Monthly Archives: January 2011

Must reading about Kensington at Philly.com

The Inquirer recently wrapped up a series about the struggles faced in Kensington and Philadelphia’s First Congressional District – the 2nd hungriest in the nation: “Hunger in the First”:

Following this series, no doubt brought on by the horror of the Kensington strangler, was a greater spotlight cast by the papers on the neighborhood that included a great set of independent articles:

All are worth reading.

An article that introduces us to a new news effort coming *from* Kensington deserves a special shout out because it is efforts like this that point us towards the future or news and maybe the neighborhood itself: “Philadelphia duo bring Internet attention to Kensington’s woes”. That duo is Richie Antipuna and Heather Barton and their video series can be found on Blip.tv.

I just had to round up these articles and post them to one page since the subject matter was so related. Now if there was a place to discuss these stories collectively. Reddit’s Philadelphia sub-reddit perhaps? That feels wrong. The stories need an official home someplace where people from the neighborhood and outside the neighborhood can discuss them collectively. Why do I care about that? Because when people connect over subject matter that is when ideas can take shape and action can take place.

Maptivism getting easier, happening more

Combine mapping, with participation, and a subject matter that needs attention, and you can create some powerful, useful tools. Google Maps APIs and various mashup techniques made it easy for technologists to build services that pulled together these concepts, but now hosted services like Ushahidi’s CrowdMap and SeeClickFix are opening up the possibilities to more.

NYTimes: “Phone Apps Aim to Fight Harassment”

Hollaback!

Observer: “Want to Help Dig Out Some Police Cars? Site Crowdsources Snow Cleanup in NYC”

Snowmageddon Clean-Up: New York

StreetCorner.com.au: “Police and public turn to social media & maps in the Queensland flood crisis”

EveryMap and ABC Qld Flood Crisis Map

Mercury News: “O’Brien: What Haiti tells us about the promise and limitations of digital media”

GigaOm: “How Social Networks and Mobile Tech Helped in Haiti”

Ushahidi-Haiti

CNN: “Ushahidi: How to ‘crowdmap’ a disaster”

O’Reilly Radar: Alex Howard: “The role of the Internet as a platform for collective action grows”

Related:

Ushahidi and CrowdMap

SeeClickFix (which just got some nice investment)

CrisisMappers

Crisis Commons

MobileActive.org

Hollaback!

GovFresh

We Media

Code for America

Queen and Heroism

slacktivist: “The terror of knowing what this world is about”:

Nothing new here — nothing novel or innovative or unusual. But worth repeating, I think. In any case, it was something I needed to repeat after firing up the computer this morning to find that the artists and the saints had conspired against me, teaming up to remind me what this world is about.

Love dares you. Mm ba ba de.

Related:

Greater Good: Philip Zimbardo: “What Makes a Hero?”

Both good reads.

So what language/skill will you be learning this year?

Rafe is going to be investing in learning JavaScript and Node.js. After some server-side JavaScript work last year with Alfresco WebScripts, I’m inclined to to continue to dig in further myself.

First up is finishing “Eloquent JavaScript”.

Related, recent reads:

Steve Yegge: “The Universal Design Pattern “

Sam Ruby: “Planetary Exploration”

JavaScript, JavaScript: “Exploring JavaScript for-in loops”

w2lessons.com: “Why You Need to Learn JavaScript”

Ever see the “Mother of all Demos”?

In 1968 Douglas C. Engelbart, along with a team of 17 researchers at Stanford, in a 90 minute taped demonstration, showed us what was then the future – which is now the present (and soon to be the past?) – hypertext, gui based interaction, online collaboration including email, and more.

Stanford has a terrific page on the demo, including video clips of it broken down by time and topic, and a single clip of the whole thing. If you’ve never seen this before, take the time, scroll to the bottom of this, and watch beginning to end. It’s not called “The Mother of all Demos” for nothing.

I’ve watched this a few times over the years and I keep coming back to it and being blown away. How far have we gone? How far have we not? There has been much added to the mix these past ten years, but it was a long way from there to here.

Related:

PhillyCHI

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2011

Emma came home from school with a pamphlet and homework assignment on Dr. King the other day and it gave me the opportunity to speak a little about someone I consider a hero and what he challenged us to do.

Wish I was well enough to take part in Martin Luther King Jr. volunteer efforts tomorrow, but at least I can root them on. Kick ass tomorrow folks and have fun.

Via dangerousmeta.com came the following clip of Robert Kennedy announcing the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

YouTube: “Robert Kennedy Announcing the Assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Indiana 1968″:

The Twelve Doctors of Christmas

Tor.com ran a great series of essays on each of the Doctors titled “The Twelve Doctors of Christmas” that has some good reads.

My favorite essays out of the bunch:

“The Third Doctor”

“Born to be an Alien”

“Shifting into Fifth”

The Walking Wounded”

3, 4, 5, and 9. Pretty much coincide with my favorite Doctors as well. No offense all of you out there.

“Born to be an Alien” quotes an essay that was passed along a while back that is still a good read, “How Doctor Who Made Me A Liberal”. Sometimes I feel like I should write a version of this essay wrapping in Star Blazers, Star Trek, early Star Wars, and the Muppets because they, along with Doctor Who, left some similar imprints on me growing up.

The stories we are told as kids stay with us in some interesting, and powerful, ways.

As the series summarizes:

Until next time, remember: Bananas are good, Daleks are bad, try reversing the polarity, and intellect and romance should always triumph over brute force and cycnicism.