A few weeks ago, while our car honked its way through dense traffic in Delhi, I imagined an Onion headline: American Visitor Seeks To Explain What He’ll Never Understand About India.
By the norms of traffic laws in countries where people’s tendency is largely to obey them, vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the dense parts of Indian cities appears to be chaotic to an extreme. Yet it’s clearly at least … well, organic. People do seem to go where they want, individually and collectively. Somehow. Some way. Or ways. Many of them. Alone and together. Never mind that a four-lane divided highway will have traffic moving constantly, occasionally in both directions on both sides—and that it includes humans, dogs, cattle, rickshaws and bikes, some laden with bags of cargo that look like they belong in a truck, in addition to cars, trucks and motorcycles, all packed together and honking constantly.
Continue reading "On presuming competence"
Here’s the latest VIIRS data, on the most active parts of the Thomas Fire, mapped on Google Earth Pro:That’s 1830 Mountain Standard Time, or 5:30pm Pacific. About half an hour ago as I write this.
And here are the evacuation areas:
Our home is in the orange Voluntary Evacuation area, and we made a round trip from LA to prepare the house as best we could, gather some stuff and go. Here’s a photo album of the trip, and one of the last sights we saw on our way out of town:
This, I believe, was a fire break created on the up-slope side of Toro Canyon.
This afternoon I caught a community meeting broadcast on KEYT, Santa Barbara’s local TV station, which has been very aggressive and responsible in reporting on the fire. I can’t find a recording of that now on the site, but Continue reading "An evacuated view on the #ThomasFire"
The original version of this ran as a comment under Francine Hardaway‘s Medium post titled Have we progressed at all in the last fifty years?
My short answer is “Yes, but not much, and not evenly.” This is my longer answer.
In your case and mine, it has taken the better part of a century to see how some revolutions take generations to play out. Not only won’t we live to see essential revolutions complete; our children and grandchildren may not either.
Take a topic not on your list: racial equality—or moving past race altogether as a Big Issue. To begin to achieve racial equality in the U.S., we fought the Civil War. The result was various degrees of liberation for the people who had been slaves or already freed in Union states; but apartheid of both the de jure and de facto kind persisted. Jim Continue reading "Revolutions take time"
That’s the question asked by Quora here
I’ve camped on our planet for awhile now, so I wrote a few answers
. Here they are:
I doubt people learn the following lessons “most often” or “too late,” but I still hope they help.
- The purpose of life is death. Death produces materials that add beyond measure to feed and sustain more life, and add to the abundance and variety of everything that can be named, and far more that can’t. Most of our building materials rely on death. Without death, no limestone, marble, travertine, chalk, chert, peat or coal. No wood, no concrete, no oil, gas or metals smelted and shaped with heat. Helium, one of the most abundant elements in the universe, is produced on Earth only as a byproduct of rotting organic matter. By making use of carbon, life produces even more useful forms of carbon by producing abundances of death. Continue reading "What are the lessons people most often learn too late in life?"
Nobody is going to own podcasting.
By that I mean nobody is going to trap it in a silo. Apple tried, first with its podcasting feature in iTunes, and again with its Podcasts app. Others have tried as well. None of them have succeeded, or will ever succeed, for the same reason nobody has ever owned the human voice, or ever will. (Other, of course, than their own.)
Because podcasting is about the human voice. It’s humans talking to humans. Voices to ears and voices to voices—because listeners can talk too. They can speak back. And forward. Lots of ways.
Podcasting is one way for markets to have conversations
; but the podcast market itself can’t be bought or controlled, because it’s not a market. Or an “industry.” Instead, like the Web, email and other graces of open protocols on the open Internet, podcasting is NEA: Nobody owns it, Continue reading "Open Word—The Podcasting Story"
Imagine you’re on a busy city street where everybody who disagrees with you disappears.
We have that city now. It’s called media—especially the social kind.
You can see how this works on Wall Street Journal
‘s Blue Feed, Red Feed
page. Here’s a screen shot of the feed for “Hillary Clinton”
(one among eight polarized topics):
Both invisible to the other.
We didn’t have that in the old print and broadcast worlds, and still don’t, where they persist. (For example, on news stands, or when you hit SCAN on a car radio.)
But we have it in digital media.
Here’s another difference: a lot of the stuff that gets shared is outright fake. There’s a lot of concern
about that right now:
Why? Well, there’s a business in it. More eyeballs, more advertising, more money, for more eyeballs for more advertising. And so on.
Those ads are aimed
Continue reading "Exploring the business behind digital media’s invisibility cloaks"
My great friend and mentor Doc Searls posted a poignant eulogy to Leonard Cohen.
I had no idea he felt the same way I do about his music.
Through the soundtrack of my life, nobody else taught more about how to be a man, a lover, and a human being with one foot in the temporary world and the other in eternity.
p dir="ltr">I’ve listened over and over to all of his albums. I especially like “The Future” and “Ten New Songs.” His new album—“Songs from a Room” is also fabulous.
His music played a huge role in getting me through many a tough time, A Thousand Kisses Deep.
The ponies run,
the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while, and then it’s done –
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as Continue reading "A Thousand Kisses Deep"
At the Internet Identity Workshop last week, I met a wonderful person named Mei Lin. She is so passionate about bringing technology to what she refers to as “the next 1.5 billion.”
Mei and Doc were also fast friends.
She sent me an outline of her thinking.
Stop now and go to TimeWellSpent.io
, where @TristanHarris
, the guy on the left above, has produced and gathered much wisdom about a subject most of us think little about and all of us cannot value more: our time
Both of us will be co-investing some time tomorrow afternoon at the @BerkmanCenter
, talking about Tristan’s work and visiting the question he raises above with guidance from S.J. Klein
(Shortlink for the event: http://j.mp/8thix
. And a caution: it’s a small room.)
So, to help us get started, here’s a quick story, and a context in the dimension of time…
Many years ago a reporter told me a certain corporate marketing chief “abuses the principle of instrumentality.”
Totally knocked me out. I mean, nobody in marketing talked much about “influencers” then. Instead it was “contacts.” This reporter was one of those. And he was exposing something
Continue reading "Toward an ethics of influence"
an anonymous somebody asked, My IQ is 131. Can I get into MIT?
Yeah, it’s easy to call that a dumb question. But it’s the kind of question you get from somebody trapped in a caste system that cries out for a larger perspective, such as this one:
Anyway, here’s my answer
You don’t have an IQ. Nobody does, because intelligence isn’t a quotient. It is the most personal of all human characteristics, and is as different in all of us as our faces and voices.
For the nothing it’s worth, my known IQ scores have an eighty point range. (Got most of ’em from my Mom, who taught in the same school system.) All they measured, if anything, was how tired or awake I was, and how much I enjoyed or hated being tested at some point in time. And none of them mattered, except Continue reading "Moron the IQ myth (pun intended)"
That headline just came to me and I don’t want to lose it. So I’ll post it now and fill in the large blank below later.
This is for Christopher Baker.
Chris was nine years old when a friend shot him through the head by mistake, using a gun the friend’s father kept for protection. Chris was a great kid: fun-loving, kind and athletic. In the open casket at his funeral, he wore a baseball cap that covered the fatal wound. The hole in his parents hearts would never be filled. Chris was their only child, and they never had another.
If Chris had lived, he would have been forty-two years old now. Instead, for those who remember him, he’ll always be nine.
If you think I’m about to go into an argument for gun control, be disappointed, because I don’t have one. Like millions of others who know innocent victims of gunfire, I feel grief and despair. Unlike many or most of them, I have no answer.
As Gideon Litchfield writes in Quartz
, There Continue reading "Forever nine"
I’ll be on a webinar this morning talking with folks about The Intention Economy and the Rise in Customer Power
. That link goes to my recent post about it on the blog of Modria
, the VRM
company hosting the event.
It’s at 9:30am Pacific time. Read more about it and register to attend here
. There it also says “As a bonus, all registered attendees will receive a free copy of Doc’s latest book, The Intention Economy: How Customers Are Taking Charge
in either printed or Kindle format.”
See/hear you there/then.
We know shit.
I mean, in respect to the Everything that surrounds us, and the culture in which we are pickled from start to finish, what we know rounds to nothing and is, with the provisional exception of the subjects and people we study and love, incomplete and therefore somewhere between questionable and wrong.
But we can’t operate in the present without some regard for the future, which brings me to a comparison of futurist related ideologies
, from H+pedia
, which was new to me when I saw this in a post to a list I’m on:
Here is my reply to the same list:
Must we all be “ists?”
I mean, is a historian a “pastist?”
I’m into making the future better than the present by understanding everything I can. Most of what I can understand is located in the past, but I’ve only lived through Continue reading "What everything isn’t"
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
— Mahatma Gandhi
I’m not sure if Gandhi actually said that. Somebody did. My best human chance of finding who said it — or at least of gaining a learned enlargement on the lesson — would have been David Sallis. “Big Davy” didn’t know everything, but he came closer than anybody else I know, and he was a living exemplar of Gandhi’s advice.
Davy’s answer would have been knowing, clever and enlarged by a joke, a wild story or both. Alas, I can’t ask him, because he died last Friday of a stroke he suffered a few days earlier. He was just 56, and is survived by his wife Margaret and daughter Rosie —
— both of whom he adored absolutely — and by countless friends and colleagues who remain shocked and saddened by
Continue reading "Remembering Big Davy"
Pam Dingle captured this great picture at the IDENTIFY conference in London. Thank you Pam!
Here is the current perimeter of the Valley Fire
, according to the USGS’ GEOMAC viewer
As you see, no places are identified there. One in particular, however, is of extremely special interest to me: Harbin Hot Springs. It is where I met my wife and more friends than I can count. It is also one of the most lovely places on Earth, inhabited and lovingly maintained by wonderful people.
I just matched up a section of the map above with Google Maps’ Earth view, and see that Harbin and its neighborhood are in the perimeter:
Still we’re talking about a perimeter here. Not everything within one burns. Harbin is mostly in a valley. Could be the fire jumped from ridge to ridge and missed it. But I suspect that instead we are looking at very sad news here, especially after seeing this picture here
, which looks northwest
Continue reading "Valley Fire losses"
Pursue Good Profits
Life is short.
A fair profit comes from the melding of resources such that the results are worth more than the sum of the inputs. This is the point in which true “value creation” happens. Good profits don’t come from charging customers just because you can at a particular moment in time – say an emergency. This is price gouging. Beyond being illegal in most circumstances, it is also a sign of an opportunistic company thinking only of the short term. Good profits leave both transacting parties in a place of satisfaction. The pursuit of fair profits speaks to the integrity of an organization across multiple dimensions.
If you have leverage over a customer and you use it unfairly, customers will pay you back at their earliest opportunity (e.g. think Blockbusters late return fee policy in the age of Netflix and video on demand.) If Continue reading "My Leadership Philosophy"
Look where Meerkat
point. I mean, historically. They vector toward a future where anybody anywhere can send live video out to the glowing rectangles
of the world.
If you’ve looked at the output of either, several things become clear about their inevitable evolutionary path:
- Mobile phone/data systems will get their gears stripped, in both directions. And it will get worse before it gets better.
- Stereo sound recording is coming. Binaural recording too. Next…
- 3D. Mobile devices in a generation or two will include two microphones and two cameras pointed toward the subject being broadcast. Next…
- VR, or virtual reality.
Since walking around like a dork holding a mobile in front of you shouldn’t be the only way to produce these videos, glasses like these are inevitable
(That’s a placeholder design in the public domain, so it has no IP drag, other than whatever submarine patents already exist, and I am Continue reading "We can all make TV. Now what?"
So I just learned
that a Kansas City Jazz
station is headed toward existence. If you love any of these musicians
, this should be very good news.
The story begins,
By this time next year, Kansas City-style jazz might be bebopping out of a new radio station near you.
The Mutual Musicians Foundation in the 18th and Vine jazz district announced this week it’s been granted a construction permit for a noncommercial, low-power FM radio station. The foundation is hoping the KC jazz station, at 104.7 FM, will be on the air by next January.
It will be called KOJH-LP
. LP stands for low power, or what the FCC calls LPFM
. Here’s the application
for what’s now a granted CP, or Construction Permit.
In fact there is a jazz station called KOJH
already — a streaming one in Oklahoma. Though it’s not a licensed radio station, it may have inherited those call letters from one. (I’ve looked, but haven’t been able to tell. Maybe the lazyweb knows.)
Here’s the station’s mission, filed with the FCC
. Continue reading "Local jazz radio coming to Kansas City"