Just some thoughts

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

China's expanding (and US's wanning) influence

They need regional friendship, we need regional friendship," he said of the Chinese. "They need time to develop their economy, so do we. They need protection from the United States and so do we.''

That is a quote I read on the NYT article linked to. It was attributed to: Muhammad Noordin Sopiee, chairman of Malaysia's Institute of Strategic and International Studies.

Bush must leave office now! The article indicates that the concern voiced in the above quote is primarily due to recent American unilateralism... bad.

Check out this guy's blog...

He has some really good ideas! I like his politics too (disclaimer)...

I especially like his latest post. I'm just a little surprised that he didn't give religion a stronger role. It's clear that throughout history (western history at least) religion has played a large role in shaping our societies. Although religious groups arguably have less influence now, I'd still say they wield a big stick.

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Second Superpower--a prelude?

I just went to get some coffee, and on my way a thought occurred to me. Jim Moore's "The Second Superpower", is quite similar to the open source movement in the software industry. There is a massive super power, Microsoft of course, and a grass-roots movement, its most visible manifestation is Linux.

Moore's main assertion is that it is possible that a "second superpower" could arise. This new power would be a worldwide grass-roots movement that can change its direction and structure in nearly "real-time." This is made possible by modern communications tools. He says these tools enable us (the worldwide society) to form ad-hoc power groups (to protest or wield financial resources, for example) at any time and in almost any place. Also, the ability to create and lead these groups is open to anyone.

We can use Moore's concepts to understand Linux and open source projects in general. Similarly, we can draw parallels between Microsoft's monolpoly and the hegemony of the United States. If these comparisons aren't too naive, they provide us with some history by which we can try gain insight on a possible future.

Here is a very small set of articles which show how Linux has forced Microsoft to change. Here is a google search with the terms: "microsoft sales policy linux" (try some variations on that, and you'll surely get more). It shows how microsoft has been forced to change its marketing strategy, but microsoft has had to change in more significant ways than just this. It is actually changing how it developes software. It's development process seems to be moving closer to the linux process. Here is an article that talks about Microsoft's release of software as open source. It also mentions Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative.

There are many more examples of Microsoft's changes. Of course these changes don't exist in a vacume, but if we can learn from them, it may help us succeed in creating a "Second Superpower." If we can do that, then I think our future is very bright indeed.

So I'm reading Children of Dune...

This is a great book. It's plotlines weave in and out like mad, and there's a lot of philosophy. I'm sure I'll have to read this book a few times to get everything that Frank Herbert has packed into it.

I'm going to have to post some of my favorite quotes from it...

Friday, August 27, 2004

The Second Superpower

This is a very cool concept.

Do large networks of people acting together politically equal a political force even when there's no readily-apparent leadership?

Jim Moore 's essay is about our increasing ability to communicate and share ideas. He says that the internet, cell phones, and mass media are giving us (the worlwide public) an increasing ability to create changes in governmental policy (particularly the policy of the United States). He says that in time we will be able to organize grassroots campaigns so quickly and effectively, that we'll be able to block unwanted governmental policies (ie. the war in Iraq), and even force needed change such as health care reform.

Even more exciting to me, Moore likens the global social network to a mind. Each person plays the role of a neuron, and each person has a cluster of friends. Each of the friends has his or her own cluster. These clusters upon clusters upon clusters begin to look a lot like the neural network which is our brain. I know this is a fairly "far out" concept... but not too much so.

So I had to move my blog...

Ok, so my old blog was over here . It kept re-directing the web browser here when I (or anyone) tried to view it. After some frustrating playing around with the settings and the template, I decided to just start a new blog.

And here it is. No big loss, there wasn't too much on the original one anyways.