Bill Thompson has this interesting diatribe on The Register Damn the Constitution: Europe must take back the Web, in which he argues for a web that respects national boundaries in order to protect the rest of the world from a web dominated by the United States. Today’s Internet is a poor respecter of national boundaries, as many repressive governments have found to their cost. Unfortunately this freedom has been so extensively abused by the United States and its politicians, lawyers and programmers that it has become a serious threat to the continued survival of the network as a global communications medium.
Washington Post on the power of swarming: groups of people arranging their lives around the contact provided by their cell phones. Howard Rheingold says: Smart mobs are a serious realignment of human affairs, in which leaders may determine an overall goal, but the actual execution is created on the fly by participants at the lowest possible level who are constantly innovating, Rheingold notes. They respond to changing situations without requesting or needing permission.
Salon.com posts another entry demonstrating that technology is changing the way we conceive creativity. In ‘Bootleg culture’ Pete Rojas describes the growing phenomenon of ‘bootlegs’ or ‘mash-ups’, new songs that are created through the juxtaposition of two or more old songs. Such as “Soulwax’s bootleg of Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious” mixed with Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Freelance Hellraiser’s mix of Christina Aguilera singing over the Strokes, and Kurtis Rush’s pairing of Missy Elliott rapping over George Michael’s “Faith.
Siva Vaidhyanathan’s new article ‘Copyright as Cudgel’ is a call to arms for academics to start paying attention to copyright and the limits to fair use that the information commons that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and other legislation has imposed. If innovation and creativity truly depend on an active and flourishing public domain or creative commons then it is time for all of us to protect the future of creativity.
Teleogic Innovate has an article on the future of software development. Software and System Development Megatrends (requires registration). The key point Heyhoe makes is that the development of software visualization tools are on the brink of reducing the amount of time needed to complete programming projects. Up to and including 3GLs, we’d been crafting our solution in what amounted to textual or mathematical notation. Of course this was tough for someone else to read and understand and maintain (fix or change).
Point, Click, Think? is an intriguing article from the Washington Post on the way the internet changes how students think and research. On the good side, Net thinkers are said to generate work quickly and make connections easily. “They are more in control of facts than we were 40 years ago,” says Bernard Cooperman, a history professor at the University of Maryland. But they also value information-gathering over deliberation, breadth over depth, and other people’s arguments over their own.
I found a link to a Nation bashing story on Electrolite. The bone of contention boils down to a single line from an editorial by William Grieder. “The smug triumphalism of Bush’s unilateralist war policy could be abruptly deflated by economic events-which probably would be a good thing for world affairs, since Washington couldn’t run roughshod over others, but terrible for US prosperity.” Patrick comments: Of course, meanwhile, actual people’s lives will be ruined by the things-getting-much-worse part, but that’ll be okay since it’s all part of mankind’s march to a triumphant future.
Arnold Kling has an item commenting on the so-called command line bigots who use Unix and other open-source software. Basically he takes Eric Raymond to task for suggesting that Linux can solve the version fatigue mentioned by Glenn Reynolds. The gist of Kling’s arugment is: I wish that Raymond or Doc Searls or any of their command-line bigot friends could spend just one day as an attorney, a secretary, or any other office worker whose job is something other than composing rants or editing computer code.
CNET has a good summary of current arguments about government regulation of adware, spyware and other surreptitious programs. However, after years of chances and failures, anti-regulatory dogma regarding the Internet has worn thin. People are becoming increasingly fed up with companies that seek to entrench themselves deep within the viscera of their PCs, and each violation of their trust by short-lived start-ups makes it more difficult for legitimate businesses to win back their confidence.
John Rennie has “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense” at Scientific American. Mostly it demolishes the claims that some intelligent design adherents make regarding the unscientific nature of evolution.
I found this via the Sound and the Fury which mentions an upcoming appearence on the National Geographic channel, but the article at sciam doesn’t mention any television connection.