Beyond sustainability [...]

The idea that sustainability is no longer enough.  We also should now be looking for regeneration.

“For many years, environmental campaigners have focused on the idea of sustainability – that we should be creating systems which use resources at a sustainable rate. For some campaigners, thinking has now shifted towards the idea of regeneration.

Many of our environments and societies are already damaged, so sustaining these in a damaged state makes no sense! What we need is systems that can regenerate damaged environments – by putting back more than they take out.”

Email from ethical consumer

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New at CES: Dystopian Ways to Survive Climate Change [...]

Face masks meant to battle air pollution in urban cities have been around for decades, but never before have they appeared as glitzy, tricked out accessories for urban dwellers. Whatever you think about the environment, they’re a telling capitalistic solution to a problem that’s the fault of capitalism in the first place. (Source)

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Importance of assessing possibility rather than likelihood [...]

“The importance of assessing possibility rather than likelihood is that it puts our collective action at the center, while making confident predictions only encourages passivity.”

Four Futures

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R. Buckminster Fuller on having to earn a living [...]

“We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors & people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school & think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along & told them they had to earn a living.”

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The big question of automation [...]

“will new technologies of production lead to greater free time for all, or will we remain locked into a cycle in which productivity gains only benefit the few, while the rest of us work longer than ever?”

Four futures

Monetary policy [...]

Monetary policy is the process by which the monetary authority of a country, like the central bank or currency board, controls the supply of money, often targeting an inflation rate or interest rate to ensure price stability and general trust in the currency.[1][2][3]

Wikipedia

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Fiscal policy [...]

Fiscal policy is the use of government revenue collection (mainly taxes) and expenditure (spending) to influence the economy.

Fiscal policy can be distinguished from monetary policy, in that fiscal policy deals with taxation and government spending and is often administered by an executive under laws of a legislature, whereas monetary policy deals with the money supply, lending rates and interest rates and is often administered by a central bank.
Wikipedia

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Objections to automation [...]

Three broad categories:

  • It’s hype: we’re a long way from replacing human labour
  • It’s ok: new technology brings new types of labour, not mass unemployment
  • It’s a distraction: should focus on investment, stimulus, improved wages and conditions instead

Four futures

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D-CENT [...]

​D-CENT is a Europe-wide project creating open, secure and privacy-aware tools for direct democracy and economic empowerment.

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Worker representation vs automation [...]

Stronger workforce representation can paradoxically lead to more automation of labour.

“… A recurrent capitalist dynamic: as workers become more powerful and better paid, the pressure on capitalists to automate increases.”

“When there is a huge pool of migrant farm labor, a $100,000 fruit picker looks like a wasteful indulgence. But when workers are scarce and can command better wages the incentive to replace them with machinery is intensified”

 “The trend towards automation runs through the entire history of capitalism “

“Why replace a worker with a robot, if the worker is cheaper?”

Four futures, Peter Frase

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Work doesn’t equal wage labour [...]

​Sometimes a counter argument to UBI is that work is important and gives is a sense of purpose.  Which may be true, so it’s important to remember: Work  doesn’t equal wage labour. 

“Work doesn’t equal wage labour (repeat, until people understand that basic point) https://t.co/OKCDqybt4u”

“Post-work doesn’t mean the absence of meaningful projects. It means eliminating our dependence on the labour market for survival” https://twitter.com/n_srnck/status/813785503455649792
“What a depressing world we live in that people think meaning must come from working in a cubicle or on an assembly line or stocking shelves” https://twitter.com/n_srnck/status/813786120702009345

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Networked learning [...]

Networked learning is a process of developing and maintaining connections with people and information, and communicating in such a way so as to support one another’s learning. The central term in this definition is connections. It takes a relational stance in which learning takes place both in relation to others and in relation to learning resources (Source)

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The Information Age [...]

“The Information Age (also known as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age) is a period in human history characterized by the shift from traditional industry that the Industrial Revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on information computerization. The onset of the Information Age is associated with the Digital Revolution, just as the Industrial Revolution marked the onset of the Industrial Age.”
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Age

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Social atomisation as a sales strategy [...]

Materialism => isolation => materialism => repeat

“A third paper, published (paradoxically) in the Journal of Consumer Research, studied 2,500 people for six years. It found a two-way relationship between materialism and loneliness: materialism fosters social isolation; isolation fosters materialism. People who are cut off from others attach themselves to possessions. This attachment in turn crowds out social relationships.”

“Perhaps this is one of the reasons an economic model based on perpetual growth continues on its own terms to succeed, though it may leave a trail of unpayable debts, mental illness and smashed relationships. Social atomisation may be the best sales strategy ever devised, and continuous marketing looks like an unbeatable programme for atomisation.”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/09/materialism-system-eats-us-from-inside-out

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Corporate web [...]

The corporate web, an indieweb term, refers to content silos such as Twitter, Facebook, etc, where the content produced by individuals who use a site is owned by the corporation, and usually used for some financial purposes.

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Materialism and unhappiness [...]

Materialism is often recognised as a symptom of unhappiness.  It may also be a major contributor to unhappiness in the first place.

“There has long been a correlation observed between materialism, a lack of empathy and engagement with others, and unhappiness. But research conducted over the past few years seems to show causation. “
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/09/materialism-system-eats-us-from-inside-out

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Sustainable development [...]

the most common definition was defined by the Brundtland Commission in 1987, who documented the sustainable development definition as: 

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

This implies that we need to look after our planet, our resources and our people to ensure that we can live in a sustainable manner and that we can hand down our planet to our children and our grandchildren to live in true sustainability.  

http://www.circularecology.com/sustainability-and-sustainable-development.html#.WFuKBVmnzqA

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Software monoculture [...]

An indieweb term.

Monoculture refers to the antipattern of one piece of software dominating (or trying to dominate) its field, often by being limited to communicating with other instances of the same codebase. A monoculture (same software running on servers run by different people) is one step above a silo (same software running on servers run by the same people or organization). (Source)

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Direct democracy [...]

​”Direct democracy (also known as pure democracy)[1] is a form of democracy in which people decide (e.g. vote on, form consensus on) policy initiatives directly. This differs from the majority of modern Western-style democracies, which are representative democracies.” Wikipedia

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Platform cooperativism [...]

A more socially beneficially way of providing that which is currently provided by the ‘sharing economy’. So less capitalist ways of doing Uber, Airbnb, et at.

(Source)


Platform capitalism

Sharing economy [...]

The “sharing economy” is the all-purpose term used to describe transactions in which someone in possession of a car, or home, or self-storage space, or commercial real estate, or almost anything else imaginable “shares” it with a stranger.  It is unregulated, tech-enabled, supply-and-demand entrepreneurial capitalism.  Peer-to-peer business is a more accurate term.  See also platform capitalism.

“The “sharing economy” is the all-purpose term used to describe transactions in which someone in possession of a car, or home, or self-storage space, or commercial real estate, or almost anything else imaginable “shares” it with a stranger. But is “sharing” the right word? Sharing is something people generally do out of the goodness of their hearts, and in pretty much all sharing economy scenarios, some money is changing hands. You don’t come across too many listings at airbnb, the godfather of the sharing economy model, posted with a nightly rate of “share and share alike.””

 > “The other popular term for this world, “peer-to-peer” business, seems more accurate, though also more cold-hearted. The latest example of the “sharing economy” phrase seeming like a stretch comes in the form of an app that allows a user to auction off a public parking space for $5, or maybe $20, occupied by his car. If your initial reaction is that this is simply unregulated, tech-enabled, supply-and-demand entrepreneurial capitalism as opposed to “sharing,” you’re not alone.”
[(Source)](http://time.com/money/2933937/sharing-economy-airbnb-uber-monkeyparking/)

Platform capitalism

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Folk politics [...]

> “Folk politics names a constellation of ideas and intuitions within the contemporary left that informs the common-sense ways of organising, acting and thinking politics.” [Inventing the future]

“Against the abstraction and inhumanity of capitalism, folk politics aims to bring politics down to the ‘human scale’ by emphasising temporal, spatial and conceptual immediacy. At its heart, folk politics is the guiding intuition that immediacy is always better and often more authentic, with the corollary being a deep suspicion of abstraction and mediation.”

“In terms of temporal immediacy, contemporary folk politics typically remains reactive (responding to actions initiated by corporations and governments, rather than initiating actions);13 ignores long-term strategic goals in favour of tactics (mobilising around single-issue politics or emphasising process);14 prefers practices that are often inherently fleeting (such as occupations and temporary autonomous zones);15 chooses the familiarities of the past over the unknowns of the future (for instance, the repeated dreams of a return to ‘good’ Keynesian capitalism);16 and expresses itself as a predilection for the voluntarist and spontaneous over the institutional (as in the romanticisation of rioting and insurrection).17” [Inventing the future]

“In terms of spatial immediacy, folk politics privileges the local as the site of authenticity (as in the 100-miles diet or local currencies);18 habitually chooses the small over the large (as in the veneration of small-scale communities or local businesses);19 favours projects that are un-scalable beyond a small community (for instance, general assemblies and direct democracy);20 and often rejects the project of hegemony, valuing withdrawal or exit rather than building a broad counter-hegemony.21 Likewise, folk politics prefers that actions be taken by participants themselves – in its emphasis on direct action, for example – and sees decision-making as something to be carried out by each individual rather than by any representative. The problems of scale and extension are either ignored or smoothed over in folk-political thinking.” [Inventing the future]

“Finally, in terms of conceptual immediacy, there is a preference for the everyday over the structural, valorising personal experience over systematic thinking; for feeling over thinking, emphasising individual suffering, or the sensations of enthusiasm and anger experienced during political actions; for the particular over the universal, seeing the latter as intrinsically totalitarian; and for the ethical over the political – as in ethical consumerism, or moralising critiques of greedy bankers.22 Organisations and communities are to be transparent, rejecting in advance any conceptual mediation, or even modest amounts of complexity. The classic images of universal emancipation and global change have been transformed into a prioritisation of the suffering of the particular and the authenticity of the local. As a result, any process of constructing a universal politics is rejected from the outset.” [Inventing the future]

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Alienation [...]

There’s four different types of alienation: from the world; from the activity of production; from species-being; and estrangement of man-to-man.

Under the economic system of private ownership, society divides itself into two classes: the property owners and the property-less workers. In this arrangement, the workers not only suffer impoverishment but also experience an estrangement or alienation from the world. This estrangement occurs because the worker relates to the product of his work as an object alien and even hostile to himself. The worker puts his life into the object and his labor is invested in the object, yet because the worker does not own the fruits of his labor, which in capitalism are appropriated from him, he becomes more estranged the more he produces. Everything he makes contributes to a world outside of him to which he does not belong. He shrinks in comparison to this world of objects that he helps create but does not possess. This first type of alienation is the estrangement of the worker from the product of his work.

The second type of alienation is the estrangement of the worker from the activity of production. The work that the worker performs does not belong to the worker but is a means of survival that the worker is forced to perform for someone else. As such, his working activity does not spring spontaneously from within as a natural act of creativity but rather exists outside of him and signifies a loss of his self.

The third form of alienation is the worker’s alienation from “species-being,” or human identity. For human beings, work amounts to a life purpose. The process of acting on and transforming inorganic matter to create things constitutes the core identity of the human being. A person is what he or she does in transforming nature into objects through practical activity. But in the modern system of private ownership and the division of labor, the worker is estranged from this essential source of identity and life purpose for the human species.

The fourth and final form of alienation is the “estrangement of man to man.” Since the worker’s product is owned by someone else, the worker regards this person, the capitalist, as alien and hostile. The worker feels alienated from and antagonistic toward the entire system of private property through which the capitalist appropriates both the objects of production for his own enrichment at the expense of the worker and the worker’s sense of identity and wholeness as a human being. (Source)

Difference between weather and climate [...]

 

The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time.

When we talk about climate change, we talk about changes in long-term averages of daily weather. Today, children always hear stories from their parents and grandparents about how snow was always piled up to their waists as they trudged off to school. Children today in most areas of the country haven’t experienced those kinds of dreadful snow-packed winters, except for the Northeastern U.S. in January 2005. The change in recent winter snows indicate that the climate has changed since their parents were young. (Source)

Neoliberalism [...]

Neoliberalism is an ideology that favours competition and deregulation of the market over everything else.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve. (Source)

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Global sea ice levels 2016 [...]

Global sea ice levels appeared worryingly lower than usual in 2016. It was a freak weather event facilitated by climate change.  While it is a weather event, it is still worrying as it could only happen as a result of climate change.

“What’s happening in the Arctic would be impossible without a century of global warming causing a long-term decline in sea ice levels — but it is actually a short-term weather event” (Source)

“What’s happening now is alarming, but it’s not the short-term craziness we should be worrying about. The reason to be alarmed is that this kind of event can happen only because the planet is so much warmer than in pre-industrial times.” (Source)

“New satellite data show the total area of global sea ice dipping wayyy below the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s record for this time of year.” (Source)


A case where it is interesting to be aware of the Difference between weather and climate.

Technological innovation measured by social good [...]

Think about innovation in terms of the common good. If a new technology is not socially beneficial, then don’t call it innovative.

I think there’s also a certain fatigue when it comes to the language of innovation. Is it really all that innovative to build a technology that generates short-term wealth for a small group who will then take that money and fly off to Mars? Or, should we think about innovation in terms of the common good? It’s really not that complicated. Next time you come across a so-called “disruptive technology,” simply put it to the test. Ask how it contributes to the bottom line of the common people. If it doesn’t hold up, we shouldn’t call those technologies innovative. (Source)

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Settings:: Publishing [...]

These settings are used by Wikity to determine privacy (openness) and publishing schedule.

Please note that putting “Open” to “No” is an experimental feature, providing “good enough” privacy but not great privacy.

SETTINGS:

OPEN: Yes
RSS DELAY: 5 days

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Neocolonial costs of gadgets [...]

“Every MacBook and iPad, every Kindle and Droid contains the labor of hundreds of invisible workers, uncounted lives foreshortened by poisoned water and air, and a landscape permanently scarred by our voracious scavenging. No matter how sleek and earth-friendly these devices may appear, they rise from the dirt and are mined with sweat and with blood.”
http://www.vqronline.org/editors-desk/price-paperless-revolution

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Environmental impact of e-readers [...]

“But the New York Times recently calculated that the environmental impact of a single e-reader—factoring in the use of minerals, water, and fossil fuels along the manufacturing process—is roughly the same as fifty books. At first that sounds encouraging; after all, even the smallest personal library contains fifty volumes. But the real problems come in lifespan. At present, the average e-reader is used less than two years before it is replaced. That means that the nearly ten million e-readers expected to be in use by next year would have to supplant the sales of 250 million new books—not used or rare editions, 250 million new books—each year just to come out footprint-neutral. Considering the fact that the Association of American Publishers estimates that the combined sales of all books in America (adult books, children’s books, textbooks, and religious works) amounted to fewer than 25 million copies last year, we have already increased the environmental impact of reading by tenfold. Moreover, it takes almost exactly fifty times as much fossil fuel production to power an iPad for the hours it takes to read a book as it would take to read the same book on paper by electric light.”
http://www.vqronline.org/editors-desk/price-paperless-revolution

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The appropriation of sharing by capitalism [...]

New profit opportunities squeezed from our social life.

The sharing economy’s rise is a reflection of capitalism’s need to find new profit opportunities in aspects of social life once shielded from the market, in leisure time once withdrawn from waged labor, in spaces and affective resources once withheld from becoming a kind of capital. What sharing companies and apps chiefly do is invite us to turn more of our lives into capital and more of our time into casual labor, thereby extending capitalism’s reach and further entrenching the market as the most appropriate, efficient, and beneficial way to mediate interaction between individuals. For the sharing economy, market relations are the only social relations. (Source)

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Techno-overenthusiasm [...]

“One gets the impression that they would be enthusiastic to learn of a self-replicating, carbon-scrubbing machine with the potential to geoengineer the climate – but disappointed to learn this machine is called a forest “
https://thedisorderofthings.com/2015/11/04/postcapitalist-ecology-a-comment-on-inventing-the-future/

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We are not independent from technology [...]

“technology is not an independent “thing” but rather an intersection of multiple human relationships–the interchange with nature, the process of production (and, we might add, reproduction), and culture.”
http://www.peterfrase.com/2010/12/social-science-fiction/

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Predictive models of science fiction [...]

“we can think of a science-fictional world by analogy to a prediction from an existing model, such as a fitted statistical model: any particular point prediction reflects both the invariant properties of the model’s parameters and the uncertainty and random variation that makes individual cases idiosyncratic.”
http://www.peterfrase.com/2010/12/social-science-fiction/

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Embedded Open Modular Architecture/EOMA68 [...]

Homebrew computers.

The primary purpose of the EOMA68 specification is to bring end-users the right to upgrade their own mass-produced Computing Appliances. To make end-users lives easier, purchasing decision-making should be made not on technical interface capabilities, neither should they be expected to have significant technological expertise.
EOMA68 products are completely unlike throw-away single-purpose SBCs (Single-Board Computers) and throw-away hermetically-sealed monolithic devices: re-use, re-purposing and upgrading is encouraged, resulting in a greatly-extended lifetime for both Cards and Housings than would normally be expected. It is perfectly reasonable to expect any Card to change hands five or more times during its useful operational lifetime. (Source)

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Version control for data [...]

The ability to do revisioning and versioning data – store changes made and share them with others – especially in a distributed way would be a huge benefit to the (open) data community. I’ve discussed why at some length before (see also this earlier post) but to summarize:

It allows effective distributed collaboration – you can take my dataset, make changes, and share those back with me (and different people can do this at once!)
It allows one to track provenance better (i.e. what changes came from where)
It allows for sharing updates and synchronizing datasets in a simple, effective, way – e.g. an automated way to get the last months GDP or employment data without pulling the whole file again [<small>(Source)</small>](http://blog.okfn.org/2013/07/02/git-and-github-for-data/)

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noms – decentralized data [...]

> Noms is a decentralized database based on ideas from Git.

Noms is different from other databases. It is:
Content-addressed. If you have some data you want to put into Noms, you don’t have to worry about whether it already exists. Duplicate data is automatically ignored. There is no update, only insert.
Append-only. When you commit data to Noms, you aren’t overwriting anything. Instead you’re adding to a historical record. By default, data is never removed from Noms. You can see the entire history of the database, diff any two commits, or rewind to any previous point in time.
Typed. Every value, dataset, and version of a database has a type, which is generated automatically as you add data. You can write code against the type of a Noms database, confident that you’ve handled all the cases you need to.
Decentralized. If I give you a copy of my database, you and I can modify our copies disconnected from each other, and come back together and merge our changes efficiently and correctly days, weeks, or years later.
source: https://github.com/attic-labs/noms

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dat – decentralized data [...]

Open-source, decentralized data sharing tool that aims to bring to data a style of collaboration similar to what Git brings to source code.

Dat can be used to version data locally, or to share and sync data over the internet. Dat includes an optional peer-to-peer distribution system, meaning that the more widely that a dataset is shared, the faster it is for users to retrieve or sync a copy, and the more redundant that the dataset’s availability becomes.
By building tools to build and share data pipelines, we aim to bring to data a style of collaboration similar to what Git brings to source code. Dat is designed as a general-purpose tool for any data on the Web, with our main priority being to ensure scientific data can be more easily published and archived. Dat is fully open source and is built using JavaScript, Node.js and Electron. (Source)

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Locking the web open [...]

The Decentralized Web Summit took place at the Internet Archive from June 7th – June 9th, 2016. (Source)

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Relationship between RDF, RDFa, Microformats and Microdata [...]

Very briefly:

Microformats A way to use html pages as both a human readable document and machine readable data, without repetition (e.g. sticking CSV in the head element).
RDF A data model designed for the web. Schemaless, uses URLs to name types and relations.
RDFa A way to encode (write) RDF in html, following the style of microformats (i.e. minimising repetition). Works by adding a few attributes to html.
Microdata An alternative to RDFa, using different attributes and a different data model. [<small>(Source)</small>](http://stackoverflow.com/questions/14307792/what-is-the-relationship-between-rdf-rdfa-microformats-and-microdata/14321016#14321016)

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Microformats [...]

Microformats (sometimes abbreviated μF) are simple conventions used to embed semantics in HTML and quickly provide an API to be used by search engines, aggregators, and other tools. These small patterns of HTML are used for marking entities that range from fundamental to domain-specific information, such as people, organizations, events, and locations. (Source)

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Liquid Democracy [...]

> Liquid Democracy combines the advantages of Direct Democracy and Representative Democracy and creates a truly democratic voting system that empowers voters to either vote on issues directly, or to delegate ones voting power to a trusted party. (Source)

Watson for patient diagnosis [...]

Watson’s original purpose was for assisting patient diagnosis.

Source: Four Futures, Peter Frase

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The second machine age [...]

We’re at the start of a second machine age.  The first, the industrial revolution, replaced/magnified human muscle.  The second is about replacing/magnifying human thought.

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Contribution of climate change to conflict [...]

By no means the only factor, but increasingly part of the equation.

“To be clear; there will always be a multitude of drivers behind of social unrest and armed conflict. It would be wrong to say climate change “caused” these conflicts, but equally the evidence suggests it would be wrong to say it didn’t play a contributing role. And, if this is what is possible when average global temperatures have risen less than 1C, then goodness help future generations if/when it reaches 2C, 4C or even 6C”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/07/climate-change-global-warming-refugee-crisis

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Four Futures – Socialism [...]

One of the Four Futures, socialism has automation but not abundance.  As such we need to organise ways to share the resources we have.  It sounds fairly similar to what Naomi Klein discusses in This Changes Everything.  And probably the most likely of the Four Futures (that we want to happen.)

“Automation exists, but the breakthrough that creates a cornucopia of carbonless energy doesn’t. This means we have to cool the climate the old-fashioned way, through a massive, state-led campaign to radically remake our infrastructure, our landscape and our patterns of consumption. Frase offers some thoughtful proposals on how to organise such an undertaking fairly and efficiently, through mechanisms such as a universal basic income, paired with market planning.”
(Source)

Public control of water [...]

Appears to be cheaper…

According to data from the Court of Auditors, public management is 18% cheaper and results in losses that are 23% lower and investments that are 18% higher. A comparison of water tariffs in Catalan municipalities indicates that private management is 25% more expensive than public management. (Source)

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Inequality of climate change [...]

Climate change affects some people more than others.  The privileged can avoid its damage.

“Climate change is often framed as a crisis for the human race as a whole. But as Frase explains, this apocalyptic rhetoric obscures the essential fact that climate change affects different groups of people differently. Those who live in less vulnerable latitudes, or who can afford to insulate themselves from extreme heat and weather, will fare much better than the poorer residents of Dhaka or Miami or the Maldives. The question isn’t whether human civilisation will survive – it almost certainly will – but “who will survive the change”.”
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/24/four-futures-life-after-capitalism-peter-frase-review-robots

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Marine debris [...]

A lot of our plastic ends up in the ocean, where it harms sea life.

“Marine debris is usually defined as any persistent, manufactured or processed solid material discarded, disposed of, or abandoned in the marine and coastal environment. Three-quarters of all marine debris is plastic, a persistent and potentially hazardous pollutant, which fragments into microplastics that can be taken up by a wide range of marine organisms.

The most common types of marine debris are: food wrappers, bottle caps, straws, grocery bags, beverage bottles and cigarette butts. Five out of these items are made of plastic. “

https://sq2n5.app.goo.gl/?link=https://www.sdgsinaction.com?news_id=90&ibi=org.un.sdgsinaction.app&ius=org.un.sdgsinaction.app&ifl=https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/sdgs-in-action/id1152939433&apn=org.un.sdgsinaction.app&afl=https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.un.sdgsinaction.app

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What technology do refugees need [...]

The refugee crisis doesn’t need apps. Refugees need access to internet and access to power to charge devices.

The main issue here, the one we don’t want to admit, is that refugees don’t need apps. In my talks to humanitarians, from big international organisations that make sure that each day refugees have a clean bed and a warm shower, to the volunteer community organisers who purchase mobile data access points out of pocket so that people stranded at train stations can WhatsApp their loved ones, there is only one, single, main issue that needs solving with tech: access.
Refugees need access: access to internet, and access to power. By “power” I mean the type that charges your devices, not political power: I have no idea how to change that profoundly embarrassing imbalance.
What we should be doing is making sure they have both in spades. (Source)

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Cancun Declaration [...]

Agreement to meet global biodiversity targets.

More than 190 countries at a major United Nations conference in Mexico have pledged to step up efforts to integrate biodiversity into the policies of their forests, fisheries, tourism and agriculture sectors.

On 3 December, countries adopted the Cancun Declaration, named after the Mexican city where the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known as ‘COP13,’ is being held. The Declaration represents an unprecedented recognition from the international community that biodiversity protection must involve different governmental and economic sectors and not just environment ministries. (Source)

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Rentism [...]

If ownership of the robots is controlled by a small number of people.

“Rentism is where abundance exists, but “the techniques to produce abundance are monopolised by a small elite”. This monopoly is maintained by owning not merely the robots, but the data that tells the robots how to do their job.”
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/24/four-futures-life-after-capitalism-peter-frase-review-robots

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Power for power’s sake [...]

“Having power over others is, for many powerful people, its own reward,” he writes.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/24/four-futures-life-after-capitalism-peter-frase-review-robots

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Fully automated luxury communism [...]

One possible outcome of mass automation is post-work and post-scarcity future of abundance.

“A communist society is so productive and so egalitarian that nobody has to work to survive, fulfilling Marx’s famous dictum, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. For Frase, this ideal might be realised by robots running on an unlimited clean energy source, providing the material basis for a post-work, post‑scarcity and post-carbon world.”
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/24/four-futures-life-after-capitalism-peter-frase-review-robots

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Profitability in civic tech [...]

We have to be careful that we don’t always elect civic tech to make money.

This truth is that there are, quite simply, some terrific civic tech ideas out there that will always run at a loss. http://civichall.org/civicist/paying-your-own-way/

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Non-profit motives [...]

No matter what scale they reach, most non-profits don’t or can’t monetise their services or work. Forcing civil-society or social-sector organisations to focus on sustainable revenue – selling the equivalent of Girl Scout cookies to keep the lights on – may distract them from their core mission, and mute the passion the social sector thrives on.
https://www.theengineroom.org/disrupt-your-market/

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Yoism, an open-source religion [...]

Yoism (founded 1994) combines rational inquiry, empiricism, and science with Spinozan or Einsteinian pantheism.[26][27][28] Inspired by the Linux operating system, Kriegman describes his religion as “open-source” and explains that, similar to open-source software projects, participants in Yoism do not owe their allegiance to any leader and that their sense of authority emerges via group consensus decision-making.[1][29][30] Yoism adopted the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike copyleft license for sharing original works in May 2015.[31] (Source)

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Open-source religion [...]

Developing and updating the ideas of a “religion”, in an open-source way.

Open-source religions employ open-source methods for the sharing, construction, and adaptation of religious belief systems, content, and practice.[1] In comparison to religions utilizing proprietary, authoritarian, hierarchical, and change-resistant structures, open-source religions emphasize sharing in a cultural Commons, participation, self-determination, decentralization, and evolution. They apply principles used in organizing communities developing open-source software for organizing group efforts innovating with human culture. New open-source religions may develop their rituals, praxes, or systems of beliefs through a continuous process of refinement and dialogue among participating practitioners. Organizers and participants often see themselves as part of a more generalized open-source and free-culture movement.[2] (Source)

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What is Civic Tech? [...]

Handy definition of civic tech by Tom Steinberg of mySociety. It encompasses a number of different areas, some citizen focused, some government focused.

Tech that’s all about citizens exerting and obtaining power
Tech that’s all about improving government services

Meetup and mySociety are Civic Tech groups focused on citizen empowerment
Code for America and GDS are Civic Tech groups focused on better digital government
Netroots Nation and Nationbuilder are Civic Tech groups focused on regime changing
Wikileaks and 38 Degrees are Civic Tech groups focused on influencing decisions (Source)

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Robotics for Good [...]

sustainably scale the positive impact of robotics across multiple social good sectors (Source)

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The Engine Room’s Advent Calendar 2016 [...]

Organisational advent calendars – highlighting top findings throughout the year. This one from The Engine Room, inspired by the Wikipedia Advent Calendar.

Counting down to Christmas with some of our top learnings and findings from 2016. (Source)

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guifi.net, DIY Wireless Network [...]

A user owned network for internet access.

guifi.net is a user-owned, open and neutral network in which a growing community of volunteers can connect their computers to form a sort of intranet and, at the same time, share an Internet connection. The non-profit network is free, minus any individual costs for networking equipment, and anyone is allowed to join and use it how they want.
https://rising.globalvoices.org/blog/2013/12/11/guifi-net-spains-wildly-successful-diy-wireless-network/

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Sci-fi examples of Four Futures [...]

Four Futures by Peter Frase outlines some possible futures after capitalism, with a view to automation and the effects it could have. The futures are communism, rentism, socialism, and exterminism. This review on Goodreads has some examples of sci-fi renditions of these different types of future.

Communism: Star Trek, Corey Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magical Kingdom
Rentism: Charles Stross’ Accelerando, “Anti-Star Trek”, Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan
Socialism: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Pacific Edge, Mars Trilogy, 2312. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Exterminism: Blomkamp’s Elysium
(Source)

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Nick Srnicek on platform coops [...]

Nick Srnicek spoke at Newspeak House with Michael Roberts on the topic of technology, capitalism, and class. 

We were encouraged to think about whether ‘full unemployment’ is desirable; how we could change the over zealous importance given to work ethic; and what technologies we should promote to bring about a post-work world.  

As I’ve been reading about platform co-ops lately, I was interested to get Nick Srnicek’s view on if and how they could help being a post work world.  

Paraphrasing, I would say Nick’s answer was. I like them, I support them, but I don’t think they will achieve much in the struggle against capitalism.  The main reason for this being the massive companies already dominating the platform space with huge financial backing.

Interesting to hear  those views, and I look forward to reading Nick’s new book Platform Capitalism.

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Climate change vs capitalism [...]

Solving climate change requires the end of capitalism.Michael Roberts at talk at Newspeak House.

Same idea as expressed by Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything.

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Is technology neutral [...]

“technology doesn’t dictate outcomes. Rather, it sets the parameters of possibility. Utopia is an option, but the robots alone won’t get us there. “
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/24/four-futures-life-after-capitalism-peter-frase-review-robots

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Responsible Data definition [...]

Respecting the individual while respecting transparency and openness.


“The duty to ensure people’s right to consent, privacy, security and ownership around the information processes of collection, analysis, storage, presentation and reuse of data, while respecting the values of transparency and openness.” [(Source)](https://responsibledata.io/responsible-data-and-project-design/)


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Ansible Portability [...]

Ansible is nicely portable. If you have a playbook, you can use it build a container, a dev VM with vagrant, a cloud instance on e.g. digitalocean, or even on bare metal machine.

Ansible Playbooks are portable. If you build a container with a pure Dockerfile, it means that the only way you can reproduce that application is in a Docker container. If you build a container with an Ansible Playbook, you can then reproduce your environment in Docker, in Vagrant, on a cloud instance of your choice, or on bare metal. Plus, you can build your containers up using Ansible Roles, so that even complex container descriptions are easily read, and different container roles can be reused across many environments. (Source)

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Mirai Botnet [...]

Botnet which makes use of insecure connected IoT devices.

Mirai (Japanese for “the future”) is malware that turns computer systems running Linux into remotely controlled “bots”, that can be used as part of a botnet in large-scale network attacks. It primarily targets online consumer devices such as remote cameras and home routers.[1] (Source)

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Why Ansible? [...]

Ansible automates server provisioning. You give it provisioning ‘playbooks’ and it executes it all over SSH to your remote host. This article gives an overview of how to provision a server with a WordPress app installed on a digitalocean droplet.

Ansible is an automation tool for provisioning, application deployment, and configuration management. Gone are the days of SSH’ing into your server to run a command or hacking together bash scripts to semi-automate laborious tasks. Whether you’re managing a single server or an entire fleet, Ansible can not only simplify the process, but save you time. So what makes Ansible so great?

Ansible is completely agent-less, meaning you don’t have to install any software on your managed hosts. All commands are run through Ansible via SSH and if Ansible needs updating you only need to update your single control machine.

Commands you execute via Ansible are idempotent, allowing you to safely run them multiple times without anything being changed, unless required. Need to ensure Nginx is installed on all hosts? Just run the command and Ansible will ensure only those that are missing the software will install it. All other hosts will remain untouched. (Source)

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bower vs npm+webpack/browserify [...]

Seems to be a movement away from Bower and towards just npm and webpack or browserify.

In almost all cases, it’s more appropriate to use Browserify and npm over Bower. It is simply a better packaging solution for front-end apps than Bower is. At Spotify, we use npm to package entire web modules (html, css, js) and it works very well. (Source)

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GitLab vs GitHub [...]

Seems like GitLab is gaining more traction as a possible alternative to GitHub. Everything else aside, the fact that GitHub is closed source is a very interesting point to consider.

Partly as an experiment, partly because we’ve been using it at work for a while and I’ve been using it for private projects (you get unlimited private projects for free!) and I’ve been impressed. It has some great features such as integrated CI (and some that GitHub are now playing catch-up too, like emoji reactions to issue to cut down on +1-ism), and it’s nicely customisable. Plus I’ve always found it odd that the open source world keeps its DVCS repos on a single closed source platform… (Source)

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Shared value in platform coops [...]

“Platform cooperatives share value with the people who make them valuable.  Platform cooperatives combine a cooperative business structure with an online platform to deliver a real-world service. What if Uber was owned and governed by its drivers? What if Airbnb was owned and governed by its hosts?”
http://www.shareable.net/blog/how-platform-coops-can-beat-death-stars-like-uber-to-create-a-real-sharing-economy

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Platform capitalism [...]

Platform capitalism tries to present itself in a positive light.

“They wrap themselves in the cloak of technological progress, free market inevitability, and even common good.”
(Source)


Platform cooperativism

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IndieWeb [...]

The IndieWeb is a set of ideas for getting away from the corporate web.  It’s about having control over your own data.

The IndieWeb is a people-focused alternative to the “corporate web”.

heart icon

Your content is yours

When you post something on the web, it should belong to you, not a corporation. Too many companies have gone out of business and lost all of their users’ data. By joining the IndieWeb, your content stays yours and in your control.

 

connected network icon

You are better connected

Your articles and status messages can go to all services, not just one, allowing you to engage with everyone. Even replies and likes on other services can come back to your site so they’re all in one place.

 

steering wheel icon

You are in control

You can post anything you want, in any format you want, with no one monitoring you. In addition, you share simple readable links such as example.com/ideas. These links are permanent and will always work.

https://indieweb.org/

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Information populism [...]

Interesting thoughts related to the current populist backlash against “experts”.  A general appreciation of the scientific method will remove the need for “encyclopaedic minds and advanced sociologists”?

“Available to everyone will be a general scientific education, especially the learning of the scientific method, the habit of correct thinking, the ability to generalize from facts and make more or less correct deductions. But of encyclopedic minds and advanced sociologists there will be very few. It would be sad for mankind if at any time theoretical speculation became the only source of guidance for society, if science alone were in charge of all social administration. Life would wither, and human society would turn into a voiceless and servile herd. The domination of life by science can have no other result than the brutalization of mankind” https://manifesto.lorea.io/

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Lorea [...]

A social networking autonomous techology to build a distributed, encrypted and federated network.  

Manifesto reads like an artist’s statement…
Available to everyone will be a general scientific education, especially the learning of the scientific method, the habit of correct thinking, the ability to generalize from facts and make more or less correct deductions. But of encyclopedic minds and advanced sociologists there will be very few. It would be sad for mankind if at any time theoretical speculation became the only source of guidance for society, if science alone were in charge of all social administration.  Life would wither, and human society would turn into a voiceless and servile herd. The domination of life by science can have no other result than the brutalization of mankind.

https://lorea.io/

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What is a federated network? [...]

There’s various different definitions for decentralised networks with not a great deal of agreement.  A  workable middle ground, is that a federated network is a distributed network with each node of this distributed network being a centralized network. Such a federated network is a type of decentralized network, with another type of such a network being the distributed network.

“The most sensible approach might be that of Narayanan et al, who use “decentralized” as an umbrella label that includes both federated and distributed networks. Semantically this is a solid categorization, as both types of network are indeed not centralized. As both federated and distributed networks have “not being centralized” as one of their main distinguishing features, it makes sense to include them in one category based on that characteristic.

Looking at just the “federated” label, what most authors seem to agree on is that a federated network is the same “distributed network of centralized networks” that Baran called decentralized. So in that sense, “federated” has replaced “decentralized” in its original meaning, while “decentralized” has been adopted in various different ways, mostly as an umbrella term. This is a reasonable redefinition, considering the fact that a distributed network could technicallyalso be considered to be decentralized, and the close resemblance of the federated structure to the structure of a political federation, where autonomous sub-entities (such as American states) form one single larger entity (the United States).

The most workable middle ground, then, seems to be that a federated network is a distributed network with each node of this distributed network being a centralized network. Such a federated network is a type of decentralized network, with another type of such a network being the distributed network.” (Source)

Fairphone [...]

The Fairphone 2 is designed to extend lifespan, increase repairability and reduce e-waste
https://www.fairphone.com/en/2016/02/25/tackling-e-waste-with-fairphone-2/?lang=buffer0a65a&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=null

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Alibi of Photocopies [...]

Via @RoxanneShirazi, a quote from Eco: “There are many things I do not know because I photocopied a text and then relaxed as if I had read it” (Eco 1977). He calls this the “alibi of photocopies”


On social media, people are often More Willing to Share Than Read what they share.

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Blog comments via pull requests [...]

Mark Seemann hosts his public blog on github.  One way to leave a comment is by forking his blog and sending him a pull request with the comment.

Federation using git

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Federated vs centralised [...]

What are the pros and cons of each?

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Federation using git [...]

Could git be used as an underlying mechanism for federation of social media posts?

Pros: lots of hosting options.   Easy to fork ideas.  ‘Gated’ contributions via pull requests.  Version control for free.

Cons: Oriented towards technical users.  Flat files may not be best data structure.

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Ethical issues in computing [...]

As software pervades the world more and more, it’s important to think about the ethical implications of what we do.

“I wish I could tell you that when I first saw those requirements they bothered me. I wish I could tell you that it felt wrong to code something that was basically designed to trick young girls. But the truth is, I didn’t think much of it at the time. I had a job to do, and I did it.”

“As developers, we are often one of the last lines of defense against potentially dangerous and unethical practices.”
https://medium.freecodecamp.com/the-code-im-still-ashamed-of-e4c021dff55e#.tbsviykfp

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Responsible Data Policy [...]

A responsible data policy outlines what an organisation does to try and ensure it is looking after the data it holds on other people/organizations.


The Engine Room are early proponents of the idea of responsible data.

“we also get worried about how haphazardly data and technology is used by social change organisations. So we spend considerable energy building responsible data practices into our work, and supporting partners to do the same”
(Source)


Responsible Data definition

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Technological Innovation [...]

If a new technology is not socially beneficial, then don’t call it innovative.

I think there’s also a certain fatigue when it comes to the language of innovation. Is it really all that innovative to build a technology that generates short-term wealth for a small group who will then take that money and fly off to Mars? Or, should we think about innovation in terms of the common good? It’s really not that complicated. Next time you come across a so-called “disruptive technology,” simply put it to the test. Ask how it contributes to the bottom line of the common people. If it doesn’t hold up, we shouldn’t call those technologies innovative. (Source)

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Help:: Getting Started / Day One [...]

Most people find that using Wikity to bookmark is a good place to start. The following video shows how you can bookmark with Wikity.

Note that in the video the bookmark says ‘Bkmrk’ but in recent versions says ‘Wik-it’. The editor has also been upgraded

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