Happy Birthday, ISOC.

by Maria on January 5, 2012

The Internet Society (ISOC) is twenty years old in 2012. ISOC is a nonprofit with offices in Washington DC and Geneva, and operations around the world. It was created almost as an afterthought by two of the people who helped start the Internet itself; Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. This was a far-sighted act to help keep the Internet open and evolving, not just in Europe and North America, but all over the world. Ten years ago, a deal was struck to channel into ISOC the surplus funds from running dot ORG. ISOC has expanded rapidly since then, but kept a tight focus on doing more of what it does best.

ISOC does essential work campaigning for public policies that keep the Internet open and offering technical training, especially in developing countries. It has hundreds of local chapters around the world that teach people how to build out the Internet and develop their own professional and technical leadership skills. The chapters push for open and ready access in their own countries and feed in information and viewpoints to ISOC’s global advocacy work.

But let me step aside from how ISOC would probably describe itself, and put some less modest flesh on these bones.
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I have piece in the National Interest about developments in non-carbon based energy. It ran under the headline “The end of the nuclear renaissance”, but that’s only half the story and probably the less interesting half. The real news of 2011 was the continued massive drop in the price of solar PV, which renders obsolete any analysis based on data before about 2010. In particular, anyone who thinks nuclear is the most promising candidate to replace fossil fuels really needs to recalibrate their views. There’s a case to be made for nuclear as a backstop option, but it’s not nearly as strong as it was even two years ago.