Friday, September 29, 2006

Woodward: Bush's Salted Peanut Doctrine

By William Hamilton
Washington Post

Woodward writes that former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger has played a key role as an outside adviser to Bush on the Iraq war. Kissinger, according to Woodward, sees the Iraq war through the prism of his own experience in the Nixon administration during Vietnam, and has counseled Bush to "stick it out" and not even entertain the idea of withdrawing troops.

At one point, to emphasize his position, he gave Michael Gerson, then a White House speech writer, a copy of a memo he wrote to Nixon in September, 1969. "Withdrawal of U.S. troops will become like salted peanuts to the American public; the more U.S. troops come home, the more will be demanded," Kissinger wrote. [1.2mb .pdf file; see p. 52]

Thursday, September 28, 2006

ABC News: White House-Abramoff Contacts More Extensive Than Thought, Report Says

ABC News: White House-Abramoff Contacts More Extensive Than Thought, Report Says:

"After Abramoff pled guilty to illegal lobbying, officials at the White House said they barely new him and all they knew was what they read in the papers.

The report finds 450 contacts with White House officials, including nine with the president's chief political adviser, Karl Rove."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Renouncing Bush's Failures Is a Start - Los Angeles Times

by Todd Gitlin - Los Angeles Times

Just last month, conservative talk-show host Joe Scarborough asked, "Is Bush an Idiot?" In May, the popular right-wing KABC-AM (790) talk-show host Doug McIntyre declared: "I was wrong to have voted for George W. Bush…. I have been shocked repeatedly by a consistent litany of excuses, alibis, doubletalk, inaccuracies, bogus predictions and flat-out lies…. After five years of carefully watching George W. Bush, I've reached the conclusion he's either grossly incompetent or a hand-puppet for a gaggle of detached theorists with their own private view of how the world works. Or both." Such reconsiderations are all to the good, and not only for the practical purpose of evacuating a sinking ship. The recantation mood is a sign of maturity. But apologies, while worthy, are never enough. To help make right what has gone badly wrong, they also must lead to rethinking.

TODD GITLIN is a professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University and the author, most recently, of The Intellectuals and the Flag.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

from Wired 14.07: Feeling Lucky:

"Google hired him to head its charitable arm,, with an initial bankroll of 3 million shares – worth about $1.15 billion – and 1 percent of annual profits. Brilliant recently suspended a self-imposed “quiet period” to talk about his plans for"
One percent of the equity, 1 percent of the profits, and 1 percent of the people go into The most important asset isn’t money, it’s people. One percent of the people means 60 or 70 of the smartest people in the world trying to solve some of the biggest problems in the world.
Google’s a strange place. When I met Eric Schmidt, he said, “If you are kind to everybody, then you will make good decisions because people will give you good information, and if you are truthful to everybody, they will be truthful to you.” That’s what’s different about Google. They screw up and make mistakes, but they genuinely mean the good stuff about “don’t be evil.”

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Not time for apologies (Plamegate)

By Martin Schram
Scripps Howard News Service
September 18, 2006

The Washington Post editorialized about Armitage's admission: "It follows that one of the most sensational charges leveled against the Bush White House — that it orchestrated the leak of Ms. Plame's identity to ruin her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson — is untrue."

Then came a column by Washington's most admired political journalist, the Post's David Broder: "For much of the past five years, dark suspicions have been voiced about the Bush White House undermining its critics, and Karl Rove has been fingered as the chief culprit in this supposed plot to suppress the opposition. Now at least one count in that indictment has been weakened — the charge that Rove masterminded a conspiracy to discredit Iraq intelligence critic Joseph Wilson by 'outing' his CIA-operative wife, Valerie Plame."

Broder properly jabbed some liberal activist-journalists who reached beyond the known facts to attack Rove, and then concluded: "These and other publications owe Karl Rove an apology. And all of journalism needs to relearn the lesson: Can the conspiracy theories and stick to the facts."

That advice, well-taken, must now lead us to note the fact that the central assertions in this case are not mutually exclusive. Especially because of the way things work in Washington.

The facts we know provide key answers: Was there a White House effort to discredit Wilson? Yes. Fitzgerald's public filings in April make that clear.

Were Cheney, Libby and Rove involved in the effort? Again, yes. And Fitzgerald's filing says President Bush wanted it done. Was it a crime to seek to discredit Wilson? No. Discrediting critics is business as usual in all administrations. But knowingly leaking a covert agent's identity is a crime.

Was Armitage part of the White House effort? Unlikely. Armitage and Secretary of State Colin Powell were fighting the Cheney-led hardliners.

Is it a crime to make false statements to federal investigators or the grand jury? Yes, big-time.

That's what we were told by conservatives pushing to impeach a Democratic president who lied under oath about his sex life. This is about national security — outing a covert agent. Cheney's man Libby was indicted for deceiving the federal investigators — but was it a White House-choreographed effort? Now, apparently, some (perhaps Rove) have provided new information, perhaps in exchange for assurances they won't face trial. Thus, the crucial facts that are still unknown make clear that it is not yet time for all-clears or apologies.

Monday, September 18, 2006

More from Olbermann (8:18)

Watch the video at Crooks and Liars


Keith Olbermann delivered another stunning special comment tonight, this time attacking Bush’s Rose Garden press conference from last Friday.

Olbermann: Finally tonight, a Special Comment about the Rose Garden news conference last Friday. The President of the United States owes this country an apology.There are now none around him who would tell him - or could. The last of them, it appears, was the very man whose letter provoked the President into the conduct, for which the apology is essential. An apology is this President’s only hope of regaining the slightest measure of confidence, of what has been, for nearly two years, a clear majority of his people.

Main Page - Wikitravel

Main Page - Wikitravel:

"Wikitravel is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable world-wide travel guide. So far we have 11,036 destination guides and other articles written and edited by Wikitravellers from around the globe. Check out the Help page to see how you can edit any page right now, or the Project page for more information about Wikitravel and getting involved. "

I zoomed down from North America to United States of America to Hawaii to Kauai and down to the resort link.

Wired 14.09: No Suit Required

Wired 14.09: No Suit Required:

"Musicians generally make very little from the sale of their records. The costs of production, marketing, and promotion are charged against sales, and even if they go multiplatinum and cover those costs, their cut of any extra revenue is usually less than 10 percent.

On top of this, the labels typically retain the copyrights to the recordings, which allows them to profit from the musicians' catalogs indefinitely. 'It's as if you received a loan for a house,' says Ed Robertson, one of BNL's lead vocalists. 'But when you finish paying off that loan, the label says thank you and keeps the house.'

And, funny thing, this model isn't just bad for artists, it's increasingly bad for business. Because the label makes most of its profits from recorded music, much of the money spent marketing an artist benefits third parties like concert promoters and music publishing companies. In addition, copyrights to a piece of music are usually divided between a label and a publisher, which collect royalties every time the work is recorded, performed, or played publicly. 'What other business splits up its key assets and sells them to separate businesses that wind up in conflict with each other?' asks Duncan Reid, a venture capitalist who now helps run UK-based Ingenious Music.

Industry insiders like McBride think the old model is as antiquated as the 8-track. 'The future of the business isn't selling records,' McBride says. 'It's in selling music, in every form imaginable.' And by establishing a series of so-called artist-run labels, McBride is creating the next-gen music company. 'We become the management company, the publishing company, and the record company rolled into one,' McBride says. 'We take our 20 percent cut of the whole pie.'
And that's just the beginning. Between ringtones, acoustic versions, and concert recordings, those 29 songs have been multiplied into more than 200 "assets" – song versions – that can be used individually or in conjunction with others to create a product. "Because the copyrights are in one place [in BNL's hands], we can be really creative," McBride says. Hardcore fans can buy 45 of those assets on a USB drive; others can download the special Sims versions (recorded in Simlish, no less). "For decades, people in music have used the number of albums sold as a measuring stick for success," McBride says. "We're trying to get people to see beyond that. It's about revenue from music, however you make it – selling concert tickets, licensing to TV, or selling packed USB drives."

Eventually McBride would like to pioneer another source of revenue with even greater potential: P2P networks. Earlier this year, he sparked a music industry uproar when he announced he would pay the legal defense for a Texas man being sued for piracy by the Recording Industry Association of America. "The lawsuits are hurting my bands," he says. "If you could monetize the peer-to-peer networks, everyone would make more money."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I'm Sorry Karl Rove ...

By Eric Mink


[B]ecause Armitage told federal investigators in October of 2003 of his inadvertent disclosure to Novak, some critics have accused Special Counsel Fitzgerald of needlessly dragging out his investigation and abusing his prosecutorial power.

[T]here has been a strident insistence that Armitage's admission earns presidential adviser Karl Rove an apology from anyone who criticized Rove's actions in the Wilson affair, especially anyone in the media.

My column of July 20, 2005, criticized Rove's actions in the Wilson affair. Whether his acts were criminal or not, I wrote, Rove helped end the career of a 21-year CIA veteran who was working to prevent the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. In doing so, he betrayed the trust of the American people.

Since the revelation about Armitage, I've done a lot of soul searching. I went back to the voluminous official legal filings of the prosecution and defense in the Libby case. I reviewed the first-person accounts of sworn grand jury testimony written by Time magazine's Matthew Cooper (July 25, 2005) and former New York Times reporter Judith Miller (Oct. 16, 2005); Miller spent 85 days in jail for contempt of court before agreeing to testify.

I re-read Novak's Sun-Times columns, including the one (July 12, 2006) explaining the information he provided about his sources to Fitzgerald. I looked again at press coverage of the story stretching back nearly three years. I read carefully recent pieces in such publications as The Weekly Standard that harshly criticized past media coverage of Rove, as well as a column by David Broder, published in the Washington Post last week and on this page Monday, that did much the same. After reviewing all this material, I feel obliged to say:

I'm sorry Karl Rove . . . still has a job.


Friday, September 15, 2006

How To Steal an Election With a Diebold Machine (9:29)

from Gizmodo

Center for Information Technology Princeton University

Some Princeton researchers made a demonstration video of how it's possible to steal an election with a Diebold voting machine in under a minute. Anyone with physical access to the machine can put in malicious software to steal votes—such as election workers who have unsupervised access to the machines before elections. All they have to do is open up the machine with a key (or pick the lock), remove the old memory card, stick in your own memory card, boot the machine, and it automatically installs any software that was on the memory card.

At the end of the demonstration election, the poll machine prints out the incorrect "stolen election" result. The internal memory card also stores in the incorrect result. Every piece of evidence of how the election actually went reflects the "wrong" result. And, after the election is over, the vote stealing software can delete itself. There's no evidence left that the vote has been conducted incorrectly.

The ants have megaphones

from The Long Tail (Pp.98-99)

We're entering an era of radical change for marketers. Faith in advertising and the institutions that pay for it is waning, while faith in individuals is on the rise. Peers trust peers. Top-down messaging is losing traction, while bottom-up buzz is gaining power. Dell spends hundreds of millions each year on promoting its quality and customer service, but if you Google "dell hell" you get 55,000 pages of results. Even the word "Dell" returns customer complaints by the second page of results. The same inversion of power is now changing the marketing game for everything from individual products to people. The collective now controls the message.

For a generation of customers used to doing their buying research via search engine, a company's brand is not what the company says it is, but what Google says it is. The new tastemakers are us. Word-of-mouth is now a public conversation, carried in blog comments and customer reviews, and exhaustively collated and measured. The ants have megaphones.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"For less than two hundred dollars, Lulu can not only turn your book into a paperback or hardcover and give it an ISBN number, but also ensure that it gets listed with online retailers. Once it's listed, the book will be available to an audience of millions and potentially side-by-side with Harry Potter, if the winds of the recommendation engines blow that way. With Lulu, the copies are printed in batches as small as a few dozen in the inventories replenished as needed the print on demand.... 80% of the profits from the sales go directly to these authors, compared to 15% for standard publishers."
Lulu Corporate Profile:

"Founded in 2002, Lulu is the web's premier independent publishing marketplace for digital do-it-yourselfers. It's the only place on the web where you can publish, sell and buy any and all things digital — books, music, comics, photographs, movies and well, you get the idea. We simply provide the tools that leave control of content in the hands of the people who created the content. You see, Lulu is a technology company, not a publisher. So you can use Lulu to publish and sell any kind of digital content, and no one here is going to ask you to change anything. Ever. Your vision is entirely YOURS.

There is no set-up fee and no minimum order to publish and sell on Lulu. We manage the online business, including printing, delivery and customer service. You set your own royalty for each piece of content, and at the end of each quarter, we'll mail you a check for the royalties your content generates. Lulu makes a small percentage from each transaction, which means that we only make money if you succeed in selling your work.

Lulu was founded by Bob Young, who was also the co-founder of Red Hat, the world's leading open source company. We mention this only because, like Lulu, open source software is based on putting users in control of technology. In much the same way, Lulu believes in putting authors and independent publishers in control of their digital content, from content creation to pricing to royalties. Lulu simply brings creative content to the world and gives our talented publishers and web visitors the venue to buy and sell independent works. Publishing through Lulu leaves control of content in the hands of the people who created it. Pretty revolutionary, really."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sidney Blumenthal: How Bush Rules: Bush's Radicalism is Leading to a GOP Crackup

The Huffington Post

The inescapable signs of disillusionment surrounding the Bush administration in its sixth year, facing a second mid-term election, suggest far more than the usual syndrome of incumbent weariness. These are the rumblings of a regime crisis.

President Bush's whole party bears the burden of his accumulated self-generated difficulties not only because of their overwhelming scale but also because the Republicans have sustained disciplined one-party rule in which congressional oversight has been largely suppressed.
The congressional Republicans' feeble assertion of institutional authority has made changing the Congress the only way to revive it and check and balance Bush's radical presidency during his remaining two years.

Bush's radicalism dominates policy and politics, as I document in my book new How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime.

* * * *

"Bush may contaminate the Republican Party brand for perhaps a generation to come."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Keith Olbermann, This Hole in the Ground

Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and -- as I discovered from those 'missing posters' seared still into my soul -- two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for me this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are 'soft,'or have 'forgotten' the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

See also this reaction to Olbermann's editorial.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Wikipedia Defies China's Censors

The Observer

Wales said censorship was "antithetical to the philosophy of Wikipedia. We occupy a position in the culture that I wish Google would take up, which is that we stand for the freedom for information, and for us to compromise I think would send very much the wrong signal: that there's no one left on the planet who's willing to say 'You know what? We're not going to give up.'"

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Bush: Exploiting, Not Honoring, 9-11

Brent Budowsky: Historians Will Morally Impeach George W. Bush For Exploiting, Not Honoring, 9-11

The Huffington Post

"[I]n our system of government there is one President and Commander in Chief with unique responsibilities and duties. And historians will judge that the greatest lie ever told by any man who ever held that post was this:

"The man who campaigned as the Great Uniter, and declared himself the Great Decider, will burn in history as the Great Divider with all of the catastrophic consequences that are escalating every hour, of every day.

"How pathetic that as the sun begins to set on his failed Presidency, he blames the people of our Nation, saying we have some psychological trauma rather than learning the lessons of his enormous mistakes. He will never understand that a grateful nation would rise with relief, if he only had the wisdom to learn and change, and a grateful world world will rise with relief, when his days in office are done.

"George W. Bush will be impeached by the court of history for using 9-11 to create fear throughout the land, rather than bravery, courage and valor."

Friday, September 08, 2006

Wired 14.09: Netflix Presents...democratizing movies

"At first, Sarandos spent all his time securing rights to rent out films that were playing in theaters. But he was hoping to do more. He floated what he now calls 'a harebrained idea' to produce original content to supplement the company's DVD library. But higher-ups gave him only $100,000 for the project.

'This way you won't feel so bad if it doesn't work out,' Hastings told him - so Sarandos started small. He used the funds to sign obscure, overlooked films that had no theatrical or video distribution.

The first deal - a simple revenue-sharing agreement - was for a low-budget romantic comedy called Nice Guys Sleep Alone. He'd seen it at the 2000 US Comedy Arts Festival, in Aspen, Colorado, and knew that it had languished unsigned for two years. 'It was very funny,' he says. 'Nothing groundbreaking, but it deserved to be seen.' Sarandos told the film's director, Stu Pollard, 'Send me 500 DVDs. Every time it rents, we'll pay you something.' Pollard was eager to comply - he had thousands of copies of the film in his Louisville, Kentucky, garage.

Nice Guys Sleep Alone fared so well with subscribers that Netflix doubled and then quadrupled the order. 'An awful lot of people started renting this no-name title with zero marketing budget,' Pollard says. 'As a result, it was picked up by HBO.'

Since then, the division, called Red Envelope Entertainment after the packaging the discs are delivered in, has boosted the careers of many filmmakers. It struck a deal to distribute Born Into Brothels on DVD six months before the movie won an Oscar for best documentary. Sarandos also points to the success of Open Hearts, a picture by Susanne Bier, whom he calls 'the most popular romantic-comedy director in Denmark.' It bombed theatrically in the US but did so well on Netflix that Sony is considering picking it up for wider DVD distribution."


The technology that makes Netflix profitable and Red Envelope viable is the company's recommendation system, which Sarandos swears skirts the annoyances of similar software used by a certain popular ecommerce site. ("I went through a divorce," he says, "and I bought a book on about coping with it. Now you would think I'm a divorce psychologist – those are the only suggestions I get.") Netflix's version is more effective, he says, because it has more data: During the same period that an Amazon customer might select one or two purchases, a Netflix user may select a dozen DVDs. And subscribers are surprisingly eager to rate the films they view – they've already submitted in excess of 1 billion ratings, an average of 200 per person. With rich data like that, the company can develop sophisticated profiles to anticipate preferences and tastes. "It can tell that you liked The Godfather because you love family immigrant pics, and I liked it because I enjoy gangster flicks," Sarandos says. "So the next film suggested to you will be Avalon, and the next one for me will be Scarface."

Knowing so much about your customers makes acquiring unknown film properties a little less risky. It's also how Netflix determined that a critical mass of subscribers across the country – particularly the ones who loved Garden State and Sideways – would probably like The Puffy Chair, and that a critical mass of subscribers in Boston, San Francisco, and five other cities would actually trek to theaters to see it.


Naraghi is cautious about original productions. Even if a filmmaker is eager to strike a deal, Netflix will still have to wade through a morass of details – clearing music rights, remastering the film, creating menus and bonus features – for everything it signs. "There's a limit to the appetite of the company," Naraghi says. Hastings is much more enthusiastic. He maintains that original content will be an increasing part of the company's strategy from now on. Netflix will distribute finished movies, help filmmakers complete their pictures, and even collaborate on projects that are still on the drawing board. "We're agnostic about what stage of creation the film is in," Hastings says. "That can mean some production, some finishing funds – a whole continuum." He also outlines a scenario that outstrips Sarandos' lofty vision of acquiring every picture that plays at Sundance. "About 3,000 films are submitted; only 100 or so get in," Hastings says. Ultimately, Netflix wants to be able to pick and choose from the 3,000 submissions, he explains, and maybe even allow moviemakers to circumvent the festivals altogether.

There's a link two clicks away from the homepage where anyone can submit a movie for possible distribution. Netflix will not only rent it out, but may get it into theaters and then help you shoot your next flick. Soon the only barrier to success for filmmakers will be lack of talent.

Open Letter to ABC: Don't Airbrush 9/11

Open Letter to ABC: Don't Airbrush 9/11

What's this all about?ABC/Disney plans to memorialize the fifth anniversary of 9/11 with a fictional docudrama called "The Path to 9/11". Written by an avowed right-wing activist, this work of fiction directly contradicts the accepted record of the 9/11 Commission Report. President Clinton and former administration officials were denied an advance copy; Rush Limbaugh and obscure right-wing bloggers saw it last week. ABC plans to distribute this docudrama to 100,000 educators across the country. We've set up this site to encourage ABC to change its strategy. READ MORE.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Scholastic Responds To ABC's "Path to 9/11" Controversy

The Huffington Post

In a statement released late this afternoon, education publishing giant Scholastic announced it is permanently withdrawing the materials it originally created for classroom use in conjunction with The Path to 9/11. Materials that Media Matters for America first noted, was "rife with conservative misinformation."

According to Scholastic Chairman, President and CEO Dick Robinson, the materials "did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues." New materials will be posted tomorrow. Additionally, the new materials will make clear Scholastic had no involvement in the development of The Path to 9/11 and that the company is not promoting the primetime mini-series.

the geebus science & health

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

''Bush's Brain,'' Explosive Documentary on Karl Rove today announced that BeBe Films, Inc. and have concluded an exclusively-for-download distribution agreement for the online release of the documentary Bush's Brain -- one of the landmark political films of the last several years. Bush's Brain examines Karl Rove, the "Wizard of Oz" of Republican politics and the architect of the Republican campaign to maintain control of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. The movie is based on the best-selling book of the same name.

The exclusively-for-download online distribution will use's patent-pending "Download-to-Own" electronic distribution technology, managed on the customer side by the IndiePix Disc Factory. The technology makes it possible for both Windows XP and Mac OS-X users to download a film onto a DVD -- an industry first.

Directed by Michael Paradies Shoob and Joseph Mealey, Bush's Brain premiered at the South-by-Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas in March 2004, and was released theatrically and on commercial DVD shortly thereafter. The "Download-to-Own" release is a new edit and features as an exclusive DVD extra a recent extended interview with Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV, husband of former CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose identity was revealed by arch-conservative columnist Robert Novak which in turn led to the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, longtime aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Space Elevator Competition

The Observer World Nasa hopes to catch an elevator to space:
courtesy the eye

In a few weeks, scientists from across the world will gather in the New Mexico desert to compete for one of the strangest - and most ambitious - technological competitions ever devised.
Some researchers will unveil robots, powered by solar panels, that will climb long lengths of cable. Others will demonstrate materials so light and strong that mile-long stretches of the stuff could be hung in the air without snapping. And some will highlight their plans to launch satellites carrying sets of mini-probes tethered together, to discover how they behave in space.
All these different projects are united by one extraordinary goal: to build a stairway to heaven.


(Scientific American, Oct, 1994 with some minor revisions)

If you understand something in only one way, then you don't really understand it at all. This is because, if something goes wrong, you get stuck with a thought that just sits in your mind with nowhere to go. The secret of what anything means to us depends on how we've connected it to all the other things we know. This is why, when someone learns 'by rote,' we say that they don't really understand. However, if you have several different representations then, when one approach fails you can try another. Of course, making too many indiscriminate connections will turn a mind to mush. But well-connected representations let you turn ideas around in your mind, to envision things from many perspectives until you find one that works for you. And that's what we mean by thinking!"

-Marvin Minsky

Source: Will Robots Inherit the Earth?

Friday, September 01, 2006

My goals for are to shine a spotlight on questionable companies, to build an audience through unique, compelling stories and to generate multimedia content for other outlets, including HDNet and HDNet Films.

Unlike mainstream media outlets, we’re going to have a clear bias – against deception and corruption. We’re going to depart from the traditional “he said, she said’’ model of journalism, with its false balance and toothless objectivity.

We’re going to name names and show our evidence, by linking to documents, photographs and other information. We think that approach provides greater transparency than most newspapers, broadcast outlets and Internet news sites currently offer.

Source: Welcome to the Jungle

Who we are

My name is Christopher Carey. I’m editor and president. I’ve been a business reporter for more than two decades, most recently at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I specialize in digging through SEC filings, court records and other documents to find information that companies try to bury, and in tracking the activities of known securities-law violators.

Mark Cuban, the majority partner in, is co-founder of and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. His other holdings include HDNet (a leading high-definition television network), HDNet Films, 2929 Entertainment, Magnolia Pictures and Landmark Theatres.

also see this interesting post from Mark Cuban's blog.

"The Knowledge 2.0 bubble is exploding, and it cannot burst."

What we are up to here is actually Knowledge 2.0, and it is at least a millennial trend, and it shows every indication of having anthropologic impact. That is, Knowledge 2.0 is changing the definition of what it is to be a modern human, individually and collectively.

When so much knowledge — which includes art, bad music, data, goofy photos, deep insights, personal diatribes, porn, all the books ever written, satellite images of Earth, and spam — is so easily available and categorized and stored and commented on, and when the barriers to finding at least some information on just about anything are so low … well, something is definitely different.

Source: » Scrap Web 2.0, yes, but embrace Knowledge 2.0 surely Dana Gardner's BriefingsDirect

via Rough Sort

Poking a Stick Into The 'Hive Mind'

By Steven Levy

Jaron Lanier is a man of many talents--virtual-reality pioneer, New Age composer, visual artist and artificial-intelligence scientist. Now Lanier has taken on another role: dyspeptic critic of the surging trend of digital collectivism, an ethic that celebrates and exploits the ability of the Web to aggregate the preferences and behaviors of millions of people. In a recent essay posted on the Web site (posted to the geebus here), Lanier disparages the recent spate of efforts that rely on conscious collaboration (like the anyone-can-participate online reference work Wikipedia) or passive polling (the so-called meta sites like Digg, which draw on user response to rank news articles and blog postings). To Lanier, these represent an alarming decision-rejecting individual expression and creativity to become part of a faceless mob.


Lanier's widely circulated online rant was the equivalent of poking a stick into a beehive—or, more specifically, the much-celebrated "hive mind" of the modern Internet. Books like James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds and Kevin Kelly's Out of Control have provided a philosophical underpinning for the idea that the world benefits when people participate in unpredictable, emergent enterprises. Google's search engine uses the linking behavior of the entire Web to determine the relevance of search queries. The open-source movement believes that the bottom-up method of software development is more effective than when elite designers dictate what code should be written.

But the output of such efforts, says Lanier, is often a mundane reflection of the lowest common denominator, an inevitable consequence, he writes, of the "stupid and boring" hive mind. Not surprisingly, the targets of his criticism are crying foul.

"Lanier is objecting to the writing style of the Wikipedia being neutral rather than biased," says Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's cofounder. Wales admits that sometimes the lack of an all-controlling editor leads Wikipedia to sometimes indefensible imbalances (for instance, the entry on "Star Trek"'s Mr. Spock is more than twice as long as the item about Flaubert). But he contends that's just a temporary effect of the geeky flavor of the burgeoning Wikipedia community in this early stage. Author Kevin Kelly also thinks that Lanier's criticism is off base. "The hive mind can't do everything, but it's not stupid and boring," he says. "There's no evidence that it subsumes individual expression."