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First POST: Apologies

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, February 14 2013

Republican rage

  • This weekend's New York Times Magazine will include a lengthy summation of the Republican Party's growing generational tension — between younger, less socially crusading, more technologically savvy operatives, and an old guard they say is not giving room to their ideas the way the kingmakers of the Democratic Party have for the past ten years.

Civic hacking

  • Two civic hackers talk with Nick Judd about why they slog through all the difficulties involved in working with city governments and trying to use technology to solve civic problems.

  • Socrata has released its open data field guide.

  • Event: Gavin Newsom speaks with Fortune senior editor-at-large Adam Lashinsky in "Angry Birds for Democracy," held at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. More information is here; nonmember tickets are $45-$20.

  • Civic hackers built a web platform that allows people to "adopt" a fire hydrant in their neighborhood, promising to dig it out of the snow after a storm. Here's an example of how to promote that type of program. Step one: Get an absurd fire-hydrant costume and some firefighters. (Via Public Innovation)

Apologies for an apologist

  • The Knight Foundation has expressed regret for paying a $20,000 honorarium to serial plagiarist and fabulist Jonah Lehrer for a speech earlier this week. Intended to be a talk focused on decision-making for an audience interested in the information needs of communities, it turned out to concentrate significantly on Lehrer's own foibles.

Around the web

  • The White House Office of Management and Budget has promised to improve the accuracy of USASpending.gov after a Sunlight Foundation report found that agencies had "misreported more than $1.55 trillion," Federal Computer Week reports.

  • Coding is not the be-all and end-all of the tech sector.

  • Rep. Eliot Engel used Twitter to tell NBC that President Barack Obama did, in fact, shake his hand before the State of the Union address. Engel is famous for staking out an aisle seat well in advance of the address in order to be seen on TV, hobnobbing with the commander-in-chief, and it appeared from certain camera angles used in coverage of Tuesday's speech that the president had passed him by.

  • Via Morning Tech: Three more states were hit with fake warnings of a zombie apocalypse.

    Straight from the article:

    In Los Angeles, a radio station that had its alert system breached sent out a zombie message, according to Richard Rudman, a broadcast engineer and vice chair of the California State Emergency Communications Committee. He declined to name the station but said any that were hacked were using default passwords for their alert systems or lacked adequate computer security.

    Shorter version: Anyone wanting to rationalize the militarization of the Internet because of "increasingly sophisticated" attacks on public infrastructure should first take a close look and figure out if the real problem isn't that people are often careless and lazy.

  • Local councils in England are set to screen their meetings online.

  • Winning Valentine's Day: #NOIPickupLines, in which the authors use online organizing jargon to compose a well-tested script before knocking on the doors of your heart.

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

monday >

Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

GO

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