2018/08/30: Removing content from a decentralized, content-addressed system is difficult to implement:
At the organizational level, who is the censor in a decentralized Web to whom the request to remove content is addressed, and who decides whether the request is valid? Facebook has a vast team of content moderators failing to purge deprecated content. Google has a whole organization handling DMCA takedown requests. How are their equivalents in the decentralized Web to be implemented and paid for?
At the technical level, it is close to impossible to prevent abuse of the mechanism for tracking down and deleting all copies of some named content the censors need to do their job. Or even a mechanism for just de-indexing it.
In the absence of mechanisms that enable censorship, it won't just be the incumbent platforms trying to kill our new, small companies, it will be governments.
So the decentralized Web faces four major problems. Without solutions to all four, it won't come close to my 1% definition of success. No-one has good ideas for solutions to any of them. But, at least at the recent Decentralized Web Summit, some people were drawing attention to each of them.
2018/09/25: During the first days of September, many Venezuelan Internet users reported having difficulties accessing Google services through the state-run Internet service provider, CANTV, the largest telecommunications company in Venezuela. The service seemed to be working again by mid September, but the conversation revealed the many ways online users are deprived of information and communication online.
Blogspot, Hangouts, Google Drive, and image services, including Gmail attachments were among the services affected.
A Venezuelan civil society group, said that Facebook and Twitter had also been affected by the outage.
2018/09/24: One of the administration’s favorite arguments confuses the largely accurate observation that solar and wind are intermittent sources for energy (as in, the sun doesn’t always shine) with the more dubious logic that renewables are somehow more susceptible to security threats than a physical stockpile of coal.
It’s “a tremendous form of energy in the sense that in a military way — think of it — coal is indestructible,” Trump said at an August fundraiser on Long Island. “You can blow up a pipeline, you can blow up the windmills. You know, the windmills, boom, boom, boom, bing, that’s the end of that one.”
But that’s not what we’ve been seeing after catastrophic hurricanes. After Maria, solar power became a symbol for more reliable power, even if few had access to it. And more recently, Hurricane Florence tested the most solar-powered state after California. In North Carolina 4.6 percent of the state’s electricity comes from the sun. InsideClimate News reports that large solar farms and even rooftop solar (which face more variable conditions and are more susceptible to damage) remained intact following the storm. At the same time, those who live in North Carolina still saw massive power outages — at one point more than 300,000 residents were without power.
The upside of solar is that it easily lends itself to decentralized power and micro-grids that could maintain the power for more people in the wake of a disaster.
2018/09/10: microgrids as the end result the combination of several technological trends, namely, rooftop solar, electric vehicles, heat pumps and batteries for storage. The key is that these technologies are decentralized—they can easily be owned by consumers and cooperatives in local systems.
Currently the way in which we use these technologies is, in his words, “dumb.” We simply attach solar panels, heat pumps, and electric vehicles to the grid for their own separate purposes. This dramatically increases the load on the local grid, requiring costly infrastructure upgrades to sustain the system.
The report simulated what would happen if the Ardehuizen implemented an intelligently managed microgrid with more sophisticated local supply and demand mechanisms.
These would entail a whole suite of interconnected technologies: a community battery storage system, smart meters which actively monitor the entire system, air-to-water heat pumps intelligently managed according to actual demand, local energy trading between the houses so they can exchange surplus, more electric vehicles, the use of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units which generate both heat and electricity using biomass, and the installation of a local district heating network to distribute heat to multiple houses.
this could well represent only the beginning of what is possible. The end-goal of the Metabolic team’s technology research is a concept called “Smarthoods.”
The project aims to design an urban system which integrates decentralised food, water and energy flows in order to create a nearly fully self-sufficient neighbourhood.
It works based on the principle of “circularity”—recycling water, materials, and waste as much as possible within the system.
The internet was meant to make the world a less centralised place, but the opposite has happened. Ludwig Siegele explains why it matters, and what can be done about it
2018/05/09: The good news is that an increasing number of people seem to agree that: Facebook, Google etc are monopolies That is a problem. Agreeing we have a problem is always a crucial first step.
2017/12/20: As separate markets for data and apps emerge, Web development needs to adopt a new shape.
Most Web applications today follow the adage "your data for my services". They motivate this deal from both a technical perspective (how could we provide services without your data?
Decentralized thinking is hard. So hard that future generations might see the Internet as a historical abberation.
In the energy world, centralized technologies and institutions are giving way to dispersed, networked, small-scale solutions. It's exciting.
Republished via the Global Sociology Blog: (page numbers refer to David Harvey's book: Rebel Cities) "In chapter 3 of Rebel Cities, David Harvey discusses the commons in the context of the right to the city for marginalized populations. In the process, he challenges the left for its fetishism of the local (a pet peeve of... Continue reading ...