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OccupySF IT Admins Using Pedal Power For Protest 202

Posted by timothy
from the still-occupying-the-basement-for-now dept.
99luftballon writes "The OccupySF team have been running an ad-hoc computer network on the streets of San Francisco without a steady power source, no Wi-Fi and even the occasional police raid. It turns out the best way to keep the lights on is car batteries and pedal power."
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OccupySF IT Admins Using Pedal Power For Protest

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  • by jargon82 (996613) on Friday October 14, 2011 @08:32PM (#37720526)

    The American Work Ethic? I'd say they have it. They're pedaling to keep things going.
    I've met many of those protesting. You know what? Many of them do have jobs. They do have lives. They're there anyway because they know things are messed up.

    In my city the protestors are feeding the homeless. They're doing good works, and they're encouraging discussion about the future of our nation. There is no possible way this is a bad thing. Why are there so many unemployed out there? It isn't because the employed don't care, it's because the employed are trying to keep their jobs.

    Pedal away, SF.

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday October 14, 2011 @08:39PM (#37720576)

    Oh my! My webpost parser jammed up bad on this one! Either you are horribly deluded about the present situation and woefully ignorant of why freedom to assemble to address grievances is a constitutionally protected right, or you are a serious troll doing serious trolling.

    In the case of the former, the problem is that the "american dream" you are alluding to no longer exists in the form you are implying; it is no longer possible to "pull one's self up by one's bootstraps" as you put it, due to artificial barriers to entry that are strongly enforced by power of law.

    Beating the protesters to disperse them is a violation of their civil liberties, and the fact that their protest irritates you is simply a sign that it is working. A protest that does not illicit a reaction is a protest that means nothing. Simply because somebody is doing something you don't like is not reason to lynch them. Under that logic the protesters should drop their signs, and instead pick up ball bats and molotov cocktails and start firebombing rich people's houses and beating them bloody when they run out screaming from the fire.

    So, as far as I can tell, the only whiny bitch I see here is the one whining about the protesters.

  • Re:Uh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2011 @08:48PM (#37720628)

    Relevant:

    http://i.imgur.com/FIZuV.png

  • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday October 14, 2011 @08:56PM (#37720680)

    Perhaps for some. For others it might be better explained as a desire to be free from the defacto serfdom that comes with bearing the label of "consumer."

    Say for instance, with "owning" a ps3, but being dictated to about what you can use it for, or what services you connect it to.

    Or perhaps in regard to being held hostage by the fallout of the market manipulation that comes about by driving speculation trends by wallstreet? (Eg, perhaps some people might not like having the equities in their 401k devalue radically after some random wallstreet firm shorts millions in stock based on a tiny deviation from expected value.)

    The protest appears to be about this radical imbalance of power, and the flagrant diregard these organizations and individuals have for the consequences of their greed motivated activities.

  • waste of time (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2011 @08:58PM (#37720702)

    Can the protesters focus on winning instead of trying to be techie?? Such a classic mistake -- find something that sounds cool to do, then try to justify it.

    Their efforts would be *much* more effective if they spent that time calling people to recruit more people to join. Cell phone batteries last a really long time these days, and can be recharged a zillion ways, all of which are easier than hooking up some sort of bike-converter-stepper-battery thing. I guess if they hook it up to the cloud and leverage some social media powered crowdsourcing they'd be all set.

    The movement is doomed if they won't discipline themselves to do the hard, effective work. The fun, worthless stuff, like this, is a distraction. Maybe they could go ask John Lewis how he and SNCC changed american history while being dirt poor and without technology.

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:04PM (#37720746)

    99% of them are stupid whores who have 3 kids,

    Actually fertility and marriage rates have been uniformly declining for decades, especially among college graduates -- it's a serious demographic problem, and if all of these people had three kids then Social Security and Medicare would probably be solvent, unchanged, for the next hundred years.

    got a $100,000 degree in some bullshit subject like Black Studies,

    While I cannot quote statistics, most corporate officers and successful entrepreneurs I've interacted with generally had undergraduate degrees in some kind of "soft" liberal arts, like American studies, history, political science, and anthropology.

    Steve Jobs famously dropped out of college in order to study calligraphy. Worked for him.
     

    and then wonder why no one wants to hire them and that a nonprofit that gives out needles to dopeheads doesn't pay $100K a year.

    Needle exchanges save lives. And I know a lot of people involved in non-profits, doing things they love and believe in, getting paid jack and making no complaints.

    The problem aren't the people who want $100k a year to distribute needles. The problem are the people who think that anyone who chooses to not be a millionaire is a chump, and should be exploited, because they "bring it on themselves."

  • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:04PM (#37720752)

    From the website I found it's about solidarity, which seems like an awfully nebulous concept to be campaigning for...

    Yeah, did nothing for Poland, the Warsaw Pact, and the Soviet Union.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:05PM (#37720762)

    Oh my! My webpost parser jammed up bad on this one! Either you are horribly deluded about the present situation and woefully ignorant of why freedom to assemble to address grievances is a constitutionally protected right, or you are a serious troll doing serious trolling.

    In the case of the former, the problem is that the "american dream" you are alluding to no longer exists in the form you are implying; it is no longer possible to "pull one's self up by one's bootstraps" as you put it, due to artificial barriers to entry that are strongly enforced by power of law.

    I guess someone forgot to tell me. I had to drop out of high school in the 10th grade, because I was forced to support myself. I've since got my GED and paying for college courses out of pocket and will probably continue for the rest of my life (Non-degree seeking). Now, I'm a productive adult employing others and running a successful business. If that's not "pulling one's self up by one's bootstraps" I don't know what is. I'm not so diluted to think that everyone can do that, because no they can't. However, it is still possible.

    I agree with you though. The right to assemble is very important and even if someone doesn't agree with the protesters they have should have the right to peacefully protest. However, a lot of their complaints seem to be silly and self severing.

  • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:05PM (#37720766)

    It's driving force is a desire for equality, where equality means that you get free money from the government.

    Or maybe it just means that rich people should have to pay their own way too.

  • Really.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:22PM (#37720856) Homepage

    "The group were having to run a 12 volt supply, convert it to 150 AC and then back down to five volts for phones and the portable radios used to maintain emergency contact."

    Glad to see that there are NO electronics engineers or other people that have a clue as to what they are doing.

    12V run into inverters to make 120VAC (not the 150AC the writer failed to fact check) and then using wall chargers for the devices. Nobody had a fricking car charger for their phone? This is getting utterly comical.

    I am glad to see this because it means in the SHTF situation, most of the populace will die horribly because they are far too uneducated about basics of life so they will pedal 40% more than they need to to make up for the power losses because they cant be bothered to think through what they are doing.

    get some basic education people. learn about electricity, you fricking use it every day.

  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:26PM (#37720880) Homepage Journal
    Yes, they are altruistic morons.

    March on the Capitol. March on Wall Street, you look like greedy morons who don't care about anything other than your own trust funds. March on the capitol, we have real problems to solve. Grow a fucking pair and encroach on the Capitol. I'll join you if you grow your own pair. Sissies.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:34PM (#37720936) Journal
    Said ancestors also had reactionaries telling them to shut up and like the status quo....
  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:40PM (#37720970)

    It is also important to take the elapsed time since your "success" into account. The situation the protesters are protesting is the situation in the now, while the situation that gave rise to your success story is in the "then."

    I agree that the movement seems nebulous. I attribute it to a total constellation of several effects, including but not limited to the following things:

    The american school system sucks balls to the point that higher education is essential to become gainfully employed. The number of institutions offering that service has not appreciably grown to meet demand, causing prices to rise. Students leave colleges with thousands of dollars in debt for a slip of paper that essentially just says "I can finish what I start and am not an idiot who can't write his own name." Given the actual value of their degree in the job market, they are naturally angry to have been forced into having to take on mountains of debt to accomplish this simple milestone when a simple core competencies test would have sufficed.

    Coupled with the proclevity for large corporations to offshore inexpensive and low training jobs to places like mexico, china, and india, there is a stark lack of entry level jobs for these debt laiden college grads to take to gain the much needed work histories they need to create careers.

    The reasons why these trends are occuring is indeed because of systemic greed at many levels, so protesting against institutionalized greed sorta does make sense.

    The greed of the accredation institutions motivates them to maintain the status quo of very high student tuition.

    The greed of the public school system, coupled with absurd laws, makes it originate the need to require a degree for janitorial work.

    The greed of multinationals makes them seek every possible means of squeezing profit from the market.

    The greed of stockholders (and by proxy, wallstreet) drives the corporations to be ever more greedy to satisfy the already horribly unrealistic expectations of those stock holders. (Purpetual gains in profitability are not sustainable.)

    So, the protest message as I can see it is "I have been victimized by the system you created. I had to sell many years of my life in the form of intractible debt JUST to be ABLE to work, only to have to fight for scraps with what are essentially slave laborers in other countries because of your insatiable greed. We want to be released from the burden of our unfair debts, and have the possibility of finding work without competing with HIB visas and slaves from china."

    When you think about it, that doesn't really sound like such a terrible demand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:43PM (#37720984)

    I know this is /. but did anyone read the article? The second page is ridiculous.

    “We’d love to get an Apple, because a lot of the software we’re used to is on the Mac,” What software does a protest need other than maybe a web browser to organize and spread your message? Where are all of these people's computers? I'm guessing sitting at home because they don't want to have it broken, stolen or lost...

    Then they continue on to make a cellular hotspot or an android phone sound like complicated network infrastructure being managed by the protestors...

  • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Flipao (903929) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:53PM (#37721042)

    It's driving force is a desire for equality, where equality means that you get free money from the government.

    Well that's how FOX News viewers would perceive it, the demonstrations come out of frustration with the state of the current financial system, and the fact that the people who caused it are very well off whilst the middle class is being obliterated.

    People aren't protesting to get free stuff, but to express their disagreement with a country where 1% of the population control 40% of the wealth and growing, being able to use this to influence legislation in order to keep it that way.

    So yeah, maybe you should get a clue before making incorrect assumptions/uninformed statements.

  • Re:Really.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Solandri (704621) on Friday October 14, 2011 @10:04PM (#37721108)

    Glad to see that there are NO electronics engineers or other people that have a clue as to what they are doing.

    Two paragraphs after the one you quoted from TFA: "However, one bright spark managed to cobble together a new converter that downstepped the 12 volt supply directly to five volts much more efficiently, using mail-order parts and a bit of ingenuity."

    The other problem with stepping 12V DC down to 5V is that often, the only charger people have for their phone is the proprietary AC one. The industry has standardized on mini/micro USB lately, but most older phones will only charge with an AC adapter. And almost nobody will be willing to chop up their laptop's AC adapter plug to be able to hook it up to straight DC. So the universal power supply remains 120/240 V AC.

    I do have to wonder though, given this report is from San Francisco and the type of people drawn to OWS, why hasn't anyone thought to set up a windmill or some sort of solar array (about 4-5 m^2 @ 0.15 capacity factor should generate as much power as people taking turns cycling 24/7). PV solar sucks in comparison to other electricity sources, but it's forte is off-the-grid applications like this.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday October 14, 2011 @10:34PM (#37721310) Journal
    I find two things very curious about the 'confusion' surrounding, and some of the reactions to, the protesters:

    1. The 'confusion': Ignoring the stuff manufactured purely for rhetorical effect("Those crazy kids are just lazy communist anarchists who don't even know what they want!"), you don't really have to be able to trace every detail of exactly how American financial and labor systems have evolved to produce a practically banana-republic wealth distribution in order to take a look at the numbers and see that they, however the details work, definitely have. This is basic "black box" analysis here, the sort of thing that you use (formally or informally) all the time when dealing with complex situations. I don't understand why some people suddenly fall flat on that.

    2. The "53%"-er response, and its ilk: Yes, everybody realizes that is, in fact, possible to make money and survive in the US without being a member in good standing of the plutocracy. Were that not the case, things would be a little noisier. That is orthogonal to the displeasure people feel at having to work increasingly hard for a steadily dwindling slice of the pie and no chance of the handy state handouts received by the people who need them least. This school of response isn't false, per se, it's just an enormous non-sequitor.
  • Re:Really.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday October 14, 2011 @10:56PM (#37721420) Journal

    I don't think it takes a degree to see people who were at least partially responsible for the meltdown getting their asses saved through government largess doing rather well, while the average person is worse off for it. We can debate a lot of things, but what we can't debate is that those who are most responsible are getting off rather easy; that's politicians and corporate leaders alike.

    What's become pretty apparent to me is that while the protesters don't know shit about economics, neither, it appears, do those at the top of the food chain.

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