Tjebbe van Tijen | 1 Mar 15:05 2012

Historical handshakes confirming Oil Ententes of the Elysée with Libya and Syria 2007 – 2009

Historical handshakes confirming Oil Ententes of the Elys?e with Libya and Syria 2007 ? 2009

March 1, 2012 by Tjebbe van Tijen

The full illustrated and documented version with web links can be found at:

[tableau with Sarkozy shaking hands with Gaddafi (2007) and Assad (2009) on the steps of the Elys?e]

[visual statistics on oil production and oil export of Libya and Syria, with the caption: The backdrop of
the policy for Libya and Syria by European Union and associated NATO countries is always painted with oil.
(1) British/Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, French Total, CNPC from China and ONGC of India are main investors in
Syrian crude oil and gas. (2)
13 November 2009 humanitarian oil diplomacy by Assad, the other way around: ?I asked President Sarkozy to
interfere as to stop the daily killing of the Palestinians by the Israel Army,? said H.E. President
Al-Assad citing today?s killing of a Palestinian citizen. (3) ]

[news photograph of Al-Assad delevring a speech at the Elys? in Paris in 2009, with this caption: His
Excellency President Al-Assad described his talks with President Sarkozy as 'very successful'',
'constructive'' ''transparent'' and as ''bolstering the confidence built between Syria and France'',
''dealing with many international as well as regional issues, bilateral relations, the Iranian nuclear
file, the recent positive developments in Lebanon, particularly following the formation of the
Lebanese Government, which we expect to be an important step for the stability in Lebanon.'' (...) ''The
talks, further, dealt with the situation in Gaza from a human perspective; I asked President Sarkozy to
interfere as to stop the daily killing of the Palestinians by the Israel Army,'' said H.E. Pre
 sident Al-Assad citing today's killing of a Palestinian citizen.]

 ?? discovery of treasure, a huge oil and gas in the basin of the Mediterranean is estimated reserves to 122
(Continue reading)

Brian Holmes | 1 Mar 18:27 2012

The $100bn Facebook question: Will capitalism survive 'value abundance'?

For years I have been dismayed by a very common refusal to think. The 
dismaying part is that it's based on the work of European history's 
greatest political philosopher, Karl Marx. It consists in the assertion 
that social media exploits you, that play is labor, and that Facebook is 
the new Ford Motor Co.

Now, there are all kinds of things wrong with social media, and I don't 
even use it. But even I can recognize that it doesn't exploit you the 
way a boss does. It emphatically _does_ sell statistics about the ways 
you and your friends and correspondents make use of your human faculties 
and desires, to nasty corporations that do attempt to capture your 
attention, condition your behavior and separate you from your money. In 
that sense, it does try to control you and you do create value for it. 
Yet that is not all that happens. Because you too do something with it, 
something of your own. The dismaying thing in the theories of playbour, 
etc, is that they refuse to recognize that all of us, in addition to 
being exploited and controlled, are overflowing sources of potentially 
autonomous productive energy. The refusal to think about this - a 
refusal which mostly circulates on the left, unfortunately - leaves that 
autonomous potential unexplored and partially unrealized.

Here, in an absolutely luminous text, Michel Bauwens shares liberating 
thoughts about what you might call a practical and present utopia.

If you want to read it with the multiple links included, just go to this 
location on one of my favorite global idea-aggregators, Al Jazeera:

Best to all, and thanks to Michel for a beautiful text. - BH
(Continue reading)

James Losey | 1 Mar 05:01 2012

Re: [ICTs-and-Society] Blogpost about Google’s “New“ Terms of Use and Privacy Policy: Old Exploitation and User Commodification in a New Ideological Skin

Hi Christian,

Thank you for sending this blog post. I think providing Google's new
policies within the context of EU regulation is particularly helpful. In a
globally networked world, the multi-jurisdiction that online services face
is both a challenge for companies and an opportunity to push for more user
control over the online public sphere.

However, I would like to push back against a couple notions in your piece.
First, much like television or radio has been supported by advertising, so
too are many online services. The question we are grappling with is not
whether or not the service is supported by advertising but what are
reasonable limits on the use of personally identifiable information for
advertising. Secondly, opt-out is technically an option, but from a
behavioral economics standpoint has much higher costs than most users will
chose. The question is really about what types of controls should be
available for users.

With respect to Google's recent change, you are absolutely correct in
noting the "large-scale economic surveillance" of users, after all, Google
is essentially an advertising company and earns
revenue from advertising, but it is worth defining that transaction.
First, Google profits from serving adds to users and naturally would profit
more from offering more effective advertising. However, Google is also
potentially provides a better product to consumers by tailoring services.
For example, if I am able to use Google search to more quickly access the
information I want then I am more likely to use Google as my primary search
engine. Another example would be location based data from a mobile device
allowing location based services, such as locating me on a map, or to use
(Continue reading)

gazz | 1 Mar 17:24 2012

Flossie 2012 CfP

Sorry for cross-posting: 


CfP: FLOSSIE 2012, 25/26 May at QMUL, East London, UK


Flossie 2012 is a free, two-day event for women who work with, or are
interested in, Software Libre/FOSS in Open Data, Knowledge Digital Arts
and Education. 

Flossie is an independent network of women practitioners that has its
roots in social change movements as well as arts, technology and
academia. Whether you code, tinker or want to explore alternatives to
‘big-tech’ corporations, all women are welcome. 

The first day will mix micro-talks with birds of a feather sessions
about the work we do. On the second day there will be more structured
workshops and discussions for both experienced practitioners and women
new to FLOSS to make contact and skillshare. 

We invite proposals for talks, workshops and Birds of a Feather sessions

* Deadline for proposals, Monday 12 March 2012 
* Submit proposal here: 
* The organising committee will send notifications regarding session
proposals no later than 26 March 2012

(Continue reading)

michael gurstein | 1 Mar 17:21 2012

Gmail Hell Day 4: Dealing with the Borg (Or "Being Evil" Without Really Thinking About
Tiny URL:

I'm an email guy.  I live (and live and maybe one day I'll die) with email.
I use email to do the online class I'm teaching at a major Canadian
university, I use email to manage the online Journal of Community
Informatics that I edit, I use email to host the bunch of Community
Informatics email lists that I supervise, I use email to participate in a
the bunch of email lists that I use to keep informed and help me to interact
with those areas of civil society (Governance, Human Rights, ICT4
Development) that I am active in, I use email (and of course skype) to
communicate with my family and friends, I use email as the primary means for
marketing and management the rental unit that myself and my wife own and
overall I use email and my email address as my primary means of
communication with and from the outside world.

Since about 2006 my primary email address and thus interface with the
e-world has been gurstein@... Nice, clean, functional (my kids are
envious and I've had semi-serious discussions about to whom among the half
dozen or so people in the world with the same last name (in that spelling it
is quite rare) I'll ultimately bequeath it to.

My email pattern is to use my gmail account as the reception point and then
POP my mail off into an Outlook 2003 client that I've dragged along with me
through 3 or 4 computers over the last 5 years. This process has worked for
me reasonably well over the last years and I'm comfortable with it and the
couple of thousand folks in my email directory are also comfortable with the
name and how I'm communicating with them.

(Continue reading)

Newmedia | 1 Mar 21:00 2012

Political-Economy and Desire


In preparation for some work on the impact of digital technology on  
"political-economy," I have been re-reading Mandeville, Smith, Maltham, RIccardo  
and others (including various commentators like Marx) to try to sort out 
what  *assumptions* were made about humans in the "beginning" of this  inquiry.

As many know, the overwhelming issue they were dealing back then with was  
"passion" and, in various ways, how to relate an economy which was driven by 
 passion with earlier notions of "morality."

(Btw, the notion that human economic activity is somehow "rational" was not 
 prominent among their assumptions and, from what I can tell, didn't 
actually  take hold in economics until it was proposed by those like Herb Simon in 
the  1960s, who, arguably, were really promoting artificial intelligence 
and had to  somehow fit computers without "desires" into their schema.)

Perhaps most famously, Bernard de Mandeville's 1705 "The Grumbling Hive: or 
 Knaves turn'd Honest" and his 1714 "The Fable of the Bees: or, Private 
Vices,  Publick Benefit" lays out an early version for what today we might call 
the  "commodification of desire."

The 300 year-long result of the changes chronicled by the early  
political-economists was global Industrialism (aka Capitalism?) and an  apparently 
endless parade of large-scale production/consumption -- which, while  certainly 
relying on a stream of technologies, was also fundamentally based  on a 
"revolution" in "moral sentiments."

Yes, it is important that this result has greatly increased the world's  
population, life-expectancy and overall living standards -- including in 
(Continue reading)

Jonathan Marshall | 2 Mar 03:23 2012

Re: The $100bn Facebook question: Will capitalism survive 'value abundance'?

Brian writes:

>For years I have been dismayed by a very common refusal to think. The
>dismaying part is that it's based on the work of European history's
>greatest political philosopher, Karl Marx. It consists in the assertion
>that social media exploits you, that play is labor, and that Facebook is
>the new Ford Motor Co.

I'm not actually sure that saying people are refusing to think by disagreeing with you, is the best way of
approaching the question.  We could easily and shallowly argue that the idea that Facebook is a sponser of
creativity and communication, that only incidently profits off the service it offers, is also a refusal
to think. Certainly it is what facebook might like us to think.. 

To me, the problem is the complexity of what is to be thought, and a general refusal to allow paradox - ie that
something can be both good and bad, that it can have contradictory drives - to exist within the same

Thus is it not possible that facebook, and others, both exploits free labour and provides something that
enables people to do something of their own? Why do we have to ultimately say it is just one or the other? 

Free labour itself is a complicated idea, perhaps descending from Toffler's idea of the 'prosumer', the
fact that we all do work nowadays which used to be somebody's paid labour - such as filling a petrol pump,
checking out goods in a store etc etc. Thus we all provide free labour, and that is now part of the structure
of contemporary capitalism.  It may or may not generate unemployment or free people of boring jobs - which
ever you like - it certainly cuts costs for business and increases profits and upper management salaries.
It has drives in both directions, but it would not seem to be something entirely outside of exploitation.

>Now, there are all kinds of things wrong with social media, and I don't
>even use it. But even I can recognize that it doesn't exploit you the
>way a boss does. 
(Continue reading)

Morlock Elloi | 2 Mar 09:57 2012

Re: Political-Economy and Desire

Desire is but hard-coded goals, that got hard-coded for reasons that were prevalent in the past. Now that
the technology can cheat and s(t)imulate, the firmware is trashing in useless loops. Desires are
amplified and have practically squeezed out ideas and ideologies. The cat has encountered the eternal
laser pointer.

There is evidence that this can last a lifetime, so there is no limit as far as individuals are concerned. The
loop is sustainable.

Is the system sustainable? How many people does it take to jerk laser pointers? Very few.

I think that we are entering the next phase of sustainable agriculture.


> Is there a "limit" to desire?  If so, then what are
> the  political-economic 
> implications of changing that assumption about
> economic  behavior?

Newmedia | 2 Mar 16:57 2012

Re: Political-Economy and Desire

Mr. Ghost-of-Wells:

As your email address indicates, you are apparently a "fan" of H.G.  Wells. 
 Of course, the Morlocks and Eloi (plural, one "l") are the dramatis  
persona in Well's 1895 "Time Machine."

"By the year 802,701 AD, _humanity_ 
(  has evolved into two  separate species: the Eloi and the
( . The Eloi are the  child-like, frail 
group, living a _banal_ (  life of ease on 
the surface  of the earth, while the Morlocks live underground, tending 
machinery and  providing food, clothing and infrastructure for the Eloi. Each 
class evolved and  degenerated from _humans_ 
( . The novel suggests that  the separation of species may have been
result of a widening split between  different social classes, a theme that 
reflects Wells' sociopolitical opinions."  (Wikipedia entry for ELOI.)

Wells was a Fabian "socialist" and, as some nettimers know,  someone who is 
far too little appreciated  today -- especially in  the Anglophonic world.  
In particular, Wells was featured  in discussions of his 1928 "The Open 
Conspiracy" at the nettime  Beauty-and-the-East confab in Ljubljana and who I 
also "memorialized" in my  "English Ideology and WIRED Magazine."


Some of this helped to stimulate the infamous  
(Continue reading)

Brian Holmes | 2 Mar 22:53 2012

Re: Political-Economy and Desire

Mark, this one is truly fascinating. Send updates as you go.

What you say about desire largely holds, I don't disagree. But over
that three hundred years since Adam Smith, a major corrective to
the moral theory of desire, which is visible already in Marx and
explicit in Nietzsche, is that the real aim of accumulation is not
acquisition or satisfaction of any kind, but power over other people.
For a contemporary view of that, check out Bichler & Nitzan, Capital
as Power: Order and Creorder.

Maybe the cybernetics guys, with their interest in rationality, were
also interested in power over entire populations: predictive power,
the power to control.

best, BH