Nepal in turmoil
: "19 August 2004 - Threats from Maoist rebels in Nepal brought business in the Himalayan kingdom to a halt yesterday, as traffic blockades kept supplies from the capital, Kathmandu. There is only about 10 weeks' worth of food in the city, and many travellers are stranded. Army convoys escorted the few vehicles that ventured on the country's two main highways. The roads to the temple-studded tourist hub of Kathmandu, ringed by lush, green hills, were nearly empty because the rebels said they would enforce the first blockade of the capital. In Kathmandu, the management of the Soaltee Crowne Plaza hotel, which defied rebel orders to close on Monday, capitulated and shut after the building was rocked by four blasts. No guests were injured." 10:02:31 PM
Bruce Sterling SIGGRAPH 2004 speech "When Blobjects Rule the Earth": Fastastic speech connecting memes from all over (open production, new media, sci fi, cluetrain, sustainability) into a new techno vision. An update of Bucky Fuller, maybe an "As We May Think" for this generation. Too much to summarize, I'll quote just a few bits that stuck out for me.
"We are facing a future world infested with digital programmability. A world where our structures and possessions include, as a matter of course, locaters, timers, identities, histories, origins, and destinations: sensing, logic, actuation, and displays. ..
[There were products, then gizmos, now spimes] A spime is a users group first, and a physical object second.. A Spime is today's entire industrial process, made explicit. That is the whole shebang, explicitly tied to the object itself. A Spime is an object that ate and internalized the previous industrial order. Some of this information might be contained inside the Spime, and some of it might be conjured up on the Web by, say, a barcode or an RFID chip -- but in practice, you wouldn't notice the difference ..
The natural world should be better for our efforts and our ingenuity. It's not too much to ask. You and I will never live to see a future world with those advanced characteristics. The people who will be living in it will pretty much take it for granted, anyway. But that is a worthy vision for today's technologists: because that is wise governance for a digitally conquered world. That is is not tyranny. That is legitimacy. ..
The question we must face is: what do we want? We should want to abandon that which has no future. We should blow right through mere sustainability. We should desire a world of enhancement. That is what should come next. We don't need more dead clutter to entomb in landfills. We should want to expand the options of those who will follow us." 7:40:06 AM
New Cooperation and New Tensions in Terrorist Hunt
: NYT reporters now say it was Pakistani, not US, sources that outed Khan as an agent. "The release of Mr. Khan's name - it was made public in The New York Times on Aug. 2, citing Pakistani intelligence sources - drew criticism by some politicians, like Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who charged that this leak might have compromised the search in Britain and Pakistan for Mr. Khan's Qaeda partners. (No officials in Britain, Pakistan or the United States have told The Times on the record that identifying Mr. Khan had such an impact)." Juan Cole
maintains it did have an impact, and that the root cause was the administrations media efforts using Khan's information. 6:48:53 AM