Archive for August, 2015|Monthly archive page
I confess I know Paul, but that only raises my esteem of what Paul and his colleagues are doing at Everfest. The journalist captures the point. It’s not simply about escaping the drone of work and the isolation of the Web. It’s about connecting, sharing, and then keeping community. Festivals counter destructive alienation. And Everfest’s unobtrusive use of technology makes it easier, not harder, to connect and stay connected.
I find Moocs at best problematical, not for the idea but for what I have learned is its sad implementation, seemingly rushed in most instance for reasons that have more to do with money (to get or its lack) than the desire to expand learning to actual communities. Moocs seem to me to exemplify a notion of the user as individual consumer. And unfortunately, that’s probably not incorrect for the majority of community college and college students, for whom the campus is probably less a community than the place one goes to for this or that class or text. Of course there are exceptions. And even places like York University, here in Canada, or Berkeley, where I went both as an undergraduate and graduate, are infamously anonymising and bereft of the sort of community smaller and more focused universities boast. (In my last years at Berkeley, I ran the SLED program that sought to provide discussion session community for students enrolled in huge lecture classes. That worked, but it was too early, 1997-1998.) But I found the below article interesting, if only for how the student consumer of the Mooc is characterised:
“Despite the fact that college students presumably would be greatly affected by widespread adoption of MOOCs in higher education, very little attention is paid to current college students’ perceptions and attitudes toward MOOCs,” write the authors. “It is heretofore unclear how familiar college students are with the MOOC concept and how they view MOOCs as a source of learning.”
Community broadband is one of the most neglected topics. One doesn’t have to wonder why. Its continuing success, even in the fact of laws against it (as there are, and used to be even more, against very local radio stations), is, well, great. To put it into perspective: It’s as if local groups were getting together to build and then provision libraries, all on their own, using their own funds, and sometimes despite official hostility—and not for providing subversive material or violating copyright.
Archives are increasingly digital; they are also mostly out of the public sector. The technology for these, along with that for modern libraries, uses both open and closed software, and it’s not clear which license and community programme is in the advance. There’s also an odd epistemological dissonance among open source communities: Most developing as members of well-known open source projects seem unaware of the Digital Asset Management side of open source, including the quite well-known (in these circles) Fedora Commons, short for Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture. (Fedora, the Red Hat sponsored project, applied for trademark status in 2003, by which time Fedora–the DAM–had been around for a while. According to Wikipedia, Cornell and UVA “formally disputed the request,” but all parties agreed that Fedora (Linux OS) and Fedora (DAM) could both use the same name as long as it was clear enough which was which.
Of course, that does not explain why there’s this epistemological wall. Other issues at stake, not the least being adherence to local culture, to a project or community’s or company’s identity. But this kind of isolationism is hardly unique or new to Fedora Project.
As Glyn Moody noted in a Tweet, it’s an excellent summary and analysis. Campbell relies heavily on the Yomiuri Shimbun,a business journal, which gives, in its full (and in English) editorial, summary judgement on the accord—and on other, better opportunities for Japan. Campbell’s piece is worth reading in its entirety; it’s also short. It’s also worth noting his essential outrage at the breathtaking arrogance of the TPP, which is vaster than any empire, its frank benevolence toward major corporate entities, its “grotesque” contempt of the public—even of countries. From the major corporation perspective, the issue is about returns on investment and the security of those returns. Big Pharma wants to protect the data related to biologics, to extend protection to 12 years; countries outside the US (which is voicing Big Pharma) argue for five years. But this is not just so that they can sell their own generics and rake in the cash. It’s because in the case of biologics—the bone of contention here, among many—people afflicted with a vast range of disorders are affected by the cost and availability of these drugs. As generics, they become more affordable and lives are eased, even saved; as objects of profit and control, they remain exclusively for the super-elite. That exclusivity, girded by the accord, accelerates wealth inequality and cements its channels; it does not promote invention, and even if it did, the accord would limit the effects of any disruptive idea.
As Campbell concludes, referring specifically to his home country, New Zealand:
Does anyone really think all these bridges can be crossed by early September? Even if the TPP ministers tried to declare victory and announced a ‘broad agreement’, the US Congress would baulk at endorsing any agreement where the relevant details have yet to be decided. The Japanese are being urged to re-assess whether the TPP really is worth any further effort. At the very least, Trade Minister Tim Groser should be coming clean with the details of what remains in contention. What is the balance of costs and gains on the TPP currently looking like for New Zealand?
For example: it is simply not good enough for Groser to insist that people won’t be paying more across the counter for medicines under the TPP….This does not address the already conceded extra costs that the TPP will impose on Pharmac, the health budget and the availability of medicines. Where does the government stand on this? Does it really think it can win enough on dairy to justify these added costs? Or…given the plight of our dairy farmers does it think that any hope at all of progress on this front is good news, politically?
I confess that I always enjoy—and learn from—reading NBER posted articles. Acquired this pleasure in college, while working at the Physics Library at UC Berkeley. Started out with the Bureau of Standards—-wonderfully arcane yet oddly important work defining the common things in ways that could carry contracts; that is, to stabilise referents. Little did I know then that my life now would be so concerned both with the economics writ large and standards, especially open standards.
A very clear description and analysis of what is known (by us, the people) of TPP on IP issues of interest. There are several domains that really need public attention. One is copyright duration; longer periods diminish democratic environments but embiggen already big wealth. And this leads to the general sense–right or wrong, who can say?–that the TPP seems designed to make extant wealth bigger and impoverish the potential for a more equal future.
I was pointed to this blocker—it’s not an ad blocker as such; it’s far far more interesting than that. Thus:
Ads, “unintrusive” or not, are just the visible portions of privacy-invading apparatus entering your browser when you visit most sites nowadays. **uBlock₀’s main goal is to help users neutralize such privacy-invading apparatus** — in a way that welcomes those users who don’t wish to use more technical, involved means (such as [µMatrix](https://github.com/gorhill/uMatrix)).
I haven’t tried it out yet. But I’m looking forward to doing so.
A good article. One wonders if Google’s missteps relate not to any founder’s geek vision of others’ minds, but to the calculation of which application, social or not, can earn more money through ad dollars. Networks for Google are tributaries of revenue ideally going to Google, not streams of social discourse aiding no one in particular.