links for 2008-09-30

links for 2008-09-27

  • @hexayurt on Twitter said that these might be the new "Hoovervilles." Well if so, they'd be a hell of a lot better and safer than the old ones!

    "The Hexayurt is a prize-winning shelter you can build yourself for about $200 (backup link). Suitable raw materials include common building materials ( fire safe insulation boards,) hexacomb cardboard and plastic. You cut six 4' x 8' panels in half diagonally to make the roof, and use six more whole panels to form the walls. It takes about two hours. The design (backup link) is in the public domain."

links for 2008-09-19

Being a Citizen Shouldn’t Be So Hard! Part 2: Beyond Government

NOTE: This is part 2 of a multipart series. See the series intro. More to come over the next few days.

This series is a work in process. I’m counting on Contentious.com readers and others to help me sharpen this discussion so I can present it more formally for the Knight Commission to consider.

So please comment below or e-mail me to share your thoughts and questions. Thanks!

To compensate for our government’s human-unfriendly info systems, some people have developed civic info-filtering backup systems: news organizations, activists, advocacy groups, think tanks, etc.

In my opinion, ordinary Americans have come to rely too heavily on these third parties to function as our “democracy radar.” We’ve largely shifted to their shoulders most responsibility to clue us in when something is brewing in government, tell us how we can exercise influence (if at all), and gauge the results of civic and government action.

Taken together, these backup systems generally have worked well enough — but they also have significant (and occasional dangerous) flaws. They’ve got too many blind spots, too many hidden agendas, insufficient transparency, and too little support for timely, effective citizen participation…

Continue reading