Saturday, 17 December 2011

Growing down

In 2010, four friend students concerned with the lack privacy of online social networks, such as Facebook, set out to create a decentralized, open source network, called Diaspora*. They quickly gathered enough support and donations to dedicate themselves to its full-time development. In November 2010 the first version of Diaspora* was released to the public.

In the evening of 12 of November 2011, one of the talented developers, 22 years old Ilya Zhitomirskiy was found dead at home! The following is one of the last posts that he shared on his Diaspora* profile... Rest in peace Ilya.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Us when?

Once a week, for the past few weeks, I've been hosting a documentary evening with friends and anyone interested in non-fictional "edutainment"... or a nap (you know who you are :). For a few hours we watch the movie, share food, have a catch up and sometimes a healthy debate about the issue at hand.

Decided by majority vote, this week's documentary was Us Now, which you can watch below. This one hour long, fast passed, picture from 2009, analyses online social networking and how this unprecedented amount of non-hierarchical collaboration threatens the millennia old pyramid shaped power structures still so prevalent today.

The movie goes on to explore the still untapped potential of this relatively new capability, such as to allow citizens to be more involved in their government's policy and decision making, by creating a system of direct democracy.

The audience of 8 agreed that the documentary put across an interesting argument but there was some scepticism as to the practicalities and the safeness of such direct democracy system. Some said they don't trust the general public with decision making, while others seemed to agree that a transparent and decentralised power structure is less corruptible and preferable to the current system. What do you think.

After a short discussion we ended the evening with a bit of classic George Carlin stand up comedy... or rather a wake up call disguised as comedy.

For more information, extra clips and reviews please go to

Watch Us Now in other languages here.

Buy the DVD here.