After elderly tenant was locked in his apartment by his landlord's stupid "smart lock," tenants win right to use actual keys to enter their homes

Tenants in New York City have reached a settlement with their landlord requiring the landlord to install actual locks with actual keys on demand, rather than insisting that all tenants use locks from Latch, the leading Internet of Things "smart lock" vendor, whose products conduct fine-grained surviellance on their users, which the company reserves the right to share with third parties. Read the rest

To do in NYC next Sat, May 11: "The Bigot in the Machine," a panel on algorithmic bias from PEN and McSweeney's

Next weekend, PEN America is throwing its World Voices Festival, including a McSweeney's-sponsored panel on algorithmic bias called The Bigot in the Machine, featuring poet/media activist Malkia Cyril, and Equality Labs founder Thenmozhi Soundararajan, moderated by investigative journalist Adrianne Jeffries: it's on May 11 at 2:30 at Cooper Union's Frederick P. Rose Auditorium. Tickets are $20. Read the rest

Video from the Radicalized launch with Julia Angwin at The Strand

Last week's NYC book launch for Radicalized took the form of a fantastic conversation with the journalist Julia Angwin; the Strand folks were kind enough to video it and they've posted it to Youtube. Julia is incredibly smart and a wonderful interviewer, and we had some great Q&A as well. Read the rest

Creative Adversarial Networks: GANs that make art

Generative Adversarial Networks use a pair of machine-learning models to create things that seem very realistic: one of the models, the "generator," uses its training data to make new things; and the other, the "discerner," checks the generator's output to see if it conforms to the model. Read the rest

To do on Sunday in NYC: launch party for the Rats of New York's new album

NYC punk band The New York Rats is launching their new album on Sunday: it's a heavy vinyl LP with amazing sleeve art by Andrea Sicco; the album itself is Ramones-y, Husker-Du-ish uptempo punk that I've had on heavy rotation all week: it's 7:30PM on at Our Wicked Lady, 153 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn. Read the rest

New York City's new rideshare regs put Big Brother in backseat, give GPS tracking a whole new meaning

Whether you love them or hate them, rideshares like Uber and Lyft have become a daily part of life for millions of New Yorkers. These app-based services make it easy to pay for your ride, but while the privacy cost isn’t always as clear, it’s about to get a lot larger. These apps have tracked our movements since they launched, but as of this month, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) started tracking us too. Read the rest

Artist Nan Goldin leads protests at the Guggenheim and the Met over their reputation-laundering of the Sacklers' opioid epidemic fortunes

The Sackler family (previously) is one of the richest in the world, and if you've heard of them, it's probably because their family name adorns so many art galleries, museums, and academic institutions around the world: but they way they got that money is less-well-known. Read the rest

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is preparing for New York's establishment Dems to eliminate her district

After the 2020 census, the nation's electoral districts will be redrawn and it's a widely accepted fact that New York City will lose a seat, despite its growth since the 2010 census. Read the rest

Amazon's NYC digs being built on land that would have been used for low-income housing

Amazon is already known for providing dangerous working conditions, anti-union activities and treating their blue collar workforce like a disposable commodity. Since they're already screwing folks at work, it must have seemed like a natural progression to screw them at home too.

From Politico:

Amazon’s plans to expand into Long Island City may cost Mayor Bill de Blasio — and New York City — approximately 1,500 units of affordable housing.

Two sites that will house the future offices of the e-commerce giant were originally intended for residential development, before Amazon chose them in a nationwide contest for its new headquarters.

Most — if not all — of that intended housing is now off the table.

According to Politico, the 14.7 acres of land Amazon's plopping out of their grossly subsidized new headquarters complex in Long Island City is owned by a company called Plaxall. Before Amazon came along, Plaxall was gearing up to ask New York City administrators for permission to build close to 5,000 new homes on their property. 1,250 of these homes would have been earmarked for use by low and middle-income earning families. In addition to this, Amazon's NYC complex is also eating up turf from a second company, TF Cornerstone: they were ready to build a complex that would contain 250 low-income housing units on the dirt where Amazon is building their new HQ. That's not going to happen anymore, either.

Greed is nothing, if not consistent.

Image via Wikipedia Commons Read the rest

Competitive book-sorting event pits New York library workers against Washington State's

Big library systems struggling with the task of sorting interbranch requests for distribution on the library's delivery vehicles can buy a $2 million Lyngsoe Systems Compact Cross Belt Sorter, whose conveyor takes precisely hand-placed materials down a line of bins, scanning each item and tipping it into a bin destined for the right branch. Read the rest

You can request hand-crafted reading-list recommendations from the Brooklyn public library online

The Bklyn BookMatch is a free service that matches readers with custom lists of recommendations: fill in a webform with "the titles, authors, and/or types of books you enjoy, and why" as well as "movies, TV, games, and other interests" and any books you dislike, as well as format and age preferences and within two weeks, a librarian will send you a customized reading list that you can check out of the Brooklyn library (or your own local library -- the service seems to be open to everyone!). (via Kottke) Read the rest

'AN ACT OF TERROR' — Packages sent to 7+ targets, CNN, Obamas, Clintons, Soros, Cuomo, Holder, Maxine Waters

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS STORY, AND WILL BE UPDATED. Authorities in New York are holding a press conference on 7 or more suspicious packages, some of which contained pipe bombs, sent to political targets, mostly in New York state. On the face of it, the coordinated attack appears to be an attempt to assassinate up to 7 different perceived political enemies of President Donald Trump. Read the rest

RIP The Village Voice

"Today is kind of a sucky day," Village Voice owner Peter Barbey told newspaper staff in a phone call Friday. "Due to, basically, business realities, we're going to stop publishing Village Voice new material.” Read the rest

How the NYPD recriminalized marijuana after the state decriminalized it

Back in 1977, middle class, white New Yorkers got frustrated over being criminalized for smoking weed, so they got the state legislature to decriminalized simple possession of weed -- merely having weed in your possession became a civil infraction and if you were caught, you might get a ticket, but that's it. Read the rest

This is the subway in New York

There have been a lot of iconic images offering the FEELING of a NYC subway ride.

The goth woman and her raven, and the Ramones and their guitars are the first to come to mind. Taking photos of people riding the subway is likely on par with photographers crapping out another image of San Franciaco's Golden Gate Bridge. Once in a while tho, we get art.

I have an MTA card in my wallet. Read the rest

Help crowdfund the Harlem Cryptoparty and 100 unlimited, privacy-protecting wifi hotspots for Puerto Rico

Calyx is an amazing nonprofit, privacy-oriented activist ISP (they were the first ISP to successfully resist a secret Patriot Act warrant); they are notable for offering an unlimited, unfiltered, unthrottled 4G/wifi hotspot for a tax-deductible $400 year (mine has repeatedly saved my bacon). Read the rest

Machine-learning-based image classifier can tell when the bus and bike-lanes are illegally obstructed

New York's cyclists and bus-riders are certain they're being slowed and endangered by an epidemic of illegal lane-obstructions from delivery vehicles, taxis and Ubers, but policymakers have refused to do anything about it, saying that the evidence is all anaecdotal. Read the rest

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