Some notes about mind control, the Census flap, privacy regulation,
Internet privacy panics, cheap pens, Moore's Law, the glorious future
of communism, and I can't even remember what else.

By popular demand, and for my own convenience as well, I have created
a Web page with all of the batches of URL's that I have sent to the
list.  Its URL is:

It includes something like 700 URL's.  Remarkably, almost all of them
still work, and most of them are still useful.  Relative newcomers to
the list will find lots of useful links further along on the page.

Many RRE readers have mysteriously disappeared from the list over the
last several months.  I documented 18 examples of this in a two-week
period and brought the question to our mailing list guru, Chad Jones.
He thinks that RRE is so large that our mail relay is choking, and
that this manifests itself in spurious DNS timeouts.  He is going to
experiment with it over the next few weeks.  With luck you won't hear
anything more about the problem.  Apologies to those who have been
cut adrift.  We hadn't detected the problem because 18 over a two-
week period is not a large percentage of the total turnover on the
list.  Two addresses go genuinely bad and about four people unsubscribe
voluntarily every day.  Meanwhile something like seven people per day
subscribe to the list, including some of the ones who were removed
by mistake.  In practice the subscription numbers stay very stable at
around 4000.

I'm still asking everyone to help me get "Networking on the Network"
into the hands of every PhD student in the world.  If you're at a
university, maybe you can pass it along to your local career center.
I gather that university career centers are focusing more attention
on career skills for graduate students, so maybe they will find it
useful.  The URL, once again, is:

I started writing how-to's in graduate school in the 1980s at MIT.
The faculty in that day decided that we were all so smart and well-
funded that they did not need to establish a curriculum or give us
any particular guidance about research or careers.  Being the sort
of people we were, we decided to organize and do it all ourselves.
My friend David Chapman went around and asked everyone for generic
advice for PhD students, and he put the whole thing into a document
called "How To Do Research".  He circulated it on the Internet --
which had existed for maybe one year at that point -- and found
that he had improved more people's lives overnight than he was ever
likely to by doing his research.  (You can find a link to it toward
the bottom of NotN.)

Later on, some of my fellow students joined Werner Erhard's cult,
which had developed a powerful set of mind games for persuading you
that your main purpose in life is persuading more people to join
Werner Erhard's cult.  I found this fascinating, and I spent a bunch
of time letting these people operate their mind games on me, just
so I could see how they worked.  I told them various deep secrets of
my life, and then I watched as they sucked my mind away.  (They did
not succeed, though for the sake of science I deliberately let them
get close.)  I learned a lot from this, and while I regard cults as
dangerous and destructive, I appropriated several aspects of Wernerism
that seemed useful.  One of these is the idea that you can improve
people's lives by providing them with a conceptual framework with
which to reflect upon and become aware of their own experiences.  I
think I already knew this, actually, but they reinforced it.  In fact,
Werner Erhard is a big student of Heidegger's "Being and Time" for
just this reason, and I taught a graduate seminar on "Being and Time"
at UCSD.

>From the Erhard people I also learned how useful it is for students
to know what they want to do with their lives.  I am teaching a course
called "Information and Institutions" to UCLA undergraduates next
term, and the course will require everyone to apply the ideas from
the readings to the institutions that figure in their plans for their
lives.  Some students, of course, will have no idea what they want to
do with their lives.  But if they don't know why they're there then
they'll drain energy from everyone else.  So I'll offer to help them
come up with a provisional plan for their lives, and if they decline
then I'll encourage them to go away.  We'll see what comes of this.

Finally, I found appealing the Erhard cultists' insistence on having
a purpose in your life that includes the whole world.  In their case,
that purpose always turns out to involve enrolling the whole world in
expensive workshops.  But forget about that.  The idea that you can
change the world by helping people understand their lives is surely
a good one.  We'll leave out the part about expensive workshops.  All
of my best advice is available online for free.

The US Census Bureau claims to be surprised at the degree of privacy
concern that has arisen lately over its "long form".  All I can say
is that the Census Bureau is run by idiots.  I was one of perhaps two
dozen privacy experts who were invited to the Census Bureau offices
in Maryland a few years ago to help the Census people prepare for the
2000 census, and during that meeting I was astounded at the depth of
cluelessness that the census people exhibited.  Of course they knew
about the federal Privacy Act, and they said good (and probably true)
things about their security precautions.  Anyone who had never set
foot outside of Washington would say that their butts were covered.
But the rest of us found their problems astounding, and I ended the
meeting by chewing them out at great length.

First of all, the Census Bureau was suffering from a dangerous case
of mission creep.  The most obvious problem is the huge variety of
questions on the Census form that are unrelated to the Constitutional
purpose of the Census.  Every one of those questions has an interest
group behind it, and the Census has little power to resist the piling-
on of questions from every agency in the government.  Much worse,
the Census was under great pressure to conduct an infinitely expanding
range of studies that would require Census data to be mixed with data
from other sources.  I strenuously warned them that this trend risked
discrediting their core function of counting heads for apportionment.

Second, the Census people informed us in an off-handed way that they
had already been engaging in a practice that I found astounding: in
follow-up interviews with people who had filled in census forms, they
were drawing on data from other government agencies in double-checking
the accuracy of the census data.  That is, they would say to people:
"on the census form you said X, but on this other form you said Y".
I am not making this up, and I warned them that it is a very bad idea.
For one thing, it's guaranteed to create paranoia.  For another thing,
the Census people don't know whether they are disclosing this other
information to the same member of the household who provided it.  I
encouraged them to think about a scenario wherein a remarried person
hasn't told their new spouse about children from a past marriage,
and the new spouse learns of these children from a Census worker.
Of course, we would all prefer that remarried spouses share that kind
of information with each other.  But it's not the government's job to
be revealing it.

Finally, I expressed my bewilderment at the Census Bureau's lack of
preparation for its meeting with the privacy experts.  It had never
occurred to them, for example, that we might want to look at the
current drafts of the census forms.  Despite all of the expense and
the full day taken out of our lives, the discussion never proceeded
beyond abstract generalities because the Census staff was not prepared
to discuss any of the specifics of their practices.

The current flap over the census, however, is not just the Census
Bureau's fault.  The ultimate responsibility lies with the Republican
Congress, which is once again hypocritically pretending that it is
not the government.  The Census is absolutely right that they are
collecting all of that information because Congress told them to,
and the Congress saw the list of questions in plenty of time to do
something about it if they wanted to.  Working for the government
is no fun because you're always trapped in this sort of double bind.

My complaint about the Internet's lack of distributed applications
remained operative for about a week.  Then the clones of Napster
started exploding onto the net; they have names like Wrapster and
Gnutella, they generalize Napster's decentralized sharing model to
many other types of files, and you will be hearing more about them.
But for the moment what you need to know is this: the distributed
killer app is communism.  "Communism" has become so identified with
its Leninist dispensation -- centralized planning and all that --
that we've largely forgotten what the word "communism" means: the
abolition of private property.  Communism is breaking out all over,
and this time it has the best possible PR.  Open source software is
proof that communism works, and everyone is cheering the dedicated
communists who are devotedly spreading the open source model to the
whole of the information society.  After all, the Russians were much
better off under communism than they are today, and it's too bad for
them that the glorious communist future is happening here instead.

I'm joking, of course.  It is only the libertarian enthusiasts of
open source who talk as if private property has been abolished and the
state has withered away.  I see little evidence that the open source
model can work much beyond the few narrow niches that Eric Raymond
has so brilliantly analyzed.  Server software, yes, because servers
are maintained by technically sophisticated people.  Device drivers,
yes, because the driver is useless without the device and the device
costs money, so that the device manufacturer has a great incentive
to let other people contribute their labor to the driver.  But mass
market consumer software?  I'll believe it when I see it.  The best
hope for open source, I think, comes from firms that find themselves
strategically trapped by monopolists like Microsoft, and who see
participation in open-source projects as a way out.  On this model,
open source is profitable not because it brings in revenue, but
because it avoids the payment of rents.  Assuming that standard
problems of free-ridership can somehow be overcome, this kind of
voluntary cooperation becomes the natural antidote to the structural
pathologies of capitalism.  Marx would be pleased, but he would know
that it's not really communism, and that it's not anarchism either.
Rather, it's just one more application of the legal superstructure
of capitalism.  Libertarians usually can't talk about this because
they've committed themselves to oversimple slogans about the evils
of "government intervention".  But the legal framework that open
source requires (e.g., the enforceability of the copyleft license)
is an example of "government intervention" too.  Open source only
sounds like communism if you imagine away the institutional substrate
that makes any complicated modern marketplace possible.

So what, then, of that other great outbreak of Internet communism, the
"sharing" of MP3 music files with Napster?  This time Marx is thrilled
to death.  Here we have a whole generation of dedicated communists,
all flouting bourgeois legality just as hard as they can.  Not only
that, but we have a whole elaborate morality play in which the big bad
capitalists are howling their ideologies, passing whatever laws they
want in the legislature, sending the police against anyone who crosses
them, eroding the traditional rights of the commons, and generally
doing what Marx said they did.  Everyone gets to resist the capitalist
bosses, and nobody gets shot.  Big fun.  But let's stop and get serious
for a moment.  Is this really what we want?  Are we really communists,
or are we simply indulging the fantasy that nothing real happens in
cyberspace?  Don't get me wrong: I'm not shilling for the agenda of
the capitalists, who in addition to being jerks are every bit the
dinosaurs they're made out to be.  By all means let's destroy the
existing institutions for producing, promoting, and distributing
music.  But will it be possible to build new and better institutions
if it's impossible for musicians to regulate the propagation of their
recordings in any way?  We don't know, and we won't know until we
understand what those alternative institutions are going to be like.

We need analysis.  Right now, as is usually the case, we are caught
between extremes.  We have the capitalists, who want property rights
to be defined and enforced in the maximal fashion, and who are busily
revolutionizing the law of intellectual property to that end.  We have
the communists, who want property rights to be eliminated altogether,
or who at least act like they do.  And, as is usually the case, each
extreme feeds on the other, justifying its own extremism by diverting
attention to the extremism of the other side.  Nobody points this out
because everybody is busily pushing back against the excesses of one
side or the other.  The excesses of one's own side don't count.  The
fact is, traditional intellectual property law has embodied a balance
between these two extremes.  That's what "fair use" is, for example,
and it's also why patents must be made public once they are issued.
That balance rested on the practicalities of the media -- paper, LP's,
and so on.  But now the practicalities are changing, and it's entirely
unclear what balance can rest on the practicalities of general-purpose
digital networks.

Guess what?  There's another database that you have to opt out of,
even though you've never heard of it: .
Free birthday lookups for anybody are the loss-leader for their paid
privacy-invasion service.  Visa, Mastercard, and Discover accepted.

Media commentary in the wake of DoubleClick's strategic retreat on
privacy invasion has not been illuminating.  Some have suggested that
online advertising requires personal information, which is at least
two giant steps from the truth.  More subtly, industry commentators
often presuppose that privacy regulation equals government (rather
than industry or consumers) deciding what happens with personal
information.  The idea is that government regulation is bad because
it takes away choice.  This, too, is far from the truth.  We must
distinguish between five ways that a democracy might act to protect

(1) The government might take non-regulatory actions such as
sponsoring research, organizing meetings, raising consciousness, and
setting rules for the government's own operation and procurement.

(2) Courts might be available to settle contract disputes relating to
personal information, try tort suits relating to the abuse of personal
information, and so on.

(3) Legislatures might pass general-purpose laws of fraud that make
parties accountable for representations made in the negotiation of
private contracts without otherwise constraining their content, and
these laws can be applied to electronically mediated activities just
the same as any others.

(4) Regulations might set ground rules for fair bargaining between
companies and consumers over the handling of personal information.
Companies might be obligated to notify consumers what information
is being collected and what might be done with it, consumers might
be given a right to inspect all records about them and correct bad
information, companies might be required to obtain express "opt-in"
permission before making secondary use of the information, and so on.
These ground rules having been established, the market would decide
what information is gathered and what happens to it.

(5) Regulations might limit what information might be collected and
what might be done with it.  Collected information might be limited
to that which is necessary to accomplish the stated purpose, secondary
use of identifiable medical information might be outlawed, and so on.

Options (1), (2), and (3) are not controversial.  What's unfortunate
is when industry people pretend that (4) does not exist, and that
"regulation" equals (5).  Now, it is a decent rule of thumb that
rules of type (5) should be avoided when rules of type (4) suffice
in both theory and practice.  But most existing and proposed privacy
regulations do in fact fall in category (4), including most of the
dreaded rules of the European Union.  These rules make sense.  It is
reasonable for the citizens of a democracy to choose privacy policies
that establish conditions for fair bargaining over their personal
information.  It is also reasonable for those citizens to choose
privacy policies of category (5) when fair bargaining is impossible
(for example, in conditions of monopoly, overwhelming complexity, or
duress, when the information is being collected by the government, or
when the information is intrinsically sensitive and has few important
secondary uses).  Opinions can differ as to the conditions under
which fair bargaining situations can be established.  The factors to
be considered in addition to laws include market mechanisms, technical
architecture, consumer education, and government actions of types
(1), (2), and (3).  What's needed, and often lacking, is a rational

Now, privacy activists often speak as though bargaining over personal
information can never be fair.  In practice these same activists tend
to support EU-style regulations, so they cannot really believe that.
In my experience, the activists who talk that way are trying to avoid
incomplete "reforms" that make it easier to transfer data without
actually creating the conditions for fair bargaining.  This concern
is legitimate and deserves further analysis.

Many people have written in response to my various rants about the
invisibility of data flows between personal computers and the Internet.
A few comments:

 * Several people have written to report with slack-jawed amazement
the stuff they've discovered after installing a firewall or packet
sniffer on their cable modem or DSL line: constant probing of their
machine by unknown parties on the Internet and huge amounts of
previously unsuspected traffic between applications and their vendors.
I've encouraged them to document their discoveries on Web pages. But
this is how it is with privacy problems: people whose privacy is
invaded are, almost by definition, usually not enthusiastic about
publicizing the problem.

 * I've gotten innumerable messages recommending little programs
that can be downloaded to defeat cookies or otherwise hack around the
many Web privacy and security problems. I do not want to publicize
those programs because they draw attention away from the real issue.
The vast majority of normal people do not comprehend the most basic
concepts of the Internet and Web well enough to understand the
problem, much less reason about whether it's wise to download some
little program. That's why the boundary between a person's computer
and the rest of the world needs to be made visible, so that the issues
become tangible.

 * Several people have told me about other simmering controversies
concerning invisible data flows between personal computers and the
Internet. One of these concerns a Windows program called Aureate,
which is installed invisibly and almost irreversibly on your hard
drive by a large number of other programs. Aureate runs a process that
"phones home" periodically to display advertising. Some false rumors
got started about the nature of the information about your computer
that Aureate sents back to its mother ship. The truth is basically
benign; for details see

The real problem is that the data flows are not visible. Nobody tells
you that this stuff is happening, and you can't see it happen. The
existence of false rumors is worrying, not least because it provides
an opening for propagandists to portray privacy concerns as the
product of feeble minds. Instead, we should see the existence of
rumors about Internet privacy as simply another manifestation of the
underlying problem: people can't see the information move for
themselves, so they have to take someone else's word for it. This is
not a healthy situation.

  * It's a symptom of the underlying problem here that the word
"transparency" means opposite things to computer people and privacy
policy people. To computer people, a data flow is "transparent" if the
user cannot see it. To a privacy policy person, a data flow is
"transparent" if the data subject can see it, or at least has
effective knowledge of it. I'm not the first person to notice this.

  * In the wake of DoubleClick's very public climbdown in the face
of protests against its Abacus privacy-invasion plans, I've had to read
all sorts of nonsense about the subject in places like the Wall Street
Journal editorial page. I even read an interview with the leader of a
prominent privacy self-regulation organization that pronounced the
Internet privacy situation hunky-dory and mocked those Chicken Littles
who think that the sky is falling. What fun it has been. But fun or
no, we have a big issue coming up here: the real-time transmission of
personal information back and forth across electronic boundaries whose
nature and workings are not visible to the people whose lives they
affect. We've had several instances by now of companies being caught
sucking people's information out of their personal computers and then
claiming they didn't even know they were doing it! What's really sorry
is that these claims are not altogether implausible.

  * This is a portent of things to come. Today it's just a few
personal computer applications, but tomorrow it'll be cars, television
sets, kitchen appliances, services based on cell phones, and heaven
knows what else -- networked devices chattering with their friends
across boundaries that their putative owners cannot even understand,
much less see or control. Part of the problem is technical: these
systems are designed wrong. But the real problem is institutional:
because the technical problems are so esoteric and the fruits of
wrongdoing are so abundant, the organizations that design and market
these systems do not experience the incentives they need to make them
work right. This can't last.

I have grown tired of being pilloried for discussing the role of a
democratic state in promoting efficiency and justice in a world that
is full of information technology. This business of interpreting all
state action as "interference", as if the state were some kind of
organized crime family, is intellectually irresponsible. The people
who talk this way are usually not anarchists, and yet they are not
willing to have a rational conversation about where to draw the line
between the government and everything else. I am especially bored
with dishonest phrases like "limited government", as if anyone was
defending unlimited government, and with uses of the word "government"
that draw no distinction between democratic governments and other,
less legitimate sorts. This sort of talk is basically an attempt
to make democracy unthinkable.  And if these simple appeals to logic
do not convince, listen to the words of the foremost modern theorist
of libertarianism, Friedrich Hayek. These passages come from his book
The Constitution of Liberty (University of Chicago Press, 1960), from
pages 221 through 231:

"To Adam Smith and his immediate successors the enforcement of the
ordinary rules of common law would certainly not have appeared as
government interference; nor would they ordinarily have applied this
term to an alteration of these rules or the passing of a new rule by
the legislature so long as it was intended to apply equally to all
people for an indefinite period of time. Though they perhaps never
explicitly said so, interference meant to them the exercise of the
coercive power of government which was not regular enforcement of the
general law and which was designed to achieve some specific purpose.
The important criterion was not the aim pursued, however, but the
method employed. There is perhaps no aim which they would not have
regarded as legitimate if it was clear that the people wanted it; but
they excluded as generally inadmissible in a free society the method
of specific orders and prohibitions. Only indirectly, by depriving
government of some means by which alone it might be able to attain
certain ends, may this principle deprive government of the power to
pursue those ends."

"The habitual appeal to the principle of non-interference in the fight
against all ill-considered or harmful measures has had the effect of
blurring the fundamental distinction between the kinds of measures
which are and those which are not compatible with a free system."

"A functioning market economy presupposes certain activities by
which its functioning will be assisted; and it can tolerate many
more, provided that they are of the kind which are compatible with a
functioning market. ... a government that is comparatively inactive
but does the wrong things may do much more to cripple the forces of a
market economy than one that is more concerned with economic affairs
but confines itself to actions which assist the spontaneous forces of
the economy."

"In so far as the government merely undertakes to supply services
which otherwise would not be supplied at all (usually because it is
not possible to confine the benefits to those prepared to pay for
them), the only question which arises is whether the benefits are
worth the cost. ... A great many of the activities which governments
have universally undertaken in this field and which fall within
the limits described are those which facilitate the acquisition of
reliable knowledge about facts of general significance. [So do] most
sanitary and health services, often the construction and maintenance
of roads, and many of the amenities provided by municipalities for the
inhabitants of cities."

"The range and variety of government action that is, at least in
principle, reconcilable with a free system is thus considerable.
The old formulae of laissez faire or non-intervention do not provide
us with an adequate criterion for distinguishing between what is
and what is not admissible in a free system. There is ample scope
for experimentation and improvement within that permanent legal
framework which makes it possible for a free society to operate most
efficiently. We can probably at no point be certain that we have
already found the best arrangements or institutions that will make
the market economy work as beneficially as it could. It is true that
after the essential conditions of a free system have been established,
all further institutional improvements are bound to be slow and
gradual. But the continuous growth of wealth and technological
knowledge which such a system makes possible will constantly suggest
new ways in which government might render services to its citizens and
bring such possibilities within the range of the practicable."

The other day I received an invitation to deliver a keynote speech
at a national conference of atheists. I am not making this up. The
conference organizer subscribes to RRE, and he evidently regards me
as a great opponent of religion. I had to think about this. Indeed,
I often rant about the bad religion that suffuses the culture of
technology, and about the abuses of religion that suffuse American
political culture.  But I want to be clear that I am not opposed to
religion -- only to bad religion.

The precise nature of my religious views is a subject for another
time. Suffice it to say that most of what I write here is motivated
by religious concerns. Take something as seemingly unreligious as
professional networking. Although I wrote "Networking on the Network"
mainly as social activism -- to provide everyone, regardless of social
background, with the clues they need to get the best hearing for their
work -- the main underlying ideas of that article are religious. I
contrast my approach to that of my friends on the left, many of whom
are so busy criticizing everything about society that they have sunk
into negativity. Certainly there is a lot to be negative about. But
unless you believe that the universe is fundamentally good, you are
either evil or crazy. The world may be bad on the surface, but it is
good underneath.

And that's how I designed "Networking on the Network" -- as a way to
really see the positive potential for community-building underneath
all of the junk that happens in the professional world. If you can't
see that positive potential, then you will manifest negativity in your
life. You will recruit others into it, and you will go around trashing
the world just to prove yourself right. Precisely how this is a
religious idea is also a topic for another time.

March of progress ...

  "... if you tried to smuggle the March 2000 offerings from Business
  2.0, the Red Herring, the Industry Standard, Wired, Upside and Fast
  Company onto a cross-country flight, a vigilant flight attendant
  would likely frown and ask you to gate check your carry-on. The
  combined heft of this month's issues weighs in at 12 pounds, 6.3
  ounces, heavier and certainly bulkier than even the most cumbersome
  laptop. ... The combined number of March pages: 2,884. ... Web
  companies spent more than $700 million on magazine advertising alone
  last year. That's 348 percent more than they did in 1998 ..." 

I've burned out on the subject of cheap pens, but let me clean up some
details. In response to my raving about the Zebra Zeb-Roller DX7's
that I bought in Ireland, an especially loyal RRE subscriber sent me
several copies of the Zeb-Roller 2000 -- a quite different pen, it
turns out, but fascinating in its own way. The Zeb-Roller 2000 wins
the prize for Most Masculine Pen. A regular stogie of a pen, it is
probably best-suited for guys whose hands are about three times the
size of my own. It has a great big rubberized grip and lots of liquid
ink. I still haven't gotten used to it. Another reader sent me a
couple of copies of the Zebra F-301 retractable ballpoint, which
despite being a ballpoint is elegant in its aluminum shaft and
interestingly carved rubber grip.

You'll also recall my complaint about the baroquely named Beifa Free
Ink Roller 0.5 Be-A3 that I bought in Sofia, the one that seemed more
like an X-Acto knife than a pen. Well, I finally figured out that the
Beifa is for people who write with a very light touch -- the opposite
of my own ham-handed writing style. Once I got used to it, it was
actually nice. But then, just as we were getting reconciled, it puked
on my hand. I tossed it in the trash bin next to a department store
pay phone. It was a poignant moment.

Three separate people have written to ask where they can obtain the
Pilot Hi-Tec-C pen. The answer, one of them was able to confirm for
me, is that you can order them over the phone from the Kinokuniya
store in San Francisco: (415) 567-7625. I don't know how much they
charge for shipping and so on, but you could ask them.

The f@shion for repl@cing "a" with "@" is not going to d@te well.

The other day I said that 10 gigahertz processors would be common by
2003.  I meant 2006. Well, actually, I just wish I meant 2006. Instead
I messed up a calculation from Moore's Law. Moore's Law needs to be
rewritten. Moore had very little data to go on when he formulated his
Law that processors get twice as powerful every 18 months. An engineer
can see the mathematical pattern in this Law -- an exponential
increase -- and calculate accordingly. But normal people need numbers
they can comprehend. A processor that's twice as fast doesn't change
the world, and 18 months is not an easy time period to think about.
It's much better to say that processors get 100 times as powerful
every 10 years. The numbers work out perfectly well, and they're much
easier to think about. Besides, institutional arrangements and
software standards are so conservative that only a factor of 100 in
processor power is capable of changing them, and 10 years is the
amount of time that most inventions have historically required to
change the world anyway. The Internet craze has been accompanied by
far too much short-term thinking. It's time to get back to thinking in
ten-year increments.

Despite the remarkable turnover in RRE's subscribers, it is still
approximately true (as I say) that the list has 4000 subscribers in 60
countries. The two-letter country codes for RRE subscribers' addresses
correspond to the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria,
Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Christmas
Island, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt,
Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary,
Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea,
Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Norway,
Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia,
Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey, Ukraine, United
Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela.  We can't be certain that the
subscribers are actually located in those countries, but it's a nice

Recommended: Peter Lunenfeld's "User" columns in art/text. There's an
awful lot of intellectual junk in the art world, but Peter Lunenfeld's
columns are different. He exuberantly slashes at all manner of stuff
and nonsense, including cultural studies' uncritical adulation of
television and the self-absorption of the video gaming culture. I also
recommend his upcoming book entitled "Snap to Grid". MIT Press asked
me to write a blurb for it, and here's what I wrote: "Snap to Grid
is brilliant.  Lunenfeld's aesthetic sensibility is a cleansing wind
that blows away the cyber fog and reveals the contours of a critical
practice of computing. His concisely written and endlessly observant
book will appeal to everyone who wants to bridge the artistic and
technical aspects of design."

My bibliography about public relations and propaganda was not intended
to be exhaustive, but I wish it had included the following:

Roger Ailes, You Are the Message: Getting What You Want by Being Who
You Are, New York: Doubleday, 1988.

Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies, On Ideology, London:
Hutchinson, 1978.

Eric Dezenhall, Nail 'Em! Confronting High-Profile Attacks on
Celebrities and Businesses, Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1999.

Brett Gary, The Nervous Liberals: Propaganda Anxieties from World War
I to the Cold War, Columbia University Press, 2000.

Alvin W. Gouldner, The Dialectic of Ideology and Technology: The
Origins, Grammar, and Future of Ideology, New York: Oxford University
Press, 1976.

Daniel C. Hallin, We Keep America on Top of the World: Television
Journalism and the Public Sphere, London: Routledge, 1994.

Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The
Political Economy of the Mass Media, New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.

Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds, The Invention of Tradition,
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Gideon Kunda, Engineering Culture: Control and Commitment in a
High-Tech Corporation, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992.

Jorge Larrain, The Concept of Ideology, London: Hutchinson,
1979. Raymond Williams, Culture, London: Fontana, 1971.

In my brief, snarky discussion of online newspapers, I was unfair to
the Guardian's web site . They do
provide summaries for many of their articles.

Here is the smartest thing I have read this month. It comes from an
article by James Fallows about cyberwealth and poverty in the 3/19/00
New York Times:

"'There is a historical puzzle to work out', says Michael Sandel, a
professor of government at Harvard. 'Today's accumulation of enormous
wealth is unparalleled since the last Gilded Age. But the Gilded Age
of a century ago brought in its wake a wave of progressive reform
and public investment -- in parks, libraries, schools, and municipal
projects. Today's gilded age, by contrast, hasn't generated any
comparable resolve to ease the effects of inequality by strengthening
public institutions.'

"Underneath all the incidental explanations, Sandel says, lay a
shift in the conception of what a 'nation' was and what might hold
a national community together. 'If you look back to the Progressive
Era,' he says, all of those public undertakings were consciously
part of nation building. 'Teddy Roosevelt spoke of a new nationalism.
Government undertook to regulate big business and the effects of great
wealth, in the name of the national interest. There were appeals to
a sense of national community, and to the mutual responsibilities of
citizens of the nation, that don't seem so readily available today.'

"And the root of the difference may be, he suggests, that the first
Gilded Age attended the growth of a national industrial base and
economy, whereas today's second wave largely reflects the emergence
of a global economy with global markets. Its beneficiaries pay less
attention to national borders when it comes to exploring markets,
and seeking finance, and recruiting workers -- and feeling connection
to other 'citizens'. 'There is something very abstract and distant
about the dependencies of the new economy,' he says. 'This may have
something to do with the difficulty of summoning Americans to a sense
of national community now.'"

Some URL's, mostly newspaper articles.

The Skyrage Foundation

Logging On to College

$2m Plot to Discredit Smoking Study Exposed,3604,156848,00.html

The New U

EFF Comments to DHHS on Medical Privacy

article about people in India working remotely for foreign companies

As Internet Clicks, College Fairs Begin to Drag

new B2B consortia,1151,13578,00.html

conclusions of law in Microsoft antitrust case

Battling Censorware,1151,13533,00.html

using lists of contributors on the FEC web site for lobbying

organization planning IMF / World Bank protests in Washington in April

How the Etoy Campaign Was Won

British Internet Service Provider Settles News Group Libel Case