27 February 2010


I forgot to mention something a couple of days ago when I posted some commentary by Eric S Raymond, which is that I really like the approach of a project he spearheads called "NedaNet."  It's a hacker community dedicated to providing proxies, anonymizes, and other internet resources to aid communication between Iranian revolutionaries.

I don't know how successful they have actually been, but judging from the amount of chatter I hear about the Iranian regime clamping down on internet traffic (e.g. the announcement earlier this month that they would ban gmail) this seems like a good place to be picking a fight.  More importantly the people involved in NedaNet are actually doing something.  They're not raising awareness, or putting bumper stickers on their cars, or chanting outside an embassy or any of the other standard maneuvers in the activist playbook.  They're lending tangible aid the good guys.

Check out their website for information on setting up a Tor relay if you don't already have one, and do something more effective than putting a green ribbon on your messenger bag.

This goes hand-in-hand with the Seasteading approach.  Say what you will about the feasibility of that particular project but I think founder Patri Friedman is right that we're a hell of a lot better tackling technical problems than social ones.  Ergo if you want to bring about a social change you should look for a technological advance that you can leverage towards your social goal rather than writing letters to editors and calling your congressman and passing out fliers and holding rallies.  Home appliances advanced feminism more than Betty Friedan; cable news did more for pacifism than Leo Tolstoy.

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