Internet activist Aaron Swartz took his own life one year ago today. He was 26 years old and facing federal hacking and fraud charges for downloading millions of academic articles using MIT’s network. Before his passing, he was on outspoken advocate for freedom of information and a founder of Demand Progress, the nonprofit that invigorated a successful grassroots effort to fight the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in 2012.
Swartz was, as WIRED’s Kevin Poulsen wrote a “coder with a conscience,” and in a clip premiering today on WIRED from director Brian Knappenberger’s forthcoming documentary The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, more than a few web visionaries remember him for the important work he did and the legacy he created.
“I think Aaron was trying to make the world work – he was trying to fix it,” says World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee. “So he was a bit ahead of his time.” He’s later followed by Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig, who notes “he was just doing what he thought was right to produce a world that was better.”
Swartz’s fight for rights online has only been brought more intensely into focus in the year since his death, largely due to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. To see him talk about government spying in this documentary at a time before the Snowden leaks is especially chilling now. But thanks to Knappenberger’s documentary – and other actions being taken to remember the internet activist – the conversation he started can continue.
“Now we are all submerged in a massively networked world where every important part of our lives has an online component to it,” said Knappenberger, who managed to Kickstart and finish his documentary in just a year. “Geeks and hackers already knew this but, thanks to Edward Snowden, now everyone realizes it.”
I guess there are lots of ways to get married. Some people marry someone they hardly know – which can work out, too. When you marry your best friend of many years, there should be another name for it. But the thing that surprised me about getting married was the way it altered time. And also the way it added a tenderness that was somehow completely new. To paraphrase the great Willie Nelson: “Ninety percent of the people in the world end up with the wrong person. And that’s what makes the jukebox spin.” Lou’s jukebox spun for love and many other things, too – beauty, pain, history, courage, mystery.
The “operating instructions” view of the Bible dies hard. Ever since the invention of printing in the fifteenth century, the temptation to see the Bible as a book in the glove compartment has been growing. And now, given the popularity of biblical literalism, many people seem to believe that’s the…
Robert Farrar Capon
The Fingerprints of God
In honor of Robert Farrar Capon and his extraordinary theological imagination. Father Capon died last week.
A year ago, Tumblr did something unprecedented — we created an editorial team of experienced journalists and editors assigned to cover Tumblr as a living, breathing community. The team’s mandate was to tell the stories of Tumblr creators in a truly thoughtful way — focusing on the people, their…
I desire the things which will destroy me in the end.
Last week, I awoke to find Aaron with me. He was sitting next to my bed, grinning his cheekiest grin, holding my hand.
For a few minutes, I savored a sweet uncertainty: Were the last few weeks all a nightmare, and Aaron was still with me? Or was I awaking inside a dream state, and in the real…
In 1936 Tokyo, Sada Abe (Eiko Matsuda) is a former prostitute who now works as a maid in a hotel. The hotel’s owner, Kichizo Ishida (Tatsuya Fuji), molests her, and the two begin an intense affair that consists of sexual experiments, drinking, and various self-indulgences. Ishida leaves his wife and family to pursue his affair with Abe. Abe becomes increasingly possessive and jealous of Ishida, and Ishida more eager to please her. Their mutual obsession escalates to the point where Ishida finds he is most excited by being strangled during lovemaking, and he is killed in this fashion. Abe then severs his penis and writes, “Sada Kichi the two of us forever,” in blood on his chest.
RIP Nagisa Oshima
Our beloved brother, son, friend, and partner Aaron Swartz hanged himself on Friday in his Brooklyn apartment. We are in shock, and have not yet come to terms with his passing.
Aaron’s insatiable curiosity, creativity, and brilliance; his reflexive empathy and capacity for selfless, boundless…
There is no way to express the sadness of this day. There will be many words, eventually, to express its anger. This story will infuriate you. For now, to the co-creator of RSS, of the Creative Commons architecture, of part of Reddit, and of endless love and inspiration and friendships, rest. We are all incredibly sorry to have let you down.
Goodbye Buckyballs & Buckycubes.
Due to baseless and relentless legal badgering by a certain four letter government agency, it’s time to bid a fond farewell to the world’s most popular adult desktoys, Buckyballs and Buckycubes. That’s right: like the DeLorean, Crystal Pepsi and other beloved products of yore, we’re sad to say that Balls & Cubes have a one-way ticket to the Land-of-Awesome-Stuff-You-Should-Have-Bought-When-You-Had-the-Chance.
There are still a few thousand sets of Buckyballs, Buckycubes, and Chromatics in stock and available for purchase online.
But act fast; once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.
Don’t Panic Ballers! There’s still plenty