The northern UK Member of Parliament, Dennis Skinner, attacked David Cameron in Prime Minister's Questions this week, and was thrown out of the chamber for refusing to take back the blistering epithet - Dodgy Dave. [more inside]
How do you quantify the effects of things that don't happen to you? "The whole point of living in a culture is that much of the labor of perception and judgment is done for you, spread through media, and absorbed through an imperceptible process that has no single author." (previously; via)
Why Hamilton—Not Jefferson—Is the Father of the American Economy - "How we can better energize America's economy, create more jobs, and provide more fulfilling lives for our citizens?" By Stephen Cohen and Brad DeLong (previously; [unfinished] book preview) [more inside]
Yosemite to Rename Several Iconic Places - "The National Park Service said today it will rename many well-known spots in Yosemite, as part of an ongoing legal dispute with an outgoing concessionaire that has trademarked many names in the world-famous park."
GrowUp: the future of food - "The new concept of commercial aquaponics, argue Hofman and Webster, has a much-reduced environmental impact. Companion farming fish and crops dates back to the Aztecs, but it took until the 2010s, in Chicago, to move it indoors at any scale. In the UK, only eco-smallholdings have so far attempted it, and the only European aquaponics farms of note use purpose-built greenhouses. GrowUp's model, by contrast, is to fit out empty urban buildings, use no chemicals, employ LED lights, source 100 per cent renewable energy and, crucially, be based within five miles of its customer base in a dense urban area."
Looking for another source of public domain images? Yahoo research fellow Kalev Leetaru has extracted over 14 million images from IA public domain book scans, and so far 2.6 million of them have been posted to the Internet Archive Book Images photostream, where they have become part of The Commons. [more inside]
The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1%, says an ex CIA spy: The man who trained more than 66 countries in open source methods calls for re-invention of intelligence to re-engineer Earth [more inside]
The non-profit digital library of Marxist texts, The Marxist Internet Archive, has received a copyright take-down request from the radical publishing house Lawrence and Wishart, asking that all material from the Marx and Engels Collected Works be removed from the site by May 1 2014. [more inside]
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio actually makes a case against austerity and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
Want to find fruit on publicly owned land? fallingfruit.org offers utilitarian maps showing public fruit locations in several countries (eg, lillypilly trees in Melbourne, Australia; breadfruit trees in Mauritius; apple trees in Prague). fallenfruit.org is a collaborative artists' project that includes hand-drawn maps of public fruit trees in specific neighbourhoods of cities in the United States (California and Colorado especially), as well as a few international locations including Guadelajara, Mexico, Malmo, Sweden, and Herlev, Denmark. [more inside]
“We’ve seen the price of food become more expensive than ever three times in five years. Normally we’d see three price spikes in a century,” said Kaufman. “And part of the reason is this new kind of commodity speculation in food markets.” In an article published Oct. 24 in Nature[subscription required], Kaufman describes what he calls “Wall Street’s thirst for water” — the push to turn water into a commodity like food, with the same instruments that produced the mortgage-backed security collapse and 2008 financial crisis.Public or Private: The Fight Over the Future of Water [more inside]
Destroying the Commons by Noam Chomsky: "The Charter of the Forest demanded protection of the commons from external power. The commons were the source of sustenance for the general population: their fuel, their food, their construction materials, whatever was essential for life. The forest was no primitive wilderness. It had been carefully developed over generations, maintained in common, its riches available to all, and preserved for future generations -- practices found today primarily in traditional societies that are under threat throughout the world." [more inside]
Wiki Loves Monuments: "World's largest photo contest" seeks to create a visual record of world monuments and historic sites on the Wikimedia Commons. The USA version focuses on sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Canadian version here. If you don't see your country among the 30 participating so far, you can volunteer!
Start Your Own Currency - "In the Catalonia region of Spain, a restaurant and a community garden are part of an experiment in alternative cash--they are accepting a home-grown currency called the Eco as well as the Euro." [viz. gated article (Google link), cf. The Wörgl Experiment]
Larry Ellison is buying 98% of Lanai, one of the Hawaiian Islands. Best way to protect the island and the commons? or bad precedent and an example of the tyranny of small decisions?
Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert - "McLuhan prefigured the Internet era in a number of surprising ways. As he said in a March 1969 Playboy interview: 'The computer thus holds out the promise of a technologically engendered state of universal understanding and unity, a state of absorption in the Logos that could knit mankind into one family and create a perpetuity of harmony and peace' ... Wikipedia, along with other crowd-sourced resources, is wreaking a certain amount of McLuhanesque havoc on conventional notions of 'authority', 'authorship', and even 'knowledge' ... Knowledge is growing more broadly and immediately participatory and collaborative by the moment."
How to feed 9 billion people: The global food supply is starting to get tight, with increasing sensitivity to droughts and floods causing price spikes and food shortages. The UK commissioned a report to examine how to feed a planet with a population that is set to increase to 9 billion by 2050. [more inside]
The Birth of Sharing Law and the Rise of Co-ops - "A new sharing economy is emerging — but how does it fit within our legal system? Time for a whole new field of cooperation law." (via wc)
Right Wing Radio Duck "Donald's life is turned upside-down by the current economic crisis and he finds himself unemployed and falling behind on his house payments. As his frustration turns into despair Donald discovers a seemingly sympathetic voice coming from his radio named Glenn Beck. "
How to Save a Dying Ocean - "New England fishermen have mixed feelings about a programme designed to allow overfished species to recover. Mark Schrope reports on how catch shares have scientists fishing for answers." (via) [more inside]
What if our economy was not built on competition? Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom talks about her work on cooperation in economics. [more inside]
The OER Commons exists to help educators "find free-to-use teaching and learning content from around the world." Thousands of primary, secondary and post-secondary activities, labs, lecture notes, assignments and other educational materials are available by searching or browsing the OER site.
The Commons' Photostream from the National Library of New Zealand is a collection of late 19th and early 20th century photography. Includes a selection of stereographs from the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington-based photographer William Hall Raine, and panoramas of New Zealand from Robert Percy Moore. There is lots, lots more, and the NLNZ is continuing to update regularly. [more inside]
Markets and Morals -- "without quite realising it, without ever deciding to do so, we drifted from having a market economy to being a market society" -- is the first of the 2009 Reith Lectures delivered by Michael Sandel. (previously) cf. Yglesias on free markets... [more inside]
In a landmark defeat for the UK Government, the House of Commons has voted to allow all former and existing Ghurkas the right to live in the UK. [more inside]
It's the commons, our right of birth
And to you who would own everything all around the Earth
Our future is your downfall, when we cut this ball and chain
You who'd sacrifice the public good for your private gain
Commercial exploitationTube? Creative Commies-Tube? Plagiarism® ? "…you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube's (and its successor's) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels…" moc.ebutuoy whata circlejerk... Now where's my aeroflot and reversed copyright Tee-Shirt! and Negativland, Tape-beatles, EEC records. I'm ready for a copyfight !
Today might be a good day to look at the bright side of 'teh internet' life. Lawrence Lessig (author of Free Culture), Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia), various advocates of the Free Culture network organisation and others are all meeting at the iCommons Summit in Rio to discuss Creative Commons, open networks, non-restrictives licenses, global Digital Commons and the fact that maybe, in 2006, 'Sharing is Daring'. A similar summit has been taking place earlier this month in Thailand, under the name of Asia Commons. I for one thinks it's extremely exciting to see all kind of artists, collectives and record labels using the CC licenses for the work they publish. After all, we now all live in a 'Remixed Culture', since everything we ever use was once part of something else, wasn't it? openDemocracy has been publishing a solid set of articles & a debate about the topic.
Ourmedia needs volunteer moderators. Ourmedia, which provides "free storage and free bandwidth for your videos, audio files, photos, text or software" is doing well. Too well. The current volunteer moderator team of 40 is faced with the overwhelming task of reviewing the submitted content of 40,000 users for copyright and other policy violations, on which their open submission policy depends. If you'd like to get involved, now would be the time.
Sci-fi writer and Marine Biologist Peter Watts puts his first two novels, Starfish and Maelstrom online under Creative Commons license. Behemoth to follow shortly. The most original and starkly vivid account of a dystopian future that I have read for years, made all the more enthralling by Watt's scientific background and knowledge. You will find some of his short stories at the link as well. Via BoingBoing
CommonTunes.org, a community directory of freely distributable music. With tags. Also see CommonFlix & CommonBits. Oddly enough, the site itself is "All Rights Reserved". Pity about the color scheme.
Charlie Stross releases his new book Accelerando as a Creative Commons e-book, thereby buying in to the open source idea that offering up one's intellectual property (under certain circumstances) will result in greater sales of the physical object, not fewer (see: Cory Doctorow). In a time where promotional opportunities for new and "mid-list" authors seem to be continually shrinking, is offering up a complete work the current equivalent of the author interview or newspaper puff piece? Or is it simply a recognition that here in the 21st century anything can be pirated -- better to offer up your work in good will (and in a form where you have some control), and hope some of the kids will realize that behind the free content is a guy who needs to eat? And what happens if/when all books become digital books?
The Freesound Project - a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds.
BIOS-Biological Innovation for Open Society is an open source biotechnology initiative based in Australia. Along with its parent organization CAMBIA, it aims to foster a "protected commons" for scientific information and technology. Tools and techniques are shared, and can be improved and repackaged, just like in open source software.
Reviving the Commons. The commons are the range of resources that the American public collectively owns, but which are often mismanaged by government or privatized ("enclosed") by corporations. An excellent report on "The State of the Commons 2003/04" (PDF) was prepared for the Friends of the Commons by the Tomales Bay Institute. The principle of the commons in Western common law was first codified in the Magna Carta, and was previously discussed on MeFi here. [Via I-Merge.]
The Secret History of the Magna Carta. This is a fascinating article on the Magna Carta and the lesser known Charter of the Forest, and the early establishment of the rights of commons.
Reclaiming the Commons "One of the great questions of contemporary American political economy is, who shall control the commons? "The commons" refers to that vast range of resources that the American people collectively own, but which are rapidly being enclosed: privatized, traded in the market, and abused." This is a fairly long, but incredibly well researched article about the "silent theft of our shared assets and civic inheritance".
A five-year-old kid from Minnesota has patented a way of swinging on a child's swing. More proof, if anyone needs it, that the government is veering from an institution of reason to an institution of control. At what point is a sufficient degree of absurdity reached that legitimacy is widely recognized to have been abandoned?
UK Parliament now offering live webcasts of debates. Fascinating. Don't miss Prime Minister's Questions every Wednesday at 3pm GMT, it's always good for a few laughs. Would give some of the slower debates a miss though. Via The Register.