jm + la   5

Palantir Knows Everything About You
This is so fucking dystopian:
Operation Laser has made L.A. cops more surgical — and, according to community activists, unrelenting. Once targets are enmeshed in a [Palantir] spidergram, they’re stuck.

Manuel Rios, 22, lives in the back of his grandmother’s house at the top of a hill in East L.A., in the heart of the city’s gang area. [...] He grew up surrounded by friends who joined Eastside 18, the local affiliate of the 18th Street gang, one of the largest criminal syndicates in Southern California. Rios says he was never “jumped in”—initiated into 18. He spent years addicted to crystal meth and was once arrested for possession of a handgun and sentenced to probation. But except for a stint in county jail for a burglary arrest inside a city rec center, he’s avoided further trouble and says he kicked his meth habit last year.

In 2016, Rios was sitting in a parked car with an Eastside 18 friend when a police car pulled up. His buddy ran, pursued by the cops, but Rios stayed put. “Why should I run? I’m not a gang member,” he says over steak and eggs at the IHOP near his home. The police returned and handcuffed him. One of them took his picture with a cellphone. “Welcome to the gang database!” the officer said.

Since then he’s been stopped more than a dozen times, he says, and told that if he doesn’t like it he should move. He has nowhere to go. His girlfriend just had a baby girl, and he wants to be around for them. “They say you’re in the system, you can’t lie to us,” he says. “I tell them, ‘How can I be in the hood if I haven’t got jumped in? Can’t you guys tell people who bang and who don’t?’ They go by their facts, not the real facts.”

The police, on autopilot with Palantir, are driving Rios toward his gang friends, not away from them, worries Mariella Saba, a neighbor and community organizer who helped him get off meth. When whole communities like East L.A. are algorithmically scraped for pre-crime suspects, data is destiny, says Saba. “These are systemic processes. When people are constantly harassed in a gang context, it pushes them to join. They internalize being told they’re bad.”
palantir  surveillance  privacy  precrime  spidergrams  future  la  gangs  justice  algorithms  data-protection  data-privacy  policing  harrassment 
april 2018 by jm
The Nuclear Missile Sites of Los Angeles
Great article by Geoff "bldgblog" Manaugh on the ruins of the Nike air-to-air missile emplacements dotted around California. I had absolutely no idea that these -- the 1958-era Nike-Hercules missiles, at least -- carried 30-kiloton nuclear warheads, intended to be detonated at 50,000 feet *above* the cities they were defending, in order to destroy in-flight bomber formations. Nuclear war was truly bananas.
war  history  la  sf  california  nike-missiles  missiles  nuclear-war  nike-hercules  cold-war  1950s 
february 2016 by jm
Forensic Topology
The sounds were not, however, caused by ghosts but by a group of three or four men at least to some degree professionally trained, the FBI now believes, in tunneling: a close-knit and highly disciplined team, perhaps from the construction industry, perhaps even a disgruntled public works crew who decided to put their knowledge of the city’s underside to more lucrative work. After all, Rehder explained, their route into the bank was as much brute-force excavation as it was a retracing of the region’s buried waterways, accessing the neighborhood by way of the city’s complicated storm-sewer network, itself built along old creek beds that no longer appear on city maps. As LAPD lieutenant Doug Collisson, one of the men present on the day of the tunnel’s discovery, explained to the Los Angeles Times back in 1987, the crew behind the burglary “would have had to require some knowledge of soil composition and technical engineering. … The way the shaft itself was constructed, it was obviously well-researched and extremely sophisticated.” Rehder actually goes further, remarking that when Detective Dennis Pagenkopp “showed crime scene photos of the core bit holes” produced by the burglars’ boring upward into the vault “to guys who were in the concrete-coring business, they whistled with professional admiration.”
cities  crime  architecture  digging  tunnels  subterranean  la  lapd  banks  via:bldgblog  sewers 
october 2013 by jm
Vitamin T: Hold the Salsa, New York Times! We've Got Something to Taco ‘Bout - Digest - Los Angeles magazine
ouch. some serious slagging here, along with taco science. (BTW we have the same problem with carne asada in Ireland, our taquerias use the cheater method too, sadly)
la  tacos  mexican  food  new-york  slagging  burritos  taquerias  carne-asada 
october 2013 by jm
Street Cuffs: L.A. Sees Big Jump In Bike Thefts
Some [LA] bike messengers last month took justice into their own hands when they caught two suspected thieves, teenage boys who attended a local Catholic high school. According to police, the messengers stripped down the teens to their boxer shorts before taking their cellphones, backpacks and clothes.

“They meted out street justice. We don’t condone street justice. They never threatened them. But they made it clear: don’t mess with another person’s property,” Los Angeles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said. “This incident and the arrests are the tip of the iceberg when comes to people stealing bicycles.”

Vernon said the two boys told police they were robbed by about 20 men on bicycles at 6th Street and Grand Avenue about 3 p.m. on Jan. 12. Investigators said they cannot prove the boys were stealing bikes and continue to look for the assailants.
cycling  theft  robbery  bike-theft  la  crime  vigilantes  cycle-couriers 
july 2013 by jm

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