Thursday, June 30, 2005

Proliferation of unusable domains

I dunno,. maybe it's just me, but are domains that combine words with TLDs - such as del.icio.us and blo.gs - harder to remember/type? Punctuation mid-word is very unnatural.

Bush enacts anti-terror measures

Bush gives himself more powers to intrude upon everyone

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The latest battlefield

Bush blabbers on. How can people still actually believe this crap? :

"The terrorists who attacked us - and the terrorists we face - murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent."

...

"Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania."

Hands up who thinks the insurgency (there's a clue in the name) would be blowing stuff and people up in Baghdad if Iraq hadn't been invaded?

Blair continues to decline apologies for "toppling" Saddam. Fair enough, but it's about time leaders started accepting some responsibility for the violence they created.

Meanwhile, there's a good answer for my previous question, and for Phil's closing question. Fear.

Not fear of terrorists - that's a smokescreen. The real fear here is an insecurity of the soul, a deeply embedded, cultural insecurity that hides itself through bluster, arms and propaganda. The illusion that unless other cultures are "restricted", the US - no, the Western way of life will be snatched away.

"Shock and Awe" tactics aren't primarily a display of might against an enemy, with the intention to make them gawp and question who they're up against - that's only a side effect. Rather, they're a display of might to comfort the instigators, the people back home, that they can rest easy cos no-one's about to take all the stuff they've "earned" away from them.

The "latest battlefield" isn't a place. It's the minds of all the spectators, watching comfortably from cosy armchairs through blaring TV sets. And on that field, it's a battle between what we imagine ourselves to be, and what we truly are but that we can never admit.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Warnings vs Reality vs Public Consensus

Oil hits $60, yet the impetus to actually seriously look into/be concerned about the issue is still very... small. At what point will the general guy in the street start to really question what lies ahead? At what point will the general consensus begin to turn against oil? At the moment, it's as if the problem will "sort itself out" somehow. Public complacency is rife. For how long?

Other stuff:

Iran bored with US now

Richard Whitely, RIP :-(

Friday, June 24, 2005

Splashtonbury

Having much fun checking out the Glastonbury weather and the associated flow of Flickr photos... Ulp.

Monday, June 20, 2005

After the fall

The Economist on raging house prices: After the fall. Lots of naysaying and "ifs", and ends with... "the biggest increase in wealth in history was largely an illusion."


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Reaching out to digital refuseniks

To read later... Reaching out to digital refuseniks

Friday, June 17, 2005

Another year for biometrics to the USA

US extends visa-waiver for UK citizens - looks like biometrics are a no-go for the next year still.

SDI

Phil's Smart Disorganized Individuals blog.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Brighton rocks

A new era of wireless in Brighton?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

No Term Limits for the U.S. President?

Goody, looks like we might get Bush for a third term - current US legislation limits a president to 2 terms... Can't think of any good reason why that would be there, nosirree...

Bums up!

Now that's the way to enjoy Scotch...

Friday, June 10, 2005

More on (Moron) Copyright

EU to try and bump copyright up too, to be more "in line" with the US, ha.

Another thought just hit me, along the same lines as my rant at Steve's this morning. In the article, James Purnell (who's rapidly earning a similarly-named blog)is quoted as saying:

"The music industry is a risky business and finding talent and artists is expensive"

The thing here is that technology allows us to find new ways of discovering artists. The PR hierarchy can be flattened, but the moneymakers don't want it to be.

As always, progress is hindered by the power hungry.

'Sick note culture'

Gosh, start fining parents for taking their children on holiday during term time, and sickness rates mysteriously go up. Criminy.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

BBC podcasts

I think the BBC podcast feeds trial should get some coverage, as it's a fairly hefty shift in how people can get their media. I haven't really looked into it much yet, but it's good to see another really simple scheme being adopted because it's simple.

Google on the chase

The legal backlash has begun... "Google is always happy to see developers interested in our products and we commend you on the service. That said, we would appreciate it if you voluntarily remove
your service
"

IANAL and can't be bothered to go through the Terms of Google Maps right now though, so no idea how this affects everything else... Try the Slashdot posts though.

Contractual Obligations

Nice philosophy quote today:  Society is indeed a contract...it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.  -- Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France 

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Economy 2.0: Blurring the boundaries...

What is "property"? A gamer in China has been given life after stabbing a fellow gamer who "borrowed" his sword in-game, then proceeded to sell it off for almost 500 quid.

The two viewpoints of interest come at the end of the article:


Following the case, associate law professor at Beijing's Renmin University of China said that such weapons should be deemed as private property because players "have to spend time and money for them".

But a lawyer for one Shanghai-based internet game company told a Chinese newspaper that the weapons were in fact just data created by games providers and therefore not the property of gamers.


While possibly seeming somewhat silly to those of us who don't spend as much time immersed in on-line worlds, it strikes me that this is comparable to - if not even more sensible than - the ongoing legal wranglings around every other non-tangible "product" in our society - from music, to software, to films, to text. All of these are just "data" that we've created, copied, manipulated and "unset" to obtain something recognisable, too. Yet we have industries and laws around these too - laws that are being fought over as I type.

"Property" comes out of a materialist thinking. The problem is that we've moved on from our materialist paradigm, into a physical reality that threatens to trade scarcity and demand for ubiquity and supply. So far, economies based on information have been nothing more than a hack - an attempt to shove new ideas into the old hole. However, as the new methods outpace and outstretch old thinking more and more, we'll find increasingly that the hack just doesn't hold together - not without a whole bunch of laws, and lawyers and police to back them up. In short, we're doomed to a future of strangled enforcement simply because our philosophy doesn't match our desire.

We need a refresh. We need to start thinking progressively rather than defensively, only governments and corporates are currently too entrenched in the way of life that benefits themselves to take notice. History shows that this mismatch between societal strata will have to be forced out of place before the people that "run" the show actually listen.

This ties in with a question I asked on the alt ec tribe. There are different kinds of alternative, depending on where you are and where you've come from. I think what we need now is a radically different idea of economics based on a radically different idea of "property". We need to combine the new paradigm with the old in order to get somewhere useful.

But at the same time, it's not enough to simply come up with something *different*. If possible, a new economy should act as a "superset" of the old, a backwards compatible version 2.0 economy that fills in the holes in the old one that cause all the grief we've inherited today. A lot of what we have works, and we'd be foolish to re-invent the money wheel. Maybe shifting the idea of "property" to take into account all the things of a less tangible nature would simply be enough?

How much would you pay for your soul?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Reality

Chinese blogs face restrictions

In amongst all the moaning about politics and corporates, it's weird to think just how much freedom of speech we actually have. I, for one, am particularly grateful.

UK Music Copyright to be doubled?

100 years? That sucks. As far as I can tell, the reasoning is that "record companies can plough money back into unearthing new talent." IMHO, if they're still relying on 50-year-old songs to make money for today, then what's wrong with their current set-up?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Untrustworthy

Heh. People don't trust politicians... a shame when some of them tend towards sense, some of the time.

The Shortfalls of an Information Society

Hmm, here's a challenge for the long term...

Local democracy on-line is great - lots of people have lots of different views, and seem to be able to discuss them sensibly, which is a good start :) Politics naturally enters into it, and along with politics we naturally get polemicism - fair enough - and, as a result, "persuasional techniques". Representation on the net, when detached from absolute nymity, is extremely intriguing.

An ongoing case in Brighton concerns the treatment of protestors at an arms company by local Police. So far, reports have been contributed either by the protestors in an effort to get their case known, or by media who run to their own rules (as far as I'm concerned). It's been very difficult to get a bias-free story, anyway. So I read this message from an "independent" with great interest.

Now, on the one hand, I'm somewhat suspicious of the police, and can believe that they'd be unnecessarily heavy-handed. But on the other hand, I feel equally guilty about jumping to conclusions - hence my interest in the post above. The question is, how can I trust the view of a supposed independent to be authentic? That is, not that their report isn't misjudged, as it were, but that they are as independent as they say they are.

For now, because I'm not involved with the situation and because I don't know the poster, my main resources are a). previous posts by the same person, b) their profile (which doesn't exist) and c). Google, although here we start to see just what Google lacks.


Indeed, at this point we start to see what on-line communication as a whole lacks. Reputation networks still have a long way to go, but for things like this, there's some great potential for small-scope (e.g. per-mailing list) trust networks. Only thing is, I'm not sure quite how they should work just yet...


Sunday, June 05, 2005

A mere dozen

BBC News: Saddam 'to face just 12 charges'

"A spokesman said the 12 charges of crimes against humanity were fully documented and there was no point "wasting time" dealing with all 500."

No point? Or (as the cynic in my bones speaks to me) too much chance that his dealings with the West will be highlighted? The past is being rewritten as we read it. Once Saddam is out of the picture, the no-one cares what the history books say.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Pecking Orders

Anarchy is unnatural? Why do people seem to naturally want to sort themselves into a hierarchy or pecking order?

Wonder

It's good to know that the using Paypal to buy something on ebay still gives me the same sense of excitement as when I received my first e-mail from overseas... Comms is all the more amazing when you know how it works.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Comic nudity in court

Remember kids,
nudity is bad. Can't have young people looking at nature, my my, no.