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Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Past Sunday saw us ride our annual Autumn Motorcycle Trip – us being a dozen like-minded bikers of different walks of life. Usually we plan this trip in October, to hopefully enjoy the last summer-like days of the year. But we had to change our plans this year, and the weather forecasts weren’t too great. It is November, after all.

But somehow the ten of us managed to ride the whole trip with just a few drips of rain, not enough to don our rain gear. Better: we even had a few minutes of nice sunshine, right in the middle of the Dutchess Hedwigepolder (sorry, in dutch only) in the Netherlands.

Yellow is the best colour for a motorcycle in this autumn sun!

We went there for a last visit – on a bike – to a part of the Schelde estuary that will soon be returned to the river and the Northsea, in order to diminish the risks of floods further up the river. Combined with the “Verdronken Land van Saeftinghe” the Hedwige and Prosper polders will be converted to a single natural reserve. Perhaps I will be able to go there on a bird-watching safari in a few years?

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TorrentFreak explains why and how a “Swedish ISP Protests ‘Site Blocking’ by Blocking Rightsholders Website Too“.

“Bahnhof has repeatedly demonstrated how copyright law is being abused and exploited by greedy opportunists [like Elsevier], and in the end it is always ordinary people who have to pay,” Bahnhof notes.

Thank you, Bahnhof, for speaking out against the abuse.

This is what you’ll see when surfing to Elsevier’s site as a Bahnhof customer. Don’t you love that modem sound?

The fight against copyright abuse: that’s exactly what Aaron Schwartz was a part of, and the case in Sweden, like others (check Australian law, for example), proves that the battles aren’t over. In fact, that is why the EU really needs to get rid of the current proposal for a Copyright Directive, and come up with something much better.

In the mean time, let Cory Doctorow explain why it is good that “Europe’s massive plan to require open access for all science gets two new backers: Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation“:

Now, Europe’s two largest science funders have joined the consortium: The Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation, and with these 15 funders backing Plan S, nearly all science research in Europe will be open access.

“Open Access” to scientific publications, that’s what this is all about.

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November 8 is the birthday of Aaron Schwartz, who died in 2013. Calling Aaron a hacker is neither nice nor correct – he was a programmer, an entrepreneur, a fighter against internet censorship, and more.

Lisa Rein and the Internet Archive are organising the sixth Aaron Schwartz Day during the coming weekend. If I lived in San Francisco, I would try to attend at least part of this event.

Click the image to go to the EFF for more info about Aaron and the ASD

Thanks to the EFF for making me remember Aaron.

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Satire, fine psychological research, or simple hollywoodian lust for cinematic grandeur? I really can’t decide, probably because it’s a bit of everything. But the proposition is intriguing: “Let’s Get Donald and Stormy Back Together Again!” (on the Politico website). It’s worth a few minutes of your time!

 

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As a foreigner, I may be mistaken… but I do think this article on Politico is worth reading if you want to understand at least part of the attraction of Tr*mp to his supporters: “I Found Trump’s Biggest Fan“.

I do understand that fandom is something emotional. Having a rather rational mind makes it very hard for me to be a fan of anyone or anything. Merriam-Webster writes: “Fan is generally–and very likely correctly–believed to be a shortened form of fanatic”, pointing to the “intense uncritical devotion” included in that concept.

Books like Ben Bradlee Jr.’s “The Forgotten: How the People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America” (on Amazon) can probably explain some of the reasons, or should I say: emotions, that come into play in this particular situation. And perhaps they can also provide some ammunition to fight it?

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Speaking of the vote in the European Parliament yesterday, he writes:

Today, in a vote that split almost every major EU party, Members of the European Parliament adopted every terrible proposal in the new Copyright Directive and rejected every good one, setting the stage for mass, automated surveillance and arbitrary censorship of the internet: text messages like tweets and Facebook updates; photos; videos; audio; software code — any and all media that can be copyrighted.

Luckily, we’re talking “proposal” here; the fight for better copyright legislation continues (and Cory can tell you when and how ;-).

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I wrote about the need to press the European Parliament to disapprove Article 13 of the proposed EU Copyright Directive; the vote will be taken on September 12th, 2018. So it’s not too late let your MEP know how you stand on the matter!

The #SaveYourInternet website will make it easy for you to start: just pick any country, fill in your email address and press a button to mail a standard message to a selection of MEPs. If you want to, you can edit the message sent, so feel free to add your own argumentation (just remember that this fight won’t be won with slurs, insults and threats).

Not convinced? Here’s a message from the Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation, explaining why copyright is no longer a subject for large-scale publishers and for-profit corporations:

Much of the conversation surrounding EU copyright reform has been dominated by the market relationships between large rights holders and for-profit internet platforms. But this small minority does not reflect the breadth of websites and users on the internet today. Wikipedians are motivated by a passion for information and a sense of community. We are entirely nonprofit, independent, and volunteer-driven. We urge MEPs to consider the needs of this silent majority online when designing copyright policies that work for the entire internet.

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