Tuesday, November 30, 2004



Wired has a story on Wikinews. This service allows netizens to draft and publish news articles. One thing that is really cool is the listing of articles currently being drafted.

Just think about all of the eyewitnesses to events--both large and small. Not only can they blog the story, they can contribute to a news publication. The implications are staggering. Every macro-, mezzo-, and micro-community can be self-documenting. Pity the poor historians 100 years from now!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


"X" Oriented Programming

I was looking for information on "services oriented programming" and came across a proposal for "table oriented programming." The proposal seems to be well thought out and addresses an important issue. I am not sure it is robust enough to create a commercially successful implementation. A better approach might be to propose these kinds of structures and functions be adopted by an existing language standard.

Monday, November 22, 2004


"Disordered Cogitations"

I searched Technorati for the title of my blog--Disordered Cogitations--and it couldn't find it. I searched for acadac and it found my postings here. I searched for "watermelon park" and found the posting at the beginning of my blog. So I conclude Technorati indexes the content of blogs, but not their titles.

Google does not index blogs by policy. Too many blogroll links mess up their algorithm. So in order to make the term "Disordered Cogitations" visible to Google and Technorati, I have to put those works in the text of my blog and on a web page somewhere in the WWW.

This blog does show up in the fantasy blog shares market called Blogshares.

I also discovered the first external link to this blog at WayPath. Though the link seems to have been lost when they re-indexed.


The Infography

The Infography (in-fóg-ra-phy) is a great reference site. It asks experts to list a number of superlative references in particular subject areas. It is growing (which is another way to say that it did not have information on particular odd subjects, such as Lady Jane Grey or J2EE or the psychological construct of "insufficient adjustment"). It did have 52 results for computer science, 122 results for psychology and 80 results for British history.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Google Scholar

Today, Google has introduced Google Scholar. What a great resource. It does a great job of listing the title and authors. It also retrieves citations, which is wonderful. Unfortunately, it does not (yet) index two academic journals in which I have published, Political Methodology and Politics and the Life Sciences. Publication 1 and Publication 2.

I did discover that an unpublished paper I co-authored with one of my professors has been cited 9 times!

Google Scholar exemplifies what I quoted Doc Searls saying earlier today.


Doc Searls on Content

Doc Searls web log contains an insight worth repeating.

Google's PageRank, which organizes search results, doesn't treat linkable goods as "content," but rather as sources. The value of those sources is ranked by authority, determined by pointage from other sources, each of which are also ranked in the same way.

Keep "authority" mind as we revisit something I wrote more than four years ago:

Hackers didn't build the Net for business. They built it for research. They wanted to make it easy for people to inform each other, no matter who or where they were.

Several days ago Tim O'Reilly and I were talking about information, which is a noun derived from the verb to form. We use information, literally, to form each other. So, if we are in the market for information, we are asking to be formed by other people. In other words, we are authors of each other. It follows that the best information is the kind that changes us most. If we want to know something — if we are in the market for knowledge — we demand to be changed.

That change is growth. Our identity persists, yet who-we-are becomes larger, because we know more. And the more we know, the more valuable we become. This value isn't a "brand" (a nasty word that comes to us from the cattle industry). It's reputation.

What these hackers made was an extraordinarily vast and efficient market for knowledge — a wide-open marketspace for information — where everybody gets to participate, to contribute, to grow, and to increase the value of their own reputations.

That's what's still behind the new ecosystem in which old news organizations need to find a new way.

The notion that ingesting someone else's knowledge fuels our individual growth, which leads us to contribute knowledge, which in turn defines our reputation and helps others to grow is a very empowering "complexity theory" principle. It rings true.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Blurring the Physical with the Cyber

A Reuters piece on Yahoo News reports a website that will allow people to hunt deer over the internet. The Fish and Game people are worried they don't have regulations that covers hunters who are not in physical proximity with the prey.

What fascinates me is the blur between the physical world and the cyber world.

It started with connecting passive sensors to the internet (the wave height off La Jolla Beach, for example). It moves to interacting with web'd objects (household devices that come with built in IP addresses and web servers). And now we have non-web'd devices like these guns that we can control across the web. What's next? Self-organizing wireless dust networks.

We are going to need more address space than IPv6 is going to give us.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Celebrity Sighting

Yesterday, we went to a performance of Mozart's Requiem at the Kenneday Center . The performance was breathtaking. The arrangement was from 1993 and the latter sections differed from the traditional versions by bringing out the voices more strongly.

As an added delight, we noticed Condoleezza Rice (the National Security Advisor) come in with two friends and two body guards. Dr. Rice and her friends seemed to really enjoy themselves, while one body guard was reading a book and the other was napping.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Welcome Welkin!

Slashdot notes that a browser for the Semantic Web, named Welkin, has been released by MIT.

The semantic web is a framework for describing web content (RDF) that enbles computing resources to process knowledge linkages (in comparison to HTML, which enables humans to process page linkages).


Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Cold North Wind

Cold North Wind has technology to create searchable archives of full-page images of newspapers.

For a fee, you can search their archives of over 8 million pages. Their demo looks cool. I looked up Washington Post reporting of the Cuban Missile Crisis.


Purple County Election Results

Robert J. Vanderbei, Princeton University, has a county level voting results map that shades the county a color between red and blue depending on the vote margin favoring one party or the other.


FireFox 1.0

The production version of Firefox 1.0 Web Browser is now available today for download.

Business 2.0 has an article that touts Firefox as Microsoft's worst nightmare.

One of the features I look forward to testing is the integrated RSS aggregator.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Swarming the Internet

Reuters reports that 1/3 of all Internet bandwidth is being consumed by an application called BitTorrent. It doesn't "swap" files, it "swarms" them!

BitTorrent stores redundant pieces of files all over the Internet. When a person wants a particular file, these pieces swarm in from all over and the file is stitched together in real time.

What is cool about this is its intellectual relationship to the Complexity Theory notion of emergence. A file "emerges" from individual pieces coming together.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Trojan Odyssey

I've just finished reading Trojan Odyssey, a popular novel by Clive Cussler.

It is based, in part, on the non-fiction work of Iman Jacob Wilkens entitled, Where Troy Once Stood: The Mystery of Homer's Iliad & Odyssey Revealed, in which it is argued--contrary to Heinrich Schliemann's discovery of Troy-- that Ilium was in England and Homer's Odyssey was a Celtic tale about a Celtic warrior who sailed the Atlantic trying to get from England to Southern Spain. It is an intriguing hypothesis and an interesting twist on Homer's work.

Cussler's book is a fun read for anyone interested in Celtic mythology or the Trojan War.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Cell Phone RSS Feed

Jim Thompson has a great idea. Enable an RSS feed from a cell phone. Include GPS info and metadata. Backend integration of cell phone services into the internet would really boost the power of both.

And, why do we still use phone numbers on our cell phones? Give'em an IP address, fill'em with web services and intelligent agents, and have'em communicate on the internet like any other web device.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Free Speech in an Avatar Society

Wired News has a great article on free speech inside massively multiplayer on-line games.

The question is whether virtual societies can or ought to be governed by the social conventions/laws of the exterior hosting society.

This gets particularly tricky when avatars are being driven by people from different societies with different laws and different norms.

Can a local legislature impose laws on a virtual society? Only if it is hosted on hardware based in the jusistiction of the local legislature? What if the game is clustered across several physical machines residing in different sovereignties?

As it stands now, the creators and/or administators of the game act as the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. In short, tyrants. Most are good tyrants (bad game tyrants don't make much money).

And when, in the course of avatar events, does it become necessary to dissolve the political bonds of the game and revolt? Can the avatars take control of the game and establish a virtual government independent of the administrators?

At that point, I guess we would call it a wiki.


Chaos Software Model

The New Scientist has an interesting article on a chaos-based software model for solving hard problems.

Could this software model be used to find information in an enterprise? Rather than put everying in an SQL database and issue boolean logic queries, launch a chaos-based agent.

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