Friday, August 29, 2008

Dogg eat dogg 1

"It is analysis that strikes me as having born no resemblance to the speech you and I just watched. None whatsoever. And for it to be distributed by the lone national news organization in terms of wire copy to newspapers around the country and web sites is a remarkable failure of that news organization.

"Charles Babington, find a new line of work."

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann gets angry after the Obama analysis.

Spot the Difference?

If I want to explain my job as founder of Spot.Us in one sentence, I'll just say "I'm fundraising for independent journalists to do local investigations."

Obviously it's much more involved than that, but depending on how much energy I have, it works.

An interesting move in local/community journalism.

And community building.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Different take on Denver

When I finished choking on my wine, I immediately sidled up to him, cursing myself for failing to change into flats. He is about five-feet tall, and in heels, I am nearly six-feet. He didn't seem bothered and we began to exchange the requisite political pleasantries: He's "really good friends" with Hillary Clinton, but then liked Barack Obama and ended up voting for him in the primary; oh, and the only thing he didn't like about Hillary's speech last night was her orange pantsuit, describing it as "not the most flattering choice." Which is fair!

Then, out of the blue, I blurted out: "Is the song 'Gasolina' really about chicks who do a lot of coke?"

I immediately regretted my question. Couldn't I have transitioned a little more subtly? He opened his mouth and I thought he was going to admonish me or walk away or call his publicist/guard dog to escort me, red-faced, out the door. Instead he told me, in his smooth, one-note, slightly garbled voice, that it wasn't wise, when you're throwing a party, to start drinking vodka too early in the evening, otherwise, "When three o'clock in the morning rolls around, you're standing on top of a building with your shirt off screaming 'I'm a Golden God,' and you come back downstairs and there are Eastern European mafia people doing cocaine off your coffee table." He added for emphasis, "One's judgment is seriously impaired by drinking straight vodka very early."

Find out who it is here.

After Marxism, Relativism

Found a copy of Lesley Chamberlain's "Motherland, A Philosophical History of Russia" today. It was published in 2004. Just read this in the preface:

"...Russian thought has spent much of its time and energy defining a specific Russian way of seeing and doing things. To the extent that there is Russian philosophy it has asked and continues to ask not 'What is the truth?' but 'what is the Russian truth?'..."


The Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, claimed today the Caucasus crisis was started by the Americans as an election campaign ploy.

As Russia found itself increasingly isolated internationally because of its invasion of Georgia and its decision to recognise two breakaway regions of Georgia as independent states, Putin suggested the Georgia war had been cooked up in Washington to create a neo-cold war climate that would strengthen John McCain's bid for the White House and wreck the prospects of Barack Obama.

From The Guardian.

Am motoring though Motherland in search of more quotes, obviously.

Another way of telling the story

Czechoslovakia, August 1968. Josef Koudelka positioned a passerby to show the exact time that Soviet troops invaded Prague.

Photograph: Josef Koudelka/Magnum

When I meet him today, in the back room of his new apartment in Prague, Koudelka unfolds a battered map of the world he has just found in one of the many boxes stacked along a wall. It is covered in spidery ink trails that trace his wanderings through Europe and beyond, his handwriting providing a runic commentary of the festivals and gatherings he attended along the way. The map dates from the Seventies and looks like a strange work of art, which, in a way, it is. The real art, though, lies in the photographs Koudelka produced when he began chronicling his restlessness - and rootlessness - as well as his newfound sense of freedom. His first major work, published in 1975, was called simply Gypsies, his second, from 1988, Exiles. Their titles alone tell you much about Koudelka's own life as well as the lives of his subjects.

Lovely Sean O'Hagan Observer piece on the photographer Josef Koudelka.

Karma on Control

Some 66% of those participating in this survey agreed with the statement: "A global internet Bill of Rights should be adopted." Only 6% disagreed.

Some key planks of the Bill of Rights would be: freedom of information, freedom of expression, and the right of people to have affordable access. Some 76% of respondents supported freedom of information as a core ethic of online life and 75% agreed that such a policy ensuring freedom of expression on the internet should be adopted.

On the other side of the issue, 62% of respondents said they believe content controls weaken the internet. And by a 59%-28% margin, they disagreed with the statement, "My country should have the right to approve the internet content available to the people of my country." Even more disagreed (63%) that a commercial internet service provider should have the right to control content.

From Pew on the Future of the Internet.

Full report as pdf here.

Social Bling

I am all for social karma (or "swarmth") building up in the innards of social tools, but directly tying actions to specific economic inducements, instead of an algorithmic authority or reputation is a terrible way to go.

/Message on SocialU - which is, they claim, 'all about you.'

Enough already.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gaming as Life?

"I see social gaming as a new form of communication that is more interesting than e-mail and AIM [AOL Instant Messenger] in terms of connecting people together," he says. "It drives what we're doing and informs our decisions. We don't want to just stick our finger in the air. We want to create a new category."

Playfish Chief Operating Officer, Sebastien de Halleux.

From Forbes on Facebook's greatest hits.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ways of Seeing #1

Rather than vision just being 'what we experience', it is, in fact, a collection of specific eye-behaviour links ('visuomotor functions') of which our conscious perception of the world is only an evolutionary-recent addition.

Thanks to Mind Hacks for recommending Goodale, M. & Milner, D. (2004). Sight Unseen: An Exploration of Conscious and Unconscious Vision. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Here's a story for Newscred

Propaganda? News Management? Counter-terrorism? True?

The document also shows that Whitehall counter-terrorism experts intend to exploit new media websites and outlets with a proposal to "channel messages through volunteers in internet forums" as part of their campaign.

The strategy is being conducted by the research, information and communication unit, [RICU] which was set up last year by the then home secretary, John Reid, to counter al-Qaida propaganda at home and overseas. It is staffed by officials from several government departments.

From The Guardian.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Trust, Gender and the Usual Unsurprising Paradox

So women score better on honesty, are - as it were - more trusted. And below is how that quality is rewarded in leadership terms.

All from Pew's latest study, "Men and Women: Who's the Better Leader?". Full details here.

Vin Crosbie and a Great Series about American newspapers

I've heard many experts say that the evolution in access to media during the past three decades has been the greatest since Gutenberg time. Yet the reality is that it's much, much greater. The effects this radical increase in the supply of news and information that is readily available to people will have on civilization, nonetheless any one industry, will be much, much larger than anything the invention of the printing press ever wrought.

Part Two here.
Part One here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Esthesis: 6 touch screens

...the success of the iPhone has encouraged other companies to explore multitouch screens. It might follow that if people like using their fingers on the screen of a cellphone, they would like it even better on the bigger displays of computers. That’s the hope of N-trig (pronounced “intrigue”), an eight-year-old Israeli company that makes a multitouch screen that can be used with a pen as well a finger.

From the NYT on the rise and re-rise of touch screens.