Many have predicted that the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics will be one of surveillance, but with New York’s recent “Domain Awareness System” announcement, it’s looking like city security expansion will be the legacy of 2012 in general.

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kahlidmuhammad1 Khalid Shiekh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the September 11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, will be going to trial in New York. Virginia (home of the Pentagon) was competing with New York over who will decide the fate of this senior al Qaeda leader, but decided on a joint effort in a New York based courtroom. With President Obama’s decision to close down the Guantanamo Bay prison, all the terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo Bay prison will get criminal trials in state courts instead of military commissions.

Khalid Shiekh Mohammed’s formal charges will not be announced for a couple of weeks, but Mr. Mohammed did claim that he was the one responsible for the terrorist attacks and was the head of the operation. However, he also accused the the U.S. of torturing him for their use of admitted harsh tactics, including water boarding, a technique intended to simulate drowning. Will this affect Mohammed’s trial? We will see once formal charges are made against Mohammed.

(Via WSJ)

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empire-state-building

The Empire State Building is just one of New York's landmarks located in Midtown Manhattan

After 9/11 there were many security measures implemented in New York City to ensure the safety of its citizens. From airports to local businesses, cameras and license plate scanners were scattered throughout the southern part of the city, effectively creating a technological safe-blanket around lower Manhattan. Now, Mayor Bloomberg has announced plans to increase surveillance over the areas between 30th and 60th Streets, from the Hudson to the East River.

The new expanded security network will work in the same way the old one did, with the cameras feeding data streams into a coordination center located at 55 Broadway for analysis.

Mayor Bloomberg stated “We cannot afford to be complacent,” while reminding people in the crowd that Midtown contains such historic landmarks as Grand Central Station, the Empire state building, and the United Nations buildings, all of which could be subject to terrorist attack. He then added “Do you really want to work in a building that doesn’t have security?”

All in all, the program will cost $24 million and the funds for this project will be provided from the Department of Homeland Security. The program is scheduled to begin next year with completion expected in 2011. The majority of New Yorkers should take heart knowing that the city is making great strides in trying to keep all of us safe.

(Via The New York Times)


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landfillTracking family members, vehicles, and assets makes sense because hey, they’re valuable. But tracking trash? MIT researchers say, yes. Announced on Tuesday, MIT plans to electronically track 3,000 pieces of common garbage over the next three months using GPS cellular technology. The tagged trash, all potentially recyclable, will be monitored from the time it’s thrown out in an attempt to find out exactly where it’s going: in the landfill or in the recycle bin. By showing people that recyclable trash is still ending up in the landfill, MIT researchers hope to promote a lifestyle change nationwide.

“Trash Track aims to make the removal chain more transparent. We hope that the project will promote behavioral change and encourage people to make more sustainable decisions about what they consume and how it affects the world around them.”

The project was inspired by New York City’s Green Initiative goal to divert 100% of the city’s recyclables from landfills to recycle centers. By creating “trash transparency,” MIT researchers hope to change people’s  recycling habits  by using this high tech GPS tracking technology.

(Via Backpacker.com)

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Sept 11 AnniversaryProbably the biggest tragedy in U.S. history, everyone remembers where they were on September 11th, 2001.

I remember visiting the World Trade Center in 5th grade on a family trip from Boston. It was one of the biggest buildings I’d ever seen, and I practically had to bend backwards to see the entire building. I jumped on the elevator to the top, which took much longer than any other elevator and made everyone’s ears pop.  Once I reached the top, I remember stepping out on the deck to huge gusts of winds and the best view that Manhattan had to offer. 5 years later I would have never imagined sitting in math class and hearing that a plane had hit one of the towers. Panic, loss, and sadness. How could such powerful and grandiose buildings fall so easily?

Today, the scene is much different. In the center of Lower Manhattan’s hustling and established Financial District, lies an empty void marked by construction cranes and dirt. 8 years later, the site looks very much similar to the days after the event. The air is heavy and sad.

Today is a somber day in New York City, both in weather and tone, as the nation and world remember the tragic events that took place on that fateful day. Thousands gathered this morning at the site of the World Trade Center to hear the victims’ names read aloud and to listen to words of remembrance. Never forgotten, both New York City and the world are standing behind the victims, the FDNY, the NYPD, and the countless volunteers who contributed hours, time, and their lives on that fated day.

(Via USA Today)


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crane-collapseNew York City’s Department of Buildings will begin tracking their inspectors using GPS technology embedded in the workers company issued cell phones. The tracking systems will take effect on Monday, by monitoring ten inspectors at first and by the end of the month they plan to be monitoring all  379 inspectors.

The GPS systems are being installed because of an incident concerning an inspector named Edward J. Marquette. Marquette filed a false inspection report on a crane. That crane toppled 11 days later killing seven people.

Buildings Commissioner Robert D. LiMandri said “This new GPS tracking system is a simple, innovative way to ensure inspectors reach their assigned locations and are held accountable for their important work.”

Many of the inspectors are not happy with the news changes. Joseph M. Corso, the president of Local 211 of the Allied Building Inspectors Union has reacted by saying, “Just like the Justice Department monitors parolees and those under house arrest, they’ll have a tracking device,” he said of the inspectors. “We’re going to do all we can to ensure the rights of the membership are covered.”

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