new Things I Ate in Cambodia: leopold's refuses to die, terrorists using the internet like everybody else (uh oh)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

leopold's refuses to die, terrorists using the internet like everybody else (uh oh)

A few more posts for today. First time Sacramento has NOT been overcast this week, but I certainly appreciated a little bit of blue sky. Fall is sort of vaguely occuring in New Orleans but has arrived in full force in Northern California: the first time I've walked through a pile of dried up crunchy leaves thus far this year. I am eminently thankful that I am NOT in Great Barrington where it is currently 23 degrees out with a high chance of snow. So very thankful.

Ate at Zen Sushi downtown tonight: pretty good. I especially liked the grilled smelts. Little smelly fish are something I can always get behind. Back to NOLA tomorrow for less then two weeks to knock out finals, then I'm back in Sacramento for a month for the holidays.

Some more updates on Mumbai...

Terrorists Turn Technology into weapon of war in Mumbai - The Courier-Mail, Australia

"However amid the arsenal of military hardware, it was the use of humble mobile phones and internet technology that proved a key weapon – one which caught the anti-terrorist forces by surprise.

The use of BlackBerrys by the terrorists to monitor international reaction to the atrocities, and to check on the police response via the internet, provided further evidence of the highly organised and sophisticated nature of the attacks.

The gunmen were able to trawl the internet for information after cable television feeds to the two luxury hotels and office block were cut by the authorities.

The men looked beyond the instant updates of the Indian media to find worldwide reaction to the events in Mumbai, and to keep abreast of the movements of the soldiers sent to stop them."

Another game-changing development. Terrorists are no longer content with delayed reaction to their violent and splashy actions: they want to know right now how people are responding. This behavior is in no way different from the behavior everyone else displays when they post a photo on Facebook or put up a blog post: we want a reaction now and furthermore, bigger is always better.

The fact that the terrorists used their Blackberries and the internet to monitor military and police actions is disquieting but, I believe, inevitable. The genie has been let out of the box in regards to monitoring what private individuals report on. Reporters and the private media can be controlled and monitored, but private individuals cannot be.

We hear a lot of positive things about total freedom of the press, but we rarely hear about the bad things. This is, unfortunately, an absolute case in point. An awkward question is (as I've previously mentioned) presented: if citizen reporting is dangerous, how do we control it? Should we control it? What could it mean if governments and other entities decide to begin to control it?

Looking at Twitter as A News Source - InformationWeek

"The issue with Twitter as a news source is that it's not organized to handle news reporting. Frankly it's a complete mess. Twitter users are tagging way too many messages which only adds to the noise. This noise makes allowing potential "real news" to get through nearly impossible. To see this in action, check out the Mumbai search on Twitter. The majority of posts are commentary and reposts of mainstream news (i.e. CNN said...).

If Twitter wants to be taken as a serious news source, they need to work on how the information is shared. Although Twitter should probably first focus on how they plan to generate revenue to maintain a going concern. Perhaps there's an opportunity for a new quick messaging tool that's for serious news only. There's definitely room in the market and if the tool can stay away from general commentary and personal messaging, it could redefine how news is reported into the major news outlets. Naturally the tool should support multiple media types (e.g. text, audio, video). If the information submitted to this new news reporting tool can be verified and noted as such, that could make the tool even more powerful."

I definitely see the logic here. As it stands, combing through Twitter posts is a giant pain in the ass, (though I liked one bloggers tactic of randomly searching to arrive at some form of consensus.) I also think the idea of a Twitter-like service primarily for "real" news is a good one, although I am also certain random douchewaffles would decide to use it report on alien moon-landings and the return of the Great Lord Xenu. But hopefully less then one might anticipate. Social media is definitely in its absolute infancy: we're going to have to sort out the kinks.

For the love of Leopold's Cafe - The Economic Times

"The establishment refuses to be cowed down by the dastardly attack and has decided that it will reopen its doors to the public tomorrow. And this despite the fact that a grenade hurled towards the bar has left a hole in the stone floor. The three stone pillars, partly responsible for shielding a number of visitors from the bullets, have also been peppered with shots.

Dehmiri though brushes aside the extent of damage and the money that repair work will cost and tells us that within the next couple of days a carpenter will begin to fix the place. As for security, he said he would continue with his current arrangement — a lone guard at the door.

Dehmiri and his staff are not alone in their determination to put Leo’s back on its feet. A global effort of sorts has been mounted via the internet to show solidarity with a cafe of which people of many nationalities have fond memories. The Twitter community has called for a vigil at 4 pm on Sunday outside Leopold’s Cafe in remembrance of those killed in the terror attacks across the city."

To use a cliche, bloodied but unbowed. All the Indians I've spoken to have said that Mumbai's greatest strength is its resiliency, its ability to pick itself up, dust itself off, and keep on moving onwards into the future. Leopold's Cafe is proving itself entirely representative. God bless em'. I hope to have some tandoori chicken and a snort of whiskey there very soon.

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