Coming along

The book is coming along. It's online home freeknowledge.cs.uregina.ca. I have been thinking about the cover for the book and I think that a picture of a barn raising might be very appropriate. Any thoughts? Here's a picture that I like (though I should find one from Saskatchewan if possible).


free knowledge - if they're giving it away, can it be any good?

In the last post about livestock and food, I wondered why if the knowledge is freely available, why isn't it being used. That brings up an interesting issue around the term "free knowledge." If knowledge is 'what is known', then accepting what someone else says is true does not make one more knowledgeable. I've come to understand that GIYF (or GIMF)... Google Is Your/My Friend... but google doesn't necessarily help one to be a critical thinker. Looking up names on sourcewatch, etc. can certainly help. Projects like exxon-secrets help to expose some of the spin that comes with common knowledge available high on the list of search results.
Another excellent topic ;-)

livestock, food -- cause for concern?

GRAIN (from their website, "GRAIN is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) which promotes the sustainable management and use of agricultural biodiversity based on people's control over genetic resources and local knowledge.") has an upcoming special issue of their flagship periodical,
Seedling, on livestock. From their release about that livestock issue:
"we take a close look at the livestock industry. Behind the scenes this global industry is going through a rapid process of concentration as it extends its control over livestock farming. As consumption of meat increases, hundreds of thousands of small farmers have been tied into production contracts mainly for the export market. Furthermore, we are heading for more diseases, more deadly types of disease, and more capacity for these diseases to spread. And yet, the international response fails to reflect the seriousness of the situation. Meanwhile traditional cultures dependent on livestock are also being further marginalised as illustrated in this issue of Seedling in Mongolia and Niger."

Is the knowledge about these issues freely available? What stops people from using it?


facebook + shelfari + privacy + ethics

I remember a recent story about how facebook was getting into trouble in the UK for not deleting people's information when they asked to be removed from facebook. Now, I did a google search and found some (other) interesting stuff. For example, this video that raises questions about facebook's venture capital connections. There are plenty of other items about facebook and privacy.

I also read this blog post about shelfari, which seems to make it exceedingly easy for one to send spam to one's entire address book - though the company claims that the user's permission is always sought.
What does informed consent mean in these cases?

What is the relationship between free knowledge and privacy? If we expect it as individuals, does it seem reasonable that corporations should enjoy it too? Many questions! Another excellent subject for an essay.

public private partnerships (PPP)

PPP's are defined in the wikipedia (of course) and using my friend google, I found the NCPPP the website for which is described as "News articles, papers and other resources from this American body promoting P3s." The list of sustaining and sponsor members contains many familiar names - and more than one have "water" in their names. Do those companies support the idea of water as a basic human right? These P3s are not just in the States - they are becoming fashionable in Canada too - on the Canadian site, there is a speech by Finance Minister Flaherty in which he "discusses federal government commitment to PPP."

How is the public interest served in these P3s, and what are the costs to citizens? An essay on this topic would be very welcome.

the pirate's dilemma (possible topic)

I was listening to The Current on CBC Radio 1 Monday and I heard an interview with Matt Mason, author of The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism and I thought how appropriate.


contributions are welcome

Being located in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada - this will be a book that has relevance in the province of Saskatchewan. Some of the contributors will come from Saskatchewan. But I am also looking for contributors from outside the province. These issues have global impact - and international representation amongst the contributors is a good thing. Upon good advice, I am aiming to include approximately 15 essays. Even if you are not the one to write an essay, your input (via comments) regarding topic suggestions and the like will be much appreciated.