January 10th, 2009 · No Comments
April 7th, 2008 · No Comments
I am not old enough to know whether this is a first, but the traditional torch-bearing ceremony has been interrupted as a protest against China’s presence in Tibet. I have mixed feelings about this. I understand the sentiment of registering outrage regarding China’s activities in Tibet. But is it fair to interfere with an event that is meant to showcase human talent while encouraging global solidarity & common cause?
On the other hand, why pretend that sports should be given such a world stage when human rights everywhere are not being respected?
Tough call. Disruption of the status quo - aka civil disobedience - will occur when other venues of communication are unavailable. In that sense, a national government creates the disturbance by not allowing another forum for discussion. This is at its heart, anti-democratic. If there was no forum for openly debating civil rights in the USA before the 1960s, then the civil disobedience that occurred was justified. People have a right to seek redress for their grievances. That is one of the basic fundamental rights - self representation, or the right to state your case.
Despite the fact that I feel bad for the athletes that are going to be running the torch around the world and subject to harrassment and intimidation, I ultimately fault China for not allowing any debate about the claims emanating from Tibet. If their rule is indeed justified, then why censor discussion about it? If it is not justified, then they are forcefully occupying Tibet. But to claim Tibet as their territory, ostensibly legitimately, but then deny discussion about is not a tenable position. Open up, or get out.
March 30th, 2008 · No Comments
Google has signed on to the Earth Hour campaign. Great, this isn’t the first time the singularity-spawning, consciousness-gathering supernova known as Google has endorsed environmental awareness. They’ve invested in green technologies in the past, and are looking to have carbon-neutral office buildings, etc. So this isn’t exactly the first time they have engaged in the sustainability conversation.
But right now, it’s 6:30pm in NYC, and apparently people are talking about this campaign, as Google’s current link (www.google.com/intl/en/earthhour) is currently not loading. The campaign calls for turning off any electrical equipment from 8-9pm local time, worldwide.
I plan on participating, what the hell? But that’s not why I am posting this. I am posting this because the common theme is ease of use: the campaign itself is easy to adopt (turn out the lights for one hour — cue: population rise akin to the August 2003 blackout), and the way of getting hundreds of thousands of people to be aware of it is also easy: Google simply
switches one variable on their homepage and posts one line of text
containing one link, and sparks traffic to a cause they deem worthwhile that
is valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars. I applaud them for
taking a stand, and being unafraid to use their platform to push
awareness about the environment.
But it’s a nice example of lowered barriers meeting ease of use. It took Google all of two minutes to generate significant awareness (let’s see what metrics come out of this efort…), and the campaign itself is easy to adopt. Will it make a difference? Judging from the fact that this is only the second year of Earth Hour, I’d say it’ll be remarkable if this makes a dent in consumption. But if it does, it’s a tidy illustration of the power of los interwebs.
December 17th, 2007 · No Comments
WhereIstand is an online community that organizes Internet content by
opinions and affiliations for searching and comparing. Driven by our
members, whereIstand’s mission is to reliably present the stands taken
by public figures and organizations as well as encourage users to weigh
in with their own opinions.
Using our comparison engine, whereIstand users can quickly answer the following questions:
- What are the opinions of the public figures, blogs, and people I know – whose opinion I value – on a particular issue?
- How do my opinions on the issues that are important to me
compare to those of public figures, as well as others in the community?
November 15th, 2007 · No Comments
Yes, the first thing you think of when you read about GPS systems outfitted to public sector vehicles revealing misuse of government resources is “Big Brother”! Or perhaps, “Big Brother watching Big Brother”. This is one of those examples of (surveillance/geo-locative) technology that is at once a testament to the improvement in efficiency brought on by the free flow of information in the public sector, but it also demonstrates what COULD happen if this information were used in nefarious purposes.
Given the acceptance of the gradual but consistent shed of our traditional notions of privacy, we should be really thinking about what the lack of standards or an open dialog about who has access to these datamining databases will mean in the future.
Why not call a spade a spade - we all know that all of our data is being gathered and centralized online- everything from our economic interactions, to biometric data, physical location over time, to communications and information searches, political/social or religious affiliations, and eventually health, driving, and other civil records - why not ASSUME this gathering is taking place, that it will continue to take place, but that in the future our data should belong to us as our intellectual property and cannot be used by any group or organization without either express consent or a court order.
Without any discussion about it, big business is free to craft policy surrounding personal information in cahoots with the government to suit a surveillance agenda that is a one-way street. Personally, I’d like to see an information policy that states that the higher up you are in the world of power (either political or economic) the more beholden you are to the public scrutiny to ensure there is no abuse of that power - your entire history should be viewable to given watchdogs and other designated institutions.
October 22nd, 2007 · No Comments
This is a page put together by the Wellstone Action Center, named after the late senator Paul Wellstone. They are interested in training democratic activists, and have a few resources for organizing, messaging, etc. But of this resource kit, I am interested in their showcasing of several videos of political candidates and their low-budget (pre YouTube, but seemingly made for it) commercials. Why did these commercials succeed in the messaging of “authenticity”?
In many ways, this is the billion dollar question. Was it because these people WERE authentic? The minute you “craft authenticity” — as is the current marketing MO– then it’s not authenticity. It’s the appearance of authenticity. It’s “authenticity”.
I think it has everything to do with scale. I don’t think it is possible to come across as Authentic to millions of people. Unless you are a total outsider who wants to get people primarily excited about their potential as agents of change, and secondarily running a campaign. Usually it is the other way around at best. At the end of the day, in order to get true Authenticity across, you need an Authentic person to carry it, and most of these rare souls want nothing to do with politics as we know it. Kind of a catch-22.
August 8th, 2007 · No Comments
an experiment of the custom field thing
July 30th, 2007 · No Comments
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