"It would be naïve to identify the Internet with the Enlightenment. It has the potential to diffuse knowledge beyond anything imagined by Jefferson; but while it was being constructed, link by hyperlink, commercial interests did not sit idly on the sidelines. They want to control the game, to take it over, to own it. They compete among themselves, of course, but so ferociously that they kill each other off. Their struggle for survival is leading toward an oligopoly; and whoever may win, the victory could mean a defeat for the public good. ...We could have created a National Digital Library—the twenty-first-century equivalent of the Library of Alexandria. It is too late now. Not only have we failed to realize that possibility, but, even worse, we are allowing a question of public policy—the control of access to information—to be determined by private lawsuit."—Robert Darnton
on what the proposed Google Book Settlement
could mean for the pursuit of knowledge—Google and the Future of Books
posted by Toekneesan
on Jan 23, 2009 -
Rethinking Public Opinion
- the immense importance of public opinion polling in American politics, and the under-reported problems at the heart of the enterprise, combine to call for a serious critique of the polling industry, its assumptions, and its method
posted by Gyan
on Nov 8, 2008 -
So Open it Hurts.
Web 2.0 visionaries Tara Hunt and Chris Messina blogged and twittered about their romance to all of geekdom as if it were one of their utopian open-source projects. Sharing their breakup has been a lot harder. [more inside]
posted by chunking express
on Jul 29, 2008 -
When the working poor turn to addictive drugs to manage pain so they can keep working, that's "moral weakness, not a public health problem."
Every morning before sunup, Trapp drives 120 miles.... "This methadone makes you feel like a human being again," Trapp says. With disability rates as high as 37 percent in coal-mining areas such as Buchanan County, the region has many people with long-term pain management needs. As is the case with lots of aging miners, Trapp's addiction to pills began in a doctor's office, not a back-alley drug deal.... The clinic's counseling staff members say that many patients need to be on some sort of drug to cope with severe, long-term pain and that methadone has made them functional. And for those who lack insurance or access to more personalized care, it is often the only affordable option. [more inside]
posted by orthogonality
on Jan 15, 2008 -
Sorry PR, you're blocked.
Chris Anderson, the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine calls out the 300+ PR "professionals" who cannot be bothered to look for the right person to send their announcements to. Then, he publishes their e-mail addresses online, for all to see. If you were thinking of using a PR firm this year, here are 300 that you might want to give a miss. via
posted by parmanparman
on Oct 30, 2007 -
Roads To Riches (or We've Got a Bridge in Brooklyn to Sell You--Seriously)
-- Why investors are clamoring to take over America's highways, bridges, and airports—and why the public should be nervous.--...a slew of Wall Street firms—Goldman, Morgan Stanley, the Carlyle Group, Citigroup, and many others—is piling into infrastructure ... Assets sold now could change hands many times over the next 50 years, with each new buyer feeling increasing pressure to make the deal work financially. It's hardly a stretch to imagine service suffering in such a scenario; already, the record in the U.S. has been spotty. ...
posted by amberglow
on Apr 29, 2007 -
The annual fireworks festival at the town of YenShui in southern Taiwan is notable for many reasons, notwithstanding the extreme danger to the many participants (youtube link
Large “beehive” structures created by the townspeople each contain hundreds of rockets which are launched into the crowd. (youtube link
The ubiqui-pedia link is here
posted by mattoxic
on Mar 7, 2007 -
"you belong in Hell"
--that's the message being taught in Kearny, NJ, History teacher David Paszkiewicz's classes. ... At first Paszkiewicz denied he mixed in religion with his history lesson and the adults in the room appeared to be buying it, LaClair said. But then LaClair reached into his backpack and produced the CDs.
At that point Paszkiewicz remarked, according to LaClair, "Maybe you're an atheist. ...
including a link to some audio of it all)
posted by amberglow
on Nov 15, 2006 -
I Do Nothing All Day
- The guys at idonothingallday.com
NSFW) do a great job of capturing the simple act of admiring a
woman passing you by while walking around on the streets of NYC.
Some of the smiles can really lighten up your day. My particular
Most of the videos are embedded Quicktime with a few recent Flash
posted by Big Mike
on Sep 18, 2006 -
Design Times Square: The Urban Forest Project
"brings 185 banners
created by the world’s most celebrated designers, artists, photographers and illustrators to New York’s Times Square. Each banner uses the form of the tree, or a metaphor for the tree, to make a powerful visual statement. Together they create a forest of thought-provoking images at one of the world’s busiest, most energetic, and emphatically urban intersections
." Including work by Milton Glaser
, the Walker Art Center
, and many, many others. Via Speak Up
posted by tpl1212
on Aug 29, 2006 -
is about to pass a "nearly" universal health care plan. It's an ambitious and innovative piece of public policy that mixes tax incentives to insure yourself if you can afford it to direct government subsidies to health care insurers to help cover the poor. Businesses will be fined if they are not going to cover their workers. It still does not cover escalating costs or malpractice wildness. And, it still will leave 5% uncovered. Nor, is it the plan specifically endorsed by Physicians for a National Health Plan
(who favor a single payer system) or the AMA
(who favor much greater reform of insurance providers). Still, it's a start from making us "the only industrialized nation in the world" to not, well you know.....
posted by narebuc
on Apr 5, 2006 -
is the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment website. From the site: ".. provides access to current plans, environmental impact analyses, and related documents on public review. Users of the site can submit comments for documents available for public review."
A good place to start might be this one
, in which the NPS "is proposing to update the policies that guide the management of the national park system." Comment period closes tomorrow.
posted by the Real Dan
on Feb 17, 2006 -
For interrupting an NFL game,
weathercaster George Flickinger
was fired last week by Clear Channel owned KOKI Fox 23 of Tulsa. The reason? Breaking into the Seahawks-Giants game to warn the public during the wildfires
[PDF] of November 27. The fires engulfed 50 homes and prompted the governor to declare an emergency
the next day. Flickinger's termination was confirmed in the Tulsa World
newspaper, unfortunately they want $7 for the article
posted by rolypolyman
on Jan 13, 2006 -
an example of Operation Homefront?
--this news report about a Reservist back from Iraq is apparently part of a new Pentagon propaganda operation
aimed at us. ...Did Diaz return to the U.S. on emergency leave with an agenda -- to offer a positive spin that could help counter growing concerns among Americans about the U.S. exit strategy? How do we know that's not his strategy, especially after he discloses that superior officers encouraged him to talk about his experiences in Iraq? ...
posted by amberglow
on Jan 4, 2006 -
I have always viewed those large home improvement warehouse stores as dangerous places, but not exactly for this
posted by terrier319
on Nov 3, 2005 -
Do you play Sony DRM-protected CD's on your computer?
If so, you might be wide open in terms of security. It seems that Sony
is installing an almost-impossible to find rootkit on the computers of purchasers of their music. Their EULA
doesn't mention the fact that their "small, proprietary" program goes much too far, managing to bypass security software, firewalls, etc. You might want to do this
posted by pjern
on Oct 31, 2005 -
Know Thy Neighbor
--playing hardball with those who sign a petition amending Massachusetts' Constitution to end same-sex marriage there. All who sign it will have their names and addresses posted on the site. It's the brainchild of Thomas Lang and Alexander Westerhoff, one of the first gay couples married in Massachusetts. A little more here, including this: ...altering the state Constitution is a big deal, and if the backers of this (or any) constitutional amendment can't find 66,000 Massachusetts residents who feel strongly enough about doing so that they're willing to make their support public, then maybe the measure shouldn't be on the ballot after all. ...
posted by amberglow
on Sep 9, 2005 -
Do you know your rhetoric?
You can hear how it is used in the top 100 American speeches of all time
, 63 of which have the original audio recordings! (prev.)
The list has some odd omissions, such as the Gettysburg Address
(and here in convenient presentation form)
and non-American speakers like Churchill,
so this shorter international list
may be useful. While the slow decline in the quality of presidential addresses is much lamented
are stepping up, see for example, top movie speeches of all time
("Smells like victory" beats "You can't handle the truth"). So, MeFiers, do any of these still inspire, or is rhetoric dead?
posted by blahblahblah
on May 24, 2005 -
Chicago's current archetectual and artistic showcase, Millenium Park
seems to be causing some problems. The pedestrian bridge
was closed because the hardwood used to build it can not take the salt used to remove ice from pedestrian walkways. But it also seems that the massive sculpture Cloud Gate
aka "The Bean" is a copyright elephant in public space. Park security are shaking down
photographers for permits. As is typical, the copyright shakedown appears to be less about protecting the rights of the original artists, and more about the rights of the distributor
(in this case, the city's desired monopoly on postcards and prints). See boing boing
for editorializing and Slashdot
for the typical herd reaction.
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Feb 12, 2005 -
"We offer the only comprehensive approach to eBooks that integrates with the time-honored missions and methods of libraries and librarians." Want an account
? If your library system is a participant, go to the site from on a library computer, create an account, and you can then log in remotely too. Interesting! [via soup du jour of the day
posted by mwhybark
on Oct 6, 2004 -
No Pity. No Shame. No Silence.
"I wondered for a moment what it would look like if just for one day, everyone who had survived sexual violence were visible as a survivor, if we could actually see the extent of it, if we could all know just how very not-alone we are. I wondered how angry and sad it would make me to know. I wondered how much power there might be in the truth."
LJ user, misia decided to out herself as a survivor of sexual violence, and offer a place where people could stand up and become visible as survivors as well. The results are a compelling and haunting read.
posted by FunkyHelix
on Aug 3, 2004 -