Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Wednesday, June 20, 2007day link 

 Self-portraits
picture Dave Pollard:
I'm intrigued at the idea of self-portraits as a means of learning to love and understand yourself better, and perhaps as a means to Let-Self-Change. UK photographer Victoria Sims, whose self-portrait is above, is a master at this.
Hm, yeah, didn't think about that. But kind of how writing your bio makes you examine who you really are. Visually too, of course. How do you want to present yourself? Who are you really? How can you show that better?
[ | 2007-06-20 21:53 | 18 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Are breakthroughs social?
picture Matt Mower talks , here too, about breakthroughs, based on Terry Frazier discussing a talk by Lisa Haneberg, who in a talk said this:
  • Breakthroughs happen in a social context, If you aren't out actively promoting your goal or idea, discussing it regularly with friends, colleagues, and strangers and sharing your challenges, achievements, and objectives, you aren't going to make any breakthroughs.

  • Introverts, no matter how smart, rarely make breakthroughs, Breakthroughs do not happen in front of your face. They happen in the connections and gaps and networks that emerge from constant forward action and focus.
  • So, is a breakthrough a social thing? I'm not sure I agree that it is, necessarily. Rather, it sounds like an extrovert speaking.

    A breakthrough is, I suppose, when there's something somebody wants, and something stopping it which is somewhat complex. So, it is a problem, or dilemma, or a confused situation, where an objective is known, but not being met. Something is stuck. And then, bing, something changes, and you're at another level, a better place, where things are simpler, and things are flowing. Might be just a reframe, you suddenly see things differently. Or you acquire a piece you didn't have before. An individual can do that, or a group.

    But is that inherently social? I agree that more evolved social networking could be more likely to generate breakthroughs for individuals, breakthroughs in thinking or living. The availability of more social flows might give you an opportunity for being more in the flow. They might, but they won't necessarily. And it is not like it couldn't happen without.

    Personally I often need people to talk things over with in order to break through something. I need input, and I need to see ideas reflect themselves in other people before I quite know what they mean, and then I make up my own mind. But it works differently for different people. Some people need other people before they can do certain things. Other people need to be alone to do the same thing. And it isn't as simple as extrovert/introvert. One might be extroverted as to some aspects of one's life, and introverted in regards to others.

    But the question of how social contexts can be more conducive to breakthrough is a very intesting one. How do you lay things out so that routine breakthroughs are the norm?
    [ | 2007-06-20 22:41 | 27 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

     Lessig takes on corruption
    Lawrence Lessig has for years been a leading voice in the fight against crazy, excessive copyright and intellectual property laws. Now he's announced that he's not exactly retiring, but he's moving on to the root of the issue: corruption.
    From a public policy perspective, the question of extending existing copyright terms is, as Milton Friedman put it, a "no brainer." As the Gowers Commission concluded in Britain, a government should never extend an existing copyright term. No public regarding justification could justify the extraordinary deadweight loss that such extensions impose.

    Yet governments continue to push ahead with this idiot idea -- both Britain and Japan for example are considering extending existing terms. Why?

    The answer is a kind of corruption of the political process. Or better, a "corruption" of the political process. I don't mean corruption in the simple sense of bribery. I mean "corruption" in the sense that the system is so queered by the influence of money that it can't even get an issue as simple and clear as term extension right. Politicians are starved for the resources concentrated interests can provide. In the US, listening to money is the only way to secure reelection. And so an economy of influence bends public policy away from sense, always to dollars.

    The point of course is not new. Indeed, the fear of factions is as old as the Republic. There are thousands who are doing amazing work to make clear just how corrupt this system has become. There have been scores of solutions proposed. This is not a field lacking in good work, or in people who can do this work well.
    Of course he says it diplomatically, that there's a kind of curruption of the system. Yes, most politicians who vote for those laws have been paid by the mega media companies to do just that. But it is the system that is the problem, a system where the interests of big money somehow win most of the time.
    [ | 2007-06-20 23:23 | 16 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

     Forwarding and spam
    The ISP that hosts one of my two dedicated servers sent me a message today. The abuse department. Essentially the message is that they have too many complaints about people receiving spam from my server and they're going to block it.

    They had written a couple of weeks ago too. After I asked them very nicely they sent back a sample of a message they had gotten a complaint about. Essentially it was just one of the mail users on my server that has his mail forwarded to his yahoo account. So, vicepresident@a-non-profit-organization.org is forwarded to somebody@yahoo.com. And the thing is that spam is forwarded too, and sometimes he hits the spam button.

    But Yahoo is apparently so incompetent in treating this that they don't notice that the spam didn't come from my server at all. That particular spam came from somebody in Brazil, and that was clearly visible in the headers of the message. As was the fact that the message was forwarded and from what account. But they still turn around and send an abuse message to my ISP, stating that they've received spam from my server. And when my ISP has gotten a certain number of those, they shut me down.

    What on earth am I supposed to do about that? Forbid that anybody forwards their mail?

    That server has quite a few mail accounts, mostly for non-profit groups that have a website on the server. And most of those mail addresses forward to where people really pick up their mail. There's also a lot of mailing lists on the server, but I suppose that's not the issue here.

    What I did today was that I set up Spamassassin to process the incoming mail. So, anything that's likely to be spam gets marked with "***SPAM***" in the subject line, plus a whole bunch of mail headers are added to the message, explaining why it looks like spam.

    I wonder if that will make a difference to Yahoo. Otherwise I'll have to figure out how to trash anything that looks like spam which otherwise would be forwarded to Yahoo, and that's a much harder configuration job.
    [ | 2007-06-20 23:59 | 23 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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