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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <feed xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">
  3. <title>The BabelFish Blog</title>
  4. <subtitle type="xhtml">
  5. <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  6.    A blog to help elucidate the link between these various interest of mine:
  7.    computing, philosophy and the web.<br clear="none"/>
  8.    <q>On the web nobody knows you are a fish</q>
  9. </div>
  10. </subtitle>
  11.    <id>urn:uuid:b9b35141-a470-1e75-8136-982cb6a2c90a</id>
  12.    <updated>2010-12-12T09:15:41.443Z</updated>
  13.    <author><name>Henry Story</name> <email>[email protected]</email></author>
  14.    <link rel="alternate" type="text/xhtml" href="index.html"/>
  15.    <link rel="self" type="application/atom+xml" href="http://bblfish.net/blog/blog.atom"/>
  16.    <generator uri="https://bloged.dev.java.net" version="00.8">BlogEd 008</generator>
  17.    <entry>
  18. <title>WebID and eCommerce</title>
  19. <link href="2012/04/30/"/>
  20. <id>http://bblfish.net/blog/2012/04/30/</id>
  21.        <published>2012-04-30T16:00:00.000Z</published>
  22.        <updated>2012-05-01T12:50:00.000Z</updated>
  23. <summary type="text">
  24. TLS currently helps one know that when opens a connection to a service (domain:port pair)
  25. one is actually connected to the machine that officially owns that domain. It does not
  26. give one the big picture of what kind of entity one is actually connected to:
  27. ie. it does not answer the following questions:
  28.  
  29. - is this a legal entity?
  30. - which country is it based in (or which legal framework is it responsible to)
  31. - who are the owners
  32. - what kind of organisation is it? (individual, bank, commerce, school, university, charity...)
  33.  
  34. In a recent talk I gave at the European Identity conference in Biel, Switzerland, I looked
  35. at how this extra information could be made available by using WebID and Linked Data, published
  36. by official entities in ways that gave those documents legal weight. This would not be technically
  37. very difficult to do, but would provide huge benefits to the web. It could increase trust
  38. in the way people use the web, and it could enable commerce in a much broader way that hitherto
  39. found on the web.
  40.  
  41. The talks also shows how this can be then used to create a framework for flexible user identities
  42. to enable e-commerce.
  43.  
  44. The talk is made available here as a slidcast with audio, and as pdfs with the text.
  45.        </summary>
  46.        <content src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2012/04/30/" type="text/html"/>
  47.    </entry>
  48.    <entry>
  49. <title>LifeShare: Refactoring a Web2.0 Social Network for the Social Web</title>
  50. <link href="2011/11/11/"/>
  51. <id>http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/11/11/</id>
  52.        <published>2011-12-09T20:00:00.000Z</published>
  53.        <updated>2011-12-09T20:00:00.000Z</updated>
  54. <summary type="html">
  55. LifeShare is an Open Source Social Network Server written by students at the University of Saint Etienne in France, that has all the cool must have Social Network functionalities - such as walls, circles, etc.. -  but as shown in the screencast is missing the ability to be part of a larger global network, as most Web 2.0 apps in existence. In this screen cast we show the first stage in refactoring it so that it can work in the growing ecology of Linked Data based Social Web application, and so that it itself can be distributed across any number of servers. Ie: we show how to start refactoring a Web 2.0 application into a Web 3.0 application.
  56.        </summary>
  57.        <content src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/11/11/" type="text/html"/>
  58.    </entry>
  59.     <entry>
  60. <title>W3C Identity in the Browser Workshop</title>
  61. <link href="2011/05/25/"/>
  62. <id>http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/05/25/</id>
  63.        <published>2011-05-25T13:00:00.000Z</published>
  64.        <updated>2011-05-25T10:00:00.000Z</updated>
  65. <summary type="html">&lt;p&gt;The &lt;a href="http://www.w3.org/2011/identity-ws/"&gt;W3c Identity in the Browser Workshop&lt;/a&gt; is currently being held in Menlo Park, California, in the Mozilla buildings. &lt;a href="http://www.w3.org/2011/identity-ws/agenda.html"&gt;The agenda&lt;/a&gt; is packed with short talks and discussions with a very strict focus of identity as it relates to browsers and the web.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt; &lt;p&gt;The &lt;a href="http://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/webid/#howjoin"&gt;WebID Incubator Group&lt;/a&gt; has submitted a very carefully crafted and thought through paper "&lt;a href="http://www.w3.org/2011/identity-ws/papers/idbrowser2011_submission_22/webid.html"&gt;The WebID Protocol &amp; Browsers&lt;/a&gt;, that is on the agenda to be presented today, 25 May 2011.
  66. &lt;/p&gt;
  67. &lt;p&gt;     As the schedule only gives each speaker 10 minutes to present, and as the amount of information that needs to be imparted is very big, especially given the theoretical/practical intermingling of the problem, I thought it best to do a video that shows how theory and practice interpenetrate in &lt;a href="http://webid.info/spec/"&gt;the WebID protocol (spec)&lt;/a&gt;. This video comes with 4 demos. It shows how easy it is to create a social web, how one can create a WebID in one click, how that works, how one can authenticate in one click to a web site, and how that works, and finally it goes over some improvements that would be welcome in the browser.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;video  width="800"  poster="http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/05/25/WebID_Browsers_poster.jpg" controls preload="none"&gt;  &lt;source src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/05/25/WebID_Browser.mp4" type="video/mp4"/&gt;  &lt;source src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/05/25/WebID_Browser.webm" type='video/webm; codecs="vp8, vorbis"'/&gt;  &lt;source src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/05/25/WebID_Browser.theora.ogv" type='video/ogg; codecs="theora, vorbis"'/&gt;
  68. &lt;/video&gt;
  69. </summary>
  70.        <content src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/05/25/" type="text/html"/>
  71.    </entry>
  72.     <entry>
  73. <title>CableGate, Release Acts and the Pharmakon</title>
  74. <link href="2010/12/10/"/>
  75. <id>http://bblfish.net/blog/2010/12/10/</id>
  76.        <published>2010-12-10T10:00:00.000Z</published>
  77.        <updated>2010-12-15T10:00:00.000Z</updated>
  78. <summary type="text">Wikileaks could be thought of as the 2010 Conceptual / Performance Art masterpiece: It reveals and mediates contradictions and tensions from nearly every angle one looks at it. And not just any contradictions, but the key ones for this unfolding century. Let us look at some of these issues in detail.</summary>
  79.        <content src="http://bblfish.net/blog/2010/12/10/" type="text/html"/>
  80.    </entry>
  81.    <entry>
  82. <title>moved blog</title>
  83. <link href="page11.html#t2008_07_09.10_37_08_976"/>
  84. <id>urn:uuid:53ac46c0-1e0d-47de-b39e-2a2dd0aa3637</id>
  85.        <updated>2008-07-09T09:15:41.443Z</updated>
  86.        <published>2008-07-09T08:34:25.910Z</published>
  87.        <content type="xhtml">
  88. <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  89.  
  90. <p>    As you may have noticed, I have not been keeping this blog up to date for
  91.    a while. I am now blogging on <a href="http://blogs.sun.com/bblfish/" shape="rect">blogs.sun.com/bblfish</a>. You will find
  92. my latest thoughts there.
  93. </p>
  94.  
  95. <p>I have not been working much on <a href="https://bloged.dev.java.net/" shape="rect">BlogEd</a> for the last few years either,
  96. as I have had to concentrate my energies on what I think is the most likely to be of bigest impact. There are a lot of blog editors out there, so
  97. making a big impact there is very difficult. Instead I have been focusing on the <a href="https://sommer.dev.java.net/AddressBook.html" shape="rect">Semantic Address Book</a>
  98. as a demonstration of the linked data can solve some core problems in the social networking space.
  99. </p>
  100.  
  101. </div>
  102. </content>
  103.     </entry>
  104.  
  105.    <entry>
  106. <title>GapMinder.org</title>
  107. <link href="page10.html#t2006_05_19.20_02_29_390"/>
  108. <id>urn:uuid:a0ea733f-bca7-40bd-89b1-a5fe02fd4cbf</id>
  109.        <updated>2006-05-19T18:08:26.384Z</updated>
  110.        <published>2006-05-19T17:58:24.300Z</published>
  111.        <content type="xhtml">
  112. <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  113.    
  114. <p>
  115.      
  116. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gage" shape="rect">John Gage</a> finished this years' Java One conference by pointing everyone
  117.      to <a href="http://gapminder.org" shape="rect">Gapminder.org</a>, a site
  118.      put together by a Swedish professor to illustrate clearly some important
  119.      worlds poverty trends. This will be of interest to absolutely everyone.<br clear="none"/>The
  120.      information presented in a series of <b>very</b> clearly designed flash
  121.      animations, that teaches one more than years of looking at CNN ever
  122.      could.
  123.    </p>
  124.  
  125. </div>
  126. </content>
  127.     </entry>
  128.  
  129.    <entry>
  130. <title>Google Video: Invading North Korea</title>
  131. <link href="page10.html#t2006_03_14.16_39_09_817"/>
  132. <id>urn:uuid:7473b9ec-1112-46a1-8509-e1f2363d6b69</id>
  133.        <updated>2006-03-14T15:39:07.395Z</updated>
  134.        <published>2006-03-14T15:34:41.618Z</published>
  135.        <content type="xhtml">
  136. <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  137.    
  138. <a href="http://video.google.com/" shape="rect">Google Video</a> looks like a really
  139.    useful service. You can learn for example how to <a href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2587661313510275113" shape="rect">invade
  140.    North Korea</a>, represented on the picture with little "2" flag.
  141.    Wikipedia seems to call <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia" shape="rect">North
  142.    Korea</a> by a different name, but what the heck :-)
  143.  
  144.    <p align="left">
  145.      Hey, I think I am going to try uploading some videos too.
  146.    </p>
  147.  
  148. </div>
  149. </content>
  150.     </entry>
  151.  
  152.    <entry>
  153. <title>Newsnight: The Cartoon Row</title>
  154. <link href="page10.html#t2006_02_19.15_09_32_707"/>
  155. <id>urn:uuid:c07ad784-7975-417f-9d8c-0ddeae52c356</id>
  156.        <updated>2006-02-19T18:01:31.177Z</updated>
  157.        <published>2006-02-19T13:48:23.639Z</published>
  158.        <content type="xhtml">
  159. <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  160.    The United Kingdom is blessed with some excellent news programs. One of
  161.    these is <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/default.stm" shape="rect">Newsnight</a>,
  162.    a show that airs late in the evening and lasts over three quarters of an hour. It usually picks 3 topics, covering each subject
  163.   with a very well researched film presenting the background of the problem, and
  164.    usually follows this with a well organised
  165.    debate in which the best speakers for each side of the argument get a good
  166.    chance at defending their point of view in a civilised way.
  167.  
  168.    <p align="left">
  169.      The <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4670370.stm" shape="rect">Cartoon
  170.      Row</a> which has been making the headlines recently in Europe and
  171.      around large parts of the muslim world is an excellent example of the
  172.      show at work. Newsnight does not archive all their shows sadly, but it
  173.      has kept this one around for a while on their <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/debates/default.stm" shape="rect">debates
  174.      page</a>. I am not sure how much longer it will be available <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/help/3681938.stm" shape="rect">there</a>.
  175.      [1] On this topic the debate is very much worth looking at, as it gives an intelligent female voice
  176.      to the under represented muslim/arab liberal position, which we very much need to hear
  177.      more from, and which the extreemes are doing their best to drown out in their strident appeals to violence.
  178.    </p>
  179.    
  180. <p align="left">    
  181.    In a globalised world of information, censorship is impossible [2]. It is clear that in a lawful society every group needs to be treated equally.
  182. Since requiring respect of every group's prejudices and taboos cannot be done, especially since some of these are antithetical,
  183. where there is inequality in treatment, we clearly will need to relax censorship in  favor of more openess and freedom of expression. I myself prefer
  184. a society with a lively debate and laughter than one silenced by  censorship and respect codified by law.
  185.   </p>
  186.    
  187. <p align="left">
  188.      [1] They seem to have problems with their video streams recently. If you
  189.      just get a short clip with no sound, then retry later.<br clear="none"/>[2]
  190.      Well, its not going to stop people trying. China is devoting massive
  191.      resources to censorship, building a <a href="http://wired-vig.wired.com/wired/archive/5.06/china.html?topic=&amp;topic_set=" shape="rect">huge
  192.      firewall</a> to 'protect' its population from unwanted information. So I
  193.      suppose one has to ask, what is the cost of censorship? Remember that
  194.      the more one tries to suppress something the more this tends to increase
  195.      its value. US newspapers may be refusing to publish any of the Danish
  196.      cartoons, but this has not stopped a huge number of new ones being drawn
  197.      and published on the internet, witness <a href="http://cagle.com/news/Muhammad/main.asp" shape="rect">cagle.com</a>.
  198.    </p>
  199.  
  200. </div>
  201. </content>
  202.     </entry>
  203.  
  204.    <entry>
  205. <title>Good Night, and Good Luck.</title>
  206. <link href="page10.html#t2006_01_11.21_22_18_431"/>
  207. <id>urn:uuid:d88a0a4e-c15f-46dc-9be5-fb92491b4a89</id>
  208.        <updated>2006-04-03T09:15:36.370Z</updated>
  209.        <published>2008-07-09T09:15:37.119Z</published>
  210.        <content type="xhtml">
  211. <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  212.    Yesterday I saw <a href="http://imdb.com/title/tt0433383/" shape="rect">Good
  213.    Night, and Good Luck.</a> a film in a documentary mode covering the
  214.    McCarthy witch hunt era in the united states. It is shot in black and
  215.    white, with beautiful jazz music, and is very factual. No romance. No
  216.    violence.
  217.  
  218.    <p align="left">
  219.      
  220.    
  221. </p>
  222.    The film brings us back to a black and white world where the news
  223.    presenter would elegantly hold up a cigarette on prime time television,
  224.    and the news be followed by tobacco advertising. Putting sponsorships at
  225.    risks was a major constraint on the freedom of speech. It takes us back to
  226.    a period where being suspected of having something to do with communism
  227.    was enough to be condemned. Insinuations backed up by state secret
  228.    documents no one could see, were enough to ruin someone's career.
  229.  
  230.    <p align="left">
  231.      Luckily there is now a huge diversity of channels people can access
  232.      their news through. But one should never let one's guard down. Paranoia
  233.      and secrecy, is what those that rule such a world live off. Openess and
  234.      transparency is the best defense.
  235.    </p>
  236.  
  237. </div>
  238. </content>
  239.     </entry>
  240.  
  241.    <entry>
  242. <title>Lord of War</title>
  243. <link href="page10.html#t2006_01_11.21_22_18_423"/>
  244. <id>urn:uuid:096083c0-4d3d-4642-aa5b-4402b8f635ce</id>
  245.        <updated>2006-01-11T20:24:36.622Z</updated>
  246.        <published>2006-01-11T19:50:11.026Z</published>
  247.        <content type="xhtml">
  248. <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  249.    Last week I saw <a href="http://imdb.com/title/tt0399295/" shape="rect">Lord
  250.    of War</a> in Paris. This is another amazing film that has come out
  251.    recently. By describing the life of underground arms dealer Yuri (played
  252.    by Nicholas Cage) it gives a whole geopolitical analysis of the world from
  253.    the 1980ies to the present. But this is not a tedious school lesson; it
  254.    will keep you riveted to your seat.
  255.  
  256.    <p align="left">
  257.      
  258.    
  259. </p>
  260.    Just like <a href="http://bblfish.net/blog/page10.html#t2006_01_01.15_07_28_516" shape="rect">The
  261.    Constant Gardner</a> this film explors in depth the most important issues
  262.    of our time, <a href="http://bblfish.net/blog/page3.html#28" shape="rect">Africa</a>.
  263.    It is eye opening. Not to want to know, to want to look at the world
  264.    through rose colored spectacles, is a road that in the end is not that
  265.    different from the road taken by Yuri's drug addicted brother. Drugs are
  266.    emotional halucinogenics for a society that does not want to see what is
  267.    occuring around it. This film will certainly help open our eyes. It does
  268.    not offer any solution, let alone simple ones: but perhaps just by making
  269.    us aware of the world we live in, it has contributed more than anything
  270.    else.
  271.  </div>
  272. </content>
  273.     </entry>
  274.  
  275.    <entry>
  276. <title>The Constant Gardener</title>
  277. <link href="page10.html#t2006_01_01.15_07_28_516"/>
  278. <id>urn:uuid:fed0e47a-1e2d-4405-8853-82e4505dbead</id>
  279.        <updated>2006-01-01T14:07:23.964Z</updated>
  280.        <published>2006-01-01T13:22:31.623Z</published>
  281.        <content type="xhtml">
  282. <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  283.    I saw <a href="http://imdb.com/title/tt0387131/" shape="rect">The Constant Gardner</a>
  284.    in Paris a couple of days ago, and was very impressed. The poster would
  285.    not usually attract my attention, as it seems to emphasize the romance and
  286.    action movie part of the film above all else, but one should not be
  287.    mislead by that. The film is based on a recent novel by <a href="http://imdb.com/name/nm0494170/" shape="rect">John
  288.    le Carré</a> who is widely known for his complex cold war spy novels,
  289.    and in our family for having tought my father french in school a long time
  290.    ago. In this novel/film John le Carré opens up our eyes to the devastating
  291.    situation in Africa, through a complex industrial, political espionage
  292.    story. The political vacuum in most of Africa that still persiststs and
  293.    may have worsened over the last century, has always led pirates and men of
  294.    no scruple to abuse the situation. This film describes a modern day
  295.    variant of the interests that move these men.
  296.  
  297.    <p>
  298.      To get another glimpse of the scale of the problem in Africa, I
  299.      recommend <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312243359/qid=1136123060/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-2647986-2889430?s=books&amp;v=glance&amp;n=283155" shape="rect">We
  300.      Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families:
  301.      Stories from Rwanda</a>, a book I read 7 years ago, and that shows very
  302.      clearly how this problem is probably not one that can be solved by non
  303.      military means alone - way over a half million lives in this case.
  304.      Another way to look at the situation is to understand that an American
  305.      or European cow gets more subsidies that an average african earns in a
  306.      year (if I remember correctly an article from courrier International: <a href="http://www.courrierinternational.com/article.asp?obj_id=57990&amp;provenance=accueil&amp;bloc=01" shape="rect">L'Africain
  307.      moins bien loti qu'une vache européenne</a>. (When are newspapers
  308.      going to allow micropayment access to their site!?)).
  309.    </p>
  310.    
  311. <p>
  312.      It is really nice to see a film that tackles the real and perhaps
  313.      greatest problem in the world today in a subtle and engaging way.
  314.    </p>
  315.  
  316. </div>
  317. </content>
  318.     </entry>
  319.  
  320.    <entry>
  321. <title>Emotions and Values</title>
  322. <link href="page10.html#t2005_12_28.20_01_26_597"/>
  323. <id>urn:uuid:9204d88f-c412-4782-a610-00fbf3f0393e</id>
  324.        <updated>2006-01-01T22:06:03.052Z</updated>
  325.        <published>2005-12-28T17:10:57.204Z</published>
  326.        <content type="xhtml">
  327. <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  328.    Over the last five years I have been reading a lot - on and off - about
  329.    psychology from Existentialist to Jungian to cognitive psychologoy all the
  330.    way to the philosophy of emotions.
  331.  
  332.    <p align="left">
  333.      The last few days I have been reading <a href="http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/2130508421/171-6306257-0390635" shape="rect">Emotions
  334.      et Valeurs</a> by Christine Tappolet, Professor of Philosophy at the
  335.      University of Montréal. This is a very carefully argued book that covers
  336.      a lot of the work on the philosophy of emotions that has come out in the
  337.      last 30 years (I know because I recognised many of the references) and
  338.      beyond, covering in detail the work of the analytical tradition of
  339.      philosophy and inspiring itself from work (I don't know much of) by
  340.      Meinong and Husserl. The book is very much in the tradition of formal
  341.      analytic tradition, with a lot of careful logical analysis, and so is
  342.      not something that I can recommend to the casual reader. The main thesis
  343.      is that our knowledge of values is dependent on our emotions, emotions
  344.      being <i>perceptions</i> of values.
  345.    </p>
  346.    
  347. <p align="left">
  348.      It is very difficult to correctly summarise the work. I'll try here.
  349.      Christine Tappolet wants to lay the groundwork for an objective
  350.      understanding of values by following the intiution behind the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Tarski" shape="rect">Tarskian</a>
  351.      definition of Truth: "P" is True if and only if P. The correctness
  352.      condition of factual statements is given by the facts one may say,
  353.      whereas the correctness conditions of value judgements is given
  354.      justified or correct emotional appraisal of a situation. So as it is
  355.      right to believe that "the car is in the garage" if it really is in the
  356.      garage, so it is correct to be afraid of what is dangerous, or to like
  357.      what is good. But whereas it is usually quite easy for an empiricist to
  358.      understand how we come to verify statements of facts (by using our five
  359.      senses) it is a lot less clear how we can come to verify statements
  360.      about value. Christine T. looks at arguments for coherentist analyses of
  361.      values and finds them wanting for lack of an ability to ground the chain
  362.      of justification in something final, or for turning values into
  363.      something too subjective. Foundationalist theories of values fail either
  364.      because the choice of foundations seem to be arbitrary, or because they
  365.      have to invent out of nothing a new faculty, unknown to science, for
  366.      perceiving values. But the foundationalist theories may not have been
  367.      completely wrong argues Christine. Just as sight gives us direct and
  368.      justified access to the color of objects, so emotions give us a direct
  369.      grip on values. This is not to say that they are fail safe. Just as we
  370.      can make mistaken color judgements so we can have incorrect emotional
  371.      reactions to some things. But the point is rather that emotions is what
  372.      brings us in contact with the world of values in the way sight brings us
  373.      in contact with the world of shapes and colors.
  374.    </p>
  375.    
  376. <p align="left">
  377.      From reading Christine it is quite clear that it is now well established
  378.      in analytical philosophy that there is a very close relation between
  379.      emotions and values (Aristotle would have agreed). Her originality lies
  380.      in fleshing out a perceptual theory of emotions. Of course such a
  381.      theory, just like the Tarskian theory can seem a little light, but if it
  382.      captures the concept correctly then that can be a good thing.
  383.    </p>
  384.    
  385. <p>
  386.      To flesh things out a little, and in order to help me test my agreement
  387.      with her, I would like to describe a thought that occurred to me when
  388.      reading a quote from Montaigne that she uses:
  389.    </p>
  390.    
  391. <blockquote>
  392.      Qu'on loge un philosophe dans une cage de menus filets de fer clersemez,
  393.      qui soit suspendue en haut des tours de nostre Dame de Paris, il verra
  394.      par raison evidente qu'il est impossible qu'il en tombe, et si, ne se
  395.      sçauroit garder (s'il n'a accoustumé le mestrier de recouvreurs) que la
  396.      veuë de cette hauteur extreme ne l'espouvante et ne le transisse.
  397.    </blockquote>
  398.    My english translation would go something like
  399.  
  400.    <blockquote>
  401.      Place a philosopher on a light metallic cage suspended at the top of
  402.      Notre Dame in Paris. He will know that there is no possibility that he
  403.      can fall, and yet would (unless he also be a roof layer) on the sight of
  404.      such a height, not fail to be horrified and struken with fear.
  405.    </blockquote>
  406.    The point of this quote is of course to show that emotions have a certain
  407.    independence of the rational side of man, and so can hardly be reduced
  408.    down to belief desire psychology. (Though that people can find it
  409.    difficult to change their beliefs in face of evidence should indicate that
  410.    perhaps the rational side of man is not quite as flexible as one may have
  411.    supposed.) So the emotion of fear according to Christine is the perception
  412.    of the dangerous. But the dangerous is not a value. It is the thing the
  413.    dangerous threatens that should be of value and why the dangerous is
  414.    frightening. So in the case of the philosopher sitting on the wire grid in
  415.    the example above, or for people who may have visited the Museum of Modern
  416.    Art in San Francisco and wondered on the top passerel made of thin
  417.    metallic grid of a bridge and through which one can see all the way below,
  418.    what is frightnening is the closely perceived possibility of falling, and
  419.    what is of value in this case, is one's life or at least one's well being.
  420.  
  421.    <p>
  422.      I think therefore that at the very least it would be fruitful to analyse
  423.      carefully what precisely the relation is between emotions and the values
  424.      they reveal, beyond the simple case of being amused by the funny.
  425.    </p>
  426.    
  427. <p>
  428.      
  429. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Nussbaum" shape="rect">Martha
  430.      Nussbaum</a>, who has written extensively on emotions ("Emotions as
  431.      Judgements of Value", 1994) puts forward a good psychological
  432.      explanation that gives a central position for our role as agents and
  433.      actors in the theory.<br clear="none"/>This is how I summarise Martha
  434.      Nussbaum's psychological insight, from what I can remember from having
  435.      read her a few years ago. Things that have emotions are things that act
  436.      in the world. Things that need to protect themselves and their identity
  437.      against the agressions of the external world, things that need to change
  438.      the world in order to live in it. Things that behave in this way will
  439.      have to value some things above others. Themselves first and foremost,
  440.      if they are to be able to survive at all. These things have capacities
  441.      to change the world. They can influence its present and so change its
  442.      future. They have self determined modal properties, also known as
  443.      abilities. At every moment in time they will need to act. And this will
  444.      require choosing among different paths open to them, choose which of the
  445.      things around them is the most valuable, which path will help bring them
  446.      closer to what they value. The things the agent values are in some sense
  447.      therefore part of the sphere of being of the agent that values them.
  448.      Their state will define its actions. A mother's love of her child is a
  449.      value that determines her relation to her child, her environment and her
  450.      life. If the child is in danger, the mother will feel fear, or rather
  451.      fear for her child. Fear being a very specific state of alertness. One
  452.      where all attention is directed towards the danger to the thing valued,
  453.      where one's abilities to come to the help of the valued thing seem
  454.      somewhat inadequate or stretched. In any case the mother will do her
  455.      best to be alert to a way help the child she fears for. Since the danger
  456.      the valued thing is in, is very much dependent on the abilities of the
  457.      agent, the abilities of the agent will of course affect the strength of
  458.      the fear. If the philosopher knew how to fly, then we would find a lot
  459.      more philosophers sitting on the roof of Notre Dame. Of course it is
  460.      also the emotion of fear that reveals to us that our philosopher is not
  461.      a perfect <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism" shape="rect">nihilist</a>;
  462.      he still values his life. And so emotions do reveal value. Emotions,
  463.      Value, Abilities and Action are all closely linked.
  464.    </p>
  465.    
  466. <p>
  467.      The philosopher in his cage feels fear. But notice that Montaigne makes
  468.      sure to exclude that he be a roof coverer, who presumably would be used
  469.      to heights. What is the difference between those two men? My guess is
  470.      that it is in part a question of trust. The roof coverer has learnt to
  471.      trust the ropes that hold him, his skills, and the people he works for.
  472.      The philosopher may on the other hand be quite rightfully a little
  473.      anxious about his colleagues. Does he really trust them to correctly tie
  474.      the knot and to have bought the right thickness of rope? Does he trust
  475.      himself to have thought of all the things that should be tested for
  476.      before entering the cage? Does he trust the theories of Newton enough in
  477.      real life? Any little doubt on the answer to those questions will change
  478.      the beautiful birds eye view he sees from his cage into the close
  479.      possibility of a horrible fall, and the inevitably very strong desire to
  480.      get onto solid, trusted land. If we add to this the thought that the
  481.      creak just heard may for the philosopher just be the first sign of
  482.      weakness of a worn rope possibly about to break if any movement is made,
  483.      then the philosopher may well end up petrified: all concentrated on the
  484.      slightest little noise, each noise increasing the danger and making the
  485.      decision of moving all the more difficult. For a man with good
  486.      experience of alpinism the same sound may just be the heart warming
  487.      vibrations of good quality material.
  488.    </p>
  489.    
  490. <p>
  491.      The relation between oneself and what is valued - the concentration
  492.      required, the readiness to act or not that the situation call for -
  493.      which consitutes the emotion, all of this should also explain why it
  494.      feels a certain way to be in that state. In a dangerous situation the
  495.      heart beats faster in order to prepare for action. In a non threatening
  496.      situation the agent can relax, rest and contemplate more distant goods.
  497.    </p>
  498.    
  499. <p align="left">
  500.      
  501.    
  502. </p>
  503.    So how is it with other emotions: Anger, disdain, joy, sadness, love, ...?
  504.    Perhaps I'll get the time to write my thoughts down on those in future
  505.    entries here.
  506.  
  507.    <h3>
  508.      Notes
  509.    </h3>
  510.    
  511. <ul>
  512. <li>
  513.        
  514. <a href="http://www.erudit.org/revue/philoso/2002/v29/n2/006261ar.html" shape="rect">A
  515.        critique by Paul Dumouchel</a> of the book in Philosophiques.
  516.      </li>
  517. <li>
  518.        
  519. <a href="http://www.erudit.org/revue/philoso/2002/v29/n2/006273ar.html#no1" shape="rect">A
  520.        response by Christine Tappolet</a> of the above critique.
  521.      </li>
  522. <li>
  523.        An Entry in the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy <a href="http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/emotion/" shape="rect">on
  524.        emotions</a>
  525.      
  526. </li>
  527. <li>A very good <a href="http://www.philosophyofmind.net/" shape="rect">collection of links on emotions</a> maintained by  Michael Speer.
  528.    </li>
  529. </ul>
  530.  
  531. </div>
  532. </content>
  533.     </entry>
  534.  
  535.    <entry>
  536. <title>NerdTV: Dave Winer</title>
  537. <link href="page10.html#t2005_12_22.14_17_19_709"/>
  538. <id>urn:uuid:46b22091-09ca-4a77-9ba4-b8c852505ee9</id>
  539.        <updated>2005-12-28T17:09:23.098Z</updated>
  540.        <published>2005-12-22T12:36:15.368Z</published>
  541.        <content type="xhtml">
  542. <div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
  543.    
  544. <p align="left">
  545.      Still suffering from jet lag from my trip to california, my sleeping
  546.      patterns are a little screwed up. So I got up early today, but feeling
  547.      very tired, I realised that I would not be too productive so I listened
  548.      to <a href="http://www.pbs.org/cringely/nerdtv/shows/" shape="rect">interview
  549.      #6</a> of Dave Winer on Nerd TV. This is the first time I hear Dave
  550.      speak for himself, even though I have been working in his shadow it
  551.      seems for such a long time. He is a lot more of a "mensch" as he says,
  552.      than I would have guessed from the reactions people have to him on the
  553.      net. And he has a few very interesting things to say.
  554.    </p>
  555.    
  556. <p align="left">
  557.      Dave Winer is of course most famous recently for his work on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS_%28file_format%29" shape="rect">RSS</a>
  558.      which is what is behind the whole blogging explosion of the last few
  559.      years. He clearly has his finger on the pulse of things changing on the
  560.      web. He seems to have a knack for looking in the right direction but
  561.      missing something important at the same time.<br clear="none"/>RSS had a
  562.      tortuous history partly it seems because of him. When <a href="http://web.resource.org/rss/1.0/" shape="rect">RSS1.0</a>
  563.      came out, a pretty good compromise betweed RDFers and RSS he went off to
  564.      create <a href="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss" shape="rect">RSS2.0</a>,
  565.      which has to be a step back. At the same time this finally led to <a href="http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4287" shape="rect">Atom</a>
  566.      which is a big step forward in clarity and design, being crafted to work
  567.      with the basic web architecture framework as laid out by Roy Fielding in
  568.      his thesis on <a href="http://bblfish.net/blog/page1.html#10" shape="rect">REST</a>.
  569.      This may yet lead to something really big, if the <a href="http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/bblfish?entry=atom_owl_in_tuscany" shape="rect">Atom-OWL</a>
  570.      project comes to fruition.<br clear="none"/>He was also behind <a href="http://www.xmlrpc.com/" shape="rect">XML-RPC</a>
  571.      which is a very simple way to do remote method invocation over HTTP,
  572.      whilst at the same time being <a href="http://bblfish.net/blog/page7.html#2005/06/20/22-28-18-208" shape="rect">fatally
  573.      flawed</a>. The fact that it led to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOAP" shape="rect">SOAP</a>
  574.      is one of the things that puts a big question mark in my mind on that
  575.      enterprise, backed as it is by Microsoft and IBM. Way too complicated is
  576.      what many people are saying about it. And I think Dave Winer points to
  577.      the problem when he mentions the state of the software industry in the
  578.      early 90ies
  579.    </p>
  580.    
  581. <blockquote>
  582.      And, at the same time, the software industry, the Microsofts and the
  583.      Borlands and Apples and IBMs and, you know, the open doc consortium was
  584.      kind of like the epitome of - that was that generation running out of
  585.      gas, basically. They were building specs that filled bookshelves worth
  586.      of - they explained to me that open doc was basically what they did was
  587.      every company had a bookshelf worth of documentation for their formats
  588.      and protocols.
  589.    </blockquote>
  590.    A few years later, after the web explosion, he remembers telling Adam
  591.    Bosworth from Microsoft, who was asking him to do some work on xml
  592.  
  593.    <blockquote>
  594.      And I said, "Well, you know, this is gar- I'm not gonna do this." I told
  595.      him it's like this is the province of big companies, and you guys are
  596.      gonna screw it up, and I told him all the stories I told you about
  597.      bookshelf-size specs, and how that you guys are just gonna completely
  598.      mess this thing up.
  599.    </blockquote>
  600.    Sounds very much like this is what Microsoft did with the web services
  601.    stack.
  602.  
  603.    <p>
  604.      On the topic of the future, towards the end of the interview he says:
  605.    </p>
  606.    
  607. <blockquote>
  608.      That's our challenge. Can we get it so that the - our information
  609.      resources can answer all reasonable questions? We're nowhere near that.
  610.      I mean get - take - let's say you were driving to Los Angeles tomorrow,
  611.      and you wanted to know which route has the most Starbucks on it. A
  612.      perfectly practical question, because you wanna get on the Internet as
  613.      many places as you want. You might wanna pick up a cup of coffee along
  614.      the way. There's no way to ask that question. But yet you know that
  615.      there will be a way to ask that question.
  616.    </blockquote>
  617.    And Dave Winder is right. We know that this is the future. But clearly
  618.    this is not going to solved by OPML, which is what he has been working on
  619.    for the last five years. No it is allready here, and it is called <a href="http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/bblfish?entry=a_sparql_to_warm_tim" shape="rect">SPARQL</a>
  620.    and the future web is the Semantic Web.
  621.  
  622.    <p>
  623.      Dave Winer has a knack of seeing the general direction things are going
  624.      in. But I would trust <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners_Lee" shape="rect">Tim
  625.      Berners Lee</a> a lot more for getting us there with a beautiful,
  626.      workeable, scaleable and simple solution. Come to think about it: in his
  627.      whole conversation Dave Winer mentions Microsoft and Bill Gates a lot,
  628.      but not once the founder of the web itself.
  629.    </p>
  630.  
  631. </div>
  632. </content>
  633.     </entry>
  634.  
  635. </feed>
  636.  

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