Needless conflict

 “Questions of food safety, nutrition and agriculture elicit more emotion and public mistrust than almost any other science-based issue. The firestorm over obesity, for example, ignited once again in the United States last week, when the Institute of Medicine issued a report of nearly 500 pages that makes a compelling case that individual choice is not sufficient to prevent obesity in the current environment of inexpensive high-calorie foods and drinks. The report recommends that industry and government take action to get cheap healthy foods into supermarkets and schools, and that the government intervene to ensure that the right dietary messages get through the flood of advertising. The report, of course, was criticized by the industry forces that would have the most to lose if such changes were implemented.”

(Via. Needless conflict : Nature : Nature Publishing Group)

LIFT notes by Dave Gray of XPLANE

LIFT notes Originally uploaded by dgray_xplane.

Dave Gray, founder and CEO of XPLANE, has shared on flickr his index card sketches from Lift07 from where I have blogged the one above. They are not to be missed! To me these have provided excellent notes and a refresher of what was presented and discussed, somehow it brought back all the enthusiasm and abundant inspiration that the conference was.

On a personal note, I am tickled pink to see quite a few sketches from the “Creativity Workshop” that Henriette and I led and in which Dave participated with enthusiasm.

This one sketch here is from the workshop. One of the insights that one wins from looking at creativity in the way that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi looks at it is that creativity has something to do with the interactions at various levels between people and subject matter. Interaction however does require relationship of some sort.

Ah! Yes, I could go on, and I will… more later.

Cross-posted to

Update (5.5.2007) I am always stunned by how many orthographic and spelling errors I make in my posts, to say nothing of word omissions and errors caused by changing sentence structure midway while writing it. If there is one profession that I truly admire and whose services I need is that of editor.

Reboot 8.0 – Renaissance

After I was good and overwhelmed with all the interaction going on at reboot, Euan Semple held the last keynote presentation before the closing of reboot 8.0. It was a bit zen. If I remember correctly, and I made no notes, it was something about the internet being about love. Four letters of pure misunderstanding is what love tends to be about in a lot of occasions, but not always. Love I understood in this reboot context to be taking the form of connection which is what the live web does allow us all to do. Renaissance pure it is!

Take it for a fact that right now here I sit at my desk writing on a somewhat complex piece of electromechanical machinery and that within seconds my friends in India and California can be reading my opinions and then commenting on them. Furthermore, if they feel like it, then they can call or skype or email. It is all occurring at the speed of light? No… electrical signals do travel a bit slower. Anyhow, for human perception, we are all connected at the push of a button that takes less than one second to actuate, that is to say, instantaneously or thereabouts within seconds.

We are connected and we are autonomously alone simultaneously. The imperative duality of human nature (more on this later) is finally represented in our physical world, Euan is talking about love, others are talking about how to be a renaissance man and that markets are not just conversations, they are relationships (à la Doc Searls). Whatever…  markets are secondary expressions of human needs. The latter are simple: food, shelter and love. That is humans are social animals that eat and drink and are ill adapted for living on trees or on the hot sands of arabia.

I was born in the late fifties, went to college in the seventies and eighties in California and that puts me in a generation that arrived at the tail end of the hippie culture and Timoty Leary. For me drugs and sex were always there for the taking even if I was not at Berkeley; rock-and-roll was optional. This is the generation that gave us the personal computer, also known that instrument that marked the beginning of the erosion of slow communication and expensive advertising campaigns. In those days communication was specialized, slow and it could be controlled. Today communication is a commodity at the finger tip of any individual able to connect to the internet by whatever device. Although these days I am not willing to pay for what a Nokia N90 costs, it is one pregnant device with the shape of things to come. Make that same mobile device a plug in object into my PowerBook, and then I may not be able to resist. I like plug-and-play and multi-functionality that involves socializing hardware itself, not just humans. Besides that I need something that allows me to write fast enough and that allows me to think. I also do not always feel like voicing my thoughts, thus a recording device that writes may also not cover my needs.

But where am I going with all of this rambling about the seventies, the democratization of communication, the non-existense of markets in an abstract sense, abstraction itself and the renaissance man? Or to phrase it differently, what does sex have to do with software?

Really, I am talking about software, not some dysfunctional being’s fantasies or delirium. In this Renaissance of ours midwifed by the likes of geeks and hackers, software is going to be a commodity, like electricity is a commodity now, while energy may present us all a challenge. Our present wars are about land, water and oil. Technology is incidental and commodity-like. Terrorism is a form or warfare using intelligence as its key resource and not technology. It is perhaps not too surprising that using technology to fight intelligence is failing.

Could we perhaps consider that if we want to give this world another perspective we might want to be looking at what values are being served by the creation of new commodities?

Why do I blog this? These are incomplete thoughts that have been inspired by the multitude of experiences and exchange of ideas at reboot 8. I use blogging for publishing both drafts and lose notes of ideas. To me the web is alive and an ongoing conversation on several planes.