Daily Digest for 2009-01-21

twitter (feed #3) 8:50am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Off to Seattle for SpinSpotter and other interesting meetings
twitter (feed #3) 4:04pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

The Black Plague, it’s still out there. Less virulent, but potentially drug resistant. http://bit.ly/jKYK
twitter (feed #3) 4:08pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Where your status. "What are you doing?" t-shirt will display Twitter status. Via Bluetooth and mobile handset. http://bit.ly/cZEu
twitter (feed #3) 4:11pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

the typo in the last message was intentional, but on reflection, the turn of phrase doesn’t work. Rats
twitter (feed #3) 4:17pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@rmack thoughtful piece about China’s Charter 08, a nascent movement. Her emphasis on small local change is important. http://bit.ly/1aygSD
twitter (feed #3) 4:19pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

One of the authors of Charter 08, Liu Xiaobo, detained by China’s govt. PEN calls for release: http://bit.ly/17RdJ via: http://bit.ly/130tn
twitter (feed #3) 4:22pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

China’s CCTV (state news) censored Obama inaugural, web sites followed suit. http://bit.ly/FCb7
twitter (feed #3) 4:23pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

FT reports Chinese economic contraction "now thinkable" — big trouble ahead in China politics, and U.S. finance. http://bit.ly/12rOl
twitter (feed #3) 4:25pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Apple selling refurbished Macs in China. Repaired by Chinese workers, who made them in first place. http://bit.ly/UwBn
twitter (feed #3) 4:29pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Daily Show skewers Obama inaugural — it was Bush changed….. "But, Jon, it’s Hope, Day One." http://bit.ly/cOsn
twitter (feed #3) 4:33pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

So pleased to see the new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) rules from Obama. "Transparency promotes accountability." http://bit.ly/OnRA
twitter (feed #3) 4:53pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

That’s one way to cash out, or add revenue. Second Life buys virtual retailers in Second Life. http://bit.ly/l4AI
twitter (feed #3) 4:56pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

RT @HouseFloor: H.R. 384 TARP Reform and Accountability Act: Passed 260-166, 7 not voting. http://tinyurl.com/dl3757
twitter (feed #3) 5:16pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

When people say they are a "social media guru," I think "I know I don’t know shit about social media, which I why I know more than you."
twitter (feed #3) 5:26pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

New online-only daily publication of the Compilation of Presidential Documents announced. Become a Presidential monitor. http://bit.ly/RERU
twitter (feed #3) 5:29pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Applications for the NEA’s Arts Advisory Panel for music, opera and dance open in early Feb. Info: http://bit.ly/Tw72
twitter (feed #3) 5:30pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@Brad_King any self-appointed "guru" has a major malfunction…. Let’s enjoy calling them on it.
twitter (feed #3) 5:42pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Commodity Futures Trading Comm. to enforce bright-line rule for public directors of markets: No material relationships http://bit.ly/nGTb
twitter (feed #3) 5:52pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Reading the Federal Register is fascinating, but it would be impossible to read it all every day. That’s why we need reporters.
twitter (feed #3) 5:58pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@Bloggeries Mac, Win or Linux? Do you mean trending analysis or digging into the financials of companies?
twitter (feed #3) 6:00pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Washington State headed toward 8% unemployment. That cuts spending, which cuts the sales tax revenues. http://bit.ly/MxJ2
twitter (feed #3) 6:06pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Bush Admin wiretapped all communications of targeted journalists, NSA analyst on Olbermann. Not foreign comm, all comm. http://bit.ly/sCKn
twitter (feed #3) 6:10pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@Bloggeries TradingBlox. It ain’t cheap, but it is flexible and includes a bunch of proven systems so you can compare.
brightkite (feed #4) 7:05pm admin posted a message on Mitch’s BrightKite Feed.

Having coffee with my daughter at Starbucks
twitter (feed #3) 8:26pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Listening to Howard Schultz speaking at my local Starbucks. People want meaningful connections through stores.

Daily Digest for 2009-01-20

twitter (feed #3) 8:54am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Thanks, America, for this great day.
twitter (feed #3) 9:03am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Interesting how contending hash tags for all the networks and themes actually fragments the shared experience
twitter (feed #3) 9:28am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Now the hard work begins. I’m going to go put my name in to fill an empty school board seat today. What are you going to do?
twitter (feed #3) 9:38am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

RT @ubercool: @godsdog i’m going to try to reinvent America: http://tinyurl.com/7d47mj
twitter (feed #3) 9:50am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

"former president George Bush" is a nice phrase to hear
twitter (feed #3) 9:51am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

"former vice president Cheney" sounds even better
twitter (feed #3) 9:53am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

RT @Halley: I do love him always taking THE HIGH ROAD, sending off Bush and Mrs. Bush … he always shows us HOW TO DO IT RIGHT. #inaug09
twitter (feed #3) 9:56am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

I hope that by the beginning of the balls tonight a wave of executive orders will be signed. Hold nothing back. Let’s get to work.
twitter (feed #3) 10:17am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Africa: Live Blogging Obama — 1:00: "As the former president’s helicopter circles…. crowd sings ‘hey, hey goodbye.’" http://bit.ly/HQo2
twitter (feed #3) 10:24am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

China calls for closer military ties with U.S. under Obama http://bit.ly/tKBa
twitter (feed #3) 10:32am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Bird Flu spreading — another case in China. Pandemic is a world challenge. http://bit.ly/6amz
twitter (feed #3) 10:34am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

How Obama can Boost the Economy by Investing in Science http://bit.ly/16IWw
twitter (feed #3) 10:40am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

RT @glennstrachan: #inaug09 It never ends!! Limbaugh says 47% of America voted AGAINST Obama. Partisanship never ends. | But Limbaugh will
twitter (feed #3) 11:43am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Apparently Ted Kennedy collapsed at the luncheon. He’s just back from brain surgery.
twitter (feed #3) 11:47am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@JOHNABYRNE re eco-system of readers: must be matched with an eco-system of reporting. http://bit.ly/uRSI
twitter (feed #3) 11:52am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Obama confirms Kennedy was the senator who collapsed.
twitter (feed #3) 11:53am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@JOHNABYRNE understood, hope you’ll read the linked article, which addresses that issue directly. http://bit.ly/uRSI
twitter (feed #3) 12:00pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Robert Byrd also has a medical problem.
twitter (feed #3) 12:04pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Inaugural address language analyzed. Here: http://bit.ly/tKWF and "my fellow citizens" here: http://bit.ly/Hv5t
twitter (feed #3) 12:28pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Unfortunate that media says of president" "He has a fleet of cars and helicopters." WE do, we put them at the president’s disposal
twitter (feed #3) 1:21pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

John King on CNN referred to Clarence Thomas as the "first African-American on the Supreme Court"- 5 min., no correction: Thurgood Marshall
twitter (feed #3) 2:00pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@fearlessradio sure, it’s hard work. doesn’t change the fact that corrections need to be made.
twitter (feed #3) 2:21pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@jerrymichalski did the dopplr site generate your report? When I tried, it just hung after asking for my login.
twitter (feed #3) 4:24pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Chinese unemployment approaching 30-year high http://bit.ly/15ca4
twitter (feed #3) 4:28pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

American Presidents http://bit.ly/SWYb via http://bit.ly/CAao
twitter (feed #3) 4:30pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Salmon, polluted by U.S. West Coast run-off, poisoning Killer Whales. http://bit.ly/HU5L
twitter (feed #3) 4:50pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Michelle Obama plays a better game of chess than her husband. http://bit.ly/Zlbd
blog (feed #5) 7:11pm admin published a blog post.

blog (feed #5) 7:18pm admin published a blog post.

twitter (feed #3) 7:37pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Asian newspaper front pages react to Obama inauguration http://bit.ly/4utiPj

Daily Digest for 2009-01-19

twitter (feed #3) 11:18am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

16,000 people in China "trapped by giant fog" — pollution freezes travel. http://bit.ly/mDwC
twitter (feed #3) 11:26am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Flashback: The Onion on Bush’s inaugural. "the dark period [of] economic prosperity… and peace" is over. http://bit.ly/svZz
twitter (feed #3) 11:35am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Robert Reich’s rules for "bad banks" that dump assets. Good ideas for returning banking to a sound, ethical foundation http://bit.ly/yVGk
twitter (feed #3) 12:14pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Finally, progress in finding the Federal Register online. Today’s TOC is here: http://bit.ly/14MeC but now need to figure out how to RSS-ify
twitter (feed #3) 1:18pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

RT @zephoria: I posted my dissertation (Taken Out of Context): http://tinyurl.com/87jmc4 | Read first part, very good insight, highly rec.
blog (feed #1) 3:52pm Let’s talk about the economics of a journalism
blog (feed #1) 3:52pm Let’s talk about the economics of great journalism
twitter (feed #3) 4:02pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@jay_rosen @EthanZ @agahran @seth_godin @dangillmor @lisawilliams Let’s talk about the economics of great journalism http://bit.ly/JDTD
twitter (feed #3) 4:21pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Amory Lovins launches Bright Automotive to build all-electric cars http://bit.ly/4lFZHB
twitter (feed #3) 4:22pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Women own 48% of enterprises in Africa, but have much more trouble getting funding. http://bit.ly/12gqe
twitter (feed #3) 4:28pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Govt Printing Office provides functionality timeline for electronic access to egovt info, incl. Federal Register: http://bit.ly/4heJ65
twitter (feed #3) 4:33pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Medicare will use progressively updated Bayesian analytics to inform coverage decisions. Public comment opp: http://bit.ly/CwrV
twitter (feed #3) 4:37pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

DHHS to intro proficiency requirements for cytology, particular pap smear, labs. 20 yrs, in making. Public comment opp: http://bit.ly/3D0r3z
twitter (feed #3) 4:38pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@digiphile thanks — jump in. I’m tweeting some examples today based on reading the Federal Register. Tons of issues to cover.
twitter (feed #3) 4:51pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

U.S. Defense Science Board. It provides tech and strategic advice to DOD and Dept. Homeland Sec. Closed Meeting Feb. 4-5 http://bit.ly/17GI8
twitter (feed #3) 5:04pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

RT @skap5: The White House just put a full lid on the day and on the administration. || HOORAY! Praise the gods, the dumbmare is over!
twitter (feed #3) 5:14pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@peterkim the question about Capt. Sully is whether being his fan means anything to those 400K people. Then, does he do anything with that?
twitter (feed #3) 5:38pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

RT @peterkim: @godsdog Bird Strike Committee USA should buy paid ads on it. | Inspired idea. How can Scully get a bonus based on that?
twitter (feed #3) 6:13pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Good evening, all. New era tomorrow, regardless of your politics. The world I was born into Baton Rouge, 1961, is formally buried @ 11:56 AM

Let’s talk about the economics of great journalism

Responding to various recent postings about journalism, including Ethan Zuckerman, Seth Godin, Dan Gillmor, Amy Gahran and Lisa Williams. I think the economics of journalism and ethics are deeply related and we tend to talk about them separately, emphasizing the dying channels for distribution at the expense of understanding the net loss of reporting.

When I worked with the team that built the ON24 iFinancial Network, a personalized financial news network that delivered hundreds of long- and short-form investment news each day, we tried to grow on advertising. Even though we had several million viewers who spent an hour or more a day getting much deeper reports than other sources provided—complete coverage of conference calls, analyst reports, company statements and executive speeches—advertisers were slow to adopt the idea.

ON24’s news team operated on approximately $1.8 million a year at its peak, when it was producing 28 hours, and more, of programming a day, far below the cost at competitors like CNBC, which paid just one of their anchors almost as much as ON24’s news staff of 85 full-time employees. Such radical changes in the economics of news are always possible, especially now.

Media innovation cannot be dependent on advertisers, they will not take the risk. Innovation must find a foothold with people who demand that great news be available. The users of news have to support it to get it going. In the past, rich men made this investment and we got what they paid for. Are we going to pay for better news in the coming century? Are we going to pay for it now, when media is down and change can overwhelm the old controlled media that delivers more pabulum than hard news?

Having been in and around journalism, citizen journalism and publishing for a long time, let me suggest we stop talking about the ethics of providing complete and useful information to citizens of a democracy, which are barely changed by the requirements of social media and cloud computing technology, in isolation from the economics of journalism. If someone delivers great journalism on a regular basis, what does it cost to do it? What is it worth to you to get better news coverage of an important issue?

Let’s posit that if the journalism is “great” or even “good,” it will be ethical, and face the problem of paying for the change we want. Unethical reporting is not journalism.

Forget about advertising and the like as a means of support. What’s a solid source of useful reliable information worth to you? A dollar a month? Twenty dollars a year? I’d bet you’d pay more for great local coverage, whether your locality is geographic, including your own home town, or topical but global, such as global warming or eliminating pandemic disease.

For example, if you could count on someone to examine federal elections reporting for you and deliver all the articles you need to be fully informed about your reprsentatives’ potential conflicts of interest, as well as alerts via Twitter, Friendfeed or SMS, what would you pay? Or comprehensive coverage of your favorite baseball team in the context of the whole of Major League Baseball? Perhaps you’d like extensive research into the activity of the World Bank or the Department of Interior. How about your state legislature? Maybe you’d like grass-roots coverage of USAService.org projects in your region that included financial analysis of the use of funds—that costs money.

The cost of any of these specialties is a good living for someone doing the work, whether that is doled out in parts to members of a team or to a single individual. We can talk in terms of voluntary effort, but even that needs financial support and some organization and analysis that ties together all the bits and pieces, whomever might provide it. If the reporter makes their living some other way, the work of reporting becomes secondary and conditional—they can’t commit to deliver news no matter the time or cost if they have to work a day job.

The obvious potential bias of a “press” that can only work voluntarily, making it the playground of the wealthy, makes the benefits of a self-supporting independent media self-evident. The media that people complain about is the product of wealth investing in messages they would support. Any replacement of an egalitarian grass-roots funding with one rich man doling out largesse or investments will get you the same media we have today.

Let’s assume that a competent reporter delivering original reporting, not simply reworking other sources, is worth the same as a senior mid-level manager in a corporation, such as Microsoft or Google—they may make between $90,000 to $130,000 a year. We’re talking about a good source of information, someone that people find reliable and responsive to the community’s ideas. Remember, that could be $10,000 to nine to 13 people sharing the task of coverage or more to participants in a smaller team.

Of course, a smaller beat, such as a town or city’s government, might be less expensive to cover. These reporters working directly for the community could price the service any way they like. A kid covering Lakewood, Wash., where I live, might build a living that gives them a platform for covering the Washington State Legislature, a local industry or other “bigger,” more lucrative topic.

Good reporters have costs you might not envision when thinking of someone sitting at a desk, using the Internet to do research. For example, subscriptions to various publications and source of background information costs, at minimum, a few hundred dollars a month. Should the reporter need to travel to do any research, conduct interviews or collect information that is not available electronically, that’s a minimum of $1,500 per trip for airfare, plus a week’s food and lodging.

But, hold on, let’s say the reporter needs to file a Freedom of Information Act request? The last time I did it for a story on the National Security Agency, in the 1990s, it cost $7,500 to get the filing shepherded through the process and pushed to success by an attorney. A good reporter might also find themselves the subject to legal attacks or, if they cover a war, captured by insurgents—do you expect them to just languish unaided if they can’t deliver the news?

What isn’t necessary for the news to flow effortlessly these days is a big company to distribute articles and programming. They might be good at selling advertising, but that need not be part of the business of news, if we begin with the assumption that funding sources also have some influence over coverage—people reading and viewing may be carrying the freight.

The fully loaded cost of a great reporter doing great work, then, falls somewhere in the $180,000 range:

$130,000 salary and benefits
$4,800 a year in subscriptions and other information sources
$2,500 a month in travel
$1,250 a month in legal and insurance coverage
$179,800 total, and that’s before the cost of IT, telecom and office space

After salary and benefits, the average cost of supporting a reporter will range between $20,000 and $50,000 a year. This assumes they have no bonuses for great work or world-changing stories. Yes, they might write a book about that story to supplement their income, but this takes away from time that can be dedicated to uncovering the next story and contributes to the phenomenon of the celebrity journalist in sharp contrast to the beat writer. In short, if every other sector of the economy works best when people can compete for success and compensation, this one is going to take some incentives from readers/viewers and, even, collaborators and amplifiers who reblog, rewrite and extend the hard work of original research. It’s a system that the Creative Commons licenses could handily support.

How could we make this work? Obviously, legal, benefits and other general and administrative features of this process (such as getting bulk rates on travel and subscriptions), can be lowered by a distributed non-profit or cooperative organization. That entity could also handle distribution of compensation, handling the splitting of payments. This is critical, since it is most likely that supporters of reporting will want a collection of sources, not just one source. So, there might be a “Collective Press” feed on U.S. government, on the state of California, the auto industry, green energy, and so forth, the fees for which are split between many contributors.

Let’s also assume that the news should not be behind any kind of pay wall, that it should be freely accessible so that people can use and decide if they want to support the work. Added convenience or increased interaction would be the best way to reward supporting. My thought is to give supporters enhanced commenting, Twitter access to the reporter, and other benefits, such as forwarding with private discussion links.

In the simplest scenario, then, what does an independent journalism supported by the users of information, as compared to being designed to support the producer-of-information’s advertisers, look like?

How about this? Pay $1 a month or $12 a year to a reporter who has offered an online “contract” to deliver thorough coverage of a topic. They might ask for more, but they’d have to sell the idea, just as they do in editorial meetings today. In exchange, you’ll get alerts about new articles and comments by the writer through email, Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed or SMS. Another feature would be a social page of your own, where your input to the feed is available, delivered to the reporter for their thoughts, and your own feeds to share with friends. The reporter benefits from these re-feeds by supporters as a form of marketing for their work.

Since this would likely be an entrepreneurial effort, reporters would have to start off building their communities, with the help of early supporters. We could rally around a reporter and get them started with commitments of $1 a month ($0.03 a day). A reporter offering to cover a major federal program that has significant impact on 500 companies and 5,000,000 people should be able to recruit 5,000 supporters after a few months.

Using the costs described above, the break-even point for a $130,000-salaried reporter would be 15,000 readers. That’s well within the realm of possibility for a reporter supported by a non-profit that lists their offerings and ensures payments will be fulfilled. Assuming that reporters will be subscribing to other reporters, some of this needs to be kick-started by the members of the “new press” finding one another.

I’ll commit right now to support 40 such reporters who will give me a unique, comprehensive and informed feed of information and analysis on subjects about which I want to keep apprised. The kind of quality and coverage I want is of higher quality than the momentary mentions of television and deeper than beat coverage in newspapers or magazines. And I want to discuss the topics I care about with informed reporters and other readers/viewers.

Daily Digest for 2009-01-18

twitter (feed #3) 5:57pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@raminf it’s more a here’s-the-court and here comes a game kind of post
twitter (feed #3) 6:02pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Self-justifying discussions about journalism, whether old-justifying-itself or new-spreading-the-changed-rules get dull very quickly
twitter (feed #3) 6:14pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Watch so many non-political, non-government news organizations create stories related to the inauguration. Adding noise, not signal
twitter (feed #3) 6:14pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

At least one important aspect of journalism is recognizing when there isn’t a story…..
twitter (feed #3) 6:21pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@alevin does a "ritual" need annotation by sports pubs, tech, marketing sites? Some of the sanctity of ritual comes of separateness, no?
twitter (feed #3) 6:35pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

I’m still looking for RSS feeds of the Federal Register. Anyone know of a source? There’s a table of contents-only email list. Need RSS
twitter (feed #3) 6:37pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@alevin The New Year’s stories are programmatic and largely useless, too.
twitter (feed #3) 6:42pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Consultancy says handsets are too complicated, set-up daunting. http://bit.ly/YUVds
twitter (feed #3) 6:52pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@alevin Granted, the culture of celebrity is worse, but anytime the press goes programmatic, it is wasting people’s time
twitter (feed #3) 7:06pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@jonl @alevin — Glad to be celebrating. Would like to see fewer me-too reports, which lay no foundation for citizen participation in govt
twitter (feed #3) 7:20pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@jonl ++ to @alevin the mindless chatter of me-too stories prepares the way for less innovation, more sameness and reactive "gut" judgments
twitter (feed #3) 7:23pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@Ross I like a concert as much as the next guy, but legislative agenda for the next 100 days will set this presidency off successfully.
twitter (feed #3) 7:26pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@jonl @ross — I’m hopeful, too. Hope everyone decides to pull together for a while.
twitter (feed #3) 7:28pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@alevin beyond OJ and that lot, the trivialization of news by making everything into a seasonal feature, a "series" and not covering events
twitter (feed #3) 7:51pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@jonl @alevin — IMHO, "always wrong" isn’t reasonable. Usually one-sided. We can catch all the views, if we demand less fluff

Beginning anew….

For the past couple years, beginning during my prolonged medically enforced quietude and continuing to this day, I have been reading and rereading philosophers from the pre-Socratics through modern Continental and Analytic philosophers. The explanations for, and of, existence, its meaning and the consequences for thought have been deeply troubling to me for a long time, because the people providing those explanations have demanded that almost anything be justified by fragmented, fractured thinking. As a thoughtful person, I have been confused by the riot of claims made for and by “reason,” “science” and “experience.” But I was not a philosopher, because I did not endeavor to put the house of my reasoning together for anyone other than myself to occupy.

Edmund Husserl, echoing René Descartes, wrote in his Cartesian Meditations, a series of essays based on lectures he delivered at the Sorbonne in 1929, that “we make a new beginning, each for himself and in himself, with the decision of philosophers who begin radically: that at first we shall put out of action all the convictions we have been accepting up to now, including all our sciences” so that we may build upon thoroughly examined principles a foundation of ideas on which we can construct a life in thought.

Husserl prefaced the transcripts of his lectures with the comment that, while philosophers can meet, their philosophies do not, because they cannot share a common mental space. Throughout my reading I have been impressed by the writers’ unwillingness to communicate in a language not laden with jargon. Even in the Greek age, Aristotle began to adorn his ideas with language that required specialization. Socrates, speaking through Plato, presented his ideas plainly enough to please anyone listening with their clarity. Parmenides, too, when he argued that “The same, itself, is both thinking and being.”

Modern philosphy, of course, began with Descartes, who arrived at the Parmenidean idea through the application of doubt to the question of existence. Only when he was able to confirm that he himself was conscious of his being through thought could he accept as axiomatic his Being: Cogito ergo sum (“I think, therefore I am”). Rigor-plus-Parmenides, in that Descartes took the general statement that thinking is being and, by eliminating the potentials for external manipulation that might create the illusion of being, reduced it to the fundamental issue of one Being knowing itself.

Beyond that individual experience of Being qua Being, in the most literal and undiluted sense of Being being itself, there is nothing but controversy. Philosophies cannot agree what is being Being, nor how they can know that experience, let alone what can be Being. Descartes split the world “in two,” creating the mind-body problem and the so-called objectivity of science, which has bent philosophies into pretzel logics to explain what, if any, difference exists between Being and non-Being. Kant, Schelling and Hegel attempted transcendence to navigate that chasm. Spinoza, Leibniz and, critically to 20th Century philosophy, Nietzsche’s notion of an eternally returning fusion of substance and time, argued for a unity that exists in multiplicity, as do many Continental philosophers today.

Whatever it is that is regarding its own Being in the cogito, plurality of substances or a unity, it is the very notion of Being that becomes confused because of the differing approach to language in describing the world and what is in—or part—of it. Subject and object confront one another in experience or, in the case of most analytic and many Continental philosophers, through language, which, as the conveyance of thought, claims to be thinking and, as such, Being. In either case, thought dissolves into objects (in the simplest sense, that of a thing external to minds, such as a table, a rock or the Moon), because these things become repositories for thought, through design and interpretation, and meaning. And the result is a world in which Being becomes increasingly difficult to comprehend qua Being, in and of itself.

If, as Alain Badiou claims in Being and Event, Heidegger is the last universally recognizable philosopher, we are confronted with the indecipherable problem of teasing apart Being from our civilizations, technologies and our experience of those things. Heidegger’s approach to thinking thoughts is a gnostic kind of existentialism, in which realization of Being instantiates Being while simultaneously introducing undecidable questions and the requirement that the thinker acknowledge an inconceivable void, which has a very great beauty, but remains primarily a form of literature rather than science. Likewise, Wittgenstein, the doyen of Analytic philosophy, advises his readers about the inability to talk about things they cannot put to words, leaving an unknowable knowledge at the core of existence. Ultimately, both schools have failed to adequately address the meaning of Gödel’s Theorem in the application of pure or practical reason.

Gödel confronts the philosopher with the immanent limitations in any axiomatic system. Rather than suggesting that any axiomatic system is hopeless, this opens the way to constant discovery of what is presently unknown, but only if we restore doubt to the place it occupied in Descartes’ thinking, as well as amplify its application to future judgments based on a priori concepts. The practical rule is “take nothing for granted.” We can only begin and end in doubt, which is not to say that we can never know the truth of Being, but that we make progress toward greater insight. As Husserl wrote: “the idea of science and philosophy involves an order of cognition, proceeding from intrinsically earlier to intrinsically later cognitions; ultimately, then, a beginning and a line of advance are not to be chosen arbitrarily but have their basis in ‘in the nature of things themselves. (emphasis in original, bold added)'”

None of this is to say that I know I exist, that I have justified my confidence that I am not typing this text into a virtuality with no one to observe, know and argue my conclusions with me. That’s for the next time. In the meantime, I hope I have laid out the questions I must confront in making the claim that I exist, that you, who reads this, also exists, and that the world is not a projection of my making, nor of some evil genius wishing to deceive me, or you.

Daily Digest for 2009-01-17

twitter (feed #3) 4:43pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

pu’er tea investment market has collapsed after bubbling up 1,000% http://bit.ly/4cXWq8 The first Chinese token of affluence evaporates
twitter (feed #3) 4:47pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

"The Mariners should bring back Ken Griffey Jr." I agree, just because it closes a great chapter of the team’s history. http://bit.ly/Qd2k
twitter (feed #3) 4:51pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Intrate probability market puts chances of U.S. depression in 2009 at 56%. Good comments here: http://bit.ly/W1Xr
twitter (feed #3) 5:11pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

According to "sources," Steve Jobs is considering a liver transplant. That would mean his cancer spread. http://bit.ly/W1Xr
twitter (feed #3) 5:14pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Did you see the US Coast Guard video of the US Air ditching? http://bit.ly/cPwZ
twitter (feed #3) 5:17pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

When we hunt species, they evolve much more quickly in response. http://bit.ly/e99aT
twitter (feed #3) 5:22pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@dhowell "They pecked when we took them to slaughter. Now they’re building a dirty bomb. CHICKENS, the movie"
twitter (feed #3) 5:23pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Esteban on the power of the small when it is all added up. Great online marketing discussion. http://bit.ly/17VTc
twitter (feed #3) 5:25pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@dhowell of course, this really has been easy to see in viruses and bacteria for years. Fascinating it can be seen in higher species.
twitter (feed #3) 5:27pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

A happy holiday is coming, all over the world. Tales of hope from Moscow. http://bit.ly/pgav Let’s hope the reality is as good as the dream
twitter (feed #3) 5:31pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

The EU demands Microsoft pull IE from its OS on the Continent. If programmers decided browser share, IE would be smallest http://bit.ly/zuWc
twitter (feed #3) 5:34pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Lance Armstrong staring his first race in 3+ years. Great to see him on more of the Grand Tours http://bit.ly/GeYb
twitter (feed #3) 5:39pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@dhowell I live for small amusements….. :^>
twitter (feed #3) 6:50pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@jerrymichalski @jayrosen_nyu — Jerry, what would the world be w/o the "nice" part. Let’s imagine a world with a multiplicity of qualities.
twitter (feed #3) 6:51pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@jerrymichalski @jayrosen_nyu – for example, what about contesting the degree of contribution. People want a representative value for work
twitter (feed #3) 7:28pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@jerrymichalski @jay_rosen – that’s true, when does the story of the story replace the "truth" of the story? A mgmt and critical problem.
blog (feed #1) 8:29pm Beginning anew….
twitter (feed #3) 8:31pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

I am thinking about what Being means…. http://ratcliffeblog.com/?p=1670

Daily Digest for 2009-01-16

twitter (feed #3) 9:15pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@COasis worry about the country, not the man’s legacy. Justice O’Connor: "’A state of war is not a blank check for the president…"
blog (feed #5) 9:32pm admin published a blog post.

twitter (feed #3) 10:01pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

I’m thinking of bifurcating my feed into this one and a baseball feed….. I can feel Spring Training and the season taking shape.
twitter (feed #3) 8:48am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Off to Seattle for SpinSpotter for the morning.
twitter (feed #3) 2:57pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@COasis yr missing the point. putting a president’s legacy ahead of the country by declaring "victory" is shortsighted.
twitter (feed #3) 3:08pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Kobe Bryant has a Chinese blog and it had 4,000+ comments in the first few hours. http://bit.ly/g4GK

Daily Digest for 2009-01-15

blog (feed #1) 9:32pm Where is conservative “country first?”
googlereader (feed #6) 10:28pm admin shared a link on My Google Reader Feed.

lastfm (feed #8) 9:45am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 9:48am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

googlereader (feed #6) 9:48am admin shared a link on My Google Reader Feed.

twitter (feed #3) 9:48am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Google Earth adds Fly To the Prado Museum. Video of the Google team capturing 14 paintings. http://bit.ly/ewlL
lastfm (feed #8) 9:50am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

twitter (feed #3) 9:52am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

China launches a Google Earth project of its own. Doubt their submarine bases will show up, as ours have. http://bit.ly/ya34
twitter (feed #3) 9:59am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Sarah Palin can use her helicopter to hunt Beluga whales when wolves are out of season. she opposes protecting them. http://bit.ly/cHZX
lastfm (feed #8) 10:01am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

twitter (feed #3) 10:01am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

SciAm reports that child predators online don’t have greater advantage over kids, with some dissent among research group. http://bit.ly/mXbd
lastfm (feed #8) 10:06am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 10:08am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

twitter (feed #3) 10:10am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Amy Gahran: beat coverage is dying due to cost. Me: beats a baseline of coverage to build on. Here’s "cloud journalism" http://bit.ly/159tm
lastfm (feed #8) 10:11am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

twitter (feed #3) 10:12am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Bankruptcies by state, 2005-2008, interactive graphic. Pretty scary, and it’s just a representation of reality. http://bit.ly/inq7
lastfm (feed #8) 10:13am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

twitter (feed #3) 10:18am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Pubmatic report, somewhat problematic, shows online CPMs falling. Supply up, demand flat, declining prices. http://bit.ly/w4Dr
lastfm (feed #8) 10:21am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

twitter (feed #3) 10:21am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve," Jefferson on Alien&Sed. Acts http://bit.ly/d3A8
lastfm (feed #8) 10:24am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

twitter (feed #3) 10:26am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

How’s your tourism industry? Washington state’s hotel occupancy down 8.1% from a year ago. http://bit.ly/u03b
lastfm (feed #8) 10:29am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 10:33am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

twitter (feed #3) 10:36am admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

BBC hosting a worldwide youth discussion about the Obama presidency. Will be interesting to watch. http://bit.ly/ziT4
lastfm (feed #8) 10:38am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 10:40am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 10:43am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 10:48am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 10:51am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 10:55am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 10:59am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 11:02am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 11:05am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 11:08am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 11:13am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 11:16am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 11:23am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 11:27am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 11:31am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

lastfm (feed #8) 11:34am admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

twitter (feed #3) 12:01pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

A graph of incomprehensibility. distribution of people saying "it’s {language] to me" to describe lack of comprehension. http://bit.ly/5SII
twitter (feed #3) 12:04pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

What the Economist Group learned from its innovation experiment. http://bit.ly/xxKz Resulting book free here: http://bit.ly/ctVk
lastfm (feed #8) 12:43pm admin scrobbled a song on My Ears.

twitter (feed #3) 12:50pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

RT @dexin: U.S. military report warns ‘sudden collapse’ of Mexico is possible http://tr.im/80ar | Another great triumph of Bushism.
twitter (feed #3) 12:53pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

People in life vests seen exiting the plane after it hit the water.
twitter (feed #3) 12:54pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Bird strike "large enough to register on radar" reported by ATC in New York.
twitter (feed #3) 1:05pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

CNN producer who is at scene says "all passengers got off" — on the boats. Interviewing passenger. #hudson
twitter (feed #3) 1:06pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Passenger reports a loud bang, plane shaking, smoke in cabin and the plane made a controlled ditch with announcement. on CNN #Hudson
twitter (feed #3) 1:07pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

"everybody’s still alive" the passenger tells CNN. Exited out front after turning away from back of plane. on CNN #hudson
twitter (feed #3) 1:07pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

"some people were on the wing and had to wait there" but "most got on the rafts" passenger ‘pretty sure everyone got off" #hudson
twitter (feed #3) 1:09pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

The plane is reportedly empty. Passenger "can’t say 100%" and crew helped with evacuation. on CNN #hudson
twitter (feed #3) 1:12pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Passenger now seems to say he can’t confirm crew helped with evacuation. Warning came 20 – 30 seconds before crash. on CNN #hudson
twitter (feed #3) 1:13pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Wolf Blitzer asks dumb question: Can you reflect after a few moments passed since crash? Asking for judgment when none possible. #hudson
twitter (feed #3) 1:15pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Most passengers are on shore, not in boats or water. CNN — near 42nd St. No reports of deaths or missing, yet. #hudson on CNN
twitter (feed #3) 1:16pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Passenger sitting next to engine saw it "blow out" and the "pilot turned and made a line for river" — phenomenal landing. on CNN #hudson
twitter (feed #3) 1:17pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

RT @Scobleizer: First photo posted was with an iPhone: http://ad.vu/2hrc Excellent photo — clear everyone survives.
twitter (feed #3) 1:33pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@robhof we’re supposed to suspend that kind of awe, there were a lot better things to ask at that moment. Wolf should lay off "it’s sinking"
twitter (feed #3) 2:01pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Susan Candiotti of CNN just declared this ditching of a plane a "miracle." Thought that was the Pope’s job. #hudson
twitter (feed #3) 6:21pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@agahran it’d be great to see general reporting – w/ or w/o assignments – get real credit again.
twitter (feed #3) 6:57pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

One last blast of Jon Stewart Bush impressions, an 8-yr. ride over. hehe http://bit.ly/1xvMQ0
twitter (feed #3) 7:22pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@COasis an appeals court decision doesn’t *guarantee* a legacy. It’s a single opinion in a series of judgments. Legacies take more time.
twitter (feed #3) 7:38pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@dchurbuck on the US Air pilot who saved those people in the Hudson today. Fighter pilot says his linkedin profile. http://bit.ly/18IVAi
twitter (feed #3) 7:55pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@steveouting describes kind of orchestral conductor role for journos in cit. media. Perhaps we r "concert hall builders" http://bit.ly/gqrb
twitter (feed #3) 7:56pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

@steveouting and those concert halls contain the stories told forever, so they can grow and be used for learing. Topics become venues.
twitter (feed #3) 8:06pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Life on Mars? If so, it smells bad. Methane discovered, so something has gas. http://bit.ly/dTOi
twitter (feed #3) 8:12pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

Shen Minte is a brave man, speaking out on freedom of speech in China. Full translation: http://bit.ly/sU3P via http://bit.ly/gWDG
twitter (feed #3) 8:16pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

"keeping planes safe from bird strikes" is threat language. Flying is risky, less so over time, never completely safe. http://bit.ly/17aMs
twitter (feed #3) 8:18pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

"What ought to worry people – for the sake of democracy, not newspaper owners – is a net loss of reporting." http://bit.ly/4P5P
twitter (feed #3) 8:28pm admin posted a tweet on My Twitter Feed.

RT @hrheingold: video on Dewey-Lippmann, Clay Shirky, and where theory of citizens meets digital journalism practice http://bit.ly/12O3J

Where is conservative “country first?”

The American Spectator derides conservatives who met with President-elect Barack Obama in a headline and short posting yesterday: Obama Meets With Ex-Conservatives.

Talking to Obama apparently confirms the failure of these commentators, including George Will and William Kristol, in their conservative orthodoxy. In other words, they are “talking to the enemy.”

Whether The American Spectator likes it or not, Obama won the election. Rather than proclaiming, as one Vice President Dick Cheney did, that winning an election gives the party in power the right to collect “our due,” Obama is talking to everyone.

That’s what democracy is, leading rather than commanding.

But our co-countrymen on the right seem to think that, if they do it, refusing to talk to or cooperate with the President, is not disloyal or traitorous. Country after party is their motto. Unlike them, I will not ask them to leave the country that they clearly love less than the power that country occasionally grants them.

In related news, the Republican Senators who now claim they won’t give a “blank check” to the incoming president, the same blank check handed to their man when he was in office, are playing politics with TARP money. All the problems with Washington politics conservatives decry when become standard operating procedure when they are out of power.