RIP Joe Frank

One of the great radio voices is gone. This is from Time- Old from a collection of Hearing Voices on PRX.

If billions of years preceded our existence on Earth, billions of years will surely follow after our existence as well. So that our life here is like one flash of a strobe light. The wink of an eye. And if your life is merely a microscopic blip in the vast dimension of time, is its importance to you just an illusion?

Also worth a listen: Dreamers on Unfictional

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Mapzen Exit Interview

I gave an “exit interview” to the Civicist blog, talking about the Mapzen shutdown.

The code and data were always designed to outlive the company … basically we were always working on open geo primarily, and a lot of that work feels more durable than any particular company.

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Introducing smol-slowtv

This year for xmas I made Raspberry Pi video players for everyone in my family, so they could share my love for BergensBanen minutt for minutt HD:

When the Pi boots up, it updates its time using ntpdate, pulls down any updates from this git repo, then plays back starting from a specific timestamp based on the current UTC time. This allows for a communal slow TV viewing experience.

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Another big Twitter day

You may have heard that today the FCC voted against Net Neutrality rules. During the deliberations Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said:

Clearly there are cases today, and many more that will develop in time, in which the option of a paid prioritization offering would be a necessity based on either technology or needs of consumer welfare. I for one see great value in the prioritization of telemedicine and autonomous car technology over cat videos. (1:43:20 into the C-Span archive)

My response on Twitter seems to have struck a chord:

I liked how An Xiao Mina responded in her quote tweet:

This is now more popular than my previous big day on Twitter and sadly they’re both about things breaking on the Internet.

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Learning from Alabama

I called into this morning’s Brian Lehrer show. I am “Dan from up in Troy” and I have a cold, so I probably sounded terrible. My question was inspired by this Twitter thread describing tactics the Mobile County NAACP (and other groups) used in the AL Senate special election. I think there’s a lot to learn here for turning out votes in the 2018 Midterm Elections.

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The digital hippies want to integrate life and work—but not in a good way

WeWork as the new company town:

In WeWork’s future, the hastily privatised public space is returned to citizens. However, it comes back as a commercial service provided by a lavishly funded data company, not as a right. Meetup’s civil society will keep on talking, inside WeWork’s buildings. But the struggle against alienation will now consist of applying even more data analytics and nudging to the tortured souls of overworked cognitive workers, who, in escaping alienated workplaces in the comfort of makerspaces and face-to-face meetings, have discovered that the workplaces have colonised their non-work lives instead.

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On Behalf of Life

I helped build a website with the Other EPA encouraging you to submit a Public Comment on the EPA’s draft 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, which presently has no mention of Climate Change.

The deadline to submit your Public Comment is tonight, 11:59pm ET!

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Never Use Futura

Khoi Vinh on the book Never Use Futura:

I’m so happy to see this new book by designer, writer, and historian Douglas Thomas all about the typeface Futura which, it’s worth noting, predated Helvetica by three full decades—and it looks as beautiful and timely as ever.

Futura is probably my favorite typeface that ships with macOS by default. It’s one of the few bundled with an OS with more weights than just Regular and Bold.

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How gerrymandered is a district?

Michal Migurski is working on a project for measuring legislative gerrymandering. Redistricting shenanigans can be detected from current, historical, and proposed legislative districts.

PlanScore is doing two things to address partisan gerrymandering.

We are creating score pages for district plans to provide instant, real-time analysis of a plan’s fairness. Each district plan will be evaluated for its population, demographic, partisan, and geometric character in a single place, with backing methodology and data provided so you can understand the number. We’ll publish historical scores back to the 1970s for context, current scores of proposed plans for voters and journalists, and dynamic scores of new plans for legislative staff who are designing tomorrow’s plans.

We are also assembling a collection of underlying electoral data from sources like Open Elections, elections-geodata, and other parallel efforts. Our goal is to provide valid scores for new plans in any state. As we await the outcomes of gerrymandering challenges in Wisconsin and North Carolina, voters and legislative staff in other states are wondering how to apply new ideas to their own plans. In 2020, everyone will have to redraw their maps. PlanScore will be a one-stop shop for district plan analysis.

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The past is our burden

Aaron Cope on Who’s On First (which I also work on) and the responsibility that comes with naming things.

We have been blind to the fact that the First Nations were already here living on these lands long before the European settlers arrived. It is important to recognize that we have not been passive in our blindness but brutally deliberate. First out of malice and then later out of negligence and more recently out of shame.

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