In our modern setting, the need for information is as basic as the need for food, clothing and shelter. By extension, the World Wide Web or Internet is a basic human need. That is why we admire a project such as this.
In an effort to buck the expensive rates of unreliable corporate telecom companies, a community in Athens, Greece, has created its own private Internet.
Built from a network of wireless rooftop antennas, the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network (AWMN) now has more than 1,000 members. Data moves “through” the AWMN mesh up to 30 times faster than it does on the telecom-provided Internet.
According to Mother Jones, this off-the-grid community has become so popular in Athens and on nearby islands that it has developed its own Craigslist-esque classifieds service as well as blogs and an internal search engine.
“It’s like a whole other Web,” AWMN user Joseph Bonicioli told the magazine. “It’s our network, but it’s also a playground.”
The AWMN began in 2002 in response to the poor Internet service provided by traditional telecommunications companies in Athens. However, the past few years have illustrated another use for these citizen-run meshes: preserving the democratic values of the Internet.
As the Internet has become a ubiquitous presence in day-to-day life, governments around the world have sought to control it. In 2011 for example, when former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak found out that protesters were organizing on Facebook, he commanded the country’s Internet service providers to shut down access, denying 17 million Egyptians access to the Web for days.
Later that year in the U.S., the city of San Francisco temporarily shut down cellphone service in its transit system to stop a protest.
As Bonicioli told Mother Jones, “When you run your own network, nobody can shut it down.”
These DIY meshes are also used to provide Internet in places major telecom companies can’t—or won’t—reach. For example, one was constructed last year in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook after Hurricane Sandy knocked out resident’s access to the networks of major Internet service providers.
Similarly, Guifi, the largest mesh in the world, was built to address spotty Internet service in rural Spain. It has over 21,000 members.
Meshes have taken on new relevance in the wake of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks about the agency’s massive Internet surveillance programs.
It is estimated (albeit roughly) that the NSA touches as much as half of the world’s Internet communications each day. The agency gains access to much of this information through partnerships with telecom companies that allow the agency to install splitters on their fibre optic Internet cables. Privately run meshes would deny the NSA—and other government intelligence agencies around the world—this access point to Internet data.
As the New America Foundation’s Sascha Meinrath told Mother Jones, “We’re making infrastructure for anyone who wants to control their own network.”
Wouldn’t it be cool to have such network in Guinarona?
And how about boosting food production without farm inputs? Except radio waves, that is.
A GROUNDBREAKING new Irish technology which could be the greatest breakthrough in agriculture since the plough is set to change the face of modern farming forever.
The technology – radio wave energised water – massively increases the output of vegetables and fruits by up to 30 per cent.
Not only are the plants much bigger but they are largely disease-resistant, meaning huge savings in expensive fertilisers and harmful pesticides.
Extensively tested in Ireland and several other countries, the inexpensive water treatment technology is now being rolled out across the world. The technology makes GM obsolete and also addresses the whole global warmingfear that there is too much carbon dioxide in the air, by simply converting excess CO2 into edible plant mass.
Developed by Professor Austin Darragh and Dr JJ Leahy of Limerick University’s Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, the hardy eco-friendly technology uses nothing but the natural elements of sunlight, water, carbon dioxide in the air and the minerals in the soil.
The compact biscuit-tin-sized technology, which is called Vi-Aqua – meaning ‘life water’ – converts 24 volts of electricity into a radio signal, which charges up the water via an antennae. Once the device is attached to a hose, thousands of gallons of water can be charged up in less than 10 minutes at a cost of pennies.
Speaking about the new technology, Professor Austin Darragh says:
“Vi-Aqua makes water wetter and introduces atmospheric nitrogen into the water in the form of nitrates – so it is free fertiliser. It also produces the miracle of rejuvenating the soil by invigorating soil-based micro-organisms.
“We can also make water savings of at least 30 per cent. When the water is treated it becomes a better solvent, which means it can carry more nutrients to the leaves and stem and percolate better down into the soil to nourish the roots, which in turn produces a better root system. Hence the reason you need less water and why you end up with larger and hardier crops,” explains Professor Austin Darragh.
Extensively tested in Warrenstown Agricultural College, the technology is being hailed as a modern day miracle.
Harold Lawler is Ireland’s foremost Agricultural Specialist. As Director of the National Botanical Gardens and former Master of Agricultural Science at Warrenstown Agricultural College, he has carried out more research on Vi-Aqua growth-enhancing technology than perhaps anyone else in the world:
The above are clearly tops in our wish list for good old Guinarona.
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