Applied Flashmobs

In the book “Distraction” by Bruce Sterling, characters discuss the event of a flash mob that appeared at a bank branch armed with tools that systematically destroyed the facility in minutes. This book was pretty much science-fiction when it was written, today, maybe perhaps there’s more truth to its environment:

It’s November 2044, an election year, and the state of the Union is a farce. The government is broke, the cities are privately owned, and the military is shaking down citizens in the streets. Washington has become a circus and no one knows that better than Oscar Valparaiso. A political spin doctor, Oscar has always made things look good. Now he wants to make a difference.

Is this happening already in America?     You bethca! Violent flash mobs have made their appearances in Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn this year with mobs of teenagers from poor neighborhoods busing themselves in and running loose upon the city downtown. 150 bored teenagers can do a lot of damage. Imagine what 1000 or even 10,000 people could do if they felt the need. This is why its important that the State not abuse its power with non-violent people. One Pulizer-scale photo like this:

Kent State massacre, 1970

can take your audience from their gentle and peaceful Kumbaya and tranced-drumming pace and radicalize a significant number to start a war with you.

Mobilizing Your Flashmob     Imagine you want to mobilize a whole lot of people from a public channel within a city. You have a goal, and you want it to happen at a time and place. So you start tweeting locations like:

  1. Washington Circle Park.
  2. Stanton Park.
  3. East Potomac Park.
  4. Brentwood Park.
  5. … and so on.
You number each location and you give this information out on your public channel about a week in advance.  You pre-announce which day the event will be launched. Sometime during that day, the “go” code letting you know which location will be the active one. Once the code goes, the location goes hot and everyone converges there within minutes.
Obviously, you can look at this like nuclear drills. Maybe you’re launching, maybe you’re not. And don’t think that you need social media to pull these kinds of stunts off, the trigger could be as simple as a number spray painted on the side of a widely visible building.
“One if by sea, two if by…”

How to handle tear-gas and pepper spray

Thankfully, very little of these chemical irritants have been deployed (so far). PhotoDoc at Reddit explains what to do if when they are. The biggest take away you should have: they’re non-lethal uless you’re very young or very old. However, some of you could be blinded by them should you be wearing your contacts. Read PhotoDoc’s explanation after the fold.

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Get Ready for #OWS in Winter: Body warmers for hands and sleeping bags

The US Navy describes their plan for hypothermia as:

Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of this condition include change in mental status, uncontrollable shivering, cool abdomen and a low core body temperature. Severe hypothermia may produce rigid muscles, dark and puffy skin, irregular heart and respiratory rates, and unconsciousness. Treat hypothermia by protecting the victim from further heat loss and calling for immediate medical attention. Get the victim out of the cold. Add insulation such as blankets, pillows, towels or newspapers beneath and around the victim. Be sure to cover the victim’s head. Replace wet clothing with dry clothing. Handle the victim gently because rough handling can cause cardiac arrest. Keep the victim in a horizontal (flat) position. Provide cardio-pulmonary artificial respiration or CPR (if you are trained) as necessary.

Let’s try and prevent that by gathering the tools.  Lots of your body’s blood flows through your hands as the vessels by their nature are closer to the skin there. Adding heat to your hands has a beneficial effect in the rest of your body—it may still be miserable, but it isn’t going to get worse for as long as you can keep adding heat.

Hand Warmers Everyone knows there’s little magical hand warmers that you open and its mixture of iron slowly oxidizes and creates heat. They’re disposable, and that’s going to be a problem—think about an expired hand warmer multiplied by 2000 people a day. How can we avoid that?

We know that the working groups will have power in some locations because they have generators. Microwaves are easily acquired. Now, let’s mix in the matter that can hold the heat: Flax-seed hand warmers.  Boil down the DIY fanciness and all you need is:

  1. A pair of clean socks.
  2. Flax-seed.
Microwave each pair of hand-warmers for about a minute (and when you’re up to production-level distribution of the heat-energy, you’ll figure out how to do a dozen at a time) and return to their user. Most importantly: No dispoable hand-warmers to clean up and throw away or buy.
Solving The Heating/Distribution Problem Now, you’ve got 2000 people with their hand-warmers. How do you heat them all?  First, multiply the number of hand-warmers by 3 to donate to the community, you’re all sharing them. Next, if you don’t have enough power to warm them on site, form a “bucket brigade” of insulated coolers you would use for picnics. You’ll take the cold hand-warmers and bring them off-site to be warmed, and bring them back in the same cooler.
Sleeping Bags Use pillow-cases with larger grains, perhaps buckwheat.