Random Citizen

building engagement and empowerment in our communities

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#TEDxTuesday - @Wefficiency Meets Urban Planning…#sortof

I think Wefficiency is such an awesome model to not only bring energy efficiency to non-profits but to realize financial savings for them as well.  What if all new buildings were designed to be energy efficient from the beginning?

Well, Bob Barrett explains why some developers are reluctant to do so, and some steps to help overcome that reluctance.

source: Changing the Urban Develop Paradigm | Bob Barrett | TEDxTeachersCollege

He wasn’t the most exciting speaker, but I thought it is an exciting idea to explore.  What if Wefficiency provided not only financing for Energy Conserving Measures for private developers, but connections to design firms as well?

Filed under tedx paradigmshift energy

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#MakerMonday - Giant Jenga/Truth or Dare Mashup

I have fond memories of playing Jenga at my cousin’s house in Manoa and of playing truth or dare back in the intermediate dorms at Kamehameha.  Let’s try building a mashup.

source: Big Bang Theory

I know they have a regular-sized version of the game, but I think a giant one would just be more fun.  I think I’ll follow their use of different colored blocks; one for truth, and the other for dare, and blanks to make your own.

If anyone has made their own giant Jenga set, some tips would be appreciated.

Filed under jenga make truthordare

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#WebDevWednesday - #Popcorn #Maker from @Mozilla’s @Webmaker

Completely by chance I learned about Webmaker and found that they actually had a tool called Popcorn Maker.


What is Popcorn Maker?

Popcorn Maker helps you easily remix web video, audio and images into cool mashups that you can embed on other websites. Drag and drop content from the web, then add your own comments and links —all within your browser. Popcorn Maker videos are dynamic, full of links and unique with every view.

See how Popcorn Maker is different from other video editors

You can build:

  • an animated gif with sound
  • a documentary with dynamic links
  • a video profile to introduce yourself to the world
  • and more!

Here’s how to get started. Once you’re comfortable, read up on some tips and tricks and starter ideas.

Share this article: http://mzl.la/1bRx02x

source: support.mozilla.org

So after scrounging for memes and animated gifs, I finally finished this. The fun thing about Popcorn Maker is that it is easy to remix anyone’s project. Try it out!

Filed under popcorn popcornparadise webdev mozilla webmaker

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#MakerMonday - #Popcorn Boxes Part I

HICapacity recently added a popcorn emoji to their Slack, and while it was fun having many users all creating their own custom emoticons, there is nothing quite as awesome as a simple box of popcorn.

source: www.whatspoppinup.com

This week I will create my own popcorn box.

I’ve been searching for templates online, and still haven’t found what I’m looking for.  Basically I want a template that fits onto 11” x 17” cardstock.  I may end up tweaking a design in Gimp.

Should I keep the classic red and white striped design or try something totally different?

Hopefully, I will have some samples to show off for Thursday’s HSDC/Mbloom thing (to be moderated by Spencer Toyama!)  Also I joined a new meetup group, 808 Browncoats, where custom popcorn boxes are sure to be a hit!

Damn.  Now I want popcorn.

Filed under maker make popcorn

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#CivicSunday - #CivicCelerator’s #Hawaii Power Ballot App

source: civic.celerator.org

Civic*Celerator—a joint project from Common Cause Hawaii and Hawaii Open Data with funding from Voqal—was in the news last week highlighting two of their apps utilizing Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission data; one focusing on campaign fundraising and the other on campaign spending.  Now Civic*Celerator is working on an ambitious app from Citizen Developer and mapping guru, Royce Jones; the Hawaii Power Ballot.

Royce introduced his idea for the Hawaii Power Ballot last month at a Civic*Celerator workshop.  The basic goal of the app is to provide relevant candidate information to voters in a quick and simple way.  He is leveraging some tools that he already built and combining them with candidate data researched by volunteers to build an app to help voters make better-informed decisions.

Once completed, voters will be able to simply type in their address (or click on their home from a map) and find out their voting location and receive a sample ballot with links to the candidate’s information and online presence.  Future iterations will be able to pull in data from other Civic*Celerator apps to provide a more complete view of the candidate.

source: github.com/codeforhawaii

This effort is being spearheaded by Royce, and fellow CitizenDev, Jason Axelson on Github.  Feel free to fork the project and help contribute.

To help research candidates and enter data please email: civiccelerator@gmail.com

I’m awed by the resourcefulness of our citizens who build tools that empower all of us.

Filed under hawaii VOTE opendata commoncausehawaii civiccelerator

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#StartupSaturday - Mbloom/HSDC Host Townhall at @TheBoxJelly

Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation and Mbloom are planning a townhall meeting on Thursday 6:30pm, July 24, 2014 at The Box Jelly to “address the community’s questions around mbloom’s investment strategy” which sparked some controversy in #StartupParadise earlier this month.

UPDATE: tickets available on eventbrite

source:  ryanesaki.com

See what all the hubbub’s about:

Spencer Toyama setup a subreddit for people to post their questions and Travis Ryan set up a google form for those that wanted to ask anonymously.

What questions would you ask?

Filed under startupparadise mbloom hsdc hawaii startups

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#FoodFriday - From the Front Lines of Kaua‘i

Join the families from Waimea, Kauai who are most impacted by pesticide drift and the statewide network of allies who helped them to pass Ordinance 960 which requires disclosure of pesticide use and buffer zones around homes schools and hospitals. Chemical Companies are now suing the county to stop this regulation. Join us and learn more about their amazing victory and their continued struggle to protect the health of their aina and community

Filed under kauai monsanto food pesticides agriculture

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#ThinkerThursday - Another Year Around the Sun

Grateful for all the well wishes today.  It was one of the most peaceful birthdays I’ve had in awhile; nothing big or fancy.  I met some new people at the StartupLand  Screening at Kakaako Agora.  I helped my old Wefficiency teammate make a new connection.  I learned some new stuff along the way.

I got to reconnect with a bunch of friends I haven’t seen in a long time.  I chatted with relatives around the world. I feel updated and refreshed.

Another journey around the sun awaits.  I’m ready.

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#MakerMonday - It’s All About #HNLMKF!


Honolulu Mini Maker Faire is going to be happening on Saturday, March 15, Noon-5pm at The Sullivan Center at ‘Iolani School.  As far as I know, the idea for Honolulu’s own Maker Faire began at Unconferenz 2013.  From that one session, local makers took it upon themselves to start organizing and trying to make it a reality, and now it’s finally here!  It’s free so register to attend now.

I think most of the maker booths will be on the third floor of the Sullivan Center in the flexible project space and short workshops going on in the seminar room.  I hear Hawaii VR was pretty popular at GeekDay at LCC and it’s always fun to see what Ka’i, Jessie and the rest of the crew are doing.  Also i’m looking forward to the Kickstarter workshop towards the end of the day.


On the first floor, expect to see more of the outdoorsy kind of stuff like blacksmithing, drone flying, and a wacky WiMax attena array.  Also at the senior benches I believe there will be soldering workshops going on and maybe conductive paint projects from HiCapacity.


And if that wasn’t enough, there will be short guided tours of the Sullivan Center itself throughout the day.  It truly is an awesome building and great site for Honolulu’s first Mini Maker Faire.


all images from Honolulu Mini Maker Faire and ‘Iolani School respectively

Filed under HNLMKF make honolulu

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#CivicSunday - @CommonCauseHI Upcoming Events


I work with t-shirts most of the time, and I thought this quote was a cool reminder to us that our democracy is not a spectator sport (i’ll save the democracy vs. republic debate for later).  If you want to help define what the public good is, and what issues we—as a society—should be focusing on, then participation is key.

Common Cause Hawaii is breaking down some of those barriers to participation with a few events in March and April:

  • Advocacy 102 Workshops Parts 1 & 2, in the first week of March and second week of April respectively, will dive deeper into the legislative process beyond just bills and testimony.  We will learn about The Order of the Day, Floor Readings in Part 1, and about the mysterious Conference Committees in Part 2.  I believe folks from our Public Access Room at the Hawaii State Capitol are helping to put these two workshops on.
  • Sunshine Week event: Media, Transparency, and Politics will be coming up mid March and will feature former FCC Commissioner, Michael Copps, and a few local journalists who will discuss issues at the national and local levels.
  • Civic*Celerator Pre-Demo Day at the end of March and the actual Demo Day mid April will showcase applications by local participants built with OpenData from the Hawaii State Campaign Spending Commission.  This is an awesome example of how civic engagement does not have to only revolve around advocacy, but that anything we do to help make things better/easier for the public counts as well.

The first event, Advocacy 102 Workshop: Part 1 is Tuesday March 4, 6:00-7:00pm at the Box Jelly.  See you there!

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#StartupSaturday - #HIGrowth Entrepreneur’s Day

I’m pretty excited for #HIGrowth Entrepreneur’s Day at the Hawaii State Capitol Building Wednesday, March 5, 2014 from 10am-2pm.  3 floors of entrepreneurs, support agencies and private organizations demonstrating their importance to Hawaii’s present and future economic well being.

Some of the usual startup suspects will be there like Blue Startups, Startup Weekend Honolulu, Energy Excelerator, and Box Jelly, and it looks like they’ve tried to group tables by industry, or support service.  People even just thinking about starting a business would benefit greatly from this event.

We will have our own table on the 2nd floor for RailsBridge Hawaii so if you are there, stop by and talk story and learn how we will be bringing more diversity to our local tech industry and building #HIGrowth from the bottom up.

Filed under HIGrowth startupparadise HearMeRoR railsbridge

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Wonk Wednesday - Publicly Funded Elections

Admittedly, I’m not as wonky as I’d like to be, but we all gotta start somewhere.

Today,  I’m looking at HB1481/SB1352 which are companion bills focusing on publicly funded elections in the State of Hawaii.  I know practically nothing about publicly funded elections, so before I dive into the meat of the bills I’ll do some quick research on google.

I found this awesome FAQ about HB1481 itself on Common Cause Hawaii's site that explains public funding:

How does public funding work?
Political candidates can attempt to qualify for public funds by raising a set number of small contributions from registered voters who live within the district for which they’re running for. Those small contributions also need to be accompanied with a signature of support. By opting into this voluntary program, participating political candidates agree to not accept contributions from any other private donors, nor use any of their own money. This allows candidates to spend more time with people in their districts, and less time courting large donors.

 To qualify, House candidates would need 250 signatures with an accompanying $5.00.

More digging on google led me to find that recently Arizona’s Supreme Court struck down a provision of their Clean Elections law.  The Daily Kos explains:

"Arizona’s law allowed qualified candidates to choose to forego private fundraising and instead receive an initial grant and supplemental "fair fight" matching funds from the state to have an opportunity to campaign and get the message out depending on what the opposition was spending.  The challenge was raised by past and future Arizona candidates complaining that the matching funds provision severely burdened their exercise of protected political speech by punishing them for making, receiving, or spending campaign contributions."

Chief Justice Roberts writes in his Opinion:

This sort of “beggar thy neighbor” approach to free speech—“restrict[ing] the speech of some elements of our society in order to enhance the relative voice of others”—is “wholly foreign to the First Amendment .” Id.,at 48–49. 7

We have rejected government efforts to increase the speech of some at the expense of others outside the campaign finance context. In Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo 418 U. S. 241,244258 (1974) , we held unconstitutional a Florida law that required any newspaper assailing a political candidate’s character to allow that candidate to print a reply. We have explained that while the statute in that case “purported to advance free discussion, … its effect was to deter newspapers from speaking out in the first instance” because it “penalized the newspaper’s own expression.” Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. Public Util. Comm’n of Cal. 475 U. S. 110 (1986) (plurality opinion).

The NCSL, National Conference of State Legislatures, is also a great resource when doing this sort of preliminary research.  Here, I am able to get a great overview of how the different States are approaching the idea of public financing of campaigns.  Some of the different methods used are direct funding of candidates, matching grants, tax incentives for citizens, or fixed subsidies.

Subsidizing Democracy, a new book by Professor Michael G. Miller, takes a look at this very issue.  Luckily—or not if you don’t like C-Span—I found this panelist discussion that Professor Miller participated in pretty interesting.  Feel free to read through some of his research.

Also I just wanted to add Larry Lessig’s TED talk.  Although it focuses on national elections, I think it applies—albeit on a smaller scale—towards elections at the State level.

A lot of reading to go through.  Welcome to my world.