Dam(n) | Someone Call Saint Paul

"Reduce water usage"

“Reduce water usage”

Nassif writes:

Today, 27 August, is the anniversary of a low point in the annals of water and waste management in São Paulo.  For the first time since it began to function as a system of five integrated dams – Paraitinga, Ponte Nova, Biritiba-Mirim, Jundiaí e Taiaçupeba – the Upper Tietê River system  was  at 16,4% of full capacity, a benchmark achieved on December 6, 2003. Between then and now we have suffered the worst water shortage in the history of São Paulo. At the time, it seems, the Paraitinga and Biritiba-Mirim were public works in the process of finalization, and were to function as reserve capacity in the process of priming the system.

In the context of that crisis, these two dam were perceived as an important solution to avoiding having a significant portion of the population — nearly 5 million inhabitants — run once again the risk of full  exhaustion. At the time, Governor Geraldo Alckmin himself also prayed for rain, which increased far above average in the early months of 2004 and relieved this system and the Cantareira system as well. At the end of this year, the Upper Tietê fell back to some 25% of its capacity, sending a yellow signal to the PSDB administration. Once again, San Pedro was generous and provided a rainy season considered to be exceptional.


Saint Peter is the patron saint of rain and is said to favor one or the the other political party — if only because the blessed rainy season is also the season of human degradation and Schadenfreude in its coverage of impoverished flood survivors.

This time, however, the water shortage seems more serious – and this it not just because we have a single media outlet that has assigned the problem to the top headline, which will make it difficult to overcome. This, of course, because we are in late August now. The negative records we cited above each occurred in December — which meant that at time, when the rains were late in coming, aggravating the dramatic aspect of the problems. In our present case, the possibility of seeing this phenomenon repeat itself is considerable, based on the estimates of climatologists previously published in this space.

It will be difficult to keep faith with Saint Peter when the gizmo shown above — a thingamajig analogous to the boot the cops put on a car with too many tickets — achieves wide publicity.

Restricted-use water taps prevent the consumption of water by unauthorized persons in densely populated locations such as clubs, parks and schools, and aid in reminding users to turn the faucet all the way off. These tools control the consumption of water, but only when necessary.

It sounds like a measure planned and partially executed , leaving behind the impression that the state government does not really care what consumers think. And this in an election year.

Restricting use is done in one of two ways: : with the installation of padlocks that block the faucet from being turned, or else with a key similar to the “bow tie” key of an ordinary faucet.

The padlock goes  for  R$ 14.90 a R$ 26.90. In the case of the mobile key, prices range from R$ 50.90 aR$  118.90, Globo says.

A trickle of water from a faucet results in a wast of 442 liters a day, according to Sabsesp [the state-owned water and sewage company.] Left completely open, a garden hose consumers 40 liters a minute;

Source: Como economizar água | da Rede Globo.

Massive infrastructure problems and the fortunes of the center-right: It takes you pack to 2002, when Brazil was slammed by cascading electricity outages just as Prof. Cardoso was running (successfully) for president.

No Globo

Screenshot from 2014-08-28 07:08:32

Prezado leitor, queira nos desculpar, mas estamos com o acesso ao site suspenso. Tente novamente mais tarde.

«Dear reader, excuse us, but access to our Web site has been suspended. Try again later»

The Web portal G1 is still online.

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O Pais | El Pais


Above: The network neighborhood of brasil.elpais.com.

Below, the same graph visualised with Gepi.

Screenshot from 2014-08-09 19:40:45


. Screenshot from 2014-08-09 20:50:57

[ ...]

Screenshot from 2014-08-09 20:50:02



Screenshot from 2014-08-09 20:49:05



O Brasil | ElPais







Rio | Gangbusters 2.0

Motorcycle taxi bears the  logo of the League of Justice -- led by a city councilman and a state deputy

Motorcycle taxi bears the logo of the League of Justice — led until recently by a city councilman and a state deputy

Source: O Globo.

Officers from DRACO, the special investigations unit of the anti-organized crime bureau, are carrying out an operation in various housing tracts of the federal subsidy program “My Home My Life” in an effort to dismantle a criminal gang which engages in illegal real estate transactions related to the federal housing program. …

According to police reports, 27 arrest warrants and 84 search and seizure warrants were issued. Among those sought in the case are nine military police, a state judicial police officer, and an agent of the state secretary of prisons.

As of 7:00 a.m., two suspects had been arrested: A man identified only as Ademir and military police second lieutenant João Henrique Barreto of the 40th Military Police Battalion. Ademir was found at home, in the Ferrara Condominium on Caboclos Highway. He is the condo’s manager [doorman] and is suspected of collecting illegal taxes for a militia that operates in the region. Police captain Luiz Augusto Braga, DRACO commander and coordinator of the operation, noted that Ademir was not a police officer, but is considered to be the third-ranking member of the group in that he collected protection money from other collectors.

Barreto, meanwhile, was in charge of taking and transmitting orders from former military police Ricardo Teixeira da Cruz, aka Batman, who is serving time in a federal prison in Campo Grande, and “Erotic Toni” Ângelo Souza de Aguiar, arrested in 2013. The police say the militia ha operated in Ferrara since 2011. O Globo had already denounced the scheme.

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Virtual Breeding Environments | The Incubator Metaphor

Screenshot from 2014-08-02 16:13:59

The WAN-IFRA Members Directory is the epitome of the catalogue or roster method of organizing actions and communicating across cultural, political-juridical or institutional barriers.

The organization — possibly the most influential of its kind in the world — can hook you up with Icelandic journalists for expert commentary on the aurora borealis, for which in return you can assist them with navigating the epileptic strobosphere of Times Square.

Under what sort of labor relations do Finnish journalists do ther work?

Seriously, though. The WAN-IFRA directory reproduce direct links one hop away from a profile page for what it claims to be 3,000+ news organizations worldwide. The numbers hold up. My Web crawler says so!


I wish I could illustrate these themes, but I ran into bit of a catastrophic data loss that taught me what I should already know –

rm -r xyz

can be a very bad thing, so watch out –

In the meantime, I have been working on building up new caches of data to be stored and autopsied using the primitive

wget -rH --tries 3

on sites that score high on certain formal and informal social indicators — some of them objective, others subjective, mainly lifelike constructs of “innovators” from the poster child and personalities industry.

Screenshot from 2014-08-02 15:25:10

Very simple text editors — Gedit, LibreOffice Writer with a handy expanded menu of regular expression search — can be used to format that data into workable shape.


At the moment, I am idly working on downloading a set of seeder data emanating from sources, personal and institutional, that interest me and that have a lot in common among themselves, ranging from Rebecca MacKinnon — who recently left the Berkman Center for a somewhat opaque think tank call oti.newamerica.net — to the ongoing activities of the USAID veteran Ethan and the EFF.

I wish I had the talent to talk a million bucks out of Congress and then just walk away with a matching donation from He Whose Name We Do Not Speak, without the door hitting me on the way out.

So anyway, while the infernal machine sits here being rejected by robots.txt, over and over and over, I have been doing some offline reading.

Games Without Frontiers

I have long believed that the principal characteristic of the Virtual Organization and its Virtual Organization Breeding Environments — oddly, it is never pointed out that Think Tank City comprises what may readily be called a sprawling landscape of huge and amorphic VBEs — is defined by the problem of the conflict of interests.

Virtual Organization Breeding Environments are the repository of talents in need of an outlet, but they come at a cost — especially because you have to have the equivalent of Navy Seals spun up and ready for action at all times.

But I will let you read the paper yourself — Social Requirements for Virtual Organization Breeding Environments –by the Polish scholars Jan Świerzowicz and Willy Picard, who write,

The creation of Virtual Breeding Environments (VBE) is a topic which has received too little attention: in most former works, the existence of the VBE is either assumed, or is considered as the result of the voluntary, participatory gathering of a set of candidate companies. In this paper, the creation of a VBE by a third authority is considered: chambers of commerce, as organizations whose goal is to promote and facilitate business interests and activity in the community, could be good candidates for exogenous VBE creators.

In this respect, VBEs  also offer excellent opportunities to companies pursuing keiretsu or zaibatsu strategies.

Having heard a lot of discussion recently about the “multistakeholder” governance proposals aired at a recent confab at NIC.br, and in a year of Hiroshima-scale data processing meltdowns, …

During VBE planning, there is a need to specify social requirements for the VBE. In this paper, SNA metrics are proposed as a way for a VBE planner to express social requirements for a VBE to be created. Additionally, a set of social requirements for VO planners, VO brokers, and VBE members are proposed.

According to Świerzowicz and PIcard:

According to World Chambers Network [4], there are over 14,000 registered Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI) which in turn represent over 40 million member businesses worldwide. CoC, as organizations whose goal is to promote and facilitate business interests and activity in the community, could be good candidates for exogenous VBE creators.

Equally, participation in the social sphere so as to be seen promoting and facilitating the lives of communities is one of the best ideas ever idealized by Edward Bernays: It created, terrorized and protected that sleepy middle earth  between Mao and Stalin and gleaming in the eyes of Che.

As it happens, the CoC of São Paulo state, FIESP, might be considered a world-class, or better a meta-regional VBE, and a frequent combatant in the debate over private-public partnerships and the state-market dyad. I should study the structure of this political highly connected institution and its interface with civil society — the civil society of persons — industrial and commercial entities — the civil society of legal persons — and especially with the political.

Fiesp president Paulo Skaf recently stated his intent to run for governor under the banner of the PMDB.

Screenshot from 2014-08-02 17:24:34

After sifting through a lot of corporate network data, the epitome of the new VBE seems to be a brainchild of Microsoft — Global Foundation Services.

Global Foundation Services (GFS) is the engine that powers Microsoft’s cloud services. We focus on smart growth, high reliability, operational excellence, cost-effectiveness, environmental sustainability, and a trustworthy online experience for customers and partners worldwide.

Multistakeholder policy discussion in which the multitude have all worked the same cocktail parties for years, in different capacities.  I suppose boundary issues symbolize that is what we now call efficiency. MSNBC? Has no one ever noticed the creeping control over the hyperspace frontier, much as Pulitzer and Hearst, J.P. Morgan, the railway barons and and Edison and Westinghouse co-opeted — «co-opetion» is the neologism of the Oughts, they say — in what were whimsically termed free markets and are now called by Black Blockers …

There is a point to be made here about the selection of biological metaphors for these complex systems.

Screenshot from 2014-08-03 18:44:35

Admirable Internaut of the Day

Screenshot from 2014-08-01 18:07:59

Visual Loop is a data visualisation shop that feeds infographics to, among other clients, the Universo Online and Folha de S. Paulo portal (in bright red, below).

Screenshot from 2014-08-01 14:07:13

That is it for now.

Gephi Exercise | GNU Horizons

Screenshot from 2014-07-29 13:53:27

An extremely interesting feature of the SNA package gephi is the ability to work on a single network in several workspaces at the same time.

Using Gephi, for instance, we might analyze what social network data we have for Gnu.org — a likely place to start given its own stated principles and procedures. Nothing like targeting networks of the networked as practiced by networks people to see how that networking is done.

The analysis includes sorting nodes into communities or clusters according to a modularity algorithm that I will not pretend to understand — Mrvar has an excellent tutorial — making this somewhat useless as a tutorial, but useful to me as a benchmark.


The illustration shown here is the result of taking a network of [x] nodes and [x] edges, crawled and stored by the WIRE bot in the .net format of Pajek,  and applying Force Atlas — which, like some of the circular layouts, tends to sort nodes into a maplike configuration, tending to segregate nodes into non-overlapping territories.


In this case, I calculated the modularity statistic with its default value and was left with what always looks to me like a human brain, with its modules, folds, nodes and nodules and so on.

Screenshot from 2014-07-29 17:19:05

Next, I created a filter based on modularity clusters.

Using this filter, I created three modules, moved each to its own workspace, and applied the Concentric Circular Layout to them one by one.


That is, I filtered out clusters 1 and 2 and then applied Circular Layout to cluster 3, as shown above.

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