Damn the publishers, full speed ahead

WSJ.com – Google Will Return to Scanning Copyrighted Library Books:

Google Inc. will resume scanning copyrighted library books into its search engine after a self-imposed hiatus, despite the efforts of some publishers and authors to block it from doing so without the copyright holders’ permission.

The Mountain View, Calif., company said it plans to resume scanning copyrighted books in the collections of Stanford University and the University of Michigan “soon.”

I know it’s supposed to be inspired by the good of humanity and all, but isn’t Google’s decision to simply push ahead with Google Print without modifying its approach to the publishers one iota just foolhardy and intransigent? Not the kind of partner-making behavior I’d expect….

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H5N1 in Canada?

Canada finds flu in wild birds, checking strain:

Canada has discovered a strain of H5 avian flu in wild birds and is now checking whether it is the same H5N1 killer strain which has spread to Europe, an official said on Monday.

Oy! If you wanted proof of how fast a pandemic can get out of control, look at the potential spread of the avian variety of H5N1 from Southeast Asia and Siberia, the two areas it was identified just three months ago, to today, when it is in Europe and, potentially, Canada.

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Alito: The Right-Right’s Prayers Answered

An Embattled and Weakened Bush Goes Nuclear:

Just like in the Miers nomination, Democrats are largely bystanders here. Unlike Miers and Roberts, there’s no way we’re going to vote for Alito. Not a prayer. So the heavy lifting now falls on so-called “moderate” Republicans who are looking at Bush’s track record, looking at the incomprehensible political violence of this nomination, looking at the Republican’s rapidly eroding 2006 prospects, and who need to come to some decision on whether or not they’re going to hitch their wagon to Bush’s increasingly skeletal horse.

This could be a night of long knives against the moderate and old-school-members of the Republican Party. Or they could decide to put on the uniform, and for once and for all march with the new theocrats. A very, very dangerous situation for them, for us, and for America.

The rest of us are just salsa for the dipping as the fundamentalist’s feast on their political capital. Get ready to roll back the 20th century’s gains in civil rights, suffrage, and regulatory rules.

Fortunately, based on the far Right’s insistence that Miers should answer questions about judicial philosophy, there is now precedence for hard questions directed at Judge Alito’s respect for stare decisis and modernism.

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Robots v. Mankind: Who’s in charge?

Pete Cashmore writes Humans vs Algorithms: Who Should Edit Web 2.0?:

As you may already know, my feeling is that humans are generally better at editing than algorithms, but by the same token you could say that the main algorithms in use today (Google PageRank, Memeorandum, Google News) are largely based on human decisions, where a link generally counts as a vote. At the other end of the spectrum, you have sites like Digg and Reddit, which are entirely edited by humans in a distributed way.

But I’m not sure if it’s really a case of humans versus algorithms: I think the future could lie with services like Wink, where Google’s search results are rated, tagged and built upon by human minds. In this way, humans could make up for the obvious failings of algorithms – namely the scourge of spam and splogs.

What do you think: who should edit Web 2.0?

The answer is people will edit Web 2.0. People program robots and people make editorial decisions, so in both cases people are doing the editing. The process of editorial decision-making is what is changing and that’s where the dross created by robots and the other option that Pete discusses in his posting, OPML, threaten to overwhelm the solid decisions of people about information.

I’ve been particularly impressed with the Taskable OPML browser I’m running on my lonely PC, which lets me scroll through many people’s view of the Web in simple hierarchical form—but the problem I foresee is that old hierarchies and aging views are going to overwhelm the value of people actively involved with information through OPML. The work of the Attention Trust, which captures what information people are actually using needs to be integrated with the OPML effort to generate more dynamic views of information. And, at the same time, we need a view of the evolving link relationships around information, which is what we’re working on at Persuadio (we’re working on the updated MyDensity conversational clouds, but that public work has been overwhelmed by client work), to tell more about how influence shapes information access and use.

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Very slick audio wiki ideas

BBC working on an audio-wiki:

The BBC is working on an audio annotation system which would let listeners “tag” certain parts of a news report, or documentary, or anything else that airs. (See demo: Quicktime, 4 MB) They can annotate the audio segment with time markers, much the way some podcasters produce show notes with time indicators.

This is very cool. Imagine using audio wiki to collaborate internally, sharing “documents” through Audible subscriptions that keep contents confidential.

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apophenia: designing for life stages

apophenia: designing for life stages:

danah boyd has a very insightful posting about the transitions in life that mark design challenges. I believe she’s dead-on with the distinction between youth and adulthood, which is the difference between finding an identity and exercising that identity. But I think she’s missing how engaged older people are with the shaping of their community:

There comes a point when people stop thinking that they need to give give give. They’re done and they want to reflect and share and just be. Older people are proud of what they did do and they tell stories. They share with their children and grandchildren and they find utter joy in watching them grow up. They talk about their children and grandchildren to friends with proud voices, sharing the joys of their stories. Older folks are no longer invested in working and being productive citizens. It’s more a matter of life maintenance and reflection.

Look at the evolution of political action over the last 30 years of life, when older people find the time to engage with their community after a lifetime of work. During a working life we exercise our identity through action, but older people get the time to live the message they believe.

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Time Warner’s selling, so long

FT.com / By industry / Media & internet – AOL founder Steve Case quits Time Warner board:

“I strongly believe that AOL – once the leading internet company in the world – can return to its past greatness,” Mr Case said on Monday. “Over the past few months, I have been pleased to see a renewed focus on AOL at Time Warner, and the emergence of so many strategic alternatives.”

Steve Case has resigned from the board at Time Warner, touting the strategic alternatives of selling a controlling stake in AOL to Google or Microsoft.

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Projection and perfection

Chris Pirillo has a wise assessment of the critical thinking about Web 2.0 in Unperfectly Cromulent:

Community is not perfect. Wikipedia is not perfect. The Web is not perfect. People are not perfect. What we enjoy is the power to influence others – what we don’t enjoy is when that power is seen as slightly imperfect. Or, unperfect as the case would be. The blogosphere has a mob mentality, and certain filters (like Memeorandum) only amplify select voices. When one person says something, another person chimes in – and then another person chimes in – and then another person chimes in – and then pretty soon you have a discussion about discussing the discussion. If I came out and “attacked” the service du jour, I’d likely be blackballed and seen as someone who just doesn’t “get it.” No, I just so happen to disagree with a lot of what I see – and I’m not always afraid to write about it. Oh yes, sometimes I *AM* afraid of coming out and stating that the “emperor has no clothes” – only because of that very same mob mentality. If I came out and said your favorite Web service was not as awesome as it portends to be, you’d likely feel it to be akin to a personal attack. Why?

We project ourselves onto the very things we like.

We want to believe we’re involved in the Good, but we are not perfect and prove it all the time. I’m working on an Evolution Media podcast about this same idea now. Hopefully, I’ll encapsulate things as simply as Chris has here.

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Not writing as much about politics?

I was over at Rob and Dana Greenlee’s to record Webtalk today and he asked why I wasn’t writing as much about politics lately. It’s simple: The Bush Administration is doing such a good job of damning itself these days that it would be redundant to point out their foibles as much as I have at other times.

The Bushies are like the mean old man down the block who yelled at anyone who walked by his house, everyone calls him a mean old bastard. But one day he wakes up mad as a hatter and stands in his yard stabbing himself in the head with his wife’s old knitting needles. You don’t feel angry anymore and don’t call him a mean old bastard; and in the case of Bush and cronies, it’s impossible not to feel sad about what they’ve done to the country and what the country is doing to itself.

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