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First POST: Font of Wisdom

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, March 28 2014

Font of Wisdom

  • Rep. Mike Rogers, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has announced he is not seeking re-election.

  • Spencer Ackerman and Nadja Popovich do a side-by-side comparison of three rival plans for reforming the NSA: President Obama's, the USA Freedom Act (sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner), and the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act (sponsored by Rep. Rogers).

  • This "Cyber Warfare Real Time Map" from Kaspersky Labs is straight out of science fiction. And a great self-promotion.

  • KimDotCom, the New Zealand-based MegaUpload founder who is fighting extradition to the US, has launched a new political party, the Internet Party.

  • Now Turkey is banning YouTube along with Twitter, Reuters reports.

  • Mother Jones offers a map of the countries that block Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

  • Speaking of mapping, the US State Department's MapGive project is urging people to join the community of online volunteer mappers by contributing to OpenStreetMap and thus supporting humanitarian relief efforts. Wouldn't it be cool if other government agencies thought in the same way? (Imagine if the fifty Secretarys of State asked Americans to map their local civic data, or if Health and Human Services rallied volunteers to collect and share social services information.)

  • Facebook is launching a "Connectivity Lab" which aims to bring the Internet to remote places via such tools as solar-powered drones.

  • A Minnesota 6th grader whose school viewed her Facebook and email accounts without her parents' permission has won a $70,000 settlement from the school district.

  • "We need an exit strategy from Facebook," argues Derek Belt, the social media specialist for King County, WA, over on GovLoop. He notes, "recent changes to Facebook's computer algorithm have made it increasingly difficult to reach our audiences, and it's only going to get more difficult."

  • Susan Crawford explains why the rumors of a deal between Apple and Comcast should worry us.

  • Over on NextCity, Nancy Scola parses Airbnb's "shared city" vision.

  • So does our Sam Roudman.

  • Henry Farrell of Crooked Timber criticizes Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo for announcing that the Idea Lab section of his site will be sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Using Marshall's words against him, Farrell writes, "You simply can’t run an investigative journalism outfit with your right hand, and take money from lobbyists who want to shut down information disclosure with your left one."

  • The General Services Administration is starting to use NewsGenius to involve the public in annotating some government policies and services.

  • Opposition is surfacing inside Mozilla from employees angered by the hiring of Brendan Eich as Mozilla Foundation's new CEO. Eich has contributed to California's anti-gay-marriage Prop 8 and to politicians who supported it.

  • Fourteen-year-old Suvir Mirchandani did a science fair project for his Pennsylvania middle-school and found that if the district switched the font it used in printed materials from Times New Roman to Garamonde it could save $12,000 a year. Now, reports CNN, he has written a paper for the Journal of Emerging Investigators that estimates the federal and state governments comined could save nearly $400 million a year if they made the same switch.

  • First in a series of #PDF14 speaker previews: An interview with An Xioa Mina on memes and movements.