From The Economist Technology Quarterly: The Babbage of the web

Dec 7th 2000

   Ted Nelson imagined hypertext in 1960 --but his vision failed to become a reality. Now the web has
   eaten his lunch. But Mr Nelson hopes that his innovative ideas will yet prevail

   SOME people are famous not for what they achieve, but for what they fail to
   achieve. Charles Babbage, a 19th-century English mathematician, is
   regarded today as one of the pioneers of computing, even though he never
   managed to finish building any of the elaborate mechanical computers he designed...


From ZD Net: "Tech Luddites Unite,"
an old (12/9/99) commentary by Mary Jo Foley

There are luddites out working ass-deep in technoland. They just can’t "come out of the cubicle"
as we say. They are of the luddtype crypto- or converso- luddite, named after the Jews who had to
pretend to be catholics during the Spanish Inquisition. Read the TALKBACK on this article to see
the genuine heat (and some assonance) this mild article generated.

We get it all the time.



From MoJo Wire (Mother Jones) - Computer Monitor

Ted Smith of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
by Lisa Margonelli

   ...the Toxics Coalition has made a name for itself by publicizing what it calls
   "the dark side of high-tech development" worldwide. "People are always trying to
   solve yesterday's problem," says Smith... "But this industry is inventing tomorrow's
   problems." Among the most pressing of those problems, says Smith, is the growing
   pile of hazardous electronics waste accumulating in warehouses, attics, and offices
   worldwide. The National Safety Council estimates that only 11 percent of the
   computers discarded in the United States are recycled; the rest are either stored
   by their owners or find their way into landfills...


From USA TODAY: 'Potter' Web fans organize boycott

By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

   One might think Harry Potter's biggest fans would be thrilled that a Potter movie is opening
   this fall, but instead, they're organizing a worldwide boycott of merchandise featuring the
   fictional boy wizard. The reason: Lawyers from Warner Bros., a subsidiary of AOL Time
   Warner, which purchased the rights to the Harry Potter trademarks and copyrights for the film,
   have been sending letters threatening legal action over copyright violations to kids who have
   created fan Web sites...

Also see 'Closing the Harry Potter Divide' an old TLR editorial...




Some excerpts from the applications received by WNET from people
competing to become the stars of its new reality show, "Frontier
House," a morphing of "1900 House" into a "Survivor"-like psuedo-
pioneering experience in the wide and empties of Montana.

    "Life in this day and age is way too fast. I just want an opportunity to slow down
    and take advantage of the more important things like the breeze, the smell of
    pure clean air and know that I have a part in giving something to my children
    that was not bought or ordered."
-- Florida family



Make sure you own your body before you auction off the air rights above
your head...

From a Scientific American book review: Body Bazaar: The Market For Human Tissue

Who Owns Your Body? A review by Rick Weiss:

   Consider the case of John Moore, who in the 1980s was being treated by a
   Los Angeles specialist for hairy-cell leukemia. Unbeknownst to Moore,
   his doctor had discovered in the businessman's spleen cells a natural
   compound that appeared to have great therapeutic potential. When Moore
   learned that his doctor had taken out a patent on his cells and had sold
   the commercial rights to a biotechnology company for millions of
   dollars, he sued for property theft. But in a landmark 1990 decision,
   the California Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that Moore did not have a
   property interest in his body parts. Thus, the stage was set for what
   the biotechnology industry now sees as a crucial right of access to
   human tissue...



Fast Food Nation
by Eric Schlosser

    ... goes to the heart of the nations need for greed. The interdependence between cash
    lust and schools, architecture, physical landscape, religion -- the very air that we
    breathe--is revealed as the crappy erector set that it is...
-- an Amazon reviewer

Also see the Salon.com review "Unhappy Meals," and the Slow Food website for an
interesting alternative point of view. (Thanks to Rebeccablood.net for the link)



From The American Prospect

Robert B. Reich, "The New Economy As A Decent Society,"
The American Prospect, Vol. 12 No. 3, February 12, 2001

    The culprit isn't out there. It's not in the global corporations,
    greedy executives, immigrant, poor minorities, or insensitive elites.
    It's in here -- in our appetities, in what we want to buy, in the
    deals we crave...



Some we missed:

Commentary on the NetSlaves review of our "Top 12 Most Luddite Films of All Time"
informed us that there was a great and also quite bad film called "The Twonky" that we
should consider for inclusion. The plot? A television set takes over a man's life.
The film is from a story by the great forgotten sci-fi writer Henry Kuttner in which
a radio console does the same (see Science Fiction Classics: The Stories that Morphed
Into Movies

A second film suggested for consideration is "Class of 1999" (1990), sort of a cross between
"Blackboard Jungle" and "Terminator," in which impoverished inner city schools employ
military combat robots to teach in the worst schools. It was followed by a sequel
called "Class of 1999 Pt.II - The Substitute" (1994).

Both of these films are not currently in print.



From NetSlaves: The Dangerati
By Steve Gilliard

    Upon reflection, the reason AOL got into so much trouble is that they were merely following
    the pattern that the "digerati", a group of early online advocates, had set. They aren't the
    only ones. Much of the trouble with VC's came from the advice of these same people.

    If the current collapse of the dotcom economy is comparable to the mistakes made in
    Vietnam, the digital best and brightest, Esther Dyson, Howard Rheingold and John Perry
    Barlow, share a large part of the blame...



Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 13:10 GMT
From BBC News: How much of Blade Runner has come true?

    We love to look for echoes of our present in the sci-fi films of the
    past. A new UN report suggests 1982's rather bleak Blade Runner
    may be in danger of proving all too accurate...


Sad Water by Teri Holbrook

One of the reasons that the luddites have such bad press is that luddite history
depends chiefly on the official (trial and government hearing) record of their crimes. Aside from some
notes and folk songs there is no primary source material of their cause. This novel
presents the discovery of a luddite's diary manuscript and how its history of
betrayal parallels events in a village with a sad luddite history.

    Historian Gale Grayson, her photographer protegee Nadianna Jesup, and her young daughter, Katie,
    come to the bleak Yorkshire village of Mayley to document the town's tragic history, only to come
    face to face with a horrifying crime with links to a century-old secret.

Paperback - 320 pages (October 1999)
Bantam Books; ISBN: 0553577182


ENEMY MIND (Modern Jacobin Paranoia)

From: TECHSTROPIA - Your source for emerging technology news.

Luddite Watch

   Luddites are people who fear and despise technological advancement.
   Often their objections are not grounded in rational thought. These
   people are unintentionally trying to steal your future!



From The Sunday Times (February 4 2001; BRITAIN)
Computer-mad generation has a memory crash
by Cherry Norton and Adam Nathan

     GROWING numbers of people in their twenties and
     thirties are suffering from severe memory loss
     because of increasing reliance on computer
     technology, according to new research.


From Upside Today (January 17, 2001) Bill Joy warns of tech's dangerous evolution
By Sam Williams

More on Bill Joy's ideas of the dangers of technology evolution, as he expands his
essay, "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us," into a book.


Quote pages are something of a cliche on the net, but every now and then you may
stumble across a good one. Here is such an endeavor:

From University of St. Thomas (in Minnesota) Recycling
Environmental Quotations: Consumerism/Overconsumption

Some examples:

       I think of the old slavery, and of the way The Economy has now improved upon
       it. The new slavery has improved upon the old by giving the new slaves the
       illusion that they are free. The Economy does not take people's freedom by
       force, which would be against its principles, for it is very humane. It buys their
       freedom, pays for it, and then persuades its money back again with shoddy
       goods and the promise of freedom. "Buy a car," it says, "and be free. Buy a
       boat and be free." Is this not the raw material of bad dreams? Or is it maybe the
       very nightmare itself?

            -Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, 2000

       We eat when we're not hungry, drink when we're not thirsty. We buy what we
       don't need and throw away everything that's useful. Why sell a man what he
       wants? Sell him what he doesn't need! Pretend he's got eight legs and two
       stomachs and money to burn. It's wrong! Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

             -Allie Fox, father in the movie The Mosquito Coast
      from screenplay based on Paul Theroux's 1982 novel by the same name

Over 800 environmental quotes with author search index -- on a very good, very informative
recycling site.