Information Management

I have been mulling about the distribution of information in the information age. Thus far we have left it up to a few to decide what is news worthy to be reported and what is not. Some items are obviously news worthy, such as the tsunami in the Indian Ocean last month. But in the rush to report, are some reporter crossing the line to create news as when a reporter posed questions for soldiers to ask Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. Sometimes even this subtlety of manipulation is lost as with this Medienkrikik report. In other instances reporters have become pawn of newsmaker wannabes such as this incidence on Haifa Street.
Now a day the consumer of news have more choices. Mass media and mainstream news outlet are readily available to all beyond regionalism via the net, perhaps the most apparent example of this is Google News. Certainly consumer choice is a huge step forward and long ago were the days when Henri Ford allows consumers to choose the color of the model-T, as long as it was black. But unlike manufactured items, news is not a passive tool to be wielded as we please, news affect us and has the model to make us the tools. And this is potentially true whether we allow the bias of the media to sway us, or allow our own bias to read only that which agree with us and make us inflexible and potentially close-minded.
Other than to be on constant vigil for bias, external and internal, I do not know how to obtain objective news or whether such is possible. Perhaps it is the next step of enlightenment, just like the acknowledgement of Newtonian physics is not a constant but is subjected to Einstein principle of relativity, that all news is bias and will always be so.


Sick Man

At its height of power in the 16th through 19th century, the Ottoman Empire encompassed south-eastern Europe, present day Turkey, Mesopotamia, and the African Mediterranean coast. The Ottoman served as gate keeper to the far east for europe, and as the Caliph of Islam, gate keeper for the Muslims. At its height, the Ottoman empire threatened the Christiandom of Europe militarily as well as culturally, a flowering of diversity, tolerance, and exploration. Like all blossoms, the Ottoman's wilting started long before the last petal fell in World War I, when it was widely referred to as the "Sick Man of Europe."

It is interesting to note that for most of the 19th century, its European presence and essence was acknowledged. Interesting that this is no longer the case as its direct descendent, modern Turkey, is no longer considered European enough to join the European Union. Never the less, after 50 years of trying, "negotiation" for Turkey's accession into the EU have finally been agreed to start in 2005. Naturally, strings and limitations will be attached.

What is remarkeable is not that the EU has finally agreed to the negotiation but is what the EU Turkey seek to join has become. At the end of the 19th century, the powers of the world still resided in Europe, of which the Ottoman was an important player still. At the beginning of the 21st century, the powers of the world is no longer in residence in Europe but instead reside in the United States of America, Japan, and the rising power of China. Like the Ottomans of the 19th century, the modern day Europeans continue to seek to influence to course of world events through the politics of prestige and diplomacy but lack the will and capacity militarily to defend their frontiers. It seems to me the old Sick Man of Europe is applying to join the Sick Man of the World.

Is the EU the equivalence of retirement community for old and faded powers?



I have been out of town for the past week, and will still be so for another week. No blogging till i return. Hope all enjoyed a good thanks giving.