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Thursday Watercooler


Caricature of Hunter S. Thompson, drawn with a cigarette & a hallucination of an elephant holding a nude woman

Rest In Peace, Hunter S. Thompson (Born July 18, 1937,
Died February 20, 2005)

In tonight’s video, Rose Eveleth explains the difference between poisonous and venomous animals, in an animated lesson from TED-Ed:

Would you rather be bitten by a venomous rattlesnake or touch a poisonous dart frog? While both of these animals are capable of doing some serious damage to the human body, they deliver their dangerous toxins in different ways.

An artist who parodied the National Security Agency won a three-year legal battle for his free speech rights. From CBS Minnesota:

When the nation’s top spy agency told him to “cease and desist,” a Sauk Rapids satirical artist told the agency where to go — court. After a near three-year legal battle, Dan McCall has been given the green light to continue his parodies of federal agencies and their respective emblems.

The graphic artist first ran into trouble when he began selling T-shirts, coffee mugs and posters with a satirical slogan on the National Security Agencys logo. The case quickly snowballed into a test of the First Amendment and the rights to alter government images in a satirical manner for commercial purposes.

[…] When he changed the National Security Agency’s logo to read, ‘peeping while you’re sleeping,’ government bureaucrats didn’t crack a smile. Instead, attorneys with the U.S. Justice Department issued a take-down letter, instructing the retail vendor selling the merchandise to cease and desist. […] McCall received pro bono legal representation with the Washington, D.C. Public Citizen Litigation Group. They argued that McCall’s use of government logos and emblems was not a violation of copyright or trademark laws. On Tuesday, the Justice Department issued a settlement agreement and general release, essentially granting McCall an out of court victory.

‘Stand up for your rights,’ Paul Levy, the Public Citizen attorney who took the case, said. ‘I think the message here is to stand up for your rights. Dan McCall did and he was vindicated and other people should do so as well.’

The article includes an audio interview with McCall. Thanks Daily Kos for the link.

And finally, today is the day my hero, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, shot himself. Let’s all lift a glass (or at least partake in something else) in his honor …

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Image by Mark Wheatley via Rick Marshall, released under a Creative Commons license.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and