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‘This Is A Big Deal’: New York Hails Ventilator Deliveries From China And Oregon : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR

New York State will be receiving 1,000 ventilators from the Chinese government on Saturday after the US federal government has failed to deliver enough ventilators to the nation’s largest city.

Could a NYC metro-regional coordinating body be useful for bringing much needed medical supplies to NYC? Almost certainly.

NPR has the story: ‘This Is A Big Deal’: New York Hails Ventilator Deliveries From China And Oregon : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR

Cuomo on possible NY quarantine: ‘I don’t think it’s legal’

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo goes on CNN to give his opinion of Trump’s idea to quaratine the New York metropolitan area due to fears of spread of Coronavirus.

“It would be chaos and mayhem,” Cuomo told CNN’s Ana Cabrera. “It’s totally opposite everything he’s been saying. I don’t think it is plausible. I don’t think it is legal.”

“This would be a federal declaration of war on states,” Cuomo said, adding that he doesn’t think the President is looking to start a war with states.

Source: Cuomo on possible NY quarantine: ‘I don’t think it’s legal’ – CNNPolitics

Your Neighborhood Might Be a Coronavirus Hot Spot, but New York City Refuses to Release the Data

Intrepid ProPublica muckracker Justin Elliott examines the lack of data New York City is releasing about Coronavirus cases. His main complaint is that NYC isn’t releasing neighborhood level data, a practice many other cities are doing including Los Angeles, Singapore, Soeul and many more.

The lack of detailed information makes it difficult for medical workers, journalists and the public to establish whether particular communities in the city are being harder hit and to get beyond anecdotal accounts of which of the city’s roughly 60 hospitals are already overwhelmed.

Dr. Michael Augenbraun, director of the infectious diseases division at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in central Brooklyn, said that while he knows the city has its hands full, the data could be useful for doctors. “Everyone is struggling to make sense of this evolving picture,” he said. “I think it would be useful to us in the hospitals to get a detailed situational appraisal, to know how much of the burden we are confronting.”

Source: Your Neighborhood Might Be a Coronavirus Hot Spot, but New York City Refuses to Release the Data — ProPublica

MIT E-VENT | Emergency ventilator design toolbox

This MIT project is developing open source plans for a ventilator in response to the Coronavirus panedemic. A lack of ventilators within the US and globally could result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people who need them to stay alive during the more severe phases of the disease. 

Almost every bed in a hospital has a manual resuscitator (Ambu-Bag) nearby, available in the event of a rapid response or code where healthcare workers maintain oxygenation by squeezing the bag. Automating this appears to be the simplest strategy that satisfies the need for low-cost mechanical ventilation, with the ability to be rapidly manufactured in large quantities. However, doing this safely is not trivial.

Source: MIT E-VENT | Emergency ventilator design toolbox

Feeling Powerless About Coronavirus? Join a Mutual-Aid Network

New York Times opinion writer Charlie Warzel profiles a mutual aid group in Massachusetts organized in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, explaining the general concepts and tells a few stories about why these networks are so powerful.

There’s also a selfish component to joining a mutual-aid network: In a moment of deep uncertainty and anxiety, helping those in need is one of the few pure pleasures one can still partake in while social distancing. If you’re feeling powerless these days and have the means, look up your local mutual-aid network. Plug into the organizing that’s happening. If you don’t have the means to donate, share the resource documents or email or donation address with your neighbors. A quarantine is the perfect time to get (virtually) close to your community.

Source: Opinion | Feeling Powerless About Coronavirus? Join a Mutual-Aid Network – The New York Times

Civic Technology Can Help Stop a Pandemic

Tech philosopher Jaron Lanier explains in Foreign Affairs how the small and young but mighty democratic nation of Taiwan utilized civic technology to rapidly prototype and build apps that enables their society to organize on of the world’s most effective responses to COVID-19. 

Taiwan’s success has rested on a fusion of technology, activism, and civic participation. A small but technologically cutting-edge democracy, living in the shadow of the superpower across the strait, Taiwan has in recent years developed one of the world’s most vibrant political cultures by making technology work to democracy’s advantage rather than detriment. This culture of civic technology has proved to be the country’s strongest immune response to the new coronavirus.

Read the article: Civic Technology Can Help Stop a Pandemic

New 'Affordability Index' Shows How Far Money Goes in New York City

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer recently released a new digital “Affordability Index” to track the rising cost of housing, transportation, healthcare and other necessities for households in New York City.

An article by Caroline Spivack digs into the data revealed by the index, including incomes by household type, housing costs, and cost of food and taxes. The story remains the same throughout: it’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet in New York City.

FULL STORY: NYC’s affordability crisis continues to deepen, report shows Published on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 in Curbed New York  

Original Source: New ‘Affordability Index’ Shows How Far Money Goes in New York City

Seattle’s Compassionate Response to Fare Evasion


Transit agencies often treat fare evasion with arrests and prosecution, but Seattle’s King County Metro is going with compassion and progressivism.

Turnstile jumping typically stems from poverty — 43 percent of King County Metro fare-beaters had incomes of less than $1,000 a month. An independent audit the same year found almost a quarter of the warnings and citations went to “people experiencing homelessness or housing instability.”

The audit said the way the agency was conducting fare enforcement was not very productive and was also at odds with its equity goals. So, beginning last year, the agency removed the court system from the process. The previous civil penalty was $125 and could be referred to the court system for nonpayment. Now, fare evasion reports are now handled by the agency itself.

Continue Reading at the Source: Seattle’s Compassionate Response to Fare Evasion

Rethinking the Smart City

By Evgeny Morozov and Francesca Bria. Following the celebration of the “creative city” (as described by Richard Florida), the “smart city” has become the new flavor of the month—and a brand. It makes clever use of resources, and it attracts money, corporate power, and private industries. Offering us cheap, effective solutions to social and political problems, the smart city is functional, optimized, and safe rather than participatory, sustainable, and fair.

As Evgeny Morozov and Francesca Bria point out, however, the problem is not merely the regulatory impulse of smart technologies. Coming from a political-economic rather than a purely technical perspective, the authors argue that the smart city can only be understood within the context of neoliberalism. In order to remain competitive in the era of austerity politics, cities hand over the management of public infrastructure and services to private companies, both de-centralizing and de-personalizing the political sphere.

How can cities regain control not only over technology, data, and infrastructure, but also over the services that are mediated by smart technologies—such as utilities, transportation, education, and health? Offering a wealth of examples and case studies from across the globe, the authors discuss alternative smart city models, which rely on democratic data ownership regimes, grassroots innovation, and cooperative service provision models.

Evgeny Morozov is a prominent critic of digital capitalism, dealing with questions of how major technology companies are transforming society and democracy. The author of several books, he also writes for various newspapers, including The New York Times, The Economist, The Guardian, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. With a background in social science and innovation economics, Francesca Bria is an expert in digital strategy, technology, and information policy, who is active in various innovation movements advocating for open access, open technologies, and digital rights. She is currently Chief Technology and Digital Innovation Officer at the Barcelona City Council.

Laying out what works and what doesn’t in the smart city of today, the authors do not simply advocate for a high-tech version of socialism in the fifth publication of our “City Series.” By carefully assessing what is at stake and for whom, this timely study offers practical solutions for how cities can be smart while retaining their technological sovereignty.


Original Source: Rethinking the Smart City

Seattle Flirts with ‘Municipal Socialism’ – POLITICO Magazine

SEATTLE—On an overcast morning in early April, three members of the Seattle City Council arrived to find their cavernous, titanium- and maple-paneled meeting chambers packed to capacity with a noisy, unwelcoming crowd. Many wore T-shirts bearing the message “I drive, I vote.” When the council president tried to open the hearing, one argumentative man kept interrupting so industriously that security had to escort him from the room.

The confrontation had been orchestrated in part by Uber, the ride-share company, as the latest move in its long-simmering war with the city. Almost from the moment Uber chose Seattle as its third test market, back in 2011, the city has sought to put itself between the company and its drivers: first, there had been an ordinance attempting to cap the number of ride-share drivers here; then, in 2015, the City Council passed a law allowing drivers to bargain collectively. Now, the city was considering a law to force ride-share companies to nearly double the base rate paid to their drivers, from $1.35 to $2.40 per mile.

City officials argued the new rate was necessary to ensure that drivers earn Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage. But Uber, king of the budget ride, was having none of it. After blasting an email to its Seattle-area customers warning that the city “wants to double your rates,” Uber dispatched a small army of company-friendly drivers to City Hall to lobby the council in person. Seattle, a city famous for promoting innovation, was innovating in a way that Uber didn’t appreciate.

Yet, it’s the kind of assertiveness that Uber and the rest of corporate America will probably have to get used to. Ever since 2014, when Seattle became the first major municipality to adopt a $15 minimum wage—over the objections of its own business community—the famously left-of-center city has rolled out a series of ambitious, often controversial laws aimed at shielding workers from the chaos of the fast-changing, technology-disrupted urban job market. Today, Seattle’s workers enjoy a list of on-the-job benefits that feels almost European in its scope—everything from a high minimum wage to a ban on last-minute schedule changes to a city-sponsored retirement savings plan. And more are on the way. This year, council members are considering a “bill of rights” for the estimated 33,000 housecleaners, nannies and other “domestics” who work for the city’s population of high earners.

Continue Reading at the Source: Seattle Flirts with ‘Municipal Socialism’ – POLITICO Magazine


Paul Roberts is a journalist in Seattle who writes about technology, business and politics. His latest book is The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification. Follow him on Twitter @pauledroberts.