Wandering around

In the morning I did some house cleaning and then worked at looking at my expenses and money to think about how to save more and all that kind of thing. Then off to Rockridge BART which I will review later. The ride over was enlivened by some kids with their aunt, going to Antioch which was going to be a long ride. I showed them Pokemon on my phone and then let them play it (they did trainer battles while I provided a running commentary) And they were just adorable – the younger one, maybe 5, was very into trains so we had discussions about which station we were at, excitement at coming out of tunnels, etc. and he liked he BART stickers (old boi, new boi) on my chair. Their aunt was nice and also hilariously trying to get them to bet her money they weren’t going to stand up for the entire hour and a half long ride. “How much do you want to bet?” “A thousand dollars” “Show me…. show me that thousand.” “A hundred dollars” “OK, show me that hundred” “5 dollars” “You’re gonna show me the five, right? Lay it down” Super charming kids.

I wandered around Rockridge & then over to my sister’s house, ate more cake, went through some piles of stuff for donating and had a fish taco & then back to the city for a party at Queerious Labs which is a new hackerspace in SOMA. Had nice conversations with people about hacking yeast to make it produce insulin, inserting genes into plants to make them glow and how you can special order send stuff off to labs to have them insert stuff with CRISPR (??!), some people having a meeting about their Julia project which uh, something LISPy that um something with AI or I couldn’t really hear and it was over my head anyway, but neat and I think it was tentatively called “Fifth”; lee’s monome and accompanying norns gadget which was extremely beautiful, and which you can program with supercollider; another sound and light project which I don’t remember the details of; icelandic sagas (!!!!!! ) me and claire being very excited to find anyone who would talk about sagas at all !!! (That giant red book with the eagle thing on the cover with all the norwegian ones! Grettirs saga! Njal’s! I enthused about Freydis and her beating her breast with a sword in battle while she was like 9 months pregnant. We then all talked about culture and dreams and how queer migration is with san francisco and the bay area in general and the sort of tech dreams people pursue or just wanting to be in a center of culture and art and creation and how to be a good home for that.(kill rock stars; no gods no masters)

On my way out of 24th St. BART going home at midnight, I was rushing to go across 24th and so were 3 other people, a young woman and 2 guys with her and they were saying “we won’t make it and she was saying “we’re gonna make it!” As I whooshed past them I said “We’re totally gonna make it” and we did. She then (a bit drunk or high, joyous, anyway) was like “SEE! SHE KNEW! SHE BELIEVED ME” and the guys were like, . . . wut ? She then veered off laughing like she was going to cross the street with me where I was about to cross mission while they were continuing down the sidewalk. “We don’t have time for this!” they told her. “I’m just saying there’s a GENDER THING” she yelled, giggling. “RIGHT!?” (turning to me again). I started laughing. Dudes faces were so confused. This girl is sick of their bullshit! hahaha! I was like, “Don’t worry, you’ll teach them how!” She high fived me as we crossed the street. “Well yes I will but i’t going to TAKE A WHILE” she yelled into the night to the dudes who were confusedly following us across Mission. “What… are you insulting us? What is this? What??” said the guy who was probably her boyfriend. “HAHAAH!” she said. “HHAHAHAAHAHAAH” i cackled uproariously, veering off to get into position for the approaching 49 bus. Argumentative whinging from both young men. “CACKLING WITCHES IN THE NIGHT, YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE!” I hollered cheerfully, still doubled over in wild laughter. “WEIRD LITTLE PURPLE HAIRED CYBORG LADIES! IT’S WHAT THIS CITY IS ABOUT!” “THAT’S RIGHT!” yelled my drunk friend in our amazing consciousness raising session!!! (another high five) Giggling bystander getting on the same bus as me thru the back door: “Oh my god. Thank you for making this city fun.”

I can rest easy tonight knowing I have nobly done my part.

Make hackerspaces better – support Ada initiative

Hello! I love hackerspaces! And I’m asking hackerspaces around the world to donate to the Ada Initiative in support of making hackerspaces welcoming and safe places for women. My goal is to raise $4096 and if we do, I’ll match the first $1028 donated. **UPDATE** extending the deadline to next Friday, Oct. 3.

Adacamp liz and heidi in tiara

My home base is Double Union, a feminist hackerspace in San Francisco and it’s going strong. It has lively events every week and over 150 members.

A group of us at AdaCamp SF last year decided we could start a maker and hacker space for women. AdaCamp SF is an unconference run by the Ada Initiative for feminist women in open tech and culture. There were so many of us all together at once. So powerful feeling! With months of hard work, it happened — we opened Double Union.

We get to hack there without sexist bullshit or constantly fending off creepy dudes!

The thing is, I believe that any hackerspace can potentially be that way. You, too, could have a hackerspace where many women feel comfortable, welcome, valued, in their creative, coding, and entrepreneurial and activist endeavors, in a space full of allies and comrades of all genders. This can’t happen overnight. It will take work and education and above all, listening to women, not just the few women who have stuck around, but also the ones who left because they were uncomfortable.

I want to persuade hacker and maker spaces around the world that they are missing out on infinite potential. Hackerspaces.org has some good advice on adding anti-harassment policies to the design patterns for running a space. This is exactly the sort of work that Ada Initiative is good at; their Example anti-harassment policy has been used as a template by many events and organizations.

I’d like to challenge all hackerspace members to do two things in support of my campaign:

* Donate to Ada Initiative! I will match up to $1028 donated when we reach the $4096 goal!

* Add your anti-harassment policy to your organization’s page at hackerspace.org, and link to it from the list on the Geek Feminism wiki. (And if your space doesn’t have a code of conduct or policy, start the ball rolling to implement one!)

I love Double Union. We have set aside a permanent physical space, equipment, organization, and time that is focused on making and creating things together. We have the keys in our hands and the tools to do whatever we like in a safe, supportive environment free from harassment. We agreed to a basic code of conduct and some assumptions we share about behavior in the space, which helps establish trust for us to share knowledge, time, and tools. We try to follow Community anti-harassment standards. We have members who are also part of, or supporters of, Noisebridge, sudo room, LOLspace, Mothership Hackermoms, Ace Monster Toys, and other San Francsico Bay Area spaces.

Double union shopbot

We’re having writers’ groups, book groups, readings, zine workshops, open source software coding, cryptography meetups, circuit hacking, making stuff with our CNC routers, 3D printer, vinyl cutter, drawing and art supplies, and sewing machines — in short, doing whatever we like and learning a lot from each others’ expertise. We celebrate other women’s work and cultural diversity. Our hackerspace is against putting others down for what they do or don’t know. Once we don’t have to fight to prove we are ‘hacker enough’, great things happen.

Double Union’s founding group had the vision to make this space happen because of the pioneering work of the Ada Initiative. Ada Initiative’s demands for policy changes for events and companies, its fierce uncompromising voice, and especially its empowering and inspiring events, are having a good and useful effect to shift our culture.

More AdaCamps, like the ones this year in Berlin, Bangalore, and Portland, will help improve women’s participation in hackerspaces. With your donation, we could potentially host MORE of these fabulous unconferences for women in open tech and culture.

Please join me in donating to Ada Initiative so they can keep on being a positive force for change in the world!

Liz and Cristin smiling at DU


Noisebridge! Best thing ever!

On April 2nd and 3rd I am going to spend several hours teaching at least 70 high school physics students how to solder and some alluring information about contributing to open source software!

They are doing a project to design and build a solar home. If you know anything about electronics or solar energy cells please join us a do some teaching!

rowan learning to solder

I spent $250 of my own money to buy a crapload of little LED kits so they can have a conveniently teachable soldering project – that is how much I love Noisebridge, and geeky things, and teaching, and non hierarchical anarchist/mutualist community spaces!

I am thinking of the Hackability group that meets at Noisebridge to fix and mod their wheelchairs and mobility scooters! We take over a classroom, gank all the workshop tools, and get on the floor where none of us think it is weird that we scoot and crawl and roll across the floor to pick up a screwdriver just out of reach, laughing at all this solidarity! We bravely dismantle our cyborg leg-wheels and bolt them on again covered with LED lights, jazzed up with arduinos to measure battery voltage, then roll on out into the town!

potentiometer and its lever

And the fierce, fun feminist hacker hive that is a chaotic unstructured network of strength and curiosity and information sharing, that stretches from Noisebridge to sudo room and LOLSpace, and beyond!

Claudia

We need more paying affiliate members — we need you! We need your cold, hard bitcoins or your cash!

I am thinking of all the people I’ve given tours to who come in from out of town and are all starry-eyed and inspired, who meet people and go to Python and Ruby and web dev and Linux classes and eat the strange productions from the Vegan Hackers, the laptops that people at Noisebridge fix and give away, the cameraderie I always find there and the fabulous energy of young people just moving to San Francisco to do a startup or find some kind of freedom or empowerment and hope to find at least part of it at this weird ever changing junkyard coffeehouse-feeling co-op workshop. We made this place that isn’t anything like any other place and it can also be YOURS. Meddle in it!f

surface mount soldering

SUBSCRIBE to support Noisebridge’s rent, its freely provided wifi, its bins of electronics parts that anyone can rummage through and pillage, its beautiful giant robot, its classrooms and electricity, its ADA-compliant bathroom custom built specially by Noisebridge folk, its elevator, its devotion to support accessibility for all, all its copies of keys that I and others have distributed as Keys to the City, the library of excellent technical books, well used and loved and read!

Hacker moms visiting Noisebridge

Our rent went up this year, and our people’s job security and income went down. It’s exactly at that point, when the economy is hard on us all, that we need collectives and co-ops and hackerspaces. We have to band together in the best ways we can come up with.

me and maria zaghi at noisebridge

People visit Noisebridge and like it so much that they move to the Bay Area. They come to Noisebridge for education, to find peers and mentors, to teach, and sometimes to find as close as they can get to home and family when they are hackers down on their luck.

Noisebridge - looking west

They come to speak in public for the first time at 5 minutes of fame. They sound a little odd and then they turn out to be geniuses. They drudge to clean the floors and toilets and scrub the kitchen and buy toilet paper, doing the unglamorous physical domestic labor of maintaining this place that’s used heavily 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

noisebridge

We do good work together as best we can. We give a lot to our community! We give access, tools, skills, time, belief, trust, fantastic spectacles, beauty and humor and art. With a sense of wonder and playfulness people walk in and look around – I see it on their faces – like they have just had a million new ideas churn around in their heads – So many possibilities and they know they can be part of it.

Noisebridge table

circuit hacking monday

And we need widespread, ongoing support.

Donate, sign up for a monthly subscription, be a fabulous affiliate of Noisebridge!

If you can spare any, we need your exclamation points as I have used most of them in this post!!

Noisebridge tea cart

3D-printed broccoli

On Caltrain this weekend I shared my wifi with a guy traveling with a huge metal suitcase. As I turned to talk with him he saw my Noisebridge tshirt and said he was from Hacklab.to in Toronto and was going to be at Noisebridge this Wednesday (today!) As we chatted about hackerspaces he started pulling things out of a little black laptop bag. Twisty mathy-looking things but nicer quality than any 3D printed object I’d seen come out of a Makerbot. Some of them he’d sanded and puttied, some were sanded and then he’d made molds of them and casted the objects in what looked like lucite, and all the mathy things had equations penciled on them. “And this is the world’s first open source 3-D printed vacuum cleaner!” Chris said as he reached into the magic bag…. It was basically a tube with a socket for a tiny cheap motor and a place to put a filter. My son was staring with his mouth open at the array of stuff in my lap. “And this is broccoli!”

Yes… 3D printed broccoli. Chris had CAT scanned a piece of broccoli and then printed it. Awesome! I realized from that, I have a CD somewhere with a CAT scan of my brain, and with the right file conversions I could potentially print my brain!

IMG_20120415_195904.jpg

Chris had a telescope lens he had printed and a paper which I skimmed there on the train about the process & pitfalls of making good quality lenses with a printer.

Come to his talk tonight at Replicator Wednesday, at Noisebridge, 6pm.

Chris will talk a bit about 3D printing and types of printers in general, the software ecosystem around 3D printing, his experience making *lenses* with printers, and his project implicitCAD written in Haskell… (there is some documentation of implicitCAD here at github.

Anyway, it was a truly great random encounter. I love when this sort of thing happens! It turns out Chris is also a finalist for the Thiel Foundation 20 under 20 fellowship — I hope he gets selected!