Twitter, Facebook, and social activism: newyorker.com

Twitter, Facebook, and social activism: newyorker.com. This article by Malcolm Gladwell makes a useful distinction between strong ties activism and weak ties activism. The former was always possible, the latter only really viable with the coming of the social web. Activists with strong ties have real, face to face friends. Online activism has to make … Continue reading Twitter, Facebook, and social activism: newyorker.com

Mutualism: Flavour of the month

As predicted this time last year, mutualism is the new favourite political idea.  It has been so ignored by policy makers over many decades that it has temporarily lost its left/right label and the Tories are also talking about it. But it shouldn't be thought that mutualism is a way of making money grow on … Continue reading Mutualism: Flavour of the month

Beware – Dangerous Robots!

Dan Kahan of the Cultural Cognition Project has been thinking about the possible ways of reacting to robots that kill. It's a relatively new set of technologies, but what happens when AI merges with weaponry to produce robots that want to kill you? He thinks the arguments could go in several ways and I tend … Continue reading Beware – Dangerous Robots!

Characterising the Open Source Movement: It’s not the ‘new socialism’

Just as I reach the end of reading Rebel Code by Glyn Moody , a riveting (to my mind) early history of GNU/Linux (subtitled Linux and the Open Source Revolution), Kevin Kelly’s article in Wired mag comes to my attention. Kelly claims the open source movement is ‘the new socialism’. No, it isn’t. For example, … Continue reading Characterising the Open Source Movement: It’s not the ‘new socialism’

East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet…

Fourcultures has previously expressed frustration over the ubiquity of the fiction of 'Eastern' and 'Western' thought worlds. One antidote on offer is to read the excellent book The Shape of Ancient Thought. To get a little more up to date, another suggestion would be: Kapil Raj. Relocating Modern Science: Circulation and the Construction of Knowledge … Continue reading East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet…

Virtual Goods and the Greatest Story ever Told

Virtual goods make money In a recent post about the profitability of online social networks in the US, China and Japan, venture capitalist Bill Gurley presents evidence that the more financially successful social network sites are those that downplay advertising revenue and focus on revenue from virtual goods. He points out that Users in Second … Continue reading Virtual Goods and the Greatest Story ever Told

The climate is what we expect: the weather is what we get

Supposedly, Mark Twain once wrote “The climate is what we expect; the weather is what we get.” Had he lived in in Australia he would surely have been even less confident. Notoriouosly unpredictable, the climate in this driest of continents plays a large part in the dominance of fatalism over the national culture. So it’s … Continue reading The climate is what we expect: the weather is what we get