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After Sandy, Are FEMA and the Red Cross Helpmates to Neighborhood Volunteers, Not Their Leaders?

BY Joe Maniscalco | Friday, November 16 2012

The Internet didn't create the outpouring of citizen-to-citizen care that has so often beaten traditional relief agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross to Hurricane Sandy-ravaged communities all over the tri-state area - but it certainly helped to channel it. The rise of grassroots organizing channeled through online resources in times of crisis has been so profound that FEMA and the Red Cross aren't even pretending they can do a better job than web-adept citizens groups like Occupy Sandy when it comes to immediately moving people or supplies - or even that they are supposed to. Read More

For Hurricane Sandy Relief, a Text-Messaging Solution

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, November 15 2012

In Hurricane Sandy's wake, many developers have come up with websites or applications created to help. But when volunteers are on the ground in hard-hit areas like the Rockaways section of New York City, they are often unable to access the Internet or use their mobile phones. A group of volunteers have responded to this challenge by developing Occupy SMS, a text-messaging tool for aid communication. Read More

In Red Hook, Mesh Network Connects Sandy Survivors Still Without Power

BY Becky Kazansky | Monday, November 12 2012

A Red Hook Houses resident accesses mesh network-provided wifi using a smartphone. Photo: Becky Kazansky / techPresident

Offered through Personal Democracy Plus: A mesh networking experiment in Brooklyn turned into an exercise in 21st-century disaster relief this weekend when an innovation fellow with the Federal Emergency Management Agency teamed up with neighborhood activists and tech volunteers to bring Internet access back to Red Hook Houses after Hurricane Sandy. Read More

Hurricane Sandy Moves Occupy Wall Street from Protest to People-Powered Relief

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, October 30 2012

Hurricane Sandy's winds toppled trees and caused widespread damage throughout New York. Photo: p_romano / Flickr

A group of people from the Occupy Wall Street movement is collaborating with the climate change advocacy group 350.org and a new online toolkit for disaster recovery, recovers.org, to organize a grassroots relief effort in New York City. Using Recovers.org, a web-based platform for organizing disaster response, Occupy volunteers are processing incoming offers of help and requests for aid, said Justin Wedes, a longtime occupier who 350.org put me in touch with when I contacted them about this project. Read More

As Sandy Approaches the East Coast, Hackers Build Tools to Understand the Storm

BY Nick Judd | Monday, October 29 2012

A group of volunteer hackers concentrated in MIT's Media Lab have built this map of live-streaming webcams in and around Hurricane Sandy's expected path. The page also allows users to add live streams to the list. The live stream map reuses source code originally written to compile a list of live streams for people to follow along with Occupy Wall Street protests, says Charlie deTar, the MIT Media Lab Ph.D student who is hosting the map. Read More

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Beyond @Congressedits, Capitol Hill Looks for Entry to Wikipedia

As he recently told techPresident, the creator of Congressedits did not aim to make Members of Congress look bad, but said he hoped that they would recognize the importance of Wikipedia as a public space and engage more with its community. "If staffers and politicians identified as Wikipedians, that would be super. You could imagine politicians' home pages with a list of their recent edits, that they would be proud of the things that they are doing." On Capitol Hill, there is in fact interest in making that vision a reality, starting off with an initial conversation that could create a framework for more Wikipedians in Congress. GO

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In the Philippines, Citizens Go Undercover With Bantay to Monitor Public Offices

The Philippines, a country of almost 100 million, is considered among the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia, despite a boost in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in the past few years (from 134th in 2010 to 94th in 2013 out of 175.) Corruption involves all levels of government, but benefits also from a mindset of tolerance, says Happy Feraren, the co-founder of Bantay.ph, an anti-corruption educational initiative that teaches citizens how to monitor the quality of government services, sometimes by going undercover. GO

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