Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A House Divided: Ballmer & Murdock Banking on Divisions

"This move will make content worth more, that means the impetus towards the implementation of Digital Rights Management and trade agreements like ACTA will carry more force than ever. I believe this action by these two dinosaurs is more about freedom of speech than a war for market share. It puts the brakes on the unparallelled volume of free expression in society. As we head further into the economic crisis, I see the progress of new levers against civil rights, a strategy that benefits the really big players at the expense of the small.

This move by two of the most backward business models I can think of - Microsoft's DRM and Fox News's debasement of the craft of journalism - might have an ominous agenda behind it."

Steve Ballmer CEO of Microsoft is going to pay Rupert Murdock's News Corporation to not allow Google Search to list it's content.

From the Business Insider, Silicone Valley Insider:

"..FT reports that Google’s UK director Matt Brittin told a conference last week that Google did not need news content to survive.“Economically it’s not a big part of how we generate revenue,” he said.

For another, we can't imagine links to worthwhile stories originating from News Corp not finding their way onto sites that will happily remain indexed in Google's search engine free of charge."

Like, through Blogs? Many times in the last 5 years I have pointed to attributions and references through links; if lawyers for 'Micro-News' come after Google to deaden my links - the veracity of my content is destroyed and my credibility is killed. Unfortunatly I don't have a case in court either, the only value that this site has is it's contribution to the public good. :-(

From By Matthew Garrahan, Richard Waters and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson writing in the Financial Times, which broke this story,

"However, the Financial Times has learnt that Microsoft has also approached other big online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google’s search engine.

News Corp and Microsoft, which owns the rival Bing search engine, declined to comment.

One website publisher approached by Microsoft said that the plan “puts enormous value on content if search engines are prepared to pay us to index with them”.

Microsoft’s interest is being interpreted as a direct assault on Google because it puts pressure on the search engine to start paying for content."

Every one is concentrating on search engine wars...

Graph courtesy Alexa

..but I'm taking something different from all this. I predicted in my first post on Web 2.o, in December 2006, that there were several vectors in play that would devalue content going forward.

I wrote,
"Content is not worth much in this new sphere - but I think this was bound to happen anyway. In the old sphere of Broadcast Television which turns 60 years old in America this year, the amount of content amassed by producers is mind-boggling. Supply and demand economics function in the world of media too. Already this content is being recycled into history productions; every new-year we see The Year in Review shows that re-use content from the day before at one point; popular culture 'retros' the recent past with an almost a scientific precision. As the content silo gets higher, old content becomes new again - so supply will increasingly outweigh demand. Content will get cheaper and cheaper until it is worth about as much as it costs to make - which is declining."

This move will make content worth more, that means the impetus towards the implementation of Digital Rights Management and trade agreements like ACTA will carry more force than ever. I believe this action by these two dinosaurs is more about freedom of speech than a war for market share. It puts the brakes on the unparallelled volume of free expression in society. As we head further into the economic crisis, I see the progress of new levers against civil rights, a strategy that benefits the really big players at the expense of the small.

This move by two of the most backward business models I can think of - Microsoft's DRM and Fox News's debasement of the craft of journalism - might have an ominous agenda behind it.

I can image this will cause a great divide between writers who support open source movement and liberal copyright laws - and writers who feel the revolution is a threat to their livelihood. Mr. Murdock is trying to create an apocalypse in journalism. When he broke the unions of Fleet Street back in the 1980's I assumed his raison detre was money. When he used his non-union millions to start buying every outlet on the planet, I assumed his agenda was power. After what he has done at Fox News I now know I underestimated his end game. The way Murdock has been running journalism into the ground - by taking every paradoxical element to the nth - suggests to me he's in bed with the Straussians, the brain trust around the G.W. Bush Administration, who see (an advantage in?) a global apocalypse - with radical depopulation, an unending war on terror, the end of the middle class and especially, an end of Liberal Democracy.

You know, Fascism.

So, this leaves me asking, who in the hell is this Steve Ballmer guy and why hasn't the good Mr. Gates fired him already?


Monday, November 23, 2009

Tending the Web 2.0 Garden: WebSquared, Popsicle Sticks and Glue

"I've been noticing that there are old analogue technologies (pen and paper, the cassette player/recorder, Popsicle sticks and glue), that offer unique qualities that the relevant technologies available on the web don't provide - they have a flexibility that can add to ones creative functionality. The utilization of these analogue devices act as a signature of human presence - they are a part of a physical dynamic - they thus guarantee individuality in the web. This I think also produces an ethereal human quality in the mix that cannot be formula-ized. It creates a fingerprint (in a good way) of people input - human data.

I think it adds a fifth dimension to the Platform Commons cornerstones - a human dimension - a Spirit Commons. A Ying Cornerstone to the Automata Cornerstone Yang."

Applications emerging in Web 2.0 are creating content that is beginning to form the Cornerstones of the Next platform. I'm calling these Cornerstones "Platform Commons".

Several layers of these 'Commons' already exist, but we are unaware of them as we work the internet with our new-fangled applications.

For example, humans 'typing' over the past 10 years have created an Information Commons; the sum of human knowledge, science, art, culture. The first data came from the centres of higher learning, professors and undergrads who uploaded and organized data to use in teaching and research. Then Tim Berners-Lee thought it would be a good idea to link the whole world, to better work in his job, at CERN, so he suggested www protocols, and the internet was born.

Now the data stream and the human need/ability to organize stuff came piling in; email, daily online media, government websites, porn, the bloggosphere. Together these things connected, constitute a Platform Commons - upon which Web 2.0 flowered.

I've gleaned this map from reading a little at O'Reilly Radar. Tim O'Reilly coined the term Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is a set of understandings that have propelled the growth of the internet to where we are today. In Tim O'Reilly's words,

"Chief among our insights was that "the network as platform" means far more than just offering old applications via the network ("software as a service"); it means building applications that literally get better the more people use them, harnessing network effects not only to acquire users, but also to learn from them and build on their contributions."

Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle have now out lined an intuitive vision of the next phase in the growth of the internet. The vision summery is "WebSquared: Web 2.0 Five Years On".

My 'flower on Web 2.0' idea is my way of putting it; this flower is in the process of exponential growth, it's becoming a field of flowers ney, a world of flowers. A Hippie I am not, but I'll accept my own metaphor, I kinda like it. It speaks to what Tim O'Reilly said in January 2009, "Do stuff that matters."

My idea, after some but careful reading is that this WebSquared period will build the platform that will support the next thing that the web is becoming, something still 10 or so years ahead and unfathomable now.

I build maps like this to help me formulate and express ideas, from it I have gleaned a few new metrics about where we are, and where we might be going...

Now, social networking is building a new Platform Commons. Together with the hand-held internet or 'always-on' technology, (Blackberry was first-big; I-Phone later but neater) with sensors: up-down, position, inertia, a camera 'eye' and 'ears' - and an identity - through real time networking of all available data in the Google search colossus - a new Platform Commons is forming and it has unique characteristics.

I call it an Automata Commons. It's a new kind of flower on the platform. The Platform Atomata Commons seems like a scary one to me, it's all machine. It automatically inputs data that the user is unaware of, it uses these sensors to input data It chooses is relevant, based on software that's learning what it thinks You think is relevant... .

A counter point to this automata type data is in the offing thankfully. I've been noticing that there are old analogue technologies (pen and paper, the cassette player/recorder, popsicle sticks and glue), that offer unique qualities that the relevant technologies available on the web don't provide - they have a flexibility that can add to ones creative functionality. The utilization of these analogue devices act as a signature of human presence - they are a part of a physical dynamic - they thus guarantee individuality in the web. This I think also produces an ethereal human quality in the mix that cannot be formula-ized. It creates a fingerprint (in a good way) of people input - human data.

I think it adds a fifth dimension to the Platform Commons cornerstones - a human dimension - a Spirit Commons. A Ying Cornerstone to the Automata Cornerstone Yang

I think we might all really need this idea right now; things seem to be spiraling in complexity a little too fast. It getting crazy. Friends of mine who I Know have brains are hiding inside Facebook playing games, I haven't seen them out here for months. Occasionally I get a message from the robot holding a friend of mine: "Colin has just gotten a free bag of fertilizer at the county fair."

Twitter, on the other hand, is a brilliant application and I think it will be an important part of something greater. I hope the bank that gave Twitter.com the tooling-up money they needed - when it started to explode to Facebook proportions - don't expect to get that money back soon. I think monetizing Twitter right now is going to be difficult for two reasons;

  • First, it needs to be left to it's own emergence - the Twitter community still hasn't decided what it's going to be.
  • Secondly until the real Twitter emerges, pin pointing targets and long tailing them will be difficult.

Add to that the current economic conditions. Advertisers can not tolerate many practice tries - the ads will either work or advertising revenues will plummet. Twitter is concise because of it's brevity; choosing who to follow and who is spam is easy. Ads will have to be relevant and pointed at the right people or they'll have little effect.

I think the culture of Twitter users understands these fundamentals better than the brain-trust at Twitter does. Last year Twitter tried to insert ads that looked like Tweets, the community reacted with a vengeance. They stopped.

This may be a time when users of social media begin to pull back their use a bit; get back to the things they know - a little terra firma - like talking on the cell or emailing your mom - or good 'old' blogging? 8-).


Sunday, November 22, 2009

What is the UberApp? Where is the UberApp?

My father became involved with applying the new magnificence and speed of the silicon chip back in 1977 - I was 14. I remember gazing into the distance one afternoon back then and realizing, "I get it". I understood his passion for the thing; I had gleaned a 'Rumsfeldian slice' of the potential of microprocessing. A few years later I took a computer course in high school - the first of it's kind - where we wrote a sequence of 'goto' commands on a Apple ll PC. When you selected a 'y' or 'n' the program we'd written would select the appropriate tine in a fork and 'goto' the correct line in the program, then the computer would flash up the 'right' answer in ugly green letters.

Image courtesy engadget.com.

I was not impressed and picked up a guitar instead. I thought the internet was an unfriendly niche for geeks that had different minds than mine. I always kept up with the progress of the thing though, the PC, the internet; but I felt I had no way 'in'. In 2000 I became aware of the Google search engine and I thought, "brilliant, this is it!", but still, I had no way 'in'. In 2003 a fiend showed me blogger.com and I was off to the races - I had a quarter century of catching up to do.

The evolution of social networking technology, especially Twitter have gotten me considering an idea that's been simmering in the back of my mind ever since that Rumsfeldian epiphany back in 1977. I've tried to express the coming sudden intuitive leap of understanding I'm looking for in pieces I've written here related to Tim O'Reilly's 'Web 2.0' idea. I've compared it to the industrial revolution: the steam engine was the silicone chip of its day - the vista operating system may be compared to the Ford Edsel some day 8-). (Hey! That's Groucho! (-that's not a period - it's a cigar!)).

(Image: Time.com).

The Ford Edsel, the Microsoft Vista of it's day. Looked really sharp but never ran properly, cost it's owners buckets of money to keep on the road.

We've come a long way and much more quickly than the industrial revolution moved forward a century ago; and although we have gotten to the 'gas turbine engine' in micro processing speed, the F-22 of applications still eludes us.

That intuition I have - that thing that is so-close-you-could-touch-it, the F-22 of applications - has a name I needed to help me think about it. My possible neologism:


Today a method came to me to recognize it - distinguish it in the gale of new applications we are inventing, and the swirl of new ways we are applying them.

It's simply a series of questions I ask when I comes across an ingenious new application; or someone's ingenious new way of using one, or several applications in combination (which happens about 20 times a day on Twitter):

  • What is the uber-app?
  • Can we see it now?
  • Can we simply gather the elements of it together - and by placing them in the proper order - create it?

If not, how can we find it?

  • What do we think it will it look like?
  • What will it do?
  • What do we want it to do?
  • What do we need it to do - right now?
  • What are our dreams of it?

Now, back on my Twitterboard to try it out... .


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Richard Colvin's Testimony Reveals Canada Involved in Renditions to CIA Torture Dungeons in Afghanistan

After some articles are put to bed at FilterBlogs they get a 'Posthumous Longtail Aperitif'; links to related articles published after my original post:

Posthumous Longtail Aperitif for April 6, 2010: From CBC News, "Tories alerted to Afghan secret police legal 'risk' ", by Gil Shochat.

In this exclusive story the CBC revels leaked documents from the highest levels of the Canadian Government which show that in hearings before Parliament in November 2009 - even as the governing Conservative members were mercilessly assailing Richard Colvin's professionalism and competence - the government knew all along the testimony he was giving was completely accurate.


"The question I'm left asking is - based on the extraordinary volume of transfers - did our slow and secretive transfer protocols allow foreign players in theatre to use us to end-run their domestic laws. Were we/are we we part of an extraordinary rendition highway of Afghans in-country for the Americans we were working along side of in Kandahar?"

Richard Colvin is a career Canadian diplomat who excelled at the tough postings he accepted, In 2006 he was a streaking his way up the promotion ladder at Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) - a bright light on his way to the top. Richard Colvin followed the rule of law to the tee in his job as a diplomat, up to and including his appearance before the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan hearings on Wednesday November 18, 2009.

The Harper Government is surprising veterans of the diplomatic corps in the way their pillorying him now. Michael Semple, a research fellow at Harvard University's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy (Michael Ignatieff resigned as Director of the center to run for the leadership of the Liberal Party) was the former deputy head of the European Union's mission in Afghanistan. Semple said in an interview on CBC Radio's "As it Happens" that he's "puzzled" by the treatment Colvin's facing now, Richard Colvin is "a public servant taking risks in the service of his country, doing the right thing, taking a stand against torture, inside the system - not leaking to the press.. ...should be lauded in Canada." (link to podcast)

Image courtesy of Canada.com Richard Colvin is on the right with the briefcase ;-)

First, Richard Colvin's resume at DFAIT in his words,

"..I joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1994. I’ve had five overseas assignments in Sri Lanka, Russia, the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan and now in Washington, D.C. Afghanistan was therefore my second Islamic posting and third insurgency.

I spent 17 months in Afghanistan, first as a senior DFAIT representative of the provincial reconstruction team, or PRT, in Kandahar and then for over a year at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul as the head of a political section and chargĂ© d’affaires—that is, the acting ambassador.

In these capacities, I was responsible for a large number of issues, including getting additional Afghan police and soldiers to Kandahar to relieve Canadian Forces, development issues, counter-narcotics, coordination with our NATO allies, the UN and the Afghan government and security and intelligence files. Detainees was only one of about 15 major issues that I worked on. My primary focus was on improving the effectiveness of our efforts so that we had a better chance of achieving our goals.

I volunteered to go to Afghanistan. Canada’s objectives are noble: to help bring peace, prosperity and hope to Afghans after 30 years of war and the repressions of the Taliban. I’d like to start with two general comments. First, Afghanistan was an extraordinarily difficult environment. Canada had not fought a war since the Korean War 50 years earlier and had not fought a counter-insurgency since the Boer War, 100 years ago."

Richard Colvin is now First Secretary, Embassy of Canada to the United States of America in Washington DC.

He begins his testimony on the transfer of detainees to the Afghan National Directorate of Security (DNS) by comparing Canada's procedures with that of other nations in theatre,

"First, we took and transferred far more detainees. As of May 2007, Canada had transferred to the Afghan authorities six times as many detainees as the British, who were conducting military operations just as aggressive as ours and had twice as many troops in theatre, and we had transferred 20 times as many detainees as the Dutch."

Then he describes how our system of transfer made oversight impossible,

"Second, we did not monitor our own detainees after their transfer.

"..our detainee system relied upon two human rights groups to monitor the wellbeing of detainees after transfer: the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, or AIHRC, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"..unlike the Dutch and British, Canada was extremely slow to inform the Red Cross when we had transferred a detainee to the Afghans. The Canadian Forces leadership created a very peculiar six-step process. Canadian military police in Kandahar had to inform the Canadian Forces command element at Kandahar airfield, who in turn informed Canadian Expeditionary Force Command, or CEFCOM, in Ottawa. CEFCOM would eventually inform the Canadian Embassy in Geneva, who then informed Red Cross headquarters in Geneva, which was finally able to notify the Red Cross mission in Kandahar. This process took days, weeks or, in some cases, up to two months."

So, for up to 2 months some detainee were off the radar of human rights groups. Furthermore record keeping by Canadian Forces and the Afghan Intelligence Service (DNS) were so bad it was impossible to find these people once information finally got back to the Kabul offices of the Red Cross or AIHRC.

Richard Colvin testifies,

"A fourth difference between us and the British and Dutch was unusually poor record-keeping. This had serious consequences. When the Red Cross was finally informed that we had transferred a detainee, not only had a lot of time passed, but the information that Canadian Forces had taken was so limited that the Red Cross was often even unable to locate our detainees."

So, in summation, detainees we transfered to the DNS disappeared for up to two months and then in most cases - due to bad record keeping - forever. The knowledge that the DNS was regularly torturing people under it's command demanded action from Mr. Colvins point of view - it was his job, what he was tasked by his superiors to do - to uphold Canadian law, make sure prisoners transfered by Canadian troops were not being tortured. Thus he did everything he could to find these people, but he got no-where in this; he says,

"And on April 24th and 25th, 2007, as the detainee issue was becoming a political crisis in Ottawa, the embassy sent two reports that offered Ottawa a solution. To protect our detainees from being tortured, we should adopt the British and Dutch approach, that is, take responsibility for our own detainees, monitor them ourselves and establish a robust, aggressive and well-resourced monitoring mechanism that would guard our detainees from further risk of abuse.

Senior officials in DFAIT and the Canadian Forces did not welcome our reports or advice. At first, we were mostly ignored. However, by April 2007, we were receiving written messages from the senior Canadian government coordinator for Afghanistan to the effect that we should be quiet and do what we were told and there was a phone message from the DFAIT assistant deputy minister suggesting that in future we should not put things on paper but, instead, use the telephone.

Starting in May 2007, a new ambassador arrived. Immediately thereafter the paper trail on detainees was reduced. Written reporting from the field was restricted to a very limited circle of officials, which shrank further over time, and reports on detainees began sometimes to be censored with crucial information removed.

By summer 2007, internal censorship had spread to new areas. For example, we could no longer write that the security situation in Afghanistan was deteriorating even though everyone knew that it was. In terms of established DFAIT practice, all of these steps were extremely irregular."

The fact that we transfered 20 times as many prisoners to the DNS than the British suggests to me that this is the tip of a much larger story. The degree of protestation by the Harper Government speaks to a much larger covert operation than Richchard Colvin was allowed to see.

The question I'm left asking is did our slow and secretive transfer process allow other players in theatre to use our system to end-run their own laws; are we part of an extraordinary rendition of Afghans in-country for the Americans or the British?

The DNS and their affiliate torture dungeons are run by and for U.S. intelligence through 'Black Operations' (covert military operations funded by Congress and privy only to the heads of Congressional Committees on a need to know basis), revealed in part through the publicly announced torture policies announced by Bush, Chaney and Rumsfeld in a haze of post 9/11 official lawlessness in 2002. On the ground that infrastructure of torture was run by Asa de la Khalif.

I'll let the testimony speak on this:

Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh, (MP for Vancouver South): "I have just one more question. Did you ever have a chance to visit Asa de la Khalif and did you know anything about what he was involved in?"

Mr. Richard Colvin: "Yes, yes I had lots of information on Mr. Khalif."


Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh: "Can you tell us?"

Mr. Richard Colvin: "I believe so. In this forum I’m protected from libel.

He was known to us very early on. Majunosix is an unusually bad actor on human rights issues. He was known to have had a dungeon in Gaznee, his previous province where he used to detain people for the money and some of them disappeared. He was known to be running a narcotics operation. He had a criminal gang. He had people killed who got in his way and then in Kandahar we found out that he had indeed set up a similar dungeon under his guest house. He acknowledged this when asked. He had sort of justifications for it, but he was known to personally torture people in that dungeon.

So on a range of issues, governance, security, human rights he was a serious problem and there were efforts made to have him replaced, but some of those efforts were not successful."

This guy is using torture techniques - according to the transcript and - like those out-lined by former Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the 'Torture Memos'. He was trained by U.S. intelligence officers - in camps now dismantled and reconstituted elsewhere - in U.S. style 'state of the art' torture, specifically; load music, stress positions, sleep deprivation and temperature extremes. (Other methods were employed by Asa de la Khalif according to the testimony, those listed above constitute a protocol which points to a connection with U.S. intelligence.)

Further although I have no proof of a connection between these men, is the case of Jonathan K Idema (Image from Wikipedia) a former U.S. soldier (re: CIA) and two others, Edward Caraballo and Brent Bennett who insisted under questioning by Afghan security forces, that they had contacts with the U.S. Defense Department, were caught running a torture dungeon in Kabul in 2004. Edward Caraballo said he was a 'journalist' who was filming the torture for a 'documentary about intelligence gathering'. Translation from Company speak ---> He was making a how-to film for black operations to educate psychopaths how to do it. The idea being to bring horror and a sense of chaos to the war zone; an 'Al Quida of Iraq' for Afghanistan - to perpetrate a myth about our enemies in the global war on terror (which doesn't exist).

Once this operations became public, operatives are left to take all the blame - so the investigation doesn't go further up the chain of command. (Except when there is a personal grudge that can be satisfied in the process; like what happened around the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. U.S. Army Brigadier General, Janis Karpinski was sacrificed to the public investigation - as a black operations unit was operating in her bailly wick without her knowledge - as of coarse they always do.)

At one point, I came across a web-site where a black ops soldier was threatening to reveal secret info and take down his higher ups - not a great patriot, even from his point of view. It never seems fair when You get hung out to dry for the greater cause I guess. (I can't find the site now, but I'm sure it was being blogged by Jonathan Idema's wife - based on the content and the timing - it was during the trial in Kabul.)

The infrastructure for torture is in-country; the only remaining problem is how to legally get prisoners you want tortured into these jails - while at the same time covering your rear, staying with-in the rule of law. For the commander in theatre this is career-ending-territory, that person must have no knowledge, that can become public, of specific instances where detainees were transfered to torture.

The Canadian system, while probably not designed for the purpose of thwarting the rule of law, looks like the perfect metric for these abuses. I won't impugn former General Rick Hillier's motives in this, I think this revolves around Stephen Harpers 'total information management' neurosis inside the Prime Ministers Office. (I guess thats a paradox of Total Information Awareness.) ;-)

Richard Colvin is being hung out to dry for the greater cause today by the Canadian Government. That that greater cause is worth fighting and dieing for is becoming more and more dubious. Afghanistan is now up to 38 years of continuous war with no end in sight. We have to take the long view here. When ISAF withdraws from this horror show it will quickly become worse still. Yet this is no reason for delay - the sooner we bring our troops out of this already lost war the better able we will be able to assist later, after the coming civil war - re-dux.

Notes and Links:

Senior Diplomat Richard Colvin's testimony before the House of Commons Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan on Wednesday November 18, 2009. His submission is the first 20 minutes of this 2 hour mwv file. (Update September 3, 2010: The audio is now missing but transcripts are available in a nice layout here.) The remainder of the podcast is enlightened rounds of questions from the committee - and an array of personal attacks by the conservatives designed to destroy Mr. Colvin's credibility. Mr. Colvin is an articulate speaker, and defends himself well, You should go listen.

Parker Donham's "Contrarian" website is doing great work on the story, documenting every word and providing all the links. The Contrarian website has also published a transcript of the meeting which has been of great value in putting together this story.

Government of Canada Information Portal: Meeting No. 15 AFGH - Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan, Wednesday, Nov 18, 2009 aspx podcast (opens with wmv player or media player classic or GOM player).

In a related story, Craig Murray, the current Rector of the University of Dundee, Scotland and former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan exposes a CIA torture facility outside Tashkent, Uzbekistan (Uzbekistan borders Afghanistan and according to Murray the torture set-up there regularly ships detainees back and forth to the operation in Afghanistan). From the Real News Network's Youtube Channel (part 1, a 10 minute Video).

"Michael Semple is a leading expert on the Taliban, the Pashtun tribes and Afghan politics. He has worked in Afghanistan since 1989, most recently as Deputy to the EU Special Representative for Afghanistan, and has inter-acted with leading figures in the succession of Afghan regimes, and the different armed movements which have campaigned against them. He is recognized internationally as a key proponent of political approaches to dealing with the conflict in Afghanistan, including “talking to the Taliban”. His experience as development worker, political officer and conflict negotiator give him an unparalleled network into most elements of Afghan and Pakistani society. Michael’s understanding of Afghan political history and current Afghan political strategies, combined with an international community insiders perspective and access to politicians on all sides of the debate give him a unique ability to advise on the development of a realistic political strategy for a more stable and prosperous Afghan future."

As it Happens Podcast URL with Michael Semple interview: [http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/asithappens_20091119_23329.mp3]


Thursday, November 19, 2009

As it Happens back to the Hard Questions

"The fact is, the crafts' of Carol Off and Barbra Budd, and the As it Happens team, has matured since 2007 - but more importantly, the show is tackling the hard issues again."

In a rant about CBC Radio's show "As it Happens" (published January 23, 2007) - a show I love - I picked on the hosts Carol Off and Barbara Budd for not being competent as journalist and story teller. I thought then that the surface of the thing - the presenters - were the gut of the problem; that the faces of the production were not competent enough to deliver the promise of the show - using technology to create a Marshall McLuhan-ist "Global Village".

Over the past few months I've found myself drifting back to the show. I still think the production values of the show lacked a certain level of competence between 1997 and 2007. But now, with that, I'm including Mary Lou Finlay in my critique of the face of the show; surly there must be some other factor functioning here.

The fact is, the crafts' of Carol Off and Barbra Budd, and the As it Happens team, has matured since 2007 - but more importantly, the show is tackling the hard issues again.

So I owe an apology to the hosts, it wasn't their fault the show sucked. Sorry.

As it Happens sucked because it was missing hard content.

At one point I remember a decision to lighten up the first half hour of the show. This was at the demographic height of the baby-boom-echo, people who listened to the show were upset with hard content as they were sitting down to diner with their young children; so the lead in a news show was buried, left until the middle of the show. This changed the nature of the beast; the show became softer and softer over time.

I remember back in the days of the first neo-con federal government in this country (September 17, 1984, to June 25, 1993) the pressure was on CBC. The Feds were reducing funding year after year and implicit in the Mulroney government's actions was an inference that the content of the network needed to change for success to be guaranteed. (No producer would ever admit to this; that government pressure had effected content would be like saying you had lost the war - you were incompetent at your job.)

In "The Secret Mulroney Tapes" (Google Books) a book by Peter C. Newman the author hi-lights Mulroneys pet peeve, the 'liberal media'. Mulroney saw the liberal media as his greatest impedament to completing his adgenda. He still rants about this every time parliament drags him back to answer the latest allegations of treason. In Canada the cornerstone of liberal media is the CBC - in that it isn't corporate media (with the neo-con/corporate global empire agenda).

So what's happing now? Another neo-con government inhabits Ottawa and the neo-con global dance continues?

One answer may be that lately, while we have a neo-con government, it has always been a minority government - and a minority government acts as a 'check and balance' to the incredible power of the Prime Ministers Office. Prime Minister Stephan Harper strictly manages information just as Mulroney tried to do; but the pressure on the CBC seems to be relaxing.

And better Art would appear to be a result. 8-).

Now years into funding cutbacks many of the CBC's content producers are Independent or "out of house" and thus, at arms length. The baby-boomers are again with out their children. That we are at war gives CBC power as it always has. The connectivity of CBC to the audience has increased as the CBC begins to prefect it's Web 2.0 functionality.

CBC is in a renaissance in this observers opinion, and As it Happens has always been a cornerstone of what CBC is.

None of this should belittle the fact that the research, the writing, the art is the kernal of production, individuals working together in a creative process create great things.

The team at CBC Radio's "As it Happens" is rocking!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ed Kowalski & The 9/11 Families for a Secure America

"While those today fearfully burying their heads in the sand at the reality of current history have nothing to gain from their neurosis (except military industrial jobs and a peaceful sense of identity in a distorted mass media reality-scape) - South Africa is a good metaphor for the psychosis around September 11, 2001 in that it was a Pretext for war - and that Apartheid was also evil."

The 'Current' on CBC Radio (8:30AM - 10:00AM weekday mornings), hosted by Anna Maria Tremonti broadcast an interview with 9/11 Denialist Ed Kowalski as part of a story on the Obama Administrations decision to try some of the 9/11 defendants in New York courts rather than in 'Military Commissions' (DoD link) that President Obama is shutting down.

Ed Kowalski says he's on 'The Board of Directors' (?) of '9/11 Families for a Secure America' (- what is that, a limited liability concern? - because they're gonna need the limited liability what with all the lies) - who says he doesn't want the trial, to take place in New York.

It'd be 'icky' or something? Cost too much?

He worries about it becoming a media-zoo and that the defendants would have a venue to spout their evil ideas. He comments that, the only evidence against these people was gathered by soldiers in the field in the 'war on terror'. It wasn't collected a la CSI, in clear plastic bags... .

It's hard to know where to begin breaking down this baffle-gab. Perhaps with the way in which the Bush Administration covered up the evidence by shipping World Trade Center steel I-beams to China immediatly; or as David Ray Griffin pointed out in his book 'The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions', the crime scene was not treated like a crime scene by the authorities assigned to investigate it; a crime in itself.

Above, I called Ed Kowalski a '9/11 Denialist', I'll retract that now - not because I fear a liable suit (that'd be great, my blog needs the press) - but because I believe he is a well-coached agent provocateur - a graduate perhaps of the American Enterprise Institutes' relativist logic - an ideological tribune for the American Empire Project.

At Assemblyman Greg Ball's blog, his writer supports the divisive Mr. Ed-Doesn't know what the rule of law means'- Kowalski and his 9/11 Families for a Secure America position on the trials in New York. The blog piece, entitled: Ball, 9/11 Families, Say "Keep Terrorists out of New York" describes Ed Kowalski's group,

"the national organization which supports the victims of the families affected by the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks."

??? "..supports the victims of the families..."???

What does THAT mean? If this propaganda champaign are the 'families' referred to, then with-in the framework of the logic, I'M the victim!

The piece goes on to complain about the trials effect on the economy over Christmas (???) and how the trial of the defendants in the greatest mass murder case in U.S. history, will make people feel bad.

This reminds me of the language I heard at the near end of Apartheid in South Africa that illustrated to me a mental defect. Neurotic people trying to mentally climb through mazes of their own construction - designed to avoid the reality that they benefit from crimes happening in their midst - and with their consent. While those today fearfully burying their heads in the sand at the reality of current history have nothing to gain from their neurosis (except military industrial jobs and a peaceful sense of identity in a distorted mass media reality-scape) - South Africa is a good metaphor for the psychosis around September 11, 2001 in that it was a Pretext for war and Apartheid was also evil.

CBC Radio 1, "The Current" Podcast for November 17, 2009.


Friday, November 13, 2009

CBC's 'Living Out Loud' enables Canadian Soldiers and Canadians at home to talk about Afghanistan War

CBC Radio's 'Out Front', produced by Neil Sandell, has been re-invented by CBC this fall as 'Living Out Loud' hosted by Robin Brown. In it's latest broadcast (11/13/09) Living Out Loud has taken the formula invented at Out Front - of allowing real people to tell their stories - to the fields of the war in Afghanistan, enabling Canadian solders to tell of their experiences in the war.

Wounded soldiers tell of a moment of suspension, when time stood still at the moment they lost parts of their bodies. Other soldiers talk about what they saw and experienced that made it impossible to cope with civilian life when they got home.

The Canadian Forces, it seems to me, who until now have been managing information flow very strictly in this war (re:Facebook Youtube censorship May 2007) must be allowing this airing as part of a comprehensive, enlightened healing process for soldiers, their families and ultimately for all of Canadian society.

I believe this enlightened approach can be summed up in this way: The only way to heal the wounded is to bring the society at home closer to the hellish experiences soldiers have had in-country. Other wise they have no one to talk to about their experiences. On the one hand the soldier knows by looking in your eyes that you can't possibly understand what he's feeling - you have no reference points in hell to draw from. On the other hand they don't want to wound You with stories your not/can't-be prepared to hear.

The Friday 13, 2009 Living out Loud broadcast the stories of four Canadian soldiers who were wounded in Afghanistan. A verbal image of a leg wound that made me wince. The queasy feeling I felt upon hearing "..the shrapnel passed from the back of my neck out the left front of my throat..." as told by one participant.

Then there's the more complex story of the shell shock type of post traumatic stress disorder; where flash-backs of terrifying moments are replayed in dreams and then in real time in an hallucinatory delusion, at home, leaving families dumbfounded at first and later going through a long psychological healing process.

The show also talked about the rage and loss of identity some soldiers experienced after witnessing a brutal rape of young children by members of the Afghan national army. As I'm listening to this I quickly construct a logical map in my head to try to dull the hatred I feel rising, of a broken culture, the result of 30 years of un-ending war.

So here we go down an enlightened path over the next little while; we are about to get a much clearer picture of what war in Afghanistan is like; and we haven't even begun to talk about the civilian casualties which outstrip all ISAF casualties put together.

Some will think this is liberal hay-making. Some will vilify the soldiers at first. In this historians opinion it is the beginning of a reconciliation with the truth of war, a beginning of an end of it.

The Canadian Forces are showing great courage and faith in this endeavour. The process will be a little of the hell at home that some Canadians have been experiencing at war for many years now. I suspect there was a lot of debate around this at the Department of Defence and the Prime Ministers Office.

The saddest part of all this is that, eight years into this unwinnable war we are just now beginning a real political discourse - over which time many more deaths will result - as we reach inevitable conclusions.

The only thing we're slightly likely to win in Afghanistan is Transparency in war.


Thursday, November 12, 2009


Like we're collectively waiting for a bus.
What will it look like?
Will it look like war?

Ever since the day the media showed the degree of their culpability
more and more distant from the truth,
waiting for a bus.

The surreal world,
Obama drowning in thickening patronage
seems now,
waiting for a bus.

Soldiers from our past
and their mothers waiting as they do,
waiting for a bus.

Waiting for a bus
We know is not for us,
but waiting for the bus.

M Holloway


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Regular, Collective Suspension of Civilization

Every year at this time I end up in tears. The sorrow inside me at the regular, collective suspension of civilization that we do, is a thread that weaves through all my passions.

I've been thinking of the solders in war now, and the stories of past wars. I have never been in war but I have a feeling that in past life I was there. WW l history brings that out in me particularly.

I used to believe that somehow we are hard-wired through DNA to remember the wars that our fore-bearers fought. It might be true, but more important I think now are the art we make, the novels we write and the stories our families tell.

Canadians Landing at Normandy, WW ll.
Photo taken from a special link filled CBC page - a reprint of the days media in 1944.

When I'm studying the theory of war or reading the stories written by those who need to heal, a tingling swirls around me, and water comes to my eye. For a moment I feel like I was there with the writers; amide unspeakable carnage with Tolkien, on the bloodied beaches with Wyndham, witnessing the horror at Dresden with Kurt Vonnegut, at Passchendaele with Michael Dunne.

J. R. R. Tolkien author of The Lord of the Rings, veteran of the Battle of the Somme, July 1916.

John Wyndham author of The Chrysalids worked in the signal corp. during Normandy Landings WW ll.

Kurt Vonnegut was a veteran of WW ll and a prisoner of war at Dresden when it was razed by Allied firebombing in 1945. He spent ten years writing Slaughterhouse Five after the war. (Google Books)

Michael Dunne, veteran of WW l at Ypres; while not a writer - the grandfather of writer, director, actor and film maker Paul Gross, producer of 'Passchendaele'.

Lower photos are taken from the sites linked.
The Somme July 1, 1916.
Dresden March 1945.
Ypres July 31, 1916.

Youtube has Paul Gross's Passchendaele up (for Rememberance Day?)

Thanks GearHead1087
Watched it for the first time today. Best war film I have ever seen.

Poppy GIF image from Google. thx.


Monday, November 9, 2009

The Use of Tamiflu to Combat the H1N1 09 Virus

In these two short clips from The Ohio State University Youtube Channel - OhioStateExperts, "Dr. Daniel Janies, associate professor of Biomedical Informatics talks about the use of Tamiflu to combat the H1N109 virus and also describes his (state of the art) mapping process."

In both videos - in little snippets that almost go by with out you noticing - he says "don't get Tamiflu unless you need it". What he means by 'need it', is that a policy should be put in place by government on who gets it - because if you have flu symptoms it's too late for the vaccine, it will do nothing - or inhibit your natural immune response. Who gets it then, should be decided by a panel of experts on the 'morphology of the disease' (how diseases spread in specific cultures and through specific demographics.

All in all, what this is saying to me is that this yearly flu injection psychosis is bad science and always has been. I don't get the yearly flu shot - I get the odd flu and build an immunity to it, your welcome. You should too.

In this second video Dr. Janies shows us his awesome mapping technology; which may just be the reason he's offering such sage advise.

The science around infectious disease control is extremely complex and there is a spectrum of opinion in the scientific community about the effectiveness of the steps your government is now taking . Get informed and join the public discourse
on these issues.

The Health and Swine Flu Tags at this blog offer a multitude of links. Information is power.
(Tags are at the bottom of each post.)


The Atlantic Monthly Answers Questions about Swine Flu - You Need to Know

  • What are Tamiflu and Relenza?
  • Do Tamiflu and Relenza have a positive impact on seasonal, avian, or pandemic influenza?
  • Is the H1N1-specific vaccine effective? What are the side effects?
  • Does taking Flu vaccines result in 'resistant strains' of the virus?
  • Does vaccinating healthy people protect society from pandemics?
  • Does stockpiling of doses of antivirals make sense?
  • Are randomized placebo-controlled trials of the antiviral drugs “unethical”?

This is a conversation I had in Facebook with a friend of mine. She posted a link to an AtlanticWire piece on vaccinations for the Pandemic H1N1 virus or Swine Flu - back in mid-October.

The AtlanticWire piece is a brilliant balance to the uninformed opining and spectacle news reporting going on still in our always-on electronic culture. It's a great resource for people worried about the questions posed above.

As usual, I was racing by, too busy to ingest the content the first time round.

In my opinion, this should be required reading.

Lauras' Facebook post:


Does the Vaccine Matter? - The Atlantic (November 2009)
Source: www.theatlantic.com

Whether this season’s swine flu turns out to be deadly or mild, most experts agree that it’s only a matter of time before we’re hit by a truly devastating flu pandemic—one that might kill more people worldwide than have died of the plague and aids combined. In the U.S., the main lines of defense are pharmaceutical—vaccines and antiviral drugs to limit the spread of flu and prevent people from dying from it. Yet now some flu experts are challenging the medical orthodoxy and arguing that for those most in need of protection, flu shots and antiviral drugs may provide little to none. So where does that leave us if a bad pandemic strikes?

October 14 at 7:41pm · Comment · Like / Unlike · View Feedback (4) · Hide Feedback (3) · Share

Facebook Comments (4)


Indeed, sometimes Darwinism is inevitable.

October 14 at 10:43pm

Michael Holloway:

Hey Laura, check out this post, January 27, 2007 @ my blog FilterBlogs: It lays out the case against panic.
It is my opinion the last pandemic, the so called Spanish Flu was a result of the returning soldiers from WW l - who spent years hip-deep in cold sewage, corpses and rats - under-nourished and injured. That is the kind of petri dish needed to again result a flu pandemic.
Factory farming is the great threat to human health today; Swine Flu is the first indication of the problem; see FilterBlogs December 28, 2006

October 15 at 2:47am


Thanks Michael - I'll check it out when I have proper access again.

October 20 at 11:45am

Michael Holloway:

Laura, I owe you an apology on this one.

My earlier comment was dismissive. I scanned the bi-line and the first paragraph of the piece and jumped to conclusions.

I'm sorry....

The article you point to is excellent!

When I saw your post I immediately checked it out. It's a topic that interests me greatly.

The first paragraph introduces Dr. David Newman. My adrenaline spiked,'I know that name', I said to myself, 'that’s the rat-bastard who I believe is bio-engineering bird-flu pathogens at Recominomics Lab!' (Dr. Henry L Niman)

I was Wrong! Now that I've Made the time to READ the article it turns out Dr. Newman is a free thinker, a hero, speaking against power.

Keep up the good fight! The truth will out - eventually.

Michael Holloway

November 8, 2009 11:05pm

Further Links:

Authors of the AtlanticWire piece are:
Shannon Brownlee, a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of Overtreated (2007).
Jeanne Lenzer, an investigative journalist and a frequent contributor to the British medical journal BMJ.

Sinclair Lewis's book Arrowsmith
Daniel Janies, an associate professor of biomedical informatics at Ohio State University.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Has Anyone Checked Senator Lieberman for the Mark of the Beast?

While the families of the dead grieve and those of the wounded care for their loved ones, 'The Beast' thinks it's time for some political grand standing.

From an article at the Wall Street Journal:

Lieberman Suggests Army Shooter Was 'Home-Grown Terrorist'


"Sen. Joe Lieberman said the shootings at Fort Hood could have been a terrorist attack, and that he would launch a congressional investigation into whether the U.S. military could have prevented it.

"Mr. Lieberman said preliminary evidence suggested that Mr. Hasan had denounced the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
"In the U.S. Army, this is not a matter of constitutional freedom of speech," the senator said. "If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have zero tolerance. He should have been gone."

Now, let me get this straight; if your against the wars, and your name is Hasan (meaning therefore your are of the Islamic faith), you are thus an 'Islamic Terrorist'.

Has anyone checked Mr. Lieberman for the mark of the beast?

(Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who heads the Senate's Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.)


Saturday, November 7, 2009

This Sucks! Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) puts Onus on ISP's


Now with an In-Blog player I hacked from CBC, loaded with a CBC's "As it Happens" interview with Dr. Geist from Friday November 6, 2009!

Also the full text and of the leaked ACTA copyright agreement overview discussed below. In my Tweet Universe Michael Geists' Tweet was the first I'd heard of the actual document.

If you want to do some reading before downloading the 'secret' document go toDr. Micheal Geists' Web Site, he posted an article about it as well as the document itself.

Or you can just download it onto your computer, so you can - ironically - spread it around the planet peer to peer.

Michael Geist on ACTA, CBC's As it Happens November 6, 2009.

Hmm, the I link posted put up by user "andersholmstrom" goes no-where now (11/07/09). So I've embedded "As it Happens" - Friday November 6, 2009 from CastRoller. The Dr. Michael Geist interview is 1/2 way through. Enjoy.


My previous post, Copyright Laws are Endangering the Imperial Project (and Good Entertainment), was intended to be informative, ironical and funny - but BoingBoing has just gotten a hold of leaked info detailing the United States' position on copyright infrigement on the www - and it takes all the 'funny' right out of my heart.

The summary from BoingBoing: "That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material."

That means companies like Rogers and Bell or Quebecor here in Canada, those who provide your connection to the internet through a co-axial or satellite connection are liable if they don't cause to be taken down, copyright material uploaded by users of sites like Youtube; as in the example in my previous post here. The producers or owners of said content will be able to sue Rogers et-al. for not acting.

I don't know the situation very well in the USA, but here in Canada Rogers Has been forcing Youtube to remove content for several years now. Legislation much the same as it looks like is coming in the United States has already been passed here. We're leading backwards, our backward-marching federal government is following an old, 'vested' corporate agenda on these issues.

A good example of this is a Youtube user - 'Morality Virtue' - who was in the process of uploading Star Trek TNG episodes - a show he obviously loved - when he began receiving threatening emails from his Internet Service Provider (ISP).

He posted a Vlog on the site about the situation he found himself in. He and his family received emails (he's 19 and lives at home) threatening to cut off their service and other legal action. He said on the Vlog that he was planning to go to university and eventually get a job in government - and he didn't want this hobby to destroy his chances accomplishing the dream. So, even though he didn't think it was fair that Rogers should be coming after him - and not all those out there pirating for profit - he would aquiese and stop uploading.

Youtube has since taken down everything but the trailers he had posted for each episode; it's really a sad story.


Michael Geist is Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Canada. His has a great site that covers internet copyright and net-neutrality issues.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Stop Vaccine Que Jumpers Using Social Networking Sites

I've set up a Twitter List #QueJumper where, if you know something, you can post a Tweet and out people in positions of power who have gotten and/or distributed Swine Flu Vaccine illegally.

m_holloway Health minister says outing vaccine Que jumpers is for after, why not now - here? If you know tweet it - it will spread quickly #QueJumper.


A Fundamental Miss-understanding of Darwin gets Corrected

In an Earlier post here, entitled Sean M Carroll Re-writes The Big Bang Theory a piece about Cosmologies attempt to tell of the story of the history of the universe and how that story influences our identity in the age of science, I opined:
Without a scientifically based story opportunists, snake oil salesmen, and the fear-mongers of the ultra-conservative right begin to gain traction amongst young people, the ill-informed and addle-minded. Intelligent Design is an example of this - it is essentially disguised racism and attempts to obfuscate Natural Selection which when understood, remains a progressive idea when applied to issues of equality.

(NOTE: A fundamental miss-understanding of Darwin persists in popular America thought; the phrase, 'survival of the fittest' is used out of context in discussions about class and economics - and misrepresents On the Origin of Species. That, for another article.)

Well someone has beaten me to it (again), namely Anne Innis Dagg, a professor at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, (no wonder)who's new book "Love of Shopping is Not a Gene: exposing junk science and ideology in Darwinian Psychology" takes my kernel of a notion and writes a whole book on it.

BoingBoing reviews the book and in the first paragraph, Cory Doctorow paraphrases me from my obscure blog a month ago:
Dagg, a biologist/geneticist at the University of Waterloo, identifies Darwinian Psychology as a nexus of ideological pseudoscience cooked to justify political agendas about the inevitability of social inequality, especially racial and sexual inequality.

It's a small planet, and if we're monkeys I hope I'm the hundredth, so we'll all soon be thinking like Professor Dagg.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Copyright Laws are Endangering the Imperial Project (and Good Entertainment)

In the recent history of imperialism the leading edge of the effort has been ideological. When the European imperial powers invaded (discovered) America from the 1500's through to the independence movements of the 18th and 19th century, Catholic Missionaries destabilized the indigenous cultures of the continent; the leading edge of a rather more violent juggernaut to follow.

Today the USA's global empire is in it's infancy, and for some reason (greed?) a law protecting copyright, prevents material from spreading over the boarders of Imperial America on the World Wide Web. Ironically - while the U.S. Congress continues to approve yearly Trillion dollar appropriations towards building a global network of military bases (International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Militairy Bases) - copyright law approved by the same Congresses prevents me, here in Canada, from watching "Star Trek - The Original Series" on Youtube. Instead of Captain Kirk I get - "Sorry, this content is not available outside of the United States."

Is this any way to run an Empire? I ask you.

At the same time BBCWorld is doing the similar things with it's Youtube account. Even though every show you could possibly ever remember is up on the BBC's Youtube Channel - they're only clips of each episode! I can watch 1:23 of episode 1 of "My Hero", the BBC's hit sit-com. Tease me and leave me no way to watch the rest of the show "You bastards! You've killed Kenny! (favourite South Park phrase)

I think what they're doing at BBC is a form of web copyrighting - creating/holding a space with the Titles, and very little content - so that in the future when they find a way to snuff out all the copyright covered uploading going on, on Youtube, and peer to peer file sharing sites - they will have a legal case, they can say they've always been operating in these environs. This tactic is probably on the advise of their lawyers.

Does Anyone out there know how to run an Empire these days?

Well screw them and their lousy empire!

To Wit:

Star Trek (copyright Paramount) - Season 1 Episode 6 - Part 1 - Mudd's Women; Uploaded by some person who shall remain nameless, but a hero to all Trek fans outside CBS's American world.

And under Captain Kirk The BBC's hit sit-com "My Hero" Season 5 - "Brain Drain" - Part 1, from another hero of the off-shore enlightenment!

(Both these will be removed shortly, bookmark associated links quickly.)

Star Trek The Original Series "Mudd's Women"

BBC's My Hero - "Brain Drain"

Now That's Imperial Entertainment! ;)


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Live Blog Philadelphia Phillies @ New York Yankees, 2009 World Series Game 6

I'm Planning to Live Blog Game 6 of the 2009 World Series Philadelphia Phillies @ New York Yankees at Michael Holloway's BaseballBlogs.

Get crucial incites from a passionate Baseball Aficionado and veteran Blogger at Michael Holloway's BaseballBlogs Live Blog of the 2009 World Series - Game 6 November 4, 2009 starting at 8:00 PM EST.


Current Technological Progress in Information Technology will be Measured Against the Technological Convergence that Created Television

Comparing applications developing on the web to anything but television I believe, misses the mark.

The revolution in mass media under way now can only be compared with the last relevant technology. That's easy to see in the history of the development of technology from a historians point of view - but it is very difficult to see while its happening - in real time. Who's to say what will develop out of these Internet Applications we are playing with now?

All these new applications - with their new portability - though our manipulation of them in the real world - are in the process of creating an "UberApp." When we create it via this Great Wiki represented currently by Twitter, the most progressive application - it will be will be a 1000 times better than TV - but just like TV.

When the internal combustion engine was refined to run a buggy, people didn't compare it to a train, they compared it to the last relevant technology, the horse and buggy. That's easy to see now, a hundred years later, back in the day who knows what the 'losers' in the race tried to do with the technology as it was refining; we have no idea because their visions never saw the light of day. Meaningful applications quickly became the 'it' technology, that those same 'losers' may then have ceased upon and perhaps became 'winners' with later.

Janus Friis, the inventor of Skype (free Phone) and Kazaa (free Music), said in a recent interview at GigaOM online magazine: "Television is the most powerful mass medium...". That's a brilliant way to look at it.

Is the culmination of this great connectivity going to be powerful? Yes, I think so - absolutely.

I love the way Janus Friis thinks about problems; he continues,

..and we are trying to do is marry the best of television with the best of internet. What people love about the television is the story telling. What people don’t like is television that is locked in linear time. We want to try and preserve the best bits of television, and discard bits people don’t care for.

"locked in linear time"

He's discussing the project he and his partner in "crime" Niklas Zennstrom are currently working on, namely the internet television set also known as the Venice Project which is being developed to function with the open source Mozilla search engine.

Tip of the Hat to Tim O'Reilly, or was it Michael Geist?

What Tweetie bird got me here? This cat doesn't know, but i like it.


Hysteria around Swine Flu Pandemic 2009 not very Different from 1918

Earlier today I listened to Swine Flu: Mixed Messages and Public Anxiety, a podcast of KCRWs' "To The Point" created, written and hosted by Warren Olney. The lack of perspective by many of the experts reminded me of a piece I read earlier this year at one of my favourite Blogs - "Edge of the American West" - which foreshadowed the current stupidness around the yet-to-be-Pandemic Swine flu.

I copied and pasted the whole thing because it's succinct, and important.

Posted by Scott Eric Kaufman, January 2009.

The Edge of the American West

Doing some quick searches in response to our co-blogger’s co-blogger’s post about the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, I came across the following chart detailing the ratio of reported cases to deaths in San Fransisco. Not only is it a priceless statistical representation of panic, it also captures the malleability of even professional opinion.

To wit:

I’ve highlighted the number of cases in red because blood is the color of riot—and for legibility. With certainty, we can say the author of this study, W.H. Kellogg, captured something of cultural significance when he rocketed his data up and off the y-axis. But the convergence of the incidence and death rates between the 23rd and 30th of November may be even more interesting. How do we account for the fact that, for one short week, everyone who caught the disease died from it? Easy:

According to the 21 November article, because public health officials claimed that “the influenza epidemic had been stamped out,” at noon “[t]he shrieking of every siren in San Fransisco, blowing of whistles, clanging of gongs and the ringing of bells will . . . signal for throwing away the gauze face coverings” (9). Why were there no more new cases reported than there were deaths the next week?

Because someone said there wouldn’t be. So there weren’t. People caught colds and had the sniffles, but it wasn’t Spanish flu. Couldn’t be. The epidemic was over. Did you somehow sleep through the infernal cacophany last Tuesday? The city has no more need for mass-prophylaxis. Everyone who catches the bug now brought it with them on the boat, and everyone knows you can’t catch flu from boat-people. Wait—what do you mean, “How do I think it got here in the first place?” What? How come nobody told us—quick! Everyone! En masque en masse!

So said the San Fransisco Chronicle on 4 December, and back up the panic-axis we go . . .

I couldn't have said it any better.

Thanks, Edge of the American West.

In the bio section of "Edge of the American West" Scott Eric Kaufman is described:

"Scott Eric Kaufman earned a doctorate in English at a fine public university at the western edge of the American West."

Please check out the Health and Swine Flu labels in FilterBlogs - and the latest piece I published on this topic, Swine Flu Inoculations Probably Useless.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Straight Cuba Libre

I'm at my nephew's birthday party-redux ( for those of you who read Baseballblogs Game 4), I've invented a new Drink!

Introducing the:

Straight Cuba Libre.

1 ounce of 7 year old Cuban rum
1 tablespoon of squeezed lime
2 cubes of ice

Shake and enjoy.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Michael Holloway's BaseballBlogs LiveBlog of 2009 World Series Game 4 A Success!

Had a lot of fun blogging Game 4 of the World Series - even though the Yankees beat the Phillies 4 - 7.

Tomorrow nights Game 5 of the 2009 World Series will be a LiveBlog from the first pitch to the last out.

I'm going to post starting line-ups for both teams - to make it easier to follow and I'm going bold up the inning markers and high-light changes in the score to give this LiveBlog a 'game-at-a-glance' look.

Get crucial incites from a passionate Baseball Aficionado and veteran Blogger at Michael Holloway's BaseballBlogs LiveBlog of the 2009 World Series - Game 5 November 2, 2009 starting at 8:00 PM EST.