Technology Review has a thoughtful short interview with Jonthan Zittrain this month, Preëmpting an Internet clampdown. To boil it down to a few quotes:
The capacity for uncoordinated third-party contribution makes the PC and Internet highly generative ... Generativity can mean excess and outright disruption. ... I think a watershed in the security space -- for example, a mass-distributed virus whose payload wipes out hard drives -- could change consumer sentiment so that a controlled information environment is appealing to many more people.
Spyware, adware, and other horrible scumware crap is a major plague on computers. But it hadn't occurred to me this might cause a consumer demand for more walled gardens and restricted networks. I'm increasingly thinking we need to move the Internet towards an architecture that is more secure and less anonymous, I just hope we can do it in a way that doesn't concentrate power in the hands of a few large companies.
  2006-03-31 21:40 Z
There's something I just don't get about the ongoing shame of US troops torturing prisoners in Iraq. Why aren't military leaders going to jail? We've had a few token trials of individual soldiers, but so far no one in command seems to be held accountable.

Are we really expected to believe the official story that Abu Ghraib was just a few bad apples on the night shift? What about other torture prisons like Camp Nama? What about the persistent reports of CIA involvement? What about direct approval of torture by the Secretary of Defense?

The NYT has a bit of the story today.

Some military experts said one reason there had not been attempts to pursue charges up the military chain of command was that the military does not have anything tantamount to a district attorney's office ...

Several generals and colonels have received career-ending reprimands and have been stripped of their commands, but there is no indication that other senior-level officers and civilian officials will ever be held accountable for the detainee abuses that took place in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I fear the US has become a place where we think it's OK to torture people. Bush-induced hysteria about terrorism combined with one too many seasons of 24 makes us think that near-drownings, beatings, and terrorizing people with animals is just fine. Only 1/3 of Americans say torture is never right, so why bother prosecuting?
  2006-03-23 14:51 Z
Back in 2000 I had the honour and pleasure to found a company with my friend Marc Hedlund. It was a tough project and we ended up failing but I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

Marc's distilled a lot of what we learned in a fantastic essay titled Entrepreneurial Proverbs. It speaks very directly and honestly from actual experience; no whitewashing, no glossy business case history. Starting a company is dirty, demanding, and hugely rewarding. I'm excited to see how Marc does with his new venture.

  2006-03-22 19:29 Z
They call Australia "the lucky country". Never have I travelled somewhere where the people are so generous, easygoing, and happy. "No worries, mate" is the cliché expression all over Australia but it carries real meaning.

Some quick first impressions. Australia is more like the US than any place I've travelled, including Canada. Only more American than the US; less crowded, bigger city sprawls, more informality. It's a very prosperous place, beautiful and comfortable. And it's not all flat and hot; I never saw desert, just lots of rainforests.

Melbourne was my favourite city, comfortable and cosmopolitan with a European street cafe culture. Sydney is beautiful but so much like San Francisco we felt like we hadn't left home! Tasmania is amazingly wild and wonderful and the countryside in Victoria is charming with lots of great 19th century history apparent.

There's nothing like international travel to make you ashamed of US politics. The folks I met were all very friendly and polite about it, but Bush is deeply disliked there. The Sydney paper doesn't pull any punches with its headlines, either; "Revelations add to picture of US torture". What a horrible legacy.

  2006-03-21 20:21 Z