Re-decentralizing the Web, for good this time | Ruben Verborgh
Originally designed as a decentralized network, the Web has undergone a significant centralization in recent years. In order to regain freedom and control over the digital aspects of our lives, we should understand how we arrived at this point and how we can get back on track. This chapter explains the history of decentralization in a Web context, and details Tim Berners-Lee’s role in the continued battle for a free and open Web. The challenges and solutions are not purely technical in nature, but rather fit into a larger socio-economic puzzle, to which all of us are invited to contribute. Let us take back the Web for good, and leverage its full potential as envisioned by its creator.
decentralization  future 
7 days ago
Facebook Knows How to Track You Using the Dust on Your Camera Lens
it was not merely possible to detect that two smartphones were in the same place at the same time, but that by comparing the accelerometer and gyroscope readings of each phone, the data could identify when people were facing each other or walking together. That way, Facebook could suggest you friend the person you were talking to at a bar last night, and not all the other people there that you chose not to talk to.
privacy  facebook 
15 days ago
Impact Investing Struggles to Gain Traction Despite the Hype - The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Here, a word or two about terminology is in order. What we’re calling impact investing goes by many names at foundations: mission-related investing (Ford), mission-driven investing (Kellogg), mission-aligned investing (Rockefeller Brothers Fund), social investing (Kresge), or simply impact investing (F.B. Heron, Russell Family Foundation). Those grant makers have chosen to invest their endowments to do good in the world, and that’s what this article is about. They are driven by the belief that impact investments can deliver direct, measurable results — jobs or housing units created, tons of carbon emissions averted — in the short run and that, over time, they can also help reshape the capital markets to do less harm and create more benefit for society.
philanthropy  impact_investing 
15 days ago
Deep Paper Gestalt
Recent years have witnessed a significant increase in
the number of paper submissions to computer vision conferences.
The sheer volume of paper submissions and the
insufficient number of competent reviewers cause a considerable
burden for the current peer review system. In this paper,
we learn a classifier to predict whether a paper should
be accepted or rejected based solely on the visual appearance
of the paper (i.e., the gestalt of a paper). Experimental
results show that our classifier can safely reject 50% of the
bad papers while wrongly reject only 0.4% of the good papers,
and thus dramatically reduce the workload of the reviewers.
We also provide tools for providing suggestions to
authors so that they can improve the gestalt of their papers.
16 days ago
Radical Software
Three years ago Ira Schneider and I started thinking about ways to republish Radical Software, a periodical Schneider helped found back in 1970. We knew it was important - the only periodical devoted to video back in the early 70s - but we also knew that complete collections were scarce.

Working from Ira's collection, we had the entire contents of Radical Software, 690 pages, scanned and converted to PDF files in Berlin, Germany, where Ira lives.

With the PDF files in hand, our first thought was to cobble together a Web site and put them up. However, when we were both in New York, Benjamin Weil from San Francisco Museum of Modern Art came by and dissuaded us from this ad hoc approach. He suggested that we convert the issues of Radical Software into a searchable database as well as PDF files. He also suggested that we apply to the Daniel Langlois Foundation for help in the project. Gerry O'Grady, a media scholar and friend of many years, and one of the first researchers in residence at the Daniel Langlois Foundation, seconded the idea, and David Ross agreed to write an introduction.

Our proposal to the Langlois Foundation met with encouraging results. They invited me to visit their headquarters in Montreal, where I met Jean Gagnon and Alain Depocas.

As I learned, the Langlois Foundation had particular expertise in developing databases, and together we looked at some they had done in the past and talked about the best approach for this project. They agreed to take responsibility for the database part of the Web site. We, on the other hand, would do the 'front end', the texts and the home page design itself.
copyright  funders 
16 days ago
Peri Foundation
Digital preservation and other good works.
17 days ago
Powerless: How Top Foundations Failed to Defend Their Values—And Now Risk Losing Everything — Inside Philanthropy
Meanwhile, top legacy foundations seem increasingly lost at sea—and in a sense, hopelessly naive about political realities. They don’t know how to operate in the present environment. They’re worried about risking carefully nurtured reputations as institutions that are above politics and driven by pragmatism, not ideology. They fret that the philanthropic sector as a whole could lose the public’s trust. And so, with a few exceptions (most notably, Ford), they just keep doing the same thing—as if it’s still 1959.
4 weeks ago
Trump charitable foundation: how many more bad charities are there? - Vox
The lesson ought to be, “Foundations can be bad, and we don’t have a system in place to hold them accountable.”
4 weeks ago
A poverty reduction charity admits its program wasn’t working. That’s a big deal. - Vox
Last week, a major international development charity did something remarkable: It admitted that one of its programs didn’t seem to work.
scaling  philanthropy 
4 weeks ago
Inside the Temple of Covert Propaganda: The Integrity Initiative and the UK's Scandalous Information War - Grayzone Project
This “network of networks”, as one document refers to them, centers around an ironically named outfit called the Integrity Initiative. And it is all overseen by a previously unknown England-based think tank registered in Scotland, the Institute for Statecraft, which has operated under a veil of secrecy.
4 weeks ago
Citadel's Ken Griffin shares his philanthropic philosophy
The second part is (University of Chicago President) Bob Zimmer's passionate fighting for free speech. The University of Chicago is completely on the forefront of the protection of free speech on college campuses across the country.
philanthropy  fo 
5 weeks ago
The “science of scaling” tries to understand why programs so often fail at scale - Vox
Evidence Action’s No Lean Season, a program that in its early stages worked incredibly well to help members of the poorest families in Bangladesh move to the city and find jobs — but that stopped working when Evidence Action moved up to larger-scale trials.
5 weeks ago
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
We Are a Responsive Grantmaker
As a responsive grantmaker, we believe that nonprofits know what is best for the people and communities they serve. We invest in organizations whose work strengthens the broad fabric of our region. The majority of our grants are for general operating support, though the Foundation also provides funds for programs and capital needs. We prioritize organizations that deliver direct services.
6 weeks ago
The world is much better; The world is awful; The world can be much better - Our World in Data
The world is much better. The world is awful. The world can be much better. We have to study the data to know all three perspectives on global living conditions.
6 weeks ago
“When You Get That Wealthy, You Start to Buy Your Own Bullshit”: The Miseducation of Sheryl Sandberg | Vanity Fair
Harvard Business School invented the “leadership” industry—and produced a generation of corporate monsters. No wonder Sandberg, one of the school’s most prominent graduates, lacks a functioning moral compass.
ethics  facebook  harvard 
7 weeks ago
Spring 2017 - The Dark Side of Transparency
It is now almost impossible to read donor literature or attend charitable conferences without being bombarded by growing demands for greater openness, transparency, and self-revealing in giving. It’s said that foundations won’t realize their full potential, and may even fall into ineffective and self-serving ways, unless there is a transparency surge beyond existing disclosure requirements. However, in interviews I conducted for a dissertation at Oklahoma State University, “The Opacity of Private Philanthropy,” both grantmakers and grantees reported several reasons why quiet, discreet foundation practices can lead to better giving.
philanthropy  transparency 
7 weeks ago
Opacity of Private Philanthropy
Calls for greater transparency among corporations and social institutions continue to grow in the literature. Many contend that greater transparency is needed to reduce potential for wrong doing and enhance the capacity of interested outsiders to protect the public's interests. Yet, transparency is not a cost free objective, there are consequences to imposed transparency.
philanthropy  transparency 
7 weeks ago
Materials for Two Theories: TIMN and STA:C: Re-reading Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer (1951)
• “Should Americans begin to hate foreigners wholeheartedly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life.” (S. 73)
• “If free enterprise becomes a proselytizing holy cause, it will be a sign that its workability and advantages have ceased to be self-evident.” (S. 88)
• "The quality of ideas seems to play a minor role in mass movement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world." (S. 91)”
Social_Science  changing_minds  politics 
9 weeks ago
Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly
Most texts on writing style encourage authors to avoid overly-complex words. However, a majority of undergraduates admit to deliberately increasing the complexity of their vocabulary so as to give the impression of intelligence. This paper explores the extent to which this strategy is effective. Experiments 1–3 manipulate complexity of texts and find a negative relationship between complex- ity and judged intelligence. This relationship held regardless of the quality of the original essay, and irrespective of the participants’ prior expectations of essay quality. The negative impact of complexity was mediated by processing fluency. Experiment 4 directly manipulated fluency and found that texts in hard to read fonts are judged to come from less intelligent authors. Experiment 5 investigated discounting of fluency. When obvious causes for low fluency exist that are not relevant to the judgement at hand, people reduce their reliance on fluency as a cue; in fact, in an effort not to be influenced by the irrelevant source of fluency, they over-compensate and are biased in the opposite direction. Implications and applications are discussed.

Oppenheimer, D. M. 2006. Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20: 139-156.
jargon  plain_english 
9 weeks ago
Research: NIH peer review percentile scores are poorly predictive of grant productivity | eLife
Peer review is widely used to assess grant applications so that the highest ranked applications can be funded. A number of studies have questioned the ability of peer review panels to predict the productivity of applications, but a recent analysis of grants funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US found that the percentile scores awarded by peer review panels correlated with productivity as measured by citations of grant-supported publications. Here, based on a re-analysis of these data for the 102,740 funded grants with percentile scores of 20 or better, we report that these percentile scores are a poor discriminator of productivity. This underscores the limitations of peer review as a means of assessing grant applications in an era when typical success rates are often as low as about 10%.
peer_review  publishing  challenges  competitions  prizes 
10 weeks ago
'Hearts and Minds' in Iraq <span class="bankhead"> As History Shows, Ideas Matter More Than Who Pays to Promote Them</span> - The Washington Post
Contrary to what is commonly believed, CIA funding of intellectual "propaganda" projects -- including direct cash payments to American and foreign journalists -- has usually been done with the lightest touch. In my direct experience, and in reading files covering CA activity in Europe and the Middle East, I never saw an instance in which agency officers manipulated the final product. What was regrettable was that CIA officials often didn't have the linguistic skill or education to match the countries they covered and had no real grasp of what their CA assets were writing.
10 weeks ago
The #Resistance Has a New Grift, and Liberals Are the Perfect Mark - Truthdig
They are victims, really, of our deranged national culture of politics as consumer choice, party as lifestyle and preference. They now find themselves atomized, without any route for collective action beyond chipping 10 bucks into the crowdfunding bucket; they can evaluate politics only superficially, and so anyone who says bad things about bad guy number one is good enough.
10 weeks ago
The first <strong>"bottom-up" history of the world</strong> resides in an Austrian salt mine. "It's a global project &mdash; and its history is written by everyone"
The first <strong>"bottom-up" history of the world</strong> resides in an Austrian salt mine. "It's a global project &mdash; and its history is written by everyone"
archive  personal_data  person 
11 weeks ago
Wellcome and Gates join bold European open-access plan
On 5 November, the London-based Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, announced they were both endorsing ‘Plan S’, adding their weight to an initiative already backed by 13 research funders across Europe since its launch in September. The plan was spearheaded by Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s special envoy on open access.
11 weeks ago
The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar
a simple, low-cost, technocratic market solution to the problem of global poverty
omidyar  philanthropy  paranoia 
october 2018
A Fourth of Young Foundation Employees Think Their Group’s Work Is Irrelevant - The Chronicle of Philanthropy
One in four entry-level and midlevel foundation employees think their organization’s work is not "relevant to what’s happening in the world today," according to a survey released Wednesday. Forty percent think their organization is in touch with the needs of the people and places it supports, and 24 percent say those communities have a voice in the decisions the foundation makes.
october 2018
RoboValley | Quality mark for AI and robotics
The Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR) and Deloitte are developing a FRR certified quality mark for AI and Robotics. This quality mark will ensure that best practices are met for the responsible design and development of the technology.
october 2018
Horizon 2020 endangered by low success rate, says EUA - University World News
the cost of unsuccessful bids is €1.4 billion (US$1.46 billion), compared to the €5.5 billion allocated to the first 100 calls, and as European universities are mostly funded by public budgets it is the taxpayer who is paying the bill.
unfunded  philanthropy  proposals 
october 2018
A reservoir not an ocean - visualizing and operationalizing collective collections - Lorcan Dempsey's Weblog
When I think of the Google Books initiative now, three things stick with me. The first is simply what an audacious idea it was – to digitize all the books. The second is that without it, the book literature is less accessible than the web literature, which seems a pity. Google Books has allowed fine-grained discovery over the topics, people, places and so on which otherwise would largely be hidden between the covers.

The third is more subtle, but marks an interesting shift in how we think about library collections and books in general.  Before the initiative, we thought of the books in library collections as a vast expanse. We could not see the edges. They were like an ocean. Afterwards, the aggregate library collection appeared more bounded, more finite. More like a reservoir which could be measured and managed.
books  archives 
october 2018
Tips from a Foundation Insider: How to Avoid Common Mistakes and Make Your Best Case in Writing Proposals to Foundations - The ALLIANCE
Program officers usually cannot bend the guidelines and impassioned pleas to do so will not be a good use of your time or theirs.
september 2018
The Failures of Foreign Aid (and some potential solutions) Part 2 - the Giving What We Can Blog
"As an example of effective foreign aid, Singer points us to the United Nations Millenium Villages Project. This was a project to provide simple interventions to put extremely poor people on paths to sustainable growth that would continue even after the Millenium Villages Project stopped." * funny: other accounts say MVP was a huge failure.
development  aid  IYI 
september 2018
25 Years of WIRED Predictions: Why the Future Never Arrives | WIRED
25 Years of WIRED Predictions: Why the Future Never Arrives | WIRED
future  predictions 
september 2018
Guest Post: Think Sci-Hub is Just Downloading PDFs? Think Again - The Scholarly Kitchen
What is being asserted by the authors here is that Sci-Hub is launching password-cracking attacks *itself* and then using the credentials as a revenue source. Additionally they imply that someone from Sci-Hub planted (plants?) malware. Perhaps there is good evidence for these claims, but it isn’t in this article.
copyright  sci-hub 
september 2018
Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not. - The New York Times
Here is the blueprint. First, valorize work as the ticket out of poverty, and debase caregiving as not work. Look at a single mother without a formal job, and say she is not working; spot one working part time and demand she work more. Transform love into laziness.
september 2018
In praise of technocratic top-down grantmaking.
september 2018
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas | Are the Elite Hijacking Social Change?
“Business elites are taking over the work of changing the world,” Giridharadas observes. “Many believe they are changing the world when they may instead—or also—be protecting a system that is at the root of the problems they wish to solve.”

Giridharadas uncovers the internal contradictions of those who work for social change from positions of privilege and wealth. He also delves into the shortcomings of strategy consultants who bring McKinsey-style analysis to social issues; the limitations of venture capitalists who fund social solutions; and the problems with thought leaders who give well-paid speeches preaching win-win opportunities for business and society.
august 2018
The Thriving World, the Wilting World, and You – Anand Giridharadas – Medium
Our deliberations about what to do about this extreme winning and losing are sponsored by the extreme winners. This community was formed by stalwarts of American capitalism; today we sit in spaces named after Pepsi (as in the beverage) and Koch (as in the brothers); our discussion of Martin Luther King and Omelas is sponsored by folks like Accenture, David Rubenstein and someone named Pom; we are deeply enmeshed and invested in the establishment and systems we are supposed to question. And yet we are a community of leaders that claims to seek justice. These identities are tricky to reconcile.
august 2018
Gospels of Giving for the New Gilded Age | The New Yorker
Anand Giridharadas is a journalist who, in 2011, was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. The institute is financed by, among other groups, the Carnegie Corporation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Gates Foundation. The fellowship, according to its Web site, aims to “develop the next generation of community-spirited leaders” by engaging them “in a thought-provoking journey of personal exploration.”

Giridharadas at first found the fellowship to be a pretty sweet deal; it offered free trips to the Rockies and led to invitations from the sorts of people who own Western-themed mansions and fly private jets. After a while, though, he started to feel that something was rotten in the state of Colorado. In 2015, when he was asked to deliver a speech to his fellow-fellows, he used it to condemn what he called “the Aspen Consensus.”

“The Aspen Consensus, in a nutshell, is this,” he said. “The winners of our age must be challenged to do more good. But never, ever tell them to do less harm.” The speech made the Times; people began asking for copies of it; and Giridharadas decided to expand on it. The result is “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.” “I hadn’t planned to write a book on this topic, but the topic chose me,” he writes.
august 2018
Look at Me! - Columbia Journalism Review
As a rule of thumb (and with some notable exceptions), the profit margins you could achieve selling a good or service were directly correlated to the total idiocy and/or moral bankruptcy of the demand you drummed up for it.
media  criticism 
august 2018
How to add site to IPFS and IPNS – Coinmonks – Medium
IPFS allows to place p2p content inside web applications and simple web pages. Also you can hosting whole static site in peer to peer(p2p) IPFS network. So other people, who owns IPFS nodes can share your site and be a peer of your content and distribute HTML, CSS, JS and Images from their nodes. After that — if you node stops, the site will live, while someone with an IPFS node will keep a site on his node.
august 2018
The Price of Privacy: What’s Wrong with the New Shadow Giving System | HistPhil
How much dark philanthropic money are we talking about? It’s hard to say, exactly, given the laxity of disclosure rules and donors who keep finding new ways to operate with less transparency.

Yet the biggest story here is the stunning rise of donor-advised funds. DAFs must reveal where their grants go, but they don’t have to say which of their clients provided those gifts and few DAFs reveal such information voluntarily. Just 10 years ago, DAFs moved a total of around $7 billion in grants. In 2016, they moved more than twice that amount. Of the top 10 grantmakers in the U.S. today, more than half are DAFs—all moving money in ways that don’t reveal their donors. Earlier this year, even close observers of the DAF world were surprised to learn that a DAF managed by Goldman Sachs had quietly become among the largest such entities in the U.S., thanks to big infusions of wealth by billionaires that include Steve Ballmer and Laurene Powell Jobs. All this represents a dramatic shift from an earlier era of philanthropy in which top donors created private foundations that operated with relative transparency.
august 2018
Noam Chomsky on Fascism, Showmanship and Democrats' Hypocrisy in the Trump Era
Some ideas are not even rejected; they are unthinkable. Like the idea that US aggression is aggression; it can only be “a mistake,” “a tragic error,” “a strategic blunder.”
consensus  politics  nuclear 
june 2018
BBC - Future - How an abandoned lab could show us the future
The Amani Hill Research Station in Tanzania was once one of East Africa’s leading laboratories – now it is a shadow of its past glory. Rachel Nuwer visited to find out what happened, and discovered lessons about the fragility of scientific progress that the whole world should consider.
responsible_innovation  development 
may 2018
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