David Ronfeldt of RAND (one of the authors of the brilliant book Networks and Netwars) continues his elaboration of a framework for societal evolution that he began in Tribes, Institutions, Markets, Networks in his new work:
IN SEARCH OF HOW SOCIETIES WORK
Tribes — The First and Forever Form
By: David Ronfeldt
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
One year ago today, GIOVE-A began transmitting Galileo navigation signals. This satellite is the first flight element in ESA’s in-orbit validation programme for Galileo.
Carried into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan by a Soyuz launch vehicle on 28 December 2005, GIOVE-A then successfully completed the initial tasks in its mission – orbit injection, deployment of its solar arrays and the commissioning and check-out of its various payload systems – before commencing the transmission of navigation signals.
This signal transmission has secured the use of the frequencies allocated to the Galileo system by the International Telecommunication Unit (ITU), achieving the primary mission for which the satellite was constructed.
Yet - what is really to come...no.. I mean it - what can we really expect from Galileo?
The car radio of the future works in a similar manner to a satellite receiver for television channels. However, the car has no large dish antenna on the roof, but a specially designed mobile antenna, flattened so that it can be built almost invisibly into the bodywork. The antenna receives signals in the Ku frequency band used by communications satellites.
In two important areas, the new European multimedia system advances beyond existing solutions. Instead of new satellites and a network of ground-based transmitters – which might easily requites an investment of more than a billion Euro – the ESA system uses only existing communication satellites.
Does this signal a shift to increasing satellite traffic?
Monday, January 29, 2007
The telehealth devices would probably be targeted at elderly and seriously ill people. It's not clear exactly which features the devices would include, although it's likely they would be equipped with sensors and possibly cameras. Patients might be able to take their own blood pressure and upload the results to the NHS systems, for example.
Granger said that existing security levels in hospitals are on a par with those of the best banks, but uncertainty remains over the security levels that will be supported by telehealth systems.
"Are we going to do that with hundreds of thousands of unpaid carers and voluntary workers who work in people's homes? Maybe, maybe not," Granger told the symposium.
Another NHS computer screw-up, one wonders??
Lerner says it is vital that communities seek to adopt urban designs that do not separate the places residents live from where they work, play, and shop. Instead, all these elements should be present in the same area, so people are not as dependent on cars to live their daily lives. Lerner also encourages greater efforts to turn chronic urban problems into innovative solutions. Curitiba, for example, converted an old landfill into the Open University for the Environment, a school that provides environmental education to citizens and policymakers at little-to-no cost. “In the city, there is no frog that can’t be turned into a prince
Read more here
Regular surveillance of territorial sea areas is increasingly important for coastal nations. Signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) can establish a territorial sea out to 12 nautical miles from the coastline and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of up to 200 nautical miles. These marine areas are then an economic resource for a coastal state (e.g. for fisheries or oil extraction) but that state must then take responsibility for the administration, law enforcement, environmental protection and sustainable management of this frontier. Development, implementation and enforcement of policy and legislation require systematic surveillance of these areas but this is very costly and logistically cannot cover all areas all of the time.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Anthony Townsend of the Institute for the Future discussed the role of mobile devices in the future of the city. With mobiles, people can record, document, and annotate social space. Ideas, insights and emotions can be transmitted. Townsend calls this functional telepathy “telepathic urbanism.”
Telepathic Urbanism would help us experiment with new social ways of urban living that are based on real-time information and feedback. Thus we could get more out of the existing structures of cities and optimize our lives in them through a better representation of their energy, resource and material realities.
I would like to hear more on this topic... has me hooked!
Long-term use of mobile phones could be linked to brain tumours, a new study by scientists suggests. People who have used a mobile for 10 years or more seem to have a 39% higher risk of developing a type of tumour called a glioma on the side of their head where they hold their phone.
But scientists have urged caution in interpreting the results as a warning against using mobile phones. They argue that the results are of "borderline statistical significance" and that much of the supporting evidence does not show an overall link between phones and brain cancers.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
This from ''Thieves' tracked via satellite':
Fourteen GPS tracking systems were stolen last week from a warehouse in Babylon, New York. They were to be used to help the city council track lorries.
Police remotely activated the systems after the theft which lead them to the home of one of the alleged culprits.
"The GPS device is quite beneficial when we are looking for something," said Inspector Robert Casagne.
Beijing registered a record 22,079 new motor vehicles in the first 18 days of 2007. City planners expect the total number of cars, trucks and buses to pass three million by May and to top 3.3 million by the time the Beijing Olympic Games are held in 2008.
There are now 2.88 million motor vehicles in Beijing, including 2.06 million private vehicles. The number of people with driver’s licenses now exceeds 4.24 million.
“Private car owners in the capital use their cars four times more frequently than private car owners in Tokyo,” an expert said, blaming the high use of private cars for road congestion and serious air pollution in Beijing.
Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan is embarking on a major campaign to make public transit a primary mode of travel in the city:
*The municipal government plans to spend 4.98 billion yuan ($641 million) to develop public transport this year, an increase of 1.31 billion yuan (US$169 million) from last year.
*Separately, the city government will spend 11.67 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) this year to improve the public transport infrastructure.
*The city has also pledged to spend 100 billion yuan (US$12.9 billion) more in coming years on public transportation.
*The city’s subway and light rail systems will be extended to 273 km in 2010 and to 568 km in 2015.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Computer-centered networks and technologies are reshaping social relations and constituting new social domains on a global scale, from virtually borderless electronic markets and Internet-based large-scale conversations to worldwide open source software development communities, transnational corporate production systems, and the global knowledge-arenas associated with NGO networks. This book explores how such “digital formations” emerge from the ever-changing intersection of computer-centered technologies and the broad range of social contexts that underlie much of what happens in cyberspace.
Paul adds to this by commenting:
The networks of social, political, and economic governance that undergird the network age, are, as Latour says “local at all points” insofar as the nation state and other hierarchical legacy institutions of the industrial era no longer serve as intermediaries who mediate transnational connectivity. Panarchy is neither top-down nor bottom-up, because it is amorphous and polycentric, but some parts can be more concentrated, denser, than others, and Sassen has identified cities as one of the sites of interest, and informal, seemingly apolitical, motions as key emergent phenomena worthy of further investigation.
Monday, January 22, 2007
The city of New York, in a rather clever move, has decided to equip its 911 (emergency) and 311 (non-emergency) call centers with the ability to receive cameraphone pictures and videos.
This is one of those developments that makes so much sense, it's a wonder that nobody made it happen earlier. I have no doubt that we'll see other cities adopt this approach in the months to come, both in the US and internationally. As much as it has the potential for frivolous or malicious use -- just as regular 911 calls do -- it has the potential to give first responders a better idea of an emergency situation, allowing the professionals and the civilians to work together to evaluate conditions.
This goes some way towards the notion of sousveillance - the idea of the participatory panopticon.
A Sandia researcher says he has developed a simulation program designed to track the illicit trade in radiological material and predict who is building the next nuclear weapon and where they are doing it.
‘By using a cluster analysis algorithm coded into a program, I evaluated those traffic patterns and routes in which thefts, seizures, and destinations of materials were reported,’ said Sandia researcher David York. ’Data from these examinations were enough to allow me to retrospectively depict the A. Q. Kahn network before it was uncovered.’
Kahn is a Pakistani scientist linked to the illicit proliferation of nuclear technical knowledge. Cluster analyses link data of common place, time, or material. Testing a computer simulation on a known past event is one accepted means of establishing the program's validit
A niche market for this kind of program?
Digital Communities 2007 - Mobility/Mindset/Maturity: Call for Papers
After sixty years of electronic computing and a decade of commercialized Internet use, it is valuable to evaluate the influence of information technologies on our lives and to plan for an ICT enabled future. Among the emerging applications of ICT are its growing mobility and influence on our movements, and widespread adoption in many societies. The potential of ubiquitous information access and maturity of the basic technologies prompts consideration of our past experience and future preparedness.
While all topics associated with the spatial and social context of ICT are welcome, general topics of interest include:
* Mobility: The social, economic, and spatial implications of emerging information technologies that span the spectrum from enhanced mobile phones to ubiquitous computing, and shape our
ability to move and access information.
* Mindset: The way that individuals, organizations, and governments understand ICT and exploit and plan for future advances in information technologies. How do we conceptualize ICT; and do we need to change the way we perceive these technologies? What changes in mindset accompany the transition to ICT enabled intelligent development?
* Maturity: ICTs are no longer emerging technologies but, in many societies, well established elements for government, business, and social interaction. What does the maturity of ICT mean for development, policy and communities?
More details available online at www.digitalcommunities.info
Big city car parks are often full, so one US satellite radio station is aiming to stream information about space availability directly into the cockpit.
"There are hundreds of different parking garages spread across the United States where the garage owner has computer technology to tell them which spaces are empty or full," said David Butler of XM Satellite Radio.
"We are tapping into that information and sending it to your navigation system. The map will tell you where the parking garages are located, and how many empty spaces they have."
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Around the clock this nocturnal crew claws its way through the foliage of one of the world’s darkest urban jungles where an immeasurable number of smugglers, bandits and courageous migrants cross paths with them every day often times without even knowing it...
...And so, welcome to the brave new world of cross-border tunnel migration and militarization – and, what could be the glimpse of a future (sub)urban world as more nation states wall off their borders from the increasing flows of global migration.
Read the original post for some interesting facts and pictures into underground immigration...
Users can select a custom message to be encoded on their RFID chip, and when they cruise near an overhanging MINI billboard, their particular message lights up for the world (or at least nearby motorists) to see.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Prospero is an infrastructure to enable public displays to reflect evolving public participation.
The objectives of the Prospero project arise from two primary motivations: one descriptive, the other normative. First, technologies that foster cooperation enhance our relationship to our surroundings. Many of these technologies incorporate user feedback in real-time.
Read more at the Prospero Blog
Looks like an interesting venture to keep an eye on!
This year's CES - the world's largest consumer gadget show - boasts a wealth of new kit which aims to make it easier to access digital media around the home - and in particular on TV screens.
Ideas on what should be at the centre of it all vary, from PC-based media centres, digital video recorders or even video game consoles
Monday, January 15, 2007
Motorway culture and its discontents
Reclaiming cities for citizens
The war against the car
Transport for the future: the view from the railway industry
We live in the age of mobility. The flow of traffic is rising steadily throughout the world, moving from one metropolis to another or between suburbs and city centers. Traffic has become an important economic factor everywhere, for people come together to transact business only in places that offer the necessary mobility.
Today’s economic activity takes place in large urban centers. When megacities expand, they need to also make continuous improvements to the infrastructure. However, even the widest urban highways, with their tunnels and bridges, are not enough, for the number of private cars is increasing steadily worldwide.
It also discusses the negative consequences of mobility. 'Less is more' also discusses recent hybrid car designs.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
The video of the presentation of (futurist, writer, blogger, co-founder of worldchanging.com) Jamais Cascio on the Metaverse at Stanford on November 27 is available for viewing at Blip.tv. It’s a roughly 90-minute discussion of different scenarios of how new participatory immersive technologies could emerge.
Based on his work for the Metaverse Roadmap Overview, Jamais looked both at the underlying technologies of the Metaverse and at the social, cultural and economic impacts it could have.
And here is a video recording of Mike Liebhold speaking at Stanford Metaverse on November 8th 2007. Mike speaks about the Geospatial Web, Virtual Worlds, Augmented Reality and how they all fold together.The video of the presentation of (futurist, writer, blogger, co-founder of worldchanging.com) Jamais Cascio on the Metaverse at Stanford on November 27 is available for viewing at Blip.tv. It’s a roughly 90-minute discussion of different scenarios of how new participatory immersive technologies could emerge.
Read original post - 'Participatory immersive technologies'
Friday, January 12, 2007
The Personal Air Vehicle Centennial Challenge (PAV CC)is a $250,000 annual flight competition for small aircraft. Some key features of PAVs are:
* 200 mph “car” that flies above gridlock without traffic delays
* Quiet, safe, comfortable and reliable
* Able to be flown by anyone with a driver's license
* As affordable as travel by car or airliner
* Near all-weather, on-demand travel enabled by synthetic vision
* Highly fuel efficient and able to use alternative fuels
* Up to 800 mile range
* Walk to grandma’s from small residential airfields
A move towards individualised flying-cars??
Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder) and at NASA have used satellites to track the movements of people living in the Arenal region of Costa Rica more than 2,000 years ago. They've also used video-game software to virtually 'fly' above the footpaths taken by Central Americans between small villages and cemeteries. It's a fascinating story because Arenal Volcano is still very active and that the people who lived there didn't disappear as highly structured societies like the Maya and Aztec. And people living today in the Arenal region are certainly friendlier than your neighbors.
This research has been led by CU-Boulder Professor Payson Sheets, of the Center to Advance Research and Teaching in the Social Sciences (CARTSS) and who's focused on "Investigating The Origins of Monumentality in Ancient Costa Rica."
Via Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends
Thursday, January 11, 2007
People will be able to register on the MI5 website to receive updates when the threat level changes...The Home Office says it is part of a long-planned programme of reaching out to the public and keeping it better informed about the terrorist threat.
Plans to extend the service to sending text messages to mobile phones are also being considered.'
However, what is not being so widely reported is what such a shambles it has been! Not only the mess - but also importantly All email subscription web forms sent to the USA, without encryption
What a shambles over the heavily hyped "MI5 e-mail alert system", which failed to be available on Tuesday morning, as was implied in the media, but which has appeared on Tuesday evening, with all the appearance of a rushed job !
Spyblog notes that:
Astonishingly, MI5, the Security Service, part of whose remit is supposed to be giving protection advice against electronic attacks over the internet, is sending all our personal details (forename, surname and email address) unencrypted to commercial third party e-mail marketing and tracking companies which are physically and legally in the jurisdiction of the United States of America, and is even not bothering to make use of the SSL / TLS encrypted web forms and processing scripts which are already available to them.
Should the use of mobile technologies be allowed into state hands?? One wonders...
'The eventual aim is to turn the gathering of video evidence into a third forensic specialism alongside DNA analysis and fingerprinting. There are 4.2 million cameras in the UK but until now there has been no dedicated police unit to deal with the collection and dissemination of CCTV evidence.
If the new Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office (Viido), based at Southwark Police Station, is judged to be a success it could soon lead to the development of specialist CCTV units across the country.'
Do we really want more of Viido? I'd rather have more Fido please...
'A search engine that uses sophisticated facial recognition to allow users to identify and find people in online images will launch next month. But civil liberties groups say the biometric-style tool could compromise the privacy of anyone who has their picture online.
Search engine Polar Rose reconstructs the 3D shape of a person's face and then combines that with characteristics of their features to generate a unique "face print". This can then be used to search other photos for a match.'
Of course, such software flags important privacy concerns:
'Although this sounds like a great idea, I would not like to be searchable in this way, or so easily tracked without my consent... is similar to the kind of biometric database some governments wish to use'
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
'Mr Gates told a crowd of experts at the huge Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas how better use of communication technologies could change the way we travel. "It's got to be simple, with safe ways to get the driver involved," he said. "We've been investing in this for some time."
The system, called Sync, will integrate the car directly with the gadgets carried in the pockets of passengers. Cars will automatically connect to music players and mobile phones, allowing the driver to control them using their voice. By talking to the system, travellers will even be able to send text messages - or listen to ones that they have received as the computer reads them out loud.'
Read at Guardian Online
Read more at 'Ford-Microsoft software unveiled' on BBC Online
Also - a preview of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and Jonathan Kent meets the Asian game designers intent on catering for the gamers on their own doorstep.
'IBM plans to announce Wednesday that it has won two new customers for its radio frequency identification tracking software--an Italian subsidiary of Honda Motor and packaging maker Pliant.
Honda Italia Industriale, which sold 12.7 million scooters last year, plans to use RFID chips and IBM software to track motorcycle parts and tools circulating within its manufacturing plant in Atessa, Italy.
Pliant, based in Schaumburg, Ill., will sell a new RFID-embedded plastic wrap to consumer-goods companies that want to detect any tampering of their products in transit from manufacturer to distributor. Pliant is using IBM's software to keep track of RFID-marked cargo--everything from cereal boxes to diapers--in the warehouse.'
At least babies riding scooters can be tracked down!
'With one in three adults carrying a cellphone in Kenya, mobile telephony is having an economic and social impact whose is hard to grasp if you are used to living in a country with good roads, democracy and the internet. In five years the number of mobiles in Kenya has grown from one million to 6.5 million - while the number of landlines remains at about 300,000, mostly in government offices...
...Soon you will even be able to pay for a trip by Matutu by mobile phone. To find out how I zipped across Mombasa to the offices of Safaricom, one of the two network providers in Kenya, part owned by Vodafone. It let me film the launch of a project called M-Pesa - and, read my lips, I said "launch" not "trial".'
'About the documentary:
With an estimated four million surveillance cameras, Britain is by far the most-watched nation on earth. How could this come about in George Orwell’s mother country? Why haven’t other nations copied the schemes if they really are as successful as the Home Office and the police are saying? Is there a real effect in crime reduction or has CCTV only been introduced for the people’s ‘peace of mind’? Are there any vested interests in the proliferation of CCTV?'
Thanks for the tip James!
Lets start with some call for papers:
1) RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2007 28th – 31st August 2007, at the Royal Geographical Society with IBG, London.
The political geographies of the Mediterranean: conflicts and boundaries
Historically a source of cultural and economic dynamism, the circulation of people, objects, ideas and ways of life across the Mediterranean has taken a new edge with current global geopolitical and geo-economic processes. In the midst of greater connectivity and fluidity of exchanges and ongoing processes of de- and re-territorialization, the Mediterranean re-emerges as a hotspot for international conflicts. Analysts predict a deterioration of political stability in the region in the coming decades due to, inter alia, acute environmental degradation, scarcity of fossil fuels, and growing structural economic and demographic disjunctures between Europe, the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. Political, cultural and environmental conflicts and instabilities often underpin processes of place and region making and yet little is know about the relationship between the conflictive nature of the Mediterranean and emerging socio-spatialities both at the micro and macro levels.
This session explores emerging socio-spatialities within the increasingly transnational, instable and unsustainable nature of social, political, economic and environmental life of the region. We particularly encourage papers that go beyond predominant ways of conceiving social relations as occurring in self-enclosed territories (e.g. nation-state) and are sensitive to the complex and contingent processes of de- and re-territorialization, de- and re-scaling and continual openness and bordering of social, environmental, political and economic life (e.g. the EU, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, Euro-regions such as the Latin Arc).
Topics of interest for this session include though are not restricted to the following: refugee and detention camps, colonised territories, large scale ethnocidal violence, ethnic, religious or political conflicts verging on low intensity warfare, urban riots, conflict in cities, border controls, migration, trade routes, terrorism, water conflicts, environmental refugees, stressed environments, leisure landscapes and social segregation, global and regional inequalities, the EU, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, Euro-regions, networks of cities.
Keywords: Mediterranean, Sustainability, Conflict, Socio-spatialities.
If you would like to present a paper in this session, please send a title and an abstract (of no more than 200 words) to either Ramon Ribera-Fumaz firstname.lastname@example.org or to Javier Caletrío Garcerá email@example.com by 26th of January 2007.
2) Mobile Communication: Bringing Us Together or Tearing Us Apart?
International Communications Association Pre-conference Workshop #4
There has been much attention paid to the state of social cohesion during the past decade. Robert Putnam has helped us to focus on social capital and its status. Analysis in Europe and in Asia has looked into the interaction between ICTs (usually the Internet) and the state of socialization, and now McPherson has delivered an analysis on social isolation in the US. While it is possible to comment on the studies, the general message seems to be that we are growing apart rather than closer together. Or are we?
It is interesting to note that several studies focusing on mobile communication point at a different phenomena. Taking a clue from Licoppe’s “connected presence” and Katz & Aakhus’ perpetual contact, there is the sense that the threshold for interaction in the group – or the clique or the gang or the family – has never been lower. Among others, recent studies by Ishii and by Miyata in Japan, Lee in Korea, Reid and Reid in the UK, Banjo et al in the US and Ling et al in the broader European scene indicate that the groups who use mobile communication may indeed be more cohesive.
So what is it? Is it more, or less cohesion? Is the general trend towards individualization while the peer group is becoming more tightly intertwined? This is the theme that we wish to examine. While a portion of the program h as been arranged in advance, we are also seeking proposals from both qualitative and quantitative research projects that examine this question. Proposal abstracts are due by January 29, 2007 to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the final program will be assembled by February 23, 2007. Final papers are due by May 1. The program will accommodate up to 10 panel sessions, with discussants, depending upon the number and quality of proposals submitted.
The pre-conference is a joint effort by the University of Michigan Department of Communication Studies, Temple University, Microsoft Research and Telenor Research. It will be held at the San Francisco Hilton, the conference hotel, starting with a plenary session on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 23. There will be panels on Wednesday afternoon, followed by a reception. And there will be parallel sessions on Thursday, May 24, before and after a luncheon.
Cost: ICA Members: $40.00 USD
ICA Student members: $20.00 USD
Non-member price: $75.00
(Includes refreshments, lunch and reception)