Powered By We

One writer's weird trick for de-trolling your Twitter experience; Australia's new transparency tool; and more.


  • This is civic tech: Yesterday here at Civic Hall, a new idea took wing at the prompting of city council member Brad Lander—an NYC Office of Civic Engagement. He explains more here.

  • New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development has launched its Housing New York Map showing all the affordable housing being produced by the city as part of its ten-year plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of same.

  • The Australian government has launched a new site called AusGov.info making it easier to see what it is spending, why or when, where and on who.

  • In Taipei, not only can harried bus-riders use a new city government app called “Wow-Bus” to keep track of their daily commute through the city’s complex bus system, they can make a request for a new route using the app. Once a new route gathers 20 prospective riders, the bus company is supposed to create it within 20 days, assuming it’s feasible, g0v.news reports.

  • Governing magazine’s Ted Newcombe covers the “Peace Corps for geeks” also known as Code for America.

  • Tech and politics: Want to escape toxic trolls on Twitter? Follow Virginia Heffernan’s example, and move your account virtually to Germany, as she explains in Wired.

  • A group of researchers at the Reuters Institute at the University of Oxford have released a new report measuring the online reach of the most prominent “fake news” sites in Europe. The good news is they’re not very popular, compared to real news sites. The bad news, “the level of Facebook interaction (defined as the total number of comments, shares, and reactions) generated by a small number of false news outlets matched or exceeded that produced by the most popular news brands.”

  • Trump watch: If you need one refresher on the ongoing Mueller investigation, make it this explainer by Garrett Graff in Wired. “Large parts of the investigation remain out of sight,” he notes.

  • What sharing economy? “Our valuation and size today are much more based on our energy and spirituality than it is on a multiple of revenue.” That was WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann talking about the co-working company’s insanely high $20 billion valuation last year. And ask Laura Bliss writes in The Atlantic, “WeWork’s real value might indeed be in the elbow-to-elbow ‘energy’ Neumann describes—just not for the community you might imagine.” Having started as a hub for independent “gig” workers, WeWork is betting its future in Fortune 1000 companies in need of flexible and “hip” work spaces.

  • Oh, neat: Bliss also reports that “WeWork plans to sprinkle offices with data-harvesting sensors and facial-recognition software as part of its ‘Powered by We’ suite of services. The program will allow WeWork to monitor how employees use its spaces: how they adjust their desks, where in the office they spend their time, and maybe even how engaged they are in meetings. These data—which, according to WeWork, would never be used to track the movements of individual employees—could allow companies to lease exactly the right amount of space, and exactly the right kind of space, too.” “Powered by we” sounds very “spiritual.”

  • It looks like the courtroom battle between Google and Uber over the intellectual property of Google subsidiary Waymo is going to be highly entertaining, especially if you follow Sarah Jeong’s reporting for The Verge. Chief boob-er Travis Kalanick’s texts take the cake.

  • Apply: Mozilla and the Ford Foundation are looking for the next round of host organizations for its Open Web Fellows program.