dragon Darwin Magazine talks about Social Software :

Social software is likely to come to mean the opposite of what groupware and other project- or organization-oriented collaboration tools were intended to be. Social software is based on supporting the desire of individuals to affiliate, their desire to be pulled into groups to achieve their personal goals. Contrast that with the groupware approach to things where people are placed into groups defined organizationally or functionally.

Science News talks about alternatives to current unsatisfactory systems of choosing elected representatives :

Nearly all political elections in the United States are plurality votes, in which each voter selects a single candidate, and the candidate with the most votes wins. Yet voting theorists argue that plurality voting is one of the worst of all possible choices. “It’s a terrible system,” says Alexander Tabarrok, an economist at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and director of research for the Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. “Almost anything looks good compared to it.”

At Common Dreams, Thom Hartmann has a curious theory that as soon as the Bush regime loosens regulations on media ownership (next month), major media organizations will stop pandering to the neo-cons and introduce a flurry of new all-liberal media :

This is why Powell’s announcement – once the vote is final and irrevocable on June 2 – will begin the transformation of the landscape of talk radio in America. Freed from the need to curry favor with the party in power, the multi-billion-dollar media machines will get back to the profitable core of their business: serving programming that meets the needs and desires of a wide range of listeners while delivering advertising to consumers. Get ready for a flood of all-day liberal/progressive talk radio

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  1. voodoolulu says:

    Hi Dave. Hartmann’s theory that the FCC vote to allow more media mergers is going to bring us the progressive media we’ve all been longing for is a tempting theory, but i have my doubts. Yes, the arguments about the unserved markets are persuasive, but i have 2 concerns.1) Hartmann argues as though this is the one & only issue that the networks have been pandering to the Bush administration for. i don’t know the specifics, but my sense (i have been working in cable TV for about 5 1/2 years) is that there are always issues such as license renewals, mergers & market shares that these companies need to be on good terms with the current administration for. although this didn’t stop FOX from savaging Clinton during the Lewinsky debacle. which brings me to my 2nd concern. many of the owners & heads of these large media giants have their own agenda that will always trump current convenience. Rupert Murdoch & Roger Ales at Fox have an unabashed conservative agenda. and GE is a major defense contractor that “happens” to also own NBC & MSNBC. The profit GE can make on the liberal talk-radio market will never compete with the profit it can make as a defense contractor if it keeps the US in a state of perpetual panic that leads to an unending series of defense contracts.in other words, i’m not convinced that an FCC decision to kill off the little that remains of local programming will inevitably lead to an ideally balanced and Democratic media scale. The FCC is after all handing over the information decisions to millionaires & billionaires who will inevitably make huge profits from political decisions such as the recent tax cut. could they really make enough from the liberal media to make it worth their while to inform the public about the true outcome of these types of policies, or will it be “selectively progressive” programming that they offer? this can be particularly dangerous, as people often have the impression they’re being informed, and therefore do not seek out other sources of information.i am truly worried about this decision, although it doesn’t seem like much can be done. thankx for the thoughts & articles._peace_voodoolulu

  2. Art Jacobson says:

    I have to agree with voodoolulu. This really does put the fox in charge of the hen house.

  3. PI says:

    On the subject of “plurality voting”: I would love to see some form of proportional representation. There are at least two main obstacles. The first is obvious: we’d have to get our governmental representatives to overwhelmingly support a measure which would almost by definition put many of them out of work. The second problem is that the Constitution is something akin to a religious text for Americans, for good or ill. Making major changes to the structure of our democracy is about as easy as getting all Christian denominations together to make a change in the translation of the Bible that all of them can agree on. Have you ever noticed how many translations there actually are on the shelves? That being said, a so-called instant runoff is probably the most likely solution for America. I’d love to see it. On the subject of media deregulation leading to a new liberal media: Hey, I hope Hartmann is right, but I find that only slightly more likely than the aforementioned constitutional changes. If Common Dreams wasn’t well established as a progressive outlet, I’d suspect that this was written by a conservative trying to hoodwink some progressives into backing their cause. Hope I’m wrong.

  4. Marie Foster says:

    I too hope that Hartman is correct in his projection. But I tend to agree with those who are skeptical. I doubt that the people who own the media want the country to tip more to the left. They will do everything in their power to keep the pressure on to tip more to the right.But it appears that despite the FCC getting more negative response to their proposel than any other issue they are hell bent on making the changes so it will soon be evident who is correct in this instance.

  5. Susan says:

    I agree it’s a long shot, but think of it this way: liberal talk radio would be easier to program, because they wouldn’t have to make shit up. Take it from me. I make shit up all the time. It’s exhausting.

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    I’m skeptical about Hartmann’s theory too, which is why I called it ‘curious’. Have a lot of respect for him, though. PI: I, too, like proportionate representation, and it may soon be a reality in two Canadian provinces (it is already in some European countries). Just can’t see it in the US, though. One step at a time.

  7. Dave Pollard says:

    Susan: If the right-wing broadcasts were even a tiny fraction as funny as your blog, even I would listen to them.

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