December 2011

Happy f—ing Bill of Rights Day

the Bill of RightsBoth houses of Congress have passed the #NDAA codifying indefinite detention — and Obama’s happy with the language, so won’t be vetoing it.

Meanwhile even as I write this, the House is debating #SOPA.

Remember back in 2006-8 when the Bush Administration rammed through PATRIOT Act reauthorization and FISA? Obama was on the right side for a while — at least until July 2008, when he broke his promise to filibuster. Now, he’s continuing and building on Bush policies. Senator Chris Dodd was heroic on FISA; now, he’s working for the MPAA and using China’s internet policies as a blueprint for the US. And how about Patrick Leahy, bulwark of civil liberties — and co-sponsor of the Senate equivalent of SOPA?

It’s not that I think the Republicans are any better on the whole. Both parties have a few standouts on civil liberties — Wyden, Nadler, the Pauls. But on the whole, the political establishment continues to show itself remarkably unconcerned with Americans’ rights.

Here’s hoping that in 2012 we’ll start to do something about it.

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Notes from Underground: Eclipse

5 candlesEnd-of-year schedule overload led to an intense week, complete with meetings trickling over to the weekend.  Sigh.   But Friday afternoon was sunny, so I knocked off early and went for a walk in the woods.  After dinner I took a short nap and a good thing too.

What leads to a pivot? You don’t just wake up one day and decide to do something entirely different. It’s a gradual process.

— Tara Hunt, The Pivot (or How to Learn Humility in 4 Steps), Inc.

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Be an ally, not a hater (part 3 of “A Crucial Time for Diaspora *”)

RIP Ilya

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy for us here at Diaspora*. It is unbelievably painful to lose such a close friend and collaborator as Ilya, and we want to thank our countless community members, friends, family, and professional contacts for all of your support as we try to take care of ourselves and plot a course for Diaspora*’s future. We are forever grateful to the amazing community of people who have stepped up to help us get things back in order.

— Maxwell and Daniel, Diaspora * is Back in Action

Diaspora * co-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy’s idealism, passion, and vision touched so many people — even those who like me who never had the pleasure of meeting him in person. So many moving tributes have been written that there isn’t much I can add. My heart goes out to his friends, family, and colleagues.

“There’s something deeper than making money off stuff,” he said. “Being part of creating stuff for the universe is awesome.”

Ilya, quoted in the New York Times obituary

It’s gratifying to see so many people in the community reaffirm their commitment to the vision in such difficult circumstances.  Now that the core team is back in action, after a few weeks for grieving and replanning, it’s a natural time to step back and look at what’s next.

First, though, there’s something I want to get off my chest.

Ilya struggled with depression, and the stress of people like you constantly badgering him and pestering him and constantly making him feel like nothing he ever did was good enough certainly did not help his situation.

— Ilya’s roommate David Kettler, on Diaspora

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Notes from Underground: NanoEvolution

Tonight at The Atrium -- NanoEvolution! It's going to be an epic night of psytrance.  Lots of new tracks so come on out!

Yeah really.  DJ Anomaly keeps getting better and better, the crowd was totally into it, the lighting made everybody look good, and at 5 a.m. cinnamon rolls appeared as if by magic … epic indeed!

IMG_3095We had both spent most of the week sitting and working so had a lot of pent-up energy.  D had hit her milestone and had that “I’ve earned it” feel.  I had gotten a lot done as well, evaluating potential platforms for the next iteration of qweries, although wasn’t as thrilled with the results: most of the options have glaring problems like “doesn’t work on mobile phones or iPads”, “logging in via Twitter doesn’t work”, or “sends passwords in plain text through email”.  Really?  In 2011?  Oh well, it is what it is; and by the time we got to the Atrium I wasn’t thinking about technology.
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