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April 07 2011

IFTF-ARPA-Report.jpg (JPEG-Grafik, 1800x1400 Pixel) - Skaliert (70%)

Earlier this week, I posted about the death of Paul Baran, co-inventor of packet switching -- the core technology of the Internet -- and a co-founder of Institute for the Future, the non-profit forecasting thinktank where I'm a research director. Yesterday, as we looked through our library of Baran's brilliant, and still-relevant, research papers, we came across a mind-blowing report from 1971, titled "Toward a Study of Future Urban High-Capacity Telecommunications Systems." At the time, Baran and his IFTF colleagues were considering how the military's ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet, might someday change our everyday lives if it became publicly accessible. This particular report contained a delightfully prophetic page of forecasts titled "Brief Descriptions of Potential Home Information Services." Click here to see a full scan of the page. Here are a few of my favorites (remember, this was 1971!):
 tmp  images iftfbarantelecom * DEDICATED NEWSPAPER. A set of pages with printed and graphic information, possibly including photographs, the organization of which has been predetermined by a user to suit his preferences.

* PLAYS AND MOVIES FROM A VIDEO LIBRARY. Selection of all plays and movies. Color and good sound are required.

* RESTAURANTS. Following a query for a type of restaurant (Japanese, for instance), reservations, menu, prices are shown. Displays of dishes, location of tables, may be included.

* LIBRARY ACCESS. After an interactive "browsing" with a "librarian computer" and a quotation for the cost of hard copy facsimile or a slow-scan video transmission, a book or a magazine is transmitted to the home.

"IFTF Celebrates Paul Baran: Forecasting the Internet" (IFTF, thanks Jean Hagan!)

"Paul Baran obituary" (The Guardian)

Reposted frompresseschauer presseschauer

March 30 2011



  • Von wegen Wutbürger
    Das politische Engagement erlebt einen bemerkenswerten Frühling. Erst reizte Stuttgart 21, dann mobilisierte die Affäre Guttenberg, jetzt bewegt die Katastrophe von Fukushima. Die Bürger gehen wieder auf die Straße, die Wähler gehen wieder wählen – und im Netz wird via Facebook jeden zweiten Tag eine Volksabstimmung organisiert – per Like-Button. Am vergangenen Samstag demonstrierten über 200.000 Menschen, die relativ hohe Wahlbeteiligung in Sachsen-Anhalt (51,2 Prozent vs. 44,4 Prozent 2006), Rheinland-Pfalz (61,8 vs. 58,2 Prozent) und Baden-Württemberg (66,2 vs. 53,4 Prozent) wärmte jedem Demokraten das Herz. Selbst der Bundestag erlebt eine Hochphase. Wer sich jüngst die spritzigen und erhellenden Debatten zur Guttenberg-Affäre, zur Abstimmung im Uno-Sicherheitsrat, aber auch zur Atomdebatte ansah, konnte sich jede Talkshow am Abend schenken.
    Das sind spannende Phänomene. Sie deuten darauf hin, dass sich etwas verschiebt in der politischen Landschaft. Die Bürger, die Betroffenen, mischen sich stärker ein, mischen stärker mit. Der Citoyen, der politisch engagierte, aufgeklärte Bürger marschiert wieder in den öffentlichen Raum und verdrängt jenen eher defensiven Bürger, der vor allem in Frieden gelassen werden will. Mit dem Zerrbild des “Wutbürgers”, des ausgetickten Besitzstandwahrers und Innovationsverhinderers, das etwa Dirk Kurbjuweit im vergangenen Oktober im “Spiegel” zeichnete, ist es da nicht getan. Wer etwa gegen die Atomkraft ist, muss sich schon etwas einfallen lassen, woher der Strom kommen soll – und hinsichtlich Erneuerbarer Energien haben viele Bürger recht konkrete Vorstellungen.
    Quelle: Stern

  • [...]


    auf vollständig vorhanden - Permalink
    Hinweise des Tages | NachDenkSeiten – Die kritische Website - 20110330 2011Mar
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    March 29 2011

    Play fullscreen
    YouTube - Immanuel Wallerstein on the end of Capitalism | San Francisco, April 2009

    The sociologist and philosopher Immanuel Wallerstein talks about the end of capitalism, which he says has been happening over the past forty-odd years.

    For more of his work, see:

    This was filmed in Dolores Park in San Francisco, April 2009.

    Produced by David Martinez

    via twitter

    March 08 2011

    The Birth of the People's Party | Robert Reich - blog 20110307

    Look at the outrage in Madison, Wisconsin. Look at the crowds in DesMoines, Iowa. Look at the demonstrations in Indiana and Ohio and elswhere around America.

    Hear what they’re saying: Stop attacking unions. Stop making scapegoats out of public employees. Stop protecting the super-rich from paying their fair share of the taxes needed to keep our schools running.

    Stop gutting the working middle class.

    Are we finally seeing average Americans stand up and demand a fair shake in an economy now grotesquely tilted toward the wealthy and the privileged? Are Americans beginning to awake to the fact that our economy now delivers a larger share of total income to the very top than at any time in living memory? That big corporations are making more money and creating more jobs abroad than in the United States?

    That this concentration of income and wealth has so corrupted politics that corporations can extort whatever they want from the government — tax breaks, loan guarantees, subsidies — while the super-rich can take most of their income as capital gains (taxed at 15 percent), and the rest at the lowest top rate in 25 years? And that because of this our kids are crowded into classrooms, our streets and highways and bridges are falling apart, and our healthcare bills are out of control?

    The Tea Party grew out of indignation over the Wall Street bailout — an indignation shared by the vast majority of Americans. But the Tea Party ended up directing its ire at government rather than at big business and Wall Street. Was this because billionaires Charles and David Koch and their like funneled money to the Tea Party through front organizations like Dick Armey’s Freedom Works, and thereby co-opted it?

    Now we may be seeing the birth of a genuine populist movement. Call it the People’s Party. Like the Tea Party, the People’s Party doesn’t have a clear organization or hierarchy or single address. It doesn’t have lobbyists in Washington. It’s not even yet recognized by the mainstream media.

    But the People’s Party seems to be growing in numbers and in intensity. And it’s starting to push elected officials — first at the state level — to listen and respond.

    Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

    March 07 2011

    Paul Krugman: Degrees and Dollars

    I've noted in the past that education is essential, but it won't work for everyone. What's the answer for everyone else?:

    Degrees and Dollars, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: It is a truth universally acknowledged that education is the key to economic success. Everyone knows that the jobs of the future will require ever higher levels of skill. ...
    But what everyone knows is wrong..., the idea that modern technology eliminates only menial jobs, that well-educated workers are clear winners, may dominate popular discussion, but it’s actually decades out of date.
    The fact is that since 1990 or so the U.S. job market has been characterized not by a general rise in the demand for skill, but by “hollowing out”: both high-wage and low-wage employment have grown rapidly, but medium-wage jobs — the kinds of jobs we count on to support a strong middle class — have lagged behind. And the hole in the middle has been getting wider...
    Why is this happening? The belief that education is becoming ever more important rests on the plausible-sounding notion that advances in technology increase job opportunities for those who work with information — loosely speaking, that computers help those who work with their minds, while hurting those who work with their hands.
    Some years ago, however, the economists David Autor, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane argued that this was the wrong way to think about it. Computers, they pointed out, excel at routine tasks, “cognitive and manual tasks that can be accomplished by following explicit rules.” Therefore, any routine task — a category that includes many white-collar, nonmanual jobs — is in the firing line. ... Most of the manual labor still being done in our economy seems to be of the kind that’s hard to automate. ...
    And then there’s globalization. Once, only manufacturing workers needed to worry about competition from overseas, but the combination of computers and telecommunications has made it possible to provide many services at long range. ... Alan Blinder and Alan Krueger suggest ... that high-wage jobs performed by highly educated workers are, if anything, more “offshorable” than jobs done by low-paid, less-educated workers. If they’re right, growing international trade in services will further hollow out the U.S. job market.
    So what does all this say about policy?
    Yes, we need to fix American education. In particular, the inequalities Americans face at the starting line — bright children from poor families are less likely to finish college than much less able children of the affluent — aren’t just an outrage; they represent a huge waste of the nation’s human potential.
    But ... the notion that putting more kids through college can restore the middle-class society we used to have is wishful thinking. It’s no longer true that having a college degree guarantees that you’ll get a good job, and it’s becoming less true with each passing decade.
    So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn’t the answer — we’ll have to go about building that society directly. We need to restore the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages. We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.
    What we can’t do is get where we need to go just by giving workers college degrees, which may be no more than tickets to jobs that don’t exist or don’t pay middle-class wages.
    Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

    September 18 2010


    Jugend im Jahr 2010

    Generation Biedermeier


    Ausgrenzend und anpassungswillig: Eine neue Studie zeichnet ein beunruhigendes Bild der Jugend. Die Resultate erinnern an die Sarrazin-Debatte. Damit ist die Zwei-Klassen-Gesellschaft angekommen im Denken der Heranwachsenden.

    Panische Absturzangst, massiver Anpassungswille sowie Verachtung für alle, die abgerutscht sind: Das Bild, das das Marktforschungsinstitut Rheingold von der Jugend im Jahr 2010 zeichnet, ist nicht gerade beruhigend. Alle acht Jahre befragen die Kölner Forscher in psychologischen Interviews junge Menschen zwischen 18 und 24 Jahren zu ihren Lebenseinstellungen, und in diesem Jahr haben sie signifikante Zuspitzungen ermittelt.

    Irgendwie erinnern einen die Resultate an die Sarrazin-Kontroverse, auch Rheingold-Chef Stephan Grünewald geht es so. Sarrazin „greift offenbar ein vorhandenes Lebensgefühl auf“, sagte Grünewald der FR. Sarrazin macht Migranten, vor allem die muslimischen, selbst für ihre Integrationsprobleme verantwortlich und wirft ihnen vor, der Gesellschaft mehr Kosten als Nutzen zu bringen. So populistisch und sozialdarwinistisch diese Schuldzuweisung sein mag – dafür, dass sie so viel Zustimmung erhält, bietet die Studie Erklärungshilfen.

    Denn sie zeigt eine Jugend, die alles als brüchig empfindet. Durch instabile Familiensysteme, vor allem auch die Wirtschafts- und Finanzkrise habe sich bei den jungen Erwachsenen die Überzeugung eingegraben: „Ich kann mich auf nichts mehr verlassen.“ Folge: eine „angstvolle und ungeheuer anpassungswillige“ Jugend, eine „Generation Biedermeier“. Mit Selbstdisziplin und einer „fast manischen Suche nach festen Ordnungen und Regeln“ versuchten die jungen Menschen, der von Krisen erschütterten Lebenswirklichkeit beizukommen. Pünktlichkeit, Höflichkeit, Treue in der Partnerschaft haben ebenso Konjunktur wie eine hohe Leistungsbereitschaft: Viel Zeit wird in die Ausbildung investiert, emsig Praktika gesammelt.

    Grünewald nennt das „Kompetenz-Hamstern“. Aber er mahnt zugleich, die Qualifikationen würden „häufig wahllos und schematisch angehäuft, nicht aus Liebe zur Sache oder Interesse“. Bedenklich wird der Selbstschutz aber vor allem, wo er zur Ausgrenzung anderer führt. „Erschreckend“ nennt Grünewald denn auch den Befund, in welchem Ausmaß Jugendliche ihre Absturzängste kompensieren, indem sie gesellschaftliche Verlierer schmähen. „Loser“, „Opfer“ und „Hartz IV“ seien längst zu gern gebrauchten Schimpfwörtern avanciert, konstatiert die Studie.

    Selbst Menschen, die sich als eher links und solidarisch einstufen, schauten mit Verachtung auf schwächere Gruppen. Damit ist die Zwei-Klassen-Gesellschaft angekommen im Denken der Heranwachsenden: „Die Welt“, so die Studie, „ist klar geteilt in Winner und Loser, in Superstar und Hartz IV, in gut und böse.“

    Jugend im Jahr 2010: Generation Biedermeier | Politik - Frankfurter Rundschau 20100912
    Reposted bysera sera

    April 11 2010

    Stephen Hawking: Humans are "Entering a Stage of Self-Designed Evolution" - - 20100329

    [...] In the last ten thousand years the human species has been in [...] "an external transmission phase," where the internal record of information, handed down to succeeding generations in DNA, has not changed significantly. "But the external record, in books, and other long lasting forms of storage [...] has grown enormously. [...] [they] would use the term, evolution, only for the internally transmitted genetic material, and would object to it being applied to information handed down externally. [...] our human brains "with which we process this information have evolved only on the Darwinian time scale, of hundreds of thousands of years. [...] But we are now entering a new phase [...] "self designed evolution," in which we will be able to change and improve our DNA. "At first [...] these changes will be confined to the repair of genetic defects [...] I am sure that during the next century, people will discover how to modify both intelligence, and instincts like aggression."
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