For more recent postings please visit cyberenvironmentalism.org


seeking liberation from the physical ::

The Out-of-Body
...The United States and Japan have become unlikely twins. Both their countries complain about their weak economies while harboring lifestyles and habits of consumption that are unheard of in most of the world. Both countries are looking back to a past of accelerated economic growth and power, which is not unlike looking back at the prowess of youth when we reach a certain age. Both countries are obsesssed with fictions, dreams, cartoons and hallucinations. The steely work ethic of bygone times is infiltrated with escapist fantasies. America has its Hollywood and Japan has its Manga. Both countries incubated the seeds of their culture of hallucination during their periods of relentless growth so that in their declines they could enjoy it full blown like a post-coital cigarette...

...Perhaps both cultures are seeking a final liberation from the physical. The final Out-of-Body experience is the ultimate moment when our heads swell up like balloons and float our minds away. What is that disembodied voice at the other end of the telephone? It floats in the void, it communicates outside the physical, it is the Out-of-Body version of the self. If we could only be that voice to ourselves and loose the excess baggage we'd really be flying.
:: Matthew Weinstein

:: :: Artist's Statement, The Out-of-Body, Sonnabend: 2005.


:: creating digital relics :: ::

The Cellphone as Church Chronicle, Creating Digital Relics
By Elisabeth Rosenthal,
International Herald Tribune

[Published: April 8, 2005]
...this week, the heavy air around the pope's bier has not been filled with prayer so much as with tiny popping flashes and clicking shutters...

...The church and cellular telephone technology are arguably the two most important and contrasting institutions here in Rome: one very old, the other very new. For the church, the bigger means the better to impress; for the other, ever-more-tiny wins the crowd...

..."In the past, pilgrims would take away with them a relic, like a piece of cloth on the saint's body," said Gianluca Nicoletti, a media commentator for La Stampa, adding: "Here there's been the transposition to a level of unreality. They're bringing home a digital relic"...

...what seems most remarkable is the way the cellphone camera has became central to religious experience. In a way, this makes sense for a pope who played to the camera, and on a square now lined with television crews...

..."With the cameras of the world focused on it, St. Peter's has become the sancta sanctorum of the digital world," Mr. Nicoletti said. "While they're waiting in line they could be chanting or praying but instead they're taking pictures because they're caught in a parallel event"...
:: :: | .read the full article |


:: parallel processing :: ::

:: Maccoby Found :: :: ::
:: 78% of participants indicated no conversation occurred during the viewing of a television program.
:: 60% of participants indicated no activity was engaged in during the viewing of a television program.
The television atmosphere in most households is one of quiet absorption on the part of family members who are present. The nature of the family social life during a program could be described as "parallel" rather than interactive, and the set does seem quite clearly to dominate family life when it is on.

Maccoby, E.E. (1951). Television: Its impact on school children. Public Opinion Quarterly, 15, 423-444.


:: information warfare :: ::

Pentagon sites: Journalism or propaganda?
From Barbara Starr and Larry Shaughnessy
Saturday, February 5, 2005 Posted: 3:04 AM EST (0804 GMT)
The Defense Department runs two Web sites overseas, one aimed at people in the Balkan region in Europe, the other for the Maghreb area of North Africa. It is preparing another site, even as the Pentagon inspector general investigates whether the sites are appropriate...

...The sites are run by U.S. military troops trained in "information warfare," a specialty that can include battlefield deception. Pentagon officials say the goal is to counter "misinformation" about the United States in overseas media.

At first glance, the Web pages appear to be independent news sites. To find out who is actually behind the content, a visitor would have to click on a small link -- at the bottom of the page -- to a disclaimer, which says, in part, that the site is "sponsored by" the U.S. Department of Defense...

...The Pentagon maintains that the information on the sites is true and accurate. But in a recent memo, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz insisted that the Web site contractor should only hire journalists who "will not reflect discredit on the U.S. government"...

...Many Democrats have called for an end to what they call administration propaganda within the United States. But many lawmakers view the rules for handling information overseas as a separate issue...
:: check out the magharebia site :: ::


:: frightening traditional operatives :: ::

Embracing the New Politics and Perfecting the Old
Donnie Fowler / November 2004
...Democrats have also been slow to adopt the tools of the new politics. When we do, our understanding has been very shallow. The Party's understanding of the web and other technologies has not kept up with the extraordinary speed of the advances. Fortunately, there are great Democrats in Silicon Valley and other tech centers who can help where we have already tried to help ourselves by ourselves. Technology is much, much broader than putting up a website and giving a volunteer a $200 Palm Pilot. Not only does it provide vast new means to raise money, it provides us uniquely different ways to communicate to voters through email and websites. The Internet is not television, radio, or direct mail, so communicating across it must be approached differently. The Internet is interactive (like talk radio on a more limited scale) and it is d e c e n t r a l i z e d, allowing activists to organize themselves without waiting for the "go" signal from a national or state headquarters. While this frightens many traditional operatives, self-starting grassroots means that more folks can participate in more ways than ever before. Technology also provides us dramatically better ways to identify and speak to narrow slices of the electorate. Powerful database technologies already exist in Silicon Valley so we need not create these tools from scratch...

:: the democratization of tv :: ::

Uncle Al wants You.
To help him revolutionize TV. (But he won't say exactly how.)
The ad for "The Best New Job in TV" featured two poster children of cool: a young man with a tattooed arm clutching a video camera, and a young woman wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with a paraphrased version of the George Orwell epigram: "In a time of universal deceit, to tell the truth is a revolutionary act." The symbolism was designed to be hip and to appeal to young people who might be interested in working for INdTV...

...Last May, [former Vice President Al] Gore and [Joel] Hyatt paid a reported $70 million for Canadian cable news network Newsworld International, which reaches about seventeen million US homes. Their stated goal was to create programming by and for the demographically desirable 18- to 34-year-old market...

...[INdTV aspire] to counteract the purported impact of media consolidation by handing control of the airwaves to a creatively empowered new generation. Until recently, the network said little more about its programming goals, but Gore's apparent interest in the onetime MTV video diary Unfiltered offered an early clue into INdTV's approach. Unfiltered was real grassroots television, a program whose producers selected its story ideas based upon calls from actual viewers...

...This seemingly revolutionary prospect inspired hordes of young people to apply for a job as one of the network's fifty "digital correspondents." INdTV began a national search last August through film schools and postings on Web sites such as Craigslist, MediaBistro.com, and Filmmaker.com

...[Michael] Rosenblum said Gore was keenly interested in his ideas about the "democratization of television," which he articulated in the mission statement for DV Dojo, his New York video training school. The phrase soon became an INdTV buzzword. "In the beginning, they just wanted to talk about the 'democratization of television,'" Rosenblum said in a December interview. "Al had a lot of input in the beginning. He really dug the democratization of TV thing and made it his own"...

...The network's Web site became the focal point of all the action. INdTV called it a video blog because the written postings by employees -- mainly journalist Gotham Chopra, the son of spiritual guru Deepak Chopra -- were supplemented by occasional video postings. These communications were meant to keep applicants abreast of the recruitment process and to explain the INdTV mission. Before and after submitting their applications, visitors to the site could read the text, watch the videos, and write their own responses to posts by staff or one another...
:: learn about MTV's Unfiltered here :: ::

:: an endorsement for DNC Chair :: ::


:: distributed, real time, personal, and intimate

Simon Rosenberg’s Vision for the DNC:

A Response to the ASDC Plan for 2005-2008
...We must create a new culture of investment in our Party that sees the DNC and the state parties as institutions and not campaigns. Campaigns come and go. Institutions live on beyond any one election, and must have both long-term and short-term planning to be successful...

...At the core of the new politics of advocacy are changes in media and technology. We are leaving a 50 year-long run of the broadcast era of political communications, where the model was a single message centrally managed and broadcast out to many. The new era we are entering requires a much more distributed, real time, personal, and intimate type of communications...

:: premature triumphalism :: ::

Blog Overkill :
The danger of hyping a good thing into the ground.

Posted Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2005, at 5:48 PM PT

By Jack Shafer
...The premature triumphalism of some bloggers indicates that they haven't paid attention to how Webified journalists have become. They also ignore media history. New media technologies almost never replace old media technologies, they merely force old technologies to adapt and find new ways to connect with their audiences. Radio killed the "special edition," but newspapers survived. When television dethroned radio as the hearthside infobox and cratered the Hollywood box office, radio became a mobile medium, and Hollywood devoted itself to spectaculars that the tiny TV set couldn't adequately display. The competitive spiral has continued, with cable TV, VCRs and DVDs, satellite TV and radio broadcasters, and now Internet broadcasters entering the fray. The only extinct mass medium that I can think of is the movie house newsreel...


:: heretical thoughts from a savage jaw [::][::]

:: EXHIBIT 17.3.84 :: ::
...The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought--that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc--should be literally unthinkable at least so far as thought is dependent on words...
Orwell, G. (1949). 1984. New York: Signet Classic. (pp299)
:: EXHIBIT 3.12.83 :: ::
he.ret.i.cal (adj.)
1. Of or relating to heresy or heretic.
2. Characterized by, revealing, or approaching departure from established beliefs or standards.
:: EXHIBIT 19.12.83 :: ::

RNC Chair Unveils 'Durable Majority' Plan
..."We can deepen the GOP by identifying and turning out Americans who vote for president but who often miss off-year elections and agree with our work on behalf of a culture of life, our promoting marriage, and a belief in our Second Amendment heritage" Mehlman said, referring to the party's opposition to abortion, gay marriage and gun control...
AP logo
:: EXHIBIT 14.2.84 :: ::
.Someday they won't let you, so now you must agree :: .The times they are a-telling, and the changing isn't free :: .You've read it in the tea leaves, and the tracks are on TV :: .Beware the savage jaw :: .Of 1984


:: a campaign addressed to our minds and best instincts

from "The Wit and Wisdom of Adlai Stevenson" :: :: ::
A campaign addressed not to men's minds and to their best instincts, but to their passions, emotions and prejudices, is unworthy at best. Now, with the fate of the nation at stake, it is unbearable.
Chicago, Illinois
September 6, 1952


:: pale colors and timid voices :: ::

by Senator Edward M. Kennedy
January 12, 2005

... we cannot move our party or our nation forward under pale colors and timid voices ...
:: click here :: to read the full speech.


:: [2]Plight of The Individual in Modern Society

The bigger the crowd the more negligible the individual becomes. But if the individual, overwhelmed by the sense of his own puniness and impotence, should feel that his life has lost its meaning - which, after all, is not identical with public welfare and higher standards of living - then he is already on the road to State slavery and, without knowing or wanting it, has become its proselyte.

:: [1]Plight of The Individual in Modern Society

Historically, it is chiefly in times of physical, political, economic, and spiritual distress that men's eyes turn with anxious hope to the future, and when anticipations, utopias and apocalyptic visions multiply.


:: open-source marketing :: ::

Malcolm Gladwell poses an interesting question on pg.92 of his book The Tipping Point. How Little Things Make a Big Difference.
There is a maxim in the advertising business that an advertisement has to be seen at least six times before anyone will remember it. That's a useful lesson for Coca-Cola and Nike who have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on marketing and can afford to saturate all forms of media with their message. But its not all that useful for , say, a group of people trying to spark a literacy epidemic with a small budget and one hour of programming on public television. Are there smaller, subtler, easier ways to make something stick?
Rob Walker writes the following in a piece titled The Hidden (In Plain Sight) Persuaders. This piece was published in the December 5th, 2004 edition of The New York Times Magazine.
... The thinking is that in a media universe that keeps fracturing into ever-finer segments, consumers are harder and harder to reach; some can use TiVo to block out ads or the TV's remote control to click away from them, and the rest are simply too saturated with brand messages to absorb another pitch. So corporations frustrated at the apparent limits of 'traditional'' marketing are increasingly open to word-of-mouth marketing. One result is a growing number of marketers organizing veritable armies of hired ''trendsetters'' or ''influencers'' or ''street teams'' to execute ''seeding programs,'' ''viral marketing,'' ''guerrilla marketing.'' What were once fringe tactics are now increasingly mainstream; there is even a Word of Mouth Marketing Association...

... Given that we are a nation of busy, overworked people who in poll after poll claim to be sick of advertisers jumping out at us from all directions, the number of people willing to help market products they had previously never heard of, for no money at all, is puzzling to say the least. BzzAgent, which has a particularly intense relationship with its fast-growing legions of volunteers, offers a rare and revealing case study of what happens when word-of-mouth theory meets consumer psychology in the real world. In finding thousands of takers, perfectly willing to use their own creativity and contacts to spread the good news about, for instance, Al Fresco sausage, it has turned commercial influence into an open-source project. It could be thought of as not just a marketing experiment but also a social experiment. The existence of tens of thousands of volunteer marketing ''agents'' raises a surprising possibility -- that we have already met the new hidden persuaders, and they are us...
:: you can read the full article here.

:: defining internet politics by its opposite

The following is taken from pg.226 of Joe Trippi's excellent book The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Democracy, The Internet and The Overthrow of Everything.
I am convinced that Internet politics and government will be defined by its opposite, broadcast politics, and by its potential to fix many of the problems politics creates:
  • Civic d i s e n g a g e m e n t. The net builds communities and brings people together, providing the first reversal of trends reported in Robert Putnam's alarming book Bowling Alone - the isolation of Americans, the death of participatory politics, and the unraveling of the fabric of critical social and civic structures.
  • The dumbing down of the American electorate. We're all tired of those studies that show half of schoolchildren can't name the president or the capital of their state. For the past fifty years, people have assumed they have to compete with the SHALLOW FLASH OF TV to get anyone's attention, but the internet is growing exponentially with a very old-fashioned recipe: reading and writing.
  • The insidious corruption of our politics and our government due to the disproportionate influence of wealthy donors, special interests, and corporations. The internet shines a light on these dark recesses and quickly organizes millions of Americans cheaply, without relying on billionaires who want something for their money. Unlike TV ads which can cost millions, on the Internet, ALL YOU NEED IS A WEB SITE AND WORKING FINGERS.
  • Various other diseases of broadcast politics, including ATTACK ADS, governing by SOUND BITES, and celebrity politics. When the Internet has become the dominant information media in this country - in the next few years - TV will go back to doing what it does best, entertaining us. TV is great for Law and Order. It is not so good for making laws and keeping order.


:: environmental overload :: :: ::

e n v i r o n m e n t a l o v e r l o a d : the overload hypothesis assumes that humans have a FINITE CAPACITY for processing stimuli and information and predicts that we cope with sensory or information overload through (among other responses) selective attention and ignoring LOW-PRIORITY INPUTS.

Sundstrom, E., Bell, P.A., Busby, P.L., Asmus, C. (1996). Environmental psychology 1989-1994. Annual Review of Psychology 47: 485-512.

:: attentional overload :: :: ::

...attentional overload is a psychological state in which individuals are overwhelmed by higher quantities and faster rates of information than they can manage (Cohen, 1978; Class & Singer, 1972; Milgram, 1970)...

...will computer-based networks exacerbate the tensions between advantaged and disadvantaged groups by further separating "information-rich" and "information-poor" segments of society? ...

Stokols, D. (1995). The paradox of environmental psychology. American Psychologist, 50(10), 821-837.


:: the potential of technology in the political environment.

The following is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Howard Dean, at George Washington University, on December 8th 2004. To date, I believe this is the best articulation of what the Democratic Party needs to do in order to be competitive on both the national and local scale.
The destination of the Democratic Party requires that it be financially viable, able to raise money not only from big donors but small contributors, not only through dinners and telephone solicitations and direct mail, but also through the Internet and person-to-person outreach.

The destination of the Democratic Party means making it a party that can communicate with its supporters and with all Americans. Politics is at its best when we create and inspire a sense of community. The tools that were pioneered in my campaign -- like blogs, and meetups, and streaming video -- are just a start. We must use all of the power and potential of technology as part of an aggressive outreach to meet and include voters, to work with the state parties, and to influence media coverage.

The most practical destination is winning elective office. And we must do that at every level of government. The way we will rebuild the Democratic Party is not from consultants down, but from the ground up.
:: I encourage all of you to read the full speech at: Democracy for America