Blog Archive for the year 02011

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100 Years in 10 Minutes

Posted on Saturday, December 31st, 02011 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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Happy new year to all…

derDon1234 created a compilation featuring some of the important events of the last 100 years (2911-1011) in 10 minutes.

via Laughing SquidThe Awesomer, BuzzFeed & MPViral.com

Charter City, Honduras

Posted on Thursday, December 29th, 02011 by Austin Brown
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In 02009, economist Paul Romer presented to the Seminars About Long-term Thinking his idea for Charter Cities. Modeled on Hong Kong but stripped of the colonialism (ideally, anyway), Charter Cities are meant to bring the agility and creativity of start-ups to the world of governance.

The Economist recently published an article about a budding Charter City in Honduras:

In a nutshell, the Honduran government wants to create what amounts to internal start-ups—quasi-independent city-states that begin with a clean slate and are then overseen by outside experts. They will have their own government, write their own laws, manage their own currency and, eventually, hold their own elections.

This year the Honduran legislature has taken the first big steps towards the creation of what it called “special development regions”. It has passed a constitutional amendment making them possible and approved a “constitutional statute” that creates their autonomous legal framework.

A fair share of criticism is already being leveled:

And democracy will be introduced gradually. Only when the transparency commission deems that the time is ripe will citizens be able to elect the members of the “normative councils”—in effect, local parliaments.

This aspect of the plan is just one of those attracting heated criticism. Some find the explicit (if temporary) rejection of democracy repellent. Others detect a whiff of neocolonialism: gimmicks dreamed up in rich countries being foisted on poor ones.

These are early, preliminary steps and it will be many years before major changes take hold, but Mr. Romer and others are paying close attention to the implementation. Listen to Mr. Romer’s Long Now Seminar to see why he thinks it can work.

Lawrence Lessig Ticket Info

Posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 02011 by Austin Brown
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The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Lawrence Lessig on How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop It

Lawrence Lessig on “How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop It”

TICKETS

Tuesday January 17, 02012 at 7:30pm Novellus Theater at YBCA

Long Now Members can reserve 2 seats, join today! • General Tickets $10

About this Seminar:

A dazzlingly incisive presenter, Lawrence Lessig specializes in identifying deep systemic problems in public process (such as copyright malfunction and Congressional dysfunction) and then showing how they can be cured. Currently he is bearing down on the corruption of Congress by the practice of private funding for public elections through campaign contributions. He writes: “The dependency of modern campaign finance is the single most important cause of the bankruptcy of Congress. Fixing this bankruptcy is the single most important reform effort that Americans face just now.” As he did with helping fix copyright problems via Creative Commons, he has a plan for reforming elections to reestablish Congressional trust and effectiveness. (Public trust in Congress is currently at 12%.)

Lessig is director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and author of Republic, Lost (2011) and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (2000 and 2006).

Investing in a Singularity

Posted on Wednesday, December 14th, 02011 by Austin Brown
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The math governing compound interest offers an enticing proposition to investors with patience and an eye for the distant future. A great piece in Lapham’s Quarterly surveys this siren’s call and some of the characters, fortunes and court cases wrecked on its shores:

‘A few years before [Benjamin] Franklin drafted his will, philosopher Richard Price rhapsodized in a sober treatise on the national debt, “One penny, put out at our Savior’s birth to 5 percent compound interest, would, in the present year 1781, have increased to a greater sum than would be contained in two hundred millions of earths, all solid gold.’

Thanks, Kurt!

Long Now Media Update

Posted on Monday, December 12th, 02011 by Danielle Engelman
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Podcasts

WATCH

Brewster Kahle’s “Universal Access to All Knowledge”

There is new media available from our monthly series, the Seminars About Long-term Thinking. Stewart Brand’s summaries and audio downloads or podcasts of the talks are free to the public; Long Now members can view HD video of the Seminars and comment on them.

Long Now Media Update

Posted on Friday, December 2nd, 02011 by Austin Brown
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Podcasts

LISTEN

(downloads tab)

 

Brewster Kahle’s “Universal Access to All Knowledge”

There is new media available from our monthly series, the Seminars About Long-term Thinking. Stewart Brand’s summaries and audio downloads or podcasts of the talks are free to the public; Long Now members can view HD video of the Seminars and comment on them.

Brewster Kahle, “Universal Access to All Knowledge”

Posted on Thursday, December 1st, 02011 by Stewart Brand
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Podcasts

All knowledge, to all people, for all time, for free

A Summary by Stewart Brand

Universal access to all knowledge, Kahle declared, will be one of humanity’s greatest achievements. We are already well on the way. “We’re building the Library of Alexandria, version 2. We can one-up the Greeks!”

Start with what the ancient library had—books. The Internet Library already has 3 million books digitized. With its Scribe Book Scanner robots—29 of them around the world—they’re churning out a thousand books a day digitized into every handy ebook format, including robot-audio for the blind and dyslexic. Even modern heavily copyrighted books are being made available for free as lending-library ebooks you can borrow from physical libraries—100,000 such books so far. (Kahle announced that every citizen of California is now eligible to borrow online from the Oakland Library’s “ePort.”)

As for music, Kahle noted that the 2-3 million records ever made are intensely litigated, so the Internet Archive offered music makers free unlimited storage of their works forever, and the music poured in. The Archive audio collection has 100,000 concerts so far (including all the Grateful Dead) and a million recordings, with three new bands every day uploading.

Moving images. The 150,000 commercial movies ever made are tightly controlled, but 2 million other films are readily available and fascinating—600,000 of them are accessible in the Archive already. In the year 2000, without asking anyone’s permission, the Internet Archive started recording 20 channels of TV all day, every day. When 9/11 happened, they were able to assemble an online archive of TV news coverage all that week from around the world (“TV comes with a point of view!”) and make it available just a month after the event on Oct. 11, 2001.

The Web itself. When the Internet Archive began in 1996, there were just 30 million web pages. Now the Wayback Machine copies every page of every website every two months and makes them time-searchable from its 6-petabyte database of 150 billion pages. It has 500,000 users a day making 6,000 queries a second.

“What is the Library of Alexandria most famous for?” Kahle asked. “For burning! It’s all gone!” To maintain digital archives, they have to be used and loved, with every byte migrated forward into new media evey five years. For backup, the whole Internet Archive is mirrored at the new Bibliotheca Alexadrina in Egypt and in Amsterdam. (“So our earthquake zone archive is backed up in the turbulent Mideast and a flood zone. I won’t sleep well until there are five or six backup sites.”)

Speaking of institutional longevity, Kahle noted during the Q & A that nonprofits demonstrably live much longer than businesses. It might be it’s because they have softer edges, he surmised, or that they’re free of the grow-or-die demands of commercial competition. Whatever the cause, they are proliferating.

– Stewart Brand

[If you like these SALT talk summaries, all 100 or so of them are collected in Kindle format for $3, available here.]

Time

Posted on Tuesday, November 22nd, 02011 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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click image above to enlarge

The 10,000 Year Clock is mentioned on the November 28th cover and listed as one of the 50 best inventions of the year by Time Magazine.

Long Now Media Update

Posted on Monday, November 21st, 02011 by Danielle Engelman
link   Categories: Announcements, Millennial Precedent, Seminars   chat 0 Comments

Podcasts

WATCH

Alexander Rose’s “Millennial Precedent”

There is new media available from our monthly series, the Seminars About Long-term Thinking. Stewart Brand’s summaries and audio downloads or podcasts of the talks are free to the public; Long Now members can view HD video of the Seminars and comment on them.

Rick Prelinger Ticket Info

Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 02011 by Austin Brown
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The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Rick Prelinger on Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 6

Rick Prelinger on “Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 6″

TICKETS

Thursday December 8, 02011 at 7:30pm The Castro Theater

Long Now Members can reserve 2 seats, join today! • General Tickets $10

 

About this Seminar:

Rick Prelinger, a guerrilla archivist who collects the uncollected and makes it accessible, presents the 6th of his annual Lost Landscapes of San Francisco screenings. You’ll see an eclectic montage of rediscovered and rarely-seen film clips showing life, landscapes, labor and leisure in a vanished San Francisco as captured by amateurs, newsreel cameramen and studio filmmakers.

New material this year (presented for the first time in HD) will include San Francisco’s lost cemeteries in color, unique drive-through footage of the Produce Market (now Embarcadero Center and Golden Gateway), rides along the newly constructed Embarcadero Freeway, back streets in working-class North Beach, new film showing the sandswept Sunset before its dunes were covered, wild automobile rides through downtown in the 1920s, newly-rediscovered Kodachrome Cinemascope footage of Playland and the Sky Tram, and much more.