Jo from English Pen
writes, "Thanks to Edward Snowden's leaks about the secret surveillance of all our communications by intelligence services in the UK and US, privacy is one of the biggest stories of the day. None of us can be sure now that our emails or phone calls are ever confidential, so this is something we should all be worried about. At English PEN there's a discussion next Wednesday 11 December at 630pm
, with some experts on the subject and it should be a lively debate - with writer Alan Judd, former MI6 director for operations Nigel Inkster and Ian Brown, director of the Oxford Internet Institute. It's chaired by English PEN's director Jo Glanville at the Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3GA."
Do you have a favorite tool that you’d like to let other people know about? Then come to the first Cool Tools Show & Tell Worldwide Meetup on December 4, 2013! Bring your favorite tool (hand tools, maps, how-to books, vehicles, software, specialized devices, gizmos, websites — and anything useful) and be prepared to talk about it and (if feasible) demonstrate it to other cool tools enthusiasts.
To lead a local Cool Tools Show & Tell, visit the Meetup page and enter the name of the city or zip code of where you would like to host a meetup into the field in the upper right corner. Then, click on the community of your choice and RSVP.
If you are not yet a member of Meetup.com, you’ll be given the opportunity to sign up for a free account. Once you’ve joined your community and RSVP’d for the Cool Tools Worldwide Meetup date on Dec. 4, you can suggest a location for the event and begin inviting your friends.
Share on Facebook or Twitter or use your community URL (example: http://www.meetup.com/Cool-Tools/Boulder/) to invite local friends via email. Otherwise, use http://www.meetup.com/cool-tools to spread the word to people around the world. Please consider videotaping your local meetup and uploading the videos for others to see. We will post links on the Cool Tools website.
Bonus! If you are in the United States would like to lead a local meetup and are able to host at least 10 other people, we would like to send you a complimentary copy of Kevin Kelly’s new book: Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities.
Ed writes, "The Betrayers' Banquet is an experimental dining experience from London, where guests play the iterated prisoner's dilemma to win a better or worse meal.
Each of the 48 participants is served eight different courses over two hours; two starters, four mains and two desserts. While all dishes are edible, their allure differs considerably between the top and the bottom of the table; those at the top will enjoy a fine dining experience to match any in London, while those at the bottom will grapple with pickled walnuts, chicken's feet soup, lumpy gruel, and worse."
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Cullen writes, "There is is a special screening this Sunday 11/17 at 5PM Eastern by Demand Progress of Terms And Conditions May Apply, a New York TImes Critic's Pick documentary about how governments and corporations are tracking your every online move. The first 3000 people to visit the online screening can watch the film for free. Afterward, there will be a Reddit AMA that focuses on the issues raised by the film, including how to rein in the NSA's surveillance. The film's director, Cullen Hoback, will be joined by several privacy experts including the ACLU's Ben Wizner, who's responsible for coordinating Edward Snowden's legal defense in the US."
I'm heading to Melbourne, Australia next week to do a series of events with the Center for Youth Literature of the State Library of Victoria. I'm doing four events: The science of fiction, Creative versus Commons, Digital fiction masterclass, and Future fiction with teens. I hope you'll come out to them!
The Sunday Assembly is a 501(c)3 charity that is creating massive Sunday events that are similar to church services, though they are atheist in approach (they don't insist that you be atheist in order to attend, but there are no supernatural beliefs espoused at the event). Atheists gather to sing, hear speeches about ethics, make friends, and organize community work. They call themselves "A godless congregation," and they've launched a 40 city roadshow along with a crowdfunding campaign to spread the non-gospel. There are already Assemblies in London, Bristol, Brighton, Melbourne, New York and many other cities, and there's instructions for starting your own..
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Artists Selena Savić and Nikola Korać are continuing their excellent work on Unpleasant Design witha €20 workshop in Berlin on November 12 (tomorrow!). "Unpleasant Design" is Savić and Korać's name for design elements that are intended to be unpleasant for human beings in order to control their behaviour (for example, park benches with rigid handles that make it impossible to lie down).
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Jim Munroe sez, "The first WordPlay Festival of Writerly Games is happening at the majestic Toronto Reference Library on Sat. Nov. 16 for International Games at Your Library Day. It has an in-discussion-with interview with the Chicago-based Kentucky Route Zero game makers, a workshop led by Christine Love for making your own interactive fiction, and a panel on book/game intersections featuring Hamlet CYOA author and webcomics impresario Ryan North and Hugo award winner Peter Watts. It even features a world premiere delivered by Oculus Rift!"
Curl up with a good game.
Al writes, "KKrampusfest LA is a series of of Krampus events produced throughout December 2013 by the remnants (or 'sleeper cell') of LA Cacophony Society. We have been working on hand-crafted scratch-made Krampus costumes & masks for about a year, and we are the first Krampus run in the Western US. These events were contrived, in part as a response and alternative to the Santacon mess we Cacophonists set loose oh, so many years ago. The first official event is 12/7, the costumed 'Krampus Ball' with traditional Bavarian folk dancing, alpenhorn, as well as costumed bands like 'The Kramps' and 'Krampwerk.'
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Lisa Rein writes, "Noisebridge and the Internet Archive are hosting a big event on Nov 8 (1830h-2100h) to celebrate
Aaron Swartz’s life and accomplishments, and kick off an international
series of hackathons that will be taking place all over the world in his
honor, during what would have been his 27th birthday weekend, November
8-10, 2013. (Confirmed locations include, Amsterdam, Bangalore, Berlin,
Boston, Brisbane, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Houston, Kathmandu, Magdeburg,
New York, Santiago, Chile, Seattle and San Francisco.)"
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Emmanuel from 2600 Magazine sez, "HOPE X (the tenth Hackers On Planet Earth conference) is set for July 18-20, 2014 at the not-to-be-torn-down Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. More details at http://xxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx/ and - for those who have the .xxx domain blocked - http://x.hope.net. Speaker submissions will be opening soon, along with preregistration and other ways to participate."
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Later today, I'll be moderating a live web chat about antibiotic resistance with an infectious disease expert and the producers of PBS Frontline's new documentary "Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria". The chat starts at noon Eastern/11:00 Central
and will be posted here. We'll be taking reader questions. If you can't make it, you can post questions the comment thread for this post in our BBS. Hope you can join us! — Maggie
Tonight at 10:00 Eastern/9:00 Central, PBS Frontline will air a documentary about the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I got a chance to see a preview of the show, and it's definitely interesting, including details I wasn't previously aware of, despite having written about this topic before. Particularly interesting: An emphasis on naturally occurring gene transfer between different species of bacteria, which is allowing antibiotic resistance to spread at an alarmingly quick rate. I had also not realized that antibiotic-resistant bacteria probably kill more Americans every year than AIDS — "probably", because nobody is required to actually track and report this stuff. Your local hospital could be in the midst of a serious outbreak of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and, unless they choose to voluntarily release that information, you might never know.
Whether or not you get a chance to watch the documentary tonight, we hope you'll join us here tomorrow for a live chat session with the producers and a doctor who specializes in treating patients with antibiotic-resistant infections. That starts at noon Eastern/11:00 central, and will be moderated by either me or Rob. We've got some questions we're looking forward to addressing with the panel, and we hope you'll bring in some great questions, too. The first half of the chat will focus on the documentary. The second half will be aimed more at a practical understanding of what you can actually do to protect yourself, your family, and your community.
Noah Swartz writes, "In January, after nearly two years of government prosecution and harassment, my brother Aaron Swartz died.
Aaron was eclectic and prolific in his activism. In the wake of recent events, we especially feel the loss of his unique brand of activism. It is not just that we now have one less voice in the chorus, or even that we lost such a unique voice. We've lost a tireless activist, and a central motivator, someone who could make us seriously question the morality of our actions and show us how to do better.
I want to host events around the world to bring together those of us who are fighting to change things, and perhaps to ignite others with a spark from Aaron's flame. Let's spend a weekend together to be, as Aaron would say, part of Team Impact."
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"The Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses
(BAH!) is a celebration of well-argued and thoroughly researched but completely incorrect evolutionary theory" — in other words, it's a festival dedicated to the ability to bullshit in a plausibly scientific way. And it sounds fantastic. If you're in Boston October 6th, you should totally go. But you'll need a ticket. They're $5 for MIT students, $10 for non-students. — Maggie