I’m not sure how the other occupy movements handle decision making, but in Occupy Oakland they have formed a set of guidelines how actions are voted upon at their daily General Assembly meeting which have had roughly 1,000 to 3,000 each night. So far I am surprised at how organized these assemblies have been. Its not an easy thing to get a group of thousands to gather and collectively speak and vote on certain topics. Below are the working guidelines the general assembly uses to vote and pass proposals.

Occupy Oakland General Assembly

Committees needed for the functioning of the GA:

  • ·Facilitators Working Group (FWG): Responsible for finding facilitators for our GA, responsible for refining our decision making process and structure, and organizing the structure of the agenda for the GA; it does not determine the content of the agenda. FWG will also help hold ongoing facilitation trainings twice a week through the Raheim Brown Free School.

(FWG will have an open meeting every day at noon, under the trees in the small plaza near the flower shop– the first half hour will be reserved for concerns and suggestions)

  • ·Coordinating Committee (CoCo)*: CoCo gathers the content of the agenda of the GA. It is responsible for taking proposals, concerns, and announcements from committees and other groups in Occupy Oakland to the FWG. (please see below under “decision making process” for further details on this.) CoCo is independent of the FWG.

*this committee needs to be formed and does not exist yet

Proposed agenda for GAs:

  • ·Welcome & Opener
  • ·Agenda Overview, overview of process and hand signals
  • ·Committee announcements
  • ·Action announcements
  • ·Proposals from committees
  • ·Proposals from other groups, caucuses, affinity groups, etc.
  • ·General announcements (open)
  • ·Forum

Decision Making Process (Proposals)

The below decision making process is a modified consensus process, which means it strives for full consensus (100% agreement) by allowing ample time to discuss everyone’s questions and concerns and make amendments, but will accept less than 100% consensus if after addressing questions and concerns, consensus cannot be reached. (see the step by step process below for details.)

Only Occupy Oakland committees or groups (which we define as 3 or more people who are a part of Occupy Oakland) may make proposals to the General Assembly. The proposal made to the assembly must have 100% consensuswithin that  group or committee and must have 3 members attending the GA to present the proposal (all three or more people must speak). The proposal must be written down or said aloud to the proposal note-taker at the GA(there is a proposal box at the info tent). If it becomes apparent that the group giving a proposal needs to gather more information or take more into consideration, the coordinating committee may have them bring their proposal back for later.

*Note: In order for the GA to make a decision on a proposal, at least 50 people should be present (this may be amended as the occupation goes on).

Step by step of decision making process:

1. proposal: written and presented as thoroughly as possible

2. stack: clarifying questions*, pros and cons, suggested amendments (with full explanation)

3. test for consensus; 90% passes proposal


  • ·if  90% approval is not reached, consider friendly amendments and repeat steps 1-3 and try for 80% approval to pass proposal

*clarifying questions can be immediately addressed by those giving the proposal

note:  facilitator may use tools such as a straw poll, group break out discussions, according to their discretion

GA Facilitation Roles (these will be rotating):

-Co-facilitators: core facilitation, announcing agenda items

-Coordinating Committee presenters: gives brief summaries of subcommittee      announcements

-Participant advocators: addresses points-of-process concerns and factual responses        from crowd, counts during tests for consensus, directs people to stage to speak, answers            questions about decision making process

-Note-taker: takes notes of announcements and decisions made during assembly, gets       notes to the web committee

-proposal note-taker: takes down new proposals for the current GA or a later agenda

-Time-keeper: holds up visual reminders of time available for speakers and            announcements

Most recently, they general Assembly passed a vote on Wednesday for a city-wide strike on November 2nd.

What could possibly go wrong?

Scientists Sequence Genome of Ancient Plague Bacterium

Researchers who have reconstructed the full genome of the ancient plague microbe now hope to bring it back to life to study what made it so deadly.


Lay down some trippy tunes with a $1 Moog while the offer lasts. Plus, Sim City meets music looper in the addictive Isle of Tune.

This vintage-looking virtual instrument resembles Zoran Djuranovic’s New Media capstone from last year.

The Animoog takes the familiar, spaced-out sound profile Moog is famous for and warps it, using the iPad’s multi-touch interface and some very cool animated visualizations to create a unique instrument. It’s simple enough for anyone to play, but also deep enough to encourage extended experimentation. On top of that accomplishment, the Animoog is just about the trippiest sound-thing available for the iPad.

The app debuts in the App Store this week for an introductory price of $1. After a short while, it will go up to $30. If you’re at all interested in making music on your iPad, you should download this and start playing with it….

The musical instruments company, founded by electronics pioneer Bob Moog in the 1950s, makes keyboards that sell for thousands of dollars and are used in studios and on stages by the biggest names in rock and pop. Radiohead, Rush, Air, Stevie Wonder — they’re all Moog devotees.


Back in the 1990s there was a grid-based looper called Absolut DJ. Musicians like DJ Spooky would add arrows and other symbols to the matrix, steering the music around like virtual traffic cops. That site is long gone, but this sounds like a worthy successor.

We haven’t seen anything remotely like Isle of Tune for iPad, which was released Friday, with the exception of the web-based Isle of Tune, which impressed us late last year with its utterly unique approach to songsmithery.

Both apps let you draw roads, populate them with houses and trees to indicate beats and notes, and then activate the whole thing with cars that drive down the streets in predictable patterns, “playing” each thing they drive past.


And speaking of New Media capstones, this throwable camera is reminiscent of Jesse Melanson’s Club Ball capstone.

Jonas Pfeil, a student from the Technical University of Berlin, has created a rugged, grapefruit-sized ball that has 36 fixed-focus, 2-megapixel digital camera sensors built in. The user simply throws the ball into the air and photos are simultaneously taken with all 36 cameras to create a full, spherical panorama of the surrounding scene. The ball itself is made with a 3D printer, and the innards (which includes 36 STM VS6724 CMOS camera sensors, an accelerometer, and two microcontrollers to control the cameras) are adequately padded, so presumably it doesn’t matter if you’re bad at throwing and catching.


Yet another reason to choose a Facebook photo that’s hotter than you really are.

With Carnegie Mellon’s cloud-centric new mobile app, the process of matching a casual snapshot with a person’s online identity takes less than a minute. Tools like PittPatt and other cloud-based facial recognition services rely on finding publicly available pictures of you online, whether it’s a profile image for social networks like Facebook and Google Plus or from something more official from a company website or a college athletic portrait. In their most recent round of facial recognition studies, researchers at Carnegie Mellon were able to not only match unidentified profile photos from a dating website (where the vast majority of users operate pseudonymously) with positively identified Facebook photos, but also match pedestrians on a North American college campus with their online identities. … ‘[C]onceptually, the goal of Experiment 3 was to show that it is possible to start from an anonymous face in the street, and end up with very sensitive information about that person, in a process of data “accretion.” In the context of our experiment, it is this blending of online and offline data — made possible by the convergence of face recognition, social networks, data mining, and cloud computing — that we refer to as augmented reality.’ http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/09/30/1422217/Cloud-Powered-Facial-Recognition-Is-Terrifying

But then again, who really pays attention to dry academic studies? The FBI, for one.

“The FBI by mid-January will activate a nationwide facial recognition service in select states that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects in photos, bureau officials told Nextgov. The federal government is embarking on a multiyear, $1 billion dollar overhaul of the FBI’s existing fingerprint database to more quickly and accurately identify suspects, partly through applying other biometric markers, such as iris scans and voice recordings.” http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/07/2342240/FBI-Plans-Nationwide-Face-Recognition-Trials-In-2012

Greece Volos BarterAccording to Richard Florida, readily available digital tools like Firefox and Final Cut were supposed to empower artists, designers, and other “creatives” to steer the world’s future in a 21st-century Creative Economy. So why aren’t we all employed in creative industries by now?

It’s easy to point to the usual suspects like job outsourcing to China and Wall Street fat cats. But it is also true that some creative economies are thriving–even in epicenters of economic recession such as Greece–but they are organized around barter and free software rather than dollars or drachma.

Continue reading »

if you are interested in any of these jobs, contact these folks directly or via New Media Department chair Larry Latour or Jon Ippolito.

Continue reading »

Vintage Grilled Cheese Ipad heaA California high school aborts an “incentive” program that would give lower-scoring students different colored ids and a separate lunch line. Kindergarteners in Auburn, Maine, meanwhile, are handed iPads along with their jars of paste.

Continue reading »

Pocos Blue medRichard Rinehart, co-author with Still Water’s Jon Ippolito of the forthcoming MIT book New Media and Social Memory, presents conclusions from the book at the POCOS/HATII symposium on Software Art in Glasgow on 11 October.

Continue reading »

Recent research reveals that the bacteria that help us digest food also influence what’s on our minds. The discovery that these microbial partners are our collaborators in cogitation as well as digestion unfortunately coincides with a separate study suggesting antibiotics can kill off gut bacteria permanently.

The good news:

“Hundreds of species of bacteria call the human gut their home. This gut ‘microbiome’ influences our physiology and health in ways that scientists are only beginning to understand. Now, a new study suggests that gut bacteria can even mess with the mind, altering brain chemistry and changing mood and behavior (abstract).”


The bad news:

Helpful bacteria in our intestines take a pounding during an antibiotics treatment, but normally recover. Or so we thought. A new study suggests the drugs may permanently alter collections of healthy microbes in pregnant women and young children — for worse.


Motion capture used to require actors and stunt artists to perform in a controlled studio. This radically different approach can capture a child swinging on monkeybars in a playground or a figure skater performing in an ice rink.

“Traditional motion capture techniques use cameras to meticulously record the movements of actors inside studios, enabling those movements to be translated into digital models. But by turning the cameras around — mounting almost two dozen, outward-facing cameras on the actors themselves — scientists at Disney Research Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University have shown that motion capture can occur almost anywhere — in natural environments, over large areas, and outdoors


© 2011 UMaine NMDNet Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha