mstem

Recent blog posts by mstem

Killing People Still Morally Wrong

These are the moments that make the other moments of attempted unity more difficult, more hollow, for many among us. Before giving into the polarized reactions that the Trayvon Martin story has elicited from its onset, we might practice a little empathy for those for whom the case represented a great deal more than George Zimmerman's fate.

My thoughts race tonight to the family of Trayvon Martin, who fought so hard through personal emotions and the initially indifferent public reaction to deliver attention (and by extension, they hoped, justice) to their loss. But tonight especially, my feelings go out to everyone for whom this judgement is just vindication of the existing fear and trepidation we force them to feel for simply existing as they were born.

Kickstopper: When crowdfunding pipes money to projects you abhor

Like Facebook and other corporate social platforms, Kickstarter has been asked to further refine its policies governing which speech it will and will not accept on its platform.

Kickstopper

The catalyst for the conversation is a DoSomething.org petition with over 50,068 signatures (in just over a day) against Ken Hoinsky's successfully completed Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Hoinsky's initial $2,000 goal was surpassed, reaching $16,639 before the campaign ended.

6 productive responses to PRISM

new PRISM logoAlong with the other free peoples of the internet, we've been discussing our reactions to PRISM, and whether and how US (and global) citizens might be able to organize against this unprecedented domestic spying. There are more questions than answers at the moment, and the enormous challenge of confronting an extra-legal entity like the NSA with people-power is strongly felt. But here are 5 things you can do that could prove more productive than petitioning the White House to respond. Thanks primarily to Sasha Costanza-Chock for the roundup:

1. Encrypt yourself
See The Guardian Project's Android apps, Security in a Box, and Tor. If you have the skills, go further: build tools / better UI / How To Guides / visibility to encourage more people to encrypt themselves, too.

Robin Chase and Nick Grossman’s hopes for the sharing economy

Photo by @brianquinn

Robin Chase (@rmchase), founder of ZipCar and BuzzCar, started the first company WAY back in 2000. It made renting a car as convenient as owning car, and "right-sized the asset", meaning you only pay for what you use. In addition to huge savings and new freedoms for consumers, this meant fewer cars sitting around unused in cities.

But less obviously, Zipcar stretched the definitions of "consumers" and "producers" in an economy. Robin prefers 'collaborators' as a more modern term. The company's success hinged on the assumption that most people are good. That trust, and bond with their customers, was key to creating the company.

Skype, Facebook, eBay, YouTube, Wikipedia, et al do the same thing: take excess capacity (sharing) and combine it with a platform for participation. Robin's slept in all kinds of beds, from hotels to a teenager's bedroom.

Are you creating change? Ask harder.

A post from Personal Democracy Forum in NYC, where I'm live-Tumblring on the official Civic Tumblr.

"This work is hard. If it were easy, it would be done already."
-Micah Sifry, asking the PdF community to take care of one another

Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman runs SumofUs.org, and is Aaron Swartz's bereaved partner.

image

You know nothing, Jon Snow campaigners

How do you know when you're changing the world (a component of how DO you change the world?)

Taren says that organizers empower other people to create change, while campaigners set their sites on a specific change and go about creating that change, whether that involves empowering other communities, or drinks with a Senator's nephew.

This is a room full of campaigners. Taren challenges us to temporarily suspendthe assumption that we're accomplishing anything

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