Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What's this called, Crowd Nicing?

"Karen Klein, a school bus monitor of Greece, N.Y., depicted being verbally bullied in a video gone viral, may have the last laugh.

By late Wednesday on the fund-raising site, nearly 4,400 donors had pledged almost $85,000 in a campaign called 'Lets Give Karen – The bus monitor – H Klein A Vacation.'"

So this is just a bunch of people on who mostly don't even know each other, who find someone they don't know that has had a rough time, and they help that person.  For no particular reason.  THIS NEEDS A NAME!  I propose it be called "Crowd Nicing."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Flame's authors were able 'to generate a rogue Microsoft digital code-signing certificate that allowed them to distribute the malware to Windows computers as an update from Microsoft.' They accomplished this, ComputerWorld says, by using a previously unknown cryptographic collision attack on the MD5 encryption algorithm (Stevens and company demonstrated one method in 2008) which Microsoft security engineers explain in a blog post here."

So why didn't Microsoft patch a known hole that they warned everybody else about 4 years ago? And how secure will the Internet be when we all know that our software updates might actually be downloading viruses instead?  Thanks a lot Flame makers!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"I can’t tell you how many times during this campaign that I was faced with a problem that I wasn’t sure how to solve — and then someone else would simply walk up to me with a solution. In a group working together as a non-hierarchical collective, if you take time to establish a shared intention both early and clearly, amazing things can happen. The intention of the Sotheby’s campaign was, first and foremost, to get the 42 workers back to work, and that focused our efforts. When a collective decides on an intention like this, it is not like an edict or command handed down by the leader; rather, it is owned by all of the participants. Each member of the collective is then forced to realize, first, that they are each only one part of the puzzle and, second, that they each have a responsibility to help develop creative responses to challenges the group faces. A collective that shares an intention becomes extremely resilient, and the collective is no longer dependent on the actions of any one leader to move forward."

Once again the nonhierarchical movement works with an already established group (the union) to accomplish a simple goal (getting workers' jobs back).  Note that the OWS wasn't subsumed into the union, and the union did not demand hierarchical control.  Another win for ICA!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lessons from Montreal

"There can be no doubt that the charismatic, articulate and brave leadership in ASSÉ and CLASSE has played a major role in the public perception of the strike, and these spokespeople should be commended for putting forward a point of view that runs counter to that of every powerful person in our society (that is a lonely place to be). However, the strength of the student movement lies in the limits it has placed on reliance on leadership, and the way that its politics revolves around direct action rather than charismatic personalities."

This is a useful lessons-learned article about the Montreal student protests.  It is another fine example of OWS as well, although with a bit of older organizational connections as well.  They did not do this OWS time-wasting concensus crap, where every detail can be debated ad naseum until nothing else gets done...

"One practice that made all of these separate votes and separate picket lines work together on a larger scale was a practice called “the floor”. Basically student groups would vote to strike but hold off on walking out of classes until enough other students likewise voted in favour of striking in their own assemblies. So, for example, one association might vote in favour of a strike, but pass a motion not to walk until at least 2,000 more students, in other assemblies at that school, voted in favour of striking. This would contribute to the sense of momentum while at the same time allowing for a high degree of coordination among a large group of students."

Sounds better.

"It’s easy to think that these things come out of nowhere, that there is such a thing as spontaneous social combustion. There is an element of spontaneity, and the social foment that exists on the streets in Quebec is partly a product of the tensions that can explode anywhere in society at any time. But from the militants I talked to, one thing that stood out was a strong connection between the veterans of the failed strike of 2007 and the new generation of strikers in 2012. The veterans have brought their past experiences in struggle to the current strike."

Learning from the past is always a good idea.  Veterans should be mined for their experience and lessons learned, but not seen as leaders.  Things change.

These guys had 400,000 people at a protest recently, considered the largest protest in Canadian history. They must be doing something right.

Can the Tea Party and OWS work together?

"In short, what I am saying is that the debate over whether one should criticize the role of the state or the role of capitalism in the limitation of, at least, our subjective experience of freedom, is unnecessary. When someone demands you choose either/or, the only answer, the answer that brings both sides into a common task is: 'Both' These are parallel critiques that can be productively fitted together. Each one, hived off from the other, simply does not go far enough.
If we in the peacebuilding world are concerned with 'creating space for dialogue,' we need to be sensitive to the reality that rejuvenating democratic participation and linkages between these seemingly rival movements now requires a dialogue about the space where politics takes place. It is a positive development when conversations about freedom in America shift away from a private enjoyment that wants to be left alone and put the emphasis back on gatherings that re-appropriate public space.
In short, the tea party and the occupy movement are trying to bring democracy back to the people and mobilize alternatives to the lowest common denominator. These two movements are the beginning of a search for what we at SFCG think is still possible: the highest common denominator. It’s time to start figuring out how to channel this energy in ways that will bring about real change rather than slogans about it."

This is a thoughtful article on how the Tea Party and OWS can find common ground to reach for improving our country.   The Tea Party emphasizes governmental abuse that stifles our economy.  OWS emphasizes corporate greed instead. But in fact both of these sources interact and interbreed anyway. Corporate money, especially after the Citizens United case, influences politics more than the masses do.  And politicians often wind up working for corporations after leaving office, perhaps as a reward for a job well done.  So I agree that both these grassroots movements should strive to work together.

"The New Eco-digital Commons"

"Participatory sensing is only one of the ways in which networking technologies can help create new bodies of aggregated knowledge that would otherwise be impossible. Consider the System for Rice Intensification, an international collaboration of rural rice farmers who trade advice on the Internet, open-source style, to learn how to improve yields without using GMOs or pesticides. The project has bridged the local and the global, enabling bottom-up, trans-national collaboration to improve rice yields on marginal plots of land around the world."

Can't you just hear Monsanto quaking in their boots?  If the crowd can accomplish what a giant corporation can accomplish for free, shouldn't the crowd at least get free Internet?