This post appears courtesy of the Collaborative Study Lab, an Experimental Research project from Southwestern University on civic technology and open government.
Today the Institute For The Future launched a new game with a social mission at its core. The Catalyze for Change game aims to find thousands of new pathways out of poverty -- and they're looking for people like you to play -- but it only lasts for 48 hours. The game seeks to catalyze new ideas, new actions, and new futures in communities around the world.
In many jurisdictions around the world, voters have the power to propose laws directly through ballot initiatives. For its advocates, this element of direct democracy is an essential part of the idea that the power of government truly lies with the people.
Jake Porway, founder of Data Without Borders, keynoting at Code for America's Big Data for the Public Good event last night said that we're at watershed moment - that the shift to a data driven society is accelerating. Soon it will be common to make life and public decisions using the vast amount of data that is being generated by our information driven lives and society.
Did you know that, right now, it's illegal for you to invest $250 in a tech startup or local business?
A crew of entrepreneurs, small business advocates, and crowdfunding enthusiasts have banded together to change this by urging Congress to pass a bill that would legalize crowdfunded investments. Amazingly, last November, the politically divided House of Representatives passed a version of this bill, which is currently stuck in the Senate laying idle for the past several months.
Seventeen states have now introduced bills for state-owned banks, and others are in the works. Hawaii’s innovative state bank bill addresses the foreclosure mess. County-owned banks are being proposed that would tackle the housing crisis by exercising the right of eminent domain on abandoned and foreclosed properties. Arizona has a bill that would do this for homeowners who are current in their payments but underwater, allowing them to refinance at fair market value.
We’ve all been there. One minute you’re zipping around online, taking virtual tours, video conferencing, checking next week’s weather, and then it happens; you land on a government site and you’re thrown back to the web’s early days with layer after layer of tail-chasing information, PDF-laden data, a help page that directs to an automated phone menu and a labyrinthine set of instructions on how to proceed.
A few days ago, California took a step toward joining the 31 other states in the U.S. that have cottage food laws which allow people to sell certain foods made at home. If passed, the proposed California Homemade Food Act will open up delicious new possibilities for micro-enterprise. Many people are surprised to find out that it's illegal in their state to bake a cake or a loaf of bread in their home kitchen and then sell it to a friend.
A day of hard rain and wind could not dampen the spirits of activists representing the 99% as they gathered at Justin Herman Plaza (dubbed Bradley Manning Plaza by locals) in San Francisco on Friday, January 20th, 2012, to mark the dark anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision with a day of action. Organized by a coalition of over 55 Bay Area organizations and dozens of OccupySF affinity groups, protestors disrupted business as usual with demands that banks end predatory evictions and foreclosures and that corporations lose the rights of personhood.