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?!’

Jay Smooth in his TED speech “how I learned to stop worrying and love discussing race” (via tropicanastasia)

Jay Smooth almost always a reblog

(via unrational)

Dude nailed it. We all need to work at being good. Even if we think we are.

(via jasmined)

This applies to so much

(via seanbonner)

Here’s how we get our democracy back after #Ferguson


Urgent: Cops in Ferguson are strangling free speech. Take action now!


Dear Fight for the Future member,

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!”[1][2]


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.

Right now Congress is considering legislation that would demilitarize local police forces. Click here to tell your lawmakers to cut funding for the weapons of war used to suppress free speech.

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.”[3] They received even more weaponry through the 1033 transfer program that put military-grade weapons directly in the hands of local cops. [4] 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. [5][6] But talk is cheap. We need action right now.

Will you sign the petition? We have a path forward to end this tyranny. Here’s something concrete and meaningful that we can do right now to protect our right to dissent.

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. [7]) 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. [8] I watched cops with submachine guns telling journalists to “separate themselves” from protesters and get in their “designated area.” [9][10]

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.

Tell your representatives to protect the 1st amendment and cut funding for police brutality.

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.

SOURCES (there’s a lot this time!)

[1] Bindrim, Kira. “Tear Gas Used as Protests Erupt in Ferguson, Missouri”. Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/another-night-curfew-ferguson-265154

[2] Crilly, Rob. ”Supporters rally for police officer who shot dead Michael Brown“. Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11040486/Supporters-rally-for-police-officer-who-shot-dead-Michael-Brown.html

[3] Priest, Dana and William Arkin. “Monitoring America”. Washington Post. http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/monitoring-america/?hpid=topnews

[4] Mastio, David and Kelsey Rupp. “Pentagon weaponry in St. Louis County: Updated Column”. USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/08/13/ferguson-police-michael-brown-militarization-column/14006383/

[5] Paul, Rand. “Rand Paul: We Must Demilitarize the Police”. TIME. http://time.com/3111474/rand-paul-ferguson-police/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

[6] Obama, Barack. “Full Transcript: Obama’s remarks on Ferguson, Mo. and Iraq”. Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/running-transcript-obamas-remarks-on-ferguson-mo-and-iraq/2014/08/18/ed29d07a-2713-11e4-86ca-6f03cbd15c1a_story.html

[7] Tufekci, Zeynep. “What happens to #Ferguson affects Ferguson” https://medium.com/message/ferguson-is-also-a-net-neutrality-issue-6d2f3db51eb0

[8] Pool, Tim (Timcast). “Earlier tonight an officer ripped my Press patch from my vest in #Ferguson”. Tweet. https://twitter.com/Timcast/status/501613406248771584

[9] Harris, Joe ‏(joeharris_stl). “Media being told to stay within designated area. #ferguson”. Tweet. https://twitter.com/joeharris_stl/status/501591311372541952

[10] Harris, Joe ‏(joeharris_stl). “Police asking all members of the media to please separate themselves. #Ferguson”. Tweet. https://twitter.com/joeharris_stl/status/501575223586852864



Alumni Erin Moore, Alison Shaw (Class of 2012), and Tash Wong (Class of 2013) have recently launched a new event series See/Think/Make in San Franciso.

Designed to bring together the curious and capable, each event will explore Interaction Design through a particular lens:

  • See: Understanding the role of exploration, observation, and empathy in the creative process.





Protesters upset about the smearing of Mike Brown converged at CNN headquarters.

people complain sooo much about social media and “twitter activism” completely ignoring that without social media the only way anyone would know whats going on is through media controlled by straight, white, capitalist men

Sometimes you forget that media answers to any interests outside of quarterly results. There are still people to remind you, tho.


Hustle and Pivot



It’s hard out here for a novelist.

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…

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