LobbyPhone

I built an SMS bot! Text your postal address to (520) 200-2223 and the bot will text you back names and phone numbers for your state and federal legislative representatives.

Here’s the story: I’ve been looking at bots for advocacy and have been keeping a short list of inspiring SMS projects including TXTMob, Crises Text Line, mRelief, Planned Parenthood’s Teen Q&A line, and others. I’ve poked around the Twilio API. And then came this message on the Progressive Exchange email list:

Subject: ISO "find your elected officials" by text

I have to think this exists -- is there a simple "text KEYWORD to THIS NUMBER" that will return the names and phone numbers of your elected officials? Congress and state?

Jesse

Turns out it does not exist — so I wired it up and announced it on the list. The response has been super positive.

Continue reading "LobbyPhone" »

>  5 December 2016 | LINK | Filed in ,
How to call your reps when you have social anxiety.
Twitter  21 November 2016 | LINK
I built a thing: text your US postal address to (520) 200-2223 and get a text back with your state & federal legislative rep phone numbers.
Twitter  20 November 2016 | LINK | Filed in ,

In Free Fall

Violence Is Mine, September 26, 2014:

"[Hito Steyerl's] video In Free Fall (2010) in particular demonstrates how sites of apparent digital illusion are tied to the real world. She traces a specific Boeing passenger plane that had been sold to the Israeli air force in the 1970s, where it took part in hostage rescue missions against the PLO, to a junkyard where it was bought by a special effects team. It is, in fact, the plane in Speed that Keanu Reeves blows up. What was left of the plane after the movie's filming was then sold to China to make DVDs. The spectacular violence of Speed, which viewers can revel in as consequence-free entertainment, proves to be part of a wider material network of real violence and the precarization of labor."

>  30 October 2016 | LINK | Filed in , ,

After Nineteen Eighty-Four

Towards an ironic history of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, a book about pervasive surveillance and censorship under totalitarianism.

Man reading 1984 in Thailand, being documented by cellphones.

Egypt, November 2014:

“An Egyptian college student carrying a copy of George Orwell’s novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ was arrested in Cairo, raising questions about free speech under the country’s government with President Abdel Fattah Sisi.”


Thailand, June 2014:

“Thailand has suppressed the film of Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell’s classic novel of dictatorship and surveillance, in the latest effort to quash dissent after last month’s military coup. Members of a film club in the northern city of Chiang Mai cancelled a screening of the film in an art gallery after police intimidated organisers with suggestions that it violated the law. Nineteen Eighty-Four has become a symbol of peaceful opposition to General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized power from Thailand’s elected government last month after months of violent street demonstrations.”

And:

“Police in Thailand yesterday arrested eight people for demonstrating against the nation's increasingly repressive military junta, including a man dragged away by undercover officers for reading a copy of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.”


Internet, July 2009:

“In George Orwell’s ‘1984,’ government censors erase all traces of news articles embarrassing to Big Brother by sending them down an incineration chute called the ‘memory hole.’ On Friday, it was 1984 and another Orwell book, Animal Farm, that were dropped down the memory hole — by Amazon.com. In a move that angered customers and generated waves of online pique, Amazon remotely deleted some digital editions of the books from the Kindle devices of readers who had bought them.”


USA, 1984:

“The [CIA] also changed the ending of the movie version of ‘1984,’ disregarding Orwell’s specific instructions that the story not be altered. In the book, the protagonist, Winston Smith, is entirely defeated by the nightmarish totalitarian regime. In the very last line, Orwell writes of Winston, ‘He loved Big Brother.’ In the movie, Winston and his lover, Julia, are gunned down after Winston defiantly shouts: ‘Down with Big Brother!’”


USA, 1981:

“It was banned and burned in the U.S.S.R. under Stalin’s rule for its’ negative attitude toward communism, and reading it could’ve resulted in your arrest. It has also been banned and challenged in many U.S. schools. During the Cold War, a teacher in Wrenshall, Minnesota was fired for refusing to remove 1984 from his reading list. In 1981, it was challenged in Jackson County, Florida (for being pro-communism!).”

>  2 October 2016 | LINK | Filed in , , ,
Over 900 images of HIV/AIDS UK graphics & campaigns now uploaded at http://www.hivgraphiccommunication.com

Twitter  24 September 2016 | LINK | Filed in , ,
Milk-based packaging is better than plastic - and edible!
Twitter  25 August 2016 | LINK | Filed in
@SarahKSilverman: This is a 1977 pin about the wage gap. Women made 59 cents 4 each man's dollar. We've come up 20 cents in 29 yrs

Twitter  8 August 2016 | LINK | Filed in

Law Professor's Response to Black Lives Matter Shirt Complaint

A first year law school student wrote a complaint about her professor having worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during class. The professor’s response is priceless.

Continue reading "Law Professor's Response to Black Lives Matter Shirt Complaint" »

>  8 July 2016 | LINK | Filed in
ENDORSE.

Real Men Pack Glue Guns

Thank you @JLeoNYC
Twitter  1 July 2016 | LINK | Filed in ,
ACLU launches legal battle to allow researchers to do anti-discrimination testing of algorithms and platforms.
Twitter  29 June 2016 | LINK | Filed in
Drawing the Line: How redistricting turned America from blue to red
Twitter  25 June 2016 | LINK | Filed in ,
New York City public schools to offer free tampons to students
Twitter  15 March 2016 | LINK | Filed in , ,

So You Want to Organize a Very Large Protest March

So you want to organize a very large protest march? There's no one better to ask than Leslie Cagan. Leslie has helped organize some of the biggest marches in recent history. To name just a few:

I interviewed Leslie in November 2015. Both Leslie and I have lightly edited the text below for clarity.

Continue reading "So You Want to Organize a Very Large Protest March" »

>  15 February 2016 | LINK | Filed in

Ten Challenges to the Use of Data Visualization in Human Rights

In January 2016, my colleagues and I from an interdisciplinary research group at NYU asked a group of human rights researchers and advocates about the challenges they face when using data visualization. Mixing formal interviews with informal discussion, we found that responses revealed a few common themes. Drawn from this modest sample, here are ten questions on the minds of the rights professionals we spoke to, challenges that complicate and impede the use of data visualization in human rights work.

Continue reading "Ten Challenges to the Use of Data Visualization in Human Rights" »

>  9 February 2016 | LINK | Filed in
Ooh, sparkly new Los Angeles geodata portal! Much data, so map: http://geohub.lacity.org. More about it here.
Los Angeles Geohub home page
Twitter  8 February 2016 | LINK | Filed in
Poverty drop in Africa not correlated to GDP, but to countries building local infrastructure.
Rates of poverty change in 33 African countries between 2011-2015
Twitter  8 February 2016 | LINK | Filed in , ,
Tales of $100k+ student debt earn headlines, but real problem is 1/3 can't repay loans under $5000.
Twitter  7 February 2016 | LINK | Filed in
These gorgeous posters from Buenos Aires to tell you that life is better by bike
Bikes are better for your heart Bikes are better for your knee Bikes are better for your stomach Bikes are better for your head
Twitter  7 February 2016 | LINK | Filed in ,
@RikersBot tweets one story a day from a prisoner at Rikers Island. Via
Twitter  7 February 2016 | LINK | Filed in ,


More? See February’s archives.
Or January’s.