Here’s a new analysis of the constitutionality of presidential tweeting (or rather, blocking):
According to Dennis Baron, “The Knight First Amendment Institute claims that when Donald Trump blocks Twitter followers who criticize him or his policies, he’s violating the First Amendment, and so Knight is suing on behalf of seven blocked tweeters to force the president to unblock them and open his Twitter feed to everyone.”
Read more on Baron’s blog: https://illinois.edu/blog/view/25/576432
As we continue to think about audiences and other human groups, read Matt Rendell’s account of the strategy and physics of bike racing — like many sports, cycling involves both teams and individuals, but because a race might have 20 teams, the group dynamics can be complex and fascinating.
On Wednesday, October 11, I attended a forum on bikeways and homelessness in San Francisco. This forum came about because there have been some conflicts between homeless people camping and bicyclist using bikeways, particularly a network of bike paths under the 101 interchange at Cesar Chavez Blvd. Because city and state agencies have cleared encampments and fenced off spaces under many freeways, campers have moved onto bikeways in some areas.
The forum was an attempt by SF Supervisor Hillary Ronen and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to educate cyclists about homelessness in San Francisco, and to describe some of the efforts underway to find people housing.
About 60 people attended the event, and we heard from Supervisor Ronen, a Bike Coalition person, two homeless advocates, and a representative of Caltrans, the state transportation agency that maintains the 101 freeway.
I learned that on any given night in San Francisco, there are about 7500 people experiencing homelessness. This number has been holding pretty steady for the past few years, although there has been a rise in visible tent encampments, like the ones we saw on Division St. during our October 3rd expedition.
A few panelists speculated about the rise of tent camps in SF. One person observed that many homeless people used to camp in the Mission Bay area (where we visited Dr. Bauer on October 3rd). But all the new construction in that area has led them to try to find other places to camp.
Supervisor Ronen outlined her efforts to create “Navigation Centers” — a new kind of shelter where people are treated with greater dignity (for example, you can keep your pets with you) and possessions are more respected and secure. One of these centers has opened near the 101/Chavez interchange.
Unfortunately, I had to leave before the end of the panel to get to another event, but it was a great learning experience for me. I feel that I now better understand the reasons for the current situation (as well as solutions underway), and I also have greater empathy for the people experiencing homelessness whom I’ve encountered on bike paths.
More about this issue (and link to video) in this SF Examiner article:
We will have class on campus! For the first part of class we will be in Gleeson 213 (the classroom on the second floor of the library with the colorful chairs). For the second part of class we will be outdoors, but we will stay on campus.
Bring a LAPTOP (if convenient) — you can also check out a laptop from the library. We will spend some time catching up on blogs.
Planned class activities:
Individual presentations (postponed from last week). Please review and rehearse your material. Important goals for your talk:
- making valuable use your time (and ours)
- evaluating and using appropriate evidence of different kinds
- evaluating and demonstrating credibility
- sharing knowledge about some aspect of bikes or bicycling in San Francisco or elsewhere
- developing your skill in delivery (audience engagement, structure of presentation, voice, posture, and so much more…)
Thinking about Audiences and Communities (Module 3). I’ll ask you to write and talk about communities that are important to you and audiences you’d like to reach.
Impromptu Team Presentations. You’ll work in teams to explore theories of audience and advice about how to reach audiences as a speaker. You’ll present your findings to the class.
Work on blogs. Writing and speaking go together. Writing your blog is an essential part of the work of this class. We’ll work together to make sure everyone can post to their blogs.
Bicycle Fabrication. We’ll have a visit from a San Francisco bicycle framebuilder to talk about how bikes are built and show some of his work.
Wow, you should’ve seen Sierra, Devyn, Malia, Jordan, and Ciarra talking about bicycle research with participants at the California Bicycle Summit.
We met State Senate staffers as well as staff from bicycle coalitions all across the state (the California Bicycle Coalition, the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, the Fresno County Bicycle Coalition… the list goes on and on). We met pedestrian activists and Caltrans engineers. We met professors from UC Davis and from the University of San Diego.
It was amazing to see the USF team talking about what they’ve studied and answering questions from an audience of experts!
Then we stopped at In-n-Out on the way back.
On Wednesday morning, October 4th, at 10:00 am, I’ll be at City Hall to attend a public meeting on bike theft in San Francisco. The supervisor for my district, Hillary Ronen, has proposed a new rule that would change how police departments respond to bike theft and car break-ins.
You can read the proposed legislation here.
I posted this to Canvas as an “Assignment” — you can see more info on the assignment page.
There is no better place to observe public speaking than at a government meeting — this, in fact, is why we teach public speaking: to prepare you to speak up as a citizen or member of your community.
Effective public speakers seek feedback and prepare with lots of practice.
The Speaking Center can help!
Here’s a video introduction:
Meet in front of the library as usual — bring your bike & helmet & lock. Weather forecast: warm and sunny, high 70s, moderate breeze from the north. Great biking weather.
We’ll work on these things in class:
- body awareness in speaking and cycling
- biking practice on campus
- discussing and debating assigned readings (see below)
- revising and editing posters
- planning and schedule for Presentation 2
TASKS due 9/26:
Post: Your in-class writing about reading from last week. What is a post?
Read/Watch (total of 4 things):
- Huff, excerpt from “How to Lie with Statistics” (PDF)
- Schnell, “Data Visualization” (PDF)
- Video: “USF Creative Activity and Research Day” (2:37)
- Video: Hans Rosling TED talk, “Debunking…” (20:35)
Work with your team to create a poster explaining the evidence you’ve collected. Use Powerpoint or Google Slides to create the poster.
On Tuesday, we heard some great team presentations of evidence about the Panhandle area. Links to videos and slides below.
- Teams are finding great stuff — very interesting and often very thorough observations.
- Generally good work explaining your goals and methods.
- Great use of a variety of kinds of evidence (numbers, photos…)
- Very nice job generally with transitions, Carl Kwan style!
- Slides were generally very good — we’ll talk more in the future about slide design best practices and pitfalls.
Weaknesses (biggest weak points had to do with delivery, not with content):
- As I mentioned, conclusions were generally weak. Refer to this Canvas page for important advice about conclusions.
- Confidence: you discovered something interesting — now stand up there and own it!
Class slides from 9/19 (look here for homework for 9/26).