Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot


The Long View

Items about longterm responsibility and stewardship.

August 26, 2003

As you no doubt know by now, the BBC plans to put its entire radio and television archive online, free of charge. This amounts to an enormous gift to the world, and to history. It's truly a visionary decision for which the British government should be lauded. Danny O'Brien has some interesting observations about the decision.

That got me thinking about the CBC. What's the state of their archives? Could they undertake a similar project? Imagine if all national broadcasters made such a donation to the public domain. I emailed the CBC archives to see what their thoughts on such a project. Obviously it would be tremendously expensive and time-consuming, but I think it's absolutely a project worth doing. And not just because there are several episodes of Beachcombers that I missed.

9:58:06 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Canada The Arts The Commons The Long View

August 5, 2003

I'm helping out the Thomas Merton Society of Canada update their website (I'm implementing Movable Type for them, among other things). You can read a short biography of Mr. Merton here. In short, he was a particularly unusual monk and writer. He also has the enviable footnote of dying  'suddenly, electrocuted by a malfunctioning fan, while he was attending his first international monastic conference near Bangkok, Thailand, in 1968.'

I take it Merton spent much of his monastic life at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky. I recently checked out this abbey's Web site. Not only do they have a super-cool URL: monks.org, but they've got a really fine looking site. Check it out, and while you're there, buy some cheesecake or fudge.

10:38:32 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Internet The Long View

July 27, 2003

My wife is a petite size 6, but she still complains that she feels fat walking around downtown Vancouver. As my local readers know, Vancouver is full of wafer-thin (often surgically modified) women (many of whom are Asian, who typically start with a small frame to begin with). Vancouver's a tremendously superficial city (look no further than the ads in Vancouver magazine), and its body-obsessed denizens reflect this.

However, we went out to the suburbs yesterday, and suddenly my wife felt thin. The average weight seemed to shoot up once we got out of the city's core. That got me thinking about skinny, neurotic urbanites giving way to fast food-fed suburbanites giving way to leathery, corn-fed farmers. So, I made this graph (with apologies to all the thin suburbanites out there):

You should always be suspicious of a graph without numbers, but it expresses the concept. This data could also be expressed with some earthquake rings laid over a map of the city, but this view is more portable.

My wife figure she can find more of her size 6 people around Commercial Drive.

11:48:10 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    The Long View Vancouver

June 17, 2003

I've just held forth on VancouverWebloggers about my difficulty finding a suitable Vancouver environmental NGO to volunteer for. Any suggestions?

On a related topic, I just read an intriguing essay by Evan Hunt on how digital rights and environmentalism converge.

4:22:46 PM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    The Commons The Long View Vancouver

June 13, 2003

I love grand ideas. The All Species Foundation is a really admirable, grand idea:

The ALL Species Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the complete inventory of all species of life on Earth within the next 25 years - a human generation. To describe and classify all of the surviving species of the world deserves to be one of the great scientific goals of the new century. In applied science, this completion of the Linnaean enterprise is needed for effective conservation practices, and for impact studies of environmental change.

When technologists devise these sort of great ideas, I think that it's often because they're drawn to the technical challenges involved. How would we count all those species? How would we keep track of them? What happens if we find a new one? So, they're strong on system infrastructure, but maybe not so strong on people infrastructure. Like artists, every big-idea member of digerati needs a good manager.

4:32:14 PM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Technology The Long View