Meeting Notes 2012 07 31

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The 227th Meeting of Noisebridge

Note-taker: Danny and the hordes on the etherpad

Moderator: Zephyr

Introduction and Names

Noisebridge is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides a space for creation, collaboration, and learning about technology and creative projects. Noisebridge provides space, power tools, and infrastructure to help the public learn new skills and create cool things. Noisebridge continues to exist through and depends entirely on membership fees and donations. Our code of conduct is 'Be excellent to each other'."

  • Invite a knowledgeable volunteer to give a brief primer on consensus process: We agree and so should you! Only paid-up members can block consensus.
  • Introduce any new or unusual moderation techniques that you may be using during the meeting like: direct responses, limited speaking time, orderless stack, &c.
  • Round of introductions (remember, announcements come later):
    • What's your name,
    • are you a member,
    • what do you do, and
    • if you are new: how did you hear about Noisebridge?
  • Zephyr
  • Eric -- makes 16mm films! Maybe teach a 16mm film collective! Workshops!
  • Justin -- moved here about 5 months ago. I live in the mission!
  • Carlos -- I'm working on libnotify
  • Isis -- I'm still battling with the Great Firewall of China. Great firewalL WILL MAKE TOTAL DESTROY
  • (The Man They Call) Za -- I'm interested in authority (the least amounts of it)
  • Nick -- I'm using a javascript database.
  • Liz -- I just made cute mintyboost charging kit. Helping Malaclyps with killer robot.
  • Steffen (spook)-- I iOS program, and getting interested in Node.js. In and out of Noisebridge, I was curious about the radiation detector project. Everyone agrees that would know.
  • Eric -- He is the guy who edits wikipedia. Also interested in non-English language Dr Seuss
  • Snail -- I don't remember what I do. Always starting projects, sometimes going back to them.
  • Steve -- BRAINZZZ computer interface. Rebuilding brain interface for MC Hawking.
  • Alex -- makes Code Hero.
  • Danny -- I'm a retired trial lawyer. Heard there was an electron microscope. Interested in joining a
  • Danny -- I'm writing this sentence.
  • Leif -- I'm interested in counterantidisintermediation.
  • Andrew -- UI designer.
  • Mike -- work with leif on deep hack, digital spelunking for the 21st century, getting down and dirty with the insides of computers. Also technowander, not a quartermaster, or ombudsman.
  • Elyane -- a filmaker. Interested to do a workshop in film.
  • Bruno -- from Vienna, doing startup with seven other people. Wants to talking about delegated voting.
  • Evan -- says don't use ArchLinux, whatever you do. A CONTENTIOUS POINT OF DISCUSSION.
  • Ryan -- lives in the mission. Startups. Crypto-Anarchy. I Pseudonymous reputation. Secure encrypted cloud backends. Bitcoin.

Short Announcements

Toorcamp! Toorcamp! Toorcamp! We are still collecting people for Toorcamp. There is a bus going to Toorcamp! It's a hacker thing in the woods. Some discussion ensues about the Magic Seatless Occubus that is going to Toorcamp. There will be ham radio.

New or Stale Events

Membership Binder

  • Invite a knowledgeable volunteer to describe membership, and the application process.

Being a member of Noisebridge is not like being a member of a gym or your local chess club. Anyone can come to Noisebridge to hack and learn: you don't need to be a member for that. At Noisebridge, membership is something different: it means taking responsibility and committing to help to maintain, improve, and govern Noisebridge. As a member of Noisebridge, you don't just come here to hack and learn, you actively work to improve what you see around you, help to deal with problems, and make this community better than it is today.

If you want to show your commitment to Noisebridge and the community here without becoming a capital-M-Member, consider being a Noisebridge associate. Associates pay their dues to the treasurer just like members, use the space just like members, and are valued participants in the community just like members. The difference is that associate membership doesn't involve consensus: there's no need to go through consensus to become an associate, but associates don't get to block consensus either.

Financial Report

  • Funds in bank: I think we're doing okay.
  • Noisetor (See the bulletpoints at the bottom of
    • There are $1974.25 earmarked NoiseTor funds
    • Colo service has been paid through Jul 7, 2012
    • There are enough funds to pay for an additional 2 months of colo
    • This information was updated at Tue Jul 31 20:30:03 2012

Consensus items

You may wish to invite a knowledgeable volunteer to repeat a brief primer on the consensus process.

Proposals from last week

(Add any items which pass or are blocked to the Consensus Items History page.)

Malaclyps: I would be worried if we spent 10K on party + sent someone to Singapore (like last time), I would feel guilty because I work w/ foundation. So this 10 grand will go to our prudent reserve. So I wouldn't want to spend it on specific projects, just two months' rent. The other objection that had been cited was that the Thiel foundation connected to Peter Thiel, and Peter Thiel connected to Palantir, which datamines for the state.

Leif: Not the problem that Palantir datamines for the state, but that it was mentioned in the Bank of America-connected attack on journalists reporting on Wikileaks. He is also not a fan of the source of Thiel's wealth: PayPal + Facebook. He agreed long ago at last meetings to stand aside but thinks we really, really shouldn't do this. It's not as no-strings-attached as it's being made to sound. I understand we can pay rent, but if they wanted to sue, which he doesn't think they do, they could. It's important to understand that we are entering into a contract that says this $10,000 is only for operating expenses and we can give them a receipt, but that doesn't make me feel any better about this.

Ben: Doesn't see a problem. That's what they want us to spend it on.

Leif: But we're ALREADY paying our rent.

Malaclyps: I've worked w/ Thiel fund a lot in past couple of years. I'm not sure he can speak to all the connections, but I can really say they would be totally happy spending this on rent, I'm totally happy being the person saying we spent it on rent, I have a continuing relationship with them so I would lose a lot more than just getting sued as a board member, so willing to put a lot more than that on the line for this, including my current job.

Alex: Have had dealings with "PayPal mafia." At Hackmeet a while ago, a friend of his "hazed" him for wearing a T-shirt which has a Palantir logo on it. Feels bad being associated with Palantir on the face of it, but the shirt is for an organization called Hack the Future and a bunch of people who work at Palantir help with that, are just hackers like us who happen to work for a shady company. Met the CEO of Palantir and asked him right out, "How do you explain your own actions?" said they wanted to make this software to make sure no one would abuse software like it But there's also the thing this is about, which is the 20 Under 20... speaking tomorrow at Hackademic camp. unschooling folks...was originally asked by Danielle about coming to Noisebridge. Hasn't seen contract till tonight but only has obligation of one 501(c)3 to another. The Thiel fellowship is just a bunch of smart kids under 20, and we should welcome them. I hope when someone says, "I heard about this from the Thiel fellowship," that we don't attack those newcomers. There's the utopian positive arm of Thiel's work, and then there's the evil capitalist arm, but the utopians are awesome.

Lizzard: That touches on the other thing brought up, you mention your T-shirt as an example; people felt that the fact that you're wearing it "excuses them" because they are using Alex' social capital to deflect from their negative image.

Malaclyps: Just to be explicit, Thiel Foundation is different from Palantir. And I also don't think TF is particularly interested in riding off Noisebridge's social capital. They have plenty from other eccentric hacker projects.

Alex: When there's a direct "this is going into bed with this group," but here it's enough places removed it shouldn't be an issue. Used to black-marker all Microsoft logos off his shirts but hasn't gotten around to it with Hack the Future tees.

Malaclyps: Proposes putting up for consensus.

Carlos: Asks what Leif would do if it passed consensus.

Leif: Would not block, but would stop paying Noisebridge dues for 1 year. Will probably spend his personal surplus on nb projects

Moderator: Proposals for next week...

Malaclyps: No, no, no! Consensus! You need to do the magic words.

Stand aside? Block?

As such, it is the consensus of Noisebridge that we are taking this money.

Malaclyps: Yuck! Does everyone *really* feel okay with this?

Snail: Asks whether consensus has do-overs.

Malaclyps: Is that consensus? I don't think it is.
Is anybody enthusiastic about taking this money?

(Murmurs of assent)

Malaclyps: We should formally note what it is spent for in consensus.

Snail: So we don't have long discussions on what it's spent on

Malaclyps: Trying to find wording that makes us feel better about taking the money. Worried Leif + Carlos aren't happy.

Carlos: Agrees with Leif.

Alex: Missed last discussion, doesn't want to rehash, but what in particular about Peter Thiel?

Carlos: Feels like it's another individual who's washing their money with a non-profit. Happens a lot in the Bay. I cannot assure to you that Peter does that, I don't have time nor info for that, but as an individual who wants to defend himself with the facts, and know what is really going on?

Malaclyps: Heard last meeting that it was a sort of money-laundering tax dodge; this isn't how tax dodges work, he doesn't pay any less tax.

Leif: A charitable foundation is very much a tax shelter; that may be pejorative, it is legal, but it's true. He's a wealthy libertarian. All billionaries have nonprofits and it's not because they're all really nice people. The rule is they have to spend 5% of total value and don't pay taxes on profit from investments so he can give away and invest in for-profit enterprises.

Eric: It doesn't actually work that way. For instance if I'm a 501(c)3 and you decide you're going to invest in a non-profit, there is intense shit you have to go through with the board. No, he doesn't pay taxes, but it's not really his money anymore, the board controls it, even if he gets a director's salary.
What Leif says, on multigenerational level, has merit but in single generation doesn't work that way.

Moderator: Have we arrived at any new conclusions about our stance?

Carlos: Nothing against ... but believes Noisebridge can really succeed independently.

Malaclyps: I do, too... I've been wavering on this too, and I think the thing that convinced me is to push this more was that we get a fair bit of our money that we use on a regular basis from checks of this size - maybe not quite, but one month ago we got one for $5,000 from a Silicon Valley charity, so it's my feeling that this money, aside from this contract that we have to sign, is pretty much part of the ebb and flow of money that we get, and how we get money is to get donations like this. Agrees we need to maintain independence, but our independence depends on the sporadic charity of individuals like this and doesn't really change how we work.

Alex: It's not a great outcome if everyone feels like this is dirty money and these are bad people. There are all these super-science save-the-world type of projects and I don't think they're evil. I think if a bunch of people from 20 Under 20 show up, it's a good source of new awesome hackers, and there's a bunch of people from Palantir who already show up to use Noisebridge.

Leif: They're as welcome as anyone else to use Noisebridge, and they're welcome to be members but that's not related to the grant.

Malaclyps: Would like to try to retry the consensus, reworded to say we're going to use money exclusively for paying rent (later operating expenses)

Leif: Thinks we should write down how many people are standing aside: at least 2 + maybe more... There were 4 two weeks ago, and Danny withdrew it.

Malaclyps: Because if there were 4 stand asides we should talk about it some more. Not saying this as a threat, but he's only doing it this week because there was a strong consensus that he should do it one more week, but he's not going to bring this up again. And the foundation is totally fine either way.

Standing aside: Leif, Carlos, El Presidente - doesn't want her executive powers to present a conflict of interest.

Wording of the consensus: It is consensus of Noisebridge that the grant be accepted, and the money be used exclusively for paying operating expenses.

Standing aside: Leif, Carlos, Snail.

Proposals for next week

(Add any new items for consensus to the Current Consensus Items page.) God forbid

Does anyone think a fundraiser with a goal? Alex's roommates think a big giant cartoon thermometer is the way to go

Discussion Items

If an item of discussion drags on too long, further discussion may be postponed until after the meeting ends. During discussion, it is not necessary to write down exact what each person says. Record the topics of discussion, and any items of consensus or controversy here. Detailed descriptions of the conversation should go on the discuss page for this meeting.

Praveen proposed that Noisebridge fiscally sponsor the new Oakland hackerspace's fundraising activities. We deferred until Kelly the Treasurer had a chance to chip in with her opinion.

End of Meeting

  • PGP Key Signing could happen now, check the list to enable the giant web of trust built on lies.
  • Return the membership binder to its rightful location.
  • Clean and tidy the meeting notes, then save them to the wiki.
  • Send a summary of the meeting notes to the discussion list.
  • Enjoy the company of your fellow hacker or robot.