Saturday, July 31, 2004

Good lord! There's hope for the world, yet :

an internal IMF report criticised the fund's relationship with [Argentina] over the past decade.

The report said the IMF had exacerbated the country's economic crisis, which struck in December 2001.

(Big up the IMF for this, even if it is very little and very late. Still an encouraging sign.)

BBC NEWS | Americas | Argentina blames IMF for crisis
BBC NEWS | Business | World trade deal 'within reach'

Although ...

it became clear there were still major problems with the text.

Several countries raised objections to the section covering agriculture - the issue which many have seen as the key to this framework deal.

The problems centre on subsidies and tariffs and - as the hours passed - smaller groups met to try to iron out their differences.

How close does that sound?

Negotiations also focused on plans to open up markets to industrial goods. Here the text dates from the failed meeting last year in Cancun.

Yes, but the real question is what about the opening up financial markets to s/the global casino/much needed foreign investment/g ?

Update : Seems like an agreement has been reached. No details yet.

Friday, July 30, 2004

My vision for Tribe just keeps growing :-)

If members of a tribe want to collect money to buy and preserve a bit of endangered forest, maybe Tribe can co-ordinate that, too.

The same discussion ...
Seems like OpenACS is still a going project.
A discussion on Tribe has started wondering where the Tribe magic went. My take is that I don't agree with either of the earlier posts who suggest Tribe got less exclusive or people got jobs / lives. I think Tribe (as with other YASNS) is a kind of "first day in the new school" phenomenon.

When you join, you don't know anybody. The first instinct is to hook up with some groups. So you run around trying to find other new kids who also don't seem to know anyone and seem a bit like you.

You make "friends". You hang in the same tribes. You talk about the things you have in common. And at this point it's intoxicating, because you really are meeting new, interesting people. For me Tribe was definitely the fastest way I ever had of making good online aquaintances.

But then, once you have your group, the pressure falls off. You know who your clique is on Tribe. You aren't so attentive to the new face with only one friend, who says something interesting in one of your tribes.

You start to have a *history*. Conversations with some people have spread over months and multiple tribes. Newbies and strangers are less interesting. The barrier to entry for new people in your social horizon is higher.

But beyond social networking, Tribe is just another discussion forum. Once you stop chasing around looking for new freinds, then the forums may or may not be particularly different or better than others. I read blogs from or have wiki discussions with some of my Tribe friends more than I interact with them on the service.

So Tribe's character changes as you change. And possibly it's value falls off as you "mature". Maybe that's a flaw with Tribe. Perhaps it needs to take it to the next level, offer more services for those who want to create deeper communities.

For example I admit I lost touch with Wendell's Matador P2P filesharing project. And I haven't seen much activity in it's Tribe. I guess this has moved to a web-site. But if Tribe offered more SourceForge type facilities like a CVS tree, would Matador have continued there?

Tribe Discussion: Glocal Conversation -

Thursday, July 29, 2004

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Man who helped unlock DNA dies
Today's burning question. Was Unix floating freely around in the 70s because this was just the "obvious" and "natural" open culture before software became valued in it's own right. Or was it due to the beneficience of government anti-trust regulation?


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Gotta love the way that Halliburton are ripping the US government.

Just Well Mixed

More importantly, this story might have legs. Could be the kind of story to unite left and right bloggers to stir up serious trouble.
One way to keep the blighters quiet.

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Teachers 'spiced up' school meals
A good quiz to assess your knowledge of energy efficiency

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Energy efficiency - how do you measure up?
Today's big disagreement

ThoughtStorms: DisagreementAndDishonesty
Well it can't all be Fafblog fun and games. Lance Knobel points to what he calls the best explanation of Darfur he's read.
What with Land of Hope and Glory and Darth Felix, it's clearly a Fafblog day. And, behold, Fafner has an important warnin about DESTRUCTIVE GAY ENERGY SWEEPING HETEROSEXUAL AMERICA.

Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.
Bill Seitz's free association of the day : has anyone else noticed that the first line of the Star Wars Darth Vader theme tune is like a minor-key version of the Felix The Cat song?

Darth Felix
Huh? I'm sitting here, mid-morning in North Wing, Brasilia and someone in the neighbourhood is playing "Land of Hope and Glory" on the radio. Bizarre!

Friday, July 23, 2004

In light of the 9/11 report John Robb reminds us of his predictions about the Bush doctrine. After which, he suggests :

At some point in the next 3 years we are going to hit the ignition point for a global bazaar of violence with groups armed with advanced global guerrilla tactics. At that point, it will be too late and the life we lead today will be fundamentally changed forever.

John Robb : Useful being pesimistic
Huh? Mandelson to be Euro commisioner?
Dave Winer linked through to a disturbing story of misogeny which I've heard rumours of before.
Just to point out, it is only on ThoughtStorms that you could get a list of recent changes like this

* (diff) GayatriSpivak 11:12 pm . . . . .
* (diff) LionKimbro 10:12 pm . . . . . PhilJones
* (diff) LongNow 10:11 pm (2 changes) . . . . . PhilJones
* (diff) LibertarianismAndConservatism 9:54 pm (2 changes) . . . . . PhilJones

Juxtaposing Gayatri Spivak with Lion Kimbro with the Long Now Foundation and discussions of the similarities and differences of Libertarianism and Conservatism.

Proof : Search it on Google

(Update : this post is actually a bit dishonest because the pagename on Gayatri was spelled wrongly. That's been fixed and I've updated this post to reflect the real spelling. But of course, the list as spelled above never actually occurred. A minor variation did.)
Mythbuster Michael Fumento says :
Probably the most prestigious science journal in the world is the British magazine Nature. Nature's view of Myth ran quite early, something journals will do when they are making a conscious effort to affect how a book will be received. The reviewer was Duncan Campbell, who, among many other things, asserted:

Only a writer whose prejudices deny humanity could write in such bad taste as this:

"Although AIDS is no joke, there is good news and bad news about the length of HIV infectiousness ... the 'good news' is that the great majority, and perhaps almost all, of HIV-infected persons will develop debilitating symptoms or die."

In fact, what the book says is:

The "good news" here is actually terrible news for anyone infected: Originally, it was thought that only a small percentage of those infected with the virus would go on to develop the disease. While this was reassuring to infected persons, it made the long-term outlook for the spread of the disease look bad because it meant that large numbers of healthy persons would be spreading the virus to others indefinitely. But a consensus of opinion has now formed that the great majority, and perhaps almost all, of HIV-infected persons will develop debilitating symptoms or die.

How different, I wonder, is this from taking a statement like, "Judaism is not a gutter religion" and presenting it as "Judaism is . .. a gutter religion"?

Well, as far as I can see it's very different.

Campbell says Fumento says P(x)


P is "the good news is that"

x is "most people who are infected will die of Aids"

Whereas what in full Fumento says

P(x, x->y)

where y is "developing full blown symptoms will allow us to see symptoms and identify the infected earlier"

Fumentos analogy with changing from

z to not z is wrong

Is Campbell's assertion that Fumento is in "bad taste" wrong?

Personally, I don't think that bad taste is a problem in making scientific claims. (Witness a recent argument for scientific conjectures being independent of moral considerations.)

But it's perfectly possible on whatever criteria taste is decided that this is bad taste.

A more interesting question would be to ask whether, given the still fairly long time it takes for symptoms to express themselves, the benefit derived from sufferers dying and stopping more infections is realy very significant in reducing the spread of the disease.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Basically Microsoft is going to use the legal system to shut down open source software, and for all of its cleverness, the GPL makes it fairly easy unless a white knight steps in.

NewsForge | HP memo forecasts MS patent attacks on free software
BBC : US admits 'bounty hunter' contact

BBC NEWS | South Asia | US admits 'bounty hunter' contact

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Phil Booth is blogging at infinite ideas machine
This Report recommends that all UK higher education institutions establish institutional repositories on which their published output can be stored and from which it can be read, free of charge, online. It also recommends that Research Councils and other Government funders mandate their funded researchers to deposit a copy of all of their articles in this way.

Big up the UK government committee which wants to free science.

House of Commons - Science and Technology - Tenth Report

via Graham
BBC : A US citizen arrested in Kabul over an alleged freelance counter-terrorism operation says he was working with the knowledge of the US defence secretary

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Kabul 'bounty hunter' accuses US
A couple more additions to BeatBlog: The New BeatBlog

These are fairly basic, to get back into the swing of things. But might always inspire. Especially the "Heavy Tardis" riddim.
ThoughtStorms: CrazyBrazilianInvasion
Tribe Voters (beta) has 128 members. Go Paul!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Another newbie wikinaut gets it. :-)

Jonathon Delacour: Wiki epiphany
I Love Music dicusses Russian Church Bells
Music blogging

For a couple of years I Love Music was my definitive online community for talking and arguing about (mainly pop) music. I don't go there so much now. And I've realized I'll never have anything very interesting to say about music.

The ILM community was originally hosted courtesy of Phil Greenspun's ACS server and had several great music writers. And, of course, Momus writing about urbanism and being petulant about bad reviews.

Now, a lot of ILMers have blogs, and when I occasionally tune in, there's a scarily erudite debate ranging across every pop sub-genre you can think of, cultural identities, ruralism, politics and more.

My touch-points on this world :

  • Robin Carmody who makes surprising connections between music, politics, ruralist politics and classic children's television from the BBC.

  • Simon Reynolds who's a professional music journalist for The Wire etc. I confess his intuitive taste is very close to my own. If he likes something, I'm pretty sure I like it. And when he hates something, he's generally spot on about that too.

  • K-Punk is one I've just started noticing.

  • drip*drop*drap seems to be a newbie they're all getting into.

Anyway, all good stuff. On my recent trip to England I failed to discover much about what was going on. (Big up Daniel though for lending a bunch of CDs which I didn't get enough time to listen to or copy ...)

I bought only two CDs. The Rephlex "Grime" compilation, which Reynolds mentioned a couple of months ago. My first impression was "what a rip off" ... just more braindance latching onto the UKG bandwagon. But after a bit I started to appreciate that it is definitely different. Something has advanced. Lot's of tricky syncapations. But a sad lack of MCing.

The other thing was a £1.99 sampler from True Thoughts / Zebra Traffic which was playing in record shops around Brighton. Phi-Life Cypher's "Over" stands out. The rest ranges from forgettable to pleasant downtempo rap / soulful vocals. It gets filed next to Aim and similar in my shelf. OK for the money.

Back in Brazil I'm finally back on DSL and downloading. I wanted to check out this "crunk" thing that Reynolds seemed so approving of a few months ago. After downloading a couple of Lil Jon tracks, my verdict is pretty much "so what?"

Maybe I haven't heard the right stuff. It's a development, but it's not surprising or exciting me the way people like Three-6 Mafia and OutKast did a few years ago. Musically it reminds me of Dungeon Family. Which is I guess damning with faint praise.
The International Journal of Community Currency Research publishes real academic research into

And they need more submissions ...
Ten stories the world should hear more about

Monday, July 19, 2004

I am 100% Kant

(and 98% John Stuart Mill, and 91% Bentham)

OTOH, Select the right programming language is a 100% pants, as it just recommended me Java :-(

Bleah! I'll have write my own one of these to set the record straight.
I'm back in Brazil.

On a related note. I see Orkut is the YASN of choice for Brazilians. So much so that Anglophones are complaining about all the Portuguese. ;-)

Wonder what the Blogalization crowd make of this.

Traducao portugues (Desculpe eu nao tem accentos neste teclado. E meu portugues e aindo ruim. :-)

Estou voltando no Brasil.

Seguinte, eu percebou que o Orkut e o rede social preferido dos Brasilieros. E os anglofones estao reclamado porque o Portugues. ;-)

Desejo sabe que o Blogalization pensa sobre este.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Dave Winer asks if Bush should have the power to postpone the US presidential election?
I'm pretty sure it was that bastard George Tenet who scrached my car, too.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Yeah, ThoughtStorms has been getting spammed. :-(
Matthew Yglesias : The fact that an uninformed viewer may leave Fahrenheit 9-11 thinking that Bush invaded Afghanistan to build a pipleine is regrettable. I hope that few people who did not already believes this have been caused to believe it by the film. The fact that an uninformed citizen may leave a Bush speech believing that Iraq was a major backer of al-Qaeda, that contemporary Afghanistan is a democracy, that lawsuits are the leading cause of health care inflation, that the current budget tragectory is sustainable, that the current job market is strong, and that the institution of marriage is threatened by gays and lesbians is an outrage. Given the opportunity to shift the conversation from Topic A to Topic B, I would be remiss not to do so.
Q : Hey, Phil! What's up, man?

A : I'm in the UK. And not online much.