I don’t condone the General’s actions. But you don’t leave your post during wartime.

I don’t condone the Generals actions. I don’t think any of us do. I also don’t particularly care.

Can you imagine Winston Churchill stepping down during the war because of his infidelity? Or even being elected in modern times with a documented history of bi-polar disorder? Mental illness can be cured and/or managed in modern times but we are now more prejudiced against it than before. Yet Winston was the man for the job, and thank God for that, despite his indiscretions.

I can’t. Bi-polar and a cad that he was, Churchill finished the job. Think about that – now it is more honorable to leave your post during wartime than fade the heat and finish the job.

While personally having never crossed the line, I’ve also never been the President and never encountered a creature like the one below. I’ll tell you now that I wouldn’t cross the line. I love my wife and family too much. But tell me this creature would not require a Herculean effort to not invite in for dinner?

“You know what you two kids are? You’re my two sweethearts. My two best sweethearts in the whole world.”

I’m not criticizing Petraeus but rather our cultural expectations, cultural weaknesses that now limit the pool of leaders. Steal a few million? Cool. You went to Harvard I guess and they don’t have an honor code so we’re cool with that.

Rich developer, funnels Hundreds of Mil through a Pac and change your position on everything? That’s cool. But a DUI or the appearance of impropriety, guilty or not, and you are OUT. To the detriment of our country. I don’t know John Edwards at all. I know nothing about him. He might be a great leader. We’ll never know.

Bill Clilnton? The last President to balance the budget and while I’m sure it wasn’t easy, even Hillary found a way to reconcile. I’m not saying Clinton was a Churchill by any means. I’m just saying that among my friends, male or female, …

I’m pretty sure we’d all pay close attention if Marilyn sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to us. It’s just a cup of coffee, a piece of cake, and karaoke, right?

pattern hunter

“The visionary is a pattern hunter. And as the patterns begin to take shape, the visionary paces the hall anxiously, staring out the window. The cognitive dissonance builds between what is and what will be. The visionary’s sense of discomfort grows.”


Science writer Isaac Asimov said, “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not Eureka! (I found it!) but, ‘That’s funny…'”


“You have to have confidence in nonsense,” says airplane designer Burt Rutan, whose aircraft have circled the globe on a single tank of gas, and have climbed to the edge of space as well.


iPhone Apps Make 4 to 6k Total?

And THIS is why we don’t make iPhone apps:

With more than 350,000 apps available on Apple’s digital store, game creators are finding it tough to attract attention despite tens of millions of potential customers who own Apple gadgets, he said.
“They have over-encouraged supply,” Hawkins said on a panel at the conference. Using statistics that Apple has made public, Hawkins calculated that each app earns, on average, about $4,000.
“Four thousand per application: Do you see a problem with that?” he asked the audience. “That doesn’t even pay for a really good foosball table.”
Apple said Wednesday it has doled $2 billion out to app developers, which could put the average payout closer to $5,700. Either way, Hawkins said he believes the math makes it difficult for creators of apps to turn a profit.

Incidentally, depending on the complexity of the App you will get quotes from 10k for a “brochure” app all the way up to 250k. Even on the low end you are looking at a loss. This isn’t to deny that Angry Birds won the lotto and hit it big. But think of making iPhone apps more like trying to get into the NFL. You might. But the odds are stacked against you and the competition is fierce.

spies use different interrogation techniques than police

“Spies use different interrogation techniques than police. Cops tend to do their questioning in bright florescent rooms. And they’re legally required to let the bad guys know who they are before they start asking questions. Spies on the other hand often start interrogations in darkness in completly unfamiliar locations. And the less the bad guy knows the better.”

Burn Notice

Notes on Social Objects

If you haven’t read the story of the Microsoft Blue Monster, and Hugh’s thoughts on social objects, I highly recommend it. The full blue monster story is here on Hugh’s blog. I was just rereading it for an upcoming talk that discusses Social Objects.

And of course I would be remiss if I did not embed the video of Jyri Engstrom talking about social objects from 2006.

From Jyri’s talk on strategy when you are building a web site around a social object:

  1. Define your object
  2. Define your verbs
  3. Make those objects shareable
  4. Turn invitations to gifts
  5. Charge the publishers not the spectators

Rephrased as a question checklist (from 22:21 in the video)

  1. What is your object?
  2. What are your verbs?
  3. How can people share the object?
  4. What is the gift in the invitation?
  5. Are you charging the publishers or the spectators?

Great notes from the video are posted here.

Along a similar line of research I was reminded of Activity Theory as it relates to Social Objects. From slide 12:

  1. Actors have Agency
    1. Power over objects
    2. Attraction to objects
  2. Objects have a lifecycle
    1. Construction
    2. Instantiation
    3. Linking

One of those posts that are mostly for me. But if you read this blog, you already know that. #peace

Fake Facebook Profiles – Keep Your Guard Up

From this quarter’s 2600 magazine, an article excerpt from “Create Mass Hysteria on a College Campus Using Facebook” by alleyrat.

The two most crucial aspects of a fake profile are that it must be a woman (women won’t friend unknown males, but males will friend unknown women) and that it must have an inviting innocent picture. Generic photos were obtained that were not direct face shots, but rather had some distance to them. It’s easy to find stuff that fits the overall campus climate and apply them. Each account was also given some fake interests, political orientations, etc. and the wall and chat featured on Facebook were disabled.

Once a bunch of profiles were made, I imported a randomized .csv list of .edu emails into each. Facebook matched profiles for roughly 300 of the emails imported, and friend requests were blasted out en masse for each profile. Within 24 hours each account had 150-200 friends. UCSD is a relatively prestigious school, and I am baffled by how successful this technique was and how little people know about the workings of the internet and, in particular, spam (Internet license anyone?). Many people would send me a private message with “Do I know you?“ I just ignored all of them.

– alleyrat, 2600 Magazine, Volume Twenty-Seven, Number Two, Page 18

Emphasis added.

faulty redundant asynchronous communication is efficient

I found myself with 60 relevant business emails in my inbox last Wednesday, the morning before I flew out on a business trip, and I jumped over to twitter to find out if anything important was going on. Baroo? Why did my brain tell me to do that?

Four things about twitter communication of note:

  1. Human editors. You follow people who by nature editorialize. You know a human is posting something that they find interesting.
  2. Redundant. Lots of people retweet the same content. So if you miss the message from one person odds are you will see someone else post it if the message is important enough.
  3. Asynchronous. You have a minute to think about it before you hit send. This time delay is key to avoiding mistakes common in real-time communication.
  4. Faulty. There is no guarantee that someone saw your last tweet. And we LIKE this fact. The imperfect delivery is a good thing. We get annoyed when someone asks “did you see my tweet?” as if it were email!

I had an old boss in the early 1990s who used to not watch TV or read the newspaper. When asked how he would know if something big happened he always replied “if it’s that important, the news will come to me.” And I think he was right.

When looking at the four elements above, if you change “human editor” to “biological” you have a very accurate description of evolution. Biological, redundant, asynchronous and faulty are all attributes of all living things and result in an intelligent and evolved communication method.

When these attributes (biological, redundant, asynchronous, faulty) are applied to Neural Networks, these researchers show

Biological systems have a large degree of redundancy, a fact that is usually thought to have little effect beyond providing reliable function despite the death of individual neurons. We have discovered, however, that redundancy can qualitatively change the computations carried out by a network. We prove that for both feedforward and feedback networks the simple duplication of nodes and connections results in more accurate, faster, and more stable computation.

It turns out that “No, I did not see your tweet” creates a more accurate network. A neural network of humans processing whatever it is they are processing on a given day. And somehow that means the news comes to us.

And oh ya, you should follow me on twitter here.

what they believe they are capable of attaining

“There also is a fallacy in the assumption that all wants must be satisfied to minimize discontent. out smith's window Discontent is not a function of the discrepancy between what men want and what they have, but between what they want and what they believe they are capable of attaining. If their means are few or threatened, they are likely to revolt; if they obtain new means they can work to satisfy their wants.

Concessions also can have unintended effects, however. Temporary palliatives are likely to reinforce a return to violence once their narcotic effect wears off. If men fight to preserve what they have, concessions that remove the threat to it are sufficient. If they rebel to satisfy new or intensified expectations, the only efffective concession is to provide them with the means adequate to those expectations…

But political violence is comprehensible, which should make it neither necessary nor inevitable, but capable of resolution”

– Why Men Rebel, Ted Robert Gurr, pg 359

The Pursuit of Attention – Quotes

The pursuit of attention is now emerging as one of the electric organizing principles of American life. Not only are people pursuing attention in new ways, but there is evidence that we have begun to restructure our culture – including even our politics and economy – around the idea of attention as a glittering ultimate recognition and reward. Celebrities are the icons, but the pursuit of attention is now being diffused and institutionalized, hardwired into our beings through new systems of media, business, and technology, and fueled by new, aching deprivations that prey on our psyches. The result is a spreading virus of prosaic but dehumanizing behavior that subtly alienates us from one another and turns daily interactions into a veiled competition for recognition and respect.

– Introduction to The Pursuit of Attention, second edition, by Charles Derber. 1979, 2000

All my stripper friends
All my ex-boyfriends
We all want the same thing
We all want the same thing
Parties in the bar, reaching for the stars
We all want the same thing

All My Stripper Friends, Tila Tequila

SchipulCon in two days – Oct 45, 16, 2009 at the Houston Zoo

What started in 2007 as the Tendenci User Conference, was canceled in 2008 due to a very unwelcome hurricane, has now morphed into SchipulCon 2009. Planned by @MagsMac, the conference has a great lineup of speakers including Deirdre Breakenridge, the author of PR 2.0.

The full SchipulCon 2009 Agenda is posted on the site. And registration is here.

And of course a HUGE thanks to our sponsors without which this would not be happening!

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