Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Thursday, January 30, 2003day link 

 Organizational Development
Jon Husband suggested that Organizational Development would be a field where Ming the Mechanic might fit in well. And I think that's a good hint. I've always felt comfortable amongst OD people, but I didn't particularly imagine I could be one. Either I thought it would just be about staff training, or I figured I didn't have the right degree, or the right direct work experience to point to. But, indeed, both my interests, and my varied experience in different fields do sort of indicate I might have some potential for a role in helping organizations through change. Being a consultant would be what I'd be interested in, not working for some company's Human Resource department, which I'd have no interest in. I think I need to study up a bit on what it would involve.

Here are some links: Organizational Development Institute, Organizational Development Network, ODportal, Action Science.
[ | 2003-01-30 23:47 | 14 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Rethink of Copyright
picture The Economist has an excellent article about copyrights, suggesting an overhaul to the current system. Big media companies in the U.S. have recently been successful in extending the copyrights they 'own' far beyond what was originally intended when copyright was invented.
The alternative is to return to the original purpose of copyright, something no national legislature has yet been willing to do. Copyright was originally the grant of a temporary government-supported monopoly on copying a work, not a property right. Its sole purpose was to encourage the circulation of ideas by giving creators and publishers a short-term incentive to disseminate their work. Over the past 50 years, as a result of heavy lobbying by content industries, copyright has grown to such ludicrous proportions that it now often inhibits rather than promotes the circulation of ideas, leaving thousands of old movies, records and books languishing behind a legal barrier. Starting from scratch today, no rational, disinterested lawmaker would agree to copyrights that extend to 70 years after an author's death, now the norm in the developed world.

Digital technologies are not only making it easier to copy all sorts of works, but also sharply reducing the costs of creating or distributing them, and so also reducing the required incentives. The flood of free content on the internet has shown that most creators do not need incentives that stretch across generations. To reward those who can attract a paying audience, and the firms that support them, much shorter copyrights would be enough. The 14-year term of the original 18th-century British and American copyright laws, renewable once, might be a good place to start.

[ | 2003-01-30 23:47 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

 Family business
picture President Bush first named Henry Kissinger to lead an independent commission to examine 9/11, but he shortly had to excuse himself because of conflict of interest. Now, in December Bush named Thomas Kean, former Republican governor of New Jersey, to be the chairman of that commission. But it seems to be very hard to find people who aren't in bed with the enemy already. Fortune reveals a few things about Mr.Kean:
Kean is a director of petroleum giant Amerada Hess, which in 1998 formed a joint venture--known as Delta Hess--with Delta Oil, a Saudi Arabian company, to develop oil fields in Azerbaijan.

One of Delta's backers is Khalid bin Mahfouz, a shadowy Saudi patriarch married to one of Osama bin Laden's sisters. Mahfouz, who is suspected of funding charities linked to al Qaeda, is even named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by families of Sept. 11 victims.

True, Hess is hardly the only company to cross paths with Mahfouz: He has shown up in dealings with, among others, ultra-secretive investment firm Carlyle Group and BCCI, the lender toppled by fraud in 1992.
It's all in the family, it seems.
[ | 2003-01-30 23:59 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Restroom Surveillance
Apparently the police in Ohio likes to put up hidden cameras in public restrooms, so they can sit and watch people pee. Yeah, tax money is paying for a bunch of perverts who're sitting behind TV screens, trying to think of something they can charge people with.
One of the accused, James Henry, was convicted for standing at a restroom urinal for 47 seconds in May 2001. He is shown leaving the restroom without incident. At his trial, prosecutors convinced the jury that because Henry stepped back from the urinal before fastening his pants, anyone entering the facility "could have" come to the conclusion that Henry was masturbating. He was summarily convicted of public indecency.
Hm, yeah, sounds like a dangerous criminal. Too slow to zip up his pants.
[ | 2003-01-30 23:59 | 4 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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