Schrattenkalk in Kairo
31/03/08

Sometimes blogging is really difficult – and if you are American even more so. My current problem is rather how to post updates to older articles, when I find interesting comments or news on issues I wrote about. Remember my article about copyright, my comment about the necessity to build a network of repositories, my discussion about Wuala? The German Bundestag seems as worried as I am about the heritage of movies (German). The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft also thinks it is necessary to connect various repositories (yes, you guessed right, German as well). And Jeff Price really argues my point that distribution technology can be culturally relevant a lot better than I did. But hey, I am new to the medium. I will find a better to post these updates way at some point. Not as new as me, but generally still underdeveloped is the German blogosphere. Buch PR gives an interesting overview of the local development (German). In the states however blogging might as mentioned be sometimes difficult, but that is partially an effect of the success of the medium. One major problem of blogs and other online media is that most people expect free access. As O’Reilly points out, this can be difficult. Generally there seems to be a new debate about “free”. While Chris Anderson of Wired discusses the “Future of Free”, Kevin Kelly believes in “Better than Free”. Definitely not free however is interstellar travel. But that is not the major problem. The problem is the consequences of general relativity for economic models, as Paul Krugman points out in his ingenious study (PDF), a paper he wrote to cheer himself up, as he recalls (via DF). Another study, so to say, but in this case a graphic character study, was done by Pixeloo (via Wuala). And again, the last step in my Assoziationskette, was a bit of a stretch.

Image by Pixeloo.
mario


29/03/08

I am back from the Sinai, where I built a sand castle with my niece in Sharm and swam a duet with a Flute Fish in Dahab. I also took pictures of dead beetles on pool tables.

dead beetle


22/03/08

I did not get to this earlier. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch fame argues based on the recent fines for Microsoft and the German and French government support for two search engines show that

“the EU is not willing to let free markets determine winners and losers. The winners must be home grown, at any cost. And U.S. companies that have too much success in Europe seem to face a bleak choice – massive fines or government-backed competitors.” (Link)

Mike is making an interesting point here, but I think he got that wrong. I actually think he got that as wrong as you can get it. But before putting my response let me just quickly note, that I do not question Mike’s right to have this opinion. Some of the commenters on the post believe that he should not comment on politics and some others argue that this is a typical American view point, etc. But I think Mike as everyone of course is entitled to comment on politics and being American it is only natural that he will take an American view point. Nevertheless let me argue why I think he got this specific issue (or better issues) wrong.

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21/03/08

If you can call a kitchen cleaner “Mr. Muscle”, why not take the analogy to its possible maximum and call toilet tabs…

muscle

rambo


20/03/08

Today is Maulid al-Nabi, the birthday of the Prophet, Mohammed that is. But this year Muslim holidays seem to fall very close to Christian holidays. And as it happen, today is also Holy Thursday. In German we call it Green Thursday. And as it happens, on Green Thursday it is traditional to eat Green Sauce. Well, it is traditional to do so in Frankfurt. But since my mother’s family comes from Frankfurt my parents transferred this custom with them to Switzerland and therefore I sit here in Cairo now and deplore that I will not have the chance to eat Green Sauce today. It seems it is usually the weird things one misses when being in a foreign country.

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18/03/08

In the past years the American government has made it easy for me to know what I do not want; the Iraq war, Guantanamo, unilateralism, denial of world climate change, tax cuts for the super rich which ruin the American budget and generally a government which cuts down on civil rights and liberal values. And of course Dubya is a Republican and therefore it seemed obvious to seek salvation with the Democrats. But now the American elections are coming closer and it seems time to form an opinion. More importantly to form an opinion based on what I want, not on what I do not want.

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17/03/08

Mubarak ordered the Egyptian army to bake more bread. What an amazing sentence. For someone who does not follow the Egyptian scene this one single sentence would rise a couple of questions.

Let’s start with the obvious part of the sentence. What is going on with the bread. As I mentioned in an earlier post most staple food is subsidised in Egypt, most importantly bread. This subsidised food is sold at special outlets of the government. Because the price of wheat has tripled on the international markets since last summer, normal bread is getting more and more expensive. Therefore more people are in need of subsidised bread. Additionally the amount of subsidised bread seems to have shrunken. In consequence it is very difficult for many Egyptians to get hold of bread and emotions are rising high. Recently a man was shot in a bread cue and this seems to be only one of many larger and smaller incidents.

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15/03/08

This post is part of a series. Please also check out the other posts:
Part 1: What is the Web 2.0
Part 2: The challenge
Part 3: Inverse footnotes
Part 4: The exculpation of Wikis
Part 5: Information Overload

Moving humanities into the future is obviously not an idea I invented. To my disappointment, the notion of “humanities 2.0″ is not of my sole brain child either. Obviously there is a number of people out there who discuss and think about similar topics. Before linking to them however I wanted to create a base first of what will be the topic on my own blog. I think with five posts I have created this base and will now give a first and superficial look at what I found thanks to Google.

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14/03/08

The Green party said good bye to realism at their last party meeting by deciding that they would not support the German Afghanistan mission anymore. A mission which they themselves implemented in the first place. A good time to read the memoirs by the former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer. When the memoirs came out the media mainly focused on the beating he gave his own party in the book. But looking at that only does not do the book justice.

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14/03/08

This post is part of a series. Please also check out the other posts:
Part 1: What is the Web 2.0
Part 2: The challenge
Part 3: Inverse footnotes
Part 4: The exculpation of Wikis

Let us assume for now that availability is not a problem – an issue I have not addressed yet. Let us also assume that a part of the ideas sketched in the previous posts have come true. That means that we have an enormous amount of information available. In result we might actually look back at the good old days, when we did not have that much information. OK. To be fair. If availability and accessibility of knowledge as well as the possibility that knowledge is compiled and made available are no problems, this would save us an enormous amount of time. Time we could invest in reading and evaluating more information. However I assume that the amount of information we would gain would outstrip the amount of additional time by far. Therefore relevance becomes a central issue. Solving the relevance issue might be the most difficult of all and I can only present some very vague ideas on where possibilities could be. I think we have to address the question of relevance by two sides. On one side is the question of what information you can put into a system to give you a better evaluation of relevance. On the other side is which systems to evaluate relevance could be available. The two questions as I will show later are in a certain way interlinked. I will look at the second question first, because this where my Web 2.0 analogy might work to a certain degree. The first question implies a rather a user / client side software solution, which I will therefore look at later.

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