Author Archive

Donald Trump is the Singularity

I have a new fun piece over at Bloomberg this morning:

Donald Trump is the Singularity

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Becky Jaffe: Resources to #Resist

This is a guest post by Becky Jaffe.

Per your request, I drafted a quick list of progressive organizations that we will want to support now more than ever. This list of national organizations is by no means comprehensive, just a good place to start if you want to get plugged in to community organizations that build power for the most marginalized sectors of our society. Each of these is a clickable link that will take you directly to the organization’s website so you can learn more about their mission. Please add to this list and circulate widely. I will be creating a Bay Area-specific list soon for people who want to support local community organizations and I encourage you to make a similar list for your region.

Let’s get busy supporting each other, people! We have our work cut out for us and much joyful organizing ahead.

Immigrant/Refugee rights:

Civil Rights, social justice and legal defense organizations: 

LGBTQ rights: 

Disability rights:

Building democracy: 

Environmental organizations:

Categories: Becky Jaffe

Cambridge Analytica

My newest Bloomberg post is out, in response to this article about Cambridge Analytica:

Trump’s ‘Secret Sauce’ Is Just More Ketchup

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Get a New York ID Card #Resist

This is a guest post by Elizabeth Hutchinson, an Associate Professor of Art History at Barnard College/Columbia University who supports social justice initiatives at work and in her community.  She is also a yarn whisperer who likes nothing better than knitting with Mathbabe.


If you are a regular reader of Mathbabe, you may already be putting your time, money and intellectual labor to work in support of organizations that defend the rights of vulnerable groups and our vulnerable environment (#BlackLivesMatter, Make the Road New York, Planned Parenthood, SURJ,, NYCStandswithStandingRock, and many others).

But if you are a New York City resident, here’s another practical thing you can do: apply for an ID NYC card.



ID NYC is a program established by the de Blasio administration in 2014 that allows city residents to obtain a photo identification without requiring the same government-generated documents required for a drivers license or passport. These residents then have a municipal ID that can help them open bank accounts, apply for library cards and gain access to other services as well as free membership to a range of NYC cultural institutions like the Museum of Modern Art.



In lieu of a Social Security card or equivalent document, applicants for the ID NYC could use non-U.S. government-generated forms of identification, including, among other things, a combination of a utility bill verifying a local address and a foreign passport or consular identification.

Even if you have a photo ID and a library card, here’s why you should get an ID NYC: this program is widely used by the undocumented immigrants in our midst, and the records of their applications are vulnerable to seizure by federal government authorities charged with expanding the pursuit of both undocumented and documented immigrants.

How is this so, you might ask, knowing that New York is a sanctuary city? Well, it is true that New York is committed to not aiding Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a number of ways. For example, it has pledged not to use its city precincts or jails to house immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (though it does cooperate when ICE requests individuals already in NYC custody who were convicted of a serious felony) and to not share city agency information with federal immigration authorities.


Sanctuary Cities according to this site. For a more complete list click here.


The ID NYC program was set up to be in line with this stance: the law establishing the program ordered that the copies of documents used in applying for the ID be destroyed at the end of the first two years, or in December 2016, in the meantime only sharing them with law enforcement only through judicial subpoena (something that happened only a handful of times). However,  a case brought by Republican members of the State Assembly from Staten Island in December resulted in a ruling that all records be retained indefinitely.

After Trump’s election, Mayor de Blasio pledged to change the record keeping system and stop retaining copies of the applicants’ documents beginning in 2017. However, the city will continue to retain significant information about applicants, including their name, gender, address, birthdate, and the photo taken when the id was made.

The ID NYC program DOES NOT ask applicants about their immigration status. Nevertheless, because this program is well used by members of New York’s immigrant communities (according to the Gothamist, over a third of NYC residents are foreign-born), these applications could be used for fishing expeditions looking for our undocumented neighbors.

Yes, the Mayor has pledged to fight to keep this paperwork private. But we can’t be sure how the courts will act when push comes to shove.

The solution? Gum up the works.



Blast the program with lots and lots of applications from NYC residents so that any authority that does manage to subpoena applications has an immense archive to wade through. Estimates suggest that about 1 million people have applied for ID NYC to date. That leaves about 6.8 million New Yorkers who still can. (Yes, kids can apply, too, as long as they are 14.)

Applying is easy, though it will take you a little time. You start by making an appointment at one of the 25 enrollment centers. There’s a form to fill out (applications are available in more than 25 languages), that you can do ahead of time and print out or fill out when you get there. Bring along your documents. Once you check in, you wait for an agent to go over the application and take your picture and then you can arrange to receive the id in the mail or pick it up. I got mine at the Mid-Manhattan Library. I made the appointment about a month ahead of time, though there were appointments sooner, and waited less than an hour to see the agent. It was about as much hassle as mailing a package at the post office.


Maybe this isn’t the most effective form of resistance, but it is an easy one that may do some good.

I look forward to seeing you in the streets. And the public library. And MoMA.




To report incidents of discrimination or hate

  • The Governor’s Office – 1-888-392-3644
  • The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs 311 or 212-788-7654. Translation is available. You can also go to for many other resources for NYC immigrants.

Additional Resources

Categories: Uncategorized

Immigrant protests #JFKTerminal4 and 2pm at Battery Park today

I was excited to join the protest at JFK Airport last night. Here’s some footage:

And here’s two nice pictures:


One of the cool things about the protest is how messages were sent and spread through the chants. In particular I learned about another planned protest today at Battery Park at 2pm, which I believe is being organized by immigrant rights group Make the Road.


More information available here.

By the way, in case you’ve heard that a judge put a stay on the Executive Order about immigrants, there are plenty of reasons to question that. It’s also possible that border patrol agents are not obeying those orders.

Categories: Uncategorized

Bloomberg post: When Algorithms Come for Our Children

Hey all, my second column came out today on Bloomberg:

When Algorithms Come  for Our Children

Also, I reviewed a book called Data for the People by Andreas Weigend for Science Magazine. My review has a long name:

A tech insider’s data dreams will resonate with the like-minded but neglect issues of access and equality

Categories: Uncategorized

Bloomberg View!

Great news! I’m now a Bloomberg View columnist. My first column came out this morning, and it’s called If Fake News Fools You, It Can Fool Robots, Too. Please take a look and tell me what you think!

Categories: Uncategorized