Category Archives: REPORT

The Hobo Code is a precursor to the “like” button


We all do it, clicking away as a sign of approval for whatever we may like. But, that’s not completely a new way of doing things. We don’t need to look back that far to find similar behavior. For example, the Hobo Code, also known as the Hobo Alphabet, could be considered a precursor to the facebook “like” button.


Hobos used to carve such symbols into fences, walls, and posts, as a way to inform, or warn, other fellow traveling vagabonds. I call it Hobo-networking.  It started with the Gypsy Alphabet in Europe, which got updated when it became the Norwegian, and  later the British Hobo Code.  And, sure they had a lot more options then we do. But I think that symbols such as  “Good place for a handout”, “Good place to catch a train” or “Alcohol in this town”, would definitely qualify as a 1930’s version of a facebook “Like”. And since the life of 1930’s tramp was a lot more perilous than whether the latest cute kitten pic was worth “liking” or not, they also had the equivalent of a “dislike” button. Symbols such “Man with gun lives here”, and “Be ready to defend yourself”, would definitely qualify as a bad review. Worthy of a “dislike” button, I would say.

So, in conclusion, even when the stakes aren’t that high, humans have a need to share what they like. Whether it’s letting each other know that we can get drunk here without being shot, or whether it’s letting each other know that some pic, or some article is worthy of our time, adding our approval on things, is just something we’ve always done.

[ clickANDlike ]

[ n ]

NATNOTE: Personally, I see them new fangled “google-glasses” as the next step in our ever-evolving quest of tagging what we like.

[ like]

Continue reading


skateboarders' mobius strip

Am I ever so glad to be back online ( Knock on wood ). I recently ended up spending a month and a half without an internet connection ( The laundromat’s flaky wi-fi doesn’t count ). The phone company, the internet company, and even my landlord, like the stars lining up,  all seemed to have their own unavoidable, irritating systematic malfunctions that prevented me from being able to hook up to the web on schedule.

It makes you realize how much and how quickly one becomes dependant on technology. I can easily go months without caffeine or alcohol, but no internet access for more than a few days, and I start to feel like I’m drowning.

So yeah, I thought this little unplanned update would be a nice follow-up to my “SCREEN-FREE WEEK” article I wrote earlier this year:


So the moral of the story is: Willingly going off the grid for a few days makes for an interesting social experiment. Going off the grid for a few weeks because of a series of idiotic mishaps, well that makes for a very dry, vanilla, type of existence. Call me a techno-snob for saying so, I don’t care.


NATNOTE: Sorry if this entry ended up sounding a little negative, I’m actually totally psyched and excited to be back online, WOO-HOO!!  :D



******* UPDATED APRIL 28TH *******


Niceness saves the day! Thanks to everyone who participated!


See [ YOU ] on the 20th of May! ^_^


[ YOU ]


[ WEB WATCH ]This is a new feature I wanted to try out. Basically, shining a spotlight on whatever I think might  somehow relate to this blog, or to my campaign to promote digital democracy.

So, yeah, that’s the deal. This time around, I want to shine a spotlight on the Democracy Index.

It’s similar to my Democracy-Volume chart, except theirs is more scientific and widely recognized. Although my chart takes into account the direction democracy is going ( At least that’s what I like to think …^_^ ) .

You’ll have to create an account to download their latest report ( 2011 ) , but it’s kinda cool, there’s some fun nuggets of information in there. For example: “The US and the UK remain at the bottom end of the full democracy category.” Ouch! And in this case it’s not some flaky journalist expressing their view, the report is by the top authority on the subject. I mean, their angle is that they’re evaluating democracy around the world so they can better advise their clients on  the safety of investing in different places around the world.

The top 20 most democratic countries are: #1 Norway, #2 Iceland, #3 Denmark, #4 Sweden, #5 New Zealand, #6 Australia, #7 Switzerland, #8 Canada, #9 Finland, #10  Netherlands, #11 Luxembourg, #12 Ireland, #13 Austria, #14 Germany, #15 Malta, #16 Czech Republic, #17 Uruguay, #18 United Kingdom, #19 United States, #20 Costa Rica.

So, it turns out I’m not the only fool that’s into this kind of  stuff. And, yes,  there’s no pressure on your part to go and download that report, I just wanted to let you know that it’s out there, and it’s available…



What we can learn from the Suffragettes

When I set out to write this article, just for argument’s sake, I tried to remember what the reason against giving women the vote was. And for the life of me I couldn’t remember what those patriarchal dinosaurs were putting forth to justify their position.

Was it because they felt men needed to dominate in the political arena to compensate for their genetic inferiority? ( Men are vulnerable to a lot of extra diseases because they’re missing an extra leg on their “Y” chromosome that would normally carry the extra data required to prevent those said diseases. ) Was it that they felt jealous of women because they get stronger orgasms? ( Women have an average of 12-15 muscle contractions during an orgasm, as opposed to 9-10 for Men. ) Were they depressed because statistically women get to live longer then men, and felt they needed to compensate?

No, after looking into it, I found out that the people who were against giving women the right to vote, were mostly doing it because they were defending what they saw as “still-valid” traditions. And any movement promoting the modernization of our political system will probably encounter similar opposition. They’ll be told that our current political systems are “still-valid”, even though most of the time they were conceived in a technological era that predates the telegraph.

I think there are similarities between the fight for women to have the right to vote, and the fight for the modern electorate to be able to have a say in what they’re paying for.

I was reading about the Canadian Suffragette movement, and what they did which was pretty clever, which is that they decided to hold  “mock-parliament” sessions. They would re-enact parliamentarian procedures, but this time with women in charge. They had various parties debating whether simple creatures like men, should be allowed the responsibility  of being able to vote. Basically using humor to get their point across. I’m a big fan of that.

I’m also a big fan of their “mock-parliament” idea. Doing a modern-day, online “mock-parliament” could also be a lot of fun. It could be an easy way to illustrate how a digital democracy might work. All we really need is to purchase a web-domain name, run a forum/online chat type of operating platform, you then you just add a logo. As far as the technical aspects of setting up something like that I’m sure it wouldn’t be too much of a challenge.What would get harder though, would be to get a bunch of collaborators to agree on what the structure should be for the next-gen of gov systems. Should it be structured like an online forum with the head-of-state replaced by the equivalent of a forum moderator? Or perhaps tweaking the current system, with voters being able to vote on all government law projects and programs? Or, how about we turn it around, make it that only the electorate can propose law projects, and it’s the politicians who have to decide if it goes thru or not?

Which would be the best structure?

It’s hard to say.Obviously there’s a lot of potential avenues which could serve as an appropriate soil to erect a digital democracy, the question is, which one better suited for that type of project? I don’t have the answer yet, but I think that sometimes it’s a good idea to look at the past for inspiration…