HAcker Congress 07 Almost Done

Greetings once again from Berlin, where I am attending the 24C3, the conference hosted by Germany’s Chaos Computer Club one of the finest groups of hackers and humans on the planet. This year the topics revolve around Global Warming and how Nerds will survive the apocalypse. In many ways it is a humorous theme, but in between all the joking around, I do believe we should take it more seriously in terms of solutions to fight global warming and the forces behind it.

Somehow I’ve ended up at the more comedic, the world is over, enjoy yourself and wear good shoes type sessions, that have left me laughing but also longing for some new ideas. Of course, outside of the sessions, in the hallways and various dark corners of the congress, that is where I see the true geniuses creating – as always- something out of nothing. Among the things I’ve seen: the revival of old technology for modern day uses, namely the telex machine. I watched as someone telexed *interesting* images from somewhere else in the conference center to the machine next to me. Of course I’ve also seen the drones, 4 propeller flying machines with some improvements since the camp over the summer. Also this year there are at least 8 to 12 OLPC’s also known as the green machine/100 dollar laptop, being played with. I may do a followup on it, although clearly lots of people are getting their hands on them now (including madame l)

What else? A puppet show about steam power. Rebellious knitting. Infectious diseases in virtual worlds. Yes there are plenty of insanely interesting topics that occasionally have some social relevance as well. No podcasts recorded yet, but once I give my talk on the Arctic Cold War in a few hours… I’ll get on the podcasting.

For a live stream of it, click here (12h45 CET, 6:45am EST)


  1. December 31, 2007


    No place on this page with your email address. I tracked down your vblog of your New Orleans prison anecdote you told me, for which comments are closed, so I have to leave something here.

    The body in Britain that arranges for citizens to monitor the conditions within the State’s prisons is now known as the Independent Monitoring Board, formerly known as the “Board of Visitors”, which has been around for centuries fulfilling the obvious need, illustrated in New Orleans.

    Information about such institutions is not much in evidence on the web. I can only dig up this report about the history of it in India, and there’s this piece of American history:

    The Rhode Island Woman Suffrage Association took a keen interest in the condition of women inmates in state jails and prisons. In the early 1870’s, women from the Suffrage Association lobbied the governor to appoint a “Board of Women Visitors” to institutions like the state prison, where women were resident. Six women, among them Elizabeth Buffum Chace, spent several years in the early 1870’s visiting and reporting on conditions in state institutions regarding women and girls.

    Ah, I’ve managed to find your other interview about it. There aren’t many links in between things, and there’s no webpage showing the data your interviewee has been collecting.

    The rule of thumb is that none of this is ever new. The situation has happened before, and so have the solutions. It is one of the triumphs of our modern education system that it makes us forget how we won any of our rights, so when they get taken away we have no idea how to get them back. The stories of the struggles in the 1900s and 1930s really matter.

    So in your stories about the legal aid workers and the New Orleans prisons, I was quite taken aback by how passive they were — just gathering information at the door for some sort of legal case later, rather than demanding and insisting that they get inside to inspect it, or planning to occupy the governor’s office till he gives the order, or even getting themselves arrested to check it out personally. No one seems very aware just what level of action may be necessary.

    I was somewhat hopeful by this footage from democracy now, but it’s still not good enough. The residents were merely demanding the right to watch the meeting vote for the demolition of their houses. They should have been demanding that the meeting not go ahead. No one asks for nearly enough. The place is not on fire as it should be by now. In other countries, the government has to shoot people in the street to get this level of compliance.

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