Archive for March, 2023|Monthly archive page

I will be in Stellenboch, South Africa for a few days for the @4digitaldignity workshop

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2023 at 11:49

I am a bit neglecting the blog, but at least I am working on all my other pet projects and reading a lot. Besides, there is more travel, and I love it. Tonight I am flying to South Africa to attend a workshop. I follow Prof. Udupa’s work and am so happy to be part of her new project. The focus will be on private messaging apps like Whatsapp. I have studied a bit, but I hope to do more work after receiving feedback from the attending scholars and their cases.

I have visited Cape Town before, but I missed seeing Stellenboch. Now it is time to see this beautiful campus town and wineries around. Of course, I will be online and following developments in Turkey.

More on the workshop here.


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Macron’s government survives no-confidence vote as protests continue #Europe agenda

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2023 at 12:19

Ahead of his appearance, he reportedly told representatives of his party at the Elysée Palace there would be no change of course. He ruled out a reshuffle of the government, a dissolution of parliament or any other dramatic move.

Fellow student Marie said they were protesting “because we have been abandoned, because we have been ignored, because it is a government that doesn’t care about us, it mocks us”.

France pension protests: Crowd clashes with police over government reform by decree

A second night of unrest grips France after the government pushed through pension changes without a vote.

If these are voted through, the government falls. That is a theoretical possibility now, but unlikely, because it would mean the far-right, the left and much of the conservative opposition all coming together.

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Hmmm, Z-Library is back in an unblockable version

In Uncategorized on March 21, 2023 at 15:29

Chased, prosecuted, and sanctioned, Z-Library has not yet said its last word. Over the past year, the pirate library has endured numerous lawsuits and attacks around the world. Not enough to kill this website, which quietly reappeared this weekend.

Pirate Libraries Remain Popular Among Academics, Research Finds

By offering free access to millions of ‘paywalled’ research papers, Sci-Hub is often described as “The Pirate Bay of Science”.

The site is used by researchers from all over the world, to acquire papers they otherwise have a hard time accessing. For some, Sci-Hub is essential for their work.

Major academic publishers such as Elsevier, Wiley, and American Chemical Society, view this rogue research library as a direct threat to their business model. This has resulted in several lawsuits, including two that were won by publishers through default judgments in U.S. courts.

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Erdoğan lifts veto on Finland’s Nato application but not Sweden…

In Uncategorized on March 18, 2023 at 21:14

  • Finland’s parliament has already approved joining Nato, but the bill would need to be signed into law by the president within three months, setting a deadline on how long it needs to wait.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has lifted his veto on Finland’s application to join Nato, a move that strengthens the west’s ability to withstand any future Russian threat across the Baltic Sea but leaves Sweden’s parallel bid for Nato membership unresolved.

After a choreographed meeting with the Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö, in Ankara, Erdoğan said he would recommend to the Turkish parliament that it vote to back Finland’s application to join, becoming the 31st member of the alliance. He said he hoped the vote would happen before the Turkish elections in May.

Finland says Nato membership incomplete without Sweden, as Turkey lifts veto – video

Article | Tending the garden: Secretary Blinken’s visit to Turkey and Greece

  • In an attempt to open doors and reconfirm trust with Washington’s regional allies, Secretary of State Blinken is visiting Turkey and Greece to listen, tell truth to power in Ankara, recognize the friendship with Athens, and be ready to make progress with both countries.

Memorandum of understanding on common policies (January 30, 2023)

Mavi Boncuk | CHP led “Memorandum of Understanding on Common Policies” have more than 2,300 promises, goals, policies under 75 sub-themes. Not one method or strategy to implement any one of them was even hinted of mentioned. They must win the parliament on top of that.



Turkey summons nine Western ambassadors over security alerts – Reuters

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, August 21, 2019. Ahmet Bolat/Pool via REUTERS/File

President Erdoğan’s increasingly hostile stance towards Nato and democratic principles can no longer go unpunished

That Turkey is a “vital strategic ally” of the west is the sort of truism on which people such as Joe Biden and Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary general, are raised. Yet what if the old saw no longer holds true? What if Turkey’s leader, exploiting this notion, betrays western interests in a pretence of partnership? Should not that leader be treated as a liability, a threat – even ostracised as an enemy?

Finland still hopes to join Nato together with Sweden, Finland’s foreign minister has said, after the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, remarked that Ankara could accept Helsinki’s bid without its Nordic neighbour.

“Our strong desire in Finland has been and still is to join Nato together with Sweden,” Pekka Haavisto told reporters in Helsinki, adding: “Our position remains the same.”


Originally published on Global Voices


Image by
Element5 Digital. Free to use under Unsplash License.

This year marks the 100th year since the founding of the Republic of Turkey. May 14 of this year will also mark Turkey’s highly-anticipated general election. Pundits who have been watching the country’s political turmoil brought by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) describe the upcoming May vote as crucial — or as Bobby Ghosh described in his recent Bloomberg piece, “the most important election of 2023.” It is a choice between democracy, equality, the rule of law, and secularism and everything that stands against these values — authoritarian policies, lack of freedoms, and a growing influence of religion over the state.

As he faces a tough fight for re-election, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has been raising fresh objections to Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership bids.

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Dammit! “‘70 pct of buildings in #Istanbul not quake resistant’

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2023 at 13:04

Some 70 percent of buildings in Istanbul are not earthquake resistant, while about 90,000 buildings need to be demolished and rebuilt, a geoscientist has stated.

Following the 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes that shook the southern provinces and claimed more than 45,960 lives, a possible major quake in Istanbul has come back to the agenda.

Providing information on buildings quality in Istanbul, geoscientist Okan Tüysüz from Istanbul Technical University reminded that approximately 1.2 million houses are located in the metropole.

Some 70 percent of them are not earthquake resistant, Tüysüz noted, adding that nearly 90,000 buildings in the city should be either demolished and rebuilt, or strengthened.

Thousands of İstanbulites request earthquake inspection after Maraş quakes, says official

Photo: AA

Click to read the article in Turkish

The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) has received 76,000 applications for building inspections for an earthquake, an official said yesterday (February 23).

Since the powerful Maraş earthquakes on February 6, there has been a significant increase in the number of applications, said Özlem Tut, who heads the municipality’s earthquake risk management department.

Is it sensible, safe or even good taste to visit Turkey now?’ A local guide offers advice

In my own case the earthquakes occurred in theweek that I was to lead a winter tour of Istanbul and Cappadocia. Prior to the disaster

Toys thrown to pitch by Besiktas fans for children affected by Turkey earthquake – video

Thousands of teddy bears and other stuffed toys were thrown on to the pitch during a match in Istanbul between Besiktas and Antalyaspor

Photo: AA

Click to read the article in Turkish

President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked for people’s forgiveness in Hatay, southern Turkey, after the massive earthquakes on February 6.

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It is official. Elections on May 14 as Türkiye’s government extends grip on independent media

In Uncategorized on March 12, 2023 at 17:29

Turkey will hold the presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced.

A presidential decree concerning the decision will be published in the Official Gazette tomorrow, the president said at a press conference in Ankara, the capital.

36 parties qualify to run in upcoming elections

  • ➤In Türkiye, classic media capture was largely completed in 2018 when the Doǧan media group was sold to the government-aligned Demirören media group providing near dominance of the media landscape.

➤On 13 October, the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye adopted a bill aimed at combating disinformation, consisting of some 40 articles amending the Internet Law, the Press Law, and the Turkish Penal Code. Entered into force on 18 October, the law now punishes with one to three years in prison anyone found guilty of “deliberately publishing disinformation and false information” intended to arouse fear or cause panic, to endanger the country’s internal or external security, public order and the health of Turkish society. These penalties can be doubled in case of publication from an anonymous account, by a person hiding his/her identity, or by any other person acting on behalf of a criminal organization. The law also expands restrictions on social media first passed in 2020, making it easier for the Turkish authorities to remove content from the internet. It also scaled up the powers against social media platforms to force them to remove content or face massive fines (up to 3% of global revenue), advertising bans and bandwidth throttling.”

Istanbul lays bare Turkey’s electoral fault lines – POLITICO

In a country still reeling from last month’s devastating earthquake, these words from Istanbul’s Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu highlight how the disaster now .

İYİ Party leader returning to Table of Six after mayors’ visit

Akşener’s decision comes after mayors of İstanbul and Ankara visited her to persuade her to return to the six-party alliance.
İmamoğlu and Yavaş have visited the İYİ Party headquarters as the five other opposition leaders are meeting to announce their presidential candidate.

‘The internet’s sewer’: why Turkey blocked its most popular social site

Launched on the eve of the millennium, Turkey’s most popular homegrown social media website has weathered lawsuits, criticism from the highest levels of government and even death threats directed at one of its founders. A simple editable online dictionary turned national obsession, Ekşi Sözlük has for more than two decades spurred its own biting form of social satire while providing a rare haven for free expression on the Turkish internet.

Click to read the article in Turkish

An access ban imposed on Ekşi Sözlük, one of the most popular websites in Türkiye, has been lifted, the CEO of the platform has announced.

Racist attacks on Kurdish football team during match sparks outrage

Click to read the article in Turkish (1) (2) (3)

Players of Amedspor, a football team based in the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır, were targeted in racist attacks ahead of and during yesterday’s (March 5) game against Bursaspor.

Will This Earthquake Be Erdogan’s Undoing?

With Fingerprints, DNA and Photos, Turkey Seeks Families of the Missing

Quake death toll nears 48,000 in Turkey, 6,000 in Syria

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This made my day: “Why metalheads are happier people?

In Uncategorized on March 12, 2023 at 13:19

Music makes us happy. Millions of people can agree on that. But heavy metal? A genre that is often described as deafening and aggressive, how is can that make people happy? Are the headbanging, beer-drinking and blackclad metal fans even happier than other people? Surely, that can’t be.But psychologist Nico Rose argues the contrary. In his book “Hard, Heavy and Happy” he describes the effects of heavy metal on body, mind and soul. He also explains how what heavy metal opponents often call “noise” helps cope with anxiety and depression. On this episode of Arts Unveiled, we will explain how the notorious festival venue of Wacken became a sanctuary for metalheads’ well-being and how the heavy metal crowd has now even managed to win over the quiet-loving inhabitants of the tranquil village in northern Germany. Heavy Metal becomes Happy Metal. – With hard rock music to a happier life.

00:00 Intro: Why metalheads are happier people 00:22 Reason 1: Metal fans have a strong sense of community 03:39 Reason 2: Metal provides an outlet for stress and anger 06:24 Reason 3: Metal leads to feelings of joy and empowerment 08:19 Outro: The power of heavy metal


Summarized by Tubetldr: 

The Positive Impact of Heavy Metal on Mental Health

Heavy metal music has a long-standing reputation as an aggressive genre of music, but it turns out that metalheads are some of the happiest people around. Research has proven that listening to heavy metal can have a positive effect on one’s mental health.

Why Metalheads are Happy

  • They feel part of one big community
  • Heavy metal music makes its own fans happy
  • It can make other people happy too

In conclusion, heavy metal has a positive effect on mental health and can even make other people happy. Metalheads feel a strong sense of community and that contributes to their happiness.

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Scandal at BBC #GarylinekerSpeaksForMe #IStandWithGaryLineker #IStandWithGary

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2023 at 23:44

  • The UK this week announced details of a new law that would prevent asylum seekers, who arrive in small boats from across the Channel, from claiming asylum.
Support pours in for former England captain Gary Lineker, removed by BBC over tweets on UK government’s refugee policy.

Using satellite imagery to assess the damage in Ukraine


The Economist combined two satellite imagery sources, one that estimates fire events and one that estimates building damage, to assess the extent of damage in Ukraine:

Both approaches have weaknesses. NASA’s firms cannot see through cloud cover, a particular problem in winter. sar can pick up damage even through clouds, but is much less sensitive to changes outside of urban areas. But by combining the two datasets, we can form a fuller picture of the war. Our study shows that rather than being limited to a few big offensives and grinding battles, the war has left a brutal mark on large swathes of Ukraine. Fighting has reached 14% of municipalities, and damaged nearly half the built-up area in the hardest-hit cities.



When Venice was way under water a decade ago, we posted about it here on Open Culture. By that time, the City of Canals was supposed to have been protected by MOSE, a $7 billion flood-control system not actually completed until 2021. But a drought struck the following year, and what afflicts Venice right now isn’t an excess of water but a lack of it. “Weeks of dry winter weather have raised concerns that Italy could face another drought after last summer’s emergency,” reports Reuters, “with the Alps having received less than half of their normal snowfall.”

Rail workers across the country are striking following Tuesday’s deadly collision.

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WOKE at work. “What Lund University (@lunduniversity) Did to Umut Özkirimli

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2023 at 13:29


What Lund University Did to Umut Özkirimli


In its treatment of Umut, Lund University, acted as a law unto itself.

1) It denied him a fair workplace investigation and provided “information liable to expose [him] to the contempt of others” (Swedish Criminal Code, Ch. 5) by issuing the report of its “investigation”, an unappealable document which isneither “a punishment or a disciplinary measure”, thus leaving him exposed to a systematic campaign of online harassment and violence while still employed by the university, to the extent that his lawyer had to inform the Swedish Security Service, SÄPO. This non-“punishment or disciplinary measure”, was used by Dinç to get the Turkish state to prosecute Umut, and the university shared related material with third parties, including a Turkish online news platform.

2) Christofer Edling (Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences) and Andréa Björk (Human Resources Manager of this faculty) contributed to the deterioration of Umut’s mental health (to the point of his becoming suicidal), by bullying him and encouraging fellow employees to ostracise him. The so-called “psycho-social investigation” by Margaretha Brundin of OMNIA Utvecklingskonsulter KB was an extrajudicial mock trial, and itself defamatory since it claimed, on the basis of zero evidence, that Umut was “stalking” Dinç —a crime in Sweden—despite several police reports to the contrary.

3) Here are some aspects of this hatchet job: (i) he wasn’t informed about the content and nature of the allegations, so was denied the right to defend himself; (ii) materials weren’t shared with him, his union or legal representatives during or after the investigation; (iii) he was bullied into attending interviews with Brundin without his union representative or lawyer; (iv) the interviews and final meeting weren’t recorded; (v) the evidence he submitted was ignored; (vi) the faculty made no allowance for the circumstances of Luca’s terminal illness, which compromised Umut’s ability to defend himself, mentally as well as physically, for he was commuting between Lund and Barcelona where Luca was receiving treatment; (vii) Brundin didn’t mention the pressure to step down from the FIRE project although Umut formally submitted a copy of the written threat on two separate occasions.

4) Lund University withheld 86 pages of documents considered in the “psycho-social investigation” and denied their existence for over four years. The faculty only sent his lawyers thirteen pages. However, when T24, a Turkish online news platform with 1.7 million followers, published these “non-existent” documents (which included private conversations and messages) in seven articles between 21 October and 12 December 2021, they learned how many pages were involved. When Umut’s lawyer asked Lund University whether it had the missing documents, Björk (email, 28 October 2021), claimed that no such documents existed. Yet, the Turkish public prosecutor’s office stated that, “there is an envelope sent by Lund University to, and this envelope contains a file which includes material related to the investigation conducted by the university and private conversations” between Umut and Dinç. It also includes an email exchange between Björk and the author of these articles. Finally, in November 2021, Björk admitted to Umut’s lawyer that the university had the files.

The whole piece is here

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This semester the focus at my MED 512 course is “Generative AI”

In Uncategorized on March 10, 2023 at 12:29

As I noted before, every semester, I choose a new topic to focus on in my Media Studies graduate-level course. It was Metaverse last year, and it will be the generative AI this year. We will be online again this semester, and I also started a Discord server for all my classes. If you like to join, you are welcome but use responsibly, or I will kick you out;)

Image created by Sinem Saka at MidJourney

Here are the readings outline for this semester:

Weekly Schedule


Sætra, H. S. (2022). Generative AI: Here to stay, but for good?. Available at SSRN 4315686.

Generative AI Terms

McKinsey- What is Generative AI

Background in AI Studies

Broussard, M. (2018). Artificial unintelligence: How computers misunderstand the world. MIT Press.

Papacharissi, Z. (Ed.). (2018). A networked self and human augmentics, artificial intelligence, sentience. UK: Routledge.

Gupta, K. D. (2023). A Review of Generative AI from Historical Perspectives.


Gozalo-Brizuela, R., & Garrido-Merchan, E. C. (2023). ChatGPT is not all you need. A State of the Art Review of large Generative AI models. arXiv preprint arXiv:2301.04655.

Academic Life

Lin, Z. (2023). Why and how to embrace AI such as ChatGPT in your academic life.

Zhai, X. (2022). ChatGPT user experience: Implications for education. Available at SSRN 4312418.

Jabotinsky, H. Y., & Sarel, R. (2022). Co-authoring with an AI? Ethical Dilemmas and Artificial Intelligence. Ethical Dilemmas and Artificial Intelligence (December 15, 2022).

M Alshater, M. (2022). Exploring the role of artificial intelligence in enhancing academic performance: A case study of ChatGPT. Available at SSRN.

Mhlanga, D. (2023). Open AI in Education, the Responsible and Ethical Use of ChatGPT Towards Lifelong Learning. Education, the Responsible and Ethical Use of ChatGPT Towards Lifelong Learning (February 11, 2023).

Industry Impacts

Mayahi, S., & Vidrih, M. (2022). The Impact of Generative AI on the Future of Visual Content Marketing. arXiv preprint arXiv:2211.12660.


Epstein, Z., Schroeder, H., & Newman, D. (2022). When happy accidents spark creativity: Bringing collaborative speculation to life with generative AI. arXiv preprint arXiv:2206.00533.

Thorne, S. (2020). Hey Siri, tell me a story: Digital storytelling and AI authorship. Convergence, 26(4), 808-823.


Holzapfel, A., Jääskeläinen, P., & Kaila, A. K. (2022). Environmental and Social Sustainability of Creative-Ai. arXiv preprint arXiv:2209.12879.

More readings here for the interested reader.


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