Quick note... that “naming auction” is now up at http://stores.ebay.com/AuctionCause. Pass word along to your rich friends that they can benefit the First Amendment Project and get their names used in a coming book.
I just had a film crew in my home, interviewing me for CBS News Sunday Morning... maybe airing in a couple of weeks... on the usual topic of technology and privacy.
Speaking of which:
The State Of Surveillance -- (Business Week -- August 31, 2005)
Artificial noses that sniff explosives, cameras that I.D. you by your ears, chips that analyze the halo of heat you emit. Tomorrow's surveillance technology may be considerably more effective. But each advance in protection will typically come at the cost of more intrusion into the privacy of ordinary people.
And, in the 14th predictive “hit” for my novel EARTH...
Web Trade Threat to Rare Species -- (BBC -- August 31, 2005)
The illegal trade in wild animal products over the internet is driving the world's most endangered species to extinction, wildlife campaigners claim. A probe found 9,000 live animals or products for sale in one week on trading sites like eBay.
Again and again I say that we should look for new patterns. While the following does support the truth that we are led by morons, it also suggests that anything so across-the-board should be looked at in a new way.
Salon.com offers a “Timeline to Disaster” By Farhad Manjoo, Page Rockwell and Aaron Kinney. Much about the response to Katrina still remains shrouded in the fog of disaster. But several important themes emerge in this timeline. Every level of government failed, to one degree or another, in the aftermath of Katrina. But the lion's share of the blame must go to the highest level.
What new way should we see things? Any disaster worsens when amateur leaders hamper our professionals... and when professionals hamper the resilience of citizen amateurs. The Katrina disaster showed both effects, relentlessly.
Yes, professional police and agencies should observe what citizens do in times of crisis and hold them accountable for bad deeds... as citizens should reciprocate with intense scrutiny of actions by public officials. But what we have seen this time is both classes interfering with each other to a degree that stymied every positive effort.
And yes, this model is based upon labeling the politicians as “citizen-amateurs.” But who can doubt that the populist administrations of Louisiana, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia are at-best composed of hamhanded pols, far less educated and skilled than the professional public servants they supervise? At-worst, they are demagogues, whose contempt for professionalism extends to compulsive ideological interference on an unprecedented scale. Unprecedented in this country, that is.
I know this way of looking at things is odd. Rich amateurs like George W Bush would seem to be opposites of poor amateurs who are struggling to self-organize while hip deep in toxic sludge. One type is outrageously over-empowered which the other was prevented from driving themselves out of a calamity zone in school buses. I am not saying this is the one and only way to view this crisis. But it is a way that bears some thought.
The lesson? We will all suffer if new synergies of citizen and professional are not negotiated, and soon. Methods to enhance their ability to supervise each other, without getting in the way of each others' legitimate action. This will mean getting political hacks off of the pro’s backs... but also getting professionals to appreciate the creative power of citizen resiliency and responsiveness, seeking ways to enhance that resiliency for a new era.
As if in partial illustration: Stefan submits this creepy illustration of blameshifting: - E-mail suggests government seeking to blame environmental groups