Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

Peace is within reach. We just haven't conceptualized it, methinks. Carpe diem, and see you next year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms

Much work remains to be done if we are going to critically assess the state of education today. This was also cross-posted on Vijana FM.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pictorial know-how

I was archiving some photos I had picked up around the Internet over the years, and began wondering - why was it that I wasn't saving the source of the images?

Then I thought about texts, and how many pieces of text we come across everyday, and how many of these pieces we actually care to activity seek for its author and not the words on the page. Perhaps reading does give off vibes in ways we don't recognize.

Then I came back to the images and realized that if there lies a story in the picture, that story creates a certain intangible vibe that may not have anything to do with who or what created/captured it, or why.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Do we recognize truth?

"Show a man too many camel's bones, or show them to him too often, and he will not be able to recognise a camel when he comes across a real one." - Idries Shah

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Big Picture


(Courtesy Boston.com) A man dressed as Santa Claus holds a flare as he wakeboards on a small lake in Hamburg, Germany on December 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Christian Charisius)

I've known about the Boston.com "Big Picture" section for a while, but I thought this image was a nice juxtaposition of celebration, nature, and light all at the same time. Hannukah matata ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bothersome questions

Why don't we see good news in the headlines anymore? Is photojournalism dying? Why is there a problem of transparency with the biggest of the big governments in the world today? Who ever decided to settle in the global north way back when? Why do we learn if we don't foresee an implementation of learned material? Who judges crimes made in the middle of the ocean, and can they really project their power further than their territory?

There will be more as this year comes to a close...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Sorry, due to weather conditions..."

"... we are experiencing delays. Thank you for your consideration".

I have heard this automated message across at least 3 businesses based in London when trying to contact them by phone.

Does this mean that the weather is making us inefficient? If yes, at what point between perfect efficiency and perfect inefficiency do we decide that perhaps humans can (are supposed to?) live elsewhere?

Carpe diem,
ak

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thoughts on WikiLeaks

Recent WikiLeaks reports containing American diplomatic cable messages have added to the continuing discourse of transparency in global governance.

WikiLeaks is branded as a not-for-profit media organization that disseminates information to the public from a host of anonymous sources. It was originally founded in December 2006 by ambiguous "dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa". Since then, WikiLeaks has released a series of critical reports containing evidence and claiming to provide the real diplomatic picture of the world. Recent releases concern corruption of former Kenyan leaders, toxic dumping in Africa, an Afghan war diary, Iraq war logs, and more recently, cables of American government officials primarily on the Middle East.

Consequently, WikiLeaks has met with a fury of political pressure, especially from the Obama administration. Recent threats to WikiLeaks include their websites being consistently shut down, losing their donation service from PayPal, and the issuance of arrest warrants for founders of the organization. The man said to be at the center of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has also discussed how he does not feel welcome in his native Australia.

From my perspective, it looks like we're taxing the wrong business. WikiLeaks has proved itself to be a facilitating organization in the process of making information available to public. This is its function, which is no different from the function of other media-syndication platforms, be it Radio for Peace-Building Africa, or Al-Jazeera.

The root of the problem seems to be not with WikiLeaks, but WikiLeaks sources. When information is leaked, it probably means that the "truth" has value. So who submits information to the organization? More importantly, why is sensitive information being leaked? A recent BBC report mentioned that "most of the diplomatic messages released by Wikileaks have been traced to a US defence department network, known as Siprnet, used for the exchange of classified information".

One scenario I have imagined is that those who submit sensitive informaiton to WikiLeaks may not be able to access the "legal" channels in their own spaces to make this information public. And so they resort to anonymous channels catered by organizations like WikiLeaks. If this is the case in reality, then it seems there is a problem with how transparent governments truly are towards their constituents.

The other scenario I am seeing developing through recent news is that the WikiLeaks' sources are direct sources that have been hacked into by WikiLeaks. This concerns the data protection of intellectual property, and is subject to the law in respective territories. This scenario is exemplified through recent efforts of international leaders to frame WikiLeaks as a terrorist organization.

Whatever truth lies in the WikiLeaks releases, we know for sure there are those who support it being public, and there are those who strictly do not. The discourse between all positions between this opposition stands to provide important lessons in the "good governance" conversation.

Do all processes within governments need to be transparent? If they do, why are they not already transparent? If they do not need to be transparent, how will we define the role of media organizations, which seek to do exactly this: Increase transparency?