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Tonight’s festivities… and booze

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Champange lovers… eat your heart out!

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Happy New Year!

  • Author: Adriana
  • Published: Dec 27th, 2005
  • Category: Quotes
  • Comments: 3

Quote to remember

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If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on your way down.

- Ray Bradbury quoted in the Carnival of Capitalists (for the week of December 26, 2005)

Hm, not 100% sure but it sounds a bit right…

  • Author: Adriana
  • Published: Dec 26th, 2005
  • Category: Travel
  • Comments: 1

Power and connections at Christmas

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Visiting Bratislava for a few days over Christmas I was really worried about being disconnected. Thankfully, right from the start I found a cafe with free wifi, cafe & co, which was truly broadband and functioning. Better yet, the place had liberally scattered power points, so spending a few hours there was not a problem. And the coffee was good too. This wonderfulness has been made possible by Siemens Business Services for reasons I can only speculate. Perhaps they worked out that if they make it easy for people to spend time there, they’ll come more often and buy more stuff. They certainly have my custom.

Alas, the cafe closed on 25th and 26th December, so I have to hunt for a new wifi haunt. Again I was in luck, a cafe with free wifi and decent coffee but no power outlets. This is a big deal for any internet junkie as most laptop batteries leave much to be desired. So full marks to Cafe & co for not stinging on electriciy and broadband.

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The power, the power!

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Who needs a mobile when you have Skype!

It’s back to London in a couple of hours though…

In the begining there was… apples

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One of best thing about travelling to Central Europe is the amount of (good quality) alcohol that gets consumed. It’s the opposite of binge drinking, a steady raising of glasses of various shapes – from shot glasses to wine glasses, with occassional beer thrown in for a good measure. It comes with conversations, cakes, reminescing and arguing – the usual family fare.

This trip is special as I got the chance to visit underground cellar where the best calvados known to man (and to this woman) is produced.

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Let’s see some potent potion made of apples. Well, mostly apples

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Behold the second distillation…

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It bubbles happily. 70% alcohol you say? Now we are talking…

Cold War decor

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Travelling to Moravia in the Czech republic to visit my father before Christmas. Taking local trains, the same I remember from the communist era. This is a sign for emergency brake. Note no English, just Czech, Russian, French and German. Those were days of heady antagonism when a mention of the US and UK would make the commies froth at the mouth. Strange to think of it as these days a different lot goes hysterical at the same mention…

Istanbul or Constantinople

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I have been travelling a lot in the last couple of weeks and this weekend I found myself in Istanbul. I was speaking at one of those huge regional conferences – I believe there were about 1,500 people, which is a scary thought. Fortunately, I talked to smaller audience, but still from a podium and behind a lectern. I am so ready for this format to implode. Why would anyone put up (and pay for!) being talked at for an hour(!) about… anything really?! Asking questions of the speakers yes, but listening to someone droning to the beat of a powerpoint presentation is not my idea of spending an hour of my life. And so I hate subjecting people to anything even remotely resembling that, but often I do not have much choice.

Be that as it may, I found myself in Istanbul and ready to explore the city. I have visited some of the sights, only had one day so far and if you really want to know how I feel about this place, I blogged about my impressions here. My favourite place has to be the Basilica Cistern. An amazing place, full of underground gloom and dark magic. It has very little to do with the Turkish city above the ground as it was build by the emperor Justinian in 6th century.

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And some strange looking green columns…

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And mysterious faces of Medusa (yes, the one with the snake hairdo) upside down and sideways…

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Well, that’s all folks. For now. There will be more when I get back to London and permanent internet connection.

Art in Hyatt

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Last night arrived in Istanbul. The hotel is actually beautiful with style and character. Well, as much as an international chain hotel can muster. Today is working day with two hour-long sessions at the 6th Marketing Summit (unbelievably, I can’t find any link to it!). Rather grand-sounding name for an event that should be about conversations. But I guess that’s just my bit. More to follow, tomorrow in pursuit of Constantinople…

The truth markets

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Charles Cooper of CNET New.com has a great piece about Wikipedia’s recent brush with precisely the kind of issue that most people bring up as an objection to the concept of an open collaborative resource.

In an op-ed published Thursday in USA Today, Seigenthaler wrote about his anguish after learning about a false Wikipedia entry that listed him as having been briefly suspected of involvement in the assassinations of both John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. The 78-year-old Seigenthaler–a former assistant attorney general working under Bobby Kennedy–got Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to delete the defamatory information in October. Unfortunately, that was four months after the original posting.

One of the joys of arguing with people about the plausibility of online collective wisdom, the networked conversations and the peer review nature of the blogosphere is being able to point at Wikipedia as the living and breathing example that these things work. It is a very powerful example as there are many people who would otherwise offer very convincing and erudite arguments how such things cannot possibly work. Just like with anything that changes the parameters of what they know. Charles Cooper pins down the elusive evolution of the new landscape:

On your ride home today, try pondering a future where Wikipedia’s model of competing versions of the truth becomes the norm. Will the increasing influence of the wisdom of the crowd force us to rethink the nature of knowledge? With the proliferation of the Internet, more voices inevitably will become part of that conversation.

It’s the conversation meme again and rightly so. Interactions between individuals, for their own reasons and on their own terms, give rise to what Weinberger calls ‘multi-subjectivity’. The technology that enables us to collate, structure and retrieve those interactions and conversations gives ‘multi-subjectivity’ the clout that only objectivity used to be able to claim – it usually came on the back of a ‘certified’ medium or some worthy institution. But the ability to articulate, share and revise many opinions is just another way of getting to the truth. And a more realistic one, in my opinion. And that is why I agree with this:

You can argue that epistemological revisionism goes on all the time. As a kid, I remember thumbing through a 1920s encyclopedia when I found a discussion of different racial categories. Someone reading the entry decades later would have found the assertions in that article to be nonsensical, if not borderline racist. But when the book was published, the people who might have corrected the record had no power over the publishing company printing up the product line. With the Internet, anyone with an online connection can chime in.

We’re still settling into the new order, and the Seigenthaler episode highlights the challenge of fairly refereeing the debate. Ostensibly, the objective is truth. But questions about the nature of truth date back to Plato and Aristotle. It’s a vexing argument that continues to the present day.

Driving by

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Somewhere in Paris past midnight.

  • Author: Adriana
  • Published: Dec 2nd, 2005
  • Category: Quotes
  • Comments: 2

Quote to remember

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Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance.

- G.K. Chesterton in The Speaker (1900)

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