Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Sunday, April 6, 2003day link 

 BlogShares
I started playing with BlogShares. Joi Ito said:
"Blogshares just went beta. It is a site where you can trade shares of blogs using fake money. The price is based on trading and a valuation of sorts is derived from links weighted by how valuable the links are. (Kind of like google page rank.) This price/value spread is sort of a P/E. Obviously, this fuels the "popularity content" aspect of blogging. Having said that, it's fun. I wish I could short sell blogs. ;-) It will be interesting to see whether the blog prices predict new popular blogs accurately since people should buy blogs that are new and cool but people don't know about yet."
Indeed, this if fun. A stock market for blog. I don't totally get it yet. But people have already bought shares in ming.tv, and I picked a bunch of blogs with good potential, so let's see what happens.
[ | 2003-04-06 22:01 | 2 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Community Straddling and multi-culturalism
George Por says:
" What a delight! after writing about multi-membership here and there, I've just discovered S├ębastien Paquet's concept of "community straddling" in a brief but germinal essay on Online Communities and the Future of Culture. A "community straddler is someone who participates in several communities, be it simultaneously or sequentially, and who understands the culture of each to a certain extent." Seb also says:
These people do not feel irrevocably bound to a particular community. They see themselves as multidimensional: as opposed to saying "I'm a doctor, don't expect me to teach you anything" or "I'm just a programmer, don't bug me with politics", they'll say "Well, right now I'm into this and that and that, and if you have something new to show me I just might take a plunge!"
As humankind's collective intellect--reflected to some extent on the web--became the most powerful force of production of our times, multi-community membership and the corresponding multi-dimensional evolution of human faculties, became harbingers of cultural and economic transformation much more profound and broader than we've ever had a chance to experience.
George also pointed out in an e-mail today the leverage found in the ability to speak multiple languages, in terms of collective intelligence. American supremacy made the world learn English. But now there probably are more people who speak two or more languages in Europe than in the U.S. More people who are fluent in straddling multiple cultures.

This is all important, I think. Will become increasingly important. People who act as neurons between cells that otherwise wouldn't be connected, because they speak different languages or have different world views or specialize in different areas.
[ | 2003-04-06 22:13 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 World War IV by the numbers
From CommUnityofMinds, from an article yesterday in the Toronto Star, some sobering numbers about the Iraq war.
77: Percentage of Americans who support military action against any country believed to be linked to 9/11 terrorist attacks, even if innocent civilians are killed in those countries.
69: In a 2002 poll, percentage of Americans who said they believe Iraq has nuclear weapons.
O: Number of nuclear warheads in Iraq.
53.9: Estimated number of U.S. troops over the age of 20 deemed to be overweight by federal obesity standards.
$850 billion: Estimated military spending in the world in 2002.
50: Percentage spent by U.S.
0.0015: Percentage spent by Iraq.
50 per cent: Spending increase on U.S. national defense projected between 2000 and 2007.
320 metric tonnes: Amount of depleted uranium left in region after 1991 Gulf War.
200,000: Estimated number of U.S. soldiers said to be suffering from Gulf War Syndrome.
700: Between 1991 and 94, percentage increase in cancer rates in Iraq.
1 in 6: Chance the U.S. bombed Iraq on any given day last year.
9: Percentage of U.S. munitions dropped during the first Gulf War that were classified as precision-guided.
75: Percentage used during current war.
98: During the first Gulf War, the reported "success rate" (or percentage of accurate strikes) by Tomahawk cruise missiles.
10: Pentagon's estimated "success rate" after the war ended.
$750,000: Unit cost of one Tomahawk cruise missile.
725: By Thursday morning, number of Tomahawks used in Iraq.
6: Of the 10-member commission created to investigate the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the number who have direct links to the airline industry.
$3 million: Budget given to commission.
$9 billion: Estimated monthly cost for U.S. to sustain war in Iraq.
$100 billion: Estimated cost of Iraq "reconstruction."
$7.4 billion: Amount U.S. will spend on missile defense research and development this year.
70: The percentage increase in wealth gap between the top 10 per cent of American families with highest incomes and the 20 per cent of families with lowest incomes between 1998 and 2001.
400: Number of French products and companies suggested for boycott on several Web sites.
18: Number of times France has invoked its veto in United Nations history.
76: Number of times the U.S. has used its veto.
1,200: Number of American historians who signed a petition last year demanding the Bush administration respect the U.S. Constitution with respect to declaration of war.
54 to 67: By 2020, estimated percentage of crude oil that will come from Persian Gulf.
2: As a measure of proven oil reserves, ranking of Iraq among all countries.
6: Percentage of the world's population living in the U.S.
30: Percentage of the world's energy resources used in the U.S.
89: Percentage of Americans who rely on television as their first source of news during war in Iraq.
92: Between Sept. 14, 2002 and Feb. 7, 2003, percentage of news stories airing on NBC, ABC and CBS that originated directly from White House, Pentagon or State Department.
67: Between March 25 and 27, percentage of U.S. television viewers who said they felt "sad watching the war coverage."
83: Percentage of U.S. television viewers who say they now want a return to entertainment programming.
236,202: The number of times Osama bin Laden was mentioned in international media reports between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 11, 2002.
57, 667: The number of times Osama bin Laden was mentioned between Sept. 11, 2002 and today.
66,648: The number of times Saddam Hussein was mentioned between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 11, 2002.
225,147: The number of times Saddam Hussein was mentioned between Sept. 11, 2002 and today.
Oct. 2, 2002: Date the American Gulf War Veterans Association called for the resignation of U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after he denied the U.S. sent biological weapons to Iraq during the 1980s.
38: In a 2002 poll, percentage of Americans who said Canada should be annexed.
13: Percentage of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 who could find Iraq on a map prior to the war.
16,000: Number of inactive military ranges in the U.S. that have unexploded munitions that pose serious environmental hazards.
1.5 million: Number of Internet "hits" the Iraq Body Count Web site has had since the war began.
52: Percentage of these visitors who are from the United States.
50: Percentage of weapons entering the global market that come from American firms.
10: Percentage of U.S. military spending that would provide global population with basic necessities.
1: Number of countries that have used nuclear weapons against another country.
Get the picture? But does this make a difference for the general public? So many of us are so disconnected from reality and from our logical faculties that even clear facts make little difference.
[ | 2003-04-06 22:26 | 15 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 President of the Apocalypse
picture BBC about George W. Bush and his conviction that God wants him to engage the forces of evil.
He had turned to God at the age of 40 as a way of kicking alcoholism, and his faith had kept him on the straight and narrow ever since, giving him the drive to reach the White House.

But all that changed on the day of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.Those close to Mr Bush say that day he discovered his life's mission.

He became convinced that God was calling him to engage the forces of evil in battle, and this one time baseball-team owner from Texas did not shrink from the task.
Pretty freaky, really, if Bush really thinks he's now battling the anti-Christ. And nearly all mainland churches in the U.S. are uncomfortable with that as well, and are opposing the war.

I'm not particularly religious, but if I were adhering to the idea of a Christian God (or Jewish or Islamic), I'd be very uncomfortable with the idea that a U.S. president thinks that this God reports to him. That's not what he says in words, but that is the structure of what he says. That God is on his side in the war, and that God will back up his decisions. That does sound like some kind of blasphemy to me. No other U.S. president have had any such hubris in the past.

For that matter, if it wasn't so tragic and dangerous, it would be sort of funny. The fate of the world is in the hands of an illiterate alcoholic delusional coke-head, who hears voices in his head about how he's chosen for a special mission, and who pays little attention to what is going on in the real world. What makes it dangerous is that a sufficiently large percentage of the American population believe in the same comic book vision.
[ | 2003-04-06 22:57 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Thin Ice
This one is very funny. A piece of humor that catches the gist of the pro-war mood really well. It is all about an old woman out there on the ice, and a Winnebago full of boy scouts, and a protester who just can't seem to understand what is the MORAL way to go.
[ | 2003-04-06 23:17 | 19 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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