Friday, 24 October 2014

Repost of a beautiful message from two members of the Occupy London movement: Kai Wargalla and Joshua Veeraswamy

Source: https://www.facebook.com/kai.wargalla/posts/10154708872775368:0

Three years ago today we started Occupy London. Three years ago today I took the bus, one of those red double deckers, down to St. Paul's cathedral and I stayed there for days, which became weeks, which became months - through Christmas and the entire winter, I spent almost a year in a tent and an occupied bank building. And of the countless unforgettable experiences during that time, I will forever hold dear this very first day.
I remember that day still. I remember how I walked out of my place in the morning, which I still had back then before I gave it up shortly after, and how I purposefully walked to the bus station around the corner. I was late, of course. I remember how I got on the bus, how I sat upstairs in the front row, it was quiet and empty, with the sun shining though the large window, blinding my eyes, warming my face. I saw the glowing but dreary streets before me and the sharp horizon bordering the clear blue sky. And I remember how I, sitting there smiling, posted a Facebook status update from my smartphone, that a kind soul donated to me a few weeks earlier for doing this whole Occupy thing.
I remember how I got to my destination still early - the Paternoster Square, a large concrete space between the London Stock Exchange and St. Paul's Cathedral. What a freakin' symbolic place. I remember how I and a handful of people who have been organizing this for weeks, were hiding in cafes all around this officially announced meeting point; how we talked via prepaid phones and walkie-talkies, always cautious that the undercover police wasn't listening in on us too much. I remember that it was about 11:45am when I sat in a small cafe overlooking the cathedral, and still no-one showed up. We were nervous, yet hopeful, and every inch of my body was in breathless anticipation of what to come on this beautiful sunny autumn Sunday. 15 minutes to go.
And then I remember how the clock struck 12 and within what seemed like the blink of an eye thousands of people flooded St. Paul's. I remember how from the chaos of this huge crowd of diverse people coming together all at once, our very first General Assembly was formed at the steps of the Cathedral. I remember how for weeks before this day we've been organizing for this to happen, and when it finally was midday of the 15th October 2011 it was entirely out of our hands and in the hands of the people - exactly as it should be.
Someone had brought a microphone, another one actually brought a portable PA. I remember Julian Assange being there amongst us occupiers and that we put him in his place to wait for his turn to speak - no special treatment for anyone. It was our time. I remember the feelings of overboarding joy about the first tents popping up. I remember some people started building a working kitchen on that very first day. I remember how the police tried to shut us down from the very beginning, the first turmoils and arrests, and how we managed to trick the cops into kettling us into the exact spot we wanted to set up the camp anyway - in yo face, police! I remember that when the sun finally set, we had built a small but resilient town, a community, an actual alternative model of society, in the middle of the evil financial heart of London. It was done. We did it. Hundreds of people actually came here to stay here. To live here. To be a living and breathing antidote to the selfish and cruel, unjust and corrupt capitalist system that harms us, the people, and the entire planet. Another world is possible. We built it on that day, and we lived it for months.
The people I've met for the first time in my life on this day have stayed in my life ever since. Some are still very close to me, some are more distant friends, some I've lost touch with - but each and every one of them, of you, that I've crossed paths with on that first day, will forever be in my heart, will forever be engraved into my memory of that first day of Occupy London. What a beautiful day. What a fuckin' perfect day to start a revolution.
The mentioned Facebook update from that day, you say? Well, it reads as follows: "The sun is shining...clear blue sky...smells like...revolution ". And it really was. And it still is - even though the tents are gone; even though many doubt that Occupy has actually achieved anything; even though many think that Occupy is dead. It isn't. This is only the beginning.
Occupy isn't a place - it's a point in time when you refuse to keep obliging, when you refuse to accept the corrupt and unjust structures as given, when you refuse to live (un-)comfortably with authority dictates.
We are the 99%.

Occupy Democracy: Round up of links as of Morning of 24th October 2014

Morning Star :: Occupy democracy camp faces police harassment
Occupy Central not democracy: former...
Police move to clear Occupy...
OCCUPY CENTRAL - THE DEBATE: Full coverage of student-government talks | South China Morning Post
Morning Star :: Police haul off Parliament Square protesters
Occupy protestors cleared from UK's Parliament Square, 22 October 2014
Met arrest Assembly member Jenny Jones at Occupy London protest — MayorWatch
The Return of Occupy London: this Time it’s Truly Political | Dissident Voice
Tasnim News Agency - Police Attack Occupy London Protest
BBC News - London Assembly Green Party member Jenny Jones arrested at Westminster Occupy protest
Protesters occupy Parliament Square | London - ITV News
PressTV - UK protesters occupy London’s Parliament Square
#TarpaulinRevolution: London police storm Parliament Square occupation — RT UK
UK police break up ‘occupy’ protest in London | euronews, world news
London police arrest 15 people at ‘Occupy’ protest
Occupy’s #tarpaulinrevolution: When the law enables police to breach human rights
Punk Fashion Designer Vivienne Westwood Addresses London Occupy Protest | Watch the video - Yahoo News Singapore
Parliament square arrests for feeding protest (literally) - Channel 4 News
Jenny Jones criticises Met Police after being arrested during protest on Parliament square | London - ITV News
The News Matrix: Wednesday 22 October 2014 - matrix - i - The Independent
10 ways to deal with having no money – The National Student
POLICE OFFICERS AND OCCUPY DEMOCRACY PROTESTERS IN PARLIAMENT SQUARE LONDON DURING THEIR PLANNED NINE-DAY OCCUPATION TO HIGHLIGHT THE GROWING INEQUALITY IN THE UK :: AD HOC NEWS
Occupy Democracy: symbols, constitutions and fear in the belly of the British state | openDemocracy
Senior Green Party politician Jenny Jones arrested at Occupy London - UK Politics - UK - The Independent
Green Party member Jenny Jones 'arrested then de-arrested' at Occupy London protest - Crime - News - London Evening Standard
Cops target Occupy Democracy camp in Parliament Square
Green politician Jenny Jones arrested in Occupy London protest | World news | The Guardian
Police move to clear Occupy protesters from Parliament Square | UK news | The Guardian
Occupy London
Baroness Jenny Jones Arrested For Supporting Occupy London's Peaceful Protest - YouTube

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Hackers for right, we are one down #AaronSwHack


So I just watched:

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

https://archive.org/details/TheInternetsOwnBoyTheStoryOfAaronSwartz

At this point I am feeling a mixture of fresh sadness at being reminded about what my friends went through at this time and also anger about what was done to Aaron as the government tried to make an example out of him. But in the end I can only draw strength and feel galvanised to keep thinking: "what is the most important global issue to work on right now?"
It starts with self-care and 'surviving well' and increasing your empathy and thinking about what is happening in the world right now. Informing yourself. Questioning everything. Pursuing passions. Showing solidarity. Acting.

Here is a beautiful but sad small poem that Sir Tim Berners-Lee read in the film:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2013Jan/0017.html

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2013 12:06:05 -0500
To: SW-forum Web <semantic-web@w3.org>, TAG List <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-Id: <90d25062-df5c-48bb-a657-49cfbfb696c6 w3.org="">
Aaron is dead.

Wanderers in this crazy world,
we have lost a mentor, a wise elder.

Hackers for right, we are one down,
we have lost one of our own.

Nurtures, careers, listeners, feeders,
parents all,
we have lost a child.

Let us all weep.


timbl
Received on Saturday, 12 January 2013 17:06:15 GMT
So just to echo what Sir Tim said in that post, "Hackers for right, we are one down"

I expect to see many 'hackers for right', truth seekers and rootstrikers collaborating, participating, hacking and spreading the word in this year's http://aaronswartzhackathon.org/

You know the date, November 8 2014, save it in your calendar now! aaronswhack.ics. Right Click. Save as.


Take some encouragement from Aaron's own words:
"This is not how the system is supposed to work. A ragtag bunch of kids doesn’t stop one of the most powerful forces in Washington just by typing on their laptops!
But it did happen. And you can make it happen again."
read the full text from the Afterword of Cory Doctorow's brilliant book Homeland

HOMELAND
Afterword by Aaron Swartz
Hi there, I’m Aaron. I’ve been given this little space here at the end of the book because I’m a flesh-and-blood human and, as such, I can tell you something you wouldn’t believe if it came out of the mouth of any of those fictional characters:
This stuff is real.
Sure, there isn’t anyone actually named Marcus or Ange, at least not that I know, but I do know real people just like them. If you want, you can go to San Francisco and meet them. And while you’re there, you can play D&D with John Gilmore or build a rocket ship at Noisebridge or work with some hippies on an art project for Burning Man.
And if some of the more conspiracy-minded stuff in the book seems too wild to be true, well, just google Blackwater, Xe, or BlueCoat. (I myself have an FOIA request in to learn more about “persona management software,” but the Feds say it’ll take three more years to redact all the relevant documents.)
Now I hope you had fun staying up all night reading about these things, but this next part is important, so pay attention: what’s going on now isn’t some reality TV show you can just sit at home and watch. This is your life, this is your country — and if you want to keep it safe, you need to get involved.
I know it’s easy to feel like you’re powerless, like there’s nothing you can do to slow down or stop “the system.” Like all the calls are made by shadowy and powerful forces far outside your control. I feel that way, too, sometimes. But it just isn’t true.
A little over a year ago, a friend called to tell me about an obscure bill he’d heard of called the Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeit Act, or COICA. As I read the bill, I started to get more and more worried: under its provisions, the government would be allowed to censor websites it didn’t like without so much as a trial. It would be the first time the U.S. government was given the power to censor its citizens’ access to the net.
The bill had just been introduced a day or two ago, but it already had a couple dozen senators cosponsoring it. And, despite there never being any debate, it was already scheduled for a vote in just a couple days. Nobody had ever reported on it, and that was just the point: they wanted to rush this thing through before anyone noticed.
Luckily, my friend noticed. We stayed up all weekend and launched a website explaining what the bill did, with a petition you could sign opposing it that would look up the phone numbers for your representatives. We told a few friends about it and they told a few friends and within a couple days we had over 200,000 people on our petition. It was incredible.
Well, the people pushing this bill didn’t stop. They spent literally tens of millions of dollars lobbying for it. The head of every major media company flew out to Washington, DC, and met with the president’s chief of staff to politely remind him of the millions of dollars they’d donated to the president’s campaign and explain how what they wanted — the only thing they wanted — was for this bill to pass.
But the public pressure kept building. To try to throw people off the trail, they kept changing the name of the bill — calling it PIPA and SOPA and even the E-PARASITES Act — but no matter what they called it, more and more people kept telling their friends about it and getting more and more people opposed. Soon, the signers on our petition stretched into the millions.
We managed to stall them for over a year through various tactics, but they realized if they waited much longer they might never get their chance to pass this bill. So they scheduled it for a vote first thing after they got back from winter break.
But while members of Congress were off on winter break, holding town halls and public meetings back home, people started visiting them. Across the country, members started getting asked by their constituents why they were supporting that nasty Internet censorship bill. And members started getting scared — some going so far as to respond by attacking me.
But it wasn’t about me anymore — it was never about me. From the beginning, it was about citizens taking things into their own hands: making YouTube videos and writing songs opposing the bill, making graphs showing how much money the bill’s cosponsors had received from the industries pushing it, and organizing boycotts putting pressure on the companies who’d endorsed the bill.
And it worked — it took the bill from a political nonissue that was poised to pass unanimously to a toxic football no one wanted to touch. Even the bill’s cosponsors started rushing to issue statements opposing it! Boy, were those media moguls pissed...
This is not how the system is supposed to work. A ragtag bunch of kids doesn’t stop one of the most powerful forces in Washington just by typing on their laptops!
But it did happen. And you can make it happen again.
The system is changing. Thanks to the Internet, everyday people can learn about and organize around an issue even if the system is determined to ignore it. Now, maybe we won’t win every time — this is real life, after all — but we finally have a chance.
But it only works if you take part. And now that you’ve read this book and learned how to do it, you’re perfectly suited to make it happen again. That’s right: now it’s up to you to change the system.
Let me know if I can help.

Aaron Swartz
 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

tocket build photos

Relay Switched Power Socket over a Tor Hidden Service

code is on github: https://github.com/samthetechie/tocket
 
































Sunday, 10 August 2014

MLK's 'I Have a Dream' speech is copyrighted. Share it anyway. #NeverCensor

MLK's 'I Have a Dream' speech is copyrighted. Share it anyway. #NeverCensor















"One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws." -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
video

Transcript:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

    My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

    Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

    From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

    Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

    Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

    Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

    Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

    Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

    Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

    Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

    From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

                Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

(America, a romantic project) from Examined Life - Cornel West

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfD3X3f5C_w&t=10m34s



Transcript Starts @ 10:34
This is even disturbing about America and of course America is a romantic project. It's paradiso, city on the hill and all this other mess and lies and so on.
No, no America is a very fragile democratic experiment predicated on the dispossession of the lands of indigenous peoples, the enslavement of African peoples and the subjugation of women and marginalisation of gays and lesbians and it has great potential but this notion that somehow, you know, we had it all, or ever will have it all, has got to go- you have got to push it to the side. And once you push all that to the side then it tends to evacuate the language of disappointment and the language of failure and you say, "ok well how much have we done? how have we been able to do it? can we do more?" well in certain situations you can't do more it is like trying to break dance at 75, you can't do it anymore you were a master at 16, it's over. You cannot make love at 80 the way you did at 20, so what? Time is real.
Transcript Ends @ 11:31

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Disruptive technologies for a read/write society and the reverse engineering of objects

I recently gave a talk at the ThinkTwice Conference "Disruptive technologies for a read/write society and the reverse engineering of objects" [Slides]

Society and government are read and write. We can view them complex systems or black boxes, make assumptions and models about how they work and then create our own APIs (application programming interfaces) and apps.
Disassembly and repair teach engineering so changing the status quo can be as simple as ignoring the 'void warranty' sticker and taking things apart.
People can now create their own API (application programming interface) to government and come up with novel ways to be civically engaged. People that want to start or engage in a dialogue can create civic apps or release a technologically disruptive invention.
Depending on the problem, starting the process of 'achieving change' may be as simple as looking for a technical and symbolic intervention which fills a structural hole and empowers a group of people.


Also here are my speaker's notes:

Disruptive Technologies for a read-write society and the reverse engineering of objects
  1. Introduction
Good morning everyone, this morning I am going to be talking about 'Disruptive technologies for a read/write society and the reverse engineering of objects'- a topic that I am very passionate about. But before we get into that first let me introduce myself and tell you a little bit about what I have been doing for the past few years. I am an Electronic Engineer, Activist, Hacker, Maker. I studied Engineering at Durham University (2006), London Hackspace (August 2010), UK Student Movement @ UCL Occupation (November 2010), Sukey (January 2011), Occupy London Tech (October 2011), Occupy Geneva, Occupy Frankfurt (January 2012), Occupy Wall Street (May 2012), Cryptoparty (September 2012), Hurricane Hackers (October 2012). Open Source Ecology Project (November 2013), Nomadic (January 2013), C-base (January 2013) Currently a Hacker in Residence at a small Hackerspace / 3D printing shop in Mitte, Berlin.

Ok so back to the theme of the talk. I am proposing that society and government are read and write. We can view them complex systems or black boxes, make assumptions and models about how they work and then create our own APIs (application programming interfaces) and apps.
Disassembly and repair teach engineering so changing the status quo can be as simple as ignoring the 'void warranty' sticker and taking things apart.
People can now create their own API (application programming interface) to government and come up with novel ways to be civically engaged. People that want to start or engage in a dialogue can create civic apps or release a technologically disruptive invention.
Depending on the problem, starting the process of 'achieving change' may be as simple as looking for a technical and symbolic intervention which fills a structural hole and empowers a group of people.
So let's begin by looking at
  1. Read–Write (RW) Culture
  • People participate in the creation of their culture and the re-creation of their culture as opposed to Read Only Culture where culture is only consumed but the consumer is not a creator.
  • Read-Write culture (RW) entails a reciprocal relationship between the producer and the consumer for example taking works, such as songs, and appropriating them like remixing a song on youtube for inclusion in a meme or viral video which says something different.
  • And so digital technologies provide some of the tools for reviving Read/Write (RW) culture and democratizing the means of production. But why stop in the digital world?
  • Void-warranty stickers are a symbol of how manufacturers don’t want consumers to open their devices.
  • In the a read-write society people create their own content, own software, own infrastructures, own hardware. And thus they create their own realities, their own truths, their own society.
  • Can an individual create the infrastructure that she needs in order to meet basic needs?
  • How hardcore is our DIY? How much can we make on our own?
  • Currently our way of life requires collaboration and co-dependance on non-free regimes and the suffering of others, what we refer to as externalised costs. As we try to increase our understanding of the distribution of wealth and work in the world and increase our empathy it might make sense to look at what we can make locally to reduce the cost and the damage to the health and lives of other people and to the planet.
  • It is important to draw links between this new form of creativity and expression in the light of the narrative developed around the War on Piracy. Similar to the “War on Drugs”, “War on Terror”, “War on Hackers”, this kind of US political rhetoric and discourse frames the re-appropriation and recreation of culture as an act of war.
  • Further, this “war on hackers” is actually just the first salvo in the war on general-purpose computing. To paraphrase Cory Doctorow's “The Coming War on General Computation” at the 28th Chaos Computer Congress in Berlin
  • “…all of our sociopolitical problems in the future will have a computer inside them, too—and a would-be regulator saying stuff like this:
  • “Make it so that self-driving cars can’t be programmed to drag race”
  • “Make it so that bioscale 3D printers can’t make harmful organisms or restricted compounds”
  • Which is to say: “Make me a general-purpose computer that runs all programs except for one program that freaks me out.”
  • Not only do we need to retain the ability to determine how our computational devices work, but we also need to push back and open up many more inventions, devices and processes which constitute the critical infrastructure and engineering which it takes for us to enjoy a modern standard of living.
  1. Disassembly and Repair teach Engineering
(cross section of a worm dive / gear system)
  • London Hackspace Rule 4: “If something is broken, fix it; don't complain.”


    Here are some Highlights from the Self Repair Manifesto:
  • Repair is better than recycling.
  • Earth has limited resources and we can’t run a linear manufacturing process forever. The best way to be efficient is to reuse what we already have!
  • Repair teaches engineering and is necessary for understanding our things
  • The best way to find out how something works is to take it apart!
  • If you can’t fix it, you don’t own it.
  • Repair connects people and devices, creating bonds that transcend consumption. Self-repair is sustainable.
  • Repair transforms consumers into contributors
  • Repair empowers and emboldens individuals
  • Repair inspires pride in ownership
  • Repair injects soul and makes things unique
  • Repair is independence
  • Repair requires creativity
  • Repair is joyful
  • Repair saves money and resources


    We have the right:
  • To open and repair our things—without voiding the warranty
  • To devices that can be opened
  • To error codes and wiring diagrams
  • To troubleshooting instructions and Flowcharts
  • To repair documentation for everything
  • I would add: the documentation for everything> (creative commons licenses for existing repair manuals as well as access to source files)
  • To choose our own repair technician
  • To remove ‘do not remove’ stickers
  • To repair things in the privacy of our own homes
  • To replace any and all consumables ourselves
  • To hardware that doesn’t require proprietary tools to repair
  • To available, reasonably priced service parts
  1. Black Boxes
a black box is a device, system or object which can be viewed in terms of its input, output without any knowledge of its internal workings.
  • The opposite of a black box is a system where the inner components or logic are available for inspection, also known as a white box.
  • The process of increasing transparency in governance could be looked at as turning black boxes into white boxes.
  • It has been painful to watch as David Cameron and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport mandated that ISPs would have to switch on their customers' content filters (to block everything from "extremism" to "esoteric content") by default, and only deactivate them if the customer rang up and demanded it.
  • The question is, what is the real political and social motivation behind this initiative? How can we start to deconstruct the Certainly, this has given the technical ability for a select group of people in power to arbitrarily block or censor dissidents and activists.
To paraphrase Vinay Gupta, the Inventor of the Hexayurt disaster relief shelter:
  • One engineer is no engineer, you have to check each other's work, you have to look for signs of vested interest or self interest and you have to find the places that people are fooling themselves because they are in love with an idea.
  • The openness of the processes by which we design civilisation is key to our ability to not make mistakes.
  • This is why the 'secret state' must be confined to making decisions in a very small area, even if those decisions must be very secret, but when you start making large-scale governance decisions in secret, if there is folly then it will go undetected until it is wrought at an immense level.
  • All we can offer is openness, honesty and sincerity and a culture in which the risks that we take are fully public so they can be audited by other experts and volunteers so you can know what we are doing and prove that it is in everybody's best interest and if we are not sure about what to do then we will document both sides.
  1. Reverse Engineering
  • In the absence of direct knowledge of how a system is built or designed one can use a process of discovering the principles of a device, object, or system through analysis of its structure, function, and operation.
  • This often involves disassembling something and analysing its components and workings in detail.
  • One reason to go backwards in the design process, or reverse engineer things, is to support the creation of a new device or system that does the same thing but maybe in a different way, i.e. without using or simply duplicating (without understanding) the original mechanism.
  • This is one of the great aspects about being a prosumer or a producing consumer. You are empowered to revisit design decisions and remake things to suit your needs and preferences.
    To paraphrase Vinay Gupta again:
  • “Engineering is important because many of the good things that you have in your life came at some level from Engineering.
  • Engineering is the art and science of taking the material things in front of you and rearranging them to provide you with what you need to survive or flourish.
  • If you go beyond survival and flourishing and make something which is beautiful and wonderful then you are an artist and you have gone beyond the simple functional engineering.
  • But the simple functional engineering is what is keeping us all alive. It is providing the platform on which the art could be created one day.
  • Linking back to the self-repair manifesto I would add that I would like the 3d data to enable us to make our own replacement parts.

  1. Disruptive Technologies
  • Contrary to appearances, this is not a Katamari ball that has just rolled over a child's construction set. This is, in fact, the Universal Adapter Brick from the “The Free Universal Construction Kit” a set of adapters for complete interoperability.
  • There is a Silicon Valley understanding of the term 'Disruptive technologies' which are those that change the market and in most cases replace an existing technology, they are characterised by their capability to do so over a relatively short period of time.
  • What I mean by the term is technologies that empower people and can help create disruption and action.
  1. Theory of Change
  • A theory of change is the opposite of a theory of action — it works backwards from the goal, in concrete steps, to figure out what you can do to achieve it.
  • To develop a theory of change, you need to start at the end and repeatedly ask yourself, “Concretely, how does one achieve that?”
  • When considering complex global issues, we are often trapped in a local maxima of sorts. It is important to think about local and global maxima because it is precisely this which gives an awareness
  1. Complex Systems
  • One way to describe complex systems is as an approach to study how relationships between constituent parts of a system give rise to the collective behaviours of a system and how the system interacts and forms relationships with its environment.
  • Let's look at a complex situation such as what what happened when last year, David Cameron essentially used pornography and abusive images of children as an emotional argument, or vehicle, to justify the installation and use of internet censoring technologies in the UK.
  • ISPs have switched on their customers' content filters by default and they actually block everything from "extremism" to "esoteric content".
  • The Great Firewall of Cameron to date is responsible for both overblocking and underblocking and notable failures include the blocking rape-crisis centres and child-focused sex-education sites. Predictably, the ISPs' spokespeople have said that it's all a matter of honest mistakes that will be addressed in due time.
  • In the end, the internet routes around damage and this form of censorship is fairly easy to overcome with anonymising proxies, VPNs or Tor. One thing is for certain, it certainly does not So why did they do it? The real political motivation behind the implementation of such a system is often very very difficult to ascertain. But we can


    • Politicians


      • short-term political gain, 'scoring political points'
      • ability to silence political opposition
    • Civil Servants


      • implement the policies of the politicians.
    • Law Enforcement, uniformed and secret services


      • always looking for new tools to do their job, no cost is too high when national security is at stake.
    • Pro-censorship activists


      • no cost is too great, we need to protect the children.
    • Anti-censorship activists
    • Business Lobbyists (from ISPs)


      • often anti-censorship since filtering is an additional cost of doing business
    • The General Public


      • After closely reading a speech delivered by David Cameron on 22nd July 2013, it is clear that this was framed as a way to make a 'safer internet for children' but, at least to me, it is pretty clear to see this as the first strike from a state that is trying to gain control is just continuing to erode our right to privacy, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly online.
      • Another important point is to predict what kinds of behaviour or trends will emerge as a result of this, whether incidental or by design, this policy decision will lead to more self censorship and more actual most likely lead to As soon as their view is not 'pro-government' they are liable to be attenuated by the media complex, which will now logically extend to the fifth estate (or the blogosphere) as centralised government gains the ability to filter extremism. Just to put this into perspective, my participation in OccupyLondon more than qualifies as domestic extremism.
    • The media


      • key in communicating to the public
  1. Structural Holes
  • a structural hole is a gap between two individuals or groups with complementary resources or information. When the two are connected through a third entity, the gap is filled, empowering both groups. When two separate clusters possess non-redundant information, there is said to be a structural hole between them.
  1. Technical Approaches
  1. Sousveillance
Sousveillance has also been described as "inverse surveillance", based on the word surveillance (from the French sur, "from above", and veiller, "to watch"), and substituting the prefix sous, "from below"). I am particularly interested in what is known as "Hierarchical sousveillance" which refers, for example, to citizens photographing police.
  1. Resilience


  1. Civic Engagement
Civic engagement or civic participation
  • "Individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern."[1] Civic engagement has many elements, but in its most basic sense it is about decision making, or governance over who, how, and by whom a community's resources will be allocated.
  • The principle of civic engagement underscores the most basic principle of democratic governance, i.e. that sovereignty resides ultimately in the people (the citizenry).
  • Civic engagement can also be summarized as a means of working together to make a difference in the civil life of our communities and developing the combination of skills, knowledge, values, and motivation in order to make that difference. it means promoting a quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.
  • Civic engagement is about the right of the people to define the public good, determine the policies by which they will seek the good, and reform or replace institutions that do not serve that good.
  • We live in a time when the standard tactic of the US government is to have laws passed in the so-called 'war on terror' that can be used to turn dissidents and activists into terrorism suspects.
  • Once you are a felon, a law breaker- effectively a second class citizen, the state has normalised the process of subjecting people that speak out to draconian forms of state repression and control. The same tactic was used during the anti-communist hysteria of the 20th century to destroy union leaders, writers, civil rights activists, intellectuals, artists, teachers, politicians and organizations that challenged entrenched corporate power.


  1. Community


  1. Movements


  1. Questions?