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New Quebec audio guide shows how to correctly pronounce Inuktitut place names in Nunavik

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Nicolas Pirti-Duplessis

Quebec's toponymy commission worked with the Avataq Cultural Institute to develop the online audio registry, to help non-Inuktituk speakers correctly pronounce place names that have been used by the people of Nunavik for generations.

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jchalifour
2 days ago
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Montréal
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W. W. Denslow’s Illustrations for the Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)

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The strange, unhappy life of W. W. Denslow, the illustrator of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

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jchalifour
8 days ago
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Concentrate!

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The challenge of chess – learning how to hold complexity in mind and still make good decisions – is also the challenge of life

By Jonathan Rowson

Read at Aeon

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jchalifour
11 days ago
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Montréal
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Academic Publishers Get Their Wish: DOJ Investigating Sci-Hub Founder For Alleged Ties To Russian Intelligence

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We've written plenty about Sci-Hub over the years. The service, which was set up to allow free and easy access to academic research that is all-to-often hidden behind insanely expensive paywalls (often, despite being paid for with public funds), is the bane of academic publishers, though the hero to many academics. As we've highlighted, the big publishers keep playing whac-a-mole with the service as they try to take it down around the globe, and each time it just seems to get the site more attention. From the earliest days, it's been clear that Sci-Hub works by getting academics with access to various collections to "donate" their login credentials, so that Sci-Hub can fetch any missing papers not in its collection (if it, and its associated site Libgen, already have it, they make that version available).

However, the Washington Post is now claiming that the DOJ has been investigating Sci-Hub founder, Alexandra Elbakyan, who started the site as an academic herself who found it nearly impossible to access the research she needed. But here's the twist, apparently the DOJ is alleging that Elbakyan is somehow tied to Russian intelligence.

It’s unclear whether Elbakyan is using Sci-Hub’s operations in service of Russian intelligence, but her critics say she has demonstrated significant hacking skills by collecting log-in credentials from journal subscribers, particularly at universities, and using them to pilfer vast amounts of academic literature.

The investigation has both criminal and intelligence-gathering elements, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing probe.

A former senior U.S. intelligence official said he believes Elbakyan is working with Russia’s military intelligence arm, the GRU, the same organization that stole emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and then provided them to WikiLeaks in 2016.

Given the typical demonization of those who seek to open up access to academic research (see: Swartz, Aaron), I'd take this report with a pretty large grain of salt until some actual evidence is provided.

Some of the accusations -- provided in the article by Elsevier's lawyer, who has worked on cases against Sci-Hub -- claim that rather than academics sharing their credentials willingly, Sci-Hub has resorted to phishing to get them. If true, that would be quite unfortunate. And, at one point in the article, Elbakyan might admit to as much, though it's not clear if the full context of the question or response from her is included in the article:

“We’ve seen phishing, that’s most common,” he said, referring to the use of deceit to trick someone into providing a username and password. “But also password-breaking,” Pitts added, suggesting Elbakyan uses more-aggressive hacking techniques.

“I do not deny that some accounts that Sci-Hub is using were obtained” in such a way, Elbakyan said, but she declined to elaborate on how she comes by credentials.

If true, that would be disappointing. But it still seems like a lot more evidence would be necessary to argue that it's a tool of Russian intelligence.



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jchalifour
11 days ago
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Montréal
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I Invented the World Wide Web. Here’s How We Can Fix It.

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This op-ed was written by Web Foundation co-founder and inventor of the web Sir Tim Berners-Lee. It was originally published in The New York Times.


My parents were mathematicians. My mother helped code one of the first stored-program computers — the Manchester Mark 1. They taught me that when you program a computer, what you can do is limited only by your imagination. That excitement for experimentation and change helped me build the World Wide Web.

I had hoped that 30 years from its creation, we would be using the web foremost for the purpose of serving humanity. Projects like Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap and the world of open source software are the kinds of constructive tools that I hoped would flow from the web.

However, the reality is much more complex. Communities are being ripped apart as prejudice, hate and disinformation are peddled online. Scammers use the web to steal identities, stalkers use it to harass and intimidate their victims, and bad actors subvert democracy using clever digital tactics. The use of targeted political ads in the United States’ 2020 presidential campaign and in elections elsewhere threatens once again to undermine voters’ understanding and choices.

We’re at a tipping point. How we respond to this abuse will determine whether the web lives up to its potential as a global force for good or leads us into a digital dystopia.

The web needs radical intervention from all those who have power over its future: governments that can legislate and regulate; companies that design products; civil society groups and activists who hold the powerful to account; and every single web user who interacts with others online.

We have to overcome the stalemate that has characterized previous attempts to solve the problems facing the web. Governments must stop blaming platforms for inaction, and companies must become more constructive in shaping future regulation — not just opposing it.

I’m introducing a new approach to overcome that stalemate — the Contract for the Web.

The Contract for the Web is a global plan of action created over the past year by activists, academics, companies, governments and citizens from across the world to make sure our online world is safe, empowering and genuinely for everyone.

The contract outlines steps to prevent the deliberate misuse of the web and our information. For example, it calls on governments to publish public data registries, so that they are no longer able to conceal from their own citizens how their data is being used. If governments are sharing our data with private companies — or buying data broker lists from them — we have a right to know and take action.

The contract sets out ways to improve system design to eradicate incentives that reward clickbait or the spread of disinformation. Targeted political advertising is giving political parties the ability to subvert the debate. We need platforms to open their black boxes and clearly explain how they’re minimizing or eliminating risks their products pose to society. In my view, governments should impose an immediate ban on targeted political advertising to restore trust in our public discourse.

Crucially, the contract also contains concrete actions to tackle the negative — even if unintended — consequences of platform design. For example, why on an exercise app should women have to worry that their precise jogging routes are shared by default with other users? Perhaps because they were designed by people not thinking about the safety needs of women. We need a tremendously more diverse work force in our technology industries to make sure their products serve all groups. And companies should release reports that meaningfully demonstrate their progress toward those diversity goals.

To make the online world a place worth being in, we must all use the Contract for the Web to fight now for the web we want.

Governments must support their citizens online and ensure that their rights are protected through effective regulation and enforcement. Companies must look beyond next-quarter results and understand that long-term success means building products that are good for society and that people can trust them.

There’s already a powerful coalition backing the contract. The governments of nations such as France, Germany and Ghana have signed on to its principles. The tech giants Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Reddit sit alongside other specialists such as the search engine DuckDuckGo in committing to action. Many civil society organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reporters Without Borders and AccessNow, have joined the growing movement, as well as individuals such as Representative Ro Khanna of California.

In endorsing the contract, governments and companies commit to taking concrete action across several issues. Some changes may take a long time: We are not expecting overnight transformation. But we will track their efforts, and if they fail to make progress, they will lose their status as a backer of the contract.

The contract is already being used to inform policy decisions, as a best-practice guide for government and company officials, and as a tool to help civil society advocate change, measure progress and hold governments and companies accountable.

But that alone is not enough. Our World Wide Web Foundation, together with its global partners, will work to mobilize people around the world. As elections approach, raise these issues with your political representatives and candidates. The best way to change the priorities and actions of those in power is to speak up.

Join our foundation, our partners and people around the world in the fight for the web.


Join the fight for the web we want by backing the Contract for the Web.

For updates about our work, sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter at @webfoundation.

To receive a weekly news brief on the most important stories in tech, subscribe to The Web This Week.

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jchalifour
28 days ago
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Our Book, “Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians,” Is Now Available

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We’re happy to announce that our collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA) to create the print companion to the CC Certificate has finally come to fruition! 

The book, Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians, is now published under CC BY and offers an additional way to access the openly licensed CC Certificate content. It’s available in print at the ALA store, or it can be downloaded from our website! 

ALA CC Book Cover

Whether you’re a volunteer, professor, instructional designer, researcher, administrator or technologist—or simply looking for a great holiday gift—this book offers a background on copyright law, as well as a clear guide to open licensing and open advocacy. You can read this book on its own or while taking the CC Certificate course. 

The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, “providing leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” 

After initial collaboration with the ALA on “Copytalk” webinars, we were delighted to partner with them for this project under the shared goal of increasing equitable access to information. 

Download or buy a hardcopy of Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians today!

Interested in taking the CC Certificate? Check out our website to learn more. For additional information about this collaboration with the ALA, read our previous post, “Book Preview: “Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians.”

 

The post Our Book, “Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians,” Is Now Available appeared first on Creative Commons.

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jchalifour
31 days ago
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Montréal
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