1.  How do you believe the Digital Age and Social media has helped the preservation of the Commons?  How might it be hurting it?

2.  What interest groups have you joined or learned about in your time online that are doign the most to combat the problems our planet is facing?  Could these groups exist offline and without the help on the Internet?

3.  How could social networking sites organize members to not only become more aware of these problems facing Earth, but do actual physical work towards the common goal of protecting the Commons?  Which existing social networking site is best suited for this task?

Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.

Published in 1968 and written by Garret Hardin, Tragedy of the Commons provides a startling look as to how we are killing our own planet with our irresponsible attitude in areas such as population and pollution. The “Commons” that is the focus of the article is any resource or area of the planet available to any member of the population. As our population grows in number, the abuse of the Commons becomes more and more noticeable on the environment. A few centuries ago, if a wasteful act was committed by someone, its impact would be minimal, if at all. Now as animal populations are nearing extinction and pollution ravages our natural habitats, those abuses are magnified. Hardin says that there are no technical solutions to this problem, this problem can only be addressed by the human race as a whole making a decision to determine what is a want, and what is a need, and we will have to come to realize that our planet is a finite resource. As in a growing population WILL eventually exhaust Earths ability to sustain this population. (more…)

Human language has undergone 3 major developments in our existence
-spoken language
-written language
-digital language

Digital Language = Far Reaching
– It is the 3rd great metamorphosis that allows us to communicate with others on a far reaching scale.
– Because of digital language, we are now “one homogeneous mass”, to quote Samuel Bowles.

Digital Language Timeline
-Not all technology is readily adapted…

-Amateur radio does still exist among hobbyist and enthusiast, and this proves very useful when national disasters or wars interrupt traditional means of communication.
-What amateurs today report things that “the media” sometimes misses?

Benkler On Todays Digital Age

“The Internet allows individuals to abandon the idea of the public sphere as primarily constructed of finished statements uttered by a small set of actors socially understood to be “the media” (whether state owned or commercial) and separated from society, and to move toward a set of social practices that see individuals as participating in a debate.”

New Media
As our world becomes computerized, media begins to change.
Lev Manovich’s 5 principles of New Media
1. Numerical Representation
-Media becomes programmable.
2. Modularity
-Fractal Structure
3. Automation
-Media creation, manipulation, access.
4. Variability
-Infinite versions.
5. Transcoding
-Computerization of media

And when you set it all in motion…….http://ultimateanna.com

Interactive Media
-“Closed” and “Open” Interactivity
-Following the mental structure of the creator, a predetermined path.
-Clicking a link, that goes to an image, that goes to the next image etc etc.
-True interactivity allows its users to choose their path.
Lake of Death


Manovich, Lev, The Language of New Media (MIT Press, 2001)

Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (Yale University Press, 2006);

Roger Fidler, Understanding New Media (Pine Forge Press, 1997)

Fidlers’ “Mediamorphasis” takes readers on a journey through the third great metamorphosis in communication – digital language.  The first two monumental steps in man kinds ability to communicate with one another was of course, spoken and then written language.  It is this third step that truly brings us together as a species.  We are no longer existing in our own pockets of civilization around the planet, with news of other far away lands simply trickling in and letting us dream in our minds about what these places could be like.  Because of digital language, we are now  “one homogeneous mass”, to quote Samuel Bowles.

The need for digital language arose from a need for communication across distance.  The construction of railroads (these play an important role throughout this story) led to an increase in social and economic development.  With this increase, it became clear that instantaneous communication would be needed to properly synchronize the moving of goods across these distances.  Enter the telegraph.  Previously, the quickest way for news to break was using various transportation such as the pony express to rush news to the newspaper presses.  With the invention of the telegraph, these were rendered obsolete. (more…)

1.    In Bush’s article, he made several predictions about where technology would make advancements in the future.  His thoughts on compression of resources such as encyclopedias materialized in the form of the world wide web.  Where do you see compression affecting other print volumes in the future, and do you believe we are too attached to the idea of holding physical novels to ever replace those with digital copies on a large scale?

2.  Bush discusses records throughout his article, and talks about the possibilities of ways to record vast amounts of information (his “memex” idea in part6).  As more and more records are converted to digital form, the emphasis always seems to be on how vast amounts of information are at our fingertips, and how much space it is saving us….why does there seem to be less of an emphasis on how this is better for the environment to not have as many things printed?

3.  Christensen talks about how Moores Law has affected business models, as customers demand more performance out of products.  How has overshooting allowed companies to change competition?

In “The Victorian Internet”, Tom Standage relates to the reader the trials and tribulations that the pioneer inventors of the 19th century went through in developing the telegraph. Not only did the inventors have to invent a successful, working telegraph but they also had to gain the approval of the public and those in charge of funding and using the invention for the betterment of society. Standage does a wonderful job of working in stories of offshoot uses of the telegraph that its inventors had not planned for, from online romances to criminal mischief. All in all, Standage makes his readers realize something not many had considered: that there was an internet in the 19th century and the telegraph is responsible for this. (more…)

The article written by Bower and Christensen was a good read given the knowledge I have gained in both Digital Economics and Digital Democracy.  I found it ironic that on the first page it listed Deere as taking over its market, yet today on the news I saw they had to lay off a few hundred employees.  So even the companies that the article praised, still ended up having some serious flaws in their business plan.  The inability of these companies to properly prepare for disruptive technologies time and time again is astounding.  They just wont ever learn that Corporate Joe up in the penthouse suite isn’t going to predict the future magically.  The article also used Seagate as an example of not preparing for disruptive technology, I was not even aware that Seagate had been around this long.  I guess after reading the article it is easy to see why they aren’t at the top of the hard drive industry.  Misreading the habits of the lead customers and terrible response actions to their competition doomed Seagate.  Now I am buying their external hard drives as an afterthought instead of them leading the market. (more…)