Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Friday, October 17, 2003day link 

 Slow Light
picture Researchers have shown than they can slow down light to a stand still, and even store its properties in atoms and then reconstitute the light later. And now other researchers have found that they can manufacture crystal that either slow down or speed up light.

It all reminds me of a science fiction story I read once where somebody had manufactured "slow glass". It would take something like 20 years for light to pass through a pane of glass like that. So, you would buy glass panes that had been standing around on the African savannah or in the Himalayas or something for years, and put them as windows in your house. And then, for years, you could look out at exotic wildlife walking about outside or breathtaking mountain views.
[ | 2003-10-17 10:55 | 6 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Leaders on the Web
David Weinberger writes about the question about why it is so hard to find any leaders on the net. It is easy to name plenty of examples of leaders in the 'real' world. But on the web, we seem to be at a loss of giving good examples. Sure, some well-known names who invented one thing or the other, but leaders?
"The answer to the first question — why are there no leaders on the Web? — has everything to do with the Web's architecture...

The single factor perhaps most important for the success of the Web is precisely the fact that we don't need permission to participate, to create a Web site, to post a page. The Web is a permission-free zone. In this it mirrors the Internet that will move anyone's bits from one point to any other point without needing to get permission first and without having to consult a central routing authority to find out how to do it.

[...]So, what lessons do we learn about leadership on the Web? That the people we pay attention to are the ones who speak not at us and not to us but with us. We listen to them carefully because they are so interesting, so wise, and even so funny. We learn that leadership isn't a quality that necessarily spreads across all areas and topics: the person who is worth listening to about, say, technology may be just another jerk when it comes to raising children. And we learn the lesson that is most troubling to marketers, businesses and real-world leaders of all sorts: We learn that we, talking together, are smarter, wiser, and more interesting than any single leader could ever hope to be."
Hm, so in the big conversation of the web, a leader is somebody we particularly pay attention to, somebody who's worth listening to? I suppose so. So, leadership is when somebody cares about a particular matter, and others recognize it and pay attention. And cooperate, I suppose, if there's a shared activity that is suggested.
[ | 2003-10-17 12:04 | 6 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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