Saturday, February 12, 2011


LW is hoping Tahrir Square remains a nucleus or hub, a public HQS, a kind of clearinghouse and space for oratory, free and open debate (a forum). I see advantages in a city having like a permanent sound stage that's open to the public, a soap box. Could be a web site or coffee shop (with public oratory a variation on karaoke and/or funds-committing game playing).

She also pointed out that situations are unfolding differently across the various kingdoms, so generalizations about "revolution" need not be overdrawn. Egypt's story is but one in the Arabian Nights. Speaking of which: I've had lots of time in The Bagdad recently, in the wake of Jim Person's memorial service.

The bar wouldn't be as high as a community television studio, although there'd be overlap. A video feed emanates from the public "square". Any number do, as locals and tourists amble through, comparing notes and recording sound bites. We interview one another, and publish on Youtube. No one has to feel under cover to use the new spy stuff; just buy it at Costco, or check it out from the tools library.

PB was questioning the legitimacy of this or that group, based on sketchy criteria such as "numbers massed". KU (me) asked PB what made "legitimacy" a core criterion for anything.

SH thinks a lot about democracy and what it means. How might those advocating democratic ends invoke non-democratic means to "protect" or "attain" their goals?

Has real democracy ever been practiced or is it direction along some line of purpose? Coming from a Global U perspective, I get impatient with "nation-state talk" as a coherent tool of analysis. These are the Global U's "colleges" at some level, but at other levels our experimental prototype community of tomorrow has to cooperate supranationally in order to stay viable (semi-sustainable).

Democracy involves groups feeling their way forward through a process of alliances and oppositions. Legitimacy is implicitly extended to all by default and only withdrawn or diluted in special circumstances ("innocent until proved guilty" would be an analogy).

KBOO's, other talk shows (other formats), help give people a voice. We had an hour on conspiracy theories recently, focusing on 911 in particular. When people hear voices they recognize as expressing their own views, and sense these voices have secure channels and outlets, their fear level goes down. "People like me aren't being rounded up, imprisoned, disappeared, that's reassuring". Quakers couldn't assume safe access to any soap box in 1600s England.

SH and I have been sketching The Party Line (TPL), literally a set of "train cruises" for STEAM punks (picture geeks with wifi devices). STEAM = science, technology, engineering, anthropology, mathematics. Some cars will be set aside for Show & Tell, lightning talks, rants. In other cars we'll screen documentaries, other didactic content.

A dome car, for viewing the scenery, will hearken back to a golden age of passenger trains in America. Like an ocean cruise, the trains stop in various geek valhallas and nirvanas, eco-villages, other facilities. These experiences involve "learning new ropes". You may wish to a apply for a longer term internship in some of these communities, having sampled them as more of a tourist on an earlier pass.