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First POST: Anomalies

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 14 2015


  • No Labels, which co-founder Mark McKinnon once styled as a "MoveOn for the middle," is trying to organize a push in New Hampshire to rally uncommitted voters around its centrist agenda, reports Eleanor Clift for the Daily Beast.

  • In terms of website security, so far Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio score highest according to a survey by Paul Schreiber, a senior web developer at FiveThirtyEight, reports Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai for Motherboard. Their sites are encrypted by default, though as 18F technologist Eric Mill notes, that hasn't stopped them from using third party trackers.

  • After misusing a chart from rival FiveThirtyEight, Vox founder Ezra Klein graciously apologizes and explains his site's approach to aggregation and attribution.

  • Claire Cain Miller reports on a new project led by the Community Technology Alliance of San Jose that is giving free smartphones (but not free data plans) to homeless people, and training them in their use. (For a story headlined, "Fighting Homelessness, One Smartphone at a Time" it's surprising to find no mention of HandUp.)

  • New York Times columnist David Brooks comes out in favor of making police wear body-cams, but offers a nuanced argument for why the increased loss of privacy is also something to worry about. Personally, I'm starting to think that civilians may want to wear their own body-cams for self-protection.

  • Usage of mySociety's FixMyStreet platform is up 30% over last year, and it's not just the pothole season.

  • The UK is coming out against an international ban on "killer robots" or "lethal autonomous weapons systems" (Laws), reports Owen Bowcott for The Guardian.

  • "Maybe we just lived through the brief anomalous period of openness and decentralization in media and communications," writes Blogger, Twitter and Medium founder Ev Williams. He adds, "I hope not, but things are headed in that direction. I’m intrigued to hear what, more specifically, would push things in the other direction." Amen.

  • Here's a great interview of Upwell's Rachel Weidinger done by Mobilisation Lab's Michael Silberman, focusing on "big listening" and how organizations can use smart social media data, metrics and messaging campaigns. She'll be covering those subjects next Tuesday April 21 with a talk/workshop at Civic Hall.

  • Palo Alto's new Civic Technology Center at City Hall is having an open house next Monday April 20.