Ideas for the online revolution.

Why I'm Investing in Bitcoin

This doesn't have anything to do with activism. I don't think Bitcoin has much potential for facilitating progressive social change. It can be used to help fund a small set of groups, like Wikileaks, that aren't allowed to use conventional funding from Paypal. However for funding very radical organizations (say a left-wing guerilla group or a domestic radical left group like the Earth Liberation Front), the lack of privacy in Bitcoin due to its use of a public ledger - makes it unlikely to work. If at any point your bitcoin address can be linked to your identity, then you lose privacy.

Justice Map Released!

Justice Map is finished and ready for public use!

Features include
-Block level resolution of race. You can zoom in as far as you want. No other website lets you do this on census data.
-100 GB+ of generated image tiles. My computer spent days generating and processing image tiles just for you!
-Save as Image. You can save the map as an image or a high-resolution image.
-Drawing tools. You can add a marker, polygon, line, or circle to the map and save it.

Do you want Net Neutrality for Corporations or Real Internet Equality?

I don't understand why many progressives (and even radicals who should know better) are so focused on net neutrality and are doing so while ignoring or downplaying the major causes of Internet inequality.

Justice Map - West Philadelphia

A map of percent black in West Philadelphia from
Block level resolution.


The Cost of Triplexes vs Group Living

I've gone from renting a large house with 5-7 people for the past ten years in Philadelphia to living in a unit of a triplex that I own.

As part of this process, I've been amazed at how more expensive it is to run a triplex than a large home -- with an equal number of people and the same square footage. A lot of my goal of being a landlord is to provide affordable quality housing. This means that I try to keep unnecessary costs low, as our rents are directly based on our costs.

Here are some of the additional costs

1. Philadelphia homestead exemption

Philadelphia Gentrification Relief for Who?

Philadelphia's proposed $20 million/year of gentrification property tax relief fails to target the most deserving low-income residents and may even increase the regressiveness of the local tax system.

Justice Map in development

You can see my early version of Justice Map.

This is for demonstrating what the layers look like, getting feedback on those, and not anything close to what it will look like when it is finished.

It is a set of open map layers based on the 2010 Census and 2011 American Community Survey for race and income. I put census tracts up online, but I plan to add counties (for both) and block groups and blocks (for race) in the near future.

Privatizing Philadelphia Gas Works: Pros and Cons

Mayor Nutter wants to privatize Philadelphia Gas Works - the city's gas utility. Probably not because he cares about public/private ownership, but he is out for the quick buck for civic revenue.

Now there are some fairly obvious reasons to oppose this as it is an attack on labor, the public sector, and may lead to significant increases in gas prices.

However what most progressive people aren't considering is that the city shouldn't be in the business of providing gas. We shouldn't be profiting from environmental destruction - we should be transitioning to a gas-free future.

Saving the Philadelphia Public Schools - Brainstorm

Here is a brainstorm of ambitious ideas for saving the Philadelphia public schools. As this is a brainstorm some of the ideas are very stupid (see the toxic dumps), and many of them wouldn't stand up in our unjust courts -- but the goal is to provoke better ideas.

1. Protest in Lower Merion Township or another school district that spends 80-100% more per student than Philadelphia.

2. Nutter and city council should publicly support a drive to unionize the charter schools.

3. Refuse every request by charter schools for zoning variances.

US Household Income by Census Tract

I'm working on a project to create open map layers for the United States for race and income at a high resolution. I want to create a system that encourages people who have limited to zero GIS (Geographical Information Systems) experience to create maps for their community!

So I've been messing around with TileMill, PostGIS, and the Census data. TileMill is an amazing program that makes it easy to make a map. They've got nice styling, great support, and you can publish it online for free (if you have limited traffic).

This is a map of household income in the US by census tract. There are 70,000 census tracts in the US.

Legend: red is below average income, and blue is above. I divided the data into ten quartiles.

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