Xeni hasn’t posted about everyone I know in the Tibetan exile community in Dharamsala, but nearly everyone. I’ve put her in touch with the Volunter Tibet folks so that may appear on her Xeni.net/trek blog or in Wired News or in Boingboing or National Public Radio or whereever else Xeni publishes next.
Besides finally seeing pictures of all these folks, it’s great to see them getting great press in the tech community from Xeni and her editors. In many cases, the Tibetans have been at tech projects for a long time working hard and cleverly with not many resources but with great determination.
It’s been a blast being part of their tech growth through ibiblio.org
Looking forward to seeing as many of them (you if you are reading this in Dharamsala) next week.
Chasing Crusoe: Three hundred years ago Alexander Selkirk opted to be marooned on an island rather than endure his English captain. His four-year long adventure inspired the classic novel Robinson Crusoe. Last spring a group of students from UNC-Chapel Hill returned to the island, four hundred miles off the coast of Chile, to document the legacy of Robinson Crusoe. Host Frank Stasio talks with Prof. Rich Beckman and graduate student Jay Heinz about the project. For more information, see: http://www.rcrusoe.org/ [this is the cool multimedia (flash) sight made there on the Island with games and 3-d images and photo essays etc]
Just took a couple of questions from a reporter at Business Line (India) about intellectual property as part of the conference build up for the “Owning the Future” Symposium. Sample questions and answers below:
1. What is the relevance of IP rights to the layman – not a scientist or an IT bureaucrat?
Every layman has an investment in IP and in innovation. Not just an upstream investment that provides reduced costs of products and increased speed of innovation, but — as Eric von Hippel details in his 2005 MIT
Press book “Democratizing Innovation” — every purchaser is a potential innovator, a part of the final and unpredictable design and redesign of products. You want to be able to use the hammer you just bought to crack
nuts as well as pound nails. You want to add features to your car or to a skateboard. You also want to add to software, to electronics and to other products and images in ways that the original designer could not have
possibly anticipated. Without legal access to the means of innovation, your choices are reduced or even erased.
“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.”
The editors and writers thought they were covering different stories in difference issues, but really they, like the blind men fondling the elephant, were telling the same story about a part of a great beast. Schiff pounded on the side of the elephant and declared it a wall. Sturdy if trembling; what those of us who see more of the animal know is breathing and functioning. Lemann grabs the ear and declared it flimsy without strength or depth. Something this fan-like could not be a challenge to reporters and dedicated professionals.
Each writer may notice that there is something bigger at play behind the rhetoric of wikipedians and their discontents, behind bloggers and the professional journalists who mutually antagonize each other. Both notice that some sort of revolution or evolution or change is underway. But both have avoided raising this up to a bigger picture, a larger context. Neither see this and more as something that is unrelenting and growing despite the various moral panics that have attended not only blogging and wikipedia but also social networking sites, eBay, Google, Google Book Project, Amazon, and soon I’m sure del.icio.us, technorati, Flickr and YouTube.
So far only terms like Web 2.0, which although I think is unavoidable as a pretty good place holder and has the endurance of a term like ironhorse or horseless carriage as opposed to telephone , are available. I’m not ready to put out a nomination for the term for the changes involved of my choice yet. Not “the former audience.” Maybe “Citizen Journalism” but that is too limited in scope to my thinking. Like “Information Highway” these terms fail to do their job in various ways and will vanish. We do need a way to describe the change, but will our children finally be the ones who give it to the next generation and to the ages or will we do it soon?
Personal note on the Wikipedia story: I was at a conference in DC this Spring and ended up sitting at the same table as Jimbo Wales and Stacy Schiff. I kept trying to remember where I had seen her name or byline. She was pleasant and very sharp and extremely observant. When I got back to my room, I realized that I had read and enjoyed a piece by her about Ben Franklin not long before in the New York Times. I had also read the reviews of her Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Vera [Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov]. I wish I had been a bit better at recall that day. I had a question or two on Franklin in the Wikipedia/Citizen Journalist/eBay/social networks context.
Just took a call from WCHL about John Edwards’ use of bittorrent. Does this make bittorrent legit? Actually didn’t need Edwards to make it legit. With OSprey, ibiblio has been using torrents legally, reliably, authoratively and accountably for a good while now. Visit the ibiblio torrent site. No, torrents are not limited to videos and music; we do software, developers’ tools, interviews, etc as well as music and video.
We were alerted by Barry Wellman that Sebastian Mallaby would be publishing an Opinion section of the Washington Post on the Social Isolation story. It’s up now (and likely in print too), but Barry and I are both disappointed. Mallaby misses the findings of Barry’s research even though he mentions them. Twenty minutes on the phone with Barry, the top guy on friendship networks living, and Mallaby can’t tell that 15 is greater than 2 or 3 without changing what that means.
But that doesn’t satisfy Mallaby; once he’s told that we actually have more extensive networks, he switches his stance to tell us that having a more extensive network means that we don’t have connections that are as deep as in the networks-formerly-known-as-lonely-but-now-known-as-deep.
Mallaby’s suggestion form carpools is clever but only slightly extends your social network, only slightly deepens a couple of relationships.
Here’s a more clever suggestion: People should join bike-to-work groups. People who experience more physical exercise and who experience that exercise together are more social and more physicially healthy too. And they use no gas at all!
To my mind, it’s an interesting case of media distortion.
The good news: the accounts are based on a high-quality survey (US General Social Survey) by first-class reseachers (Lynn Smith-Lovin & Miller McPherson) + Matthew Brashaers whom I don’t know, in sociology’s leading journal, American Sociological Review. I was a referee on this paper, btw, and revealed myself at appropriate time to the authors.
The study replicates one stimulus Q from the General Social Survey 20 years ago about who do you have to discuss important matters with. It finds a mean of about 2 in 2004, down from 3 in 1984 (or was it 1985)?
Here’s the problem:
Based on this, the 2 newspapers have created a huge social isolation spin on this, when it’s well known that people have lotsa ties, not just 2 or 3. See our data from Pew Internet, Connected Lives study) + lotsa others. Indeed, altho we are not as parallel as the US GSS, comparing Connected Lives (3rd East York study, 2004) with the second East York study (1979 data) shows more active ties now, both intimate and significant ties.
Thus the media spin is a huge inferential leap from a decline in the super-core ties to saying Americans are socially isolated.
If you read further in the Washington Post and USA Today articles, you’ll see me quoted as suggesting that we now have more ties — and more contact with ties — but that relationships are differentiated. In other words, the relative decline in discussion partners shouldn’t be generalized to either absolute isolation or even growing isolation.
Of course, YMMV.
Update: Barry Wellman writes again “FYI, the Wa Post is probably going to run a followup editorial in next day or 2 by Sebastian Mellaby.”
According to NNG, images that do NOT attract attention share these traits:
* Generic/stock art
* Off-putting, cold, fake, too polished or “set up”
* Not related to content
* Look like advertisements
* Low contrast in terms of color — not crisp
Meanwhile, images that DO get attention share these traits:
* Related to page content
* Clearly composed and appropriately cropped
* Contain “approachable” people who are smiling, looking at the camera, not models
* Show areas of personal/private anatomy (Men tended to fixate on these areas more than women — really!)
* Items a user may want to buy.
Randall Greg of the Raleigh Chronicle made me an offer I can’t refuse. He’ll give me his press pass to the Raleigh Crabtree Apple Store pre-opening tomorrow, if I act like a journalist and write a little for him and the Chronicle about the experience having taken some pictures and asked some questions.