June 29, 2020

Testilying

Brady Cop by Jaik Puppyteeth

Police perjury (or testilying in U.S. police slang) is the act of a police officer giving false testimony. It is typically used in a criminal trial to ‘make the case’ against a defendant believed by the police to be guilty when irregularities during the suspect’s arrest or search threaten to result in acquittal.

It also can be extended further to encompass substantive misstatements of fact for the purpose of convicting those whom the police believe to be guilty, procedural misstatements to ‘justify’ a search and seizure, or even to include statements to frame an innocent citizen. Continue reading

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June 26, 2020

Bosozoku

Universal Japanese Motorcycle

Bōsōzoku (literally ‘running-out-of-control (as of a vehicle) tribe’) is a Japanese youth subculture associated with customized motorcycles. The first appearance of these types of biker gangs was in the 1950s. Popularity climbed throughout the 1980s and 1990s, peaking at an estimated 42,510 members in 1982. Their numbers dropped dramatically in the 2000s with a reported number of under 7,297 members in 2012.

Bōsōzoku are known to modify their motorcycles in peculiar and showy ways, which are called ‘Kaizōsha’ (‘Modified Vehicles’). The general style of bōsōzoku bike modification appears to combine elements of an American chopper bike and a British café racer. Examples of modifications that are taken from these styles are raised handle bars like those on a chopper or over-sized fairings like those found on café racers (though bōsōzoku usually fit them much higher on the bike than their original position, and angled upwards at the front). Continue reading

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June 25, 2020

Boogaloo Bois

2020 boogaloo killings

The boogaloo movement, adherents to which are often referred to as ‘boogaloo boys’ or ‘boogaloo bois,’ is a loosely organized American far-right extremist movement. Participants generally identify as a libertarian citizen-militia and say they are preparing for, or seek to incite, the ‘boogaloo,’ a second American Civil War that will overthrow the United States government.

While use of the term has been found on the fringe imageboard website 4chan since 2012, it did not come to widespread attention until late 2019. Adherents use the term (including variations, so as to avoid social media crackdowns) to refer to violent uprisings against the federal government or left-wing political opponents, often anticipated to follow government confiscation of firearms. Continue reading

June 21, 2020

Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

George Floyd

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), Free Capitol Hill, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, and the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), is an occupation protest and self-declared autonomous zone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The zone, originally covering six city blocks and a park, was established by George Floyd protesters on June 8, 2020 after the Seattle Police Department (SPD) vacated its East Precinct building.

Local governance in the zone is decentralized, with the goal of creating a neighborhood without police. Purported demands associated with the zone include rent control, the reversal of gentrification, the abolition or defunding of police, funding of community health, and releasing prisoners serving time for marijuana-related offenses or resisting arrest, with expungement of their records. Continue reading

June 17, 2020

Al Jaffee

Mad Fold-in

Al Jaffee (b. 1921) is an American cartoonist. He is notable for his work in the satirical magazine ‘Mad,’ including his trademark feature, the ‘Mad Fold-in.’ Jaffee was a regular contributor to the magazine for 65 years and is its longest-running contributor.

Between 1964 and 2013, only one issue of ‘Mad’ was published without containing new material by Jaffee. In a 2010 interview, he said, ‘Serious people my age are dead.’ With a career running from 1942 until 2020, Jaffee holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest-ever career as a comic artist. In 2013, Columbia University announced that he had donated most of his archives to the college. Continue reading

June 11, 2020

Gypsy Cop

Tulia

In law enforcement in the United States, a gypsy cop is a police officer who frequently transfers between police departments, having a record of misconduct or unsuitable job performance. The term is slang, referencing the stereotypical nomadic lifestyle of the Romani people, pejoratively ‘Gypsies.’ Some dictionaries recommend against using the word gypsy as a modifier with negative connotations, because such use could be considered a slur against the Romani people.

In use since the 1980s, the phrase entered public parlance in the 2000s after the infamous Tulia drug stings, where itinerant lawman Tom Coleman allegedly set up innocent people, most of them black, as part of a long-term undercover operation. Continue reading

June 9, 2020

Guano

Guano Islands Act

Guano [gwah-noh] is the accumulated excrement of seabirds and bats. As a manure, guano is a highly effective fertilizer due to its exceptionally high content of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium: key nutrients essential for plant growth. Guano was also, to a lesser extent, sought for the production of gunpowder and other explosive materials.

The 19th-century guano trade played a pivotal role in the development of modern input-intensive farming, but its demand began to decline after the discovery of the Haber–Bosch process of nitrogen fixing led to the production of synthetic fertilizers. The demand for guano spurred the human colonization of remote bird islands in many parts of the world, resulting in some of the first examples of U.S. colonialism and the expansion of the British Empire. Continue reading

June 8, 2020

Dead Drop

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

dead drop or ‘dead letter box’ is a method of espionage tradecraft used to pass items or information between two individuals (e.g., a case officer and an agent, or two agents) using a secret location. By avoiding direct meetings, they could maintain operational security. The method stands in contrast to the ‘live drop,’ so-called because two persons meet to exchange items or information.

Spies (covert intelligence agents) and their handlers have been known to perform dead drops using various techniques to hide items (such as money, secrets or instructions), and to signal that the drop has been made. Although the signal and location by necessity must be agreed upon in advance, the signal may or may not be located close to the dead drop itself. The operatives may not necessarily know one another or ever meet. Continue reading

June 1, 2020

Gay Panic Defense

Murder of Scott Amedure

The gay panic defense is a legal strategy in which a defendant claims they acted in a state of violent, temporary insanity, committing assault or murder, because of unwanted same-sex sexual advances.

A defendant may allege to have found the same-sex sexual advances so offensive or frightening that they were provoked into reacting, were acting in self-defense, were of diminished capacity, or were temporarily insane, and that this circumstance is exculpatory or mitigating. Continue reading

May 29, 2020

South Atlantic Anomaly

Van Allen radiation belt

The South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) is an area where the Earth’s inner Van Allen radiation belt (a protective zone of energetic charged particles originating from the solar wind that are captured by Earth’s magnetic field) comes closest to the Earth’s surface, dipping down to an altitude of 120 miles. This leads to an increased flux of energetic particles in this region and exposes orbiting satellites to higher-than-usual levels of radiation.

The effect is caused by the non-concentricity of the Earth and its magnetic dipole. The SAA is the near-Earth region where the Earth’s magnetic field is weakest relative to an idealized Earth-centered dipole field. Continue reading

May 24, 2020

Greater Fool Theory

Tulip mania

In finance and economics, the greater fool theory states that the price of an object is determined not by its intrinsic value, but rather by the local and relative demand of a specific consumer.

In an inflated market, a consumer, despite having broader market knowledge might pay an inflated price because of their needs and the local related-market value. Another consumer, relative to their needs and assessment of market value, may deem the price excessive. Thus, to one consumer, the commodity has a greater value than to another, making the former look like a fool to the latter. Continue reading

May 23, 2020

Venatio

Marcus Fulvius Nobilior

Venatio [ven-ah-tee-oh] (‘hunting’) was a type of entertainment in Roman amphitheaters involving the hunting and killing of wild animals.

The event was introduced by Roman General Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, who celebrated his Greek campaign in 189 BCE by celebrating games where gladiators would fight lions and panthers. He was possibly inspired by Alexander the Great’s purported pastime of pitting lions against both men and dogs. Continue reading