Ideas for the online revolution.

Notre Dame Living Wage - Online Petition

I created a website for the Campus Labor Action Project which is working to get a Living Wage for Notre Dame staff.

It's a tricky balance, but I think we'd prefer to have people sign our petition only if they have a connection to Notre Dame (alumni, staff, faculty, spouse, parent, etc).

We have a committee of currently around 7 alumni (mostly who graduated in the past 4 years, but we're doing outreach to other decades). Our strategy is to build a large base of alumni supporters (hopefully 500-1500 people). Getting people to sign the online petition is the first step.

Philly Activist Tech - First Meeting is a Success!

The first meeting of the Philadelphia Activist Tech Group was a success. We had 13 people! Instead of having long meetings, it looks like we're going to focus on projects. So people will propose and join projects, and we'll skip the meetings for the sake of meetings.

We'll probably organize workshops ranging from "this is how to use email to do activism" or "how to be virus/spy-ware free", to more advanced topics like "Intro to Google Maps API".

Also we might organize the occasional social event, and connect people who have questions with people who have answers.

If you want to find out about our activities, then Subscribe to our low-traffic email list.

Friendster Hacks

Notes on Friendster hacking. By hacking, it's more exploring than doing any harm. And I'm doing this partially to learn how to prevent problems with my own software.

The Gallery

If you do a search, you get to see all the possible parameters in the URL.

Distance: I think the maximum is 65536 (aka 2^16 - a common data type). Or it used to be. Now I'm not entirely sure. They might have noticed that I was running queries that were timing out after five minutes and put some validation on the data. When I did a distance of 66000 it would time out relatively quickly, whereas under 65536 it would take five minutes. For that matter smaller distanaces (eg 10,000 miles) were taking that long too -- though this probably depends on Friendster's load. Friendster should validate this value and put a maximum on it. Also Friendster should be logging slow queries. Heck, I'm smart enough to do that!

MySpace Worm Reaches 1 Million Users - Yay Social Networking!

Maybe they'll smarten up and stop letting users run amok with CSS and html to make NASTY EVIL looking webpages that take 2 minutes to load on DSL. It makes me really wonder about people (and young people in particular) when MySpace continues to make gains and has recently surpassed Friendster.

Note: the only way I found of getting rid of embedded music and videos on MySpace is to uninstall Windows Media Player (though that might have just been my computer which was having issues with Windows Media Player).

Notre Dame Living Wage Campaign - Questions for the President

Notre Dame activists are working for a living wage on campus. This is the latest news. Haven't heard what the outcome is yet.

Campus Labor Action Project- Meeting with President's Office Tuesday- October
11th- Spread the word

September 29th we announced five questions for Fr Jenkins- below.
MEET AT GOD QUAD AT 1:15 near the Jesus statue to rally with CLAP reps and hear
the results of the meeting at 2:15 in front of the Main Building with press.
We need a strong presence of CLAP members and allies to show Fr. Jenkins we care
about this issue.

Philadelphia - Activists and Technology Meetup

I am starting a Philadelphia group for liberals, progressives and radicals who are using Internet technology, particularly the web, to promote social change. We can share ideas, share code, help each other test and debug, get our projects to share data, explore emerging technologies, and perhaps collaborate on new projects.

We could meet once or month or however often people want.

Personally, I

Campus Activism - Just another ACLU Front Group?

"Every major leftist initiative of the past 40 years has been facilitated by lawyers sympathetic to radical causes. In this regard, the counter-recruitment movement is no different. The members of the Legal Left most responsible for clearing a path for the movement are the Society of American Law Teachers(SALT), the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), which defends students arrested during anti-Solomon anti-recruitment activities and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which provides detailed advice to schools and student organizations regarding the legalities of instituting counter-recruitment policies and whose front organization, , features a counter-recruitment campaign. Though all three organizations assist the counter-recruitment movement in legal matters, SALT

The Cost of the Iraqi War and Occupation

The cost of the Iraq War is approximately $200 billion according to
the National Priorities Project

That is only the direct financial cost.

The US consumes approximately 20 million barrels of oil/day (19.65 million in 2001 according to the CIA world fact book , or 7 billion barrels each year.

If the war/occupation causes oil to cost $10 more per barrel (which I think is a realistic estimate), then this adds $70 billion/year to the cost of the war and occupation.

This doesn't include the increase in the price of natural gas, used for heating and power plants, which tends to follow the price of oil (though it is subject to much wilder fluctuations).

Building Progressive Infrastructure

For longterm social change you need a long term strategy. Sure you need to fight the short-term battles (otherwise people suffer and die), but hopefully the left can scrape together some support for longterm institutions.

One example of such a program would be a database of skills and trainers. We need to convince all of the existing social change training organizations (Training for Change, Midwest Academy, AFL-CIO's trainers, ACORN, various socialist groups, etc) to publish their materials under the Creative Commons License. These materials should be available in large chunks (as books) and broken down into smaller chunks (chapters or exercises), and available online for free (PDF an HTML) - or in printed form for a charge.

Optimizing MySQL - strings vs integers

I've been logging my slow MySQL queries, with "slow" being defined rather harshly as anything that takes more than 0.01 seconds. However, when you are only dealing with 1000-30,000 records and simple selects, they shouldn't take much longer than that.

One thing I've noticed is a MAJOR difference between how MySQL treats integers versus strings in the WHERE clause.

For instance, if I do
FROM zipcodes
WHERE Zip=19104

This works fast if Zip is stored as an integer. If you want to store Zip as a string (to support codes like 00213, or because you are using a 7 character field to also support Canada which uses a mix of letters and numbers), then you can run into problems.

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