Survey: "Suppose a Saudi prince offered you $10 million, no strings attached, but you had to read his press release and listen to what he thought you were doing wrong. Would you take the money on these terms?"
Now it's interesting if you do the math. We have a way of monetizing fear, at least a lower-bound. If five people say no, that means the fear is worth at least $50 million. Isn't that amazing. I didn't say you had to do anything other than read and listen. I find it so amazing that some people would rather not listen than have $10 million!
Here's a list of the surveys I've run in the last few months.
London Times: "Every night for the past month, as Taleban soldiers and police fled the city in fear of airstrikes, the residents of Kandahar came out to enjoy long-forbidden freedoms without fear of punishment by the religious police."
Here's one of those good ideas you're glad someone else implemented. "When you find a page on the web whose address is too long to paste into an email or other document, you can use our free service to generate a shorter, simpler address." Let's give it a try. Here's a pointer to Stewart Alsop's article on Fortune through the shorterlink service.
Paul Nakada says they should do caching like Google, and in a post in the w3c-patent discussion, I say that Google should buy them. "Reward the ones with winning ideas. That would accelerate progress for Google, who has carved out a nice position among connoiseurs of the Web. They upgrade the whole Web regularly, and people love them for that."
I didn't stop there. Here's another reason patents suck.
On this day two years ago, Edd Dumbill wrote a landmark article about XML interapplication protocols. I forgot we used to have this basic agreement of philosophy. What's happened since then to change that? Why the reliance on BigCo's? Can we find some way to get back into agreement?
It's really nice to see Microsoft acknowledge SOAP's older brother. "XML-RPC is an easy-to-use standard that enables applications to call remote procedures over the Internet, and is the predecessor of SOAP, which is the standard used in Microsoft's .NET platform for providing Web Services."
Bloggerbot bridges AIM and Blogger through XML-RPC. Look ma, no UserLand software. Heh.
Simon Kittle is working on a Python-based interface to Manila via XML-RPC. This is totally in the spirit of Edd's piece, which was written while Manila was in development.
I have a problem with the word evil being used by mortal human beings to describe other humans. When I hear it, I think "Who does this person think he is?" We're all just human beings here, as far as I know. How can you reconcile your differences with someone you've called evil? Are you god? Do you have a higher moral grounding or purpose? If so, get over it. It's hubris. God, if there is one, can decide if any of us are evil. It's not up to us to know if someone else is evil.
Another thing. I think Giulani should apologize to the Sheik and ask if he still wants to donate the $10 million to help the recovery in NY. So what if the Sheik wants to say something. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. We should thank him for sharing his opinion, and listen and maybe learn something. And geez, $10 million is a lot of money. Maybe we can get him to give us $20 million?
Harry Chapin: "I stashed the bill in my shirt."
I really enjoyed President Bush's press conference on Thurs night. He said so many things that made me laugh and think "This guy gets it." A reporter asked how he feels about half-hearted help from Syria. (I'm paraphrasing here.) "I'll take help any way I can get it, I'm a results-oriented guy" says our president. Right fucking on. I don't want his pride ending my life. Take the help, and thank them profusely. That's the philosophy of inclusion.
And rather than running away from the "Why do they hate us so much?" question, he charged right into it. "We're such cool people," he says (again I'm paraphrasing). "I can't believe they don't see that. We'll just have to work on it, talk with them, and explain who we are to them. It's just a misunderstanding." Excellent. Let's work on relating. There's been far too much bluster. Don't hate people because they hate us. Work on why they hate us, and see if there's a bug, and fix it.
One more thing that made me say "Right On" to my President. Asked why he hasn't met with Yasir Arafat yet, he said he wouldn't appear for a photo-op until there was something to announce. He's holding out for substance. Excellent. Now is the time to do that. These are times of great change. Let's get ready for it.
One more story. I saw an interview with a career US diplomat. He was asked why we give Mubarak in Egypt $1.5 billion per year in military aid. That was one of the terms of the peace treaty with Israel, he said. We prop up Mubarak to get peace betw Israel and Egypt, and in the same moment, create a war with the citizens he keeps under control. A lesson every programmer knows well. You can't fix a bug by hiding it. Mubarak will be dead someday. Then what?
Yesterday I asked what news is being masked by the latest outrage. Here's one thing. The Congress is legislating big stuff, out of view of the public. Not a single report about this on the TV networks.
Ha'aretz: "..enemies of the West using the technology of the West in order to strike at the West."
Paul Nakada: "One of my friend's colleagues received an envelope at home with some powder in it. She immediately called the department of public health and the FBI. They came and took the powder, told her to thoroughly shower and that they would be back in touch."
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