I couldn't be more proud of my website I help administer Yehoodi.com than I am today. Our team has taken the decision to join hundreds of other websites around the world -- including Wikipedia , BoingBoing and Reddit -- in shutting down our site on January 18 in protest of the PIPA / SOPA bills before Congress.
I'll be taking down Rikomatic and Betterverse as well. But that won't have the same impact as Yehoodi, which is the largest community website for swing dancers in the world.
Reddit user "selfprodigy" started by ball rolling on December 23 by pledging to move 51 of his domains from Godaddy until they express their opposition to SOPA. He also suggested that others do the same on December 29, i.e. "Move Your Domain Day." The opposition has grown and grown, with even Wikipedia moving their domains.
I'm excited to announce thatGlobal Kids, a pioneering nonprofit that transforms the lives of thousands of urban teens into global leaders, is in the running for $1 million in the American Giving Awards sponsored by Chase. If you think that all young people deserve a chance to express themselves on important global issues, serve their communities, and expand their minds, I encourage you to vote for Global Kids now.
Voting ends in just a couple of days, October 5, so please vote now. Right this instant. Seriously. And tell your friends about it.
Here's a neat video from CNN of a group of young people from around the world who got to attend the UN Security Council during a special session. More than 100 Global Kids teen leaders were among the youth who were at the session, called for US Ambassador Susan Rice.
A highlight for us was Keri, a Global Kids leader from China, who got to ask a question to the Security Council about what the UN was doing about the brewing conflict between North and South Korea. The CNN commentator called this "the best question asked that day." He continued, "we could use more people like that young woman to keep the diplomats on their toes."
Great job, Keri, and the rest of the Global Kids leaders who participated!
Going through my files, I found this old clipping from the El Paso Times dated November 7, 1992. If I recall correctly, that is me in the middle of the picture, reaching down to help someone up the embankment. I just got finished committing a federal crime.
The event was a public show of solidarity with immigrants who were the targets of tremendous harassment and intimidation by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service ("la migra") whether they were lawfully in the US or not. It was sponsored by the Border Rights Coalition, a loose conglomeration of local human rights lawyers, immigrant rights advocates, environmentalists, and students.
The BRC decided that we needed to make a public stand for immigrants rights, and in El Paso nothing is more public than the Rio Grande river, the physical and existential border between the US and Mexico. And what better way to do it than by painting in blood red letters the number to report abusive behavior by la migra to the local chapter of the ACLU.
Tonight I finally got to see Fela! the musical on Broadway, after hearing rave reviews from so many other people who had seen it. It was totally worth the hype.
Fela! is a lushly created musical production depicting through speech, song, drum, and dance the true story of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, a musician and activist in Nigeria. The production is truly transporting, beginning and ending in "The Shrine" night club that Fela presided over in Lagos.
The principal actor (there are actually two who alternate playing Fela, Sahr Ngaujah and Kevin Mambo) powerfully inhabited the role of this talented and charismatic musician. Dominating every scene of the two hour production, he exuded a self-assurance and an infectious energy that carried the whole show.
He was ably assisted by a top notch cast of musicians, dancers, and singers. The African dancing alone was worth seeing the show. I haven't seen a stage production since "Bring on the Noize, Bring on the Funk" where the dancing was so thoroughly integrated with the plot of the show. And I've never seen African dance used to express so many different emotions and moods, from joyful abandon to sexual playfulness to sorrow and anger.
The story of Fela is a legendary and inspiring one. It's a tale of struggle against autocracy and corruption using the powerful weapon of music. It's about one man fighting for his art and his music that inspired a nation and a continent. As an activist, it helped me to believe again in the importance of culture and art as means of political and social change. That was worth the price of admission right there.
Dylan Nagel of Paladin Studios sends out the news that the public beta version of EnerCities has been released, reportedly the first "serious game" to be hosted on Facebook. With support from the European Commission, the goal of our project is to raise energy awareness among young people around the world through the gameplay.
I did a quick playthrough this morning, and I have to say it's quite a fun and engaging game. It's sort of like SimCity but with a sustainable development message.
You can choose to use polluting industries and power sources (i.e. coal) for the first few years to develop your city. They are more efficient and cheaper than current solar and hydro-power energy sources. But after awhile those natural resources get depleted so you have to turn toward renewable energy sources. I was very happy when I was able to install a fusion reactor to power most of my town, as well as a couple of forest reserves to protect the surrounding environment and keep my populace happy.
Facebook integration seems at this point limited to inviting other Facebook friends to play, broadcasting your high score and adding it to your Favorites page in your profile. It would be cool if you could cooperatively manage a larger city with your friends, or perhaps run an entire country together as a group.