Monday, December 31, 2007


Since my account was a significant contributor to the last post and to my overall weblog experiment I decided to also share my two unsolicited network links. For their own reasons these to sites decided to connect with my account. I am not complaining by any means, I am just not sure why they decided to link to me. I am glad if anybody gets any benefit from what I do. The euforic site is in both French and English.

espaarni08 by Risto Päärni
euforic by euforic

Firing Up FeedBurner

I have written a few posts about HitTail so it's about time I did one on FeedBurner.

One of the constraints of this weblog experiment that has not been stated up until now is that nobody knows about it who is web comfortable in the day job/real world. So who the people who are subscribing to this weblog are, I have absolutely no idea, but they did not come from local friends or family. More important is that the growth from zero to a whopping 18 tops is organic without any particularly focused effort. It is as if one threw a message in a bottle into the cyber-sea and received answers from all over the world. The level of connection on the web is truly amazing.

All of my hits on FeedBurner come from feeds not site visits. In fact, it would seem that nobody has ever actually visited my site. Not that I blame them, most of my connecting is through the Google Reader, at least my initial connections.

More people are finding items of issue through my account. The number of people find the Listing all ideas - Ideablob: where ideas grow at my account continues to get bigger even though I never actually got around to posting the article from Entrepreneurial Mind.

The regular feeds picking up my site include:

The bots looking over my website include:

Name Hits learn more about Hits
Another Google Bot

Another Googlebot. There are multiple versions, some prepend the Mozilla string in their user-agent, like this one. Googlebot is Google's web-crawling robot. It collects documents from the web to build a searchable index for the Google search engine.


This content was viewed within the Lijit service


Moreover polls xml feeds for use in a number of applications such as an enterprise news aggregator

Technorati Search Bot

Technorati is a real-time search engine that keeps track of what is going on in the blogosphere - the world of weblogs.


This is the crawler for the blog search component of search engine Ice Rocket

Snapbot 2
FeedBurner Feed Insurance

When you see this user-agent, you know it's working!


Sphere is a blog search engine




I don't know if the I am getting more hits from Lijit because I signed up with them or not. The Sphere hits were from my account. This is fine with me and fits in with the philosophy of this weblog in that it is suppose to be about the links to intriguing and informative websites. Below are my top 1o all time most popular links or posts.

Transcending Economic Castes 20
-- Staff Bios-- Center for Social Media 19
Listing all ideas - Ideablob: where ide 19
New York Law School: Professor Beth Nov 18
Finding The Style For A Sucessful Caree 2 12
World changing paradigm shifts come fro 13
Slashdot | Fair Use Worth More Than Cop 13
Web 2.0 For The Over 50 - A Good Experi… 13
Attempting To Tag Intelligently 1 12
Getting One's On-line House In Order 2 11

International Web Star Is 15 Seconds Of Fame Off And On

My HitTail hits are not getting me any monetizing blogging suggestions lately but it continues to come up with some fascinating connections. This time one of the posts was picked up by MobusTV. It is a Spanish language site. Here is the English translation and who they are.

The link at the site is under the Here Comes Another Bubble portion of the

Miriam Reyes entrevista a Anil de Mello sobre lo que ha representado el 2007 y sus predicciones para el 2008. Links: La salchicha de Leds y Here Comes Another Bubble

There is always the chance that it will be gone before anybody looks it up though. I had a very temporary link with the BPS Research Digest blog, linked before dinner gone after dinner.(Now surprise it is back up near the bottom of the post or it is gone you can check). Hopefully it will stay up though to be truthful I would understand if it didn't. This is not a professional research blog.

In the hopes of maintaining my international status with MobusTV, I offer the following update

digging diigo

I am beginning to like diigo more and more. I was already impressed with the diigo webslides such as the one used with the post on Civic Media. I finally figured out that the way to update tags across all of my tagging systems is to open up the original diigo bookmark from Firefox and add in the new tag. Better yet I can also forward the article I am tagging to my blog with a relevant part of the article in tow to my blog. The last two posts were created using this procedure. The Self Promotion versus Selfless Promotion post was a quick grab but the next post on social-entrepreneurship and healthcare in Africa combined a number of different articles using this method.

As the issue was more complicated, it took a good deal more thought for me to put it together. That is only in terms of creating the narrative, I still have to work on increasing the efficiency in creating these posts as well from the html perspective. I am starting to develop a look that I like and my desire to insure that all links open up in new tabs or windows makes putting it all together more difficult. Of course, I could learn CSS but that is a longer term prospect.

A good deal of the content is repeated but I still feel as though it is an advance in understanding some of the issues this weblog has been exploring as well as an advance in how to present them. What I need to work on now is inserting comments and sticky notes onto the articles I am blogging about and find new ways of connecting them all together.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Best Intentions Unintended Consequences

The Los Angeles Times had an article that called into question whether the Gates Foundation was having a net positive impact on healthcare in Africa.

Unintended victims of Gates Foundation generosity - Los Angeles Times

The Gates Foundation, endowed by the personal fortunes of the Microsoft Corp. chairman, his wife and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren E. Buffett, has given $650 million to the Global Fund. But the oxygen valve fell outside the priorities of the fund's grants to Lesotho. Every day, nurses say, one or two babies at the hospital die as Mankuebe did -- bypassed in a place where AIDS overshadows other concerns.

Mixed effects

The Gates Foundation has targeted AIDS, TB and malaria because of their devastating health and economic effects in sub-Saharan Africa. But a Times investigation has found that programs the foundation has funded, including those of the Global Fund and the GAVI Alliance, which finances vaccines, have had mixed influences on key measures of societal health:

* By pouring most contributions into the fight against such high-profile killers as AIDS, Gates grantees have increased the demand for specially trained, higher-paid clinicians, diverting staff from basic care. The resulting staff shortages have abandoned many children of AIDS survivors to more common killers: birth sepsis, diarrhea and asphyxia.

The article provided the impetus to go back and look again at the Vivian Hoffman paper. The paper raised questions about the real impact of social-entrepreneurs, such as the Acumen Fund, had on helping the poor. The post links to a Marginal Revolution post and from there to a New York Times article that questioned whether direct distribution of the nets of the nets was best or were social entrepreneurial programs. Similar questions of effectiveness arose from the the Fast Company article regarding Grameen Phone Company.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported Global Fund seems to see this either as a public relations problem, if we want to be cynical, or as a problem of self-definition, they can't be all things to all people or perhaps something in the middle. There does seem to be some truth to the later proposition that they can't be all things to all people but it is arguably a matter of balance. Because it's Bill Gates cynicism seems far easier than it might otherwise.

The LA Times did do a follow up report on the Global Funds dispute with their article. The Global Fund not only has their own piece criticizing the LA Times article, they also have a letter from the National Aids Control Commission of Rwanda.

I have an issue with attempts to find fault to create a story, which the LA Times article and the Fast Company article seem to lean too much towards in my view. The New York Times article and Vivian Hoffman paper though seemed different. My second reading of the Hoffman paper did provide a better understanding and impressed upon me again the uncomfortable perspective that going in with a decidedly social-entrepreneurial slant as the best intentions to provide assistance without fully understanding the culture could have unintended but detrimental consequences. What I don't know is what course of action, if any, have been taken by the social-entrepreneurs to address these issues. This is not, of course, the same as arguing that traditional government centered policies are automatically better.

Within the LA Times article they make a statement which is apparently in conflict with what I got from the Hoffman article.

According to UNICEF, malaria kills relatively few children. Birth-related problems, pneumonia and diarrhea are the top causes of child mortality. All are treatable but occur at high rates, in part because resources are concentrated on AIDS, TB and malaria, The Times reported.

This is in contrast to the Vivian Hoffman paper,

Malaria kills over one million people annually, 90 percent of them children under the age of five (World Health Organization, 2004).
What I found at the WHO website, which provided more insight, is that the key health dangers for children are:
  • From one month to five years of age, the main causes of death are pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, measles and HIV. Malnutrition contributes to more than half of deaths.

  • Pneumonia is the prime cause of death in children under five years of age. Nearly three-quarters of all cases occur in just 15 countries. Addressing the major risk factors – including malnutrition and air pollution – is essential to preventing pneumonia, as is vaccination. Antibiotics and oxygen are vital tools for effectively managing the illness.

  • Diarrhoeal diseases are a leading cause of sickness and death among children in developing countries. Treatment with Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) combined with zinc supplements is safe, cost-effective, and saves lives.

  • One African child dies every 30 seconds from malaria. Insecticide-treated nets prevent transmission and increase child survival.

  • Over 90% of children with HIV are infected through mother-to-child transmission, which can be prevented with antiretrovirals, as well as safer delivery and feeding practices.

  • About 20 million children under five worldwide are severely malnourished, which leaves them more vulnerable to illness and early death.

    About two-thirds of child deaths are preventable through practical, low-cost interventions. WHO is improving child health by helping countries to deliver integrated, effective care in a continuum - starting with a healthy pregnancy for the mother, through birth and care up to five years of age. Investing in strong health systems is key to delivering this preventive care.

This does argue for taking a more comprehensive approach to children's healthcare in developing countries but it does not argue that it is being caused by “in part because resources are concentrated on AIDS, TB and malaria, The Times reported.” Amy Smith of MIT, who is recognized for finding low tech solutions for global problems informed us that smoke from indoor cooking was the number one killer of young children.

Meanwhile, Acumen Fund has been recognized by Fast Company as one of its top 45 Social Capitalists: Acumen Fund.

The increasing gap between rich and poor is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. Half the world lives on less than three dollars a day while 250 individuals hold more wealth than the bottom two billion. Creating a sustainable world means reducing that gap.

Aid alone will not end poverty. Traditional charity often meets immediate needs but is not designed to enable people to solve problems over the long term. Poor people seek dignity, not dependence.

Acumen Fund identifies and supports enterprises that provide health, water, housing and energy to the poor. We bring capital, knowledge and talent to accelerate markets for the poor, having seen their power as customers who are willing to pay for affordable, quality services that can change their lives. We have seen this working with our portfolio enterprise in South Asia and Eastern Africa.

While Iqbal Quadir has become the head of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT.

Acumen's founder Jacqueline Novogratz, Iqbal Quadir and others working in this field have also been topics of contemplation in this weblog and have been included within the Pearls of Paradigm Processing Social and Economic Paradigms.

No final conclusion, just an ever increasing realization of the complexity of the issues. As Emily Oster, the University of Chicago economist, pointed out we need to look for root causes in not only understanding poverty and poor health care -- but also other issues such as the price of coffee, and the routes of long-haul truckers.

In short, there is a lot we don't know; and our assumptions about what we do know may keep us from finding the best way to stop the disease.”

Friday, December 28, 2007

Self Promotion versus Selfless Promotion

Ask 37signals: 10 ways to "get ink" - (37signals)

10 ideas that come to mind when I think about ways to get people to notice you/your product:

  • 1. Provide something of value.
    2. Know your hook.
    3. Stand for something.
    4. Get your face out there.
    5. Try to build real, sustained relationships.
    6. It's the message, not the amount you spend on it
    7. Give stuff away for free.
    8. Ride the wave.
    9. Be in it for the long haul.
    10. Be undeniably good. Steve Martin was on Charlie Rose

Seth's Blog: Self promotion

  • Nobody says, "That Yo Yo Ma, he's so self-promotional," or, "can you believe what a self-promoter the Dalai Lama is?" That's because they're not promoting themselves. They're promoting useful ideas. They're promoting tactics or products that actually benefit the person they're reaching out to.

Forwarding webpages with highlights and sticky notes, powered by Diigo

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Doubts And Fears

"Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt."

--Jane Addams,
Nobel Peace Prize recipient

Monday, December 24, 2007

Consumerville USA Versus Creatorville USA

I have been attempting to formulate a position in regards to Fair Use and Copy Rights over the last couple of weeks. What I have really been trying to do is understand the issues from a perspective that incorporates my beliefs without compromising logic. However, as stated earlier, the difference in the perspectives of the opposing sides is so drastically different that what seems obviously logical to one side is illogical and more likely immoral to another side

From a Civic Media perspective I support Fair Use. From the perspective of entrepreneurs and artists protecting proprietary content I support Copy Rights. The problem is to understand the abuse that comes from both sides. Large media corporations abuse Copy Right by denigrating Fair Use, while many, the young being the most suspect, abuse Copy Rights by illegal downloads for free use.

I couldn't help but wonder if there isn't a common factor in all of this and I believe I found it from another source. Karrie Higgins reviewed two new books in the Los Angeles Times. The title of the article provides both a synopsis of the books and the perspective the reviewer takes.

Escape from Consumerville - Los Angeles Times.

"ONE of the great ironies of living in a consumerist culture is that, in pursuit of success, so many of us unwittingly surrender our freedom. We confuse career and consumer choices with personal liberty, when in fact they all represent the same underlying decision: to buy into the system that produced them. Two new books -- "Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity" by Anne Elizabeth Moore and "The Freedom Manifesto" by Tom Hodgkinson -- remind us that we have other options. We can resist rampant consumerism despite its infiltration into every corner of our culture. The key is to reject the competitive ethos at the core of capitalism and embrace failure."

I have, previously, taken a position against this line of reasoning. The motives are honorable and I readily agree with turning against over-consumption,in fact almost every phrase in the article, we do confuse career and consumer choices with personal liberty, yet I still have to take a stand in opposition to this philosophy. My first fundamental objection, saying that "we buy into the system that produced them", is only half the story. We also collectively produce that system. The people shopping in Wal-Mart worked someplace else creating goods or services to make their purchase possible. Yes, we can argue that manufacturing jobs went over seas but people there are also both producing and buying into the system. I may agree that nobody should buy a Hummer, but I also recognize that somebody will be out of a means of support. Yes, there are substitute industries which are less harmful to the environment and more beneficial to humanity. That is not, however, the key that is being sought, rather the, "key is to reject the competitive ethos at the core of capitalism and embrace failure." Perhaps this word is being used in a special manner, but it still strikes me as a dismal philosophy.

This is, to my mind, the common factor in the Fair Use/Copy Rights debate. We have come to think of ourselves as a country of consumers, not producers or creators. The majority of the young see themselves as only as consumers with no stake in producing anything of value and little reason to compensate multi-million dollar media corporations who are seen as amoral if not immoral. The multi-million dollar media companies have no moral foundation as they have purposely worked to turn us into a nation of consumers and now seek to solidify their advantage into perpetuity. This is where I can completely agree with the philosophy Ms. Higgins expounds.

We part company in that I still believe in a Democratic/Free Enterprise system. I see too much in the world today that gives me faith that working for creative excellence is the best means of helping the world and even with all of its faults the Free Enterprise system guided with democratic principles is still the best means to achieve that. This though is not though the end of my philosophical conundrums. I am still opposed to completely unfettered markets in the Milton Friedman ideal.

This strikes me as being especially true regarding the concept of Creative-Destruction. In the "New" Economy, the destruction portion begins immediately upon bestowing your creation on the world. We seem to be entering a world of just-in-time obsolescence. The question is how do we formulate a basis of interacting with each other that works. What I have written here does not really resolve anything. It merely puts down some more evolving thoughts on a complex subject.

In a past post I wrote that, "I do not believe is the Generation X and Y are immoral as a whole. They are defining themselves differently but doing so those not make them immoral even if they don't follow old rules." The trouble with this line of reasoning is that the fact that they don't agree with our morality does not mean they by default automatically have one of their own. What I quoted in the same post from Professor Cornwall seems all the more important.

Whether it's in everyday life or in the business world, we have to be careful not to boil morality down to a simple list of don''s that serves as a checklist of how to be ethical. Business ethics should so much more than a list of rules to follow. It should be a much broader set of standards of how we treat one another.

More On Fair Use And Free Culture (Not Free Use)

I found this at Matthias Zeller Memento post Larry Lessig’s Talk - Software Patents and Free Culture from earlier this year. The slide show was originally by Rashmi Sinha’s weblog.
In this slide-show Larry Lessig provides more background on Fair Use from his perspective.

Larry's Talk - Free Culture

From: rashmi, 5 months ago

SlideShare Link

A more updated talk by Larry Lessig is available here:TED | TEDBlog: How creativity is being strangled by the law: Larry Lessig.

New morality? New rules?

The Generational Divide in Copyright Morality - Pogue’s Posts - Technology - New York Times Blog

The Generational Divide in Copyright Morality

David Pogue of the New York Times writes about Copyright Morality, the other side of the coin in the fair use debate. The issue is posed as a generational one. It is only a generational gap though because the separation between those firmly embedded in the Internet world and those who are not is divided by time or age rather than geography.

We are speaking of two different worlds and there is no means by which one world will rule over the other or be able to merely ignore the other. The morality of the older generation, the one with the power and money, is often based upon an institutionalized morality where control over resources dictated the moral use of those resources. I do not believe that RIAA has the moral high ground.

But I must say that I still see stealing as wrong, I still pay for my downloads and I do not understand the attitude of those young myself. What I do not believe is the Generation X and Y are immoral as a whole. They are defining themselves differently but doing so those not make them immoral even if they don't follow old rules. It was Entrepreneurial Mind that introduced me to Sam Davidson. I am not saying that Sam Davidson would download songs without paying, but he is an excellent example of what Generation X can produce.

Professor Jeff Cornwall wrote in his blog Entrepreneurial Mind some time ago a post encouraging entrepreneurs to translate their ethics and values into concrete actions in their businesses.

While business ethics is getting much more attention in the press, in the boardroom and in the classroom, I am concerned that our definition of business ethics is sliding into a legalistic world of rules compliance. Whether it's in everyday life or in the business world, we have to be careful not to boil morality down to a simple list of don''s that serves as a checklist of how to be ethical. Business ethics should so much more than a list of rules to follow. It should be a much broader set of standards of how we treat one another.

The issue of ethics applies to everyone in the market. The question is, and Professor Cornwall could very well see it differently, do we need a new set of rules?

Tech Bubble Burst and Blown Again and Again

This is an update on the Tech Bubble video. The original was first found at Businesspundit where it stopped working and still doesn't work. Same with a number of other sites that featured the video. Below is a working copy of the banished version of the video found at Marketing Pilgrim. This time the video is through Metacafe instead of using YouTube.

Here Comes Another Bubble - video powered by Metacafe

Now we have the 'legal', 'authorized', 'well nobody is complaining as much so we can enjoy it' version below. I wrote that if it was Fair Use then Richter Scale should be able to keep the video up, but if it was not then they should re-edit the video (which they did) and apologize (which they did not). This version has a list of credits at the end. Whether or not this was truly Fair Use has still not been settled. At least not to the point where we have a legal and even moral principal to base future decisions on. We have a problem if that question can only be settled through long legal battles or if Fair Use becomes the easy out for not paying for artistic or private content. You have your choice to not view the first video if you think Fair Use did not apply, or you can compare to see the difference.

Richter Scales did not to my knowledge and according to their blog make any money off of the video. That does not settle the issue, but it does go to the idea, at least to my mind, of artistic parody. What it does not do is provide a means of protecting artists and small entrepreneurs (or artists actually trying to make a living) who have to take risks in the marketplace. We still have not defined how we protect them except by Larry Lessig's quip, "Fair Use is the right to hire an attorney."

My original post and follow ups on this are here. It seems that we can put this little Internet imbroglio behind us. The larger issue, however, has not been resolved, merely put aside. The industry is still coping with the concept that there is a difference between fair use and free use. As this post is getting too long, and I am still tossing this issue around in my own head more will come later.

New Media Yes New Morality Maybe

Bursting Silicon Valley's bubble through song - Los Angeles Times

This may be a reflection of why traditional news media is in trouble. This issue has been out on the web since at least the beginning of December and has been debated back and forth throughout the blogosphere. Not only is traditional media late on the uptake, it also seems to have a shallow understanding of the issues. Not that I or anybody else that I have found so far does much better.

The intelligentsia of the Internet seem to want to be unfettered in what they can offer on the web. TechCrunch took the position that

having Bubble 2.0: The Video , taken down because of a copyright notice sent to YouTube, seemed, “weird since it is obviously a parody and thus should fall under fair use.”

Later TechCrunch told us that “The Bubble” Is Back. According to TechCrunch it

“was down briefly when photographer Lane Hartwell complained via her attorney that one of her photographs was used without her permission. The offending (or non-offending, depending on which lawyer you ask and who’s paying them) image was removed and the new video, called v. 1.1, is now back at YouTube. The creators blog about the new version here, and give credit to all source material here. Everyone can now have fun again, and Hartwell and her attorney can sleep well at night knowing that her copyrights are unviolated and her photos unmolested (and unviewed).”

According to the LA Times article, though, that did not satisfy Ms. Hartwell and others on her side of the issue. It is far harder for a solitary artist not firmly entrenched in the web 2.0 world to effectively state their case but there are potentially thousands with artistic and proprietary content that they have to put at risk. It may be far too easy to cry Fair Use when it is actually free use that is the goal. I am not siding with Ms. Hartwell, though it may seem that I am. I am saying that a good deal more work needs to be done regarding this issue.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Instinctual Internet Intelligence

A fundamental rule of the internet: Trying stuff is cheaper... (

According to Jason Kottke, "A fundamental rule of the internet:Trying stuff is cheaper than deciding whether to try it.".

Quoting from LinuxWorld

"Don't overplan something. Just do it half-assed to start with, then throw more people at it to fix it if it works. Worked for every successful Google project from AdWords to Google Maps."

So, I have been doing it right just from instinct.

Jason Kottke describes his site as the Home of Fine Hypertext Products. Jason Kottke is, of course famous, in blogging circles. His website/blog regularly has a number of interesting items. One previous one that I enjoyed was Duality.

Passion Alone Is Not Enough For You Or Anybody Else

Love Your Job? That Doesn't Mean Youre Better at It - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog

Love Your Job? That Doesn’t Mean You’re Better at It according to a recent article by Melissa Lafsky via the Freakonomics Blog.

"So is it really a fact that happiness breeds a better worker?

"Not necessarily, according to Wright State University psychologist Nathan Bowling. In a new paper called “Is the job satisfaction–job performance relationship spurious? A meta-analytic examination,” he re-assesses conclusions from five previous meta-analyses of the Big Five personality traits. He also conducts his own meta-analysis of the issue, focusing on studies that used data from thousands of employees and controlled for work-related self-esteem (how valuable employees think they are) and locus of control (how much they think they’ll be rewarded for a job well done)."

"His conclusion is right out of a Freakonomics lesson in causation vs. correlation:"

"My study shows that a cause and effect relationship does not exist between job satisfaction and performance. Instead, the two are related because both satisfaction and performance are the result of employee personality characteristics, such as self-esteem, emotional stability, extroversion and conscientiousness."

So the fact we have passion alone is not only not enough to sustain us through the ordeals we are likely to find ahead, its not enough to get anybody to want to keep us around. It seems to be more a matter of who you are in terms of values and character than what you want. Then again who your are dictates to a great extent what it is that you want out of life. People who are passionate are not necessarily good at what they do, but so often I find that people who are good at what they do are passionate.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Looking For The Hits Or Let The Hits Look For You

The recent post on HitTail got a hit from HitTail itself or to be more precise the HitTail blog Everybody Loves HitTail. What I find interesting is that the hit first came through and was on the first page. Now its no longer to be found, at least not on the first six pages and has been replaced by, at again the first page.

This helped to ante up my Technorati authority again. I still have to learn a good deal more about Technorati. It is recognizing my posts but not my tags. Also had a hit from the United Kingdom from a secretarial blog there. The keyword they used was Not sure if this means they were actually looking for my blog. It is hard to determine as their blog is password protected. So the possibility exists that a secret secretarial society in Surrey was surveying my web snippets.

I am also realizing that as far as the hits from HitTail go, there is little relationship between what I am currently writing and what brings people to my site. A recent December hit was on my Walt Whitman post which was actually posted back in November. The Questioning Assumptions post was also done in November but was hit in December, again from the United Kingdom. It is questionable whether they got what they were looking for or were they more likely asking questioning economic assumptions at a more fundamental level.

My subscribers on FeedBurner though reached a new high of 18 this past Wednesday. That beats my former high by 4. Feedburner does seem to be more current, with whatever I am blogging about at the moment. Not that they necessarily connect directly with my blog. Top link for the day on Wednesday was Professor Beth Noveck who was part of the civic media discussion found at the Define How We Communicate Define Our Culture post. The hit was through my account though not my blog. The Connecting Throughout The World post itself was also at the top of the list on that day.

For the entire time that I have been doing this blog so far the top 3 posts with the most clicks have been my post Transcending Economic Castes with 20 clicks, a direct hit to Staff Bios for the Center For Social Media with 19 and Professor Noveck with 18 total. So its seems apparent that the fair use and civic media posts had the most bang. I do not have a problem with not having people getting directly to my blog. This blog was designed as a gateway to those weblinks that I find interesting or informative with the hope that others will as well.

Still Tinkering Still Learning

One thing that needs to be admitted is that my editing is still not as good as it should be. Not that this is 'serious writing' by any means, but it is a goal to improve all aspects of this weblog experiment over time. A past visit to DailyWritingTips provided me with 34 Writing Tips That Will Make You a Better Writer. All of them were good suggestions though some hit home more than others.

"1. Daniel
Pay attention to punctuation; especially to the correct use of commas and periods. These two punctuation marks regulate the flow of your thoughts, and they can make your text confusing even if the words are clear."

"34. Pedro
Edit your older articles and pieces. You will notice that great part of it will be crap, and it will allow you to refine your style and avoid mistakes that you used to make."

The last suggestion is particularly true, and I have gone back and made some corrections. The writing of a weblog, I am discovering is not just a matter of the 'writing' though. There is the behind the scenes aspects of formatting and design. There is also the power of the web to connect and how we best do that. Spending some time at the WC3 school has taught me a few tricks such as figuring out why the TED videos weren't working properly (missing the back slash on the embed closing tag but turns out it can get even more involved) and how to get this blog's links to open in new windows starting on Wednesday, December 19, 2007. I always thought having to click back to be a pain.

The last focus is how to continue organizing all of the information that is being gathered and incorporated into this weblog. The original idea was to create repositories in which to place links with common themes. These were easy as links could be placed within them with two or three clicks of the mouse. The three methods tried were public folders [Social and Economic Paradigms], Google Notebooks [Science Pathways] and the shared Google Reader [Innovations, Insights, Integrity]. Then I learned more about tagging, blinklist, ma.gnolia and diigo. I have written before about how viable the different systems are for using tags to interconnect with others. I still have a preference for though using diigo in conjunction seems to work well. Diigo as said before allows me to concurrently post at least the initial tagging on all of the tagging systems that I am now using. What I especially enjoy about diigo are the webslides [Creative-Destruction]. Now I have started to combine the repositories and tagging together. Creative-Destruction is both an public folder and a web-slide list from diigo.

The question that I am now contemplating is what is the best method of organization. A recent post Breaking Through The Paradigms With Science connected with a number of different links to a Science Magazine article, external links of related subjects and past posts of this weblog. That is a good deal of information and tagging alone merely accumulates similar information, sometimes it arguably makes sense just to tag the post itself, since it contains all of the relevant information, but the chances of somebody picking up on my post compared to a Science article are pretty slim. There are some blogging tips from Jon Barger (putting aside other issues) which I can agree with and to which I have at least to some extent aspired follow.

"1. A true weblog is a log of all the URLs you want to save or share. (So is actually better for blogging than

2. You can certainly include links to your original thoughts, posted elsewhere … but if you have more original posts than links, you probably need to learn some humility."

So far I still have more links than posts though according to the original philosophy behind this weblog it could be better. These posts should be designed as the narrative thread which organizes what is an ever expanding knowledge base and to help forge my thoughts. Others with more experience and knowledge have also taken this approach. From John Hawks weblog of the Change Is At All Levels The Question Is How Fast? post.

"I started writing this blog for two basic reasons: first, because there are some really interesting issues in paleoanthropology that are not well covered in the mainstream science press, and second, because I needed a good way to organize my notes.

It turned out that the solution to the note-taking problem also made a nifty solution for writing about interesting issues -- blogging software is one of the best means of content management around. It became very simple to take notes on things I was reading, punch them up with a bit of information and context, and blog about them. In large part, what you see here are my own notes -- the very ones that I use to write my research papers and books."

This weblog remains primarily a tool for learning for myself but do I find that I enjoy creating and maintaining this weblog far more than I had envisioned.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Breaking Through The Paradigms With Science

Human Genetic Variation: 2007 Breakthrough of the Year video.

With the December issue of Science Magazine - the science oriented interest of this weblog hit the jackpot.

According to an article in Science Magazine Human Genetic Variation:is the 2007 Breakthrough of the Year.

On 21 December 2007, Science unveiled its Breakthrough of the Year for 2007 -- the realization that DNA differs from person to person much more than researchers had suspected. That conceptual advance, driven by results from several fields, may transform medicine, but could also threaten personal privacy.

In this video presentation, featuring Science news writer Liz Pennisi, Francis Collins of the National Institutes of Health, and David Altshuler of the Harvard/MIT Broad Institute, we offer a look at the past year's discoveries in human genetic variation and their implications.

For a basic understanding of modern biology, a good place to start is the MIT Introduction to Biology course co-taught by Professor Eric Lander, one of the founders of the Harvard/MIT Broad Institute.

Another past post of possible interest is This Software builds its Own Hardware.

Interesting Papers, Articles and Web Sites from Science Magazine
Human Genetic Variation: An NIH Curriculum Supplement
A creative, inquiry-based instruction program, designed to promote active learning and stimulate student interest in medical topics.

International HapMap Project
A multi-country effort to identify and catalog genetic similarities and differences in human beings.

Database of Genotype and Phenotype (dbGaP)
Developed to archive and distribute the results of studies that have investigated the interaction of genotype and phenotype, including genome-wide association studies, medical sequencing, and molecular diagnostic assays.

Genetic Association Information Network (GAIN)
A public-private partnership that aims to understand the genetic factors influencing risk for complex diseases.

ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements)
Project launched by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) that aims to identify all functional elements in the human genome sequence.

SNPs: A Science Primer
An introduction to single nucleotide polymorphisms, provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

A web site for sharing information about the effects of DNA variations on traits and disease.

The Human Genome: Your Genes, Your Health, Your Future
A comprehensive resource on the human genome, its role in health and medicine, and the broader social impact of unravelling its mysteries; produced by the Wellcome Trust.

Professor Walter Lewin, Web Star Rocks

At 71, Physics Professor Is a Web Star - New York Times

At 71, Physics Professor Is a Web Star

"CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Walter H. G. Lewin, 71, a physics professor, has long had a cult following at M.I.T. And he has now emerged as an international Internet guru, thanks to the global classroom the institute created to spread knowledge through cyberspace."

I am one of the many who have enjoyed Professor Lewin's online lectures having gone through his Physics 8.01 and 8.02 video lectures. It was Professor Lewin who showed me the potential of the Internet as a tool for education and learning. Of course the true value is in Professor Lewin himself, the world wide web is merely a highly scalable medium for dissemination. His approach to teaching both in the class room and on the web is an inspiration of what can be created with passion, which is what Professor Lewin exhibits in every class.

"Professor Lewin delivers his lectures with the panache of Julia Child bringing French cooking to amateurs and the zany theatricality of YouTube’s greatest hits. He is part of a new generation of academic stars who hold forth in cyberspace on their college Web sites and even, without charge, on iTunes U, which went up in May on Apple’s iTunes Store."

Professor Lewin's lectures and other MIT lectures are featured in the Education web-slide found at the post Philosophy For Kids Starting Paradigm Shifts Early .

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Optimism Is Not For Wimps

Often when writing a series of these blog posts a certain word or concept keeps coming up even though the posts are on different subjects. The latest word to keeps crossing my computer screen is optimism. Looking over some older posts found Larry Brilliant who argued for optimism.

I have found another source of optimism via gapingvoid. I enjoy the gapingvoid cartoons featured on this webblog, but have to label its creator Hugh MacLeod the world's most optimistic curmudgeon. Personally, as a philosophy, I think it works.

It was gapingvoid that gave me Creativity Original and So-So and led me to ChangeThis: The link is to the most talked about of their manifestos. Below is taken from the about page. Again that word - optimism

"Are you an optimist?

Sometimes it seems as though our disagreements—over everything from politics to business to the designated hitter rule—are more serious and more divisive than ever before.

People are making emotional, knee-jerk decisions, then standing by them, sometimes fighting to the death to defend their position.

And yet, we’re optimists.

People call the team at Change This optimists because we don’t believe it has to be this way. We don’t believe humans evolved to be so bad at making decisions, so poor at changing our minds, so violent in arguing our point of view. We’re well aware of how split our country and our world have become, but we don’t think the current state of affairs is built into our very nature."

Can Any Of This Make A Difference?

One of the questions of this ongoing web 2.0 experiment is whether all of this can make a difference in the real world? A post from CharityFocus Blog: Do Online Communities Lead to Offline Action? gives support to the idea that it can and does. Whether or not it will on the individual level is a whole other question.

"People always ask, "Ok, this online stuff is fine and dandy, but how does it improve our real world?" My meta-level response is usually that the Internet gives you the power to create long-tail networks that gives momentum to niche revolutions. Those niche ideas may or may not serve humanity well, but we'll collectively be better off when those voices are heard. "
  • Social Activism: 64.9% of folks who participate in social causes online say they are involved in causes that were new to them when they began participating on the Internet. And 43.7% of online community members participate more in social activism since they started participating in online communities.
  • Online Communities: 56.6% of online community members log in at least once a day!
  • Member Interaction: whopping 70.4% of online community members say they regularly interact with other members of their community while logged in.

Connecting Throughout The World

As has been said before, this weblog is an experiment. Different web 2.0 tools are tried out to see how they work. One tool that is being tried out and that lets you know how other things are working is HitTail. HitTail tells you if anybody has connected with one of your posts and what search engine they were using. One that I really enjoyed resulted in a transformation of one post from So Money (of any currency) Can Buy Happiness to Así que el dinero (de cualquier moneda) Can Buy Happiness. This search originated in Argentina.

A more recent search parody fair use richter scales on a more recent post put me on the first page (bottom yes, but still (just moved down to second page fame is so fleeting).

Somebody else searched for restaurant paradigms. This time I was on page 5 and it linked to Making It Up As You Go Along. While it does provide some good advice and does link to Changing Plans Changing Life, I can't be sure as to how helpful it was.

Another search from India hit on past a post featuring ideas from Seth Godin.

A search from France is a little less certain as to they were looking for or where they ended up but one possibility is Si l'argent n'achète pas le bonheur, mais le bonheur d'argent Gets What do you utiliser l'argent? which was originally If Money Doesn't Buy Happiness But Happiness Gets Money What Do You Use The Money For?

Philosophy For Kids Starting Paradigm Shifts Early

I found out about this at the TEDBlog but the original post was from BPS Research Digest. This weblog cited two other articles from BPS previously. Some highlights from the Philosophy for kids article:

Keith Topping and Steve Trickey first reported the short-term benefits of using "Thinking through Philosophy" with children in an earlier study

Teaching children the art of collaborative philosophical inquiry brings them persistent, long-term cognitive benefits, according to psychologists in Scotland.


The philosophy-based lessons encouraged a community approach to 'inquiry' in the classroom, with children sharing their views on Socratic questions posed by the teacher. The children's cognitive abilities were tested using the 'Cognitive Abilities Test', a measure which has been found to predict children's performance on external school examinations.

A number of educational weblinks have been found during the last four months of web-trekking. Most of these were placed under the section at the left hand column titled Pearls of Paradigm Processing Paradigm Shifts Through Innovation. Critical thinking is a common thread among them. Before starting on this endeavor the original title was simply Cool Stuff. It changed to Innovation because most of the cool stuff dealt with innovation. Education, on further reflection also belongs in there because it is an essential source for innovation. The concept of Education expands even further when using tags, science, civic media, social entrepreneurship have all been interrelated with education and all benefit from Socratic and critical thinking.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Bricks For Building Dreams

CoolPeopleCare | There's a Rumbling
"Passion is key for anyone looking to start something new. It's not all you need, but it's a big part of what's necessary when you set out on your own. Finding the right balance of passion and realism is key."

Those are the words of Samuel Davidson, a blogger who appears to be at the cusp of Generation X and Y, and who has provided food for thought for this weblog before. I like him because he combines idealism with pragmatism. This weblog has talked about his 4 step process from dream to reality before.

"That's the thing about passion – it's always there with us. For some of us, we wear it on our sleeves and those who know us know that we're about something..."
"Because when you have a passion, you know it. And there's no way you can't not follow it." But passion is never all we need. It's the first thing you need during the early stages of start up, but it alone won't get you to the finish line. It may not even get you to step 2. As Robert Greenleaf so eloquently pointed out:"
"Not much happens without a dream. And for something great to happen, there must be a great dream. Behind every great achievement is a dreamer of great dreams. Much more than a dreamer is required to bring it to reality; but the dream must be there first."
I am not quite as ready to accept his position on Schumpeter.

"Schumpeter was a very early advocate of entrepreneurship, believing that individual invention was what powered a capitalist economy, and not the role (or non-role) of the government. McCraw points out that while Schumpeter's ideas didn't immediately catch on in the first half of the 20th century, he now looks like a genius." McCraw writes:

"One of the hallmarks of Schumpeter's 1911 book is that he ventured into territory where no economist had gone before - namely, the psychology of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs, he insisted, are not propelled solely by a wish to grow rich or by any "motivation of the hedonist kind." Instead, they feel "the will to conquer: the impulse to fight, the prove oneself superior to others, to succeed for the sake, not of the fruits of success, but of success itself...There is the joy of creating, of getting things done, or simply of exercising one's energy and ingenuity.

As someone who identifies with Schumpeter's definition, I believe that the organizations and companies that will succeed in today's economy will be those that embrace entrepreneurship at every level.

While I can readily agree with, "There is the joy of creating, of getting things done, or simply of exercising one's energy and ingenuity" Schumpeter may be getting better press than he deserves because its a quick sell for the ideas people want to get across, but Schumpeter does not philosophically epitomize the ideals being expressed as he may seem on first look.

I do appreciate the concept of creative-destruction but keeping in mind the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald

"The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."

We need to appreciate the effect of the destruction as well as the creation.

Finding Meaning In Creating Meaning - Rewrite

Seth's Blog: Seven tips to build for meaning

Seth Godin provides seven tips to build for meaning. Then he asks, "What happens after I click on your Google ad?"

OK, he's a marketer so from that perspective it makes sense.

"I was thinking about great Squidoo pages (lenses) yesterday, and realized that many of them, along with many blogs, have the same goal: give someone a handle, a sense of meaning--context--so they can go ahead and take action."

I have taken the position that this should be true whether we are speaking of business and making money or social change to bring about beneficial paradigm shifts. The seven tips:

  1. Use numbers and bullets. People scan. Based on the idea that people don't read, this is not one that I use a lot because I use this weblog to mold my own ideas, but I should and am trying to be more concise.

  2. Give people a place to go. The best meaning-building delivers the reader to a new place, in context. The really interesting parts of this weblog are the websites it links to, my writings just helps to organize the information for better understanding.

  3. Use pictures. Pictures communicate quality and information. pictures that tell a story. I do less of this and should try to expand on this.(though I don't actually get Seth's example)

  4. Have an opinion. If you're giving meaning, you're also making an argument. I have opinions which should be fairly apparent but this weblog is not a soapbox, its a learning tool.

  5. Don't be afraid to compare. I do compare though am less likely to make judgments or if I do more likely to rethink them.

  6. It's a brick wall, not a balloon. Built brick by brick, a little at a time. You learn what works and do it more. Here's a fine example. This one I definitely do. This is still an experiment and I try not to be worried about success or failure. (though now having reached 11 subscribers on Feedburner is cool)

  7. It's okay to be long, if you're chunky. Long letters always do better than short ones. That's because once you've sold me, I'll stop reading. But if I'm not sold and I get to the end, you lose. The web is infinitely expandable. So go ahead and tell your story. I am trying to be more chunky, focusing on particular ideas. I also try to get similar or related chunks together especially across time. Sometimes in my own reading I need to go back a few times more to be sold, but I need to want to go back.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Change Is At All Levels | The Question Is How Fast?

Science Now has an article on Human Evolution Is Speeding Up -- (Gibbons 2007 (12 10): 1 -- ScienceNOW)

Plentiful food has made it easier than ever before to survive and reproduce in many parts of the world, so it's tempting to think that our species has stopped evolving. But a controversial new study says that isn't so. Far from slowing down, human evolution has sped up in the past 40,000 years and has become 100 times faster in the past 5000 years alone, according to the analysis. This means that even though some people have been globe-trotters who interbreed, most humans on different continents are becoming more different, rather than blending together into one genetically homogenous race

The same subject is covered by the New York Times.
Natural Selection - Evolution - Genetics - New York Times Selection Spurred Recent Evolution, Researchers Say

The new survey — led by Robert K. Moyzis of the University of California, Irvine, and Henry C. Harpending of the University of Utah — developed a method of spotting human genes that have become more common through being favored by natural selection. They say that some 7 percent of human genes bear the signature of natural selection.

As well as from the Los Angeles Times: Study finds humans still evolving, and quickly. The pace has been increasing since people started spreading through Europe, Asia and Africa 40,000 years ago.By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer December 11, 2007

The pace of human evolution has been increasing at a stunning rate since our ancestors began spreading through Europe, Asia and Africa 40,000 years ago, quickening to 100 times historical levels after agriculture became widespread, according to a study published today.

From Science Now : The findings are persuasive to anthropologist Clark Larsen of Ohio State University in Columbus. But not everyone is on board. "I don't deny recent rapid selection," says geneticist Kenneth Kidd of Yale University. "But I am not yet convinced that so much rapid selection at so many places in the genome has occurred. ... I think we need much more data."

From the New York Times: David Reich, a population geneticist at the Harvard Medical School, said the new report was “a very interesting and exciting hypothesis” but that the authors had not ruled out other explanations of the data. The power of their test for selected genes falls off in looking both at more ancient and more recent events, he said, so the overall picture might not be correct.

Similar reservations were expressed by Jonathan Pritchard, a population geneticist at the University of Chicago.

“My feeling is that they haven’t been cautious enough,” he said. “This paper will probably stimulate others to study this question.”

From the LA Times: "The advantage of all but about 100 of the genes remains a mystery, said University of Wisconsin-Madison anthropologist John Hawks, who led the study...If there were not a mismatch between the population and the environment, there wouldn't be any selection," Hawks said. "Dietary changes, disease changes -- those create circumstances where selection can happen."

It is the other resources provided by Science Now that have the more in-depth argument from John Hawks:

Expanding The Definition Of Innovation and Fair Use

My recently posts regarding fair use have raised some philosophical concerns for me, as has my definition of innovation. I threw both fair use and civic media into the same pot, which are two separate but I believe related issues. I have now tagged those website specifically related to civic media as civic media. However, I have retained the fair use tag on all of them. Right now I am of the opinion that you can't have one without the other. I realize that they can be dealt with from different perspectives but to my mind independent filmmakers or others worrying about fair use are practicing civic media .

As regards to the tag innovation, I made the stipulation that it had to have some economic impact but in gathering the public tags of others who had reviewed the fair use of civic media or fair use websites one tag that was used under civic media was innovation. This seems now to be a very reasonable definition and right now I can't find a better word. I don't believe creative is the proper adjective here. So I now have to expand my definition of innovation to include social impact as well as economic impact.

Global Paradigm Shift Through Global Innovation

In attempting to be more precise in assigning relevant meaning to tags I have been using, I have used the tag innovation as applied to those creative changes that have had some economic impact, whether we classify them as high or low or business or social entrepreneurship, as opposed to pure creativity as in art.

The Entrepreneurial Mind back on 12/10/07 gave us Innovation Around the Globe which cites the National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship's reports on two new studies highlighting innovation in Asia and Europe.

"A new World Bank study examines the state of innovation in East Asia with a focus on three primary sources of knowledge flow into the region: international trade, acquisition of disembodied knowledge, and foreign direct investment. East Asian economies still rely heavily on knowledge flows from Japan and the US, but the region's economies are beginning to build their own home-based knowledge industries as well."

All three primary sources of knowledge are of interest but what is especially in disembodied knowledge. The second study is a new Information Technology and Innovation Policy Foundation report:

"[F]uture European prosperity depends upon Europe's ability to more effectively deploy information and communications technologies (ICT). The study notes that European productivity growth rates have lagged in recent years, and it identifies lagging use of ICT (especially in service sectors) as one culprit in the process. Like the US, Europe needs to boost productivity rates. But the pressures in Europe are even stronger, due to a more rapidly aging population. How can Europe reverse these trends? The report's author, Rob Atkinson, recommends greater overall private investment in ICT, the creation of public incentives to support such investment, and expanded efforts to promote digital literacy and adoption among the general population of European countries."

Professor Cornwall makes it clear where he falls on the economic philosophical continuum.

"Let us hope that by the phrase "more effective government supports" the authorsare referring to what has proven to be
the most effective government support for entrepreneurship -- bureaucrats and politicians getting out of the way of entrepreneurs and letting free markets work. Central planning efforts where government agencies try to pick winners and losers have never proven to be a wise long-term strategy. "

"The most effective means of encouraging private investment is making favorable policy decision for an entrepreneurial economy. Lower taxes, less regulation, and stronger property rights are all key elements. I am afraid that most of Europe has a very long way to go on all three of these critical issues of public policy."

I have to confess to some doubts to this position when I consider the amount of support that Asian countries, especially Japan, have given their businesses. I also have to wonder about the technological bump Asia got from the IT infrastructure investment that was made and how we keep on falling farther and farther behind. I am definitely not in favor of centralized planning but I am also still not willing to fully depend upon the unfettered free market. Perhaps after a few more economic courses I will change my mind.