Diversity, Quality of Science, and Cartalk

March 21st, 2014

This morning (March 21, 2014) NPR’s Morning Edition broadcast a rather smh story on ethnic diversity of authorship of scientific papers and the quality of science as (supposedly) evidenced by the weak proxy of quantity of citations. As I was shaking my head (smh) and considering a paper in response as they concluded the piece, I was rescued from that task by a promotion for the weekly favorite: “Cartalk” where one of the click and clack brothers serendipitously offered the perfect rhetorical refutation of the preceding segment. I quote: “Do two people who don’t know what they are talking about know more or less than one person who doesn’t know what he is talking about?” In any case, commenters at the embedded link cover basic challenges to the segment and it’s premise.

True Face of Television?

March 29th, 2013

I found this image on facebook, though there was no attribution to the artist. Apologies for that…

true face of televison

In any case here’s my reaction to this image of the “True Face of Television”:

And yet, this is only the case for those who take a passive and consumerist role wrt to media. One can be selective and disciplined in one’s choices and find some great content. The most offensive aspect of most media (imo) happen to be the (so called) news (esp. what is excluded from coverage) and the paid advertisements. Find better sources of news. Find means of avoiding the adverts. Be aware of who sponsors what you consume, and what they are promoting (and why).


November 13th, 2012

Bottom Line: We can’t let you secede. You’d be a plague upon this continent. War mongering, devastating the environment, and we couldn’t stand by and watch you violate basic human rights. You might as well stay here and keep doing all that.

Holding up Half the Conversation

November 5th, 2012

At just about any cafe or restaurant one can get tea or coffee. Beverage of your choice! We don’t need a Tea Party separate from a Coffee Party. Of course we usually sit down with others for respite and discourse when there is already an established affinity, or when we are hoping to establish a relationship of some sort. The irony is that we’re finding ourselves so much at odds with those we already share tremendous affinities – friendships and families, and all the more easy to engage with aggressive hostility or disengage with dismissive condescension those we don’t have that direct connection. Yet even with those whom we seem to share little in common -only because our starting frames set us in opposition – we share that same tremendous potential of affinity. Let’s find that; sip our tea, coffee, water; take in and offer words direct and civil, and start this conversation again. Neither side can carry the country forward with “half a conversation”.

It didn’t work.

February 22nd, 2011

When you look back on something — consider whether it was just the first iteration. It may yet work.

Maybe not enough people understood what you were doing — maybe not enough appreciated what was at stake.

Maybe you can communicate your vision more clearly now.

Maybe you have refined your vision or your methods.

Keep pushing, pill and keep reflecting on your aims, your method, your motivations.

Cablegate Confusion and Distraction

December 3rd, 2010

Wow! With the current Wikileaks-Cablegate affair, I am seeing a lot of venom and righteous indignation.

As ever this rests upon a heap of confusion.

Let’s clarify a few things so we can be sure we aren’t distracted. There are bigger things happening (or not happening) in the world as our attention is consumed by this latest media event.

I’ve already said that there is a big difference between Treasonous acts and Whistleblowing (whether against Government or Corporate abuse of power and the public trust). Our legal system should reflect that distinction.

I’m going to go expand that statement to include the other big “T” … Terrorism.

We don’t need to go into the details of whether this was a case of whistleblowing. It’s more like a massive data dump. But as an analogy it should be instructive. The point about whistleblowing is having a fair and impartial hearing under due process of law, whether in the corporate sphere or a matter of state. The expectation of such a hearing, a true separation of powers and a more general atmosphere of transparency would transform our political culture in the best possible ways.

Another important distinction: those who publish the material, and those who leaked it. These are very different acts, and should be regarded differently. Some have called for the “destruction” of the publisher, some are engaged in illegal activities trying to suppress the website. As for the person who leaked the material, I return to the question of due process of law.

If we speak in favor of Law and Order (upholding claims of secrecy, and the necessity of state secrets and moreover the stiff punishment of those who break the pertinent laws) then let’s set aside the vindictive calls for persecution and violence that ignores due process or makes it into a mockery.

And let’s take that notion a little further — due process is not just following the letter of the law and procedures. It involves a judicious reading of the letter of the law such that higher human values are served or weighed against each other. This sort of reading of the law can lead to a rewriting of the law that is all part of an ongoing evolution of the human spirit. It’s the basic mechanics of the common law and we should not be so quick to dismiss such deliberations as judicial activism. It was once the consensus that common law was in evolution and progressing to a higher state. There are ways in which our society has fallen, but we cannot deny the possibility of further progress of human values. The law as written and enforced is not always right.

Lastly, let’s not confuse privacy and secrecy. Secrecy is a matter of policy. No Government agent creating a document or other record in the course of their duty has any expectation of “privacy” … these documents are internal, and that’s not the same as privacy. Recognizing that secrecy is a matter of policy is to see that it’s not a right. It’s a combination of circumstance and policy, and policy can be changed at a pen stroke.

All in all most of the confusion comes down to a certain kind of authoritarianism we all to readily adopt and allow to excuse further abuse of power. Consider the lengths the Administration went to in attempts to quash the Pentagon Papers and to persecute and prosecute Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo. This is a dangerous thing. If we’re really on the side of law and order, let’s moderate the rhetoric, and let’s not be distracted.

CMC II: Connecting the Dots (Nov 14)

November 8th, 2010

Coalition Movement Camp II: Connecting the Dots
November 14, 2010, 2.00pm to 6pm EST: http://movementcamp.org

The Coalition Movement Camp series brings new players and possibilities into view and allows us to connect the dots between them. Our goal is to consolidate our collective powers and prepare for a collaborative web development project unlike anything the world has seen.

The inaugural Coalition Movement Camp took place on October 10, 2010. Participants included representatives of Appropedia, OpenKollab, Metacurrency, 350, Dadamac, CoopAgora, JAK Bank, GreenTribe, and Gaia10. For eight hours, we brainstormed ideas towards a new generation of internet platforms and collaborative strategies for the climate crisis. Details of the 10/10/10 Coalition Movement Camp can be found on the Coalition blog (http://cotw.me/invite101010, http://cotw.me/camp101010).

On November 14, 2010, the conversation continues.

Why are we doing this?

• The world is warming. Satellite records show that in the past two decades, the process of warming has sped up. 2010 is on track to be the warmest year on record.
• Without drastic action, we risk temperature rises of 6°C or more by the end of this century. This would be a catastrophe.
• Yet the current international community is ill-prepared, if not unwilling, to reign in carbon emissions to prevent this outcome.

We have no choice but to try a new approach.

We propose using new internet tools and a renewed commitment to interoperability and collaboration to creatively impact this situation and turn it around.

The internet is rapidly evolving from a place for sharing information to a place for collaboration and co-creation. How easy it should be, given the money, talent, and need in the world, to build an online network that enables the best people from about the world to collaborate on climate action solutions.

This is our vision. It is neither radical nor extreme. It is necessary, plain and simple.

Join us on November 14, 2010, as we continue this world-changing adventure. The venue is an open collaboration staging area: http://movementcamp.org. There will be sessions devoted to BetterMeans/Open Enterprise Manifesto, the Global Innovation Commons, and more. You’ll be able to upload image and video files and contribute to real time chat. There will be live interviews and webcasts, with an audio stream component for participants in low-bandwidth zones. Our facilitators will work to summarize developments and keep you up to speed.

Coalition Movement Camp II: Connecting the Dots will run from 2.00pm to 6pm EST. International start times: 7.00pm London, 11.00am Los Angeles, 2.00pm NYC, 6.00am Sydney (Nov 15). Enlist here: http://cotw.me/enlist (Local Start Times: http://cotw.me/cmc2starttime)

If you’d like to send a video shout out or presentation to Coalition Movement Camp participants, we welcome pre-recorded content. Please submit links to Vimeo or Youtube content by Friday November 12, 5.00pm Los Angeles time, and we’ll include suitable material on the Coalition Movement Camp blog. Submit these to: tropology at gmail dot com. Submitted content should include a summary paragraph, with links to more information.

If you are ready to roll up your sleeves and join in this work, see the Coalition Portal for an orientation: http://cotw.cc/

Coalition Movement Camp II: Connecting the Dots