It’s been quite a while since we did one of these posts, so here ’tis — the best of the Internet: the sick, the perverse, and the marginally useful. (We’ll cover the sickest, most perverse, and utterly useless very shortly in yet another Religion Roundup.) Anyway, here goes:

  • First the useful. The destructive parasites known as patent trolls have become a plague in recent years. Now, someone is finally doing something about them. The crowdfunding platform Unpatent describes its mission as being to “eliminate bad patents.” We wish them luck.
  • The Intercept has a great article on how anyone, including those with virtually no computer knowledge, can easily enhance their online security.
  • In a study that should surprise no one, Cambridge University researchers report that, based on a study of 4,000 police shifts in California and the UK, police with body cameras receive 93% fewer complaints than police without them.  The reason? The researchers surmise that both cops and those they stop are on their best behavior when they know they’re being recorded.
  • In an incident that should surprise no one, police in Connecticut accidentally recorded themselves conspiring to frame a First and Fourth Amendment activist they were harassing. They had seized the victim’s camera, thrown it to the ground, and were unaware that it was still working and in recording mode. The victim, upon recovering his camera and discovering the video, posted it to the Internet and contacted the ACLU. As almost anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave or an all-white suburb can tell you, this sort of police misconduct is routine.
  • In a development that should surprise almost everyone, Priceonomics reports that Sorrento, Louisiana and a number of other small towns have had to disband their police departments in recent years. The Washington Post reports that these towns include Irwindale, California, Lincoln Heights, Ohio, and Waukegan, Illinois.  Why have they done this? Citizen protests? No. They’ve done it because their police departments operated in such a reckless manner that insurance companies refused to issue the cities liability insurance.
  • The major league baseball teams, the vast majority of which are major beneficiaries of public largesse (most notably taxpayer-funded stadiums costing well up into the hundreds of millions of dollars), are cheapskates taking public money but refusing to pay minor league players even the minimum wage. Of late, these corporate jerks and profiteers have found lackeys in Congress who have introduced legislation (the grotesquely named Save America’s Pastime Act) to allow the teams to pay minor leaguers a sub-minimum wage. Doug Buzzone, on our favorite baseball blog, McCovey Chronicles, has an admirably clear and short financial analysis showing that “every team in baseball could afford to [pay minor leaguers minimum wage]. They just don’t want to.”
  • Finally, need we do any more with this final item than reproduce the headline? “Clown porn has had massive boost thanks to killer clown craze.” (No, I don’t think we need to say anything more, either.)

Watch for the upcoming Religion Roundup. We’ve found some really choice items.

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