Just in time for summer: Pizza-flavored ice cream

Little Baby's Ice Cream in Philadelphia is known for their oddly-flavored ice cream (and, their bizarro ads) but they've outdone themselves with their latest icy offering. Since mid-June, the frozen dessert purveyor has been serving up PIZZA ICE CREAM. What makes it pizza-y? Tomato, basil, oregano, salt and garlic. For some people, that just isn't enough pizza pie, so they've taken upon themselves to plop a scoop on top of a hot slice of pizza.

(USAToday)

Previously, the pizza lovers edition: Pizza slice-shaped bags for, well, your slices of pizza Read the rest

PA supreme court: was illegal to steal elderly woman's home because her son sold $140 of weed

It took four years, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has finally ruled in favor of 72 year old grandmother Elizabeth Young, whose house was seized by the Philadelphia District Attorney under asset forfeiture rules when her son was caught selling $140 worth of marijuana to undercover agents.

Under civil forfeiture rules, cops and DAs get to steal property suspected of being the proceeds of a crime, then they sue the inanimate objects. The owners of the objects can hire lawyers to represent their property, while the taxpayers foot the bill for the state's side of the suit. If the government wins, it gets to keep the property or sell it and pocket the proceeds.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court blasted the DA for the seizure and reminded the state's lawyers and cops that they can only invoke civil forfeiture when there is good reason to believe that the property's owner "knew of and agreed to the crimes" in question.

The cop who bought the marijuana from Young's son is currently serving a 3.5 year federal prison sentence for planting drugs on suspects.

Young is far from the only person to have her house seized by the Philadelphia D.A. for a minor drug crime that she didn't even commit. In 2013, Philadelphia police seized the house of Christos and Markela Sourovelis after their son was arrested for selling $40-worth of drugs outside of it.

The Sourovelis' sued, with assistance from the libertarian-leaning Institute for Justice, a nonprofit law firm that has challenged asset forfeiture laws in several states.

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94% decline in librarians for Philadelphia's public schools

Since 1991, the number of full-time librarians working in Philadelphia's cash-strapped, budget-slashed public schools has declined by 94% -- only eight remain, while the state continues to trail the nation in literacy scores. Read the rest

Neon street mural transforms seedy South Philly side street

Percy Street is one of those irregular side streets found in older American neighborhoods like South Philadelphia. Cramped and dark, it became a favorite haunt of ne'er-do-wells until the installation of the neon-infused "Electric Street" mural. Now it's a destination of locals and tourists, and the increased traffic has tamped down the bad behavior. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders overcome with emotion as his brother Larry casts delegate vote at DNC

In Philadelphia today at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, an emotionally overwhelming moment for Bernie Sanders as Democrats Abroad cast their votes for the party's 2016 presidential nominee.

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Bernie Sanders' Democratic National Convention speech

A sustained and rousing standing ovation for Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, tonight.

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Crowdfunding Wooden Shoe, an anti-profit bookstore and infoshop in Philadelphia

Philadelphia's Wooden Shoe Bookstore is 40 years old: it's a collectively run, volunteer "anti-profit" bookstore; they're hoping to raise $25,000 for much-needed remodelling and refurbishment. Read the rest

This is the world's largest musical instrument

The Wanamaker Organ, inside a Philadelphia, PA Macy's, is the world's largest working musical instrument.

The Wanamaker Grand Court Organ at Macy’s is a 7-story-high contraption bigger than most people’s houses, even rich people’s. The vast maze of 26,677 pipes and baffles and bellows and wires and wooden stairways lies hidden behind what many of us have always thought was the Wanamaker Organ.

(YouTube/Philadelphia Daily News, via Digg)

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Gardner Dozois is selling his book collection

The celebrated and decorated anthologist and editor (that's him on the right, with me and Gene Wolfe) who served at Asimov's for decades is selling off his massive collection, which he hopes to keep intact. Read the rest

Philly TSA supervisor Charles Kieser sent a traveller to jail for asking to file a complaint

After sending Roger Vanderklok for jail for the audacity of asking to file a complaint, Philadelphia International Airport TSA supervisor Charles Kieser then lied about what happened on the stand in court. He fabricated an aggressive confrontation and a bomb threat, neither of which are in evidence on the CCTV footage or in the police report. His victim was help incommunicado in jail, panicking his wife who had no idea where he'd gone. Kieser gets to keep his job.

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Philadelphia schools have $5/student/year for supplies

"Education reform," the charter school movement (that siphons state funding for well-off kids into private hands), the racialized segregation of inner-city and suburban school districts, No Child Left Behind, and the scapegoating of teachers' unions has produced an education system that hardly even qualifies as a 12-year babysitting service. Read the rest

Help wanted: crypto-usability research director & ops manager

Simply Secure, a nonprofit developing usable, free, open interfaces for cryptographic communications tools like OTR, is hiring! Read the rest

MGM shuts down volunteer "Rocky" charity run

The Philadelphia run, which recreates a scene from Rocky II, raises money to buy sneakers for a charity; MGM has seen its success and has partnered with a for-profit company to launch a non-charitable version and now has clobbered the volunteers to clear away competition. Read the rest

Gloriously complexified necktie-tying machine

Seth Goldstein's Why Not machine is a glorious Rube Goldberg device that can tie (and untie) a necktie. It's a kinetic sculpture, slow and beautiful and inefficient in a way that can only be called artistic. It's headed for exhibition at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia. Its inventor, a retired engineer, revels in its unuselessness: "That's not something you can economically justify, but if you're a retiree, you don't have to worry about that anymore. I'm free!" Read the rest

Philadelphia's Hacktory hackerspace is looking for artists-in-residence

Lee writes, "Philadelphia's Hacktory has just announced its Call For Artists for its new Unknown Territory Fellowship and Artist-In-Residency." Read the rest

Petition to get a plaque commemorating Isaac Asimov in Philadelphia

Science fiction author Michael Swanwick sez, "In my adopted hometown of Philadelphia there's a move afoot to put up a plaque where Isaac Asimov lived while he was working (and writing seminal Foundation and Robot stories) at the Naval Yard during WWII. Asimov hated Philadelphia while he lived here but came back for the conventions year after year. He gave back. Now it's time to Philadelphia to give back to him. The Change.com petition seems to have stalled at 364, 136 short of its goal. This despite the fact that you don't have to be a citizen of Pennsylvania to sign it. I don't want to be a part of a genre that can't give Isaac five hundred signatures. I'm betting the author of 'I, Rowboat,' agrees with me."

Indeed I do, Michael.

(Image: Isaac Asimov painted portrait _DDC4972, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from home_of_chaos's photostream) Read the rest

Girl, 7, brought into pepper-spray fight

Stephanie Farr, at Philly.com:

A woman who had been banned from an Upper Darby dollar store doused store employees with pepper spray as they tried to escort her out on Monday, and when they tackled her to the ground, she gave the spray can to her 7-year-old daughter and told her to finish the fight, police said. "You know what to do, baby. Spray it!", Delaina Garling allegedly told her daughter.

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