Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon
Aaron was a hacktivist and friend of many in our community. He helped create RSS 1.0; contributed to Creative Commons; was an early builder of Reddit, where he's often acknowledged as a co-founder; created the web.py framework; and more recently, became a data liberator, first with PACER and then with scholarly articles from JSTOR, both of which got him into trouble with the law.
Aaron's Demand Progress project helped stop SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act in the US, which threatened to have far reaching unintended consequences.
Aaron Swartz committed suicide on Jan. 11, 2013, but his work on making the world a better place should not die with him. Join us for two days of understanding his work and contributing to keep his memory and projects alive.
(This section adapted with permission from the Bangalore hackathon.)
 Event Details
When: 7pm Jan. 25 - 7pm Jan. 27
What: Come learn new skills and work together on projects that Aaron would have liked. Themes include open information access, sharing and preserving human knowledge, hacking for social/political justice, and techno-activism.
Remote collab: mailing list
The event is free, but we'll have donation boxes for purchasing food and project supplies. BYO-snacks-and-energy-drinks.
Post and gather volunteers for project ideas on this spreadsheet. Most of them need someone to volunteer to be the point of contact.
Major projects hacked on on Friday:
- Open Journal (mek)
- Cleaning up http://www.data.gov (Yan, Robert, Eric, Connie, Ian, Evan, David)
In addition, lots of suggested ideas were added to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ai2JAMm86EJbdFg1TW5tenNJSUt3X2dVVmQ3M08xSlE#gid=3.
Things that people did on Saturday:
- Continue data.gov project
- Look into FOIA-type requests to liberate academic journals/datasets
- Scrape websites and stuff
- Learn LaTeX
- Discuss academic publishing reform
- Work on porting Recap to Chrome
- A bunch of talks (see below)
- BACE timebank
- Open Library
- Chromatest and Eric played some sick DJ sets!
Things that people did on Sunday:
- Studied the possibility of open access via California's public-records law: http://piratepad.net/Q7zUeEbi0E
- Cents Us Dollars Them. (Exploring the distribution of wealth in the United States with data from the US Census API for the Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon : http://cents-us-dollars-them.herokuapp.com/ https://github.com/cgcardona/cents_us)
Talks are relatively informal, supposedly fun, and probably won't go for an hour each.
Scheduled talks/demos (tentative):
- 7 pm: Hackathon starts, Yan probably says some words and asks for money.
- 8 pm: Keynote on Aaron's life and work by Danny O'Brien
- 4 pm: Step 1: FOIA, Step 2: ??, Step 3: Profit, Ping. How to write Freedom of Information Act request letters to do good things for the world.
- 5 pm: Hacktivism: On social justice movements, Daniel Jabbour. A brief history of social justice movements, and my own experience with policy reform and hacktivism.
- Slides available online here
- 6 pm: Principles of Low Power Design, Alex Newman. Hardware you have never heard of for more low power.
- 7 pm: Improving the Scientific Process through Software, Jacob Steinhardt. Learn about existing open source projects to improve science, and others that should exist but don't.
- 8 pm: Part two of Danny's talk
- 4 pm: Data hacking: Machine learning + NLP, Joseph Turian. I will answer questions about machine learning, NLP, scraping, data hacking etc.
- 5 pm: Scrape ALL the data!, how to scrape info from web pages with just a little Python, Ping
- Get the scrape module here: http://zesty.ca/python/scrape.py
- Tutorial and documentation here: http://zesty.ca/scrape/
- Example of a scrape script that gets your watchlist on the Noisebridge wiki: http://zesty.ca/python/noisebridge_wiki.py
- Example of a scrape script that tells you how many users are reading a particular subreddit: http://zesty.ca/python/reddit_users.py
- Run this script periodically for a week to get a .tsv file, load it into Google Spreadsheets, make a chart out of it, and you get this: Media:Reddit-users.png. Now you know exactly when to post your cat photos to maximize the eyeballs on it!
- 6 - end: Project demos! Show us what you've worked on this weekend.
Unscheduled / Unconfirmed Events
- DJ set by Chromatest J. Pantsmaker
- DIY Book Scanner workshop
- Field trip to look for hidden cameras in public places around the Mission
- Ilsa Bartlett is a "crisis counselor for highly intelligent people (geeks) who need someone to talk to and creates a container of quiet for people to fill with their issues." She will be around to provide counseling during the hackathon.
- David Newman, ipad portrait artist, showed up and started painting portraits of people hacking on Saturday.
If you'd like to give a talk/workshop, add it to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ai2JAMm86EJbdFg1TW5tenNJSUt3X2dVVmQ3M08xSlE#gid=2.
 Who's going?
(There's also a Facebook Event, if you are so inclined. Sadly, a Facebook login is required to access that page.)
Notes from presentations on Sunday, Jan 27
 improving access to data.gov
- Project participants:
- chris , dev
- connie, product
- eric, dev
- evan, dev
- ken, ux
- neil, dev
- paul, design
- robert, dev/product
- yan, product
- created in 2008 to provide access to public data
- what data does data.gov have? not immediately clear
- build an alternative portal?
- experimental new portal already in progress at alpha.data.gov
- built new tag cloud explorer for data.gov this weekend, presently at http://data2.me/
 book scanner
- David Nelson
- Adam Kraft adam at media.mit.edu
vaccuum-powered page-turning arm for book scanner, built out of random parts that were laying around. NOT the Dany Q one, that one costs $1500 (and is awesome) but this one is under $100. It isn't actually scanning books yet so far, just turning pages. Interested in feedback on mechanism & software.
Ping demonstrates PACER, the US federal court's paywall for public-domain legal documents, and how it charges $0.10 per "page" for everything (including search results!). The RECAP browser extension uploads PACER results to the Internet Archive so that others will not have to pay the fees. If you are about to pay for a document which someone else has already uploaded, it allows you to retrieve it from archive.org instead. There are 854,711 items in the archive.org RECAP collection so far.
The RECAP browser extension for Firefox is at: http://github.com/citp/recap
The hackathon project was to develop RECAP for Chrome: http://github.com/zestyping/recap-chrome
Currently, RECAP for Chrome checks the Internet Archive to see which documents are available, and adds links to the page so you can get the documents for free instead of paying to download them from PACER. It doesn't upload documents to the Internet Archive yet, though -- that part still needs to be done.
 Fork the law
- Christie introduces in-progress new website for disucssing and editing laws.
- Fork, edit, test, commit.
- Commenting on law.
- Use as preparation for speaking with your lawmakers.
- Can participate in direct action, if you do not want to suggest specific changes.
- Backend uses http://www.co-ment.org
 Perception Society, Inc. (PSI) (paul)
- Chatroulette for mental health.
- Meant to address gap in mental health care for people who fear being diagnosed/labeled and thus don't go to hospitals or support groups
 Bitcoin Pogs (also paul)
- Bitcoin dollar design featuring Neil DeGrasse Tyson, geometric shapes and shit, chipmunk QR code, LHC
- Then made Bitcoin pogs w/ Felix the Cat
- Kittycoin: bitcoin printed on a lolcat face
- Other designs for trillion-dollar francium bitcoin, etc.
 Aaron's blog (Sid)
- you should read it
- Sid talks about his study on the ideation of suicide as a cognitive linguistic model and its relation to Aaron's blog posts. He performed a limited analysis of the "Raw Nerve" posts over the weekend and explored it's use as corpus for identifying the linguistic ideation of suicide in other texts. We chat about some of the ethical issues involved in using computational linguistic analysis of blog posts to detect the ideation of suicide in an author.
- Resources for hackers to get help: http://www.saizai.com/depression
- Articles on the cognitive linguistic ideation of suicide:
Word Use in the Poetry of Suicidal and Nonsuicidal Poets: http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/content/63/4/517.full
Gaining Perspective through Expressive Writing http://arizona.openrepository.com/arizona/handle/10150/192529
 Knowledge for Good (Aviv)
http://knowledgeforgood.referata.com/wiki/Knowledge_for_Good Working together to improve the way people create, organize, and distribute important knowledge.