Fears of Empire and Decadence

On Thursday evening I attended a philosophical discussion group at my local library. The topic for debate was why we censor violence more than we censor sex in America? It resulted in a number of interesting discussions but concluded with an interesting opposition between meliorists and deteriorists, those who think humans can become better than they are and those who think we will always remain animalistic. One of the debaters, and a regular attender at the cafe, made an argument for the cyclic nature of human history.

Text Mining

An article at the New York Times on text mining led to these other resources.

  • A weblog, k-praxis, on knowledge management and unstructured data
  • SPSS Lexiquest - text analysis software by statiscal software company SPSS
  • Clear Forest - another software company involved in text analysis
  • Freetext Technologies - maker of desktop text analysis software
  • Gemini UDS - another desktop program, more for organizing multi-source searches
  • Readware - yet another desktop analysis program

On Google AdSense and Weblogs

Matt Haughey wrote an essay on Google Adsense and the success he’s had with his PVRblog. Blogging for Dollars.

Anil Dash and Nick Denton also commented recently about Adsense and its interaction with blogs.

The whole sounds worth considering but the trouble is finding the obsession that will prove interesting enough to other people to attract an audience to make the whole thing worthwhile.

Musings on Web Moderation

Tom Coates of plasticbag has a new weblog called “Everything in Moderation.” Its opening manifesto begins: Online community development is one of my passions, and I have designed and/or managed social software “solutions” for organisations like UpMyStreet, EMAP and the BBC (often alongside Cal Henderson and/or Denise Wilton. Moderation systems are a particular subpassion of mine. In the abstract, people can think they sound bland, technical or intimidating, but fundamentally moderation is really about all those parts of an online community that stop it just being a place where people stand and shout randomly at each other.

Collecting Timelines at Blackbelt Jones

Matt Jones at blackbelt jones is collecting examples of timelines from around the internet. I’ve been toying with the idea of changing my home page to include a collection of biographical snippets or essays. I’d like to have the page display a single snippet in the center, have a menu to navigate between snippets on the side, and a timeline at the top. I think I could make the timeline at the top dynamically respond to what snippet you were viewing by using javascript to manipulate the background colors of a table.

Political Column Watch

Found a few interesting political columns yesterday:

Discovering New Social Networks and the Threats of Intellectual Property

From Danny O’Brien I find a link to a new weblog by Jonathan Moore which contained this jem on the amount of work it takes to find new communities on the internet. The Fans and Fetishists problem is the desire to create partitions of the social network so that diversity can exist. Take for example two groups of Britney Spears devotees: fans and fetishists. The fans are mostly young people who actually enjoy the singer’s music.

A minor tiff reveals a vital point: or the internet does it strange work again

I’m so far from actually being invited to the Friends of O’Reilly camp that occurred over the weekend that the discussion it engenders seems to be miles removed, but out of it comes a very perceptive comment from Danny O’Brien about the different registers in which online discussion takes place. The problem here is one (ironically) of register. In the real world, we have conversations in public, in private, and in secret.

Watching the Temperature Rise

Mark Lynas is working on a new book about global warming, after touring the world for three years to find stories. A preview article in the Guardian mentions rising oceans in Tuvalu, retreating glaciers in Peru, warming summers in Alaska and a host of other real examples of changing climate. So I knew there would be change, and that the glaciers in my father’s pictures would almost certainly be smaller.

Taking the Long View

As someone who occasionally tries to take the long view of time but seems caught in a cycle of temporary obsessions the news of Matt Haughey’s Ten Years of My Life photo project looks very interesting. Inspiration The initial inspiration for this site also came from a few similar projects. Diego Golberg’s Arrows of Time captures his family on the same day, every year, for 25 years. The 12hr ISBN jpeg project has been running for nearly ten years already.