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mercredi 10 mars 2004

This is truly weird and wild.

"Weblogs are the voice of the people, connecting millions of individuals to their own audience on a daily basis. But what does this communication sound like?"

vox populiRadio Vox Populi [now dead; Sept 04], whence the diagral, offers the ghost of an answer by sampling weblogs and reading them to you.
Should you have iTunes, using one of the "tune in" buttons will open an internet radio stream. So does Audion and VLC.
All done by robot. If you've got broadband, click here and if you're on dial-up, try this.
It's the work of Media Lab Europe.
Found via Squipper's 'Dusting My Brain'.
I've meant to explore Squipper's place since the day I was flattered to find myself on her blogroll. Well, her writing was worth the wait and I'm very happy to return the kindness.
I like both her pictures and her link to other Bloggers with Boobies, started by Dana who "kicks ass"! That's one community I can't join...


Just to make me jealous, that radio informs me that Alberto Escarlate is "Off to Brazil" ('cacheop'), his birthplace. Ever since I mentioned Cibelle (BBC World Music Awards 2004 profile), and the iPod has been filling my head either with Brazilian music or electro from Berlin, sheer serendipity has brought both places to mind every day.
Highlights of those Radio 3 world music awards (including Cibelle), ceremoniously handed out yesterday, will be broadcast on BBC Four on Friday and Saturday.
For the rest of us, there's a double CD available, while a webcast (in Real Player) will be online from tomorrow. If last year's webcast (still available at Awards 2003) is anything to go by, it will be listening time well spent.


Kate Kurdika, who makes and explains Kundalini bags told Jason K that the blog radio crashes her computer.
On mine, it's a remarkable curiosity, but not for more than 10 minutes at a time. Now if my carpet-smoking, music-making, netwiz friend François (Demeyer; Fr), on the other hand, wanted to sample the thing and do something with it for his next CD, that could be interesting...
Jason thinks that getting a camera-phone (Kottke) like mine has just brought him into the 21st century. He might have done me a good turn by pointing to 'Pairing an SE T610 with a Mac' at Bruce's 'bioneural.iBlog, which includes info I've been seeking for ages on exactly how to make the thing work as a modem. Until now, there's some teeny aspect to that trick I can't get quite right. Meanwhile, it's fun to use the 'phone to drive iTunes on the computer.


Now François has probably heard of the hidden Internet. I hadn't, but Alex Wright went 'In search of the deep Web' for Salon (by subscription -- or a free pass if you watch an ad first):
"Those of us who place our faith in the Googlebot may be surprised to learn that the big search engines crawl less than 1 percent of the known Web. Beneath the surface layer of company sites, blogs and porn lies another, hidden Web. The 'deep Web' is the great lode of databases, flight schedules, library catalogs, classified ads, patent filings, genetic research data and another 90-odd terabytes of data that never find their way onto a typical search results page.
Today, the deep Web remains invisible except when we engage in a focused transaction: searching a catalog, booking a flight, looking for a job. That's about to change. In addition to Yahoo, outfits like Google and IBM, along with a raft of startups, are developing new approaches for trawling the deep Web. And while their solutions differ, they are all pursuing the same goal: to expand the reach of search engines into our cultural, economic and civic lives."
The full article is three very enlightening pages long. That's via 'Hot Links', a visually rich blog screenshot links place now going as deep as Level 6 (HotLinks Blog), brought to you by upian (Eng., but of French origin).
For a last piece of digging, Stephen VanDyke has also been pursuing the tale of 'How News Travels on the Internet'. Again in visual form.

11:58:26 PM  link   your views? []

A colleague who finds France's political life under a government largely comprised of non-entities even more tedious and mediocre than I usually do wanted to know why the teachers were going on strike (again) on Friday.
Well, it's their turn.
And this is one strike I support without reservation.
Yesterday, it was scientists who protested -- more than 2,000 of them resigning in a largely symbolic move. And around 5,000 researchers in white lab coats marched through Paris, while similar demonstrations took place in other cities.
I'm delighted to report that a little petition I've mentioned signing recently -- joining tens of thousands of other riled inhabitants of this country -- the 'Appeal against the War on Intelligence', has seriously begun to get up the nose of the government.

At first, it merely drew sarcastic comments, along the lines of "French intellectuals sign petitions, American ones win Nobel Prizes," but today Minister for Research Claudie Haigniere, a former astronaut who has come down to earth with a thump, is trying to tell the union representatives of the white coats why funding their work is so hard (Jean-Marie Godard reports for AP; Yahoo).
On Saturday, a big demo is planned, bringing together researchers, teachers, lawyers, artists, health workers and others to protest against funding cuts, past and planned, which the right-wing government has foisted on France in the name of economic "good sense". Now there's a phrase which has been repeated to death by various grey technocrat officials in the past few weeks, only to be challenged by economists prepared to question the prevailing "free market" trends.

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's regime is rattled now by the petition launched by 'Les Inrocks' and so snottily presented by ass-wipe articles in some of the "Anglo-Saxon" press, where the latter has paid any attention at all.
The French right has wheeled out intellectuals for a counter-strike, including some who need very little encouragement like renowned media bore Bernard-Henri "Je suis un superstar" ['The Observer'] Levy, wonderfully portrayed behind that link by Gaby Wood. In the weekly 'Le Point,' Levy sees what he describes as a "religious" fervour in the mounting tide of protest, "a 'certain point' whence all the open wounds of a society would reveal their shadowy but deep unity."
That's easily said, but it's too facile to dismiss this particular winter of discontent as an "amalgam" of ideas to be put on a par, as Levy does, with Islamic extremism.
Today's issue of 'Les Inrockuptibles' is revelling in the insults flying its way. As it should. We live in a time where it suffices to put your name to a petition denouncing the government's lack of brains to be described as the "loony left" ('Marianne' magazine), or maybe "a 'good' anti-globalisation extreme left and a 'bad' Trotskyist far left" (''Le Figaro': take your pick!), and a "dangerous symptom, yet another one. Like the cars that get burned in ghetto suburbs on Saturday nights and racist inscriptions on the walls" ('Esprit'). That last, a pro-Chirac rag, has no website, but is certainly not to be confused with 'Esprit Critique' (Eng. intro page to an online quarterly in French).

A "critical mind" or spirit is the last thing the French government wants to see. Some stage performers, researchers, teachers and students have put their signatures to another document ahead of Saturday's march, saying 'What we have in common...' ('Ce Qui Nous Rassemble...'; CIP-IDF).
This text contains some striking statistics attributed to an unnamed sociologist:

" the course of your life, you spend 33,000 hours at school, 63,000 hours at work and 96,000 in front of the telly. This means that all the life expectancy you have gained since the telly came on the scene, you spend in front of it."
This might be total bullshit. Not having a telly, I've not timed myself of late. On the other hand, it might, for some people, be appallingly true.Could it be? 96,000 hours adds up to almost 11 years.
"In France, scientists dream of leaving for more clement climates where 10 years of studies don't lead them to an unlikely and underpaid permanent job. In the US, scientists dream of being able to publish the results of their work without being thrown out of the door if their conclusions run up against the plans of an industry protected by the Bush clan (to tell the truth, few industries are not in that position...).
In France, as in the US, scientists dream simply of being able to do their job. Great minds think alike."
That's Padawan's outlook at 'Brain Not Found' (Fr.)

But whatever happened to that entertaining pair who love shitting on nearly all things French?
Having announced a "week chock full of socialist bowel movements" destined to make people just like me "jerk themselves off to sleep dreaming of 5.6% US unemployment" ('Merde in France'), they've got bored already.
Do you know, it's odd? I've never once thought of US unemployment figures before drifting off at night.
My juvenile little pea-tin of a brain occasionally tends to find other uplifting statistical curves rather more graceful to contemplate at such moments.

6:33:44 PM  link   your views? []

The reform of the United Nations to reflect "today's realities" -- and just perhaps in a way that would suit the world's only superpower better than anyone else -- is an issue coming up with increasing urgency across the political spectrum.
Opposing parties, of course, have extremely different views about just how the overhaul should be done.
But Mickey Z. suggests that the revised world body has already started taking shape, in 'Pillar Fight: The "New" U.N. Blames the Poor' (Press Action). Mickey's article focuses on the workings of the UN Commission on Private Sector and Development to make several telling points:

"'Make no mistake,' declared Paul Martin, Canada's prime minister and co-chairman of the [commission]. 'This is a new pillar of development — unleashing local private enterprise, supported by strong, indigenous, democratic institutions.' (...)
'According to the World Bank,' says Mike Eckel, of the Associated Press, 'the cost of starting a business in Angola is US$5,531 — about eight times more than that country's per capita income. In New Zealand, the cost is about US$28 — about 1 percent of per capita income.' Sounds like we need to encourage more job training.
Enter the 'new' U.N., eschewing any hint at redistributing wealth or any mention of the ominous consequences of a planet inhabited by billions of humans with literally nothing to lose. The pillars the new U.N. is sleeping on include big ideas like micro-loans with 'relatively easy repayment terms,' and on-the-job training.
'As well,' writes Eckel, 'large, multinational corporations should be encouraged to work with small-scale business for outsource work or to be suppliers of goods and services, the commission said.' (If you listen closely, you can hear Thomas Friedman [NYT] groaning with pleasure.)"
What got Mickey writing -- and the "scorecard" at the end of his article is certainly worth a look when it comes to reminding yourself about inequity -- was inspired by a UN news briefing on a report from the new commission, called 'Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor'.
"Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the UNDP (UN Development Programme), added that the Commission’s report was part of the continued 'intellectual revolution' at the United Nations," that briefing says.
A "revolution", maybe.
Perhaps even an "intellectual" one.
But there's a hell of a difference between intellect and intelligence.
Plus ça change,...

12:39:15 PM  link   your views? []

In Donald Rumsfeld's own New Mexico back yard, Molly McNamara is all in favour of symbolic gestures:

"A small groups of returning Iraqi exiles and the United States military staged the destruction of a statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. We feel that it is only fitting that a large group of residents in Rumsfeld's hometown pull down this warmongering ex-supporter of Saddam's."
The Action Coalition Taos really loathes Rummy and plans to make that clearer than ever on March 20 (via Indymedia).
"I so admired the Americans before the war. I was addicted to their cinema and literature. When they came they brought me a contradictory view of America. I thought if these are Americans then they are Americans from a different planet. These are men whose work is to destroy armies. What Iraq needs is not these people. It needs intelligent civilians.
In the management of the country they have conquered the Americans have failed in every way. For any Iraqi who tries to present a noble project to help his own people they try to find a million ways to say no." (Amir Nasef Toma al-Sayegh, former radar technician turned Baghdad book-buyer.)
For 'The Observer' at the weekend, foreign affairs editor Peter Beaumont sought to find out what ordinary Iraqis think one year on (via Occupation Watch). International Occupation Watch has an office in Baghdad and is one of the most comprehensive news portal and link sites on Iraq I've come across.
Heavens, it even promotes investigative journalism...

11:53:54 AM  link   your views? []

nick b. 2007 do share, don't steal, please credit
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