Dave Pollard's environmental philosophy, creative works, business papers and essays.
In search of a better way to live and make a living, and a better understanding of how the world really works.



March 11, 2006

Links for the Week – March 11/06

Filed under: Our Culture / Ourselves — Dave Pollard @ 14:52
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Politics:

Wednesday was International Women’s Day, though some of the celebrations were slated for today to enable greater participation. The photo above was taken at equal rights protests in Pakistan. Let’s hope that one day soon women’s voices will finally be heard, that the extraordinary writings and other works of art of women will finally get their due, and that the entertainment media will start providing great roles — and role models — for women. In much of the world, and not just in struggling nations, women remain largely objects of our culture, not subjects, passive when they should be active, and unequal partners.

Massive Oil Spill on Alaska’s North Slope: Confirming the worst fears, the March 3 BP oil spill in the Alaska Prudhoe Bay oil development (not far from the pristine and fragile ANWR that neocons and the oil lobby are doing everything in their power, legal or not, to start drilling in), turned out to be many times worse than first reported. Please remember this when you read the greenwashing BP ads that deluge the mainstream media these days. (Thanks to The Wilderness Society for the links.)

Child Soldiers: Amnesty International regularly documents stories no one else is willing to tell. Read these first-hand accounts of child soldiers in Africa and understand how desperate life has become in the struggling nations of the world. But don’t read this too close to bedtime, or you won’t be able to sleep. (Thanks to Theresa Purcell for the link.)

How Not to Conserve Energy: David Suzuki explains how the Ontario government keeps falling back on traditional solutions to meet future energy needs, despite its good intentions, and how they could, without new gas-burning plants and nukes, meet the province’s needs by investing in new technologies and conservation instead of projects that just increase the addiction. It’s a message all governments should take to heart. (Thanks to Jeff Gold of the Green Party for the link.)

Technology & Society:

The Wonder and Scourge of Ubiquitous Computing:
An interesting interview by Boxes & Arrows with Adam Greenfield, author of Everyware, on the possibility that information systems will soon be telling us a ton of factual information about ourselves, 24/7, and telling others as well. Will this make us better people, more self-aware? Will the fact strangers meeting us for the first time will have a ton of background information on us (perhaps not all voluntarily disclosed) improve or distort the development of relationships? Will this anchor us in the past, and impede us from becoming someone else, slow our evolution? And to what extent is all this data really telling us who we are, rather than just overwhelming us with mostly meaningless facts? (Thanks to Innovation Weekly for this link and the one that follows.)

Digital Books: Finally Ready for Prime Time?: A persuasive article in this week’s BusinessWeek says they are, but I’ll still believe it when I see it.

Two Tier Internet Service: Doc Searls has warned us before about the danger of Big Telecom taking over the Internet and stopping it up with tolls everywhere. The recent consolidation news would seem to bear out his concern. But a recent NYT article by Ken Belson suggests they may have another strategy: One high-quality Internet for the rich willing to pay, and a much slower, less robust, less reliable, poorer Internet for the rest of us. This is, after all, the American way — in education, in political influence, in health care. Why should we expect telecom to act any differently?

Zaadz: A New Progressive Blog Community: One of the things that attracted me to Salon Blogs was the sense of community — there have been, until recently, about 100 active ‘sloggers’ and we’ve helped each other get started blogging, get noticed, and solve problems both personal and technical — and had some fun in the process. Salon.com has, alas, neglected its blog community. But now there is a new blog community called Zaadz (Dutch for ‘seed’) that promises to do what Salon Blogs might have done — enable collaboration and activism among a community of bloggers with a common worldview. If moving my entire blog wasn’t such a technical nightmare, I’d move over tomorrow. (Thanks to Zaadzter Kari for the link.)

Serial Business: Good for Whom?: I usually agree with Seth Godin, the insightful marketing guru, but we part company on his latest article on serial business ideas. Seth says: “It’s too easy to focus on the one-shot. Instead, someone in the serial business understands that once you’ve got subscribers, you can spend all your time finding products for your customers instead of searching for customers for your products.” My response? In other words, if you spend your money conning customers into believing that ‘new & improved’ incremental changes to existing products actually warrant additional expenditure, and make sure that the ‘unimproved’ ones wear out quickly, you don’t need to invest in that risky ‘innovation’ stuff, or that messy business of trying to determine what is really needed. (Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link, and also for the link to the Adaptation blog, which I’ll be writing about more next week.)

Quote for the week: From Carolyn Kay at Make Them Accountable:

Religious fundamentalists believe God gave us a brain but doesnít want us to use it.  Political fundamentalists believe the founders gave us the right to free speech but didnít want us to exercise it.  Free market fundamentalists believe that there should be no interference withmarkets, except by CEOs of gigantic corporations.

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