“Underdogs are not popular because we are underdogs. Underdogs have to fight for everything. Underdogs have to fight to be heard, to be seen, to be respected. Of course we don’t want to think that we’re them. We want to think we’re winners, that we sit at the special table (you can’t sit with us), that we’re better than everyone else, but what are you winning? What did you win? Sh*t, what are you even playing, dog?”—hyuninc (via brycedotvc)
In today’s educational reality, it’s no longer enough to go through a subject by way of a predetermined, sequential pattern that’s the same for everyone. Even MIT is considering breaking up some of their courses to become more modularized and configurable to better match how students actually…
Inspired in part by an Orbital Boot Camp email thread about optimal event conditions/qualities for introverts, and in part by a long-held desire to run some kind of meetup focused on sharing ideas, I’d like to introduce the Idea Exchange dinner series.
My girlfriend and I just moved into a new…
Have an idea? Brendan would like to have you over for dinner.
“Solitude did increase my perception. But here’s the tricky thing—when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.”—
Christopher Knight aka The Last Hermit, who lived in complete solitude for 27 years in the woods of Maine.
I did a round of feedback sessions at garychou's Orbital NYC bootcamp today. I love participating in these feedback sessions. I don’t know a thing about the projects the people are working on and in the span of 45 minutes to an hour I try to help them as best I can.
I think this type of feedback works extremely well.
I don’t have any context or background on their project. I haven’t put in the same amount of time that they have put in to work. This makes it easy for me to not be attached to their plans. Instead I’m invested and focused on their problems, vision, and goals.
I wish I could get this type of feedback more often and realize it’s hard to access that or make it available. garychou has done an amazing job of making this a staple of the Orbital Bootcamp - curating a list of advisors and making sure they come in at the right time.
Maybe some day he’ll make it available for people at organizations. I know I would want it.
We all have internal battles, especially when it comes to very small decisions that seem insignificant, but at the end of the day will matter a lot. This weekend working on chutney I learned, that yes you can have the vision, see the big picture, that might be the easiest part for me…
“About fifteen years into my career, after I inherited a new editor, I walked into his office and handed him a document. “This is my owner’s manual,” I said. “I call it “‘The Care and Feeding of a Banaszynski.’” It was my guide on how to best manage me, based on a bit of reporting on, well, me. It was made up of two simple lists: Do and Don’t. If the editor followed the Do list, I would be loyal, productive, and his best advocate in the newsroom. (Example: Tell me once a week you’re glad I work here and make me believe it.) But follow the Don’t list, and … I wouldn’t do my best work. (Top of that list: Don’t gasp at the length of my story until after you’ve read it.) Then I asked him to write his own manual for me.”—Jacqui Banaszunski in Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University (via andrewdmason)
Why is it that people are willing to spend $20 on a bowl of pasta with sauce that they might actually be able to replicate pretty faithfully at home, yet they balk at the notion of a white-table cloth Thai restaurant, or a tacos that cost more than $3 each? Even in a city as “cosmopolitan” as New York, restaurant openings like Tamarind Tribeca (Indian) and Lotus of Siam (Thai) always seem to elicit this knee-jerk reaction from some diners who have decided that certain countries produce food that belongs in the “cheap eats” category—and it’s not allowed out. (Side note: How often do magazine lists of “cheap eats” double as rundowns of outer-borough ethnic foods?)
Yelp, Chowhound, and other restaurant sites are littered with comments like, “$5 for dumplings?? I’ll go to Flushing, thanks!” or “When I was backpacking in India this dish cost like five cents, only an idiot would pay that much!” Yet you never see complaints about the prices at Western restaurants framed in these terms, because it’s ingrained in people’s heads that these foods are somehow “worth” more. If we’re talking foie gras or chateaubriand, fair enough. But be real: You know damn well that rigatoni sorrentino is no more expensive to produce than a plate of duck laab, so to decry a pricey version as a ripoff is disingenuous. This question of perceived value is becoming increasingly troublesome as more non-native (read: white) chefs take on “ethnic” cuisines, and suddenly it’s okay to charge $14 for shu mai because hey, the chef is ELEVATING the cuisine.
“In general, I think we need to move away from the premise that being a good person is a fixed immutable characteristic and shift towards seeing being good as a practice. And it is a practice that we carry out by engaging with our imperfections. We need to shift towards thinking that being a good person is like being a clean person. Being a clean person is something you maintain and work on every day.We don’t assume ‘I am a clean person therefore I don’t need to brush my teeth.’ When someone suggests to us that we have something stuck in our teeth we don’t say to them ‘What do you mean I have something stuck in my teeth—but I’m a clean person?!’”—
“That whole “be smart and get things done” philosophy may work (somewhat) in a quirky 40-person company with an existing business model, but when navigating the uncertainty of creating something new entirely, everything falls apart if you were taught to think you’re smart.”—beansprouts: Detached and pays attention (via orbitalnyc)
For the past several nights I’ve been glued to the Internet watching livestreams and social media coming out of Ferguson, MO. It’s been heartwrenching, but has also reminded me why I care so much about Internet freedom: it allows for free speech and discussion like never before.
I’m sure you’ve seen the videos and photos: cops firing tear gas and concussion grenades into residential neighborhoods, threatening and arresting journalists at gunpoint, and brutally suppressing protesters standing with their hands in the air chanting, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”
The images are frightening. But even more frightening is the reality that this type of crackdown could become commonplace, thanks to millions of dollars of Federal funding that incentivize police forces to resemble an invading army. It has to stop.
Technology should be used to amplify people’s voices, not silence them. As an organization that advocates for tech in the public interest, we felt we have a real role to play to make this stop.
I’ve seen this type of behavior from police before — after a quick poll we discovered 50% of the Fight for the Future team has been teargassed at demonstrations at one time or another. But this time the abuse has been so egregious that there have been calls from both left and right demanding to know: just how did it get this way?
The story goes a lot like the story of how we got into this mess with NSA surveillance. Defense contractors working their magic in Washington, DC got the Department of Homeland Security to start offering more than $30 billion in grants to local police departments for all kinds of crowd control “toys.” They received even more weaponry through the 1033 transfer program that put military-grade weapons directly in the hands of local cops.  Defense contractors profit greatly off of this program, which has created a dangerous situation where local police are compelled to use what weapons they have on crowds of people expressing themselves.
The police violence in Ferguson brought this secretive history hurtling into view. Barack Obama and Rand Paul (neither of whom I’m a big fan of) have both made statements suggesting that police should not be silencing voices of dissent and brutalizing journalists with weapons of military occupation.  But talk is cheap. We need action right now.
Despite the enforced media blackout, it’s been relatively easy to get breaking news out of Ferguson thanks to free and uncensored Internet. (Oh, except on Facebook, but that’s another story. ) Through livestreams, twitter, and various blogs, I’ve watched with my own eyes and saw a SWAT officer rip a press badge off of VICE News reporter Tim Pool, saying “this doesn’t mean shit” while separating “credentialed” reporters from citizen journalists.  I watched cops with submachine guns telling journalists to “separate themselves” from protesters and get in their “designated area.” 
Everybody wants to live in safe cities. Nobody likes getting mugged. But if we give our police free reign to buy the latest sub-lethal grenades, chemical weapons or surveillance gadgets the military industrial complex cooks up, it’s only a matter of time before they use them in terrible ways against people like us. If this goes unchecked, the next Ferguson will be a lot worse.
We’ve learned all too well in the last year how dangerous technology can be when it’s used against us rather than for us. Now is our chance to make it clear that no government or corporation should be able to accumulate weapons and technology for the purpose of suppressing free speech and a free press.
It’s going to take a lot more than contacting Congress to dismantle the underlying injustices that have lead to the uprising and repression in Ferguson, but for the first time in a long time, we have a real chance to turn the tide on this issue, and make the world a safer place for when our children stand up to protest the things that they see wrong in the world.
For freedom online and off, -Evan at Fight for the Future, with love from the whole team
P.S. While #Ferguson has definitely occupied some of my mind lately, it’s mostly just strengthened my resolve to keep fighting for the free and open Internet. It’s going to be a long road to justice, but the Internet gives us a chance. This article says a lot of things about Ferguson and the open Internet that I have been thinking but couldn’t have articulated so well. Very worth a read and a share.
If you’re feeling like you want to do more to support people on the ground in Ferguson speaking out in the face of overwhelming police violence, please donate to the bail fund that’s been set up for protesters there.
One of the hardest things is finding the audience for your book. While it’s becoming easier for writers to both publish and promote their works themselves, the majority of strategies touted by experts – especially those exploiting social media and other online technology – are geared toward non-fiction writers. Whether how-to, self-help or even memoir, there…
I’m really excited to be part of @OrbitalNYC Bootcamp this summer as I figure out how to bring Kollecto to market. This week, I made significant progress in gauging whether there is scalable interest in a project like Kollecto.
i feel humbly honored to be nourishing the seeds of something big with my partner in crime simranjaising. I’m talking about the http://orbitalnyc.com/bootcamp/ hosted by garychou. While we were all discussing about the informational age, policy changes and proposals, etc. It hit me. The…
Sometimes I’ll get a call or email from someone five years after the last contact and I’ll think, oh right, I hated that person. But they would never have known, of course. Let’s see if I still hate them. Very often I find that I don’t. Or that I hated them for a dumb reason. Or that they were having a bad day. Or much more likely, that I had been having a bad day.
People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is.
“I don’t care if Mike Brown was going to college soon. This should not matter. We should not have to prove Mike Brown was worthy of living. We should not have to account for the ways in which he is suitably respectable. We should not have to prove that his body did not deserve to be riddled with bullets. His community should not have to silence their anger so they won’t be accused of rioting, so they won’t become targets too.”—"silence is not an option," roxane gay (via brookehatfield)