Ideas for the online revolution.

Online Privacy

As people spend more of their time online and as search engines try to store more content and provide more accurate ways of searching, our online lives and thus our actual lives, are becoming increasingly exposed.

As I store people's contact information on my website, I often run into people who, after publishing their information online, develop a new need for privacy and want it taken down ASAP. Sometimes people send me nasty first-emails (eg the initial request to take it down is nasty, they don't even wait a couple days for me to take action) which is probably indicative of how important privacy is. I respond to the requests, but there is only so much I can do.

Activism Network Development Cycle

I'm dramatically increasing the number of releases for the Activism Network project. I'm now averaging one release every two weeks.

US election watch 2006

Ok, the US Senate Race for Virginia:

According to CNN (8:50pm or so)
Allen 672,282 50%
Webb 661,955 49%
Parker 14,819 1%
http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/senate/

According to VA Election Boards (8:50pm)
Allen Republican 679,127 50.33%
Webb Democratic 653,942 48.46%
Parker Independent Green 14,957 1.11%
Write Ins 1,303 0.10%
http://sbe.virginiainteractive.org/index.htm

How can Allen have 7000 more votes at the VA Election board results (that have tended to be more updated than the CNN ones) and Webb have 8000 less votes???

I figure CNN would be getting the results after the VA election board, in which case you wouldn't expect that a canidate's vote count would drop...

Online Grants for Social Change

Yesterday I saw the Front Line (PBS) documentary that covered Kiva whose approach to economic development is to use a website to match first world individuals as lenders with third world entrepreneurs who need micro-credit (aka small loans, ex. $500).

It would be far better if we could match first world donors with third world social change organizations. So people would donate the money instead of loaning it (note: this might be a downside to participation as Kiva was claiming a zero default rate at the time of the Frontline documentary, so the people lending money weren't actually donating it). Also it'd be for social change, so a lot more rewarding than having someone running a successful fruit stand.

Optimizing Website Page Load Time

I'm working on optimizing the page load time for this website, particularly for the homepage, and am achieving great things!

Converting Dynamic Pages to Static
If this is possible, I highly recommend doing it. I converted 20 pages into static html, which is generated once per day (I kept the original copies of the pages in PHP so that people who install this software can automatically customize them -- though on second thought, that wasn't completely necessary).

Conditional Use of Caching
While I cannot always use a cached version of the homepage, since someone migth log-in,

Young People For - Their Network

Young People For (is that name proper grammer?) is an interesting organization in the field of student activism, by which I mean they are well-funded and thus powerful.

They have an insightful breakdown of

who is in their network

The states they chose look random to me, other than perhaps they are going for larger states.

The good thing is that they are going for continuity - hopefully that will help campuses with turnover which is one of the main difficulties that student activists face.

Activism Inc. - How Canvassing is Sucking the Spirit out of Thousands of Young Progressives

Yesterday I read Activism Inc. I strongly recommend reading it. It's insightful and short. The thesis I got from it was that thousands of progressive-minded young people are joining canvassing operations, lasting an average of several days, and burning-out.

These young people could be forming the backbone of social movement organizations, however instead they burn out and find non-activist jobs (like being teachers).

The book argued that conservatives are succeeding in placing young people into conservative organizations, however the left is failing.

I'd be very interested to read a book on what the conservatives have done that works so well for them. I suspect part of the answer is that they may have larger sums of money that can create more organizations and better-paid positions (whereas canvassing jobs in particular, and other leftist jobs are generally lower-paid).

Hudson Valley Activists - Example of a Syndicated Calendar

A very creative approach that I didn't know was possible.

A small version of our web calendar on your site (Hudson Valley, ActivistResource.org)

They use a php script to create javascript. So the PHP script accepts parameters (ex. how many events to show, what mile radius to use) and then creates javascript that uses the document.write command to write html for your website.

The advantage of this approach is that you can call an external php script with parameters and include it in your site. It's like a type of web service.

CampusProgress.org Advocates Militarism

The fact that CampusProgress.org recently chose to feature a pro-militarism article about US volunteers joining the Israeli army fits with its moderate version of student activism.

Get Me A Draft Card

They let almost anyone write. But to feature an article requires an editorial decision. And to not just advocate Zionism (and support for a racist religious sectarian state) but to also advocate for the use of military force, and even in the wake of the disasterous attacks on Lebanon and Gaza -- makes you really wonder what kind of "progress" they stand for?

PageRank 7

CampusActivism.org recently achieved a Google PageRank of 7. The site had been at 6 for a couple years, with a brief period where it dipped to 5.

This is particularly significant as PageRank is a logarithmic scale with an estimated base of around 6. So having a PR of 7 is six times better than a 6. On the other hand it could just be a tiny improvement, an increase from 6.49 to 6.51 would show up as a move from 6 to 7.

I suspected that my PR of 6 was a high "6" and might one day reach 7. The website was increasing its traffic and the number of incoming links gradually, and its PR should grow accordingly.

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