The CSS Blog Network

Explore the Newspaper Crisis: An Interactive Map

Do newspapers have a future in the digital age? What strategies could help them stay afloat? The quest for smart survival models has begun.

Take this example from Puerto Rico: The Daily Sun is now exploring whether cooperatives can function as lifesavers in the media crisis. But are nonprofit employee cooperatives really a potential answer to failing newspapers? Maybe, if a newspaper like The Daily Sun can find a niche market and the necessary local support. In this form it could even survive without a digital component.

The Daily Sun’s idea could be added to the interactive map, “What next for newspapers?”- offered by The Independent. The collaborative project is streamlined too; similar ideas on how to save the newpaper business are weaved together “into a single rich, transparent structure,” so you can quickly glimpse and assess a wide range of opinions.

Improve the Planet with the Click of a Mouse?

 

Do you know the impact of your ecological footprint?

Uncover your ecological footprint / photo: Vu Bui, flickr

Looking for another reason to pass on that second glass of wine with dinner?

Turns out indulging in more Merlot not only increases your caloric intake, but your global footprint as well.

I learned this from a website I stumbled across the other day – Consumer Consequences – that offers a new twist on measuring your global ecological footprint. It builds on the methodology behind the Ecological Footprint Quiz, which “estimates the amount of land and water area required to sustain your consumption patterns and absorb your wastes on an annual basis.” Consumer Consequences builds on this idea by helping a user answer the question, How many ‘Earths’ would be needed to sustain life if everyone lived like me?

The site maintained by American Public Media assesses the total number of ‘global acres’ (biologically productive space on earth) each part of your life consumes and projects how many planets would be needed if everyone consumed like you.

The quiz asks a series of questions to help evaluate consumption in six areas: home (how and where you live); energy use (electricity used in the home); trash disposal; transportation; food and drink; and shopping (use of goods and services).

Turns out even though I live in a small apartment, am a diligent recycler who buys organic and doesn’t own a car, it would still take the biologically productive space of three earths if everyone lived like me.

The site also offers tips on how to reduce your ecological footprint and influence environmental policy.

Now if only sustainable living were as simple as taking the quiz…

 

The Politics of Oil Prices, the Price of Oil Politics

US$147/B One Year On: Political Winners and Strategic Losers

US$147/B One Year On: Political Winners and Strategic Losers

In 2009, the oil price fell sharply after a five-year honeymoon. You’d have expected it to take a number of political casualties with it. In a new analysis by the Center for Security Studies (CSS), Matthew Hulbert explains why it’s not been the case. Looking forward, he thinks that consumers will pretty likely face another price crunch as investment lags and demand rises. But he concludes with a warning to Russia, Venezuela and co:

“Some producers will no doubt see this as a ‘strategic victory’: but unless they have learned the lessons of 2008/9 to diversify their economic bases beyond narrow resource wealth, once the next bubble bursts, they will no doubt need to batten down the political hatches once more.”

Matthew is the CSS’s energy expert; he used to work in the City of London, advising on energy markets and political risk.

The paper is available for download here.

ISN Weekly Theme: Technology and Democracy

Tweet for the peeps / photo: G20Voice, flickr

Tweet for the peeps / photo: G20Voice, flickr

Twitter had a lead role in the Iranian uprising after the contested elections last month. But that wasn’t the first time a popular form of communication proved vital in a democracy movement. This week we’re focusing on the impact platforms such as Twitter, Facebook – and Web technology overall – have on democracy movements and the relationships between governments and their constituents.

Here’s a quick rundown of just a few website highlights:

One Government’s Jackpot is Another Government’s Vice

Rolling the dice to roll in the dough / photo: Maximaximax, wikipedia

Rolling the dice to roll in the dough / photo: Maximaximax, wikipedia

Casinos count as one of the most recession-proof industries. They are also a convenient source of tax revenue for governments. That’s why many legislators tend to relax their moral reservations towards the “vice of gambling” and allow the re-opening of casinos to generate new government income.

Grappling with a gaping hole in its state budget, the Massachussetts legislature is seriously considering legalizing casino gambling in the state. The casino industry in the United States is even expected to keep struggling architects afloat, who are among the hardest hit by the recession. In fact, only the construction of churches seems to keep up with that of casinos.

Against all odds, the Russian government, which has been dealt a hard hand by the global economic downturn, is doing the exact opposite: As of today, casinos in Russia are outlawed.  It is the result of a law that seeks to “go all-in” with eradicating a vice that allegedly is widespread among the Russian people. The law is also designed to rein in an industry seen as a breeding ground for corruption and organized crime. From the new law, Russia expects a payoff in virtue rather than cash. Meanwhile, the Russian casino industry expects at least 350,000 job losses as a result of the shutdowns – in addition to the loss in revenue for the cash-strapped Russian state.

Alas, for hundreds of thousands of Russian casino industry employees, the game is over. Yet the ban’s effectiveness might be less certain than your survival in Russian roulette. The gambling industry is expected to go underground and thus more difficult to regulate and control. So will the ban ultimately help eradicate the vice of gambling? I wouldn’t bet on it.

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