Homeless in Seattle: five essays

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Peter Wieben's five-part series on homelessness in Seattle doesn't try to capture any kind of overarching truth or objective stock-taking of the problem (Seattle is now notorious for its tent cities). Rather, it consists of a series of sharply observed, dryly recounted personal stories from the people he meets, which range from heartbreaking to infuriating.

The conversion of shelter into an asset class has incentivized local governments to make it more expensive, which is a disaster for nearly everyone, except literal rentiers. Combine that with the recasting of poverty as a moral failing and the disappearance of stable employment opportunities and you're well on the way to turning cities into armed standoffs between the fingernail-clinging haves and the have-nots, whose misery only serves to spur the haves to cling harder.

Wieben beautifully captures the difficulty of confronting homelessness in all our lives: the combination of mistrust and sympathy, empathy and helplessness, frustration and affection.

You’d Have to be Crazy (Part I) [Peter Wieben/The Awl]

You’d Have to be Crazy (Part II) [Peter Wieben/The Awl]

You’d Have to be Crazy (Part III) [Peter Wieben/The Awl]

You’d Have to be Crazy (Part IV) [Peter Wieben/The Awl]

You’d Have to be Crazy (Part V) [Peter Wieben/The Awl]

(via Metafilter) Read the rest

Smart-meter vendor says that if we know how their system works, the terrorists will win

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Phil Mocek filed a public records request to find out how Seattle's new smart meters -- supplied by Landis and Gyr -- will work. As Mocek writes, these meters are based on "unspecified and unverifiable sensors that monitor activity inside of private property and can communicate collected information in real-time to unspecified machines in remote locations, the workings of which are obscured from ratepayers, with interfaces used by [the city] that require specialized equipment and are thus completely unavailable to ratepayers for personal use or monitoring and verification of information communicated, is already shrouded in secrecy and seemingly proceeding despite repeated voicing of public concern and complete lack of public justification of expense." Read the rest

Today is the deadline to nominate for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame

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Vote for your favorite "Creation" and "Creator." (Disclosure: I'm a volunteer on this year's jury) (via IO9) Read the rest

Uber uses customer service reps to push anti-union message to drivers

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Once Seattle became the first city where Uber drivers were allowed to unionize, the drivers started getting "customer service" calls that polled them on their satisfaction with the company, while ham-handedly pushing anti-union messages. Read the rest

TSA screener insists that full-body screening is mandatory

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Sai, who is seeking an injunction against the TSA's new mandatory full-body screening test (but only for people they don't like), flew out of SEA-TAC on Dec 31 and was told that the full-body scanner was mandatory. Read the rest

Come see me tonight in Seattle!

I'm reading from the novel I just finished (Utopia) and then being interviewed by Geekwire's Frank Catalano. Read the rest

How Seattle's economic boom is destroying the city

Jeff writes, "While reading Cory's recent post about leaving London reminded me more of the unaffordable real estate in Vancouver, British Columbia, it resembles some of the dramatic effects of Amazon and other technology companies driving incredible growth and development here in Seattle. Read the rest

My upcoming events in Seattle

I'm teaching the Clarion West writing workshop in Seattle in late July, and you can come see me at two events, one on July 25, the other on July 28. Read the rest

Seattle's tent cities

Seattle has America's fourth-largest homeless population and virtually everything homeless people do is illegal in Washington State, which has added 288 new offenses related to homelessness to its statute-books since 2000 -- amazingly, this did not convince those homeless people to stop being homeless. Read the rest

Lessig & Williamson in Seattle for June 4 premiere of "Killswitch"

Brian writes, "Campaign finance reformer and technology law professor Lawrence Lessig, and bestselling author Marianne Williamson, will be at the July 4th Seattle premiere of 'Killswitch: The battle to control the Internet'." Read the rest

SF/F writers: apply now for Clarion and Clarion West

Applications are open for both the Clarion Writing Workshop at UC San Diego and the Clarion west workshop in Seattle, a pair of legendary, six-week intensive instructional summer workshops for aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers. Read the rest

Rabbitbox: anthropomorphized dioramas on legs, for companionship

Roshan writes, "Rabbitbox is the world's first dedicated companionship dispenser. Its sole purpose is to provide the right combination of physical presence and implied sentience to allow the experience of companionship in its purest, literal form." Read the rest

Mickey Kilowatt

Spotted yesterday in Seattle: the logo for Zapp Electronics, the love-child of Reddy Kilowatt and a certain mouse. Read the rest

Cory coming to Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, SF/Palo Alto!

As the tour with my graphic novel In Real Life draws to a close, my next tour, with my nonfiction book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free kicks off with stops down the west coast. Read the rest

Seattle prosecutor drops all public marijuana tickets

As reported here, almost all of them were issued by a single cop, who hates legal weed and subjected his victims to humiliating rituals like flipping a coin to see which ones would get the ticket and which would walk away free. Read the rest

Neal Stephenson and Cory speaking at Seattle's Town Hall, Oct 26

We're getting together to talk about Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future , a project that Stephenson kicked off -- I've got a story in it called "The Man Who Sold the Moon." Read the rest

Wall made of jello bricks

It was a 2013 installation called "Bruise," installed at the Seattle Center by Lisa Hein and Robert Seng Read the rest

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