Acadie: 1755–2005

Le «Grand Dérangement» ou la «Déportation» de 1755 a été un événement extrêmement marquant de l’histoire de l’Acadie et des Cajuns.

Do Dinosaurs Know What’s Hitting them?

Rupert Murdoch speech to newspaper editors
Some actual insight from Murdoch on the many problems plaguing newspapers and “old media” generally. So, he acknowledges there’s a problem and he actually sees where some things are going. The first step to recovery is to acknowledge you have a problem.

Yet, Murdoch launches into this:

And we in this room – newspaper editors and journalists – are uniquely positioned to deliver that news. We have the experience, the brands, the resources, and the know-how to get it done. We have unique content to differentiate ourselves in a world where news is becoming increasingly commoditized. And most importantly, we have a great new partner to help us reach this new consumer – the internet.

And later says that:

Our job now is to bring this content profitably into the broadband world – to marry our video to our publishing assets, and to garner our fair share – hopefully more than our fair share — of the advertising dollars that will come from successfully converging these media.

Myopia caused by greed? Pretty common these days as people seek short-term gains (“Make Money Quick!”) rather than riding the wave in major social changes (at a time when technological and scientific breakthroughs are rare).

Similarly, the “recording industry” is ready to acknowledge that the world is changing but is reluctant to do anything about it. Contrary to Murdoch, who apparently understands that embracing change is the most appropriate solution, they seem to see change as a problem they are committed to fight. The “recording industry” just wants things to stay the same. And they keep on dismissing music lovers as “petty thieves” because they can’t gouge consumers in the same way anymore. Even when told that music lovers want to pay for the privilege of easy access to music, record industry executives raise “the stick.”

So, the “big corporations” that are being hit by social changes might say things that range from somewhat insightful to utterly clueless. Not surprising but still. Why don’t they understand? Maybe it’s because they’re unwilling to take risks. Successes in many domains such as art, science, and technology often come out of experimentation. Trial and error. These corporations “can’t afford” to err, according to their investors? So they will fail, eventually. Not because the world is changing so much. The changes have been minute so far. But because they fail to see the big picture and “go with the flow” without knowing where the flow is leading.
«Qui n’essaie rien n’a rien», as we say. “They” will be left with nothing.

The beautiful ones are not yet born. And this revolution will not be televised.

Journalism of Science

CJR November/December 2004: Blinded by Science
Well, this piece pinpoints a few of the issues in the gap between “journalism” and “science” including incompatibilities of requirements from one end or the other. What’s perhaps more interesting, though, is that it remains very close to a rather shallow perspective on the very notion of science which, caricatured, runs something like “Science is the accumulation of knowledge from credentialed Scientists who have published in well-known peer-reviewed journals” as opposed to “science is a method used to understand different phenomena.” Carl Sagan and others have very interesting pieces on science and the fringes. More thoughtful and very “current.” But they probably wouldn’t sell subscriptions to journals or papers…

Doe We Need More Intelligent People?

The Scotsman – Top Stories – The three questions that will show how clever (or not) you really are
Interesting how obsessed how people can be at quick ways to judge people’s “intelligence.” One would think that there’s a lot more in finding the right person for a job than whether or not one can solve simple logical problems. Ah, well…
On the other hand, those questions bankers seem to ask of job applicants (with the infamous “how many pingpong balls would fit in an Airbus 330”) are more interesting because they have more to do about process and access to information (you’re allowed to ask questions) than about accuracy of the answer.
FWIW, did think about the correct answer but that’s probably just because it was mentioned in a mailing-list with a mention of the incorrect answer. In fact, like all bar tricks, they work only when you catch people unprepared.

Podcasting Through iTunes

Tried several podcasts in the last several days, using iTunes as an “aggregator.” Had only listened to a couple podcasts before iTunes 4.9 (first version to support podcast).
Interesting concept, some amazing possibilities. For someone who doesn’t like radios for many reasons (time-specificity, homogeneity, advertising…), am finding some of these things surprisingly enjoyable. Yes, some parallels with blogs, with community and pirate radios, with push technologies, with commercial broadcasting, etc.
One well-known issue, at this point, is lack of bandwidth. Adequate peer-to-peer technology exists to alleviate this problem (e.g. BitTorrent) but iTunes doesn’t support such technology and many sites have been having problems because of extreme numbers of access.
More surprisingly, some of the so-called “professional” podcasts have been unavailable or incredibly slow.
The RSS format used by iTunes has also been taken to task.
Yet overall, there seems to be something happening in podcasting now.