Skip to main content

Engineer, startup founder, investor, and writer

benwerd

benwerd

benwerd

ben@benwerd.com

werd.eth

 

Study: 20% of vaccinated health workers who test positive suffer from long COVID

“Majority of 39 'breakthrough' cases among 1,497 monitored were mild, but research author says persistence of symptoms among minority ‘raises concern’.”

[Link]

 

Fairness Friday: NDN Collective

I’m posting Fairness Fridays: a new community social justice organization each week. I donate to each featured organization. If you feel so inclined, please join me.

This week I'm donating to NDN Collective. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, NDN Collective describes its mission as follows:

NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.

As part of a journey to bring my mother's ashes to New England (which I'll write about soon in another post), I've been traveling through Montana and North Dakota. I've been profoundly struck by the level of poverty experienced by Native American communities there. Native Americans suffered a genocide at the hands of European colonizers, and have experienced generational injustices that continue to this day.

NDN Collective's restorative justice work includes climate justice and racial equity campaigning, as well as an important campaign to regain Indigenous land ownership. It has played a key part in campaigns against oil pipelines on Indigenous land. The Collective also makes grants and impact-orientated loans and investments.

I donated. If you have the means, I encourage you to do the same.

 

Photo by Joe Piette.

 

She exposed how Facebook enabled global political manipulation. Now she's telling her story.

“Her story reveals that it is really pure luck that we now know so much about how Facebook enables election interference globally. Zhang was not just the only person fighting an entire swath of political manipulation, it also wasn’t her job. She had discovered the problem because of a unique confluence of skills and passion, then taken it upon herself, driven by an extraordinary sense of moral responsibility. To regulators around the world considering how to rein in the company, this should be a wakeup call.”

[Link]

 

I’m a Parkland Shooting Survivor. QAnon Convinced My Dad It Was All a Hoax.

““It started a couple months into the pandemic with the whole anti-lockdown protests,” Bill said. “His feelings were so strong it turned into facts for him. So if he didn't like having to wear masks it wouldn't matter what doctors or scientists said. Anything that contradicted his feelings was wrong. So he turned to the internet to find like-minded people which led him to QAnon.””

[Link]

 

Every single time I’m in Portland - including just overnight, like right now - I don’t want to leave. There might be a solution for this.

I wish I had more time to see people!

 

Why I oppose recall of DA Chesa Boudin

"These reforms were desperately needed: disproportionate treatment of Black and Brown people in arrests, prosecutions, and lifetimes of incarceration isn't just a trend of a few decades — it has taken place over centuries in America. Many in our LGBTQ+ community are in desperate need of criminal justice reform now." I oppose his recall too.

[Link]

 

Fairness Friday: Southerners on New Ground

Inspired by Fred Wilson’s Funding Fridays, which highlight a new crowdfunding campaign that he’s contributed to every week, I decided to start a series of my own. This isn’t a knock on him: I genuinely enjoy those posts. But I also felt like there was room for something else.

Starting this week, I’m going to be posting Fairness Fridays: a new community social justice organization each week. I will donate to each featured organization. If you feel so inclined, please join me.

This week, I’m donating to Southerners on New Ground. Based in Atlanta, SONG describes its mission as follows:

We build membership (or our base) as a way to build the skills, connection and leadership of thousands of Southern rural LGBTQ people of color, immigrant people and working class people – united together in the struggle for dignity and justice for all people. In order to transform the South we must build our collective power, our people power, which comes from thousands and thousands of us uniting to make the South the home our communities need it to be.

Its work includes bail reform, Black queer, trans, and gender non-conforming leadership work, and electoral justice. It’s all good stuff.

I donated, became a member, and offered to use my tech skills for community members who need them. If you have the means, I encourage you to do the same.

 

Photo by Nathania Johnson

 

A Defunct Video Hosting Site Is Flooding Normal Websites With Hardcore Porn

"As pointed out by Twitter user @dox_gay, hardcore porn is now embedded on the pages of the Huffington Post, New York magazine, The Washington Post, and a host of other websites. This is because a porn site called 5 Star Porn HD bought the domain for Vidme, a brief YouTube competitor founded in 2014 and shuttered in 2017. Its Twitter account is still up, but the domain lapsed." Cool URIs don't change, etc etc.

[Link]

 

10 assertions about the future of social

  1. It will be decentralized. The way to compete with Facebook is not to compete with its model. Decentralization empowers users in a way that Facebook can’t, while also undermining its core business model.

  2. It won’t be a decentralized version of something we already know. It’s not enough to build a “decentralized Facebook / Twitter / TikTok / whatever”. While there’s a core that’s attracted to the ethos of decentralization, it can’t be the core value prop for most users. It’s got to bring something new in itself.

  3. It won’t be a monoculture. Lots of different clients written by lots of different teams with lots of different user experiences.

  4. It doesn’t have to be web-based. As much as we love the web, we shouldn’t be constrained by having to build web-first. Apps like TikTok - and before it, Instagram - have shown that you can take advantage of native app platforms first, and use web for discovery second.

  5. We can’t solve identity. There will never be a single identity that we use across the web. Instead, there may be open protocols that allow us to auth with different providers.

  6. It won’t be built by an existing tech company. (Although it’s possible it could be built by a spinoff or protected internal team of one.) And it might not be built by a company at all: it’s likely to start as an open source collaboration, or even as a co-operative.

  7. It won’t be built by an existing standards body. And any attempt to build standards-first will fail.

  8. The ecosystem will be simpler than you imagine. The technologies that succeed will allow new developers to get up and running in an afternoon, armed with great documentation, easy-to-use libraries, and simple underlying protocols.

  9. It won’t be based on blockchain. But there’s nothing to say that you won’t be able to bring your own ENS domain, etc, if you want.

  10. It has to solve harassment and abuse. Any new network that doesn’t solve harassment and abuse will be co-opted by right wing groups and trolls, killing any nascent community before it has had a chance to get off the ground.

 

Are They Picking At Us?

“Racism and xenophobia can hide under the very thin veneer of polite societal norms, like that shiny, sugary layer on a fruit tart that looks super-fake at the supermarket bakery table. I felt grateful for the refuge the community potluck table at our mosque offered. Ours was the only table in town where you could find grilled seekh kebabs, barbecue chicken, KFC hot wings, Palestinian chicken with vermicelli rice, potato salad, okra sabzi, Southern fried okra, Lahori-style fried fish, cornmeal-fried trout, fruit chaat, and, yes, even that fruit tart.”

[Link]