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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 today >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

GO

tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

GO

monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

GO

The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

GO

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

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