Event: 4-6 Oct 2010, SanFran CA, Social Capital 2010 (SOCAP10)

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Now in its third year, SOCAP 10 is the largest interdisciplinary gathering of individuals and institutions at the intersection of money and meaning.  Impact Investors, social entrepreneurs, funders, and other innovators come to SOCAP to build a movement.  SOCAP 10 will seek to answer the question ‘What’s Next?’ for the social capital markets. Participants can dive into one of seven tracks to see where the money is moving, how deals are getting done and who is pushing boundaries across the landscape.

Thanks to those who update the inSTEDD Twitter feed.

Journal: Software Should be Free…

Collective Intelligence
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Seth Godin Bio

The business of software

Inspired by a talk I gave yesterday at the BOS conference. This is long, feel free to skip!

My first real job was leading a team that created five massive computer games for the Commodore 64. The games were so big they needed four floppy disks each, and the project was so complex (and the hardware systems so sketchy) that on more than one occasion, smoke started coming out of the drives.

Success was a product that didn’t crash, start a fire or lead to a nervous breakdown.

Writing software used to be hard, sort of like erecting a building used to be hundreds of years ago. When you set out to build an audacious building, there were real doubts about whether you might succeed. It was considered a marvel if your building was a little taller and didn’t fall down. Now, of course, the hard part of real estate development has nothing to do with whether or not your building is going to collapse.

The same thing is true of software. It’s a given that a professionally run project will create something that runs. Good (not great) software is a matter of will, mostly.

The question used to be: Does it run? That was enough, because software that worked was scarce.

Now, the amount of high utility freeware and useful free websites is soaring. Clearly, just writing a piece of software no longer makes it a business.

So if it’s not about avoiding fatal bugs, what’s the business of software?

Read the rest of Seth Godin’s post…

Phi Beta Iota: This is a very important post, read the whole thing.  Earth Intelligence Network has been saying for four years that cell phones should be free to the poor, and so also call centers that educate the poor one cell call at a time.  This post by Seth Goden helps explain the economics of that: the wealth is in the aggregate, in the new wealth creation, and in the outreach from the five billion poor.  Software, like air, should be free–it powers life.

Journal: Where Ideas Come From–the Hive Mind

Collective Intelligence
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Jon Lebkowsky

Where ideas come from

Wired News hosts a conversation between Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson, who’ve written similar books… Steven – Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation; and Kevin – What Technology Wants.

Steven “finds that great creative milieus, whether MIT or Los Alamos, New York City or the World Wide Web, are like coral reefs—teeming, diverse colonies of creators who interact with and influence one another.”

Kevin “believes “technology can be seen as a sort of autonomous life-form, with intrinsic goals toward which it gropes over the course of its long development. Those goals, he says, are much like the tendencies of biological life, which over time diversifies, specializes, and (eventually) becomes more sentient…”

WIRED Story Online

I’m glad Kevin and Steven are making the “hive mind” point, a rationale for softening rigid proprietary systems and encouraging collaboration and interaction… sez Steven: “innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.” Great ideas emerge from scenes, the solitary inventors are just catalysts for the execution (no mean feat, though).

See Also:

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Civilization-Building

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Collective Intelligence

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Common Wealth

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Conscious, Evolutionary, Integral Activism & Goodness

NIGHTWATCH Extract: On Warnings Good and Bad

09 Terrorism, Misinformation & Propaganda, Officers Call
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Special comment on warning: In the past few days the US media has bombarded viewers and listeners with the latest State Department warning about an al Qaida threat in public places in European cities. The warning instructs travelers to not change their travel plans, but to be alert in public places, transportation hubs and gathering places.

It goes without saying that governments must disseminate such warnings, though reporting from Germany and France disputes the threat as stated in the US warning. However, there are some well established precepts of warning that the recent US warning ignores, at least as reported by radio and television.

The main purpose of any warning message, obviously, is to help keep people, companies, countries safe. Warnings do this by raising vigilance in order to generate appropriate reflexive responses. An appropriate reflexive response is a human behavior that is reasonable under the circumstances, that is, appropriate to the information about the threat. (See the writings of Irving Janis, Alexander George and many others for detailed explanations.)

Vigilance is fragile because it is a fear response that is difficult to sustain if the threat fails to materialize as damage.

The appropriateness of a vigilance response is related to the amount of fear-generating information in the warning plus the amount of reassurance it contains. For example, long experience has shown that blanket reassurance always negates vigilance. In practice, reassurance and vigilance cannot co-exist. Reassurance always trumps vigilance.

In attempting to raise vigilance, the latest warning messages advised travelers of potentially mortal danger, but then instructed them to make no changes in plans, which is a blanket reassurance message. The advice to be alert, but make no travel changes is almost certain to erode vigilance, except in the most skittish. It also makes little sense.

Another lesson form the history of warning concerns the content: how much information must a warning contain. Researchers in the 1960s compiled lessons for use by civil defense authorities in responding to natural disaster, such as hurricanes, as well as civil threats, including air raids.

They found that too much history and explanation negates vigilance. Familiarity breeds reassurance and thus, disregard of the warning. On the other hand, too little information breeds disregard because the audience does not know what to do or to avoid.

A problem with the weekend warnings as publicized is they contain no guidance about what to do or avoid. Everyone does something to protect themselves in the face of potentially mortal danger. The warning message advised travelers to not do those things, just be alert.

The US warning also includes a presumption that precautions are universal. Consider, during a recent trip to Europe, travelers could find that Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris had no visible security, but at Schipol airport in Amsterdam, commandos patrolled with slung sub-machineguns.

What constitutes reasonable precautions differs by country and by culture. Plus, what are the reasonable precautions travelers can take against Mumbai-style machine gun and grenade attacks at hotels and synagogues?

Good warnings – meaning, useful in keeping people safe — require careful crafting and drafting. The weekend warnings seem to be aimed at exonerating the government and placing on travelers the responsibility for being safe from terrorist attacks. Thus, if some US citizens were to die, the government could and would claim it had warned them to be careful, for whatever good that does.

NIGHTWATCH KGS Home

See Also:

Journal: US Travel Alert–Political and Fraudulent?

Definitions: “Self-Radicalized Militants”

Definitions: “Self-Radicalized Militants”

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When we first heard the term, “self-radicalized militants,” we thought they were talking about Lori Wallach, the tom-boy agitator now depicted in pearls with style.  Above are three over-lapping sets of coverage on this term.  We have just two questions:

1)  Is “self-radicalized” like “immaculate conception,” one just “radicalizes” spontaneously with no external influences?

2)  Is militant the antonym for passive?  Can one be vocal, skeptical, concerned, even derogatory or condemning, and not be a “militant?”

At what point, one wonders, do the mandarins of Empire begin to understand “cause and effect?”

In our own varied experiences, the snarling “self-radicalized militants” emerge when the Empire has been Gored (now there’s a turn of phrase rather sadly appropos) and is hemmoraging.  We are at a tipping point.  Tea Party, Coffee Party, Independents, Libertarians and generally pissed-off good old boys on one side, and “self-radicalized militants” on the other, with pasty-faced girly-men (Arnold Schwarzenegger’s term) in the middle.

Play Ball!