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An old rigid civilization is reluctantly dying. Something new, open, free and exciting is waking up.

Monday, November 18, 2002day link 

 Monopoly Money
picture The Register writes about a recent SEC filing which shows that Microsoft is losing money in every business area except Windows (86% profit) and Office (79% profit). Also see Financial Times. As Slashdot points out: The full version of Windows XP costs about $300.00. Microsoft could sell it for $45 and still make a profit. The difference between the $45 price and the $300 price is what economists call "monopoly rents". So, let me spell it out one more time: Microsoft has a de facto monopoly in two areas, where they harvest huge profits. They use those profits to try to run competitors out of business in many, many other areas, by deliberately selling products at a loss.
[ | 2002-11-18 17:17 | 12 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

Friday, November 15, 2002day link 

 Personality Types
pictureI have for years asked people to optionally fill in a Myers-Briggs or Keirsey personality test when filling in a membership profile in NCN. But the last couple of years I've just referred people to Keirsey's site, which is rather cumbersome and self-serving and asking people to register, etc. I just noticed a very simple version at Bloginality. It is kind of simple and obvious, but I'd say it works pretty well. So I'm considering switching over to something like that. It identified me as an ENTP in a minute or two. .. Ah and here's another short one.
[ | 2002-11-15 23:59 | 12 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

Thursday, November 14, 2002day link 

 War is profitable
pictureLisa Rein points out that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney apparently pocketed several million dollars last year in compensation from defense related companies he's had an interest in, and there will be more this year, based on a little accounting trick of 'deferred' compensation. One of the companies in question built a certain well-known prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for one thing.
[ | 2002-11-14 23:59 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

Wednesday, November 13, 2002day link 

pictureThere is power in numbers. A few thousand people who sign a petition can sometimes accomplish a lot. And nowadays with the Internet it is easier than ever to express an opinion, and maybe persuade change to happen. See for example The Petition Site, and see a list of successes. Also Petitions.org, PetitionOnline, WebPetitions and more.
[ | 2002-11-13 23:36 | 12 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Skeptics and Dogmatists
picture One of the types of deception that personally makes me the most angry is that carried out by socalled Skeptics.

Not that there's anything at all wrong with being skeptical of outlandish claims. I'm skeptical too when I'm presented with new information that doesn't match my previous experience. And I'm skeptical about my own beliefs, and I'll often look for reasons to revise them towards something better.

But there are very influential Skeptics who aren't really skeptics at all, but rather people who use deceit to protect and perpetuate a certain, very conservative, worldview.

I was about to write a lengthy article about that. But there are others who've said roughly what I'd like to say. See Debunking the Debunkers for example.
[ | 2002-11-01 03:17 | 39 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Informational Distortions
pictureOne of the things I'm interested in is how to recognize and expose deceptive information, and how to recognize communication that is meant to mislead and control you.

That takes many different forms, and is a whole big subject of study. So here are just a few hints about it, particularly as they apply to interactions between a few people in places where more people are watching, such as panel dicussions or online forums.

Our use of abstractions and symbolism in our language and in our thinking opens up the door for many different ways things can be twisted. Many of them are harmless or accidental. The main thing to watch out for is when somebody would like to give you an untrue picture of something in order to make you think or do something that really isn't in your best interest.
[ | 2002-09-20 13:10 | 18 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 New Wireless Technologies
Long and technical but very interesting article from The Economist about emerging wireless technologies. In brief, it covers these technologies:

1. Smart Antennas for improved cellphone base-station capacity
2. Mesh Networks to make each wireless receiver also be a relay. I.e. each device connects to the device next to it, and the network gets extended to wherever there are people with antennas.
3. Ad hoc networking, which allows a network to form even where there's no centralized infrastructure. Existing devices just start talking with each other, and routing traffic between each other.
4. Ultra wideband, which currently can transmit 100 mbs wirelessly, but is only allowed to do it for a distance of 10ft.

In brief, it is becoming possible to have a very high speed wireless Internet, which is not dependent on any Internet Providers, but which will form itself wherever there are people with access points.

MeshNetworks is one of the companies working on this stuff. They have a nice presentation showing it.
[ | 2002-06-21 16:30 | 21 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

I recently re-discovered the website of The Co-Intelligence Institute which is one of the most important resources on the net, I think. Mostly the work of Tom Atlee. Very focused, but yet very deep and wide-spanning. It is all in one way or another about "co-intelligence".

It seems to be easiest to explain what co-intelligence is by first explaining what co-stupidity is. It is when you put a group of people together and they collectively become stupider than any of them individually are. So, even if it were very intelligent and well-intentioned people that came together, the group as a whole somehow lacks the ability to originate much intelligent activity.

Then, co-intelligence is when a group of people somehow becomes more than any of them individually are. They pool their personal intelligences and the result becomes more insightful or powerful than the sum of their individual perspectives.

Needless to say, if we can know how to get to that place more often, things might not look all that bad.
[ | 2002-06-18 03:19 | 6 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

  Centered On the Edge
picture"How do we come together in order to touch,
or be touched by, the intelligence we need?"
—Jacob Needleman     

Tom Atlee mentioned this fabulous resource: Centered on the Edge: Mapping a Field of Collective Intelligence and Spiritual Wisdom. Be sure to click on the Continue button in the intro to get to the actual material.

A team of spiritually oriented dialogue experts interviewed a lot of people and analyzed the results and came up with a number of patterns and principles that appear to be keys to the phenomenon of how resonant intelligence emerges in groups.
[ | 2002-06-16 19:43 | 16 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 News Log Comments
Interesting. I woke up this morning having decided to disallow comments in my news log. But I changed my mind when I saw some of the nice and useful stuff people had posted. And I decided instead to exercise some editorial control on the comments in my log.

I'd prefer not to. I'd rather for things to work well all by themselves. But it can be a bit irritating when a couple of people decide to hang around in order to tell me, whenever I post something, that I suck, and that whatever I stand for sucks too.

And its not that I can't handle that, and that the ensuing exchange of words isn't potentially useful for something. Not either that it really is mean people. Just folks who are a little frustrated and who somehow think it serves a social purpose to heckle me. No, the thing is that I had in mind that my newslog would serve to keep my friends and colleagues connected with what I do and what I'm thinking about.
[ | 2002-06-15 03:45 | 26 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Spiral Dynamics
pictureLast weekend I was listening to Don Beck speak at the Twilight Club's conference in Washington D.C. Don Beck and Chris Cowan are the two authors of the book Spiral Dynamics. Both are extremely inspiring speakers. Anyway, I just wanted to call the subject of Spiral Dynamics to the attention of anybody who doesn't know what it is.
[ | 2002-05-30 03:22 | 16 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 X3D - upcoming 3D standard for the net
pictureThis is technical, so probably not for everybody.

I was looking around for whatever happened to the rush towards 3D virtual reality on the web 5 years ago. At that time it looked like all sorts of things would end up in VRML pretty quickly. Virtual Reality Modeling Language was a standard for representing and exchanging 3D objects or worlds, which you could access with a plugin in your browser.

The action seems to now be in X3D - Extensible 3D Graphics, which is a standard being developed by the Web3D Consortium, which is superseeding VRML.
[ | 2002-03-06 23:03 | 10 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Computerized Electrodermal Screening
pictureFor many years I've counted for my family's health on a certain healthcare modality, which involves the diagnosis of physical conditions with a device that does electrical measurements on acupuncture points, and that pinpoints all sort of detailed information by placing various substances or frequencies into the circuit.

And it just sort of dawned on me that it is still a little known approach. Certainly in the U.S. where I live. And, looking around on the Internet, I am reminded that there are still many medical doctors willing to claim that it is complete quackery and useless. I can sort of understand why, as I haven't seen anything in traditional western medicine that is remotely as fast and precise, so I suppose they feel threatened.
[ | 2002-02-26 15:15 | 46 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Minciu Sodas laboratory
pictureOne of the groups I occasionally participate with is the Minicu Sodas Laboratory in Lithuania, which coordinates various activities about how to collect, represent and share thoughts on the Internet. For example, they're working on standards for how to transfer structures of thoughts/ideas/concepts between different programs that help you to organize your mind. That might be mind-mapping software or personal organizers or creativity tools, etc. See this page for an overview. This is dense and rather mental stuff, but important in terms of working out how to effectively network diverse collections of information and people.
[ | 2002-02-14 21:00 | 18 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Links in your news log
For those of you who have your own news log here, I'm adding some possibly more convenient way of doing links. As it has you been, a URL you typed in would become highlighted and clickable. But some URLs are ugly, and you would probably rather want to have a piece of descriptive text be clickable. You could do that if you know HTML, but here is a slightly more user-friendly way. Let's say I want to link to the URL [link] and I want it to have the text "Common Dreams" be what is clickable. I can type it in this special way: Common Dreams and it will show up like this: Common Dreams I.e. it is a clickable link, with a readable text, and it will also open up in a new window, so one doesn't lose one's place in your news log.
[ | 2001-12-02 16:30 | 18 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Happyface Spiders
pictureThat's actually a real spider. Of the family Theridion grallator, commonly known as the "Hawaian Happyface Spiders". They're very small, were first discovered in 1973, and only seem to be found on Hawaii. See more pictures:
[ | 2001-11-20 04:44 | 32 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 What are Weblogs
Here's some stuff about the phenomenon of weblogs:

You know, News Logs are pretty much the same thing as weblogs or blogs. They're called different things in different incarnations.

As he says, they're Personal Web Publishing Communities. He also says that this is relational writing. Almost everything relates to something else, somewhere else. This is a different kind of writing that hasn't really existed before.
[ | 2001-11-18 04:02 | 13 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Order of the Assassins
pictureI just realized how the mindset of the current islamic terrorists can be better understood by studying the Order of the Assassins, as there are many parallels, and Osama and his people seem to operate in many ways as the Assassins did. A thousand years ago they were the muslim counterpart to the christian crusaders, most particularly they were the counterpart to the Knights Templar. They operated through terror, prided themselves in the ability to strike anywhere at any time, and often would assassinate leaders of their opposition. Their warriors were drugged and shown how they would return to a life if heaven, with beautiful virgins and infinite glory, if they carried out their missions. Thus they had absolutely no fear of dying.
[ | 2001-11-02 01:07 | 10 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Knowing where to complain
I think it is generally a good principle to voice one's opinion and to give feedback to organizations or companies one is dealing with, if one has something positive or negative to say. But I must admit that I often don't do so, even when I have something burning to say, and that is mostly because it can be cumbersome to find out who to speak to or who to write to, and then to print out a letter, mail it, etc. Particularly since my beef with an organization quite often is exactly that there seems to be nobody listening and nobody who cares. So, it is nice that there are several online possibilities that might help in communicating. For example, there is PlanetFeedback which helps you send letters to companies, and will mail them for you. And the Better Business Bureau has online forms for filing complaints, as well as lookups in their database summarizing other people's experience.
[ | 2001-08-27 13:45 | 21 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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