Downtown New York City Two Months After Zuccotti Park RaidNew York Stock Exchange, 15 January 2012

This is the third in a sequence of Public Spaces essays that I’ve been compiling here on NMDNet. The first essay began at New York’s Wall Street not long after the police there shut down Occupy Wall Street and noticed how the streets in downtown had become “dead space.” The second visited Florence Ave & Normandie Ave, reflecting on how the site of the start of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots is now a passthrough for cars and gas stations. This third essay gained inspiration from a 2010 blog post and a walk to a neighborhood bus stop. First, I was cruising some keywords in the blogsphere and stumbled on “Downtown Loses Its Cherry Street, Becomes ‘L.A. Live Way’” by blogdowntown‘s Eric Richardson. This was no surprise as Downtown LA, about a mile north from where I live, has seen a massive redevelopment named LA Live that includes the Staples Center arena. After reading the blogdowntown article I didn’t think much of Cherry Street until I walked to the nearby bus stop with a few minutes to spare.
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Florence Ave & Normandie Ave
LA Metro 206 bus at Florence Ave & Normandie Ave

Today is the 20th anniversary of the LA “Rodney King” Riots that began, visibly, on television news showing footage from helicopters of rioters attacking cars at the intersection of Florence Ave & Normandie Ave in South Los Angeles (at the time more commonly called South Central). Two weeks ago I visited the intersection to experience the location and reflect on the event, taking the LA Metro five miles South from where I live in West Adams. The intersection is a typical cross roads with franchise stores on the corners, about six lanes per street converging, and cars alternatively lining up as green lights turn to red. I tweeted the experience while sitting for a while on Downtown New York City Two Months After Zuccotti Park Raidthe Northwest side of the intersection, at a grassy plantern area that surrounds an AutoZone sign. I had meant the trip to be an isolated personal experience until Adam Liszkiewicz, who was following my tweets (and photos I was linking to), pointed out a relationship between the intersection and my last essay, here on NMDnet in January, 2012, about downtown New York City “dead spaces” that were created by police in response to Occupy Wall Street. This trip was now the second in a series.
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Bits Projectglass Tmag ArticleAugmented Reality just got a lot more fashionable. That wasn’t hard, as the previous standard was pretty much Geordi La Forge‘s automotive-filter visor.

That said, Google Glass looks pretty serious–like having Siri behind your eyeballs.

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Skateboard manufacturers, coffee bars, and tattoo parlors are all new media industries–they just don’t know it yet. Here’s how to convince them to hire you.

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Governments and vigilantes are using Facebook and other social media to identify and jail protesters–even if they never left their keyboards.

A Chat With Zavilia, a Tool For Identifying Rioters

“Social media isn’t just great for starting ‘social unrest,’ it’s proving to be quite helpful for quashing it too. Not long after the bricks began to fly in London’s latest kerfuffle, locals angry over raging mobs scrambled to assist the police in their attempt to identify street-fighters and free-for-all hooligans … Now with more than 1,000 people charged over the chaos, a few citizen groups continue to provide web-based rioter identification platforms, in hopes of being good subjects, maintaining the country’s pursuit of order, and keeping their neighborhoods safe.”

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/08/19/0248220/A-Chat-With-Zavilia-a-Tool-For-Identifying-Rioters

In Britain, a Meeting on Limiting Social Media

Government officials and representatives of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry met to discuss voluntary ways to limit or restrict the use of social media to combat crime and periods of civil unrest.

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=bc98f459d24fe76a1cb358676020620b

UK Men Get 4 Years For Trying to Incite Riots Via Facebook

“In addition to the 12 arrests from last week, a judge has sentenced 20-year-old Jordan Blackshaw and 22-year-old Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan to four years in prison for their failed attempts to use Facebook to incite riots in the UK. The judge said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent. The two men were convicted for using Facebook to encourage violent disorder in their hometowns in northwest England.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/18/0224214/UK-Men-Get-4-Years-For-Trying-to-Incite-Riots-Via-Facebook

Slashdot / Soulskill nonprofiteer writes “A bunch of vigilantes are organizing a Google Group dedicated to using recently revealed facial recognition tools to identify looters in the London riots. While Vancouver discussed doing something similar after the Stanley Cup riots, the city never actually moved forward on it. Ring of Steel London, though, is far more likely to incorporate FRT into its investigative work.” A related article points out how development of face-recognition technology has been kept under wraps by some organizations, but we’re getting to the point where it’ll soon be ubiquitous.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/10/062225/The-London-Riots-and-Facial-Recognition-Technology

When police and vigilantes fail, there’s always PayPal.

PayPal Joins London Police Effort

“PayPal has joined a music copyright association and the City of London police department’s bid to financially starve websites deemed ‘illegal.’ When presented with sufficient evidence of unlicensed downloading from a site, the United Kingdom’s PayPal branch ‘will require the retailer to submit proof of licensing for the music offered by the retailer,’ said the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s latest press release.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/2345217/PayPal-Joins-London-Police-Effort

Meanwhile, Egyptian activists are getting in trouble for what they post on Facebook.

Egyptian Charged For Threatening Facebook Post

“The Egyptian Military Prosecution has charged 26-year-old activist and blogger Asmaa Mahfouz for allegedly defaming the country’s ruling generals and calling for armed operations against the military and the judiciary. Mahfouz, a prominent activist, was accused of using Facebook to call for the assassinations of Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) members and certain judges.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/15/0156222/Egyptian-Charged-For-Threatening-Facebook-Post

SealThe raid is liveblogged when one of Bin Laden’s neighbors complains about the noisy helicopters on Twitter, while Bin Laden’s compound gets 3 of 5 stars on Google Maps. Also in the news: weaponized dogs and a tale of two seals.

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NEW YORK CITY,  19 Nov 2010 —

MYFOXNY.COM – Some might say there is a ‘war on cars’ going on in New York City.
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Tired of bad news?

YES! Magazine reframes the biggest problems of our time in terms of their solutions. Online and in print, we outline a path forward with in-depth analysis, tools for citizen engagement, and stories about real people working for a better world.

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2010 yes magazine covers

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Your parents probably are more likely to talk nice about family, while you’re probably more likely to cuss about music or sex. And that’s why you’re more likely to be popular on Facebook, according to one read of Facebook’s recent statistical correlation of user comments and number of friends.

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Sure, it doesn’t address the full meme lifecycle (“Payload -> Circulation -> Direction -> Vector -> Hook -> Payoff” [1]), but it’s a clever distraction meme-within-a-meme.
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We’ve probably all heard about this already, but it’s certainly apt, so here it is.  Facebook apps (such as Farmville) have been giving (inadvertently or not) non-anonymous personal information to advertisers, a violation of Facebook’s privacy policy.  So basically, you could have chosen the most restrictive privacy settings on Facebook, but if you used Farmville (or if one of your “friends” used Farmville) or one of the other offending apps, your info (your Facebook ID) could have been leaked.  I think it’s kind of vague right now as to exactly what was leaked and why it happened, but any way you slice it, privacy was violated; and that’s another strike for Mr. Zuckerberg, the first being the leaked ims from 2004.  Good thing none of us would be caught dead using as passe a piece of software as Facebook.  Right?  Metaphor:  Facebook is to the year 2010, as AOL was to the year 2001.

William Gibson’s last three novels (starting with Pattern Recognition back in 2003) are essential reading, in my opinion, for anybody who’s into New Media these days.  They’re all set in the modern day, though the characters are decidedly sci-fi– hackers, marketing execs (hackers of a sort), graphic designers, fashion designers, filmmakers, and so on–generally controllers and creators of information.

So, on one level these books (and I sincerely recommend you start with Pattern Recognition) serve as commentary on our jacked-in, post 9/11, etc., society, but on quite another, more immediate–and I think gratifying–level Gibson just uses these themes as an occasion to produce some incredibly focused, almost morbidly precise writing.  The density of his prose can be a little daunting at first, but once you get into the swing of things it’s quite good.  A little vacuous at times, definitely show-offish at others, but on the whole simply delightful.

A bit like wine-tasting perhaps–the kind where you have to spit out the wine after a few seconds.  It’s ridiculously good sometimes–the prose seems almost calibrated to induce a kind of lyrical hypersensitivity in the reader–but on the whole it lacks heart, and leaves one feeling not a little empty.

Reviews:

Av Club

NYTimes

P.S. If you’re into fashion, Gibson’s descriptions are basically candy.  Finely textured, gunmetal-black candy.

Hello,
My name is Dennis St. Pierre, I am an MFA student in the Intermedia Program here at the University of Maine.

I am announcing a new light hearted, humorous and informative voice opposed to the Tea Party Movement. Everything is explained below in a press release I wrote.

We are still adding content on a daily basis to our site, especially the intelligence, (aren’t we all) and there are lot’s of products that are not in our online store yet.

Hopefully everything will be completed soon. None the less, it is time to announce.

So please visit our site, purchase goods in our effort to stand up to the Tea Baggers and fight for our country while at the same time raising money and awareness for important causes. Help us go viral and spread the call.
Any advice, feedback, links to great information and content you think would be appropriate to add to our site, would be greatly appreciated.

I hope life finds you all well. I wish you all great happiness.

Dennis St.Pierre

Hello Everyone,
I am Dennis St. Pierre, an ordinary worker, a student, an artist and most important a citizen! I am a Perturbed Passionate Patriotic Pacifist (say that 4 x fast) who is tired of the high jacking of our Democratic Republic by the Tea Party and feel it’s time to do something about it. So I and some Friends, have created the NOT TEA (yes naughty) Party. We have decided to fight back using humor, intelligence and common sense.

Like most of you, we have little time to go to meetings and assemblies, coffee party’s etc. We are so busy just staying afloat. But that doesn’t mean we have nothing to say and the time to speak up is passing us by.

By not voicing our opposition, by remaining silent and complacent, we are allowing a possible takeover of our government and ultimately our country. This is the work of the ultra wealthy and the extremely misinformed in the guise of “Patriots”, who call themselves the “Tea Party”.

It is through simple acts of defiance that we can defeat this opposition. We all know the power of marketing; we all know how powerful a few words can be. We all can defeat this rhetoric filled and misinformed group and take our country back.

How? We fight back without malice, but instead armed with humor, common sense and strong intelligence as our weapons, We take simple actions like that of wearing a T-shirt, placing a bumper sticker on our car, placing a sign on our lawn to be our voice when we don’t feel like direct confrontation. We take time to gain knowledge by reading and debate. Suddenly, you gain strength, armed with the knowledge of being one of many. Suddenly you feel strong enough to stand up and confront the bullies directly.

We believe as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. believed that it is through many little acts of non violence and intelligent defiance that true power prevails. These acts include the use of Humor, Knowledge and Good Will.

That being said; we are attempting to give you the means to defeat this takeover. We have created a website www.notteacompany.com or www.notteaparty.com . It is being updated constantly with News, A Library, Links, Cartoons, Humorous Videos, a place to exchange knowledge, as well as a Mercantile where you can buy products to voice your displeasure of the Tea Party. Products with humorous double entendre rally cries! “I’m NOT TEA”, “Sooooo NOT TEA”, “NOT TEA & NICE”, “It’s Nice 2 B Naugh-Tea” and many others that support the “NOT TEA PARTY” idea. We will soon have “Wicked Not Tea Coffee” as well. 15% of all profits go to NON PROFITS.

So, I hope you will go to our website and our store and become part of a “Wicked Not Tea Party”. So laugh, be informed and perform acts of Good Will all while being NOT TEA!!!

Sincerely,

Dennis St. Pierre
The NOT TEA COMPANY

For more info please contact me via email at [email protected]

“Remember…… try to be good and if that’s impossible, Be reeeaaalllly bad and tell me how good it was!!!! :-)

“Imagine” john lennon

350.org has launched a glocal event–locally engaged, globally networked–to send a message to our political leaders that we want to work for positive life-affirming goals for our communities and families.

You can see two local Orono events as well as nearby events on the map
EVENT
9 October 2010 – 10:00am – 2:00pm
Learn sheet mulching techniques for both Apple Orchard guilds, and raised beds.

Hey all,

I’m writing from San Francisco, my home these days. San Francisco is at the forefront of an amazing urban gardening movement, and it is very exciting! I’ve been working very closely with one urban farm in particular, called Hayes Valley Farm. It’s a 2.3 acre food forest rising from a freeway that collapsed during the ’89 earthquake. I hold the title of Lead Researcher on the Biodiversity Team. Most recently for 350.org’s 10-10-10 global day of action to prevent climate change, we began an effort to research and steward what edible and medicinal plants do well in the multiple microclimates within the city. We gave away 150 permaculture kits to initiate healthy ecosystems in folks’ backyards, front yards, planter pots, or vertical wall gardens (we get creative in the city). Our ultimate question is “how many people can you feed on how little urban land?” I like to think it is possible to have sustainable cities, but I wonder too if they stay cities or become something new…. This teeters on an artistic and pedagogical piece I recently did for Mary Walling Blackburn’s Radical Citizenship: the Tutorials, called Root, City, Thorn.

Anyway, I’m also very involved in thinking about the human organizational models that encourage healthy ecosystems and healthy people. We are facing some very juicy challenges on the farm and are seeking answers from lots of different sources. To this end, and in the spirit of exchanging insight, I’ve just launched an email list called Chapter Fourteen. I hope all you UMaine alumns involved in permaculture and/or participatory models of communication will join this list and share what you’ve learned from your own communities, as well as stories about where you’re stuck.

Please join! http://lists.beforebefore.net/listinfo.cgi/chapter_fourteen-beforebefore.net Beginning on the new moon November 5th we’ll have roughly 2 week discussions around the topic a moderator initiates. Please let me know if you’re interested in facilitating a discussion, and I’ll sign you up!

Thanks Jon for getting NMDnet going!

xoxo

New in the “They Can Do That?” Department: Your Facebook friends can add you to groups without your approval, and the only way to make sure that never happens is to *have no friends*. Oh, and the FBI can bug your car without a warrant. While it’s in your driveway.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/10/08/1358232/Lighthearted-Facebook-Friends-Could-Make-You-Join-NAMBLA-Group?from=rss via Byline mykos writes “The Facebook groups feature is causing bit of a stir with its users. TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington was allegedly added to a group about NAMBLA, and in turn, he added Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It’s all in good (albeit tasteless) fun, except when a harmless joke goes awry and you find yourself being detained by customs when a friend decided to drag you into a mock terrorist group. Facebook representatives are aware of the matter, but are dismissive of it. A Facebook spokeswoman said, ‘If you have a friend that is adding you to Groups you do not want to belong to, or they are behaving in a way that bothers you, you can tell them to stop doing it, block them or remove them as a friend — and they will no longer EVER have the ability to add you to any Group.’ In somewhat related news, guillotines ensure you won’t have dandruff on your shoulders anymore.”

Did I mention the guy with his car bugged was a college student? The FBI was pretty keen to get it back, too.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/10/08/1413240/College-Student-Finds-GPS-On-Car-FBI-Retrieve?from=rss via Byline mngdih writes with this excerpt from Wired: “A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online. The post prompted wide speculation about whether the device was real, whether the young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism investigation and what the authorities would do. It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted their expensive device back … His discovery comes in the wake of a recent ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals saying it’s legal for law enforcement to secretly place a tracking device on a suspect’s car without getting a warrant, even if the car is parked in a private driveway. … ‘We have all the information we needed,’ they told him. ‘You don’t need to call your lawyer. Don’t worry, you’re boring.’”

The new rules for technology that every kid should learn. They’re surprisingly cautionary (“Every new technology will bite back”), coming from former Wired editor Kevin Kelly. Could he be returning to his Whole Earth Catalog roots? (via Bill Kuykendall)

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Anil Dash of dashes.com offers up this provocative companion to NMDNet’s subheading,
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I never thought of Twitter’s randomness as an asset, but in this writer’s response I can see a valuable antidote to Facebook’s inbred circles. Following strangers becomes a form of human channel surfing.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/1SbUhWYbwC4/ via Byline Over at Gizmodo, Joel Johnson makes a convincing argument for adding random strangers to your twitter feed.

Read on to see how Johnson correlates hearing a diversity of viewpoints with creativity.

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I never thought of Twitter’s randomness as an asset, but in this writer’s response I can see a valuable antidote to Facebook’s inbred circles. Following strangers becomes a form of human channel surfing.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/1SbUhWYbwC4/ via Byline Over at Gizmodo, Joel Johnson makes a convincing argument for adding random strangers to your twitter feed.

Read on to see how Johnson correlates hearing a diversity of viewpoints with creativity.

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