givingthanks.

Thanksgiving was fantastic this year. I went down to Pasadena a few days early to speak at a TPP protest in Beverly Hills (RT America covered it here). I worked remotely for the rest of the week until I had to help cook up a serious feast for the 21 guests coming to my parents’ house. We made over 20 dishes including of course, the turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing, PLUS 20 grilled quails, green bean casserole, baked carrots, creamed onions, potato gratin, butternut squash, and our family tradition of black-cherry-jello-ring-mold with whipped cream and walnuts. The amount of food we had was bonkers, but it was really fun cooking everything from scratch with my family.

So this is cheesy and I know I’m a few days late now but I still wanted to list a few things for which I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for whistleblowers, journalists, and others who risk their lives to expose the truth about the world. We have massive, glaring issues that need to be addressed, and we can’t even begin to effectively fix them if we don’t actually know what’s going on.

I’m thankful for having the opportunity to live in this crazy place, San Francisco. I enjoy ragging on it: about the Google buses making our rent too damn high, the inefficient public transport system, and the annoying start-up/tech-utopian culture. Sure there’s a lot of apps/platforms/tools being built that’s probably useless in the long run, but it’s nice to be in a place where people are so excited to make things. I think this city is going through a major transition, mostly due to this hot tech economy, in a way that will foreshadow some of the biggest issues of this coming century.

And I’m thankful for having the opportunity to do the work that I do. That it continues to challenge me to pragmatically think about how to make peoples’ lives better. That I get to nerd out on the details and history of the problems of the privatization of culture and knowledge, and examine the resulting backward policies that stifle responsible technological advancement. That I get to meet and interact with brilliant people who work in this space and also do what they do out of dedication to fix our laws and policies…

I hope that doesn’t come off as braggy… but I’m just being honest here and at least that’s better than taking things for granted. I think it’s a good exercise to realize what you have, especially when things aren’t going well overall. I want to always make sure I appreciate what’s working, given that any of it could be lost at any moment.

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