Networks: The Ecology of the Movements

I just finished reading an EXCELLENT essay called Networks: The Ecology of the Movements. It’s by the Notes From Nowhere Collective. It’s a CopyLeft work that I found in the book We Are Everywhere, edited by Notes from Nowhere. (Find places to buy the book here.)

CopyLeft is a license that permits people to freely copy, modify and redistribute software so long as they do not keep others from also having the right to freely copy, modify, and redistribute the software.

It really struck me as an excellent explanation of network centric activism, emergence, and swarming. One example from the Networks essay is the amazing section called; “Four Ways to Act Like an Ant and Dream Like a Giant“. It says, “If we want to build networks that behave like a swarm, these four rules from the ant world can guide us: More is differentStay smallEncourage randomnessListen to your neighbors…” All of these are examples of advice that a lot of blogers, podcasters, and grassroots journalist are following and may not even know it.

Read the essay in its entirety by clicking MORE bellow. (Thank you for making this work CopyLeft!) Thanks to the Narco News Bulletin for having a copy of this essay online.

Continue reading “Networks: The Ecology of the Movements”

Blogging and Podcasting Presentation

On Friday, May 20, 2005 Ruby and I gave a presentation at the RTPnet Conference about Blogging and Podcasting. (It’s an anual event about how non-profits can use technology more effectivly.) Our breakout session was from 2:15 to 3:45pm. We really enjoyed meeting everyone and learning from others. Here are the materials from the event.

PDF of our PowerPoint presentation
MP3 of my Podasting interveiw Demo, 31s 1.2MB 320kbps

I used the Olympus DS-2 to record the interview demo during our presentation.
Here is the DS-2 manufacture’s page, O’reilly has a review of the Olympus DS-2, and Froogle has a list of DS-2s for sale on several websites.

Update: Here is what some people are saying about our presentation. Jim Buie live blogged it. Calvin graciously let me record him for the above MP3. Beth read the pdf of our slides and linked to the non-profit blog examples Ruby gave. Smart! I wish we had recorded our session too. 🙁 Ah technical problems.

Making vs Lobbying reform movements

Rabble over at has a post called Follow up on the National Conference On Media Reform. It describes the tension between the two reform movements. The making your own media groups (one ex. Indymedia) and lobbying for media reform within the existing media establishment groups. I am absolutely in the making media reform crew, but feel caught inbetween sometimes. On one hand I’m in AmeriCorp and on a town tech committee (within established systems) on the other hand I make grassroots media and sometimes think traditional media should just be allowed to die a slow respectful death (outside established systems). Damn I’m split! How can I live in both worlds? Crazy thing is I enjoy it. If I can build bridges between the suits and the brilliant kids in the streets I will. (Maybe blow up ‘the bridges’ too. Metaphorically speaking that is.) But I will not facilitate the trade of someones individuality and personal rights – how ever they define them – to a Corporate entity with no feelings of it’s own.

6th Annual RTPnet Conference

The 6th Annual RTPnet Conference and Community Technology Awards is this Friday, May 20. It’s being held at the Friday Center at the University of North Carolina. This event is a state wide non-profit technology conference that’s mission is to help non-profits use technology more effectively. Check out the schedual for the event.

Ruby and I will be speaking at a breakout session from 2:15 to 3:45pm. We’ll show how blogging and podcasting can be used by non-profit organizations. Click more to read our session description. 🙂
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Time Management for Anarchists : The Movie

Time Management for Anarchists is a wonderful concept described in a flash movie. It’s title may seem like a oxymoron to some but for me it’s absolutely RIGHT ON! Working hard towards a fair classless society isn’t going to get done if you can’t make efficient use of your own time. There is just TOO MUCH TO DO. Thankfully there are many good suggestions within. Jim Munroe, the movie’s creator, has a talk about time management that he gives while showing this movie. Man I know some radical slackers who should hear this! As for myself I have a paper based date book that I write all my appointments and to-dos in. A pencil and paper just work better for me than a PDA. Now I need to do more project time estimates as Mr. Munroe suggests.

Interview with Ethan Clauset at the Carrboro Book Fair

Here you have a short interview with Ethan Clauset the main organizer of the Carrboro Book Fair in Carrboro, NC. The event was last Saturday May 7, 2005 and was sponsored by Internationalist Books and Community Center. I asked Ethan why he created the first annual Carrboro Book Fair and what his influences where. This was a grassroots lefty book event for small presses and authors to sell their work. They even had several readings and teach-ins on stuff like how to layout your own newspaper without a computer. AK Press, Crimethinc, Garrett County Press, Parcell Press, Stan Goff, Jon Eliston, and The Peoples Channel (a localpublic access tv station) were all there. Plus many many more. While I was at the book fair I bought a essay in book form called ‘On Bullshit‘ by Harry G. Frankfurt.

MP3 8m 20s 3.82MB 64kbps

The PodcasterCon Logo Design Contest

The PodcasterCon Logo Design Contest
Win a iPod Shuffle!

Help us spread the word about PodcasterCon and make our website look better by designing three graphics for us. We need a whole new color design.
1) 760 pixels Wide x 200 pixels High (Blog Top Banner)
2) 80 pixels Wide x 15 pixels High (Small Blog Badge)
3) 88 pixels Wide x 31 pixels High (Media Blog Badge)

All rules and requirements for the contest can be found here.


** Deadline for submissions is June 17, 2005 **
Please submit all designs to info (at) podcastercon (dot) org

One winner will be announced approximately a week after the deadline submission on the PodcasterCon blog at

Submit a design now!
** The PodcasterCon Logo Design Contest **

Trimtab: Individuals Exert Great Influence

In a email on the Digital Divide Network mailing list Dave Pentecost brought up the concept of the TRIMTAB. Here’s the definition he presented:

“trimtab” – a small unit that exerts great influence on the course of a large vessel.

I did a bit of google searching and found this page describing trimtab thusly:

So what’s a trimtab?
A trim tab is a tiny flap that controls the rudder on a ship or airplane. When the rudder needs to be moved, this tiny trimtab is adjusted which creates a low pressure area on one side and turns the rudder. Buckminster Fuller used the word to illustrate what an individual can do to turn the great ship of human society. Bucky’s gravestone says simply, “Call me Trimtab.”

The concept of a very small actor on a huge stage with LOTS of other actors having a significant effect on all of the other bodies is very important to grassroots efforts. This is especially true in a world were many of us feel increasingly without power to make a difference or bring about POSITIVE change.

We know now, more than ever, the roll the Internet can play in allowing the trimtab to exist and be empowered in global society. Now we all need to learn how to play the tiny flap, called the trimtab, with great finesse. Much of this seems to be about HOW WE WORK TOGETHER.

How can we “[C]reate a low pressure area on one side and turn the rudder”? If we look at this directive as a allegory for other things what is the rudder? What is the body of water that the rudder flows through?

Could the “rudder” represent politics and the water it flows in is our planet? Fuller believed he was the trimtab that moved the “ship of human society”.

What if the rudder is human communication (like media) and the water the rudder flows though are connections we all have between each of us. By making new media to communicate we strengthen and alter the connections we have between us and alter the direction of the “ship of human society”.