Commerce

information assimilation and the life of the child

From Dewey’s The School and Society, p100:

It was forgotten that the maximum appeal, and the full meaning in the life of the child, could be secured only when the studies were presented, not as bare external studies, but from the standpoint of the relation they bear to the life of society. It was forgotten that to become integral parts of the child’s conduct and character they must be assimilated, not as mere items of information, but as organic parts of his present needs and aims – which in turn are social.

Bloomberg on technology

From the Wired interview with Michael Bloomberg:

Wired: Kids sit on the steps of the Brooklyn library trying to get Wi-Fi. Why can’t we solve the problem that roughly half the people in this city don’t have broadband?

Bloomberg: We will. That’s what capitalism is all about. As there’s demand, the private sector will come and fill it in. I don’t believe that government is good at picking technology, particularly technology that is changing. By the time you get it done and go through democracy, it’s so outdated.

[emphasis added]

credibility: its about security not character

After being weirded out by a LifeLock advertisement on TV, I did a Google search on the company and found a great article on Wired. It turns out that one of the company’s founders is suspected of identity theft and customers of a former business he ran ended up having their identity stolen. LifeLock is a company which claims to “protect your good name” by preventing identity theft for $100 a year. To the right is the LifeLock logo, note the human-pad lock and the byline.

LifeLock

What I find most fascinating / terrifying about LifeLock is its marketing strategy, that “your good name” can be protected through security. Credibility, according to this company, is about preventing your identity from being stolen – about securing your identity. Of course to sign up you must turn your identity over to LifeLock by providing them with your First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, E-mail Address, Mobile Phone, Home Phone, Address, Credit Card #, Birthday, Social Security Number and so on…

Did I mention they have a special deal for kids? No joke

privatizing txt

Its official – txt space is private space. From the ny times:

Saying it had the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages, Verizon Wireless has rejected a request from NARAL Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program…

legal experts said private companies like Verizon probably have the legal right to decide which messages to carry. The laws that forbid common carriers from interfering with voice transmissions on ordinary phone lines do not apply to text messages…

So when will these laws be updated? net neutrality.

Update 09.27.07 @ 3:02 PM : : : From today’s ny times – “Verizon Reverses Itself on Abortion Messages“:

Saying it had the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages, Verizon Wireless last week rejected a request from Naral Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program.

Of course the problem remains. While Naral is now being allowed to distribute their message, Verizon is still reserving the right to block text messages at their discretion…

direct democracy

According to the U.S. State Department, democracies can be organized under two general categories, direct and representative. In both forms the public participates in governance yet in a representative democracy elected or appointed officials mediate this participation, whereas in a direct democracy this participation occurs “without the intermediary of elected or appointed officials.” In citing spatial limitations, the State Department argues the impracticality of direct democracy with the following description of ancient Athens:

Ancient Athens, the world’s first democracy, managed to practice direct democracy with an assembly that may have numbered as many as 5,000 to 6,000 persons–perhaps the maximum number that can physically gather in one place and practice direct democracy.

The inability to physically organize a public within one place may (again… MAY) have, at some prior point in time, been a legitimate argument against direct democracy, but with the proliferation of ICTs and the continued assimilation of cyberspace into everyday life, can such an argument still be made?

Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign used cyberspace to organize a feedback loop with over 600,000 participants in order to shape his campaign’s platform and practices – a far cry from the 6,000 persons of ancient Athens. The question no longer is “can a direct democracy exist?” but “why doesn’t a direct democracy exist?”

Geosniff (v.)

From Jonathon Keats, Wired 15.09:

To search the web by location, delivering regionally pertinent information to users and regionally pertinent users to advertisers.

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