philosophy - humanist @ roua.org :

my eurovote

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

There is a crucial issue missing from the elections debate, as, perhaps, always in history: the capping of personal wealth. It's a systems engineering issue rather than a political one, it has nothing to do with beliefs or hopes and everything to do with rationality and logic.

I will write a NONE OF THIS on all the votes I have the right to cast (thus making my vote invalid, but my presence noticed), as long as no candidate on my vote list promotes the following principle (call it cap the personal wealth principle): the total personal wealth of everybody is capped to a value equal with the amount of a lifetime of average wages; here, "average wages" means the average of wages across EU..

It should be clear to anybody that any viable democratical politics starts with this, all the rest is just 80% bulshit (that is, all your lifetime efforts are allocated to increasing the wealth of a minority to which you may belong only in 20% of the cases); that, if we're optimistic.

I am aware that these answers (and yours) are irrelevant outside the frame provided by the principle above, however, for the love of the internet, here below is my would be vote on other issues (this list of issues is framed by Election 2014):

  1. Should there be an increase in the EU’s multi-annual budget for the period 2014-2020? No
  2. Should the Common Agricultural Policy remain a policy priority for the EU? Yes
  3. Should the EU continue to support financially the development of poorer EU regions and cities? Yes
  4. Should the EU continue to spend money on development aid to poor countries? No
  5. Should the European Commission have greater powers to enforce budgetary discipline in Eurozone countries? No
  6. Should the countries of the Eurozone pool their public debts by creating Eurobonds? No
  7. Should there be a new tax on financial transactions in the EU? No
  8. Should the EU strengthen and extend its internal market for services? No
  9. Should the EU negotiate a free trade agreement with the United States? No
  10. Should the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) be adopted? No
  11. Should fishermen be required to fish less, in order to protect fish stocks? Yes
  12. Should EU Member States be given additional rights to restrict the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)? Yes
  13. Should EU Member States be urged not to authorise any new shale gas projects? Yes
  14. Should nuclear energy be phased out in the EU? No
  15. Should maternity leave on full pay be extended from 14 to 20 weeks across the EU? Yes
  16. Should the EU encourage measures to tackle homophobia? No
  17. Should EU Member States guarantee the right to safe abortion? Yes
  18. Should Schengen area countries be allowed to reintroduce border controls on a temporary basis? No
  19. Should the EU have its own diplomatic service? No
  20. Should the European Parliament have the right to decide where it meets? Yes

Compare @ Electio2014.eu

As for the principles I really care about (and, in all modesty, you should too), here they are.

And here's an alternative look at the same problem (Lawrence Lessig). This proposed solution is less effective or certain than capping the personal wealth, at least because it relies on continuous maintenance by a larger population.

The larger context is described here.

the capitalist poverty

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Digital Humanist (Data Analyst / Web Developer) (f/m) : "The employment will start on 1 May 2014 and run initially until 31 December 2014."

Why not start on the 1-st of May and run it until a week after? People are so mobile and poor+cheap these days that they would do anything for this kind of job.

Is this a joke? If it is, it runs for a decade now, it's no longer funny (well, it never was). I suggest that people announcing it should be put out of their current jobs and get hired under these new conditions. See how that feels. And I bet these people have children too. WTF are they thinking?

And on and on : "We expect a thorough knowledge in the areas of ● XML-technologies (XSLT, XPath, XQuery), ● Semantic Web technologies (RDF, SKOS, LOD), ● Web Design, Interaction and Visual Design (HTML5, CSS),"

mkay? SKOS and LOD absolutely necessary for a half a year's jumpy job that's beginning to sound like trip-hop (actually trip-hop sounds much better).

And here's more: " A good familiarity with ● scripting languages (Perl, Python, PHP), ● Linux systems, shell scripting, ● server technologies "

nothing less. Before you begin to finish writing your CV, the job funding is over, move to some other country, and do some project for some other weeks. Maybe teleportation is working already and I didn't catch the news (I was aware that Zeilinger et al. were working on that but wasn't expecting they're so advanced; but no, they can't be that advanced because prof. Zeilinger is not working on monthly projects).

I only expect a high-quality outcome from these job conditions: one month moving in, one month getting your head around the subject, one month for IT support to install your mouse, and the local telco to install your net connection, then one month to call them all to stop the bills which were on autorenew. Maybe an idea will jump on you on a red eye train to a conference and wake up from the nightmare you're living. Add to that the children and their school, or simply having them.

Capitalism: hey it's poverty, but at least it's mobile. Jobs on couch-surfing, that's an idea for the bright future capitalism has for you.

To liberals, capitalists, and all those who have nothing to say about this kind of poverty, I only wish you and your children to get only this kind of jobs.

This pest has invaded scientific research since at least 1998. I felt it in Romania, we needed more time to write internal research reports and proposals than doing the actual research. Too much bureaucracy or too much capitalist stupidity? Didn't have the time to research on that.

No problem, you'll get the nachos you called for pretty soon.

Anyway, even if you're young, don't bother answering to this kind of announcement. Let them dry. Anything else is worth doing. From my own experience, it costs you about 70kUSD to change 6 research jobs and 6 countries in 14 years. And you only get older after that. Don't believe me? then test it, motherfucker, it's your life after all.

open-access, again

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Lately, open-access seems to be flourishing somehow, with the condition that those who made money out of publishing, keep making them, and those who paid for the "published" research keep paying twice for it (once for the research to be done, and once for it to be read).

That's why open-access comes in various colours to you, diamond, green, gold, shiny, cacao etc.

Also a lot of high-level people seem to be concerned by open-access, even supporting it in some twisted way (e.g. the author pays kind of open-access).

Obfuscation is endemic.

Despite the apparently complicated issues, this is a simple phenomenon, and time is ripe for the public research to be available to the public who paid for it. No further costs, no further discussions, no further qualifiers and colours. The existence of internet enables it.

There are two simple and cheap things to be done here:

1. Forbid public research personnel to hand over the copyright to publishing companies. A law phrase is enough to cover that. Work circulates under a CC-BY license at all times.

2. Understand that the flow of a scientific article needs to change, from the traditional way: author->peer review->publisher on paper->libraries to author->peer review->digital library->(optionally) publisher on paper. This means: only fund public research if it gets published in a digital library when it's done.

Note also the change from libraries to digital library, plural to singular. There's no reason to have more than one digital library per country. Moreover, the digital library is self-sustaining because publishers on paper will have to pay for their commercial access to the digital library to assemble works on paper for various interested parties.

Then implement a public access digital library of publicly funded research results per language.

You're done.

It's easy, and cheap: such a "national" library doesn't need more than 200 msq of office space populated by 4 persons and more than, say, 10 TB of storage capacity for now.

Anything else, or more, is plain bulshit.

If you don't believe me, hire me and I'll prove it (I will only work for Greece, Portugal, Spain, Romania, France, Belgium or EU institution with offices in one of those countries), given the law phrase above is official and the obligation for the publicly funded published research to be passed to the "national" digital library).

euro-heroes

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Finally, EU conceives the idea of forcing the costs of bank bailouts to be supported by those who invested in said banks. They took the risk, and risk means sometimes you lose. In US, the rich took the risk and the poor paid for it.

This is a a first step towards a no-bullshit reality facing. Various commentators are rolling their eyes: oh, what a mistake, "public confidence in the financial system is a prerequisite for a healthy economy". Yes, public confidence is a prerequisite also for gravitation laws to work. Oh, wait, it isn't.

Then what these people are calling "healthy economy" is really a big made-up shit-loaded bubble expected to float on the belief of the populace, the economy that works exclusively for those which filled it. Well, guys, start putting your money where your mouth is.

I read concerns about investors running with their money. Well, please do, run and never return because you guys are fucking with my life since twenty years ago, and that's only because communism protected me. Please run on some faraway planet, I never wanted to hear from you, and the losers working for you. YOU are not necessary, your vocabulary stains whatever human dignity is left possible in any society. You and your money centered psychotic existence.

Run. Run on the banks. Take your money and go invest on Jupiter. Nobody will regret you for a few generations.

Once again, cheers to those who will have the guts to mandate bailing the banks with investors/shareholders/stakeholders' money.

This is a sound basis for a future EU and for its citizens. It's the first solid sign of sanity from the EU admins. Congratulations this time for the Eurogroup if they will stick with this decision.

A few words about the amounts though: the rational way to do it is to take 0% from those accounts under the limit guaranteed by the State and any amount necessary out of those accounts which are over that covered limit or those accounts which were completely speculative and unguaranteed. What's up with this tuning, from 40% to 6.6%-9.9% to whatever?

public money, science, libraries, publishers and open-access

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Since 1997 I understood that Internet is making publishing on paper obsolete. That, on the assumption that whatever is published is culture, knowledge.

Whatever you see now published on paper is not culture and is not knowledge, is a publishing industry "product".

I am concerned only with the scholarly communication here, namely that one that's being paid out of public money, that is, its largest part.

The pre-Internet process of communicating a scientific result, called "publishing", consisted of authoring-->peer-reviewing+editing-->acceptance, then followed by: render on paper-->store at the classical library, which, in the Internet era, the normal process should become, instead: store at the digital library-->render on paper, etc.

It is obvious that, currently, the scholarly communication seems to ignore the existence of Internet, and, in the process, public money end up, as usual, in the private pockets of "publishers"=rendereres on paper, for no justifiable reason.

The governments are funding science so that it should be available to the public, but that science ends up under a paywall in some private companies, that is, the public has to pay a second time to acccess the results it paid for already.

This was obvious to me (and others) since 1997, a public money theft is continuing unabated meanwhile. Why the fuck nothing has changed since?

Here are some reasons: 1. the relationships of an editorial board (which works as such also on public money) with the "publishers"=renderers on paper were having a history of their own, they built slowly and achieved, as a side-effect, a commercial profit for the "publishers". Obviously, the "publishers" are interested in maintaining this relation. 2. the structures, or "publishing circuits", above, are also structures of power, where scientific editors and reviewers keep themselves on the edge of information in their field, which makes them competitive in the race for the public money funding the research. Obviously, the editorial boards are interested in maintaining this structure of power. 3. there are these fake concepts, like "impact factor", which say that, if you didn't publish in a high-impact journal, you won't be competitive in the race for the public funding. This is what I would call a self-hole: young researchers are forced to sing the tune the editorial boards of these high/impact factor journals expect from them, otherwise they won't be recognized as researchers; no real challenge to the current understanding of the field will be published unless it serves a new group of power ready to get a chunk of public funding. So science is no longer science, is a race for power and money, like any other society of ignorant people.

All these can be fixed in one move: a law mandating publishing at the digital library in open-access mode: there is no reason for publicly funding the rendering on paper at the current private publishers, at most, such public funding should be limited for long-term archiving purposes, and only if that archive is publicly accessible.

Are there enough real scientists left to make this happen?

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