How to Destroy Democracy: SF Bay Area event Jan 10 with Masha Gessen and Drew Sullivan

We hope you can join us for this urgent conversation hosted by Institute for the Future, where Mark Frauenfelder and I are researchers:

Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California invites you to join us January 10, 2017 for an eye-opening discussion about global politics, corruption, and our best hope for preserving civic society featuring:

• Masha Gessen, author of The Man Without a Face: the Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot

• Drew Sullivan, co-founder of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)

• plus additional investigative journalists from Russia and Eastern Europe.

Right-wing populist parties and autocratic leaders are gaining power in many countries, from France and Russia to Hungary and Poland. This trend long predates the recent U.S. elections that have added fuel to the fire. How did we get here? What are the real stories behind the headlines? This is a rare opportunity to hear first-hand from journalists who risk their lives analyzing the multi-trillion dollar criminal economy and uncovering corruption around the globe.

This group of journalists, along with other experts from the realms of media, academia, policy, and technology, are in the Bay Area to participate in a private convening hosted by the Institute for the Future in partnership with the Skoll Foundation and OCCRP. The convening, called The Future of Democracy: Preserving A Vibrant Civic Media, will result in a public roadmap of initiatives to preserve an open civic dialogue and strengthen democracy for everyone.

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San Francisco's groundbreaking, wonderful DNA Lounge may have to close

Jamie "JWZ" Zawinski was an early Netscape employee; observing that the dotcom bubble that enriched him had gutted the San Francisco arts scene with rising rents, he sank his money into opening the DNA Lounge, which has been a San Francisco institution for nearly 20 years, and has been the location of some of the best times I've ever had in the Bay Area (including numerous EFF fundraisers). Read the rest

San Francisco (and online): cool Hanukkah pop-up shop with Lemony Snicket and more!

My friends in Reboot and Partners In Crime opened a fantastically cool Reboot Hanukkah Pop-Up Shop on Union Street in San Francisco (and online too)! The physical shop is only open this weekend and there are terrific events for the whole family including a lunch concert today by blues guitarist Luther Dickinson, a reading/signing tomorrow afternoon by the inimitable Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) and Lisa Brown, Lego Menorah Making, and a Sunday evening screening of Tiffany Shlain and Julie Hermelin's new film 50/50!

Reboot Hanukkah Pop-Up Shop Read the rest

A mystery gamer is projecting their Super Mario screen onto the side of a building in the Lower Haight

Last night, Dan Jackson shot video of a mysterious, gigantic game of Super Mario Bros being projected onto the side of a building over a store in San Francisco's Lower Haight. Read the rest

A map of ships buried under San Francisco Financial District

Much of San Francisco's Financial District used to be Yerba Buena Cove, where Gold Rush ships were abandoned in such numbers that many just rotted away till they sank.

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The hacker who took over San Francisco's Muni got hacked

Last week, the San Francisco Municipal Light Rail system (the Muni) had to stop charging passengers to ride because a ransomware hacker had taken over its network and encrypted the drives of all of its servers. Read the rest

Ransomware creep accidentally hijacks San Francisco Muni, won't give it back

A ransomware criminal's self-reproducing malicious software spread through a critical network used by the San Francisco light rail system, AKA the Muni, and shut it down; the anonymous criminal -- cryptom27@yandex.com -- says they won't give it back until they get paid. Read the rest

San Francisco high-school students stage a mass walkout in protest of Trump

Go, kids, go! Read the rest

Artist celebrates Patriot Act's anniversary by handing out "Official Air Travel Replacement Knives" to arriving SFO passengers

Last week, artist Michelle Pred celebrated the anniversary of the Patriot Act by dressing up as an old-timey Pan Am flight attendant (she wore her mother's old Pan Am hat!) and handing out "Official Air Travel Replacement Knives" to people waiting for their bags at SFO (she had 50 knives, but it took more than 50 tries to give them away, as more than half of the people she approached refused to engage with her). Read the rest

Office space for happy mutants in San Francisco's Mission District

My dear friend Bruce Tomb -- accomplished architect and creator of Maria del Camino, a "flying" art-car made from a 59 El Camino and a tank -- is renting out office space in his building in the middle of San Francisco's Mission District. Read the rest

San Francisco's 58-story "leaning tower" is sinking fast

San Francisco's 419-apartment, 58-story luxury Millennium Tower has been sinking since at it opened in 2009, and now it's begun to lean alarmingly.

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Billionaire tech investors back ballot initiative to purge homeless people from San Francisco

Sequoia Capital Chairman Michael Moritz and angel investor Ron Conway have donated to San Francisco's Proposition Q: if passed, "the city would give residents of tent encampments 24 hours’ notice to relocate to a shelter or accept a bus ticket out of town." Read the rest

Wells Fargo whistleblower describes bank's culture of blackballing threats and coerced corruption

On the latest Planet Money podcast (MP3), a former San Francisco Wells Fargo banker describes the bullying and coercion she faced from senior management while working at the bank's head office, and how the bank forced her out when she blew the whistle on fraud and then blacklisted her with other banks, forcing her out of the sector altogether. Read the rest

Friday in Berkeley, CA: Pop-Up Magazine and NoisePop's live stories and sound extravaganza

Right now, The Voyager Golden Record, containing a message from Earth for any extraterrestrials that might encounter it, is traveling on two spacecraft through the cosmic ocean at almost 40,000 miles per hour. But as we approach the 40th anniversary of Voyager, that beautiful gold phonograph record is also barreling through popular consciousness! Last week, I launched a Kickstarter with two friends, Timothy Daly and Lawrence Azerrad, to release the Voyager Golden Record on vinyl for the first time. We are blown away and humbled by the support our project has received!

While we were secretly developing our project, the good people at Pop-Up Magazine, California Sunday Magazine, and NoisePop were also quietly orchestrating their own homage to that magnificent golden artifact! The Golden State Record, taking place this Friday (9/30) at Berkeley's Greek Theater is an exquisitely-curated performance of "stories and sounds of California and the West from some of our favorite musicians, writers, filmmakers, radio producers, and artists." (We only found out about each others' efforts in July!)

The, well, stellar Golden State Record lineup include musicians like Lil B, Thao Nguyen, Mark Kozelek, and Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino, the Center for Investigative Reporting's Al Letson, music critic and "MacArthur Genius" Josh Kun, Jace Clayton aka DJ/rupture, and so many more.

I'll be there enjoying the scene under the stars.

Attend the Golden State Record at Berkeley's Greek Theater

Support the "Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition" on Kickstarter

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Come see me in Portland, Riverside, LA, and San Francisco

I've got a busy couple of weeks coming up! I'm speaking tomorrow at Powell's in Portland, OR for Banned Books Week; on Wednesday, I'm at UC Riverside speaking to a Philosophy and Science Fiction class; on Friday I'll be at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, speaking on Canada's dark decade of policy denial from climate science to digital locks; and then on Oct 6, I'm coming to SFMOMA to talk about museums, technology, and free culture. I hope to see you soon! (Image: Alex Schoenfeldt Photography, www.schoenfeldt.com, CC-BY) Read the rest

West coast premiere for nerd culture documentary Traceroute

Johannes Grenzfurthner writes, "My cinematic tour de farce through nerd culture comes to the West Coast. Upcoming Bay Area and L.A. premieres!" Read the rest

To do in San Francisco this weekend: the first-ever roguelike celebration

Noah writes, "This weekend a group of roguelike enthusiasts and developers are getting together for the first ever Roguelike Celebration. It'll feature talks from developers of the game that spawned the genre - rogue - as well as the creators of Dwarf Fortress, Kingdom of Loathing, ADOM, Tracery and lots more. It'll take place all day on the 17th and will be streamed live on Twitch.tv for those who can't make it in person." (Image: Deon-23, Mike Mayday, public domain) Read the rest

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