Friday, January 18, 2002

Thursday, January 17, 2002

[The Nation]

What's Wrong With This Picture?

For all their economic clout and cultural sway, the ten great multinationals profiled in our latest chart--AOL Time Warner, Disney, General Electric, News Corporation, Viacom, Vivendi, Sony, Bertelsmann, AT&T and Liberty Media--rule the cosmos only at the moment. The media cartel that keeps us fully entertained and permanently half-informed is always growing here and shriveling there, with certain of its members bulking up while others slowly fall apart or get digested whole. But while the players tend to come and go--always with a few exceptions--the overall Leviathan itself keeps getting bigger, louder, brighter, forever taking up more time and space, in every street, in countless homes, in every other head . . .

Tuesday, January 15, 2002


The Kenya National Library Service appears to be failing in its effort to popularize reading among the nation's youth, despite employing innovative tools such as the Camel Mobile Library Service:

The Kenya National Library Services (KNLS) has failed in its objective to enhance literacy and popularise the reading culture among Kenyans, youths at a workshop said at the weekend.

The organisation was also blamed for not reaching out to rural communities. Its mobile units have been crippled and the few in operation were obsolete in content, they argued. The youths mainly in secondary and colleges were speaking at a pre-school opening gathering at Isebania town in Kuria District . . .

The British government is considering adopting a policy requiring more extensive use of open source software by government agencies - the public comment period ends 3/12/02. Thanks to the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter.

Monday, January 14, 2002

The week of March 11th - 17th is Bedtime Reading Week in the UK:

Whether you're reading poetry to a loved one, a thirty-something sharing the latest hip novel with a friend, or a couple reading a literary classic together, this is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the power of the spoken word. 2002's campaign will be even bigger and better than the last. Join the growing number of adults and children who all agree that reading aloud at bedtime is well worth an early night.

[L.A. Times via Slashdot]

Freedom Fighters of the Digital World:

A profile of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

We're bombing Afghanistan, anthrax is in the mail, and all across America it looks like Stars and Stripes forever. It is the evening of Oct. 11, one month into the war on terrorism, and Congress is cooking up something that will be called the USA Patriot Act. This sweeping law includes a dramatic expansion of Internet surveillance, unprecedented sharing of information between government agencies, stiffer penalties for computer crimes and greater power to detain noncitizens.

For many of us, that's just fine. If personal freedoms are to be sacrificed, polls show that a majority of Americans aren't just willing, they're gung-ho. Urgent times, urgent measures. Judged against the horror of Sept. 11 and now our daily dread--those invisible spores, the occasional drive across a bridge--what's a little electronic eavesdropping among patriotic Americans anyway?

But inside a half-empty auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library, four civil liberties attorneys have come together on a panel to challenge the new conventional wisdom . . .

Sunday, January 13, 2002

[The Arizona Daily Star via Yahoo]

U.S. Orders Libraries to Destroy Key CD-ROM::

The U.S. government ordered libraries including the UA's to destroy a CD-ROM on the nation's water supply because of fears of a chemical or biological attack after Sept. 11. The data on the computer disc had been open to the public nearly two years.

About the same time, federal agencies pulled information including nuclear plant sites, pipeline maps and aviation records from their Web sites. Some cited the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as a reason for cutting off access.

"To have government information withdrawn at this rate has not happened before, to my knowledge," said Karen Williams, team leader of the University of Arizona's Digital Library Initiatives and Special Collections . . .