Saturday, June 18, 2005

Open Source Voting and Democratic Rights Act

Notice that the whole issue of cleverly crafted, laced-with-cheats software (not to mention hardware) is strategically on the sidelines at the moment, as we careen towards a next election.

If journalism were able to sustain policy-making, that's a discussion we'd be having right now, but journalism can't do that job, isn't designed to, and nor is it the private sector's problem, really.

Attending to the affairs of infrastructure, especially those of the core operating system (the very machinery of voting for example) is the responsibility of government, otherwise there's no reason to pay for one.

So I'm not taking the absence of serious public discussion of this issue as a symptom of corrupt journalism, so much as evidence of a hands-off philosophy towards government in general, on the part of those officially installed with the responsibility to manage it.

Congress, in other words, if we are going to see any relevant legislation, an Open Source Voting and Democratic Rights Act for example, or something of the sort -- a sort of HIPAA in-reverse, in that the public has a right to know some information, just as surely as other information is none of its damn business.

Great legislation isn't written by the shallow puppets of those who don't really believe in good government, who in their heart of hearts want it to go away -- so they can steal us all blind.

Let us pray that those entrusted with the powers of political office will execute their duties with integrity, lest their words become as dust in the wind, against the forces of those who would seek to unseat democracy, as a form of government, from its rightful place at the table.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Sports Night

On advice of a fellow Quaker, a woman whose judgment I trust on such matters, I've been reviewing early episodes of Sports Night, a TV series.

I consider this series linked to Control Room (the movie) in that both the TV series and the movie are about life in and around a TV control room, the source of a nationally and/or globally syndicated show, in both cases a reality show, but in the TV series case, offered as a comedic fiction scripted by talented screen writers, and revolving around sports, relationships and generally lighter fare.

Control Room
, in contrast, is about war time coverage of extremely violent events -- not sports by a long shot -- and the genre is that of documentary, not clever sitcom, not fiction.

Some of the writing talent behind Sports Night was later behind West Wing, the fictional series about a president and company in the White House.

I've found Netflix a good resource for catching up on series I'd missed, what with living overseas, studying a lot in college, holding demanding jobs and so on. I'm way behind on my TV viewing. Never seen a Sopranos (don't worry, I'll get to it). But thanks to Netflix, I've worked through some middle seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and all of season one of the HBO series Six Feet Under (which has an important cast member in common with Sports Night by the way).

Monday, June 06, 2005

Chaordic Roaming

The rolling stock bizmos needn't be micromanaged from the control room. The itineraries come in the form of options, connecting events according to rule-based searches. If I've been to Oswego before, and enjoyed it, chances are I'd like to go again. The option scrolls into view, like in those TV Guide pages. Lots of channels, and I'm holding the remote. This keeps the bizmo crews happier, as there's not a sense of being coerced into grueling routines.

Availability from the various garages needs to be scheduled though. Like airplanes, bizmos are expected to file "flight plans" in advance so that logistics is smooth, redundancy minimized, effectiveness maximized. Some vehicles in our fleet do, in fact, fly, though I'm not aware that anyone has perfected Bucky's "omni-plummeting device" as Jay Baldwin likes to call it.

The bizmos criss-cross the country, connecting to conferences, museums, cultural events (e.g. Burning Man, X-Day). Plus they convene with each other, in mini-circus conventions, wherein notes and ideas get exchanged. Teachers aren't all on the same wavelength and specialize in different areas. But to get to this level (of having a bizmo), we presume you're pretty good, adequately skilled. So there's a clubby feel to it all, even if we're not all espousing the same politics.

I have no problem with the USG and energy companies becoming involved. The NSA has been earning its chops in the ed business, tracking lots of articles. The cryptography link between my math curriculum and RSA is enough to establish a national security credential. USAers want to know this bizmo, giving their kids a good look at cryptography internals, isn't leaking something vital to their enemies. The decals are reassuring in this regard.