Pensive film blends wisdom and vignettes of New York with Alicia Keys' music

"You have to be able to put yourself in a place to be able to see things." Alicia Keys' “The Gospel” juxtaposes gorgeous black and white footage of everyday New York with profound insights from those who live there. Read the rest

Retired California State Senator is using AI to transcribe local government hearings for search and alerts

Sam Blakeslee, a retired Republican California state senator, worked with Cal Poly students to create Digital Democracy, a service that aggregates videos of the interminable, innumerable -- and vital -- local government hearings and meetings and then use machine-learning systems to generate automated transcripts so that activists, journalists and citizens could search and analyze them. Read the rest

New York Attorney General's lawsuit lays out years of Time-Warner "fraud" against their customers

The New York AG's lawsuit against Time Warner Cable (now a division of Charter) lays out a damning set of accusations of fradulent conduct, including "f sky-high prices, chronic service outages, bait-and-switch plan offerings, lower-than-advertised internet speeds and other indignities." Read the rest

Women sue over forced cavity searches for visitors to Rikers Island

Procedure at New York's Rikers Island prison is for visitors to be subjected to a pat-down search, but women who visit their loved ones are suing the New York Department of Corrections because guards there subject them to illegal, violent, humiliating strip and cavity searches, sometimes holding them down while forcibly penetrating them with their fingers. Read the rest

Wayne County, NY man tries to corner market on local newspaper when it prints his DUI mugshot

Joseph Talbot, a bank executive, was arrested by New York State Police on Dec 29 for DUI, and, as its custom, the Times of Wayne County published his name and mugshot -- something it's done for every local arrest for 28 years. Read the rest

Visualizing 24 hours of subway activity in New York City

Will Geary created this colorful and soothing data visualization of a day's worth of subway routes around the Big Apple. Read the rest

NYC will cease retaining data that Trump could use for mass deportations

IDNYC is New York City's ID card program, and it has served as a critical means for undocumented migrants to get identity papers that they can use to establish utilities accounts, bank accounts, and so on. The city has announced a change to the program's data-retention policy, vowing to purge information that might be useful in the mass deportations promised by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Read the rest

Upstate New York Elvis impersonator uses original blueprints to build stunning, 13,000 sqft Star Trek Enterprise replica

James Cawley is a 50 year old Elvis impersonator from Ticonderoga, NY; his friend William Ware Theiss was costume-designer for the original Star Trek series, and left Cawley the blueprints for the original Star Trek Enterprise sets in his will -- so Cawley rented out a 13,000 sqft shuttered supermarket and built an exquisite replica of the original there to use in elaborate fan-films, and now he gives one-hour tours. Read the rest

Coming soon to New York, an underground park: The Lowline

Do you like the Highline park in Manhattan? There's a subterranean version coming soon. The Lowline looks like it's going to be amazing.

Read the rest

Chelsea bomber's other bombs were discovered by thieves who liked the bags they were hidden in

The Chelsea bomber (Ahmad Khan Rahami is accused of being this person) set more bombs around New York and New Jersey, but two of them were discovered and defused before they could go off because they were hidden in bags that thieves and homeless people took an interest in. Read the rest

Bronx cops can steal anything they want by calling it "evidence"

In the Bronx (and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere) when your belongings are seized as "evidence," it can be impossible to ever get them back, even if you're never charged with a crime. Read the rest

Anti-corruption candidate challenges opponent's billionaire backer to a debate

Zephyr Teachout (previously) is the anti-corruption candidate in New York's Hudson Valley who raised more than $500K from small-money, Bernie-Sanders-style donors (I was one of them); then vulture fund billionaire Paul Singer gave $500K to the PAC for John Faso, her Republican opponent, catapulting him into contendership. Read the rest

Can you design a better NYC Subway system?

Brand New Subway is an online toy/game that lets you redesign, from scratch, New York City's mass transit system. The UI is complex and broken and slow to react to decisions (presumably in honor of the real subway), but once I gave up trying to actually make a better subway system the results were fun. Read the rest

The NY Times' Lively Morgue

Two young lesbians outside NY City Hall, 1974

The New York Times' tumblr of photos from its voluminous archive is full of impactful and gorgeous moments.

May 23, 1974: A kiss outside City Hall, where gay rights activists had gathered to show support for a gay rights bill up for a vote at the City Council. The anti-discrimination measure was defeated, 22 to 19, but the bill’s backers vowed to resubmit the following week, although they would “not press for action until after the November election.” It didn’t pass until 1986.

Photos include "back stories", literally notes on the back of a photo to add context including how the photo was used, how much the photographer was paid, and the published caption, if applicable.

via The Lively Morgue. Read the rest

Crack in apartment ceiling turns out to be a problem after all

"A crack appeared on the ceiling of my sister's apartment," writes atmanz11. "Three days later, this happened." Read the rest

Broken Windows policing is nonsense

For years, the NYPD and other police departments have justified the highly racialized practice of stop-and-frisk and zero-tolerance approaches to turnstyle hopping, etc, by citing the "broken windows" theory of policing -- the idea that if the police stop petty crime, major crime will follow. Read the rest

Right to repair is under assault in New York, and you can save it!

New York is one of four states considering legislation that would guarantee your right to get your stuff fixed by independent repair centers, curbing manufacturers' attempts to limit access to technical documentation and parts, meaning you pay less to keep your stuff working, and that means that your gadgets don't become immortal, toxic e-waste. Read the rest

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