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My head is still spinning a little after returning from my first visit to the Chaos Communication Congress, aka 31C3, with the assigned motto ‘A New Dawn.’ It was four days long, with upwards of 12,000 people, organised by Europe’s largest association of hackers, the Chaos Computer Club who, for more than 30 years, have been - in their words - providing information on:

technical and societal issues, such as surveillance, privacy, freedom of information, hacktivism, data security and many other interesting things around technology and hacking issues.

It wasn’t anything like an event I’d ever been to before, for many reasons. I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland having fallen way, way down the rabbit hole; there were things I didn’t realise were possible, and things that I didn’t understand all around me. The Congress Centre in Hamburg was transformed from a standard conference centre into a thing of beauty; volunteers running the Congress had spent days (weeks?) there building, decorating, and illuminating the entirety of the place.

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Full list of books I read at the bottom of this post!

I just reached my 2014 reading challenge target of 50 books this year, all by women! I’m so glad I did it, for a number of reasons. I wrote about some of these when I was halfway through the ReadWomen2014 challenge. As well as reading more this year than I’ve done in a really long time, this year has also been the first year that I’ve written so regularly, and I can’t help but connect the two; maybe putting so many new ideas and perspectives in my head had to result in a bigger “output”, too.

Looking back on the list of books I read revealed a few surprises to me, such as that the majority of authors I read are from the US. I had an inkling that this was happening about halfway through the year, so I tried to avoid books from North American authors in an effort to widen my perspective - but it proved more difficult than I had thought! I found that lots of writers were African-American, living in the US, when I had thought that they wouldn’t be related to the US in any way from a quick scan over their initial biography and writing topic.

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Part two of a few of my favourite things from 2014, (see here for Part 1); this time Feminism, Diversity + Inclusivity, Bangladesh, and All-women lists.

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Here are a few bits and pieces that I discovered this year and enjoyed especially. In Part 1: Artivism, Coding, Data Visualisation, Language, Journalism, Technology and Women in Tech.

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All year, I’ve been keeping a custom Twitter timeline of cool acts of feminism that are happening in the ‘majority world’ - ie. low-income countries. I wrote about why I’ve been doing that here earlier in the year.

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Earlier this weekend, I came across this reddit post, entitled ‘Being a black woman in Berlin’. It’s a sad endictment on society here in Berlin that someone is experiencing such awful treatment from those in the city; sadly, though, I’m not surprised, judging from my own experiences. I’m also finding both the original post and the following comments to be revealing about German society in general.

In the original post, an African-American woman describes her experiences of moving to Berlin, and facing constant harassment and racism here in Berlin, specifically while living in Moabit. While obviously I can’t comment on the experience of black women in Berlin, I can from my own perspective as a British-Asian woman living here, and there were a few key things that she wrote that I can strongly sympathise with.

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I’ve spent the past week at the OGP Americas summit, in San Jose, Costa Rica. A number of things struck me about the way I personally think about OGP, and about the way that OGP might evolve in the future.

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Band Aid 30. It premiered yesterday and I’m just as enraged by it as I have been by the original. I’ve read already a couple of good pieces about why Band Aid 30 is terrible; here are some more reasons I’d like to add to that mix, from the perspective of having grown up in the UK, and having heard that song every, single, Christmas time.

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One of my favourite things to do while travelling is to read a fictional novel set in the place I’m travelling in. Whether that be region, country or city, especially in areas I don’t know very well, I’ve found it to be a brilliant way to get a feel for the country. Some of my favourites have included reading Shantaram while backpacking around northern India (there’s nothing quite like sitting in the same cafe as the main character in your book!) - and, more recently, Indonesia Etc while I was in Indonesia last month, which, although non-fiction, is written in a really engaging and easy-to-read way.

So, as I’m travelling to Costa Rica tomorrow, I’ve been looking for books written by Costa Rican women, or set in Costa Rica, that I can download on my Kindle. Somehow, I’m having very little luck! Among all of the books in this Goodreads list of ‘Books set in Costa Rica’ none of them really take my fancy, or they aren’t available on Kindle (or, are written by men- which I’m not reading this year)

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I just came across Josh Stearn’s post, Five Kinds of Listening for Newsrooms and Communities. As I read, it struck me that a lot of what is in there could apply almost directly to the global development community, but with some little language changes. So, following Josh’s method of forking other people’s posts, here are five kinds of listening, for global development.

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