Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Friday, January 3, 2003day link 

 Words
picture I used to think I spoke and wrote English really well, considering that it isn't my first language. And maybe I'm not too bad, but recently I catch myself looking at what I write, and it seems like I'm just babbling about things I don't really know anything about, using the wrong words, put together wrong. Just mimicking what real people are doing. Like an improv comic giving a convincing lecture on nuclear physics in Chinese, despite knowing neither. Buckminster Fuller once had a personal crisis where he wasn't sure what anything really meant, and he vowed to not speak again before he would be able to say things precisely. He didn't say anything to anybody for about two years, and when he finally did, what he was saying was indeed amazingly coherent and precise. But he was also inventing a bunch of words nobody else was using. Hm, I'm not planning on duplicating that. But maybe I'll spend a bit more time in silence each day, so I can be more sure that I'll actually be saying things that need to be said.
[ | 2003-01-03 03:43 | 8 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Blogging events
I haven't yet succeeded in making it to one of the blog meetup events in L.A., but hopefully next time. And here's another upcoming blogger event I'm planning to attend, from Reverse CowGirl:
"right now, i'm thinking a lot about blogs. blogs, blogs, blogs. blogs all the time around here. currently, i'm co-producing, with technophile Beverly Tang, a panel on blogging that will take place on February 1st at Miltos Manetas' Electronic Orphanage under the Rhizome banner. cyberfille Xeni Jardin will be moderating. the current line-up thus far features the likes of Mark Frauenfelder, Doc Searls, and myself. two other panelists are still being virtually hunted down like e-dogs in the cyberstreet at this time.

i would like to find someone who is alternoblogging. vlogging. audioblogging. moblogging. blogging-as-art. photoblogging with no words whatsoever ever. blogging in a newish way that pushes at the boundaries of the medium. and, they have to be in LA on 2/1. do you know of anyone? it was nice to hear from Jeff Jarvis, Howard Rheingold, and Joi Ito. but, i would like to hear about an alternoblogger too."
Well, I wish I were an alternoblogger, broadcasting my experiences in 3D feel-o-rama wireless reality, at least some of the time.
[ | 2003-01-03 04:16 | 12 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Corporations claim the 'right to lie'
picture From Common Dreams:
"While Nike was conducting a huge and expensive PR blitz to tell people that it had cleaned up its subcontractors' sweatshop labor practices, an alert consumer advocate and activist in California named Marc Kasky caught them in what he alleges are a number of specific deceptions. Citing a California law that forbids corporations from intentionally deceiving people in their commercial statements, Kasky sued the multi-billion-dollar corporation.

Instead of refuting Kasky's charge by proving in court that they didn't lie, however, Nike instead chose to argue that corporations should enjoy the same 'free speech' right to deceive that individual human citizens have in their personal lives. If people have the constitutionally protected right to say, 'The check is in the mail,' or, 'That looks great on you,' then, Nike's reasoning goes, a corporation should have the same right to say whatever they want in their corporate PR campaigns."
And here's some more detail as to the current situation:
"In the next few weeks the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether or not to hear Nike's appeal of the California Supreme Court's decision that Nike was engaging in commercial speech which the state can regulate under truth in advertising and other laws. And lawyers for Nike are preparing to claim before the Supreme Court that, as a "person," this multinational corporation has a constitutional free-speech right to deceive.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Exxon/Mobil, Monsanto, Microsoft, Pfizer, and Bank of America have already filed amicus briefs supporting Nike. Additionally, virtually all of the nation's largest corporate-owned newspapers have recently editorialized in favor of Nike and given virtually no coverage or even printed letters to the editor asserting the humans' side of the case."
It is of course quite enlightening to hear exactly which companies stand up to support their own right to lie.
[ | 2003-01-03 04:30 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 It's all inside
picture Euan Semple says:
"Some of us believe that God exists, if at all, in all of us. That we are all godlike and have the potential to be at one with the wholeness of experience if we could just get out of our own way.

Others believe that God is elsewhere, a presence outside of our experience which controls all that we do, who will look after us if we do the right thing.

This split drives everything, organisations, society, the web.

We give up responsibility to that force outside ourselves or we take responsibility for ourselves. We conform to socially agreed stereotypes or work out what makes us happy and follow that; we trust the structures set up by others or we trust ourselves; we are drawn to client server or peer to peer, Microsoft or Apple, indoors our outdoors, death or life.

Herendeth the lesson"
I'm hearing, and I think it's true. It seems so simple. But so easily we get lost. I would also expand it to say that it isn't even about God, as many who believe there is no such thing will still put the control outside themselves. The key thing, I think, is whether or not I feel that life has something to do with *me*. I.e. whether or not I feel that my choices really make a difference, and I have a reason and a responsibility to make things good. Versus whether I feel powerless - an insignificant and expendable cog in a huge machinery - and I just do what I can get away with, grabbing up every little advantage I can carve out for myself.
[ | 2003-01-03 14:30 | 6 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Leaders and Followers
From Future Positive, an article by Dee Hock.
"Leader presumes follower. Follower presumes choice. One who is coerced to the purposes, objectives, or preferences of another is not a follower in any true sense of the word, but an object of manipulation. Nor is the relationship materially altered if both parties accept dominance and coercion. True leading and following presume perpetual liberty of both leader and follower to sever the relationship and pursue another path. A true leader cannot be bound to lead. A true follower cannot be bound to follow. The moment they are bound, they are no longer leader or follower. The terms leader and follower imply the freedom and independent judgment of both. If the behavior of either is compelled, whether by force, economic necessity, or contractual arrangement, the relationship is altered to one of superior/subordinate, management/employee, master/servant, or owner/slave. All such relationships are materially different than leader-follower.

Induced behavior is the essence of leader-follower. Compelled behavior is the essence of all the others. Where behavior is compelled, there lies tyranny, however benign. Mere behavior is induced, there lies leadership, however powerful. Leadership does not imply constructive, ethical, open conduct. It is entirely possible to induce destructive, malign, devious behavior and to do so by corrupt means. Therefore, a clear, meaningful purpose and compelling ethical principles evoked from all participants should be the essence of every relationship, and every institution."
Lots more there. Great stuff. For those who don't know, Dee Hock was the guy who created VISA, which is an example of a 'chaordic' organization. Non-hierarchical, all participants are relatively free to act on their own.
[ | 2003-01-03 17:39 | 7 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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