Counting public gatherings in 2017-Washington Post article

The point of this post is to show how complex and grassroots public gatherings can be counted and measured. The two main researchers quoted in these Washington Post articles are Erika Chenoweth and Jeremy Pressman, both respected analysts of the details of large-scale civil movements and gatherings. As a data junkie, I have followed this effort with a great deal of interest (and have even counted some of these gatherings in my own town to check others’ counts) and look forward to more of the analysis of both the methodology and the actual count data. The analysis included not just the number who gathered but who and what was being protested or being supported, where these events were held, what symbols were used, how many arrests were made.

For March 2017, we tallied 585 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that 79,389 to 89,585 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely that there were far more participants.

Certainly, food and farming systems should note some of the systems used for collection and analysis. For example, the Crowd-Counting Consortium may be something that national entities involved in any grassroots data collection systems like food systems should discuss creating for their own use.

Here is their counting method:

We arrived at these figures by relying on publicly reported estimates of march locations and the number of participants involved in each. We started a spreadsheet and called for crowdsourced information about the location and number of participants in marches. Before long, we had received thousands of reports, allowing us to derive low and high estimates for each event. We carefully validated each estimate by consulting local news sources, law enforcement statements, event pages on social media, and, in some cases, photos of the marchers. When reports were imprecise, we aimed for conservative counts; for example, if observers reported “hundreds” of participants, we reported a value of 200 (“thousands” was 2,000, “tens of thousands” was 20,000, etc).

An example of their public data set.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/04/24/in-trumps-america-whos-protesting-and-why-heres-our-march-report/?utm_term=.ce99baecf0b6

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Motion Card newest card technology to stem fraud

Motion Code to the rescue

At first glance these cards don’t look any different from the ones you carry around today, but they’re hiding some technological wizardry.

The three digits on the back of this card will change, every hour, for three years.ezgif-com-crop

“Juice wasn’t worth the squeeze”

So the story of the flameout of Dinner Lab is something to ponder. As a New Orleanian who watched it up close, I was mystified by what they were trying to sell; turns out, they were too. Even with 10 million bucks in venture capital available.
This type of badly managed tech “solution” often seems the food system equivalent of living in Tornado Alley: A high probability of sudden and uncoordinated disruptions with widespread destruction left behind. Of course, there are many excellent tech innovations that have also helped organizers too; just make sure that you investigate the goals, backers and the operation before encouraging farmers or markets to join up.

At each meal, Dinner Lab had guests provide detailed feedback on that night’s menu. The company thought it could make money off that data, but they learned there was no market for the information.

Since closing, Dinner Lab has ignored numerous messages from NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune about whether paid members would receive a refund.

Likely they will wait as long as the GoodEggs vendors waited for recompense for the orders they had prepared for delivery when that business closed without warning in mid week last August: forever.

Source: Dinner Lab autopsy: ‘Juice wasn’t worth the squeeze,’ CEO tells Forbes | NOLA.com

Chip cards can lead to higher debit fees for merchants

For example, when customers insert a chip-based debit card into a new terminal, they may be offered only Visa’s network as the choice. Or they may see two options: “Visa debit” or “U.S. debit.” Since most consumers don’t know what “U.S. debit” is — it’s actually is a link to smaller networks like NYCE — they usually pick Visa.

Instead of being prompted to enter their PINs, shoppers are asked for a signature, and the merchant is charged from 1 percent to 2 percent per transaction when a card is issued by a smaller bank. About a third of all debit cards come from financial institutions with less than $10 billion in assets, whose fees aren’t capped under an amendment to the U.S. Dodd-Frank Act.

By contrast, most PIN-based debit-card transactions, such as those over the NYCE network, have average fees of about 25 cents — and slightly more for cards issued by smaller banks. Visa and MasterCard have PIN-based debit networks too, but many of the new terminals are set up to favor their more expensive signature systems.

 

The main issue is that under the amendment sponsored by Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, an ally of the retail industry, merchants must be given at least two options for routing transactions. However, many processing companies and vendors haven’t upgraded their clients’ terminals with software designed to steer transactions to the least-expensive debit network. In many cases, the choice is preset, or it’s shoppers who are making the decision when they are prompted to choose a network.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-11/chip-cards-slap-u-s-merchants-with-unexpected-higher-debit-fees

 

Recent post on mobile wallet technology

The Small Business Beginner’s Guide to Snapchat

“Last week, we polled readers about which social media platform they felt LEAST comfortable using heading into the new year…
In just one week, we had hundreds of marketers respond that Snapchat was their least comfortable platform for marketing.

Now it’s true that we haven’t written a LOT about the social media platform ourselves, but the last time we discussed Snapchat, we said that their new feature Discover was worth exploring as a business. Many of the publishers who have joined the partnership already have given positive feedback saying it has allowed them to reach a new audience they would have never found without Snapchat.

When diving into Pew Research, we found that the audience they speak of is mostly made up of 18 to 29-year-olds on their mobile devices.

So before you continue on to read about how to start using Snapchat for your small business, think about your audience and see if your target market may fit into this category. If not, Snapchat may not be the right platform for you, if your target audience does fit into this demographic – keep reading...”

 

 

Responsive Web Design for Non-Profits’ Customers

The average person worldwide has five social media accounts and spends an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day on any number of devices. Therefore using what is termed “responsive web design” is vital. It means that the information is optimized for whatever device it is being seen on with a minimum of scrolling or resizing.
The site Non-Profit Tech picked three sites offered by non-profits that they think are especially good at this and I think additionally that one of the three, Pittsburghkids.org, is just a very useful site for markets to view. Simply designed and easily navigated, it offers a lot for those new to the site and yet has easy-to-find shortcuts to get into the site if you are a return visitor.
Nice to hear in the original story that non-profits were the pioneers of the use of social media, adding content and varied ways for their community to see and reach them long before businesses bought into the idea.