Free The Hackers: Episode 3: Freedom of Information (51:24) Download
Music: Tha Silent Partner / brass2rass
Freedom of information is to the benefit of a society that respects the most knowledgable and wise.
Music: Tymono / Calvin
Well… I’m out here in the middle of the wilderness for this show, next to a nice calm lake with the warm September air.
So there is a recent series of articles published on Muktware.com on the topic of the language used by hackers, a group that specializes in computer languages cares deeply about the meaning and precision of words.
Eilidh McAdam, Graduate student at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland, responds to a question about the language in the hacker community, “I’ve never had any negative experiences with language/flaming, although of course I’ve seen it as part of hacker lore. The language and terseness seen in open source mailing lists/forums doesn’t put me up or down as long as I can extract the information I need from the posts in question. However, perhaps finding a way to argue a point without resorting to ad hominems would be beneficial for everyone who wishes to be part of the open source community”
I believe this applies to far more than just software communities, as personal character attacks is often as a way to ignore what is said about software freedom in other fields.
McAdam later writes, “The parts I have been involved with have revealed a compassionate, supportive and talented group of very diverse people. When I was younger, I did observe a slight geekier-than-thou attitude among Linux and Open Source users. I’ve not come across this in any of the developer communities I’ve participated in – there seems to be a general acknowledgement that no single person can know all things and that criticism should be dealt out constructively and taken graciously. The open source conferences I’ve attended have been so much fun, it’s been amazing to put faces to names of developers associated with the software I use on a day-to-day basis.”
In response to a question, Delisa Alexander, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer of Red Hat, writes, “My guess is that the small number of female software developers in the Fedora community is reflective of most open source software communities and most software companies. What I understand is that to be a vocal participant in those communities, you need to be stalwart in your communications, to be confident in your position and to stand your ground; it is a meritocracy after all. Male or female, you need to be able to take feedback. If there is a bug or defect in what you are contributing or advocating, the community will do its best to find it.”
The free and open source software community is still very much connected with that of the secret software community, and in the midst of conflict. The unduly absolute secrecy around the source code of programs likely has an influence upon the free community that is under its influence.
Laura Lucas Alday, Full-time programmer living in Buenos Aires, in response to a question “How friendly is the free open source software world towards girls” she writes, “I think it’s friendly, the problem are the stereotypes imposed in the last decades by movies, books, etc. The one that says that a programmer is a nerdy young boy who sits in the basement and lives to code. Anyone who does not match that stereotype will have a harder time feeling at ease in the [free and open source software] world, especially women who are not extremely confident. Also, when the topic of women in technology arises in a forum or mailing list, it’s like a can of worms exploding.”
Elizabeth Krumbach, Linux Systems Administrator responds to a question, “In spite of a decade of working in open source, I still am pretty thin-skinned. Aggressive behaviour and language in a community is usually enough to drive me away, and I won’t participate in communities where it is left unchecked and no one cares to fix it.”
Many of the most intelligent and creative people are the most sensitive, so it’s important to find the right environment.
Robyn Bergeron, Fedora Project Leader, writes “We believe that all contributors should ‘be excellent to each other.’ By creating an environment for constructive contribution, we can more effectively and successfully compare and challenge different ideas to find the best solutions for advancement, while building the size, diversity, and strength of our community.”
In a future not too far away, learning has been made into a crime. A world in which accessing documents is restricted, limited to only those that hold privilege or the money to be able to afford the precious golds and metals of knowledge. Only this future is today, as Aaron Swartz is now facing the possibility of thirteen counts of felony for ‘aggressively attempting to learn too much’.
Sir Ken Robinson talks about how our current education system suffocates creativity on a TED Radio Hour on NPR. Here are few of my favourite parts from the broadcast:
2:45 - “There is a terrible tendency to confuse raising standards with standardizing. In my experience if you personalize education, if you customize it, if you engage in children’s imaginations, or students at any age, you get much higher results and much deeper commitment and a far more resilient process of education”
3:54 – “Creativity in education is as important as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status”
7:28 – “We are now running national education systems were mistakes are the worst things you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.”
9:12 – “Our education system is predicated on the idea of academic ability, and there is a reason, the whole system was invented… around the world there were no public systems of education really before the 19th century. They all came into being to meet the needs of industrialism.”
17:15 – “We have become obsessed with college, and, I don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t go to college, or you shouldn’t encourage your kids to go to college, if they want to go. But it’s become almost uncritically accepted as the natural thing that happens after high school, that you have to go to college. And if you don’t go to college, you’ve somehow lost the game. And at the meantime the obsession with college is demeaning to all the other roots into life. We have created this ridiculous situation that we prioritize academic work over what we call vocational programs.”
20:18 – “I think we need to move from an industrial model of education to a much more personalized form of education. The culture of education, is an industrial model, it’s like a factory, if you look at it. We still educate people by age groups, as if the most important thing they have in common is how old they are… we divide the day into forty minute bits and ring bells… we divide subjects from each other. It’s an industrial model that inherently promotes conformity.”
22:29 – “We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process, it’s an organic process, and you can not predict the outcome of human development. All you can do, like a farmer, is to create the conditions in which the will begin to flourish.”
Sal Khan has started a education program called the Khan Academy in 2006 that is accessible over the web at khanacademy.org. In a tiny shop above a tea shop in Silicon Valley has made over 3,000 lessons, and has gone from one, a few hundreds pupils, to more than four million visitors, every month and is funded by donations. He is an online teacher that produces videos with a stylus on a digital whiteboard with voice-over lectures. He has received a lot of positive feedback that; it feels that people are closer than they are, that they are in the same room, and that there is more humanity. There has been unexpected success through the process, such as helping students with dyslexia. This is a future without textbooks and instead laptops, and students can work at their own pace and direction. My concern is that because the academy is largely funded by two companies that base their business off of not releasing and sharing their software source code, that there is a large gap in this education, that needs to be filled through a diversity of educators that are inspired by online teaching. In fact, Khan Academy may be inspired by much of the online documentation, part of the free software and open source educational programs, and how many people have able to learn about programming despite ever attending education programs at typical institutions.
SaM from ExtraTorrent reports that, Estonia Will Teach Kids Programming, he writes, “It seems that the country is hoping to push children into programming from primary school. Media reports reveal that the Estonian Tiger Leap Foundation has recently started a program titled ‘ProgeTiiger’.”
Music: Astrid & Ruediger Kramer / Childrens Song
Music: StrangeZero / This is Our Time
The Office of the Press Secretary of The White House has made a press released titled, Fact Sheet: the Equal Futures Partnership and United States Commitments to Expand Women’s Political and Economic Participation. It begins with the introduction, “While the world has made significant strides in expanding opportunity for women and girls, continued inequalities remain, particularly in the areas of women’s political participation and economic opportunity. Growing bodies of evidence show that women’s political and economic empowerment are critical to fostering international peace and security, growing vibrant market economies, and supporting open and accountable governance. Recognizing these urgent concerns, President Obama issued a challenge at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2011 to address key barriers in these areas.”
Jill Stein while at the Occupy Wall Street anniversary said in part of an interview, “…don’t accept the propaganda that says you have to win the office in order to win the day, yes we would like to win the White House and turn it into a Green House, but even short of that, we can win this election, by winning the day by driving these solutions forward.” to which she was discussing economic injustice and the environment. For more information visit grist.org
Mary Eng posted an article titled, The Age of the Internet and the Schism between Individual Rights to Freedom of Speech and Right to Privacy by Keith A. Fink and Amie Park. The paper begins with, “We live in an ‘information society’ where information is disseminated and readily accessible via the Internet. The click of a mouse can provide indulgence into the life of a celebrity or photos and personal information about private individuals. The availability of all this information on the Internet has led to an infringement on one’s privacy rights in the name of free speech.” For more information visit braingarbagedystopie.blogspot.com
Alex Fitzpatrick of Mashable in an article, WordPress is probably powering your favourite candidates website on September 17th, writes “Thirty-five percent of U.S. congressional races, 40% of U.S. Senate races, 44% of U.S. gubernatorial races and 41% of state political parties rely on the WordPress platform for their website, according to Automattic, which powers WordPress.com”
Debby Chan, a human rights activist based in Hong Kong, is fighting to improve conditions for employees and bringing attention to labor rights abuses at Foxconn. She is part of a group called Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, and has aggressively collected information on the working conditions at Foxconn’s plants in Zhengzhou and Shenzhen. Such violations include; excessive overtime for workers, unpaid overtime work, compulsory meetings where managers berate employees about about low productivity and high rates of product defects, unsafe working conditions in metal-working and parts-processing workshops where workers handled chemicals unknown to them with little in the way of protection.
Foxcoon part of Hon Hai Group of Taiwan is a major supplier to some of the world’s electronics giants. They reported that they closed one of its large Chinese plants on Monday after the police were called in to break of a disturbance that escalated into a riot.
A woman was detained at the TSA and not allowed on her flight, the video that shows a part of the confrontation reported along with that: “I was not allowed to board a plane (even though I had already been through airport security) because I drank my water instead of letting the TSA “test” it. The TSA agent finally admitted that it wasn’t because they thought I was a security risk-it was because the TSA agent, Louis Godeaux, was mad at me!”
Richard Stallman writes in his political notes, “US citizens: Phone your senators to support Senator Merkley’s bill, the Protect America’s Privacy Act (S. 3515), which would limit warrantless wiretapping of Americans. The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.” stallman.org
We can hear you still. The House of Representatives has easily passed legislation on this month to re-authorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008 that is known to have opened the door for the potential of unlimited warrentless wiretapping on Americans.
SaM on TorrentFreak reports on Tuesday, September 11th, 2012, “US Government’s Domain Seizures Questioned by Congress”, the article begins “Lately last month a group of Representatives, led by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, has written to Attorney General Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, rising questions about their abusive domain seizures.”
Ron Wyden from Oregan has introduced a bill in the Senate, the Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA), which tries to fix a bunch of issues with royalty rate setting. Like a bill introduced by Rep. Chaffetz in the House, Wyden’s bill would shift internet radio rates to the same process as satellite and cable, rather than the other way around. Those royalties, while still high, are much less onerous. techdirt.com
Music: Fatzwerk / Scarazula Karasha
Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing posted about 150 years of photos of American lesbians and other lady-loving ladies Many of these photos are in the public domain, anything prior to 1925. The photos range from 1850 to 2000 collected by Riese from Autostraddle. For more information visit autostraddle.com Doctorow has also posted about a Creative Commons licensed ebook for their new novel Rapture of the Nerds, that is live and online. They mention that if you enjoy the free downloads that they hope you’ll buy a personal hardcopy at your local bookseller, or donate a copy to a library or school. For more visit boingboing.net
The music that has been playing throughout the duration of this episode is available for download and second use with some rights reserved. Artists include; Tha Silent Partner from Boston Massachusetts U.S.A, Tymono from Poland, Ray Guntrip and Tina May from London U.K., Alisa Mironova from Russia, Astrid & Ruediger Kramer from Germany, StrangeZero from Greece, Luke Tan from Portland, Oregan U.S.A, Fatzwerk from Germany. And we will end with a song by “Lindalou and Michael Ryge” from Calistoga, California U.S.A. with a track called “Nothing Missing” on the “Beginner’s Luck” album.
Music: Lindalou and Michael Ryge / Nothing Missing
©2012 Braydon Fuller. This recording is available under the terms of an Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike license. The photo used for the cover, Carpodacus Mexicanus (1904), is by an unknown and is in the public domain.