These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Is the Internet broken, and can it even be fixed?
Our modern global communications infrastructure still relies on core principles that were defined when the Internet had only a few thousand users. We have faster computers, more storage space, and more people using the network, but worryingly, some of the key assumptions haven't changed. As an example, take the protocol that helps determine how data gets to its destination. Different networks in the Internet "advertise" routes to deliver data to other networks, with the most efficient candidate being chosen.
The Future of Cities
As much as the Internet has already changed the world, it is the Web’s next phase that will bring the biggest opportunities, revolutionizing the way we live, work, play, and learn. That next phase, which some call the Internet of Things and which we call the Internet of Everything, is the intelligent connection of people, processes, data, and things. Although it once seemed like a far-off idea, it is becoming a reality for businesses, governments, and academic institutions worldwide. Today, half the world’s population has access to the Internet; by 2020, two-thirds will be connected. Likewise, some 13.5 billion devices are connected to the Internet today; by 2020, we expect that number to climb to 50 billion.
Measuring the Audience: Why It Matters to Independent News Media and How It Can Contribute to Media Development
Audience measurements, with their resulting influence on content and commercialization, are essential components of financially viable media and media markets. They help create marketplaces where diverse media can compete in viable niches, offer audience insights and thus increase the likelihood that media organizations will produce relevant content, and play an essential role in reducing corruption by exposing it. From a media development perspective, audience measurements reveal whether people are engaging with the content that news media produce. Although it has become essential for media organizations to have core strengths in understanding their audiences, building capacity for measuring audiences is seldom included in media development initiatives. This report examines the benefits and challenges of measuring audiences for news media and media developers.
Making Transparency Policies Work
The Freedominfo.org website reported in September that Paraguay has adopted a national right to information law, so that the total number of such laws is now exactly one hundred.  This is cause for muted celebration. As the Centre observes, some laws are better than others, and even well-drafted laws can prove useless in practice. Still, this is evidence of progress toward increased governmental transparency. The new global commitment to governmental openness is demonstrated in other policies as well — for example, in the adoption of stronger whistleblower protection laws, laws to improve the disclosure of information about government spending, social audit projects, international efforts such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, national open data exercises, and regulatory projects that rely mainly on the disclosure of information about regulated enterprises.
In pictures: A male feminist's view on African women
Photographer, blogger and poet Nana Kofi Acquah uses his travels around Africa to chronicle the lives of women at their most accomplished and at their most vulnerable. A self-declared male feminist, he says his mission is to change the narrative around African women where they are often portrayed as victims of circumstance. The artist was interviewed by BBC Africa's Vera Kwakofi for the 100 Women series.
Poor Countries Tap Renewables at Twice the Pace of Rich
Emerging markets are installing renewable energy projects at almost twice the rate of developed nations, a report concluded. A study of 55 nations -- including China, Brazil, South Africa, Uruguay and Kenya -- found that they’ve installed a combined 142 gigawatts from 2008 to 2013. The 143 percent growth in renewables in those markets compares with an 84 percent rate in wealthier nations, which installed 213 megawatts, according to a report released today by Climatescope. The boom in renewables is often made for economic reasons, Ethan Zindler, a Washington-based Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst, said in an interview. An island nation like Jamaica, where wholesale power costs about $300 a megawatt-hour, could generate electricity from solar panels for about half as much. Similarly, wind power in Nicaragua may be half as expensive as traditional energy.
Follow PublicSphereWB on Twitter
Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomite