For the Week of July 24, 2006
One of my favorite movies this summer has been King Arthur. (I save money by watching cable channels.)
The idea, which is supposedly based upon recent archeological studies, is that Arthur was actually a Roman soldier at the end of the empire, fighting the locals alongside indentured knights from Sarmatia (in what's now Ukraine). What gives him nobility is his belief in principle, in freedom. He claims it's being taught in Rome, but in fact Rome has rejected, and killed, the teacher he follows.
It's when Arthur learns that Rome has rejected what he was taught that he resolves to fight for England, for its native "Wolds," against the Saxon, who represent the coming dark ages. And in doing this, he and his knights become legends, throughout those Dark Ages and beyond.
Keeping the spark alive is vital, no matter the odds, because the spark can be re-lit. It's like what Billy Crystal's mage says in "The Princess Bride" - "mostly dead is part alive." (All dead is "let's rifle his pockets.")
There are times when, facing the idiocies of this Administration and (perhaps more important) the short-term corporate values which support it, that I despair of this medium, and of this time.
Yet still I stay at it. Still I speak on behalf of simple, seemingly ignored principles. Transparency. Connectivity. Science. Consensus.
During this time I have sought growth and truth in many directions. In Moore's Law. In Always-On. In Howard Dean. In fiction. In generational theories of history, a winter which must be got through to reach the spring.
At the center of my current work is open source, a charge I have expanded into a political philosophy which, I have asserted, is the Goldwaterism of our time. And I have tried to focus that philosophy on what should be its chief priorities, starting with the idea that what our leaders think are the real issues in fact are trivialities.
I console myself with the knowledge that, 40 years ago, Goldwater Conservatives were in fact much further from power than Open Source Democrats are today. And that, at every key turn in our history, it appears that the whole edifice of the American Experiment is about to collapse.
It's that possibility, in fact, that stimulates our most important changes. Ending slavery. Progressivism. The New Deal. They were all the results of times where the edifice seemed ready to collapse, unless people did something. So people did.
Yet I realize there is small comfort in that. There is no real assurance. Just because we have avoided the precipice several times before does not mean we will again. Just because history shows you patterns doesn't mean the patterns will automatically repeat, just as technical analysis of stock charts won't tell you when a dog is really a dog.
It's at these times that a flick like King Arthur appeals. It may take 1,000 years. We may all pass into legend. But if we stay strong, stay brave, and stay true to our beliefs, we will prevail.
Because, in the end, we're right.
I have made a big decision. I have moved my main blog, formerly called Mooreslore, to danablankenhorn.com under the name Dana Blankenhorn. (Hey, that's MY name.) The blog is written in Typepad and is also available at 200billionscandal.typepad.com
I'm continuing to produce a special blog on Open Sourcefor ZDNet. I am pleased to say it has grown into a real money-maker. I work as a freelance writer in Atlanta, and am on the development team for Voic.Us, which aims to become a political "super-site" and offer mobile marketing services. Please visit that blog as well.
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Best of the Week
Should cities be involved in building Internet infrastructure? Yes. But let's look at what we're talking about.
Successor David Leebron is brighter than that. (I credit the hairline -- a Truly Handsome Man as I like to say.) He's turning the school's academic imprint, Rice University Press, all-digital, using the open-source Connexxions system.
Suffice to say that advertising isn't going to cut it, and neither will CafePress. That barely keeps top bloggers like Atrios in beer-and-skittles -- Tom Tomorrow is constantly complaining about his poverty, and he's got talent.
I have been watching (with increasing amusement) Rupert Murdoch's efforts to "get" the Internet, especially his purchase of MySpace.
The so-called Progress & Freedom Foundation is a Bell tool. What I can't stand is their pretense that they are something else, like impartial, like academic.
John Cooper of MetroNetIQ did some serious work on my recent piece called Free the Bits.
It has not been easy. It is much tougher to get attention with a blog in 2006 than it was in 2002, when I started.
If a phone company is unable to accept the "universal service" obligations written into the law, how dare they accept Universal Service Funds!
The purpose of patents and copyrights is "to promote the progress of science and useful arts," and to secure "for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right" to writing and discoveries.
Yes, these companies bought the DVDs in question. But they weren't enjoined for editing them. They were enjoined for re-selling the edited copies.
One of my regular themes here is how the open source process and Internet values encompass far more than even their advocates are willing to suggest.
What does this mean in practice? It means this planet is dieing, and everything else is trivia.
One reason generational patterns repeat is that Washington ignores history.
ZDNet Open Source
Clued-in is Doc Searls
Clueless are Georgia Democrats.
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