Sunday, December 25, 2011

Macedonia: Christmas Tree made from Plastic Bottles

Inspired by the example of Kaunas, Lithuania, Macedonian Twitter users made a Christmas tree from plastic bottles in Skopje City Park on December 25, to raise awareness about everyone's responsibility for the environment.

Дрим-тимот пред #елкамк -  on Twitpic
The tree and the team. Click for full size/uncut version.
Photo by Dimitar Atanasov.

Some of the action organizers used their blogs (Tamara Atanasoska, Dushica debarmaalka, Darjan Radenkovic, Jovana Tozija) as starting point for the quick social media campaign #елкамк. Elka is the Macedonian word for fir, the usual tree used for Winter Hollidays (actually, for the New Year's Celebration, and not for the local--Orthodox--Christmas, which falls on January 7, but that's another story) .


The tree remained in place during the night, and if the poor people that gather plastic for recycling from the streets and garbage dumpsters don't harvest it, the authors plan [mk] to properly dispose of it after the New Year.

Update: A photo gallery from the two days of the action. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

Macedonia: The Third Fruit by Ribaro

Video blogger Ribaro, who usually makes satirical mashups, published an "apolitical," "poetic," experimental film available in Macedonian and Russian. He wrote somewhat cryptically that the viewers can choose their third fruit, "under condition to eat lentil with someone else."

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Macedonian blogosphere in German media: Zeit Online

This article is also available in Macedonian
- на македонски на Блогерај: Македонската блогосфера во германски медиум: Цајт Онлајн
- на македонски на Блогспот: Македонската блогосфера во германски медиум: Цајт Онлајн

The influential German magazine Zeit published an article on the Macedonian blogosphere and media situation in general. I was quoted among other sources about the development on the blogosphere.
The article contains a link towards Global Voices post on hate speech between Macedonia and Bulgaria, which incited me to revisit it and to update the Twitter link for one of the sources. This was also done in the Spanish translation by Adriana Gutiérrez. The exchange caught the eye of Vnukot, who posted a critique to some aspects of the quoted text.

So, the article generated more feedback than can be supposed by just reading its comments section.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

News about Macedonia in English, Ver 0.5

A friend from abroad interested in Macedonia asked me to recommend local Twitter users who write in English for him to follow.

I could not identify many users from Macedonia who tweet in English only. Locals mostly use a mix of their own native language and English - which can be confusing for those who don't speak their native language.

(There are some expats who live in Macedonia that I know of: @Balkanalysis, @SamVaknin, @hschenker, and Macedonians who live abroad like @UZI9mmmm.)

Therefore, I set up a group account to filter and share such content and invited some like-minded friends to contribute with their editing too: @Macedonia_en.

Web sources in English about Macedonia are pretty scarce too. I'll list several with short introductions bellow, please contribute with your information if there are more.

There are but a few media outlets based in Macedonia that provide news in English:
International civil society or nonprofit initiatives:
CSOs from Macedonia:
  • Metamorphosis Foundation's website is fully available in Macedonian, English and Albanian. News are divided into two parts: the activities of the CSO, and news related to its area of interest - development of information society: human rights online, privacy & security, freedom of expression, citizen participation in policy-making, capacity building of the civil sector, inclusion and protection of disadvantaged groups... in Macedonia, and abroad. (@fmeta)
Several other NGOs also run regularly updated versions of their websites in English.

Please use the comments option to inform on other sources who actively publish online or tweet about Macedonia in English.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Action Day 2011: Food

This article is also available in Macedonian
- на македонски на Блогерај: Ден за блогерска акција: Храна
- на македонски на Блогспот: Ден за блогерска акција: Храна




As previously announced via Global Voices, today is Blog Action Day. Bloggers around the world are invited to join in and discuss about a topic with worldwide importance. This year the topic is food, in concert with World Food Day. On Twitter: @BlogActionDay and #BAD11.

It's not too late to write up a post about any aspect of food, from hunger to recepies. I volunteer to report for Global Voices about the participation of Macedonian bloggers. So far, according to the list of participants, three have signed up, and one has published a post:
More posts are appearing world over, for instance
For my part, here are some random photos taken today on the green market in Skopje, Macedonia, named Bunjakovec.




Thursday, October 13, 2011

USA: Computer Scientist Dennis Ritchie Dies

Computer science legend Dennis Ritchie died, leaving a lasting legacy of enormous possitive impetus to the global development in the last decades of the XX century.

According to Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing, the news was first made public by Rob Pike via Google+. She wrote:
He was the designer and original developer of the C programming language, and a central figure in the development of Unix. He spent much of his career at Bell Labs. He was awarded the Turing Award in 1983, and the National Medal of Technology in 1999.

“Ritchie's influence rivals Jobs's; it's just less visible,” James Grimmelman observed on Twitter. “His pointer has been cast to void *; his process has terminated with exit code 0.”

Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie
One of the few public photos of Dennis Ritchie (1941-2011). Source: Wikipedia (Public Domain)


Taxgedo used the words from Ritchie's seminal textbook The C Programming language to create a word cloud as a tribute, and wrote:
We lost a tech giant today. Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie, co-creator of Unix and the C programming language with Ken Thompson, has passed away at the age of 70. Ritchie has made a tremendous amount of contribution to the computer industry, directly and indirectly affecting (improving) the lives of most people in the world, whether you know it or not.
Andygoyap's comparison was even more explicit:
[Isaac Newton] once said he stood on the shoulders of giants. Dennis Ritchie was a giant on whose shoulders people like Steve Jobs stood on.
….
You don't know him? He is the Father of C, without him Operating Systems (Windows, Apple) wouldn't be here; Games, Programs, Apps on your Apple, Android, wouldn't exist. Many say he is the Father of Computer Science, He has so many achievements…
Readers who haven't had Programming 101 with some derivation of C as their first object-oriented programming language during their undergraduate studies might find it hard to grasp the influence of such a modest and private person, who did not flaunt his many achievments nor served as a business icon. For instance, most most modern operating systems such as GNU/Linux and Apple's Mac OS directly descend from UNIX, or that computers running UNIX or GNU/Linux basically provide the infrastructure for the Internet, either as servers or routers, or platforms for running applications like Google search.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Macedonia: Comics Workshops with Jamal Igle from DC Comics

This article is also available in Macedonian
- на македонски на Блогерај: Стрип-работилници со Џамал Игл во Скопје, Битола и Велес
- на македонски на Блогспот: Стрип-работилници со Џамал Игл во Скопје, Битола и Велес


American Corner network is organizing workshops with DC comics author Jamal Igle (@JamalIgle) in several places in Macedonia. This looks like a great opportunity to learn more about this art form. The first workshop was supposed to be in Skopje, and then  Makstripovi [mk] (forum/NGO dedicated to advancement of comics art) informed that there will be a workshop in Bitola, too.

So far, from what I've gathered the schedual is:
  • October 13, 5-6 pm. Mladinski kulturen centar, Skopje [mk] (Facebook event)
  • October 14, 12-1 pm. Dom na kultura, Bitola [mk]
  • October 14-16, probably Veles (according to Igle's blog)
More info: Dnevnik daily published an interview with Igle [mk], and the links above contain his illustrations and frontpages, like this one with Teen Titans.

PS
A Facebook event has been set up for the Veles activities (via Google+)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Greece: Baroque In Vogue Again – Literally

This article is also available in Macedonian
- на македонски на Блогерај: Грција: Барокот повторно во мода - буквално
- на македонски на Блогспот: Грција: Барокот повторно во мода - буквално

This blog's correspondents discovered rising interest about baroque in Macedonia's Southen Neighbor. The August edition of the Greek Vogue features an article entitled "Modern Baroque" about sunglasses in quasi-baroque style.


So far we could not determine whether this fashion trend owns its origin in the criteria of Macedonian government's tenders from Skopje 2014 project. The calls specifically included use of baroque style for the look and feel and the ornaments of the future ministry buildings, refurbished facades of existing buildings, and even garages [mk]. As confirmed by Anastas Vangeli in his study "Antique Present" [my unofficial translation of the title], if Macedonian leaders could learn and apply the antiquisation model for creation of new nationalism from the practice of the Greek state, maybe their fashion gurus could have acquired appreciation of baroque due to our influence.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

UNESCO Call for Young Bloggers (Trip to Paris)

This seems like good opportunity for young content creators. Please check the original UNESCO call for any further information, I am just passing the info and have no additional knowledge of the competition. 
 As part of the 7th Youth Forum, UNESCO will be offering five young journalists and bloggers the opportunity to participate in the Paris event. A young blogger from each of UNESCO’s five constituent regions (Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America & Latin America and the Caribbean) will be selected. General requirements for youth journalists and bloggers:
  • Be below 30 years of age,
  • To have journalism (online, print, photo, video, radio) and/or blogging experience, 

  • To have a working knowledge of English and/or French.

  • Knowledge of another of the six official United Nations languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) will be an asset.
The application deadline is Thursday, September 15, 2011.


Information received via Rising Voices

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Caligula - the original Scrooge McDuck

This article is also available in Macedonian
- на македонски на Блогспот:  Калигула - првобитниот Баја Патак

  
In his seminal work "The Twelve Caesars," Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus described the following behavior of ancient Roman Emperor Caligula:

But when his daughter was born, complaining of his narrow means, and no longer merely of the burdens of a ruler but of those of a father as well, he took up contributions for the girl's maintenance and dowry. He also made proclamation that he would receive New Year's gifts, and on the Kalends of January took his place in the entrance to the Palace, to clutch the coins which a throng of people of all classes showered on him by handfuls and lapfuls.Finally, seized with a mania for feeling the touch of money, he would often pour out huge piles of goldpieces in some open place, walk over them barefooted, and wallow in them for a long time with his whole body.
Of course, the later is signature behaviour for Scrooge McDuck, who loves to swim in money in his Money Bin.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Black Propaganda: An Example of Fueling Hate Against Soros

This article is also available in Macedonian
- на македонски на Блогерај: Црна пропаганда: Пример за градење омраза кон Сорос
- на македонски на Блогспот: Црна пропаганда: Пример за градење омраза кон Сорос

On July 11, 2011, people who follow the media and social networks' activity in Macedonia witnessed a discussion incited by the mini-campaign to taint the American businessman and philanthropist George Soros. Several media distributed a "news item" based on two lies:
  1. that the respectable newspaper Wall Street Journal published an article about Soros
  2. the quoted content of the "news" alleged that Soros sponsored the Kosovo War, had ties with the KLA and is now rewarded by opportunities to invest in some profitable mines there.
Again, as in the case of murder of Martin Neshkovski, the first line of defense against deception were the Twitter users. JankoL tweeted a comparison [mk] between the article in the online edition of Dnevnik daily and the original quoted text, which is clearly not from the Wall Street Journal newspaper, but is some sort of  comment by a reader with a Serbian name and surname from their forum.

I personally do not find the scandalous claims of this comment credible, because I know that Soros does not invest in countries where his foundations are active. Foundations that advocate the principles of open society, and oppose the principles of violence and war profiteering. Moreover, if a man of such a stature has been in any way involved in financing military operations more than a decade ago, something more substantial would have been revealed by now. It would have been a scandal of global proportions - an opportunity too good to miss for any of his many enemies, some of whom are media moguls.

All in all, it is clear that this is a disinformation aimed at domestic audience in Macedonia. It is useful to examine its spread, because people usually take for granted data from the media, and might think twice if they are aware of how information spreads and helps them form their opinions. It can be expected that, as in other cases, in a while public discussion participants would use this item as a reference or an argument.

The disinformation was first published by the Government-owned news agency MIA. News agencies function as services that distribute news to other media--their subscribers--like newspapers, television and radio stations. They mainly transmit short fact-based reports about events covered by their reporters, such as press conferences and statements by officials. If in this case there was no evil intent, then this is a case of gross incompetence, as the news item has not passed basic journalistic validity check. It equates an article in a well-known newspaper (abusing the credibility of that brand) with a comment by a de facto anonymous reader on a forum.

 diagram

During the afternoon of July 11, several media relayed the disinformation. I have no information whether this was done through some top-down command, or they simply used what was sent by an agency they thought they can trust. Each of the media from the following time-line might have their own reasons...:
  • 13:35 MIA
  • 13.54 SITEL
  • 14.10 Kurir
  • 15:06 Dnevik on-line
  • 15:49 MTV - Macedonian Televison (public service)
  • ~ 17:00 PlusInfo – the article was soon removed, probably they've read it twice over, or did a check after the Twitter reactions
  • MTV presented this item in the evening news too, and several other TV stations had it in a ticker
  • July 12 (the next day) - the news did not appear in the paper editions of daily newspapers - maybe they figured that such an outright lie which can get them a slander suit
  • 11:30 MK Fondovi website relayed the news, citing SITEL as an author.
Basic rule for any media would be to check any information they receive by consulting at least two independent sources, and to do everything possible within their powers to make sure it's accurate, before publishing. Imagine what would happen if journalists publish as news everything they hear or read, without checking - for instance some bloggers claim high political party officials are closeted homosexuals who promote homophobia in public to camouflage themselves, or that there are high commissions on the public works like the monuments - a money laundering schemes through cousins, that state offices are abused for personal gain... For a person to bear the title of journalist, and for a company to bear the title of professional media, they have to meet certain standards, related to the role in society media play, as protectors of democracy.

Let's assume there was no ill intent. Even without a despicable motive, these media acted unprofessionally. They did not check the information, they did not contact any other source (except MIA), they did not check the Wall Street Journal website where they would see that it is not an article but a reader comment, nor they have done the basic journalistic duty to seek comment by the persons and institutions mentioned in the article. On top of all this, they did not even inform that MIA was the source. All of them are unsigned, which by default means that the media claim authorship and responsibility for the news (in an ideal world).

AFAIK, none of the companies whose articles are linked above has published a retraction or an apology to the mentioned persons and institutions on account of (possibly unintentional) damage to their reputation, nor have they apologized to the readers for serving them a lie.

The issue is not whether any legal protection mechanism from defamation would be activated by the concerned parties. This is more about how these media build their relationships with their readers. Keywords: respect versus underestimation, truth versus mistrust.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Macedonia: Shakira Used for Local Political Propaganda

Several pro-government media from Macedonia revived an old Internet hoax about supposed Macedonian roots of global music star Shakira in order to provide more air time for a local politician.

In a seemingly coordinated effort on June 29-30, 2011, Sitel TV and Makedonija 24/Kurir virtually simultaneously relayed the "news" that at Shakira "dedicated her concert in Beirut to her father, who is half-Lebanese, half-Macedonia," that she will become a lobbyist for Macedonia, and that as UN goodwill ambassador she opened a summit in Israel, attended by Macedonian president Gjorge Ivanov.

While the unattributed and unsigned text of the announcements in various media is virtually identical, Sitel and Makedonija 24 used different video clips to illustrate it. There's a recording from Shakira's concert (no date) in which she says she dedicates it to her father, but it is the announcer's voice-over that adds the "information" about his Macedonian heritage. The claim about her being lobbyist remains totally unfounded, serves as reminder to the population about Government campaign claiming they invest much in lobbying efforts. The second section, intended to promote the president, contains number of his close-ups from other events. 

The "news" was retransmitted by number of portals and local agencies, and then the daily Utrinski Vesnik published an article [mk] on July 6, 2011. Entitled "Macedonian blood flows through Shakira's veins," they say they've confirmed the claim, because that information about Shakira's father can be found on several websites, including FoxNews and Madam Tussauds Hollywood (without links). 

This is at least the second time for Macedonian media to inspire joy and happiness about Macedonia's importance by claiming relation to Shakira and attempt to lure readers using the obviously huge interest about the pop-star. In 2006, spurred by article in Utrinski Vesnik, the portal Taratur provided links [mk] to several Shakira bios which include the tidbit about her Macedonian heritage, including FoxNews article from November 29, 2006, which seems to be the perpetual source of the rumor all along. It does not provide any references, nor does the like-minded bio on Madam Tussauds site.

However, on February 2, 2007, Vest daily debunked the claim in an article [mk, en] about an interview made with Shakira in Berlin. When asked about her Macedonian heritage, the Columbian pop star laughed and said it's not true, even though she would not mind to have such ancestry. The full interview was shown on Sitel TV. This article used a more benign form of nationalist spin, with the headline claiming that the singer "wants to be Macedonian."


Shakira by Wikipedia. Photo: Georges Biard, CC-BY-SA.


Macedonian-language version of this propaganda deconstruction attempt was published on the versions of this blog on Blogeraj & Blogspot.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Comics Trappers and American Revolutionary War

Long before Mel Gibson starred in the Patriot, comics readers from southern Europe learned to hate the despicable redcoats and root for the noble American revolutionaries. This upsurge of sympathy for the American independence was fueled by two comics-book series originated in Italy: The Great Blek and Commander Mark.

Both series depict guerrilla struggle against the British in terms very similar to the resistance movements against the Axis occupations of World War II, which made them instantly recognizable and appropriate for the kids in Italy, France, former Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey - their main markets. The comics expound the values of patriotism and personal heroism, which presumably resonated with nation-building efforts of the goverments of these countries during the second half of XX century. 

Iconic exchange between Blek and a redcoat:
"But, you are rebels!" - "No! We are patriots!"

It is highly probable that most Americans have no clue of the debt of gratitude they "owe" to a couple of trappers wearing fur hats with raccoon tails, and their quirky bands of companions. However, most of [male] former Yugoslavs growing up in the sixties, seventies and eighties know that:
  • The Great Blek or Blek the Rock (pronounced the same as Black, but presumably meaning golden hair in some native American dialect) - a tall, blond giant of a man used his fists and cunning, aided by Professor Occultis (who looks like proudly-overweight Ben Franklin from Ben and Me) and the kid Roddy. They cooperated with the Boston lawyer Connelly, who acted as liaison relaying messages from the resistance HQ.  
  • Commander Mark was more sophisticated in a swashbuckling sort of way - tall, dark, dashing - his main weapon was a rapier, and as sidekicks he had Mr. Bluff - a bald, bearded former pirate, Sorrowful Owl - native American chief-at-large (reminiscent of status of Chingachgook)  and grand-grand-son of medicine man, and Bluff's flea-infested dog Flock. Unlike Blek, Mark also had a fiancée, the lovely and blond Betty who tended to their home base - a fort on Lake Ontario. 
While most of the episodes of both series tended to follow familiar "Western" adventure patterns and had little connection to historical events of the American Revolution, occasionally a historical figure would pop-up, including General Washington.

Both comics were initiated by the comics author trio EsseGesse, who completed the whole Mark series (1966-1990), while Blek (from 1954) was turned into franchise and had numerous authors of various quality, often poor. During the eighties there was even a Yu-Blek series drawn and inked by local artists (mainly from Novi Sad and Belgrade), which besides comics spawned a sticker album.

Numerous ex-Yugoslav websites offer scanned versions of these comics, and in recent years Croatian and Serbian publishers have issued new paperback versions, sometimes with compilations of episodes.  The best Wikipedia articles about these comis are in Serbian (Veliki Blek) and Croatian (Komandant Mark).

If you feel like celebrating the Fourth of July in a cinematic sort of way, I would not recommend the jingoistic Mel Gibson interpretation from 2000, but Revolution with Al Pacino, "a film about a New York fur trapper during the American Revolutionary War" made in 1985.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Support Protests Against Police Brutality through Video-Clips

On Thursday 23rd June 2011, said:
please RT #protestiram YOUR CONTRIBUTION IS NEEDED:

Dear Friends,
as you might know, big things are going on in Skopje and the rest of Macedonia. After the brutal beating to death of the 22 year old Martin Neskoski by a police officer, and the failed attempt by the government to cover up the murder, people of all ethnic groups have taken to the streets and for almost three weeks now, carry on with the most significant civic rallies in the history of the country. We demand justice and responsibility, resignation of the minister of the police and the lying spokesperson, as well as a police reform that will bring the ruthless police brutality to an end. Put simply, we want to live free from fear.

The government has tried to silence the rallies via shameless media campaign that featured false claims, conspiracy theories and personal attacks of the people who take part in the protests, as well as staging so-called "counter-protests against the political abuse of the youth" organized by the ruling party (sic!). In the meantime, the responsible ones are still trying to cover-up as much as possible. They are trying to distract the public by carrying on with their national-populist policies. But we say NO PASSARAN! It was enough. Our slogan is "No More Silence!"

YET, WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Among other things, we are compiling videos of our supporters. Now we want to take it global. If you feel like joining our cause please do the following:

1) take a short video of yourself or your friends in which you will tell your name and preferably your location, and sound your support for our movement (Hi, I'm John from London and I support the protests against police brutality in Macedonia) - the video does not have to be longer than a few seconds (we won't mind longer videos though) - also, quality is not important as long as we can see and hear you - it can be taken by phone, webcam etc.

2) send the video to both of these email addresses: nieprotestirame@gmail.com | macedonianspring@gmail.com

--

What kind of phrases you can use in the video (of course you can come up with anything as long as it is not offensive):

"Stop police brutality"
"Fight police brutality"
"Police brutality must end"
"Speak up against police brutality"
"Violence might end"
"I ask for justice and responsibility"
"No more silence"
"Silence kills"
"Justice for Martin"
"I support the people of Macedonia in their demands"
"Macedonia, rise up!"
"I support the people of Macedonia rallying for justice"
"Every day!"
"Until they resign"
"Macedonia, don't give up!"
"In solidarity with the people of Macedonia rallying against police brutality"

etc.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!

you can follow the developments and find some information here:
http://www.protestira.me | vnukot.blogspot.com

a review of the events in Macedonia:
http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/blog/a-nameless-warrior-and-the-end-of-a-shameless-period

don't forget that the video, if you decide to take it, should be sent to BOTH of these email addresses:
nieprotestirame@gmail.com | macedonianspring@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Global Voices Posts about Macedonian Protests Against Police Brutality


This post is also available in Macedonian
- Блогерај: Глобал војсис за протестите против полициска бруталност во Македонија
- Блогспот: Глобал војсис за протестите против полициска бруталност во Македонија

This is an attempt to documents all the posts about the protests against police brutality in Macedonia that have appeared in various languages via Global Voices, starting with June 6, 2011.

English

Greek (Έλληνικά)


French (Français)

Spanish (Español)

Chinese (Traditional - 繁體中文)

Chinese (Simplified - 简体中文)

Hungarian (Magyar)

Malagasy

Bangla (বাংলা)

Portugues (Português)

Korean (한국어)

Macedonian (македонски)

Friday, May 06, 2011

Greece: Documentary Film "Debtocracy" Available in English

Debtocracy, a documentary film by Katerina Kitidi and Aris Hatzistefanou about the causes and possible solutions of the Greek debt crisis, can be viewed with English subtitles from today. It's distributed under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license and allegedly had over 1 million views so far. This “documentary produced by the audience” was filmed with only EUR 8.000 recuperated through small donations [gr] from individuals and trade unions. It contains comparisons with the cases of Argentina and Ecuador.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Very Different Survey Results: Telephone vs Personal In-Home

This post also available in Macedonian:
македонски @ Блогерај: Анкети со мноогу различни резултати: телефонски наспроти теренски
македонски @ Блогспот: Анкети со мноогу различни резултати: телефонски наспроти теренски


A current discussion on Twiter is based on a question by @banekoma:
#howcome [mk] 2 surveys with completely different results :)
1. Survey: VMRO-DPMNE persuasivelly ahead of SDSM [mk, 28% : 12%, Kurir]
2. Survey: VMRO-DPMNE 22% : SDSM 20% [Press 24]
#onlyinmk
[mk]
Assuming that both surveys were honest, they still can yield different results because the first was a telephone survey, and the second, as far as I know, was a personal in home survey.

Telephone surveys are conducted via fixed telephone network(s). In Macedonia, maintaining a fixed phone line is a luxury for some social strata. After some relatively inexpensive prepaid mobile options became available, poorer citizens renounced their fixed phone numbers on a massive scale. According to the Enlargement Countries Monitoring Report by Cullen International (Dec 2010), published on the website of the Agency of Electronic Communications, fixed telephony in Macedonia has a negative "growth" rate. In January 2005 there were 29.21 fixed phone lines per 100 inhabitants, which dropped to 20.56 in January 2010 - almost by a third.

Allegedly, this trend is especially present in more rural areas. Therefore, a survey based on calling people via fixed telephone would not accurately reflect the general opinions, unless it contains additional mechanisms to provide a representative sample of the whole population. Just doing a telephone survey with the same number of people as an in-house is simply not enough, because it would omit representatives of people who (no longer) own a fixed telephone. If the survey designers did not take this into consideration, their results will deviate from reality. During the 2009 Presidential Elections there were instances when some politicians who were oriented toward the rural population "surprised" with a better vote count than the surveys predicted

Also, there's a difference in the level of ease of the surveyed people depending on the method. Probably there's a precise psychological formula on how to relax the subject, but I think that when someone gets a telephone call he's more aware that someone could relate his personal data (telephone number leading to name and address) with their political orientation and would respond more carefully. Due to politicized nature of our society and the real influences on personal and family well-being, probably a portion of the future voters would decline to respond, or would say they are undecided, or would say they'd vote for an option they think would look best if checked by someone who they fear.

Unfortunatelly the website of the Institute for Sociological, Political and Juridical Research presents no data on this survey with explanations of the methodology. It seems that the quoted Institute Dimitrija Chupovski has no website at all. There's a Facebook page [mk] with that name which has a free Gmail as e-mail contact address, which does not contribute to building trust. Anyone can open such a page in literally 4 minutes, which does not help its credibility.

During the same discussion, pointed [mk] an example of a famous U.S.A. survey which failed due to non-representative sample, even though it covered an enormous percent of the total population.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

UNESCO World Heritage Sites List

This post also available in:
македонски @ Блогерај: Листата на УНЕСКО за културно наследство
македонски @ Блогспот: Листата на УНЕСКО за културно наследство


 Browsing through TargetMap service I stumbled upon a map of UNESCO World Heritage Sites by Country. (I was also testing the option to embed the code into blogs posted on various platforms - works on Wordpress and Blogspot.)




Considering our vanity, it would be useful to compare Macedonia (1 site) with the wealth of other countries.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The works of Vito Volterra and F. Scott Fitzgerald enter the public domain

This post also available in:
English @ Metamorphosis: The Works of Vito Volterra and F. Scott Fitzgerald enter the public domain
македонски @
- Блогерај: Делата на Вито Волтера и Ф. Скот Фицџералд влегуваат во јавниот домен
- Метаморфозис: Делата на Вито Волтера и Ф. Скот Фицџералд влегуваат во јавниот домен
- Блогспот: Делата на Вито Волтера и Ф. Скот Фицџералд влегуваат во јавниот домен
Shqip @ Metamorfozis: Veprat e Vito Volterës dhe F. Skot Ficxheraldit hyjnë në domenin publik



One of the events marking the Public Domain Day on a European level was organized by the NEXA Center for Internet & Society at the Polytechnic University of Turin on January 22, 2011.

The topic of the event was the importance of the entry into the public domain of works by two authors who had deceased in 1940: scientist Vito Volterra and writer Francis Scott Fitzgerald.

According to copyright laws in both Italy and the United States, 70 years after the death of the author, the author’s work is being “returned” for public use, and the heirs or rights holders are no longer able to limit the use of the work. For example, now anyone can republish the book "The Great Gatsby", to publish a new translation, or make a new film based on it, without needing to seek permission or pay any royalties to the family of the writer.



Public_domain1


The Public Domain Day event is intended to allow the public to identify all the works that have become fully available during the previous year, in order to allow rapid cultural development. Advocates of the free culture movement believe that no work can be created without the author "borrowing" elements from "his" or from the world’s culture, so they also consider the termination of restrictions for free use by other people as a "return" of the works.





Prof. Juan Carlos de Martin, coordinator of the COMMUNIA network within which the Public Domain Day was established believes that the first celebration in Italy is very important because...
"...The public domain is essential for our cultural and economic life. Unfortunately people do not know what it is and why it is important, which is why we organized this celebration - to tell people what the public domain actually is – the works that you can use freely. In order to make it more tangible, we selected a couple of authors... and we told people about their life and work. We helped people realize that now they can use these beautiful works in any way they want ...We are planning to organize these celebrations every year to increase the awareness about the public domain."
During the celebration in Turin, Primavera De Filippi, representative of the Open Knowledge Foundation, with a masters’ degree on copyright in the digital environment, made the following statement:
“It is important to promote the public domain, to inform and sensibilize the population to the richness of European cultural heritage. The public domain day serves as a reminder that, every year, a whole new range of cultural works becomes available to the public for use and re-use. These works represent the basis of our common culture and an input for the production of new culture”.
Vito Volterra PhD. (1860-1940) was an Italian mathematician and physicist known for his contributions to mathematical biology and integral calculations, as well as a fighter against fascism. In 1931, he was one of the 12 professors out of a total of 1,250 who refused to give the obligatory oath of loyalty to the regime of Mussolini.

Writer and playwright Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) is best known for his book "The Great Gatsby" (1925) considered to be a classic of American literature. It was chosen as one of the hundred best books of the twentieth century and has a great impact on popular culture and through other media, especially the Robert Redford film from 1974. An example of this influence is also the fact that there is a pizzeria in the town of Radovis called "Gatsby".

The public domain is not explicitly defined as a special condition in the Macedonian legal system, but it is indirectly defined as the termination of copyright validity. As in most of the other member countries of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the termination takes effect automatically 70 years after the author’s death.

Unfortunately, the volume of works by modern Macedonian authors deceased 70 years ago is relatively modest, but as time passes by there are more and more possibilities. For example, the public use of the works of Koco Racin, the founder of the contemporary Macedonian language poetry will be possible in 2013.

As part of the efforts for spreading free culture, the Metamorphosis Foundation seeks to define the public domain in the legal system of Macedonia as a concept and develop mechanisms for greater legal availability of the contents. One option is the entry of all contents created with public money in the public domain, such as the products of public services and results of scientific research, as well as culture projects supported by the state. These efforts are consistent with the activities of the COMMUNIA network, whose founders include the Metamorphosis Foundation, working in this field on a European level.

Metamorphosis is also an advocate of the Creative Commons movement, offering legal tools - licenses, tailored to the national legislation. With these "agreements for non-exclusive copyright transfer" the individual authors are transferring part of their material rights to the public under certain conditions. One of the conditions is the obligatory attribution of the source, which provides additional promotion, particularly on the internet. One of the users of these licenses is the world's largest encyclopedia - Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Napoleon Bonaparte in Skopje?!

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македонски на Блогерај · Наполеон во Скопје?!


Autumn issue of Croatia Airlines in-flight magazine has an article on Skopje. Some of the history data are pretty puzzling.

The feature on Skopje, one of the destinations covered by the Croatian state airline, is available online in Croatian and English in the Autumn 2010 issue, pg 106-116. Most of it refers to Mother Theresa and the consequences of the 1963 earthquake. The photos don't look too fresh, even though the text mentions some more recent buildings.


The rest of the article is devoted to city's history. I got an impression that the author received a briefing from an overly enthusiastic source, someone with a burning desire to accentuate the city's importance over the centuries, with little interest for the truth. For instance...
  • "Until 1453, the city was the seat of Turkish Sultans."
  • "Napoleon himself choose the trade route through Skopje, a melting pot of cultures and religions, on his travels to the Middle East."
Napoleon indeed lead a Middle East campaign in 1798, but his route was over sea to Egypt, then over land to Syria, and then back to Egypt with sea voyage back to France. The impact of his passing through Skopje in either direction would have considerable changed history, as it would imply the destruction of the Ottoman Empire.

Still, my biggest objection is about the following claim from the article:
Prayer calls still resound from the slender mosque minarets which tower above the Carsi [Old Bazaar], and remind everybody of the city's multicultural past.
As if our present is not multicultural! And as if there are no functioning mosques with minarets elsewhere in the city in which about one third of the inhabitants consider themselves Muslim.

PS
The illustration was made using two Public Domain works as basis: the painting by Jean-Antoine Gros "Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul, Reviewing his Troops after the Battle of Marengo" and an old photograph of the Stone Bridge.