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Berkman Buzz, week of June 16, 2006

A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations. If you'd like to receive this by email, click here.

What’s going on…take your pick here or browse below.

* David Weinberger recaps discussion with Traci Fenton.
* Ethan Zuckerman questions coverage of Internet filtering in Africa.
* Derek Bambauer praises the virtues of inefficiency.
* Bill McGeveran provides background to Science Commons Addenda.
* Dan Gillmor questions statement of intent.
* Rebecca MacKinnon digs into corporate filtering differences in China.

The full buzz.

"Traci Fenton, founder of, is giving a Berkman lunchtime talk about organizational democracy. .... She says: In a democratic workplace, people get to decide which projects they work on and have access to the financial info about the company. This is the case at the GE Durham plant —150 employees and one manager. They make jet engines. All future GE plants will also use a democratic working style. Organizational democracy = "democratic principles applied to a business context." She cites Drucker, Wheatley, Senge, Hock, Semler, Collins, Fairtlough and Bower as sources of the idea. It's not about everyone voting but everyone having a voice..."
David Weinberger, "Traci Fenton on Organizational Democracy"

"But internet censorship doesn’t always make the headlines, especially when it takes place in Africa. As of late May, Ethiopia has apparently begun blocking Blogspot blogs, which dissidents inside and outside Ethiopia use to critique the government. The block on Blogspot blogs means that the majority of Ethiopian blogs Global Voices follows aren’t accessible to users within Ethiopia. While this development was reported on a couple of human rights sites and blogs, it’s had zero traction in the mainstream media. A search for “ethiopia” and “blogspot” on Google News yields four stories, none from mainstream news sources..."
Ethan Zuckerman, "Blogspot still blocked. Newspapers still silent."

"One of the Internet’s chief virtues is inefficiency. “Best effort” packet routing - as Jonathan Zittrain describes it, the “bucket brigade” where each link in the network tries to pass packets to the next hop, but without guarantees - is less efficient than a protocol that seeks to guarantee transmission and thereby minimizes bandwidth used to communicate. Stateless protocols, such as HTTP, can be less efficient: the server doesn’t keep information about my client or its state and so, by default, each request is a new session. For those of us with a penchant for law and economics as an analytical tool, this state of affairs seems initially sub-optimal.Yet inefficiency means that data is redundant - cached, preserved, more readily accessible...."
Derek Bambauer, "The Virtues of Inefficiency"

"The journals can always say no, but we have found in research for the Berkman Center’s “Digital Learning” white paper that many journals are willing to allow for some forms of open distribution if an author pushes them just a little. Science Commons has found the same, and notes that “We are aware of no instance in which a publisher has refused to publish an article where the author sought to retain some non-exclusive rights to the article.” Submitting an author’s addendum like one of these is a good means of applying that push...."
Bill McGeveran, "New Open Access Author's Addenda"

"Business is an easy place for me to start because the fraud and sithlord wannabes uncovered can not only create great stories of interest for the webite and HDNet World Report, but also allow me to buy and the sell the stocks of the company. A journalistic conflict you say ? Not any more. Not in this world. It will be fully disclosed and explained. This site is for the profit of its owners and we will buy and sell stocks that are discussed, before they are made available on the site. So make any decisions based on this information accordingly."
Dan Gillmor reposting, "Citizen Business Reporters, and Disclosure Issue, in New Site"

"The biggest concern is that according to my sources in the industry, Google and MSN are feeling a lot of pressure from Chinese authorities to be just like Yahoo! China. Employees of certain competitors do not hesitate to tattle on Google and MSN in order to gain competitive advantage. So the point is this: Unless companies band together and push back against Chinese government censorship pressure, it's going to become a very rapid race to the bottom..."
Rebecca MacKinnon, "China Censorship: Yahoo, Google and Microsoft compared"

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