Posts filed under ‘anarchist in the library’

Links and sources from Anarchist in the Library

I list still more notes from The Anarchist in the Library by Siva Vaidhyanathan

Darnton – “Paris, the early internet”
Bailyn – The ideological origins of the american revolution.
Michael Foucault – the Foucault effect
Ludlow “Crypto anarchy, cyberstates, and pirate utopias”
Lehmann-Haupt – “The music Pirates
Shirky – “What is P2p…and What isn’t?”
Johnson – Emergence
Durban  – Philosophy of Technology
Backin – “cultural software”
Levy – collective intelligence
Wright – nonzero: the logic of human destiny
Branam – The cynics
An FDA database –
Friedman “webbed, wired, and worried”
Foucault – discipline and punishment
Lessig – Future of ideas
Spar – Ruling the waves
Mueller – Ruling the Root
Goldstein – Copyrights highway
Alderman – Sonic Boom
Cohan – The good the bad and the difference
Hein’s “Progress of science and the useful arts”
Lessig – “Let the stories go”
Lessig – “code and other laws of cyberspace”
Biegel – Beyond our control
Litman – digital copyright
Perelman – steal this idea
Shulman – owning the future
Patriot act info
Estabrook – Public libraries and civil liberties
Tatoud – “copyright and science”
Christopher May – “information society”
Gilder – telecosm: how infinite bandwidth…
Drucker – “The age of discontinuity”
Kelly – “New rules for the new Economy”
Rosecrance – The rise of the virtual state”
Sprigman – hacking for free speach
Lee – guerilla warfare, waged with code
Politi – The citizen as intelligence minuteman
Oram – peer to peer harnessing the power of…
Duncan – six degrees
Duncan – Small Worlds
Zweiger – transducing the genome
Wishart – leaving reality behind

whew, that’s a reading list. 


February 8, 2006 at 2:23 pm Leave a comment

Anarchist notes continued

I list still more notes from The Anarchist in the Library by Siva Vaidhyanathan

p.171 mentions the ‘rhetorical value of alleging a “network” at the heart of a threat to security…It’s impossible to tell when a war is over because it can’t be seen….Such a description yields a broad almost unlimited set or prescriptions, all of which substantially increase the surveillance and police powers of the state.  “Our technology” must have wide berth, but if “they” get hold of “our” technology, we are in big trouble….’

I am reminded of the discussion of religion in the lucifer principle, by Howard K. Bloom in which religion is cast as a way for ‘my group’ to do things to ‘your group’ with the ultimate goal of protecting the group meme (probably inaccurate description….).  Bloom’s newer book, Global Brain, looks interesting.

Mr. Vaidhyanathan discusses the book “Networks and Netwars,” that promoted some of this terror-network concept, with the specific policies: corrupt the data, monitor the end points, and mine data.  The data mining affects private citizens through programs like ‘Total Information Awareness.’  Companies mine your data to get you to buy things.  They make mistakes sending meat coupons to vegetarians.  The difference between a company and the government make mistakes is that the government can throw you in jail.

P.180 What is

Another book by Mr. Vaidhyanathan is “Copyrights and Copywrongs

On P.188 there’s an interesting line, “The world at the dawn of the 21st century has many needs, among them a cure for malaria, and the second coming of Bob Marley.”  Huh.

P.194 Some links to other places Mr. Vaidhyanathan has published articles or that he mentions,,,,, email lists cyberprof and Pho. 

February 7, 2006 at 2:03 pm Leave a comment

More comments from Anarchist in the Library

I list still more notes from The Anarchist in the Library by Siva Vaidhyanathan

P. 144 still discussing ‘the anarchy and oligarchy of science’ the author comments that “…our thinking about genes, development…is bound up in tired, incomplete, and frankly harmful metaphors.  For instance, how well does the software metaphor work?  Development relies on complex interactions among nuclear, intracellular, extracellular, and extraorganismic environments.  Software for the most part relays input into outputs on a one-to-one basis.  Complexity in software is an illusion generated by scale….”

Oho. But I am reminded of Stephen Wolfram’s incredibly dense and neurotic, yet fascinating and insightful book, A new kind of science, that I continue to dig into.  If I understand the main tenet, and I’m not sure I fully grasp it, it might be paraphrased: simple rules (programs) can lead to extraordinary complexity.  In other words, just because nature looks incredibly complex this does not require the underlying rules (programs) to be incredibly complex.  I think this deserves more research and understanding, at least on my part, and as the line in Mr. Vaidhyanathan’s book seems to contradict the basic idea in Wolfram’s New Science, it would be interesting to push further down this line of thought.

Wow, check out this review for Wolfram’s book.  If nothing else the author of this review provides a wealth of other references to dig into that attack the same topic.  Feed my pet brain.

February 6, 2006 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

Notes and quotes from Anarchist in the Library

I list some notes from The Anarchist in the Library by Siva Vaidhyanathan

p 25,26 on Cynicism, defines ‘Costanzan’ cynicics (after George (Seinfeld) Costanza as out for their own benefit, deeply pessimistic. Diogenic (Diogenes of Sinope) cynicism embraces radical individual freedom of expression, eschews sophistry and theory and thus presages American pragmatism. Diogenic cynicism values discipline, self-sufficiency, and “living according to nature,” or rejecting the influence of social convention of cultural power….passionately humane and radically engaged…without regard for structural hierarchy. The word cynic comes from “doglike.”

P.74 Described is the ‘analog hole.’ An effort by the MPAA would close the analog hole through digital watermarks that would prevent machines such as your home computer from converting analog to digital signals.

P.123 …there are more libraries in 2004 than McDonalds in the US!?

P.125 For information to be commercially valuable it must not be widely available. Content industries have an interest in creating artificial scarcity be whatever legal and technological means they have at their disposal.

P.136 “Public library of science” and the “Budapest Open Access Initiative” are attempts to publish science openly.

P.138 Information…is a struggle against entropy. A healthy information system maintains a general equilibrium while allowing for change, adjustments, improvisations. Ideal systems are open, flexible, decentralized, and rich with diversity and differentiation.

P.139 In science, independent thinking and skepticism are encouraged. a tenet of the scientific ethical canon is that scientific work should be open to examination, criticism, and use by others. Thus a highly regulated information system is contrary to honest and effective science. But science demands an incentive system. Without an ROI companies and individuals might not strive to invent useful things. Technicalogical advances are subject to market failure. Without temporary, limited monopoly power, an innovator cannot create scarcity for a product.

February 2, 2006 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

Patriot act in real life

After reading about it, and awakening to the chilling threat to citizens posed by the Patriot Act in The Anarchist in the Library by Siva Vaidhyanathan, today I read about a librarian at a public library in Newton, Mass. standing up to the FBI and demanding a warrant to confiscate for evidence some computers used to threaten some folks at Brandeis University.

The scariest line: “The event prompted talk-show hosts and newspaper columnists in Boston to lash out at Newton officials, arguing that they acted irresponsibly and could have jeopardized people’s lives.”

The threat of terrorism is presumably real.  And so are witches and heretics and red commies and….  the end justifies the means?  The end is ‘safety?’  The means are not clear.  And safety is not freedom.

February 1, 2006 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

More Anarchy!

I’ve finished the text of The Anarchist in the Library by Siva Vaidhyanathan, but have the bibliography to peruse. There are 22 pages of notes and references!

Many topics in the book were real eye openers. Items that I should have known or things I really didn’t understand. For example, the description of the Patriot act is chilling. He poses the example of FBI agents asking for library records. The librarian can’t complain, protest, or inform the person investigated. They are bound to secrecy. Congress doesn’t know how often the act has been invoked due to these secrecy conditions. “The Patriot act is a blank check to a government institution – the FBI – that is notorious for overstepping its bounds, being ineffective, incompetent, and racist.”

Another example: the duplicity of the government efforts to keep strong encryption out of the hands of its citizens, in the name of security, but then cracking down on programmers for cracking DVD encryption.

Reading the description of the ‘anarchy and oligarchy of science and math,’ as a scientist, was very interesting. I experience the situation he describes daily as I work to create intellectual property for my company, while pushing the limits of human knowledge. We constantly have to address what we can and cannot share.

It would be interesting to hear more of Mr. Vaidhyanathan’s comments about the recent Google/China issue, as he discusses The Great Firewall in his book and mentions FreeNet as a solution…. Very interesting that Bill Gates defends the Google policy. And related, Google Print is often in the news…. More things to learn about.

And as one interested in knowledge management, “The Perfect Library” had many interesting insights. “In the absence of good information, consumers, voters, and soldiers all make bad choices. Conversely, with good information, good decisions are at least possible.” The ‘at least’ implies the unspoken: just because good information is available doesn’t mean people will use it. This reminds me of the discussion in Peter Morville’s Ambient Findability, where he describes people satificing for the information available, and Mooers (not Moore’s) law which paraphrased (found here) “people will not use an information system if it is more painful and troublesome to have the information than to not have it. Therefore, “we cannot assume people will want our information, even if we know they need our information.”

January 27, 2006 at 11:34 pm 1 comment

Anarchy, Napster, Copyright, Culture

I’m reading The Anarchist in the Library by Siva Vaidhyanathan. I find the book to be entertaining, uncomfortable, insightful, and challenging. This is great. He asks to to wrap our brains around several interesting ideas including anarchy and oligarchy as both sociopolitical and info-space concepts, cynicism in the popular, negative sense vs. cynicism as a, well… still trying to understand that. The discussion of Napster and copyright issues are refreshing and are much more interesting than I-want-my-MP3-the-RIAA-sucks. I am working to understand his take on the effects that strong copyright protection, and/or enforcement of friction-enhancing technologies on digital information have on culture. I read his comments about the analog-hole bill (the bill proposes a legal means of limiting the conversion of analog music and video to digital files) the same day I saw a discussion posted at Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow. Also refreshing and enlightening is his discussion of the US vs. the world with regard to cultural policy vs. economic policy – “the flavor of the culture being sold does not seem to matter to the U.S. government, as long as it’s being sold – not lent, borrowed, copied, or shared.” Fascinating stuff, fascinating times.

January 24, 2006 at 3:19 pm 2 comments

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