Don’t ship the beta…

Geeking Out

When I hear that Google is buying robotics companies, the first thing I wonder is…are they gonna ship the beta? Or should we demand that each one be programmed with the understanding “Don’t Be Evil?”

Will you ever be able to download and print a house? The folks at Wikihouse think you will.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Iceland’s government has announced that it will write off €24,000 of every household mortgage in the country, in order to boost household income. Shockingly, the world financial community considers this a bad plan.

Are you thinking about setting up a co-working space, or just renting out an empty desk in your office? Here are some best practices, from Shareable. And while you’re at it, why not kick down some coin for Shareable, so they can hire an organizer to build a Sharing Cities Network.

Are you interested in where the money that’s funding the sharing economy is coming from? You might wanna check out this new report from the Knight Foundation on the funding of civic tech…not great news for those of us who care more about improving voter technology than shared housing…but Ashton Kutcher fans, take heart—he is a source all his own, and he’s funding at a higher source than any foundation named.

There’s a real tension between the folks in the sharing economy who are interested in promoting sharing, and the ones who are simply interested in producing profits. Here’s one of the more profit-minded fellows. And here’s one of the more sharing-minded ones.

Here’s one from the anti-solidarity files. You may remember when Jack Welch famously wished he could put every GE plant on a barge, so he could float it to the country with the lowest standards? Well, what if we put all the 1% on a cruise ship. For life? You might note, they plan to build a school system.

From Partners

Will you be in Brussels next week? Fight austerity & free trade, by blocking the EU summit.

How do we develop more ways to finance the New Economy? Dollars & Sense looks at what’s going on, in the US and abroad.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

It’s funny to me how the same companies that are complaining about
government surveillance are perfectly happy with private sector surveillance. In related news, don’t turn on iBeacon when you’re in the Apple Store. If  you haven’t figured out yet whether you’re worried about either the government OR corporations having unlimited access to your data—this post from the ACLU might tip the scales.

This writer posits: what if local governments, who want to collect taxes on sharing economy industries like AirBnB & Uber also agreed to host review sites for local hotels & taxi services?

Organizing Theory

Want to do some in-depth reading and thinking about improving locally-based coops? Check out this new report from the UK.

And another new UK coop report—this time about how can we make local media work better?

The Singularity Approaches

Sure, car-sharing is nice. But what if you’d rather bike? Sometimes, you might need a little extra energy to get around—so robotocize your bike! And why not top that off with some gloves with turn signals on them? (I know those are going on my Christmas wish list next year).

Right now, digital piracy is a problem mostly for goods that are content-based—like movies and music. But in a world of plentiful 3D printers, will you be able to pirate everything?

What’s Going On in the Workforce?

We’ve shared a couple of articles about the increase of gaming & data mining by recruiters. Are those kinds of tools baking more inequality into the system?

Some say robots are causing it, others say it’s the decline in US workers’ bargaining power—these economists blame the decline in US income on the fact that freelancing & outsourcing has occurred in higher-payroll jobs.

You probably saw a lot about last week’s fast food strikes in your daily news clips—but did you know that Korean women held a strike against precarious work in the food service industry on November 29th?

Final Thoughts

If polarization happens first among the electorate, and only later in Congress, then voters are driving it, in which case it might merit another, better name: “representation.” If it happens first in Congress, and only later among voters, and especially if it’s a consequence of legislators answering to special interests and campaign contributors rather than to voters, polarization in some instances might be more aptly called “corruption.”

Jill Lepore, “Long Division” New Yorker, 12/2/13

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