Climate Change Emails Reveal Rigged 'Consensus'

The furor over these documents is not about tone, colloquialisms or whether climatologists are nice people. The real issue is what the messages say about the way the much-ballyhooed scientific consensus on global warming was arrived at, and how a single view of warming and its causes is being enforced. The impression left by the correspondence among Messrs. Mann and Jones and others is that the climate-tracking game has been rigged from the start.

According to this privileged group, only those whose work has been published in select scientific journals, after having gone through the "peer-review" process, can be relied on to critique the science. And sure enough, any challenges from critics outside this clique are dismissed and disparaged.


WikiLeaks opens leaked documents

WikiLeaks " … could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act. " - Time Magazine

Alex Pasternack, Beijing, China writes on Treehugger (2007): "Perhaps the most recent evidence of smart mob reporting is WikiLeaks, a wiki site designed to allow anyone to post documents on the web without fear of being traced (news of the site was it seems, fittingly, leaked)".

WikiLeaks says about itself : "We open governments"

For a general introduction on WikiLeaks check the Wikipedia info and watch Wikileaks' Julian Assange discussing the ethics of corporate leaking and notice WikiLeaks Community Profile.WikiLeaks published the following announcement about their latest whistleblowing action

Smart Mobs

Digital Media and Learning Competition

HASTAC and the MacArthur Foundation are excited to launch the third year of the Digital Media and Learning Competition. Today, young people are learning, socializing, and participating in civic life in dramatic new ways and assessing information in ways never before imagined. They are reimagining learning on a daily basis and are engaged in what is called "participatory learning." The 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition challenges designers, entrepreneurs, practitioners, researchers, and young people to put participatory learning to work on behalf of science, technology, engineering, math and their social contexts in the 21st century.

The online application system will open January 7, so now's the time to develop your ideas and pull your information together. Click here to see what you will need to include in your application. Expert judges will select Best in Class awards in a number of categories. This year, the public will be invited to comment on proposals and vote for People's Choice competition awards.

So read through the website carefully and be ready to apply beginning on January 7! Click here to see the timeline.


Metadata vs Data: a wholly artificial distinction

I'll simply argue that if you aim to build a storage architecture with real flexibility, maintaining a distinction between data and metadata runs directly counter to your goal. Below I'll outline some reasons why.

But first, consider the natural world. If you talk to a regular person — meaning someone who’s not a computer scientist, a librarian, an archivist etc. — and ask them if they know what metadata is, you'll probably draw a blank. Why is that? It's because the distinction between data and metadata is entirely artificial. It does not exist in the real world, and it's clear that regular people can get by just fine without it. FluidDB draws its inspiration from the way we work with information in the natural world, and maintains no such distinction.

It's interesting to speculate on the origins of the metadata vs data distinction. I'd love to know its full history. I suspect that it arose from early architectural constraints, from the relative design and programming ease of maintaining a set of constant-size chunks of information about files apart from the dynamic and variable-size memory required by the contents of files. I suspect it probably also has to do with architectural limitations and the slowness of early machines.


The News Crisis: What Google Can Do

I propose that Google set up a Journalism Innovators’ Fund with an initial annual budget of $100 million—less than 0.5 percent of the more than $20 billion it takes in annually. The fund would seek not to subsidize existing news operations but to support creative ideas and new programs aimed at reinventing the news as Schmidt suggests. It would support start-ups and fledgling enterprises engaged in investigation, international reporting, policy analysis, blogging, and other forms of probing and provocative reporting and commentary undertaken by the independent journalists who, given the severe retrenchment taking place at traditional organizations, are making up an ever-larger part of the field. More and more journalists are becoming entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs need start-up capital, and who better to provide it than Google, itself a product of, and tribute to, the entrepreneurial spirit?

But the Innovators’ Fund would not be restricted to independent operators. It would also be open to ideas from established news organizations aimed at helping them adapt to the Internet. Newspaper Web sites are currently home to some of the most creative digital experiments out there, and an outside source of support could help incubate them. Earlier this year, for instance, The New York Times and ProPublica jointly won a two-year, $719,500 grant from the Knight Foundation to develop Document Cloud, a data-archiving technique aimed at making the huge quantities of information contained in government, corporate, and other kinds of documents easy to search and analyze. This typifies the new forms of collaboration taking place between old and new media; Google could play a key part in fostering them.

Google has not only the resources but also the moral responsibility to provide such help. More than any other institution, it has unleashed the creative destruction that is transforming the news industry.

NYRblog - The New York Review of Books

New Neurological Evidence That the Internet Makes People Smarter

Your grandma might think that the Internet is rotting your brain, but it's possible if she did a little face-time with Google that she could stay sharper in the noggin herself. In a new study, Internet novices who were instructed to search the web showed increased activity in areas of the brain associated with making decisions and memory in just two weeks, according to a poster presented today at the annual Society for Neuroscience conference.

The work comes from a UCLA research team including Gary Small, a professor of psychiatry, and builds off of a previous study we covered in the June issue of Popular Science. He had previously shown that people who already are using the Internet more have more activity in areas of the brain related to complex reasoning, but that study couldn't define what was cause and effect (maybe people with better complex reasoning skills are more drawn to the Internet).

Popular Science

Will commercial deals help open up BBC archive to the public by 2022?

The BBC archive is not just any archive. The broadcaster has shaped the UK's cultural heritage for more than 80 years, so it contains important snapshots of the nation's history. And this rich past will soon begin to be accessible online.

According to the director of BBC Vision, Jana Bennett, there are plans to launch an online catalogue of every TV and radio show the corporation has broadcasted by Christmas 2010. The BBC then plans to gradually make this material available to the public, with a deadline for digitising as many shows as possible - rights and other issues permitting - by the BBC's 100th anniversary in 2022.

That is going to be a lot of work. The BBC's archives occupy 4.5 miles of shelves - as shown in this gallery), with 2.5m hours of film and video, 6m photographs, 4.5m pieces of sheet music, 5 miles of documents about programmes, staff, finance, correspondence and 200,000 word pronunciations. They are stored in 26 sites all over the UK.

Media | guardian.co.uk

A Portuguese success story: could i be the future of newspapers?

I is not structured like a traditional paper. The paper's team worked with media consultancy Innovation to come up with a new way to organise the product. "Our feeling was," said Figueiredo, who came on board at an early stage, moving from Diário Económico, "that people were not concerned about traditional sections any more. Traditionally, journalists have to fill a politics section even if there is nothing relevant going on in politics. We wanted to come up with something different." So the team came up with five key needs that they wanted the paper to address, with five key words.

  • 1. Opinion is the first section of the paper, based on the key word think. No other Portuguese paper starts out with opinion.
  • 2. Radar is the second, accompanied by the key word know. Figueiredo said the assumption was that readers will already know a lot from other sources, but Radar aims to offer a quick overview of everything that has happened in the past 24 hours. The section is eight pages long, and the longest article is half a page.
  • 3. Zoom is the third section, connected to the key word understand. The 22-26 page section looks at between eight and 13 topics in depth, with articles taking up one to ten pages. "We deal with these subjects with a lot of care, and we use the best teams," Figueiredo said.
  • 4. The fourth section is called More, linked to the key concept feel. This is where anything about people's private, cultural, social lives goes. Figueiredo explained that the team did not want to give the section a more specific name, or the content would be limited. More encompasses the fifth need that the paper wanted to address: sports, about 80% of which is focused on football - "this is very important in Portugal," Figueiredo said.

Editors Weblog

Put in your postcode, out comes the data

We all recognise the power of information. It guides our behaviour and decisions. It tells us when the trains run and when the roads are jammed, how schools, hospitals and police are performing. We live in an age in which the essential raw material is information; data with a context. It underpins our economy and our society.

Data has a particular value in that you can combine it with other data to discover new things. When in 1854 John Snow took the deaths from a cholera outbreak in London and plotted them on a map, he was able to illustrate the connection between the quality of the source of water and cholera — the world changed. In March the Department for Transport released three years’ worth of data about the location of accidents involving cyclists. Within 24 hours someone had converted this data to create cycle-accident route planners that avoid the black spots.

Government data is a valuable resource that we have already paid for. We are not talking about personal data but data that tells us, for example, about the amount and type of traffic on our roads, where the accidents are, how much is spent on areas where these accidents occur. This is data that has already been collected and paid for by the taxpayer, and the internet allows it to be distributed much more cheaply than before. Governments can unlock its value by simply letting people use it. This is beginning to happen in a number of countries, notably in the US under the Obama Administration, and in June Gordon Brown asked us to advise the Government on how to make rapid progress here.

Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt - Times Online

Copyright Time Bomb Set to Disrupt Music, Publishing Industries | Epicenter | Wired.com

The late '70s, when punk exploded and disco imploded, were tumultuous years for the music industry. A time bomb embedded in legislation from that era, the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, could bring another round of tumult to the business, due to provisions that allow authors or their heirs to terminate copyright grants — or at the very least renegotiate much sweeter deals by threatening to do so.

At a time when record labels and, to a lesser extent, music publishers, find themselves in the midst of an unprecedented contraction, the last thing they need is to start losing valuable copyrights to '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s music, much of which still sells as well or better than more recently released fare. Nonetheless, the wheels are already in motion.


Killing straw men

Paul Carr has written a post for TechCrunch about citizen journalism and social media entitled After Fort Hood, another example of how ‘citizen journalists’ can’t handle the truth. Normally I ignore TechCrunch, but so many people I know were impressed with the post that I had to read it. Sadly, it’s riven with poor logic, straw men and factual inaccuracies.

Suw Charman-Anderson

Ignoring P2Pers costs music biz dear

Overall, the survey finds something for everyone to draw comfort from - whether it's lower prices for songs or disconnection for downloaders.

Unsurprisingly the research finds a strong propensity to use unlicensed services amongst music fans - people who spend the most on music. And the opposite too: people who aren't interesting in acquiring music legitimately, as you'd expect, don't bother looking for it on the interwebs.

That's no surprise, but an uncomfortable statistic for the music business is that two-thirds of people polled never touch an unlicensed service at all - their hands (and mice) are clean. This makes it harder to argue that P2P Pirates have brought the industry to its knees, rather than other factors such as unbundling or failing to innovate.

Who spends what

The Register

Internet as Playground and Factory

The Internet as Playground and Factory poses a series of questions about the conundrums surrounding labor (and often the labor of love) in relation to our digital present:
  • Is it possible to acknowledge the moments of ruthless exploitation while not eradicating optimism, inspiration, and the many instances of individual financial and political empowerment?
  • What is labor and where is value produced?
  • Are strategies of refusal an effective response to the expropriation of value from interacting users?
  • How is the global crisis of capitalism linked to the speculative performances of the digital economy?
  • What can we learn from the “cyber sweatshops” class-action lawsuit against AOL under the Fair Labor Standards Act in the early 1990s?
  • How does this invisible interaction labor affect our bodies? What were key steps in the history of interaction design that managed to mobilize and structure the social participation of bodies and psyches in order to capture value?
  • Most interaction labor, regardless whether it is driven by monetary motivations or not, is taking place on corporate platforms. Where does that leave hopeful projections of a future of non-market peer production?

Texas University Says Giving Students iPhones Is an Academic Success - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Abilene Christian University says handing out iPhones to its entire first-year class in 2008 has improved interaction between students and faculty members. That students use the devices so much for academic purposes, the university says, proves that the move was not just a way to get the Texas institution noticed—though it certainly doesn't mind grabbing headlines.

In a report as shiny and user-friendly as the iPhone itself, the university provides page after page of evidence that it says demonstrates that the iPhone program works. First-year students, all 957 of them, received either an iPhone or an iPod Touch last year, as did about 1,000 members of this year's incoming class. Students in last year's class reported using the devices for academic purposes nearly once a day. Student approval of the project stayed fairly steady over the course of the year.

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Some thoughts on Twitter vs. Facebook Status Updates

The functional act of constructing a tweet or a status update is very similar. Produce text in roughly 140 characters or less inside a single line text box and click a button. Voila! Even the stream based ways in which the text gets consumed look awfully similar. Yet, the more I talk with people engaged in practices around Twitter and Facebook, the more I'm convinced these two things are not actually the same practice. Why? Audience.

There are two critical structural differences between Facebook and Twitter that are essential to understand before discussing the practices: 1) social graph directionality; 2) conversational mechanisms.


Forget the young pretenders, Humans 1.0 can lead the way

Twitter, after all, is the cyber-sensation du jour. It's growing like crazy and is even impinging on the British legal system (as evidenced by its unravelling of the Trafigura super-injunction). Yet the kids who supposedly drive every internet phenomenon have little interest in it. The statistics support this: Twitter is a preoccupation of older generations; according to comScore, only 11% of its users are aged 17 or younger.

Ah well, you say, at least teenagers are the motive force behind social networking, which many people see as the most important online development of the past five years. Here again, the statistics tell a different story. According to the New York Times, for example, teenagers now account for only 14% of MySpace users and 9% of Facebook's. Yet it is Facebook that is growing like crazy: it now has over 300 million users (and is adding 600,000 new users a day at present). And most of them are oldies.
And the meaning of all this? Simple: when it comes to predicting the future of cyberspace, the only certainty is that no one knows anything, least of all teenagers. Now where's that walking stick..?

The Observer

Research in focus: Cultural blogging in Europe

Who blogs? What are they blogging about? Which audiences and communities are being engaged? What are the language-specific issues and the economic models? And how sustainable are they?

Cultural blogging is not (yet) a well-known category within the blogosphere. LabforCulture wanted to find out more about the role of blogging in the cultural sector generally and what it means for LabforCulture specifically. We asked Annette Wolfsberger, project manager at Virtueel Platform, the Dutch sector institute for e-culture, to interview cultural bloggers across Europe. The interviews are published from April to June 2009, and the results of our research will then be published in a short paper.


Investigative reporting in the Web era

On Sunday, July 12, 2009, the Los Angeles Times published on its front page and on four full inside pages an article headed, Problem nurses stay on job as patients suffer.

Of the many extraordinary things about this story, one stands out: it was written and principally reported by two reporters, Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber, who do not work for the Times. They work at ProPublica, a New York–based nonprofit and nonpartisan team of investigative journalists founded in 2008 and funded by philanthropy, including major support from the Sandler Foundation. Just a few years ago, there would have been a very slim chance that a paper of the Times’s standing would have devoted so much prime real estate to anything not entirely of its own origination and execution.

How the world has changed! Over the past year, the Times and ProPublica have collaborated on two dozen stories on more than a half dozen subjects, and almost certainly will on more. And how good it has been for the people of California that these two organizations did find a way to work together!

McKinsey: What Matters

More schools experimenting with digital textbooks

This textbook-free classroom is by no means the norm, but it may be someday. Slowly, but in increasing numbers, grade schools across the country are supplementing or substituting the heavy, expensive and indelible hardbound book with its lighter, cheaper and changeable cousin: the digital textbook.

Also known as a flexbook because of its adaptability, a digital textbook can be downloaded, projected and printed, and can range from simple text to a Web-based curriculum embedded with multimedia and links to Internet content. Some versions must be purchased; others are "open source" -- free and available online to anyone.

Some praise the technology as a way to save schools money, replace outdated books and better engage tech-savvy students. Others say most schools don't have the resources to join the digital drift, or they question the quality of open-source content.


Doctorow's Project: With a Little Help

Later that year, I did a kind of self-financed minitour, piggybacking on speaking gigs, and every time I went into a bookstore it seemed like I was seeing another edition of the book with a different publisher's name on the spine. The book's currently listed in Perseus's catalogue, for which I am glad. The royalty checks keep coming, and the book continues to do well, but I could no longer be said to have any particular relationship with this publisher. As far as I can tell, it is listing the book in its catalogue and filling orders, but not much else.

This makes Overclocked into a fine control for my little experiment. It is a good book. It sold well and was critically acclaimed. But it is solidly a midlist title, a short story collection published by a house turned upside down by bankruptcy. It will be the baseline against which I compare the earnings from With a Little Help. And those earnings will be diverse—like the musicians who've successfully self-produced albums in a variety of packages at a variety of price points (Radiohead, Trent Reznor, David Byrne and Brian Eno, Jonathan Coulton), I have set out to produce a book that can be had in a range of packages and at a range of price points from $0.00 to $10,000.

Publishers Weekly

The Innovator's Battle Plan

When companies have the same capabilities and motivation, they care about the battle and have the necessary skills to fight it. Skills in execution make the difference here—and because other scholars have addressed these challenges quite capably, we do not focus on them in this book.8

The more interesting scenarios occur when there are asymmetries—important differences of motivation or skills. Asymmetries of motivation occur when one firm wants to do something that another firm specifically does not want to do. Asymmetries of skills occur when one firm's strength is another firm's weakness.

The section discusses three topics:

1. How asymmetries power the process of disruption

2. How to identify the company with the shield of asymmetric motivation and the sword of asymmetric skills on its side

3. How to identify circumstances in which a high-potential disruptive development will prove disappointing, ending in either a brutal fight or incumbent co-option

HBS Working Knowledge


The Guardian is launching an initiative in Leeds and would like to recruit a blogger interested in creating and curating local multimedia content (text, photographs, audio and video) for their city.

The successful candidate will be a confident blogger, know their yelps from their tweets, have a passion for local news and understand how to build relationships with the local community. A journalism qualification is desirable but not essential.

Working from your home, or anywhere with WiFi, as a "beatblogger" you will lead the Guardian’s innovative approach to community news coverage in Leeds.

Jobs at GNM

Guardian gagged from reporting parliament

The Guardian has been prevented from reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds which appear to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.

Today's published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented - for the first time in memory - from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret

The Guardian

Clay Shirky: Let a thousand flowers bloom to replace newspapers; don’t build a paywall around a public good

NYU professor and Internet thinker Clay Shirky gave a talk Tuesday at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, our friends just on the other side of Harvard Square. His subject was the future of accountability journalism in a world of declining newspapers. Even for those of us familiar with his ideas, he brought in a few new wrinkles, which have already been the subject of commentary around the web.

But I think Clay’s ideas are worth hearing in toto, so using audio from the Shorenstein Center, we’ve made a transcript of his entire talk. If you’d like, while you’re reading, you can listen to the audio in the player below, or download the MP3. I’ve included timestamps in the transcript so you can jump to particular spots if you’d like.

Nieman Journalism Lab

Legal delays have blown a hole in UK's digital heritage

Digital literature, online scientific research and internet journalism that should have been saved in the nation's main libraries over the past five years may have been lost because ministers have failed to give them the legal power to copy and archive websites, the Guardian has learned.

Lost digital archive: 'It's taken 6 years to begin consultation' Link to this audio

Senior executives at the British Library and the National Library of Scotland (NLS) are dismayed that legislation giving them the right to collect online and digital material is still not in force, more than six years after it was passed by parliament.

The omission has meant the libraries - which are legally required to archive books, newspapers and journals - have failed to record online coverage of major events such as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the release of the Lockerbie bomber and the MPs' expenses scandal.

Media | The Guardian

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Climate Change Emails Reveal Rigged 'Consensus' WikiLeaks opens leaked documents Digital Media and Learning Competition Metadata vs Data: a wholly artificial distinction The News Crisis: What Google Can Do New Neurological Evidence That the Internet Makes ... Will commercial deals help open up BBC archive to ... A Portuguese success story: could i be the future ... Put in your postcode, out comes the data Copyright Time Bomb Set to Disrupt Music, Publishi...
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