When a Robot Signs a Bill: A Brief History of the Autopen 

“Although Bush set up the legal argument for autopen bill signing, he never used the device to enact legislation. Obama was the first to do so, signing an extension of the PATRIOT Act via autopen while in Europe. (Kind of fitting that a robot re-signed into law an act that represents the tenuous nature of technology, privacy, and the role of government.) Some lawmakers objected to the move, but no serious legal challenge to auto-signing bills has ever surfaced.”

(via new-aesthetic)

That makes us think of…the human touch of a robot’s hand.


The game starts when you pick a side: Democrat or Republican. You can select each balloon and see the text of their tweet above. Your job is to identify party allies, and deflate your political opponents with a well-aimed dart.

Instructions for playing the Hot Air Game. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Neat gamification of political twitter commentary. 



Play Human Rights Bingo during Wednesday’s presidential debate! Will the candidates address these issues? Download all 4 bingo cards to play along at home.

Super disappointed that AmnestyUSA didn’t assemble a crack team of gif makers.

I’m joking.

Twitter Launches Political Index: The Twitter Pulse Of The Election

Right now, if you want to know how the country feels about Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, you have to rely on pundits’ intuitions or traditional opinion polls, conducted as they always have been — by phone, over the course of hours or days. There’s no direct way to check the pulse of millions of actual people, simultaneously and directly, second by second.

Twitter is launching a tool today that it says will fill that gap, and sort through the 400 million tweets a day from 140 million active users. Twitter and real-time search engine Topsy are launching the “Twitter Political Index,” a daily assessment of how Twitter feels about Obama and Romney, in an election cycle that’s being played out moment-to-moment on the social service.

(via sunfoundation)

Watch now: Silja Ómarsdóttir on rewriting Iceland’s constitution.

Silja Ómarsdóttir was one of 25 people tapped to rewrite Iceland’s constitution after the country’s financial meltdown in 2008. She details how the citizens of Iceland reacted to the bank collapse and the eventual response from the government, which included updating the country’s constitution. Ómarsdóttir explains the constitution creation process and what it meant to overhaul the constitution, with considerable public input, in four months.

Millennials are increasingly viewing life through a game lens, even just [using] #winning or #fail. Game vernacular has become a part of youth vernacular. By putting that competitive layer on top of it — a lot of people are inherently competitive, so if the path to winning is being informed, there could be a really great civic benefit.
Jason Rzepka, MTV’s vice president of public affairs, explains the decision to create a fantasy sports game-like experience around the  2012 presidential election.

Anne-Marie Slaughter on a new era of ‘citizen social actor foreign policy’

In case you missed it, professor of politics and international relations at Princeton and former Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State Anne-Marie Slaughter (PopTech 2011) was on NPR last week to weigh in on the struggling international peace plan for Syria.

Slaughter is a foreign policy expert and watching her PopTech talk you’ll see why. Slaughter provided an overview on the future of foreign policy, exploring the transformation, over the past few decades, from state to non-state, non-governmental ‘social actors’ as key players to effect change in a less siloed, more networked world.

Bring it to the Table: A project that brings citizens together around issues that normally tear us apart.