Out today, "Necessity," the final volume of Jo Walton's Thessaly books, sequel to "The Just City" & "Philosopher Kings"

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The Just City is a gripping fantasy novel based on a thought-experiment: what if the goddess Athena transplanted all the people across time who'd ever dreamed of living in Plato's Republic to a Mediterranean island and set them loose to build that world? Read the rest

NYC's sloppy records gave $59.2M in tax breaks to dead people

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New York's elderly people qualify for the Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemption and the Enhanced School Tax Relief Exemption, but the city's Finance Department is supposed to solicit confirmations of eligibility every two years to make sure that the people receiving the tax-breaks are still alive -- a duty the department failed to perform for a solid decade, costing the city nearly $60M in lost revenue. Read the rest

White House contends with AI's big social challenges, July 7/NYC

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Meredith from Simply Secure writes, "Artificial Intelligence is already with us, and the White House and New York University’s Information Law Institute are hosting a major public symposium to face what the social and economic impacts might be. AI Now, happening July 7th in New York City, will address the real world impacts of AI systems in the next next 5-10 years." Read the rest

New York's stately libraries sport hidden apartments for live-in caretakers

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For the first half of the 20th Century, it was common for New York's libraries to have live-in superintendents, whose families would live on-site in hidden apartments -- the last one of these apartments wasn't vacated until 2006. Read the rest

Student journalists: 5 days left to win a badge to NYC's Hackers on Planet Earth!

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If you're a student journalist and want to attend HOPE XI, the Eleventh Hackers on Planet Earth conference (July 22-24, NYC) you can win free admission (and an interview with me!) by submitting an article about any of the topics come up at HOPE conferences! Get writing! Read the rest

Broken Windows policing is nonsense

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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

New Yorkers *just* missing the subway

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Three minutes of heartbreak from Gothamist: train a deep-learning facial recognition system on the expression of these New Yorkers as the subway doors slam in their faces and you will plumb the very depths of the human soul. (via Metafilter) Read the rest

Improv Everywhere: asking random New Yorkers to give a commencement speech

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The fun-loving stunters of Improv Everywhere staged a fabulous stunt in New York City's Bryant Park: they set up a crowd of "grads" in caps and gowns with a stage and a podium, then sent the "dean" out into the park to beg randos to step in and serve as emergency commencement speakers, filling in for a last-minute cancellation. Read the rest

Young Journalist contest: win admission to the HOPE hacker conference

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This summer, NYC's Pennsylvania Hotel will once again fill with joyous hackers as 2600 Magazine celebrates the 11th Hackers on Planet Earth conference (HOPE): I'm giving a keynote, and if you're a student or young journalist, you can win admission to the conference by writing an article about subjects of interest to the event. Read the rest

How a "lost" Marx Brothers musical found its way back to the stage

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Noah Diamond is a Groucho Marx impersonator, actor and singer whose obsession with the Marx Brothers led him, along with his wife, the director Amanda Sisk, to research "I'll Say She Is," a Marx Brothers stage musical that ran to rave reviews in 1924/5 and has not been mounted since. Read the rest

New York public employees union will vote on pulling out of hedge funds

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The New York City’s Employees Retirement System has $51B in assets, $1.5B of which is lodged with hedge funds -- but maybe for not much longer. Read the rest

Smart radiator covers let New Yorkers keep their windows closed

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Becky Stern writes, "I recently investigated my building's new smart radiator cover installation and found a company bringing steam heat into the 21st century and allowing residents to keep their windows closed when the heat is on!" Read the rest

NYC's 'Food Warriors' head to Rockaway on the A-Train for cheap eats, in series finale

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“Food Warriors,” the wonderful street food video series created by Rafi Kam, Dallas Penn, and Casimir Nozkowski, just published a wonderful new episode focused on the cheap eats of Rockaway Beach and Far Rockaway.

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Gallery of all (?) 7 undercover NYPD cars disguised as yellow cabs

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Herman Yung is an enthusiastic photographer/taxi-spotter and over the years, he's managed to spot seven NYPD police cars disguised as yellow cabs (cab numbers 2W97, 6Y19, 6Y17, 2W95, 2W68, 6Y13, and 6Y21). Inspired by today's post about a Freedom of Information Act request about the cars, he's made his collection public for the first time, along with a spotter's guide for people who want to find their own. Read the rest

Cop Cabs: The NYPD has at least three fake taxis on NYC's streets

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Michael from Muckrock writes, "Watch what you say: That next taxi you hail could be driven by New York's Finest. A MuckRock FOIA request has found that the NYPD has at least three undercover cop cars posing as taxis ... and quite possibly many more." Read the rest

Eating from the trash of New York's finest grocers and restaurants

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Gothamist sent a video crew out with dumpster diving comedian Jeff Seal on a trip through NYC's nighttime streets, in which he raided the trashbags of the priciest, most upscale grocers and packaged-food restaurants in Manhattan. Read the rest

East Harlem's secret museum of gorgeous junk rescued from NYC's trash

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You can't walk up to the Treasures in the Trash collection in the New York City Sanitation Department's east Harlem warehouse, but if you're lucky enough to get an in, you'll find retired sanitation worker Nelson Molina's meticulously organized displays of the wonders he rescued from the landfill. Read the rest

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