Create an Account
username: password:
  MemeStreams Logo

It's always easy to manipulate people's feelings. - Laura Bush


Picture of Decius
Decius's Pics
My Blog
My Profile
My Audience
My Sources
Send Me a Message

sponsored links

Decius's topics
   Sci-Fi/Fantasy Literature
   Sci-Fi/Fantasy Films
   Electronic Music
  Finance & Accounting
  Tech Industry
  Telecom Industry
  Markets & Investing
Health and Wellness
Home and Garden
Current Events
  War on Terrorism
  Cars and Trucks
Local Information
  United States
   SF Bay Area
    SF Bay Area News
  Nano Tech
  Politics and Law
   Civil Liberties
    Internet Civil Liberties
   Intellectual Property
  Computer Security
  High Tech Developments

support us

Get MemeStreams Stuff!

Current Topic: Society

The Coming Democracy: New Rules for Running a New World
Topic: Society 10:11 pm EDT, Jun  6, 2005

This book was published in March by Brookings Press. Excerpts from the first chapter:

Movable type presses were available in China as early as the eleventh century, but they were little used and had essentially no influence. The European invention of the printing press transformed Europe because Europe was ready to be transformed.

We are now, potentially, at a similar turning point. Information technology may once again be poised to transform politics and identity. If the print revolution made possible the nation-state system and eventually national democracy, where might the digital revolution lead us? Can it help us create new, and possibly better, ways of running the world?.

This is an idea that I have a lot of interest in.

The Coming Democracy: New Rules for Running a New World

Down to the Wire
Topic: Society 1:36 pm EDT, May 29, 2005

] Last year, another Brookings economist, Charles Ferguson,
] argued that perhaps as much as $1 trillion might be lost
] over the next decade due to present constraints on
] broadband development. These losses, moreover, are only
] the economic costs of the United States' indirection.
] They do not take into account the work that could have
] been done through telecommuting, the medical care or
] interactive long-distance education that might have been
] provided in remote areas, and unexploited entertainment
] possibilities.

This article oversimplifies this issue by focusing too much on the executive. There are cultural, infrastructural, and economic differences between the United States and places like Japan and South Korea which have a far greater impact on broadband development in those regions then federal policy. This is not "Bush's fault."

However, the Clinton administration clearly provided leadership in this area, and that leadership was clearly useful, and the Republicans are clearly less interested in telecommunications policy.

The question that I have is, where are the applications? What do my friends in South Korea do with their high speed internet access? They download movies off of p2p networks. This is not the kind of application that is likely to spur trillions of dollars in GDP. It IS possible to overbuild infrastructure.

They've got it. What are they doing with it? Broadband is not a core capability. It is a means to an end. Once you can clearly demonstrate the ends that Japanese can reach, that we cannot, you'll have a compelling arguement for serious government leadership. This arguement skips over this matter as if it was a forgone conclusion. It is not. Someone on this board knows what these applications are. Maybe I ought to be tracking down these brookings reports.

It is also wrong to say that US has always led this race. The US was about 10 years behind the French in development of basic network information services like email and behind nearly everyone in the development of good mobile phone service. The US has a slow tech adoption rate and is very cautious about moving forward. Getting the internet to happen in the US was like mice trying to get an elephant rolling down a hill.

In 1990 it was obvious to me, even as a kid, that I wanted a digital network connection in my house that plugged into my computer. It was obvious to me what I'd do with it. It is not obvious to me what I'd do with 40 megs a second in my house ('cept possibly cancel my colo contract). I promise its going to be obvious to me long before its obvious to the FCC.

Down to the Wire

RE: Group Rethink
Topic: Society 1:08 pm EDT, May 29, 2005

noteworthy wrote:
] Creating a communications infrastructure that fosters a
] healthy democracy has been a concern of the United States
] since its founding. Newspaperman and intellectual Walter
] Lippmann once noted that the real trouble with both the press
] and representative democracy is "the failure of self-governing
] people to transcend their casual experience and their
] prejudice by inventing, creating, and organizing a machinery
] of knowledge." In MemeStreams, that machinery may finally have
] arrived.

I think this article makes a critical logical fallacy that has been bothering me about this whole blogosphere business.

He worries about... "spin doctors" (people who deliberately post misleading items). But he explains how the communal character of blog culture mitigates many potential excesses: bloggers who are uninteresting don't get linked to;

First, if I could please be pointed to the blogger who isn't a spin doctor, I would very much like to read his or her blog. Furthermore, it seems that interesting and knowledge might be mutually exclusive for most people. The fact that uninteresting bloggers don't get linked contributes to the excesses of the spin doctors rather then mitigating it. Dan Gillmore has rose colored glasses on. I think the interesting blogs are the radical ones with the most emotionally devisive content. Or the funny ones. The ones that make you feel, and not the ones that make you think. In particular, blogs that criticise popular delusions are likely to be unpopular particularly with the people who most need a cluestick.

The stuff at the top of the powerlaw is going to be crap. Its going to be pop. Its going to be brittney spears. Instapundit and Kos are not what you're looking for. These are merely the greatest common denominators.

Neither, I think, may be using reputuation systems to plumb the depths of the long tail. This is an escapist strategy.

The heart of building a "machinery of knowledge" is having a culture which is actually interested in doing so. This requires, at its heart, people who beleive in critical thinking, particularly when it comes to their favorite conclusions and their political allies. Today our culture is just the opposite. Coddled on broadcast media we expect that we should never have to think critically. The only time we bother is when we are talking about our political enemies.

This is a people problem and not a technology problem. It is only a technology problem in so far as the media is the message and we can build a media that engenders the kind of thought process that we desire. I'm not sure what follows from that observation, but we ought to be thinking about it.

RE: Group Rethink

China, New Land of Shoppers, Builds Malls on Gigantic Scale
Topic: Society 9:44 pm EDT, May 25, 2005

Not long ago, shopping in China consisted mostly of lining up to entreat surly clerks to accept cash in exchange for ugly merchandise that did not fit. But now, Chinese have started to embrace America's modern "shop till you drop" ethos and are in the midst of a buy-at-the-mall frenzy.

Already, four shopping malls in China are larger than the Mall of America. Two, including the South China Mall, are bigger than the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, which just surrendered its status as the world's largest to an enormous retail center in Beijing. And by 2010, China is expected to be home to at least 7 of the world's 10 largest malls.

Make sure you watch the multi-media presentation...

China, New Land of Shoppers, Builds Malls on Gigantic Scale

C.E.O.'s, M.I.A.
Topic: Society 1:42 pm EDT, May 25, 2005

America faces a huge set of challenges if it is going to retain its competitive edge. As a nation, we have a mounting education deficit, energy deficit, budget deficit, health care deficit and ambition deficit. The administration is in denial on this, and Congress is off on Mars. And yet, when I look around for the group that has both the power and interest in seeing America remain globally focused and competitive -- America's business leaders -- they seem to be missing in action.

I am not worried about the rise of the cultural conservatives. I am worried about the disappearance of an internationalist, pro-American business elite.

C.E.O.'s, M.I.A.

RE: Senators Reach Deal on Filibuster
Topic: Society 12:42 am EDT, May 25, 2005

] Article 2 Section 2 Clause 2: [Speaking about the powers of
] the president] He shall have Power, by and with the Advice
] and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two
] thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate,
] and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall
] appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls,
] Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the
] United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise
] provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the
] Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior
] Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the
] Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

So, what does this mean. John Jay Hooker, who, incidentally, believes that there ought to be a constitutional amendment to require a 2/3rds majority of the senate for judicial confirmations and wants to end lifetime appointments, thinks that judicial fillibusters are unconstitutional. His arguement is fairly persuasive.

The constitution requires a 2/3rd majority of the "senators present" to approve a treaty. It does not make this requirement for judicial appointments. It requires only consent. What does consent mean?

I've managed to think about this long enough that I can see both sides.

The most obvious meaning for a legislative body is a simple majority. This is the most plain and obvious way of thinking about this. The Consitution requires a simple majority for judicial confirmations. In that light, the fillibuster is unconstitutional, because it creates a super majority requirement.

On the other hand, if the framers intended to require a simple majority they might have said that specifically. They didn't. So, maybe it means whatever the Senate decides it means, as "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings..." Maybe the Senate can decide that consent means whatever they want in any situation where the constitution doesn't specify.

The danger of the later train of thinking is that I'm concerned that it is over thinking the issue. It might be sophistry. The constitution specifically mentions super majorities in situations where extra care must be taken (such as for impeachment.) The default case is obviously a simple majority. If it were "whatever the senate defines" then the senate could require unanimous consent for any legislative issue, which would create the preverse situation in which impeachment would require less consent then the passage of a simple law.

The danger of the former way of thinking is that if a simple majority is required for judicial nominations, then it may required for all other kinds of senate business. Now the filibuster has been a part of parlimentary proceedure for over 200 years. The idea that its unconstituional in general is rather radical thinking. You'd think this would have come up b... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

RE: Senators Reach Deal on Filibuster

Ten reasons why you should never accept a diamond ring
Topic: Society 1:59 am EDT, May 23, 2005

] Ten Reasons Why You Should Never Accept a Diamond Ring
] from Anyone, Under Any Circumstances, Even If They Really
] Want to Give You One

Ten reasons why you should never accept a diamond ring

Amber Alerts head to cell phones | CNET
Topic: Society 12:37 pm EDT, May 17, 2005

I think this is a good idea. You may want to sign up for these. However, it also ominously reminds me of the film version of Fahrenheit 451. "Calling all Citizens. Wanted for murder, the criminal is alone and on foot. Let each one stand at his front door, look and listen. Watch for a man running through the streets..."

Amber Alerts head to cell phones | CNET

Why the World Is Flat
Topic: Society 2:23 pm EDT, May  6, 2005

] I'm worried about my country. I love America. I think
] it's the best country in the world. But I also think
] we're not tending to our sauce. I believe that we are in
] what Shirley Ann Jackson [president of Rensselaer
] Polytechnic Institute] calls a "quiet crisis." If we
] don't change course now and buckle down in a flat world,
] the kind of competition our kids will face will be
] intense and the social implications of not repairing
] things will be enormous.

This is a great article. I've been meaning to post it once wired placed it online, but Flynn beat me to it. :)

Why the World Is Flat

Prophecy: The Future and the Popes
Topic: Society 2:35 pm EDT, Apr 19, 2005

From Elonka:
] The next Pope on the list is the last one that Saint Malachy
] predicted: In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit Petrus
] Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus
] transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, & Judex tremêdus
] judicabit populum suum. Finis.

] (In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will
] be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through
] many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills
] will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people.
] The End.)
] More info here:

Well, great, more apocalyptic death cult stuff. The guy who wrote this page is positively stark raving nuts, but there are other links that seem to line up with this general story about the Popes, give or take debate on details and authenticity. If you see any lambs breakn' any seals...

Prophecy: The Future and the Popes

(Last) Newer << 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 ++ 29 >> Older (First)
Powered By Industrial Memetics