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5 Reasons We Need Social Change

Folks, I started this craigconnects thing because I really want to use tech to give a real voice to the voiceless, and real power to the powerless. Ever justicesince starting craigconnects, I've created a list of issues areas that I'm really focusing on. It's important that we work together, as a community, and collaborate to create real social change. You can't change the world from the top down.

Here are just 5 (of many) reasons we need social change:

  1. We seem to throw money into food and housing, yet a lot of folks are still in need, so something isn't working right. This includes military families and veterans. We need to do it better.
  2. We need to improve the reentry experience of war veterans into the American economy and society. Less than 1% of Americans currently serve in the military, so this is a really important conversation to have. The conversation has already been started, we just need to keep collaborating and working toward our goals.
  3. Journalism Ethics. We need to ensure that journalism fulfills its role as the heart of democracy and its mission of seeking truth and building trust. The press should be the immune system of democracy. Turns out that what we have now are a lot of ethics codes and policies, but very little accountability. This is something I often discuss when I talk about trustworthy journalism in a fact-checking-free world. And this is also why I joined the board of Poynter, and work with the Columbia Journalism Review, Center for Public Integrity, and Sunlight Foundation.
  4. There are some real bad actors out there trying to implement laws to stop eligible people, including women, the elderly, and disenfranchised communities, from voting. What I learned in high school civics class is that an attack on voting rights is virtually the same as an attack on the country. We need to step up and remind folks that the Founders of the US tell us that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, meaning that citizens have the right to vote. And we need to protect that right.
  5. Today, women represent 12% of all computer science graduates. In 1984, they represented 37%. This number should be increasing, and we can change that. It's important that we encourage girls and women to get involved in tech. Here's more on the importance of girls in tech.

Personally, I'm a nerd, and feel that life should be fair, that everyone gets a chance to be heard, and maybe to help run things. Sure, life isn't fair, but that won't slow me down. A nerd's gotta do what a nerd's gotta do.

Note to self: JUST LISTEN. That is, don't ALWAYS attempt to solve the problem, SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO LISTEN. (Courtesy of  "You Just Don't Understand" by Deborah Tannen.)

A Lizard In The Security Shed

Hey, here's a short audio clip, recorded by the EK-FM Radio Presenter, Nancy Sungu, in Kenya. For the past 8 weeks, EK-FM has been off-air due to maintenance issues (in fact, a lizard got into their security shed and fried their transmitter!). The silent air-waves caused much upset in the community.

In the interview, Diana Akinyi, a small-scale farmer on Mfangano Island, explains the impact of EK-FM. Each week she listens to the farmer's voice radio hour to get up-to-date information on local farming practices. While the radio was off-air getting repaired she missed out!

Diana on the Impact of EK Radio:

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The good news? The transmitter was just returned to the Island last week. And because EK-FM won a 1st place prize award in the Big Ideas at Berkeley competition, they were granted $8K to do a solar upgrade to increase broadcast hours from 5 hours a day to 12 hours a day. This is the real deal.

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Travel Tips, Inspired By Misadventures

Okay, you already know about useful sites like TripAdvisor and SeatGuru, and you're doing your best to accumulate and use frequent-flier points. Here are some tips to cover the other stuff, inspired partly by my own misadventures.

The context for these tips is that I travel for public service and philanthropy, not business; I haven't been in craigslist management since 2000. (I hear that people travel for "pleasure" or on "vacation," which I understand are mythological concepts.)

Store everything online. Anything that has to be local, encrypt. Act as if you could lose your laptop anytime. Recently, I cleverly left my backpack in the cab taking me from airport to hotel, containing my laptop and medicines. The latter includes thyroid medicine, since I need it daily or I WILL DIE. (Slight exaggeration.)

As for forgetting the laptop, that's expensive, but I keep very little data locally (anything sensitive is elsewhere). Worst that could happen is that someone would learn my terrible taste in music and books…

Learn to do pretty much everything on the phone. Seriously, I can do almost all of my work on a smartphone, though some tasks are much easier on a laptop. Regarding your phone, store everything online. Accept that your terrible taste in music and books will become public. Always carry your phone in a pocket or somehow attached to you. For male humans, if the pocket thing doesn't work for you, learn to love the "murse." May have begun with Seinfeld…

Before you get to the airport, or inflight with Wi-Fi, check out your flight status. Now and then, I get a flight canceled with little notice. Sometimes that happens when I'm in flight, and my connecting flight is the problem. I use flightstats, which also seems to have the most current ETA. Even if you're at the airport, and they ask you to line up for customer service to get a flight, get on the phone while you're in the line.

Do good while traveling. Sometimes hotels don't have a preventive maintenance program, and you encounter a problem with facilities like the shower or A/C. Even if you'll be there one day and have to deal with it once, call hotel engineering anyway. (The next guest won't have to deal with it and will never know you helped, but do it anyway.) While you're at it, bring an extra charger and cable, and loan it or give it away to someone who forgot theirs.

If you happen to mix business with pleasure, be prepared to dodge drool.

Sometimes, I'll take a side trip and wind up in a family way. Pictured is the #20 nephew, aka The Kumquat. He's the one (visibly) drooling.

Oh, and if you're possibly getting married, and it's possible that they might have a chair dance planned for you, I recommend scotch.

Photo: creative commons licensed (BY-ND) flickr photo by ♔ Georgie R; selfie with Billy the baby

Some Things You Should Know About Voter ID Laws

Voter ID Laws: solving a nonexistent problem with more government and more expense.

Folks, we're almost a month away from National Voter Registration Day, on September 23, 2014, and less than 3 months away from elections, and that means that you should be aware of your rights.

Elections for US States Senate will be November 4, 2014. These elections mark 100 years of direct elections of U.S. Senators.

The elections to the US House of Representatives, elections for governors in states and territories, and many state and local elections will also be held on November 4, 2014.

The Declaration of Independence reminds us that we're all equal under the law, but there are politicians who find that threatening.

There are some real bad actors out there trying to implement laws to stop eligible people, including women, the elderly, and communities of color, from voting. What I learned in high school civics class is that an attack on voting rights is virtually the same as an attack on the country.

According to the ACLU, 30 states require voters to present identification to vote in federal, state and local elections.

The Founders of the US tell us that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, meaning that citizens have the right to vote. However, there are politicians who don't like that, and they're attacking the integrity of the election by making it hard for people to vote.

But there are some orgs out there who are doing real good work, like the Advancement Projectthe Brennan Center for Justice, Rock the Vote, League of Women Voters, and Voto Latino, they really have their boots on the ground when it comes to protecting the voting rights of us all.

49 yrs ago, LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act (VRA) to protect all voters. And, hey, maybe it's time Congress does the same. It's been over a year since the Supreme Court gutted the VRA. Congress needs to protect all voters by passing the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) to restore the VRA and provide modern, nationwide protections against discrimination at the polls.

It's important to know when the Voter Registration deadline is in your state, you can find out here.

Disenfranchising voters is not a new thing, but has been happening across the country for some time now. A while back, my team and I created an infographic about the impact of voter suppression. And we also put together a list of voting resources; please check it out, and share any helpful resources that you think are missing in the comment section.

Is There Such a Thing As Online Privacy?

Folks, do you think that online privacy really exists?

This is what we tried to find out when we surveyed 1,007 Americans. Rad Campaign, Lincoln Parks Strategy, and infographicI teamed up to uncover experiences and views about online privacy. We took the results and created an infographic to share with you.

This is the second portion of data from the poll to be released. Last month, we released an infographic showing that about half of Americans under 35 have been bullied, harassed, or threatened online, or know someone who has.

Here's a snapshot of what the Online Privacy survey revealed:

  • 74 % of Americans are either very or somewhat concerned about having too much personal information about them online.
  • On average, those surveyed believe that 64% of Americans have too much personal information about themselves online.
  •  People under 35 have more trust in social media sites than any other age demographic.
  • 70% are certain or think it's very likely that social networks collect personal data such as interests, political affiliation, purchase habits, and what content is clicked, and then sell that data to advertisers to target ads and/or content at them.

privacy laws

If Internet users are so concerned about their privacy, do they read the terms of service (TOS)?

  • 66% either just click the agree box without reading any of the TOS, or skim through the TOS then click agree.
  • Only 17% carefully read the TOS before agreeing.
  • More college grads (27%) than non-college grads (18%) just click agree without reading.

The way I see it, more people need to read the TOS before signing up for these sites so they understand what kinds of data they're giving to these platforms.  Stronger privacy laws could be useful too.

Folks, are you concerned about your online privacy? And if so, what are you doing about it?

Check out the full infographic and data here.