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First POST: Bean Bag

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, March 20 2012

Cook County, IL, cell phone activity, via MIT Senseable City Lab

    Must Reads

  • Google search data sees a last minute surge in searches for Mitt Romney in Illinois in the past 24 hours, even though Rick Santorum has been leading throughout the previous week. Earlier, Nate Silver analyzed the state’s political geography and its influence on Santorum's and Romney's vote chances by looking at cell phone call volume patterns between Chicago and downstate counties, using data from MIT’s Senseable Cities Lab. Whoa.

  • Federal agencies announced last night that they will open an investigation into the death of an unarmed black teenager in Florida, who was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer who thought he was suspicious, after a growing outcry over the case. There were rallies yesterday and Reuters reported that celebrities such as Spike Lee and Wyclef Jean raised awareness of a petition , apparently first created by a friend of Martin's parents, which yesterday had over 435,000 signatures, the third-largest campaign in the site's history, and asked for the prosecution of the alleged shooter. There were other petitions at, e-mailed out via MoveOn, and

  • The White House has restarted its First Question program, during which Press Secretary Jay Carney will answer on video questions posted on social media. Yesterday he answered questions from Google + and Twitter.

  • The DCCC has launched a campaign in 41 Republicans districts focusing on Republican efforts to target Medicare. The effort will include "automated phone calls that will patch voters through to their Member of Congress' office so they can urge them to vote against the new Republican budget that ends the Medicare guarantee for seniors," citizen phone banks, and an online Medicare Madness Action Center. Democrats have also released a web video claiming that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party allow health insurance companies to discriminate against women. Related to another subject matter, the DCCC has also created a Republican House of Scandal section on its website, where it is highlighting a "corrupt Republican of the month."

  • Ahead of the release of his budget proposal, Rep. Paul Ryan (R. - Wis.) has released a web video of himself walking through Congressional halls to ominous music. And this morning “Paul Ryan” is trending on Twitter in the United States.

  • Foxconn will not take legal action after This American Life's retraction of its program on the Apple supplier's working conditions. David Carr also commented on the larger meaning of the Mike Daisey scandal.

    Even as Mr. Daisey found himself in the stockade, another nonjournalist turned big player in current events ended up in the news himself. Jason Russell, the producer of a video titled “Kony 2012” that went viral on Twitter, YouTube and elsewhere — about Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda — had come under criticism for cutting some corners as well. ....The easy lesson might be that journalism is not a game of bean bag, and it would be best left to professionals. But we are in a pro-am informational world where news comes from all directions. Traditional media still originate big stories, but many others come from all corners — books, cellphone videos, blogs and, yes, radio shows built on storytelling.

    Daisey again defended himself in a blog post. In the Guardian, Michael Wolff wrote that Daisey deserves credit for raising awareness of the Foxconn issues through his writing skills. In National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg pens a defense of This American Life. And as evidence of the continued effectiveness of old-fashioned ways of raising awareness in the Internet age, "george clooney arrested" was a top trending search Friday after Clooney chose to get arrested for trespassing while protesting outside the Sudanese embassy and calling attention to the humanitarian crisis there.

  • Demand Progress is asking its supporters to sign a petition against an agreement with content owners under which Internet Service Providers could be compelled to contact customers accused of piracy. At ars technica, a writer suggests that this system could use anti-trust scrutiny.

  • But some entertainment producers are looking beyond such agreements. In an article about a new Fox show that is airing almost at the same time worldwide the producers said:

    The impact of "Touch" could have been drastically undercut by the Internet and a TV-watching world joined by social media....The traditional way of sequencing television shows is: premiere in the U.S. in the fall, then start appearing other places in the world in a sort of patchwork-quilt pattern. But I'm not sure that's relevant to the way the world consumes entertainment and information anymore."..."This idea of borders and time slots makes very little sense when it comes to fan-dom," Kring says. "The fans will find the show on their own."

  • Meanwhile, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Salon reported on how movie companies and publishing companies aggressively used social media and engaged with fan sites to drum up interest in the new Hunger Games movie. "People used to be O.K. with studios telling them what to like,” Ms. DePalma said. “Not anymore. Now it’s, ‘You don’t tell us, we tell you.’"

  • Mashable spoke with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) about his positions on Internet issues. He spoke about what he considered the most important factor in the movement against SOPA:

    Time. More than anything else, the time it took for Wikipedia to gets its board to agree to the blackout and the momentum built that led to 7,000 websites responding (to SOPA). The reason I gave you that answer is because we don’t always have time. Time was the enemy of the people who tried to rush SOPA through the House. We started with four people who were adamantly against (SOPA). We lost every early vote, but we won time for the Internet (community) to react. In our business, sometimes we have to brag about our defeat. We lost every single vote in the markup, but we took days of their time — and that became one of our tactics to help let people know just how radical this bill was.

  • A tweet by an Occupy Wall Street sympathizer was flagged by the NYPD for stating "“we wont make a difference if we dont kill a cop or 2.” According to the New York Daily News, the writer of the tweet is a 23-year old man from Florida who has never been to New York City. While he first said the tweet was a joke, he said in a later interview that the "tweet wasn’t about OWS but was a response to a comment from someone in another country where there’s a bloody revolution going on," although he can't remember which country it was. But he said he had been watching live footage of the OWS protest on UStream and reading comments in the chat room from other viewers.

  • Notable

  • An activist opposed to health care reform who is organizing a protest trip to Washington D.C. on the occasion of the Supreme Court hearings on a critical challenge to the law aims to find "earpieces that the riders on her buses can connect to their cellphones so they can call members of Congress, en route to Washington — effectively turning the buses into mobile phone-bank operations."

  • The Pentagon is accelerating its effort to develop cyberweapons, according to the Washington Post.

  • Facebook is making adjustments to the language of its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and is asking users to review them.

  • While Facebook analyzed its user data to map how different countries were connected to each other, particularly Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, the Economist contrasted those maps with maps of those countries' former colonial territories.

  • The New York Times looked at the dispute between the Commerce Department and ICANN over managing the allocation of computers’ Internet protocol addresses, after the Commerce Department criticized ICANN for not enforcing rules against conflicts of interests, and concerns that such disputes could lead to the U.N. and countries like Russia and China having more influence over the Internet.

  • LightSquared has asked the FCC to reconsider its proposal to bar the company from building a high-speed wireless service, saying that such an action would be a violation of its constitutional rights.

  • An alleged drug dealer on trial in federal court is still tweeting and posting on Facebook from a smartphone smuggled in to a Washington D.C. jail.

  • International Headlines

  • A student in Britain could face jail for posting racist tweets about a football player who very publicly collapsed on the playing field Saturday night and is suffering from serious medical issues.

    Liam Stacey was arrested after his tweets were reported to police by Twitter users from across Britain, including former England striker Stan Collymore....He was released on bail on condition that he stayed off Twitter and other social networking sites and will be sentenced next week....The swiftness of the arrest demonstrates how seriously police forces are taking the posting of potentially criminal comments on social networking sites by so-called "trolls"....Lisa Jones, prosecuting, said: "Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch and was believed to have died. Shortly after, Stacey posted on Twitter: "LOL, [F***] Muamba. He's dead." Jones said other Twitter users criticised Stacey, prompting him to post a series of other offensive and racist comments....The court heard Stacey tried to claim his account had been hacked. He also tried to delete his page.He texted a friend to say: "I said something about Muamba that I shouldn't have and tweeted back to some people who abused me. Getting police on me now, which isn't good at all."

  • A U.K. study sees wide evidence of GPS device jamming.

  • The Guardian examined the relationship between developers of video games with war storylines and various commercial and governmental military organizations.

  • The Estonian Justice ministry plans to ask parliament to adopt amendments that would enable courts to use Facebook and Twitter accounts to contact crime suspects. The Estonian government also plans to extradite a man to the U.S. who is accused in a case involving the infection of millions of computers with malicious software.

  • A German court ruled that file-hosting service RapidShare must proactively filter thousands of files uploaded by its users.

  • The U.K. parliament is asking for public comment on IP policy proposals.

  • Julian Assange conducted a video interview with Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki.

  • A surreptitiously taped sexually explicit video defaming an Azerbaijani journalist critical of the government has appeared online, and she believes it could be an effort to discredit her by igniting religious rage against her in the conservative country.

  • Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei was briefly able to post to his microblog, before it became inaccessible, apparently deleted by government censors.

  • Six men in Zimbabwe have been convicted of conspiracy for watching videos about the Arab Spring.

  • An Indian court has dismissed a criminal case against Microsoft India, which had been accused of hosting "objectionable" content on its web pages.

  • Ahmed Al Omran, social media production assistant at NPR, has been regularly curating the uprising in Syria -- here is his Storify for yesterday.

  • Supporters of the Syrian opposition in Germany are organizing an Adopt A Revolution initiative to help fund opposition activities.

    The committees send back reports. After all, their German "foster parents" want to know what's happening with their money. Perabo opens a file sent by a group in Al-Midan, a district of Damascus, which has received €2,250 so far. "We've bought flash drives, cell phones and SIM cards, and will pay for two Internet connections and four telephone bills," he reads. The remaining money is enough to pay for printers, paper and the rent for two apartments.

  • The Guardian took a closer look at the U.S.-educated woman who acted as a media adviser to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, based on the leaked e-mails it obtained. According to the Telegraph, e-mails show that Assad's wife at one point claims, "I am the real dictator."

  • Israel's ambassador to the United Nations has asked that a U. N. agency employee in Jerusalem be dismissed who tweeted a photo during recent violence between Gaza and Israel showing a dead Palestinian girl covered in blood in the arms of her father with the text "Palestine is bleeding … another father killed by #Israel … another father carrying his child to a grave in #Gaza.” The photo was later identified as a 2006 Reuters photo, with text from the news agency indicating that she had died in a playground or car accident. "Although Ms. Badawi’s portrayal of this photo was clearly a blatant falsehood, her post became the top tweet for anything related to Gaza on Twitter,” the ambassador said, according to JTA.

With Micah L. Sifry