A rare physics section heading

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you can’t escape the drama

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Rule #1 of parting ways with one’s film / project / company : make a flashy exit.  It’s expected.  passing out letters to every coworker except an isolated few is ok; a surprise announcement at a large convocation, or in some other public place, is even better.  Bonus points for catching the fringe of a press conference, but calling your own ruins the whole thing.

Rule #2 : separation anxiety loves company.  remind everyone how invaluable you were.  explicit pointers to personal feats can’t hurt; some people have short memories.  leave a personal note for anyone who has indicated they wouldn’t know what to do without you.  don’t be mean; it’s more effective to be regretful.

Rule #3 : find a suitable fall-guy.  suggest that he/they are directly responsible for any troubles, not just your own.  personal dramas are so declasse.   make sure this is something fundamental, institutional, endemic.  If your company has many branches or regions, it should touch on all of them.   extend the analogy to previous companies touched by the same person or group; this is no place for understatement.

Rule #4 : exit early, exit often.  every transition is an opportunity, make the most of this one.  two Oprah appearances is too many, but you can have as many late-night television spots as you can stomach.

Transparent support, opaque ballots

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There’s an awkward tension between transparent campaign contributions (including address!) and hidden ballots. Someone should describe in detail the case for (not making contributions private) and for (not making votes public), in parallel fashion, to help hash this out. It reminds me of half-understood notions of “obvious” privacy and transparency rights that come up in publishing, personal data security, knowledge sharing, group communication, and public event/discussion rebroadcasting. Perhaps what is most awkward about this tension is that it is rarely presented as something up for debate. It is taken for granted that the Earth is at the center of the galaxy evolution is a fact, not a theory an election without hidden ballots isn’t “free”.

In my limited experience, I have seen every combination of {type of event, personal philosophy/politics of commentator, controlled-or-transparent, nuanced-or-obvious} presented as an argument. Of one thing I’m certain : none of the combinations that claim that combination is “obvious” or a “natural right” are correct, inasmuch as noone knows how to assess what is natural or what memes work well they become universal.

I had pause to think about this all tonight when I ran across the following brilliant combination of copious detailed contribution data with a good map visualization (including color combinations and paint effects!): FundRace  http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neigh…)

FundRace search and neighbors views

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There’s an awkward tension between transparent campaign contributions (including address!) and hidden ballots. Someone should describe in detail the case for (not making contributions private) and for (not making votes public), in parallel fashion, to help hash this out. It reminds me of half-understood notions of “obvious” privacy and transparency rights that come up in publishing, personal data security, knowledge sharing, group communication, and public event/discussion rebroadcasting. Perhaps what is most awkward about this tension is that it is rarely presented as something up for debate. It is taken for granted that the Earth is at the center of the galaxy evolution is a fact, not a theory an election without hidden ballots isn’t “free”.

In my limited experience, I have seen every combination of {type of event, personal philosophy/politics of commentator, controlled-or-transparent, nuanced-or-obvious} presented as an argument. Of one thing I’m certain : none of the combinations that claim that combination is “obvious” or a “natural right” are correct, inasmuch as noone knows how to assess what is natural or what memes work well they become universal.

I had pause to think about this all tonight when I ran across the following brilliant combination of copious detailed contribution data with a good map visualization (including color combinations and paint effects!):  FundRace  http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neigh…)

Holiday giving : One Laptop per Child and Geek

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In moments of respite, I have enjoyed the influx of new interest in OLPC from communities of all sorts this month as our Give 1 Get 1 program has rolled out.  The interest has grown steadily over the past 10 days, from individuals, families, schools and larger groups; and the program is now continuing through the end of the year.

I will try to capture some of the specific ideas and hopes of contributing groups next month, since what they want most of all is to make a difference and to find others doing the same; and since not everyone is keen on writing up their giving and mentoring ideas on a publicly-editable website… If you have questions of your own, or posts to share, you are welcome to include them here or there.  (If you are keen on posting here anything about the long now we are living, and missed my post from years back explaining how to do that, let me know and I can post for you or get you an account.)

SJ

Wikipedia’s glory and golden geese

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Erik Moeller posted an interesting essay today on why Wikipedia and ads don’t mix.  I think the argument is much stronger than Erik makes it out to be.  He leaves out three key points:

1) Being ad-free is the most visible way in which Wikipedia does the right thing where the rest of the Internet has been mired in half-hearted compromises for many years.  Wikipedia challenges its visitors to stop viewing the Internet as a series of commercial tubes where utility and truth takes a back seat to ads; and to start viewing it as a tool they can use to fix things themselves.  Just as Wikipedia implements two-way links, provides strong attribution and history preservation for public data, and provides true transclusion, it separates neutral presentation of relevant material from bias, flame wars, and advertising. These are the project’s greatest advantages, and should be strengthened, not weakened.  It is embarrassing to seriously consider sacrificing such a strength for any reason.

2) Ads are an inefficient way to support such a vibrant site — like spreading Miracle-Gro on a mossy knoll in the rainforest, because you want flowers to grow there instead of moss.   They sap the very lifeblood of a site intended for collaboration: they reduce the usable space on-screen, space used avidly by its readers and contributors.  And they develop nothing in the way of lasting artefacts or community.

3) Ads obscure the great moral lesson of the projects: the self-sufficiency that they have long embodied.  This is the first in a modern line of societal triumphs that have existed in every age : the coordination of large portions of civilization to achieve things unimaginable by small groups.  Finding a way to empower the rest of Wikipedia’s supporters to directly contribute to its mission, rather than forcing significant contributions through the seive of finance, is necessary to sustain this triumph. There are many popular global sites, and there will be many more, but the self-sufficient vitality and transparency of Wikipedia is yet unique.

Wikipedia needs resources now only because it is handling so many resources — millions of hours of talented in-kind support each year.  Time and again, this sort of problem has been resolved by asking the same community whose growth brings on these concerns to fix it, using both edges of growth’s sword.

We know best those supporters who have excelled at sharing their support through our most efficient channels : the tools of the wiki itself.  They are only a tenth of one percent of the community of active users, however.   We should find ways to tap into the interest of the other 99.9% — some of who, for instance, might not find it difficult to directly address the core hardware and bandwidth needs of the projects.
I wonder what would happen if Wikipedia spent a few days of banner space asking not for individual donations, but for in-kind offers to sponsor our hardware and bandwidth needs.  I would be surprised if we did not see a number of large companies offering what they could.

frankage priveleges

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Zefrank, just now discovered thanks to MarkD and my wikimates, is unfabulouslybelievable. Instacredibilious. Click when it says “click here for the show”.  Gotta run; take a peek and tell me if it isn’t so.

Frozen beauty

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Beauty in sections : the VIB, a German Wikimania report,  and more…

Offroading.

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Get up, get off, and get down. Amazing grace in a filesharing system.

Secret strength

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The secrets of strength are manifold, and often lie outside the attributed.  One might say this is fundamental to strength, as opposed to force.

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