This one satisfied the conspiracy theorist in me. I always kinda thought of the internet as the printing press of our age; something that would educate, liberate and connect. I guess I never gave enough thought to how governments could take advantage of so much information. I’ve always considered government control of the internet as just surveillance with a kind of shut-off switch. Evgeny Morozov, however, talked about how governments insipidly use tactics like selective denial of service attacks (which they can easily deny involvement in), targeted censorship and selective censorship. Sudanese president Al-Bashir extended electricity to areas of known loyalists so that they could combat opposition via Facebook. Further, Morozov believes that our naivete leads to false assumptions regarding social media’s role in democratizing that then leads to faulty policy.

So I can’t say I entirely share his pessimism, but it did make me think.

I had no idea how many amazing sites NASA has. I’m usually a NOAA nerd, but I think I found a new hobby. Since the topic was visualization; you should see for yourself…

Download the most recently transmitted, raw images from the Mars Exploration Rover to play with:

Legitimize your paranoia about near earth asteroids…

These two were the highlight but you have to install unity 3D. The visualizations are updated to as close to real time as you can get with this type of data.   zoom in on the Apophis asteroid and see how close to earth it’s trajectory is predicted to near earth in 2029

http://solar   (Still in its beta stage) Takes a little bit of playing with; it’s fun to zoom in and out of the solar system but double click on voyager 2 – it’s 8 billion miles away.

So Iceland’s economy tanked after the banking crisis of 2008 due the greed of unscrupulous politicians and bankers (I know, whaaa?!). After demonstrations and the resignation of their Prime Minister, the Best Party was formed by an actor and comedian through grassroots efforts  promising “free towels for everyone” and “a drug-free parliament by 2020”. Using satire to point out the current flaws in the system, their platform was stated as “openly corrupt”  as opposed to secretly corrupt and promised what they’ve coined as sustainable transparency. And they actually won the Mayorship as well as the majority of seats on the Reykjavik City Council. (more…)