Election monitoring using facebook

Just over a week ago I read this brief note on facebook that explains how a simple screen was used on election day to remind people to vote and asking them to click on a button if they had already voted.

Of course I couldn’t not reflect on this and how facebook is becoming a platform that promulgates openness at all levels of society. People who went out to vote just had to say they did, and others who hadn’t, saw it and were teased about their responsibility towards the nation.

What is certainly interesting is that the facebook tool combined these people’s interactions with age and political views stated on their profile. The numbers showed that a 65 year old was almost three times as likely to vote as an 18 year old, and this matched CNN’s traditional exit polls based on over 17,500 respondents coming from the voting booths. This is the thing which struck me most, and which we could certainly learn from again – almost exactly two years after Obama engaged social media and social networks to win the United States presidency.

Information, obtained through open/public data does not lie. It’s reliable. Does it follow logically that, thus, the medium which is the Internet is worth working in one’s favour all along?


Finally – a word before I close this post. This time of year is that time when Wikipedia reminds us that we all use it, and so few of us ever donate anything to keep it free. Please donate $20, $35, $50 or more by following this link. Thank you.



Revisiting the Citizen Initiative

Back in November, I blogged about the Citizen Initiative — a concept entrenched in the Lisbon Treaty. I am interested in this because of its direct relevance to the world of open governance. Open governments are transparent, and invite collaboration and participation. I believe that the initiative is about making all of that possible in the EU — by creating a direct link between citizens and the institutions where it is so needed that 1 million such citizens demand it!

Beautiful.. but how will it work? And will it? Simon Busuttil, one of Malta’s MEPs wrote in The Times of Malta today and gave some insight to answer the first question. I still would like to see more people comment on how this initiaitive will exist in a world that always gives more space to the social media. Will the EU lag behind the US? Will we continue to ignore social media?

Open theatre

The curtain goes down to never, never come back up. The stage, the whole theatre, the square in front of the theatre and the streets leading to the houses with the flickering white lights coming from TV and computer screens spilling outside onto the dark alleys — all has become one. The roles have been reversed and the king is on stage singing to an audience that can’t be bothered to listen and be moved.

Spun into one big act, where there is a place for everybody, this is the setting which allowed the world to welcome social networking. A social leap, rather than a technological leap as it is frequently perceived. There is only place for those who understand this reality and will play this game.

“Open” is in because “open” is everywhere and synonymous with that theatre that has dropped its boundaries. It is one big act and if you are not playing or singing, you are dancing to a beat which you can make your own.

Avatar presses a worthy message..

This week, I watched Avatar 3D.

I have definitely seen better 3D… what is amazing about the movie is its fantastic screenplay. Cameron’s creation of Pandora and the reincarnations of Earthly beings into real-life avatars, are truly fascinating. Pandora is the faraway planet where Man wants to mine Unobtanium. But, it is also the land of savage tribes and dangerous creatures. Doctor Max is behind the science of reincarnating humans into Avatars, and, in her words they are remotely controlled bodies […] grown from human DNA mixed with DNA from the natives”.

We see the Avatars for the first time: cyan blue creatures with long lemur-like tails. They are sleeping in acrylic tanks, waiting for the time to be released into the wild.

The Avatars are the mining company’s attempt to mix with the locals without putting humans into the undue risks of roaming around Pandora. Every Avatar has a human driver who slides into a machine that allows his nervous systems to be in tune with those of the Avatar and thus control it remotely. In this way, the main character – Jake is transformed into the divine savior of Pandora.

Pandora is an amazing ecosystem in itself. Mother goddess Eywa, takes care of maintaining the balance which has not yet been broken by a resource-thirsty human race. The natives can plug themselves into other creatures and a common transport protocol allows for the transmission of neuronic signals between them.

Maybe, if religions had not awarded Man the power to reign over nature, we may indeed not have had to humiliate ourselves with global summits to discuss how much exploitation would not be “too” harmful! Yet, not seeing beyond the smoke screen Luca Pellegrini, on the Radio Vaticana says (in Italian):

Pandora è il pianeta che strizza abilmente l’occhio a tutte quelle pseudo-dottrine che fanno dell’ecologia la religione del millennio. La natura non è più la creazione da difendere, ma la divinità da adorare, mentre la trascendenza si svuota materializzandosi in una pianta e nelle sue bianche liane che nutre gli spiriti diramandosi nella forma di un vero e proprio panteismo.

No translation I can make would be fateful enough to the original text, but the Radio Vaticana, which claims to be “the voice of the Pope and the Church in dialogue with the world” finds issue with the movie, because it promotes a pagan approach to the respect for nature. In my view, the story does not intend to promote any particular approach. Considering the success it has had in cinemas worldwide, I am hoping that it manages to instill in people the appreciation for living in harmony with nature that the global leaders cannot seem to agree about in too many global summits! [Stockholm, ’72][Rio, ’92][Kyoto ’97][Johannesburg 2002][Copenhagen 2009][Earth Summit 2012]

Ave Avatar!