January 2012

Things to Be

This is not the way things are supposed to be.

Happy birthday Angela Davis. The quote is from this talk of hers on how change happens. If inclined you can download the image as a PDF.

>  26 January 2012, 2:16 PM | LINK | Filed in , ,

Tahrir, Revolution, and Design

Stunning photos today of the millions of Egyptians out in the streets to commemorate the start of the revolution a year ago that turned out Mubarak — and to demand transition from military to civilian rule.

A few things have been written on the supporting role of design in the revolution and the urban landscape as both site and medium of protest:

But I think my favorite detail is in this annotated overview of Tahrir square by BBC News.

The authors of direct action (particularly in West Asia and North Africa) are often depicted as a rowdy mob of thugs. But instead of the usual sea of angry Arab men so often shown by the mainstream media, the photo shows a kindergarten set up in the square. Schools in Cairo had been closed during the protests, but many mothers wanted to attend the demonstration as well. So demonstrators organized an impromptu kindergarten.

The image captures the spirit of mutual support that sprang up around the occupation. And my favorite detail: the newsprint under the paintings to keep the square, the city and country they love, free from spills. No random acts of violence here, but using the city to create something new, a different future, with hope and love.

Tahrir Kindergarten

>  25 January 2012, 9:17 PM | LINK | Filed in , , , ,
Neutral and Not. Blue Ribbon “But although Wikipedia’s articles are neutral, its existence is not.… We depend on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for us to operate. And we depend on a legal infrastructure that also allows other sites to host user-contributed material, both information and expression.”

Thrilling to see Wikipedia, Reddit, Google, Slahdot, Tumblr and other big sites mobilizing their users to take action on a public policy issue today. Once you make that first call to your representative, you realize just how easy it is to call again on another issue as well.  ¶
Visualizing Slumlords. Using social nework analysis and information viauzliation to reveal patterns of real estate ownership, kinship, finance, and a conspiracy to sidestep housing violations. The methodology was used by tenants to successfully sue absentee landlords.
Social Network Analysis  ¶
Bank of America ATM. Activists in San Francisco updated all 85 Bank of America ATMs in the city on Thursday with a sticker offering an alternative interface. Designed to match the existing BoA ATM interface, the new menus offered a list of things BoA customers’ money is being used for, including investment in coal-fired power plants, foreclosure on Americans’ homes, bankrolling of climate change, and paying for fat executive bonuses. More at http://bankruptingamerica.tumblr.com
Bank of America  ¶

On to March.
Back to December.