Los Angeles just loves to look at advertising on bus benches and now the benches are watching us back. Buzzfeed has found that an estimated 250 benches were outfitted with bluetooth beacons that would give users information based on their location. Don’t worry: the beacons, manufactured by a company called Gimbal, don’t collect information on you, they only watch where you go! Five hundred of Gimbal’s beacons were taken out of New York City phonebooths this month after BuzzFeed revealed their existence.
Smartphone apps that use Gimbal’s technology are required to ask uses to “opt-in” before the app notes your location and sends beacon-triggered messages; after the initial “ok,” every time a user passes a beacon, the phone sends “information about the encounter — including the phone’s ‘unique identifier’, its location, and the time of day” to Gimbal. Sure, the system could alert people to necessary services in case of a disaster, for example, but the company’s plan seems to be to use the information to sell you stuff.
As Joan Didion wrote in her 1979 essay collection The White Album, the sixties “ended abruptly” on August 9, 1969, the night the Manson Family committed the brutal and infamous murders of five people at the home of actress Sharon Tate and director Roman Polanski. The following night, in Los Feliz, the Family murdered two more innocent people, chosen randomly. The authorities were stumped; their main suspect, a groundskeeper at the Tate house, was released after passing a polygraph test. Seven murders in two days was horrible, and without any idea of who did it, the city was on edge: “A Beverly Hills sporting goods store sold 200 firearms in two days. The price of guard dogs rose from $ 500 to $ 1,500,” according to Los Angeles magazine. Eventually the world would learn about the Manson Family, a cult in thrall to a man named Charles Manson, living together at the remote and abandoned Spahn movie ranch deep in the Valley. That full story is here, and below we’ve mapped all those and more important locations in the history of the cult that changed the city of Los Angeles forever.
It only took two years and a lawsuit filing, but Smashing Pumpkins singer/songwriter Billy Corgan, Noxzema girl Rebecca Gayheart, and her husband, Grey’s Anatomy‘s McDreamy Eric Dane, finally settled their raging neighbor feud centered on a eucalyptus tree. This tree, on Corgan’s property, fell onto the Gayheart/Danes’s Beverly Hills Post Office house during a period of intense Santa Ana winds back in 2012, and then they wanted Corgan to trim or chop down a few more so it wouldn’t happen again. After years of fighting, TMZ says that the trio settled out of court just before a trial was scheduled to begin.
Stan Lee, the bespectacled comic book creator and former Marvel Comics president who created or co-created pretty much every superhero now in theaters that isn’t Batman or Superman (Spider-Man, Thor, Hulk, the X-Men, etc.), has put his 1945 house in the Hollywood Hills Bird Streets up for sale. Listed as “an amazing opportunity for someone to build/develop their dream home,” the 2,500-square-foot house has four bedrooms and six bathrooms, says the LA Times, plus a living room fireplace—although it doesn’t sound like any of that will be around for very long (maybe they’ll be brought back to life in a future series). Lee bought the place in 2006 for $ 3.599 million and is listing it now for $ 3.75 million.