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First POST: Stunts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 8 2014

USAID pushes back in defense of ZunZeneo; Indian candidate copies from Obama data playbook; cities from Boston to Philly to San Francisco roll with the web; and much much more. Read More

First POST: Transitions

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, November 7 2013

Which political technology firms came out on top in this week's elections; Al Gore's outspoken views on Edward Snowden; Google's director of charitable giving explains its "moon shots"; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Reverberations

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 7 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The NSA vs the Tor Project; was Healthcare.gov just overwhelmed by unexpected demand; China's "maker" movement; the Supreme Court still "doesn't get" email; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: This Town

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 4 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribersIs Washington too obsessed with itself to gauge public opinion on Syria correctly?; Al Gore's incredibly shrinking climate change group; and the best executive director monthly report you've ever seen; plus much, much more. Read More

New Study Looks Under Hood of Boston's New Urban Mechanics

BY Sam Roudman | Friday, August 9 2013

Boston’s office of New Urban Mechanics is a model for other cities looking to provide more and better service with less cash. By taking advantage of mobile technologies, bridging long siloed departments, and engaging civic minded tech entrepreneurs and academics, the department, under the direction of Mayor Thomas Menino has had its hand in an array of projects in the past years, from figuring out how to repurpose 19th century fire boxes for the digital age, to testing online games to inform city planning. A list of projects doesn’t really get at what actually makes New Urban Mechanics tick but a new case study from Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society just might. Read More

Why Twitter Didn't Believe the "Hacked" AP, But Bought False Facts About Boston Manhunt

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, April 24 2013

When the Associated Press' Twitter account caused a brief stir Tuesday by posting a false report that President Barack Obama had been injured in a fictitious bombing at the White House, stocks plummeted — but only for a few minutes. That response differed significantly from the situation late April 18 and early the next morning, a Friday, as the first reports emerged of the manhunt that would bring Boston to a halt for a full day. It's an example of how quickly misinformation can spread online in the absence of rapid action to roust it away. Read More

WeGov

Chechen Leader Issues Statement on Suspected Boston Bombers Via Instagram

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, April 19 2013

Ramzan Kadyrov posted this photo on his Instagram account.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian and eccentric 36 year-old leader of Chechnya, has issued a statement regarding the Tsarnaev brothers, ethnic Chechens who are suspected of committing the Boston Marathon bombings. Kadyrov published his statement on Instagram. Read More

Once Relics of a City's Past, Now in Plans for a Digital Future

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, February 5 2013

In the 1900s, these tunnels hauled freight under downtown Chicago. Will they carry fiber-optic cable next? Photo: Wikimedia

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus: As leading city governments across the country consider how to approach the Internet age, they're taking the concept of "adaptive reuse" to a new frontier by thinking of new ways to turn old standbys like payphones or disused rail tunnels into new pieces of digital infrastructure. Read More

How Open Source Civic Technology Helped Flu Vaccinations Go Viral

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, January 15 2013

Photo: rocknroll_guitar / Flickr

In the middle of what might be the worst flu season in a decade, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino declared a public health emergency — and civic hackers found a way to help the cause. With help from Code for America volunteers, the Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics was able to repurpose a Chicago app that maps free vaccination locations in little more than a day, just in time for a weekend vaccination campaign at 24 locations. The app's journey from Chicago to Boston is a model of intra-civic partnership. Read More

From Fire Box to Future Box: Boston's Looking to Repurpose an Old Standby

BY Sam Roudman | Monday, January 7 2013

Photo: ericodeg

With the expansion of digital communications, the still-telegraph-enabled(!) fire alarm box is dying a slow death. But a recent initiative of the Boston Fire Department is looking to save the city’s 2,200 red sentinels from the flame, soliciting proposals to update a technology invented in the Boston area over 160 years ago, and whose upkeep costs the city $2 million annually. Read More