Category: In the News

Internet Bill Of Rights

Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? wrote the below rights we should have for the Internet (source):

I. We have the right to connect.
This is a preamble and precondition to the American First Amendment: before we can speak, we must be able to connect. Hillary Clinton defines the freedom to connect as “the idea that governments should not prevent people from connecting to the internet, to websites, or to each other.” It is this principle that also informs discussion of net neutrality.

II. We have the right to speak.
No one may abridge our freedom of speech. We acknowledge the limitations on freedom of speech but they must defined as narrowly as possible, lest we find ourselves operating under a lowest common denominator of offense. Freedom is our default.

III. We have the right to speak in our languages.
The English language’s domination of the internet has faded as more languages and alphabets have joined the net, which is to be celebrated. But Ethan Zuckerman also cautions that in our polyglot internet, we will want to build bridges across languages. We will want to speak in our own languages but also speak with others’.

IV. We have the right to assemble.
In the American Bill of Rights, the right to assemble is listed separately from the right to speak. The internet enables us to organize without organizations and collaborate and that now threatens repressive regimes as much as speech.

V. We have the right to act.
These first articles are a thread: We connect to speak and speak to assemble and assemble to act and that is how we can and will change the world, not just putting forth grievances but creating the means to fix them. That is what threatens the institutions that would stop us.

VI. We have the right to control our data.
You should have access to data about you. And what’s yours is yours. We want the internet to operate on a principle of portability, so your information and creations cannot be held prisoner by a service or government and so you retain control. But keep in mind that when control is given to one, it is taken from another; in those details lurk devils. This principle thus speaks to copyright and its laws, which set the definitions and limits of control or creation. This principle also raises questions about whether the wisdom of the crowd belongs to the crowd.

VII. We have the right to our own identity.
This is not as simple as a name. Our identity online is made up of our names, addresses, speech, creations, actions, connections. Note also that in repressive regimes, maintaining anonymity — hiding one’s identity — is a necessity; thus anonymity, with all its faults and baggage and trolls, must also be protected online to protect the dissenter and the whistleblower. Note finally that these two articles — controlling our data and our identities — make up the right to privacy, which is really a matter of control.

VIII. What is public is a public good.
The internet is public; indeed, it is a public place (rather than a medium). In the rush to protect privacy, we must beware the dangers of restricting the definition of public. What’s public is owned by the public. Making the public private or secret serves the corrupt and tyrannical.

IX. The internet shall be built and operated openly.
The internet must continue to be built and operated to open standards. It must not be taken over or controlled by any company or government. It must not be taxed. It is the internet’s openness that gives it its freedom. It is this freedom that defines the internet.”

All Black Penguins Are One In A Zillion

“How big is a zillion? It’s “an extremely large, indeterminate number,” according to Dictionary.com.   And how rare is an all-black penguin, rather than the black-and-white tuxedo-like colorings on most of the adorable, big, wabbly birds? It’s a one-in-a-zillion mutation, scientists say.”  >> Read full story

Why One Auschwitz Survivor Avoided Doctors For 65 Years

Yitzhak Ganon survived Auschwitz SS doctor Josef Mengele's medical experiments

Sixty-five years ago, infamous Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele removed Yitzhak Ganon’s kidney without anesthesia. The Greek-born Jew swore never to see a doctor again — until a heart attack last month brought his horrific tale into the open.  >> Read the full article

Renovating American Infrastructure

 Roads, Bridges & Trains Paul Wootton

I was talking with Scott at lunch yesterday about our normal random things and somehow we got on the subject of America’s infrastructure.  I was telling him I recently read a great article from Popular Science about renovating America’s infrastructure and wanted to share with everyone as well.  The following is an excerpt: “Chicago road crews are scrambling to fill 67,000 potholes a month. Communities in Pennsylvania rely on 100-year-old water pipes made of wood. Squirrels still cause widespread blackouts. The country’s 600,000 bridges, four million miles of roads, and 30,000 wastewater plants desperately need attention. The solution isn’t patches, it’s an overhaul. Soon roads and power lines will fix themselves, and we’ll mine energy from sewage. America’s 21st-century tune-up won’t happen overnight, but we could start reaping the benefits (faster broadband! cleaner water!) within the next few years.”  >> Read the full article

Bay Bridge Fail Whale

Bay Bridge Fail Whale

Source: http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2009/10/download_the_bay_bridge_fail_w.php

If you haven’t heard about our Bay Area traffic nightmare, the Bay Bridge has been closed since Tuesday when a 5,000 pound steel beam decided to crash onto the upper deck. They are building a new bridge but it isn’t expected to be completed until 2013.  People are having to use BART (love BART) now and according to sfgate.com, records were broken on Thursday with 442,000 passengers, using the trains.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/