The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Month: January 2008 (page 1 of 2)

The opposite of Happiness Studies

My ex-hometown, long exed, made the Forbes list. The list of most miserable places to live. Why? Fast growth coupled with fast unemployment and accelerating violent crime:

The biggest surprise on our list is Charlotte, N.C., which is ranked ninth. Charlotte has undergone tremendous economic growth the past decade, while the population has soared 32%. But the current picture isn’t as bright. Employment growth has not kept up with population growth, meaning unemployment rates are up more than 50% compared with 10 years ago. Charlotte scored in the bottom half of all six categories we examined. It scored the worst on violent crime, ranking 140th.

Places more miserable than Charlotte: Detriot, MI, Stockton, CA, Flint, MI, NYC and LA. All with high violent crime and high unemployment.

Irony of too, or is that two, common names

Just got a Facebook message from Dan Reed alerting me to new recordings by the Paul Jones Band.

The PJB claims to have been influenced by one of the Paul Joneses represented in the header of this blog. Can you guess which one?

Hint: Not me.
Further hint: No one in the PJB is named Paul Jones.
One last hint: They are from Bridgewater, VA.

Oh yes not that Dan Reed not this Dan Reed either.

PJ on P2P on CBC

Search Engine logo
Just back from the WUNC studios where I taped an interview with Jesse Brown and Andrew Parker of Canadian Broadcasting Radio One’s Search Engine show

The talk was about HR4137 aka the College Opportunity and Accessibility Act, p2p sharing on campuses and the recent revelations that the numbers used by the MPAA to argue their case about campus file sharing is off by at least 300%! And BTW the data and methodology for their study are *still* not open for review.

Want legal file sharing of legal materials? Visit ibiblio’s bittorrent site and get, among other things, the Congressional Record.

Data Privacy in Transatlantic Prespective

live blog/twitter

Today: Data Privacy in Transatlantic Prespective for Data Privacy Day 08

at Duke Law for data privacy confab. Bout half Europeans. US privacy is about limiting gubernint

duke net lets you see all the mac addresses for all duke guests in the room. So much for privacy at the privacy confab

Howard Beales formerly FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection talks about unencrypted wireless while I am handed MAC addresses by Dukenet

in Europe this is Data Protection Day; in US this is Data Privacy Day – why? Stefano Rodotà explains

citing European Dream ” How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream”

Europeans are not drunk on the free market; American privacy law is mostly against the gubermint but changing.

European approach seen, by them, as human rights agenda

COuncil of Europe’s Internet Bill of Rights

next up Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor of the European Union

1/28/81??? was european data protect acts. US didn’t sign

Again the Human Rights perspective in Europe is emphasised.

3 deficitcies in original. def of privacy is unclear. again only against gubermint/public interference. negative approach rather than struct

Euro Charter of Fundamental Rights – Privacy and Data Protection are separate but closely related

about independent agencies — outside of gubermint but in Italy directly elected. how to avoid over politicalization of such agencies?

Kathryn Ratte, Attorney, US Federal Trade Commission on Notice and Consent policy. means you get to read the unreadable

on unfair practices. the key is injury. injury that cannot be easily avoided

behaviorable advertising == tracking you online so’s you can get targeted adverts. FTC wants industry self-regulation by disclosure

Annie Anton of NCSU’s Privacy Place. Can software extract policies and put them to effect

2002 survey instrument to find what people say they want in privacy and that was actually in policies

guess what they didn’t align

annie’s hang out and publications to which she is refering

Anton does have great war stories about trying to get access to policies on privacy issues. Europeans are harder to read tho

Fred Cate, Director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research next

Cate notices that how people *say* they care about privacy has almost no effect on their behavior!

people all ignore consent and notice. hippa for example. want surgery? you sign

notice and choice is intellectually dishonest says Cate

what is your choice once you have notice?

Peter Swire: opt-out vs opt-in for third party uses doesn’t work. there are instead 5 categories. Fulfillment. Internal operations. Anti-fraud. Public priority. Marketing (most controversial). looking for substantive rules rather than millions of contracts.

??s P3P policy enacted anywhere asks Andrew Chin of UNC Law. Anton answers: no one have accepted and implemented really. insight: companies have no reason to implement P3P unless they are required to do so.

Cate picks up on browser protection. and ignoring the customized security settings. bad security interfaces means bad compliances. everyone keeps the default. under Vista,IE comes with a higher security setting.

Anton: says that P3P policy interpretation is non-consistent. (as well as inconsistent)

from the audience. p3p was good only for cookies and stopped there. flash cookies are immune for example.

Mike Hubble of Womble Carlyle. What are actual data protections in practice? (part of the issue here is that policy and compliance are nowhere well reviewed).

Swire sees this as can you buy insurance for your data protection.

Giovanni Buttarelli says europeans work on that and let businesses be responsible for implementing

Cate says that audits and standards in advance and liability afters. Focus on end results. Not PR and policy.

Kathryn Ratte says FTC looks at security that way

audience: like swire’s 5 approaches. but how to implement that? and who? FTC? public sector? tell us more about how it might work? (Swedish guy asking)

Swire: commercial data is overseen by FTC, a independent agency in all respects, so they should and do have authority except banks. they do have medical. now about public sector: swire says see his writing. senate has something in place but the executive branch has provided no budget or appointments.

anti-fraud is protected. as is all except marketing which does have some regulations.

Swire: practices in US and in Europe are similar regardless of policy and law.

more from audience on marketing. who wants it? recommender systems like netflix, amazon etc.

Buttarelli on new telephone books. 27 million Italians were asked it they wanted their mail, sms, email and phone should be listed. 5 million answered the inquiry. most agreed to have it all listed.

Cate differentiates between disclosure vs poorly targeted adverts (like spam). He loves his personal preferences at eBay, amazon etc

Swire doesn’t want heavily personalized info just out there because the info can be had by say local law enforcement.

Anton on Catalog choice by mail. She unsubscribed to many but not Anne Taylor (thanks for sharing ;->).

audience: she reads all notices. like opting IN rather than OUT. likes the 5 categories. but says that notice and consent has not gotten a fair shake. success of do not call as an example.

anton: clicking as opt in sux

cate: no one reads notices. response rate for opting in and opting out is tiny and identical. basically always fails. default will always be the rule.

audience (anton student): Cate said transparency is better than notice. but transparent to who? how to make that via software? Cate says it’s law not software that will work here. when you roll out the system, you need to be clear on collection, storage, third party etc. one problem in the notice world is that having the FTC use your notice against you creates overprotection and opacity. more on transparency.

Weekend Roundup

Brian reports that there is an ongoing discussion on Open Science in regards to the proposed UNC Innovation Center at Orange Politics.

Bora sends good reads on Science Blogging. One that should be included for sure is the Open Laboratory 2007 – The best of science writing on blogs.

Tola reports that his company Sonecast has permission to do a “sonecast” of the upcoming DJ Spooky performance. Sample “sonecast” site here.

Sally reports briefly on our preview of the documentary on writer Elizabeth Spencer and on an upcoming showing of “Durham: a Self-portrait.” Both by Steve Channing.

I recommend a stop by Tyndall Galleries to see the Wayne Trapp and Mary-Ann Prack show. It particularly delightful to see a lot of Prack’s sculptures together in one place.

Bob’s revelation

At the North Carolina Technology Association, Bob Young, the speaker and old friend, tricked us a shift from talking about his tech companies, Red Hat and Lulu, to his Canadian Football team, the Hamilton Tiger Cats. It may shock you to know that running a football team, Canadian or American, is quite different from running a tech company. Okay, you realized that. But how is it different?

According to Bob, tech is largely undefined and changing. What was a wise choice yesterday isn’t such a winner today. Every day there is a new set of rules. This is an area where originality rather than mastery is the more important. The facile original will take the day so you need to be careful to build a team of folks that are young and original or at least act young and are original to be a success. Independence in act and in thought is highly valued.

But in football, at least in Canadian as described by Bob, the rules haven’t changed in over 100 years. The plays are well known and tried and true. And they are not likely to change very much. In this case there is little room for originality. You need to be able instead to execute with the least possible flaws. Mastery is far more important than originality.

I wonder if this is only part of the insight that can be had into the two cultures. A broader vision might be like Jane Jacobs‘ two Moral Syndromes — Guardian and Commercial — in Systems of Survival.

Note the terms, mastery and originality, are from Roger Martin’s Opposable Mind and not directly from Bob’s talk.

Carrboro’s Best Eateries Threatened

Yikes! The Carrboro Taco Trucks received letters saying that they were in zoning violation and would be charged $250 just to appeal, says Carrboro Citizen.

But the Trucks do have their defenders including Mayor Mark Chilton, Alderman Jacquie Gist and long time Carrboro businessman Cliff Collins.


Board of Aldermen member Jacquie Gist said she was unhappy to see the action taken on the basis of an anonymous complaint, saying it makes it hard to understand why the complaint was filed and what its motivation was.

“I am very worried by the real possibility that hard working entrepreneurs who are adding to our community could be put out of business and have their livelihood threatened. It is un-American and certainly un-Carrboro. If Carrboro can not offer a welcoming home to immigrants trying to achieve the American Dream then maybe I don’t know Carrboro as well as I think I do,” she wrote in an email response to The Citizen, adding that she had confidence that the town would find a workable solution.

Cliff Collins, owner of Cliff’s Meat Market, said he would likely file an appeal if necessary to keep the trucks in operation.

“I guess I understand both sides,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt anybody’s business. But I really think these trucks are an asset to our downtown.”

Collins said the trucks operate mainly at night and stay open later than most food establishments, adding to the vitality of the nightlife.


Also at Orange Politics here.

BBC legal snips hit MySpace; The Doctor glimpsed somewhat

First, Torchwood became available from Netflix today, but as you might guess “very long wait” is the message in my queue. And the Doctor, we get him like Torchwood a year after airing. This is what caused the American Revolution. Last time the Brits sold us stale, year old, overpriced, overtaxed tea. My ancestors in Edenton were the first to protest followed by a less gentile response up in Boston.

But there is hope even if that hope comes in snips (at the moment I’m promised).

From a friend:

Tomorrow morning we are officially announcing that MySpace has inked its first global network deal-a worldwide content partnership with the BBC.

Under the partnership, the best BBC video content will be made available online globally via MySpaceTV. MySpace users will be able to visit and subscribe to the BBC Worldwide’s MySpaceTV video channel in order to view, embed and virally share BBC content across the MySpace community.

Now the press release:


The Mighty Boosh, Robin Hood, Top Gear Comes to the Global Social Networking Platform

LONDON and LOS ANGELES—January 24, 2008—BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC and MySpace, the world’s largest social networking platform, today announced the launch of a ground-breaking partnership to bring new and archived short form BBC content to MySpaceTV. The announcement marks the first global agreement of this type between MySpaceTV and a major broadcaster.

Under the partnership, the best BBC video content will be made available online globally via MySpaceTV, the social networking site’s popular new video platform. MySpace users will be able to visit and subscribe to the BBC Worldwide’s MySpaceTV video channel in order to view, embed and virally share BBC content across the MySpace community.

Under the deal, current and archived video content from BBC Worldwide programmes will be available on MySpaceTV including some classic moments in TV: Robbie Williams and Russell Crowe being interviewed by Parkinson, Jeremy Clarkson and his team on Top Gear and some breathtaking clips from David Attenborough’s natural history series. Also available will be some gripping moments from classic series such as Doctor Who, Robin Hood and Torchwood in addition to some hilarious sketches from The Catherine Tate show, Red Dwarf and The Mighty Boosh.

Simon Danker, Director, Digital Media, BBC Worldwide, said: “MySpace is recognised as the largest social networking site and this partnership continues our strategy of putting BBC content right at the heart of where audiences spend their time and watch video online. The breadth of content we bring to this deal means that MySpace users will easily be able to find a favourite clip to put on their profiles and share with their friends, whether that is a Top Gear stunt or something a bit different from The Mighty Boosh. With the global nature of the deal, this is a great opportunity to put the best shows from the BBC in front of new audiences.”

BBC Worldwide content will be immediately available across MySpaceTV’s 27 international territories and nearly 110 million global active users. Localized versions of MySpaceTV are available in seven different languages across the UK, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Latin America, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Austria.

The deal represents a further move by BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm, to broaden the reach of its content to new channels and outlets, to engage with audiences around the world and to promote content which will be available on Kangaroo[1] in the UK and BBC Worldwide’s commercial media player internationally.

“Shows like Top Gear and Doctor Who are enormous hits whether you live near the white cliffs of Dover or in Dover, Delaware,” said Jeff Berman, EVP of Marketing and Content for MySpace. “This is MySpace TV’s first global network deal and it reflects a fast-approaching Internet future defined by co-operation between corporations and the portability of content across new and traditional networks.”

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of explosive video growth driven by dozens of industry content partnerships and user interface changes. MySpaceTV is an integrated component of the company’s worldwide community and content platform, continuing the evolution of the company’s video offering by aggregating the best elements of video and empowering MySpace users to view, create, and share videos in new ways throughout the community.

BBC content will be available to view from 24th January 2008. [actually you can see it now– pj]

Doctor Who: A Wound in Time

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Data Privacy in Transatlantic Perspective: Conflict or Cooperation?

Data Privacy Day
Monday January 28 at Duke Law. “Data Privacy in Transatlantic Perspective: Conflict or Cooperation?”, some very heavy hitters from both sides of the Atlantic get into European and American approaches and solutions in regards to data privacy.

Sponsored by:
Duke University Center for European Studies
Duke University School of Law
Center for International & Comparative Law

In today’s world, the right to privacy has come under immense pressure. Thanks to the terrific capabilities of modern technology, electronic data on our personal lives is gathered, stored, and shared on a scale that was unimaginable even a decade ago. The imperatives of national security have led governments across the world to call for more personal data to be collected directly by public authorities or to be siphoned from private corporations engaged in data processing for their own business purposes.

Notwithstanding these developments both European and American law is designed to safeguard privacy. To be sure, the law of privacy in the United States and Europe can differ dramatically. Yet both communities seek to protect their members from intrusive observation by others. Without such safeguards, individual autonomy and liberal democracy are unthinkable.

This day-long conference will bring together leading legal scholars, privacy professionals, and government officials from Europe and the United States to discuss the future of data privacy in light of these new realties. What are the differences in the legal safeguards for data privacy in the United States and Europe? How successful have the two systems been in mediating between legitimate demands for personal data and the right to privacy? What are the prospects for transatlantic cooperation on data privacy? And, ultimately, will the liberal commitment to privacy survive the radical technical and political transformations occurring in contemporary society?

UNC student wins SPARC Sharing Flash Movie Prize

I don’t think I’ve met Habib Yazdi but I too love his flash video “Sharing” which just won SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) SPARKY Award.

Borscht Mexicalli

I had to admit my culinary crime against Russian food to Alex Tropsha when I ran into him at the Weave yesterday. I took borscht the famous beet and cabbage cream soup South of the Border with some good results. The sweetness of the beets, the heat of the serraño peppers, a slight tang of lime and some chorizo made for a lovely fuschia colored soup which I accented with blue corn tortilla chips. Yummmm.

I started with a “Mexican Beet and Cabbage soup” from Epicurious and subbed serraño for jalapeño. Added some Mexican chorizo (before and after the blending as some in my family like to taste a chunk or two of meat now and then even in soups). To keep with the winter vegetable feel, I also added a few carrots. Some borscht recipes call for parsnips, potatoes, and vinegar. I passed on all of that.

Can be served hot or cold. Or poured on the streets to prevent icing!

Science Blogging brief report

Just back from a very successful 2nd NC Blogging Conference (thanks to Anton and Bora and Brian). Sigma Xi is a great facility for the conference. The rooms right sized and halls and architecture lovely and worked well — mostly we needed better wifi as K1v1n reminded me everytime I saw him ;->

I twittered most of the conference from my iPhone — instead of taking a computer and blogging, so I’ve grabbed my tweets and put ’em in here.

Be sure to check out Wayne Sutton’s videos of the conference at the bottom of the Media Coverage Page of the Conference Wiki.

* nice show of tweet buds @scienceblogging

I was in Science Journalism led in great unconference style by Adnaan Wasey.

@scienceblogging will blogging save science journalism?

@scienceblogging science blogging needs or doesn’t need editorial supervision?

@scienceblogging objectivity? In science journalism? Opinion? News? Feature? Breaking news? Analysis or what? Power in the writer vs editor?

@scienceblogging blogs break news; print analyses or critiques?

@scienceblogging as top knotch

@scienceblogging who reads science blogs? Rant on nonscience like creationism. Google searching is access?

@scienceblogging space bloggers get some amazing comments

@scienceblogging build relationships between journalists and scientists. Influence more than numbers?

@scienceblogging crowdsourcing for science journalism?

@scienceblogging where is original content on blogs? Where is direct experience?

@scienceblogging break then social science and humanities

Then in Blogging about the social sciences and humanities

@scienceblogging blog carnivals defined

@scienceblogging eurekalerts as a source

@scienceblogging several tweet buds in this session but wifi is weak

@scienceblogging duke library scholarly communications

@scienceblogging peer review vs blogs? Are journals being replaced ?

good lunch

Blogging Public Health and Medicine

@scienceblogging medical and public health blogs. What do you do when asked for med advice? Ethical concerns

@scienceblogging I am not a doctor! No specific personal advice but general info Avoid narrow casting epidemilogocal data

@scienceblogging importance of context and narrative in health info and blogs

@scienceblogging hippa and health blogs 41 outside and rain

Locopops break!

Framing Science panel

@scienceblogging serious snow here at sigma xi as second life talk begins possibly ironic

Then I fled the snow to get home to see UNC lose to Maryland and to get this breaking scientific news about Google: Google to Host Terabytes of Open-Source Science Data. Report and comments at TechCrunch here.

My Brush with Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow is coming to the Triangle soon. David Menconi tells of people who love Barry. I’m not one but I have seen Barry under unusual circumstances.

In the early 70s, I was renting a room in a big house on Park Avenue in Raleigh. I think I was the only student in the house. The rest of us were folks testing out lives as female taxi drivers, cooks and waterbed salesmen.

One day the Delamars, a couple who were cooking at a jazz club called the Frog and Nightgown, came up to the communal kitchen and started ranting about the show that was on at the Frog. The extremely vivacious curly haired woman and her band of gay guys were doing their first set of gigs outside of NYC and outside of the Baths.

The Delamars couldn’t get enough of the show. It was booked for about a week, a kind of woodshedding for the singer and band. The band had a short music director, or maybe he only looked short behind the organ. He ran the show or so it seemed.

I went over to the Frog and came in through the kitchen and maybe helped prep salads. The band was jamming along with 40s songs getting warm.

I wasn’t ready for what was about to happen. The singer was so full of energy and she didn’t look like your standard jazz singer. She could hardly keep her dress on. She was a powerhouse. The band was all agiggle, but the director made them get serious without shaming them. He was good at that somehow.

Bette Midler had a big hit by the end of the week. I think she tried to get out of the Frog a few days early. Barry kept on as her music director for a while then left and then became Barry Manilow.

Our post-Ironic age

We just received this note from which I’ll slightly alter to protect the guilty:

Subject: Research: People & dogs

Dear P.Jones,

I am doing research for a company called, [cookbook] Press in [a kind of a big city by Iowa standards], Iowa. They publish small cookbooks and single country books highlighting culture, crafts & history of the specific nationality, with beautiful photographs included.

Currently one of their projects is a book written as an autobiography about the dog, May, a Labra-doodle owned by the [cookbook] Press owner. After the huge success with, Marley & Me, this has inspired [our press] to produce this book.

I am researching a chapter titled: People that sleep with their dogs.

I believe the study conducted by the “Stanley Lotus Institute of Farming” by Rob R Barron may be something interesting to include in the book.

I notice this work is copyrighted on [sic] How may I go about accessing the study? I seem to be hitting a few brick walls. Naturally, full credit would be given to The Institute as well as Mr. Barron for the work cited.

Could you be so kind as to direct me to the proper access of this study.

Thank you kindly for your attention to this matter.

[guilty party]

To which I answered:

the article that i referred to in a posting to my class in 2000 was published in Wired magazine (a Conte Nast property)

You’ll notice that Wired author, Jon Rochmis, points humorously to this SF Chronicle article

The Stanford study by Nie is summarized with graphs in this press release Nie and/or Erbring are the folks if you want to talk about the survey

All of that said, there is no “Stanley Lotus Institute of Farming” to my knowledge. In fact, I asked my students to ascertain the trustworthiness of the Wired article. The brighter ones realized that Jon Rochmis was committing satire.

Some at Stanford did as well.

You can reach Jon Rochmis at or

Ask him about the dog study, I’m sure it will make his day.

Paul Jones

Next I had a wonderful exchange with Jon Rochmis who told me this about the genesis of his now 8 year old satire:

As I recall, we were in our morning story budget meeting when the Stanford study was brought up. Jokes flew. Jaws slackened. Eyes widened.

I am a Cal guy. If you had seen a report like this from, say, Duke, perhaps you might have reacted similarily. “I gotta do something on this,” I said.

I don’t think I took more than a couple of hours on the piece; in fact, I’m sure I didn’t (yes, I know, it probably shows).

Some inside jokes: The official name of Stanford is Leland Stanford Junior University (we Cal guys like to point out that our rivals are, indeed, a Junior University). He built the school in memory of his namesake son who died young. Leland Stanford was one of the “robber barons” involved in the transcontinental railroad (he was president of Central Pacific, I believe) and the building of San Francisco, hence the reference to Rob. R. Barron in the piece. Stanford is also referred to as “The Farm” because of its bucolic setting. And if you transpose the initials “LS,” you get “SL,” which for some reason I can’t now recall, I turned in to “Stanley Lotus” and the “Institute of Farming.”

Yes, you are right: this made my day (but it’s still early yet here on the far left coast). Thanks for including me in this.

But WAIT THERE’S MORE! Jon just got this note from the researcher in Iowa:

Subject: Stanley Lotus Institute of Farming


We do not know each other, thank god!
My hat is off to you for wasting good half an hour of my life tracking down your satirical study published on [sic]
It was the dog part I was after, since I am researching a dog book,
the chapter: people who sleep with their dogs.

I am a Luddite and don’t even like the internet, so thanks for making it even more unfriendly!

I’m off to the library where I can touch something real.
That not being YOU!

Have a great day and I hope someone yanks your chain today for me.
When I want satire I’ll tune into one of the best, Stephen Colbert

[guilty party]

Hackors took my E err O – Charlotte MayEr’s managor

The grafic planely red “McCrory for Governer” but when newzreporters pointed out that Pat McCrory’s announzment newsletter wus semi-literate, his campaign managor quickly blamed *HACKERS* or is that 4@x0rz?

“There’s no way this was misspelled,” said Victoria Smith, McCrory’s campaign manager. She said a hacker had accessed the campaign’s computer to alter the word. Smith said someone has been hacking McCrory’s mayoral Web site for six months, though the campaign had not contacted authorities.

The campaign lader admitted that the mizpellin was there own meztake, butt:

That was not the end.

Smith, reached by phone, insisted the spokeswoman was wrong. The errant spelling — which had been fixed even as the e-mail sat in reporters’ computers — was indeed the work of a hacker. She said the hacker must have re-hacked the campaign to fix the error

Enjoy the entire story here
as reported by Ben Niolet at the News and Observer.

What happened?

The newletter used html-mail to include images like the banner seen above.

The images are not sent with the message/newletter directly but are called from a server when the mail is opened.

This allows the mailing list service provider to know how many “reads” of the message (actually only opens by mail readers that support and don’t block images in messages) have been made.

One nice side effect in this case is that the designer upon learning of her/his mistake could upload a new corrected image.

The new image (in this case one with the O) would now been seen by all who subsequently read the message as well as any who had read the message with a reader that didn’t cache images.

To the campaign manager, Victoria Smith, it looked like some kind of hacker magic. It wasn’t.

Open Lab 07 Available

Open Lab 07

Bora writes to let us know that The Open Laboratory 2007, the 2nd anthology of the best science blogging of the year, is now up for sale on!

So even if you were closed out of the famous and famously fully booked 2nd North Carolina Science Blogging Conference — this weekend — you can still see and read about the very best in science blogging in your favorite cafe or in the privacy of your own home.

The Flight Toward Anonymity

After Michael Zimmer‘s talk today, “Google’s Faustian Bargain: How the Quest for the Perfect Search Engine Threatens our Spheres of Mobility,” there as a lively discussion. (Michael’s talk description below).

Larry Grossberg asked “what exactly is the link between privacy and anonymity and mobility?”

I like that question especially as Zimmer had enlisted road narratives as part of his argument and discussion. I think the answer to Larry’s question is that the American mythic story, one realizable at least to the closing of the frontier and repeated over in the classic road stories, is one of a flight toward anonymity and of course a rebuilding of self-identity. What was lost with the frontier was the place in which the performance of rebuilding took place. Luckily for America, urbanization created new spaces for the steps of rebuilding to take place. At first you achieved anonymity in New York, Chicago or San Francisco. Then the new self-identity was taken on.

If we could ignore for a moment, Cori Dauber and I won’t let you have but a moment, that Zimmer’s examples were all criminal — On the Road (car theft and assorted petty crimes), Easy Rider (interstate drug transport and dealing), Thelma and Louise (murder or at least manslaughter and flight to avoid prosecution) and pirate (Well, they are *Pirates* as Cori said)–, then we see that repeating story that is so American and while anarchic and individual, not completely unwholesome.

Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger

Driving to the Library Board of Trustees meeting after the talk, I heard a piece in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the ultimate America Count de Monte Cristo, a man who ran toward anonymity and grabbed hold of it, took a pseudo-anonymous moniker, hid his face to avoid recognition and took up his own code of ethics.

“You are only one left. They killed others.” says the Indian who saved him. “You are Lone Ranger.” Stating the obvious, Tonto gives him his pseudo-identity and 75 years of life in our imagination.

Zimmer’s abstract:

The freedom to move through both physical and intellectual space resonates within many of the fundamental values and aspirations of modernity, including free and open inquiry, personal autonomy, and liberty. These values are articulated in various spheres where freedom of mobility both physical and intellectual is typically enjoyed, ranging from the open highways, public libraries, and the Internet. New information and communication technologies are frequently designed to foster increased mobility within these spheres. Web search engines, for example, have emerged as a vital and increasingly ubiquitous tool for the successful navigation of the growing online informational sphere. As Google puts it, the goal is to organize the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful, and to create the perfect search engine that would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want.

While intended to enhance intellectual mobility, this dissertation will reveal that the quest for the perfect search engine is actually a Faustian bargain: While designed to foster increased navigation within our spheres of mobility, the search for the perfect search engine also empowers the widespread capture of personal information flows across the Internet. Drawing from historical examples from other spheres of mobility including vehicle tracking systems, library surveillance, and DRM this talk will argue that the drive for the perfect search engine constitutes a violation of the contextual integrity of personal information flows, restricting the ability to engage in social, cultural, and intellectual activities online free from answerability and oversight, thereby limiting users full realization of the levels of autonomy, self-determination, and self-definition traditionally afforded within our spheres of mobility.

Busted by Buzz: He’s no coward

Some old news for a cold day. Idiot conspiracy freak, Bart Sibrel, shouts at Buzz Aldrin that he never went to the moon and further he is a liar and a coward. Buzz who is 77 and in great shape uses a swift physical move, aka punch in the jaw, to explain he is no coward. (see below) Buzz was nicer to Ali G.

Bonus: BBC on Buzz busting Bart.

50 years of Reynolds Price at Duke; Untold iPhone Story

Wired carries a great story about how Jobs and the Applers negotiated and developed the iPhone, “The Untold Story: How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless Industry” by Fred Vogelstein. They should change their name to UnWired.

Reynolds Price
Reynolds Price is a Duke institution and a North Carolina treasure. Now “Duke Celebrates Writer Reynolds Price With Three-Day Jubilee: Price will be honored for 50 years of teaching at Duke; the celebration will be Jan. 31-Feb. 2.” It seems appropriate that Duke ask for a $50 registration fee, which they do, that’s only one dollar for each year that Reynolds has been at Duke. And there is a star-studded and highly impressive line up including Toni Morrison, Stanley Fish, Charlie Rose, Josephine Humphreys and Richard Ford to name a few.

Music interviews: VVLL and David Rose

David Rose of is interviewed in Hypebot’s 4 Questions.

Violet Vector and the Lovely Lovelies are interviewed in the Daily Tar Heel where Amanda, Karen and Alex tell us VVLL is “Not really into bad times”. Great picture in the print version of the DTH. Now if they would only make “Candyland” available for download. They play tonight at Local 506.

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