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First POST: USAID's Exploding Cigar

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 7 2014

USAID's Exploding Cigar

  • In "Bay of Tweets," Technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci explains why USAID's covert and abortive project to build a "Cuban Twitter" was not only doomed for failure, it also "just handed a golden talking point" to every authoritarian leader in the world "to justify their suppression of the Internet."

  • Robinson Meyer pieces together a bit more of the back-story to the State Department's Internet Freedom efforts that "ZunZeneo" was part of, including the launch of Humari Awaz (a Pakistani mobile phone-based social network), which appears to also have had a limited run as a viable service.

  • Just posted here at techPresident: Longtime Latin America expert and new media scholar Anne Nelson on "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People--The Problem w ZunZeneo and 'Cuban Twitter.'"

  • In the wake of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich's resignation, the company posts a short FAQ to respond to the questions still be raised about the controversy. It points out that many Mozilla employees wanted Eich to stay on at the company. Most poignant: "Is Mozilla becoming a social activist organization: No. Mozilla is committed to a single cause: keeping the Web free and open."

  • Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic, who describes himself as someone who "hated" Prop 8 warns that if what happened to Eich spreads, "it will damage our society." He argues, "the general practice of punishing people in business for bygone political donations is most likely to entrench powerful interests and weaken the ability of the powerless to challenge the status quo."

  • Edward Snowden got a standing ovation from the crowd at Amnesty International USA's annual meeting in Chicago Saturday.

  • He and Laura Poitras will share the Ridenhour Prize for truth-telling.

  • Predator drone operators in one heavily bombed region of Pakistan may see this innocent child victim's face the next time they fly by, thanks to an artistic collaboration tartly called "#NotABugSplat."

  • Claire Cain Miller takes a close look at "Technology's Man Problem" for The New York Times.

  • Speaking of which, this thread on Secret is a must-read, in which an unnamed female co-founder describes how "Google was interested in buying my 5 person company for our team. They hired everyone but me." (Note: it is only readable via a mobile browser.)

  • The New York Times' David Carr asks some hard questions about the Comcast-TimeWarner merger, as the company goes before a congressional hearing this Wednesday. If you are wondering where Carr stands on the deal, just read the Michael Copps quote that he uses to close his column.

  • Cristin Dorgelo and Brian Forde of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy explain why the next round of White House Innovation Fellows will be focusing on crowdsourcing. Applications are due today.

  • Speaking of which, the DailyKos community has raised more than $59,000 for Charles Gaba, a web developer who created in his spare time, crowdsourcing the tracking of the progress of Obamacare.

  • The Internet is changing how our brains read and absorb information; neuroscientists say we may have trouble reading the convoluted syntax of many great novels.