Freesteel Blog » Open knowledge of politics

Open knowledge of politics

Monday, March 19th, 2007 at 1:54 pm Written by:

I spent the weekend down in London at Rufus’s Open Knowledge event doing a thing on the UN and mixing with the great and the good in the internet revolution in the dark ceiling paint peeling room of the Limehouse Town Hall, one of very few stolen buildings. This was the place we had an event a couple of years ago, where the amazing Open Street Map project was announced. This is where stuff really happens, away from the billion dollar scams that is the hallmark of the Information Technology software industry.

With regards to hardware, the corporations seem to do work that’s second to none. The processing chips, the memory, the speed, the continuing adherence to Moore’s Law is little less than extraordinary. We undoubtedly get access to the best computing hardware that could be made by humans anywhere in the world. The military-industrial complex doesn’t stop us; I remember export controls for 16 bit processors they had in the 1980s that was rumoured to have had an affect on the Sinclair QL. We laugh when anyone tries to convince us that the computing hardware that controls the hundred-million-dollar-per-shot cruise missile is better than what can be bought at the corner store. It goes like monetary hyper-inflation. Pretty soon we’ll all be millionaires. Except that the processing cycle doesn’t get devalued in order to conserve our real wealth.

But when it comes to software, something goes badly wrong. The work that some corporations do in the realm of software would, if they were designing chip circuits, be like crayon pictures on the wall of the kindergarden class. The six-year-olds are doing the best they can, but it’s not worth a million dollars, is it? At least not this year.

After a very cheap curry nearby, I stayed the night in the flat of the guy who does the New Zealand version of TheyWorkForYou, and in the morning got shown, and the book Secrets and Lies, which I have temporarily confiscated from him. The book is based on a large quantity of secret PR documents leaked out of a pro-logging company, and may have cost the Right-wing parties the 1999 election. I’ve just read the chapter where a stick of dynamite was taped to a helicopter, reported by everyone as a bomb in spite of the fact that there was no detonator (like mistaking a bare engine in a wheelbarrow of gasoline for a “car”), and blamed on the “eco-terrorists” who were camping up in tree houses that were later smashed to pieces by said helicopters battering them with a huge log dangling underneath. I had no idea of any of this. I had been in New Zealand in 2001 near the time and actually witnessed this bizarre helicopter tree operation from from a hired kayak in a lagoon on the west coast.

I’m trying to get my idea accepted of contracting out all historical political research into wikipedia. There is now an improved List of tree-sits. Keep on going. It’s kind of sad how the Native Forest Action website stopped all action the moment the campaign was won. Surely there was something this resource could be linked forward into to keep the lessons of history alive. They will need them in the future.

1 Comment

  • 1. Open knowledge of politic&hellip replies at 19th March 2007, 2:57 pm :

    […] net revolution in the dark ceiling paint peeling room of the Limehouse Town Hall, … read full story L […]

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