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The NYPD is out of control, paying hundreds of millions a year in settlements to its victims

New Yorkers paid nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in 2018 to settle lawsuits filed against the New York Police Department. And that's the good news! It's down from the $335m paid out in 2017. The Daily News reports on the staggering price tag attached to New York City's notoriously violent and uncontrollable cops. The NYPD sees it a normal operating cost to be managed. Police spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie said the reduction in claims shows the department’s ability to fight frivolous cases and provide top-of-the-line training to its officers. “These gains represent another example of how the NYPD is building greater trust and respect with the community to collaboratively solve problems, drive down crime, and enhance public safety,” McRorie said. Critics say the numbers in the report are not indicative of a reformed police department. Read the rest

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WATCH: Trump Impeachment Hearings, Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent testify before House Intelligence

#ImpeachmentHearings have begun. Let loose the bowels of trumpian treason. The House Intelligence Committee held its first open hearing of the impeachment inquiry against President Trump today, Wednesday, November 13, 2019. Democrat and Republican lawmakers in congress heard testimony from William Taylor, Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, and from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. VIDEO: CSPAN. Read the rest

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16" MacBook Pro announced, and it has a proper escape key

After years of poorly-received MacBook Pro models, Apple's new sixteen-inch model has a lot riding on it. The 2019 MacBook Pro (available today at Apple.com) will have a larger screen, latest-generation innards and, yes, an entirely new keyboard design. Prices start at $2399. Early reviews are appearing. The 16” MacBook Pro comes configured with either a 2.6GHz 6-core i7 or a 2.3GHz 8-core i9 from Intel. These are the same processors as the 15” MacBook Pro came with. No advancements here is largely a function of Intel’s chip readiness. The i7 model of the 16” MacBook Po will run $2,399 for the base model — the same as the old 15” — and it comes with a 512GB SSD drive and 16GB of RAM. It's only 2% larger for the extra inch of display. Keyboard's better, but ... maybe wait a few months. Apple is calling it the Magic Keyboard in homage to the iMac’s Magic Keyboard (but not identically designed). The new keyboard is a scissor mechanism, not butterfly. It has 1mm of key travel (more, a lot more) and an Apple-designed rubber dome under the key that delivers resistance and springback that facilitates a satisfying key action. The new keycaps lock into the keycap at the top of travel to make them more stable when at rest, correcting the MacBook Air-era wobble. And yes, the keycaps can be removed individually to gain access to the mechanism underneath. And yes, there is an inverted-T arrangement for the arrow keys. Read the rest

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Before you ask your Chinese factory for a discount, make sure you won't be kidnapped and/or have your product cloned

A post called "The Right Way to Reduce Your China Product Costs" on China Law Blog (previously) sounds like pretty anodyne stuff, but it turns out to be a catalog of several technothrillers' worth of ultra-weird, real-world skullduggery and chicanery from the world of late-stage capitalism and trade war. Background: Trump's tariffs have kneecapped Chinese manufacturing, and Chinese manufacturers are responding by slashing prices to their western customers. This has given rise to a wave of requests for discounts from those western companies, and Chinese manufacturers, already bleeding, are taking desperate steps to stay in business as customers leave or demand unrealistic discounts as a condition of staying. The first one is plain old kidnapping (China Law Blog has written extensively about how kidnapping and ransom are a normal part of Chinese debt collection). Chinese manufacturers, working with local officials, have begun to kidnap representatives from western businesses, citing (possibly imaginary) debts or tax liabilities and holding those reps to ransom as a bargaining chip for keeping foreign business and/or extracting an exit payment from those that they lose. Then there's product cloning: it's not merely that your Chinese manufacturer might steal your product dies and go into business cloning your product and selling it to your wholesalers (though that's happening!). It's also that your Chinese manufacturer might have taken out patents and trademarks on your business and its products. These don't just stop you from sourcing an alternative supplier after you part ways -- some western companies have found that their products are being seized at the Chinese border as counterfeits after anonymous businesses (presumed to be their former manufacturing partners) made patent and trademark claims with customs officials. Read the rest

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The Marble Machine X project shows the value of the Youtube community

Marble Machine X is an ongoing project by Martin Molin of the band Wintergatan to create an amusingly-complex mobile marble-powered instrument. His videos documenting the project receive hundreds of thousands of views, and plenty of enthusiastic and helpful feedback. In this video from September 2018, he shows off an earlier stage of the build, and emphasizes various safety measures he added in response to helpful Youtube comments: The videos in the series find a great balance between being edited to remove the boring parts, while also being quite informative about the fine details of the build: You can support the project via Patreon, or by purchasing merchandise here. (Via Andrew Fraystive.) Read the rest

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Audio misencoded in post-game interview with football coach Ed Orgeron

Something went wrong with my archival encode of the Utah State-LSU game, and all the audio is pitch-shifted down 100%. Which resulted in this. pic.twitter.com/AmispkZO9q — Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) October 10, 2019 Sports reporter Timothy Burke writes that "Something went wrong with my archival encode of the Utah State-LSU game, and all the audio is pitch-shifted down 100%. Which resulted in this." Read the rest

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The robot vacuum can map your house with incredible accuracy

As much as some of us fear the loss of our jobs to robots, there's one job we're pretty sure they are welcome to: vacuuming. There's nothing quite like kicking back and watching a robot vacuum do one of the most time-consuming tasks on the household chore list. And there are few 'bots that do it quite like the Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum & Mop. The power on this thing is a big highlight, combining 1500 rpm of suction with soft bristles that spin at 1350 rpm. It's a combo that makes short work of nearly any mess, and there's even a mopping function that gives hardwood floors an extra shine. With a 32-bit quad processor, the Roborock S6 has brains as well as brawn. Its 14-sensor array helps it build a complete 360-degree view of your room, then plan the quickest route to get every inch. Want it to avoid the dog dish? It's a simple matter to draw virtual barriers in the accompanying app - no magnetic strips required. The Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum & Mop with Adaptive Routing is now available for 7% off the regular retail price, but you can take an additional 15% off by using the online code BFSAVE15. Read the rest

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