Monthly Archives: February 2008

Defend Wikileaks

I feel the need to use my blog to “Google vote” to defend Wikileaks, an anonymous whistle-blower site set up as a way for corporate and government people to reveal secrets they feel the public should know.

The site’s .org address was shut down by a California court order in an incredibly offensive breech of free speech rights. There are tons of mirror sites hosting the saved data, but that is not a permanent solution.

The site has garnered a lot of criticism, sure. It even received wary words from Bill Thompson, tech columnist for the BBC, who I enjoy reading. But I think Bill was suggesting that you might not want to support the site and would never have suggested censorship or that the site should not be allowed to exist.

We are losing battle after battle in the war to keep the Internet free, and this is a gross offense. But how do we take these rights back? I doubt that me writing a blog post so that one more web page hit will pop up on Google is really going to cut it…

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Can Knox protest like this?

Many student activists at Washington University in St. Louis, my hometown, protested a talk by Alberto Gonzales yesterday, charging him with being a war criminal. Excellent St. Louis blog, PubDef, covered the protest:

I wonder if little ol’ Knox College, far from a big city, can conjure up the energy to protest our upcoming visit by John Ashcroft with similar energy. I think we can, but I’m a pretty optimistic guy.

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My home is on CNN … again

How do you react when you go to check what the latest big news is, and you see your hometown on the front page of a global news outlet? It’s even on the front of BBC News. Basically, a gunman walked into a Kirkwood City Council meeting and shot to death five people and injured two more, including the mayor. He was shot to death by police within minutes of entering the chambers.

And I am dumbfounded trying to figure out how crazy things like this keep happening in this place.

The best way to describe Kirkwood is whitewashed, I guess. You can find it at the corner of Highway 61 and Route 66. No joke. They have spent my whole life trying to buy out/kick out the heavily black, poor neighborhoods in the area and replace them with Wall-Mart and Lowe’s. And they have been very successful in their goals in the past 10 years or so. The city looks really nice, is fairly quiet and upper-middle class and has good enough public schools. It has a cute downtown area and a cute Amtrak station and excellent access to freeways both north-south (I-270) and east-west (I-44).

Gerald Thornton

So maybe Charles Lee Thornton was sick of being ignored

“The only way that I can put it in a context that you might understand,” said his brother, Gerald, hours after the shooting, “is that my brother went to war tonight with the people that were of the government that was putting torment and strife into his life. He has spoke on it as best he could in the courts, and they denied all rights to the access of protection and he took it upon himself to go to war and end the issue.”

I am not suggesting these murders were justified, and I am really concerned about my home and the people there. I am just trying to understand how this could happen mere minutes from where Michael Devlin’s apartment was, minutes from where Kevin Johnson killed Sgt. McEntee, minutes from where I grew up and across the street from the Hobby Station where I used to buy kits to build model rockets in the summer.

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A long day of social networking

I spent today on the couch where I woke up creating Twitter accounts for The Wiki Fire, The Whateverist and The Knox Student. Then I used Twitterfeed to feed RSS feeds from each web site to automatically tweet.

As of 10:22 p.m., I am still in my pajamas. Yeah, it’s been that kind of day.

Anyway, I would love to introduce to all of you The Whateverist. It is a WordPress blog using the new Prologue theme, which is based on Twitter. Whateverist is the brain child of everyone’s best buddy, Jay over at fysigunk.us. As of this posting, there have been three different contributors. We don’t know what this thing is going to do, or who we want to invite to it or anything. So it’s kind of exciting. I’m sure Jay has a better idea than I do, since it is his thing.

the whateverist screen

Also, I am very excited about the Wiki Fire twitter account. I have it set right now so that any time a new article is created on the site (which is based on MediaWiki), it will tweet with the article title and the beginning of the body text. Pretty neat. This screen is of a Twitter article I wrote in order to test it …
the wiki fire tweet screen cap

In other news, my good friend Kelli Refer has started a cyberfeminist blog called Reviving Emma that should prove rather interesting. Cyberfeminism is an interesting, complicated series of ideas that I don’t think I know enough about. So teach me, hot stuff!

In other news, I installed Adobe CS3 today, and it is extremely fast on my MacBook. Like, it surprised me how fast it was. Photoshop flies around like I always wanted it to. It’s magic. I also figured I would take a look at the new stock photo search in Bridge, and searched for a picture of a gavel (research for a graphic I need to make for the paper). It returned tons and tons of images, so I click one, and here is what I got:

expensive photos

I had to look at this screen several times just to make sure it was, indeed, trying to sell me a boring photo of a gavel for, at the very cheapest, $100. I mean, really? $100? Will anyone ever buy that? Why does this exist in Adobe Bridge? It’s so strange. If these do sell, then I am quitting college right now and taking random photos of shit to sell on Adobe Bridge.

Anyway, in the AFK world, I spent all week working on a strange theater design project involving minimal lights and very loud, strange audio. It was really disorienting. I wish I could describe it better, but I don’t know how. Basically, the audience faces a short wall in a rectangular black box theater. The two walls on either side of the audience and the one in front of them have lights pointed towards them. We led them to their seats in absolute darkness, leading them with a flashlight so they could find their seats. Then we let them adjust to the darkness and the quiet. Then a conversation between my buddy Danny Fisher-Bruns and I started. That goes on for a while and is kind of existential and stuff. Then a smooth kind of feedback noise comes on while the sound of footsteps and shit being dragged around plays. At this point, the lights start, but very subtly. I’m talking 3% intensity, so you are not even sure they are on, but you know you’re getting dizzy. Then as things are dying down, a massive ridiculously loud noise wall comes at you and the two walls on either side of you start flashing back and forth in a very bright red that disorients you more and you can’t hear anything but crazy noise and then it ends. Total time, about 20 min counting silence at the start. I guess some things don’t translate into digital format very well, though. Sorry.

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