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First POST: Listicalization

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 10 2014


  • President Obama wrote a line of code at a event at the White House, and Zachary Seward covers the news for Quartz.

  • With word circulating of police eavesdropping on civil rights protesters, the FCC has issued a warning reminding state and local government law enforcement agencies that jamming or interfering with cellular communications is illegal. "Although today's smartphones may enable persons to engage in communications that are bothersome to others, this does not provide the right for persons, or even for state or local agencies—including state and local law enforcement—to operate jammers. In fact, use of signal jammers by state or local authorities is generally prohibited," the FCC says.

  • Emily Bell, the director of Columbia University's Tow Center, can't resist noting the "irony of the New Republic's retreating elite posting their displeasure on Facebook." And Chris Hughes tells her "“It is frustrating to me personally that there was a perception we would listicalize the place. If that was my intention, I would have done it long ago."

  • Guy Vidra, TNR's controversial CEO, says in an open letter to the magazine's readers that his vision for its future maintains a commitment to in-depth story-telling, but with innovative formats that will be more immersive and engaging.

  • All the material from last October's Data & Civil Rights invitation-only conference is now posted here. Event organizers danah boyd, Seeta Pena Gangadharan and Corrine Yu write in an executive summary that the "discussions laid bare a critical need for more concrete information about the positive and negative outcomes of using 'big data' technologies in civil rights contexts."

  • Mike Isaac of the New York Times looks at how Uber is fighting against state laws requiring its drivers to undergo the same level of background checks as regular taxi services.

  • Related: The San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorneys are suing Uber for making false or misleading statements, including about the background checks it performs on drivers, reports Jeremy Owens for

  • What do Microsoft's Bill Gates, Yahoo's Jerry Yang, Twitter's Evan Williams, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Virgin Airways founder Richard Branson all have in common? They're all investing in, helping pour $25 million into the company to "expand the company’s engineering team, invest in mobile development and expand a tool that allows the businesses and politicians who are the targets of petitions to engage with users," reports David Gelles for The New York Times.

  • Lawrence Lessig's MayDay PAC has released a detailed report analyzing its (limited) impact on the 2014 cycle. More intriguing, Lessig says the group is now "spec-ing out a platform" to involve its members in helping "recruit voters in targeted districts" to press their Member of Congress to support fundamental campaign finance reform. IMHO, MayDay ought to be enabling its members to connect locally by congressional district, regardless of whether they help with targeting or not.

  • It's "not the arrival of digital nirvana," but the Times' editorial board still thinks the new LinkNYC Wi-Fi hot-spot program is a good thing.

  • Meet Hive, an open-source framework that enables anyone to build their own crowdsourcing project, courtesy of the New York Times R&D Lab.