Police Tape: an ACLU mobile app to secretly record the police

Police Tape is an Android app from the American Civil Liberties Union that is designed to allow citizens to covertly record the police. When activated, it hides itself from casual inspection, and it has a mode that causes it to send its recording to an ACLU-operated server, protecting against police seizure and deletion.

Citizens can hold police accountable in the palms of their hands with “Police Tape,” a smartphone application from the ACLU of New Jersey that allows people to securely and discreetly record and store interactions with police, as well as provide legal information about citizens’ rights when interacting with the police. Thanks to the generosity of app developer OpenWatch, the ACLU-NJ is providing Police Tape to the public free of charge.

The ACLU says that an iPhone version is “coming soon,” though it remains to be seen whether something so potentially controversial passes muster with the App Store.


Police Tape


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Police recruitment videos from different cities reveal astonishing differences in attitude

Police recruitment videos from Decatur, Georgia (top), and Newport Beach, California (Bottom). I wonder if the differences in attitude here reflect real differences in the quality of police service.

Two Videos, Two Cities, Two Attitudes


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Weatherman predicts the end-times

Here’s a weather report for the apocalypse: “On WTVR CBS 6 in Richmond, VA, weatherman Aaron Justus provides the last weather forecast you’ll ever need.”


Hot Weather in Richmond this Weekend

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


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Junkbot insects from a metalworker in Afghanistan


Noah sez, “I thought you would appreciate these giant insects made from repurposed materials (including vehicle parts and bits of a blown up toolbox) by metalworker Ben Marcacci, who is currently at Camp Dwyer in Afghanistan.”

Noah is correct.


I started making these types of piece’s when I relocated to Camp dwyer (Aug 2011), I had the equipment and scrape material to do so, prior to Dwyer I traveled from base to base. Not being able to work with my first love (metal work) I found myself drawing more and more , but I like 3D, I like building things…so my skills for creating sculpture morphed into collecting “found objects” (soda tab, lock washers, o-rings, AFG coins) and I would build jewelry (mainly earrings) I gave a pair to my girlfriend and sisters, and the they wanted MORE… I continued to make them and I started cannibalizing items I would find in Local afghan bazaars. I’m currently working on a 3rd generation earring.

Giant (Upcycled) Metal Arachnids & Insects in Afghanistan

(Thanks, Noah!)


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Credentialism is just as screwed up as corporatism

“Death by Degrees,” a thoughtful piece in N+1, compares the inherent injustice in a system rigged to produce unequal wealth distributions to the injustice in a system that demands expensive, time-consuming higher education in order to access professional and political life. The authors present this as a blind spot for the left, who criticize poor people for falsely identifying with the monied class and its politics, but who believe that charges of elitism in the left are just knee-jerk anti-intellectualism. They argue that elitism is very real, and, like the barriers to economic justice in labor law and politics, it is an oppressive system of credentialism that concentrates power and access in the same way. In a nutshell: “When we ask ourselves whether populist hostility should be directed against the rich or against the professional elite, the answer must be, ‘Yes, please!’”


Today, we take it for granted that practicing medicine or law requires years of costly credentialing in unrelated fields. In the law, the impact of all this “training” is clear: it supports a legal system that is overly complicated and outrageously expensive, both for high-flying corporate clients who routinely overpay and for small-time criminal defendants who, in the overwhelming majority of cases, can’t afford to secure representation at all (and must surrender their fate to local prosecutors, who often send them to prison). But just as a million-dollar medical training isn’t necessary to perform an abortion, routine legal matters could easily, and cheaply, be handled by noninitiates.

The standardization of these professional guilds benefited undergraduate institutions immensely, a fact that was not lost on university administrators. College presidents endorsed the Hopkins model and the AMA’s consolidation of medical authority for good reason: in the mid-19th century, bachelor’s degrees in the United States were viewed with skepticism by the private sector, and colleges had a hard time finding enough students. The corporate-sponsored consolidation of the medical establishment changed undergraduate education from a choice to a necessity. Where once there was indifference, now there was demand: “I want to be a doctor when I grow up,” the child in the PSA says. “I want to go to college.”

No administration has embodied credentialism as thoroughly as the current one. Of Obama’s first thirty-five cabinet appointments, twenty-two had a degree from an Ivy League university, MIT, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Oxford, or Cambridge. No one would advocate staffing the country’s ministries with wealthy imbeciles, as was the custom under George W. Bush; but the President — a meritocrat himself — has succumbed to what might be called the “complexity complex,” which leads us to assume that public policy is so complicated that you need a stack of degrees to figure it out. But major political questions are rarely complex in that sense. They are much more likely to be complicated, in the Avril Lavigne sense, meaning that they involve reconciling disagreements among competing stakeholders — or, as the situation may demand, ratcheting them up.


Death by Degrees

(via Making Light)

(Image: Stats about student debt, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from siwc’s photostream)


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Clientless BitTorrent downloads in your browser, using Javascript

BitTorrent Labs have released the alpha version of their “OneClick Chrome Extension,” a Javascript-based Web app that obviates the need for a separate BitTorrent client. Using their plugin, you can download BitTorrent files as though they were regular, server-hosted downloads. As Patrick Williams explains in a blog post on GitHub,


I stumbled upon the Chrome Extension webRequest api that gives you access to all the http headers for requests in Chrome. Which meant that not only could I filter for .torrent file requests, but I could go one step farther and just wait for a server to serve up a file with the application/x-bittorrent mime type before springing into action. I immediately slowed my ascent up Balmers peek, declined the co-worker invite to Zeitgeist (apparently it was quite the evening), and dove in.

Writing Chome extensions is actually fairly simple. Despite my failure to deliver on the foolishly bold claim I made to Art, saying that I’d have OneClick rewritten as a extension before he left for the day, it really wasn’t too much work. Their getting started page is really precise, and their documentation and examples are really thorough, especially for webRequests.

OneClick Chrome Extension

(via Engadget)


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Movies, TV and yes, toys, draw fans to Comic-Con

In this July 5, 2012 photo, the Marvel Universe S.H.I.E.L.D. Super Helicarrier, at center with a Captain America figure on the foredeck, is seen with, from left background, a DC Comics Vertigo Death figurine, the Polly Pocket DC Comics Villain set, and a Dana as Zuul "Ghostbusters" figure, all special-issue Comic-Con 2012 collectibles, shown in Los Angeles. The annual four-day Comic-Con festival runs July 12-15, 2012, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Football fans have the Super Bowl. Soccer enthusiasts have the World Cup. Cinephiles have the Academy Awards.

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Zombie T-Rex tattoo

Megan, a cake designer, sports her wonderful zombie/T-Rex tattoo. It was inked by Jeff Addz at Generation X in Daytona Beach, Florida, who worked freehand.

Zombie T-Rex Tattoo Shoulder Tattoo

(via Geekologie)


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Library in abandoned house


I’m very taken with James Charlick’s photo, “The Grand Library,” shot in an abandoned house during an urban exploration expedition.

The Grand Library


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Scientology memo asks members to censor critical web comments with trumped up "code of conduct" complaints

An internal memo from Scientology’s “Office of Special Affairs” (notorious for being a dirty tricks bureau) asks adherents to the faith to find message-board comments on stories about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s divorce that criticize the church and try to have them censored by complaining about violations of online services’ “codes of conduct,” which typically prohibit “inciting religious hatred.”

Well, I am not somebody that I am going to simply stand and watch a
bunch of uninformed people putting my religion under the carpet. So
here is a simple hatting on how you can causative fight back and at
the same time stand up and defend our religion on the internet.

Microsoft or Google or any of these big online company require that
each person when create an account with them follow a Code of
Conduct when they are on the internet. If there are abuse of such
Code of Conduct, those website do actually invite you to report the
matter to the Moderator — in other word, write the matter to
Ethics.


Blogger: Scientology group asks followers to censor Web comments

(Thanks, Marilyn!)


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