Archive for January, 2015|Monthly archive page

Can Podemos Win in Spain? | The Nation

“While leftist parties in Spain and elsewhere tend to view the mass media with contempt and the people appearing on TV as tainted, Podemos has opted for the opposite approach. Iglesias and other party representatives like Bescansa, Íñigo Errejón and Juan Carlos Monedero have taken to Spanish television, incessantly participating on the tertulias—political-debate shows—and appearing in interviews on the country’s commercial channels. They’ve more than held their own against politicians like Esperanza Aguirre, the head of the Partido Popular in Madrid, and journalists like Eduardo Inda (the Spanish equivalents of Mitch McConnell and David Brooks, respectively). On TV, Podemos members have set themselves apart with a clear, commonsensical message, a distinct lack of fear and even a different style of dress: Iglesias sometimes wears a tie but never a jacket, while Monedero prefers political T-shirts and a red neck scarf. And unlike their opponents, they are always well prepared.”

via Can Podemos Win in Spain? | The Nation.

Mondragon USA as a Model: What Works Case Studies | ICIC

What Works Case Studies | ICIC.


This is really interesting. The Mondragon Corporation of Spain is one of the most important longtime cooperatives. I’ve sought to publicise its work but had been unaware of the United Steelworkers’ agreement with Mondragon. Nor, for that matter, of ICIC’s activities here.

High priced hepatitis C treatments spark massive public outcry and political debate in Spain – le blog davidhammerstein

High priced hepatitis C treatments spark massive public outcry and political debate in Spain – le blog davidhammerstein.

At what point do we call a protest by the consumer class, by those who are (or want to be) happily bourgeois (to use a forgotten them) a political act? It used to be easy to characterise these sorts of things, but the ease of such characterisation dulled perception, analysis, and left a lot of powerful community movements unrecognised and forgotten.

Occupy gained a footnote and maybe even more. But it was also critiqued, as a movement, for ultimately being shallow and unprepared for its own success: for not having an political frame of action, let alone an ideological framework. The recent (and until Charlie Hebdo) ongoing demonstrations in the US against Black deaths at the hands of the police reached into what the old-school ideologues liked. There seemed to be a point, a claim, a thing to be achieved that would actually lead to a meaningful and lasting change. Is that still true?

But perhaps the change itself lies more with the logic of communication and thus community identity. Happened with television, and first radio; and was grossly exploited by demagogues.

Mariana Mazzucato | How Governments Can Promote Innovation | Foreign Affairs

Mariana Mazzucato | How Governments Can Promote Innovation | Foreign Affairs.

hardware –

hardware –

The point here is finding hardware that can be configured as you like with free software. Naturally, I recommend Apache OpenOffice as a start. Runs on Linux, etc. But–and this is actually important–it’s software that exists now because of its contributors, who contribute as an act of rational choice.



Government locked into £330m Oracle contract until 2016 • The Register

One can find this sentence true in many locales: “However, it is unclear how much savings the centres are yet making, with a number of departments bound by legacy contracts.”

Legacy contracts live long after their signing. And as the ICT world tends to move in spurts and incoherently, the legacy contracts warp not just the holder but also a good part of the ecosystem into the wasteland.

via Government locked into £330m Oracle contract until 2016 • The Register.

Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness, by Nathaniel Tkacz | Books | Times Higher Education

Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness, by Nathaniel Tkacz | Books | Times Higher Education.

Open or Fauxpen?

Open or Fauxpen? Use the OSS Watch Openness Rating tool to find out | OSS Watch team blog.


There’s been an interesting discussion on open source project maturity. (See the initial message, There’s a point to having a good understanding of what open means when it comes to making things, and that point is most obviously pragmatic but also more abstract. Trust, the ability to work with someone or some company in good faith, is as important for open source as it is for any other environment, and arguably even more so. In the world of contracts, where future labour is guaranteed by contract, trust is enforced and policed by force. In open source….

Does Cheap Access Encourage Science? Evidence from the WWII Book Replication Program » infojustice

Does Cheap Access Encourage Science? Evidence from the WWII Book Replication Program » infojustice.


Abstract: Policies that reduce the costs of accessing prior knowledge (which is covered by copyrights) are becoming increasingly prominent, even though systematic empirical evidence on their effects continues to be scarce. This paper examines the effects of the 1942 Book Republication Program (BRP), which allowed US publishers to replicate science books that German publishers had copyrighted in the United States, on the production of new knowledge in mathematics and chemistry. Citations data indicate a dramatic increase in citations to BRP books after 1942 compared with Swiss books in the same fields. This increase is larger for BRP books that experienced a larger decline in price under the program. We also find that effects on citations are larger for disciplines in which knowledge production is less dependent on physical capital: Citations to BRP books increased substantially more for mathematics (which depends almost exclusively on human capital) than chemistry (which is more dependent on physical capital).


FOSS and Government 2014

Best of open government on this year |

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