Community Articles from 2020
The NSA’s Eye in the Sky: Blimp Spies on Americans
by C. Mitchell Shaw
Posted January 13, 2020
The surveillance hawks — it would appear — are never satisfied. When it comes to harvesting the data of American citizens, their mantra seems to be “too much is never enough.” The most recently revealed tool in the considerable arsenal of the surveillance state is a three-engine blimp equipped with eavesdropping apparatus.
While Americans have known about much of what the three-letter-agencies of the surveillance state have been up to, the truth, it turns out, is even darker than many may have imagined. The surveillance hawks have built their Panopticon; they just built it in the sky.
It is a foregone conclusion that the past 13 years have been a heyday of domestic surveillance for the NSA (which operates the aircraft) and other three-letter-agencies that make up the surveillance state. After all, “imagery sensors” is just tech jargon for “cameras.” It is to be expected that these “imagery sensors” would include heat signature sensors as well as infrared sensors. This aircraft — even as it existed in 2004 — is a surveillance dream come true and a privacy living nightmare. More…
The alphabet agencies are also using a system called TARS, which is tethered to the ground and can stay aloft without using any energy for even longer periods of time.
Who are the operators of these systems really afraid of? Is it really “terrorists” or could it be protestors that the globalists do not “approve” of? Is a society that is under 24 hour surveillance truly a free one?
The Catalan Integral Cooperative: an organizational study of a post-capitalist cooperative
by George Dafermos
Posted January 10, 2020
The Cooperativa Integral Catalana (CIC) is one of the most interesting cooperative projects which have sprung up during the age of crisis in Europe. First of all, it is notable on account of its revolutionary character: the main objective of the CIC is nothing less than to build an alternative economy in Catalonia capable of satisfying the needs of the local community more effectively than the existing system, thereby creating the conditions for the transition to a post-capitalist mode of organization of social and economic life.
To fulfil the purpose it has set itself, the CIC is engaged in an impressive spectrum of activities: although it was formed just seven years ago, it has already been actively involved in developing infrastructures as diverse as barter markets, a network of common stores, an alternative currency called ‘eco’, a ‘Cooperative Social Fund’ for financing community projects and a ‘basic income programme’ for remunerating its members for their work. By setting up such structures, the CIC aspires to be an organizational platform for the development of a self-sufficient economy that is autonomous from the State and the capitalist market. More…
Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S.
by Jonathan English
Posted January 6, 2020
The widespread failure of American mass transit is usually blamed on cheap gas and suburban sprawl. But the full story of why other countries succeed is more complicated.
When it comes to the quality of public transit, comparisons between American cities and international counterparts are usually met with a simple response: “It’s different over there.”
How did transit become such an afterthought in Americans’ transportation habits? Transit everywhere suffered serious declines in the postwar years, the cost of cars dropped and new expressways linked cities and fast-growing suburbs. That article pointed to a key problem: The limited transit service available in most American cities means that demand will never materialize—not without some fundamental changes. More…
Archivists Are Trying to Make Sure a ‘Pirate Bay of Science’ Never Goes Down
by Matthew Gault
Posted January 5, 2020
A new project aims to make LibGen, which hosts 33 terabytes of scientific papers and books, much more stable.
It’s hard to find free and open access to scientific material online. The latest studies and current research huddle behind paywalls unread by those who could benefit. But over the last few years, two sites—Library Genesis and Sci-Hub—have become high-profile, widely used resources for pirating scientific papers.
The problem is that these sites have had a lot of difficulty actually staying online. They have faced both legal challenges and logistical hosting problems that has knocked them offline for long periods of time. But a new project by data hoarders and freedom of information activists hopes to bring some stability to one of the two “Pirate Bays of Science.”
Library Genesis (LibGen) contains 33 terabytes of books, scientific papers, comics, and more in its scientific library. That’s a lot of data to host when countries and science publishers are constantly trying to get you shut down. More…
The accumulation of centuries of scientific and other knowledge is a human heritage that should be freely shared by anyone needing to access it. Instead we have private corporations creating paywalls to profit ffrom this research.
These private corporations did not pay the researchers, they did not pay the writers, they did not fund the research facilities. Why should they be given monopolies to profit from hoarding this knowledge?
In Detroit, A New Type of Agricultural Neighborhood Has Emerged
By Biba Adams
Posted January 2, 2019
A decade ago, a resurgence of urban gardens and farms sprouted a new agricultural trend around the country. And while many of them continue to thrive, in the past five years, another trend has entered the urban agricultural scene: agrihoods, short for agricultural neighborhoods.
The term, trademarked in 2014 by Southern California-based development company Rancho Mission Viejo, is a real estate brand that—different from urban gardening—centers agriculture in neighborhoods, and is mostly targeted at affluent millennials, who are increasingly considering proximity to fresh and “clean” foods in their homebuying decisions. The Urban Land Institute defines agrihoods as master-planned housing communities with working farms as their focus. Overwhelmingly, they have large swaths of green space, orchards, hoop houses and greenhouses, and some with barns, outdoor community kitchens, and environmentally sustainable homes decked with solar panels and composting. More…
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