Segway? So what’s all the fuss?

This company called Segway have this great new thing called a Human Transporter that has gyroscopes in it and is fun to scoot around on. Everyone on the block will be really impressed if you’re the first to have one.

Reality is, no one is going to just go to Amazon and fork out the price of a small car for a Segway just to spin around town (well, almost no one). The marketing seems to be totally undirected, but the whole concept seems to be more geared at the young urban professional than anyone else. To my mind, this is exactly the type of people who are least likely to give up driving to work (although I suppose they may buy a Segway, but it will be fun, not because it’s practical.)

So what exactly are Segway and their financiers up to? (The people involved include John Doerr, arguably Silicon Valley’s foremost venture capitalist.) Are they really setting themselves and the world up for a big disappointment, or is there a fantastic, secret plan behind it all?
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Iraq: A cold, critical view

Here’s a quote from the Stratfor Weekly. Stratfor, the strategy forecasting company run by George Friedman tells it like it is. No propaganda, no ’embedding’, just straight-down-the-line geo-political strategy.

If the Iraq campaign ends as most expect, in a U.S. victory, the
most critical questions will be: What will be the next American
campaign in the war, and when will it happen? There are deep
pressures on the United States to call an extended halt to
operations while it regroups. However, events may not permit
this, and the place to be most concerned about is Iran.

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Blogs and Democracy?

For Joi Ito, blogs and computer communications are part of the key to ’emergent democracy’. Roughly speaking, ’emergent democracy’ is when the citizens begin to take direct responsibility for controlling the world around them, and public representatives and other ruling structures become less important.

I’m not quite sure that this idea is right.
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Blogging the Academy

Academic journals are the closest the paper media has to blogs. Like blogs, academic journal articles are full of references to other journal articles. Like the content of blogs, the articles are ‘peer reviewed’ for quality. Like authors of blogs, authors of journal articles don’t get any payment for their work.

Unlike blogs, however, you have to pay out a fistful of money to get a copy of an academic article. A single reprint of an article generally costs USD 15. A subscription will run into hundreds of dollars a year. But things are beginning to change in the Ivory Towers.
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