Adventures at home, abroad, and online

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November 4th – 3am

Four years later, and it has been worse than we feared. Our borders closed, asylum banned and human rights denied, police killings and racist rhetoric, school and synagogue shootings and a President who praised the “very fine people” who marched with torches in the night. Then a global pandemic killed millions worldwide and destroyed many more jobs and lives. Despite it all, the election is too close to call. Too close for comfort. Too close to bear.

Crush the Midterms

It’s just over 100 days to the midterm election, and we have an awesome new way to get people excited about helping out.

November 9th – 3am

Trump Triumphs, the headline reads. I can’t believe it. I left the election night parties that had taken a sad turn at 7pm (we are on the west coast), and biked home a bit drunk at 10. It was close, but I still hoped that it would turn out ok. It now appears that it is not ok.

Google Political Innovation Summit

GPIS keynote: Eric Schmidt

GPIS keynote: Eric Schmidt

CEL was invited to a conference on political innovation, hosted by Google the Knight Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. The talks were off the record, so sadly I can’t share some of the juicier quotes, particularly from republican data analysts about the outcome of the campaign.

I was surprised at the level of techno-utopian “solutionism” present from some of the speakers. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been, but the notion that merely opening information is insufficient to create political change shouldn’t be novel to anyone. That was pretty much the takeaway from my graduate degree (that and creating online communities is hard). Someone who should know better even said that in four years the digital divide will be erased because “everyone interesting” will have a smartphone. There was a good conversation about whether “big data” is really good for democracy, or just winning elections. For me, the jury is still out on this one.

However half of the crowd really got it, and we had some real conversation once the free beer started flowing at around 4pm. And I got sit next to Anne Marie Slaughter, who tweeted up a storm. I was very impressed with the visual note-taking done by a google staff member. It does a great job at laying out the CEL model as presented by Ian during his session, and the snack table.

GPIS Visual Note-taking

GPIS Visual Note-taking

Send in the Drones

I’m really into drones this year.

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