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Best of Blogs Round-Up: Monday, March 20, 2006

Quote of the day: "I often muck around on a Bulletin Board and it has to be said that there really are people out there who are more stupid than I am".--My Boyfriend Is a Twat

 

Featured Blog, I: Slavery's Genealogy
We Were Not Alone

In my family - as in many families - we've been gifted with stories from past generations; stories packed with mystery, intrigue, and pride from the kind of dignity that rose up despite slavery. They are the kind of stories that make family names immortal and serve as springboards to dive into the unrelenting search for more family members past and present.

For the past twelve years I have been consumed with finding my family. My search began due to the curious matter of not knowing anyone on my father's side of the family other than his parents. During childhood and all the way into our adult lives, my siblings and I had not known one cousin, aunt, or uncle who shared our surname. In fact, we were the only Ighners who were ever listed in the Houston phone book. Though we felt to be adrift at times on our own little iceberg, we huddled together and protected the name we knew nothing about, but loved.

My surname is IGHNER. The original spelling of the name is EIGHNER, later it became EIGNER and also IGNER. Some years after my great-grandfather had migrated from South Carolina to Texas, he reinstated the "h" back into our name. No matter the spelling, it is pronounced Eye-ge-ner. Read the rest at Diggin Up Bones...

Featured Blog, II: Defensive R&D
What Military Won't Learn from the Tech Revolution

There's a big debate going on right now within the US military/political/industrial establishment over the future of defense spending: between those that would spend huge amounts of money on transforming the military so that it could build nations/fight guerrillas and those that would continue business as usual (great power conventional war).

This debate reminds me of an experience I had back in 1993/94. At that time, technological advances in networking and computer technology had reached a critical point: the level at where a multi-use global interactive network could be built. Naturally, some of the incumbent monopoly network owners (telcos and cable companies) saw themselves as the primary beneficiaries and were abuzz about the of potential new revenue streams from broadband interactive TV networks (iTV). In response, new grand projects and gee-whiz prototypes of video on demand were being launched/announced nearly every month.

I was deeply immersed in the big trend (as I usually am) and had the chance to spend lots of time with some of the change agents at the telcos working on these systems -- running business models, analyzing technology, and imagining the future. However, it soon became apparent to me that this hype was going nowhere. The reason was simple: these systems required a huge upfront investment (measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars) on the promise of ill defined future benefits (revenue streams from interactive projects that were merely in the "visionary" stage). Read the rest at Global Guerillas...


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