- 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.
Italian newspaper Repubblica reports that Italy really is in dire economic crisis. How dire? Well, it turns out that both proving spouse infidelity as preparation to divorce, and tolerating absent employees have become stuff that only the richest can afford. A representative of a federation of italian private investigators said:
The first entry for 2012 of my copyright madness gallery may be just behind (or below…) you in this very moment, in your own living room.
Every now and then, people find in their inbox some email that would have been much better not to send. I’m not talking about spam. I refer to those “urgent warnings” about some danger, or to all those wonderful or scandalous “news” that some well meaning friend sends or forward to everybody in his address book because it only takes one click and “this is big, everybody gotta know it!”
Whenever you have one of these messages in your hands, do yourself and the whole human race a favour by following the following simple rules before sending or forwarding it:
Once upon a time there was a country. Year after year, that country funded the wrong projects, built the wrong infrastructure and bought the wrong things. Eventually, the accumulation of bad investment made that country so fragile that even the smallest shock could topple it.
Jonathan Angel recently explained very well, in a piece about the IBM PC’s birthday’, something I realized the first time I saw a tablet computer, that is the main reason why I will not limit myself to any device like that, and suggest nobody does. Here’s that reason, expressed with two quotes from Jonathan’s piece, which I do suggest you read in its entirety:
In Google Search, autocomplete is that mechanism that tries to save your time, by making suggestions appear after the words you’ve already typed. Google itself tells us how its autocomplete works: predicts and displays search queries based on other users’ search activities… The autocomplete data is updated frequently to offer fresh and rising search queries. Right now, if you type “Berlusconi” in www.google.it, the result is what you see in this snapshot. ](/images/berlusconi_google_result.png)]
- (/images/saccheggi_londra.png) The London lootings are those you’ve surely heard about these days. The Unhappiest Advertising Executives of 2011 are, almost surely, those of the italian advertising agency Armando Testa. Just a few months ago, they launched the new version of the Lancia Ypsilon compact car with a series of TV spots in which actor Vincent Cassel defiantly declares and explains that “Il Lusso e un Diritto”. The literal translation of that slogan in English is “Luxury is a Right”, that is exactly the same concept (*) firmly planted in the mind of those London looters who focused on big screen TVs, smartphones, trendy clothes and other absolutely primary, indispensable goods.
- (this is from an email I wrote to somebody around 2003. We aren’t there yet, but it’s interesting to see that lots of the pieces to make what’s described below happen are already in place, even if in ways I’d have not imagined back then) Let’s make cities with more condos, to save space and energy. With lots of city parks, locally administered. Above all, with cars out of the way.