What a lovely title for a book: Small Pieces, Loosely Joined: a unified theory of the Web. Forthcoming from David Weinberger who is better known as the co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto. He thinks the multiplicity of Blogs and personal sites represents more than just “a flood of new content.” The Internet, Weinberger says, “is unleashing our natural desire to find other people interested in the same things as we are, our group-forming tendencies. The Internet has long passed the point of being a gigantic on-line library where we can track down content that matters to us. [It] is a conversation.” Amen.
Archive for March 10th, 2002
Thoughtful article in the Globe and Mail about the riches of the Web and the mindset of those who graze (and provide) them.
“The Web has always attracted a sizable minority of literate dissenters, interested in more than Limp Bizkit MP3s and streaming video-porn clips. While institutionally supported sites such as Slate (Microsoft), the Atlantic Online (Atlantic Monthly), and Brookings.org (Brooking Institution) remain important stopovers, they more and more feel peripheral to the main attractions.
Instead of self-contained essays, the Web’s new intellectual hothouses offer diverse networks of opinion, and active participation. Reader power is where the Web really comes into its own.”
Digital Biology. The very idea!
New York Times review of Peter Bentley’s new book.
“Bentley describes how Adrian Thompson, a British engineer, came up with a few dozen random arrangements of transistors and programmed a computer to test how well they did various jobs, like distinguishing between high-pitched and low-pitched tones. The first generation of chips always performed miserably, but some of them a little less miserably than the rest. The computer saved the less miserable designs and combined them into hybrids. In the process, it also sprinkled a few random changes into the designs, mutations if you will. A few offspring could distinguish between the tones slightly better than their parents — and they produced a third generation. By mimicking evolution for a few thousand rounds, the computer produced chips that did their job exquisitely well. But Thompson doesn’t quite know how they work. To understand them, he resorts to measuring the temperature of parts of the chips, like a neurologist using an M.R.I. scanner to probe a brain. ..”
Virtual Reality used to get at the truth
New York Times story. Much to the chagrin of Ulster Unionists, the official inquiry into ‘Bloody Sunday’ — January 30 1972 when British paratroops shot dead 14 unarmed civil rights marchers in Derry — proceeds apace. One problem faced by the inquiry is that so much of the physical topography of the city has changed in the 30 years since the atrocity. The 10-storey block of Rossville Flats, for example, which played a key role in the story, have long been demolished. To help witnesses re-orient themselves to 1972 Derry, the inquiry commissioned a virtual reality reconstruction of the relevant part of the city.