Topic: United States/Massachusetts
BerkShares is a local currency that circulates in The Berkshires region of Massachusetts. It was launched on September 29, 2006 by BerkShares Inc., with research and development assistance from the Schumacher Center for a New Economics. The BerkShares website lists around 400 businesses in Berkshire County that accept the currency. Since launch, over 10 million BerkShares have been issued from participating branch offices of local banks (as of February 2020, 9 branches of 3 different banks). The bills were designed by John Isaacs and were printed by Excelsior Printing on special paper with incorporated security features from Crane & Co.. BerkShares are pegged with an exchange rate to the US dollar, but the Schumacher Center has discussed the possibility of pegging its value to a basket of local goods in order to insulate the local economy against volatility in the US economy.
- "BerkShares" | 2017-09-08 | 214 Upvotes 88 Comments
Math 55 is a two-semester long first-year undergraduate mathematics course at Harvard University, founded by Lynn Loomis and Shlomo Sternberg. The official titles of the course are Honors Abstract Algebra (Math 55a) and Honors Real and Complex Analysis (Math 55b). Previously, the official title was Honors Advanced Calculus and Linear Algebra.
- "What do Bill Gates and Richard Stallman have in common ?" | 2010-06-10 | 71 Upvotes 23 Comments
Phillis Wheatley, also spelled Phyllis and Wheatly (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784) was the first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry. Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven or eight and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent.
On a 1773 trip to London with her master's son, seeking publication of her work, she was aided in meeting prominent people who became patrons. The publication in London of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral on September 1, 1773, brought her fame both in England and the American colonies. Figures such as George Washington praised her work. A few years later, African-American poet Jupiter Hammon praised her work in a poem of his own.
Wheatley was emancipated (set free) by the Wheatleys shortly after the publication of her book. She married in about 1778. Two of her children died as infants. After her husband was imprisoned for debt in 1784, Wheatley fell into working poverty and died of illness. Her last infant son died soon after.
- "Phillis Wheatley" | 2018-10-29 | 50 Upvotes 4 Comments
Aaron Hillel Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) was an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, writer, political organizer, and Internet hacktivist. He was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS, the Markdown publishing format, the organization Creative Commons, and the website framework web.py, and joined the social news site Reddit six months after its founding. He was given the title of co-founder of Reddit by Y Combinator owner Paul Graham after the formation of Not a Bug, Inc. (a merger of Swartz's project Infogami and Redbrick Solutions, a company run by Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman). Swartz's work also focused on civic awareness and activism. He helped launch the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in 2009 to learn more about effective online activism. In 2010, he became a research fellow at Harvard University's Safra Research Lab on Institutional Corruption, directed by Lawrence Lessig. He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act.
In 2011, Swartz was arrested by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) police on state breaking-and-entering charges, after connecting a computer to the MIT network in an unmarked and unlocked closet, and setting it to download academic journal articles systematically from JSTOR using a guest user account issued to him by MIT. Federal prosecutors, led by Carmen Ortiz, later charged him with two counts of wire fraud and eleven violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, carrying a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison, asset forfeiture, restitution, and supervised release. Swartz declined a plea bargain under which he would have served six months in federal prison. Two days after the prosecution rejected a counter-offer by Swartz, he was found dead by suicide in his Brooklyn apartment. In 2013, Swartz was inducted posthumously into the Internet Hall of Fame.
- "Aaron Swartz" | 2021-08-31 | 49 Upvotes 1 Comments