Co-op that blocked sale of .org domain has plan to democratise large parts of Internet

by Leo Sammallahti
Marketing Officer, Coop Exchange

  

How .org was almost sold to private equity

Around 5% of all websites use the .org domain, with the most popular being Wikipedia. These websites represent around 6% of the top 1000 websites and 7% of the top 100 000 domains. The domain itself has been controlled by ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which is part of the non-profit Internet Society. In 2019 a private equity firm, Ethos capital, approached ICANN with an offer of buying the .org registrar for $1.6 billion.

As the deal seemed likely to pass, the opposition to the deal mobilised a massive campaign to stop it. ICANN received 3,252 comments, with only 6 in favour of the deal. Perhaps the most commonly cited criticism included the removal of the price cap. The price for .org domains had been capped at 9.93$/year since 2013, although registrants were allowed to freely sell them. Ethos would have got rid of the price cap, which raised concerns about a transfer of wealth from a large number of non-profits around the world to a single private equity firm. Concerns were also raised about censorship and selling off data.

Cooperative alternative to private equity

The campaigners proposed and set up an alternative – Cooperative Corporation of .ORG Registrants, democratically governed and owned by the registrants. It includes numerous heavyweights of the industry in its board – such as Katherine Maher, the head of Wikimedia (the parent organisation of Wikipedia) and Michael Roberts, the founding president of ICANN. One of the board members, William Woodcock has explained the structure:

– Every .org registrant has one vote when electing the board of directors. Whether it is Wikipedia or a local children’s football club, they both have an equal say.

– The surplus is distributed to the members proportionally. If the .org domain remains at 9.93$, and the CCOR makes a 4$ surplus as a result, someone with one .org domain gets 4$ back at the end of the year, while someone with 10 .org domains will get 40$.

– A bad actor could try to game the system by pretending to be multiple organisations, but it would be pointless. Even if elected to the board, they wouldn’t have any rights that non-board-members don’t have. The members’ rights to their share of the surplus are guaranteed under law, so the bad actor couldn’t, for instance, vote to pay themselves.

In May, the campaign succeeded in blocking the sale. It now remains to be seen whether the next step is taken to implement the cooperative ownership model proposed by the campaigners. This would lead to an explosive expansion of the platform cooperative movement, suddenly having 5% of all websites as part of it. The board elections of the cooperatives could also be an unprecedented exercise of global democracy, where millions of organisations around the world would use their voting rights to democratically shape the course of the future of internet. It might signal a move away from the trend of the internet being increasingly dominated by largely unaccountable, monopolistic corporations seeking to maximise their profits […]

Via Coop Exchange

The Petroleum Industry: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Plastic

Plastic Wars

PBS Frontline  (2020)

Film Review

This documentary reveals how the climate movement and the exponential growth of renewable energy has led the petroleum industry to shift their focus from fossil fuels to plastics production. At present they are investing tens of billions of dollars in new plants to transform gas and oil into plastics.

Meanwhile the plastics lobby still tries to shift responsibility for widespread plastic pollution pollution to consumers and local government (for their failure to recycle them). This despite the reality that only 10% of plastic can be economically recycled. Because the price of new plastic is so cheap, the vast majority of recycled plastic is far too expensive to compete.

Prior to watching this film, I had no idea the concept of plastic recycling originated with an industry lobby group known as the Plastics Council. They’re also responsible for the little recycling symbol stamped into the bottom of all plastic containers. Its purpose is to deliberately mislead consumers into believing the containers are recyclable.

Up until 2018, China accepted most of the plastics recycled from the industrial North. They, too, could only recycle 10% of them (the milk and soda containers). They burned the rest, greatly aggravating their deadly air pollution problems.

At present, Indonesia has replaced China as the major recipient of First World plastic waste. They convert about 10% of it into tiny pellets which are used to make new plastic. The rest is either burned or illegally dumped on empty fields.

Sixty percent of the plastics clogging up oceans and killing sea life originates from Asia.

 

28 million elective surgeries may be cancelled worldwide: how non-COVID-19 medical care is suffering

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This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Emma Charlton, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • 28 million elective surgeries across the globe may be cancelled during 12 weeks of peak disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Study indicates that each extra week of disruption is associated with 2.4 million cancellations.
  • 38% of global cancer surgery has been postponed or cancelled.
  • Backlog could take 45 weeks to clear.

COVID-19’s long-lasting impact on our health could include more than 28 million cancelled or postponed operations, creating a backlog that will take the best part of a year to clear. And the number could be even worse if lockdowns continue for longer, according to a new study.

Using data from surgeons in 359 hospitals across 71 countries, CovidSurg Collaborative researchers, including those from the University of Birmingham, created a statistical model to estimate the total number of cancelled elective surgeries during 12 weeks of peak disruption in 190 countries. Their result was 2,367,050 operations per week.

Elective surgery cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These numbers are likely to worsen for each additional week that the lockdown or restrictions continue, underscoring how COVID-19’s widespread scars on health go beyond the direct impact of the virus. The United Nations has already warned that pregnancy and birth services will probably suffer, and some mass vaccination campaigns have been temporarily suspended.

“Cancelling elective surgery at this scale will have substantial impact on patients and cumulative, potentially devastating consequences for health systems worldwide,” says Aneel Bhangu, a consultant surgeon and senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham.

“Delaying time-sensitive elective operations, such as cancer or transplant surgery, may lead to deteriorating health, worsening quality of life, and unnecessary deaths.”

via 28 million elective surgeries may be cancelled worldwide: how non-COVID-19 medical care is suffering — The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology – europeansting.com

EU admits “American-led system” nears its end

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By Paul Antonopoulos | May 26, 2020

European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell told a gathering of German ambassadors on Monday that “analysts have long talked about the end of an American-led system and the arrival of an Asian century. This is now happening in front of our eyes.” He said that the coronavirus pandemic could be the catalyst to shift power from West to East and that “pressure to choose sides is growing”  for the EU, before adding that the 27-nation bloc “should follow our own interests and values and avoid being instrumentalised by one or the other.”

Borrell said “we only have a chance if we deal with China with collective discipline,” noting that an upcoming EU-China summit this autumn could be an opportunity to do so. “We need a more robust strategy for China, which also requires better relations with the rest of democratic Asia.”

As China, India, Japan, Indonesia and Russia will become some of the world’s biggest economies by 2030, according to Standard Chartered Plc, the 21st century is known as the “Asian Century.” So, the EU has a serious decision to make on whether to continue its hostile approach towards Russia if it wishes to have more straight forward trade access to Asia. Putin has made incentives for colonists to populate the Far East of Russia to boost its small population of under seven million people who live close to China to fully and better engage in the “Asian Century” […]

 

via EU admitted “American-led system” nears its end

Coronavirus ‘disappearing’ so fast Oxford vaccine has ‘only 50% chance of working’

Professor Adrian Hill, director of Oxford University's Jenner Institute, says the vaccine trial could be thwarted by the decline in UK cases
Image: Professor Adrian Hill, director of Oxford University’s Jenner Institute

 

Sky News

There is only a 50% chance of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine working because cases in the UK are declining so fast, one of the scientists behind it has warned.

The University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group began developing a COVID-19 vaccine in January using a virus taken from chimpanzees.

But with the number of UK coronavirus cases dropping every day, there may not be enough people to test it on, according to the institute’s director Professor Adrian Hill.

He told The Sunday Telegraph: “It’s a race against the virus disappearing, and against time. We said earlier in the year that there was an 80% chance of developing an effective vaccine by September.

“But at the moment, there’s a 50% chance that we get no result at all. We’re in the bizarre position of wanting COVID to stay, at least for a little while” […]

Via https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-disappearing-so-fast-oxford-vaccine-has-only-50-chance-of-working-11993739

California May Soon Mandate Uber & Lyft Shift To Electric Vehicles

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Uber Lyft Drivers.com

California wants more EVs for Uber and Lyft, and may have a plan to make that happen. People who drive for Uber and Lyft often heavily depend on that income, whether it is secondary or primary. The demand for these services has been much lower lately due to the current pandemic, which is hurting them.

For people like me, without a car, I used Uber often until the pandemic struck and I stayed home and started using Instacart to have my groceries delivered. I chose this method because just like with Uber and Lyft, these drivers depend on their tips and income.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, though, California believes now is the time for Uber and Lyft to get their act together environmentally. The state is planning to mandate a phased shift to electric vehicles for transportation network companies. In a public workshop held last week (via a conference call), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) talked about how it is going to do this.

The Big Problem with Uber & Lyft

Carbon Footprint

The main issue Uber & Lyft have is that transportation networks such as these contribute about 1% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions for the light-duty vehicle sector. That amount is growing rapidly — or was until the state went into lockdown. The state also noted that transportation in general contributes to half of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. 70% of that comes from light-duty vehicles.

You may think, “well, people are going to be driving anyway,” but there are a few ways that Uber and Lyft add to emissions rather than simply replacing them.

Deadhead Miles

The state released some data in 2019: 39% of ride-hailing trips are “deadhead miles.” This term refers to miles driven by the driver returning to or from the trip. This creates 50% more greenhouse-gas emissions than the average car trip. You wouldn’t drive to work and then back home in the morning and then repeat that in the evening […]

via California May Soon Mandate Uber & Lyft Shift To Electric Vehicles — Uber Lyft Drivers.com

The end of plastic? New plant-based bottles will degrade in a year

 

A worker sorts through plastic bottles at the recycling plant near Bangkok in Thailand.
A mound of plastic bottles at a recycling plant near Bangkok in Thailand. Around 300 million tonnes of plastic is made every year and most of it is not recycled. Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPA

 

Carlsberg and Coca-Cola back pioneering project to make ‘all-plant’ drinks bottles

Beer and soft drinks could soon be sipped from “all-plant” bottles under new plans to turn sustainably grown crops into plastic in partnership with major beverage makers.

A biochemicals company in the Netherlands hopes to kickstart investment in a pioneering project that hopes to make plastics from plant sugars rather than fossil fuels […]

Via https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/16/the-end-of-plastic-new-plant-based-bottles-will-degrade-in-a-year