Tag Archives: Russia

Drips 4 January 2010

Happy New Year to my two readers. Cruft for the first Monday of the teenies:

  • Ban This Game, an entertaining-looking game which lands a few kidney punches on the authoritarian and self-defeating approach to Internet monitoring being taken by the Australian government. Devs, please make it a flash game that we don’t have to install! Via [socialissuegames] mailing list.
  • On a related note, who knew there was a Serious Games movement? If you did, and didn’t say, you’re now dead to me. Anyhow, I’ll write more about this down the line, since I think it is a medium that is both underused and misused in civil society and humanitarian work. Here’s a nice compendium of games about human rights issues.
  • Since the 00’ies seems to have been the decade of the list, the UN has released a list of 60 ways that it makes a difference, though it might have spread better had it been a funky visualisation. Gadflys might find it amusing to compiles a list of 60 ways the UN has been indifferent this year, to counter this rather self-congratulatory exercise.
  • In related news, the seemingly obscure UN Directorate of Ethics is seeking a new Director (link probably dead after 15 January 2010), with a gross salary of around £150,000 (D2 + adjustment). On her/his reading list should be the enormous number of audit, procurement review and disciplinary reports from UN bodies wrung out onto WikiLeaks.
  • A terrific article in openDemocracy by Grigory Dikov about the cases submitted from Russia that the European Court for Human Rights has rejected: “So we see a paradox: Russian citizens write to the Court en masse, yet do not understand the Court is unlikely to be able to help. The Court, on the other hand, devotes enormous resources towards processing the flow of applications, the vast majority of which are doomed to failure. Many argue that the Court has become a victim of its own success. It could well be a good thing were the Court to become less popular, and consequently better able to concentrate on the issues for which it was created”. The ECHR’s raw case management statistics are online (PDF – large-ish), and make for quite interesting reading: “In 2008 49,850 applications were allocated to a judicial formation, an overall increase of 20% compared with 2007 (41,650). 38,800 of these were identified as Committee cases likely to be declared inadmissible (an increase of 16% in relation to 2007). 11,050 were identified as Chamber cases (an increase of 36%).” Given 29% of cases are pending for over three years, it seems the efforts made about communicating the ECHR’s mandate effectively need a serious rethink. 

That’s your fill. Now go to work slackers.

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Drip Drips 18 December 2009

Wrung from the day’s rags:

  1. Silo but Deadly, an article about IT in the financial services sector, and it’s potential contribution to the creditopalypse. Global IT spend in the financial services sector is USD503 billion. However:  “IT systems have led to a “deskilling of the risk process”, says SteveO’Sullivan of Accenture, a consultancy. At one end of the credit chain, bank employees were not given the proper incentives to review on-screen loan-application forms (a big British bank once had a surprising number of “astronauts” applying for loans because the job description was the first choice on a pull-down menu, says a former employee). At the other end, computer-generated risk numbers gave executives a false sense of security.” Bad workmen blaming their tools?
  2. The US Department of Defence’s Information Assurance framework is comprised of and contains reference to 195 policy documents, most of which you can now view through this glorious misuse of the portable document format. Sir Humphrey would be very at home. (Via Jeff Carr)
  3. Filipo Spagnoli continues his interesting series of iconic human rights violations with the killing of Neda Agha during anti-government protests in Tehran earlier this year. The harrowing video of her death has been left on YouTube. More archival footage of her killing and the follow up on The Hub.
  4. OpenDemocracy interviews Ludmila Alexeyeva of the Moscow Helsinki Group about the origins of the human rights movement in Russia: “The Chronicle of Current Events first appeared in 1968, by which time we were already bursting with material. It was only then that we realised we’d become a movement. Until then we thought that we were just a circle of friends who were worried because people close to us had been sentenced. Everything happened smoothly and imperceptibly.” That’s sometimes how it happens.