Memetica
Saturday, October 30, 2004

The New York Times covers the signing ceremony of the European Constitution. 450 million people joined voluntarily to create the largest peacful social experiment.
 
Friday, October 29, 2004
Memetics experiments around the elections
The enblogment by Lessig of Kerry is becoming a full blown applied memetics experiment, in both establishing the power of weblogs in spreading a neologism, and in establishing their influence. Winer's page tracking the enblogments of the various candidates, and the Google tracker he posted will measure the spreading in the blogosphere, and on the web.

I wrote a Wikipedia entry for the verb "to enblog", and recorded the birth process of the meme.
 
A disenfranchised view of past feelings
I remember when Gorbachev would talk about a connected world around 1987. It felt new, as his policies, and his hope of progressive reform.

What a difference now! Anybody seeing today that the US unilateral policies and interventionist stances are a danger to the world, feel that while only US citizens are going to vote in their elections, what all the world thinks does matter. Anybody sees this, but "You don't have the permission to access" Bush.

As Lessig writes, "so that the reality of November 3 doesn’t distort the views of where we are today", I want to record my endorsement for John Kerry. (Which is also my enblogment, as invented by Lessig, and pressed ahead by Dave Winer.)
 
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Universal identity service with Identity Commons
You can contact me now, and apparently for the next 50 years (based on the assumption that the service, the world, and I will all be there), at the universal handle =David.Orban, which is my i-name. (A recently introduced global system by Identity Commons, and the 2idi, an i-broker, based on open data sharing standards respectful of privacy.)

I-names aim to represent a contact point by all means, email, phone, fax, etc. , and to enable location management, single sign-on to websites, trusted social networking, and more.

I know the first thing I want from it: to become the foundation of portable , transparent, and open reputation systems.
 
Monday, October 25, 2004
Lexical analysis of debates lets the memes shine through
The Osservatorio of Pavia publishes the report of a lexical analysis of the US Presidential debates (pdf), that represents the words used on a very clear graph of Simple-Complex and Rational-Emotional axes.

The frequency of the words used, and their grouping into clusters of meaning let the authors of the report show the main themes covered, and ethical and moral values expressed in an objective and scientific manner. The report is based on an algorithmic lexical analysis called Alceste 4.0, which can be applied to any text.

Is this a reproducible approach to semantic classification of non-structured human discourse? What could the linking of this analysis to Google's APIs bring us to? Could a thorough system of memetic classification emerge?
 
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Soon a Creative Commons based broadcast content in the Netherlands?
Coverage by Alex Steffen at WorldChanging of an article by Figueiredo in DMeurope.com of a conference involving Creative Commons, and future proposals by Dutch parlamentarians for the release under CC licenses of all publicly financed broadcast content in The Netherlands.

Public creativity leveraging content produced with publicly financed projects is appropriate, and overdue. Will joint media projects with companies opposing this kind of approach suffer once CC is going to be seen as "tainting " the content? A good comparison should be the requirement of publicly financed scientific research being freely available in the US.
 
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Italy's more than half corrupt?
Ok. That sounds pretty provocative. But how should one interpret the results of the latest Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International? Italy, where I live, is at the 42nd place with a score of 4.8 on a scale of 10. It is humbling to see the world's sixth biggest economy achieve its position with the hindrance of public sector more corrupt than that of, to take a few examples, Botswana, Chile, or Uruguay. Imagine what Italy could do if it had a system working smoothly and cleanly!
 
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Charming side of Italian anarchy as seen from the outside
We were in my car with Joi Ito tonight driving to have a few drinks after his panel at IBTS (yes, that was the name of the conference even if he didn't seem to know :-), and he remarked how amusing it was to find Italy as he expected: creative, flexible, and pretty anarchic in finding its solutions without sticking too much to the rules.

I told him when I was in Naples teaching Prolog to people from a lab at an aerospace company there. This was at the end of the '80s. If Italy is different, well, Naples is from an other planet! Rules often don't apply in Italy, and in that city is worse: they might apply in the reverse. I was in a car being driven around the city as we were talking about how difficult it was to change people's behaviour (a common symptom in Italy when you are touching a nerve, retracting into fatalism), and the example was traffic, and stoplights. Since people don't at all respect the traffic lights, when you drive in Naples you are bound to pay a lot of attention when you are crossing with green, since you know any moment someboy could shoot through on red. As my host was commenting while driving on this paradoxical reversal of rules arising from universal disrespect for rules, he came to a stoplight on red, and without realizing he actually stopped the car. Immediately the car behind us started honking: "Come on, go on, it is only a red light!"

This is a first hand experience: post some comments, if you have more. There is also a wonderful book about Naples, its loveable people, and their philosophy of life: "Thus Spake Bellavista" (out of print on Amazon), "Così parlò Bellavista" (in Italian).
 
Saturday, October 09, 2004
Trust relationships need breathing space
Ebay is a great closed garden. So great a lot of people don't have a feeling of enclosure. However, trust relationships need breathing space (as John Battelle writes on Ebay before drifting to sleep), and other companies, for example Google, good be well positioned achieving this with implementations of the Semantic Web, as analyses by an article on Ftrain.
 
Ideas fighting it out in the scarce resource of a mind.

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