Atomized junior- The Web log

Dedicated to the smallest particles of meaning on the web
Atomized Links:

theUsual Suspects:


Atomized junior- The Web log

Tuesday, 29 March, 2005

Two events out of the Federal bureacracy last week. The FEC relating to the BCRA (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act) draft ruling on internet communications via elections; specifically commenting on Web Logs at one turn. Also a ruling by the FCC the SBC decision on DSL (and bundling). Maybe I'll take that up in the next post.

Media reports, Draft FEC Net Rules Exclude Bloggers, on the FEC ruling (avaible as a pdf Draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the web space for the 24 Mar meeting of the FEC) indicated they were treading softly on the issues of internet political speech. I get concerned when I see things like this going on, because I don't want to see web logging requiring knowledge of a lot of rules couched in dense legal language. I see this activity as ordinary conversation - with the caveats that you don't always know your audience and what you write has some permanence, once it's out there. Like a punk rock fanzine circa 1983 or a chapbook before that. I wouldn't want to have political discussion on the internet chilled - abandoned; because somebody fears it, and can't abide all its woolly thereness. From the FEC draft itself, which I read through, first a quick distinction. Links to a campaign or candidate is one thing on a web site especially if undisclosed. Paid advertisements on a site are another. The FEC is trying to preserve the concept of individual endorsement as opinion. Even replenishing campaign material obtained from a candidates campaign, if placed by the individual website or web log operator is simply private endorsement. All this revolves around the concept of Public communication and the general exclusion of the internet from falling under its definition (and regulation). The notion is if it doesn't cost anything: is it public communication? This concept with ongoing refinement seems to be replacing a parallel concept of Coordinated Communication which sought to identify in part content clearly advocating and distributing a candidates prepared material [struck down by Shays: 337 F.Supp2d 28 (D.D.C.)]. They seem to have been thinking about the status of ads that cost a campaign money to produce, but which people were putting on their web sites for free. The question is when is someone acting as an agent, when are they just chatting. I guess when it comes to commericial astroturf we're on our own.

The draft notes the existing media exemption; vii. 11 CFR 100.73 and 100.132. So are web logs whether incorporated or not "peridical publications." What do we get for that? They quote from the 93d congress: "the unfettered right of the newspapers television networks and other media to cover and comment on political campaigns". (p. 28 FEC mtgdoc05-16.pdf) They propose to normalize this with 11 CFR 100.94 : Uncompensated individual or volunteer activity that is not a contribution, and § 100.155 [as above] not an expenditure (p. 42-43). These are nearly blanket exemptions for internet activity by individuals or volunteers uncompensated. For both there is an identical subsection (c) pertaining to computer equipment and services, hardware, software, and isp service. The intent is to exempt you if you're using your own computer or one at a public facility (such as a library).

Maybe the feds won't come after you for political web logging, but how much protection is this against someone offended by your opinions who insists you're in violation of some indice, the new emerging "there oughta be a law" crowd. Is there anything here that might leave a web logger in a position of having to prove he or she isn't.

11:40:10 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Sunday, 27 March, 2005
the price of eternal vigilance

I've put up a couple of pictures of the Ra5c Vigilante, over the last monthe or so. I was looking through some of the other pictures I've scanned yesterday, trying to decide which to put up next. I think I'll go with two that I believe my supervisor Mark Ramsey took. Maybe I'll do that sometime during the week,though, because another thought gained on me at that point. For this vigilante post I'll put up the lyrics to New Order's "Love Vigilantes." It seemed resaonable, and it seemed right. I never argue with myself at such times. This is a song that dates back to their 1985 Low Life Lp.

Oh I've just come from the land of the sun
From a war that must be won in the name of truth
With our soldiers so brave your freedom we will save
With our rifles and grenades and some help from God

I want to see my family
My wife and child waiting for me
I've got to go home
I've been so alone, you see

You just can't believe The joy I did receive
When I finally got my leave And I was going home
Oh I flew through the sky my convictions could not lie
For my country I would die And I will see it soon

When I walked through the door My wife she lay upon the floor
And with tears her eyes were sore I did not know why
Then I looked into her hand And I saw the telegram
That said that I was a brave, brave man But that I was dead.

I want to see my family
My wife and child waiting for me
I've got to go home
I've been so alone, you see

Every time I hear this song I'm reminded of a short story I read back in middle or high school, unfortunately any further details are lost to time. So I never get past that point. One thing I did turn up this time is that New Order have a new disc coming out next month called "Waiting for the Sirens Call". That was something I would not have predicted. They seem to have recorded an actual rock and roll song for this record too; number 11 Working overtime. They have streaming versions of the whole album up on New Order online, if you feel like listening.

11:34:28 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Thursday, 24 March, 2005
en Passant

Bobby Fischer was on his way to Iceland yesterday, he seems to have gotten as far as Denmark at least. There were a number of media stories on this here are two from the Guardian about 24 hours apart as this story evolved.  The Fischer king  from Wednesday and  Fischer moves. I like the title puns. This is a nice gesture by Iceland - they had to grant him citizenship to accomplish this, but I wonder if they know what they are getting into. Fischer seems absolutely mad at times. At the same time it may be easier to fall into the role of bilious old man than some think, particularly if you are adolation starved and think it is bringing you attention. The U.S Goverment has taken on a churlish cast throughout the last six months, since they had the Japanese lock him up. They can't really say they care about the chess match in Yugoslavia, they didn't do anything about it for ten years except prevent him from coming back to the US. It really seems to have been his statements on September 11th, and al qeada. To care what Bobby Fischer in his lost junketing nervous breakdown existence says about that or anything else betrays a remarkable and painfully thin-skinned state of being. 

11:51:52 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Monday, 21 March, 2005
Simply a Painting of Schrodinger's Cat

I've been on vacation this past week; university worker bees get a partial spring break. I didn't even try to write any thing for the weblog. This post evolved out of an offhand conversations with my sister and niece a couple of weeks ago. I was talking about a claim I read recently, that art historians and art critics are more responsible for the direction and results of the course of 20th century art than artists. I threw in a half remembered quote for literature that 'most critics regard most writers as having the intellectual capacity of a 2x4.'

This was a slightly troublesome concept for my niece, your junior-high aged can conceptualize the aspirations and endeavors of artists and writers well enough. Less easily the idea that some group can sit back and make a livelihood out of imagining themselves a steering committee for creative work, understood as trend. I have found it is possible to slip under a velvet rope and rearrange the objects of a piece of installation art, without significantly affecting it. I was simply attempting to confirm that the 'art' of the piece lay elsewhere than a particular relationship of the objects to each other. It seemed to need its theory. This conversation probably was triggered by an earlier review of this book. Art: Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism which was reviewed by in last Sundays London Times. Judging a book by its cover (well, cover title). Double subtitles [note second colon] is often a bad bad sign in a book.

I've followed the celebration of this centuries art as best as I can over the years. In my younger days I haunted the art museums of Washington DC and elsewhere every chance I got. They were always a destination of choice. I treated them like the consciousness raising temples they are. Temples to what now I'm not exactly sure. Aesthetics, exultation, a portrait of the sublime, some romantic antidote to western rationality, a deliberate stream of unconventionality - non-conformism. A glimpse beyond this shell, or just of the future, by a visionary avant garde. A shock to the system. I bought all this (and posters for my college dormroom walls), with all attendent claims, priviledges and responsiblities artists could lay claim to. The review in the Times is at counterpoint to the book. Despite having a slight curmudgen slant it's within its rights when the reviewer calls on the authors to look as much, as they read if they are going to write about art. Me, I'm trying to decide whether I still care enough about art to sit down and read any of this book.

Addendum: When I reteurned to work yesterday I went looking to see if I could find this book . I eventually found it. On a book cart directly behind my chair at work , wasn't so difficult. It actually looked very interesting parts of it at least (it is a very big book). Many books - when you see enough of them -  don't look that interesting. I'll be matching that up to a suitable MARC Bib record (from OcLc) and sending it along to Tran  in our end processing unit, who will in turn send out to the art library.

11:50:09 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Thursday, 17 March, 2005

After hearing that the Senate had finally overcome the ban on oil extraction activities in the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I felt a little aggrieved. I recognize there is a lot of oil up on the Alaskan North shore, the Boston Globe says some estimate it could yield 1 million barrels a day. That measures well against the 12 or so million barrels per day we import currently. On the other hand that's it; that's our oil reserve. Plus the idea of a wildlife refuge ought to count for something. I wanted names I wanted to name names. I figured the Washington Post would print them, but I got impatient, and went looking for them. Someone (Robert and his graduate asst. Sasha) advised me to try Thomas, a function of the Library of Congress. Bill Summary & Status. I thought I had made a mistake at first, what I found didn't seem like much. Well, here, have a look: first off S.AMDT.168 (the Cantwell Amdt.). That amends: S.CON.RES.18. Particularly to strike from it section 201(a)(4) relative to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. So I followed that, to its source:
{ S.CON.RES.18
Title: An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2006 and including the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2005 and 2007 through 2010.
(a) SPENDING RECONCILIATION INSTRUCTIONS- In the Senate, by June 6, 2005, the committees named in this section shall submit their recommendations to the Committee on the Budget of the Senate. After receiving those recommendations, the Committee on the Budget shall report to the Senate a reconciliation bill carrying out all such recommendations without any substantive revision.
(4) COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES- The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources shall report changes in laws within its jurisdiction sufficient to reduce outlays by $33,000,000 in fiscal year 2006, and $2,658,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2006 through 2010.}

Clear as mud really.  I turned to the debate in the congressional record just prior to the vote...
Ms. CANTWELL (D-WA). Mr. President, I have submitted to the desk the amendment to strike the language out of the budget that would recognize revenue from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We started this discussion last night with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to talk about why America should not be focusing on drilling in a wildlife refuge, turn down the recognition of this revenue, and focus instead on an energy policy that will put America in better stead, get us off our dependency on foreign oil, reduce pollution, and focus on the technology that will truly make us energy independent... But we are here today on what I call a budget end run to recognize revenue in the budget as a way to try and open drilling in ANWR, to open drilling in this pristine wildlife area.

Now it all makes some sense It's a posed as a budget enhancement issue - those wildlife refuges got to start pulling their weight. I note the Washington Post web version of the article 51-49 Senate Vote Backs Arctic Oil Drilling unlike the print version does not list the names of the senators and how they voted; so here as a public service is that list: U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote:
YEAs ---49
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carper (D-DE)
Chafee (R-RI)
Clinton (D-NY)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corzine (D-NJ)
Dayton (D-MN)
DeWine (R-OH)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
McCain (R-AZ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Obama (D-IL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Wyden (D-OR)
NAYs ---51
Akaka (D-HI)
Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Allen (R-VA)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burns (R-MT)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Frist (R-TN)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Inouye (D-HI)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Santorum (R-PA)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Talent (R-MO)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)

11:28:26 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Wednesday, 16 March, 2005
Delaying the inevitable, or hammer time.

I am enjoying Tom Delay's statement that his current imbroglio is "all partisanship." That is a statement that takes balls, or a chronic dull stupidity. Considering he is also currently occupied putting out brush fires licking around his PAC "Texans for a Republican Majority", A modern model of non partisan governance. It has come to light Tom went off on a golfing junket to Scotland paid for by the soon-rewarded-gambling-industry care of his special close friend Jack Abramoff.

The Post broke this story Sunday DeLay Ethics Allegations Now Cause of GOP Concern (The Washington Post), and reported on it again Wednesday DeLay Defends Trip and Vote, Attacks Critics. The NYT came in with an editorial New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: House Ethics in Deep Rough, and others picked up on it as well House Member May Face DeLay Probe Conflict. Of course, it isn't just limited to this event, that's just what's turned up recently. Alternet has a brief recap of his other career highlights DeLay's Dirty Dozen. Alternet records Delay spent over $4000 at the Four Seasons hotel in London. Not up to Saudi prince standards, perhaps, but the Four Seasons is a good choice when you want to signify your disdain for democracy and contempt for the common man.

Tom Delay wouldn't recognize justice, right from wrong, the good, if it chased him right down the street and bit half his ass off. What I desire; though, is that none of this shames the House Republicans to re-introduce a semblance of ethics to their affairs, or to prod Delay to behave differently. I want all this to putter along until it rattles right over the cliff and they realize all at once they've gotten their affairs to a point they can't spin their way out of. And 'Tom Who?' is the only sound heard echoing over the capital for days, until his name is no longer spoken in these parts at all.

9:59:18 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Sunday, 13 March, 2005
Clash City Rockers

There was an article in Slate a few weeks ago commemorating the twenty fifth anniversary of the Clash's London Calling album: Debunking Punk - What the Clash meant to rock 'n' roll. By Stephen Metcalf. No one else covered this in the general news press, maybe in the music press, but I don't read the music press any more. I always read more along the lines of Op and Forced Exposure anyhow. London Calling was supposed to be the last rock n' roll album, deliberatley mimicking the first - Elvis's. I have both records and had noted the similarity, but had chalked it up to a more general irony.

After that set up Metcalf takes it away in a different direction, the sociology of rock and roll song writing partnerships. He notes that these Brit song writing teams seem to pair: "...white working-class boys [who] meet when young; bond over their mutual love of American rhythm and blues." He doesn't include or consider an American example. I couldn't think of any obvious examples either. Still I wondered was this just an oversight or an instrinsic part of the dynamic he is describing. In the post war period in which rock and roll is set, the working class largely completed a move into a defacto middle class similar to the U.S. The British experience of this was different, the working class never ceased self-identifiying as working class, and always had to exist in counterpoint to a formal aristocracy.

This is one aspect of what is called American Exceptionalism - Wikipedia (brace of scare  quotes, "", provided for  the proceeding term, use as needed).  Here a rejection of a working class identity or outlook by a majority of franchised through all periods of American history. The reasons for this are a fairly knotty thing to untangle. Seymour Lipsett devoted an entire book to it: It Didn't Happen Here: why socialism failed in the U S. The book can only sketch out possibilities. That level of class sensitivity was never part of the United States ideology, nor do any of our political institutions and processes impel us towards it. While true social mobility might be as constrained in the U S as in old world, Americans did not buy into explicit class identity and welcomed the notion that virtualy everyone; tradesmen, clerk and white collar salaryman alike were part of a society-owning middle class. Beneath all this the distinctions of social membership were maintained through coded patterns of consumption and style. And through this a struggle ensued over a body of stable high-income jobs and the information and educational opportunities that would gain them

The British had these song teams that in large ways helped define the popular culture of the era. because of the incorporated nature of that relationship the truce across the sectioned working-middle class that the booming post war economies of the west allowed. These songwriting partnerships sublimated these tensions and conflicts within the songs a partially conscious expression of civil wars. This was not necessarily a carthretic expression, but one that had great power and hold regardless. In the attitudes in the voice and poses of the songs are statements and opinions on post-war culture, its values and future. In Metcalf's words. "The Clash closed out the rock era, when the uneasy alliances between the Jaggers and the Richardses, the Lennons and McCartneys, the Strummers and the Joneses, could perfectly echo the deep optimism and the equally deep unease of the culture at large. " In the British Invasion we have things that Americans themselves understood and felt on several certain levels but did not have the best popular culture voice to express directly themselves.

11:31:17 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Thursday, 10 March, 2005
More RA5C's

I see from time to time hits in the referers window, of people looking in on Atomized to see pictures of the Ra5c Vigilante. Or as we used call them, the big pointy airplanes. I am willing to oblige these folk. Primarily because it prods me to scan these old photos which otherwise were just sitting in my closet, and have been these past --- hmm, not enough fingers or toes...
Well then never mind how long. I have several of these good color ones, and many more of lesser quality. A picture named RA5C_RVAH7.jpeg
I have no idea where this is. All the times I've looked at this picture previously I thought it was over the California Coast. Looking at it more carefully I see it might be over the channel islands, or Baja, possibly over the Philippines a few months later then when I thought it was taken. Maybe somebody out there could tell me. As an 18 yr old ISSN I wasn't taking care to make notes on copies of pictures that had official documented negitives properly labeled and stored in the big cabinet. Who knows where that is now? Funny thing; historical preservation.
The crew labels on the planes (black rectangles white lettering) indicate that was CDR Meyers, our (RVAH-7) CO's, plane. Lcdr McMahanan, RAN.

12:09:57 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Tuesday, 8 March, 2005
Egg of Solitude

Reuters: Bobby Fischer, apparently still at the Japanese immigration detention center at Narita airport gets himself thrown into solitary confinement for four days - Breakfast Fracas Lands Chess Master in Solitary. Why? Because he demanded an additional egg for breakfast, didn't get it and wouldn't take no for an answer. This seems to be on the eve of a possible deal that would allow him to travel to Iceland on a passport the government of iceland seems willing to issue him. His bodyguard and friend, Saemundur Palsson, from the Reykjavik match seems to be the force behind this. Bobby Fischer has friends left?

The most significant detail here, beyond that this story is now regulated to Reuters' "Oddly Enough News" beat, is that the Japanese grandmaster, Miyoko Watai, who the article describes as Fischer's fiance is also still sticking up for him after this last year. There doesn't seem to be a first person account of this posted on Fischer's web site yet. But of course, he is in solitary at the moment. [You can't write a website from "the box" as many others will discover in the coming clampdown.] Otherwise content on the site seems to be updated through mid february of this year.

11:47:06 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Monday, 7 March, 2005
Green China

 I saw recently an article in the CS Monitor on an apparent nascent environmental movement:  China enforcing green laws, suddenly | Twenty damns and power stations, $14  billion worth of projects across 13 provinces have been required recently to undergo environmental review. The  author indicates that SEPA - the State Environmental Protection Agency - is being given political cover to follow these policies from top leaders.   Much of the article is devoted to figuring out what is to be made of this.

 It is a political dynamic spinning out ofPpremier Jiabao's desire to connect with a core of young and dynamic bureaucrats. An acknowledgment  that the non-governmental environmental movement is composed of the children of many senior bureaucrats throughout the government; that is, the nations existing elite. Among whom it is a popular, even passionate cause. Figuring into this too, are pragmatic concerns like the need to  brake an industry sector that may be developing too fast.

 Still, I saved the article down to my hard drive so I could read it again. I wanted to understand something about my conventional wisdom thinking - that returned a feeling of surprise when I first read the title. Considering the Kyoto agreement, and the arguments that often sail in its wake, I believed countries still on the upswing of industrialization would desire not to be captured in such agreement and follow draconian pollution abatement controls. Certainly not ones that already industrialized countries never followed during their early industrialization phase. They would not consider it fair, it may not be fair. The U.S. for its part - this administration at least - has let be known it won't put itself in a position of following regulations other nations are not. Not one iota of competitive disadvantage will be taken on. One one level I agree. History only happens once. no historical epoch can be returned to, particularly an epoch of unrestrained environmental degradation. For any reason, good or bad. Toward the end, the article says as much: "...Sources in Beijing say many leaders are genuinely worried about scientific studies and new analyses showing long-term harm from continuing the pace of unregulated toxic emissions and waste." There is information available now that was not available previously. It can be ingnored only at the cost of becoming ascientific and unreasonsed.

 I imagined an outline of forces, for and against an environmental movement in China.  An authoritarian government makes decisions by fiat and mandate with little or no local or popular input (think of the three gorges damn project). They remove or quash dissent. In as many facets as possible they endeavor to control marketplace of ideas. To a certain degree this does describe the Peoples Republic of China.  However, You can look through the crack in the wall  that this story describes and catch a glimpse that the opinion of the people can count. I thought back to my developmental economics course. Successfully industrializing societies follow a pattern that is more fixed that malleable in many ways. National output and the work force will transition from agricultural sectors to labor intensive industry to capital intensive industries and on to post industrial phases. As it does so the labor force's attitudes and skill/educational level will transition also. On micro level decisions about family incomes and family size, responsibilities of all members will change. Generally this leads to smaller families with more invested in each child. Of course China already had population control policies in place, but these policies are likely become less at odds with the lives of skilled wage earners and post secondary educated.

At this point in a mature industrialized society folks start to take life quality, education  and attendant health and environment issues far more seriously. The kind of issues that involve air and water quality. They become keen on when information isn't available, or when official information doesn't jibe with evident facts. They may start a grey market on information they are not getting. Astute leadership in a number of countries may be sensing that a damn the torpedos approach to catch-up industrialization may not be the best plan. We can only hope that this is a contageous condition.

8:04:56 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Thursday, 3 March, 2005

I am in the middle of sketching notes or thoughts for a couple of different posts, but they're not going to get done tonight. My thinking has gone all askew (and that is pretty unkewed). So I am going to sweep all these notes and unread articles aside, for a moment, to write instead, that my friend Tran is back from her month long trip back to Vietnam. She had gone with her parents to visit her older sister and her family who still live there. Everything is different from when she lived there, she says - she left in 1994. The landscape - everything seems to have been rebuilt, or realigned, both in Saigon and in the town down south that her father grew up in. They had trouble finding the spots where they had lived, it looked so unfamiliar.

The culture had changed the people didn't seem the same. There were factories, hotels and bars; places of entertainment, but only for the rich - there were more of them. All the jobs that are to be had, in those hotels - go through them. All the people from the communist party. She had gone with some anticipation and trepidation, wondering where home was, but there was nothing there she remembered, none of her friends. Home, she has decided, is in Wheaton.

A sample of our conversation today: "They have 7-up in Vietnam but they don't call it 7-UP." "Oh, What do they call it?" "'Baht(?) up'." "Umm, what's the word for seven in Vietnamese." "'Baht'(?)." "And there is a big '7' on the bottle like there is here, right?" "Yes, why?" Suddenly I suspect I've been subtly set up somehow. But she just smiles.

A brief aside: Mir (of Dim Sum Diaries) had written in a comment, that when she worked in DC some years ago she had known a Tran Nguyen at USAID, (which is different from USIA) . Tran says she did work there for a while, maybe it was her. I will continue to sort this out tomorrow.

8:59:41 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Tuesday, 1 March, 2005

I may as well go on and make this an all library posting day. The individual interviewed  in this piece in the Web log Old Hag  (originally  from  Daily Gusto: Day Job Interviews) may, or may not (for legal purposes), be the same individual who can occasionally be found trying to turn the comments section of Atomized jr into a clandestine chess column.

11:12:08 PM    comment [];trackback [];
Mike Gorman Stampeded by Barbarians; woodcut at 11:00

Today gatekeeper and sole protector of all human civilization, Mike Gorman, was crushed beneath the unshod feet of pseudo-literate members of the dark forest tribe blogeoisie. As they rushed onward over his shocked and dismayed carcass, one stopped to offer this comment: "Bar-bar, bar-bar" which this reporter translates as "Yes we burn your manuscripts simply to light our midnight druid frenzies."

I seem to have come to this party late. Mr. Gorman, president elect of the American Libraries Assoc., published an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times late last year ("Google and God's Mind," December 17, 2004). That seems to have gone to pay-per-view web status Not true, I was uncareful. Article above is now pdf link. So I can only go by what I read here in a recent article which seems to be his reply to criticism: Revenge of the Blog People! As Mr. Gorman himself explains - Bloggers rip me: "I had heard of the activities of the latter and of the absurd idea of giving them press credentials (though, since the credentials were issued for political conventions, they were just absurd icing on absurd cakes)." Well I give him points for the multiple ad hominim. To this he adds: "I have spent a lot of my long professional life working on aspects of the noble aim of Universal Bibliographic Control a mechanism by which all the world's recorded knowledge would be known, and available, to the people of the world." His Bona Fides for the benefit of those inclined to be sympathetic. From here he scurries on to his defense: " the eyes of bloggers, my sin lay in suggesting that Google is OK at giving access to random bits of information but would be terrible at giving access to the recorded knowledge that is the substance of scholarly books"

I'm beginning to see why he attracted the ire of people who actually know how to use google as a search engine, or who have discovered that there is useful knowledge that has escaped from books (where its safe and quiet). Who may even have helped it escape. If he had stopped here I might even have considered him, but he doesn't - he can't. He continues:

...Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts. It is entirely possible that their intellectual needs are met by an accumulation of random facts and paragraphs.

I've actually read one of his books: Technical services today and tomorrow / [compiled by] Michael Gorman and associates. Englewood, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1998. What can I say; I work in a technical services department. I thought it might help explain what I do for a living. By his own logic (and my guess is that his own logic is what he would leave last), that would mean his writting is just such a collection of thrown-up randomness not rising to the level of "Text". Mr. Gorman has written or edited a great many books. Consider just the last two: The enduring library : technology, tradition, and the quest for balance,or Our enduring values : librarianship in the 21st century. What stirring and non-leaden titles. Such enduring nobility of great soul, and in only one man!

Update: My sources within the vast library industry tell me that Michael Gorman is actually a decent and  upright kind of person. He may just have heard the word "Google" a few too many times.

9:54:02 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website.
Click to see the XML version of this web page.
Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
2005 Paul Bushmiller.
Last update: 3/31/05; 23:47:28.