This town rawks! I take it for granted some times, but San Francisco really is the center of the universe. Those who don’t live here, just don’t realize it. Friday night, Marc tipped me off to a VIP reception shmoozie thing for Wired magazine’s NextFest event. Jedi mind tricked my way in and immediately was greeted with a martini. Wandered around amongst the futurist tech, taking in the shiny sites and think to myself how this all reminded me of dot-com irrational exuberance. I remember fondly the days of weekly launch parties greased with free flowing alcohol and endless hype. Thanks for the memories, Wired!
The next day, I returned to NextFest to take in most of what I had missed the night before. Unfortunately, the mass of humanity flooding the hall made it next to impossible to get a good look at anything clearly. The demo for ASIMO was impossible as everyone and their kids wanted in to see the humanoid robot walk up and down stairs. I queued up for the robotics panel discussion after, which was moderately interesting despite the obvious shilling for robotic products made by the moderator Colin Angle’s company. Stories of war profiteering by this same moderator by his same company elicited several boos from the audience. The most interesting points were brought up by Rodney Brooks director of MIT’s CS and AI lab and Ken Goldberg, professor and researcher at UC Berkeley. Brooks said that the Jetsonian dream of Rosie the robot is still at least 20-25 years off. Goldberg was the only panelist to give props to robotics as an art form, rather than pure market commodification as others seemed pre-occupied with.
Other highlights of NextFest were this 3D printer which I witnessed creating skulls, the K-bot which is a robotic head that emulates human facial expressions, the Moller Skycar and the directed sound of HyperSonic Sound technology.
Later that night was the Cloud Factory Design Collective’s 6th annual fashion show. Fucking amazing! Ravers can make hella cool threads and show them off in the most creative of ways. More on this once some pix become available. Like I said, this town rawks!
UPDATE 1/15/14: After almost 10 years, the lawsuits that arose from this event are finally settled. A sort of hollow victory, as the NYPD admits no liability, even though that’s quite obviously complete bullshit. Thanks to the NYCLU for doing the hard work of seeing this through.
Thanks for the amazing outpouring of support. I was released Thursday, September 2nd at around noon after being detained for 40 hours. I was one of 1200 people arrested in a 4-hour period on Tuesday night during RNC week in New York City. I, along with many others were not actively engaging in civil disobedience or otherwise doing anything other than walking down a sidewalk taking pictures. The police penned in a whole block near Union Square and arrested everyone within. We were all taken to Pier 57, now infamously being called Guantanamo on the Hudson due to it’s chain link fencing and razor wire. Most of us were held there for at least 12 hours under filthy and crowded conditions. The place had been a former city bus garage. The cement floor has accumulated years of motor oil, diesel fuel, antifreeze and who knows what other chemicals. During my stay, there were few benches in the smaller cages and none at all in the larger cage. People were forced to lie down on the bare toxic concrete to try and sleep away the hours. After some processing, we were taken by prison bus to Central Booking aka The Tombs. The next 28 hours were an endless series of shuffling from cell to cell, multiple searches, subhuman food, mind control and frustration. It wasn’t until 20 hours into the process that I was allowed a phone call and not until the end of my 40 order hour ordeal was I able to see a lawyer and soon thereafter, a judge. I was charged with 2 counts of Disorderly Conduct and one count of Parading Without a Permit as were many others. These charges are violations and normally warrant an on the spot Desk Appearance Ticket. It was quite obvious to me that the intent of holding us so long was to keep us off the street as long as possible. A New York State Supreme Court justice ruled the city is in contempt for holding us so long and may be fining the city $1000 per head ($500k) for doing so. I walked away with an ACD, Adjournment of Contemplation for Dismissal, which means no conviction, no fines and the record is sealed as long as I don’t get arrested for the same offense within the next 6 months.
There is talk of class action suits to address the toxic conditions at Pier 57 and the ridiculous & illegal amount of time we were held. Everyone is encouraged to document their experiences as soon as possible while it is still fresh. The more documentation we have, the easier it will be to backup any claims that arise.
If you have any questions or comments regarding what happened to me, feel free to drop me a line and I will do my best to address them. If you were also locked up during this time, please contact me and say hi. I’m trying to maintain connections with as many people as possible that has gone through this.
Click below to read the long story. It’s a detailed account of my 40 hour experience.
Read More “Political Prisoner in NYC”
I took this outside of Fox News during the Shut-up-athon last week, a creative way to give Fox News back a little of what it dishes out. Whille this was happening, the Outfoxed documentary bus drove around the block several times while blasting clips of O’Reilly yelling shut up to his guests. The Dubya PantsOnFire-mobile was cruising back and forth at the same time. Good times indeed.
The activist resource social network known as Indyvoter.org has achieved flaccid soft launch. Hard launch is expected soon. Just a few more long intimate nights of coding by the dev team. Check it out. Create an account, explore people, communities, events, and voter guides. Gimme feedback. Seriously, we need it. And yeah, we know it’s slow. Do you know how to optimize a MySQL RDF object store? Yeah? We NEED you, and you don’t know it yet but you need US. And you’ll soon be eating Zante’s for free for as long as you like. If you’ve got the skillz, we gotta connect!