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Saturday, July 15, 2000
before there was bob ross and william alexander and before there was fantasy art and stuff, there was thomas cole and the hudson river school!

and in the school's second generation came its brightest pupil, albert bierstadt, who would later go on to found the rocky mountain school :(not much stuff)

here are some of my favorite bierstadt paintings:

painting in luminous and grandiloquent abstractions, he made the world seem better than real. i can't think of anything more utopian, except for bierstadt set to enya!

Friday, July 14, 2000
been thinking more about organizational relevance after reading the age of access and the age of social transformation (via the highlander from the northern climes, proprietor extraordinaire of abuddhas memes, tony "there can be only one true NEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" tross!!!).

ahem :)… uh, excuse me while i pontificate/evacuate my bowels. i'll say that again, excuse me while i pontificate and EVACUATE MY BOWELS.

so as drucker points out knowledge "cannot be bought or sold," which has, believe it or not, surprising implications for the so-called knowledge economy. whereas data or information might be traded or exchanged, knowledge gained from such sources, if not unitary with its possessor, is highly dependent upon individual and/or organizational circumstance. knowledge is even less fungible and transparent than data or information, as delong and froomkin might point out.

so how are economies, which were (up until now, +/– 10 yrs.) predominantly based on scarcity and exchange, i.e. the proper rationing of stuffs through the invisible hand, supposed to operate when the main resource for wealth creation –KNOWLEDGE– is not a tradable commodity but whose useful availability is potentially infinite given today's wonder of wonders, the internet? the answer, i think, is they don't! as drucker, rifkin, froomkin and delong et al all point out, it's all diminishing returns by trying to bottle up a genie and sell it on a per rub basis. it impoverishes society.

so what're you supposed to do if you don't want corporations running around laying claim to the very firmament or increasingly unrepresentative governments mandating what belongs in or out of the public domain or what does or doesn't constitute fair use? the solution, i think, appropriately suggests itself in robot wisdom :) where the sage understands the truly poor person lacks goodwill unto others.

spred the luv and get your egoboo, but um… don't give up your day job.

sorry, it just sort of came out. what a mess… but yessir it feels grrrrrreat!

stinks like a mother tho :)

actually, i just thought of a more sophisticated point! where in pre-agrarian societies food was the scarce resource for human (re)production, people concentrated their energies on getting it, which eventually led (with a little effort) to the plow. then in pre-industrial societies STUFF was the scarce resource and so people concentrated more of their energies getting STUFF, which eventually led to an industrial revolution. over the last fifty years or so, though, with so many people around doing STUFF i think the scarce resource for human (re)production was just being recognized, or at least getting some attention now an then :) now more than ever i think more and more people are concentrating their energies on getting to know one another and finding out more about themselves in the process! i dunno what that really leads to exactly...

Thursday, July 13, 2000
"The customer is the foundation of a business and keeps it in existence. Because its purpose is to create a customer, any business has two – and only these two – basic functions: marketing and innovation." --peter drucker

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btw...

The Word of the Day for July 13 is:

emigrate • EH-muh-grate • (verb)
: to leave one's place of residence or country to live elsewhere

Example sentence:
O.E. Rolvaag, who emigrated from Norway to the U.S. in 1896, wrote Giants in the Earth and other books about Norwegian settlers who left their homeland for the American prairies.

Did you know?
"Migrate," "emigrate," and "immigrate" are all about being on the move. All those terms come from the Latin word "migrare," which means "to migrate." "Emigrate" and "immigrate" sound alike, and it is true that both involve leaving one location and entering another. The subtle difference between them lies in point of view: "emigrate" stresses leaving the original place, while "immigrate" focuses on entering the new one. You won't have trouble keeping them straight if you remember that the prefix "e-" means "away," as in "eject," and the prefix "im-" or "in-" means "into," as in "inject."

i am emigrating from chicago, ill. and immigrating to richmond, vag. that is all.

Wednesday, July 12, 2000
j. bradford delong's website (one of the guy's who wrote speculative economics for tomorrow's economy) is really cool, not least of which is his online book, slouching towards utopia: the economic history of the twentieth century. here's a representative incisive paragraph :

Governments and their police have killed perhaps eighty million, perhaps one hundred and sixty million people in time of peace. Class enemies, race enemies, political enemies, economic enemies, imagined enemies have all been slaughtered. You name them, governments have killed them. And governments have killed them on a scale that could not previously have been imagined. If the twentieth century has seen the growth of material wealth on a previously-inconceivable scale, it has also seen human slaughter at a previously-unimaginable rate.

he also appears to have a hankering for the science-fiction!

the other guy's website (a. michael froomkin :) isn't as interesting, but there's still some good stuff there.

Tuesday, July 11, 2000
hey, the wussy boy chronicles is a great link from kerplinky pitas. it kind of reminds me of the "does that make me gay?" series from tremble.

she also has this cool link to arcologies on F E E D | Street Level.

"The problem I am confronting is the present design of cities only a few stories high, stretching outward in unwieldy sprawl for miles. As a result of their sprawl, they literally transform the earth, turn farms into parking lots and waste enormous amounts of time and energy transporting people, goods and services over their expanses. My solution is urban implosion rather than explosion. In nature, as an organism evolves it increases in complexity, and it also becomes a more compact or miniaturized system. The city too is an organism, one that should follow the same process of complexification and miniaturization to become a more lively container for the social, cultural, and spiritual evolution of [humankind]."

Monday, July 10, 2000
watched the color of paradise the other day. it's about how the world around us is really the music of our minds. essentially, it's about deciphering code. like isaac brock sez, "my boss just quit the job / says he's going out to find blind spots and he'll do it!"

it's weird how sometimes great movies are made under totalitarian regimes. it's also weird how sometimes crying can sound like laughing, only it's not.

also watched jesus' son. it has a funny scene where someone is knifed in the eye :) it stars billy crudup who voiced noble ashitaka in princess mononoke and samantha morton who played sweet hattie in sweet and lowdown.

on organizational relevance:

Friday, July 7, 2000
here's an incredible document (via abuddhas memes) on the frontiers of economics. it calls into question the concept of ownership, which market economies are founded upon, in a networked society of free (or at least very low cost) information exchange facilitated by digital communication technologies. not that this is anything new, but the authors have done a very good job of actually resolving apparent contradictions from what many have concluded are "corner solutions" – winner-take-all monopolies, legislative gridlock and my favorite, the gift economy! – which i think all tend to assume away too much.

they do this not by scrapping economic frameworks of understanding based on ownership, but by relaxing assumptions about the characteristics of ownership which were able to previously be ignored in economies which exhibited decreasing returns to scale. (henry rollins, btw, believes you can't own anything because if someone comes along and takes something that's "yours" then it really never belonged to you… um, it's like a jedi thing :)

anyway, with the commodification of information (and processes) that digitalization affords they noticed that these new kinds of goods had features unlike most physical goods traded in the real world, namely non-excludability and non-rivalry. incidentally, these two features are what characterize public goods in that access cannot be easily prevented and whose use ostensibly does not interfere with anyone else's (national defense and fireworks displays are the classic examples of public goods).

they also explore the non-transparency and fungibility of information based goods and services, which can potentially be used to create frictions in the marketplace to gain competitive advantage. under such circumstances the idea of frictionless capitalism is rendered an oxymoron. the so-called invisible hand breaks down when disinformation is effectively used as a competitive tactic, resulting in less than optimal outcomes. oh, and they touch on perturbation theory, too!

Thursday, July 6, 2000
aids in africa

Investment important to containing HIV
From Mr Julian Ogilvie Thompson.

Sir, Your article on the impact of HIV/Aids in southern Africa (July 1-2) made sombre reading. It is to be welcomed if it focuses attention, especially in the donor community, on the social problems raised by the epidemic, including financing orphan care, the prevention of mother to child transmission, the need for more vaccine research and creating a better healthcare infrastructure. However, comparisons with the Black Death in medieval Europe are not accurate or helpful.

As a company with operations in southern Africa, we have for many years taken seriously our responsibility to seek to halt the disease through education and addressing the poverty that abets its spread, to combat stigma, and to help those infected to remain healthy for longer. We recognise the need to do more and are now looking to work with the pharmaceutical industry to make retroviral drugs more widely accessible.

It is all too easy to read the headline estimates for infection rates and to despair. That would be wrong. South Africa remains a good place to invest. Businesses have an obligation to the estimated three-quarters of our workforce who are not HIV positive to manage the epidemic problem in such a way as to keep operations viable. The actual level of early retirement through ill-health or through death is unlikely in any one year to exceed 4 per cent of any unit's workforce. This is substantial but hardly an unprecedented level of staff turnover. Our experience shows that this can be tackled through good management, innovative working practices and broader training programmes.

Such calculations may appear callous. They are not. They merely underline the importance of continuing investment in Africa if the HIV problem is to be contained and ultimately rolled back.

Julian Ogilvie Thompson, Chairman and Chief Executive, Anglo American, 20 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AN, UK

This absurd myth of African Aids epidemic
From Ms Cheryl Carolus.

Sir, In the article "Shadow of Aids casts a darkness over Africa" (July 1-2), on the incidence of HIV/Aids in southern Africa, your correspondent makes damaging claims about South Africa, which he cannot prove.

The article refers to a Ms Simangu in Zimbabwe who, among other things, is said to suffer from herpes and tuberculosis. This is the only reference made in the article to specific "symptoms" of what is described as evidence of an HIV-induced "slow, savage sub-Saharan catastrophe".

I would have no hesitation in agreeing that many people in sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, suffer from the well-known sexually transmitted diseases as well as tuberculosis. The point at issue is why these diseases in sub-Saharan Africa are described as Aids, as your correspondent describes them. The question that arises is why the fundamentally unscientific claim is made that these are caused by HIV.

Articles such as the one to which we refer are based on nothing but the propagation of dangerous myths which parade as scientific truths. As a result of this, the article makes the absurd claim that, in the past five years, agricultural production in Zimbabwe's communal areas has fallen "largely due to the Aids epidemic".

This constitutes a self-serving medicalisation of poverty. It is consistent with the argument that land shortage for the majority of rural Zimbabweans, who are concentrated in the communal areas, is a fiction invented by President Mugabe to retain power.

This argument creates the possibility of arguing that the decline in agricultural production in the communal areas has nothing to do with, among other things, the exhaustion of the fertility of the over-exploited communal lands and the migration of the most productive section of the population to the urban areas.

We will not defeat the horrendous impact of this crisis if prestigious newspapers such as the Financial Times participate in the propagation of false reports about its nature and causes.

Cheryl Carolus, High Commissioner, South African High Commission, South Africa House, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DP, UK

Wednesday, July 5, 2000
saw groove and chicken run over the weekend, both feel good summer movies :) also finally finished cryptonomicon. it ends in untold ecological damage to the philippine rainforest/jungle.

here's a thought: we're the people behind the screen.

some "tasteless" websites:

a r c h i v e
mid-feb
late-feb
early-mar
mid-mar
late-mar
early-apr
rest-of-apr
early-may
mid-may
end-of-may
june

w r i t t e n
get out
on violence
horror story
disney land
from earth
US engagement