January 31, 2005

H5N1 tracking update

As I was reading the H5N1 reports this morning, it occurred to me to look at what I collected a year ago, so I marked up the log files with links by date. I'm not sure just what use this has --the initial thought was to compare the tracking of spread and reports of deaths, to make some sort of analysis of how the emerging story was being covered.

My collection of stories wasn't systematic, and perhaps emphasizes the bizarre (trained ducks replaced with racing pigs in a Vietnamese circus, reported 6 February...). I was as interested in how the story was being presented, how the press was voicing its response to what it was being told by "officials" and by its own reporters, as in the sequence of events.

In 2005, the blogosphere is a much more effective means to track events and to find commentary on the larger issues. At the moment, I'm especially impressed by Effect Measure (which covers a broad range of epidemiology issues) , Pathogen Alert, and recombinomics.com, but I have also set up RSS feeds for influenzapandemic.blogspot.com, and for occurrences in technorati and yahoo news [the latter two provide URLs that could be used with any RSS aggregator]. I haven't been following my Google News search very assiduously.

Posted by oook at 10:07 AM

January 23, 2005

Truly useful metaphor

Clay Shirky:

we are not driving a car, with gas, brakes, reverse and a lot of choice as to route. We are steering a kayak, pushed rapidily and monotonically down a route determined by the enviroment. We have a (very small) degree of control over our course in this particular stretch of river, and that control does not extend to being able to reverse, stop, or even significantly alter the direction we're moving in.

quoted by Cory Doctorow, who continues:

...could just as readily apply to changes in copyright, lossily compressed music, or spam: they are characteristics inherent in the ecology itself. The discussion needs to center around how to exist in their presence, not how to change them.

Update: Clay adds this:
The Web, meanwhile, is chaos. Chaos! You can link anything to anything else! Dewey would plotz if he saw such a tuml. How on earth can you organize the Web? It plainly isnít now, and it never can be.

Posted by oook at 07:59 AM