“Surveillance, Software, and Academic Freedom” (selected presentation materials)


“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”

— U.S. Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (1906 – 1992)

Pharrell Williams: Freedom

Public Goods Game

“In a typical setup in experimental economics an experimenter endows e.g. six players with $10 each. The players are then offered to invest their money into a common pool knowing that the experimeter will triple the amount in the pool and distribute it equally among all participants irrespective of their contributions. If all players cooperate and contribute their $10, they will end up with $30 each. However, each player faces the temptation to defect and to free-ride on the other player’s contributions since each invested dollar yields only a return of 50 cents to the investor. Therefore the ‘rational’ and dominating solution is to defect and invest nothing. Consequentially, groups of rational players will forego the public good and are thus unable to increase their initial endowment. This leads to a deadlock in a state of mutual defection and economic stalemate.

“In a mathematical formulation, the payoffs for cooperators PC and defectors PD in a group of N interacting individuals are then given by

PD = (r nc c)/N

PC = PD – c

“where r denotes the multiplication factor of the public good, nc the number of cooperators in the group and c the cost of the cooperative contributions, i.e. the investments in the public good. Thus, the total value of the public good is given by the number of cooperators nc times their investment c and multiplied by r. From this total each player gets an equal share but cooperators have to additionally bear the costs of their contributions.

“Such public goods interactions are abundant in human and animal societies. Consider for example predator inspection behavior, alarm calls and group defense as well as health insurance, public transportation, the fight against crime or environmental issues, to name only a few. Fortunately, and undermining the basic rationality assumptions in economics, human subjects do not always follow the rational reasoning and, of course, fare much better by doing so. From a theoretical viewpoint, the reasons for this outcome are not fully understood but likely involve issues related to voluntary interactions or reward, punishment and reputation.

From http://www.univie.ac.at/virtuallabs/PublicGoods/index.html#pgg

Doing It Right

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

— John Robert Wooden, U.S. basketball coach (1910 – 2010)

Free/Libre Software

A short list of just some of the free/libre software I use regularly.

Software Function Platforms
Audacity Audio editor Linux, Mac, Windows
CSIPSimple IM, VOIP Android
DeDRM Digital lock remover Linux, Mac, Windows
Firefox Web browser Android, Linux, Mac, Windows
Gramps Genealogy Linux, Mac, Windows
HandBrake Video converter Linux, Mac, Windows
Inkscape Vector drawing tool Linux, Mac, Windows
Jitsi IM, VOIP Linux, Mac, Windows
KeeWeb Password wallet Linux, Mac, Windows
LibreOffice Office productivity: word processor, spreadsheet, graphics Android*, Linux, Mac, Windows
Shotwell Photo manager Linux
Suite CRM Contact manager Various web servers
Thunderbird Email client, Chat, RSS Reader Linux, Mac, Windows
TorBrowser Privacy-enhanced web browser Android, Linux, Mac, Windows
VLC Media player Android, Linux, Mac, Windows
WordPress Blog publishing manager Various web servers
XMind Mind mapping Linux, Mac, Windows
Zotero Citation manager Linux, Mac, Windows

Reflection Topics

The following are launch points for reflection on today’s topics.

Selected References


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