California Ancestors Blog: Speak Out Against Exorbitant Fees: Deadline is December 16. “The genealogy world is abuzz with news that U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed a sharp increase in fees for searches and copies of genealogical and historical records, beginning in 2020…. The records include naturalization certificates, alien registration forms, visa and registry files, and alien files (A-Files), all invaluable resources for researchers. The bureau already charges a nonrefundable $65 fee per search. It proposes to raise that search fee to an exorbitant $240—an increase of 269 percent.”
The Conversation: On the Battle of Seattle’s 20th anniversary, let’s remember the Aussie coders who created live sharing. “Today, online publishing allows multiple people to post text and multimedia content simultaneously to websites in real time, and have others comment on posts. But this format, used on sites like Facebook and Twitter, was first conceptualised, coded and adopted by a handful of Sydney-based activists back in the 1990s. These individuals were pioneers in kickstarting the digital disruption of mainstream media, and their actions enabled the world to openly and easily share content online.”
The Nation: The Hong Kongers Building a Case Against the Police . “Those on Hong Kong social media—especially on Twitter and some channels on Telegram, the secure messaging app preferred by the protesters—have made a concerted effort to document and publicize police brutality. #HongKongPoliceBrutality and #HongKongPoliceTerrorism are just two of the hashtags Hong Kongers use on Twitter as they recirculate videos and graphics contextualizing the violence. These netizen-protesters see themselves as being on the front lines of the information war over Hong Kong, coordinating a PR campaign to raise awareness—and get the international attention that they see as crucial to their movement’s success.” This was a great story, but The Nation had an pop-in ad for its mailing list that was really intrusive. I could only get rid of it by reloading the page.
The Conversation: The future of protest is high tech – just look at the Catalan independence movement. “People across the world are demonstrating their discontent in increasingly creative and disruptive ways. The past year has seen schoolchildren across the world join the Fridays for Future strikes, witnessing mass walkouts from schools across the globe. In Chile, coordinated fare-dodging protests on public transport – also led by school pupils – has now grown into mass unrest against the rising cost of living. During the past two weeks, protests have erupted across Lebanon in opposition to rising taxes, involving road blockades and a human chain across the country to illustrate the unity of the people.”
CNET: Google walkout 1 year on: Questions, pride and unmet demands. “The Google protests didn’t achieve everything their organizers were seeking. Several Google workers and former workers are dissatisfied with the company’s response. Organizers say the company has done the bare minimum to address concerns, and employees allege that it has retaliated against workers and sought to quash dissent.”
Phys .org: Environmental stress is already causing death: This chaos map shows where. “Climate change is only going to worsen the chaos attendant on resource shortage—and, therefore, death rates. Increases in extreme weather will have adverse impacts on food production and water availability. Indeed, they already are. Meanwhile, fossil fuel depletion and unstable exporting regions will lead to huge increases in the cost of energy. Future food, fuel and water prices are at the very least going to be more volatile.”
Wired UK: Catalonia has created a new kind of online activism. Everyone should pay attention. “To an outsider, the protests can look like a homogenous mass of angry citizens revolting against the Spanish state. But the movement encompasses different factions, from long-standing separatist groups ANC (Assemblea Nacional Catalana) and Òmnium, to absolute newcomers. Among the latter is a mysterious digital network called Tsunami Democràtic.”