Emperor Babur laying a garden

A user’s vision of a libre, decentralised Internet

In order to make the Internet a freer, more decentralised, less oligarchical place, users should have full control on their online identity and this should be separate from other online services like email, instant messaging, microblogging, social networking etc. Online services, in turn, should be based on open standards, yes like good old email and Read more about A user’s vision of a libre, decentralised Internet[…]

Referendum costituzionale 2016: essere indecisi è paradossalmente normale

Essere confusi e non riuscire a scegliere tra il SI e il NO nel referendum di conferma della riforma costituzionale del 4 dicembre in Italia è normale perché la differenza tra gli effetti delle due opzioni sul funzionamento dell’ordinamento della Repubblica nel medio e lungo periodo è minima. O così dice il paradosso di Fredkin. Sul referendum Read more about Referendum costituzionale 2016: essere indecisi è paradossalmente normale[…]

Colombia: referendum, low turnout and activist minorities

After 52 years of civil war and four years of negotiations, a wafer thin minority of Colombian voters rejected the historical peace agreement with the FARC-EP guerrillas. If the president and his adviser were searching for popular legitimacy, they miscalculated. One decision in particular seems ill advised, the lowering of the minimum threshold of votes Read more about Colombia: referendum, low turnout and activist minorities[…]

Restorative Justice and Political Violence in Democratic Societies

Review of: Guido Bertagna, Adolfo Ceretti and Claudia Mazzucato (eds.), Il libro dell’incontro: vittime e responsabili della lotta armata a confronto. Milan: il Saggiatore, 2015, 466pp., ISBN: 9788842821458. [Lit.: The book of the encounter: victims and militants of the armed struggle face each others] A shorter version of this review has been published on the Read more about Restorative Justice and Political Violence in Democratic Societies[…]

Reading Halliday in Hollywood

Watching El Cid – Anthony Mann’s movie – half a century after its release in 1961 it gives an unmistakable sensation of déjà vu. The representations of yesterday’s villains, the black-clad, fanatical hordes ready to “sweep up from Africa” and conquer “first Spain, then Europe and the whole world” carry uncanny similarities with today’s arch-villains, the Read more about Reading Halliday in Hollywood[…]

Justice and security in inter-cultural Europe

Research report on the qualitative comparative analysis for the ALTERNATIVE project (FP7): “Developing alternative understandings of security and justice through restorative justice approaches in intercultural settings within democratic societies” (2012-2014) Read the full report (pdf) on the ALTERNATIVE project website ALTERNATIVE media platform (videos etc.) Executive summary The ALTERNATIVE project could be imagined as an Read more about Justice and security in inter-cultural Europe[…]

In-Court Securitising Speech-Acts. On the continuous need for re-securitisation of state security

The so-called ‘Copenhagen school’ of security studies has stirred the waters of international relations theory, and perhaps of social sciences in general, since the mid 1990s. It is defined by its trademark epistemological move, reflexively defining security – or rather securitisation – through a speech-act and its consequences (‘it doesn’t matter what security is, but Read more about In-Court Securitising Speech-Acts. On the continuous need for re-securitisation of state security[…]

Restorative Justice: an Easter semantic reflection

Restorative Justice (RJ) is a way of responding to criminal wrongdoing or more generally – and tentatively – to situations where acts of injustice harm people. It has been articulated as a new approach to justice which challenges the standard, retributive justice of the institutionalised system of courts and laws mainly on three grounds (I Read more about Restorative Justice: an Easter semantic reflection[…]

Who Won the European Parliament Elections? What happens when all votes are not counted equal (redux)

The new European Commission has just been announced by its President-elect, Jean-Claude Junker. Yes, elected. This is the qualifier that is already common currency among commentators. Inspired by the new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty the main European political groups have organized the electoral campaign for the European Parliament around the spitzenkandidaten, one (or two) Read more about Who Won the European Parliament Elections? What happens when all votes are not counted equal (redux)[…]

Information Security for Researchers (and Journalists)

Our information processing tools are an interconnected system: what can an investigative researcher do in order to secure data or protect sources? The TCIJ’s handbook has a few good tips. The handbook on Information Security for Journalists, by Silkie Carlo and Arjen Kamphuis, recently published by The Centre for Investigative Journalism (http://www.tcij.org/node/1016) is an important Read more about Information Security for Researchers (and Journalists)[…]

All Votes Are Not Counted Equal: A Proportional Cure for EU’s Democratic Deficit

The Lisbon Treaty assigns to each member state a number of seats in the European Parliament based more or less on the relative size of their populations. More for the less, actually. It is well known that small countries are over represented at Strasbourg/Brussels. Each MEP from, say, Malta or Luxemburg, represents around 70-80 thousand Read more about All Votes Are Not Counted Equal: A Proportional Cure for EU’s Democratic Deficit[…]

Police Civilization: how different countries call law enforcement and why it matters

To many people of liberal persuasion, the norm of our times, a ‘police state’ is one of the worst nightmares (unless it is a matter of national security, of course). What a change since the times when authors would express their admiration for the high civilization of a country saying that it was, literally,’ well Read more about Police Civilization: how different countries call law enforcement and why it matters[…]

Afghan steeds at the Qing court

Happy New Year of the Horse! Given my interest for Afghanistan I thought it fitting to celebrate the new Chinese year of the horse with these portraits of Afghan steeds, painted for the Qing emperor by the milanese Jesuit missionary artist Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shinin in pinyin) in the 18th century. Horse Yuekulai (lit. Moon-bone Steed) File:Horse Read more about Afghan steeds at the Qing court[…]