorably candy-colored cavalcade of generously proportioned booty shaking. It’s peppy, it’s catchy, and Trainor herself is flipping adorable. It also features a sneering thin woman in a cellophane dress, who at one point derisively gropes the ass of a twerking black dancer, and seriously, can we stop doing that? The twerking-black-woman-as-prop thing? Any time you can end a sentence with “like Miley Cyrus did,” and didn’t start with “I got an unconventional haircut that I really love,” go ahead and assume that it was a bad idea.

To be absolutely clear — and I’m putting this right at the end so it can’t be missed — I don’t think this is a horrible song. Trainor has said, and I have no reason to disbelieve here, that girls and young women have told her how much better about themselves they feel after hearing that song. Women are all over social media talking about how great it is, how empowering, how refreshing it is to see bodies like theirs represented positively in a music video. And I think that’s awesome. I really do. The number of songs and videos celebrating a more diverse range of bodies, particularly in a non-sexualized way, is minimal, in contrast to thousands of videos celebrating the beauty and/or bangworthiness of thinner figures. And while the fact that most of the positivity comes in the context of “dudes prefer booty” isn’t really a good thing, we can’t ignore the fact that for many women who have been inundated with the message that they’re sexually unappealing because of their size, a contradictory message might be really satisfying. If having someone sing to you about how you’re perfect and hot and sassy makes you feel good, then I am sincerely glad there’s an outlet for that.

That said, body positivity doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. Sneetches with and without stars are both great, and “body positivity” that depends on negativity toward certain bodies isn’t really body positivity at all. As women, one thing we all have in common — large and small, cis and trans, old and young — is that somewhere, at any moment, there’s someone enthusiastically ready to tell us why we’re ugly. Don’t be one of those people. The enemy here is not other Sneetches; it’s Sylvester McMonkey McBean. So let’s gang up on that motherfucker.



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Ferguson officials charging “exorbitant” fees to provide e-mails to press

angelchrys shared this story from Ars Technica.

On Monday the Associated Press wrote that officials in Ferguson, Missouri, have been charging exorbitant fees to turn over public records like e-mails and texts from city officials. The informational paywalls come in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, that spurred weeks of protests in the St Louis suburb.

The AP notes that charging high fees for public records is a tactic that some government agencies use to discourage journalists and activists from discovering unflattering or problematic information. Officials in Ferguson have said that forwarding certain e-mail and text messages requires expensive IT analysis, despite the fact that public records laws in Missouri maintain that public access to government records should be provided at little to no cost.

“Ferguson told the AP it wanted nearly $2,000 to pay a consulting firm for up to 16 hours of work to retrieve messages on its own e-mail system, a practice that information technology experts call unnecessary,” the AP wrote on Monday. “The firm, St. Louis-based Acumen Consulting, wouldn’t comment specifically on Ferguson’s contract, but said the search could be more complicated and require technicians to examine tape backups.”

Ars Technica contacted the city of Ferguson for comment on what kinds of e-mail, text, or backup analysis the city is employing and charging press organizations for. A spokesperson referred Ars to the city’s media consultant, but the consultant has not yet responded to our inquiries.

In another incident, the AP says that the city of Ferguson billed the news organization $135 per hour for a whole day’s work to recover “a handful of e-mail accounts since the shooting.” Conversely, The Washington Post was quoted fees of at least $200 to receive “city officials’ e-mails since Aug. 9 discussing Brown’s shooting, citizen complaints against Ferguson officers, and Wilson’s personnel file.” Ferguson city officials quoted Buzzfeed “an unspecified thousands of dollars” to pull “e-mails and memos among city officials about Ferguson’s traffic-citation policies and changes to local elections.”

In Missouri, public departments can charge press organizations for records, but those records must be furnished at “the lowest charges for search, research, and duplication,” the AP says. The news outlet has requested fee waivers on the basis that providing the records is in the public interest, but those fee waivers have been denied.

On Monday, Mike Cavender, the Executive Director of the Radio Television Digital News Association, wrote a letter asking the Missouri attorney general to investigate what he called “exorbitant” fees. “Missouri law permits such records to be provided free of charge if the material is deemed to be in the public interest,” Cavender wrote. “Certainly, the Brown case fits that description. As you know, public agencies may charge legally responsible fees to cover the costs involved, and news organizations are willing to pay such reasonable fees. However, the current demands being made drastically exceed such parameters.”

The Missouri ACLU told Ars that it had not received any formal complaints yet regarding the high fees for copies of public records, but it did note that Ferguson city officials refused to provide the incident report regarding the fatal shooting early in August. The ACLU chapter filed a lawsuit citing the Missouri Sunshine Law, which requires public disclosure of certain documents, and the court ruled in the ACLU’s favor. The Ferguson city police turned over a heavily redacted copy of the incident report on August 22.

Charging high fees for public information is not a new development in government, but it is a contentious subject among the tech- and transparency-minded. Journalists and activists can sometimes try to negotiate down the costs of providing public records, occasionally by requesting that the records be provided digitally (often this means on a CD), rather than on paper. Open-data activist Aaron Swartz—who committed suicide after being charged with multiple counts of computer hacking, wire fraud, and other crimes—caught the attention of the Feds after circumventing the paywall preventing access to millions of public records on PACER (otherwise known as Public Access to Court Electronic Records, a dinosaur of a service that recently purged a decade’s worth of public documents during a database update).

The situation in Ferguson has also brought up issues over whether citizens can publicly record police activities in that state, and this has sped up the adoption of body cams on police officers.



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