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Make your own newspaper from independent sources #fivefilters #media

Posted on | November 11, 2010 | No Comments

A group of developers/hackers lead by Keyvan Minoukadeh has set out to develop a service application – – that will enable the public to get non-corporate news-coverage of contemporary news topics – by easily hacking corporate media itself. In practice, the application helps you scan a physical corporate newspaper clipping via your webcam and find related news stories online using non-corporate news sources.

They write: Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky describe the media as businesses which sell a product (readers) to other businesses (advertisers). In their propaganda model of the media they point to five ‘filters’ which determine what we read in the newspapers and see on the television. These filters produce a very narrow view of the world that is in line with government policy and business interests.”

As an alternative, this application will lead readers towards the vast resource of uncompromised, non-corporate news on the web:

“The aim of this project is to encourage people to start exploring the world of non-corporate online news, websites which avoid the five filters of the propaganda model. We have tried to make these sources of news more accessible by making available web applications allowing users to find, select and print stories in the format of a newspaper. We hope these applications will also be useful for authors and publishers to more easily distribute their work.”

“Dead Drops” – an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space #art_activism #newyork #fatlabs

Posted on | November 1, 2010 | No Comments

FAT Labs’ Aram Bartholl has launched a new inspiring project.

He writes: ‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. I am ‘injecting’ USB flash drives into walls, buildings and curbs accessable to anybody in public space. You are invited to go to these places (so far 5 in NYC) to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your files and date. Each dead drop contains a readme.txt file explaining the project. ‘Dead Drops’ is still in progress, to be continued here and in more cities.

Read more at his site.

FSCONS conference in Sweden this weekend // #freesoftware #freeculture

Posted on | November 1, 2010 | No Comments

This forthcoming weekend is the time for this year’s FSCONS conference (Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit), the biggest annual Scandinavian gathering around free culture, free software and free society. Speakers include Erik de Bruijn, Glyn Moody, Alessandro Rubini and Karin Kosina – and usually attracts an audience of close to 300 people for the entire weekend. Including Freeform101 editor Christian Villum.

Why We Hack: The Benefits of Disobedience #hacking

Posted on | October 28, 2010 | No Comments

Brilliant piece on the equally brilliant Lifehacker blog.

Excerpt: “Sometimes disobedience is necessary and good when rules fail us, and it’s at the core of why we hack. Hacking is a means of expressing dissatisfaction, confounding the mechanism, and ultimately doing better. Here’s why it’s so important.


What they Mean When I Say “Hack”
Hacking can be defined a few ways, from the more innocent type of life hacking we generally talk about to the darker side of the spectrum where people are actually carrying out highly illegal actions. Here, we fall somewhere in the gray middle, where hacking disobeys companies, circumvents copyright laws, and challenges people to do more with what they’re given. Hacking is a brand of disobedience that both expresses dissatisfaction with the status quo and does something to change it. This is the kind of hacking—and disobedience—that’s beneficial and good.

Read the entire post here.

Using augmented reality to hack public space #berlin #improvedreality

Posted on | October 25, 2010 | No Comments

With artists being pushed further and further away from city centers in urban areas across the western hemisphere – mainly due to gentrification and rapidly growing real-estate prices – the natural canvasses of the cities are increasingly being conquered by commercial messages rather than, say, street art. A development that is changing the faces of cities everywhere. However, new digital counter measures now see the light of day: This is called ‘Improved Reality’.

The Particle Decelerator blog features a clip about “a trend amongst artists to augment – or improve – our cities’ often overly commercial facades. One such example is the art project, “The Artvertiser”, created by Berlin-based New Zealander, Julian Oliver. It imagines a near-future where advertising in public space can be replaced by art. It consists of custom-made handheld binocular devices and specially designed software. The Artvertiser considers Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Puerta del Sol in Madrid, Times Square in New York, and other sites dense with advertisements, as potential exhibition space. The Artvertiser software recognises individual advertisements, each of which become a virtual ‘canvas’ displaying artworks when viewed through the Artvertiser binoculars. The Artvertiser allows artists to create a new visual layer onto the topology of the city, which can only be seen when viewed through a device which cogently blends the aesthetics of the past, with a futuristic functionality.”

Read the original post here.

Yes Men derail massive Chevron greenwashing campaign #adbusting #greenwashing

Posted on | October 19, 2010 | No Comments

The Yes Men strike again. Elegantly and effectively as always. This time targeting a new massive greenwashing campaign by oil mogul Chevron. Here is the press release, taken from the Yes Men site:

October 19, 2010

Massive Chevron Ad Campaign Derailed, Media Slapstick Follows
News outlets, citizens duped by web of deceit – but whose?

A day-long comedy of errors began Monday morning when the Yes Men, supported by Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch, pre-empted Chevron’s enormous new “We Agree” ad campaign with a satirical version of their own. The activists’ version highlights Chevron’s environmental and social abuses – the same abuses they say Chevron is attempting to “greenwash.”

“Chevron’s super-expensive fake street art is a cynical attempt to gloss over the human rights abuses and environmental degradation that is the legacy of Chevron’s operations in Ecuador, Nigeria, Burma and throughout the world,” said Ginger Cassady, a campaigner at Rainforest Action Network. “They must think we’re stupid.”

“They say we’re ‘interrupting the dialogue,’” said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men, referring to Chevron’s terse condemnation. “What dialogue? Chevron’s ad campaign is an insulting, confusing monologue – with many tens of millions of dollars behind it.”

The activists’ pre-emptive campaign began early Monday with a press release from a spoof Chevron domain, which launched the fake “We Agree” campaign hours before the real Chevron could launch its ads. The fake “We Agree” site featured four “improved” advertisements, complete with downloadable PDF files to be used in on-the-street postering.

Nine hours later, after producing its own “We Agree” press release, the real Chevron decried the hoax in a predictably curt and humorless manner. Mere moments later, the counter-campaign issued a much better denial on Chevron’s behalf, laying out Chevron’s principal arguments in its Ecuador case. “We have binding agreements with the Ecuadorian Government exempting us from any liabilities whatsoever, granted in exchange for a $40 million cleanup of some wells by Texaco in the 1990s,” the spoof press release crowed, absurdly yet accurately.

Throughout the day, a sort of slow vaudeville unfolded on the web, as a number of outlets, from industry mouthpieces to the AFP and even a watchdog group, produced accidental mash-ups of “real” and fake information.

First, Fast Company fell for the hoax (archived article here), then related their duping with humor. An outlet called “Environmental Leader,” quoted indiscriminately from both real and fake press releases, before quietly removing the fake parts a few hours later (original article archived here).

Shortly after that, Energy Digital, an online source providing “news and information for Energy Executives” (capitalization theirs), quoted extensively (archive here) from the fake release to describe Chevron’s campaign, then mentioned that the campaign had “already been spoofed.” They didn’t realize they’d just fallen for that very same spoof.

Even the AFP found itself duped (original article archived here). It described with glee the hoax “that appeared to have fooled some news outlets,” before going on to quote “the real firm” at length. (The “real firm” wasn’t.)

Nor were industry watchdog groups immune. “Oil Watchdog” dissected the hoax minutely and accurately, before citing Advertising Age as one of the outlets duped. That whole article, however, was a fake.

“If you really want to snooker the media, it’s pretty hard for them to resist,” said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Men. “We cobbled together some fake releases with string and thumbtacks and chewing gum, and we fooled the most respectable outlets.”

“Chevron is doing what we did, a million times over, with a ginormous budget – and it never reveals its subterfuge,” said Bichlbaum. “No wonder the media’s full of lies.”

“Yesterday’s spoof was a comedy of errors, but what’s happening in Ecuador is no joke,” said Mitch Anderson, a campaigner at Amazon Watch. “While Chevron spends tens of millions every year to greenwash their image and fool the media, Ecuadorians continue to die from their toxic legacy.”

Yesterday’s hoax is just the beginning for the activists. “Stay tuned,” said RAN’s Cassady. “There’s a lot more to come in the days ahead. We’re going to keep Chevron scrambling.”

Creative Commons launches CC Superhero program // #creativecommons

Posted on | October 5, 2010 | No Comments

Creative Commons has launched a new campaign titled ‘CC Superhero’ – inviting people to join forces with the existing legion of CC Superheroes to fight the forces that don’t want an open web, or do not understand that sharing is a good thing. With this campaign they’re recruiting a team of CC Superheroes to lead the world in the fight for creativity and innovation.

Read more in this blogpost – or pick up the CC Superhero toolkit.

As strong supporters of CC, we’ve of course put the support icon in our right side column.

Support CC

Videos about The Internet of Things

Posted on | September 7, 2010 | 1 Comment

ReadWriteWeb has published a very interesting collection of videos focusing and theorizing on the so-called The Internet of Things. The idea is furthermore explained well in the introduction to the collection, where they explain how The Internet of Things “is what happens when you take everyday ordinary objects and put Internet-connected microchips inside them. These microchips help you not only keep track of your belongings, but many of these devices sense their surroundings and report it to other machines as well as to you when you most need it.”


The future is here: Control via brainwaves // #ted

Posted on | July 23, 2010 | No Comments

In this incredible video from TED, by Tan Le of Emotiv Systems, we are presented with a phenomenon that sci-fi movies have imagined in decades (often referred to as telekinesis – or simply using the force) – namely the ability to control objects via mere thoughts. Now that future is here, as a functioning brainwave reading aggregate has been developed. See the presentation and demonstration in this video. OMG-factor 10.

See the presentation – and others – here at the TED site.

Swedish Pirate Party launches as ISP // #privacy

Posted on | July 22, 2010 | No Comments

The Swedish Pirate Party once again draws headlines (in a recent post here, I also mentioned how they’ve started hosting The Pirate Bay website). This time the gung-ho party announce how they will launch as ISP (Internet Service Provider) in order to offer a service that is completely safe and private for users – by keeping no logs of subscriber activity and thus to provide no data to law enforcement or private corporations.” To begin with, the service will only be available to a small number of households in the city of Lund, Sweden, but if successful, plans to expand are already in place.

Read about the story on Torrentfreak, Slashdot or Boing Boing.

On a sub note, discussions on the future emergence of more small scale ISPs as a response to draconian legislative initiatives have already spawned. Very interesting indeed.

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  • About this blog

    Welcome to the blog, a contemplative online presence aimed at presenting, commenting, scrutinizing and/or discussing a wide range of topics in the sphere of media, politics, technology, social justice, art, civil dissent and other inspiring and/or troublesome subjects in our increasingly globalized world and network society.

    The blog is edited by Christian Villum.

    The 'megasolutions to microproblems' tag is a word remix of a compilation series title coined by Soul Jazz Records
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