[hackerspaces] will the fruits of our labors be used for good or for evil?

Mitch Altman maltman23 at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 4 23:57:04 CET 2011

My view is a bit different.  You don't have to agree, but please consider:  DARPA is a government agency that exists to further its goals.  It seems to me that those goals are to make things easier and better for hurting and killing other people.  It seems to me that this is why they exist.  If people working for DARPA are giving grant money away, it is to further the goals of DARPA.  This isn't to say that good things can't be done with DARPA money.  But DARPA is spending this money explicitly to further the goals of DARPA -- and it *will* be used to further those goals. Werner von Braun was an incredible visionary.  He wanted to explore space!  It was his lifelong dream.  He found an opportunity for funding his dream when Hitler offered to pay for him to make rockets.  Those rockets were used to destroy the lives of civilians in London in the form of V2 missiles.  After the war, he was eventually hired by NASA to make rockets that eventually became the basis of the US space program.  Was this a good trade off?  I know how I feel.  I don't want to tell others what to do, or what to think or feel.  Please make up your own mind. In my mind, I would rather change projects than hurt others in order to fulfill the goals of my project.  But, before changing projects, perhaps there are other means of funding it, or allowing the project to proceed.  Those other means are way worth exploring. One other point I feel is worth considering:  A powerful method of marketing is to associate PRODUCT X with a warm and fuzzy feeling.  Repeat that enough times, and enough people subconsciously associate a warm-fuzzy feeling with PRODUCT X, and sales of PRODUCT X go up some percentage.  PRODUCT X can be dish soap, a soft drink, a TV show, a political candidate, a banana republic dictator, green-washing corporate image -- anything the people paying for the marketing request.  PRODUCT X can also be DARPA.  If we make more warm and fuzzy associations with DARPA (by using their money for what we feel is *good*), then some people will more likely feel it is OK to work for an agency to further the goals of DARPA -- and those goals may not be in line with what you believe is of true benefit to you and those around you.  Or it may.  Again, please think this through for yourself.  And please make a conscious choice. Best,Mitch.
 From: willow.bl00 at gmail.com
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 2011 12:23:57 -0800
To: jacob at heatsynclabs.org; discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
Subject: Re: [hackerspaces] will the fruits of our labors be used for good or for evil?

I set up the Town Hall in Seattle because I believe in mudge and I believe this is an incredibly nuanced area. I wanted to offer people one more option, and trust them to act in ways which align with their values and concerns. Nothing like getting into the complicated world of humanitarian and disaster response to teach you about multipurpose and nuance in these sorts of things.

Any tool is a weapon if you hold it right.
I can go into more detail upon request when I have someone to transcribe for me. I suck at these one-handed keboards still.

please excuse typos and delays. i seem to have broken my arm.Willow Brugh // willowbl00
School Factory : GWOB ; Space Federation

Schedule a meeting with me

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 22:16, Jacob Rosenthal <jjrosent at heatsynclabs.org> wrote:

Willow (and separately Space Fed?) seem to be pimping it as well

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:14 PM, Al Jigen Billings <albill at openbuddha.com> wrote:

On 11/29/11 10:10 PM, Justis Peters wrote:

On 11/30/2011 12:44 AM, Al Jigen Billings wrote:

I'm also on the e-mail lists for a number of other hackerspaces and this is a debate, on small scale, that many of them are having on their own. The DoD money is being discussed quite a bit. So far, I think everyone has made pretty much the same observations that I've made here and decided it was money best left on the table. Maybe you and your space feel different but I know of no one who has actually applied for the DoD money.

This finally makes more sense. Prior to this comment, I did not understand where you got the idea that any hackerspace was considering taking money from the DoD. Nobody on this list had suggested it.

Our space has not been approached by the DoD or DARPA and I doubt that we would take money from them. All our funding thus far has been from individuals donations and membership dues. We enjoy the autonomy that is afforded to us by that model.

 As far as I know, no one has been approached personally. That said, the DoD has put it out there. It has been blogged and tweeted about (I recall something in one of the Wired blogs, something on Adafruit's blog, and similar) so people are aware of it and discussing it.



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Jacob Rosenthal
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