August 2011

"Real Names" Policies Are an Abuse of Power. “The people who most heavily rely on pseudonyms in online spaces are those who are most marginalized by systems of power. ‘Real names’ policies aren’t empowering; they’re an authoritarian assertion of power over vulnerable people. These ideas and issues aren’t new… but what is new is that marginalized people are banding together and speaking out loudly. And thank goodness.”
>  25 August 2011 | LINK | Filed in ,
Iconathon. iconathon.png “The Iconathon is an initiative to collaboratively design new civic symbols for the public domain.… In August & September 2011, several cities across the US will participate in a series of design charrettes — day-long collaborative workshops — called ‘Iconathons’. Through facilitated design sessions, event participants will generate icons and symbols that visually convey concepts frequently needed in civic design.”

The events are co-organized by The Noun Project which hosts a large number of public domain and creative-commons license icons you can download.
>  13 August 2011 | LINK | Filed in ,
Nationalist shirt changes message when you wash it. “Attendees at a nationalist, right-wing concert in Germany were duped into wearing souvenir T-shirts that at first bore a pro-nationalist stance and symbology but later revealed an anti-far right message offering assistance.…

The t-shirts originally read ‘hardcore rebels’ and sported a skull and nationalist flags. However, once the garment had been washed, the shirt revealed a new message that offered to help far-right extremists break away from the neo-Nazi scene. The message reads: ‘If your t-shirt can do it, you can do it too — we’ll help you get away from right-wing extremism.’”
Was dein T-shirt
Duping your target audience seems like a good way to alienate them. But it’s certainly a memorable action, is generating a bit of buzz, and I suspect will reach many more in the re-telling.

Bernd Wagner, the founder of Exit-Germany, the anti-racism organization behind the shirts, comments at The Guardian.
>  12 August 2011 | LINK | Filed in ,
Do austerity measures increase the risk of social chaos?. Riot Graph A well-timed study says yes:
“Expenditure cuts carry a significant risk of increasing the frequency of riots, anti-government demonstrations, general strikes, political assassinations, and attempts at revolutionary overthrow of the established order. While these are low- probability events in normal years, they become much more common as austerity measures are implemented.… High levels of instability show a particularly clear connection with fiscal consolidation.… We demonstrate that the general pattern of association between unrest and budget cuts holds in Europe for the period 1919-2009.” (via) (via)
>  11 August 2011 | LINK | Filed in

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus

Stylish and powerful infographic on the nature and ramifications of the computer virus Stuxnet.

While not the first time that crackers have targeted industrial systems, Stuxnet is the first discovered malware that spies on and subverts specific industrial systems and is widely suspected of targeting the uranium enrichment infrastructure in Iran.

Patrick Clair designed and directed the animation for the Australian television program Hungry Beast.

This may be old news (Stuxnet was discovered a year ago,) but the consequences are still playing out.

>  9 August 2011 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

Laughing at the Regime

The Moustache Brothers

Moustache Brothers, Burma “Don’t you have dentists in Myanmar?” he asks. “Oh, yes, we do, doctor,” says Par Par Lay. “But in Myanmar, we are not allowed to open our mouths.” [source]

“For 30 years the three comedians have charmed their audiences and irritated the authorities with their mixture of traditional Burmese clowning and topical satire. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy leader, is one of their fans. Like her, two of the Moustache Brothers have already served long prison sentences.” [source]

Egao 恶搞

“The two characters ‘e’ meaning evil and ‘gao’ meaning ‘work’ combine to describe a subculture that is characterized by humour, revelry, subversion, grass-root spontaneity, defiance of authority, mass participation and multi-media high-tech.… For the time being, intelligent satire remains an increasingly popular method of critiquing [Chinese] politics and society right under the nose of the censorship committee.” [source] [more]

The Ministry

“[Popular TV show] ‘The Ministry,’ sends up the nepotism, payoffs and sheer incompetence that are commonplace in the Afghan government.… While frequently compared to the British hit ‘The Office,’ the show has more in common with political satire — more ‘Monty Python meets Afghanistan.’…

The young Afghan writers have all wrestled with ministries at one time or another, and several of the actors work in ministries or in government-owned industries, since acting here is a part-time profession.” [source]

>  8 August 2011 | LINK | Filed in ,

On to September.
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