Building understanding

In Linux Journal: Is Linux now a slave to corporate masters? I think it’s a serious question, though the comments there so far have not yielded a serious answer. I’m kinda surprised by that, but maybe it’s still early.

Speaking of Serious Stuff, Stephen Lewis visits The Infrastructure of Repression, and vice versa, at HakPakSak. A sample:

  To enforce the ban and prevent mass protests, the Turkish government bussed an army of police to Istanbul from throughout the country, stationing dozens of riot geared policemen at every street and alleyway leading to Taksim and to Istiqlal Caddesi, the main pedestrian artery that feeds into the square. Policemen carried truncheons, shields, automatic weapons, gas masks, and tear gas cannisters. Larger arteries were blocked by tank-mounted water cannons manned by police…

  The quickness and effectiveness of this shutdown of the infrastructure of urban movement of one of the world’s largest cities was alarmingly effective. By knowing exactly where the pressure points of urban movement are and how to pinch them, the government and police succeeded in isolating neighborhoods from neighborhoods, halting the movement of people, and putting a pulsing, hyper-alive city into a state of near sleep. Even the communications infrastructure of the present age — internet and mobile voice and sms — could not compensate for the atmosphere of isolation and the breakdown of information flows and of the ability to exercise the basic rights of citizenship that ensued when the infrastructure and freedom of physical movement, the most elementary components of cities and civilizations, were frozen.

While matters are far more peaceful here, infrastructure matters no less. Hence Comparing hard and soft infrastructure, another recent post in Linux Journal. This one vets what I’ve learned on photo explorations of infrastructure in Boston, Cambridge and the Minuteman Bike Trail. Try looking at them in slideshow mode. Click the “i” for information, and you’ll see the captions that go with each.

And here’s a Cinco de Mayo link roundup at the ProjectVRM blog.

6 comments

  1. Mike Warot’s avatar

    It’s really going to be interesting to see how quickly Helicopter Ben Bernanke is going to shut down our country by eroding the last 5 cents worth of value of the dollar.
    Real money has words like “1 OZ. FINE SILVER – ONE DOLLAR” on the back of it… and costs about $20. Thanks to Nixon we don’t have real money backing the “notes” any more. He said he did it to “help the working man”… I hope he’s burning in hell right now.
    –Mike–

  2. Mike Warot’s avatar

    PS. – But I’m not bitter… ;-)

  3. Doc Searls’s avatar

    As I recall, we went off the metal standard under President Johnson. In the mid-60s, when quarters switched from silver to sandwiches of cheaper metals they were called “johnson sandwiches”. I see Wikipedia has the same recollection. Without sources, but still correct.

  4. Don Marti’s avatar

    The best investment I made in 2007 was forgetting to change some of my Canadian money back to US dollars after OLS. Ka-ching!

    Can anyone name a corporate-funded contribution to Linux that has hurt it for non-corporate users? Just to pick two examples of “desktop” tasks, low latency and support for USB devices, Ingo Molnar gets paid by RHT and Greg K-H gets paid by NOVL.

  5. Amos Anan’s avatar

    I’m not sure what point you were making with the description of the shutting down of a major city by government to prevent any appearance of dissent and protest from the people of the nation involved.

    You didn’t have to go to Turkey for those very same sort of repressive measures. In New York City during the time of the 2004 Republican National Convention mid-town Manhattan was basically shut down. Broadway, Sixth Avenue, Seventh Avenue, and Eighth Avenue (and probably Ninth Avenue too – I didn’t verify that) were all closed within about a twenty block distance from Madison Square Garden, the site of the convention. Thousands of extra police were brought in to flood the midtown streets with literally dozens of police on every corner in the area. There were also military personal with automatic weapons at the ready.

    One aspect which might seem trivial but which I found somewhat repulsive was a line of police that I saw with truncheons that were much more like stick ball bats than night sticks. They were smacking them against their hands in an almost gleeful anticipation of their use. Demonstrators, when they were actually allowed to form parades and demonstrate were forbidden by law to use anything but cardboard tubes as supports for banners. Cardboard tubes compared to stick ball bats held by drooling police.

    Speaking of bike paths, next to the new bike path along the Hudson River a city parking garage was converted into a makeshift prison. Demonstrators, potential demonstrators (possible pre-crime perpetrators) and those bystanders unlucky enough to have been netted (again, literally, with orange construction fencing material) were held for days there without charge or appearance in any court – conveniently till the convention was over. The Hudson River was also patrolled by small Coast Guard boats with high caliber machine guns fore and aft.

    It’s one thing to control public demonstrations and prevent violence but quite another to prevent and inhibit wide spread popular expressions of dissent from within the public. When did the idea of temporary prisons called “free speech zones” become acceptable in America?

  6. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    Meh. Everybody goes to Taksim to express strong emotions — whether to celebrate or yell. The Turkish police are used to being able to shut it down. The north end of the street has a police barracks with a roof clearly designed to be used as an observation / shooting platform.

    Remember, this is a country where the military has had to rescue the populace from theocracy multiple times since the 20′s.

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