Portugal proves that austerity doesn't work

Economists like Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna reshaped the world when their theories of "expansionary austerity" were put into effect after the 2008 crisis: the idea that governments could "increase taxes, cut spending, and grow strongly" was powerfully tempting to the world's leaders, who saw in them a way to pull out of a recessionary spiral without limiting the number of yachts the oligarchs they depended on could afford. Read the rest

I owe Anthony Bourdain so much

I’ve always felt the urge to leave. Any place. No matter how beautiful. I want to go. When I was 18 and finished with high school, I attended my graduation ceremony, for the sake of my family, but I skipped my prom – Canada’s east coast was calling. I’d never been there before. I didn’t know what I’d find. But I was going. I made a life for myself out there, with university, work and music. I traveled up and down the coast. Cape Breton feels like a second home to me. I love the people of Maine. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have a place in my heart.

But eventually, I left the east. Rage, the self-entitlement that sometimes comes from surviving a shitty childhood and a need for control left me very much out of control. I destroyed a fine long-term relationship looking for who I was. I burned bridges. I did terrible things to myself and others. It was time to move on. My travels took me back home to Ontario. My father was dying. I loved and hated him for who he was and what he had done to our family. Coming home was a terror.

Uneasily settled back into my hometown, I fought to push the dogs of my recent past down into the cellar of my soul where their bark did not seem so loud. I’d gone to university for journalism, but felt too shattered by life to write. I took on a job I despised and worked it for years. Read the rest

Why Portugal's decriminalization of all drugs has saved so many lives

In less than two decades, Portugal went from suffering an epidemic of heroin use, drug-related crimes and deaths to enjoying one of the lowest rates of drug-related deaths in the world. This excellent, short video from Bloomberg explores why this is the case. Read the rest

Peek inside Casa do Penedo, a house made of four huge boulders

Built in the early 1970s and currently nestled among a Portuguese wind farm, Casa do Penedo is a residence-turned museum. It would be cool to see how this was constructed! Read the rest

Portuguese non-neutral ISP shows us what our Trumpian internet will look like

Since 2006, Net Neutrality activists have been warning that a non-Neutral internet will be an invitation to ISPs to create "plans" where you have to choose which established services you can access, shutting out new entrants to the market and allowing the companies with the deepest pockets to permanently dominate the internet. Read the rest

Portugal passes the world's first reasonable DRM law

Last June, Portugal enacted Law No. 36/2017 which bans putting DRM on public domain media or government works, and allows the public to break DRM that interferes with their rights in copyright, including private copying, accessibility adaptation, archiving, reporting and commentary and more. Read the rest

Coming to Europe: a lecture tour with Garnet "Disobedient Electronics" Hertz

Garnet Hertz is the designer/scholar/provocateur behind the amazing Disobedient Electronics project ("Building electronic objects can be an effective form of social argument or political protest"); though he is normally based at British Colombia's Emily Carr University, he's currently touring Europe with the Disobedient Electronics book on a Disobedient Electronics protest tour, with stops in London, Southampton, the Hague, Brussels, Paris, Berlin and Madiera. Read the rest

Portuguese proposal to legalize breaking DRM passes Parliament

The amazing advocacy of the DRM-PT movement has resulted in the country's Parliament passing a bill that legalizes breaking DRM to accomplish lawful ends, such as exercising the private copying right, or making uses of public domain works or works produced at public expense. Read the rest

Fan-made Sleeping Beauty Castle

Alexandre de Araújo, a Portuguese Disney megafan, produced this spectacularly detailed model of the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland Paris. He gives us a loving video tour of his five-year project, of which he is justly proud.

Sleeping Beauty Castle Model by Alexandre de Araújo

(Thanks, Miguel!) Read the rest

David Byrne and Caetano Veloso, live at Carnegie Hall

Ur-happy mutant David Byrne writes,

Back in 2004, Caetano Veloso asked me join him for a night during his residency as a Perspectives artist at Carnegie Hall. The concert was very stripped down and acoustic. Jaques Morelenbaum augmented us on cello and Mauro Refosco on percussion. This evening was pretty special for me. I was extremely nervous (there are flubs here and there), but I was also thrilled. Some folks thought we made a pretty odd couple, but we actually have a lot in common.

I keep asking myself, “Why didn't this come out sooner?” Um, good question. Record business nonsense. But anyway, it’s finally here, and you get a free download of one of the songs we did, Dreamworld: Marco de Canaveses.

This is a song we wrote together for the Red Hot + Lisbon benefit album in 1998. The Red Hot folks suggested we do something together and I had a song I hadn't finished, on which I used a percussion loop from a Caetano song as an inspirational rhythmic bed. Since we already knew one another, the idea of finishing that song seemed obvious. I sing about a club kid, lost in the nightlife, and Caetano wrote lyrics about Carmen Miranda—who, as it turns out, isn't Brazilian (she's Portuguese!), which made it all the more fitting for that particular project. Somehow, juxtaposing these two very different women, separated in time and space, made a weird kind of musical sense.

Anyway—if you like this song, you might want to want to check out the rest of the album, which you can order today!

Read the rest

Portuguese rights society presents lists of supporters for a digital media tax; composer says he never gave consent to be included on the list

Carlos sez, "A Portuguese Authors Association was caught faking authors' names in support of an abusive proposed law to add a copyright tax to every gigabyte of digital storage."

António Pinho Vargas (one of my most appreciated Portuguese music composers, you should check his Tom Waits if you don't know him) has came forth and revealed that it has no idea of how his name got there, and that he was never contacted about it. More so, he said he doubts some of the other names he sees there, from friends of his, would have agreed to that as well!

I think this says it all regarding these "author protection associations"... When they have to resort to such low tactics and fake their own members names to support such illogical laws, it's a sign that something really has to change! (And by that I don't mean taxing each and every gigabyte now matter what you intend to use it for!

Portuguese Authors Association Caught Faking Authors Names

(Thanks, Carlos!) Read the rest