Occupy Wall Street's Open-Source To-Do List

OccupyVotes lets people rank the most important ideas coming out of the Occupy Wall Street movement, adding clarity to the jumble of demands.

While pundits and reporters have bemoaned the lack of clarity on Occupy Wall Street's to-do list, a media nonprofit has taken a (not-so) radical approach to creating a unified agenda: asking people what matters most in a systematic way. New York City-based Digital Democracy is the organization behind OccupyVotes, a new web platform that lets users prioritize the various demands of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Making college free or taxing fossil fuels? Raising taxes on corporations or reducing interest on college loans? Voters select the concern that's more pressing, resulting in a ranked list of demands.

"What’s cool is the system itself is totally open-sourced, transparent and accountable," says Digital Democracy president Mark Belinsky. If voters don't see a relevant demand on the list, they can seed their own ideas into the voting platform's rotation. More than 23,000 people have voted since the tool was launched on October 16. The top idea thus far? "Repeal corporate personhood."

As part of Digital Democracy's mission of empowering marginalized communities to participate in the democratic process, Belinsky is eager to move the tool beyond the internet onto the streets of New York so that everyone can participate. "Can we make a physical voting booth where Grandma can walk up to it and start to vote even though she’s never been on the internet?" he wonders. Or in Egypt, where Digital Democracy piloted the tool at the height of the revolution, could organizers drive an iPad-equipped pickup truck around the country to gather data on what matters most to people? Belinsky says the group is in talks with partners in Egypt to make that a reality. For now, look out for the voting platform on an occupier's smartphone near you.

Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

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There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

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Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

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