Shava Nerad

Somerville, MA, United States

About Shava

Languages

English, French

An idea worth spreading

I have two.

First, I teach a class at the Educational Studies Program at MIT called "How to Save the World in Your Spare Time" - this takes 6th-12th graders, and gives them tools to analyze, organize, and create a plan around a social problem, based on systems theory and formal nonviolence -- in two hours. I want to propagate this, and I need help.

Second, I have a company that's created an immersive virtual world experience (game?) that, if our hypotheses are right, uses solely visual stimuli on a normal PC to work on the hippocampus to produce a fairly strong theta state -- and I think this is going to change ideas around entertainment, lead to the therapeutic use of non-feedback/non-entrained theta, and add a principle of perceptual psych to our store of knowledge. Imagine you could have many benefits of a Vipassana practice from playing a social dancing computer game? Awesome.

I'm passionate about

If we give people tools to be better people, together we can make the world better.

Universities

MIT, Berkman Center

Talk to me about

games brainwaves civics nonviolence perception art science computers gardening entrepreneurship AMOLED
leadership education, social ventures, 3D entertainment tech, virtual reality, augmented reality

People don't know I'm good at

treasure-hunting. In Tibetan, the term is terton -- the terton goes into the hills and find an ancient sutra in modern language. Old wine in new skins. A memetic bard.

Comments & conversations

62384
Shava Nerad
Posted over 1 year ago
Should Microsoft and Google stand up and oppose the NSA publicly? Will doing nothing work?
Look at it this way, Daniel. It really SUCKS to be me sometimes. If you think this stuff is discouraging, imagine the days I have that it seems hopeless because I see into the heart of darkness of the stuff you don't get to see.. I live and breathe this stuff every day, and you're only seeing a little window into my world...:) Yet, most of the time, I remain positive, because I also see so many people working to make things better. It's a dynamic system -- an ecology. I also get to see the smartest, bravest, most amazing people you wouldn't believe -- people who you will never know about because they are lawyers for EFF or activists for some nonprofit you never heard of, or an intern for some congresscritter working on consumer privacy who is that office's person who's assigned to deal with the NSA data issues (!) and is only a sophomore in law school undergraduate and feeling overwhelmed but working 80 hours -- half of it in the Library of Congress trying to figure out the background of what she's fighting for (and who she's fighting against! :). Or, a young woman who's friends with a bunch of folks interested in Harry Potter fandom who wants to explain to her friends in simpler terms what's going on, and keeps asking smart questions for hours until she knows she can teach it to others. Young hackers arguing politics in Internet Relay Chat, working on an open source project, the Americans apologizing that their government is spying on their co-workers abroad, embarrassed, together trying to figure out what they should be doing about these issues, as friends across borders. We have to take this all as reason to keep going, and understand we're stronger together as a community and as a republic and democracy, than the people who assume power over their fiefdoms by pure assumption and expect us to put our tails between our legs and slink under the porch. I see it daily both ways. Good noodles. ;)
62384
Shava Nerad
Posted over 1 year ago
Should Microsoft and Google stand up and oppose the NSA publicly? Will doing nothing work?
Part of the backstory of this petition is a rumor that they are receiving something out of the USA PATRIOT Act called a National Security Letter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_security_letter This comes with a gag order that means they aren't even allowed to say they got it, and is more off the record than the FISA court requests -- it's off the record entirely! So by petitioning very generically to be able to disclose "national security requests," they may be petitioning also to relax restrictions on NSL requests in the backroom with the government lawyers, as it were. I have actually set the WaPo investigative team to try to see if they can find anything out about this one, although legally I'm not sure if they can. This is the thing -- I really believe there are a great many people in all parts of this issue (military, bureaucracy, corporate) fed up with this process. But so long as the USA PATRIOT Act stands they are at a huge disadvantage. And that will not go down so long as the American public is passive, outside the political system. It has to be a savvy political engagement accountability movement from the grassroots up to get Congress to take that monstrosity down. It's so hard to dismantle those sorts of mechanisms once we've allowed them to get their teeth in our freedoms.
62384
Shava Nerad
Posted over 1 year ago
Should Microsoft and Google stand up and oppose the NSA publicly? Will doing nothing work?
You can see stuff I've written lately on my g+ at: https://plus.google.com/s/%23bluerosemovement It's very new, I'm negotiating to get a friend to extend fiscal sponsorship for the organization until I can incorporate. Especially see: https://plus.google.com/101371184407256956306/posts/Y2SWs8XLJMM Makes me really wish my dad were still around -- we lost him a bit over a decade ago. I sort of feel like I have him looking over my shoulder on this stuff. ;) He'd be 90 this year, but he had emphysema, started smoking at 13. Everything was healthy but his lungs. I could sure use his wit around this project! (And yes, *long* generations in my family -- one grandfather born in 1882, dad was 1923, me 1959, my son in 1993... No wonder I have a sense of history! :) If you want to read a contrast (and I mean *contrast* to that history -- go read Howard Zinn. It might brighten you up, just out of adrenaline. But it's a sharp contrast to be read equally critically! :) Zinn was an honored historian also. Or go on youtube and listen to some of Noam Chomsky's commentaries. The public schools will not teach our children controversial issues. That is why we need non-governmental alternative media with broad support, from a diverse, engaged electorate. Which is why each of us has a duty not to lose hope and remain engaged. So be of good morale and understand there are a great many of us out there. Until we turn out in numbers, no one will figure there's a market in our opinions, do you see? That's how capitalism works. We must make it fashionable to be uppity. And that is part of what I am trying to do with my project. There has been a great deal of market force put into compliant docile voters, consumers, what have you. It's bad for democracy and it's not what our Constitution was designed for. If we need to use social media and the net to rouse up peaceful dissent as a serious game and a trend and a fashion -- that's goddam healthy.
62384
Shava Nerad
Posted over 1 year ago
Should Microsoft and Google stand up and oppose the NSA publicly? Will doing nothing work?
Basic fact: 9/11/2001 we had a national crisis. Three weeks later, 132 pages of exquisitely crafted pre-prepared legal text appeared, labeled the USA PATRIOT Act, or "Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001." This cynically named beast was shoved up our butts such that no congresscritter could have gotten away with voting against it without looking like they were voting for the terrorists, while Ground Zero was still smoking. ALL this stuff -- the DHS, the fusion centers, the extended authority of the NSA, comes out of the abridgement of civil liberties from that law and a few more enable by it since. The only way to get rid of the USA PATRIOT Act is through citizen engagement. Congressisn't going to get rid of it themselves without peasant mobs at the city gates (ideally well ordered and nonviolent). This is why I am starting Blue Rose as a nonviolent movement -- because if someone doesn't bring this in as a nonviolent solution, herding cats, likely it will foment in violence, and DC will react by consolidatin more authority through force and guile to control violence (violence including capacity or property). This is another sort of war to work to avert.
62384
Shava Nerad
Posted over 1 year ago
Should Microsoft and Google stand up and oppose the NSA publicly? Will doing nothing work?
Thanks. I am not perfect and we all get testy under pressure these days, and really I try to espouse nonviolence partly because I honestly know in my feral heart it would be more satisfying to smack someone when you see this kind of abuse going on. It's easier to go for easy answers, or be less controversial. But I am trying to speak what I have learned. Just asking people to ponder. :)
62384
Shava Nerad
Posted over 1 year ago
Should Microsoft and Google stand up and oppose the NSA publicly? Will doing nothing work?
What I said Kate, is that you took what I said and said I instantly lost all credibility. And now you are turning that around and saying I made a rash judgement that you were talking through your hat. You don't read what I am saying. You are determined to judge my words with your anger. It doesn't really matter what I say, you will find that I am your enemy. So I shouldn't probably respond, because you'll just respond with more anger. If you actually researched my background you'd find I've even done PTSD therapeutics research. This really is my life's work. Ultimately, you can't know what wars we don't end up in. We aren't in Sudan, Somalia, Syria (at least not yet), and that's just the likely S's in the last few years. We aren't in Iran. But it's a more general charter, too. I rather feel like this is saying, "Well, look, you are the firefighter. Why are there still fires?" That's not the way it works. You educate people, you work on regulations for fire safety, you arrest arsonists if you can catch them. But the best way to prevent fires is to get rid of the sparks before they become fires, so to speak. Make sure everything is damp. :) There are aspects to any of this process of education, activism, lobbying government, educating the public -- and getting them to actually vote and become engaged and not waving flags and blowing bugles every time someone saying Johnnie should march to war again... People say they don't want war until there is one. Here in Boston we looked like Kandahar on the day after Patriot's Day, all for one skinny boy hiding in a boat -- and nearly no one found it excessive or a violation of posse comitatus. I have honestly done more overseas for freedoms than I've been able to do here, but I'm putting together a newer project hoping to turn out more citizen participation and teach people more transparently about what their own government is about. I'm on the same side. What are you at? Do you strike out at everyone?
62384
Shava Nerad
Posted over 1 year ago
Should Microsoft and Google stand up and oppose the NSA publicly? Will doing nothing work?
Generally if you check on your Congressional delegation's web sites, they have times that they spend in their home districts that you can sign up for "office hours" just rather like professors have. Also there are town meetings. If you don't like to use their web site (in which case, why are you here?) try calling their offices and ask for the "Constituent Services" staff, and they will fix you up. You might have to wait a while. You might not get very much time, so I would recommend preparing for the meeting. If you have interest in a specific issue, you might find it better to meet with a staffer who advises the senator or representative on that area -- for example, if you are concerned with the NSA, find out if they have a legal, military, or national security staff advisor, and set up a meeting to talk to that person. You'll likely get a longer slot sooner. These meetings usually are educational both ways. The rep/senator or staffer will listen to your concerns and any new information you bring to the table, and may have information from "inside the beltway" that may make you feel better, worse, or both about the entire thing. Also, you get to have a real say in how your people in DC are treating the situation, as a person who takes the time to schedule a meeting is weighted far more heaviliy than a letter, fax, email, or (God knows) an internet petition. It's considered that you are not only someone who cares, but cares enough that you probably influence others (including other likely voters! :). So yes, it means your opinion counts for more. You are a citizen lobbyist, even without a checkbook in hand. This is, in fact, what the term lobbyist originally comes from -- from people who just buttonholed their delegation in the *lobby* of Congress to ask them to represent their opinions on the floor. This is your constitutional right to petition Congress for redress of grievances in the Bill of Rights. Use it! Is that propaganda? ;)
62384
Shava Nerad
Posted over 1 year ago
Should Microsoft and Google stand up and oppose the NSA publicly? Will doing nothing work?
I am not sure you read my post carefully. What I said was that diplomacy and intelligence keep countries (yours too, not just the US - all countries have diplomats and spies) out of wars by heading off tensions. You not liking the fact that countries are warlike is rather like not liking that there is disease in the world. If I said, this many children will die of flu this year, would you tell me I hated children because I reported the statistic? If my government were to send my family overseas at risk of death or harm - and my brother and son are in the military - then I should rather it be in Bosnia saving lives from human right atrocities than some imaginary WMD in Iraq. My family is liberal. We are not hawks. But if only hawks send their children to military service, what voices are at the tables when policy is discussed? My father was a minister who marched with Dr King and the SCLC. Formal nonviolence teaches us that you must study war, not shrink from its study, in order to understand and be able to negotiate with those who would embroil us in wars. That is my profession - I work to fend off wars, but I must work closely with those who execute them. It is not black and white territory, i'm afraid. Wishing won't make it so. If these were simple problems, we'd have solved them millenia ago, don't you think? Yet, I give you good information, and rather than asking a follow-up question, you are willing to write me off as a liar or a propagandist ot not credible - just like that. Is it any wonder there are so many wars when humans are so fast to rush to judgment to exclude someone from their trust?