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First POST: Jackpots

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 25 2013


  • This blog post about the realities of being a member of the working poor, called "Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, poverty thoughts," has taken off, receiving more than 200,000 visits. As of late Sunday, its author, Linda Walther Tirado, has received more than $55,000 in donations from more than 1,900 people (up from $34,000 on Saturday midday) on GoFundMe, which she says is "more money to wok with than I have ever had at a time in my adult life." She has now started a blog "about the things that affect those of us living on the margins," and is working on a book proposal.

  • The President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, retweeted Secretary of State John Kerry's tweet announcing the Geneva agreement between Iran and the US and its partners.

  • The New York Times' Robert Mackey reports on Iran's increasingly robust use of online social media, and how it's giving Israel fits.

  • Nancy Scola explains why Google's new Civic Information API is actually a big deal for democracy-minded developers.

  • Balaji Srinivasan, the Stanford lecturer whose escapist rant about Silicon Valley seceding from the rest of America stirred controversy a month ago, has a much more temperate version of his vision in Wired's Opinion section. Titled "Software is Reorganizing the World," it posits that the next stage of human migration will occur as the communities of interest that form online start co-locating geographically. "We may begin to see cloud towns, then cloud cities, and ultimately cloud countries materialize out of thin air," he writes.

  • Ben Valentine offers "A Survey of the Protest Selfie" on the Civic Beat Reader, covering #IAmTrayvonMartin, the Human Rights Campaign Facebook < Equality Meme, Ai Weiwei, Chen Guangcheng, Anonymous, Occupy, and the Standing Man protest in Turkey.

  • And Buzzfeed gives us "The 7 types of selfless Congressmen take." Remember, if you click on that link, you will not be able to get that minute of your life back.

  • "Facebook will give you five billion dollars for that flute"--This Paul Noth cartoon in The New Yorker says it all.

  • Mashable offers an uncritical report on's "DREAMer Hackathon," where two dozen undocumented immigrants worked alongside Silicon Valley icons like Mark Zuckerberg "in a quest to further immigration reform." The number of cameras in the room appear to have outnumber the number of coders. Mashable reports, "One team built an iOS app called Forward Now that identifies and features influential people in support of immigration reform. App users can then view quotes or ideas from their favorite influencers, including Oprah and singer Shakira, and choose to join their favorite influencers in declaring their commitment to reform. Users could then use the app to send a tweet or Facebook message that reads, for example, 'I go FWD with Oprah.'" That should get a lot of use.

  • Conor Friedersdorf asks how it was possible President Obama kept saying that would work fine literally up to the day that it failed? "It does not seem credible that Obama was unaware failure was likely. What's more, if he really was unaware, the implications are extremely unflattering: either he failed abjectly to ask the right questions of a staff that was also derelict in informing him, or he asked the right questions and his staff misled him."

  • Charlotte Laws shares how she went to battle against Hunter Moore, proprietor of a notorious "revenge porn" site that had posted a topless photo of her daughter that had been obtained by hackers, and ultimately got the help of both the FBI and Anonymous in fighting back.