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First POST: Heavy Lifts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 3 2014

Heavy Lifts

  • Andrew Hyder of Hack Your City, Thomas Apodaca and the folks at MySociety have put the 4,799 page transcript of the Ferguson Grand Jury testimony into the SayIt transcript platform, making the text linkable and searchable.

  • In the Washington Post's Monkey Cage political science blog, Dave Karpf explains why political emails don't stop after an election is over. In case you didn't already know why.

  • While Uber has been in the news, its chief competitor Lyft has been quietly doing its own internal housekeeping to tighten up control over how much data its employees can access on users and drivers, reports Charlie Warzel for BuzzFeed.

  • And, as if on cue, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has a bunch of privacy questions for Lyft, reports Alex Wilhelm for TechCrunch.

  • Blake Ross has a pretty sarcastic and funny take on Medium on how the Nevada government has tried and failed, so far, to curb abusive "longhauling" by taxi drivers ripping off tourists coming from the airport to Las Vegas that implies, quite heavily, that only Uber can fix this problem.

  • Google is giving $1 million to support the New York Public Library's new program to give 10,000 low-income city public school students free home wi-fi hotspots, reports Miranda Neubauer for Capital NY.

  • Related: Will Oremus reports for Slate on how Google's Project Loon plan to provide Wi-Fi to hard-to-reach parts of the Southern Hemisphere is starting to actually work.

  • Remember Verizon's new tech news site SugarString, the one that wouldn't cover net neutrality or government surveillance? It's gone, Karl Bode of DSLReports confirms. Turns out the so-called "news site" was a "pilot project from Verizon Wireless' marketing group."

  • Utah's Insurance Department is threatening to fine Zenefits, a start-up that gives small businesses a cloud-based dashboard for managing employee benefits (including insurance), for giving away its tool for free, reports Ryan Lawler for TechCrunch. Lawler writes that this is yet another example of a startup "facing scrutiny from a state or local regulator which appears to be protecting the interests of the industry it’s supposed to oversee."

  • How colleges are using data-tracking and mining to monitor, and sometimes help, their students, by Goldie Blumenstyk for The New York Times oped page.

  • Here's a smart preview of the Sierra Club's new activism platform written by Julie Noblitt of Benentech. "“The main point of the platform is not necessarily to grow membership,” Chris Thomas, the club's CIO says, “it’s to activate the base.”

  • Here's a list of free digital tools that anyone who works in, covers or lobbies Congress should use, collected by Daniel Schuman of CREW.

  • Among the 15 films on the Oscar's short list for the documentary category: CitizenFour (about Edward Snowden) and The Internet's Own Boy (about Aaron Swartz). Kudos to Laura Poitras and Brian Knappenberger!

  • Physicist Stephen Hawking says he fears "the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race."

  • Erhardt Graeff et. al. live-blogged my talk at Harvard's Berkman Center yesterday.