Monthly Archives: November 2007

Life in public

Jeff Jarvis makes an interesting point about social networking, Google presence and generally being known on the internet:

look at the benefits of publicness: We can maintain richer friendships longer. We may be more careful to act civilly in public. We may become more forgiving of others’ lapses of civility and sense in the hopes that they will forgive ours: the golden rule of the social life online, I hope. We can make connections with people with shared interests and needs. We act more socially. We find we can do more together than apart. We invest in and protect our identities and communities. We organize and act collaboratively to improve this world. Yes, there are risks to publicness and to losing privacy. But the benefits of life in the public are great. That is what my private peers do not realize but what the young public understands in their souls.

I like his thinking. True, it’s idealistic, but he’s highlighting the positive aspects to having a public presence on the web.

There are obvious privacy concerns, and one must be aware of how one’s web history can come back to haunt. The upside, Jarvis argues, is that other people have similar pasts and must forgive yours should they expect to be forgiven themselves.

Besides, there’s no reason you can’t have a weblife in public and not maintain a substantial degree of privacy.

The Russian democracy

Russian politics is a strange beast. The elected leader is a strongman who rules with an iron grip, and is in the process of subverting the constitution to remain as de facto ruler. It calls itself a democracy, but then you have this:

Opposition leader and chess legend Garry Kasparov was jailed for five days Saturday after being arrested during a protest against President Vladimir Putin a week before parliamentary elections.

He was sentenced for organising an unsanctioned march and refusing to obey police orders, but told reporters the charges were “unfounded”.

And what if the pro-Putin marches had been unsanctioned? Would there have been a similar crackdown? I think you know the answer to that one.

Moving on

At the end of December I will be flying to the United Arab Emirates to start work at a new paper in Abu Dhabi. It’s a very exciting time — I have never worked on a start-up, and it’s ambitions and aims are really firing my imagination.

The paper, which will launch in the first quarter of next year, is being edited by Martin Newland, former editor of The Daily Telegraph and former deputy editor of the National Post. He has recruited people from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times as well as his previous titles. Some employees with a presence in the blogosphere include Rasheed Abou-Alsamh, the deputy comment editor, and Colin Randall, the executive news editor.

Although it will be a huge change for me, I just can’t afford to turn down this opportunity. I have been lucky to work with some wonderful and talented people in the Irish Examiner but I’m looking forward to taking on this new challenge.

I have an apartment which I will be renting from the company and I’m already plotting and planning what I’ll do with the place — though I’ll be sticking to the bare basics until I get settled.

Blogging will continue though, with a fresh perspective on the world at large. 😀

Stem cell breakthrough


Scientists have made ordinary human skin cells take on the chameleon-like powers of embryonic stem cells, a startling breakthrough that might someday deliver the medical payoffs of embryo cloning without the controversy.

The “direct reprogramming” technique avoids the swarm of ethical, political and practical obstacles that have stymied attempts to produce human stem cells by cloning embryos.

Scientists familiar with the work said scientific questions remain and that it’s still important to pursue the cloning strategy, but that the new work is a major coup.

There is a catch with the new technique. At this point, it requires disrupting the DNA of the skin cells, which creates the potential for developing cancer. So it would be unacceptable for the most touted use of embryonic cells: creating transplant tissue that in theory could be used to treat diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s, and spinal cord injury.But the DNA disruption is just a byproduct of the technique, and experts said they believe it can be avoided.

The Exciting Life of Friel

My Facebook friend Mary has begun blogging on life and her move back to Ireland:

I will also say that 2007 has been a year of great change for me… I’ve pretty much been through it all this year…. but I don’t want to get boring and send you all to sleep, so I’ll just say that 2007 is the year my life begins again… a clean slate and a perfect opportunity to start again…

… SO, I take this ‘once in a lifetime’ second chance, and I hope to make the very best of it…

Visit her here.