me, at haircuts.
Artist: Watson Atkinson
Twine St. Portland, Maine
are you a boy? your clothes are boy clothes.
are you a girl? your clothes are girl clothes.
are you outside the binary of boy and girl? so are your clothes.
did someone just tell you your clothes don’t match your gender identity? they are a trashcan and their clothes are trashcan clothes.
Or in the words of Eddie Izzard..
Because this cannot be reblogged enough.
Screaming silently in adoration
Wish I were ballsy enough to pull this off.
Some of my favourites from yesterday’s shoot. I specifically wanted to over-emphasize my thighs and hips to contrast with the shirt, bowtie and waistcoat combo.
Photos by Katarina Sällylä.
Stanford University has convened the Ethics of Data conference this week bringing leaders from industry, humanitarian, research and civil society together to discuss and build plans for data ethics in all our work. I’m participating by co-leading a workshop on the redefining the Data Lifecycle with my colleague, Patrick Vinck of Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and the wider Crisismappers community are discussing and using drones and satellites to capture imagery of land changes, displaced camps and post-disaster areas. Some of the topics we are discussing within these communities include how to include local NGOs and the government. In times of crisis, humanitarians and technologists are moving very fast. We need to have more guidance, research and best practices. At the Ethics of Data event, we will use HOT as an example data project in our conversations.
The HOT community is incredibly committed to helping humanitarians and affected communities with maps. We are frequency discussing how and what types of aerial imagery be shared. What kind of training do we provide for review and use of aerial imagery? What happens to the data after the emergency? What kind of ethical code should we provide for all Digital Humanitarians? As HOT builds Open Aerial Map and groups like the UAViators come to existence, we need to consider data education and use beyond text and include video, photos and drone/satellite imagery. In the US, Mapbox is educating use of drones by creating a map of where not to fly. This work is moving faster than the research. It is my hope from the Ethics of Data event that I will be able to convene conversations within HOT to determine our next steps. Keeping in mind that every humanitarian situation is different as are the jurisdictions in which global, local and remote contributors participate.
All around the world journalists, civil society groups and governments are working on open data projects. HOT is just one of many projects aimed at using open data to affect change. Determining the new data pipeline could be informed by HOT’s experiences. In the past year, I have been at countless events where people talk about the importance of open data, the importance of the data pipeline and the impact of data storytelling. I also believe that data needs to be open, when appropriate. But, I am wary about preaching about open data without including a clear ethical compass. One of the main reasons that data is not open is that people do not trust how the data will be used. And, frankly, it is very unclear what constitutes a clean dataset. Over the past years, I have worked with Geeks without Bounds, Ushahidi and Data Science for Social Good to try and solve this challenge with checklists or tools. Every dataset begets new questions. All of our work needs to be infused with questions about data accuracy and data ethics. It is misplaced as an afterthought.
This is a Data pipeline via OKFN:
We need to create communities and tools with the data ethics checklists embedded into every aspect of projects from inception to funding to creation to education to analysis and to impact assessments. I’m truly looking forward to rethinking data project lifecycles and sharing the outputs with various communities to discover and remix together.
How would you rebuild the Data Lifecycle?
(Thanks to Nika Aleksejeva from Infogr.am for the Data Storytelling diagram.)
have you backed up your shit lately?
EVERY TIME SOMEONE BRINGS UP THE LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA I GET SO ANGRY.
Because it got burned. All of that knowledge, lost forever.
The library was destroyed over 1000’s of years ago. The library consisted of thousands of scrolls and books about mathematics, engineering, physiology, geography, blueprints, medicine, plays, & important scriptures. Thinkers from all over the Mediterranean used to come to Alexandria to study.Most of the major work of civilization up until that point was lost. If the library still survived till this day, society may have been more advanced and we would sure know more about the ancient world.
"The Bearded Bunch captures an eclectic group of individuals with varying style, tastes, and backgrounds, the unifying factor is their beards & Philadelphia." - Curran J
Photography: Darren Burton
Location: The Duke Barber Company
share via firehose
How do you party with a group of people across four continents? As a trustee of Awesome Knowledge, I'm looking for great ways to celebrate our community and congratulate our grantees. Every month or two, we give $1000 to an awesome project that spreads knowledge (learn more, and unlike most Awesome Foundations, we're a distributed group who have no shared geography. Most chapters conclude each grant cycle with a party, where a wide community is invited to celebrate as the grantee receives a big cheque or bag of money. After weeks of grant reviews and hard decisions, it's this party that often keeps the foundation Awesome.
Awesome Knowledge can't easily party in one place, so we're looking for ways to celebrate online.
— Tim Hwang (@timhwang) June 27, 2014
What Happens When You Optimize for Content Quality
As Stuart Geiger and I argue in a recent talk proposal, we have a vast proliferation of platforms focused on producing high quality conversations, but far fewer systems to foster community. Shared calendars, video chats, word processors, and spreadsheets make real-time collaboration possible with almost anyone in the world, across almost any distance. These technologies have profoundly reshaped how we get things done, from crisis mapping to telecommuting-- but when we optimize for content quality, we tend get something like this:
Optimizing for Community
Distributed organizations like Global Voices, Mozilla, and Wikimedia manage the online party gap by holding occasional festivals in urban centers, flying as many people as possible to the same place for a week of celebration and community building.
How can we create awesome parties online? Share your suggestions in the comments.
Using video chat or forum software to celebrate is like putting bunting on the wall for an office party, without the advantages of an office. Software for online conversations often lack the affordances of physical space that make a good party work. As Judith Donath points out in her book The Social Machine, chat software shares everything you say with the entire room, rather than offering a flow of breaking and merging conversations needed for a good party.
Chat Circles and Talking in Circles by Roy Rodenstein are two examples of technologies that go beyond being there. By arranging chat participants in circles on a two-dimensional screen, it's possible for participants to move around a space and hear only the people who are close to them. This interface allows opportunities like overhearing, introductions, and the chance to move to areas that aren't being recorded.
Great parties need capable hosts. Most work in online facilitation focuses on the quality of content with tasks like upvoting good answers or eliminating spam. Over the last few months, Media Lab colleagues, Computer Clubhouse laders, and I have been testing group facilitation practices on Google Hangout, starting with simple introduction and party games. Many classic games and activities need to be modified for video chat. Mimicry games, for example, can work well when you shout out someone's name rather than point to them. Charades is another video chat favorite.
Parties sometimes break out when we use productivity technology in unconventional ways. Memes, hashtags, discussion music tracks, and remix threads bring together a wide community into bursts of common creativty that shape our collective identity. Consider, for example, what happened when some friends used Google Spreadsheet to organize a retreat:
The soundtrack Doing the Churlish Pule, is a musical rendition of a conversation thread on Metafilter)
Exquisite corpses and remix competitions on forum sites are great fun, but creative remix can also have a high bar of entry. Unlike the Samba schools described by Henry Jenkins, it's often not possible to be a visible bystander, open to being dragged into the center by "participation police" who try to make sure everyone has a good time.
Lots of friends have playfully suggested that Awesome Knowledge meet up in Second Life, a dedicated platform for online socializing. Just, no.
Here are four reasons I'm unsatisfied with Second Life as a place for Awesome Knowledge to hold our parties:
Twitch is a great example of a system that's easy to join and participate in. Alex Leavitt noted this year at PAX that 121,000 concurrent viewers played Twitch Plays Pokemon at its peak-- it was easy to jump into a livestream. Single purpose platforms can also facilitate powerful collective experiences, as I've previously written about in my post about online prayer events.
Social listening apps like Plug.dj allow you to create listening rooms where you and others can chat and listen to music together. From 2011-2013, this was the business model of Turntable.fm, who never managed to find a lucrative enough business model to justify the $7 million of investment they took in, even after attempting to create interactive concerts for fans with Turntable Live. Plug.dj appears to be a clone of the Turntable idea, offering a more sustainable approach to licensing fees by hosting YouTube videos rather than streaming directly. An API is available for creating extensions and bots.
Plug.dj illustrates the difficulty faced by commercial platforms. Since their business model is music recommendations, they structure user interaction towards rating songs: the only way to dance is to upvote a song.
This October, Mariana Santos and I are hoping to facilitate a brainstorming session at the Mozilla Festival to find better ways to Party Online. We would love your suggestions -- add them in the comments:
We got nothing but time.
for the gif
Written by @Willow Brugh, with feedback and general awesomeness from John Willbanks, Sam Klein, and Michael Stone. Additional props to Adrienne and Sands for edits, and to Fin and Matt for kicking my butt into delivery.
In loving memory of my crypto-loving, open-access enthusiast, and occasionally suicidal friends. We will build more open worlds with our corpses. I just wish you would have held off for more unavoidable causes.
Early this year, yet another friend of mine up and died. There was of course a mess of things that had to be figured out. It wasn’t just the traditional things of cleaning out her house (I wasn’t around for that part) or figuring out the funeral (Viking in variety). It was new and interesting technical and moral turmoil of getting into her hard drive, questions of “should we even?”- her prolific music and authoring contributions rivaled by her extreme privacy. It was seeking the edges of her far-flung pockets of internet community to notify them personally, racing the deluge of social media notifications, not wanting them to find out about her the same way I found out about my grandmother – before the familial phone tree had reached me, a peripheral friend calling me based on a facebook post from my sister. A morbid seismic wave.
While I don’t have any control over how others plan for (or don’t) their demise, I have a say over my own. I can show my care for people dear to me my own compulsive, facilitating way by being sure they find each other as they find out, and in making sure information and knowledge I have to offer continues to be released under open access, even if I’m not there to do it. From doing humanitarian and disaster response (and just a general “awareness of the abyss,” as my mother used to tell my vast and angry younger self), I have had to face the looming possibility of my own death head-on. The networked reality that brought those strange new questions and moral quandaries for my friends’ deaths can instead be used to carry forward care and knowledge. This is a sort of guide for the bits of postmortem planning the internet and most lawyers have missed. It’s not complete – I’ve run into some interesting blocks and quirks, around which I’m eager to collaborate with others.
This post is less about things like wills (what happens to material possessions, who doles it out, and the like) and living wills (if you want to be kept on life support etc) – although I’ve added the templates I used to the wiki associated with this post as it includes digital artifacts and more awareness of gendered pronouns than other bits of the internet. This write-up focuses on specific aspects for Open Access and encryption enthusiasts. Brace yourselves for a morbid entry. Know I’m peachy keen, and being an adult about things, not in danger of harming myself or others. If you are in danger of harming yourself, please say as such directly, and get help, rather than indirectly through things like estate planning. It should be possible to speak about death without fear – that’s what I’m doing here. I hope you can hear it (and act) from a similar place.
I’ve divided components up into documents, accounts, notifications, and people. Documents are centralized with accounts, which are propagated via notifications to people, as triggered by a notification from a person. This means I only have to worry about keeping something up to date in one place — a change to a will or to a website password simply happens in the place of storage, without needing to notify everyone involved. As people become close to me, or exhibit destructive behavior, they can be added or removed from the notification pool. The notification mechanism is the one thing that has to remain consistent in this set up.
Executing wills can be a complicated thing, and there are additional snafus and hoops to jump through in granting digital rights postmortem, especially as most courts lack basic understanding of our home The Internet. I’ve thus set up both mechanisms to get access to passwords outside a court of law as well as making that access legitimate through bequeathing to individuals in my will.
I devise, bequeath, and give my technology to my [[relationship]], [[name]]. If [[name]] is unable or unwilling to accept, I bequeath the technology to my [[relationship]], [[second name]].
I devise, bequeath, and give my online profiles and digital assets, as primarily found in 1Password, to my [[relationship]], [[name]]. If [[name]] is unable or unwilling to accept, I bequeath my online profiles and digital assets, as found in 1Password to my [[relationship]], [[second name]].
I’ve taken moderate pains to ensure my online accounts are relatively secure, and so the issue of access when I’m not typing in the password is an interesting one. I like this writeup from Cory about the tension of secured privacy and passing things on after death. I’ve riffed on it accordingly, splitting the password for decrypting my 1Password in two, and giving each half to two people. These four folk don’t know who the others are, and they honestly have no reason to talk to each other, except in case of my death.
The encrypted aggregated passwords file is stored in a place accessible remotely. It auto-updates when I change things on my end, so I don’t have to think about keeping it up to date. 1Password can store encrypted notes, in which I included instructions (also found in templates) and reminders of each of the tasks I’ve requested of people.
But how will people know the time to act in that capacity has come, and how will they find each other? A mailing list, of course!
I’ve set up a mailing list for people who simply need to know (like my childhood friend who lives on a small farm on the Oregon coast and has no connection to my parts of the internet) as well as those who have agreed to take on certain responsibilities at the time of my death or incapacitation. These responsibilities include things like letting the hacker and maker space folk know, or telling the academics with whom I have ongoing projects, or getting into my stuff and taking care of the *ahem* sensitive material before we go into open access mode (there are things my mother has a right not to know). There’s a set of people tasked with tending to the online accounts. The ideal is a closed notice of death to people I’m close to, before it hits the rest of the internet. This eases the burden on any one person, while also providing a support network.
I sent each of these people a request for involvement, and then (if they agree to be on the list) instructions on how to use mailing lists in general and this one specifically. Then I set up an auto-responder to a mail posted to the list with instructions on what first steps are, and reminders of how to access information. In a continuing trend, templates for each of these things can be found in the template section of the wiki.
This is essentially setting up a control system for information dispensation and action upon my demise. Control systems are delicate – single points of failure (like that mailing list not working) or weakest links (unclear directions for action) have to be considered and accounted for. As the point of this exercise is to 1) ease burdens on my loved ones and 2) ensure open access intentions carry through past death, the two main issue I worry about in my set up is people getting falsely spooked and subsequently either a) leaking passwords / freaking out the internet or b) becoming jaded and inactive. As an example, a family member who had not been fully informed as to how the system set-up works posted to my mortality-based-mailing list early on with a “hey how does this work?” which could have cascaded a call to action followed by damage control and head-petting. Thankfully only three people were on it at this early stage. To mitigate this and things like it, a part of the auto-response template to a post to the email list is a “can you trust the message that triggered this?” prompt.
In infosec, considering what could go wrong in life as well as to the structures built to respond to those incidents would be called a “threat model.” What are anticipated complications, where do those come from, and what can be done to mitigate? My system is set up, as my dear friend Michael pointed out, as “more Murphy, less Mallory.” Meaning it’s anticipating death and issues with the deployment (accidental or otherwise) of the postmortem setup as occurring by accident, not malice. I’m not worrying about someone intentionally cracking my password vault (or setting up a spoof one for me to load passwords into). Some people do need to worry about these things, and it should be a part of their consideration when setting up a system which takes care of their digital assets postmortem. Of course there’s space on the wiki to document those cases and resulting structures as well.
Using this model, I’ve compared unintended consequences (mid to low probability false alarm and associated cognitive load in damage control; a vanishingly small likelihood of a scenario in which people I love and trust are secretly horrible people who seek out the other password holders who also end up being horrible and sneaky, and together they unlock all my passwords, and the falsehoods they post on social media are actually believed by people (thanks, anxiety-brain, for that worst-case-scenario!)) with non-action (the amazing set of people I am honored to have in my life have emotional and chaotic things to deal with which I could have avoided for them; work I find worthwhile but unpolished is not released into the world for others to make use of) and decided the how to act (or not). I’ve then built in mitigation and fall-backs into the structure of this control system. Here’s one example:
I have a reminder set up to email The List once a year, as a test. Do all the mechanisms still work? Do people know where to find files, and can they gain access? If you’re prone to changing the password on your vault, this is a good time to be sure your halves-holders have the newest version. It’s also a good time to get assurance that people want to be on the list, and are willing to perform their tasks – do they respond to a yearly message? If not, you might not want to include them on the eventually dire actuality.
If this so far has been within tolerable morbidity and dedication to loved ones, Open Access, and encryption, let’s push that just a bit further. I want to donate my body to science. Always have. (Imagine a wake involving everyone toasting “to science!”). But as with everything I do, I want whatever I have a hand in (ha!) to be Open Access.
Why is this so important? While I don’t think I’ll be a special snowflake for medical research (although visiting the far-flung reaches of the globe might embed some interesting things into my biology worth digging out and putting under high-powered microscopes), it’s possible that, if enough people sign up for this, someone involved will be a Henrietta Lacks. As it’s almost statistically impossible that any one of us would be that profitable to an organization, it’s likely to be a risk worth taking on the receiving organization’s end. But it’s a downstream obligation that, especially if it becomes common practice, opens up the benefits of medical research to a much wider part of the population (and external to the capitalistic models to which we’re subservient).
This downstream obligation could get tricky because I won’t have authority to uphold the obligations. I’ll be dead. So I made sure to give someone else that authority in my living will and will via power of attorney. Ideally, the organization receiving the cadaver will voluntarily comply – especially likely if the org is federally funded, because they’ll be under the federal open access mandate. Combining these two things manifests as WILLING my body, as the body becomes an object after death, and attaching obligations accordingly.
Using this template, I’ve started contacting places to see how amicable they are to Open Access of medical research, and to edx-style recording of medical practice in regards to the cadaver I’d be bequeathing them. The full list of cadaver-using medical organizations in the US can be found here, with the overview of willingness to work with the open access obligation here. If you hear back from one, please update the wiki or send an email. Similarly, please contribute additional country listings. Because it is vital that the accepting organization get the cadaver within a very short timeline, geographic proximity is a priority.
“We don’t release any reports.”
“We never record anything having to do with bodies.” x 3
So the search continues… and I’m hoping for help in finding places that are willing to accept cadavers under these conditions. I’m also assuming that if enough interest is shown, pressure to accept the obligations in exchange for an influx of research material will encourage more programs to be flexible.
Please remember, my dear geek friends – understanding the theory of this is NOT the same as ACTUALLY doing it. OSC sets up mechanisms for granting digital rights, for passing on passwords, for slow-release information, and for open access to information possible from your death. Seeing the importance and care of fulfilling these steps means doing it. I’ve removed every possible barrier I can to showing care for loved ones, and commitments to causes even postmortem. All it takes is a little premortem planning.
You can help me, and this initiative, be more complete by contributing in the following ways:
So far as I can tell, we’re in uncharted territory. I’m sure to have missed things in places, the language isn’t completely clear, and there must be interesting legal loopholes for Open Access donation obligations as well as for profiteers to be considered. Let’s make it better, together. Comment here or (preferably) edit the wiki.
Will organizations take cadavers with these obligations? Add to the list of possible organizations or update that same list with their level of willing compliance. We’ve made templates (surprising no one) – to be used and improved!
Be a part of open source cadavers by pledging to donate your body or by donating money to OSC. Donations will be used first cover hosting and registration costs for 10 years, then split halvsies between those maintaining it and continuing hosting and registration, all to be tracked on the wiki.
If you want to know what's up with my stress levels and GWOBorg tweets, hit me up for a password.
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Abusive Expectations - Makes impossible demands, requires constant attention, and constantly criticizes.
Aggressing - Name calling, accusing, blames, threatens or gives orders, and often disguised as a judgmental “I know best” or “helping” attitude.
Constant Chaos - Deliberately starts arguments with you or others. May treat you well in front of others, but changes when you’re alone.
Rejecting - Refusing to acknowledge a person’s value, worth or presence. Communicating that he or she is useless or inferior or devaluing his or her thoughts and feelings.
Denying - Denies personal needs (especially when need is greatest) with the intent of causing hurt or as punishment. Uses silent treatment as punishment. Denies certain events happened or things that were said. Denies your perceptions, memory and sanity by disallowing any viewpoints other than their own which causes self-doubt, confusion, and loss of self-esteem.
Degrading - Any behavior that diminishes the identity, worth or dignity of the person such as: name-calling, mocking, teasing, insulting, ridiculing,
Emotional Blackmail - Uses guilt, compassion, or fear to get what he or she wants.
Terrorizing - Inducing intense fear or terror in a person, by threats or coercion.
Invalidation - Attempts to distort your perception of the world by refusing to acknowledge your personal reality. Says that your emotions and perceptions aren’t real and shouldn’t be trusted.
Isolating - Reducing or restricting freedom and normal contact with others.
Corrupting - Convincing a person to accept and engage in illegal activities.
Exploiting - Using a person for advantage or profit.
Minimizing - A less extreme form of denial that trivializes something you’ve expressed as unimportant or inconsequential.
Unpredictable Responses - Gets angry and upset in a situation that would normally not warrant a response. You walk around on eggshells to avoid any unnecessary drama over innocent comments you make. Drastic mood swings and outbursts.
Gaslighting -A form of psychological abuse involving the manipulation of situations or events that cause a person to be confused or to doubt his perceptions and memories. Gaslighting causes victims to constantly second-guess themselves and wonder if they’re losing their minds.
Wired and Atlantic are both checking this out, but it's still in edits. Feedback welcome. Password is osc
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CLIMB THE HIGHEST SURFACE POSSIBLE WOOOO
metal windmill construction…
House dressed as a house painting a house on a house
(To Westboro Baptist Church)
"If you really believe in standing up to those threatening the Christian way of life," Hills said on his UK television program "The Last Leg," "how about putting your money where your mouth is, taking a direct flight to Iraq and picketing the people threatening to behead Christians if they don’t convert?"
Hills then took his suggestion a step further by making a generous offer. “I will personally pay for every member of the Westboro Baptist Church to fly to Iraq right now. I’ll even fly you first class and pay the carbon offset.”