Internet 1 - Censorship 0. Your move.

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.


Internet speeds and costs around the World

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.


Thesis: Open Source implementations of encoding algorithms for video distribution in the HTML5 era

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.



List of things worth mentioning, in no particular order.

Awesome YouTube channels

  • CGP Grey - incredible reason and clarity, great sense of humour, debunking misconceptions like no others.
  • potholer54 - science and reason FTW, debunking creationists, climate deniers, and generally idiots with painstaking patience and incredible irony.

Films worth watching

Science and technology sites I regularly read

  • Slashdot - news for nerds, stuff that matters
  • PhysOrg - science news, technology, physics, nanotechnology, space science, earth science, medicine
  • arXiv blog - mostly physics.
  • Not Even Wrong - an alternative view to String Theory.
  • Daniel Lemire - good analysis on the impact of technology in today's society.

Web comics I enjoy

  • xkcd - a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. Basically a geek bible. My universe.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: excellent irony about science and society.
  • Dresden Codak - a celebration of science, death and human folly. Obligatory read if you read any of Kurzweil's works, and have a general knowledge of physics and accelerating change.
  • The Oatmeal - stinking, rancid awesomeness.
  • Dilbert - life in a cubicle.
  • PHD Comics - the life a of typical researcher. I can confirm, it's all true!
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