We are about to end the 10 weeks of the Graduate Study program here at Singularity University, NASA Ames. 80 students from 40 different countries set out to positively impact 1billion+ people in the next ten years. During this time, we studied the problem spaces, discussed, researched, and built teams.
Last night we presented the 22 projects our teams have in the Computer History Museum in Mountain view, in front of a full house, with change makes, visionaries, inventors, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists who want to make change happen.
I have three teammates, amazing individuals, with whom I share common values: we a deep respect for human dignity, we believe in equal opportunity, and we think that access to information and education is a social equaliser, such that empowers the disenfranchised to express their full potential, check on the power establishments, fight for human rights, and help lift themselves out of poverty.
We know there are many challenges-access to clean water, food, cheap energy-but we realise that access to information can enable the solutions to all of the problems we face as a species. We'd rather teach people how to build a fishing rod, instead of feeding them fish all the time.
Imagine what would happen if the 4 billion people who are not participating in the global conversation could access the sum of all human knowledge. Imagine what they could create, what they could invent, what they could do if they had that possibility.
This is the beginning of a journey that will change my life, and I hope that of many others.
As you probably know, yesterday was the day of the great Internet blackout, in protest of the upcoming SOPA and PIPA legislations, which instead of protecting the rights of authors and artists, they look more like draconian laws of a dystopian world where websites could be taken down for no reason and people could go to jail for streaming some music. I'm not making this up, it's all in the bill, just read it.
As always, the Khan Academy offers an excellent explanation of what SOPA and PIPA are all about:
And here Kirby Ferguson has an animated version.
Yesterday, this blog, among other 75,000 sites, was blacked out, and not accessible for 24 hours. People were encouraged to call congress and stop this madness. It was a huge success. TorrentFreak reports that SOPA / PIPA Co-Sponsors Drop Like Flies As Millions Protest, millions of people mobilised to keep the Internet free.
This isn't the first time they try to censor the Internet, and it won't be the last.
Stay strong, stay united.
Just a few days ago it was reported that Broadband internet access became a legal right in Finland. Starting next July, every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Finland is the world's first country to create laws guaranteeing broadband access. The Finnish people are also legally guaranteed a 100Mb broadband connection by the end of 2015.
I publish now this interesting graphics with the top 20 nations and their internet speed, penetration and cost. It is often said that (unrestricted) internet access is a good measurement for freedom and democracy. If so, then Italy and the USA are not in such a good shape.
In fact, it reflects our reality pretty well.
I finally finished and presented my thesis. I'm releasing the work under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike Works 3.0 license.
This dissertation will cover the basics of video encoding and distribution over TCP/IP, focusing on Open Source technologies and the future prospects of podcasting and video fruition in general. Particular attention will be given to the state of the art technology (MPEG-4 Part 10 specifications) and the new possibilities of HTML5 and the integration of the patent-free video codec Ogg Theora.
In this video, from August 4th 2008, Alex discusses in detail the serious issue of Internet censorship and how it is affecting us. The only winners of this censorship are the governments and corporate oligarchies who want to severely restrict our freedom of speech and our ability to acquire factual information from independent news sites.