Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow and Wendy Seltzer will be leading this year's Open Rights Group conference (aka ORGCon) in London on 24th March 2012.
From the government snooping on your data to default internet blocking and monitoring to the corporate capture of state and democratic institutions - we'll be covering vast regions of the digital rights sphere. And there may even be a competition or two! Sessions will include:
* Lawrence Lessig on "Recognizing the fight we're in: A plea for some realism about IP activism"
* Cory Doctorow on "The Coming War on General Purpose Computing: The copyright wars were only the first level"
* Wendy Seltzer on the SOPA/PIPA challenge in the US
* Ross Anderson, Cambridge Professor of Security Engineering, on the problems with Anonymity in Open Government Data.
* Tom Lowenthal, Mozilla Privacy Expert, on the Do Not Track - tracking cookies, advertising and privacy
* Graham Smith, Legal Expert, on "'Have warrant, will extradite - copyright cops go international"
* Theo Bertram, UK Policy Manager for Google, and Jeff Lynn, COADEC Director, on the Communications Bill: Copyright Enforcement
Greg from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association sez, "The BCCLA is releasing its 'Electronic Devices Privacy Handbook' (PDF) on Monday. It's a know-your-rights guide and a how-to manual designed to help you keep your data and devices secure when you cross the border into Canada. If you're in Vancouver, BC, handbook author Greg McMullen is giving a talk to officially launch the handbook on Monday, March 5 at 12:30 at UBC Law." This is a very interesting document -- did you know that you don't have to unlock/decrypt your password for Canadian border officials without a court order (though they'll happily ghost your hard disk and try to brute force it, and Greg adds, "you might also get arrested (or refused entry, if not Canadian) for failing to provide your password if they are feeling especially mean")?
Aisling sez, "Emerge is an exciting 3 day event of active workshops, thoughtful conversation and keynotes about what it means to be human, hosted at Arizona State University. Featured speakers and active participants include Bruce Sterling, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Mau, Sherry Turkle and Stewart Brand. Workshop leaders include Julian Bleecker, Stewart Candy, Julie Anand, Gretchen Gano and Brian David Johnson. The Emerge event will culminate in an afternoon festival and a spectacular performance on Saturday, March 3rd."
John Herman sez, "I am producing 'An Evening of Apocalyptic Theatre' in Portsmouth, NH. Nine plays, nine visions of the end -- including new works by Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction author James Patrick Kelly and best selling author of The Great Typo Hunt, Jeff Deck. A couple argues in a bomb shelter over a dog puzzle. A man gets an unexpected visit from Intergalactic Salvage. CERN scientists experience the romance of multi-verses. PLUS: Not only is the money raised going to three local charities, but I will also shave my head halfway through the show’s run to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a group that funds childhood cancer research grants"
Inky-handed, staple-punctured mutants, start your engines! The LA Zine Fest comes to the Spring Arts Tower (453 S. Spring Street) on Feb 19, from 11AM to 5PM.
Team False Start is a collective of zine-enthusiasts dedicated to promoting zine culture as a means to connect the pre-exisiting communities in L.A.–artistic or otherwise. We aim to create opportunities for people to share self-published works and host events that encourage ideas to spill out onto paper in pictures and words. We believe that by embracing the urge to create and sharing ideas there can be a more robust and formidable local zine community that extends beyond bookstores and bedrooms. In order to accomplish these goals, we are organizing an event that has been needed for a long time: Los Angeles Zine Fest 2012! This is an opportunity for So-Cal zinesters to come together en masse and meet and exchange ideas with those from all over the country.
Rina from San Francisco's SF in SF reading series sez, "Join SF in SF for a very special evening with steampunk innovators K. W. Jeter, Jay Lake, and Rudy Rucker on Saturday, February 11th. Each author will read a selection, followed by Q & A moderated by author Terry Bisson; booksigning and schmoozing follows. Books for sale courtesy of Borderlands Books." (The Hobart Bldg., 1st Floor, cash bar and doors open at 6PM, San Francisco). (Thanks, Rina!)
Austin's astoundingly great Alamo Drafthouse cinema is hosting a Valentine's Night "Princess Bride Quote-Along & Feast" with Rodents of Unusual Size on the menu, and special Inconceivable wine.
We love this movie every bit as deeply as Westley loves his Buttercup, and so when we discussed launching our very own Alamo Signature Wine collection, we immediately knew that we had to start by featuring none other than THE PRINCESS BRIDE. We partnered with the good people at Helms Workshop to produce artwork for two varietals, and this February we are pleased to introduce the world to The Bottle of Wits, featuring an Inconceivable Cab and the As You Wish White!
Emily Lloyd has graciously volunteered her house, across from Powderhorn Park, as the location of the meetup. We'll meet at 3216 10th Ave South at 1:00 — BYOB and a snack to share. Then, at 2:00 (King Boreas willing) we'll cross the street to watch some awesome sledding action!
The next installment of San Francisco's SF in SF reading series, on Jan 28, features Ryan Boudinot (Blueprints of the Afterlife) and Ayize Jama-Everett (The Liminal People). Organizer Rina Wiseman writes, "it's Debut Novel Drink Night! Join us for an SF in SF Sling...we can't tell you what's in it til you get here!" Free admission (suggested $5-$10 donation). Doors open 6PM. 582 Market Street @ 2nd and Montgomery.
I've featured the work of net-savvy, happily mutated juggler and magician Mat Ricardo here before. Now he's planning quite an astounding show in east London. He sez,
Further to the tale of how I soul-searched, and crowd-sourced to revitalise my career - I'm launching a unique new monthly variety show in London.
The best performers from the glory days of light entertainment and the dangerous years of alternative comedy, plus the current stars of cabaret will - for the first time - share the same bill and create a series of unique, one-night-only line-ups. In addition to this, every month we'll invite an old hand - a star of their world - a master of their craft - or just someone I particularly love - to perform and then sit down with me for a live on stage interview about their life, career and influences.
And in association with SoundsWilde and the British Comedy Guide, we'll be recording the whole thing for release as a podcast.
It's a love letter to the people who inspired me, and who have kept variety alive in the workingmens clubs, comedy venues, festival stages and streets around the world, and I couldn't be more excited about some of the guests I'll be having the pleasure of introducing. In the coming months we'll have some of the most thrilling, astonishing and spectacular acts you've ever seen, not to mention some household names giving you a glimpse into the life of a performer, and a few of the up and coming talents who are helping to spearhead the resurgence of variety. You can expect everyone from Royal Variety show veterans, to street performers, to TV stars. Each night is truly going to be something special.
Emmanuel Goldstein from 2600 sez, "The Call For Papers for 2600 Magazine's HOPE Number Nine conference has been issued. HOPE stands for Hackers On Planet Earth and has been happening in New York City since 1994. Typically over 100 talks and panels are presented, featuring topics including hardware hacking, social engineering, net activism, privacy, surveillance, censorship, etc. HOPE takes pride in providing a wide mix of both subject matter and speakers, featuring presenters of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of experience. HOPE Number Nine will take place July 13-15, 2012 at New York's Hotel Pennsylvania." (Thanks, Emmanuel!)
The New York Tech Meetup, a 20,000 member community of people working in the New York Tech Industry are protesting the pending legislation in the US Senate called Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and its companion legislation in the House of Representatives, called Stop Online Piracy Act, (SOPA). These proposals pose a great threat to the open web by making censorship possible by the US government and corporations without due process. Although we agree piracy of intellectual property should be stopped, these laws if passed as currently written would have a chillingly negative effect of free speech around the world.
We are gathering this Wednesday at 12:30 PM in NYC in front of the offices of Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, (who are sponsors of PIPA). Our effort is aimed to show are collective dismay through our physical presence in solidarity with all the other online protests planned for that day by a consortium of sites in support of the open Internet. You can read about them.
Please join us by signing up here and please tweet, blog, and inform all your various networks.
Keyan sez, "FOGcon is a new literary-themed SF/F con in the tradition of Wiscon and Readercon, but based in San Francisco Bay Area. It was held for the first time in 2011. This year (2012) it'll be from March 30-April 1, 2012, at the Walnut Creek Marriott. The theme is 'The Body', with two wonderful Honored Guests, writer Nalo Hopkinson and writer and artist Shelley Jackson. It's a great con with a warm and friendly ambiance, a manageable size, and intelligent programming. And it's less than an hour from down-town San Francisco."
Lee sez, "The next generation of robots will be in homes, offices and hospitals, not to mention driving cars, flying around as drones, and, yes, working as prison wardens. Robots will be programmed to learn, and will exhibit emergent behavior not necessarily contemplated by their designers. What happens when good robots do bad things? Who is responsible? And what ethical and legal constraints should be considered at the design stage so that the robotics industry does not become the next full employment opportunity for lawyers? What kinds of public policies should we put in place to encourage the smart deployment of robots, striking the right balance between encouraging innovation and safety? These are the kinds of questions to be examined at We Robot, "an inaugural conference on law and policy relating to robotics" at the University of Miami School of Law on April 21 & 22, 2012. The We Robot call for papers, and a parallel call for live-from-the-frontlines-of-design reports from robot-makers, is open for initial expressions of interest until Jan. 12, 2012.
Topics of interest for the scholarly paper portion of the conference include but are not limited to:
* Effect of robotics on the workplace, e.g. small businesses, hospitals, and other contexts where robots and humans work side-by-side.
* Regulatory and licensing issues raised by robots in the home, the office, in public spaces (e.g. roads), and in specialized environments such as hospitals.
* Design of legal rules that will strike the right balance between encouraging innovation and safety, particularly in the context of autonomous robots.
* Issues of legal or moral responsibility, e.g. relating to autonomous robots or robots capable of exhibiting emergent behavior.
* Issues relating to robotic prosthetics (e.g. access equity issues, liability for actions activated by conscious or unconscious mental commands).
* Relevant differences between virtual and physical robots.
I'm coming to Zurich next week to do a series of high-school lectures in connection with the German edition of Little Brother, and while I'm in town, I've scheduled a free lecture, organised by local free culture and Creative Commons activists. It's at 8PM on December 6, at the Kunstraum Walcheturm. Hope to see you there!
The Aitkin, Minnesota, Fish House Parade is a post-Thanksgiving tradition. People dress up their snowmobiles, Sno-Cats, and fish houses—portable cabins used for ice fishing—in silly costumes and roll them down Aitkin's Main Street to cheering throngs. It's meant to mark the kick-off of the ice fishing season on Mille Lacs, a particularly large lake in north-central Minnesota. This year, however, the arrival of Thanksgiving has not really coincided with the arrival of thick snow and solid lake ice. It'll be a while yet before any of the fish houses are being used for fishing.
One other oddity brought on by the relatively warm November: If you browse through the photos taken by Minnesota Public Radio's Bob Collins, you'll see that many of fish house floats are towed by snowmobile. But, lacking much snow, the snowmobiles all have little, temporary front wheels attached.
College student bloggers from across the United States are currently competing to win a $10,000 scholarship. You can vote for the winner. And you should consider voting for David Shiffman, one of the ocean science bloggers who writes for Southern Fried Science. If he wins, he has pledged to adopt a satellite-tagged shark in the name of his blog's readers, hold a contest to name said shark, and provide regular blog updates about what the shark is up to. My suggestion: Vote Shiffman, because sharks are awesome.
After years of hearing the Christian right complain about the nonexistent "War on Christmas," the Florida chapter of American Atheists have decided to finally essay a skirmish. They'll be placing bus-ads in Florida this season advertising the fact that millions of Floridians are atheists and inviting atheists to attend their Ft Lauderdale convention Dec 18-19. I'm assuming that religious fundamentalists will oblige them by going crazy and make a huge stink, which'll ensure that the news of the convention is spread far and wide.
"Every year groups like The Catholic League and American Family Association told Americans about a war on Christmas that simply did not exist," American Atheists Communications Director Blair Scott says in the announcement. "Last year we thought we would give them what they seemed to want and fired the first shot in the war on Christmas. To both groups we say, 'Happy Holidays!'"
I'm headed to Philadelphia next week to be the guest of honor at PhilCon (Nov 18-20), and while I'm in the area, I'm giving a free talk at the Wharton School at UPenn (Nov 17, 5PM). On my way home, I'm stopping in DC to give a lunchtime talk at the New America Foundation on Nov 22 (details TBD). Hope to see you there!
The next installment of the always-awesome SF-in-SF reading series features two exceptional writers: Kim Stanley Robinson and Ceclia Holland (check out previous mentions of Robinson here). It's on Sat, Nov 12, doors open at 6PM, event starts at 7, and, as always, the authors will be interviewed by the estimable Terry Bisson. Free, suggested donation $5-10 (benefits Variety Children's Charity). The Variety Preview Room Theatre, 582 Market Street @ 2nd and Montgomery.
Echo Park's much loved Machine Project offers art, classes and civilized mayhem from Experimental Millinery and Bookbinding to Flame Effects (read: giant fireballs) and Sewing 101.
Annually, a month's worth of epic programming is compressed into a single night's party.
At this year's benefit, DMV: After Dark, you will experience such phenomena as: car horn fanfare; competitive sobriety tests; workshops on breaking into and hot-wiring cars, as well as how to escape from a locked trunk, heavy metal polka, surrealistic eye charts, “secret pancakes," and a human vending machine which dispenses delicious food prepared by Donna Coppola of Auntie Em’s Kitchen fame.
The situation will be helped along with a giant bonfire, s'mores and Machine Project beer.
I'm heading to Germany next week for a series of school visits and public appearances to promote the German edition of my novel For the Win. I'm doing public stops in Hamburg (Nov 7, 10AM, Hamburger Kinderbuchhaus im Altonaer Museum), Berlin (8PM, Sankt Oberholz), and Munich (7PM, Lovelybooks, livestream available). Full details at the RandomHouse.de site.
Yesterday, I asked you to submit your physics questions for a chance to win either VIP tickets to see Brian Greene tonight in New York City, or a DVD set of Greene's new NOVA series. I did the drawing this morning and the winners are:
• r matt — You're going to see Brian Greene live tonight in New York!
Both of you need to contact me to claim your prizes. You can reach me by email at maggie (dot) koerth (at) gmail (dot) com.
Remember: Not being chosen as the winner of the drawing doesn't mean your question won't make it into Brian Greene's hand. I'm sending on all the great questions from yesterday's thread to the fine folks at the World Science Festival. Watch the live stream tonight, starting at 10:00 pm Eastern, to see if your question made it!
Image: Dark and ordinary matter in the Universe, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from argonne's photostream
The SciFund challenge runs from November 1 through December 15. Essentially, it's an experiment by a group of scientists who think that they might be able to use crowdfunding to fuel their research. Forty-nine different projects, in a wide variety of disciplines, have signed on to the challenge.
You can browse the projects, decide which ones you'd like to help support, and make a donation. As a bonus, many of the projects are offering nice little gifts for crowdfunders. For instance, if you donate $75 to help researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst study the biology and physics of duck sex, you'll earn a pass code to access a regularly updated research blog, a collection of duck postcards, a "Duck Force!" mug, and a USB flash drive loaded with videos of explosive duck ejaculations that the scientists filmed for their research. (Naturally, this is one of the projects that have currently raised the most money.)