phiffer.org

Dan Phiffer Dan Phiffer is an Internet enthusiast based in Troy, NY

Lessig eats his own dog foodfixcongressfirst.org

Lawrence Lessig is primarily known for his Creative Commons project as well as books and masterful presentations on the same topic (the excellent free_culture presentation was my first exposure to his ideas).

More recently he’s been talking about reforming politics, about reforming Congress in particular. His argument is simple: money in Washington undermines our faith in democracy. It only makes sense, then, that he’s offered his supporters an opportunity to opt-out of those familiar MoveOn-style email fundraisers.

In this email, we’re doing something that no other advocacy group has ever done (or at least none we’ve heard of): We are giving you the opportunity to opt out of any email that asks for money — forever.

Not opt-out of emails altogether, just get rid of the “Donate Now” link at the bottom. From the special opt-out link:

Use the form below to opt out of future email appeals for financial contributions to Change Congress. We’ll still email to let you know about the latest news and opportunities to get involved in our work, but we’ll never ask you for money again.

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Chinese ethnic minority theme parkswww.nytimes.com

Ethnic Han make up 96% of China’s population according to official statistics. Other ethnic groups might be found performing in an ethnic theme park.

The most famous park, the Nationalities Park in Beijing, is a combination of museum and fairground. Ethnic workers from across China dress up in their native costumes for mostly Han tourists. (For a while, English signs there read “Racist Park,” an unfortunate translation of the Chinese name.) In some parks, Han workers dress up as natives — a practice given legitimacy by the Chinese government when Han children marched out in the costumes of the 55 minorities during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Having just seen a play recently on the history of Minstrel shows, it’s hard to be too judgmental.

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Dutch soldiers on bicycle patrol in Afghanistanwww.ft.com

This story from Financial Times in November seems to have swapped in a new photo, so it’s fortunate that I saved a copy of this one to my hard drive. I was reminded of it after hearing this morning that the Dutch coalition government has collapsed over its Afghanistan withdrawal.

The Dutch have gone to considerable lengths to gain the confidence of locals with carefully calibrated patrolling of the province. “We recently started doing patrols on bicycles in Tarin Kowt,” said a senior Dutch official. “The population was surprised but they reacted positively. It is much easier to come into contact with people on a bicycle than sitting on a Bushmaster [protected mobility vehicle].”

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Trade School workshops this week

Ellie is co-teaching a class at Trade School tomorrow night called Drawing for Pleasure and Relaxation. My (non-keyboard) hand coordination is kind of pathetic and I’d like some practice. It is full, unfortunately, but if you’re really into the idea it’d probably be fine to just show up.

Another one I’ll be going to on Thursday is Art Work: A Discussion about Art, Labor, and Economics, which has a companion newspaper edition and website. There are 3 seats left as of right now.

Also, in case you missed it, there’s a free lecture tonight by CLUI‘s Matthew Coolidge out at Pratt (although, not on the main campus).

MoMA interview with Yugo Nakamuramoma.org

I was happily surprised to see this interview by Shannon Darrough, who I work with on MoMA.org.

Nakamura’s MONO*crafts 2.0 was also a big inspiration for me when I was first getting into web design. It feels dated now, of course, but I remember feeling thrilled to see this bold assertion in the navigation: interfaces can be impractical, users can be invited to explore and play.

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danah boyd on ChatRoulettewww.zephoria.org

It’s about finding joy in randomness.

For most users of all ages – but especially teens – the Internet today is about socializing with people you already know. But I used to love the randomness of the Internet. I can’t tell you how formative it was for me to grow up talking to all sorts of random people online. So I feel pretty depressed every time I watch people flip out about the dangers of talking to strangers. Strangers helped me become who I was. Strangers taught me about a different world than what I knew in my small town. Strangers allowed me to see from a different perspective. Strangers introduced me to academia, gender theory, Ivy League colleges, the politics of war, etc.

I completely agree, ChatRoulette feels like my first experiences meeting random people in AOL chat rooms. But I can also understand why many people would find it too creepy to try out.

There’s an iPhone app called PhotoSwap that operates on a similar principle. It’s also fun, but it’s too bogged down by those who tag their suggestive, but PG-rated, images “NR” for no reporting to the system administrators.

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Greg Allen on Gareth Long’s Untitled (Stories)greg.org

Gareth Long’s giant lenticular prints based on the iconic-yet-anachronous 1991 cover designs for JD Salinger’s books are freaking me out right now … Something an aesthete in an early Star Trek movie might have had hanging on his wall.

To fully appreciate these you have to watch the videos on Gareth Long’s website.

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The Essential Manwww.esquire.com

This is required reading as far as I’m concerned. You may want to load up the print version to avoid clicking through each of the seven pages.

Related links:

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Zahra’s Paradisewww.zahrasparadise.com

A “real-time historical fiction” web comic about contemporary life in Iran. The NY Times writes:

The Web comic, which will be published in book form next year, is written by Amir, a human rights activist, and illustrated by Khalil. First Second Books is keeping their last names confidential to protect their safety. The comic will be updated Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and will be published simultaneously in English, Farsi, Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.

Link via The Morning News