ideas

Rooftop solar, and the four levers of social change

I started noticing the solar panels four or five years ago. My neighbors’ barns starting sprouting them, neat black rectangles covering the south-facing roofs.

Ben Franklin, the Post Office and the Digital Public Sphere

My dear friend danah boyd led a fascinating day-long workshop at Data and Society in New York City today focused on algorithmic governance of the public sphere.

T. Greg Doucette on false arrest and police brutality

This post is not from me, but is a remarkable rant from T. Greg Doucette, an attorney in Durham, NC, who took to Twitter to share his experiences defending a young client from charges of reckless driving to endanger, a serious crime in North Carolina.

Fred Turner: The link from anti-fascist art and the “historical problem” of Facebook

Fred Turner, the leading chronicler of the links between the 60s counterculture and the internet revolution, turned his sights to the rise of multimedia in America prior to the 1960s in his recent book The Democratic Surround.

Why is Verizon letting rural broadband decay?

Let me start with an apology: reading other people’s tech support horror stories is less fun than hearing them describe their medical problems or recount their dreams. No one wants to hear them.

Heroin and Hope

This story is cross-posted on FOLD.cm, where it’s got more links, images and a layout that lets you see what’s behind the links while you read the story. Check it out there, and try FOLD to publish your own stories.

New idea? Or old idea done better?

Last week I received my yearly mailing of Ashoka’s inspiring ‘Leading Social Entrepreneurs’ publication. It’s always fascinating flicking through the work and lives of some quite extraordinary individuals helping make their part of the world a better place.

Urgent: Reports that Bassel Khartabil has been sentenced to death

Bassel Khartabil, a leading figure in the Syrian Open Source software community, has been imprisoned by the Syrian government since March 2012, accused of “harming state security”. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has declared his imprisonment arbitrary and called for his immediate release.

Insurrectionist Civics in the Age of Mistrust

The fine folks at Syracuse University’s Humanities Center invited me to deliver the keynote address in their annual symposium series, this year focused on “Networks”. Here are the notes and slides from my talk, with the somewhat weighty title, “Insurrectionist Civics and Digital Activism in the Age of Mistrust.”

Star Simpson at Freedom to Innovate

This past weekend, with support from the Ford Foundation, EFF and the MIT Media Lab, Center for Civic Media held a two day conference on the Freedom to Innovate. The first day featured experts on cyberlaw, activists and students who’d experienced legal challenges to their freedom to innovate.

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