Friday, 3 April 2009

off to Japan - goodbye web surfing

I've been spending an inordinate amount of time internet researching - in other words - web surfing. Whole days slipping into oblivion as I trawl through the endless offerings that are out there. All wasted time, and time away doing nice, lovely things, like writing pithy blog entries.

I'm off to Japan in a few hours. A couple of weeks with wonderful distractions to keep me away from both blogging and web surfing. Could be a couple of weeks before I get back to the keyboard. To make up for it, here is a little of what I was wasting my time on before I left...

Media Stuff:
Project Censored - The news that didn't make the News. My favourite media site of the week. Featuring the top 25 censored stories from each year. Newsworthy stuff that doesn't seem to make it to the main papers. I spent a whole morning reading through this stuff - love it! Read it. Get paranoid. You should be... and this is a long term serious project involving media students and submissions from around the world.
A reader funded news agency that provides a "stable voice for independent journalism". I found many interesting and well written articles on this site.
Accuracy in Media - "for Fairness, Balance and Accuracy in News Reporting" - which stands to revert the overwhelming liberal bias in the US media. Ho hum. See for yourself how they do this. Note the Annual Report is 'Coming May 2008'.
Media Matters for America - and from the other side a not-for-profit center "dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media."
And one more step to the left - "a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice".
I couldn't quite figure this site out. A place to post your opinions, writings or knowledge about pretty much anything. The postings are vetted by the users, and can be discarded by superusers. There is a voting system, and you can 'earn' some form of non-monetary credit for your writing. Individual pieces represent nodes, and nodes are connected by readers, and interestingly also automatically by analysis of the browsing patterns of readers. It is not a wiki - your writings are not editable even by yourself. I was interesting floating around in everything2 for a while - but I wasn't attracted to the format. It seems to float between a blog and wikipedia and I don't know where that is exactly...
"Crowd Powered Media" anyone can be a reporter and have it broadcast here to the world.
A news aggregator with a particular focus on Health, Humanitarian work and Technology as it applies to both. Links to a wide variety of interesting sources - not just news sites. A project of the NGO Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters (InSTEDD).

People organizing together:
Users make reports of types and locations of crimes in Brazil on a map based wiki site. If enough people participate - then crime areas are clearly identified and pressure can be brought to bare on the government to address the issue.
Taking on the Mafia. A group of shop owners and merchants who are publicly banding together and refusing to pay protection money - or pizzo from the mafia. By forming a collective and publicly listing those merchants who refuse to pay pizzo they have started to gain public support. The public also have places to shop without indirectly funding the mafia.
There have been barcamps all around the world now - and I wasn't only slightly disappointed to find out they were outside drinking meetups - but that is what bia hoi is for I guess. These are technological educational events - but without the formal structures of a conference. Often called 'un-conferences' there is no distinction between presenter and audience - everyone is expected to be willing to participate and present. This is Hanoi's attempt.

Postcards from Vietnam by Damien Frost ( Very beautiful drawings, and a nice homepage.
Some beautiful - if somewhat disturbing art. I particularly like his Repetition - strange dog men and rabbit men...

Hot Docs 2009 Festival. Documentary showcase in Toronto - why can't I go to Toronto?

Visual information management software. Again I was on a search for a way of organizing the diverse and scattered bits of knowledge, or sites, or books that I keep running across. I didn't end up downloading it - though I may yet do so. I couldn't face yet another software learning curve, and am still unclear as to what or why I want to organize. What is it I want to achieve - and given what I want to achieve, how can this facilitate it? I'm still stuck on the what.

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