The Longest Now


Cop dines with homeless mother of four, gets kudos. Her plight is ignored.
Thursday May 19th 2016, 2:48 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire,Not so popular,Rogue content editor,Uncategorized

Recent news blurbs across our fair state, applaud a state trooper for “sharing lunch with a homeless mother of four“.  (Headline language).

This was noticed and photographed by a passerby; the trooper then identified by the state police and posted to their online webpage praising him for his good deed; a CBS affiliate spent hours tracking down both the photographer and the woman for a video interview.  They got quotes from her about: being a ‘homeless panhandler’, his common decency, and her surprise.  She was described by her motherhood, her panhandling, and being down on her luck.

And that’s it!  Nothing thoughtful about why this young mother is homeless in Fall River, or what will become of her family.  No opportunities to reach out and fix a tragedy. She clearly needs more than one good meal and healthcare, but the outpouring of interest in the viral photo is entirely directed towards how and whether to applaud the police officer [who, quite decently, refused to be interviewed], how this reflects on police officers everywhere, how this perhaps restores faith in humanity.

(Update: It seems the trooper and one local news affiliate did find a way to help her temporarily with material support, a bit after that event. And a few cases like this that have famously included a crowdfunding campaign. But the most newsworthy issue is: how does this happen in our society, what can we do to fix that, and what permanent fixes could work for the family in the spotlight.)



For a moment I am a thesaurus joining at a breakneck pace
Monday December 09th 2013, 3:13 am
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory,gustatory,poetic justice,Rogue content editor

misplaced ideas with corollaries, antonyms with alternatives, symmetry with simulacra.

and then I am back in the moment. recalling, lives ago, looking forward to this future, married to my (smart, lovely, mad) sweetheart. perennially fighting over homes and children and unmeant slights and trivia.

I chose otherwards, nor ever doubted that, though it would have been sane and not wrong. now she has colonies of frozen fertilized embryos waiting for the next wave; you have families to love and sweat and curse and laugh about; I have corollaries yet beginning. different paths are necessarily incommensurable; and to the extent they can be directly compared, they all come out to the same possibilities in the end. never demean where you are; find the joints and levers at hand and use them with confidence and joy.



On Miranda’s Rights: Intimidating the press through their families
Wednesday August 21st 2013, 6:04 pm
Filed under: Rogue content editor,Too weird for fiction

Lord FalconerMark WeisbrotBen Daniel comment on the surprising 9-hour detention of Glenn Greenwald’s husband David Miranda, on a layover through Heathrow, under  the unironically-named “Terrorism Act 2000“.



Babbage on Aaron, in this week’s Economist, with love and regret
Tuesday January 15th 2013, 1:17 am
Filed under: Aasw,poetic justice,Rogue content editor,Uncategorized

Remembering his own past correspondence with Aaron:

On hearing of his death Babbage (G.F.) reviewed a number of e-mails he exchanged with Mr Swartz in 2000-01. The boy was in his mid-teens but his prose, taut and to the point, was as mature as his precocious mind. He wanted to know where your correspondent obtained book data for a price-comparison site. He even suggested a collaboration, regretfully unconsummated, that later became the nucleus of the Open Library.



That art makes me feel … uncomfortable.
Monday December 03rd 2012, 9:00 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,citation needed,Rogue content editor

Crash course in false equivalence.



Three Copyright Myths and Where to Start to Fix it – a policy brief

A lovely short policy brief on designing a better copyright regime was published on Friday – before being quickly taken offline again.  I’ve reposted it here with light cleanup of its section headings.

If you care at all about copyright and its quirks, this is short and worth reading in full.



UNHRC: Periodic Rights Review (US edition, part 2)
Saturday October 13th 2012, 12:37 am
Filed under: international,metrics,poetic justice,Rogue content editor,Uncategorized

Earlier this year I wrote a bit about the latest UNHRC periodic rights review of the US, something that happens for every country once every four years.  Norway offered the most excellent advice, making 7 solid apolitical recommendations.

They didn’t rehash international policy disputes or convention-signing, which can be nominal at best: and focused instead on essential changes that can be carried out now, and would be historically significant. If we implemented their 7 recs, our nation would be a better place.  Here they are, consolidated (with the # of the rec, and our response):

  1. Consider a human rights institution at the federal level to ensure implementation of human rights in all states (74: yes, will consider, but no current plan)
  2. Take further measures in economic and social rights for women and minorities, including equal access to decent work and reducing the number of homeless people (113: yes)
  3. Take measures to eradicate all forms of torture and illtreatment of detainees by military or civilian personnel, in any territory of jurisdiction, and that any such acts be thoroughly investigated (139: yes)
  4. Take steps to set federal and state-level moratoria on executions with a view to abolish the death penalty nationwide (122: blanket no)
  5. Review federal and state legislation with a view to restricting the number of offences carrying the death penalty (132: blanket no)
  6. Apply the model legal framework of the Leahy Laws to all countries receiving US security assistance, with human rights records of all units receiving such assistance  documented, evaluated, made available and followed up upon in cases of abuse (227: no more than now. ‘we already do this, but in secret’)
  7. Remove the blanket abortion restrictions on humanitarian aid covering medical care given to women and girls who are raped and impregnated in armed conflict (228: no, sorry. “due to currently applicable restrictions”)

The death penalty is increasingly considered outmoded and barbaric in most of the world, yet in our domestic discussions it is seen as a reasonable option – more a matter of regional preference than a fundamental moral matter. 35  states currently allow it.

And what’s up with the 7th point above?  The US has imposed restrictions on its international aid funding over the past few decades to prevent aid recipients from using those funds to provide abortions or suggest them as an option for family planning.  The most well-known example of this is the Mexico City Policy , instated by Reagan and since repealed or reinstated by each preseident in the first days of his term, along party lines.  This affected roughly $100M of aid given to family planning programs; and is also called the “global gag rule” because it prohibited aid recipients from using any of their funds for abortion care.

Today, while the MCP stands repealed, there are other similar restrictions in force – including the one highlighted by Norway.   They are reportedly the first country to bring the issue up in an international setting, as part of a campaign launched with the Global Justice Center.

Overall, I am fascinated at how unified and sane most of these recommendations are. It reminds me that peer review by a large group of peers tends toward the awesome, constructive side of the scale, even when the peer group includes some trolling and posturing.



If You Are Afraid (of something), Eat One Of It. Listen:
Thursday October 11th 2012, 10:18 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,Rogue content editor

JUST DO IT.




Re: Sudo make me an Internet
Wednesday July 04th 2012, 12:36 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,poetic justice,popular demand,Rogue content editor,Uncategorized

Happy Independence Day!

A few good pieces on the Declaration of Internet Freedom:
* Christian Science Monitor: The Internet needs its own ‘declaration of independence’
* Forbes: Freshly-Minted Declaration of Internet Freedom Demands ‘Free and Open Internet’
* ABC News: For July 4, a Declaration of Internet Freedom
* And an excellent, long piece by The Verge: How the net’s minutemen plan to protect the future

And ACTA was just rejected by the EU Parliament:
* Controversial anti-piracy agreement rejected by EU

Kudos to everyone involved in that turnaround.



Adapt Now Or Be Disintermediated, says @FakeElsevier

Reed Elsevier’s received a scathing critique by The Street’s Jared Woodward this week, who bets heavily against its stock [RUK] :

We regard the common stock as an implicit naked short put option because, while the upside potential from the publishing division is limited, the downside risk from any revolt by its customers (libraries), laborers (academics), or funders (governments) is not.

Woodward incisively covers everything from the academic-run The Cost of Knowledge campaign countering the Elsevier-backed Research Works Act, the Federal Research Public Access Act proposal to enshrine Open Access as a requirement of all government funders, a similar EU mandate, the UK recruiting Jimbo to help draft a similar policy for all UK-funded research by 2014, Harvard’s faculty memo on deep and broad Open Access support, the stunning successes of PLoS One and Rockefeller University Press, and @FakeElsevier‘s tweets and blog.

@FakeElsevier is a pseudonymous academic who has been sharing satirical posts and tweets about Elsevier since February. The subject above is from one of the more popular blog posts: “Dear Elsevier Employees, With Love, From @FakeElsevier.

Take a look at Woodward’s report: It’s an exhausting and exhilirating read.

Federal Research Public Access Act



Meteoric
Thursday May 03rd 2012, 12:49 am
Filed under: %a la mod,chain-gang,Glory, glory, glory,Rogue content editor

Meteor: The future of web-apps?

Congrats to deberg and others for pulling off an inspiring soft-launch.



Cardboard Cutout Khomeini
Wednesday April 25th 2012, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Rogue content editor,Too weird for fiction

Still venerated: Ruhollah Khomeini, iconified in larger-than-life cardboard forms. Shown here on MehrNews, and parodied on its own Blogspot.

The landing-strip military welcome for the cutout, complete with roses and a band, is a nice touch. “Too strange for fiction” wins out over “photoshop”.

via Jacob Rus.



Preserving Internet freedom: protesting SOPA and the Wikipedia blackout
Wednesday January 18th 2012, 12:02 am
Filed under: international,Not so popular,popular demand,Rogue content editor,Uncategorized,wikipedia

Thousands of web sites across the Internet are shutting down today to protest proposed U.S. laws (SOPA and PIPA) that would make it difficult for websites to host community-generated content on the Internet. Most notably, the English Wikipedia is implementing a 24-hour blackout, replacing articles with a notice describing the two bills and encouraging readers to take action to stop them.Please take a moment to learn more about the bills and why they would be harmful to the open Web, to open education, and to present and future collaborative projects.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and other non-profit organizations dedicated to preserving freedom on the Web have ways that you can make your voice heard in the national and international debate about these proposed laws.



On appearance, body language, and xenophobia

The Occupy movement has a nice set of websites up for many of the major metropoles in the US. They even have a meta-website up (how can you not love that?) covernig the links between them, Occupy Together. Right now it is focused on the US, even though there’s already an Occupy Canada movement (ok, no surprise, since Adbusters was a driving force behind the original idea).

From the meta-site, I discovered that Noam Chomsky recorded a video supporting Occupy Boston, and found a link to some charming footage of an afternoon party in the Cipriani Club on Wall Street, where partygoers in black tie on a second-floor balcony smiled and waved at the march passing underneath their balcony. They seem cheerful, interested, and friendly to the passing crowd, waving and taking photographs – just like so many of the observers down on the street. But even if their body language is essentially the same, their setting and clothes set them apart in the eyes of many. Almost every comment on the video that I’ve seen, is scornful of the partygoers — assuming they represent the Other the crowd is implicitly targeting and opposing with their chants. Only one of hundreds of people pointed out that they are probably at a wedding or other formal celebration at the club, and many likely support the ideals of the marchers.

How can we bridge the gap created by surface appearances — communities with different dress codes, social circles, and ways of expressing themselves — to get at underlying agreement? The fundamental requests and needs of these protests are no only supported by the sorts of people who celebrate at black tie events, but also at some of the wealthy “1%” – Warren Buffett most notable among them. Yet certain kneejerk reactions and stereotypes are set up as barriers to cooperation even before people have a chance to meet. We have foun many solutions over the generations to the more omnipresent problem of bridging cultural divides across national and language barriers when immigration or war brings different societies together. How can we learn from that to bridge this gap in the debates over how to allocate a nation’s resources?



Aaron Swartz vs. United States

(echoes of a broken system)

UPDATE: Aaron committed suicide on January 11, 2013.(!) More on his life here.

Aaron Swartz is a friend and Cambridge-area polymath whose projects focus on access to knowledge, open government, and an informed civil society.  He has worked as a software architect, digital archivist, social analyst, Wikipedia analyst, and political organizer.  Last year he co-founded the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the non-profit political advocacy group Demand Progress.

He is also currently charged with computer fraud by the US Attorney’s office, in what appears to be the latest example of “a sweeping expansion of federal criminal jurisdiction” based on the broad applicability of wire fraud and computer fraud statutes.  An overview:

 

Background

Aaron has studied institutional influence and ways to work with large datasets.  In 2008, he founded watchdog.net, “the good government site with teeth“,  to aggregate and visualize data about politicians – including where their money comes from.  That year he also worked with Shireen Barday at Stanford Law School to assess “problems with remunerated research” in law review articles (i.e., articles funded by corporations, sometimes to help them in ongoing legal battles), by downloading and analyzing over 400,000 law review articles to determine the source of their funding.   The results were published in the Stanford Law Review.  Most recently, he served for 10 months as a Fellow at Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics, in their Lab on Institutional Corruption.

He contributed to the field of digital archiving, designing and implementing the Open Library, which serves as a global digital resource today, and as a foundation for any digital libraries in the future.  And he collected 2 million  public-domain court decisions from the US PACER system — a system that nominally makes all such decisions available to the public, but in practice keeps them hidden behind a paywall — to add to Carl Malamud’s collection at resource.org.  (That work in turn gave rise to the crowdsourced RECAP project.)

 

The Case of the Over-Downloader

Last week, Aaron was charged by a grand jury with computer fraud [1], for allegedly downloading millions of academic articles hosted by the journal archive JSTOR, and exceeding authorization on MIT and JSTOR servers to do so.

JSTOR claims no interest in pursuing a legal case.  However they are not part of the prosecution, and Aaron faces a possible fine and up to 35 years in prison, with trial set for September.  You can support his legal efforts online.

The Association of College and Research Libraries notes that both the prosecution and Swartz’s supporters have characterized the trial with “superficial, and deeply incorrect, messages about libraries and licensed content“.

So how did this come to pass, and what does it mean for the Internet?

Details of the case and public reactions it inspired, after the jump.

(more…)



Involuntary collaboration
Sunday March 20th 2011, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Blogroll,indescribable,Rogue content editor,Uncategorized

I buy other people’s landscape paintings at yard sales and Goodwill and put monsters in them. from imgur.

Involuntary Collaborations: I buy other people's landscape paintings at yard sales and Goodwill and put monsters in them.



Plagiarising satire as news
Sunday February 27th 2011, 8:31 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire,international,metrics,Not so popular,Rogue content editor

Today the Tehran Times, an English-language paper based in Tehran, and other Iranian news sources, engaged in a bit of Internet journalism, copying some satire (‘Saudi king offers to buy Facebook for $150B to end revolt’) — down to a misspelling of Zuck’s name — into a summary of news on the King’s announced plans for social reform (providing cheap land for housing). This got its fifteen minutes of fame on forums and Twitter, enough to draw a brief official denial.

It’s not news that minor news agencies can be too busy to check facts or worry about copyright, but you’d think they would be more sensitive to satire. All I have to say is: Freshrant made the joke first.




Bad Behavior has blocked 649 access attempts in the last 7 days.