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Berkman Buzz: April 4, 2014

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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Herdict celebrates 404 Day


The fourth day of the fourth month of the year can be written “4/04.” When you visit a website that doesn’t load, you may see the error code 404. So it is appropriate that this day should be an opportunity to reflect on all of those pages that people can’t reach due to censorship and blocking, and we applaud EFF’s 404 Day: A day of Action Against Censorship in Libraries.


From Ryan Budish's blog post for Herdict, "404 Day"
About Herdict | @herdict

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Missed the #vizthink workshop? Have no fear! Just watch this video:
Willow Brugh (@willowbl00)


Jonathan Zittrain explains the "misguided freakout over ICANN"


On March 14, the U.S. government announced that it would seek to relinquish a privileged role in the management of Internet names and numbers. An organization called ICANN—the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers—is to continue doing what it’s doing without maintaining an ongoing contract with the Department of Commerce to do it. And what does ICANN do? It helps keep IP addresses in order, ensuring that each address—used to let parties on the Internet identify one another—is not assigned more than once. And it facilitates the addition of “top level domains,” those suffixes like .com, .org, .uk, and more recently, .clothing, which, with a concatenation of names to their left, become the names for nearly all online destinations, including A receding role for the U.S. government has been anticipated for over a decade, and the move is both wise and of little impact. Some reaction has been surprisingly alarmist.


From Jonathan Zittrain's post in The New Republic, "No, Barack Obama Isn't Handing Control of the Internet Over to China"
About Jonathan | @zittrain

David Weinberger loves hackathons

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Last weekend I was a judge at the Toronto Startup Weekend – Library Edition and was reminded again not ony how much I love hackathons, but how unexpected they are.

....consider a classic hackathon: developers get together for a day or a weekend and are challenged to write working code, usually constrained to a particular genre (e.g., games) or using an open data set (e.g., the DPLA hackathon or the Open Syllabus Project hackathon). And the amazing thing is that they do it.


From David Weinberger's blog post, "Hackathon love"
About David | @dweinberger

danah boyd explores sexism in virtual reality technology

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Last week, I wrote a provocative opinion piece for Quartz called “Is the Oculus Rift sexist?” I’m reposting it on my blog for posterity, but also because I want to address some of the critiques that I received. First, the piece itself:

Is the Oculus Rift sexist?

In the fall of 1997, my university built a CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) to help scientists, artists, and archeologists embrace 3D immersion to advance the state of those fields. Ecstatic at seeing a real-life instantiation of the Metaverse, the virtual world imagined in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, I donned a set of goggles and jumped inside. And then I promptly vomited.


From danah boyd's blog post, "Is the Oculus Rift sexist? (plus response to criticism)"
About danah | @zephoria

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ICYMI: How to design geo-fence applications: notes & guides from a workshop by @erhardt and me @CivicMIT @medialabJ. Nathan Matias (@natematias)


Mozambique Wants to Criminalize ‘Insulting’ Texts, Emails and Internet Posts

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The Mozambican government is pushing a bill that would criminalize text messages, emails and other types of online posts that are considered “insulting” or that “jeopardize the security of the state”.

Approved by the Council of Ministers (the executive government of Mozambique made up of the president of the republic, the prime minister and all other ministers) on April 1, 2014, the bill will next be submitted to parliament. Minister of Science and Technology Louis Pelembe explained that the tough penalties proposed in the bill would ensure consumer protection and increase confidence in electronic transactions as a means of communication and provision of services.


From Alfredo Manjate's post for Global Voices, "Mozambique Wants to Criminalize ‘Insulting’ Texts, Emails and Internet Posts"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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