Internet Freedoms: Middle East & North Africa

The Open Net Initiative has released a 10-page report on internet filtering in the Middle East and North Africa (PDF version here; for questions and answers about the report, check the ONI blog here).

They conclude that “while not all countries in the Middle East and North Africa filter the Internet, censorship across the region is on the rise, and the scope and depth of filtering are increasing. Testing has revealed political filtering to be the common denominator across the region; however, social filtering is on the rise.”

In particular, “Bahrain, Iran, Syria and Tunisia have the strictest political filtering practices in the region. The majority of ONI-tested countries heavily filtering social content are in the Middle East and North Africa and consist of Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Yemen. A number of countries in the region also filter proxies and Internet tools.”

For a number of relevant links, check the library’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Web under Freedom of Information.

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Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 4:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Re Construction

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Popular Mechanics offers a fun little feature on the construction of Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and the moai of Easter Island in 3 Mysterious Builds: How Ancient Peoples Moved Monoliths. Be sure to see the fascinating video short on Wally Wallington’s efforts to replicate the construction of Stonehenge by hand – and alone.

Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

On Books, #11

It matters because the ability to read challenging books helps make one more independent-minded. It encourages a way of thinking that is not a product of the mass media. It gives one the ability to think for oneself and entertain contrary opinions, and the freedom from dependence on Hollywood for a view of the world.

The literary culture is the last bastion of the individualist. Our society, our culture, even our economy depend on preserving free-thinking dissidents. And there is nothing that works better to free a mind from cant and superstition than to engage with the ideas of the world’s greatest writers.

— Diane Ravitch

Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment