Shared posts

23 Apr 18:32

caseworkproductions: eunnieboo: so a few days ago i sat down for dinner and my mom handed me the...



so a few days ago i sat down for dinner and my mom handed me the camera with a strange look on her face. all she said was “you need to see this” and i was like ?? okay

but then


that is my dad with a pigeon on his head.

SO OF COURSE MY REACTION WAS JUST “WHAT?! HOW??? HOW” and APPARENTLY when my dad was outside gardening, he saw it land on the roof of our house. and then it just. flew down. and landed on his head



like the other morning i stepped outside to call my dad in for lunch and the pigeon was just sitting on the front porch watching him work


best friends forever


I feel like this is something that would happen to my dad. It is, essentially, how we ended up with a pet squirrel when I was a child…

22 Apr 07:31

"I long for resources and discussion on polyamory that include mental health issues. I want to talk..."


Metamours to me have always been kind and pretty great -- I think I've done the same, or at least tried, and tried to learn when I wasn't.

That said, I think we do need better resources. The best I've yet found are punk zines about re-examining relationships. I can't stand _The Ethical Slut_ because it's so derogatory of monogamy.

“I long for resources and discussion on polyamory that include mental health issues. I want to talk about how polyamory intersects with trauma and madness. I want to talk about c-ptsd panic attacks and jealousy, hyper vigilance and fear of abandonment, depression and your partner’s other partners. I would like to imagine a polyamory that makes space for this, partners and metamours who make space for this, community that makes space for this. I want to imagine a polyamory that honours interdependence instead of the neo-liberal idea that everyone is only responsible for themselves and their own feelings. I want to dismantle the idea that asking for what we need is shameful.”

(via autistpsyche)

This discussion is pretty much exactly what my current comic Polyamory Isn’t For Everyone is about - the complications that arise from trying to have a healthy polyamorous relationship when one (or both) partner(s) suffer from a mental illness and need ongoing support. 

23 Apr 00:00


23 Apr 03:42

iwriteaboutfeminism: Ahead of tonight’s #FreddieGray protest in...


Ahead of tonight’s #FreddieGray protest in Baltimore, police attempt to restrict access to the area.

Wednesday, April 22nd

22 Apr 15:44

breelandwalker: interpretivescreaming: manicpixiedeathwish: bl...





How focal length affects perspective.

also known as the reason you look awesome in the mirror and shitty in photos

This is seriously a life altering revelation

No seriously, it IS.

23 Apr 03:21

Help keep this sink empty like a lost soul


one of Sam's houseguests put this up. It is my favorite.

Help keep this sink empty like a lost soul

22 Apr 12:00

Introducing FOLD, a new tool (and a new model?) for storytelling

by Ethan

I'm super excited to write a story for this.

This morning, Center for Civic Media at MIT is releasing a new publishing platform, FOLD. Alexis Hope (a Masters student in my lab) and Kevin Hu began working on FOLD when they were students in my class News and Participatory Media. The class asks students to take on a reporting task each week, using existing tools or building new ones to solve a particular challenge. FOLD was Alexis and Kevin’s solution to a challenge I put forward around writing “explainers”, articles designed to provide content for stories that give incremental updates to a larger story (and to develop an appetite for those stories based on deeper understanding of their significance.)

Alexis and Kevin took seriously an idea I put forward in the class – the idea of explainers with an accordion structure, capable of shrinking or expanding to meet a reader’s need for background information. Alexis and Kevin built a story that could compress into a list of half a dozen sentences, inflate to a six-paragraph essay, or expand further into a rich multimedia essay with maps, images and videos appearing alongside the text. The class loved the idea, and Alexis decided to take on developing the platform as her Masters thesis. Kevin continued collaborating with her while pursuing a different project for his thesis, and Joe Goldbeck joined the team as a lead developer.

FOLD Authoring preview from Alexis Hope on Vimeo.

What’s emerged after a year’s work is fascinating and full-featured tool that allows for a novel method of storytelling. Stories on FOLD have a trunk and leaves. The trunk is text, with a novel form of hyperlinks – instead of linking out, they link to cards that appear to the right of the trunk and show images, videos, maps, data visualizations. They can also contain other text or links to the web. This has the effect of encouraging massive linking within stories – rather than a link potentially leading someone away from your webpage, it builds a stronger and richer story on the site.

While I’ve had the pleasure of advising Alexis on her thesis, FOLD is emphatically not my project – had you asked me a year ago, I would have told you that the last thing the world needs is a new content management system. But it’s been fascinating to try writing on FOLD and discovering the ways in which it’s a tool I’ve wanted and needed for years. I often write posts with hyperlinks every other sentence and trust my readers to check those links to understand the whole story… while realizing, of course, that very few do. FOLD brings those references to the front, capturing some of your attention in your peripheral visionas you read the core, trunk text. It’s incredibly easy to add media to a story in FOLD, and I find that when I write on the platform, I’m far more likely to include rich imagery and video, which makes my stories visualizable and understandable in a very different way than blog posts.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 1.11.58 PM

Alexis, Kevin and Joe are launching FOLD without a clear business model. I think that’s a good thing. I don’t think we know what FOLD is good for yet, and I think that’s exciting. It’s possible that FOLD becomes an alternative to platforms like Medium, a place that encourages people to write beautifully on a beautiful platform. Perhaps it becomes something like WordPress, which hosts content for millions of people as well as maintaining an incredibly robust platform for independent publishers. (Not only are we releasing FOLD as a platform, but as an open source codebase.) Maybe it’s a tool for a radically new form of writing, perhaps stronger for literary than journalistic writing. Maybe some of the ideas of the platform are adopted into other systems and the influence of Alexis, Kevin and Joe’s thinking spreads that way. We don’t know, and that’s exciting.

For me, personally, I’ve loved the experience of seeing something cool and potentially influential coming out of our lab that wasn’t my idea and which I’ve helped guide, but emphatically haven’t built. This feels like a shift in how I’m trying to work in the world, and one I’m starting to get comfortable with.

Like many people of my generation, I’ve changed jobs several times in the past twenty years. Rather than switching firms, I’ve also shifted careers, moving from a dotcom startup to founding an international volunteering agency, to academic research (and co-founding another NGO) and finally, at age 39, to teaching at the graduate level at MIT.

When you change careers, some skills transfer, and some don’t. The shift from research to teaching was far sharper than I’d expected. There’s an unkind saying, “Those who can’t do, teach.” I’d offer a rewrite: “Teaching well forces you to stop doing things, and focus on helping others do things.” I build less, and write less, than before I came to MIT. But I coach more, listen more, and I’m starting to love the experience of watching projects I help advise coming to life.

Glyph from Savannah Niles’s story about Cuba

One of the most beautiful stories I’ve seen produced with FOLD is “What You Need to Know About the Cuban Thaw”, written by Savannah Niles (also for my News and Participatory Media class.) The story is illustrated with animated, looping GIFs, produced with a tool Savannah has been building for her thesis called Glyph. I’m one of the readers on Savannah’s thesis, and while I’ve thought these images were very beautiful, I didn’t understand what they were for until I saw them in this story. They add a sense of motion and life to stories without interrupting the reading experience as videos end up doing. This experience of supporting work I don’t understand and then discovering why it’s important – with Glyph, with FOLD, with dozens of projects around the Media Lab and in my broader work on Civic Media – is one of the most exciting experiences of my career.

I hope you’ll give FOLD a try and help us figure out what it’s for. Let us know what works, what doesn’t, what you want and where you think the project should go.

21 Apr 23:00


credit: amanda

21 Apr 13:42

Data Sculpture: Media Perspective

by elplatt

For those of us who work with data, we get used to visualizing in our mind and develop an intuition for it. For everyone else, data visualization usually takes the form of a diagram on a small, two-dimensional screen. Standard data plots can take an exciting idea and turn it into something boring, or even worse, drudge up memories of panicked high school math exams. This experimental data sculpture attempts to draw the viewer into the visualization and connect them with the data on an intuitive, physical level. The sculpture shows the amount of coverage the U.S. mainstream media gave to Net Neutrality between January 2014 and April 2015, while the FCC was creating revised Net Neutrality rules. Each of the 33 panes of clear acrylic represents a two-week time slice, with the size of an etched circle corresponding to the amount of coverage. The top row shows total Net Neutrality coverage, with the other three rows representing coverage of "innovation," "discrimination," and "regulation," in reference to Net Neutrality.

Attention peaks four times: when the FCC announces its proposal, at the end of the public comment period, after President Obama announces support for reclassifying broadband, and finally when the FCC releases its new regulations. Coverage is notably low during the public comment period, the primary time individual citizens had a chance to influence the policy. The visualization also shows that "discrimination," language used in earlier technical and legal discussion of Net Neutrality disappeared from mainstream media coverage, giving way to the more idealogical and economic terms "innovation" and "regulation." The viewer can explore these data by walking around the sculpture, standing back, or standing close, making it easy to engage without a digital interface or specialized knowledge.

Cross-posted to

20 Apr 11:57

itscolossal: Photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson Captures the...


Photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson Captures the Joy of Young Afghan Skateboarders

In Afghanistan, girls aren’t allowed to bicycle but they are allowed to skateboard. So, in 2007 a non-profit that pairs skating and education called ‘Skateistan’ descended on the country. Skateboarding is now the #1 sport for women in Afghanistan. Photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson took these award-winning portraits of skateboarding girls in Kabul.

21 Apr 15:44

"I know that if women wish to escape the stigma of husband-seeking, they must act and look like..."


yeah, sure, until more than a few of your friends sit you down to tell you you're leaving a trail of broken hearts. Then you either chose to live life as you are, or to tamp it down a bit. I did (and still do) the latter.

“I know that if women wish to escape the stigma of husband-seeking, they must act and look like marble or clay - cold, expressionless, bloodless; for every appearance of feeling, of joy, sorrow, friendliness, antipathy, admiration, disgust, are alike construed by the world into the attempt to hook a husband. Never mind! well-meaning women have their own consciences to comfort them after all. Do not, therefore, be too much afraid of showing yourself as you are, affectionate and good-heartened; do not too harshly repress sentiments and feelings excellent in themselves, because you fear that some puppy may fancy that you are letting them come out to fascinate him; do not condemn yourself to live only by halves, because if you showed too much animation some pragmatical thing in breeches might take it into his pate to imagine that you designed to dedicate your life to his inanity.”

- Charlotte Brontë writing to a friend who had been kind to a man she thought was married, only to have him fall in love with her because he thought she was flirting (letter dated April 2, 1845). (via feu-pale)
18 Apr 17:00

Fantastic Cities: 48-Page Urban Coloring Book Made for Adults

by Urbanist


[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

fantastic aerial view

Coloring books are no longer just for kids, as this one designed for adult colorists illustrates in beautiful black and white. Showing urban scenes both real and imagined, these fictional, actual and hybrid views could take hours each for enthusiasts to fill in, and, psychologists argue, may even profit mental health benefits beyond the fun of simply reliving a childhood activity.

fantastic citiesss

fantastic cities book

Canadian artist Steve McDonald, the man behind Fantastic Cities, is known for works of a similar style, but these have historically been found in galleries and collections: “small on-site studies that are usually done with pencil/chalk on colored paper and large format studio work which is usually done with pencil & charcoal/chalk with acrylic washes on paper. Steve has also gained a lot of attention for his highly detailed ‘ bird’s eye view ‘ renderings of villages, cities and rural scenes as well as his compositions of machinery and his popular flying vehicle series.”

fantastic landscape

fantastic filled in color

In this book, Steve selected scenes from major cities like New York and San Francisco, providing aerial drawings of real places but also stylized works based on the architectural and urban character of other cities, all with extreme levels of detail that leave readers with much to color.

fantastic cities urban cityscape

There may even be psychological benefits to coloring: “by engaging multiple parts of the brain, coloring allows us to focus on the lines, movements, and colors in front of us, use our imaginations and be creative, and de-stress.” More about the book: “This unique coloring book features immersive aerial views of real cities from around the world alongside gorgeously illustrated, Inception-like architectural mandalas. Available July 7th from Chronicle Books.”

fantastic cities books

fantastic cities black white

Nor is this an isolated piece – according to the New York Times, “major publishers are seizing on the trend. This year, Little, Brown will release four illustrated coloring books for adults, all subtitled ‘Color Your Way to Calm.’ The books, ‘Splendid Cities’ by the British artists Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick and three titles by the French illustrator Zoé de Las Cases, feature detailed cityscapes with famous landmarks, cafes and street life. Promotional materials for the books emphasize the health benefits of ‘mindful coloring,’ noting that the activity “has been shown to be a stress reliever for adults.”

Want More? Click for Great Related Content on WebUrbanist:

Book of Cities: Rise & Fall of 10 Places Over 200 Years

We take it for granted that London and New York will grace the pages of books, but would you be surprised to learn that Madrid and Cairo were once as commonly ... Click Here to Read More »»

Pencil vs. Camera: Illusion Drawings Pop Off the Page

You might think artist Ben Heine has Photoshopped himself into his own pencil drawings, but he’s actually standing on top of them. Much like the ... Click Here to Read More »»

Pop-Up Pulp: Book Covers Made Into Dramatic 3D Scenes

Pulp fiction cover art is fabulous enough in its own right, but Thomas Allen takes it to new heights with his weird but hilarious pop-up cover art. Click Here to Read More »»

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

[ WebUrbanist | Archives | Galleries | Privacy | TOS ]

17 Apr 20:30

by mehrn00sh

18 Apr 00:08

micdotcom: Real students’ responses to what #IWishMyTeacherKnew...


Real students’ responses to what #IWishMyTeacherKnew will break your heart 

Kyle Schwartz asked third-graders in her Denver classroom to write her notes about things they wish she understood about their lives. Schwartz told ABC News she knew her students came from underprivileged homes but wanted to truly understand how that affected their lives and education. The movement has now spread across the country.

18 Apr 16:40

greeneyes-n-butterflies: ifwemetatmidnight:the princess bride +...

oh my gosh Steve you can't just ASK AN OLD LADY THAT SMH

i skipped Westley's cheesy line about true love after this but my Steggy heart knows it's still there

this line is so Tony r u srs

Steve playing the old man card gives me life




the princess bride + avengers: part 2

The crossover of my dreams

18 Apr 18:32

trever-t: This is my new favorite GIF.


This is my new favorite GIF.

18 Apr 19:28

nezua: always remember: all these systems of dominance rest on...


always remember: all these systems of dominance rest on very fragile illusions. tap the glass.

18 Apr 18:30

SearchNo connectionTry again


No connection

Try again

17 Apr 22:16

mockingturtles: oh my god


oh my god

14 Apr 12:13

sasaq: @__anpp__ | Websta (Webstagram)

16 Apr 18:15

Police Must Respect the Right of Citizens to Record Them

by Sophia Cope

“I’m asking all the citizens of North Charleston to continue taping.”

That is what Councilwoman Dorothy Williams said in response to the shooting death of Walter Scott. She and others recognize that the story would have been very different without the video showing that a white police officer shot the unarmed black man several times in the back as he ran away from a traffic stop in North Charleston, South Carolina. Both NBC News and Huffington Post imagined the story absent the video.

The tragic encounter was filmed by 23-year-old bystander Feiden Santana. After Santana released his video, the officer was arrested and charged with murder. Santana decided to share the video with Scott’s family because he knew it contradicted the official police account.

This case exemplifies why an important component of police accountability is the ability of citizens to record officers carrying out their public duties. Thankfully Santana was not harassed for wielding his cell phone, but many people have been: officers have ordered people to stop recording, seized their devices, deleted the photos or video/audio recordings, and even arrested people.

The Justice Department report on the Ferguson Police Department issued last month chronicled a pattern of abusive and unconstitutional behavior by police officers when citizens tried to record them (see pages 26-28). One officer arrested a woman after she began recording her husband’s arrest by the officer. As the report explains, “The officer became irate, declaring, ‘you don’t videotape me!’”

Some federal appeals courts and the Justice Department have recognized the right of citizens to record the police, although the Supreme Court has not squarely ruled on the issue. Recent cases have specifically addressed recording the police in the age of the cell phone, which can record pictures, video and audio (with audio recording implicating wiretap laws).

In 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued an opinion in Glik v. Cunniffe. Simon Glik had used his cell phone to record both video and audio of Boston police officers arresting another man. The officers then arrested Glik for making the recording, but the charges were later dropped. Glik sued the officers and the City of Boston for violating his constitutional rights.

The First Circuit held that the First Amendment “unambiguously” protects the right of citizens to record the police – and government officials generally – carrying out their official duties in public. The court stated, “Ensuring the public’s right to gather information about their officials not only aids in the uncovering of abuses, but also may have a salutary effect on the functioning of government more generally.”

The details of the case are important. Relying on the fact that Glik had stood about 10 feet away from the officers, the court stated, “Such peaceful recording of an arrest in a public space that does not interfere with the police officers’ performance of their duties is not reasonably subject to limitation.”

The First Circuit also held that the Boston police violated the Fourth Amendment because they did not have probable cause to arrest Glik. Because Glik’s recording of the other man’s arrest included audio, the officers accused Glik of violating the Massachusetts wiretap statute. Massachusetts is an “all-party consent” state, meaning that all parties to a conversation must consent to it being recorded; whereas the federal Wiretap Act and other states’ laws are “one-party consent” statutes, meaning that only one party to a conversation needs to consent to it being recorded.

The First Circuit noted that although the Massachusetts wiretap statute protects both private and public conversations (notwithstanding the First Amendment), it only prohibits “secret” audio recording where the parties to a conversation are unaware that they are being recorded. By contrast, the court found that the officers were on notice: Glik held his cell phone – “a device commonly known to record audio” – in “plain view” of the officers and one officer, in fact, knew that Glik was recording audio because the officer asked Glik if he was doing so and Glik replied in the affirmative.

Thus, the court held that Glik did not violate the Massachusetts wiretap statute because he did not make the audio recording surreptitiously – even though the officers were engaged in a public “conversation” with the arrestee and no one consented to being recorded. (In 2014, a Massachusetts woman was charged with violating the wiretap statute for making a secret audio recording of her own arrest by hiding her smartphone in her purse, but the charge was later dropped.)

In 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued an opinion in ACLU of Illinois v. Alvarez. The ACLU challenged the constitutionality of the Illinois wiretap statute, which, like the Massachusetts law, protected both private and public conversations and required the consent of all parties to a conversation. Unlike the Massachusetts wiretap statute, however, the Illinois statute prohibited all audio recording, not only surreptitious audio recording. The ACLU of Illinois was fearful of prosecution because it intended to record police officers performing their official duties in public as part of an accountability program.

The Seventh Circuit granted a preliminary injunction and held that the Illinois wiretap statute likely violated the First Amendment because it prohibited the audio recording – a “medium of expression” – of public conversations of police officers where no privacy interests existed. The court said that the Illinois legislature was not justified in “criminalizing this particular method of preserving and publishing the public communications of these public officials.” Though it was not central to the decision, the court also noted that the ACLU’s plan was to openly – not surreptitiously – record police officers in public.

The Seventh Circuit was quick to emphasize, however, that the right to record the police is not a right to interfere with police operations. The court said, “Nothing we have said here immunizes behavior that obstructs or interferes with effective law enforcement or the protection of public safety.” Thus, “While an officer surely cannot issue a ‘move on’ order to a person because he is recording, the police may order bystanders to disperse for reasons related to public safety and order and other legitimate law enforcement needs.”

In line with these federal cases, in March 2014, the Illinois Supreme Court held in two cases that the state wiretap statute was unconstitutional under the First Amendment precisely because it protected public conversations where the parties had no expectation of privacy, and it criminalized even open recording where the parties were on notice that their conversation was being recorded.  

In December, the Illinois legislature sought to cure the constitutional deficiencies of the wiretap statute: it narrowed the law to make it a crime to record a private conversation in a surreptitious manner. While it may be difficult to determine when parties have a reasonable expectation of privacy and thus are having a “private” conversation even in a public place, we hope that this law will not be used to justify the arrest of Illinois citizens making audio recordings of police officers carrying out their official duties in public.

Last year, the city of Baltimore settled with Christopher Sharp for $250,000 after he filed a lawsuit alleging violations of his constitutional rights. Police officers had seized his cell phone and deleted his recordings, which included the arrest of one of his friends by the officers.

In that case, to the delight of civil libertarians, the Justice Department twice weighed in to defend citizens’ rights: in a statement of interest filed in the district court, and in a letter sent to the Baltimore Police Department. In the statement of interest, the Justice Department wrote, “The First Amendment protects the rights of private citizens to record police officers during the public discharge of their duties.”

The statement of interest also addressed the seizure of Sharp’s cell phone, explaining that under the Fourth Amendment the police cannot seize a cell phone (or other device) without a warrant unless the officer has probable cause to believe that the device holds evidence of a crime and there is an emergency (i.e., “exigent circumstances”) justifying a warrantless seizure. Even if the warrantless seizure is justified, the police may not search the device without a warrant based on probable cause – and they certainly may not delete files.

If a person is arrested (which Sharp was not), the police may not search a cell phone simply based on the fact of the arrest – they must generally obtain a warrant from a judge.

In 2012, partially in response to the Sharp case, EFF joined a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling on law enforcement authorities to respect the First Amendment right of citizens to record the police.

Unfortunately, Baltimore police apparently have not learned their lesson. In December, a woman filed a lawsuit after she was allegedly pulled from her car and tased while attempting to record the arrest of another man.

The District of Columbia Police Department is a good example of a robust policy directing officers to respect the right of citizens to record the police. Issued in 2012, the heart of the policy states, “The Metropolitan Police Department recognizes that members of the general public have a First Amendment right to video record, photograph, and/or audio record MPD members while MPD members are conducting official business or while acting in an official capacity in any public space, unless such recordings interfere with police activity.”

EFF urges more police departments and more courts to recognize the clear First Amendment right of citizens to record police officers carrying out their public duties.

See my colleague Nadia Kayyali’s related blog post that includes tips and resources on how to safely record and interact with the police.

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16 Apr 18:17

Want to Record The Cops? Know Your Rights

by Nadia Kayyali

There are some very disturbing videos circulating the Internet right now, depicting the deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of trained, armed men. Many of these videos even show individuals being shot in the back, or as they try to flee.

These are videos of police officers in America killing unarmed black men like Oscar Grant and Eric Garner. And, as the most recent case shows, without these recordings, much of America might not have any idea exactly how much of a problem this is.

Citizen videos of law enforcement encounters are more valuable than ever. And for those who are wondering—it is legal to record the police.

The police don’t always seem aware of this. There have been incidents across the country of police telling people to stop filming, and sometimes seizing their camera or smartphone, or even arresting them, when they don’t comply.

In the most recent citizen-filmed incident to gain widespread media attention, on April 4, white police officer Michael Slager shot and killed 50-year-old black man Walter Scott in the back as he ran away in North Charleston, South Carolina. Bystander Feiden Santana filmed the encounter, which started with a traffic stop. After Santana’s video surfaced, the officer was arrested and charged with murder. Santana said that he is scared of what might happen to him. He also considered deleting the video, and doing nothing with it. And Santana is not the only person who may be intimidated by the prospect of filming the police, with good reason.

That’s why, in addition to EFF Attorney Sophia Cope's legal analysis highlighting some of the recent case law establishing the right to film police officers, we’re sharing some basic information cop watchers should know.

What Courts Have Said

Courts across the country have held that there is a First Amendment right to openly record the police. Courts have also held, however, that individuals cannot interfere with police operations, and that wiretapping statutes that prohibit secretly recording may apply to recording the police. But underlying these decisions is the understanding that recording the police is constitutionally protected.

Know Your Rights and Be Safe

While it has been established that individuals have the right to record the police, what happens on the street frequently does not match the law. Also, if you’re thinking about filming the police, it’s likely you’ll have more police encounters than you otherwise would. 

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is a bar association that does police accountability work. The National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer program is focused on watching the police at protests. CopBlock and Cop Watch are loosely organized groups that have chapters across the country, and provide resources on filming the police everyday. 

Here are the most essential things to keep in mind:

  • Stay calm and courteous, even though the situation may be stressful. Remember—if you get arrested or get into an altercation with the police, you won’t be able to keep filming them!
  • Be sure that you are not interfering with police operations, and stand at a safe distance from any encounter you film.
  • Your right to record audio surreptitiously of police carrying out their duties in public may vary from state to state. You should check your state law to know the fullest extent of your rights, but the lowest risk way to record is to hold your device in plain view of the officers.
  • Do not lie to police officers. If they ask whether you are recording, answer honestly.
  • If the police start interacting with you, treat the encounter as you would any encounter with law enforcement—in fact, you may want to be extra careful, since as the repeated incidents of police seizing cameras and smartphones demonstrate, it may make you more of a target.
  • If you are at a demonstration, police will often issue a dispersal order—in general, they will declare a protest an unlawful assembly and tell people to leave. Unless you are granted permission to stay, that order applies to you, too. If you do not comply, you should expect to be arrested.
  • While it is not legal for an officer to order you to move because you are recording, they may still order you to move. If you do not comply you could be arrested. If you do want to comply, consider complying with the smallest movement possible, and verbally confirming that you are complying with their orders. For example, if you are standing five feet from an officer, and they say “You need to move back,” you might want to consider calmly saying “yes, officer, I am moving back” while taking a few steps back.

Below are some helpful resources and tips related to interacting with and filming the police from these groups and EFF:

  • The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) “Know Your Rights” pamphlet (available in multiple languages) provides basic information you should know for interacting with the police.
  • The NLG Legal Observer Program training manual has tips for filming the police at protests, many of which are useful for filming any encounter.
  • Cop Watch has resources and examples here.
  • EFF’s Know Your Rights guide provides information on what you need to know if the police want to search your electronic devices.

Why Focus on Citizen Recording When Departments Are Implementing Bodycams? 

As the conversation about police accountability continues to take place across the country, body cameras are often proposed as a solution, and they are getting a lot of attention in the news right now. “Bodycam” recordings have made a difference in some cases. But many transparency and accountability advocates including EFF, have expressed reasonable doubts about their efficacy.  States are trying to grapple with the many privacy issues they raise, mostly by considering exempting the footage from public records act requests. And while “bodycams” may be a contentious subject, there’s little doubt that it is citizen footage of law enforcement encounters that has really fueled the current debate about police accountability.

Keep Taping

As North Charleston Pastor Nelson Rivers said: “If not for the video, we would still be following the narrative from the officer. If not for this video, the story would be entirely different.” Scott’s family agrees. After watching the video, his brother stated: “I think that if that man never showed the video we would not be at the point that we’re at right now.” And North Charleston Councilwoman Dorothy Williams had this to say: “I'm asking all the citizens of North Charleston to continue taping.”

You don’t have to live in North Charleston to know why that’s a good idea.

Disclosure: Nadia Kayyali serves as the Vice-President for the National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter, has served on the NLG’s national board, and has been involved with the NLG legal observer program nationally for over four years.

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14 Apr 17:28

The Civic Statuary Project

by Ethan

The University of Cape Town removed a controversial statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes last week, after a month of student protests. Rhodes, who build the De Beers diamond empire, was an unrepentant imperialist whose wealth came from purchasing mineral rights from indigenous leaders and turning their territories into British protectorates. Under his rule in Cape Colony, many Africans lost the right to vote, a step which some scholars see as leading to enforced racial segregation in South Africa. While Rhodes made major donations to charitable causes – including the land the University of Cape Town sits on – his legacy is a challenging and difficult one for many South Africans.

A month ago, student activist Chumani Maxwele emptied a bucket of excrement on the Rhodes statue on the UCT campus. Subsequent protests against the statue including wrapping it in black plastic, smearing it with paint and covering it with graffiti. When the statue was pulled down, protesters beat it with belts and chains as it was hauled away.


Protests against the Rhodes statue received widespread support online, spawning the hashtag #RhodesMustFall, and inspiring other attacks on statues throughout South Africa. Statues of Queen Victoria and George V have been splashed with paint in Point Elizabeth and Durban. Statues of Afrikaner leaders and Boer War generals have been targeted as well. The attack that’s received the most international attention was a defacement of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Johannesburg, part of a protest that argued that the revered activist had worked with the British colonial government in South Africa to promote segregation.

Statues are one of the oldest forms of figurative art, dating back at least to 40,000 BCE with the Lion man of the Hohlenstein Stadel. In ancient Egypt, Pharaohs were memorialized with Sphinxes, massive limestone statues that dominated the landscape – we might think of these as the first civic sculptures, public art designed to honor religious and political leaders. Fifteen hundred years later, Greek sculptors- who had previously portrayed mythological figures – began honoring political leaders in bronze and marble.

Statues erected for civic reasons are also torn down for civic reasons. Seven days after the Declaration of Independence was signed, General Washington’s troops tore down a statue of King George III that had been erected in 1770 in Bowling Green, a small greenspace at the southern tip of Manhattan Island. The decision to tear the statue down was practical as well as symbolic – the two tons of lead in the statue were turned into 42,000 musket balls for the use of revolutionary soliders. Statues of leaders who’ve been ousted are often torn down, sometimes spontaneously, sometimes with the help of conquering armies.

US marines pull down a statue of saddam hussein on
Statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square, Baghdad, torn down by the US marines.

It’s not only political leaders whose statues fall. In the wake of revelations about widespread sexual abuse by Penn Statue football coaches, a statue of Joe Paterno was removed by the university. The decision to remove the Paterno statue has been controversial, and a crowdfunding campaign has raised funds for a new Paterno statue in downtown State College, Pennsylvania, two miles from the university campus.

While statues are one of the oldest forms of civic artwork and technology (their only rival for age is the cave painting), they still gain attention when people erect them today… especially when they are erected without permission. On April 6th, a small group of artists placed a bronze-colored bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden atop a pedestal in Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn. By mid-afternoon, the bust had been covered with tarpaulins, and later that day, it was removed entirely. The bust took over six months to construct, and cost tens of thousands of dollars to design and deploy.

snowden projection

Frustrated by the brief lifespan of the Snowden statue, The Illuminator Art Collective – a group of artists not related to the original sculptors – projected a hologram-like image of Snowden on a cloud of smoke behind the pillar. The Snowden projection is part of a tradition of artistic intervention that has used projection to create provocative art in public spaces. Polish-American artist Krzysztof Wodiczko has used projections to bring statues “to life”, turning static war memorials into active spaces for the discussion of war and peace.

(Projection is a powerful tactic for civic activism – see Hologramas Por La Libertad, which is using projections of street protests against the side of the Spanish parliament to make a point about new laws that strongly restrict public protest. But this is a story about statues, not projections, so we’ll honor the effort and move on.)

A few days before the Snowden statue and projection, we found ourselves discussing civic statues in our lab, Center for Civic Media. The issue came up not because we were having a deep discussion about the nature of statuary, but because we moved a worktable revealing an open area that might students and I thought might be perfect for a statue. We began talking about the idea of a statue that could be rapidly deployed, which could change to honor different people at different times, and which would inspire discussion about why someone was being honored as a civic hero.

We built a prototype civic statue using an old projector and a sheet of optical rear projection acrylite. (The Media Lab is the sort of place where sheets of acrylite are just kicking around and folks like Dan Novy are generous enough to lend them out.) For our demo, I decided we would honor Professor Attahiru Jega, chairman of Nigeria’s election commission, which had just conducted a presidential election widely regarded as free and fair in which the incumbent president was defeated. Nigerians on all sides of the political spectrum honored Jega’s role in administering a fair election, and “Jega” began to emerge as slang for being chill, calm and avoiding conflict: “20 people showed up for dinner at his house unexpectedly, but he was totally Jega about it and sent out for chicken.”

At @civicMIT, we decided we wanted a statue of Prof. #Jega as a civic hero. Prototyping our new civic statue tech:

— Ethan Zuckerman (@EthanZ) April 3, 2015

This week is the Media Lab member week, where sponsors come to visit our labs and see our projects. We decided to rapidly prototype the statue so we could show it off, with some simple design constraints:

– It should be quickly deployable, easy to set up and move
– It should be relatively inexpensive (our target is a standalone programmable statue that costs under $500)
– It shouldn’t require a specialized photo shoot – it should use available imagery
– It should prompt discussion within the group hosting the statue about who should be honored and how

As we thought about who to honor, I came across this tweet from my friend Liz Henry:

Dear whoever filmed the shooting of #walterscott that was brave and awesome of you.

— Liz Henry (@lizhenry) April 7, 2015

As it turns out, that brave and awesome man was Feidin Santana, a 23-year old Dominican immigrant who heard Walter Scott being tazed and captured footage of his shooting by police officer Michael Slager. As with Prof. Jega, we found an image online, masked it and added text to form a plaque. Savannah Niles, who is working on a project to build smoothly looping animated GIFs that she calls Glyphs, went a step further and built a statue of Santana that moves, subtly.

savannah from Ethan Zuckerman on Vimeo.

Niles explains what a Glyph is, showing the statue of Feidin Santana

Our prototype raises as many questions as it answers. Some are practical: Should this be a single unit, perhaps using a mirror to bounce the projection onto the screen? Will this work only in dim, interior spaces? Others focus on the community aspects: How do we decide who to honor? We held a brief email exchange about who we might feature, and quickly realized that there’s a real problem when people disagree about who should be honored. We’re working on a system that will allow people to propose candidates and select people to be honored by acclaim, rather than by fiat, which is how we selected Prof. Jega, Feidin Santana and feminist scholar and activist Anita Sarkeesian as our first three honorees.

As we work on this project in the long term, I’m interested in taking on a richer and deeper set of questions: What are statues for in a digital age? Is the rapid deployment and impermanence of these statues a feature or a bug? Can new types of statues help challenge long-standing gender and racial disparities in who we honor?

The civic statuary project is an experiment, and we may or may not continue it beyond showcasing it at this members’ meeting. But this question of how societies honor their civic heroes is a rich one, and I hope this experiment – and this blog post – opens conversations about who and how we memorialize.

15 Apr 22:13

onlythevoid: Anarchist bicycle gang, in the 1920’s northern...


Anarchist bicycle gang, in the 1920’s northern Swedish woods. (source)

15 Apr 01:04

working in the drive-thru

me: and would you like a hot wheels or barbie toy with that, ma'am?
woman: uh... it's for a boy.
me: okay congratulations
me: do you want a hot wheels or barbie toy
woman: i want a boy toy please
me: haha dont we all
me: so do you want a hot wheels or barbie toy you have to choose
15 Apr 00:08

bluehairbelle: roseclear: tastefullyoffensive: “It wasn’t me,...




“It wasn’t me, it was the otter guy!” (photo via obiektyw1855)


Squeakas intensify

14 Apr 09:52

depressiononlinedpaper: Most of the reason that my self-care is...


Most of the reason that my self-care is suffering. There’s light on the horizon, but the struggle until then may be intense.

12 Apr 17:04

Wrap It Up! 10 Creative Building Scrims & Scaffolds

by Steve

The first time I saw one of these, I was in Vienna and tripping my face off. It seemed like the cathedral in the center of the city hasn't fully resolved yet, and it pushed me even further over the edge. ANYWAY. I wonder how they do printing at this scale.

[ By Steve in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Scrim Scaffold 0
These artistic wraps, scrims and scaffolds creatively conceal the ugly truth of building construction, remediation and restoration.

Scrim Scaffold 1b

Illusion of justice? OK, that was too easy but restoring the United States Supreme Court Building was anything but. Designed by Cass Gilbert, the building’s classical marble facade has fronted the inner workings of the SCOTUS since 1935. The white Vermont Imperial Danby marble has aged gracefully for the most part but after 75 years of Washington weathering, a comprehensive restoration of the columned West Facade was deemed necessary… and it was going to get messy. What to do?

Scrim Scaffold 1a

Scrim Scaffold 1c

The solution employed by Rockville-based Forrester Construction Co. was a clever combination of inner rigid scaffolding wrapped in a decorative scrim depicting a photo of the facade in its forecasted finished state. Derived from practices commonly used in Europe, the scrim kept the dirty work of cleaning and restoring the facade under an attractive cover for the better part of two years, being removed upon the project’s completion in late 2013.

Dutch Treat

Scrim Scaffold 2

Sometimes less is more and conversely, more may seem like less. That was the case on Kettingstraat in The Hague, when Dutch architecture office Archipelontwerpers installed a Gehry-esque golden scrim to camouflage restoration and renovation work. Who’s going to notice the construction with a shimmering curtain of gold to distract their eyes?

Meat-Wrapping District

Scrim Scaffold 3a

Scrim Scaffold 3c

Scrim Scaffold 3b

In 2012 when the Whitney Museum of American Art dedicated a retrospective to 83-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, they decided to promote it in a big way. Take “Yellow Trees”, a building-sized art installation doubling as a practical scaffolding scrim on West 14th Street at 9th Avenue, near the Whitney‘s new location in NYC’s trendy Meatpacking District.


Scrim Scaffold 4

Scrim Scaffold 4b

Scrim Scaffold 4c

Sydney Town Hall was an Australian showpiece when it opened in 1889 but over a century’s worth of grime can’t be removed in a day or for a dollar. It took $33 million and quite a few days, in fact, and the use of a custom 30m (66ft) tall scrim for the clock tower and 20m (44ft) tall screens for the front facade helped preserve the old gal’s dignity while her cosmetics were being applied.

Next Page - Click Below to Read More:
Wrap It Up 10 Creative Building Scrims Scaffolds

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[ By Steve in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

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13 Apr 12:56

onlocusts: mandopony:tayrezi:Shiba Inu compilation Are they...


for firehose (and saucie?)




Shiba Inu compilation 

Are they even real

hi yes I’ll take four

12 Apr 19:28

an-innocent-mind-is-fragile: agingb0nes: superbrybread:rebe83: ...






What the FUCK is this

its a baby bat bry


Ah yes the terrifying creature of the night

I NEED IT khighhopes