• The Madness of the Crowd

    Par Tim Hwang (mars 2017)

    As the Trump Administration enters its first hundred days, the 2016 election and its unexpected result remains a central topic of discussion among journalists, researchers, and the public at large.

    It is notable the degree to which Trump’s victory has propelled a broader, wholesale evaluation of the defects of the modern media ecosystem. Whether it is “fake news,” the influence of “filter bubbles,” or the online emergence of the “alt-right,” the internet has been cast as a familiar villain: enabling and empowering extreme views, and producing a “post-fact” society.

    This isn’t the first time that the internet has figured prominently in a presidential win. Among commentators on the left, the collective pessimism about the technological forces powering Trump’s 2016 victory are matched in mirror image by the collective optimism about the technological forces driving Obama’s 2008 victory. As Arianna Huffington put it simply then, “Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be president. Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not have been the nominee.”

    But whereas Obama was seen as a sign that the new media ecosystem wrought by the internet was functioning beautifully (one commentator praised it as “a perfect medium for genuine grass-roots political movements”), the Trump win has been blamed on a media ecosystem in deep failure mode. We could chalk these accounts up to simple partisanship, but that would ignore a whole constellation of other incidents that should raise real concerns about the weaknesses of the public sphere that the contemporary internet has established.

    This troubled internet has been around for years. Fears about filter bubbles facilitating the rise of the alt-right can and should be linked to existing concerns about the forces producing insular, extreme communities like the ones driving the Gamergate controversy. Fears about the impotence of facts in political debate match existing frustrations about the inability for documentary evidence in police killings—widely distributed through social media—to produce real change. Similarly, fears about organized mobs of Trump supporters systematically silencing political opponents online are just the latest data point in a long-standing critique of the failure of social media platforms to halt harassment.

    One critical anchor point is the centrality of the wisdom of the crowd to the intellectual firmament of Web 2.0: the idea that the broad freedom to communicate enabled by the internet tends to produce beneficial outcomes for society. This position celebrated user-generated content, encouraged platforms for collective participation, and advocated the openness of data.

    Inspired by the success of projects like the open-source operating system Linux and the explosion of platforms like Wikipedia, a generation of internet commentators espoused the benefits of crowd-sourced problem-solving. Anthony D. Williams and Don Tapscott’s Wikinomics (2006) touted the economic potential of the crowd. Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody (2008) highlighted how open systems powered by volunteer contributions could create social change. Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks (2006) posited a cooperative form of socioeconomic production unleashed by the structure of the open web called “commons-based peer production.”

    Such notions inspired movements like “Gov 2.0” and projects like the Sunlight Foundation, which sought to publish government data in order to reduce corruption and enable the creation of valuable new services by third parties. It also inspired a range of citizen journalism projects, empowering a new fourth estate.

    Intelligence Failure
    The platforms inspired by the “wisdom of the crowd” represented an experiment. They tested the hypothesis that large groups of people can self-organize to produce knowledge effectively and ultimately arrive at positive outcomes.

    In recent years, however, a number of underlying assumptions in this framework have been challenged, as these platforms have increasingly produced outcomes quite opposite to what their designers had in mind. With the benefit of hindsight, we can start to diagnose why. In particular, there have been four major “divergences” between how the vision of the wisdom of the crowd optimistically predicted people would act online and how they actually behaved.

    First, the wisdom of the crowd assumes that each member of the crowd will sift through information to make independent observations and contributions. If not, it hopes that at least a majority will, such that a competitive marketplace of ideas will be able to arrive at the best result.

    Second, collective intelligence requires aggregating many individual observations. To that end, it assumes a sufficient diversity of viewpoints. However, open platforms did not generate or actively cultivate this kind of diversity, instead more passively relying on the ostensible availability of these tools to all.

    Third, collective intelligence assumes that wrong information will be systematically weeded out as it conflicts with the mass of observations being made by others. Quite the opposite played out in practice, as it ended up being much easier to share information than to evaluate its accuracy. Hoaxes spread very effectively through the crowd, from bogus medical beliefs and conspiracy theories to faked celebrity deaths and clickbait headlines.

    Fourth, collective intelligence was assumed to be a vehicle for positive social change because broad participation would make wrongdoing more difficult to hide. Though this latter point turned out to be arguably true, transparency alone was not the powerful disinfectant it was assumed to be.

    The ability to capture police violence on smartphones did not result in increased convictions or changes to the underlying policies of law enforcement. The Edward Snowden revelations failed to produce substantial surveillance reform in the United States. The leak of Donald Trump’s Access Hollywood recording failed to change the political momentum of the 2016 election. And so on. As Aaron Swartz warned us in 2009, “reality doesn’t live in the databases.”

    Ultimately, the aspirations of collective intelligence underlying a generation of online platforms proved far more narrow and limited in practice. The wisdom of the crowd turned out to be susceptible to the influence of recommendation algorithms, the designs of bad actors, in-built biases of users, and the strength of incumbent institutions, among other forces.

    The resulting ecosystem feels deeply out of control. The promise of a collective search for the truth gave way to a pernicious ecosystem of fake news. The promise of a broad participatory culture gave way to campaigns of harassment and atomized, deeply insular communities. The promise of greater public accountability gave way to waves of outrage with little real change. Trump 2016 and Obama 2008 are through-the-looking-glass versions of one another, with the benefits from one era giving rise to the failures of the next.

    To the extent that the vision of the wisdom of the crowd was naive, it was naive because it assumed that the internet was a spontaneous reactor for a certain kind of collective behavior. It mistook what should have been an agenda, a ongoing program for the design of the web, for the way things already were. It assumed users had the time and education to contribute and evaluate scads of information. It assumed a level of class, race, and gender diversity in online participation that never materialized. It assumed a gentility of collaboration and discussion among people that only ever existed in certain contexts. It assumed that the simple revelation of facts would produce social change.

    In short, the wisdom of the crowd didn’t describe where we were, so much as paint a picture of where we should have been going.

    The vision of collective participation embedded in the idea of the wisdom of the crowd rests on the belief in the unique potential of the web and what it might achieve. Even as the technology evolves, that vision—and a renewed defense of it—must guide us as we enter the next decade.

    #Tim_Hwang #Mythes_internet #Sagesse_des_foules #Intelligence_collective

  • Making sense of silenced #archives: #Hume, Scotland and the ‘debate’ about the humanity of Black people

    Last September, the University of Edinburgh found itself at the centre of international scrutiny after temporarily renaming the #David_Hume Tower (now referred to by its street designation 40 George Square). The decision to rename the building, and hold a review on the way forward, prompted much commentary – a great deal of which encouraged a reckoning on what David Hume means to the University, its staff and students. These ideas include the full extent of Hume’s views on humanity, to establish whether he maintained any possible links (ideological or participatory) in the slave trade, and the role of Scotland in the African slave trade.

    Hume’s belief that Black people were a sub-human species of lower intellectual and biological rank to Europeans have rightfully taken stage in reflecting whether his values deserve commemoration on a campus. “I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general all other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. […] No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences.” The full link to the footnote can be found here.

    Deliberations are split on whether statues and buildings are being unfairly ‘targeted’ or whether the totality of ideas held by individuals whose names are commemorated by these structures stand in opposition to a modern university’s values. Depending on who you ask, the debate over the tower fluctuates between moral and procedural. On the latter, it must be noted the University has in the past renamed buildings at the behest of calls for review across specific points in history. The Hastings ‘Kamuzu’ Banda building on Hill Place was quietly renamed in 1995, with no clarity on whether there was a formal review process at the time. On the moral end, it is about either the legacy or demythologization of David Hume.

    Some opposing the name change argue against applying present moral standards to judge what was not recognised in the past. Furthermore, they point to the archives to argue that prior to the 1760s there is scant evidence that Scots were not anything more than complicit to the slave trade given the vast wealth it brought.

    I argue against this and insist that the African experience and the engaged intellectual abolition movement deserves prominence in this contemporary debate about Hume.

    For to defend ‘passive complicity’ is to undermine both the Africans who rose in opposition against their oppression for hundreds of years and the explicit goals of white supremacy. For access to mass acquisition of resources on inhabited land requires violent dispossession of profitable lands and forced relocation of populations living on them. The ‘moral justification’ of denying the humanity of the enslaved African people has historically been defended through the strategic and deliberate creation of ‘myths’ – specifically Afrophobia – to validate these atrocities and to defend settler colonialism and exploitation. Any intellectual inquiry of the renaming of the tower must take the genuine concern into account: What was David Hume’s role in the strategic myth-making about African people in the Scottish imagination?

    If we are starting with the archives as evidence of Scottish complicity in the slave trade, why ignore African voices on this matter? Does the Scottish archive adequately represent the African experience within the slave trade? How do we interpret their silence in the archives?

    Decolonisation, the process Franz Fanon described as when “the ‘thing’ colonised becomes a human through the very process of liberation”, offers a radical praxis through which we can interrogate the role of the archive in affirming or disregarding the human experience. If we establish that the 18th century Scottish archive was not invested in preserving ‘both sides’ of the debate’, then the next route is to establish knowledge outside of a colonial framework where the ideology, resistance and liberation of Africans is centred. That knowledge is under the custodianship of African communities, who have relied on intricate and deeply entrenched oral traditions and practices which are still used to communicate culture, history, science and methods.

    To reinforce a point raised by Professor Tommy Curry, the fact that Africans were aware of their humanity to attempt mutiny in slave ships (Meermin & Amistad) and to overthrow colonial governance (the Haitian revolution) amidst the day-to-day attempts to evade slave traders is enough to refute the insistence that the debates must centre around what Scots understood about the slave trade in the 18th century.

    To make sense of these gaps in my own research, I have broadly excavated the archival records in Scotland if only to establish that a thorough documentation of the African-led resistance to Scottish participation in the slave trade and colonialism cannot be located in the archives.

    Dr David Livingstone (1813–1873), whose writing documenting the slave trade across the African Great Lakes galvanized the Scottish public to take control of the region to be named the Nyasaland Protectorate, would prove to be a redemptive figure in Scotland’s reconsideration of its role in the slave trade. However, in 1891, 153 years after Hume wrote his footnote, Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston (1858–1927), the first British colonial administrator of Nyasaland, would re-inforce similar myths about the ‘British Central African’: “to these [negroes] almost without arts and sciences and the refined pleasures of the senses, the only acute enjoyment offered them by nature is sexual intercourse”. Even at that time, the documented resistance is represented by Scottish missionaries who aimed to maintain Nyasaland under their sphere of control.

    Filling in the gaps that the archives cannot answer involves more complex and radical modalities of investigation.

    I rely on locally-recognised historians or documenters within communities, who preserve their histories, including the slave trade, through methodically structured oral traditions. The legacy of both the Arab and Portuguese slave trade and British colonialism in Nyasaland remains a raw memory, even though there are no precise indigenous terms to describe these phenomena.

    I have visited and listened to oral histories about the importance of ‘ancestor caves’ where families would conduct ceremonies and celebrations out of view to evade the slave catchers. These are the stories still being told about how children were hidden and raised indoors often only taken outside at night, keeping silent to escape the eyes and ears of the catchers. Embedded in these historical narratives are didactic tales, organised for ease of remembrance for the survival of future generations.
    Despite what was believed by Hume and his contemporaries, the arts and sciences have always been intrinsic in African cultural traditions. Decolonising is a framework contingent upon recognising knowledge productions within systems that often will never make their way into archival records. It centres the recognition and legitimization of the ways in which African people have collected and shared their histories.

    The knowledge we learn from these systems allows us to reckon with both the silence of archives and the fallacies of myth-making about African people.

    At very least, these debates should lead to investigations to understand the full extent of Hume’s participation in the dehumanization of enslaved Africans, and the role he played to support the justification for their enslavement.

    #Édimbourg #toponymie #toponymie_poltique #Ecosse #UK #Edinburgh #David_Hume_Tower #esclavage #histoire #mémoire #Kamuzu_Banda #colonialisme #imaginaire #décolonisation #Nyasaland #Nyasaland_Protectorate #histoire_orale #archives #mythes #mythologie #déshumanisation

    ping @cede @karine4 @isskein

    • Hastings Banda

      The #University_of_Edinburgh renamed the Hastings ‘Kamuzu’ Banda building on #Hill_Place in the 1990s. Whilst fellow independence leader and Edinburgh alumni #Julius_Nyerere is still regarded as a saint across the world, #Banda died with an appalling record of human rights abuses and extortion – personally owning as much as 45% of #Malawi’s GDP. There are no plaques in Edinburgh commemorating #Kamuzu, and rightly so.

      Banda’s time in Edinburgh does, however, give us a lens through which to think about the University and colonial knowledge production in the 1940s and ‘50s; how numerous ‘fathers of the nation’ who led African independence movements were heavily involved in the linguistic, historical and anthropological codification of their own people during the late colonial period; why a cultural nationalist (who would later lead an anti-colonial independence movement) would write ‘tracts of empire’ whose intended audience were missionaries and colonial officials; and how such tracts reconciled imagined modernities and traditions.

      Fellow-Edinburgh student Julius Nyerere showed considerable interest in the ‘new science’ of anthropology during his time in Scotland, and #Jomo_Kenyatta – the first president of independent Kenya – penned a cutting-edge ethnography of the #Kikuyu whilst studying under #Malinowski at the LSE, published as Facing Mount Kenya in 1938. Banda himself sat down and co-edited Our African Way of Life, writing an introduction outlining Chewa and broader ‘Maravi’ traditions, with the Edinburgh-based missionary anthropologist T. Cullen Young in 1944.

      Before arriving in Edinburgh in 1938, Banda had already furthered his education in the US through his expertise on Chewa language and culture: Banda was offered a place at the University of Chicago in the 1930s on the strength of his knowledge of chiChewa, with Mark Hana Watkins’s 1937 A Grammar of Chichewa: A Bantu Language of British Central Africa acknowledging that “All the information was obtained from Kamuzu Banda, a native Chewa, while he was in attendance at the University of Chicago from 1930 to 1932”, and Banda also recorded ‘together with others’ four Chewa songs for Nancy Cunard’s Negro Anthology. In Britain in 1939 he was appointed as adviser to the Malawian chief, Mwase Kasungu, who spent six months at the London University of Oriental and African Languages to help in an analysis of chiNyanja; an experience that “must have reinforced” Banda’s “growing obsession with his Chewa identity” (Shepperson, 1998).

      Banda in Edinburgh

      In Edinburgh, Banda shifted from being a source of knowledge to a knowledge producer – a shift that demands we think harder about why African students were encouraged to Edinburgh in the first place and what they did here. Having already gained a medical degree from Chicago, Banda was primarily at Edinburgh to convert this into a British medical degree. This undoubtedly was Banda’s main focus, and the “techniques of men like Sir John Fraser electrified him, and he grew fascinated with his subject in a way which only a truly dedicated man can” (Short, 1974, p.38).

      Yet Banda also engaged with linguistic and ethnographic codification, notably with the missionary anthropologist, T Cullen Young. And whilst black Edinburgh doctors were seen as key to maintaining the health of colonial officials across British Africa in the 19th century, black anthropologists became key to a “more and fuller understanding of African thought and longings” (and controlling an increasingly agitative and articulate British Africa) in the 20th century (Banda & Young, 1946, p.27-28). Indeed, having acquired ‘expertise’ and status, it is also these select few black anthropologists – Banda, Kenyatta and Nyerere – who led the march for independence across East and Central Africa in the 1950s and 60s.

      Banda was born in c.1896-1989 in Kasungu, central Malawi. He attended a Scottish missionary school from the age 8, but having been expelled from an examination in 1915, by the same T Cullen Young he would later co-author with, Banda left Malawi and walked thousands of miles to South Africa. Banda came to live in Johannesburg at a time when his ‘Nyasa’ cousin, Clements Musa Kadalie was the ‘most talked about native in South Africa’ and the ‘uncrowned king of the black masses’, leading Southern Africa’s first black mass movement and major trade union, the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU).

      Banda was friends with Kadalie, and may have been involved with the Nyasaland Native National Congress which was formed around 1918-1919 with around 100 members in Johannesburg, though no record of this remains. Together, Banda and Kadalie were the two leading Malawian intellectuals of the first half of the twentieth century and, in exploring the type of ‘colonial knowledge’ produced by Africans in Edinburgh, it is productive to compare their contrasting accounts of ‘African history’.

      In 1927 Kadalie wrote an article for the British socialist journal Labour Monthly entitled ‘The Old and the New Africa’. Charting a pre-capitalist Africa, Kadalie set out that the

      “white men came to Africa of their own free will, and told my forefathers that they had brought with them civilisation and Christianity. They heralded good news for Africa. Africa must be born again, and her people must discard their savagery and become civilised people and Christians. Cities were built in which white and black men might live together as brothers. An earthly paradise awaited creation…They cut down great forests; cities were built, and while the Christian churches the gospel of universal brotherhood, the industrialisation of Africa began. Gold mining was started, and by the close of the nineteenth century European capitalism had made its footing firm in Africa….The churches still preached universal brotherhood, but capitalism has very little to do with the ethics of the Nazerene, and very soon came a new system of government in Africa with ‘Law and Order’ as its slogan.” (Kadalie, 1927).

      Banda’s own anthropological history, written 17 years later with Cullen Young, is a remarkably different tale. Banda and Young valorise the three authors within the edited volume as fossils of an ideal, isolated age, “the last Nyasalanders to have personal touch with their past; the last for whom the word ‘grandmother’ will mean some actually remembered person who could speak of a time when the land of the Lake knew no white man” (Banda & Young, 1946, p7). Already in 1938, Banda was beginning to develop an idea for a Central African nation.

      Writing from the Edinburgh Students Union to Ernest Matako, he reflected: “the British, the French and the Germans were once tribes just as we are now in Africa. Many tribes united or combined to make one, strong British, French or German nation. In other words, we have to begin to think in terms of Nyasaland, and even Central Africa as a whole, rather than of Kasungu. We have to look upon all the tribes in Central Africa, whether in Nyasaland or in Rhodesia, as our brothers. Until we learn to do this, we shall never be anything else but weak, tiny tribes, that can easily be subdued.” (Banda, 1938).
      Banda after Edinburgh

      But by 1944, with his hopes of returning to Nyasaland as a medical officer thwarted and the amalgamation of Nyasaland and the Rhodesias into a single administrative unit increasingly on the cards, Banda appears to have been grounding this regional identity in a linguistic-cultural history of the Chewa, writing in Our African Way of Life: “It is practically certain that aMaravi ought to be the shared name of all these peoples; this carrying with it recognition of the Chewa motherland group as representing the parent stock of the Nyanja speaking peoples.” (Banda & Young, 1946, p10). Noting the centrality of “Banda’s part in the renaming of Nyasaland as Malawi”, Shepperson asked in 1998, “Was this pan-Chewa sentiment all Banda’s or had he derived it largely from the influence of Cullen Young? My old friend and collaborator, the great Central African linguist Thomas Price, thought the latter. But looking to Banda’s Chewa consciousness as it developed in Chicago, I am by no means sure of this.” Arguably it is Shepperson’s view that is vindicated by two 1938 letters unearthed by Morrow and McCracken in the University of Cape Town archives in 2012.

      In 1938, Banda concluded another letter, this time to Chief Mwase Kasungu: “I want you tell me all that happens there [Malawi]. Can you send me a picture of yourself and your council? Also I want to know the men who are the judges in your court now, and how the system works.” (Banda, 1938). Having acquired and reworked colonial knowledge from Edinburgh, Our African Way of Life captures an attempt to convert British colonialism to Banda’s own end, writing against ‘disruptive’ changes that he was monitoring from Scotland: the anglicisation of Chewa, the abandoning of initiation, and the shift from matriarchal relations. Charting and padding out ideas about a pan-Chewa cultural unit – critical of British colonialism, but only for corrupting Chewa culture – Banda was concerned with how to properly run the Nyasaland state, an example that productively smudges the ‘rupture’ of independence and explains, in part, neo-colonial continuity in independent Malawi.

      For whilst the authors of the edited works wrote their original essays in chiNyanja, with the hope that it would be reproduced for Nyasaland schools, the audience that Cullen Young and Banda addressed was that of the English missionary or colonial official, poised to start their ‘African adventure’, noting:

      “A number of important points arise for English readers, particularly for any who may be preparing to work in African areas where the ancient mother-right still operates.” (Banda & Cullen, 1946, p.11).

      After a cursory summary readers are directed by a footnote “for a fuller treatment of mother-right, extended kinship and the enjoined marriage in a Nyasaland setting, see Chaps. 5-8 in Contemporary Ancestors, Lutterworth Press, 1942.” (Banda & Young, 1946, p.11). In contrast to the authors who penned their essays so “that our children should learn what is good among our ancient ways: those things which were understood long ago and belong to their own people” the introduction to Our African Way of Life is arguably published in English, under ‘war economy standards’ in 1946 (post-Colonial Development Act), for the expanding number of British ‘experts’ heading out into the empire; and an attempt to influence their ‘civilising mission’. (Banda & Young, 1946, p.7).

      By the 1950s, Banda was fully-assured of his status as a cultural-nationalist expert – writing to a Nyasaland Provincial Commissioner, “I am in a position to know and remember more of my own customs and institutions than the younger men that you meet now at home, who were born in the later twenties and even the thirties…I was already old enough to know most of these customs before I went to school…the University of Chicago, which cured me of my tendency to be ashamed of my past. The result is that, in many cases, really, I know more of our customs than most of our people, now at home. When it comes to language I think this is even more true. for the average youngster [In Malawi] now simply uses what the European uses, without realising that the European is using the word incorrectly. Instead of correcting the european, he uses the word wrongly, himself, in order to affect civilisation, modernity or even urbanity.” (Shepperdson, 1998).

      This however also obscures the considerable investigatory correspondence that he engaged in whilst in Scotland. Banda was highly critical of indirect rule in Our African Way of Life, but from emerging archival evidence, he was ill-informed of the changing colonial situation in 1938.

      Kadalie and Banda’s contrasting histories were written at different times, in different historical contexts by two people from different parts of Nyasaland. Whilst Banda grew up in an area on the periphery of Scottish missionaries’ sphere of influence, Kadalie came from an area of Malawi, Tongaland, heavily affected by Scottish missionaries and his parents were heavily involved with missionary work. The disparity between the histories that they invoke, however, is still remarkable – Banda invokes a precolonial rural Malawi devoid of white influence, Kadalie on the other hand writes of a pre-capitalist rural Malawi where Christians, white and black, laboured to create a kingdom of heaven on earth – and this, perhaps, reflects the ends they are writing for and against.

      Kadalie in the 1920s looked to integrate the emerging African working class within the international labour movement, noting “capitalism recognises no frontiers, no nationality, and no race”, with the long-term view to creating a socialist commonwealth across the whole of Southern Africa. Britain-based Banda, writing with Cullen Young in the 1940s, by comparison, mapped out a pan-Chewa culture with the immediate aim of reforming colonial ‘protectorate’ government – the goal of an independent Malawian nation state still yet to fully form.



    Les femmes sont-elles intrinsèquement malhonnêtes ? On dit que nous le sommes, en particulier lorsque nous accusons des hommes de viol. C’est l’un des mythes les plus répandus sur le viol : les femmes n’aimeraient rien de mieux que d’accuser malicieusement et faussement de viol des hommes honnêtes et respectueux de la loi. Une bonne part de la couverture médiatique dévolue à la pauvre jeune femme récemment violée en réunion à Chypre tendrait à vous convaincre que les hommes sont des cibles faciles pour des femmes dont le fantasme serait de détruire leur vie. Ayant rencontré cette jeune femme condamnée pour fausses allégations de viol au sujet de 12 hommes, je suis convaincue qu’elle ne ment pas. Pourquoi alors avons-nous si tendance à croire que les femmes, et les jeunes femmes en particulier, mentent à propos du viol ?(...)

    https://tradfem.wordpress.com/2020/04/19/pourquoi-avons-nous-si-tendance-a-croire-que-les-femmes-mentent-en-matiere-de-viol%e2%80%89/#VIOL #FÉMINISME #MYTHES EN MATIÈRE DE VIOL #CONSENTEMENT

  • Are Drug #Expiration Dates a Myth?

    The US military, which maintains large stockpiles of medications for both military and civilian populations for use during an emergency, became very interested in this issue following the 2001 anthrax scare. The cost implications were obvious. Throwing out large numbers of expensive drugs solely because they were past their expiration date was an expense that could potentially be avoided if it was determined that the drugs were effective beyond that date.
    To provide this information, the FDA analyzed the potency of 122 common drugs representing a broad range of drug products and forms. The Shelf-Life Extension Program (SLEP), which is administered by the FDA for the US Department of Defense, checks the long-term stability of federal drug stockpiles. After vigorous testing of more than 3000 different lots of these drugs, almost 9 out of 10 lots were determined to have more than 90% potency at 1 year past the expiration date. The average extension of this degree of potency was 5 years.

    Expiration Dating and Stability Testing for Human Drug Products | FDA

    #médicaments #santé #mythes

  • Aux sources mathématiques des inégalités de richesse

    Un modèle mathématique simple décrit la répartition de la richesse dans les économies modernes avec une précision sans précédent. De quoi remettre en question quelques idées reçues sur le libre marché.

    L’inégalité en matière de richesse s’accroît à un rythme alarmant non seulement aux États-Unis et en Europe, mais aussi dans des pays aussi divers que la Russie, l’Inde et le Brésil. Selon la banque d’investissement Crédit Suisse, la part du patrimoine global des ménages détenue par le 1 % le plus riche de la population mon-diale est passée de 42,5 à 47,2 % entre la crise financière de 2008 et 2018. Pour le dire autre-ment, en 2010, 388 individus détenaient autant de richesses que la moitié la plus pauvre de la population mondiale, soit environ 3,5 milliards de personnes ; aujourd’hui, l’organisation non gouvernementale Oxfam estime ce nombre à 26.


    #richesses #inégalités #ruissèlement #redistribution #oligarchie

    • Étant donné la complexité des économies réelles, nous trouvons gratifiant qu’une approche analytique simple développée par des physiciens et des mathématiciens décrive les distributions réelles de richesse de plusieurs pays avec une aussi grande précision. Il est également assez curieux de constater que ces distributions présentent des caractéristiques subtiles mais essentielles de systèmes physiques complexes. Et surtout, le fait qu’une esquisse aussi simple et plausible du libre marché fasse apparaître qu’il est tout sauf libre et équitable devrait être à la fois un motif d’inquiétude et un appel à l’action.

      L’article est passionnant. Et ses conclusions sont presque magiques. Avec les outils de la micro-économie, qui plus est, outils utilisés jusqu’à la nausée pour assoir la croyance dans le libre marché...

    • @fil : en fait si. Cela reflète bien que dès la première transaction, l’égalité est rompue et que de cette très légère inégalité de fait, découle la croissance exponentielle des inégalités.
      Et cela dans un modèle où toutes les autres règles de distribution sont neutres… ce qui n’est pas le cas en vrai, puisque la monnaie — à travers le système bancaire privé qui la crée — n’est pas du tout neutre mais favorise les agents proportionnellement à leur fortune.

      Quiconque a déjà lutté contre la pauvreté sait à quel point il est coûteux d’être pauvre.

      James Baldwin

      @biggrizzly : l’article est pourtant une condamnation sans appel du capitalisme en général et du néolibéralisme en particulier avec ses #mythes proprement démontés de la #méritocratie et du #ruissèlement

    • Dans « mon » modèle il y a une neutralité complète : le fait d’être plus riche à un instant t ne fait pas que tu le restes ; la simulation montre simplement qu’il n’y a pas d’"équilibre sur la moyenne" mais un « équilibre sur une distribution » — autrement dit il y a toujours des riches et des pauvres. Pas forcément toujours les mêmes.

      En revanche, si on sort de la neutralité pour donner le moindre % d’avantage aux riches (ce qui correspond un peu plus à la réalité, sinon à quoi sert l’argent), le modèle va diverger encore plus et les fortunes se constituent et perdurent. Il faut donc à l’inverse une certaine inégalité de traitement (un impôt fortement progressif) pour contrebalancer l’"étalement neutre" de la courbe.

      Après c’est juste un modèle à deux balles, le philanthrocapitalisme par exemple n’est pas pris en compte (ok je sors).

    • J’ai fait des études dans le domaine (économie, micro-économie, simulation multi-agent), et ça me parle vraiment. Et j’aurais adoré participer à ces simulations lors de mes études.

      En arriver à plaider pour une redistribution, alors que cela fait des dizaines d’années que l’on nous explique que toutes les interventions pour redistribuer sont vouées à l’échec... c’est génial. On renvoie les hallucinés à leur état d’idéologues dans le déni des réalités pourtant les plus évidentes (à savoir la présence d’inégalités structurelles patentes, ie, cette fameuse oligarchie extrême qui n’existerait pas...).

      Ceci dit, en parler autour de soit, expliquer qu’il est scientifiquement démontrable que « l’état de nature » vanté par les économistes hallucinés qui nous gouvernent, conduit à une situation profondément inégalitaire, ce n’est pas évident. J’ai essayé en réunion tout à l’heure. J’ai manqué de mots pour être clair.

    • merci Philippe pour ton lien ! j’ai essayé aussi de simuler ce problème https://freakonometrics.hypotheses.org/59330 (ou disons la version mieux formulée que le problème de base). Dans le cas où un montant fixe est donné, j’avoue ne pas savoir ce qui se passe asymptotiquement, mais je vais creuser... le problème plus intéressant est de donner un pourcentage fixe de sa richesse ! tout d’abord c’est plus classique en inégalité, mais surtout on converge vers une distribution assez peu inégalitaire !
      quand à l’article de base, je ne le commenterais pas.. les physiciens qui découvrent la science économique, ça me fatigue... juste le titre relève un incroyable mépris « Un modèle mathématique simple décrit la répartition de la richesse dans les économies modernes 𝙖𝙫𝙚𝙘 𝙪𝙣𝙚 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙞𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙨𝙖𝙣𝙨 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙚𝙙𝙚𝙣𝙩 » (ça me rappelle un vieux coup de gueule https://freakonometrics.hypotheses.org/5617 si un problème très proche)

    • Bé concrètement, est-ce qu’il y a tant de modèles avec si peu de paramètres qui arrivent à correspondre de manière aussi précise à la répartition de tant de pays sur de nombreuses années ? (le rapport entre la simplicité du modèle et la quantité et la précision de ce que ça arrive à décrire)
      Et si oui lesquels, tant qu’à faire. :p

  • What is ‘Energy Denial’ ?

    The fiftieth anniversary of the first Earth Day of 1970 will be in 2020. As environmentalism has gone mainstream during that half-century, it has forgotten its early focus and shifted toward green capitalism. Nowhere is this more apparent than abandonment of the slogan popular during the early Earth Days: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”

    The unspoken motto of today’s Earth Day is “Recycle, Occasionally Reuse, and Never Utter the Word ‘Reduce.’” A quasi-taboo on the word “reduce” permeates twenty-first century environmentalism. Confronting the planned obsolescence of everyday products rarely, if ever, appears as an ecological goal. The concept of possessing fewer objects and smaller homes has surrendered to the worship of eco-gadgets. The idea of redesigning communities to make them compact so individual cars are not necessary has been replaced by visions of universal electric cars. The saying “Live simply so that others can simply live” now draws empty stares. Long forgotten are the modest lifestyles of Buddha, Jesus and Thoreau.

    When the word “conservation” is used, it is almost always applied to preserving plants or animals and rarely to conserving energy. The very idea of re-imagining society so that people can have good lives as they use less energy has been consumed by visions of the infinite expansion of solar/wind power and the oxymoron, “100% clean energy.”

    But… wait – aren’t solar and wind power inherently clean? No, and that is the crux of the problem. Many have become so distraught with looming climate catastrophe that they turn a blind eye to other threats to the existence of life. Shortsightedness by some who rightfully denounce “climate change denial” has led to a parallel unwillingness to recognize dangers built into other forms of energy production, a problem which can be called “clean energy danger denial.”

    Obviously, fossil fuels must be replaced by other forms of energy. But those energy sources have such negative properties that using less energy should be the beginning point, the ending point and occupy every in-between point on the path to sane energy use. What follows are “The 15 Unstated Myths of Clean, Renewable Energy.” Many are so absurd that no one would utter them, yet they are embedded within the assumption that massive production of solar and wind energy can be “clean.”

    Myth 1. ‘Clean energy’ is carbon neutral. The fallacious belief that “clean” energy does not emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) is best exemplified by nuclear power, which is often included on the list of alternative energy sources. It is, of course, true that very little GHGs are released during the operation of nukes. But it is wrong to ignore the use of fossil fuels in the construction (and ultimate decommissioning) of the power plant as well as the mining, milling, transport and eternal storage of nuclear material. To this must be added the fossil fuels used in the building of the array of machinery to make nukes possible.

    Similarly, examination of the life cycles of other “carbon neutral” energy sources reveals that they all require machinery that is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Steel, cement and plastics are central to “renewable” energy and have heavy carbon footprints. One small example: The mass of an industrial wind turbine is 90% steel.

    Myth 2. ‘Clean energy’ is inexhaustible because the sun will always shine and the wind will always blow. This statement assumes that all that is needed for energy is sunshine and wind, which is not the case. Sunshine and wind do not equal solar power and wind power. The transformation into “renewable” energy requires minerals, including rare earth metals, that are non-renewable and difficult to access.

    Myth 3. ‘Clean energy’ does not produce toxins. Knowledge that the production of fossil fuels is associated with a high level of poisons should not lead us to ignore the level of toxins involved in the extraction and processing of lithium, cobalt, copper, silver, aluminum, cadmium, indium, gallium, selenium, tellurium, neodymium, and dysprosium. Would a comparison of toxins associated with the production of clean energy to fossil fuels be an open admission of the dirtiness of what is supposed to be “clean?”

    Another example: Processing one ton of rare earths – materials necessary for alternative energy –produces 2,000 tons of toxic waste. Similar to what happens with Myth 2, toxins may not be produced during the operation of solar and wind power but permeate other stages of their existence.

    Myth 4. ‘Clean energy’ does not deplete or contaminate drinkable water. Though water is usually thought of for agriculture and cooling in nuclear power plants, it is used in massive amounts for manufacturing and mining. The manufacture of a single auto requires 350,000 liters of water.

    In 2015, the US used 4 billion gallons of water for mining and 70% of that comes from groundwater. Water is used for separating minerals from rocks, cooling machinery and dust control. Even industry apologists admit that “Increased reliance on low ore grades means that it is becoming necessary to extract a higher volume of ore to generate the same amount of refined product, which consumes more water.” Julia Adeney Thomas, associate professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, points out that “producing one ton of rare earth ore (in terms of rare earth oxides) produces 200 cubic meters of acidic wastewater.”

    Myth 5. ‘Clean energy’ does not require very much land. In fact, “clean” energy could well have more effect on land use than fossil fuels. According to Jasper Bernes, author of The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization, “To replace current US energy consumption with renewables, you’d need to devote at least 25-50% of the US landmass to solar, wind, and biofuels.”

    Something else is often omitted from contrasts between energy harvesting. Fossil fuel has a huge effect on land where it is extracted but relatively little land is used at the plants where the fuel is burned for energy. In contrast, solar/wind power requires both land where raw materials are mined plus the vast amount of land used for solar panels or wind “farms.”

    Myth 6. ‘Clean energy’ has no effect on plant and animal life. Contrary to the belief that there is no life in a desert, the Mojave is teeming with plant and animal life whose habitat will be increasingly undermined as it is covered with solar collectors. It is unfortunate that so many who express concern for the destruction of coral reefs seem blissfully unaware of the annihilation of aquatic life wrought by deep sea mining of minerals for renewable energy components.

    Wind harvesting can be a doomsday machine for forests. Ozzie Zehner, author of Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism, warns: “Many of the planet’s strongest winds rip across forested ridges. In order to transport 50-ton generator modules and 160-foot blades to these sites, wind developers cut new roads. They also clear strips of land … for power lines and transformers. These provide easy access to poachers as well as loggers, legal and illegal alike.”

    As the most productive land for solar/wind extraction is used first, that requires the continuous expansion of the amount of land (or sea bed) taken as energy use increases. The estimate that 1 million species could be made extinct in upcoming decades will have to be up-counted to the extent that “clean” energy is mixed in with fossil fuels.

    Myth 7. ‘Clean energy’ production has no effect on human health. Throughout the centuries of capitalist expansion, workers have struggled to protect their health and families have opposed the poisoning of their communities. This is not likely to change with an increase in “clean” energy. What will change is the particular toxins that compromise health.

    Ozzie Zehner points out that creating silicon wafers for solar cells “releases large amounts of sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. Crystalline-silicon solar cell processing involves the use or release of chemicals such as phosphine, arsenic, arsine, trichloroethane, phosphorous oxycholoride, ethyl vinyl acetate, silicon trioxide, stannic chloride, tantalum pentoxide, lead, hexavalent chromium, and numerous other chemical compounds.” The explosive gas silane is also used and more recent thin-film technologies employ toxic substances such as cadmium.

    Wind technology is associate with its own problems. Activist Caitlin Manning has reported on windmill farms in the Trans Isthmus Corridor of Mexico, a region “which is majority Indigenous and dependent on agriculture and fishing. The concrete bases of the more than 1,600 wind turbines have severely disrupted the underground water flows … Despite promises that they could continue to farm their lands, fences and security guards protecting the turbines prevent farmers from moving freely. The turbines leak oil into the soil and sometimes ignite … many people have suffered mental problems from the incessant noise.”

    Though the number of health problems documented for fossil fuels is vastly more than those for solar/wind, the latter have been used on an industrial scale for a much shorter time, making it harder for links to show up. The Precautionary Principle states that a dangerous process should be proven safe before use rather than waiting until after damage has been done. Will those who have correctly insisted that the Precautionary Principle be employed for fracking and other fossil fuel processes demand an equivalent level of investigation for “clean” energy or give it the same wink and nod that petrochemical magnates have enjoyed?

    Myth 8. People are happy to have ‘clean energy’ harvested or its components mined where they live. Swooping windmill blades can produce constant car-alarm-level noise of about 100 decibels, and, if they ice up, they can fling it off at 200 miles per hour. It is not surprising that indigenous people of Mexico are not alone in being less than thrilled about having them next door. Since solar panels and windmills can only be built where there is lots of sun or wind, their neighbors are often high-pressured into accepting them unwillingly.

    Obviously, components can be mined only where they exist, leading to a non-ending list of opponents. Naveena Sadasivam, a staff writer at Grist, gives a few examples from the very long list of communities confronting extraction for “clean” energy components: “Indigenous communities in Alaska have been fighting to prevent the mining of copper and gold at Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery and a crucial source of sustenance. The proposed mine … has been billed by proponents as necessary to meet the growing demand for copper, which is used in wind turbines, batteries, and solar panels. Similar stories are playing out in Norway, where the Sámi community is fighting a copper mine, and in Papua New Guinea, where a company is proposing mining the seabed for gold and copper.”

    Myth 9. No one is ever killed due to disputes over ‘clean energy’ extraction or harvesting. When Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want, wrote in May 2019 that environmental conflicts are responsible for “the murder of two environmental defenders each and every week,” his data was out of date within two months. By July 2019 Global Witness (GW) had tabulated that “More than three people were murdered each week in 2018 for defending their land and our environment.” Their report found that mining was the deadliest economic sector, followed by agriculture, with water resources such as dams in third place. Commenting on the GW findings, Grist staff writer Justine Calma noted that “Although hydropower has been billed as ‘renewable energy,’ many activists have taken issue with the fact that large dams and reservoirs have displaced indigenous peoples and disrupted local wildlife.”

    GW recorded one murder sparked by wind power. Murders traceable to “clean” energy will certainly increase if it out-produces energy from fossil fuels. The largest mass murder of earth defenders that GW found in 2018 was in India “over the damaging impacts of a copper mine in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.” Copper is a key element for “clean” energy.

    Myth 10. One watt of ‘clean energy’ will replace one watt from use of fossil fuels. Perhaps the only virtue that fossil fuels have is that their energy is easier to store than solar/wind power. Solar and wind power are intermittent, which means they can be collected only when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, and storing and retrieving the energy requires complex processes that result in substantial loss of energy. Additionally, the characteristics of solar panels means that tiny fragments such as dust or leaves can block the surface and diminish efficiency.

    Therefore, their efficiency will be much less under actual operating conditions than under ideal lab conditions. A test described by Ozzie Zehner found that solar arrays rated at 1,000 watts actually produced 200-400 watts in the field. Pat Murphy, executive director of Community Solutions, notes that while a coal plant operates at 80-90% of capacity, wind turbines do so at 20-30% of capacity. Since they perform at such low efficiencies, both solar and wind energy require considerably more land than misleading forecasts predict. This, in turn, increases all of the problems with habitat loss, toxic emissions, human health and land conflicts.

    Myth 11. ‘Clean energy’ is as efficient as fossil fuels in resource use. Processes needed for storing and retrieving energy from intermittent sources renders them extremely complex. Solar/wind energy can be stored for night use by using it to pump water uphill and, when energy is needed, letting it flow downhill to turn turbines for electricity. Or, it can be stored in expensive, large and heavy batteries. Wind turbines “can pressurize air into hermetically sealed underground caverns to be tapped later for power, but the conversion is inefficient and suitable geological sites are rare.” Daniel Tanuro, author of Green Capitalism: Why It Can’t Work, estimates that “Renewable energies are enough to satisfy human needs, but the technologies needed for their conversion are more resource-intensive than fossil technologies: it takes at least ten times more metal to make a machine capable of producing a renewable kWh than to manufacture a machine able to produce a fossil kWh.”

    Myth 12. Improved efficiency can resolve the problems of ‘clean energy’. This is perhaps the most often-stated illusion of green energy. Energy efficiency (EE) is akin to putting energy on sale, and shoppers do not buy less of something on sale – they buy more. Stan Cox of the Land Institute in Kansas, describes research showing that at the same time air conditioners became 28% more efficient, they accounted for 37% more energy use. Findings such as this are due both to users keeping their houses cooler and more people buying air conditioners. Similarly, at the same time as automobiles achieved more EE, energy use for transportation went up. This is because more drivers switched from sedans to SUVs or small trucks and there were many more drivers and cars on the road.

    EE parallels increased energy consumption not just because of increased use of one specific commodity, but also because it allows people to buy other commodities which are also energy-intensive. It spurs corporations to produce more energy-guzzling objects to dump on the market. Those people who do not want this additional stuff are likely to put more money in the bank and the bank lends that money to multiple borrowers, many of which are businesses that use the loans to increase their production.

    Myth 13. Recycling ‘clean energy’ machine components can resolve its problems. This myth vastly overestimates the proportion of materials that can actually be recycled and understates the massive amount of “clean” energy being advocated. Kris De Decker, founder of Low-tech Magazine, points out that “a 5 MW wind turbine produces more than 50 tonnes of plastic composite waste from the blades alone.” If a solar/wind infrastructure could actually be constructed to replace all energy from fossil fuel, it would be the most enormous build-up in human history. Many components could be recycled, but it is not possible to recycle more than 100% of components and the build-up would require an industrial growth rate of 200%, 300% or maybe much more.

    Myth 14. Whatever problems there are with ‘clean energy’ will work themselves out. Exactly the opposite is true. Problems of “clean” energy will become worse as resources are used up, the best land for harvesting solar and wind power is taken, and the rate of industrial expansion increases. Obtaining power will become vastly more difficult as there are diminishing returns on new locations for mining and placing solar collectors and wind mills.

    Myth 15. There Is No Alternative. This repeats Margaret Thatcher’s right-wing perspective, which is reflected in the claim that “We have to do something because moving a little bit in the right direction is better than doing nothing at all.” The problem is that expanding energy production is a step in the wrong direction, not the right direction.

    The alternative to overgrowing “clean” energy is remembering what was outlined before. The concept of conserving energy is an age-old philosophy embodied in use of the word “reduce.” Those who only see the horrible potential of climate change have an unfortunate tendency to mimic the behavior of climate change deniers as they themselves deny the dangers of alternative energy sources.

    Kris De Decker traces the roots of toxic wind power not to wind power itself but to hubristic faith in unlimited energy growth: “For more than two thousand years, windmills were built from recyclable or reusable materials: wood, stone, brick, canvas, metal. If we would reduce energy demand, smaller and less efficient wind turbines would not be a problem.”

    Every form of energy production has difficulties. “Clean, renewable energy” is neither clean nor renewable. There can be good lives for all people if we abandon the goal of infinite energy growth. Our guiding principle needs to be that the only form of truly clean energy is less energy.

    #déni #énergie #énergie_propre #alternatives #alternative #mythes #croyances


    Let’s start with the 3 percent deficit rule. The number was introduced by the French econ‐ omist Guy Abeille back in 1981. After his landslide elec‐ toral victory that year, the French Socialist president, François Mitterrand, was facing high expectations from cabinet members and the public—and a soaring deficit, which stood at 2.6 percent of GDP. He called upon a group of junior economists to come up with a number suitable to put a lid on the boiling pot, to stop the over‐ flow. Since it would have been hard to meet a 2 percent deficit target that year, due to the existing budget short‐ fall, the young expert at the Ministry of Finance suggested a limit of no more than 3 percent, which gave Mitterrand the fiscal cap he desired.


    Surely the 60 percent debt-to-GDP ratio was not founded on an ad hoc political rationality as with the 3 percent rule? Alas, as DCM Platt once quipped, it is a similar Mickey Mouse number in the history of statistics. The figure is based on neither thorough research nor excellent studies. It was simply invented as a reference point, much like the 3 percent rule, which would prepare the path for a monetary union focused on stability. According to the economist Luigi Pasinetti, the only reasonable explana‐ tion for choosing 60 percent was that it was the approxi‐ mate average debt-to-GDP ratio of the EU member states at the time of negotiation of the EMU. Both Germany and France were close to this mark too. Once established, the arbitrary calculation however provided the legitimacy for an apparently authoritative reference point, an authority only numbers can provide.

    ...and then we take the world—the political influence of the 90 percent argument


    With no scientifically-based rationality for an optimal debt-to-GDP ratio at hand and rapid movement away from the 60 percent ratio in the wrong direction, the shaky grounds on which the debt-to-GDP rationale had been built were laid bare. But rescue was coming from the ivory tower of sound economics, Harvard University and from the University of Maryland.
    In 2010, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff published the non-peer-reviewed article ‘Growth in Time of Debt’, which provided the desperately-needed academic exper‐ tise on the issue of sustainable debt-to-GDP ratios and was soon cited widely. [...] This general myth of how austerity and a balanced budget lead to economic success had been debunked before and would not need to be so again, had it not exerted such a strong intellectual backing for the random Maastricht debt-to-GDP ratio.

    #mythes #austérité

  • Chômage, mirages, naufrages

    Ah, les chanceux qui ne font rien de leur journée ! Ils « profitent » ! Et donc nécessairement ils « abusent » ! Fainéants, parasites, inadaptés, oisifs : les privés d’emplois souffrent de tous les préjugés. Toutes ces idées reçues qui permettent de détourner le regard face à la grande pauvreté qui prend place quand le travail s’efface. Et si on osait imaginer qu’en fait, non ce n’était pas forcément « un peu de leur faute » ? Si on osait penser que tout le monde devrait avoir une place dans la société - même les accidentés, même les moins performants ? Si on osait se dire que la solution au chômage se trouve moins dans le contrôle et la répression que dans le changement de notre regard ? Source : #DATAGUEULE 90 - (...)

  • Quand l’#Union_europeénne se met au #fact-checking... et que du coup, elle véhicule elle-même des #préjugés...
    Et les mythes sont pensés à la fois pour les personnes qui portent un discours anti-migrants ("L’UE ne protège pas ses frontières"), comme pour ceux qui portent des discours pro-migrants ("L’UE veut créer une #forteresse_Europe")...
    Le résultat ne peut être que mauvais, surtout vu les pratiques de l’UE...

    Je copie-colle ici les mythes et les réponses de l’UE à ce mythe...


    #frontières #protection_des_frontières

    #Libye #IOM #OIM #évacuation #détention #détention_arbitraire #centres #retours_volontaires #retour_volontaire #droits_humains

    #push-back #refoulement #Libye

    #aide_financière #Espagne #Grèce #Italie #Frontex #gardes-frontière #EASO



    #frontières_intérieures #Schengen #Espace_Schengen

    #ONG #sauvetage #mer #Méditerranée

    #maladies #contamination

    #criminels #criminalité

    #économie #coût #bénéfice

    #externalisation #externalisation_des_frontières

    #Fonds_fiduciaire #dictature #dictatures #régimes_autoritaires

    #préjugés #mythes #migrations #asile #réfugiés
    #hypocrisie #on_n'est_pas_sorti_de_l'auberge
    ping @reka @isskein

  • #Penan Community Mapping: Putting the Penan on the map

    #cartographie #visualisation #peuples_autochtones

    #vidéo reçue via la mailing-list du Bruno Manser Fonds (26.12.2018):

    Chères amies, chers amis du Bruno Manser Fonds,

    Que diriez-vous d’une brève pause durant les fêtes ? Alors prenez-vous 12 minutes et apprenez comment les Penan sauvent la forêt pluviale avec des cartes topographiques.

    Avec la publication de 23 #cartes_topographiques de la forêt pluviale par le Bruno Manser Fonds, soudainement les Penan prennent vie sur la carte. Sur les documents du gouvernement, les rivières dans la zone penane n’ont pas de nom et les arbres utilisés par les Penan pour récolter le poison à flèches ou pour fabriquer des sarbacanes ne sont même pas signalés. Pour le gouvernement, les Penan ne disposent d’aucun droit sur leur forêt traditionnelle. C’est là qu’interviennent les cartes que nous avons publiées : elles démontrent les #droits_territoriaux des Penan et constituent un précieux instrument dans la lutte contre les sociétés forestières, qui défrichent illégalement la #forêt.

    Apprenez dans le bref #documentaire comment ces cartes servent la #forêt_pluviale et les autochtones ! Nous vous souhaitons beaucoup de plaisir à visionner la vidéo !

    Notre travail de cartographie a éveillé un grand enthousiasme en #Malaisie. D’autres villages de Penan, de même que d’autres groupes ethniques, se sont adressés à nous en nous demandant également de soutenir la cartographie de leur forêt pluviale. Ils souhaitent, au moyen des cartes, faire cesser les défrichages et la mise en place de plantations de #palmiers_à_huile sur leurs terres.

    #déforestation #cartographie_participative #huile_de_palme #cartographie_communautaire #résistance #Bornéo #visibilité #Sarawak #Baram #biodiversité #répression #community_mapping #empowerment


    Quelques citations tirées de la vidéo...

    Rainer Weisshaidinger, of the Bruno Manser Fonds:

    “When we came to the Penan area, the maps we had were from the British. They were quite good in telling us the topography, but there were no names. It was empty maps. The British cartographers did not have the chance to go to the communities, so very few rivers had names in these maps”

    #toponymie #géographie_du_vide #vide #cartographie_coloniale #colonialisme #post-colonialisme #exploitation

    “Joining the Federation of Malaysia on 16th of September 1963, Sarawak was granted self-government free from the British colonial administration. However, the government undertook no effort to map the interior areas. This lead to unfair and unsustainable #exploitation of the land and its people”
    #terre #terres

    Voici un exemple des cartes officielles:

    Comme on dit dans la vidéo: il n’y avait pas de mention des rivières ou des montagnes, ou des noms de villages...

    Simon Kaelin, of the Bruno Manser Founds:

    “The perspective from the government for this area... It was an empty area, for logging activity, for palm oil activity. Open for concessions and open for making big money”

    #extractivisme #concessions #déforestation

    Lukas Straumann, of the Bruno Manser Founds:

    “If you have a map with every river, having names (...) you see that it has been used for hundered years, it makes a really big difference”
    "The Penan started mapping their lands back in the 1990s, when they heard from indigenous people in #Canada that they have been very successful in claiming back their lands from the Canadian government, with maps

    Rainer Weisshaidinger, of the Bruno Manser Fonds:

    “To understand why these maps are important for the Penan community, it is because there is the Penan knowledge inside these maps”

    #savoir #connaissance

    Bateudah, community mapper:

    “Our work is to map the land. This is very important because it makes our community’s boundaries visibile”

    Rose Melai, community mapper:

    "All that is important in the forest is on the maps.

    The Penan worked about 15 years on their map...
    Au total, ils ont produit 23 cartes.
    Voici le coffret avec les cartes:

    Sophie Schwer, of the Bruno Manser Fonds:
    When they started, they relied in easy techniques, like skatch mapping and just the compass:

    But in the end they used the state-of-the art mapping #drones to present and show where their settlements are, so that they could no longer be neglected by the government.

    Le “mapping drone”:

    Peter Kallang, indigenous activist:

    “Community mapping can help to eliminate or reduce the #corruption, because you have everything there in black and white. It is so transparent. So when the government gives timber licences, when it overlaps with these, we can see from the map”


    Rainer Weisshaidinger, of the Bruno Manser Fonds:
    “The map of the government, they represent the government’s perspective, which means: nobody is in this area. The Penan map represents the Penan perspective on their own area. If you look at these maps, you will see that the Penan are living in this area. On each of these maps, it’s not only a topographic knowledge, there is a small history specific of this area. Below that, the drone images are very important, because it is very easy to mark one point. In order to give credibility to these maps, it was very important for the Penan to also be able to fly over their own villages to get the images of their villages.”

    L’histoire du village marquée sur la carte:

    L’image prise par les drones:

    Les cartes sont signées par les #empreintes_digitales des cartographes autochtones:

    Les empreintes digitales servent aussi à “valider” (c’est le mot utilisé dans le documentaire) les cartes.

    Un cartographe autochtone:

    “With these maps we document our history. Our myths and legends stay alive. The next generation will remember our way of life long after our elders have passed on”.

    #mythes #légendes #histoire #mémoire

    #ressources_pédagogiques (mais malheureusement la vidéo est disponible uniquement avec des sous-titres en anglais)

    ping @reka @odilon

    Et je suis sure que ça intéresse aussi @_kg_

  • The Myth of the Liberal Order

    Paywall; repris en entier ici http://viet-studies.net/kinhte/Allison_MythLiberalOrder_FA.pdf

    While I was on a recent trip to Beijing, a high-level Chinese official posed an uncomfortable question to me. Imagine, he said, that as much of the American elite believes, Trump’s character and experience make him unfit to serve as the leader of a great nation. Who would be to blame for his being president? Trump, for his opportunism in seizing victory, or the political system that allowed him to do

    No one denies that in its current form, the U.S. government is failing. Long before Trump, the political class that brought unending, unsuccessful wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, as well as the financial crisis and Great Recession, had discredited itself. These disasters have done more to diminish confidence in liberal self-government than Trump [...]

    #fabrication #mythes #états-unis

  • Épistémicides. L’impérialisme m’a TueR

    #épistémicide #Fatima_Khemilat
    #impérialisme #ethnocentrisme #post-modernisme #livres_d'histoire #histoire #sciences_non-occidentales #privilège_de_l'épistémè #cogito_ergo_sum #légitimité #disqualification #discrimination

    épistémicide = tuer la #science

    #Etat-nation -vs- #tribus #ethnies
    #civilisation -vs- #barbarie
    #culture -vs- #folklore #exotisme
    #mythes -vs- #croyance #religion
    #domination #pouvoir

    Citation de #Norbert_Elias :

    « La civilisation c’est la prise de conscience par les occidentaux de la supériorité de leur culture et de leur savoir sur les autres »

    La #découverte_de_l'Amérique...

    #reconquista #prise_de_grenade #chute_de_grenade

    #contreverse_de_Valladolid :

    La controverse de Valladolid est un débat qui opposa essentiellement le dominicain Bartolomé de #Las_Casas et le théologien Juan Ginés de #Sepúlveda en deux séances d’un mois chacune (l’une en 1550 et l’autre en 1551) au collège San Gregorio de Valladolid, mais principalement par échanges épistolaires. Ce débat réunissait des théologiens, des juristes et des administrateurs du royaume, afin que, selon le souhait de Charles Quint, il se traite et parle de la manière dont devaient se faire les conquêtes dans le Nouveau Monde, suspendues par lui, pour qu’elles se fassent avec justice et en sécurité de conscience.
    La question était de savoir si les Espagnols pouvaient coloniser le Nouveau Monde et dominer les indigènes, les Amérindiens, par droit de conquête, avec la justification morale pouvant permettre de mettre fin à des modes de vie observés dans les civilisations précolombiennes, notamment la pratique institutionnelle du sacrifice humain, ou si les sociétés amérindiennes étaient légitimes malgré de tels éléments et que seul le bon exemple devait être promu via une colonisation - émigration.


    #eugénisme #racisme #pureté_de_sang


  • The Dangerous Myths About Sufi Muslims - The Atlantic

    That’s not to say that all those who self-describe as “Salafi” claim that Sufism ought to be met with violence. But many, if not most, deny its centrality within Sunni Islam. Certainly the vast majority of the Saudi religious establishment espouses that kind of belief, which is a massive challenge that the crown prince will have to tackle if he’s serious about his promise to spread “moderate” Islam.

    The birth of the purist Salafi movement (which many pejoratively describe as “Wahhabism”) saw preachers inspired by the message of 18th-century figure Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab attacking Sufism writ large in an unprecedented way. While presenting themselves as the orthodox, these types of purist Salafis were actually engaging in a heterodox approach. Many of these figures had to ignore or rewrite large chunks of Islamic history in order to present Sufism and Sufis as beyond the pale.

    Ahmad bin Taymiyya, a commonly quoted authority for Salafis, for example, was reportedly a member of the Sufi order of Abdal Qadir al-Jilani. The Sufi affiliations of many medieval authorities have been airbrushed from history in several modern editions of their texts published by Salafi printing houses. Yet, there were virtually no prominent Muslim figures who cast aside Sufism in Islamic history. When followers of ibn Abdul Wahhab attempted to do so by describing Sufis as outside the faith, they were themselves decried by the overwhelming majority of Sunni Islamic scholarship as indulging in a type of heterodoxy because of their intolerance and revisionism.

    While some who portray Sufis as heterodox do so with malicious intent, many fans of Sufism in the West seem to agree that Sufis are heterodox—it’s just a type of heterodoxy that they prefer to the normative mainstream of Islamic thought, which they seem to think is different from Sufism. Ironically, the well-meaning nature of this misinformed perspective echoes the fallacy that extremists promote.

    #soufis #mythes

  • GRAIN — #Infographie : Non aux lois semencières qui criminalisent les #paysans & défendons les semence paysannes

    Les #semences paysannes sont attaquées de toutes parts. Sous la pression des grandes entreprises, les législations de nombreux pays posent des obstacles à ce que les paysans et les #paysannes peuvent faire de leurs propres semences et des semences qu’ils achètent. La conservation et la réutilisation des semences, une pratique millénaire à la base de l’#agriculture devient une activité criminelle. Que peut on faire ?



      Les entreprises semencières et les gouvernements prétendent que ces législations semencières protègent les consommateurs, garantissent la qualité des semences, augmentent les rendements et contribuent à nourrir les affamés. Il nous faut briser ces #mythes et démontrer que les semences promues par ces #lois engendrent une agriculture #toxique qui affame les #peuples. Ces lois ne visent qu’à extraire du profit des communautés rurales pour le transférer aux entreprises.

  • « La Singularité, ça ne tient pas la route ! » par @hubertguillaud @iactu

    les #IA ne savent pas rêver de moutons électriques.


    En fait, le catastrophisme des singularitariens assure surtout leur notoriété. L’inéluctabilité de leur prophétisme fait oublier que bien souvent, le vrai danger vient plutôt de l’inconnu. Le vrai problème, insiste Ganascia, c’est que le scénario de la Singularité, en fait, opacifie le futur en concentrant l’attention vers un seul #scénario au détriment de tous les autres.

    repéré par @laurent (#merci)

    #singularité #disruption #intelligence_artificielle #mythes #science-fiction

    • #Critique_techno sans #catastrophisme

      Bref, « l’observation de la loi de #Moore sur les cinquante dernières années ne garantit nullement sa validité dans le futur ». Comme il le souligne encore « l’examen rétrospectif des études prospectives montre que le futur obéit rarement aux prévisions. Le progrès est convulsif ! Il n’existe pas de déterminisme technologique. » Mais surtout, souligne Ganascia, il y a un paradoxe logique à la Singularité : comment une rupture technologique pourrait-elle se déduire d’une loi reposant sur la régularité du cours de la technologie ?

      (…) Pour la philosophe et historienne Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, les promesses visent non pas à prédire, mais à rendre inéluctable la trajectoire technologique, à installer un #déterminisme, à faciliter l’acceptation sociale des technologies. *Les schémas à l’oeuvre pour la Singularité semblent se répéter dans les promesses des nanotechnologies, de la biologie de synthèse comme dans celles de la convergence #NBIC (Nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, informatique et sciences cognitives). Le possible devient un horizon hors de tout horizon temporel : une simple propagande. « La réalisation des promesses dans un avenir proche ou lointain n’est pas primordiale. » Les promesses n’ont pas pour but de refléter le réel, mais d’élargir les possibles, quand bien même ils ne rencontrent jamais de confirmation. « Même si les réalisations se font attendre les concepts ne sont pas remis en question. » Le futur qu’incarne les promesses fonctionne surtout comme un outil de gouvernance pour la compétition économique. Elles permettent de fédérer et mobiliser les infrastructures de recherche et les inscrire dans la culture sociotechnique ambiante. Pour elle, l’avenir est confisqué par la promesse technoscientifique, et la politique reléguée à un seul espace de régulation.

      Pour le sociologue Olivier Glassey, qui pointe dans l’ouvrage combien le social, plus que la technique est devenu l’horizon des technologies de l’information, l’ensemble des discours performatifs sur l’avènement du web social, contribue surtout à instaurer la croyance dans l’inéluctabilité des changements annoncés, que ce soit ceux promouvant l’empowerment ou l’inclusion de tous, comme ceux qui prédisent pouvoir bientôt « capturer techniquement le social ». « Le social n’est plus uniquement l’horizon de la promesse, il est son carburant » : les big data réalisent leurs propres accomplissements !

      Dans l’avant dernier paragraphe @hubertguillaud y a « or » au lieu de « hors » si je comprends bien. Autrement merci de lire tous ces livres pour nous !

  • Du #libéralisme au #fascisme, le développement totalitaire de la civilisation (par Bernard Charbonneau) – Le Partage

    Ce monde est totalitaire. Partout la même obsession de vaincre rassemble toutes les forces dans un #pouvoir central servi par un parti, et cette #centralisation sera partout mensongère, dissimulée par son contraire : un décor fédéraliste ou régional. Partout, se justifiant d’un bien absolu, et par l’ennemi intérieur et extérieur, une #agressivité à base de #peur mène la #guerre à tout ce qui prétend exister par soi-même : à l’individu, au groupe, aux peuples voisins. Servie par une technique concentrée et proliférante, une volonté qui s’étend avec elle à tout, et qui elle aussi ne connaît d’autres bornes que celles des possibilités pratiques. Partout le chef et le parti, l’insigne et le slogan, la bureaucratie et la masse, la #propagande. Partout les #mythes qui exaltent une #civilisation mécanisée : la #Production, le #Travail. Et ceux par lesquels l’homme se dissimule le prix qu’il doit la payer : le héros, l’aventure. Partout la même civilisation, — jusque dans le moindre détail, car il s’agit d’une identité concrète […] — jusqu’à la même cravate sombre sur la même chemise blanche. Le regard peut saisir du premier coup d’œil tout ce que ces régimes ont d’identique, mais ce qu’ils ont de différent échappe aux yeux : à peine une inflexion du bras, une idée … Si les #doctrines, et les troupes, s’opposent, l’image de l’avenir, — cette vie que tous distinguent dans leurs rêves et que les propagandes s’efforcent de fixer —, est bien partout la même. Le même autostrade asphalté court à travers les mêmes jardins, sous les mêmes ciels nuageux les mêmes barrages se dressent ; la même fille blonde aux dents intactes et aux yeux vides.

    L’État, Bernard Charbonneau, 1948

  • L’invention des Assassins : genèse d’une légende médiévale

    La légende des Assassins se développe en Orient latin pendant le XIIe siècle, en raison du contact des européens (les « Francs ») avec une importante communauté de l’Islam chiite, celle des ismaéliens nizarites.


    (pas encore écouté)
    #radio #conférence #assassins #mythes #histoire #moyen-age

  • Assange Open Letter France - Justice for #Assange

    La France a longtemps été porteuse d’espérance et de singularité pour de nombreux peuples et individus de par le monde. Ses #mythes nourrissent encore aujourd’hui bien des enfances. Mes liens avec ce pays ne sont pas seulement idéels. De 2007 jusqu’à la perte de ma #liberté en 2010, j’y ai résidé. Nos structures techniques y sont encore installées.

  • Qui gagne, qui perd dans les migrations ? Un bétisier à méditer
    Le débat sur le migrations est saturé de préjugés et simplifications partagés et véhiculés par tous, personnel politique, organisations de la société civile et grand public. Des organisations de solidarité internationale proposent le décodage d’une dizaine de ces mythes qui imprègnent nos consciences. La mondialisation pour les nuls.

  • Tahca Ushte et Richard Erdoes
    De mémoire indienne

    Franz Himmelbauer


    Cerf Boiteux, né au début du siècle passé, reçut son nom au cours d’une hanblechia, une ascèse de voyance : « J’étais seul au sommet de la colline. J’étais assis dans la fosse de voyance, un trou creusé dans le sol, les genoux entre les mains, à regarder le voyant-guérisseur qui m’avait conduit en ce lieu, le vieil homme Le Torse, disparaître vers le fond de la vallée. […] J’avais alors seize ans, je portais encore mon nom de garçon, et, j’aime autant vous le dire, j’avais très peur ; je tremblais et pas seulement en raison du froid. L’être humain le plus proche était à des kilomètres de là, et quatre jours et quatre nuits, c’est bien long. Pour sûr, quand ce serait fini, je ne serais plus un jeune garçon, mais un adulte. La vision serait venue à moi. On me donnerait mon nom d’homme. » Au cours de sa hanblechia, le jeune homme apprit du peuple des oiseaux qu’il deviendrait bien voyant-guérisseur, comme il l’avait souhaité, et il vit s’approcher de lui son arrière-grand-père, Tahca Ushte, Cerf Boiteux, le vieux chef des Minneconju. « Je pouvais voir le sang s’écouler de sa poitrine, là où un soldat blanc l’avait tué. Je compris que mon arrière-grand-père souhaitait que je prenne son nom. J’en conçus une joie indicible. » (...)

    #Mémoires #mythes #transmission #Sioux