Links of the Week – April 22, 2006


People Only Change When It’s Their Idea: James Samuel links to a new paper comparing 24 tools for dialogue by Pioneers of Change, a youth organization committed to self-organized change. The tools include Appreciative Inquiry and Open Space Technology, plus a number you probably don’t recognize. The concept is that dialogue is necessary to bring about agreement to change. What underlies this concept, as James points out, is that a dialogue is a means to get people to collectively create a change vision, so that instead of being what they are told to do, it becomes their idea. Really compelling stuff, and the paper is a great resource for change activists.


The Corporate Toll on the Internet: Farhad Manjoo at Salon elaborates on Doc Searls’ concern that Big Telecom plans to take control of the Internet from the people, starting by creating two-tier Internet service, one for the rich and a poorer one for the rest of us. This may only be available to Salon Premium subscribers (I am one, so I can’t tell) — if so it’s a good investment.

Big Ag-Bio’s War on Family Farms: A new film, Seeds of Change, viewable entirely online, by University of Manitoba students chronicles how Monsanto and other big Agritech/Biotech companies have polluted North America with their genetically manufactured, runaway Frankenstein seeds, and are now suing and jailing small farmers who don’t fall in line. What’s really telling is that it took three years of fighting with the Monsanto-sponsored University of Manitoba to get the film released.

Techie Stuff:

Google Makes Website Creation Easy: A new Google beta called Google Pages really cramps your style when it comes to design, but lets you set up acceptable quality websites in five minutes, and maintain them painlessly. A rough but promising start. My experiment with it is a Table of Contents of all my Business Papers. Available to anyone with a Gmail account.

But Google Missed the Boat with Calendar: Grant McCracken rightly criticizes Google for its lame and bland new Calendar app. Thanks to Candy Minx for the link.

A Simple Idea to Greatly Improve Productivity: Add a second screen to your computer set-up. And make sure it’s rotatable. Psst: widescreen is a hoax.

US Politics:

Party of the People?: An interesting editorial by Michael Tomasky in American Prospect suggests that the Democrats need to reestablish their image as the party that works with, rather than for people, and in the interest of the Common Good. Great stuff. My skepticism isn’t that the Democrats couldn’t get their act together and embrace this vision, it’s that even if they did they wouldn’t believe it, and act on it, themselves. Thanks to MakeThemAccountable for this link, and the one that follows.

Ex-NSA Director Assesses Dangers of Bush Policies: Former National Security Agency Director Lt. General William Odom tears into the folly of the Bush Administration in its foreign and security policy. This guy knows how things work on the inside, and his analysis is scary.

Mainstream Media Not Doing Their Homework: Salon points out that the MSM, notably the Washington Post, are still calling Patrick Moore, the long-standing right wingnut and corporatist whore, a “green”.


Making Forestry Sustainable, Bottom-Up: Don Melnick and Mary Pearl in the NYT point out that a billion acres of forest has been felled in the world since 1970, most of it irreplaceable, old growth forest, that this is unsustainable, and that there are ways that, with a community-based focus, sustainable forestry is possible.

Green TV: A new website aggregates video clips on environmental issues.

International Politics:

Mexicans Plan Grassroots Boycott of the US: Blame it all on the illegal immigrant roundups by xenophobes in the US. From Common Dreams, still the best aggregator of progressive thinking online. The environmentalists are sitting on the sidelines: Cheer for the little guy, or realize that open borders ultimately mean importing overpopulation and the environmental degradation that comeswith it? (More on this next week.)

SCO Bloc Adds Mongolia, Iran, India and Pakistan as Members: The SCO bloc, set up by Russia and China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, is quietly emerging as the Second Superpower. Nothing on this in the Western press. Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.

Image: Inextricably Linked, by Jim Nollman — buy prints at

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3 Responses to Links of the Week – April 22, 2006

  1. chris macrae says:

    The idea that the deepest changes propagate around the people whose idea and lifetime passion is wed to seeing though a change that will benefit society is not new. In fact my father wrote a trilogy on this which began 30 years ago in The Economist http://entrepreneurialrevolution.blogspot.comTwo things that are less well known than they ought to be among the many people out of silicon valley and worldwide who have cheerled entrepreneur, service economy or internet roundtables over the last 30 years are:1 My father actually had 140 years of research to draw on because The Economist was founded in the 1840s by one of the 19th century world champions for social entrepreneurs. Naturally a Scot, forgive my island-clan bias http://clubofarran.blogspot.com2 A couple of years after my father’s survey American Bill Drayton at close to DC started networking together social entrepreneurs -over 1500 across 40 countries now open source their knowledge. More excitingly exists today as a space for bimonthly project jams – currently on health for all projects. It’s co-sponsored by just about any major hi-tech US philanthropist that has spoken up for social capital, microfinance or other community rising investements in sustainability. Watch that space if you believe that peoples ideas change the world. As the last story in my father’s trilogy wotrded it: perhaps the age of massage retreat from over-governance has begun, but yeah I do have to pinch myself every day to believe that DC might yet lead this most user friendly (happy and free yet mutually co-responsible) of global citizen revolutions.

  2. etbnc says:

    Corporate Internet: The Salon article is indeed premium content.So, ummm…Let me see if I understand this correctly:I gotta subscribe to a premium service to find out why it’s bad for the Internet to become a premium service?In Zen-like teaching stories, I suspect this might end with the words, “…and the student was enlightened.”

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    Eric: Thanks. I didn’t think anyone would catch on to the irony of this so fast. Salon is a good outfit doing a good job, and like almost everyone else online, begging for a living. For those who can’t or won’t pay for content (and I appreciate both positions) here is the Doc Searls article that is still the definitive explanation of all this. The blogosphere has now picked up on the term “two tier Internet” and Googling this expression will also give you a ton of stuff on this threat.

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