Whiskey GlassMany of your humble Technology Liberation Front contributors will be attending PFF’s annual Aspen Summit next week and we think many of you will too. So, we’ve decided to hold the fourth in our series of Alcohol Liberation Front get-togethers on Tuesday, 8/21, at 9 p.m. at the Sky Bar located at the base of the Aspen Mountain. Like we did last time, we’ll also be recording our contributors (and hopefully some of you) pontificating for our podcast, Tech Policy Weekly. So drop on by and have a drink with your favorite TLF bloggers.

Whiskey GlassDon’t forget that tonight we’ll be holding the third installment of our wildly successful Alcohol Liberation Front events. We’ll be meeting from 5:30-7 PM at Science Club. We’ll also be recording our contributors pontificating for our new podcast, Tech Policy Weekly. So drop on by and have a drink with your favorite TLF bloggers.

Alcohol Liberation Front 2

by on October 27, 2006

In light of the rousing success of the first Alcohol Liberation Front, we’ve decided to reprise the event this coming Monday. We’ll be at RFD from 5:30-7 PM.

If you’re coming, you might want to email me at tlee -at- showmeinstitute.org so we know to keep an eye out for you. Although we probably won’t be that hard to find. James Gattuso will be especially easy to spot at the center of his throng of groupies.

Alcohol Liberation Front

by on April 21, 2006 · 8 comments

Would you like to meet the men and women behind the Technology Liberation Front? If you live in the DC area, here’s your chance! Several of your favorite TLF contributors will be getting together for a happy hour on Thursday April 27 from 5-7 PM at the Gordon Biersch Brewery in Chinatown, just across the street from the MCI Center (or whatever they’re calling it these days–damned mergers!). We’d love to have a few of our readers join us.

If you’re planning to attend, please leave a quick comment so we’ll have an idea of how many people to expect.

As expected, last night’s TLF happy hour was a tremendous success. Dubbed Alcohol Liberation Front, it saw the largest convergence of TLF bloggers ever in a single location. Not only that, but the event saw a record number of TLF readers attending to join in convivial, spirited conversation – not to mention a teeming crowd of TLF-oblivious revelers. Needless to say, there was plenty of noise and plenty of jostling to get to the almost-packed bar.

And it’s no wonder. What an opportunity! – to gather and talk about all the stuff that we usually write about!

I, for one, am still dizzy from the excitement generated by the event, or perhaps that’s “queasy.” No matter. I’m looking forward with intense trepidation to the next Alcohol Liberation Front event. Hearty thanks to Tim Lee for organizing and for coming up with the zinger quote of the night: “Another gin and tonic for my analog hole.”


Tech Policy Weekly from the Technology Liberation Front is a weekly podcast about technology policy from TLF’s learned band of contributors. This week we took the podcast on the road and recorded live at our Alcohol Liberation Front happy hour at the Science Club in Washington, DC. Voices on the show this week include Jim Harper of the Cato Institute, David Robinson of The American, Tim Lee of the Show Me Institute, PJ Doland of PJ Doland Web Design, James Gattuso of the Heritage Foundation, Jerry Brito of the Mercatus Center, and Adam Thierer of PFF. Topics include,

  • Scholars bypass established journals and publishing their research online
  • The growth of the breadth of patents
  • The government’s plan to give everyone a free digital TV converter box
  • The future of physical media in a digital age

There are several ways to listen to the TLF Podcast. You can press play on the player below to listen right now, or download the MP3 file. You can also subscribe to the podcast by clicking on the button for your preferred service. And do us a favor, Digg this podcast!

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bitcoin transaction

A common question among smart Bitcoin skeptics is, “Why would one use Bitcoin when you can use dollars or euros, which are more common and more widely accepted?” It’s a fair question, and one I’ve tried to answer by pointing out that if Bitcoin were just a currency (except new and untested), then yes, there would be little reason why one should prefer it to dollars. The fact, however, is that Bitcoin is more than money, as I recently explained in Reason. Bitcoin is better thought of as a payments system, or as a distributed ledger, that (for technical reasons) happens to use a new currency called the bitcoin as the unit of account. As Tim Lee has pointed out, Bitcoin is therefore a platform for innovation, and it is this potential that makes it so valuable.

Eric Posner is one of these smart skeptics. Writing in Slate in April he rejected Bitcoin as a “fantasy” because he felt it didn’t make sense as a currency. Since then it’s been pointed out to him that Bitcoin is more than a currency, and today at the New Republic he asks the question, “Why would you use Bitcoin when you can use PayPal or Visa, which are more common and widely accepted?”

He answers his own question, in part, by acknowledging that Bitcoin is censorship-resistant. As he puts it, “If you live in a country with capital controls, you can avoid those[.]” So right there, it seems to me, is one good reason why one might want to use Bitcoin instead of PayPal or Visa. Another smart skeptic, Tyler Cowen, acknowledges this as well, even if only to suggest that the price of bitcoins will fall “if/when China fully liberalizes capital flows[.]”

Continue reading →

Just a quick reminder to join us this Wednesday night (Dec. 4) for the next “Alcohol Liberation Front” happy hour featuring many Tech Liberation Front contributors and friends. The happy hour will be held at Churchkey (1337 14th St., NW) at 6 p.m.  Churchkey is one of the very best beer bars not just in D.C. but in all of America.  If you’ve never been there before, you are in for a real treat.

In addition to mixing and mingling with the witty and wacky TLF crew, we have a special surprise for attendees: Our guests will be given an early preview of our prototype TLF drone! Our Advanced Robotics Division here at the TLF has been hard at work on the “FreedomCopter” and we look forward to showing guests how we plan to use it coming years to spread the good word of tech liberty!  We plan on doing special fly-bys during the evening and buzzing past EPIC and CDT headquarters to have our autonomous agent inquire about our general freedom to tinker, innovate, and gather information freely. We look forward to their response.

No word yet if our Advanced Robotics Division will have the new driverless “TLF-Mobiles” ready in time to give inebriated guests a free ride home, but we will do our best.

Hope to see you on Wednesday night.

If you’re as fascinated as I am by the interplay of privacy, identity and innovation, I hope to see you at the pii2010 conference in Seattle, August 17-19! Organized by the folks who’ve put on the top-notch Tech Policy Summit since 2003, and co-sponsored by The Progress & Freedom Foundation (among others), this event offers a truly unique perspective on privacy—not just another policy food fight, but a true roll-up-our-sleeves, in-depth seminar on what to do about privacy, especially through technological innovation.

I’ll be on the “pii & Digital Advertising: Navigating the Regulatory Landscape” panel on the 18th at 10am, giving my usual talk about the need to be careful about the trade-offs inherent in privacy regulation. Check out the detailed agenda here.

TLFers Larry Downes and Carl Gipson will also be attending, so we’re planning a long-overdue “Alcohol Liberation Front” happy hour after the conference on August 18—details to be announced soon.

Check out the discussion around the #pii2010 hashtag on Twitter. And register today! Mid-August is supposed to be paradise in Seattle, and the week of the conference also happens to be Seattle GeekWeek, so there are a bunch of other events worth checking out in town before and after the pii2010 conference.

Please join us tonight for a very special Alcohol Liberation Front happy hour at Rocket Bar, 714 7th ST (7th & G) right across from the Chinatown/Verizon Center metro (Red/Green/Yellow) in D.C., 6:30-8:30ish.

Please join us as we celebrate, commiserate and plan for the next five years of fighting the good cyber-libertarian fight. We’ll even through in a free TLF laptop sticker! Just RSVP on Facebook!