March 6

The other day Zack Rosen, the man behind CivicSpace (formerly DeanSpace) was here to give a little lecture. I chatted him with him a bit afterwards, told him we were using CivicSpace for Roosevelt. We chatted by email a bit, he invited me to meet someone from Downhill Battle who was flying out, which turned into dinner.

At some point Zack invited me to chat on AIM. Chatting with Zack on AIM turns out to be hilarious. ‘I’m kinda in a meeting right now,’ he wrote one morning. ‘Gotta catch up with my team in [European country], they just work up all hung over.’ I tried again that afternoon. ‘I’m biking home,’ he responded. ‘Typing on my Sidekick.’ Soon afterwards, he was at a concert.

Zack’s life is much more exciting than mine.

The other day at a meeting with Quinn (Roosevelt’s executive director) I told him about Zack and he said he’d love to come along, so now he’s driving me up to the mission.

Zack lives in this glorious little apartment in one of those row house kind of things. Bright strong lights make the white walls and light-colored/upscale wood seem to glow. We turn a couple corners and there’s Zack himself, preparing pasta in the kitchen.

Holmes, the fellow from Downhill Battle is preparing his PowerPoint for tomorrow in a bedroom, but he comes out to say hi. Holmes is an very cool guy and Downhill Battle’s story is equally impressive. But he’s less radical than Downhill Battle’s extremism led me to believe.

Their stance on copyright actually came from pragmatism, not idealism. He derides Democracy Now! as part of the ‘self-righteous left’, as opposed to pragmatic people like Paul Krugman. By this he seems to mean that Paul Krugman is in the thick of the national debate, directly arguing with the conventional wisdom and the day’s events, whereas Amy Goodman is way out there on the left, doing what she thinks is right, irrespective of the rest of the debate.

It turns out other friends of Zack are coming too and soon Zephyr Teachout arrives. She’s not as evil as the blogs led me to believe, although she does steal Holmes away from me. Later during dinner she organizes the group to go to a capture-the-flag game over the weekend (I stupidly decline, out of shyness and insecurity), saying she’ll use the RNC meetup-planning tool to send invites. She takes a hum poll to see whether t he game should be during the day or the night.

Zephyr says they should try to think of famous people they want to meet — she’ll mail them invitations to the capture-the-flag game. Nobody can pass up a capture-the-flag invitation in their mailbox!

(Apparently she’s not entirely joking — she says she once emailed Malcolm Gladwell saying “meet me at this place at this time” and he wrote back that he would except that he was sick.)

After a couple hours Quinn insists we leave. “That group was incredible,” he says. Quinn asks what I’m working on and I eventually end up telling him about my book and he gets real interested. We arrive at my dorm but we keep talking — for three hours (not that I noticed, the time flew by) — and arguing about my premise. This is powerful stuff.

posted March 26, 2005 05:50 PM (Education) (0 comments) #


Jeff Hawkins Update
Stanford: Another Post You Don’t Have to Read
Michael Scheuer on Imperial Hubris
Stanford: Unscripted
Stanford; Home Alone
Stanford: Private Meeting
Stanford: My So-Called Terrorist Life
Stanford Interactive: What classes should I take?


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Aaron Swartz (