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Ricardo Mendes

Humble Book Bundle: Data Science presented by O'Reilly (pay what you want and help charity)

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Ricardo Mendes

SpringerLink - Providing researchers with access to millions of scientific documents

Providing researchers with access to millions of scientific documents from journals, books, series, protocols and reference works.

Ricardo Mendes

Review: L'âge de la multitude - 2e éd. - Entreprendre et gouverner après la révolution numérique #alire

out of 5 stars

Et si nous étions devenus, sans le savoir, les principaux acteurs de l’économie numérique ? Si nos vies, nos inter-actions, nos créations étaient la source déterminante de la valeur et de la croissance ?

Un monde nouveau, né de la révolution numérique, consacre le règne de milliards d’individus désormais instruits, équipés et connectés. Ensemble, ils forment une puissante multitude qui bouleverse l’ancien ordre économique et social. Loin d’être l’affaire des seules entreprises technologiques, l’économie numérique est au contraire dominée par ceux ― entreprises, administrations, associations ― qui ont su s’allier à cette multitude. Après la révolution numérique, l’enjeu stratégique est de susciter, de recueillir et de valoriser la créativité des individus.

Tel est le sens de cet essai, souvent radical et décapant, qui invite entrepreneurs et politiques à comprendre et à utiliser la valeur considérable créée par chacun d’entre nous.

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

Creating a Graph Application with Python, Neo4j, Gephi and Linkurious.js - Linkurious - Understand the connections in your data.

Find out how Packt Publishing, a company editing books for developers, used linkurious.js to build one giant Python graph to understand how its content relate to StackOverflow topic

Ricardo Mendes

I think the first time I connected to the Internet it was the spring of 1998.
I was messing with old computers, MS-DOS, Win 3.1, Win98 Offline and I was offloading some money to buy my first 64k modem, after a few months I had the money and I went on to buy it. I got my first "Discovery line" a telecom line with a phone number just for Internet usage. I heard that famous blipping of the modem dialing the internet access number and suddenly I was online !

I remember the first time I noticed how much more interesting a computer was WHEN connected to the internet. I remember when the connection would fall and one had to dialup all over again. I remember when downloading movies, or a full audio album could take weeks, if not month if there was not enough seeds sharing it. I remember how much I learned Online, pretty much everything I use everyday, today, at my job, everything started with this tiny modem & this slow internet connection.

It was like opening the gate of a worldwide library where there was no limit of use, no limit of books you could read, no limits of new things to discover, new people to find, new cultures to absorb and new possibilities to imagine.

Suddenly my offline computer seemed so un-interesting. suddenly playing to open the computer tower just to see how it works wasn't that interesting anymore. what was interesting shifted Online for me.

Today it's and I don't Know what I would be today if it wasn't for the Internet.
coming from where I was coming, Internet sounded like Freedom, Knowledge, Power for everyone.

Since then I never stopped learning and hope to never stop !

Ricardo Mendes

[opinion] @JunckerEU Drunk (again) talking "Leaders of other Planets are deeply concerned" - Video

5 min read

Ladies and gentlemen: the President of the European Commission.

Completely bourré comme à son habitude.

"... les horizons nous attendent. Et nous volons vers les horizons qui sont ceux de l'Europe et de la planète entière.
Il faut savoir que ceux qui nous observent de loin sont inquiets.
J'ai vu et entendu et écouté plusieurs des dirigeants d'autres PLANETES qui sont très inquiets parce qu'ils s'interrogent sur la voie que l'Union Européenne va euh euh poursuivre.
Et donc il faut rassurer et les Européens et ceux qui nous observent de euh plus euh... loin."

Well I come from this Planet and I'm deeply concerned about the ability of Juncker to do its Job. 

This only sum up to the fact that not only he can't do its job but the job of his predecessor lead Europe to suffocation and Juncker was supposedly the old Man that would move EU past these muddy waters. 

Theory. 

I'm a Pro European. since ever. even before having a political culture I was already convinced by the European idea : Free movement, no Borders, one common exchange value: the euro. (even though the Euro landing in each Members States was sometimes a disaster (Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy)  I was born in 1980 and I think this generation was naturally educated to the European Idea, in books, school manuals, TV, radio & what else. 

Since then we got the Lisbon Treaty (the so called European Constitution that was rejected and never considered by the power that be) then we got the ESM Treaty and other Fiscal Compacts (2packs & 6 packs) that enshrined Austerity Doctrine in all constitutions of each Members States. 

At the same time big Corporations are mostly avoiding to pay their Taxes "legally" thanks to Luxembourg Tax-ruling, Belgium semi-fiscal-paradise for big corporations and on top of all this legal fiscal evasion benefiting only the rich - 2008 brought the big bank bailouts to "do everything" to help the Euro economy stays afloat. 

And We (the People) we got the austerity measures. we got systemic misery. we got poverty, suicides, evictions, layoffs and what not and we were told: we had to do an effort. we had to save our économy. 

My point is, the previous Commission and the current one (since 2014) are fully responsible for the destruction of the possibilites of the European Project. along with each members States dual game of pushing for reforms they can't propose at national level and using the european level to push for policy doctrines they can't and when they need accuse "Brussels" of being the perpetrator. the imposer ! 

In my view, after the whole elected current political generation should be sent to the dustbin of history !

It's miserable ! its even disgusting !

Europe is imploding not because citizens are rejecting unfair policies and completely inhuman economic polices, Europe is imploding because our "political cast" are cut from their base, they don't represent citizen's interest, they represent their own interests and their friends, corporations have better access to law and lobbying that the citizens living in any European members states. Europe is imploding because of bad administration, last century thinking, isolationism, suffocation under harsh economic policies that are actually destroying the faith anyone had in the European Project. 

And this Video above only add to the insult. Juncker is unfit for the Job; unfit to represent and guide the EU boat in the direction citizens of Europe want it to move. 

In fact the very Article 48 of the EU constitution is a locker : we need 27 members states to agree to lift the stupid idea of 3% deficit to make it happen, in short if we want "another Europe" we need to have 27 progressive political party getting elected at national level + changing the landscape of the EU Parliament at the same time to be able to drive EU in another direction. it's impossible. 

Article 50 and you can leave: but if you leave the 27 other members states will vilify you, will make hard balls games to difficult your time and will do anything in their power to punish you. its like we're being ruled by despots that can only punish dissent, dissent from the status-quo, dissent from having the audace to imagine something else for Europe, outside of the rigidity and stupidy of the current European Design. 

it's a flawed design. it's made for the last century. it's inadapted to the current needs and vision of my generation. it's a structure that urgently need a complete and total redesign or face it's own End. 

Many parts of society either in UK, France, Belgium, Spain or Portugal are pushing for this bottom-up Europe, adapted to our needs, our vision but if they aren't listened, in 2 or 3 or 5 years these initiatives will simply die because of the deafness of the old crumbling cold-war afficionados politicians limited to their fears and last century thinking. 

Civil society, Grassroots movements, Unions, progressive political parties, they all want to change Europe, they all are ignored by the "institutions" either national or EU level until the moment these institutions, by their very own actions, will be deemed obsoletes. 

and that's maybe the only road left to progress. 

note: press release of this very Juncker Speech with reference to distant planet gone : 
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-16-2353_en.htm

Ricardo Mendes

#Brexit How the root causes of Euroscepticism, even after #Euref are still largely unaddressed. #my2cens

12 min read

Cartoon by Marian Kemensky

If you read this blog post, you're probably aware I run @EUwatchers - a Twitter news Bot spitting EU related information on social media 24h/24h - I follow European information closely since a few years but I decided to observe / / / campaign and take note of how it enfolded.

I think is probably the worst campaign I ever witnessed on social media and traditional media and it's the main reason I stayed silent about it. too much noise, too much hate & hysteria and so little integrity & humanity.

Remain clearly could have done a much better case, much sooner, instead of waiting for a murder to happen to suddenly have something to say & regain a little bit of the ground in the campaign, too late.

Leave campaign was horrible to watch, the arguments, the confusion, the lies and the general drive to demonize instead of inform made this campaign horribly hard to handle, not even going to speak about the phobia and other neo-fascist style arguments being normalized and becoming mainstream with the help of some mainstream media tabloid/TV doing a terrible job at being a media. nurturing the confusion instead of putting arguments above emotions. Terrible Job but it worked mostly because Remain was unable to compete. not that it lacked arguments, probably more because it lacked legitimacy

So I stayed quite. the last 2 days of campaign I decided to amplify some opinions in favor of and the fact that many many people in Europe are immigrants: one way or another in Europe we are all from somewhere else and we moved where we could afford to live,work and build.

That being said and back to the reason of this blog post, how did we arrive here ?

first some definition : EU in this blog post does not mean "Brussels" - here EU means the collective decision making process of 28 members states because we like or not, that's how EU works.

  • 1 EU geopolitcal enlargement at the cost of cohesion and social Europe.
  • 2 EU failed to recognize the Irish, Nederlands & France Vote on the European Constitution mutated into Lisbon Treaty - that opened the way for the European Fiscal Treaty & the harsh imposition of Austerity doctrine all across Europe. 
  • 3 EU role in the financial crisis of 2008 and the banking bailouts while imposing Austerity for citizens.
  • 4 EU complete inability to measure the impact of its economic policies managed to create huge distrust.
  • EU inability to re-invent itself & experiment new participatory democracy mechanism to bring more legitimacy and participation in the democractic process. 
  • 5 EU foreign non-policy regarding Saudi Arabia or Turkey & countless other dubious countries still considered as "partners" when these countries are acting clearly against EU values everyday but still are geopolitical partners because EU foreign policy is in fact proxified US foreign policy.
  • 6 EU disaster regarding the predictable Refugee Crisis. (you can't watch War in Syria & the region for 5 years without counting that at some point it will create a humanitarian refugees) situation that was completely predictable after 2 decades of disaster foreing policy.
  • 7 In light of today's it is interesting to compare how was considered and how is.

it's not easy to communicate about all these matters in one tweet but I tried anyway addressing the false perception portrayed by National Politicians that EU or Brussels is the faulty parameter here : 

 

1) EU enlargement was never done in a concise and precise manner, much less with the participation and "have a say" of the rest of the Members States, during Barroso time it is like the goal was to become the new empire without ever thinking about the consequences or the disruption opening too much too fast would create for the future of the European identity. I sincerely think this enlargement doctrine was serving US interests much more than European interests and at the end of the day, growing too fast too large is just going to work against Europe, it was a bad idea and still is a bad idea. Instead Europe should have forged concrete ties with Russia (that maybe could have avoided the whole Ukraine quagmire) and worked to enlarge itself with the soft-power of its reputation combined with concrete and reproductible steps to bring more equality between members states instead of this patchwork of everything. by following the US proxy foreign policy as blueprint to its enlargement position, EU pretty much recreated the conditions of a mini "cold-war" to start and Russia took the opportunity to play it's old regime tactics of deception and blatant provocation. a lot of people feoded to US foreign policy think : Russia started it, completely forgetting the abusive and provocative EU position of enlargement at any cost. 

2) When the EU constitution was voted and rejected by Ireland, Nederlands and France, EU institutions simply rebranded the whole project and passed it anyway, lead by the arrogant Barroso. to me this is the germ, the seed of the EU downfall. I even argue that we should come back to this point and do a lot of things differently. most people don't remember this part of the story but this moment in time was clearly the rise of the first organized Euroscepticism across Europe. the lack of democratic legitimacy started on this page of the EU history. 
this is when a lot people across Europe printed in their mind: this structure of institutions is not democratic, because it can bypass national referendum and move along with it's project. this is when EU lost a lot of citizen not necessarily against the whole Project. 

3) When the Financial crisis hit Europe in 2008 the only measure citizen noticed across Europe was to "save the banks" - banks responsible for the financial crisis in the first place. in 2011 with the rise of grassroots movements against Austerity Europe entered the ongoing phase we are now : it's decline. the very way the financial crisis was "handled" is an insult to EU values because it forged into national constitutions, harsh financial dictates that turned citizens against the very European Project. Greece is since then in a perpetual humanitarian state, for citizens across Europe it looked like a sadistic experiment soon followed by softer austerity experiments in Portugal, Spain and Italy. How much House evictions ? suicides ? famillies disbanded because they had to pay for the games of a financial and banking elite completely cut from the real economy & people's life. I remember EU doing assesment of Austerity measures impact AFTER imposing it, another absurd aspect of this bureaucracy. usually we should have impact assesment BEFORE imposing anything that will undermine fundamental human rights of european citizens. this is a fire burning under EU altar and it is going to keep burning and misused by the extreme-right until EU notice the alter is burning because of it's own path. own choices. 

4) Even when confronted to thousands of Protest each year, in Brussels nobody hear or is actually touched by the Protesters. it's like another world, divided by an invisible wall of disdain and patronising attitudes towars citizens of the like : citizens are sick of politics or sick of Europe because they don't understand it, we have to explain it better, blablablabla. In fact lobbies in Brussels have more power than any protest near the Schuman roundabout. Spain took the streets in 2011, in 2014 the same movement or parts of it launched Podemos, in a few month they will enter National Parliament while already having 5 MEP seats inside the European Parliament. It's very encouraging but its a micro experiment that concern mostly Spain even though traditional particracy should better listen and watch the wind changing before it is too late for the old political generation. 

5) Even since 2 decades ago, EU knows pretty well what "Saudi Arabia" is and what it isn't. we all know SA is meddling in all sorts of extremism and radical islam, we all know it's not a democracy, we all know fundamental rights of woman, migrants, workers and what not are systematically ignored if not blatantly and openly crucified before our very own eyes. but business as usual takes place between EU and Saudi Arabia, in fact it's a US best partner. Turkey is jailing journalists, shooting at refugees, migrants and even killing it's own Population: the Kurds but even like that, Turkey is one of the best EU partners regarding geopolitcal situation in the middle-east and now the EU-Turkey deal about regugees: while Turkey "handling" of this situation goes directly against all EU values you and I can count on. but still, "we have no choice" has they say. so basically if EU have no choice it will not hesitate working with a dictatorship at the conditions it allows EU to maintain or keep its interests in the mariage. principles? values ? human rights ? does not matter anymore !

6) the refugee crisis : everyone predicted it, nobody reacted to it. Ever since the begining of the Syrian wars Eu was pretty much following US steps (again) for it's foreign policy. the only good thing it did in the region was to pacify the relation with Iran. beside that, we pretty much watched another country empty it's weapons on it's citizens, and in fact we even supplied the weapons, arming "rebel groups" and so many "freedom fighters" that nobody can explain today what side they are on and who is fighting for the Syrian People anymore. in fact we probably sell wepaons to both sides of the conflict or amunitions and we all go to sleep everyday knowing that a huge percentage of thos killed by our weapons are Woman and Children and generally speaking civilians. but who cares ? how many millions death we have to witness abroad, far away, while still having the luxury to buy our breads before doing something ? before making Peace. Indefinite Wars create Refugees: it's all over war books. it's nothing new. we participated in those wars, first in Iraq, than Afganistan after 9/11-2001 and since than nobody can say the region of the greater middle-east got "better" with our native interventions or proxy interventions. in botch case we are only witnessing on our shores the seed we planted. and now we found a "deal" to let Turkey become a refugee camp ruled by a despot. in short we externalised our problems at our borders and we think that with a big fence and lot's of tents it will all be okey. we are wrong and the future will show it to Europe. 

7) Remember when Greece did it's own referendum ? remember how it was managed by "Brussels" ? remember how instead of taking this opportunity to bring more legitimacy to the whole Union by allowing Greece time to recover with decent human conditions to recover ? instead, Greece was sent back home like a bad kid avoiding home-schooling, by this action EU showed without a doubt that there is no way to change anything under current EU design. even myself, usually a big European supporter, I started to slide toward thinking that definitely "This Europe" was not meant for us, citizens of Europe. Now I'm watching how UK seems to have a far better treatment at "getting out" and since EU needs the City we're probably going to see this differential treatment going along and fine, because well, it's London, not Athens. 

So is this the Europe we want ? 

Europe was made to avoid Wars. Good this worked quite well. 

Europe wasn't made or designed to bring equality and fiscal or political cooperation between members states. this is only tools that are being "produced" now to allow EU institutions to react to ongoing issues. but instead of trying to fix an old patchwork I propose like others, a complete refoundation of the European Project. 

We have the technoology to allow mass participation, we could have more "integration" IF members states pushed by citizens want more harmony between wellfare states across Europe. we could have a totally redesigned Europe, Europe for the People, by the People. the only reason we are not getting it is most of the time Members States not ready to share power or to even loose power. Instead members states prefer the old school and dying way of "more sovereignity" while completely at the mercy of markets that give absolutely no importance at all to the sovereignity you might think to have and will put your "rating" down if they deem necessary without any democratic control. 

In short in my point of View we need a complete Refoundation : either toward regionalism (just look at the situation of Flanders, Scotland, Wales, ireland, Catalonia and what not in the future) or Federalism. 

no matter what we choose to be, nationalism is going backward. it's useless. it's a temporary fix that will not matter in 1 or 2 decades but the argument might help neo-fascist to take power or enter parliaments. 

Is that really what we want ?

 

 

Ricardo Mendes

Just installed Review plugin for @withknown, it seems really nice - will start to use it to review some products, books, movies try it : https://github.com/cleverdevil/Known-Reviews

Ricardo Mendes

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