11.0180 AMICO update, Online items

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Sat, 19 Jul 1997 09:23:32 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 180.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: "J. Trant" <jtrant@archimuse.com> (28)
Subject: AMICO Update

[2] From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> (69)
Subject: Online items

Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 17:50:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: "J. Trant" <jtrant@archimuse.com>
Subject: AMICO Update


Please excuse any duplication ...

The members of the Association of Art Museum Directors are investigating
the formation of a consortium to make their digital documentation
collectively available to the educational community. Representatives of
major North American Museums are meeting to define the terms of their
collaboration and to outline the nature of a common digital library of
text, image and multimedia data.

Details about this emerging organisation and the formation of the
consortium can be found at www.amn.org/AMICO. The report of the group's
most recent meeting is also available at this site.

Questions regarding AMICO can be directed to:

Maxwell Anderson
Liason for Information Technology
Association of Art Museum Directors


Jennifer Trant or David Bearman
Archives & Museum Informatics
jtrant@archimuse.com or dbear@archimuse.com

J. Trant jtrant@archimuse.com
Partner and Principal Consultant www.archimuse.com
Archives & Museums Informatics
5501 Walnut St., Suite 203 ph. + 1-412-683-9775
Pittsburgh, PA USA 15232 fax + 1-412-683-7366

Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 09:16:32 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: Online items

>From this week's Guardian, Online section (see <http://www.guardian.co.uk/>).

(1) Louise McElvogue, "Should spam be canned?" on the first ever "spam
summit" in Washington, DC, convened by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission,
bringing together a truly motley crew of those concerned with spamming,
including Sanford (a.k.a. Spamford) Wallace, head of Cyber Promotions.

(2) Toby Howard, "Mad, bad and dangerous to know", on the proliferation of
crazy ideas on the Internet from those cranks who have discovered that the
new medium is a cheap way to circulate them. "There are thousands of pages
devoted to crazy ideas. These range from traditional crank fixations on free
energy and perpetual motion to the US couple who claim to psychically 'zap'
the CBS evening news every Thursday and the Unarius Academy of Science,
which channels the 'the brothers of light from the higher frequency planes'.

And then there's the dark side, by which I mean worse than cinematic special
effects can manage. The argument for self-regulation is based on such
balancing acts as the "hate sites" (like that of the British National Party)
and those who monitor them (see, for example, <http://www.rickross.com>, the
virtual front-end for a consultancy business). Can dangerous information be
countered, however? Take, for example, activities where mischief slides into
serious anarchy. While I was listening to a Radio 4 programme on American
militia types the other night, for example, I heard an articulate militia
chap objecting to the interviewer's claim that he and his buddies were
distributing seriously dangerous information, e.g. on how to make
explosives. His point was that this information was already widely in
circulation on the Internet, some of it published by official bodies. Being
logged on at the time I took his strong hint (clever, that) to search for
the keywords "amonium nitrate" (on AltaVista, type "amonium;nitrate" without
the quotation marks) and found just what he said would be there, and quite a
bit more, e.g. the Jolly Roger Cookbook.

This sort of thing tests one's conviction that what Milton called
"unlicensed printing" is a workable idea, i.e. it puts us back into the
situation in which we are forced seriously to examine what publications
media can do. How is this situation different from, say, 17th-century
pamphleteering? How is the online publication medium fundamentally
different, if it is, from what came before?

(3) Jack Schofield, "Wild West Web", about Ira Magaziner, a corporate
strategist who advises U.S. President Clinton on policy -- and the principal
author of the Framework for Global Electronic Commerce (for which see
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/New/Commerce/>). His approach, become official
U.S. government policy, is essentially that of "laissez-faire capitalism
largely uncontrolled by government regulation: a continuation of the
Internet as, in Clinton's words, 'the Wild West of the global economy'."
European governments have just endorsed a similar plan under the name of the
Global Information Networks (<http://www2.echo.lu/bonn/themepaper.html>).
There's a strong protectionist movement in Europe, however, where critical
mass requires a rising above regional differences, i.e. the story of the EU
played out in policy toward the virtual realm. Our toy has hit the big-time,
though we have not.

(4) Karlin Lillington, "So farewell then Gil..." and Jack Schofield, "Caught
in a vicious circle", on the increasingly serious problems of the Apple Corp.

(5) Douglas Rushkoff, "Make yourself @home", on yet another project to
employ cable for super-fast Internet connection, by the @Home Corporation.
"What's most troubling about the @Home vision of America's future on the
Internet is its willingness to sacrifice the egalitarian nature of the Net's
underlying architecture for the bravado of high-speed access to packaged
media." High-speed interactivity puts quite a demand on the network,
requiring upgrades from the various cable companies involved. "The other
troubling feature of the @Home architecture is that wherever in the network
a cable company cannot or will not upgrade its lines to full interactivity,
coaxial cable will be used for incoming data and slower phone lines will be
used for outgoing signal." This means that it becomes easier to listen than
to speak, which as Rushkoff points out, encourages passivity. Probably
nothing to worry about, as he says, since so little has come of other
cable-company schemes. But @Home does help to clarify what we want --
something more like ham radio than FM?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dr. Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer, King's College London
voice: +44 (0)171 873 2784 fax: +44 (0)171 873 5801
e-mail: Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk

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