Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Article: The manipulative pro-war argument in Libya

Original Article written for Salon by Glenn Greenwald - March 22, 2011, 10:01

Advocating for the U.S.'s military action in Libya, The New Republic's John Judis lays out the argument which many of his fellow war advocates are making: that those who oppose the intervention are guilty of indifference to the plight of the rebels and to Gadaffi's tyranny:
So I ask myself, would these opponents of U.S. intervention (as part of U.N. Security Council approved action), have preferred:
(1) That gangs of mercenaries, financed by the country’s oil wealth, conduct a bloodbath against Muammar Qaddafi’s many opponents?
(2) That Qaddafi himself, wounded, enraged, embittered, and still in power, retain control of an important source of the world’s oil supply, particularly for Europe, and be able to spend the wealth he derives from it to sow discord in the region?
(3) And that the movement toward democratization in the Arab world -- which has spread from Tunisia to Bahrain, and now includes such unlikely locales as Syria -- be dealt an enormous setback through the survival of one of region's most notorious autocrats?
If you answer "Who cares?" to each of these, I have no counter-arguments to offer, but if you worry about two or three of these prospects, then I think you have to reconsider whether Barack Obama did the right thing in lending American support to this intervention.
Note how, in Judis' moral world, there are only two possibilities: one can either support the American military action in Libya or be guilty of a "who cares?" attitude toward Gadaffi's butchery. At least as far as this specific line of pro-war argumentation goes, this is just 2003 all over again. Back then, those opposed to the war in Iraq were

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Resarch: Activism vs Slacktivism

A look at social media & activism, slacktivism, e-campaigning and their impact in the world. 

A debate on e-activism held in Oxford in March 2011. This section includes presentations by Naomi McAuliffe of Amnesty and Tom Steinberg of MySociety.org
Organised by http://fairsay.com
Livestreaming by http://oneworldgroup.org/

Continue to Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 & Part 5.




  • Avaaz - Avaaz is a global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.
  • 38 Degrees - 38 Degrees brings you together with other people to take action on the issues that matter to you and bring about real change.
  • FairSay - Advice, support and training for campaigning (advocacy) organisations on best practice e-campaigning.
  • Oxfam - Oxfam is a global movement of people working with others to overcome poverty and suffering.
  • LabourStart - Where trade unionists start their day on the net.
  • MySociety - MySociety runs most of the best-known democracy and transparency websites in the UK, sites like TheyWorkForYou and WriteToThem. MySociety is a not-for-profit company that builds websites of a democratic bent for other people, such as the No 10 Downing Street Petitions Website, for the Prime Minister’s Office. MySociety is a community of volunteers and (paid) open source coders.
  • HeyNeighboor - Hey, Neighbor! is an easy-to-use website and mobile application that can help you connect with your neighbors—those you know and those you have yet to meet.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Video: Interview with Noam Chomsky on Libya, the Arab spring, the cuts and more

By Hicham Yezza for Ceasefire Magazine

CeasefireMagazine interviews Noam Chomsky from Frank Barat on Vimeo.

Last week, Professor Noam Chomsky was back in the UK for a series of lectures and interviews. Having delivered an initial talk at the house of commons on Tuesday, he followed it up the day after by delivering the 2011 Rickman Godlee Lecture 2011 at University College London, titled “Contours of global order: Domination, stability, security in a changing world”.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Video: United We Rise

The Peop1e Project is fighting to redefine definitions indefinitely though this video of Charlie Chaplin's 1940 speech in The Great Dictator, played to scenes from the Middle East. It just shows that after 70 years we are still machine men, with machine minds, and machine hearts.


Sunday, 20 March 2011

Speech: Salman Khan - Let's use video to reinvent education

Amazing speech!

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script -- give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

About Salman Khan.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Speech: David Brooks - The social animal

An amazing speech that truly speaks through me about human nature and true understanding of ourselves. 

"Tapping into the findings of his latest book, NYTimes columnist David Brooks unpacks new insights into human nature from the cognitive sciences -- insights with massive implications for economics and politics as well as our own self-knowledge. In a talk full of humor, he shows how you can't hope to understand humans as separate individuals making choices based on their conscious awareness."

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Story: Ugly the cat

Everyone in the building knew him as “the Ugly”. He was the tomcat of the neighborhood. He liked three things in life: To argue, to eat from the rubbish and to love –so to speak-.
The combination of these things with the fact that he lived all his life on the road, had some specific results on him.
First of all he was one-eyed. In the place where he should have had his eye there was a widening gap, and the second one seemed as if it was an empty hole. From the same side of the gap he had also lost his ear. His left foot seemed to have been seriously damaged in the past, creating a very strange angle for a cat’s foot, so that when he was walking he appeared to be turning rather than walking straight. As for the tail, it had been lost a long time ago, leaving its position to a very small one that was constantly moving.
“Ugly” should have been one of those cats with the gray streaking and now you could find traces of his original fur where there were no scars, like for example in the head, neck, shoulders or legs. Every time someone saw him the reaction was always the same:

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Research: The Arab world and Revolution 2.0

A look at how the internet and social media influenced the Egyptian revolution and how they will affect future uprisings in the Arab world.

"Evgeny Morozov, a visiting scholar at Stanford University said that while it’s important to acknowledge the role that the Internet played in Egypt, don’t forget that the protesters “were blessed with a government that didn’t know a tweet from a poke – as illustrated, most of all, perhaps, by its desperate (and belated) gambit in temporarily shutting off the county’s access to the outside world.”
But Morozov also added a caveat, stating that while it was Mubarak’s ignorance of the Internet that helped bring him down, other regional dictators are already playing catch up and quickly reviewing the playbook on how to effectively roll out online propaganda."  (Complete Article below videos)

Watch three touching speeches on the Egyptian revolution:
Wadah Khanfar: A historic moment in the Arab world (TED)

Wael Ghonim: Inside the Egyptian revolution (TED)

Wael Ghonim: Welcome to Egypt Revolution 2.0 (CNN Interview)


The Arab World and Revolution 2.0
Original Article by Neal Leavitt for iMedia Connection on February 28th, 2011 at 12:23 am

One of the sparks of the Egyptian revolution, Google marketing manager Wael Ghonim, has exemplified how social media has played a pivotal role in the ongoing protests against despotic rule in North Africa and the Middle East.

As you’re probably aware by now, Ghonim’s Facebook page helped gather momentum in fomenting popular dissent against former President Hosni Mubarak. Ghonim called it

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Speech: Tan Le - A headset that reads your brainwaves

Tan Le's astonishing new computer interface reads its user's brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.

Rated OMGWTF (in a good way) by Passive Obersvers.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Article: Whom do The New York Times and The Guardian work for?

Original Article written for Russian Reporter by ШАМИР ИСРАЭЛЬ - February 21, 2011
Translated Article by Pravda.ru - February 22, 2011

Bill Keller, an editor with The New York Times, has recently published an article titled "Dealing With Assange and the WikiLeaks Secrets." In the article, the author wrote how the newspaper was working with secret cables. From what the article says, it seems that Russia appears to be a real stronghold of freedom of speech.

Keller wrote: "Because of the range of the material and the very nature of diplomacy, the embassy cables were bound to be more explosive than the War Logs. Dean Baquet, our Washington bureau chief, gave the White House an early warning on Nov. 19. The following Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, Baquet and two colleagues were invited to a windowless room at the State Department, where they encountered an unsmiling crowd. Representatives from the White House, the State Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the C.I.A., the Defense Intelligence Agency, the F.B.I. and the Pentagon gathered around a conference table. Others, who never identified themselves, lined the walls. A solitary note-taker tapped away on a computer."

The next meetings would take place in the form of daily conference calls. "Before each discussion, our Washington bureau sent over a batch of specific cables that we intended to use in the coming days. They were circulated to regional specialists, who funneled their reactions to a small group at State, who came to our daily conversations with a list of priorities and arguments to back them up. We relayed the government's concerns, and our own decisions regarding them, to the other news outlets."

"The second category included sensitive American programs, usually related to intelligence. We agreed to withhold some of this information, like a cable describing an intelligence-sharing program that took years to arrange and might be lost if exposed. In other cases, we went away convinced that publication would cause

Article: Was the Death Star Attack an Inside Job?

Original Article written for Debunking 911 and edited by Websurdity and Debunking 9/11

We’ve all heard the “official conspiracy theory” of the Death Star attack. We all know about Luke Skywalker and his ragtag bunch of rebels, how they mounted a foolhardy attack on the most powerful, well-defended battle station ever built. And we’ve all seen the video over, and over, and over, of the one-in-a-million shot that resulted in a massive chain reaction that not just damaged, but completely obliterated that massive technological wonder.

Like many, I was fed this story when I was growing up. But as I watched the video, I began to realize that all was not as it seemed. And the more I questioned the official story, the deeper into the rabbit hole I went.

Presented here are some of the results of my soul-searching regarding this painful event. Like many citizens, I have many questions that I would like answered: was the mighty Imperial government really too incompetent to prevent a handful of untrained nerf-herders from destroying one of their most prized assets? Or are they hiding something from us? Who was really behind the attack? Why did they want the Death Star destroyed? No matter what the answers, we have a problem.

Below is a summary of my book, Uncomfortable Questions: An Analysis of the Death Star Attack, which presents compelling evidence that we all may be the victims of a fraud of immense proportions:

Monday, 7 March 2011

Documentary: Collapse (2009)

A documentary everyone needs to see! Some pretty scary stuff in there, especially the Peak oil theory which I'm currently looking into to provide more information about it. In short it means we're going to run out of oil much sooner than they want us to think, and the consequences of that would be devastating for humanity as we know it.  ...Enjoy! (?)


Americans generally like to hear good news. They like to believe that a new president will right old wrongs, that clean energy will replace dirty oil and that fresh thinking will set the economy straight. American pundits tend to restrain their pessimism and hope for the best. But is anyone prepared for the worst?

Meet Michael Ruppert, a different kind of American. A former Lost Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, he predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter. From the Wilderness, at a time when most Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial. Director Chris Smith has shown an affinity for outsiders in films like American Movie and The Yes Men. In Collapse, he departs stylistically from his past documentaries by interviewing Ruppert in a format that recalls the work of Errol Morris and Spalding Gray.

Sitting in a room that looks like a bunker, Ruppert recounts his career as a radical thinker and spells out the crises he sees ahead. He draws upon the

Video: Richard Dawkins Demonstrates Laryngeal Nerve of the Giraffe

Richard Dawkins demonstrates laryngeal nerve of the giraffe, explaining how evolution can have errors and thus introducing another case that proves there is no intelligent design.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Article: Six ways the internet will save civilisation

Six ways the internet will save civilisation. By David Eagleman, neuroscientist and bestselling author

Many great civilisations have fallen, leaving nothing but cracked ruins and scattered genetics. Usually this results from: natural disasters, resource depletion, economic meltdown, disease, poor information flow and corruption. But we’re luckier than our predecessors because we command a technology that no one else possessed: a rapid communication network that finds its highest expression in the internet. I propose that there are six ways in which the net has vastly reduced the threat of societal collapse.

Epidemics can be deflected by telepresence
One of our more dire prospects for collapse is an infectious-disease epidemic. Viral and bacterial epidemics precipitated the fall of the Golden Age of Athens, the Roman Empire and most of the empires of the Native Americans. The internet can be our key to survival because the ability to work telepresently can inhibit microbial transmission by reducing human-to-human contact. In the face of an otherwise devastating epidemic, businesses can keep supply chains running with the maximum number of employees working from home. This can reduce host density below the tipping point required for an epidemic. If we are well prepared when an epidemic arrives, we can fluidly shift into a self-quarantined society in which microbes fail due to host scarcity. Whatever the social ills of isolation, they are worse for the microbes than for us.

The internet will predict natural disasters
We are witnessing the downfall of slow central control in the media: news stories are increasingly becoming user-generated nets of up-to-the-minute information. During the recent California wildfires, locals went to the TV stations to learn whether their neighbourhoods were in danger. But the news stations appeared most concerned with the fate of celebrity mansions, so Californians changed their tack: they uploaded geotagged mobile-phone pictures, updated Facebook statuses and tweeted. The balance tipped: the internet carried news about the fire more quickly and

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Article: The (in)convenient truth about Muammar Gaddafi

Original Article written for Passive Observers by Petros Iliadis - March 2, 2011, 16:20

On September the 1st, 1969, a group of military officers led by Muammar Gaddafi staged a bloodless coup d'état against King Idris. Revolutionaries had abolished monarchy, proclaiming the new Libyan Arab Republic, and the 27 year old Gaddafi, was now, the Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (State of the masses).

It only makes sense that after being in power for over 41 years, many question his ways of leading the Libyan people. He has been accused of various things by Western media: From the family corporation type of his political leadership and his eccentric clothing, to the reports by media corporations about bombing and murdering his own people, during the current political unrest.

Some observers believe Gaddafi’s regime will fall in a matter of days, some remain sceptical. While other fallen dictators have essentially been disconnected from the average citizen, Gaddafi mingles with them. Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo was hiding in his palace afraid to come out; Mubarak was behind closed doors and left at nightfall, Ben Ali fled the wrath of Tunisians on a private jet . Not Gaddafi. He seems to be