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Ricardo Mendes

The Brussels Civic Data Hack: Episode 1 #civictech #digityser #dataviz

2 min read

Why

Like nearly everywhere in Europe, Belgium is undergoing a crisis of trust between citizens and their legitimate institutions. Brussels, in particular, is having a bad year. This feeds on news both real and fake, leaving citizens disoriented and ever more mistrustful.

We believe we, ordinary citizens, can help. We wish to help by using data, open data in particular, to investigate problems for ourselves, and share our results with our fellow citizens so that they can be replicated and cristicized. No need to trust fake news when you can go straight to the source yourself!

What

We wish to organise a small event called a civic hackathon. Everybody interested in a civic use of data and data science is welcome, without exception and with no skill requirements. It’s about gathering under one roof to work with data with a civic purpose in mind. It could be anything: applications tracking parliament activities; crunching and visualisation of societally relevant datasets; dreaming up infographics that would make a complex issue more accessible, and so on.

How

We envision two steps. In step 1, we gather together for a few hours to hash out some possible projects to develop in the hackathon proper: we make sure each project has the data it needs and a skeletal crew with all the skills to pull it off. In step 2, two weeks or so later, we take one or two full days to actually develop projects. The results of the different projects are presented to the whole group at the end of step 2. All code is released as open source. Processed data are published as open data wherever the license of the primary data allows it.

Who

Absolutely everyone is welcome. All you need to take part in a civic hackathon is a passion for all things civic. Every skill is needed. Among them (but there are others) are: software development, statistics, math, journalism, law, design, communication, storytelling. Female and minority participants (however you want to define “minority”) are particularly welcome.

We are Ricardo, Philippe and Alberto. We commit to working the hardest, but welcome any help anyone can offer.

When

 

September?

Ricardo Mendes

Ricardo Mendes

Ricardo Mendes

Gif or Jif ? "The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations," - are you sure ?

1 min read

Gif or Jif ? "The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations," 

"They are wrong. It is a soft 'G,' pronounced 'jif.' End of story." said its inventor. 

damned I always say GIF with a hard G !

 

 

Ricardo Mendes

Ricardo Mendes

How to Watch the 2017 Presidential #Inauguration Online

1 min read

Trump DayOne

First events before the actual thing start around 15h30 Belgian local time, swearing around 18h and so on
details of the full schedule in FR or EN.

Pick your flavour of Official accounts for the Inauguration : 

Inauguration Hashtags on Twitter :

Inauguration

Dems not attending :

InaugurationBoycott

Those Boycotting Trump :

BoycottTrump

Hashtag that emerged after Trump winning the election : 

TheResistance

One the biggest if the biggest Women protest march ever in the US ?

WomensMarch

WomensMarchOnWashington

DisruptJ20

NotMyPresident

Videos : 

Twittter videos 

Livestream  :

Livestream for the 2017

State Media : 

https://www.58pic2017.org/

https://www.inaugural.senate.gov/

Public Media :

Twitter + PBS https://twitter.com/i/live/807346862592139264

Politico US http://www.politico.com/livestream1

Euronews http://fr.euronews.com/live

Reuters Live

CBS Live http://www.cbsnews.com/live/?ftag=CNMdaef904

Trump Media : 

Live now : https://youtu.be/Xndpyx4069k (19/01/2016)

pro Trump inauguration feed

other coverage :

Democracy Now!

RT America

Ricardo Mendes

Ricardo Mendes

Social media data collection tools #SNA

4 min read

This is a list of tools I need to explore/validate for social media analytics.
the source comes from here & also here & here and here.

Twitter data collection tools (applications):

Twitter data collection tools (modules & libraries; require programming knowledge):

Facebook data collection tools (applications):

Facebook data collection tools (modules & libraries; require programming knowledge):

Social data vendors (these sell data for analysis within their own platforms or independently):

Other (misc links that don’t belong under any of the other sections)

 

Ricardo Mendes

15 Years ago today I was walking near the beach in Vilamoura when 9/11 happend

7 min read

I was in this little portuguese coastal city of Vilamoura, I was walking along the port with a friend and we were quite intrigued to see people staring at TV's all along the promenade.

I was saying to my friend :

- probably they are watching an action movie!

but it didn't make sense that everyone was watching the same movie on the same channel.

After a while we decided to watch a little bit of the scene, that's when I saw the second plane hit the second tower, Live !

Suddenly it couldn't be a movie anymore and the implication of this simple fact were simply too disturbing to comprehend at that precise moment.

I remember I was already very politically inclided and actually participating at the time with US Peace activists on a internet campaign to Impeach G. W. Bush. Impeach Bush was the plan, my blog at the time (now deleted) was full of reactions to US foreign policy and my thoughts at the time about where the hell were we going if there wasn't a change of course of action.

I remember to sit down in a Hotel near the port and just watch on this giant screen the events enfold.

I started to make some phone calls to some friends and we all met at some point to talk about the implications this event would have on our lifes. We knew this would change forever the course of History. We knew that with this attack, Bush was virtually free to attack anyone, anywhere. I remember how Russia was an US ally back then.

Things have changed in all fronts.

And so it did : Afghanistan and later on Iraq.

I remember when Collin Pauwel was presenting his "mobile chemical lab" theory on live TV & getting broadcasted all over the world. the US was already in Afghanistan and with this new theory of WMD and chemical weapons, the US was getting its way into Iraq. I remember the useless biggest Peace demonstration of all times around the World to try to stop US going to war with Iraq. I remember how the new "terrorism" construct allowed a generation of politicians to basically wage war anywhere without accountability, without due process and without the minimum of legit proof before actually doing something.

The events we live today : Global Terrorism, ISIS, IS, ISIL were shaped during the Bush administration era.

I remember getting to Brussels in the winter of 2001, I remember boarding without a valid passport (that's why I was going to Brussels, to renew my passport) I remember the waitress looking at me, asking me a few questions, then asking her colleague about if I could board without a valid passport, I remember her saying : "He probably isn't dangerous, don't ask our boss he will probably say no and you will have to stay here."

So they basically decided to let me go and board the plane without my valid passport. Security measures were far from being implemented across Europe. 

On board I remember talking to a couple, diplomats, they had scoured the world and had interesting opinions about geopolitics, and the US war on terror at the time just starting. 

At the time, just a few months after 9/11 I remember reading some theories online, the Pentagate it was called, it was a theory on what had struck the Pentagone, not a plane for sure. 

I remember we talked during the whole trip about geopolitics & the impact of 9/11 for the rest of the world. 

I was convinced the "official story" from the US government was at best wrong, incomplete. Every aspect of this official story was suspicious, the contradictions, the different naratives, so much discrepencies that if the official story entered US history books without much fact-checking, I don't think it entered european mindset the same way : everyone was suspicious of the official story, from the get go, it wasn't a conspiracy, it was using our brains to determine that arguments would not add up or make any sense from a scientific point of view. 

After a while I decided "the Truth" like so many US goverment matters would never reach the mass population, unless some whistleblower would come out and give a complete different version of the story: and this would never happen. 

The neo-cons & other hawks in Washington got precisely what they needed : a global landscape to advance their disastrous geopolitical game : finish the job of Bush father. 

Also this "security" nightmare had propulsed the security industry to new heights, suddenly, biometry, advanced scanning of all sorts and truck load of new security measures were imposed and this generated a shit pile of new business and corporations just waiting for the good "security" scenario to enfold to sell their toys and gadjets. 

it worked pretty well. the illusion of security was everywhere. 

Terrorism would be deafeated, Iraq destroyed followed by the long list of countries that would suffer the US liberation doctrine : bombs & drones for Libya, Mali, Yemen the destabilization of the Middle-East was a neo-con/hawk top job and with 9/11 everything was in place for the empire to move without much UN or EU concertation about where was all this suffering going to end. It didn't mattered much for the hawks. 

Guantanamo.

Ben Laden, Bin Laden, Ussama Bin Laden or Ossama Ben Laden, who cares ? 

This puppet got used by the Bush administration to legitimate everything the administration needed to have in place and was later on killed (twice ?) and then sent to the bottom of the sea under the next administration without an ounce of accountability. 

The US needed something more than Alqaeda. 

Syria was the next playground, selling weapons to different factions of rebels, shipping weapons to so much "rebels" groups that in the end US troops where battling insurgents with the same weapons. but who cares ?

Fast Forward the whole Obama Administration and its use of Drones to reach target goals and the result is the creation of ISIS. 

Our foreign policy actions created the terrorism we have today. Terrorism is not a "natural disaster". 

Man made actions create more Terrorism than any religious ideology. 

Man made disastrous foreign policy + religions + weapons is a terrible mix to "bring terrorist" to Justice. 

This cocktail not only fragmented the at the time hundreds of AQ combattants, it basically produced a new breed of terrorist that employed all their new possibilities in Europe since then. 

Europe was wrong getting into the Iraq quagmire in 2003, it was wrong to follow Blair or Bush advisers, it was wrong to participate in any way or shape into the US led invasion & disruption of the middle-east. 

Europe need its own foreign policy in conjunction with other global players like Russia, China, the US and other actors, but most of all, what's the point of the current UN design ? where 5 permanent members can veto any decisions if it doesn't fit in their geopolitical war games ? 

We need a refoundation of not only the European Project but we also need a complete refoundation of the United Nations body and structure. 

If anything 9/11 thought humanity was that one nation alone cannot get rogue and think it would from fear, bring more democracy, more justice and more stability to the world. 

To my fellow US friends I say : if you learned anything from these nightmares it should be that governing from Fear only leads to more destruction, more death and more suffering. You lost 3000 American People. That's a fact, but don't you think your administration should be accounted for what it did to the rest of the world as a "response" to the 9/11 attack ?

Maybe this is best illustrated by this TED video : How Fear drives American politics : 



What post-fact will be remembered on our/your kids History books ?

911 

Ricardo Mendes

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