August 26, 2008

US Technology in China

I am disappointed in Yahoo!, Cisco, Google and Microsoft and for the most part in that order. These are the companies that the US Congress called before a hearing to talk about their involvement in furthering local restrictions in China.

Yahoo!/Google/Microsoft - limited their search engines within China to comply with Chinese political regulations regarding searches on documents, web pages and images and worked with the Chinese to help provide data on dissidents and other political fugitives which lead to their imprisonment. A famous case where a man sent embarrassing internal Chinese documents on how to limit political dissidence was sent to a newspaper in New York. When the Chinese government asked for information regarding the person who gave the information, Yahoo! gave them data giving the Chinese the location of the person who was subsequently jailed for I think it was 10 years.

Cisco - Actively sells networking technology to China's police and internal monitoring force. I agree that this kind of business is not necessarily wrong as companies have the right to sell their products to willing buyers whatever the product maybe BUT In this case there is a law as specific as you can get passed in 1989 that states that US companies may not sell any kind of equipment to Chinese police forces that aid in the capture or prosecution of criminals. Cisco sells cameras, radio links in between cars and from cars to HQ and back and pretty much is becoming the big brother of China. I don't know about you but that is in direct violation of the law. In many ways you look it is much the same as Yahoo!'s activity in turning over political criminals, Cisco is the way that Chinese police track down their fugitives.

Yahoo! is number one for that blatant cooperation with Chinese officals
Cisco is number two because their are obviously breaking the law
Google is number three because I expect more from them. As a company that stands against limitations on net neutrality and tries to be a good internet citizen or a good employer with fun atmosphere and the whatnot they had the posture to stand up to China and they did not. Maybe Google is number one, they could have stopped it and they did not for what reason I do not know, respect for local "customs"? fear of losing business in a huge developing technology market?
Microsoft is number four not because they are somehow less guilty but because I don't see them as the moral company on the internet and because they are as of late actually beginning to think about putting limits on their own limitations, good for them

Anriette Esterhuysen, the Executive Director of the Association for Progressive Communications said that, "I don't think we should make corporations responsible for securing our freedoms." Companies like Google and Yahoo! do not just provide searching capabilities, they are the way that people get information through the highest achievement in the connectivity of human kind ever concieved. They are not just corporations in the traditional sense anymore, we can't keep thinking that. In the same way I can't sell weapons to the Chinese police force under federal law, I should not be able to sell weapons of information to Chinese internal security which is exactly what Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Cisco are doing. In this day who is to say which kind of weapon is more effective?

Publishing Companies?

I think that it is really cool that today very accessible and easy to use programs such as Microsoft Word, Open Office or Adobe Acrobat allow a person to write and edit their own papers, books, comics, magazines without ever going to a publisher. If a one does not go to a publisher they have more creative control over their work, one has more monetary control and one doesn't have to worry about rejection of being published. A person can perfect the layout of their work, check the spelling and grammar automatically, edit images with professional tools, email and put their work into as many formats as they want very simply, quickly and inexpensively. A person can send their work to a printer who will deliver professionally done final works at pretty wholesale prices and a person can do it without giving up their ownership to the copyright. If a printer is too expensive or if its not the medium, we all know how easy it is to put things on the internet (this is a blog lol!)

I don't really see any advantage to taking material to a publisher. If you need material to be edited and looked over, well that's a-whole-nother issue in artistic development. There is no reason why this role must be filled by an editor through a publisher, it could be done among friends and peers or at a university or in any other kind of teaching environment for free and within a person's artistic setting.
Would having a publisher really save time either? I mean you still have to maintain correspondence and work on creative control with a publisher and like we noted a while ago, that can all be done at home in programs that are straightforward to use.

The revolution is not just for the print world either, modern artists of all kinds would benefit greatly by becoming more comfortable with using professional finishing and formating tools. They are easier to work with and to get than ever and are becoming more and more powerful to boot. I feel like it would add so much. Freedom to control dissemination of a work could become another tool in an artist or an author's tool box and who knows what kind of beauty could be made by it. It reminds me of experiments by artists like Radiohead, Lil' Wayne and Trent Reznor in releasing their material free on the internet. It is giving the artist complete freedom to just create and hold an audience for their works. I love it.

Blood Flow

I recently had pretty sizable pieces of my menisci taken out of my left knee because they had both become torn in a falling injury. During the procedure the huge consideration was blood flow into the knee and onto the meniscus. Any part of the meniscus that had blood flow could be repaired in the form of little sutures in the meniscus its self (which is pretty fantastical if you ask me) as the flowing blood would provide oxygen and sustenance that would allow it to heal, any part without blood flow would not heal and had to be taken out to alleviate any physical manifestations in knee movement and joint pain and all that. The thing that is unfortunate in the meniscus is that only a little bit of the outside of the meniscus receives enough blood flow to be considered "repairable". (I use repairable in quotations because really if you take the damaged part of the meniscus out so that the knee can work pain free and virtually unlimited again, isn't that a repair? The menisectomy procedure in the way the doctor spoke was not considered a repair it was something else but bah I disagree with that, I think if the knee works again it is repaired and therefore is repairable)

I was looking around at the science of healing and I guess this blood flow business is a very big part of the process if not to a point of eclipsing other aspects. Gangrene and ulcers are related primarily to a loss via stoppage or any other means of fresh flowing blood to a region. Lack of blood so seems causes necrosis of the cells which can lead to secondary infections and deterioration of the tissue physically.

July 25, 2008

Trees

I have a new appreciation for trees. When you think about it they are really the reason why pioneering worked out.
You would need so much wood just to survive the winter.

First of all you would need a house made out of wood if you're going to do it proper. Then you would need to have about 6 months of fire wood at your disposal for cooking, warmth and light. When the spring came you would probably need to clear a few acres of land to grow a crop as well as some timber to make tools.

Someone told me that when Minnesota was settled all of the trees left over could have fit into Crow Wing County. That's just over 1% of Minnesota's total area. I wouldn't trust that stat completely, (it doesn't take in to account the parts of Minnesota that are prarie or water for one and the person who I heard it from probably isn't very reputable) but it sounds like something like that could be true.