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First POST: Urgency

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 19 2015


  • What would MLK say? Eighty people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world, Mona Chalabi reports for FiveThirtyEight. Since 2009, the wealth of those eighty has doubled in nominal terms, she adds.

  • Republicans on Capitol Hill are dropping their long-standing opposition to net-neutrality rules, reports Kate Tummarello for Politico. Now a bill being developed by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) bans "paid prioritization" and extends net neutrality protections to wireless networks.

  • Bloggers are due the same free speech protections as journalists, according to a federal appeals court ruling Friday, Dan Levine reports for Reuters.

  • Congrats to DataKind (a founding organizational member of Civic Hall) for winning a renewed grant of $1.1 million from the Knight Foundation, which will enable the nonprofit to expand its DataCorps program, grow its chapters and launch an in-house data science team.

  • More Bitcoin theorizing: "My hunch is that The Blockchain will be to banking, law and accountancy as The Internet was to media, commerce and advertising," writes MIT Media Lab's Joichi Ito for LinkedIn.

  • Meanwhile, as the value of a single Bitcoin continues to slide downward, Ian Steadman of the New Statesman explains why the currency appears to be in free fall.

  • Civic tech legislation: Techies and legislators in Massachusetts have developed an "innovative communities" bill that would enable cities and towns in the state to work more fluidly alongside startups, David Harris reports for the Boston Business Journal. The bill, sponsored by state senator Karen Spilka, would also require participating communities to put more of their data online.

  • Related: Here's an oped by nonprofit high-speed broadband entrepreneur Lev Gonick explaining why Ohio's Cuyahoga County needs to embrace the open government data wave.

  • Benjamin Schmidt and Mitch Fraas have visualized which words are most used in the State of the Union address, for the Atlantic.

  • Related and fun! The Sunlight Foundation's "State of the Union Machine" will let you make your own speech, with whatever percentage of each president's speaking style you would like to add.

  • Turkey is threatening to shut down Twitter unless it blocks the account of a left-wing newspaper that has been tweeting documents pertaining to a military investigation, Sebnem Arsu reports for The New York Times. The company has deleted the offending tweets but has so far avoided closing the newspaper's Twitter account.

  • We're having an open house tomorrow from 10am to 3pm ET celebrating the opening of Civic Hall, our new home for civic tech innovators. There will be unconference sessions on civic tech hosted by our beta members. Come visit: 156 Fifth Ave, 2nd floor, at 20th St, NY, NY.