Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Thursday, March 6, 2003day link 

 The World of Ends - the Net as an Agreement
David Weinberger and Doc Searls have written an article about what the Internet is and what it isn't. It presents some powerful and simple points that need to be spelled out in neon, for all those who don't quite get it. Maybe not you and I, but maybe the phone company and the recording industry and the government. And you're hearing it from two of the four authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto.
"All we need to do is pay attention to what the Internet really is. It's not hard. The Net isn't rocket science. It isn't even 6th grade science fair, when you get right down to it. We can end the tragedy of Repetitive Mistake Syndrome in our lifetimes — and save a few trillion dollars’ worth of dumb decisions — if we can just remember one simple fact: the Net is a world of ends. You're at one end, and everybody and everything else are at the other ends.

Sure, that’s a feel-good statement about everyone having value on the Net, etc. But it’s also the basic rock-solid fact about the Net's technical architecture. And the Internet’s value is founded in its technical architecture.

Fortunately, the true nature of Internet isn’t hard to understand. In fact, just a fistful of statements stands between Repetitive Mistake Syndrome and Enlightenment ..."

[ | 2003-03-06 23:59 | 12 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Working Openly
Andrius Kulikauskas is a champion for working openly. Read his new bigger and bolder proposal for the operation of the Minciu Sodas laboratory. The idea is to publically propose projects, to make clear which people are available, what they're available for, and how much money is needed. Because it is all public, and because people can follow the progress, anybody can provide information and leads that might make projects come together. He outlines a scheme with a range of bigger and smaller projects supporting each other. Oh, and I'm delighted to see a slot waiting for me there. Yes, of course I'd enjoy making knowledge management systems with such distinguished folks.
[ | 2003-03-06 23:59 | 7 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Ito and Lessig talk emergent democracy
Joi Ito:
"Had dinner tonight with Lawrence Lessig to talk about emergent democracy and other things. Larry pointed out some interesting work called deliberative polling being done by Professor James S. Fishkin. Since polling is forces people to vote on something they don't really know too much, the data may be statistically accurate, but is not necessarily the best way to promote a democratic system. deliberative polling takes a diverse group of people, forces them to discuss the issues in small group, in large groups, small groups, over and over again for a fairly lengthy process until everyone has a pretty good idea of the issues and an balanced and eductated position. Polls are conducted through the process to track how people's opinions change. Afterwards, many of the people who have participated become much more active citizens. I think that this is similar to the emergent democracy idea that we have. Maybe we can try to do this deliberative polling using the online tools that we have."
Hm, interesting. Makes me think of Citizen Deliberative Councils. And wasn't it the Roman senate that picked regular citizens for its members on a rotating basis, whether they wanted to or not? There's something to say for bringing together a random cross-section of people, and hearing what they come up with, once they study the issues at hand. As opposed to career politicians and lobbyists trying to decide everything.
"Deliberative polling turns to the representatives to execute on these opinions. Antoin was the first to point out (many others have pointed this out later) that my paper misses an important part of the democratic process. The execution. It focuses on the deliberation part. Maybe emergent democracy should focus on those interesting moments in history where the people wake up and change government. Larry talked about how there were three such instances in the US. When the framers went against the bill of rights in writing the constitution, during the civil war and during the "new deal." Each of these involved a deviance from constitutional democracy because of a huge swell in the opinion of the people. Maybe emergent democracy enables the people to force an issue when it become important enough to engage the public to rise up. Sort of an information militia. We can rely on the experts in the representative democracy when this are running smoothly and the people are not engaged... Anyway, still very malformed thoughts, but a lot to think about."
Yes, of course, the action. There's something screwed up about deciding things in a disconnect from the action required to do it. That's again often what politicians do. Maybe real democracy is inextricably intertwined with action. Maybe it is what people choose to DO, if they're free to do so.
[ | 2003-03-06 23:59 | 6 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Disconnectedness defines danger
John Robb mentions an article "The Pentagon's New Map" by Thomas Barnett, a military strategist from the U.S. Naval War College. It purportedly explains "why we're going to war, and why we'll keep going to war". But what is interesting about it is that it is based on a fairly lucid analysis of how it is *disconnection* that gives birth to the dangers of terrorism and rogue states, etc. Which I fully agree with. It is the fact that some nations and some groups of people are disconnected from the rest of us, that is likely to lead to them feeling disadvantaged and resentful, to the degree that they're likely to strike back. If we were all intertwined in a unified globalized structure, in terms of economics, communication, technology, democracy, etc., there would be no basis for war. So that would be the target.

So far so good. But to a hammer everything is a nail. To Mr. Barnett, being a military strategist, the means of getting there is by going to war. That begins to sound rather insane. Achieve a unified, open, prosperous, global democracy by going to war against anybody who isn't going along with the globalization thing. But I wouldn't be too surprised if that is actually the strategy the people who're running Bush are pursuing. Bomb any country that doesn't have McDonalds franchises. It has hardly anything to do with whether those countries are a military threat to the United States. It has all to do with whether they're willing to play by our rules or not. Which involves giving multi-national corporations free reign, and refraining from acting as an independent state. There's a certain twisted logic there.
[ | 2003-03-06 23:59 | 16 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Ganguro Girls
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Japanese teenagers seem to be a continuing source of strange and interesting trends. Here's a page about the trendy Ganguro Girls of Tokyo. The GANGURO "look" is to have dyed blonde or brown hair, plucked eyebrows, tan skin, mini-skirt, cool shoes, "ganguro gal" are the brownskin girls, "gonguro gal" are the more deep brownskin, "Yamanba gal" is silver or white or brown hair, brown or hard-drawn face, heavy makeup or panda makeup. "Yamanba gal" include "Ganguro gal" and "Gonguro gal".
[ | 2003-03-06 23:59 | 103 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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