You should visit Wikipedia Watch because they examine the consequences of its massive influence on what passes for reliable information: “While Wikipedia itself does not run ads, they are the most-scraped site on the web. Scrapers need any content in order to carry ads from Google and other advertisers. This entire effect is turning Wikipedia into a generator of spam. It is primarily Google’s fault, since Wikipedia might find it difficult to address the issue of scraping even if they wanted to.
- In 2009 George Soros said that sometimes banks and insurance companies began to transgress the law, rather than just lobbying to have the law changed to serve their interests. Besides, he said, axioms of free-market economics do not apply to the financial markets as “markets feed on themselves, so that financial values have a permanent tendency to swing and are never rational”. Therefore, according to Soros, real recovery would require regulation that compels banks to carry more capital and lend more judiciously.
- The wonderful thing about the original Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, says TechLiberation, was that they didn’t create any expensive entitlements that required affirmative state action. Instead, they tightly bound government and curtailed its powers and left the people at liberty. By contrast, these new “Declaration of Internet Freedom” and “Digital Bill of Rights” contain all sorts of aspirational principles that could be construed as “positive rights” that require government to provide some sort of basic underlying service, or to affirmatively and aggressively regulate the information economy to protect some of these amorphous values.
- A. Swartz does not see how claims that open data will “make government transparent and accountable” are justified, because: people hide their crimes. If you install a webcam (meaning any kind of control) where they used to exchange bribes they will move ten feet away and do business as usual When you have time to prepare, it’s pretty easy to disguise the data. It’s always been investigative journalism, not data mining, that’s revealed big scandals.
- Maps are drawn with very different techniques, called projections. Each technique has a different purpose. And if you don’t know what a map projection is, that’s bad. Because who draws a map, controls how the others see the world. Please read the whole story [here](http://members.shaw.ca/quadibloc/maps/mapint.htm) (and here’s why I think you should)_
- Back in 2001, there was “a storm of protest over a move by the World Wide Web Consortium to bless fee-bearing patents as official web standards.” If you started using the Internet with Facebook and other social networks, this may be the first time you meet this kind of problem. However, people willing to create them still exist, and you can’t afford to ignore the issue, as the result would be an Internet where “everybody will get screwed, even if they’ll get screwed equally”.
- Common myths about renewable energy include that it’s expensive, unreliable and that there just isn’t enough of it. But as technological advances and plummeting costs drive explosive growth, real-world experience is shattering long-held assumptions every day, mainly because: Since the fuel cost of renewable resources like wind and solar is zero, adding renewable resources always pulls down the market price of all the electricity sold in the market whenever it is available.
- Here are a few factoids you should think about the next time you’re under the shower: cutting one minute off your shower time can save up to 1,825 gallons of water annually our culture as a whole is a bit hygiene-obsessed multinationals own several “natural” cosmetics brands (but don’t pee in the shower as the original article suggests, please) Please read the whole story [here](http://grist.org/green-living-tips/2011-06-13-the-great-unwashed-ask-umbra-on-biweekly-showers) (and here’s why I think you should)_
- A. Swartz rightly points out that: The way a typical US transparency project works is pretty simple. You find a government database, work hard to get or parse a copy, and then put it online with some nice visualizations. The problem is that reality doesn’t live in the databases. Right. So we need more information. Why give up? Then he says: For too long we’ve been funding transparency projects on the model of if-we-build-it-they-will-come: that we don’t know what transparency will be useful for, but once it’s done it will lead to all sorts of exciting possibilities.
- (the italian version has many more links) If they can make you ask the wrong questions, the answers don’t matter. The new Ponte della Scafa (Scafa Bridge) over which Via della Scafa (Scafa Road) crosses the Tiber River is, I think, one of these cases. The Fiumicino area, from Google Maps. This bridge should replace the current, much smaller one (#1 in the picture from Google Maps).