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Notes on building a cron-powered Twitter countdown bot

This blog post is about @looming_midterm, a bot that counts down the days to the next midterm election. You can find the code for this bot at benlk/looming_midterms. @looming_midterm was inspired by this tweet from B Cordelia Yu, and several experiments with the command-line Twitter client sferik/t. I thought making a simple script that generated a message and piped it to t wouldn‘t take long. I was wrong. Here‘s hoping I can save yo

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A miscellaneous collection of licenses

Sometimes you need a license more esoteric than the WTFPL. This collection of strange software licenses should keep your project contributors preoccupied. The Anyone But Stallman License arose from a strange conversation in #osuosc on Freenode. It precedes the Anyone But Richard M Stallman License written by landondyer by about three months, and is designed to be maximally forbidding to RMS. The Schrdinger License may now be safely linked to fo

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Open Source and Journalism (and NICAR 2016) talk

This post is a long collection of tools, resources, and tips that I saw at NICAR 2016 or in conversations around it. There‘s also some links in here that are not from NICAR 2016, but seemed relevant. This blog post serves as lecture notes for my March 24, 2016 talk at the The Ohio State University Open Source Club What is NICAR? It‘s a yearly conference about computer-assisted reporting. Computer-assisted reporting is, as Wikiped

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A history of heartbeat abortion bills

Ohio became the third state to have passed a "heartbeat bill" on Tuesday, banning most forms of abortion after 12 weeks. Ohio‘s bill includes an exception allowing for abortion to preserve the health of the mother, but critics say the bill‘s restriction is unconstitutional. Of the nine states known to have introduced heartbeat abortion bills, only Arkansas, North Dakota, and Ohio have successfully passed the bills. Arkansas‘ an

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The parts of SRCCON that can be copied by other conferences

The first draft of this post was written on a plane between Minneapolis and Chicago, on not enough hours of sleep. Then there were drafts, and WordCamp for Publishers, but most of the bones of this were laid down in the days immediately after SRCSourceCONCon. With that preface out of the way, this essay begins. The two days of SRCCON were full of amazing conversations, interesting sessions, and blessd quiet time. This happy occasion was made pos

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Reading Notes: Cory Doctorow‘s "Information Doesn‘t Want to be Free"

Information Doesn‘t Want to be Free by Cory Doctorow is the News Nerd Book Club pick for our March 2016 meetup at NICAR. Here‘s a Cliff‘s Notes version of the book, with annotations and questions for discussion. Your feedback is very welcome! Tweet it to me @benlkeith or send an email to ben@inn.org. Wil Wheaton‘s forward I don‘t want to copy and paste this introduction wholesale, and there‘s no link to the

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Making it easier for me to call my reps

I made a tiny little phone tree to make it easier for me to call my elected representatives. It‘s not backed by a database and it doesn‘t have a newsletter. There are no calls to action. The checkbox doesn‘t do anything. The page is only there to serve as a reminder to me. But because it‘s mine, it‘ll be more effective. How will you help yourself become more politically active?

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Dailygraphics Demo Talk

Contained herein are talk notes and links to examples and demonstrations from my March 2017 talk at the Collegiate Web Developers Group at the Ohio State University about NPR‘s dailygraphics rig. I don‘t use the dailygraphics rig professionally, but I think it‘s a really cool tool that people at CWDG may be interested in. Thus, this talk. Hi, I‘m Ben Keith (@benlkeith), I work for the tech team at the Institute for Nonpr

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Tweetstorm about Rogue On

Does this look like a Tweetstorm to you? It‘s not. It‘s a blog post about Rogue One (A Star Wars Story) and why I enjoyed it. What does a typical blockbuster look like? In a typical modern action film, Action Hero and Action Heroine (and sidekicks) go places and do things. There‘s a setback. They overcome the setback through teamwork and a couple of well-timed coincidences. Maybe a sidekick fulfills a side mission. The mission

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