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David Weinberger

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Chris Soghoian is giving a Berkman lunchtime talk called: “Caught in the Cloud: Privacy, Encryption, and Government Back Doors in the Web 2.0 Era,” based on paper he’s just written. In the interest of time, he’s not going to talk about the “miscreants in government” today. Pew says that “over 69% of Americans use webmail services, store data online, or other use software programs such as word processing applications whose functionality is in the cloud.” Chris’ question: Why have cloud providers failed to provide adequate security for the customers. (”Cloud computing” = users’ data is stored on a company server and the app is delivered through a browser.) NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling othe... (more)

Transparency is the New Objectivity

A friend asked me to post an explanation of what I meant when I said at PDF09 that “transparency is the new objectivity.” First, I apologize for the cliché of “x is the new y.” Second, what I meant is that transparency is now fulfilling some of objectivity’s old role in the ecology of knowledge. Outside of the realm of science, objectivity is discredited these days as anything but an aspiration, and even that aspiration is looking pretty sketchy. The problem with objectivity is that it tries to show what the world looks like from no particular point of view, which is like wonderin... (more)

Shoes For Industry! Shoes for the Dead!

We now have the second iconic moment of the Bush presidency. This is how he’ll be remembered, if only because shoes seem to be so psychologically powerful: Khrushchev is remembered in this country for pounding his shoe on the UN’s lectern, and Adlai Stevenson is remembered for the hole in his shoe. (NOTES: The first iconic moment was Bush speaking under the “Mission Accomplished” banner. And this post’s title is a Firesign Theater quote.) [Tags: bush shoes politics worst_president_ever ] [Reprinted by kind permission of the author. This blog post - except for copyrighted materia... (more)

The Pirate Bay and The Pirate Google

ThePirateBay has links to content hosted elsewhere that’s available for download using the BitTorrent protocol. The site also provides a search engine for finding that content, and a page for each torrent with information about the content. It doesn’t distinguish between content that’s protected by copyright and content that isn’t. The four founders of ThePirateBay were convicted by a Swedish court last week. They were fined a middling amount, and were sentenced to a year in jail. (”What’re you in for?” “Improper use of metadata.”) Now there is ThePirateGoogle, created by someon... (more)

[berkman] Stephen Wolfram - WolframAlpha.com

Stephen Wolfram is giving at talk at Harvard about his WolframAlpha site, which will launch in May. Aim: “Find a way to make computable the systematic knowledge we’ve accumulated.” The two big projects he’s worked on have made this possible. Mathematica (he’s worked on it for 23 yrs) makes it possible to do complex math and symbolic language manipulation. A New Kind of Science (NKS) has made it possible that it’s possible to understand much about the world computationally, often with very simple rules. So, WA uses NKS principles and the Mathematica engine. He says he’s in this pr... (more)