Boing Boing 

NYC comics megasigning tonight with Pope, Haspiel, Bertozzi and Miskiewicz


Tonight at Forbidden Planet NYC, a megasigning with Paul Pope, Dean Haspiel, Nick Bertozzi and Chris Miskiewicz. Kicks off at 1830h -- what a lineup!

Tim Wu runs for New York State Lieutenant Governor, promising to clamp down on big business


Tim Wu, the Columbia law professor who coined the term "Net Neutrality," is running for Lieutenant Governor of New York State on a leftist, reform platform that starts with blocking the Comcast/Time-Warner merger. Wu wrote The Master Switch, a brilliant 2010 novel on the history of networks and competition in America, and his paper Copyright's Communications Policy is a classic.

I've known Tim for more than 30 years; we went to the same small alternative elementary school in Toronto together. I rate him as one of the best thinkers and activists on these issues around and wish him the best of luck. If I were a New York voter, he'd have my vote.

Read the rest

NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake to appear at HOPE NYC

2600's Emmanuel Goldstein writes, "This summer's HOPE X conference has added another major whistleblower to its schedule: Thomas Drake, who was charged under the Espionage Act in 2010 after revealing waste, fraud, and abuse at the NSA. The government would later drop these charges, after ruining Drake's career and dragging his name through the mud. Drake was one of the opponents of the NSA's Trailblazer program in 2002, which wound up costing billions of taxpayer dollars and would have been a huge violation of privacy, had it not been cancelled in 2006. It wouldn't be the last such program, and Drake wouldn't be the last whistleblower. HOPE X takes place July 18-20 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. More info at xxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx or x.hope.net."

Riis's "How the Other Half Lives": photos of NYC slumlife in the Gilded Age

The full text and images of Jacob Riis's 1890 classic How The Other Half Lives is online (previously), featuring striking photos of the dire state of NYC poverty during the "gilded age," when wealth disparity hit levels that are eerily reminiscent of the modern age. Reading this is probably good prep for our coming future (above, "Police Station lodgers in Elizabeth Street Station").

Read the rest

Singularity & Co: sf bookstore as Twilight Zone

Singularity and Co is the wonderful, Brooklyn-based used science fiction bookstore launched with a 2012 Kickstarter campaign that raised funds to buy the rights to beloved, out-of-print sf novels and release them as CC-licensed ebooks. Gabe, a fan of the store, has produced this great, Twilight Zone-themed commercial for the shop.

A day in the life of NYC's wonderful, endangered libraries

Christian writes, "A day in the life of libraries in New York City. Three massive systems that still have a human touch and are doing more with less every year. Look around the rest of the site for personal stories of librarians and patrons. Libraries are all about people and in a city as huge as New York City there are a million stories to be found in the libraries and not all of them are between the covers of books."

Libraries Now: A Day in the Life

Neil Gaiman knows how to get to Carnegie Hall


Neil Gaiman's playing the big room: on 27 June, he'll read his story "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains" at Carnegie Hall, backed by the Fourplay String Quartet, with illustrations from Eddie "From Hell" Campbell.

Read the rest

Profile of Norman Bel Geddes, creator of the 1939 New York World's Fair Futurama


Writing in The Believer, B. Alexandra Szerlip offers a fascinating profile of Norman Bel Geddes, the man who built the Futurama at the 1939 New York Worlds' Fair. I didn't know that Bel Geddes had started out with elaborated electro-mechanical games and that these game him the skills and insights he needed to build the Futurama.

Read the rest

Smooth sales-patter from Union Square's Gentleman Peeler

Here's a 2008 video of NYC's legendary Union Square potato-peeler salesman, Manchester-born Joe Ades, the Gentleman Peeler, whose patter was as smooth as the carrot slices he produced with his sharp little gadgets. He died in 2009, the day after he was notified that he had attained American citizenship. He modelled himself after "the patterer," the well-dressed salesman that were written about in Henry Mayhew's classic London Labour and the London Poor (this book also inspired Terry Pratchett's brilliant standalone novel Dodger).

If you regret not buying a peeler from Joe when you had the chance, here's the same "machine", though the price has doubled since Joe's day.

#Mynypd hashtag attracts photos of police violence and abuse

When the NYPD's Twitter account asked people to tweet photos of their interactions with NYPD and tag them Mynypd, the outcome was pretty predictable: people who feel that the NYPD stands for unchecked brutality, mass-scale stop-and-frisk racism, and the violent defense of the ultra-rich combined with official impunity flooded the tag with photos of NYPD violence.

Read the rest

HOPE X conference: Dissent in NYC


Emmanuel from 2600 writes, "It should come as no surprise that dissent is playing a prominent role at the HOPE X conference this July in New York. So many technological developments of late involve standing up to authority and questioning the status quo. Whether it's using social media to organize people into doing something worthwhile, exposing security holes in the face of threats and lawsuits, becoming a whistleblower by using the information and technology we have access to, or just getting the word out about the latest laws, restrictions, and threats to our freedom and privacy, a lot of what we talk about constitutes one form or another of dissent. And it feels pretty good and healthy to speak out and share knowledge."

Read the rest

Renaissance Space Invaders art


Artist Dan Hernandez painted a gorgeous series of frescoes depicting Space Invaders and other vintage game screengrabs as Renaissance and Byzantine art. They're hanging in a show called "Genesis" at the Kim Foster Gallery in NYC.

Read the rest

Daniel Ellsberg to keynote HOPE X in NYC this summer

2600 Magazine's Emmanuel Goldstein writes, "Acclaimed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg will be keynoting at this summer's HOPE X conference in New York City. Ellsberg leaked the infamous Pentagon Papers, 7,000 pages of documents that wound up changing American history forever. Today's whistleblowers are treated far more harshly, both by the authorities and the mainstream media, often facing lengthly prison terms or a life on the run. Fortunately, Ellsberg has remained involved and connected. A whole new generation will hear his words in person and hopefully be inspired to reveal the truth from whatever corporate or government position they find themselves in."

Stop-and-frisk as the most visible element of deep, violent official American racism


Christopher E Smith is the white father of a black, biracial son, and it is through his son's experience of being black in America that he has learned just how pervasive and humiliating and violent officialdom is to black Americans, a fact embodied perfectly through New York City's notorious, racist stop-and-frisk program. Smith describes how his son, interning on Wall Street, has been repeatedly stopped by police, once made to lie face down on the filthy sidewalk in his best suit while police went through his pockets (former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg was a staunch supporter of this program). He describes the experience of his black in-laws, who are stopped by police-cars en route to family gatherings, who have guns aimed at their heads, and who are then released with a shrug and a nonsensical excuse. He describes how driving over the US/Canadian border with his son is totally different from driving on his own, and how the customs guards routinely stop the two of them, and make them wait out of sight of their car while it is searched.

As an aside, I've experienced this myself. I've driven across the US/Canadian border literally dozens of times and the only time I was stopped was when I gave Nalo Hopkinson and David Findlay -- who happen to be black -- a ride to a Clarion reunion at Michigan State University. At both border crossings, the car was searched from top to bottom, with officers taking out books and shaking the pages to look for contraband. It's never happened since. The only difference between that drive and all the others was that there were some brown-skinned people in evidence.

Smith proposes a thought experiment in which stop-and-frisk searches were mandatorily applied in keeping with overall demographics, so for every three black people that the NYPD pull over and humiliate without warrant or suspicion or probable cause, they would have to do the same to ten white people -- and suggests that this would end the program of stop-and-frisk in a heartbeat.

I think he's right.

Read the rest

Kickstarting SCHMUCK: a comics memoir of "trying to date NYC"

David writes, "Award-winning photographer Seth Kushner is renowned for his photography book of portraits of comic book writers and artists (Leaping Tall Buildings). Seth Kushner spent much of his 20s dating, or trying to date, in New York City. For the last 6 years, Kushner has been writing a semi-autobiographical webcomic called SCHMUCK chock full of equal parts tragedy and comedy."

$9 gets you a download of the book, $25 gets you a print edition.

Read the rest

HOPE X/EFF fundraiser

Emmanuel Goldstein from 2600 Magazine writes, "This summer's HOPE X conference is having a special EFF fundraiser for the entire month of April. Ten percent of every ticket sale will be donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation as recognition of the essential work they're doing for the entire online community. In addition, there will be a huge EFF presence at the HOPE X conference, with multiple talks and presentations. HOPE X is being held July 18-20 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City."

Post-scarcity hacker convention: !!Con

Sumana is helping put on a new kind of hacker conference in NYC, !!Con (pronounced "Bang bang con"). Unlike other hacker cons, !!Con has no ranking, no winners, and no dominance displays: "Whenever possible, Hacker School culture assumes abundance rather than scarcity; attempts to rank projects or people would defile our ecology."

NYPD claims its Freedom of Information Act policy is a secret "attorney-client communications"


The NYPD runs an intelligence agency that is even more secretive, and practically as corrupt as the NSA. They even fly their own intelligence officers to the scene of terrorist attacks overseas (and interfere with real investigations). What's more, the NYPD has invented its own, extra-legal system of "classified" documents that it has unilaterally decided it doesn't have to provide to the public in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Shawn Musgrave used Muckrock sent the NYPD a FOIA request for its FOIA manual -- the guidelines by which it decides whether or not it will obey the law requiring it to share its internal workings with the public who pay for them -- only to have the NYPD refuse to provide it, because it is "privileged attorney-client work-product."

As Musgrave says, "Handbooks and training materials hardly qualify as 'confidential communications,' particularly when the subject matter is transparency itself."

Read the rest

Tasting the chocolate-chip cookie milk-cups


In case you were wondering how the milk-cups made from warm chocolate-chip cookies tasted, it sounds like they were pretty darned good, especially once the recipe was changed so that the cups were lined with shellac instead of chocolate (which melted when the cups were reheated prior to filling).

Cronut inventor chef Dominique Ansel sells the cups in $25 eight-packs, or you can buy up to two milk-filled shots at the NYC bakery for $3 each. He also sells his vanilla-infused milk in takeout bottles.

Read the rest

Get a signed, inscribed copy of "In Real Life" delivered to your door, courtesy of WORD Books


As previously mentioned, Jen Wang and I have adapted my short story "Anda's Game" as a full-length, young adult graphic novel called "In Real Life," which comes out next October. Brooklyn's excellent WORD bookstore has generously offered to take pre-orders for signed copies; I'll drop by the store during New York Comic-Con and sign and personalize a copy for you and they'll ship it to you straightaway.

1:1 scale model of Manhattan in Minecraft


Christopher Mitchell, a PhD candidate in NYU's Computer Science program, is building a 1:1 scale model of Manhattan in Minecraft, with faithful, handmade reproductions of each of the island's skyscrapers. He's relying on data from diverse sources, including Google Earth, and the model to date is 277m^2, with 71Bm^3 of volumetric detail, running on a 200 core cluster with 200GB of RAM. It's part of a larger project (!), called Sparseworld, through which Mitchell is combining data from diverse geographical and architectural systems to faithfully model the physical world.

Read the rest

Performance artist frosts and shares cake on NYC subway

Performance artist Bettina Banayan has conducted a number of interventions on the NYC subway, but this one, in which she frosts, decorates, and shares a cake with her fellow commuters, is my favorite. Unlike the other performances, which largely revolve around making people uncomfortable (or at least discomfited), the punchline of "Subway Cake Performance 02/11/14" is a subway car full of happy people whose life in the city has been made sweeter and friendlier.

Performance - Bettina Banayan (via Neatorama)

Report from a meeting of Wall Street's secret, tasteless plutocrats' club


In the process of writing his just-released book Young Money, an investigative look at the bankers who've joined Wall Street since the crash of 2008, author Kevin Roose snuck into a meeting of the secretive Kappa Beta Phi club -- an organization of hyper-rich Wall Street bankers.

Roose recorded the captains of of industry, whose shady dealing had crashed the world economy and plunged millions into untold misery, cavorting on stage, making jokes about poor people and Hillary Clinton, dressing up in drag, and singing an anthem about how much bailout money they'd suckered out of the feds, to the tune of Dixie: "In Wall Street land we’ll take our stand, said Morgan and Goldman. But first we better get some loans, so quick, get to the Fed, man."

New York Magazine has a membership roll of the Kappa Beta Phis, which is a who's who of the richest, most powerful men on Wall Street.

Read the rest

Hungry man defeats TSA's war on peanut butter by spreading it on crackers

An airline passenger with a medical condition requiring small amounts of food at regular intervals was stymied when the LHA TSA declared his peanut butter to be a "liquid." But he cleverly spread the peanut butter onto some saltines, whereupon it was no longer a liquid and was allowed on the flight. USA USA USA. (Thanks, Alice!)

Stretchy, slinkoid sculptures made from fan-folded cut paper


Artist Li Hongbo produces gorgeous sculptures made from meticulously cut sheets of fan-folded paper, stacked tightly so that the pieces appear to be made of solid composite or stone. But when Li pulls at them, they stretch and slide most gloriously, turning into slinkoid paper-chains that are pure visual hilarity.

A special report on Arrestedmotion showcases some of the best of Li's work, which is on display at the Klein Sun Gallery in NYC.

Read the rest

Republican Congressman threatens to kill reporter after State of the Union

Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY/Staten Island) felt a little tense after the State of the Union. After giving a terse statement to an NY1 reporter, he was asked about the ongoing issue of his campaign finance. He declined to discuss the matter and stormed off, then returned a moment later, apparently unaware that the camera was still rolling, and threatened to "throw [the reporter] off this fucking balcony." Grimm followed this with "you're not man enough, you're not man enough. I'll break you in half. Like a boy."

Read the rest

3D printed fingernails

NYC-based artist duo The Laser Girls produced a set of 3D printed artificial fingernails they call Sour Razz. They're made of dyed nylon.

Read the rest

HOPE X call for participation now open

Emmanuel Goldstein from 2600 Magazine writes, "The call for participation at HOPE X in New York City is now open. There is room for over 100 talks and panels, dozens of workshops, and all kinds of creative artwork with hacker overtones. This is expected to be one of the largest conferences dealing with hacking, whistleblowing, social change, surveillance, and new technology ever presented in the United States. There will be no government agency recruiters, no commercial exploitation, and no shortage of controversy. The doors are now open for imaginative ideas at this very crucial point in hacker (and human) history. HOPE X takes place July 18-20, 2014 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City."

2600's HOPE X conference accepts Bitcoin signups

Emmanuel Goldstein from 2600 magazine writes, "The HOPE X conference (July 18-20, New York City) is now accepting Bitcoin for preregistration. It's believed this is the first time in North America that any conference (other than a couple of Bitcoin conferences) has accepted the digital currency. Quite a few people have been requesting this for a while - and a hacker conference is exactly the kind of place where such experiments should be tried out. In addition to allowing people to preregister with a minimum of identifying information, it also presents attendees and non-attendees alike with a way of making new projects at the conference possible by donating additional bitcoins if desired. It will be most interesting to see if this method of payment is embraced by HOPE X attendees."

Impromptu sax battle on the MTA

When a sax player stepped onto this MTA car and started playing Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," he inspired one of the passengers to whip out his own sax and join in. What followed was a jam session/sax battle that is a delight to watch.

SAX BATTLE IN NYC SUBWAY (original duh...) (via Reddit)