welcome to our first ever newsletter!
It feels like it has been a looong summer but, of course, summer wasn’t the reason why we have not been gathering in-person and discussing interesting tech topics as we like to do. Since we don’t know when exactly we will be able to organize local face-to-face meetups again, we thought we would keep you up to date in this fashion instead. Because it’s not like we have put critical tech on hold, we have tons of ideas for interesting topics and have even started hosting online afterworks before summer.
What have we been up to?
Hanno and I have been taking part in an interesting webinar this month. The webinar was called “Tor - What is it good for? (Absolutely Everything!)”. It was hosted by the Tech Learning Collective (TLC) and we can really recommend to take part in one of their events. It was a small crowd participating (they sometimes limit their webinars to 10 participants) and thus very interactive (we had loads of opportunities to ask questions). We were really impressed by the knowledge that the TLC team showed. There was no question left unanswered. Check out more events they have scheduled throughout September: https://techlearningcollective.com/events/calendar/
Hanno and I have also been discussing another subject of more fundamental impact: how crucial the state of our planet is to our lives and future generations. We have decided that we would like to look further into the topic “tech & sustainability” over the coming months. We want to widen our network and find out about people, projects, communities that utilize and investigate tech in the context of sustainability. If you know about anyone being involved in such projects, we would love to hear about them! Simply reply to this email and help us get in touch with the right people. We are planning an afterwork and further events dedicated to the subject very soon!
Events we would like to recommend:
- We would like to participate in a Capture the Flag (CTF) event with you this upcoming weekend, 18th of September – 20th of September. CTFs are online challenges where one works together in a team to solve puzzles often related to IT security. The event is uploaded to the meetup page, it is very beginner friendly and suited for anyone with a casual interest in hacking! Check out the event description here: https://www.meetup.com/Critical-Tech/events/272867241/
- There is another external event we want to recommend, it’s on the 29th of September, 6pm (BST). It’s about our environmental crisis and capitalism hosted by Noam Chomsky (!) and Robert Pollin. They have written a book together on “The Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal.” Here is a link to the event: https://www.intelligencesquared.com/events/can-capitalism-survive-climate-change-with-noam-chomsky-and-robert-pollin
- Big Brother Award - this is an entertaining call out on either companies, organizations or politicians acting irresponsible with data they were entrusted with or applying excessive surveillance. It’s in German but with live English translation! https://bigbrotherawards.de/ It will be streamed this Friday, 18th of September, 6pm (CEST).
Interesting reads & sounds:
- Unfortunately we heard too late about a conference that was held virtually this year - HOPE 2020, short for Hackers on Planet Earth. Conference Radio Statler interviewed the Tech Learning Collective team: Very refreshing to hear how they approach tech, activism & radical change with tech education. We really enjoyed listening to it: https://techlearningcollective.com/2020/08/03/return-the-magic-to-computers-radio-statler-hope-2020-interview-with-tech-learning-collective.html
- Great essay on how we can drive change by building a bridge between technologists and policy makers. “We need to create, nurture and compensate people who aren’t entirely technologists or policymakers, but instead an amalgamation of the two. Public-interest technology needs to be a respected career choice, even if it will never pay what a technologist can make at a tech firm.” https://www.schneier.com/essays/archives/2019/11/we_must_bridge_the_g.html
- Tim Harford wrote a blog post on how one should not rely on algorithms to make difficult life decisions that he based on observations from the UK’s attempt to algorithmically derive school grades for never-written exam finals: https://timharford.com/2020/09/dont-rely-on-algorithms-to-make-life-changing-decisions/
Announcements / Shout outs
Our friends launched their new mentorship program: Together with others, you can learn python and data science in an interactive classroom with mentors to help you through the jungle of learning a new skill. Check it out here: https://www.queensai.com/
Best wishes and stay safe,
Diana and Hanno