Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Friday, December 20, 2002day link 

 Living Systems, Holons in Holarchies
picture Evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris is one of the most inspiring people I know, and she holds an important key - the understanding of living systems, and how that understanding applies in many places we might not expect.
"A biology that sees all nature as co-evolving holons (living entities) in holarchies (interdependent embeddedness) will quickly reveal much about humanity itself as one such holon - containing its own holarchy of individuals, families, organizations, communities, nations and world. Through this understanding of ourselves, we will gain profound insights on where we succeed and where we fail as a living system." --Biology Revisioned

"We are learning that there is more than one way to organize functional systems, to produce order and balance; that the imperfect and flexible principles of nature lead to greater stability and resilience in natural systems than we have produced in ours-both technological and social-by following the mechanical laws we assumed were natural...On the whole, there seems to be good reason to believe our species' recklessly egotistical and destructive phase is coming to an end with new knowledge that leads us back to ancient wisdom. We are capable of regaining our reverence for life, of replacing the drive to conquer with the will to cooperate, of remaking our engineered institutions, including our corporations, into living systems." --Earthdance

[ | 2002-12-20 06:03 | 9 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Bush wants to monitor the Net
The Bush administration apparently has a plan for building a centralized system to enable broad monitoring of the Internet, and, potentially, surveillance of its users, through arrangements with ISPs. The proposal is part of a final version of a report, 'The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace', set for release early next year.
Mitch Ratcliffe says, and I agree: "This is sheer idiocy, because it will actually increase the risks to the national information infrastructure. From its inception, the Net was conceived as a distributed system that could reorganize around failures (in the case of the original designs, the Net was built to route around damage caused by nuclear weapons). Centralizing all network communications to facilitate surveillance will create a huge, ripe and easily attacked target, reducing the reliability and performance of the Internet on the whole and for each individual user. Likewise, the plan would invade the digital borders of other countries, creating many conflicts that don't impede communication today."
Well, if it happens, we'll have to route around that particular damage. The U.S. could no longer be allowed to contain the central hubs of the Internet, and we'll just have to encrypt more traffic. ... Note: the next day the White House issued a clarification, saying the plan is not finished and it will not necessarily include monitoring of individual e-mail. Yeah, sure.
[ | 2002-12-20 15:02 | 16 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Immigrants arrested in Los Angeles
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service has arrested close to 1000 Middle Eastern immigrants in Los Angeles, after tricking them into voluntarily coming in to register. That's not good, and it is looking a bit like how the U.S. imprisoned Japanese Americans during WWII in 'internment camps'. Lisa Rein has a bunch of things to say about it. Well, I can see the other side too, not that it is reasonable or pretty or anything. The U.S. immigration system is a hugely screwed up bureaucracy. People are still being processed based on boxes of paper, and each step typically takes several years, no matter how simple it is. My wife and my daughter only got their greencards last year, and that took 9 years for a simple formality, as they had a right to immigrate because I already had a greencard. In the meantime they could, in principle, have been arrested and deported. But the immigration system has an unwritten racial bias here. People from Mexico, or people from the Middle East, would most likely be deported if arrested. But if my wife had been arrested, we could probably have talked our way out of it, with the help of a laywer, as we don't look like illegal immigrants. Anyway, the bureaucracy is so huge and stupid here, and there are so many holes in the societal control system here, that it looks very feasible for people to just stay here after your visa expires. And that's what happened with those 1000 Iranian people. They live here, but they didn't have valid visas, and some of them had applied for greencards, but they weren't really in any legal category. So, yes, when they walk into the INS, they will recognize of course that these people don't have any legal visas, and they will arrest them. But the whole thing got to look quite a bit like a setup, in order to cart Muslims off to concentration camps.
[ | 2002-12-20 15:33 | 7 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Democracy
picture Johnny Carson: "Democracy is buying a big house you can't afford with money you don't have, to impress people you wish were dead. And, unlike communism, democracy does not mean having just one ineffective political party; it means having two ineffective political parties. ... Democracy is welcoming people from other lands, and giving them something to hold onto -- usually a mop or a leaf blower. It means that with proper timing and scrupulous bookkeeping, anyone can die owing the government a huge amount of money. ... Democracy means free television, not good television, but free. ... And finally, democracy is the eagle on the back of a dollar bill, with 13 arrows in one claw, 13 leaves on a branch, 13 tail feathers, and 13 stars over its head -- this signifies that when the white man came to this country, it was bad luck for the Indians, bad luck for the trees, bad luck for the wildlife, and lights out for the American eagle. I thank you."
[ | 2002-12-20 15:53 | 10 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 I'm not that far behind
I was sort of thinking I was way behind on implementing features in my newslog program here, which other weblog programs had long ago. But I just noticed Doc Searls saying:
"Blogging is basically just writing live on the Web. There are lots of upsides to it, as we know. But there's at least one downside: saving stuff. When you're writing for yourself, you save constantly. But when you're writing live, for the world, you don't always want to do that. You might want to wait until you're done with your post before you save it. That's risky. ... as I just found out when I wasted twenty minutes I didn't have answering Eric Norlin's latest volley, point by point. I was up to number 5 out of 6 when something "unexpectedly quit" and I lost it all."
Sorry to hear that, but, hahah, MY newslog program has a button for saving a draft while one is going along, and one can also leave a post hidden and saved for later publishing. Because I too absolutely hate loosing stuff I just wrote. So, maybe I do have a few things that others don't have. Like, the picture management system for this program is quite simple, but powerful and useful. Many weblog programs require people to know HTML to include links and pictures, and you would be on your own in terms of uploading the pictures somewhere.
[ | 2002-12-20 16:10 | 48 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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