the internet goes on strike

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Fight for the Future

and for more even information google SOPA or PIPA
and check out this video by Rob Beschizza of Boing Boing, but posted to Laughing Squid, since Boing Boing also went into blackout mode today.

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São Paulo: 5 years with no outdoor ads

Some of the remains of São Paulo's advertising - a Flickr set by Tony de Marco

In 2006 the mayor of São Paulo, Gilberto Kassab, passed the “Clean City Law” with the intention of curbing pollution — visual pollution included. This required the removal and ban of all (most) outdoor advertising such as that on billboards, store fronts, and transit.

Today the law is still in effect and according to a recent survey 70% of the population has found the ban beneficial to the city. According to a newdream.org article,

Unexpectedly, the removal of logos and slogans exposed previously overlooked architecture, revealing a rich urban beauty that had been long hidden.

While many great aspects of the city were revealed by this movement, some of the shantytowns that may have preferred to hide behind such large signs were exposed. The same article sited that, having these inequalities suddenly

… [brought] to light incited residents to improve conditions and begin discussing solutions. No longer could actual problems be masked by artificial solutions.

The documentary below discusses the ban and its effects. Apparently several years ago there was talk of a reversal of the ad law, but as of today it appears to still be in effect. As one of (or the only?) democratic countries with this type of legislature, hopefully the success of São Paulo’s visual pollution curb can inspire other like-minded cities to follow.

via newdream.org

new york allows same-sex marriage

the bill passed today. monumental.
read about it here, in the new york times

It is now by far the largest state to grant legal recognition to same-sex weddings, and one that is home to a large, visible and politically influential gay community. Supporters of the measure described the victory in New York as especially symbolic — and poignant — because of its rich place in the history of gay rights: the movement’s foundational moment, in June 1969, was a riot against police at the Stonewall Inn, a bar in the West Village.

and for more information on gay rights & the stonewall inn with views/news/interviews/&propoganda from the 1960/70s, check out the pbs documentary Stonewall Uprising:

WGBH American Experience . Stonewall Uprising | PBS.

the alternative vote: who should be king?

the united states of america currently operates elections with something called ‘first past the post voting’. aka Winner Takes All.

the Alternative Vote, on the other hand, is a mathematically superior process that significantly reduces the chance of ending up with a two party system. by ranking candidates, election results more closely reflect the choice of the voters, which in turn helps guard against minority rule and means no spoiler effect.

the spoiler effect is how a third party influences an election, where that party is know as the ‘spoiler’ because it can take votes away from one of the major candidates (presumably the one with somewhat similar views) often leading to a victory for the major candidate with the most dissimilar platform.

for an explanation on First Past the Post Voting, and how it evolves check out this video