Found on Reddit: an urgent letter from Rep Zoe Lofgren regarding PIPA
I directly quote from the letter posted here (originally sourced from Alexis Ohanian’s twitter):
"Yesterday was important. Emails and phone calls poured into the US Capitol. The message in opposition to SOPA/PIPA was clear. As I was on the floor of the House yesterday, I can assure you that the actions taken were noticed by the Representatives. For myself, I was inspired that millions of Americans cared enough about freedom to contact their elected Representatives. But we have not yet prevailed. The key vote in the United States Senate is scheduled to occur at 2:15 next Tuesday, January 24th. It is on a “motion to proceed” to consider PIPA. We need at least 41 Senators to vote NO on the “motion to proceed”. Our vote count right now show us in single digits on the NO side so we have work to do. If the motion to proceed is successful it is likely that a form of SOPA/PIPA will become law this year. So this vote is a KEY VOTE on PIPA in the Senate. The concern is that Senators may try to have it both ways. They can say they are only voting “yes” on a motion to proceed to “allow the bill to be fixed.” But the truth is that moving to proceed next week will leave the proponents of SOPA/PIPA in control of the process. It will shut down further debate and preclude input from Internet experts and the public and will prevent meaningful consideration of changes to the bills. The goal of proponents of SOPA/PIPA is to pass something in both the House and Senate so that legislators can move “behind closed doors” into what is known as a “conference committee” and write what they want in secret. A yes vote on a motion to proceed is, in effect, a yes vote on getting SOPA/PIPA made into law. And that vote is scheduled to be taken next Tuesday at 2:15. Your opposition to SOPA/PIPA had nothing to do with political parties and everything to do with preserving free expression on the internet. Make sure that everyone knows the KEY VOTE in the Senate is scheduled for this Tuesday, January 24th, 2:15pm (EST). We need Senators to vote NO.”
Today was both a culmination and a beginning, all wrapped up tightly into 17 hours. My team and I finally launched a product on which I’ve been hyper-focused for the last 6 + months. My heart rate has been measurably higher, and my left eye is twitching. I should be in bed, but I can’t fall asleep.
There’s something funny about focus. It can be utterly liberating, knowing that you’re so purely deep in a moment, a project, a sensation, or in an idea. The result of hyper-focused and productive work can be freeing in and of itself.
Alternatively, the moments of complete and true freedom, of forgetting worries and responsibilities and of even forgetting exactly what day it is and where you normally would be…that can be that same kind of liberating. That can release you fully.
Both come with a lingering sense of guilt though. The guilt for feeling intensely liberated, whether from pure focus or pure release, it gnaws at your bones and creeps into your muscle tissue. It festers, making your eyes dry and a bit fuzzy, later making your mind unsettled. It instills a sense of indecision you might or might not have known existed inside you. It’s seemingly unfounded guilt. For what are you guilty if you’ve been working hard or intentionally vacating your everyday life for a most likely well-deserved break from the quotidian?
My theory is that it is unnatural to let go (both by laser focusing on one project or by attempting to utterly vacate your daily responsibilities). I prefer acknowledging my connectivity, to my friends, to my habits, and to my problems (physical, mental, spiritual, etc). I find solace, freedom, and release in awareness, in understanding an emotion or sensation, and subsequently trying to let it pass the way it should.
Hyper-focus on anything isn’t the best way of getting things done in my book. I think life is about finding at what level you as a person best function. Is it when you are thinking about your job 70% of the time, or with 70% of your self? Maybe it’s less. I doubt that it’s more.
All I know is that when I sit and think and breathe, reflecting on what I have to do next, or tomorrow, or this month, or this year, or in 10 years, a purer sense of relief prevails. Knowing that I know what must be accomplished next is liberating.
“For the past sixty years, TV executives have been making the decisions about what we watch in our living rooms. Kyncl would like to change that. Therefore YouTube, the home of grainy cell-phone videos and skateboarding dogs, is going pro. Kyncl has recruited producers, publishers, programmers, and performers from traditional media to create more than a hundred channels, most of which will début in the next six months—a sort of YouTV. Streaming video, delivered over the Internet, is about to engage traditional TV in a skirmish in the looming war for screen time.”—Will Robert Kyncl and YouTube Revolutionize Television? : The New Yorker (via thisistheverge)
The New York Tech Meetup last night and why the Alley (aka NYC) is better than the Valley.
At the New York Tech Meetup last night, 2 projects demo’d that proved in my and many other’s minds why the Alley is better than the Valley…at solving real world (not just first world) problems.
Deaftel is a service that helps the way deaf people communicate. It’s a phone service that turns one person’s speech into text which is subsequently relayed to the deaf person on the other end of the phone line. They can then text a response, which is turned into audio for the non-deaf person to hear. It’s a beautiful tool that takes the 3rd party service provider out from between the two people trying to communicate. Way to go Kunal!
The Guardian Project, an Android focused open source dev project, teamed up with WITNESS, a Brooklyn based organization more than 20 years old, who focus on human rights advocacy through video, to create an app called ObscuraCam. It helps to obscure or in some cases, clarify faces in images. It’s extremely helpful for documenting human rights abuses and either protecting or exposing people. The phone is ubiquitous, and most phones have cameras now…so this is a genius tool.
San Francisco simply doesn’t have as many public policy orgs or nonprofits or orgs like the United Nations to even partner with technologists. I love California, I go home there…I went to college there.
But this is in essence why I live in and love NYC.
Preview of ObscuraCam from The Guardian Project’s website.