Thursday, July 01, 2004

Busy, Busy

I have a button with the text "Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again" that I need to wear more often. I'm trying to cut back, in part by recruiting people to do more of this so I can think of more things for more people to do.

Anyway, I apologize for neglecting this blog. There has been a lot going on, which actually means I should have given blogging a higher priority, not slacked off.

So here is a quick roundup of events and of organizations that I encountered at them. I will have more to say about most of these when I can address them individually.

I wrote about the Silicon Valley Roundtable for WSIS earlier this year.

Doug Engelbart's Bootstrap Alliance is working on using computers to make society more intelligent.

Silicon Rally for WSIS met at the Tech Museum in San Jose.

Gapminder, which mines the UN statistical database, showed jaw-dropping animations of the progress or regress of individual countries over 40 years on several measures of development, such as GDP and health. Several of the animations can be viewed and downloaded from their site.

WSIS Online is a social networking site devoted to people, organizations, projects, and events relating to the World Summits on the Information Society.

I went to Baycon, the Bay Area Science Fiction Convention, and talked about spam-fighting and Simputers.

The Planetwork Interactive conference brought together several important initiatives.

Planetwork works closely with the Identity Commons, which is creating a system by which individuals can create persistent online identities, and control their personal information.

ManyOne is a new portal that plans to index pretty much everything. Unlike Yahoo, which uses paid indexers, or Google, which allows almost anybody to sign up as an indexer, ManyOne is recruiting non-profit organizations with expertise in each subject area to pick out the best sites.

Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's talked about the True Majority organization that he founded.

Sustainable World Symposium had fewer solutions but many more questions about how to create a sustainable society. One of the highlights was the Jewish Earth Mother, played by Sherry Glaser.

The Conference on Reform and Revitalization of United Nations last week wrestled with such questions as redefining human rights to include, among other things, health, education, and access to the Internet, creating a representative world parliament, and fully funding programs, such as ICT for the poor, to achieve the UN's Millenium Development Goals. Former UN Undersecretary-General Robert Múller was a hit for his new book 5000 Ideas for a Better World, a new biography called Prophet - the Hatmaker's Son: The Life of Robert Muller, and playing Beethoven's Ode to Joy on the harmonica. Those who knew the words, like me, joined in.

Deine Zauber binden wieder,

Was die Mode streng geteilt;

Alle Menschen werden Brüder,

Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
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