Wikipedia Day NYC

I was lucky enough to be invited too Wikipedia Day NYC to talk about some of my favorite stuff with really great people.

I was on a panel called “Free Culture Alliance,” and an alliance we were. Between the five of us (and a surprise guest panelist!), we had five different backgrounds, five difference specialities, and a singular goal of supporting freedom and knowledge. The panel was moderated by Jennifer Baek, an NYU law student and member (leader?) of their Students for Free Culture branch, who was a solid participant in her own right.

What I really loved about the panel was the great group of people on it. Wesley Chen (OpenITP), John Randall (the Roosevelt Institute), and Lane Rasberry (bluerasberry, and Wikipedian in Residence at Consumer Reports). This means we had someone working in reliable and secure internet communication, someone working towards broadband access all across America, and someone working on accessible, reliable knowledge (and outreach, specifically in the medical field.) This really was a group of people all over supporting free culture–from actual access to the internet, to safe communication, to reliable information. When faced with a question about Larry Lessig, we were pleased to discover that Eric Eldred was in the audience. He was willing to join us on stage and fill in the gaps.

I’d like to thank Pharos for first inviting me here, Jennifer for her great work, and my co-panelists for their projects and sharing their time and knowledge with me.


In one of the rare lucid moments after my grandmother died, my mother told me about inheritance. She’d been left money, and some of it would be going to me. I then had what I considered the ugliest thought I’d had in a long time: I was going to get to pay off one of my student loans. I was happy about this. I was happy that my grandmother died because it meant that I could pay off the worst of my student loans–a monster with a 10% interest rate.*

When I get large chunks of money, I pause and look at the numbers. I think about going to China or fixing my beloved Raleigh. I consider donating it somewhere I think it will do good. I think of the expensive, the frivolous, or the things I can never bring myself to do: the motorcycle license class, a new travel pack. I think about how I could have savings, and how crazy that would be. Then, instead, I do what I always do. I send it to Sallie Mae.

*Or I will be able to, if/when all the legal/finance stuff goes through.


I saw the first wisps of ocean out of the corner of my eyes. I turned my head to look. Even after five years of driving, I wasn’t comfortable keeping my eyes away from the road for long. I pulled over at the first available opportunity and ran through the trees and across the sand, leaving clothing in my wake. I looked at the Pacific Ocean for the first time as I ran into it. I didn’t feel the chill of the Pacific North West.