Jun 20, 2010

building connections

My review of the book Feminisms in Geography: Rethinking Space, Place, and Knowledges, edited by Pamela Moss and Karen Falconer Al-Hindi just came out in thirdspace. The review is entitled Mutilingual, multifeminisms, and is online here.

I would be honored if you read the whole review, but here are two key paragraphs:

"... These issues are also addressed in Geraldine Pratt’s absolutely fantastic short chapter (if you read only one chapter, read this one) entitled “Complexity and Connection”. It takes her earlier piece (also included, and entitled “Reflections on poststructuralism and feminist empirics, theory and practice”), and carries it beyond a US context. She argues, again, for the central role that geographers can play in working through differences between women. Rather than spouting tired universalizing generalizations, geographers can actually do the hard work of translating across contexts, material differences and, as she puts it, “competing, situated universal norms and claims” (70), rather than simply translating ideas into the language of the dominant framework, or absorbing them into a generalization. As a translator, I couldn’t agree more. Although I have been arguing here for prioritizing and funding more translation into English, I envision this as only one part of an engaged back and forth building of more connections between (as the book calls us, though I do not love the term) “Anglo-American” and other feminist geographers. Gerry Pratt is absolutely right that as geographers we have an important role to play in building a transnational feminism by drawing, as Cindi Katz (2001) calls them, counter-topographical contour lines that show how the same processes affects us in different ways. Doing so can help us articulate struggles across different places. These lines, as Pratt puts it, open possibilities for political connection (71) and meaningful alliances. We are not pure victims or oppressors, and we can forge connections “across our many shifting complicities as well as oppressions” (73).

Kath Browne’s chapter was useful to me in thinking through how to do this work as geographers. In it she points to how power and privilege work even in feminist geographies. I very much appreciate that she asks how relations of power between feminist geographers re-produce experts and expertise, and that she looks in particular at the practices of power that continually re-create spaces of speaking and writing. This book as a whole works to interrogate, as Kath Browne puts it, how we do our feminism, and work to open those practices. Holding a review panel at the AAGs like the one these review essays come out of, with more ‘junior’ scholars, continues this work. But it is not just a matter of, again in Browne’s words, including more silenced voices, but actually sensitively and constructively engaging with one another in safe spaces. This book functions as one such safe space, the review panel was another, and I hope that this journal can continue to be one. .... continued here.

Jun 14, 2010

video of Finnish accompanier killed in Mexico

I was particularly struck by what he says here about solidarity towards the end. Updates on this incident and the ongoing struggle of the San Juan Copala community in resistance on the angry white kid blog. For those who haven't been following it, the brief version is that he was on a caravan trying to get humanitarian supplies into the community, which is blockaded by paramilitaries. Those paramilitaries shot at the caravan and specifically targeted Betty, a high profile Mexican human rights leaders. Jyri lunged in fronted of Betty to protect her and they shot and killed both of them.

Jun 6, 2010

more online privacy tweaks for the (appropriately?) paranoid

reposted from lifehacker

Top 10 Privacy Tweaks You Should Know AboutWith all the talk lately about Facebook's flawed privacy systems, it's a good time to consider what you're making available elsewhere on the web and on your system. These 10 settings tweaks and setups make your web life a little less public.

Photo by Jorge Franganillo.

Note: The most basic means of boosting your privacy in any computer system is encrypting your data, but that's more of a system setup than a slight change to your usual setup. Still, it's worth looking into if you've got files for your eyes only.

10. Run a Background Check on Yourself to Know What's Out There

Top 10 Privacy Tweaks You Should Know AboutIt takes only a few seconds to know what Google knows about you, but there are many, many other avenues into your past and present on the web. Want to know more about what a potential employer can know? Consumer action blog Consumerist has a nicely comprehensive list of background check tools to try out. You shouldn't try and run them all, but at least get a feel for what can be known about you with just a few clicks. Photo by omk_489. (Original post)

9. Skip Incognito/Private Browsing and Really Leave No Trace

Top 10 Privacy Tweaks You Should Know AboutPrivate browsing modes might prevent your coworkers or roommates from seeing where you wander on the web, but you still leave plenty of traces for someone who knows where to look. Take the How-To Geek's advice and really browse without leaving a trace. Wipe away Flash cookies, clean out DNS caches, and automate your system so every boot-up is a fresh start.

8. Pick Better Security Questions

Top 10 Privacy Tweaks You Should Know AboutSome security questions and password recovery schemes offered by webapps are so bad, anyone with your casual acquaintance and a small amount of Google savvy could poke into your email whenever they felt like it. To get around weak security questions, use blogger danah boyd's security question algorithm. Instead of straight-up providing your mother's maiden name, use a scheme, such as "[Snarky Bad Attitude Phrase] + [Core Noun Phrase] + [Unique Word]," so that your answer becomes "StupidQuestion MiddleName Booyah," substituting "MiddleName" for the actual answer. If you're lucky enough to be able to choose your own security questions, Lifehacker reader James has written about the best kinds of questions at his blog. (Original posts: memorable answers, good questions).

7. Set Up BitTorrent for Private Downloading

Top 10 Privacy Tweaks You Should Know AboutBitTorrent is a public commons of file sharing, and that means that all kinds of folks interested in, say, what your home IP address is, and what you're downloading, can dig into it. With both a proxy and settings in your favorite torrent app, you can protect your privacy when downloading. Nothing's foolproof, but a few checkboxes and a different downloading path can do a lot to give you great peace of mind.

6. Know Your Google Settings

Top 10 Privacy Tweaks You Should Know AboutIf you're anything like us, or most of our readers, you've got a lot of your life floating around in Google's cloud-based apps. It pays, then, to know how to set what Google shares publicly about you, how much of your search history is being saved, and how to back up your data so you've always got your own copy. These are among the 10 Google settings you should know about that center on privacy and data retention, though it's always a good idea to know the parameters of the spaces you share your data in.

5. Know How to Travel Without Being Spied On

Top 10 Privacy Tweaks You Should Know AboutJust because some countries have widespread net access doesn't mean it's an open and private web. It's often meant to deter dissidents in strong-handed regimes, but why take the chance of letting your web data fall into the wrong hands? One Lifehacker reader, wishing to remain anonymous and in a non-specific region, crafted a survival guide for traveling where privacy isn't respected. Using secure Gmail, carrying two cloned USB sticks, relying on KeePass and TrueCrypt for passwords and encryption, and knowing how to send data over the web without having it looked at are all good skills to have, both for traveling and in general. Image a composite of photos by hemmob and nolifebeforecofee

4. Know Where You Stand With Facebook at a Glance

Top 10 Privacy Tweaks You Should Know AboutFacebook has promised "simplistic" privacy settings coming soon, but in the meantime, knowing exactly what you've offered to share or keep private is far from transparent. One very crafty hacker at ReclaimPrivacy has put together a settings-scanning bookmarklet that shows what you're sharing beyond your social circle, and offers links and automatic fixes for those settings. Another coder, Ka-Ping Yee, offers a site that shows what the public web can see on Facebook, some of which you can then remove. They're both excellent eye-openers, both for your own account and for friends who refuse to consider what's being shown out there. (Original posts: ReclaimPrivacy bookmarklet, Facebook public).

3. Run Your Browser Through a Proxy

Top 10 Privacy Tweaks You Should Know AboutIt's not something you'll want to do all the time, but once in a while, you might want to hide your online tracks. To do so, you can use the go-to web randomization tool, TOR, which has tools available for nearly every OS and browser. For a DIY solution that can work from any browser, we've detailed installing the free PHProxy tool on your home computer or hosted web space to get around restrictions and slightly disguise your tracks. You could also run a proxy through Google's App Engine, and go the full-tilt geek route of encrypting your browsing with an SSH SOCKS proxy. Any way you choose, it's a smart skill to have handy for dodgy connections and restrictive networks.

2. Better Protect Your Mint.com or Other Financial Accounts

Top 10 Privacy Tweaks You Should Know AboutThe thing that makes Mint.com such a convenient one-stop shop for financial data and budgeting also makes it a gold mine for anyone looking to learn more about you, or know which accounts they could try to jump into. Security professional Jason Owens provides some smart tips on better protecting your Mint.com account that can apply to any site where you manage your financials. Key among them—don't use your regular email address. Set up a new email address you don't tell anyone about as your login/password verification address. You can forward its mail to your main email, sure, but if someone compromises your email, don't make it too too easy for them to get a hold on your finances.

1. Stay Available on Facebook Without Really Being In It

Top 10 Privacy Tweaks You Should Know AboutYou might have considered quitting Facebook, but stopped short because it's how a few far-flung friends and relatives stay in touch, or a place those without your email address can ping you. We can understand, and, luckily, have a halfway solution to recommend. Quit Facebook without really quitting, as Whitson did. Create a new account, linked to a different email, and set it up so that your old friends are still there, but Facebook, even at its most Draconian, can't really reveal all that much about you, and your friends can't really overshare without your permission.

Send an email to Kevin Purdy, the author of this post, at kevin@lifehacker.com.