Betaworks Brown Bag: My Days in the White House: The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat

Here's a lunchtime talk I did at betaworks on my experience working in the White House, why it was awesome, why it was, um, frustrating, why it's hard to achieve large-scale change in the U.S. federal bureaucracy, and more.

Beyond Conventions: A Ford Foundation Forum on Human Rights

The Ford Foundation has posted the video of a panel I recently joined on "[t]he possibilities and pitfalls of technology in the pursuit of human freedom."  The other panelists were (the legendary and eloquent) Sir Tim Berners-Lee, (the brilliant and soon-to-be-book-launchingRebecca MacKinnon, (the worldly and effective) Elisa Massimino, and (the multi-disciplinary and polymathical) Danny O’Brien.  The moderator was (the charming and prolific) Sewell Chan, deputy editor for The New York Times. For me, the most interesting part of the panel was an exchange primarily with Elisa about the pressing need for mainstream/mainline human rights advocates and organizations to view seemingly-specialized tech issues like net neutrality, competition policy, intermediary liability, encryption policy, and user data control as core human rights issues.

Let's go to the tape.

To-Do: Feel The Motion of the Earth

Time-lapse videos of the night sky are mind-blowing:  they convey the motion of the earth against the vast and distant firmament in which we live.  Here's one of the most spectacular I've seen, filmed by twoastronomers at the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

(OK, ignore the cheezy music, but marvel at how the observatory's laser guide, which creates an artificial star 90km above the surface of the earth that helps the telescopes correct for the blurring effect of our atmosphere, follows the movement of the stars).


on 2011-06-13 02:55 by Andrew McLaughlin

And here is what's described as a "minor edit", in which the stars are fixed in place, and the rotation of the earth becomes evident.  The effect is dramatic and astounding.

Duke Law: - A View From Government

One of my all-time heroes is Carl Malamud, rogue archivist and tireless activist for the public domain. He’s been organizing a series of conferences at law schools around the US to build the case for full, free public, online access to all elements of the laws and regulations that govern us. That sounds like an obvious goal, but it is much, much harder than you might think. Huge thanks to our host Prof. James Boyle, who leads Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, and also was my (fantastic) 1L torts professor.

Here’s what happened at the Duke conference: