- z2013-08-11- Brown Killed By Ferguson Police
The shooting of Michael Brown occurred on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson Mo, a suburb of St. Louis. Brown, a young black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a white PolIce officer. The disputed circumstances of the shooting of an unarmed man and the resultant protests and civil disorder received considerable attention in the United States and abroad.
The day after the shooting, local and national leadership planned a vigil and other responses. On the evening of August 10, police tried to break up the crowd, and some protesters responded violently, looting various stores in the neighborhood, including a QuikTrip.
Protests and rioting lasted for over 2 weeks. As the details of the original shooting event emerged from investigators, police established curfews and deployed riot squads to maintain order... On August 13, while police were clearing a McDonald's restaurant, The Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and The Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilley were arrested... Al Jazeera America Journal Ist-s covering the protests in Ferguson on Wednesday night were also tear-gassed and shot at with rubber bullets by a police SWAT team. Along with peaceful protests, there was looting and violent unrest in the vicinity of the original shooting. Widespread media coverage examined the post-9/11 trend of police militarization (SWAT) when dealing with protests... The Justice Department will investigate Ferguson police force for possible misconduct or discrimination.
But a revealing vote this past June shows just how uphill the battle is to stop the trend of turning police into soldiers. On June 19, progressive House Democrat Alan Grayson (FL) offered an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would block the “transfer” of “aircraft (including unmanned aerial vehicles), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxicological agents, launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles” from the Department of Defense to state and local police forces. The amendment attracted the support of only 62 members, while 355 voted against it (14 didn’t vote). Included among those voting against it was Rep. William Lacy Clay (D), who represents Ferguson. Clay was joined by every senior member of the Democratic Party leadership team, including Reps. Nancy Pelosi (CA), Steny Hoyer (MD), and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (SC).
Sept05: Rep. Hank Johnson has set his sights on reforming the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program, the mechanism through which local law enforcement agencies can request and obtain military surplus equipment.
Mar04'2015: Darren Wilson will not be charged by the Justice Department.
- z2012-01-25- Diy Garage Biology
If you’re curious about biology, you can join a newly formed organization called Bio Curious in California’s Bay Area. Bio Curious, started as an online community, recently opened a new BioTech Hacker Space and community lab where those interested can come together to learn and share ideas... If you live in New York City, you can join GenSpace, the city’s community biolab that opened doors in December 2010. According to their web page, “Genspace was founded by a group of science enthusiasts who come from different professions--artists, engineers, writers and biologists. Unlike traditional institutions, our diversity is our strength and the source of our innovation.” WiredMag profiled the lab when they opened last year.
A similar article with more emphasis on home activity. In 2007, Freeman Dyson predicted that leadership in biotechnology would eventually shift away from large corporations like Monsanto to kitchen laboratories, becoming "small and domesticated rather than big and centralized."... AutoDesk has recently begun sponsoring college genetic-engineering competitions and is developing software to aid biologists in their goal of re-wiring the genes of bacteria so that they will make fuel or drugs... After paying a $325 license fee, Cathal Garvey won approval last July from Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency to create genetically modified microbes in his mother's home. His "Class 1" lab rating lets him work only with germs that pose "negligible risk" to the public or the environment... Using his computer, Garvey designed a circular ring of 3,200 DNA letters, which he paid a contract lab in Texas $1,300 to synthesize and mail to him. It's a miniature chromosome called a plasmid that the B. subtilis bacteria will absorb. To endow a germ with new traits (say, fluorescence, or the smell of rain on a sidewalk), just splice the needed DNA into the plasmid. Garvey calls his construct "Indie Biotech Backbone 1.0," and he plans to sell it to other Bio Hacker-s.
More recent coverage from the DIYbio group.
- z2010-09-20- Lanier Educational Technology
Jaron Lanier is skeptical about lots of Educational Technology. At school, Standardized Test-ing rules. Outside school, something similar happens. Students spend a lot of time acting as trivialized relays in giant schemes designed for the purposes of advertising and other revenue-minded manipulations. They are prompted to create databases about themselves and then trust algorithms to assemble streams of songs and movies and stories for their consumption (ConsumEr). Shared CuratIon is possibly the lowest level of Creativ Ity, but it's something. The key is for parents and teachers to nudge them through curation.
We see the embedded philosophy bloom when students assemble papers as mash-ups from online snippets instead of thinking and composing on a blank piece of screen. The availability of online snippets has only made more visible the vapidity of most school paper assignments. ("What appears to be a crisis is often just the end of an illusion.")
Roughly speaking, there are two ways to use computers in the classroom. You can have them measure and represent the students and the teachers, or you can have the class build a virtual spaceship (Construction Ism). Right now the first way is ubiquitous, but the virtual spaceships are being built only by tenacious oddballs in unusual circumstances. More spaceships, please.
Stowe Boyd thinks Jaron's arguing against Connectiv Ism, and disagrees. I agree that there's an element of that in the essay, and agree with Stowe's thinking. I think the essay is rather muddled because it's treating a bunch of different things as the same thing, and criticizing them all.
Semi-related: Euan Semple on the foolishness of schools banning FaceBook. Yes learning what people had for breakfast - but also learning news, learning what works, learning what books are best to read, learning where to find the right bit of information... It is particularly ironic when schools ban Facebook as they are the very ones who should be teaching effective use of this technology - not keeping their pupils stuck in some industrial, factory model of learning.
- z2011-05-01- Boyd Network Economy Liquid World
Stowe Boyd thinks in terms of a Liquid World rather than a Network Economy.
I’ve written recently about Liquid Media, and I think the term can be expanded beyond the narrower media sense, into something broader and more pervasive. We are sliding into a liquid state from a former, more solid one. Our devices and software is where we are seeing this first, but it is already transforming the media world. Witness the headlong transition from solid media (media destination sites with their proprietary organization, with inward-focused links, concrete layout, and editorial curation) to liquid media (media content is just URL flotsam in the streaming apps we use, rendered by readering tools we choose and configure, and social CuratIon).
But the larger picture is a liquid world, in which social nets, ubiquitous connectivity, mobility, and web are all givens, forming the cornerstones of a vastly different world of user experience, participation, and utility. This is the new liquid world, just a few degrees away.
- z2005-02-16- Jwz Contra Groupware
Jamie Zawinski on the horrors of Group Ware. "Groupware" is all about things like "WorkFlow", which means, "the chairman of the committee has emailed me this checklist, and I'm done with item 3, so I want to check off item 3, so this document must be sent back to my supervisor to approve the fact that item 3 is changing from "unchecked" to "checked", and once he does that, it can be directed back to committee for review." Nobody cares about that shit. Nobody you'd want to talk to, anyway. If you want to do something that's going to change the world, build software that people want to use instead of software that managers want to buy... So I said, narrow the focus. Your "use case" should be, there's a 22 year college student living in the dorms. How will this software get him laid? "How will this software get my users laid" should be on the minds of anyone writing Social Software (and these days, almost all software is social software). (Compell Ing)
He's referring to NovEll's HuLa.
TimBray notes LiveChat and WiKi-s are not exactly what the Collaborat Ive-future visionaries of past years had in mind. But they seem to hit an awfully-big 80/20 point.
Ian Bicking notes I get paid to do that kind of stuff. I bet that's what a lot of us get paid to do. And yeah, I hate to admit it, but it's fucking lifeless. It doesn't make anyone happy. Sure, commerce isn't about Happi Ness (I guess), but it's not about life-sucking bureaucracy either. The word "Enter Prise" gives me a sinking feeling of sadness and grief.
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This is the publicly-readable WikiLog Thinking Space of Bill Seitz (a Product Manager and CTO).
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