Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Step up and avow your PROXY POWER actions!

A blog is nice because you can duck out of sight when the time seems right. Well, it may be that time for some of you, who will want to keep a sheepish low profile this time, while others step forward to speak up.

Because now it’s time for people to proudly proclaim which “proxy power” groups we decided to join, during the recent holiday season. Our chosen ways to help save the world... by the relatively simple convenience of helping others to save it for us!

(For those of you playing catchup, drop by my popular article on Proxy Power ... and remember, part of your 49 cents will go to good causes!)

So, which organizations met your personal criteria? Did you join enough (at some crossing point of passion and disposable income) to help you to feel that the world will be better, because you are in it? A world more worthy of your grandchildren?

Oh, it needn’t just be charities and do-good causes! I have urged any and all who feel a bit inclined, to subscribe to ANALOG Magazine for example, if only to help boost real science fiction at a time when it is sinking next to the thrashing behemoth of fantasy.

Along those lines, also look at plans for Baen’s UNIVERSE Magazine, the new online SF venture I’ll help to launch in June.  Keep this one simmering and then join up when the time is right!

Finally, if you want to stay up-to-date on cutting edge stuff and genuine techno-optimism, see the people at the Accelerating Studies Foundation: These are the smartest of the “extropian” singularity guys. Their newsletter is terrific and you’ll be entertained.

All right now, it’s proxy power time! Step on up and tell us who you’ve “hired” to help save the world.


fpoole said...

Let's not forget about Analog sister publication Asimov's.

Anna Paradox said...

Short on cash, so I gave hair to Locks of Love and time to the Amaranth Diabetes Foundation. High self-esteem, healthy people will do a better job of building the future!

Anonymous said...

Last year, I gave up a bedroom to a foster child... he graduated High School last June, and turned 18 in October. We got a nice card from him for Christmas, and he's doing well.

For the holidays, we went to the local USO and 'adopted' a Marine for Thanksgiving and two sailors for Christmas...

Of course, during my holiday break, I went through my bookshelves and took every book I didn't intend to reread or loan to friends and donated them to the local library... and I have a receipt for tax purposes. (If Scientoligists can donate books to spread thier beliefs, why can't I?)

Politically, I was quiet this year, waiting for the primary season to decide who I'm going to vote and donate AGAINST. (I'm in the market for a replacement bumper sticker, my current one says "Why vote for the LESSER of two evils? Cthulu '04")

I've volunteered to play tour guide at the local military museum (USS Midway), but haven't recieved a response... time to give them another call, I think.

And my San Diego Zoo membership needs renewing... but I might hold off on that until the weather improves.

SM1(SW), USN, ret.

Rob Perkins said...

I'm a regular supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, the Aircraft Owner's and Pilot's Association, which fights to keep small airports open, and LDS Philanthropies, which combines my relatively small donations with others to donate to or ally with philanthropic organizations around the world in everything from building safe sources of water, to providing decent secular education to those who can't otherwise get it, to disaster relief, all without siphoning off undue amounts of money for administrative overhead.

michael vassar said...

How can you possibly think the accelerating change guys are smarter than the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology and The Singularity Institute? Arguably, I suppose these groups aren't "Extropian" due to their generally concerned outlook, but then what about the World Transhumanist Association?

Anonymous said...

I normally spread things out a lot more, and like to give to "teach a man to fish" places like Heifer International and FICA, but this year the Red Cross, Mercy Corps, and Habitat for Humanity got the vast majority of my charity boodle.

I renewed my NPR station "membership," and threw token amounts to the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center. Sent some cash to Books for Troops so they could keep paying y'all to send donated books to charity. Another token donation to my grad school's alumni fund.

Gave a grand to a collection for some old college friends who took time off from work while their son was wracked with cancer . . . alas, it probably ended up being used for funeral expenses. #@$%#$%!

David Brin said...

Hmph. It looks like Hawker is too busy ACTUALLY saving the world, first hand, to deign to use Brin's "proxy power" approach. snif!

Seriously, I am pushing proxy power so that the vast majority might have ways to target a little extra oomph to their dreams of a better world. To the small minority of truly active people -- like those taking in foster children -- this proxy stuff is small potatoes and it should humble all of us.

Anonymous said...

David, you'll make me blush.
Honesty compels me to admit that my lovely wife does most of the work, I just provide funding and moral support.

If I'm saving the world, I'm doing it at one teenager a year...

And I do it that way because I lack name recognition to encourage others, and the cash to pay to encourage others.


Rob Perkins said...

Hawker, my grandparents took in four foster children, tough ones who had suffered through things like slavery, in two cases. They adopted three of them.

That kind of work is fantastic stuff.

David Brin said...

Oh, a side note. For years ASIMOV's Magazine of SF has been one of the worst influences on the genre possible. See Judith Berman's epochal whistleblowing piece, showing starkly how Gardner Dozois waged war against hope and the future, during his tenure at that magazine.

And yes, the stuff at Analog might also be criticized, for occasionally lacking literary zing. even for occasional tilts to the right. But Analog has stayed true to the core notion of SF. That ideas are important. And even ideas about how humanity might succeed.

Now come on! Has anyone else sent in dues to a group that tries to save the world for you, by proxy? The Sierra Club? Greenpeace? Project Witness? The Electronic Frontier Foundation? Amnesty? Habitat? Must I bear this load myself?

...thud! Nobody... knows... da trouble... I've seen...

Anonymous said...

I usually donate to the Sierra Club, Amnesty Intl, and the EFF, but as described above I diverted a lot of the cash that usually goes to "membership" type organizations to disaster relief funds.


Woozle said...

I've been using a neighborhood wiki page to gather information on our most regular neighborhood door-to-door charity solicitor, to see if our occasional semi-voluntary cash contributions (we are a rather low-budget proxy power source) are actually going someplace useful; nothing clear yet.

Going in what I feel is a more productive direction, I've spent considerable time and energy on (1), my attempt to get (and spread) clarity on contentious issues, and (2), a sort of combined global directory and working-notes-on-everything. (Both are wikis, neither take paid advertising or charge membership; I may eventually accept donations, but for now the cost is small enough.)

I *would* give Wikipedia some cash if I had any to spare; it has been tremendously useful to me.

I've been an Analog subscriber since about 1979 (got back issues continuously from 1966, with a few more going back as early as the 1940s). Favorite Magazine Of All Time; Stan Schmidt totally R0xx0rs. ;-)

TC said...

HH said, Honesty compels me to admit that my lovely wife does most of the work, I just provide funding and moral support.

If I'm saving the world, I'm doing it at one teenager a year...

Funding and moral support's a lot! Sounds like you and your wife are a great team.

Sometimes, I think that even where there's individual activism and proxy power, the most powerful force to unleash on the world is a child raised in love and respect.

Mr. Brin asked, Now come on! Has anyone else sent in dues to a group that tries to save the world for you, by proxy?

I donated the Sierra Club in the past. This year, Katrina and the crisis in Thailand focused my funds on the Red Cross.

I contribute to Open Source projects like Samba, Red Hat, and Mandriva (previous known as Mandrake). Open Source gives us the chance to remember that this technology that surrounds us is supposed to be fun, and it's supposed to free us to create and achieve. That seems to me to be a noble cause.

I keep my subscription to Analog current, though I'm about 5 years behind in reading. Hard science fiction is a precious thing, and Analog's one of its best outlets.

I'm seriously considering the EFF, and if no more huge natural disasters hit this year, I'll send some funds their way. I think they're fighting on a front that most folks aren't giving much thought, and it's too bad, because that's where the new (and liberating) technology is hitting the turbulence around governments and business interests.

I wish I could do more, but I have two kids, and tying to save for their college is quite the daunting task!

Mr. Furious said...

Heifer, Church World Service, Red Cross (Katrina), many more through my congregation.

I'm trying to turn my back catalog of music into PROXY POWER; see how at - click on "CDs".

Jonathan said...

Sorry, but my finances are such that for Christmas this year, I gave my kids the gift of keeping the lights on and the rent paid...

However, I have been doing what I can to help the future, by referring as many people as possible to this website. :-)

Anonymous said...

The Nature Conservancy is my favorite for habitat preservation (and they've had some big successes in San Diego recently). Other local groups include the San Dieguito River Park, Escondido Creek Conservancy, Daley Ranch, California Parks, and others. To help us save the world by spending more time off of it, the Natl Space and Planetary Societies, too.
Bill L. Escondido, CA

Steve said...

This is actually a lot of fun to take a second and take stock to think how my little efforts may add up.

My proxies go to:

-Discover Magazine
-Scientific American
-Skeptical Inquirer
-Planetary Society
-NPR for news with a brain (and for This American Life for Art with a brain)
-American Society for Quality (New motto: "Driving the Diamond-Shaped Society"?)
-Donation to Orbiter Space Flight Simulator so that others can learn for free how space flight really works, as well as building a 3-D model (and documenting the real economic plan to build it) of the Stanford Torus space station to encourage people to see space colonization as a real possiblity

More directly:

-Bi-monthly apherisis donations to Bonfils Blood Center (platelets, red cells and plasma)
-Teaching people in business how to use the scientific method to make their business more efficient (believe me at what CU paid me, this was a donation...)
-Plotting to start an institute at the University of Colorado to improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare (donating my time, but planning a profit, the best of both worlds!)
-Raising two daughters who will change the world and surpass me

Steve said...

Oops, Nature Conservancy far as I can tell, it is the most effective environmental group and represents a good model of what I would like to see as the environmentalists of the future...

Anonymous said...

Very short on cash this year. Had several thousand airline miles I donated to the International Red Cross so doctors could fly to remote areas as needed for disaster relief.

What little spare cash I had went to friends who are struggling financially about as much as I am these days.

Might have a little cash this coming year. Am thinking Analog and EFF.

Anonymous said...

"Now come on! Has anyone else sent in dues to a group that tries to save the world for you, by proxy?"

Does it always have to involve dues?

As for me, last year I joined (sent dues to) (a child advocacy group.) I also called and emailed my congressional representatives (and wrote a public service announcement for the local college radio station) to help support and pass a bill to close the "incest loophole" (the way the law used to be in California: rape a stranger's kid, automatic jailtime, grow your own victim, probation's an option.) Now I'm trying to help get a national version passed.

In addition, last year I particpated in a local fundraiser for victim's of hurricaine Katrina,(helping to run, not donating, I'm usually broke.) donated blood to the stanford medical center when time and health allowed (need to do that more often.) Visited (clicks for feeding the hungry.) Signed up for (and used) the web-email service (like hotmail, but cause-related) singed a ton of petitions at (I know, I know, that has limits) and joined in a bunch of those "click here to send
email to congress about etc." (perscription drug benefits, action on Sudan, union of Concerned scientist alerts, etc.)

I also donated a number of my videos to the San Jose Public Library "Freinds of the Library" bookstore (and If I ever get organized, more more my stuff is going there.)

So for me, donating this year was haphzard, scattershot, and coming up as small potatoes compared to the other members here (I know, it's not a competition) and I'll try to do better this year.


fpoole said...

David: I never knew much about Asimov's, but that article is quite enlightening...