Xeni Jardin

Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: xeni@boingboing.net.

Geminid meteor showers peak this weekend. Here's how to view, in the skies and online.

The radiant of this weekend’s Geminid meteor shower lies near star Castor in Gemini. Courtesy Astronomy Now, graphic by Greg Smye-Rumsby


The radiant of this weekend’s Geminid meteor shower lies near star Castor in Gemini. Courtesy Astronomy Now, graphic by Greg Smye-Rumsby

“The Geminid meteor shower is now the richest meteor shower of the year, rivalling the summer Perseids in popularity,” writes Mark Armstrong at Astronomy Now.

The 2014 Geminids peak over the next few days, and it's likely to be a particularly beautiful display.

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Undercover cop who pointed gun at Oakland protesters just doin' his job, says CHP

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ABC 7 News, Bay Area:

“A plain clothes California Highway Patrol officer who drew his gun and pointed it at protesters in Oakland on Wednesday is still on active duty and his supervisor said Thursday there is no indication that he did anything wrong.”

Just another day in America, guys.

Previously.

[Thumbnail: Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle, via abc7news.com, view full size here]

Senate torture report confirms CIA had ‘black site’ at Guantánamo, lied to Congress. Are they still operating it?

U.S. Army Military Police escort a detainee to his cell during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray in Naval Base Guantanamo Bay (Reuters)


U.S. Army Military Police escort a detainee to his cell during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray in Naval Base Guantanamo Bay (Reuters)

Carol Rosenberg, a Miami Herald reporter who has singlehandedly kept the Gitmo story alive as America tries to ignore it, writes about the sexual torture and other forms of abuse carried out at Guantánamo Bay. The Senate “torture report” [PDF] released this week confirms that the CIA maintained a so-called “black site” where torture was administered to prisoners, and that the CIA deceived Congress about the existence of such a site.

In 2004, as the U.S. Supreme Court was poised to let Guantánamo captives consult lawyers for the first time, the CIA spirited some men who now face death-penalty trials from a clandestine lockup at the U.S. Navy base — and didn’t tell Congress.

Two years later, even as President George W. Bush announced at the White House Rose Garden that the spy agency had transferred its most prized captives to Guantánamo for trial, the alleged al-Qaida terrorists were still under control of the CIA.

The release of 524 pages of the 6,700-page Senate Intelligence Committee report confirms for the first time that the CIA used Guantánamo as a black site — and continued to run the prison that held the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and 13 other men even as the Pentagon was charged to prosecute them.

This new Miami Herald piece by Rosenberg contains graphic details of torture which sane people should find revolting.

U.S. agency infiltrated Cuba's hip-hop scene, U.S. taxpayers paid millions for “stupid” covert op

A 2008 photo by Melisa Riviere shows Bian Rodriguez, left, and Aldo Rodriguez, right, members of Los Aldeanos in Havana. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that a U.S. agency infiltrated Cuba's hip-hop scene, recruiting unwitting rappers to spark a youth movement against the government.


A 2008 photo by Melisa Riviere shows Bian Rodriguez, left, and Aldo Rodriguez, right, members of Los Aldeanos in Havana. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that a U.S. agency infiltrated Cuba's hip-hop scene, recruiting unwitting rappers to spark a youth movement against the government.

Don't miss the big Associated Press investigative feature out this week on USAID's massive, costly, unethical hip-hop covert op flop.

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Two bros faked spoiled spuds in $2 million federal insurance swindle

potato1In Fargo, North Dakota, two brothers were convicted this week of destroying potatoes so they could collect crop insurance payments.

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Median white household in U.S. has 13 times more wealth than median black household, 10 times more than median Latino

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A report released today by the Pew Research Center shows clearly what black people America already know: the inequality gap between black and white families has widened dramatically since The Great Recession of the late 2000s.

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Autopsy report declares police shooting of Tamir Rice, 12, to be homicide

Tamir E. Rice, 12, is seen holding a toy gun at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in this still image from video released by the Cleveland Police Department November 26, 2014.


Tamir E. Rice, 12, is seen holding a toy gun at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in this still image from video released by the Cleveland Police Department November 26, 2014.

An autopsy report released today declared the police shooting death of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy to be a homicide. The report issued today by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner found that Tamir Rice died of one shot to the abdomen. The boy, who was black, was shot on November 22 by a white police officer “responding to a call of a suspect waving a handgun around.” The sixth-grader was in fact holding a toy replica that shoots plastic pellets. He died the next day. The officers involved have not been charged with a crime, and are currently on paid leave.

From Reuters:

The shooting came at a time of heightened national scrutiny of police use of force and two days before a grand jury declined to indict a white police officer in the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Rice was shot less than two seconds after the police car pulled up beside him in the park, police have said. They also released a security video of Rice in the park before and during the shooting.

Rice was 5 feet 7 inches tall and 195 pounds, according to the autopsy report. Rice's mother, Samaria Rice, said on Monday the officers involved should be convicted. The family filed a lawsuit last week against the city of Cleveland and the two officers involved in Rice's shooting, who are on administrative leave.

The officer who shot Rice, Timothy Loehmann, had been on the Cleveland force for less than a year. A second officer, Frank Garmback, was driving the car. Both officers are white. A grand jury investigates all police shootings in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland.

More here.

Rice's death and grand jury decisions not to indict other police officers in the deaths of other black men and youth have sparked protests over the use of disproportionate use of force by law enforcement against black people in the United States.

The photography of Clayton Cubitt, now available in $20 “MiniPrints”

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Longtime Boing Boing pal and photographer Clayton Cubitt is doing an experiment with affordable prints of his beautiful images.

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What's good to eat near NYC's Fulton Street? The Food Warriors know.

A fun new Food Warriors street cuisine web short by the Internets Celebrities, featuring Dallas Penn and Rafi Kam, and directed by Casimir Nozkowski.

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“All About That Space,“ a NASA parody of “All About That Bass”

Enjoy this fun volunteer outreach video project created by the Pathways Interns of NASA's Johnson Space Center. “All About That Space” was created as a parody of Meghan Trainor’s pop hit “All About That Bass,” to raise interest and excitement for Orion's first flight.

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Eric Garner's daughter leads march through NYC to site of her father's killing by NYPD

One of the most inspiring figures at these recent protests is Erica Garner. Posted by Xeni Jardin.

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Undercover agent pulls gun on protesters and photographer during Oakland protest of police killings

An undercover police officer, who had been marching with anti-police demonstrators, aims his gun at protesters. REUTERS/Noah Berger


An undercover police officer, who had been marching with anti-police demonstrators, aims his gun at protesters. REUTERS/Noah Berger

Who is the man pointing a gun at a photographer in this photo from last night's protests in Oakland and Berkeley, and why is he aiming his weapon at photographers and protesters?

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How America's global system of torture dungeons came to be

After the Sept. 11 attacks, the C.I.A. considered operating overseas prisons similar to American penitentiaries, like the one in Florence, Colorado. [Photo: Bureau of Prisons via NYT]


After the Sept. 11 attacks, the C.I.A. considered operating overseas prisons similar to American penitentiaries, like the one in Florence, Colorado. [Photo: Bureau of Prisons via NYT]

In the New York Times today, essential reading on how the CIA's network of black sites and torture dungeons around the globe evolved into being.

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The real CIA scandal isn't (just) the torture, it's the lying to America.

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“Inhumane physical or psychological techniques are counterproductive because they do not produce intelligence and will probably result in false answers.” Know who wrote that? The CIA, in a CIA manual.

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GIF: Cat crashes dog pizza party

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Wait for it.