This is a bit of a surprising move by the Serbian government to me, given the EU candidate status of Serbia. Even if the two directions in which Serbia’s government and different generations look, the EU on one side, and Russia on the other, stand out clearly for all who visit.

When I was regularly working in Kyrgyzstan a few years ago Kyrgyzstan joined the EAEU, in my perception halfheartedly. Mostly because there seemed to be no consequence free way to not do so, as their neighbours Kazachstan and Russia basically are responsible for absorbing most of their exports, transports through Kyrgyzstan from China, as well as Russia being the biggest source of remittances of by Kyrgyz working in Russia.

Read Serbs Ignore EU Warning Over Plan to Join Russian-Led Trade Bloc

Serbia’s plan to join a Russian-led economic union is drawing ire from the European Union, which the Balkan nation says it wants to be part of.

Evgeny Morozov on the MIT Media Lab Epstein fall out, and the more systemic questions we should be asking ourselves, besides e.g. seeing its director Joi Ito step down. A relevant column in light of the discussions I had at the Copenhagen 150 think tank and Techfestiva last week(end). .

Read The Epstein scandal at MIT shows the moral bankruptcy of techno-elites (the Guardian)

The MIT-Epstein debacle shows ‘the prostitution of intellectual activity’. Time for a radical agenda: close the Media Lab, disband Ted Talks and refuse tech billionaires money

The much sought after ‘Brexit Dividend’ according to the Dutch national statistics office CBS is working out a bit different than expected by some it seems.

Dutch investment per year in the UK since the referendum by internationally operating companies (those creating subsidiaries in another country), went from 50 billion Euro in 2016 (then representing 182.000 UK jobs), to 35 billion in 2017, to minus 11 billion in 2018. So it dropped 30% in the first year after the referendum and then turned to actual des-investment last year. Vice versa it is the other way around. UK investment into the Netherlands (again, what’s looked at here is companies creating subsidiaries in another country) was 14 billion Euro in 2016, grew to 35 billion Euro in 2017, and then jumped to 80 billion Euro in 2018.

Source Dutch National Bank, image Dutch Statistics Office

Read UK investment in NL since 2016 on the rise, NL investment in UK in decline (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek)

De stroom aan Britse investeringen die jaarlijks Nederland binnenkomen zijn sinds het Brexit-referendum in 2016 aanzienlijk toegenomen. Van 14 miljard in 2016 naar meer dan een verdubbeling in 2017 tot 80 miljard in 2018.

Lesson 1 on crisis communication. Come. Clean. Fully. Immediately. Otherwise it is a drip drip drip drip of trust erosion, until everything crumbles. My university friend D did his thesis on crisis comms, in the aftermath of having lived through and closely experiencing a crisis in our home town. Just under 20 years on, the lesson is still accurate.

It is additionally hard on those who, based on the limited earlier disclosures chose to stand with you, if you then are found out to not have disclosed the entire story.

(previously posted on this.)

(ht Ronan Farrow via Hossein Derakhshan)

Read How an Élite University Research Center Concealed Its Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein (The New Yorker)

New documents show that the M.I.T. Media Lab was aware of Epstein’s status as a convicted sex offender, and that Epstein directed contributions to the lab far exceeding the amounts M.I.T. has publicly admitted.

Had a very good first day at Copenhagen Techfestival Thursday. After bumping into Thomas right at the start, I joined the full day Public Data Summit, focusing on the use of open data in climate change response, co-hosted by Christian. Lots of things to mention / write about more, but need to work out some of my notes first.

Then I met up with Cathrine Lippert a long time Danish open data colleague, that I hand’t seen for a few years and now works at DTI. Just before dinner I ended up walking next to Nadja Pass, whom I think I last met a decade ago, and over excellent food we talked about the things that happened to us, the things we currently do and care about. Listened to an excellent and very well designed talk (sticky soundbites and all) by Aza Raskin, about the hackability of human minds, and what that spells out for the impact of tech on society. While leaving the central festival area, Nadia El Imam, co-founder of the great Edgeryders network, and I crossed paths, and over wine and some food at Pate Pate, we talked about a wide variety of things. I arranged a bicycle from the hotel, which is much easier to get around. Cycling I found that even having been in Copenhagen last years ago, I still know my way around without having to check where I’m going.

This afternoon, after catching up with Henriette Weber to hear of her latest adventures, I will take part in the Copenhagen 150 think-tank, which is a 24 hour event. However, I will need to limit my presence to 20 hours, as I need to be back in Amsterdam by tomorrow mid afternoon to make a birthday dinner with dear friends in the very south of the country.