John Naughton: How MIT was complicit in allowing Jeffrey Epstein to launder his reputation | John Naughton

The financier’s links to the institution are symptoms of a deep malaise in big tech

In the parallel moral universe known as the tech industry, the MIT media lab was Valhalla. “The engineers, designers, scientists and physicians who constitute the two dozen research groups housed there,” burbled the Atlantic in a profile of what it called the Idea Factory, “work in what may be the world’s most interesting, most hyper-interdisciplinary thinktank.” It has apparently been responsible for a host of groundbreaking innovations including “the technology behind the Kindle and Guitar Hero” (I am not making this up) and its researchers “end up pollinating other projects with insights and ideas, within a hive of serendipitous collaboration”.

That was written in 2011. In the last two weeks, we have discovered that some of this groundbreaking work was funded by Jeffrey Epstein, the financial wizard who took his own life rather than face prosecution for sex trafficking and other crimes. It should be pointed out that most of those researchers were entirely unaware of who was funding their work and some of them have been very upset by learning the truth. Their distress is intensified by the discovery that their ignorance was not accidental.

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Even the Tories admit it: only duty free can get us through | Marina Hyde

The government’s no-deal advertising blitz includes promises of cheap booze and cigarettes, and we might well need them

Now wanted north of the border for a prorogation scam, prime minister Boris Johnson went on the run this week with a series of alarming public appearances. Tuesday found him in a primary school, as per the timeworn political practice of ministers using inappropriate venues as backdrops. You know the sort of thing: “It’s great to come to this wonderful early years centre and announce 10 new active nuclear warheads, each capable of snuffing out 300,000 human futures in an instant.”

Related: Boris Johnson heckled during speech on northern transport

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