There's a secret "black site" in New York where terrorism suspects are tortured for years at a time


Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center has a special wing, 10-South, in which terrorism suspects who have been kidnapped from foreign territories are imprisoned and tortured in secret, before being given secret trials and lengthy sentences. Read the rest

Laura Poitras's Astro Noise: indispensable book and gallery show about mass surveillance


Laura Poitras is the Macarthur-winning, Oscar-winning documentarian who made Citizenfour. Her life has been dogged by government surveillance and harassment, and she has had to become a paranoid OPSEC ninja just to survive. Read the rest

Teaching students at a Co-Op City public school to make pollution-fighting robots

NYU associate professor Natalie Jeremijenko brought her Feral Robot Dogs project to twenty-nine of our gifted and special-needs students at New York City's PS 153.

#Blizzard2016: Big-ass winter storm hits East Coast with big snow predicted

People buy seafood at the Wharf as snow begins to fall in DC, Jan 22 2016. REUTERS

Washington, D.C., and New York City are under blizzard watches, and states of emergency have been declared in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina ahead of a blustery winter storm now slamming the U.S. East Coast with snow.

A large winter storm expected to bring heavy snowfall to the U.S. Mid-Atlantic on Jan. 22 and 23 in a Jan. 20, 2016 NASA photo.

The storm threatens to dump nearly 3 feet of snow on the Middle Atlantic region, and slammed into Washington, D.C. this afternoon, threatening our nation's capital with record accumulations. The storm is now moving up the East Coast and causing all sorts of problems in New York, and throughout the region.

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US Treasury Dept wants to know which offshore crimelords are buying all those NYC and Miami penthouses


It's an open secret that the world's luxury property boom is being driven by crooked rich people in the former Soviet Union, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa who have looted their homelands and want to stash the money out of reach of any new dictators who might come along and change which oligarchs are favored and which are not. Read the rest

NYC to assign civilian to monitor NYPD counterterrorism


An independent civilian appointed by New York's mayor will monitor counterterrorism activities of the New York Police Department, the New York Times reports that lawyers said in court documents Thursday. The news comes as those lawyers attempt to settle two lawsuits about the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims after 9/11.

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New York Public Library does the public domain right


The New York Public Library is aggressively digitizing the public domain works in its collections, adding high-quality machine-readable metadata to each of the hundreds of thousands of assets, providing an API, offering residencies to remixers who do interesting things with the collection, and offering all those assets in high-rez with "No permission required. No restrictions on use." Read the rest

Help identify the science fiction legends in these thrift-scored pix of the 1956 Worldcon


Cate writes, "I came across a collection of snapshots at a thrift store and recognized the historic nature of the photos, which documented the 14th World Science Fiction Convention. I purchased the photos from a thrift store in Santa Barbara, California on December 31, 2015. I am looking for help to identify attendees featured in the photos." Read the rest

Cybercrime 3.0: stealing whole houses

Articles in the UK and US press describe fraudsters who used public document registries to steal entire houses, using forged documents to list the houses for sale, transferring title to them, and disappearing (or attempting to) with a lot of money in their pockets.

Donald Trump picked business adviser convicted in “major Mafia-linked stock fraud scheme”


The Associated Press reports today that GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump asked a man who was once involved in a major Mafia-linked stock fraud scheme to be a senior business adviser to the Trump real-estate empire.

His name is Felix Sater. You can follow him on Twitter.

AP reports that Sater pleaded guilty in 1998 to one count of racketeering for his role in a $40 million stock fraud scheme involving the Genovese and Bonanno mafia families.

Five years before his financial crime conviction, Sater got a year in prison in 1993 for stabbing a man’s face with a broken margarita glass.

From the AP's report:

Portions of Trump's relationship with Felix Sater, a convicted felon and government informant, have been previously known. Trump worked with the company where Sater was an executive, Bayrock Group LLC, after it rented office space from the Trump Organization as early as 2003. Sater's criminal history was effectively unknown to the public at the time, because a judge kept the relevant court records secret and Sater altered his name. When Sater's criminal past and Mafia links came to light in 2007, Trump distanced himself from Sater.

But less than three years later, Trump renewed his ties with Sater. Sater presented business cards describing himself as a senior adviser to Donald Trump, and he had an office on the same floor as Trump's own office in New York's Trump Tower, The Associated Press learned through interviews and court records. Trump said during an AP interview on Wednesday that he recalled only bare details of Sater.

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In “Food Warriors,” NYC subway grub sleuths find A+ ethnic eats in Richmond Hill, Queens

There's a wonderful new episode out from Food Warriors, the delightful NYC street eats web series starring Dallas Penn and Rafi Kam, and directed by Casimir Nozkowski.

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ISIS threatens NYC and DC

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 10.00.03 PM

ISIS, or as they hate to be called, Daesh, released a video online Wednesday threatening an imminent attack on New York City.

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Gorgeous book of paper airplanes collected by anthropologist Harry Smith


h Brian writes, "Avant-garde film maker and producer of the highly influential Anthology of American Folk Music series Harry Smith was also an avid collector of folk art. This book compiles some 251 paper airplanes Smith collected from off the streets of New York City, along with the date and location at which they were recovered. It's a really beautiful collection." Read the rest

Hallowe'en with NYC's super-rich


The New York Times's slideshow of the Hallowe'en displays of hedge-fund managers and other NYC oligarchs has some pretty impressive haunts, though nothing that justifies the socially corrosive effect of out-of-control wealth gaps. (Photo: Christian Hansen) (via 3 Quarks Daily) Read the rest

In upsidedownland, Verizon upheld its fiber broadband promises to 14 cities


Verizon got broadband franchise agreements in cities across the USA in exchange for promises to get fiber into residential homes and businesses, arguing that without the exclusive right to wire up cities without competition, it would be unable to justify the investment in new infrastructure. Read the rest

NYPD won't disclose what it does with its secret military-grade X-ray vans


The $825,000 Z Backscatter Vans the NYPD drives around the city look like regular police vans, but are equipped with powerful X-rays that can see through walls and vehicles. US Customs uses these things to scan cars and freight-containers, but only after they're sure there are no people around. Read the rest

NYC HR manager sued her 12-year-old nephew for $127,000 over flying hug that broke her wrist


Jennifer Connell says that in 2011, her nephew -- then 8, now 12 -- jumped off his bike and ran to her, giving her a huge hug and shouting "I love you, Auntie Jen," and that the hug resulted in her breaking her wrist. Read the rest

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