Blog 2017-12-01T10:50:47+00:00


Creative Commons

The Creative Commons supports the sharing of digital creative media by providing legal and technical resources and infrastructure. The organization supports all kinds of digital media, including images, pictures, music, video, writing, coding, and others by providing free and easily accessible ways to both license original works and utilize the work of other users to the site with proper copyrighting procedures. In addition, the website provides links to other websites providing information and examples of commons sharing projects and organizations.

By | September 19th, 2013|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Cancer Commons

  Cancer Commons is a patient-centered resource and data sharing network that invites patients, researchers and clinicians to donate data in open science collaboration in order to create a “Rapid Learning Community”. The organization makes all of the collected data available to scientists working at over 20 cancer centers across the nation as they develop personalized therapies for patients as well as making personalized data and resources available to the patients who donate data and their caregivers. Researchers participate by contributing data and using the pooled data to help develop molecular models that delineate subtypes of cancer, diagnostic tests, therapies and clinical trials for treatment as well as a database of potential biomarkers, treatments and outcomes. Physicians who participate are able to share case reports and patient data, as well as the opportunity to analyze and comment on the information being generated by researchers working with the pool of data. While the organization is collecting data on all types of cancer, the currently supported types include Lung Cancer, Melanoma and Prostrate Cancer.

By | September 11th, 2013|Tags: , |1 Comment

Street maps as public goods

Most of the readers might be used to use their gps powers smart phone to look up directions on a detailed and up to date map. However, this does not exist everywhere. In the slumps of our world there is a lack of good maps, which are essential for economic prosperity (like deciding what kind of infrastructure to build). Using OpenStreetMaps, a collaborative tool to make maps, volunteers from the Humanitarian OSM Team go around the globe to create maps. These collaborative maps can be used by aid and development agencies.

By | September 4th, 2013|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The changing music commons

When I bought my first single in 1982 - Goodnight Saigon by Billy Joel - for a few dollars the world of music industry looked pretty clear. The single was a vinyl disc that could be played at a gramophone player. Only two songs were available, one on the A side, and one of the B side.The quality of the disc is reduced every time the disc in played. You could make a copy on a tape, but the quality was limited. I still have the single, but I cannot play it anymore since I don't have a device to play it. But this is no problem. I can find the song on Spotify, the streaming service that contains millions of songs. You can have an ad-free subscription for 10 dollars a month and have access to all songs to play it whenever you want. Musicians are paid royalties based on the number of times their songs are played. In fact you have a personalized radio; I can play the songs I want when I want and the quality of the recording don't deteriorate over time. But there is no need to buy records anymore. Not surprisingly, not everyone is happy with Spotify. Thom Yorke - the frontman of Radiohead, is pulling back a number of songs from Spotify since he finds that musicians do not get enough royalties from Spotify. This leads to some questions. What do we actually pay for? I did not got a discount when I replaced my vinyl records for CD records, and then for files in the iTunes store. What is the right distribution of payments among artists and distributors of music, and what kind of good is most convenient for the customers? In fact we move from a private good (the physical [...]

By | July 23rd, 2013|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Free-riding of religious groups causes measles outbreak in the Netherlands

A measles epidemic is emerging in the Netherlands. The hunderds of cases are mainly in areas where people live who don't vaccinate their children because of religious reasons. If 90% of the people or more are vaccinated measles is not epidemic because of something that is called herd immunity. A disease like measles spread from person to person, and if enough people are vaccinated, the disease cannot spread and is not epidemic. But in certain areas in the Netherlands, there live many very religious groups, so called fundamentalists Protestants, do not vaccinate their children because of their religious beliefs. As a consequence, these areas, called the Bible belt (see figure on the right), have vaccination rates below 90%. As a consequence these areas are more vulnerable to outbreaks. This not only affect religious communities, but also young children (< 14 months), who have not yet been vaccinated are at risk. This problem shows the conflict between religious beliefs of one group affecting the health of their children and the children outside the religious groups. What is the best solution to this? Some people call to make vaccination mandatory, other argue that this can become counter productive since imposing vaccination (which is now voluntary) stimulate the anti-vaccination lobby groups. The current outbreak, which is likely to cause the lives of some of the children, is a consequences of imperfect public good provision by the community. But a solution is not obvious since different values and beliefs are involved.

By | July 13th, 2013|Tags: , , |0 Comments