A two-day analysis of #stayhomesavelives

Covid-19 has disrupted everybody’s lives. Parents working from home (when lucky) or waiting to go back to work (when unlucky). Children are being home schooled and schools are silently trying to cope. It is tough. What is tougher is the fact that the UK has officially surpassed Italy and is now trying to show that they are no so worse off than Spain. Needless to say, the UK had more time to prepare for Covid but this is not the point of this post.

People have shown resilience, kindness and hope. Local networks of volunteers and businesses have shed a new lights on how people can establish communities of support in hard times, even when institutions cannot support. I will write another post about some good examples in Central Scotland. Most importantly, the NHS staff demonstrated that decade-long cuts have been unable to erode their dedication to their patients. And people have appreciated this. Twitter has been inundated by messages of support to the  NHS and the use of the #COVID-19 as well #stayhomesavelives have abounded.

The latter one has been analysed on twitter and two-day worth of tweets have been studied looking at the key tags around which a network of words, people and thoughts have gathered.

The tweets of two days gathered, created two main clusters: keeping safe but also going through hardship and patiently await the end of these hard and difficult times. What is interesting is how the network of most used words (or toptags) revolve around two major categories: the togetherness (which  is also including the NHS) and the self-isolation aspect of such togetherness.

The discussions (and these are only two days of tweets!) are very polarised toward everyone being in this together and the necessity to be thoughtful and the flip side of keeping millions isolated at home. Key terms such as hardship and patience emerge just as insistently as self-isolation (right hand side of the network), family and fun. The network (terrible rendition on the blog post unfortunately) is split in two clusters.This network could potentially help us understand the complexity of these tough times and the lessons we can learn from these discussions. For decades we have been talking about the positive aspects of technology, how it saves us time, how we can be in a videocall and still wear out pj bottoms while our line manager is talking about very important strategies. What nobody could ever foresee if how the physical distancing that a catastrophe like COVID-19 caused, could bring us so socially close, appreciating the multiple communities we take for granted. The NHS is the only such community that emerges in these 49,000 tweets in the two crucial days during which  the UK reached, and sadly surpassed,  their 30,000th death.

Toptag network -#stayhomesavelive

One cluster, the one on the left, is about family and being static, staying at home. The opposite cluster, the one on the right, is about self-isolation, wait and toughness of these unprecedent times. People, care and NHS stay right at the heart of this network of tweets, indicating (perhaps corroborating) how this lockdown has been hard on physical distancing but it has certainly brought (back) to light the important role of social closeness, belief in certain institutions like the NHS and the sense of togetherness.

What does this mean for non profit organisations, institutions but also governments?

The networks of support that have emerged during this pandemic have been phenomenal. Facebook pages mushroomed (too bad Facebook didn’t let me mine these beautiful pages), messages of support and networks of volunteers ready to give up their time, offer to do grocery shopping for the elderly and leave the shopping at the doorstep (so no thank yous involved), people that helped other people paying bills, sharing grocery shopping budgets, calling on one another for help without fears.

This network rendition of the discussions taking place on Twitter using #stayhomesavelives tell a story where resilience mixed and enmeshes with fear and stories of people helping -and chatting with- people. Plain and simple. These are hard times and there is no trivialising them with a network of tweets. Tweets obviously do not tell the stories of casual or seasonal workers, small businesses and bnb that have received en-masse cancellations. However, these solidarity networks that have emerged and have found space on social media should be carefully studied and preciously kept because they show that communities-driven solidarity projects, micro-credit and small incentives through communities (in this case virtual) of people that have finally realised to be on the same boat are more powerful than any top-down initiatives aimed at supporting some of us in these difficult and trying times.

Database-ness and visual narratives

The UK tradition of Software studies seems to be a far away theoretical world, where Deleuze merges with SQL and Basics programming. I have used it as a point of reference to understand how the activities of “bordering” (Lury, 2014) can be applied to the cases of missing, disappeared and murdered women of Ciudad Juarez. The hope is to map the bordering activities of those ‘underdog’ that seem to have no statistical relevance for the system, any system.

Bing, Google and Yahoo! have been investigated following the logic of keywords (there seems to be no other way of researching the wealth of information on these beautifully tailored search engines) using two geographical denominations: .com & .mx

The visual narrative has been built following something that is intriguing in visual computing or whatever it is called: object saliency. For now no algorithm has been used but our eyes have been used to detect: the salient object, the context of the image and, of course, the image “container”-> platforms.

Platform and researched keyword have been inputted and the results are now going to be analysed with the hope to automate the whole thing at some point. I m tired of saying very soon cause nobody ‘volunteers’ time and I had to learn R, MySQL, Gimp and what not only because nobody shares the sense of duty that academics should generally have!

The database now looks like this Fig.1 and the results, which are all plotted in R for the time being and look horrible because I m still learning multi-axis plotting and playing around with eucledian distance (so terribly western and masculine!)/k-means and what not are Fig.2.

The paper will follow. The results have also found out 10,000 links on the TOR browser that show the ‘fun’ of killing women in Juarez. All have been reported of course!




Feminicidios en Ciudad Juárez


Ciudad Juárez es la ciudad de México en la que puede decirse que el crimen organizado y la delincuencia campan a sus anchas, mientras que el Gobierno y sus instituciones perecen asfixiadas entre la brutalidad y la barbarie. Sus ciudadanos se enfrentan a la corrupción, el encubrimiento y la indiferencia de los funcionarios.

La ONG Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa trabaja hace años para aclarar la muerte y la desaparición de centenares de mujeres, que creen poco creíble la explicación que da la fiscalía sobre el tráfico de personas.

Hace ya muchos años que las mujeres en Ciudad Juárez  no pueden vivir tranquilas, muchas de ellas desaparecen  y nunca más se vuelve a saber de ellas, aunque a veces las encuentran muertas después de haber sido violadas y maltratadas brutalmente, con partes de su cuerpo mutiladas o quemadas.

El Gobierno no se preocupa por tales hechos ni nadie se…

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A must read: Ecologies of Power

Just caught up with Ecologies of Power by Pierre Bélanger and Alexander Arroyo (MIT Press), which – as the subtitle reveals – is a fascinating countermapping of the Pentagon’s logistical landscapes and military geographies: This book is not about war, nor is it a history of war. Avoiding the shock and awe of wartime images, […]

via Counter-mapping and ecologies of military power — geographical imaginations

From the Guardian (20.11.2016) “Boko Haram’s forgotten victims return to a humanitarian disaster”

Counting of the missing(s)


And we thought what is most scary of the whole article is the following:

“Unlike the refugees from Syria and elsewhere, whose perilous journeys to Europe have rarely been out of the headlines, the people of north-east Nigeria have remained almost entirely below the media radar.

Even in Nigeria, there has been little coverage of their plight and with the country’s economy now in recession for the first time in 25 years, mainly because of the collapse in oil prices, the government has been unable to allocate enough resources to provide the food and other aid that they need.”


Worth reading the whole article.

They have a name: the cartography of feminicidios in Ciudad Juarez

Yesterday a friend sent me a link to an article about feminicidios. An interactive map that had patiently been created aggregating data from several sources:the archives of the

Fiscalía Especializada en la Investigación de Asesinatos de Mujeres de la Subprocuraduría de Justicia Zona Norte, the Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos y de organizaciones no gubernamentales.

The team is made by  Diana Washington, Sergio González Rodríguez, Rohry Benítez, Adriana Candia, Patricia Cabrera y Julia Monárrez, and the data gathering has used news from local newspapers, non governmental organisations and, overall, some crucial blogs. The victims have been given a name; their stories have been told and they have finally emerged.

despite a general sense of happiness, there also emerges a profound disappointment at the lack of interest that one of our project, namely giving the names to such victims, has met these years.

However, we don t want to spoil such a good beginning (hoping this project will expand and perhaps collaboration emerge). The link is below.



POV in the killbox — geographical imaginations

An update on Joe DeLappe‘s Killbox project (my original post, with links to more info on the concept of a killbox, is here). Over at Quartz, Ananya Bhattacharya provides more details about the latest iteration of the simulation: Killbox, an online two-player game named after the military term for an area targeted for destruction, serves as […]

via POV in the killbox — geographical imaginations

A WOMAN NAMED ELLEN — The Neighborhood


By most accounts, she was an ordinary woman….

via A WOMAN NAMED ELLEN — The Neighborhood

Why I Am Suing the Government

Social Media Collective

(or: I write scripts, bots, and scrapers that collect online data)

I never thought that I would sue the government. The papers went in on Wednesday, but the whole situation still seems unreal. I’m a professor at the University of Michigan and a social scientist who studies the Internet, and I ran afoul of what some have called the most hated law on the Internet.

Others call it the law that killed Aaron Swartz. It’s more formally known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the dangerously vague federal anti-hacking law. The CFAA is so broad, you might have broken it. The CFAA has been used to indict a MySpace user for adding false information to her profile, to convict a non-programmer of “hacking,” to convict an IT administrator of deleting files he was authorized to access, and to send a dozen FBI agents to…

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Warwick Uni to outsource hourly paid academics to subsidiary

Fighting Against Casualisation in Education

Teach Higher is a company which will effectively outsource hourly paid academic staff, whereby they will no longer be employed directly by the university but by a separate employer: ‘Teach Higher’. Teach Higher has been set up by Warwick University-owned ‘Warwick Employment Group’, and is about to be piloted at Warwick University. But it is a national company, which intends to be rolled out across UK universities.

(In this sense it is very similar to Uni Temps, which mainly employed, catering, cleaning and security staff at universities. We don’t know why Warwick decided to set up a separate company for outsourced academic staff, except that they possibly felt the need for ‘re-branding’ because it slightly more difficult to impose hyper-casualised positions on a previously more prestigious type of work such as academia.)

Teach Higher is about to be piloted with six Departments at Warwick; Sociology, Philosophy, Politics and International Studies…

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Tutorial on using the rworldmap package

Project R

This blog following up my previous oneattempts to explain how the geo-pie map was created.

I do not know how to attach a .rflow file in this blog. What you can do is to copy the following code into Notepad and save it as XXX.rflow, and open it by RAnalyticFlow. By using it, you can see the task is divided into 7 steps, and run up to any node you want.

Before you run the code below, you have make sure that required packages are installed. If you would like to run the 7th part of the code, you need to download an image of R-bloggers. I hope to make a generalized function out the code ONE DAY, but without any promises though. After running the code, you will have

Here is the plain R code.

################# 1. Clear working space ############### rm(list=ls()) ################ 2. load packages #################### ## make…

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Repost from http://bturn.com/4216/nazi-propaganda-posters-in-serbia-during-world-war-two



No Photoshop, no Illustrator, just plain ol’ hand-painted Nazi advertising. Though obviously not as cool as the Soviet

One of the issues the Nazi authorities faced with the local population during four years in occupied Belgrade (1941-1945) was how to neutralise the ideological influence of both the Soviet Marxist-Leninism and Anglo-American liberal democracy.

Among various other propaganda techniques, a well established means of mass political advertising were posters. Although the Nazis never reached the avant-garde coolness of Soviet design, it is certainly interesting to see how the German propaganda machinery worked in occupied Belgrade during the war.

It’s a simple story: Communists are death squads, Churchill is a drunken bastard and basically, they’re all Jews.

“Dear God, let my country be forever mine so I don’t share it with time wasters” 

(Didn’t the communists say that too? Anyway, it’s what right wing politicians still shout today. Down with time wasters, our country for our people!)

“Who will overcome? No one! Because the Jew keeps the balance in check. Visit the Anti-Masonic exhibition and see for yourself.” 

(Stalin is nothing but an action figure in the hands of old Jewish guys with beards.)

“Bolsevism, rule of terror.”

(Yes, it’s Tom Cruise from Vanilla Sky. Factories burning in the distance.)

“This is England! Are the English friends of small nations?” 

(Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, somewhere between Adams Family and Robert Crumb’s characters. Stalin is the butcher, obviously, hatchet soaked in blood; incompetent Roosevelt limping in the background, both lead by ol’ Winston for a glass of whiskey, Grim Reaper navigating from behind. In case you’re short of inspiration for your next Halloween party…)

“Back off, communist monster!” 

(A sturdy Serbian peasant – forever in his late 50s – fights back a charging commie. It’s all about the giant corn, really.)

“Serbs. Everyday moto is ORDER and WORK.”

(Actually, it’s not.)

“Liberator? No, never.”

(But hey, those cheekbones…)

“Mother Serbia, they are leading you to your death, but for their own sake.” 

(American and British officers grabbing poor mother Serbia, with a help of a naked commie.)

“No one to thank but Germany for chasing away this danger out of Serbia and Europe.” 

(Wait, you mean this enraged triple-headed King Kong?)

(Churchill is drunk. And he’s a Jew.)

*Images taken from: Učionica istorije

Mbembe’s “Necropolitics” (notes)

Gender, Race and Biotech

Achille Mbembe (1957 – ), a prominent postcolonial theorist, was born in Cameroon and studied history and political science in Paris, France.  He is currently a senior researcher at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research in Johannesburg, South Africa, serves as contributing editor of Public Culture (in which he published “Necropolitics”), and is an annual visiting faculty member of Duke University’s English department.  What follows are my notes on “Necropolitics” [with my questions/comments in brackets].

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Ceccano e Fossanova: dagli Annalens Ceccanenses alla cronaca politica dei giorni d’oggi.

Interesting…too bad it is in Italian. But profoundly interesting


cibo medioevo

Una delle fonti più importanti della storia del medioevo è costituita dagli Annales Ceccanenses, ma pochi, probabilmente pochissimi ceccanesi ne sono a conoscenza.

Nei due codici che ce ne hanno conservato il testo (uno presente nella Biblioteca Vallicelliana di Roma, l’altro nella Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli; trascrizioni ambedue dei codice originario un tempo esistente nella chiesa di S. Maria a Fiume di Ceccano, eseguite, secondo quanto affermano gli explicit, a Fossanova il 7 luglio 1600 da un certo Benedetto Conti di Sora), la cronaca è attribuita a Giovanni dei conti di Anagni, signore di Ceccano (“Chronicon D.ni de Ceccano / extat in monast. Fossae / Nouae”, c. 4).

L’Ughelli, primo editore della cronaca stessa (1644), accettò affrettatamente tale attribuzione; mentre il Muratori (Rerum…, pp. 853-854) fece notare che il nome del conte Giovanni compariva in documenti di donazione incorporati direttamente nel testo e che pertanto la ripetizione della…

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Che cosa possiamo fare per Antonella Penati

il ricciocorno schiattoso

“Queste persone sono responsabili della morte di mio figlio. La loro condanna non me lo avrebbe restituito, ma l’assoluzione fa sì che possano fare ancora del male. Sono a piede libero e lavorano ancora con dei bambini” – aveva dichiarato alla stampa Antonella Penati in occasione della prima sentenza di assoluzione con formula piena dei due assistenti sociali e un educatore, accusati di essere “venuti meno all’obbligo di garanzia nei confronti del bambino“, che avrebbero dovuto proteggere da “tutte le fonti di pericolo e con importanti tratti specifici di controllo nei confronti del padre“.

Il 25 febbraio 2009, Federico Shady Barakat, che avrebbe compiuto 9 anni in aprile, muore nel centro socio sanitario di via Sergnano a San Donato Milanese, nel corso di un incontro “protetto”.

Ma non c’è nessuno a proteggere Federico, quel giorno. Sono soli, Federico e il suo assassino, che si è recato…

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