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Shava Nerad
Works at SSI
Attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Shava Nerad

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5 #BLM vigil keepers shot in MN by alleged white supremecists
perps flee, no arrests as yet

Developing. No fatalities.
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Or -5...
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Syrian refugees admitted to the US since 2011
follow the numbers

In Massachusetts, our gov, Charlie Baker, says we don't need them refugees. My mayor Joe Curtatone, of Somerville, says we will welcome them (but the state decision may make that moot).
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Well, gosh, Colin, we could discuss troop numbers and military expenditures too.  

Yes, we're parochial idiots.  And belligerant idiots, too.  But lol.

They're separate points, I understand, but still.

330 AU troops, vs (an apparently classified number of US troops, air support and so on).  

We've been bombing the hell out of them with in Iraq and Syria (and now Libya and Cameroon -- I'd missed this:

But you know, I bet the US deployment is a bunch more than 330 guys with their gear.  The Australians are mighty fighters in a scrap, by history.  But this situation, yes, there are military necessities beyond even 330 Aussies and a supply of beer in the desert involved. :)  

That's 100 to one for every Australian.  We don't want another Anzac or worse.  We'll try to cover your backs.

Bet you some multi-billion dollar aircraft on it.

We suck in so many ways, really, as arrogant world police, but every so often (and this and the Balkans are good examples), it's not necessarily a bad thing to have a friend who overspends on armaments.  

It's usually the last ditch solution to a bad situation -- Sun Tzu would say the war is lost when troops take to the field.  He was a smart guy.

But when thousands of non combat folks are getting mown down and displaced, or genocide is on the program, I do believe there is a reason to put boots (or bombs) on the ground.  Boots tend to less collateral damage, but they are political hell in modern times.  We're going there -- it's Obama's excuse to say we're entering a theater we've been in for what, 14-15 months -- because we're calling it a new movement of special forces and infantry.  It's freaking language, propaganda, and has nothing to do with what's actually gone down there -- it's been war, executed just as much in a balance of air power etc as say, Laos or many other modern campaigns vs dug-in "locals" fighting as guerrillas in asymmetrical conflicts.

Call it war.

For those who are interested in Inherent Resolve -- we've been at war there for over a year, and really won't tell our own country much about it.

Gotta love transparency.
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The continuing SSI saga

Today I got a notice from SSI saying that as of next week they are cutting my benefit to $0, because I have not applied for other benefits to which I am entitled.

Now, I'm on food stamps, which grants me a whole $16/mo. I did get a notice from the state which said I needed to apply for the state supplement for SSI which would be a small amount unless I could supply more information, and one of my housemates never got me more info (she happens to be moving out next week also). The form insisted on a number of highly personal details on all my housemates regardless of their financial relationships to me. So I figured I'd have to settle for the lower amount, since I couldn't file the form.

But it doesn't even say what I did wrong in detail, just that I can appeal by forms or come in the office.

Now this might be fine if this were a program for the able bodied, but for me, for example, I have not left the house except for once for about three weeks, am fighting a nasty respiratory illness which on top of my normal stuff has me dead flat and trying not to have bronchitis turn into pneumonia, which is a big deal when you are largely bed bound with stuff in your lungs.

Getting into SSI offices on Thanksgiving Week seems like big fun, in the winter, while sick, sitting in a germ farm for hours while I wait to talk to someone, while my immune system is compromised.

If they kill me, they don't have to pay me either.

But imagine if I were not living with my son, and this happened to me. These people are unacceptable in their method of dealing with the poor and sick.

My SSI benefit is $488.67.

My Patreon is up to $248. That's $240/mo in patrons to go and I can kiss this crazy goodbye. I'm halfway free at last.

If you enjoy my writing, please consider tossing a buck a month in the tin cup.

I'll still be disabled, but at least I'll have my dignity. It's social. And it's frankly, more secure.
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It's an artifact of not having one housemate's info and probably me being slack in not going in and groveling about it enough. But going into that office is a day trip and I've been on a serious stuck-in-bed phase lately -- the bureaucrats don't do housecalls, and much as I love Joseph, he is not the best kid to hand paperwork and say, "get this done." Still. Somehow he's ace at this at work, but not with his own crap or mine. I used to be like that too, I can't really say it's an unusual geek mode.
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How conservative thought embraces and supersedes liberal moral thinking
not always in a good way, but in ways vital to understanding

My new friend Akshat turned me on to the thinking of +Jonathan Haidt this week, and I think I am in love.

Professor Haidt's thinking formulates in a way I have long struggled to express (here and in other venues) the necessity of meeting conservative thought on its own ground.

As the product of conservative Jewish and other central Asian cultures, I got to see my parents as a bridge between thousands of years of conservative thought, and their imperfect modern embrace of democratic, secularized values.

My father described it as turning from tribalism (Ethnos) to the people and the community (Demos, Civitas) as a primary identification.

He saw it as a path toward ever increasing peace in the world, if people could hold pride in their heritage, without the mammalian territoriality of tribalism (which he saw himself as less than human). He saw this transcendence of clannishness as something that the world religions and greatest teachers and philosophies sought at their most mystical bases to instill, that all persons are equal in the eye of the divine, tat tvam asi, namaste, one in Christ.

It makes it hard for liberal or moderate religions to speak out against conservative thought, you know -- "the way that can be spoken..." doesn't come off very well in press release debates. Heh.

Today, I see so many of the tensions in the world -- here in the US and in the Levant, to name only a few -- as culture wars between blind liberalism and blind conservative factions who have this "dumbfounded" perspective. They see themselves facing an enemy who is living in a world they can not see, understand, and is out to destroy everything they value on a moral basis.

And if you don't believe that about conservatives as a liberal, and think they are all irrational asshats? You're bucking the trends. Grats. :)

If you think you could just sit down and have a rational conversation and show a conservative why you're right on most issues? You're probably still fatally flawed in your thought.

And reading Haidt's work will illuminate why.

And may let you start communicating.

h/t +Akshat Pradhan
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And if you return to, say, a conservative Christian and say, "But the Bible says it rains on the just and the unjust, yes?  We're not here to judge, we reserve that to God." -- then (if you mean it anyway) you are meeting them on their ground in their vocabulary.  And suddenly you are talking.  You have removed the pressure on the individual to uphold that bit of purity code in civic life.  "Render unto Caesar..." (Please! :)  But it's not manipulation, at least in my case.  It's more like being a social chameleon, the same way I can go from hacker culture to LWV without cognitive dissonance in the same day.  Cultural vocabularies and registers.

There is a great advantage to coming out of my father's midwestern Universalist heritage -- they are far more into the Jesus thing than modern UUs.  Old style Unitarians were too (Emerson, Channing, Ballou,...) but people tend to forget this.  Mystical Christians.

But for a lot of folks, this won't be common vocabulary you can adopt in good faith (pun intended).

I had to develop this ability to be the ecumenical brain, with my dad a UU minister and my mom Jewish, lol...
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As predicted, no encryption was used to organize the Paris attacks.

Now, I want to see the evidence of pre-encryption style misdirection communication in the clear -- something folks at State might possibly still have HUMINT/diplo training in, but the cowboys of Poindexter's heritage at the NSA have likely abandoned as primitive and needless long since.

But we're unlikely to see that, because that would be like putting up a neon sign that said "KICK ME" on the ass of the US Intelligence Community. They can decode toys, but they don't understand people and cultures.

Faced with Dineh codetalkers, or equivalent, the modern NSA would be helpless. It's sad to see them fall so far.

h/t +Jonathan Venezian
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I can't really recommend it for every day, but oddly, it might end up being efficient as a tactic vs the best. Paradoxical.
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Finally figured out how to share what I've been writing on Quora!
Yes, that seeming oxymoron was my delightful job title at Blackphone. But really, it's just what I do, even on SSI -- I write whenever my health allows. Polymath retired social enterprise entre... (more)Loading… Follow801 ...
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The illustration is from my answer to a question from why Americans love pickup trucks, heh.
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Have her in circles
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Shava Nerad

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I have no beak but I must cluck!
genetically identical to egg whites -- are Clara Foods vegan?

So here's my understanding. You can't culture egg white -- it's part of a single cell -- a chicken ovum, pre-division Yes, that entire thing you eat is one HUMONGOUS cell, except for any ratty bit of chick that might have made it in. Put my son off eating eggs for years, at age ten. Heh. But not if they were in cookies.

Which brings us to this point, obliquely -- if you put the DNA from a chicken into a yeast cell, so you can clone it infinitely into producing albumen, that part of the egg that is the egg white

Is the egg white that results which is, as the article says "genetically identical" to the coop-produced item, vegan? vegetarian? Does it reduce animal cruelty or remove from the meat enough to clone these items to satisfy some kinds of vegetarians and not others?

It seems to me about as vegan as, say, animal rennet, which is highly processed from the stomachs of mammals, and certainly doesn't qualify.

Discuss... Is it animal, or vegetable...?
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Wonder if the yeast feels anything?
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Anonymous puts on military fatigues to go with the mask
Takes on Daesh

Cyberwarfare makes strange bedfellows.

It would be coy of me to say I didn't know anything about Anonymous, although I have never been involved with anything they do. I have had heated arguments over strategy and tactics with some of their influencers (can't say leadership, necessarily, in an anarchist movement), over the definitions of nonviolent action and so on.

But if anyone ever called me to testify, I'd immediately become a member of the movement and plead the 5th, so I think I'm safe. Heh. Another benefit of anarchism.

Regardless, people saying anything about Anonymous as blanket judgments (including me) are inevitably half assed in their assessments, since as an anarchist movement the group is fluid.

That said, actually, I feel like having Daesh as an opponent would be very good for them.
Anonymous has been full of first world problem level solutions to world-class issues, IMO -- the brats of the cul-de-sac taking on the brats of Fort Meade resulting in the takedown of +Stratfor for example. Just not well disciplined or coordinated or thought out.

It's not that Anonymous is dangerous or evil, IMO, but that they fritter away hacktivism's rep in the way that groups such a the Weather Underground and other violent and overly sincere groups working for "peace" against the bad guys frittered away the reputation of nonviolent activism in the 60s.

So if Anonymous has to go after someone, Daesh is a great target. Maybe getting into the business of saving lives and doing things that have genuine and direct moral consequences will grow up the group some -- like sending off our pack of idealists to the Spanish Civil War. Shit gets real.

I just hope they figure out a good safe way to coordinate intel with the IC when they get good stuff. I know there are people involved who can probably manage this, and probably understand why it's a good thing. And that's part of the maturation cycle too -- realizing we can't get RID of our intel services (such as the NSA), because there are times they keep us out of war, or save our people on the ground when work must be done.

If Anon can help with that, we should brevet them and bring them in, and start dialogues about some of the bigger problems at home, in exchange. Wouldn't that be a nice avenue to Truth and Reconciliation?

h/t +Ferdinand Zebua
The hacking group’s activities have always seemed dubious, but in this case, success will be quite welcome
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How to lose hearts and minds -- at home. Look at the numbers of RTs and likes.

(via the Governance and Politics group)
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+Shava Nerad I agree completely. Some of my friends who care the most about these issues are sadly the most apolitical as well
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Dear +NSA​, I hope you are listening, for once
Daesh may be using the social media equivalent of spread spectrum communications, plus old style obscuring codes

Hedi Lamarr, more famous for her acting, invented a way for signals to jump from bandwidth to bandwidth so as to be virtually untraceable by a hostile party in real time.

We use spread spectrum theory for our cell phones today. It's just practical to find clear channels.

But ponder for a moment a slow, metaphorical social media equivalent. You are trying to evade the greatest eavesdropper in the world. How do you do it? I have been thinking about this for months, but Paris brings it to a head.

The first thing that got me thinking was a seminal technical paper in Tor's development, "Anonymity Loves Company," by Paul Syversant of the NRL and +Nick Mathewson of Tor. In this paper, the two talk about, basically, why Tor was given as a gift to the world by the US military.

When the protocol was deployed, it was clear that anyone using it was US military, intelligence, and so on. Rather than protecting assets in the field, it would have marked them as targets. This basically made Tor useless.

So the protocol was open sourced so it would be moderately trusted (no security software can ever be called trusted, and doubly so software with origins in the US military regardless of security researchers vetting the stuff! Even the tin hat community has tin hats).

So Tor was given to the world so we could be chaff -- cover fire -- for the people who first needed it. To be truly anonymous, you must be a face lost in a crowd.

Much more efficient than the dude looking suspicious in the back alley, dressed as a bat. ;) People just ache to catch him and reveal his secret identity. Don't be that guy.

So, this is true for Tor in the age of encryption, but say we are moving into a new phase, the phase of phase shifted social media.

What if the most effective way to avoid detection is to communicate nearly everything harmlessly in the clear, and then -- laser fine -- use encryption for the quickest, most critical small packets of info, perhaps encoded in the image noise of baby pictures on Facebook (steganography), so no encryption arouses notice across the net.

Until this week, I had been thinking, WTF were Comey and them doing railing against the dangers of encryption. Just this past week, I had postulated they might be on another ill fated clipper chip scheme to license encryption tech, like gun control.

But hey, I can be wrong. I kind of thrive on fog of war scenarios... So I am bound to go off sometimes into speculation.

This essay too? Maybe. But this fits, unlike the other theory which was more "Why are smart people acting so stoned?"

I am often pissed at the IC, because they are paternalistic bastards who want to keep you safe at the cost of your freedoms for your own good, right? And I find this anti-democratic and lazy, and often likely unconstitutional.

They would tell me that they don't have time for the luxury to educate the public, while they are saving us. Seige mentality. And admittedly, every intel failure, the public ravages them. Because, you know, they are an uneducated public on issues of risk and intel. Oops.

Family dynamics suck.

But now, I think the IC are railing against encryption as misdirection. They want people using encryption at the highest levels, because at the highest levels now, they can not find enemy assets with both hands -- because they are not using encryption. No target painting.

And discouraging encryption use by bozos and script kiddies takes a load off. Win-win, from their POV. It has issues, but at least, thank God, it means they aren't all doing shrooms before going to testify before Congress.

It also explains, perhaps, horribly, the arrest and incarceration of dozens of otherwise blameless American teen Muslims for social media amplification -- "material support of terrorism" -- for decade long sentences for what is cosmetically freedom of speech. Assets headed to some "Paris?" Or not? This must be examined transparently, before the social contract shatters.

But I doubt it's really slowing down Daesh or anyone important, and any advantage can't last. We need to engage the entire engine of security innovation in this, especially since this arms war is cross disciplinary.

We have target painted ourselves into a corner, but we must enlist the encryption and security community's help, not alienate them further.

Even they can learn to think at the intersection of SIGINT and HUMINT, (many, including Nick, are incredible generalists) and bring great minds to bear on this problem.

I guarantee there's creativity on the other side. We've assassinated all the Daesh/AQI leadership with poor opsec and bad habits in anticipating us. I read Brennan's press releases. So does the world. Like recruitment fliers.
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The point is that encryption is how they've been doing the target painting, so now people are finding ways to avoid it.  If you mark targets by their use of encryption people will avoid it.

There are millions of people in every country in the world who are engaging in unencrypted chatter in social media -- it's nearly impossible to filter in any sane manner if obscuration techniques are used well.  Proper planning for any direct action was always done in the clear in harmless language -- planning for a child's birthday and so on.

So by saying "Oh, don't use encryption, only bad people use encryption, we vilify encryption!" the IC is telegraphing that encryption is still effective against them, and that it's a large worry to them, which makes sense if they are more worried about clear channel communications.

I know that may seem like a stretch, but ponder for a few how much it must seem like a stretch to the entire technical and security community that the head of the US FBI is standing in front of Congress saying that encryption is a net negative impact on society.  

It's not terribly well known, but in 2004 Jim Comey, then deputy to Atty General Jim Ashcroft, threatened along with many others at DOJ to resign when Bush re-authorized NSA bulk metadata collection in clear violation of US law.  (Meuller, then head of the FBI, also threatened to walk.).  The White House worked to refine the data collection guidelines and staved off the walkout by linking any dipping into the data for US individuals to the FISA courts (FISC).  (Your notion as to whether that worked may vary.)

Comey is not a naif on this stuff.  He's been around the block.  So what gives?  

I hate it, really hate it, when I see people dismissing people like Comey as idiots or buffoons.  Sorry, you don't get to that point in a career as an idiot.  The person may be operating on seemingly different axiomatic values or priorities, but that's a different story.

Just as much as "follow the money," look for the smart reason someone does something that looks that boggling.  

Saying it's advice as old as Machiavelli discredits Rome, Greece, and possibly older sources like, you know, some of the nastier stories in the OT about inviting your worst enemy tribe to circumcize all their men to join Judea and intermarry with your daughters, and then hitting them while they're all going OWIE.

History is full of men (and women!) willing to go the extra mile beyond the literal facts for their team.

So if it seems like stretching it?  It's because that's the nature of politics in general, and diplomacy and intel work in particular.
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My post heads Quora's "You Should Read This!" for the week!
What Americans should know about Islam

"Shava Nerad's answer to What should Americans know about Islam? is a primer on using knowledge to dispel hate and ignorance."

Since the fall of the bookmarklet, we've had very few submissions this week. We do apologize for the inconvenience. Please do use the form until some alternative can be found. Shava Nerad's answer to What should Americans know about Islam? is a primer on using knowledge to dispel hate and ...
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A woman that breaks the common misconceptions and deserves to be more popularly known is Noor Inayat Khan, a Sufi Muslim British intelligence operative captured in Paris and executed by the SS in 1944.
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A refresher on how we got here
Behavior unbecoming...

Another example.

Early in the Iraq war, General +ray ordierno​ hadn't been let out in the field for a while when he was was deployed with his group, the Army's 4th Infantry Division.

The complaints and SNAFUs, and discipline issues just kept coming. His men swept whole communities for all males from late teens to elders, and stuffed the lot into Abu Ghraib prison, over taxing the prison, and hardly winning hearts and minds.

The sweeps were indiscriminate because, they claimed, they had no way to tell the good from the bad. I suppose it's a mercy they didn't mow them down and let God sort them out.

Other units reported and complained, but nothing came through. Civilian murders in cold blood. Huge infractions of discipline. "Hunting expeditions."

This is the swamp that gave us Daesh. Because, y'know, they hate us for our freedoms. Read the article if you have a strong stomach.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq has become a multinational well funded, well armed military force on its way to being a force of occupation, and establishing its new caliphate.

We don't want to recognize them as an "Islamic State" in part to deny them power of stature, but also because we're authorized to gallavant over to the Levant and stomp terrorists, ad libitum, ad we did last summer after planning deployment, what, a year ago?

But if this is a war we need more, and we need budget above the black line GWOT. That's such a pain. Let's let them be terrorists.

Not freedom fighters, rebels, insurgents, or guerillas. Terrorists, which used to be a domestic phenom. But now they are the new Commies under the bed.

But see, Daesh are an expansionist colonial army of conquest. If they take a foothold in the Levant, they are going to start daydreaming about the Ottomans and the Mogul Empire.

I am pro-Muslim, and very anti-Daesh. Both these guys and the nativists in the States remind me of the two sides of post-colonial killing cited in "When Victims Turn Killers," the analysis of the psychology that led to the Rwandan genocide.

Like bombing Dresden, its action in Paris is a war atrocity -- a tactic meant to damage its opponents. Primarily, the Syrian refugees in the EU.

If the EU makes these people suffer dislocation, deprivation, or ethnic cleansing, it profits Daesh by freeing up land in Syria as spoils for when it anticipates settling its occupation.

Thankfully, for the most part, this tactic was unsuccessful -- the EU was mostly too smart and compassionate to confuse the victims of war with war criminals.

Perhaps fortunately or unfortunately, +Ted Cruz​ prevents me from being tempted to insert a Polish joke here. But it is very unfortunate that the US are so freaking stupid to fall for terrorist propaganda.

Our general doesn't like Daesh one bit either. But he and I disagree on a few things there. He blames President Obama for Daesh. Disingenuous, much? We know Daesh started as Al-Qaeda in Iraq under Bush. Under the General's gentle watch.

He came back to join the JCS. Big fish, shiny brass, no tarnish.

Well, he retired this year. And what's he up to?

Calling for the military to do their constitutional duty and arrest Obama (?) on Twitter for screwing up the military by giving us ISIS and Paris, and sucking at the tit of +jp morgan chasebank​ -- running their vet affairs and cybersecurity, looks like.

Thank you for your service, sir.
From its first days in Iraq in April 2003, the Army's 4th Infantry Division made an impression on soldiers from other units -- the wrong one. Unlike most Army divisions, the 4th Infantry hadn't been deployed for decades, missing out on Panama, the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo......
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Memetic bard, privacy/security policy, executive management, ghost writing, speech writing, social media, policy, campaign management, marketing, training, strategy, leadership training (more, see LinkedIn) Also a maker -- millinery, scrimshaw, costuming, and fripperies.
Polymath and autodidact. Do you need me to learn something, do something, analyze something, or teach?
  • SSI
    Disabled, 2015 - present
    Appealing for SSDI. God I wish I could still work, but I can't sit up every day, and my head is both foggy and painful. It's like pushing through concertina wire to write a lot of the time, but I still do it.
  • Blackphone
    Privacy Evangelist, 2014 - 2014
    Tried to go back to work. Bombed out.
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Shava Suntzu in Second Life, shava23 nearly anywhere online
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I'm a polymath geek, long a consultant in the Boston area.  I've worked online over thirty years -- look me up on LinkedIn.  Currently retired, on SSI, and accepting tip jar donations at paypal:

My son was released from his military obligations on "only child" to come take care of me, or he'd still be in the Army.  We live in Somerville MA with friends.

My elderly mom, who was studying botany at UCLA way back in the 30s, inspired by Madame Curie, and was also a union activist.  She went into nursing care, a while ago, and is now far enough gone she doesn't recognize folks, and I feel like I've lost her, sadly.  I come by the grrl geek thing by birth.  Also the fierce little beast! :)

I also got that from my dad, who's been gone over a decade now, and was a Unitarian Universalist minister, a math and science teacher, a machinist and a chemist.  Still my hero.

My folks met through my mom's union activist half-brother, fell in love, and were married a few weeks later.  They were in love for 56 years when my dad died.  He was a lifelong learner, a lifelong teacher, a lifelong organizer, mentor, and strategic thinker.  He worked with the SCLC and Dr. King on the summer marches and organized civil rights and civil liberties and other causes locally.  A great teacher, sometimes even to me. ;)
Bragging rights
As of spring 2012, thirty years working online mostly in public interest internet; founding executive director, The Tor Project
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    course six (non student resident assn), 1978 - 1982
Shava Nerad's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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They're closed - another coffee place is there now.
Quality: Poor - FairAppeal: Poor - FairService: Poor - Fair
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
3 reviews