Advocacy

For now, this is pretty much my name-and-shame page. The nature of this page requires me to enable comments from readers. I would like to know what people think but I do reserve the right to delete irrelevant comments and perhaps moderate if any trolling gets out-of-hand. I will add things I would like to support in GREEN as and when I am able to form coherent thoughts about what I would like to see going forward into the future (like education and poverty). Just thinking "it is bad" isn't really advocacy, IMHO. I am actively boycotting (in RED) three things:

1. Thailand Tourism Industry - After learning about "phajaan", what some Thai villagers do to young elephants to break them and bend them to their will, I am officially boycotting the entire Thai tourism industry until this practice is eradicated. National Geographic has a picture article on it: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/10/photogalleries/1016_phajaan1.html
It is horrendous.

2. Shark's fin soup - the practice of fining a shark at sea is not only cruel, it is a complete waste of perfectly good (but cheap) meat. I can be convinced to halt this boycott if all shark fishing obeyed the standards set by the Costa Rican authorities - that they bring back the shark whole. The USA currently allows a certain fin-to-shark ratio which I do not think goes far enough. East Asia has, as far as I know, no regulatory practices.

3. Amazon.com - This was a particularly painful boycott (because I - still - like their service), but after reading about the nonchalance at sweatshop conditions in Pennsylvania, I just had to take action:
http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-allentown-amazon-complaints-20110917,0,7937001,full.story.
I have since switched to Barnes and Noble and getting ebooks (got myself a Nook!), books and media from their stores and online store.



Finally, got something I would really like to support and advocate for:

1. Open Scientific Publication - I am getting a little tired of how the scientific publishing process gets stymied by profit motives. I understand a number of issues that drive profit-based publication enterprises. This includes copyright management, organization and logistics. However, current models just do not seem to work very well anymore, at least not at current price-regimes. I mean, seriously, if I am not in the subscription regime for an IEEE article I had read and acquired through some other means, I cannot even view and acquire the bibtex entry to cite it? Come on! This is doubly ridiculous when it involves my own scientific publications!

And then there is the fact that, as academics invited to peer review the works of others, we do not usually get paid by publishers. Most academics I know have no trouble with that. It is part of our jobs. So, if we do this for free, then why is subsequent access to these works so damn expensive? Especially if we want to access them online?

I would like to see more of what happens with what many universities are doing with respect to their students' theses. I am just not sure how this could be organized at a larger and broader scale.

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