Detroit's police commissioner arrested at commissioners' meeting for demanding answers about secret meetings where facial recognition was planned

Alan Wendt writes, "Detroit commissioners arrested the police commissioner Willie Burton during a public meeting because he wouldn't stop talking about the secret meetings where the commission decided to install facial recognition systems." Read the rest

"Just don't have a face": what it's like to opt-out of US airports' "optional" face recognition

Privacy advocate Allie Funk was surprised to learn that her Delta flight out of Detroit airport would use facial recognition scans for boarding; Funk knew that these systems were supposed to be "opt in" but no one announced that you could choose not to use them while boarding, so Funk set out to learn how she could choose not to have her face ingested into a leaky, creepy, public-private biometric database. Read the rest

Detroit charter school salutatorians use their graduation speeches to condemn their school for putting profits before kids

Zainab Altalaqani and Tuhfa Kasem both graduated from Detroit's Universal Academy this year, and to honor their academic achievements, school administrators named them co-salutatorians, which meant that they would get to address the graduating class, faculty and parents at their graduation ceremony: but instead of using their podium-time to reminisce about their good times in high school or to wonder about their futures, they condemned the school as a for-profit entity that put profits ahead of students' education, firing qualified teachers who complained to the school board about the use of unqualified "paraprofessionals" in classrooms. Read the rest

Court case seeks to clarify that photographers don't need permission to publish pictures that incidentally capture public works of art

Mercedes has asked a court to verify that a commercial photo of one of its cars driving down a street in Detroit does not violate the copyright of the artists who painted a public mural visible in the background. Read the rest

These guitars are made from former Detroit landmarks

For better or worse, Motorcity ain't what it used to be. But, having survived bankruptcy, corruption and bad luck that nearly broke its back, Detroit is making a slow comeback. While most of the city's residents are looking to the future, anyone looking to hold on to a piece of the city's long, colorful history would do well to take up guitar lessons.

Wallace Detroit Guitars builds their axes from wood they've reclaimed from Motorcity landmarks. Founded by Mark Wallace in 2014, the brands use reclaimed wood from sites like the Brewster Wheeler Recreation Center where fighter Joe Lewis trained, and the former headquarters of the Detroit Fire Department. The wood is collected by Detroit nonprofit groups,  providing training and employment to local residents. Occasionally, the company accepts materials reclaimed from other sources within the city too:  contractors doing renos on historic properties drop off high grade, decades-old wood, perfect for making guitars. The resulting product, as you can see, is both badass and classic.

Because of the historic value of the wood and the amount of work it takes to lay hands on it, a Wallace Detroit Guitar doesn't come cheap: One of the guitars on the site is listed at $2,400. As each guitar the company produces is made-to-order, prices will vary--but don't expect to get a screeching deal. Each of these guitars is a work of art made with the guts of a former work of art, especially for the purpose of making new art. Owning anything that can lay claim to that's gonna cost you. Read the rest

Poor Detroit neighborhoods, abandoned by telcos and the FCC, are rolling out homebrew, community mesh broadband

40% of Detroiters have no internet access. The Detroit Community Technology Project and similar projects across the city are skipping over the telcos altogether and wiring up their own mesh broadband networks, where gigabit connections are transmitted by line-of-site wireless across neighborhoods from the tops of tall buildings; it's called the Equitable Internet Initiative. Read the rest

More than 5,000 Detroiters sing Allee Willis' love song to the city

If there's one thing I know about Detroit-born multimedia artist Allee Willis, it's that she's unstoppable. And not knowing how to do something hasn't keep her from pursuing her dreams and becoming incredibly successful.

For example, by her own admission, she has "no idea how to play, read, or notate music." Yet, she's received multiple accolades for her music including two Grammy awards.

In fact, her big break came after co-writing the 1978 hit "September" by Earth, Wind, & Fire. She also co-wrote their "Boogie Wonderland."

But she didn't stop there. You know the Friends theme? She co-wrote that.

She also co-authored The Color Purple for Broadway. Earlier this year, she got her second Grammy for that.

In her multi-decade career, she's worked with musical artists such as The Pointer Sisters, the Pet Shop Boys, Bob Dylan, Patti LaBelle, James Brown, Herbie Hancock and many more.

Again, she has zero musical training.

Now she's written "The D," which she calls a "love song to Detroit." This is her biggest project to date.

She had never done anything like this before, no one has (or could).

The entire project includes not only a song but a music video, record, and party which all-in-all took nearly four years to complete. She pulled in her born-in-Detroit celebrity pals such as Lily Tomlin and Ray Parker Jr., as well as Motown names like Mary Wilson (Supremes) and Martha Reeves. She also invited thousands of everyday folks to participate and they did. "The D" features the vocals of over 5,000 Detroiters, which is the most people on a record together ever. Read the rest

The juggalos, class struggle, and the left

The juggalos are marching on DC this weekend, to protest the FBI's classification of the music fandom/subculture as a dangerous gang, placing it on a watchlist alongside the Aryan Nation. Read the rest

This little library in Detroit looks like Doctor Who's TARDIS

We have little free libraries where I live in California but none as are half as cool as this one in Detroit, Michigan. Dan Zemke spotted an empty lot across the street from his house on Detroit's Warren Ave. and thought it needed something. He decided it would be the perfect spot for a life-size replica of a TARDIS that would double as a little library.

Unlike the fictional TARDIS, Zemke’s creation is not bigger on the inside, but does have room for around 140 books that he hopes people will circulate and replace as they trade them out. Where the original TARDIS has signs around the top saying, “Police Box,” this one has signs saying, “Take A Book, Leave A Book.” Other than that, it is a spitting image of the iconic BBC ship.

(One might argue that it IS bigger on the inside because of the knowledge within its books.)


Previously: Doctor Who-themed shed Read the rest

Watch formerly homeless people make jackets that double as sleeping bags

The Empowerment Plan is a Detroit-based organization that creates manufacturing jobs making EMPWR coats that double as sleeping bags:

Via designboom:

the empowerment plan is a detroit-based, nonprofit organization focused on permanently elevating families from the generational cycle of homelessness. it hires single parents from local shelters and provide them with training and full-time employment as seamstresses so that they can earn a stable income, find secure housing, and regain their independence. the individuals it hires manufacture a coat designed to meet the needs of those in the homeless community. the durable ‘EMPWR coat’ can transform into a sleeping bag at night or an over-the-shoulder bag when not in use. since 2012, it has provided employment to 34 homeless individuals—all of whom have now secured permanent housing for themselves and their families—and distributed over 15,000 coats to those in need across the US and canada. (Vimeo / The Empowerment Plan via designboom) Read the rest

Yes, Trump just said "titties" (Update: sadly no)

At a rally in Detroit, Donald Trump said "titties" while attempting to say "cities." Read the rest

Man claims he don't take no orders from no women

He admits he's from Mars. An unpleasant gentleman whose flatbed truck dumped a bunch of wood all over a residential street tells Detroit 7 Action News he don't take no orders from no women. Good to know. 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.

Gorgeous nerdy textiles

Detroit's Cyberoptix make hundreds of beautiful, nerdy textiles: linen library due-date scarves (also available as silk ties); bandana print neckties; chemical warfare ties; civil defense med-kit scarves; notebook-paper silk pocket squares (also scarves) and felted wool neckties -- all made to order in a wide variety of colors! Read the rest

Incredible Science Machine team seeks Rube Goldberg record with chain reaction gizmo

Chain reaction artists and domino builders have collaborated to create what they hope will go on record as the largest chain reaction in history. Read the rest

WATCH: Drone-eye view of a Detroit hotel demolition

Detroit's historic Park Avenue Hotel was demolished on July 11, and YouTuber TheGadgetGuy1 caught all the action via drone. Read the rest

Detroit News documents the decimation of one city block

Over the holiday weekend, The Detroit News published a remarkable analysis of what happened in Detroit's foreclosure meltdown. One block on Greensboro Street saw 33 of 38 homes go into mortgage or tax foreclosure in the last ten years. Read the rest

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