31 August 2006

Simpsons Trek

For fans of both. Violation of copyright? On the surface, yes, but arguably a fair use/fair dealing. Promotion of creativity and useful insights into the nature of culture? Absolutely yes.
[Technorati tags: | | | ]

25 August 2006

Stephen Colbert Gets It

Want to know about massmedia convergence? Don't look to the plumbing providers ("it's all tubes") who attempt to attach themselves to the hip (think about that turn of phrase as a probe, boys and girls) with content providers. Look to Stephen Colbert, host of the nightly Colbert Report. Today's Globe and Mail frames it as Colbert wanting to be a "viral video star," but there is much more to it than merely remixing Colbert's green screen antics on YouTube. Rather, “This is an exciting opportunity for our audience to participate in the central mission of this program — making me look heroic,” Colbert said in a statement. Well, sort of. Leaving aside the heroic part, it is an opportunity for the audience to participate in the creation of the Stephen Colbert persona which is central to the show. Colbert gets it - the reversal of television in the UCaPP world, from what became a hot medium to one that can be cool again through active participation, filling in the blanks as it were, in the collaborative creation of the Colbert experience. Whether it is the naming of a bridge in Hungary, or the Colbert nation's attack on elephants in Wikipedia, the audience making the show is an indication of television of the future/present.
[Technorati tags: | | ]

Requiescat in Pace - Maynard Ferguson (1928 – 2006)

One of the all time great jazz trumpeters, Maynard Ferguson, has died. According to the Globe and Mail,
“Someone just said, ‘Gabriel, move over to second trumpet,'” [friend and manager Steve] Schankman said from his St. Louis office. “He was the last of the greats. That era is closed. There is no Kenton, no Basie, no Ellington, and now, no Ferguson.” ... Ferguson, also a much admired teacher, became identified with ear-piercing power and dizzying high notes that he was still able to play with precision. He was named Down Beat magazine's “trumpeter of the year” three times.
In tribute here he is as a young man, with the Royal Canadians Big Band playing Round Midnight:
[Technorati tags: ]

23 August 2006

Don't Say I Didn't Warn You

Back in January, I said,
Worse for the telcos would be Google offering its own access, say through municipal WiFi/WiMax, giving the telcos a run for their money in Internet access, as well as mobile and long-distance voice.
This comment was in the context of what has now become known as net neutrality, a pseudo-macho initiative touched off by the CEO of a certain global telco. Well, guess what:
Google has been toying with idea of implementing free municipal Wi-Fi. I've always believed that it began as a whim but became a subtle threat aimed at the major carriers who are saber-rattling over tiered service, threatening to charge Google more for its supposed free ride on their networks. This, of course, is ludicrous, since there is no free ride for anyone.

First, Google, the king of doing good work inexpensively, now has a cookie-cutter model on how to light up a city. Google's software engineers have the architecture. They know the problems. They know the costs. In fact, this initial model will inevitably be tweaked to be cheaper and more efficient in future rollouts. Combine this new knowledge with information developed in towns where other companies have done municipal Wi-Fi and you'll have a lot of people looking at this idea. If the spreadsheets show that they can beat the cable and telco companies at their own game, then expect a deluge of activity. But here is the killer. What if suddenly—from this experiment—Google discovers that localized service combined with localized search and local advertising (specific to the target community) can not only pay for the system but provide a new profit center?
What if, indeed! Between IPTV and VoIP carried on free(ish) networks with the coming improvements in capacity, reliability and coverage, the traditional telcos and cable companies had better be revamping business plans and reconsidering tiered pricing proposals. As they say, it's hard to compete with free, particularly if free to the customer is profit to the provider.

[Technorati tags: | | | ]

22 August 2006

Snakes on a... Yeah, Yeah...

Not to rattle my own tail on this, but the hype around the Samuel L. Jackson horror thriller, Snakes on a Plane, seems to have been (finally) defanged. The Globe reports that
Hollywood ... tried to parse why the unprecedented hype surrounding the comic thriller Snakes on a Plane failed to jump from the Internet into the real world, leaving the studio New Line Cinema with only $13.8-million (U.S.) from weekend screenings. With an additional $1.4-million from late-night shows last Thursday, Snakes took in enough to win first place in the weekend's box-office race, but the tally was 50 per cent less than some forecasts.
As it turns out, a week before the movie opened, the Star interviewed me, and I explained it this way:
"It's turned it into a cliché or phrase that had meaning among only those in the know; it became like the secret password of a club," says Mark Federman, an Internet and new media researcher with the University of Toronto. "I think seeing the film is quite irrelevant; it becomes more an act of participation rather than going to see a film."
It seems that, among the reversals we seem to be experiencing in the UCaPP age is perhaps the reversal of the effect of hype - the more something is overtly promoted, as was this SoaP opera, the less people will succumb to the promotion.

CNN and others - you're on notice!
[Technorati tags: | | ]

Three Technologies

One destination.

"To The Sky" by Julie Federman (yes, that's my daughter).

[Technorati tags: ]

18 August 2006

Terror, Terror, Everywherror

Be afraid. Be very, very afraid. Because if you're not sufficiently afraid, you may begin to ask the types of questions that will make those in authority very, very afraid. Questions like, so how plausible was the alleged plot to blow up ten aircraft on route from the U.K. to the U.S. using explosives mixed together in mid-flight, from precursors smuggled on board disguised as sports drinks, hair gel, or other innocuous-looking stuff? The short answer, not very:
Once the plane is over the ocean, very discreetly bring all of your gear into the toilet. You might need to make several trips to avoid drawing attention. Once your kit is in place, put a beaker containing the peroxide / acetone mixture into the ice water bath (Champagne bucket), and start adding the acid, drop by drop, while stirring constantly. Watch the reaction temperature carefully. The mixture will heat, and if it gets too hot, you'll end up with a weak explosive. In fact, if it gets really hot, you'll get a premature explosion possibly sufficient to kill you, but probably no one else.

After a few hours - assuming, by some miracle, that the fumes haven't overcome you or alerted passengers or the flight crew to your activities - you'll have a quantity of TATP with which to carry out your mission. Now all you need to do is dry it for an hour or two.

The genius of this scheme is that TATP is relatively easy to detonate. But you must make enough of it to crash the plane, and you must make it with care to assure potency. One needs quality stuff to commit "mass murder on an unimaginable scale," as Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson put it. While it's true that a slapdash concoction will explode, it's unlikely to do more than blow out a few windows. At best, an infidel or two might be killed by the blast, and one or two others by flying debris as the cabin suddenly depressurizes, but that's about all you're likely to manage under the most favorable conditions possible.
The obligatory Slashdot commentary, as one might expect, brings out both the chemistry and security geeks that makes the plot seem even more implausible. But why, oh why, would the U.K. and U.S. authorities make such a show about these arrests? After all, where there's smoke, there's... oh yeah.

Let's here from this gentleman, one Craig Murray, who claims, "Unlike the great herd of so-called security experts doing the media analysis, I have the advantage of having had the very highest security clearances myself, having done a huge amount of professional intelligence analysis, and having been inside the spin machine."

We have heard that the information that precipitated the dramatic mass takedown originated from Pakistani intelligence. Your opinion, Mr. Murray?
Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes - which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned up in a year of surveillance. Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. Trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn't give is the truth.

The gentleman being "interrogated" had fled the UK after being wanted for questioning over the murder of his uncle some years ago. That might be felt to cast some doubt on his reliability. It might also be felt that factors other than political ones might be at play within these relationships. Much is also being made of large transfers of money outside the formal economy. Not in fact too unusual in the British Muslim community, but if this activity is criminal, there are many possibilities that have nothing to do with terrorism.
But why go to all this trouble?
I think the answer to that is plain. Both in desperate domestic political trouble, they [Bush and Blair] longed for "Another 9/11". The intelligence from Pakistan, however dodgy, gave them a new 9/11 they could sell to the media. The media has bought, wholesale, all the rubbish they have been shovelled.
And here's the perspective of an American skeptic who has plotted the nexus of politics and terror, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. "Keith runs down the timeline from 2002 until the latest UK plot regarding the politicization of terror. Remember when Tom Ridge explained how the administration signaled terror alerts that he didn’t think should have been used?"

Not only have the terrorists won, they're running the place!

[Technorati tags: | | | | | ]

17 August 2006

Yes, Virginia, Television is a Hot Medium

In this day and age, anyone who is still teaching that television is a cool medium should be beaten about the head and shoulders with a copy of Understanding Media. The meaning of the medium is the message is simple: look at the effects, or, to probe a cliché, "it is by my effects that ye shall know me(dia)."

Today, the Globe has published news of a scientific study that verifies the hot effects of today's TV:
While parents may find it a pain to have their children watching TV all the time, their kids are likely numb to it while parked in front of the tube. A University of Siena study published in the latest issue Archives of Disease in Childhood, suggests that watching TV is more effective in alleviating pain for children than a mother's attention.
Television as an anaesthetic, a characteristic effect of a hot medium. For reference, here's the comparison chart that I use when teaching media theory:
Hot MediumCool Medium
Extends a single sense in High Definition with lots of information.Engages multiple senses with Low Definition; less information for each.
Little completion or active participation to be done; less “filling in” to be done by the audience. Everything is explicit.High in participation and active completion; audience must “fill in the blanks,” especially applied to intellectual participation and engagement.
Tends to exclude by virtue of its isolating properties and sensory (leading to cognitive) imbalance.Tends to include.
Engenders specialisation and fragmentation.Engenders generalization and consolidation.
Normal reaction is to numb overall awareness to mitigate the Hot effects, inducing a state akin to hypnosis or trance — not asleep, but not aware, making one highly suggestible.Natural reaction is to engage awareness and heighten perception.
Often characterised by short, intense experiences. Motivational speakers rely on Hot Media effects.Often associated with longer term, sustained experiences.
Tends to capture or hijack attention.Tends to attract “actively aware” attention, freely given.
The point of making the distinction between hot and cool media is not to label or categorize, but to use the effects we notice as a key to identify the effects we do not notice, or actively ignore. And that, boys and girls, is McLuhan in a nutshell.
[Technorati tags: | | | | ]

15 August 2006

"They Hate Our Freedoms"

If I were an American, I'd be weeping.
Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.
George W. Bush, Presidential Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, September 20, 2001 (emphasis added).
And then, this:
For the third time in the last four days, Keene resident Russell Kanning finds himself in Federal custody. The 36-year-old libertarian activist isn't in trouble for selling drugs, threatening officials or endangering anyone. Instead, he's the target of Federal wrath because he attempted to enter the Keene IRS office with…a piece of paper.

"I want them to quit their jobs," he said, referring to the one or two IRS agents who staff this part-time office on Keene's Main Street. His flyers contain a form which he is asking IRS agents to sign, pledging they will stop working for the agency because of what he considers the evil things it funds.
In addition to the resignation form letter, the flyers [pdf] contain anti-war sentiments, and criticism of the Bush administration for its erosion of civil rights. In a way Bush was right: those who are really terrorists hate the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and the people who exercise those freedoms.

[Technorati tags: | | ]

Methinks They Doth Protest Too Much

Among the academy, the great hue and cry rings out:
Eleven of Canada's universities are refusing to participate in the Maclean's university ranking issue, saying they find the magazine's survey methodology to be “oversimplified” and “arbitrary.”

In a letter sent yesterday to Maclean's, the coalition said they will not provide any data to the magazine for its popular, yet controversial, annual fall survey of universities. The letter was signed by the presidents of the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge, the University of Manitoba, the University of Toronto, McMaster University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Montreal and Dalhousie University.
Problems with quantitative methodology? Heavens! Say it isn't so! Of course quantitative methodologies are problematic, arbitrary and subjective, as is any methodology. All approaches to research - be they quantitative or qualitative - are subject to the design, standpoint, and intent of the researcher, and are therefore subjective. It's merely a matter for the reader of any research to choose (or at least be aware of) the subjectivity. Bonus points to the researcher who locates her/himself in the research and makes her/his standpoint explicit.

But inquiring minds want to know: Does the boycott by the eleven schools have anything at all to do with the inconvenient truth that almost none of them (SFU was the exception), made the top ten (comprehensive) ranked schools in Canada according to Macleans over the last few years?

[Technorati tags: | ]

14 August 2006

BAH Charity? Humbug!

A friend (who has requested anonymity for reasons that will become obvious) recently wrote to tell me about the annual corporate charity drive on behalf of United Way (anonymity means that it might be Canada, or it might be U.S.). I remember these circuses from when I was in corporate life – each company, and sometimes each division, would have a “captain” whose responsibility it would be to muster the troops, so to speak, to Give! Give! Give! There were events, posters, memos, announcements, recognition dinners. My friend – who recently joined this organization – shared a memo from the executive vice-president of the company that “encourages” management employees above a certain level to donate $1,000 each to United Way through the company’s campaign. A bit of digging uncovered the dirty little secret that donations are indeed monitored centrally, and not responding appropriately to the encouragement is a serious career-limiting move.

Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against United Way. It supports thousands of individual local charities and agencies that do tremendous work throughout North America. There are, however, some people who – for various reasons – choose not to support United Way. Some are against United Way’s support of Planned Parenthood, for example; others choose to direct their charitable giving towards organizations that are not part of the United Way system. Although the corporate donation program is very successful for United Way and its member agencies, I have to ask what business is it of an employer to direct the charitable donations of its employees? After all, isn’t charity a matter between a person and her/his conscience?

I see this (en)forced corporate charity drive as quintessentially characteristic of the BAH (Bureaucratic, Administratively controlled, Hierarchical) organization. Such organizations are mission and vision-controlled and would “see” corporate social responsibility and contributing to the local community as part of their objectives or goals. Have a look at the guiding principles document or CSR report from any major (and many minor) corporation – it will undoubtedly be there. The way to demonstrate such corporate social responsibility and good citizenship is, naturally, according to the quantifiable objectives on which BAH organizations thrive – in other words, show results. And the way to show results is to administratively enforce charity by using bureaucratic mechanisms and hierarchical “encouragements.”

When read according to Valence Theory, however, the effects are not exactly what might be desired. Charity (and volunteerism) works primarily along the Socio-Psychological valence. Simply put, giving makes you feel good. It increases your SP relationship with others, and that would tend to increase SP in your general environment of immediate, secondary and tertiary connections. But, coerce a person into giving – especially by threatening her/his career – and the SP effect is exactly the opposite (as anecdotally reported by my friend among a number of people in their company). Mandatory charity (like non-voluntary volunteerism) makes people cynical, mean-spirited and resentful, generally decreasing the SP vibe in the environment. (And what about those charities that are now effectively being corporately “robbed” by these latter day Robin Hoods? But that’s another conversation.)

What is fascinating to me is this: When considered according to a BAH conception of organization, the company can claim full participation and over-the-top aggregate donations to the United Way. They can proudly write in their annual CSR report that they are indeed good corporate citizens. It’s a good thing! When considered according to the relationship-oriented Valence Theory of organizations, coercion like that in my friend’s company creates exactly the opposite effect that charity is intended to create, engendering cynicism, resentment, and alienation among many who would otherwise be heartened by doing good works. This ultimately contributes to the erosion of the sense of community that United Way intends to build. The BAH organization aligns espoused and in-use theories; they completely ignore effective theory.

Reversal’s a bitch, ain’t it?

[Technorati tags: | | | | | | ]

12 August 2006

Complexity, Dissipative Structures, and... Corn Starch?

Those who are following my excursions into complexity and organizations, and are new to this sort of thinking, might be asking, "so what does a dissipative structure look like?" Well, actually, it looks something like this (ignore the "flagged as inappropriate" tag - nothing inappropriate, offensive or unsafe for work here):

The surface of the corn starch solution begins in a state equilibrium as a liquid. Add energy by shaking it, and the surface becomes a dissipative structure far from equilibrium - accelerated by the addition of energy. The introduction of perturbations in the surface - blowing an indentation - creates a bifurcation point that leads to a new, stable structure at a higher degree of complexity. Increasing the energy creates new instability until the system finds a new bifurcation point, and a new stable structure emerges.

The organizational moral of the story? When you shake up your organization, plan for a period of chaos before it reaches a new, relatively stable, emergent organizational form. That final form will be unpredictable based on what came before, and requires the continual input of energy to retain the new form. Otherwise, it will all just collapse into a goopy mess!

[Technorati tags: | | | ]

10 August 2006

And Speaking of Geniuses

There's Stephen Colbert, "bringing democracy to knowledge" via Wikiality:

And even more interesting is the Talk:Elephant/Colbert page on Wikipedia.

Aside from the issue of Wikipedia's relative authority, and the whole issue of construction of knowledge and knowledge authority [pdf], Colbert's take on wikiality is another aspect of what he calls truthiness. After all, "if you go against what the majority of people believe to be true, you're the one who's crazy."

[Technorati tags: | | | | ]

The Inconceivable Nature of Nature

With thanks to David for pointing this out, it is one of the true joys of life to watch and listen to the sublime brilliance of a man like physicist Richard Feynman.

[Technorati tags: ]

04 August 2006

Valence Theory of the Living Organization

For those who are following the development of my thesis ideas. This is a fairly lengthy and dense post.

I've been reading Fritjof Capra (The Web of Life). Capra writes that a system can be said to be living if it satisfies the following criteria: It possesses a pattern of organization (“the configuration of relationships among the system’s components that determines the system’s essential characteristics”), structure (“the physical embodiment of its pattern of organization”), linked by process in living systems. Process is the continual embodiment of pattern in structure, within the context of a system in which all three are mutually embodied (as opposed to, say, a mechanical system in which process is external, as in the mind of a designer). Capra maintains that
all three criteria are totally interdependent. The pattern of organization can be recognized only if it is embodied in a physical structure, and in living systems this embodiment is an ongoing process. Thus structure and process are inextricably linked. One could say that the three criteria – pattern, structure, and process – are three different but inseparable perspectives on the phenomenon of life (p. 160).
Capra identifies Maturana and Varela’s autopoietic network as the pattern of relationships, Prigogine’s dissipative structures, as the embodied structure of that pattern, and cognition, drawing somewhat from Bateson, but leaning more toward Maturana and Varela’s Santiago theory, as the linking process. The Santiago theory posits that mind (cognition) is a process that links perception, emotion and action, and therefore applies equally to all living entities, irrespective of the presence of a brain or nervous system. It does not necessarily involve thinking in the human sense. Essentially, it recognizes that cognition, as distinct from thinking and abstraction, involves environmental perception, a resultant change in structure and behaviour (“emotion”), and a (non-deterministic, and therefore unpredictable) response, through which the system adapts to changes in its environment through autopoietic processes of self-generation and self-perpetuation.

Patterns of relationships within organizations that result in self-forming, self-bounding, and self-sustaining forms can be understood as autopoietic networks. Maturana and Varela each have differing opinions on the applicability of autopoiesis in social systems. Maturana denies it; Varela sees that organizational closure applies, but not the self-production aspect of autopoiesis. Niklas Luhmann sees communication as the process of production in social autopoiesis.
Social systems use communication as their particular mode of autopoietic reproduction. Their elements are communications that are … produced and reproduced by a network of communications and that cannot exist outside of such a network (Luhmann in Capra, p. 212).
In this case, network closure is defined by culture and establishing a context within which common meaning is made.

A BAH-conceived-organization [BAH=Bureaucracy, Administrative control, Hierarchy] is not self forming or self-sustaining, since the fact of bureaucracy and administration means that these organizations are formed and sustained by outside influences.

The embodiment of patterns of relationships into a structure might be understood in terms of dissipative structures. Dissipative structures are stable forms that characteristically exist far from equilibrium and maintain their stability by passing energy and matter through them. Without a constant flow, the structure collapses; with an increased flow of energy beyond a point of homeostasis, the structure becomes unstable and chaotic, until it reaches a bifurcation point, beyond which it regains stability at a higher degree of complexity – a phenomenon known as emergence. A BAH-organization seeks stability, but more tellingly, tends to prefer stasis and equilibrium in many, if not most, cases. For example, monopolies tend to be favoured by those in monopolistic positions, BAH management hates and resists change in favour of procedures that enforce strict rules in which control is paramount. These are all antithetical to dissipative structures, since they tend towards equilibrium, rather than existing far from it.

The link between pattern and structure is process and, specifically in the case of living systems, that process is cognition. Cognition in this sense involves perception, emotion (i.e., structural behavioural changes as a result of a stimulus), and response.

The key contribution of A Valence Theory of the Living Organization (new working title; how do you like it?) will be in the examination of the process of cognition in the context of reconceiving organizations as living entities. I propose that my valence theory of organization is a useful link between patterns of relationships and their embodiment, since valence theory describes the precise, not to mention complex, nature of that embodiment. It removes the external influences that exist in the BAH-organization used to generate, bound, and perpetuate it. Valence theory defines the nature and complex interactions of relationships that enable organizational autopoiesis. Additionally, the entire business of effective theory (as an extension to espoused and in-use theories, as well as the addition of the orientation axis to the competing values framework) provides the requisite perception component of the process of cognition.

An organization conceived according to valence theory is an autopoietic, dissipative structure that exists far from equilibrium, with cognitive processes embedded in, and described by, valence theory: by Capra’s criteria, it’s alive! The implications of this realization for every aspect of management are as profound as they are extensive.

  • Capra, F. (1996). The web of life. New York: Anchor Books.

[Technorati tags: | | | | | | | | | ]

Ubiquitous Connectivity and Pervasive Prosperity

Some of you may have heard of the "one laptop per child" initiative that aims to provide $100 laptops, powered by hand-cranks or foot-pedals, to children in developing countries. While such an initiative is laudable in its own right, it seems to come from a "ubiquitous computing," or computing-centric (or computation/device/gadget-centric) mentality. I've never favoured this view; from where I sit, it's ubiquitous connectivity that defines the dominant force that is reshaping contemporary society, through its concomitant effect of pervasive proximity. Connect two people who were not previously connected and magic happens (regardless of what this stupidity claims to say; as a contrast, this study asked the right questions).

Mobile devices have infiltrated deep into rural areas in developing and emerging countries, and the fact of connectivity has indeed changed lives for the better. Now, Treehugger reports that a new organization, Green Wi-Fi, is bringing the ability to connect all of these $100 laptops in ultra-low cost, solar-powered, mesh networks that can be provided anywhere there is sun.
Green WiFi is committed to providing solar powered access to global information and educational resources for developing nation K-12 school children striving for knowledge in a digitally divided world. There are approximately 3 billion people under the age of 15 living in developing nations. 42 percent of the developing world's population is below the age of 15. Green WiFi was founded on the principle that the welfare of our world is dependent, in large part, on providing these children with free and open access to the world's information.

As business people, we recognize the inherent infrastructure and associated cost challenges of providing free and ubiquitous internet access to developing nations. This is why Green WiFi has developed a WiFi solution that leverages low cost components, the latest advancements in solar power technologies, open source software and Java to deliver a self sustaining, self healing, WiFi grid network solution that is cost effective and easy to deploy.
This initiative is consistent with the post-industrial approach to infrastructure, called "leap-frog" technology.
"Leapfrogging" is the notion that areas which have poorly-developed technology or economic bases can move themselves forward rapidly through the adoption of modern systems without going through intermediary steps. We see this happening all around us: you don't need a 20th century industrial base to build a 21st century bio/nano/information economy.

Rather than following the already-developed nations in the same course of "progress," leapfrogging means that developing regions can experiment with emerging tools, models and ideas for building their societies.
One of my favourites in this category is the Light Up The World project, "the first humanitarian organization to utilize renewable energy and solid-state lighting technologies to bring affordable, safe, healthy, efficient, and environmentally responsible illumination to people who do not have access to power for adequate lighting." Think solar cells, "pico wind turbines," and 1 watt, high intensity, white LEDs (cheap, long-lasting and efficient; $20 for 50,000 hours of light, compared to $75 for compact flourescent that needs four times the power, or $1250 for the kerosene lamps typically used in rural villages).

The Slashdot commentary on this topic is mostly interesting (aside from the expected, simplistic, and uninformed response of "why buy them computing when they haven't got food or water"). Even more interesting is the evolution of Slashdot readers' awareness and sensitivity to issues of appropriate and sustainable global social development that I have observed over the last decade.

There's hope for this ol' world yet, I suppose.

[Technorati tags: | | | | | | | ]

02 August 2006

Cross-Border Blogging

The Wall Street Journal interviews Canadian-born, Israeli journalist and blogger, Lisa Goldman, concerning the ongoing conversation that is occurring between Israelis and Lebanese, despite the ever-present terror of bombs falling around them.
The dialogue is all the more unusual since the populations of the two countries had few ways to interact even before the fighting began. Lebanese law prohibits Israelis from entering the country, and there are no phone connections between the two states.

Most of the bloggers in this small group are Western-educated. Some attended the same universities but communicated for the first time in a comment thread on one another's blogs. Of course, on a blog, it is hard to tell whether a given contributor is in a bombed-out neighborhood in Beirut or an apartment in the U.S.
Lisa sums up the frustration and real tragedy of this conflict this way: ""So when you weep, weep for all of us -- Lebanese and Israelis ... as we watch our dream of peace destroyed by insane religious fanatics.""

[Technorati tags: | | ]