Posts from August 2003

Poor us

Poor us
: Joi Ito says it appears that America’s infrastructure is falling apart. Can we argue?

Hyperlocal

Hyperlocal
: My experiment with hyperlocal blogging continues, in fits and starts. I attended — no, covered — my town meeting last night.

Remake

Remake
: Howard Dean is trying to deftly remold his war posture and it’s getting noticed. Glenn Reynolds quotes Dean: “We have no choice. It’s a matter of national security. If we leave and we don’t get a democracy in Iraq, the result is very significant danger to the United States. . . . bringing democracy to Iraq is not a two-year proposition.” And then he says:

Howard Dean is right. And he’s the leading Democratic candidate at the moment. And that’s bad news for the terrorists, whose only hope is that we’ll fool ourselves into thinking otherwise, and give up before the job is done.

And Michael J Totten points to this Washington Post story on the topic.

The challenge for Dean now is to transition from champion of the antiwar, anti-Bush left to electable Democrat without losing his steam and solid liberal base, according to Democratic strategists.

That will be a challenge, since he’s already alienated me and a whole lot of other Democrats. And making the right noises isn’t enough. He needs to be genuine. I’ll see right through him if he is not.

This transition is no easy task for the most outspoken critic of the Iraqi war…

No kidding.

I think what you’re seeing, from Totten at least, is simply the disaffection that comes from looking at the present Democratic field. Realistic Democrats, like us, are starting to ask ourselves whether we could go for Dean… and there’s no good answer, yet.

Dander up

Dander up
: Jimmy Gutterman is trying to steal a trick from Andrew Orlowski — that is, baiting bloggers as a pathetic ploy for attention — with a piece at Business 2.0 that poo-poos blogs.

Several years into the phenomenon, even with solid tools like Blogger available, the blogging community is still, for the most part, self-absorbed and elitist. There’s only minimal evidence that anyone is using the blog format as a business tool.

Come on, Jimmy. It’s just a publishing tool. It’s just content. And, yes, I can name others making money — and other big companies using weblogs (start here). Maybe you’re just reading the wrong weblogs; you’re concentrating in your piece just on the founding bloggers when the field has exploded in every direction. Or you can’t get the hang of writing one. But you sound just like an old radio guy who thought this television thang would never pay off. [via I Want Media]

: Jimmy says weblogs have been around for six years, and so he judges their popularity on that time scale. Well, Filo T. Pharnsworth came up with TV a long time before it became popular. I’m not ready to start the clock on weblogs yet. September 11 brought on more writers. The war brought on more readers. AOL et al will bring in the masses. It’s still just the beginning.

Just what we’ve been waiting for

Just what we’ve been waiting for
: Glenn Reynolds, law professor, on the 10 Commandments.

As George Washington noted, “the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”

I’m willing to ignore, as de minimis, things like “In God We Trust.” But there’s nothing de minimis about what Roy Moore was attempting. He wanted to make a statement, to the effect that George Washington was wrong, and that the United States is a Christian nation. He wanted, in other words, to establish Christianity as the officially sanctioned religion. And that’s not, er, kosher. It’s quite obvious that Moore has more in mind than merely making a cultural/historical statement about the role of the Judeo-Christian tradition in law. And to suggest otherwise is either to be completely clueless or to, er, bear false witness.

Get me to the minibar!

Get me to the minibar!
: Oh, I would not do well at Burning Man, not well at all. These descriptions make me want to call in the deprogrammers:

Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind.

And:

Burning Man is an annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance.

And radical self-absorption.

: Jim Treacher points us to the comments on Boing etc., where the audience is giving Burning Person Xeni heck.

Is half a BBC better than none?

Is half a BBC better than none?
: David Brake cautions that we all may have gotten a bit too excited about the BBC’s announcement that it would put its programming on the Internet:

In fact, while BBC News’ summary suggests Dyke said the Creative Archive would contain “all the corporation’s programme archives”, the speech actually promised to allow “parts of our programmes, where we own the rights, to be available to anyone in the UK to download” (emphasis mine). Nothing there about all of the BBC’s archives. And the example he uses – kids downloading, “real moving pictures which would turn their project into an exciting multi-media presentation” make it sound like a collection of digital clip-art.

Sight

Sight
: Ain’t science grand?

Here’s a man who received a stem-cell implant into his eyes and for the first time since he was 3, he can see:

I found it very distracting to look at people’s faces when I was having a conversation. I can see their lips moving, eyelashes flickering, head nodding and hands gesturing. At first, I tried looking down, but if it was a woman in a low-cut top that would be even more distracting. It was easier to close my eyes or tune out the visual input. This was often necessary in order to concentrate on what they were saying. I am sure there will come a time when all this visual communication will mean more to me, but for now it is just distracting….

The kids played soccer and asked me to play with them. I am more tentative with sight than I was without. My perception of space is still confusing enough and I don’t want to run over one of these little guys. Still, I can see the ball flying through the air, which gives me a thrill.

And bloggers’ favorite Halley has a cataract operation and reports the results:

I open my new improved eye.

Okay, I am freaking out. The bird is so resplendent in color and gold leaf. The colors are so vibrant. The edges are so clear and … I hardly know the word … try CRUNCHY … that I can barely believe it. The delicate detail of the bamboo leaves on the painting are exquisite. I am gasping.