Crowdfunding a bridge

This is a pretty fascinating story about a pedestrian bridge built in Rotterdam through crowdfunding when the city couldn’t come up with the money.


Social media vs voter fraud in Russia

Even Vladimir Putin isn’t immune to the power of social media. We’ve seen how social media has fueled revolutions across the Middle East in the Arab Spring, and now Russian citizens are getting into the act. An independent election observer in Russia witnessed blatant voter fraud. He captured video on his phone and then uploaded it for all to see.

Mr. Duda raced home and uploaded the clip to YouTube. Though just three minutes long, it quickly became an election-day sensation, helping fuel a major demonstration of as many as 5,000 people on Monday evening in central Moscow. They chanted “Russia without Putin!” and “Putin is a thief.” Several hundred were arrested, including two major opposition leaders.

Valentin Gorbunov, the head of the Moscow City Elections Commission, confirmed the substance of the video and announced that Russian investigators had opened a case into ballot tampering by the head at Polling Place No. 2501, where the episode occurred, Russian news agencies reported Monday.

It’s stunning to see how oppressive regimes are losing their grip on the public. The key to power is controlling information, and in the past, control of TV and newspapers was the primary tool. But it today’s bottom-up world, that control is impossible with social media and the Internet. But it’s impossible to have a modern economy without an open web, so hence the dilemma for thugs like Putin. It also presents some risks but also huge opportunities for foreign policy goals in the United States.


The battle for the tubes

As video downloads become more and more popular with services like Netflix, we’re going to see plenty of battles like this.

Level 3 Communications Inc., an Internet backbone company that supports Netflix Inc.’s increasingly popular movie streaming service, complained Monday that cable giant Comcast Corp. is charging it an unfair fee for the right to send data to its subscribers.

Comcast replied it is being swamped by a flood of data and needs to be paid.

Level 3 said it agreed to pay under protest, but that the fee violates the principles of an “open Internet.” It also goes against the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed rules preventing broadband Internet providers from favoring certain types of traffic, it said.

“Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content,” said Level 3’s chief legal officer, Thomas Stortz, in a statement.

Comcast called Level 3’s position “duplicitous” and said a previous deal for the companies to handle traffic for each other had become unbalanced in Level 3’s favor.

Stay tuned . . .


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