Happy Yalda 2022

Happy winter solstice! Did you know that Yalda is the Persian’s winter solstice? Yalda means “birth,” and the Yalda festival is at least 2500 years old. It symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness.

You celebrate Yalda by wearing something red, lighting candles, staying up all night, snacking on pomegranates and roasted nuts, drinking red wine, reading poetry, and reflecting on your existence within cycles of nature and living as one of the many life forms.

Yalda is one of the many ancient traditions that the Islamic invaders and occupiers who colonized Persia 1400 years ago failed to exterminate from people’s lives. As you might know, Iranian women and youth have been uprising against the theocracy of the Islamic regime in their country, and during this Yalda, they are continuing to fight on the streets. So while celebrating Winter Solstice, please keep them in your thoughts.

Happy Yalda, and may light be in your lives!

It’s time for the progressives to leave the Twittersphere

Update: so TheConversation.com just published this article: Canada’s public broadcaster should use Mastodon to provide a social media service

So the CBC could use the Mastodon platform and build its own server to provide access to Canadians who want social media without the reliance upon predominantly American corporations. Ideally, this could be provided globally as an important service in an age when platform interests and national interests have increasingly aligned.

My original post:

I think the progressive politicians, news agencies, celebrities, scientists, and pro-democracy organizations must leave Twitter and instead use federated and distributed technologies such as Mastodon or similar technologies to reconnect where no billionaire can do a hostile takeover owning all the data, infrastructure, and algorithms.

Chief twit, Elong Musk, can now sell years of user data to any entity worldwide to pay off his loans. If any democratic government tries to regulate him, he can rig the algorithms against them, so only the political parties in his favour would win elections. If people leave, that will put EM in a difficult financial position, and the entire network will turn into a right-wing echo chamber that will hopefully collapse.

Global news networks shouldn’t be owned by one private company. Ideally, we would want a federated and distributed social network managed by democratically elected bodies in each region, similar to city/school/park councils who can moderate their instances using their local IT resources and following their local rules. The technologies already exist and are open source, but it takes social and political will to protect our democracy.

Women are leading the fight against the Islamic regime in Iran

It’s been 16 days since the uprise against the Islamic regime in Iran when Mahsa Gina Amini was killed at the hands of the Islamic morality police. Women are leading the fight this time by cutting their hair and burning their hijabs!

My thoughts are with the brave women and people of Iran as they are upraising against the theocracy and patriarchy while facing bullets, imprisonment, and torture. I hope one day, secularism, feminism, and social democracy become the foundations of their society. 

Cruelty-Free TP

So I was at the Shoppers Drugmart picking up some TP, and I usually buy the Green brand. Some lady standing next to me asked if they were any good, and I replied that they were cruelty-free because the other ones were made of orphaned kittens.

I think she almost believed me!

The Gentrification of the Internet by Jessa Lingel

Chances are, when you go on the Internet, you are only accessing a handful of social media and publications most of the time. Those born in the late 1900s remember visiting many online communities and websites that used relatively basic tools to publish content and make communication between community members possible. But today, most of the content we consume is on mega-giant social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok.

According to the social scientist Dr. Jessa Lingel who researches digital culture and technological distributions of power, these multi-billion dollar companies have gentrified the Internet into a handful of platforms with consistent user experiences and powerful publishing tools that caretakers of smaller communities and blogs can’t afford to reproduce. As a result, users have migrated to mainstream social media platforms to stay in touch with their existing connections and access a much larger audience while using their polished and better publishing tools.

Dr. Lingel spends a considerable portion of the book describing how neighbourhoods become gentrified in real life and then compares how a similar process happens in the cyberspaces by for-profit social media platforms that generate profit through surveillance capitalism. I recommend this book to people who work towards creating a more diverse and equitable internet.