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It’s an interesting quandry: in order… Thursday, 18 October 2007

Posted by R Garfield in Drifting.
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It’s an interesting quandary: in order to learn chemistry, you have to learn how different chemicals react: what’s safe, what isn’t. In short, to learn how to make aspirin, you have to learn how to make a bomb. At some point, you learn that it’s a bad idea to mix, say, drain cleaner and ammonia and bleach… but you also learn that that’s exactly what you do if you want to cause caustic damage to someone.

A new panel (http://news.wired.com/dynamic/stories/S/SCIENCE_AND_SECURITY?SITE=WIRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2007-10-18-09-32-13 ) has been proposed that would supposedly balance the need for knowledge and the need for security.

I myself can’t see it working, but the idea has some basis in real need.

I’d propose instead the teaching of ethics and moral behavior: positive socialization trumps secrecy any time in my book. But I don’t think that would fly, either.


Anybody’s content… parva componere magnis Saturday, 6 October 2007

Posted by R Garfield in Bemused, People.
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This is a return to a favorite topic of mine to bore people with: the way-too-level playing field that the Internet offers people.

Don’t get me wrong … I like the fact that everyone has a voice. I do think – there go my left-wing leanings again – that everyone has a right to have their voice heard. I really like sites like wordpress.com, for instance, which let a fair number of people access the mike, and croon away. Or Wikipedia, which lets even someone like myself edit and correct information. I try to limit myself to topics I actually know about, so I’m not a prolific editor.

My problem tonight isn’t with people having their voices heard. Instead, it’s with sites like Associated Content, or more specifically, the use some people make of them. Associated Content is billed as “The people’s media company.” Essentially, it allows someone to put their content online, in multiple formats, and potentially monetize it.

Fine by me. Have your voice heard and earn a buck or two. It’s all good, right?

Not so, young grasshopper.

My problem is with the fact that AC is billed as a ‘media’ outlet, and yet, some people use it as they would a personal blog. ‘Media,’ to me, brings to mind television, newspaper and radio – and Internet sites like WikiNews. You know, like ‘mainstream media,’ ‘left wing media,’ and some blogs. News, or at the least, well-thought-out reviews, not personal rants.

In researching a store credit card, on Blogger or wordpress.com, the title “Why not to apply for the (store name) credit card” would clue me in that it might just be a personal rant. However, on a media site, I expect a bit more of a fair and balanced report … or what I was looking for in the first place, a review.

I don’t expect someone old enough to apply for credit crying because she maxed out her (store name) credit card, didn’t read the notices the card company sent her, got charged a large late fee, and calling everyone that doesn’t agree with her that (store name) is inherently evil for treating her this way “ignorant.”

That’s fine … on a blog. As media, it sucketh mightily. Far too level a playing field.

Actually, it reminds me of a quote that sums up the Internet’s free speech dichotomy far more succinctly than I will ever be capable of doing:

“Just because your voice reaches across the world does not mean that you are any wiser than when it reached the end of the bar.”

-Edward R. Murrow

What I am is … Friday, 2 March 2007

Posted by R Garfield in Bemused, Political.
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Moderate Liberal PopulistAccording to OnTheIssues.org, I am a  “Moderate Liberal Populist.”

Jim Webb is considered a populist; I can go with that.

Apparently Hillary Clinton is considered a moderate liberal populist, as is Dennis Kunich (sp?).

Since my opinion on Ms. Clinton is decidely undecided, I don’t know how happy I am with this designation.

Ah, well … I’m happy enough with Wikipedia’s  overview of ‘populist,’ as long as you leave the White Supremacists out of the equation.

(Hopefully, very far out…)

Richmond Sunlight Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Posted by R Garfield in Political, State of Virginia, Technology.

I’m late on the bandwagon on this one – but head on over to Richmond Sunlight, an awesome site for keeping sight of what’s happening in our state government. Shaun Kenny, Brian Patton, and my old buddy Tabitha Peace are all raving about this site, I agree with all three:

  • It’s much easier to use than the Legislative Information Services site
  • Tag Clouds. But beyond that, it’s easy to add relevant tags
  • Up-to-date progress on the bills
  • An easy-to-read mark up of changes (to existing legislation)
  • A clean, simple interface (hey, it’s Waldo Jacquith creation, so that’s only natural, right?

I use DLS/LIS sites a lot, and sometimes finding what I need there is an incredibly slow and annoying process. Richmond Sunlight makes finding the same information a snap, click, smile experience. This is a definitive ‘keeper.’

I’m off to spam eMail this site to the mayor, tc, and my commission and committee buddies now 😉

Young Democrat Blogger of the Year Awards Thursday, 18 January 2007

Posted by R Garfield in Political, Young Democrats.
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Virginia Young Democrats are taking nominations for the first-ever Young Democrat Blogger of the Year Awards now through February 11.

The three divisions for entries are:

  • VAYD Teen Blogger of the Year (ages 13-18)
    • Kenton Ngo
  • VAYD College Blogger of the Year (in college)
    • Neal2028 [I think … ]
  • VAYD Young Adult Blogger of the Year (younger than 36 and not in college)
    • Brian K. Patton, Waldo Jacquith

Hat tip: Bryan J. Scrafford