One Chase Plaza. Financial District. Built in 1961, One Chase Plaza has 60 floors above ground and 5 below making it the 15th tallest building in NYC and the 200th tallest in the world. Why you may ask is it in my blog?

I used to work here as well as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). At Chase I worked in the Federal Funds Department in a very secure area five stories below ground. The building is located two blocks from the World Trade Center Twin Tower site (now the memorial). I used to take the PATH trains in from New Jersey which dropped passengers off in the basement of the towers. The memories I have of the towers as well as friends that have been lost will never be forgotten.

Enough personal stuff for now…lets get on with the blog!

Blogging Can Be Risky Business in Brazil

Andrew Downie, a freelance journalist from Scotland who’s living in Brazil, has written about the dangers bloggers often face in Brazil. Citing the examples of Ana Freitas and Enderson Araújo, he explains how risky it can be to practice free speech in an environment with poor security, or where the police themselves are a threat. This also got me to thinking about the risk I’d never considered in a community project I wanted to attempt during my most recent time in Brazil. First, though, a summary of Freitas’ and Araújo’s experiences.

Ana Freitas is a 26-year-old freelance journalist who wrote about machismo and misogyny on the Internet in Brazil. Her piece appeared on February 2 in the Brasil Post. She mentioned no forum or site in particular, but anonymous abuse started almost immediately. It got so bad that she ended up closing some social media accounts, but the worst was yet to come. Her physical address was discovered and publicized, and she started receiving offensive packages through the mail, including feces and sex toys.

Enderson Araújo, for his part, was the creator of Mídia Periférica, blog run by youth in the northeastern city of Salvador. They focused on news of interest to under-served poor neighborhoods that are often overlooked by the media giants. His story is of particular interest to me, as it touches on the unconsidered risk I mentioned above. The following is from Downie’s article:

After he wrote about the spate of youths killed in police shootouts last month, a police officer approached him with a chilling warning. 

“Stop moving your fingers and criticizing those that really provide security otherwise you might not get any yourself,” the officer, who was in uniform but without a name tag, told him, the blogger said. 

Araújo gathered his belongings and, three days later, he was in another state.

Herein lies the problem with that project I never launched. My idea was to form a group of young teens through Projetos Sociais Estação Vida, in Uberlândia, and guide them into web production and community journalism. There was to be a blog that they would maintain, updating frequently with news and interviews from the Shopping Park neighborhood. For me, the biggest dangers I saw were to the computer equipment (theft was a problem) and to myself from the criminal element. I hadn’t given thought to the fact that honest journalism often goes against the narrative that those in official authority want to be told, and that the corrupt easily turn violent to protect their interests. Would this have stopped me? Probably not. Still, it would clearly have to be on the radar, and I’m concerned how it might adversely impact reporting.

Though Brazil is a democratic republic guaranteeing free speech (with several exceptions, mostly centered on interpretations of libel, slander and what constitutes hate speech), the shabby and even hostile security situation makes it a dangerous right to exercise. 

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Bloomberg’s Brisket: Faster Websites & Easier Development

Not long ago I blogged favorably about’s redesign, and I mentioned in passing that a key element in this project is Brisket, a single-page application framework developed by Bloomberg and available to the open source community via GitHub. Aside from Bloomberg Business, Brisket also powers and, and it joins other isomorphic JavaScript frameworks already available for use to develop web apps.

Brisket offers greater speed than traditional websites and purports even to outdo single-page applications on the first page load. The structure of it allows developer to focus on application logic, rather than environment, and Bloomberg’s developer’s followed the example of Airbnb’s Rendr in providing this solution without losing SEO.

While I’ve long been a fan of Ruby on Rails, Brisket is winning me over. Javascript is a versatile, well-known programming language, and Brisket offers proven speed and flexibility.

For a more technical overview of this application framework, check out Wayne Warner’s talk below.