Civicist

CIVIC TECH NEWS & ANALYSIS
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LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS

LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS

Science by the people, for the people; @Snowden on Twitter; and more.

  • This is civic tech: The annual Code for America Summit starts this morning on the west coast and is streaming its main hall sessions live. I’ll be attending along with my colleague Erin Simpson—come say hi!

  • The White House is holding a live webcast forum on citizen science and crowdsourcing called “Open Science and Innovation: Of the People, By the People, For the People” today from 8am-noon EDT. Watch at wh.gov/live.

  • Chicago’s sharp-elbowed Mayor Rahm Emanuel is planning to privatize his city’s pioneering 311 operation, Russell Berman reports for The Atlantic. It’s not clear from his story, though, whether Emanuel—who has run into criticism for privatizing other city services like its parking meter system—is merely seeking to shift the call-center work to a cheaper, non-unionized vendor, which could save the city a measly $1 million, or if he is looking for a company that will modernize the whole 311 system.

  • The Smart Chicago Collaborative has just launched “The @CivicWhitaker Anthology,” a collection of Christopher Whitaker’s writings on civic tech.

  • The Council for Big Data, Ethics, and Society is calling on researchers, practitioners, and educators to provide case studies based on real-world examples that examine complex issues of data ethics.

  • Snowden’s new platform: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is now on Twitter at @snowden, Dan Froomkin reports for The Intercept. His decision to start using the service appears to have been prompted by an interview he recently did with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. “You and I will be Twitter buddies,” Snowden told Tyson. “Your followers will be: the Internet, me, and the NSA.”

  • Hilariously, @snowden has chosen to follow just one account so far: @NSAGov, the official account for the National Security Agency.

  • Former New York Governor George Pataki called on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to “not give a platform to terrorists or traitors” and to “shutdown @snowden,” The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs notes.

  • Dorsey didn’t respond directly to Pataki, but instead tweeted a welcome to Snowden, retweeted him saying “Hero, traitor—I’m just a citizen with a voice,” and also a graphic showing “the world’s response” to Snowden’s joining the site.

  • Speaking of Twitter, after winning one of the MacArthur Foundation’s flagship “genius” grants, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates went on a tweet-storm yesterday to DEMOLISH the whole notion of “GENIUS.” Just read a bit back in his timeline for the full flavor.

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WINNOWING

WINNOWING

The third wave of civic reform; censorship in the App Store; and more.

  • Tech and the presidentials: Vox’s Ezra Klein has noticed that “The tools that party insiders use to decide both electoral and legislative outcomes are being weakened by new technologies and changing media norms,” and posits that this explains why outsiders and insurgents like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Bernie Sanders are doing much better than party insiders want and media elites would expect. Couched that carefully, Klein’s statement isn’t really controversial, though clickbait being what it is, he portentously titled his post, “A theory of how American politics is changing.”
  • Not surprisingly, Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum disagrees that anything that seismic has happened.

  • My view: Sanders (who is close to hitting the million mark in his small donor total—one-fourth the total number of donors Barack Obama had in 2008 by the end of the election) is clearly benefiting from his and his supporters’ mastery of online media. I suspect that Trump, Carson and Fiorina are benefiting more from rightwing talk radio. But either way, the old “Gang of 500” (Mark Halperin’s term for the “campaign consultants, strategists, pollsters, pundits, and journalists who make up the modern-day political establishment”) has far less influence over the winnowing process than ever.

  • Food for thought: The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing this morning on the disruptive impact of the sharing economy, featuring testimony from executives from Intuit, Uber, Thumbtack, the Internet Association and the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

  • This is civic tech: The Sunlight Foundation’s president Chris Gates takes to GovTech.com to describe his vision of the “third wave of civic reform” where evidence based on open data helps communities runs themselves more effectively.

  • Government websites should start improving, prodded by new design standards developed in part by 18F and the U.S. Digital Service, reports Alex Howard for the Huffington Post.

  • This is civic dreck: The mayor of Lewiston, Maine wants to create an online registry of state welfare recipients, but as the Huffington Post’s Arthur Delaney reports, he isn’t getting much support in the legislature.

  • Sam Biddle of Gawker zings Apple for censoring an app made by Josh Begley of The Intercept that notifies users of U.S. drone strikes. The company said it was removed from the App Store due to “excessively crude or objectionable content.” Meanwhile, as Biddle notes, Apple happily hosts dozens of crude and objectionable apps that let people track their body smells, stalk women, and the like.

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PROMISES

PROMISES

Digital justice in Detroit; new Facebook company team taps into social causes; and more.

  • The news from Facebookistan: Facebook now has a social good team, led by longtime manager Naomi Gleit, reports Seth Figerman for Mashable. He writes, “Facebook’s social good team, which numbers in the dozens, is less focused on activism and on-the-ground work than building a new suite of products that tap into the social causes and personal needs of its community.” Gleit told him, “It really is bottom up. We don’t want to do whatever Mark thinks is most important or whatever I think is most important. That’s not the position we want to be in.”

  • Perhaps this is unfair, but can we please not use “social good” and “products that tap into” in the same sentence? At least put those phrases in separate sentences?

  • Related? Facebook is partnering with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to bring internet access to refugee camps, Somini Sengupta reports for the New York Times. “It’s not all altruism,” Zuckerberg admitted. “We all benefit when we are more connected.”

  • Connected: U2’s Bono and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praise the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development goals, in particular the promise to provide Internet connectivity for all by 2020.

  • India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Facebook HQ and, not surprisingly, sang the praises of social media while he was there, the BBC reports. “The strength of social media today is that it can tell governments where they are wrong and can stop them from moving in the wrong direction,” he said in Hindi. “We used to have elections every five years and now we can have them every five minutes,” he added. But do they?

  • Food for thought: Don’t miss Sherry Turkle’s provocative piece in yesterday’s New York Times about how the “always on” generation is losing the ability to have a human conversation.

  • Also, Jack Smith IV asks some good questions in Mic.com about where the “disruption” of private services like laundromats is taking San Francisco.

  • This is civic tech: Melissa Jun Rowley of Humanise reports on Detroit’s Digital Justice Coalition, which is working to build a wireless mesh network to distribute internet access to the entire Morningside neighborhood, and Data Driven Detroit, which provides data analysis to strengthen communities.

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KARASSED

KARASSED

When smart objects “can lie and cheat”; Nirvana band member et al. launch U.S. Open Source Party; and more.

  • Our brave new future: “As the Volkswagen case demonstrates, a smart object can lie and cheat,” writes technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci in the New York Times. And, she notes, we shouldn’t worry just about smart objects like cars, but also take note of the dangers of non-auditable voting machines.
  • Related: Jim Dwyer of the New York Times turns to Columbia University’s Eben Moglen, a longtime advocate of software transparency, to explain the lesson of the Volkswagen scandal: “Intelligent public policy, as we all have learned since the early 20th century, is to require elevators to be inspectable, and to require manufacturers of elevators to build them so they can be inspected,” Moglen said. “If Volkswagen knew that every customer who buys a vehicle would have a right to read the source code of all the software in the vehicle, they would never even consider the cheat, because the certainty of getting caught would terrify them.” The code in cars is, in fact, “tightly protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” Dwyer notes.
  • Hacking elections: With the Canadian national elections approaching, many citizens are turning to vote swapping sites in order to maximize the chances of their party winning the most seats, Samantha Rideout reports for Civicist.
  • The U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates announced the locations of next year’s general election events, and included this intriguing item: “An additional campus, Dominican University of California, will lead an initiative to use technology and social media to engage young voters in a discussion of major issues in the 2016 debates (#DUdebate16).”
  • Krist Novoselic (Nirvana band member and political activist), R.U. Sirius (techno/countercultural author), Nathan Wilcox (former political consultant) and Jon Lebkowsky (internet maven) have launched the United States “Open Source Party.” It is, they write, to be based on four simple principles: “Laws, policies, and political processes are seen as a body of code. The code, and any changes to the code, are visible and understandable: i.e., transparency is a fundamental. The code is accessible and modifiable. Anyone who shares our needs and values can access the code and propose modifications, which may be accepted by democratic consensus, or by executive decision in a framework decided democratically.” We’ll keep an eye on this effort.
  • The Asia Foundation reports on the ongoing progress of the MaePaySoh (Let’s Vote) Hack Challenge, which has rallied 130 developers in 30 teams who are working to build apps that will help Myanmar’s 32 million voters in its November 8 elections.
  • These may be the jobs that you are looking for: Civic Hall’s civic imagination fellow Andrew Slack is looking to hire a communications director and an operations director for a five-month campaign called “MayTheForceBeWithUs” focused on Star Wars and money in politics.
  • The Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University is currently looking to hire an analyst, a senior analyst, and an administrative coordinator. The center is helping the What Works Cities program create a culture of evidence-based decision making in midsize U.S. cities.
  • Network weaving: At the Change.org memorial for Jake Brewer in Washington, D.C., Monday night, his mother held the post-it he had on his monitor at the White House, recounts Jennie Kim Eldon in this moving post. It read “Cultivate the Karass.” For those of us who need a Kurt Vonnegut refresher, she explains that a “karass” was a term he invented in Cat’s Cradle for “a group of people who kind of get mixed up in each other’s lives in order to do God’s will.” I never heard Jake use this term but boy does that three-word phrase describe what he did. Now the #RebelAlliance will have to continue that work.
  • Related: Movement organizer Marianne Manilov suggests, on Twitter, the following “Idea: hashtag #brewered Def (v) to fully believe in someone’s possibility and tell them w/yr heart.”
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First Post

Karassed

Karassed

When smart objects “can lie and cheat”; Nirvana band member et al. launch U.S. Open Source Party; and more.

  • Our brave new future: “As the Volkswagen case demonstrates, a smart object can lie and cheat,” writes technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci in the New York Times. And, she notes, we shouldn’t worry just about smart objects like cars, but also take note of the dangers of non-auditable voting machines.
  • Related: Jim Dwyer of the New York Times turns to Columbia University’s Eben Moglen, a longtime advocate of software transparency, to explain the lesson of the Volkswagen scandal: “Intelligent public policy, as we all have learned since the early 20th century, is to require elevators to be inspectable, and to require manufacturers of elevators to build them so they can be inspected,” Moglen said. “If Volkswagen knew that every customer who buys a vehicle would have a right to read the source code of all the software in the vehicle, they would never even consider the cheat, because the certainty of getting caught would terrify them.” The code in cars is, in fact, “tightly protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” Dwyer notes.
  • Hacking elections: With the Canadian national elections approaching, many citizens are turning to vote swapping sites in order to maximize the chances of their party winning the most seats, Samantha Rideout reports for Civicist.
  • The U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates announced the locations of next year’s general election events, and included this intriguing item: “An additional campus, Dominican University of California, will lead an initiative to use technology and social media to engage young voters in a discussion of major issues in the 2016 debates (#DUdebate16).”
  • Krist Novoselic (Nirvana band member and political activist), R.U. Sirius (techno/countercultural author), Nathan Wilcox (former political consultant) and Jon Lebkowsky (internet maven) have launched the United States “Open Source Party.” It is, they write, to be based on four simple principles: “Laws, policies, and political processes are seen as a body of code. The code, and any changes to the code, are visible and understandable: i.e., transparency is a fundamental. The code is accessible and modifiable. Anyone who shares our needs and values can access the code and propose modifications, which may be accepted by democratic consensus, or by executive decision in a framework decided democratically.” We’ll keep an eye on this effort.
  • The Asia Foundation reports on the ongoing progress of the MaePaySoh (Let’s Vote) Hack Challenge, which has rallied 130 developers in 30 teams who are working to build apps that will help Myanmar’s 32 million voters in its November 8 elections.
  • These may be the jobs that you are looking for: Civic Hall’s civic imagination fellow Andrew Slack is looking to hire a communications director and an operations director for a five-month campaign called “MayTheForceBeWithUs” focused on Star Wars and money in politics.
  • The Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University is currently looking to hire an analyst, a senior analyst, and an administrative coordinator. The center is helping the What Works Cities program create a culture of evidence-based decision making in midsize U.S. cities.
  • Network weaving: At the Change.org memorial for Jake Brewer in Washington, D.C., Monday night, his mother held the post-it he had on his monitor at the White House, recounts Jennie Kim Eldon in this moving post. It read “Cultivate the Karass.” For those of us who need a Kurt Vonnegut refresher, she explains that a “karass” was a term he invented in Cat’s Cradle for “a group of people who kind of get mixed up in each other’s lives in order to do God’s will.” I never heard Jake use this term but boy does that three-word phrase describe what he did. Now the #RebelAlliance will have to continue that work.
  • Related: Movement organizer Marianne Manilov suggests, on Twitter, the following “Idea: hashtag #brewered Def (v) to fully believe in someone’s possibility and tell them w/yr heart.”
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ARRAY OF THINGS

ARRAY OF THINGS

What $3 million in sensors will do for Chicago; Google hires part of “Netflix for books” team; and more.

  • Women are being asked inappropriately personal and family-related questions on stage at major tech conferences, Margaret Gould Stewart writes in Medium, and it is a waste of an opportunity for the participants on and off stage alike. Stewart argues that interviewers should either pose the same questions to men, or to stop asking them full stop. She also complains that the conference gift bags are sometimes tailored exclusively to men, which would annoy me, too.

  • Array of Things: Susan Crawford reports for Medium’s Backchannel on the sensor network that will soon be taking up residence in Chicago, tracking and reporting air quality, pedestrian traffic, ambient noise levels, and more. With $3 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, Chicago plans to deploy 500 devices by the end of 2017.
  • “I’ve seen innovation every damn day of my life and very little of it gets love from the likes of Silicon Valley,” writes Samala, in a piece published on Medium that touches on the tech culture in San Francisco and the greater Valley, neglected civic tech endeavors, and why she personally no longer believes that the Bay Area is “a mecca of innovation”:

    Put simply: “The industry is not building products and services that will change all lives for the better.”

  • Speaking of Silicon Valley, Geoffrey A. Fowler’s Wall Street Journal review of the iPhone 6s calls it the “stickiest iPhone yet,” a trap meant to wed us to Apple services and software and keep us there ’til death do us part.

  • And Google has hired most of the Oyster—the “Netflix for books”—team, Peter Kafka and Mark Bergen report for ReCode. This could mean that Google wants to launch a similar service down the line; if so, they’d be competing with Amazon.

  • Donald Trump shouts down reporter who asks about Fred Trump’s 1927 arrest during a Ku Klux Klan meeting, according to this interview transcript from New York Times reporter Jason Horowtiz. The story was first broken by Matt Blum in Boing Boing, which Trump dismissed in the Times interview as “one little website.” One little website can be one big thorn in one’s side.

  • Hollie Russon Gilman explains for Civicist how the new U.N. Sustainable Development Goals have civic participation written right into them. For more evidence that the hacktivist/build-with-not-for ethic has penetrated the U.N., see this U.N. Foundation-sponsored piece by Rosie Spinks in Good Magazine on “How Hackathons Could Make World Peace a Reality.”

  • After a year as the Chief Data Officers of LA, Abhi Nemani is ready to move on. These are his initial reflections on his time there.

  • Opportunity: The Knight Foundation is launching its second Cities Challenge in October, in which anyone can submit their idea for improving their city. The best ideas will receive some portion of the $5 million set aside for this challenge. See winning ideas from last year here and start thinking about your own proposal now. Applications will be available starting October 1.

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DIRECT SERVICE

DIRECT SERVICE

Kickstarter has reorganized as a Public Benefit Corporation; lessons from the Smart Chicago Collaborative; and more.

  • Our Jake: One of Jake Brewer’s White House colleagues likened him to the “mayor of the building” despite only having been on the job for 15 weeks, Sarah Wheaton of Politico reports as part of a round-up of tributes to our fallen friend.

  • Brewer’s behind-the-scenes work co-founding and building the pro-immigration group Define American is lovingly detailed by Elise Foley for the Huffington Post.

  • “We are mourning all that he had yet to do,” writes Jennifer Pahlka, the founder of Code for America. She includes two beautiful tributes to Jake in her post, one from his close friend Clay Johnson, and one from Ryan Resella, a Code for America Fellow. Read the whole thing.

  • Luke Fretwell, the founder of GovFresh, shares his memories of Jake Brewer.

  • The Jake Brewer memorial education fund has raised more than $264,000 from over 3,400 donors.

  • This is civic tech: Dan O’Neil of the Smart Chicago Collaborative explains why it’s “not your typical civic tech outfit.” He writes: “What we’ve learned at Smart Chicago is that direct service to regular residents beats any technology that any single developer can make by slogging along alone. We’ve learned that direct action—being in rooms with real people, working together, sharing our money and our food and our love—works.” Amen, brother!

  • Kickstarter has reorganized as a Public Benefit Corporation, its co-founders announced yesterday.

  • Food for thought: how the rise of the conversational user interface will re-orient how we interact with computers, by David Pierce for Wired.

  • Fusion’s Kashmir Hill offers a tour of anti-surveillance artist Trevor Paglen’s new gallery show in New York City.

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JAKE BREWER, 1981-2015

JAKE BREWER, 1981-2015

The civic tech community mourns Jake Brewer.

  • The civic tech community is in mourning at the untimely death of Jake Brewer, senior technology advisor to the White House, who was killed Saturday while on a charity bike ride in Virginia. Here is President Obama’s statement on his passing. It reads, in part:

    We set out to recruit the best of the best to join their government and help us harness the power of technology and data to innovate new solutions for the 21st century. Simply put, Jake was one of the best. Armed with a brilliant mind, a big heart, and an insatiable desire to give back, Jake devoted his life to empowering people and making government work better for them.

  • U.S. Chief Technology Office Megan Smith said, in part, “He had a generous heart and a vision for engaging with technology, data, and most importantly each other, to create opportunity and find solutions together. Jake lived and loved more in his 34 years than some people do in their whole lives.”

  • Jake’s wife, Mary Katharine Hamm, a Fox News contributor, shared her feelings on her Instagram account.

  • The Washington Post’s Moriah Balingit and Faiz Siddiqui spoke with several of Jake’s close collaborators, including Michael Silberman, who was on the charity ride with him Saturday and Jose Antonio Vargas, with whom he co-founded Define American.

  • Here is Define American’s statement on Jake’s death.

  • Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, a friend of Mary Katherine Ham, Jake’s wife, shares his respects in the Washington Examiner.

  • Guy Benson, Mary Katherine’s co-author, has created a GoFundMe campaign setting up an education fund for their children.

  • Jake’s friends Adam Conner and Nicco Mele have put together JakeMemories.org. Send them your additions.

  • Change.org is hosting memorial gatherings tonight for Jake at its offices in New York CityWashington and San Francisco. Jake was its director of global policy before he went to the White House.

  • Here is my remembrance of our friend Jake.

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FINDINGS

FINDINGS

OpenStreetMap founder launches OpenGeoQuestion; the repercussions of #IStandWithAhmed; and more.

  • This is civic tech: The founder of OpenStreetMap, Steve Coast, has created a nifty new mobile app called OpenGeoQuestion that anyone can use to collect data in the field. He writes: “You can answer questions about where you are in a quick-fire way. You can also ask new questions for anyone else to answer, all over the world. What will be really interesting is—what questions will you ask everyone else about the environment. The data is aggregated together and then hopefully we can do meaningful things with it.”

  • Laurenellen McCann writes in praise of VoterVox’s effort to open American political participation up to a more polyglot population.

  • If you’d like to add your name to a “net neutrality” amicus brief drafted by Sascha Meinrath and Zephyr Teachout, which they are submitting to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in the lawsuit by the U.S. Telecom Association challenging the FCC’s new rules for protecting the open internet, go here.

  • Vauhini Vara raises a great question in The New Yorker about Ahmed Mohamed’s cause celebre and the new age of flash celebrity: “…after a trending topic has been forgotten, people still have to live where they live. What, [Anil] Dash [a key amplifier of Mohamed’s story] wondered, would the child’s relationship with his principal and teachers look like in the future—and what about his family’s standing in Irving itself? Isn’t it conceivable, he asked me, that all the negative attention to the school and the town will, in the long run, harm the Mohamed family rather than help them?”

  • Tech and the presidentials: Remember during the Republican National Convention in 2008 when Sarah Palin belittled Barack Obama’s role as a community organizer, and a rapid-response email from the Obama campaign pulled in $10 million in donations from supporters in response? It’s not quite the same scale, but more than a year earlier in the process, an attack on candidate Bernie Sanders by Correct the Record, a SuperPac aligned with Hillary Clinton, that compared him to the new leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has generated more than $1.2 million in rapid donations to Sanders’ campaign, Sam Stein and Samantha Lachman report for the Huffington Post.

  • “We’ve never seen an immediate donor response like what the Sanders campaign received on Tuesday. At one point, it drove 180 contributions through our platform per minute,” Erin Hill, executive director of ActBlue, told Stein and Lachman. “Over its 11-year history ActBlue has sent money to over eleven-thousand campaigns and committees—and the Bernie Sanders campaign holds the record for the two biggest donor days ever for a campaign on our platform.”

  • The Bing Pulse analysis of Wednesday night’s GOP debate, while not a scientifically representative sampling of viewer responses, offers some fun findings nonetheless. Of self-identified Republicans who used the tool to register their responses to what the candidates were saying, the most negative response came to Jeb Bush’s declaration that “40 years ago, I smoked marijuana.” There were nearly 1.5 million viewer responses collected during the debate.

  • Mentions of Donald Trump in both traditional and social media are dropping, Ben Schreckinger reports for Politico. “He has stalled, potentially,” Echelon Insights’ Patrick Ruffini somewhat equivocally states.

  • Future, imperfect: Nilay Patel has a great explainer up on The Verge about the ongoing war between Google, Apple, and Facebook for your attention, and why the open web is losing.

  • For your weekend consideration: The new issue of Science includes this article, titled, “An ultrathin invisibility skin cloak for visible light.” Harry Potter fans, rejoice!

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SIGNS OF HOPE

SIGNS OF HOPE

Community-based solutions to ticketing and fines; 18F and the Department of Defense collaborate, saving millions; and more.

  • The Internet Public Speaks: Since yesterday, more than 1,000,000 tweets have included the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed, according to Topsy.

  • As Manny Fernandez and Christine Hauser report for the New York Times, the massive wave of support for the 14-year-old Texas boy arrested for bringing his clock invention to school included President Obama, who tweeted his support for Ahmed Mohamed and invited him to the White House.

  • The police now say they won’t pursue charges against Mohamed, the Dallas Morning News’ Avi Selk reports. The boy’s new Twitter account has 72,000 followers. As Selk reports:

    The joke to his big sisters, Ayisha and Eyman, is that Ahmed was invisible on social media before an outcry over his arrest made him an online sensation. Their tech whiz of a brother had no Twitter account, no Facebook, no Instagram or Snapchat. So the sisters set him up on Twitter as @IStandWithAhmed—a slogan that the world had given the boy as his story spread overnight. The young women stared at their phones Wednesday morning, stunned as the phrase became one of the most popular memes of the day.

  • These two photos of “an Arab-looking man of Syrian descent in a garage w/his accomplice building what appears to be a bomb” also got a lot of retweets.

  • This is civic tech: The winner of St. Louis’ GlobalHack V last weekend, which focused on creating solutions to improve the working of the city’s court system, was Inveo, which, according to Matt Meniette, Global Hack’s executive director, “developed a platform called CommuniSee that allowed residents to easily look up and resolve tickets through a variety of methods (e.g. by name and birthdate or through a simple map). Their solution also introduced a new way for residents, municipalities, and the private sector to collaborate to reduce the number of outstanding fines and fees: a tool for corporations or nonprofits to pay off outstanding fees in exchange for volunteer work and help hard-working individuals (many of whom may already be volunteering in their community) get a fresh start.”

  • A recent consulting project between the Department of Defense and 18F saved the DOD $150 million by taking a “more technically informed approach to procurement,” Federal Times’ Aaron Boyd reports. That’s more than the entire $105 million currently requested for the whole U.S. Digital Service.

  • April Glaser and Alison Macrina report for Slate on how the citizens of Lebanon, New Hampshire, came out in force Tuesday night in support of their library reinstating its Tor relay for safe, anonymous web browsing, which had been suspended after an inquiry from the Department of Homeland Security. By evening’s end, the library’s board voted to restore the relay. Glaser and Macrina report that “dozens of libraries” have contacted the Library Freedom Project as a result of the controversy, “hoping to set up their own Tor nodes.” They add, “This week’s victory for Lebanon Libraries is a sign of hope in a post-Snowden world.”

  • The Open State Foundation has uploaded its full Politwoops archive of more than 1.1 million deleted tweets by more than ten thousand politicians in thirty-five counties to the Internet Archive.

  • Tech and the presidentials: If you want to see how people watching last night’s GOP debate responded in real-time on Bing Pulse, check out this page. The three questions that came “from social media,” as CNN anchor Jake Tapper put it, raising the issues of medical marijuana, guns, and climate change, were a refreshing break from typical debate questions that tend to focus on personalities and the horserace.