Living World

  • It’s always fun, and useful, when two or more news, that somehow go against each other, are published in the same day. Last Friday we had: ** From the UK:**_ Internet of Things is Driving the [Global Market of Homes and Buildings] to New Heights… the residential market is expected to be the subject of the battle between utilities, telcos, technology companies and others_ From Denmark: a survey found support for digital smart city services [but also] concern about abuse of personal information: 45 percent said they would be unwilling to supply the data to make such services possible… 28 percent of respondents were ‘very concerned’ about data misuse
  • fOSSa 2015 was such a great conference that I and Wouter Tebbens already wrote four other posts about it (see below). Here are the last bits that are worth sharing but did not fit elsewhere.Open Education What Mitja Jermol and his colleagues are doing in Slovenia is REALLY interesting, go check it out. Seriously. I can only add that they seem in a great position to, in addition to what they are already doing, _also _bring Open Data in/from schools, as I suggested here a while ago.
  • Some recent declarations from VW executives about the Volkswagen scandal are half unbelievable, half totally irrelevant. Seriously.Quoting from “Could Rogue Software Engineers Be Behind VW Emissions Cheating?”: “This was not a corporate decision,” [Michael Horn, CEO of Volkswagen America] later added. “There was no board meeting that approved this.” Duh. Really? How unexpected! Who would have thought? All laws, ethics and morals aside…, if I had shares in any company whose board members were so idiot to discuss something like this in an official meeting, maybe even leaving a written record, I’d either fire them on the spot, or get rid of my shares as quickly as I could.
  • I’m just back from the 2013 Economics and Commons Conference in Berlin. A great event, in which I took lots of general notes synthesized in another post that I’ll publish tomorrow. This one, instead, contains just questions and suggestions from me that I already shared at the conference, or I’d like to share with everybody interested in Commons. A separate post contains my critique to certain arguments against copyright I heard at the same conference.
  • (this is something I wrote down for myself almost ten years ago, when I came across some “Save the Tiger” campaign. See at the bottom the reason why I resurrected this note and put it online now) May we get rid for good of a huge misunderstanding, please? We don’t need to save forests to preserve tigers. It’s the other way around. Every single species changes or disappears anyway, sooner or later.
  • John Michael Greer makes a really important provocation. He begins explaining a few things about the current world that everybody not living in a hole already knows: Our current industrial society was just a non repeatable huge stroke of luck, made possible by access to an immense supply of cheap, highly concentrated fuel that took million years to produce, and was worth extracting (same theme of Never mind the debt!
  • A couple weeks ago, an unusual request on the Mauritius Linux Users Group caught my attention, one that may interest both tourists visiting Mauritius in the next months, and everybody interested in ICT for sustainable development. It turns out that (see here for details), after the food price crisis of 2008, the Mauritian Government established a Food Security Fund to promote Agricultural Research and Development to improve food security. Besides increasing production of known staple crops, a long-term goal of that Fund is the identification of other interesting crops.
  • Several sessions and seminars of the 2011 European Open Days (*) have covered the theme of how to bring broadband connectivity to every European citizen. According to several Open Days panelists, when scarcely populated and possibly rugged rural areas get fast, reliable and affordable non-stop access to online services: innovative small and medium businesses can start and prosper locally doctors and other professionals are more likely to remain (or arrive!
  • The 2011 European Open Days (*) covered a lot of very different topics, from local transportation to health, traffic, smart cities and education. Almost all these talks, however, starting from the plenary opening session had the same implicit basis, always given for granted without the smallest amount of doubt: work is the center of life, economic growth is THE social and political framework in which human life happens, job creation is our goal Everybody was talking only about growth, development, jobs and unemployment.
  • During the 2011 European Open Days (*) I followed a presentation of the Supergrid: “a pan-European transmission network facilitating the integration of large-scale renewable energy and the balancing and transportation of electricity, with the aim of improving the European market”. The session included a standing ovation to the panelist who said, more or less: I’m sick and tired of this “Offshore wind isn’t the way to go because it needs funding” crap.