Cultural Fragmentation, Globalization and International Morality

Bassam Tibi says political Islam offers the world a pathway he describes as "the new world disorder". This Islamic scholar also offers a more positive path of international morality.


Transcending the Quotidian

Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Human Transporter, explains his program First, which supports science education through robotics competition, says cultural change is needed in America, decreasing the emphasis on sports and entertainment celebs: "If we continue to celebrate nonsense, we'll continue to get more of it." Story by Steve Caulk, Rocky Mountain News, 9/20/02.


Fragmentation of Los Angeles Worries Some

Secessionist movements threaten the political integrity of America's cubist city: it's multi-layered, multi-perspectival, multi-cultural and the great amalgam of social, economic, and industrial diversity. In response LA United is try to aid those countering the secessionists.


Back-words Google Site Thwarts Chinese Censors

To overcome Chinese government blocking of the Google search site, a "mirror" site was created with the letters all reversed. This story from NewScientist gives this link for Elgoog, though it appears to blocked to me.


Bigmedia Sues Net Backbones to Block Chinese Downloads

They want to stop music downloads from Listen4ever.com, using a suit against AT&T Broadband , Cable and Wireless, Sprint and WorldCom's UUNet, who provide the big pipes for American internet access. Again, the powerful are threatened by a wide-open net and seek to cut out the offending part.


One Movie Seen Many Ways

Movie Masks is new software from Trology Studios of Salt Lake City that allows home viewers of movies to alter the viewing experience of 120 different movies, tuning out bad language or visual violence, according to the taste of the individual viewer. The underlying movie is never altered. This one ought to keep some lawyers. Movie artists are grumbling. What you create is no longer reliably your own vision when it's out there in the world. Viewers can experience the same movie in myriad new ways. Bill Redeker of ABCnews reports this story and suggests that discussions of movies may now enter confusing new incidents of multiple perspective.


Japan's Subcompact Car Wars Optimize Fragmentation

In a curious demonstration of one of Applied Cubism's favorite ideas, optimal fragmentation, the fierce competition in Japan's subcompact car market is delivering benefits to the car maker's competitive position outside of Japan. Todd Zaun reported this story in The Wall Street Journal of 8/5/02. First, we find that Japan has nine domestic car makers, a remarkable diversity in an age often portrayed as one of industrial consolidation. Second, their lively domestic market for small cars is shrinking. Nonetheless the car makers are spewing out a great variety of these cars (the Cube, the bB, the Vitz, the ist, the Platz, the Funcargo, the Fit, et al.), at record speeds, responding to the whims of the subcompacts' youthful buyers.

The benefit of all this activity has been that the car makers have learned and implemented myriad new efficiencies in both design and production of these cars. And these efficiencies are being passed on to the operations of Japan's largest auto makers, who have very profitable worldwide sales. The big carmakers are doing far better than either Detroit or Japan. More car models are being delivered in shorter time spans to reflect passing fancy in the market. This is not design for a decade (think '57 Chevy); this is design for the day, the "quotidien" of cubism. And they are doing in metal and plastic, not paper and ink.

The Walls Street Journal is a subscription site. The story is also reported by Yuri Kagyama, Associated Press.


Trans-borough Shift at Museum of Modern Art Makes for Architectural Cubism

Herbert Muschamp of the New York Times thinks architect Michael Maltzan's "lobby" for MOMA's Queens musuem has finally realized the benefits of architectural cubism to bridge the musuem's old reality and its new. "Mr. Maltzan's lobby is a study in counterpoint between the unifying grid of classical perspective and its fragmentation by artists from Braque and Picasso to the computer artists of today."


Web-Nervous Countries Create Fragnet

Saudi Arabia blocks sex, drugs & rock'nRoll. China could care less about that but goes after political activism. Read more in "Why Countries Make Sites Unseen", By Noah Shachtman in Wired.


Web Breeds Music Collage

While the music industry trys to figure out how to be the music industry, music fans are taking great delight in digital freedoms. Amongst their activities are collages called mashups, which layer multiple sources.





Transparent Layering of Commerce and Content

Advertising blended and dissolved into content will be a feature of the new cable channel, G4, a product of media giant Comcast. There will be aggressive product placement and also advertisements that feel like content. It's logical, given the subject matter of the channel, digital gaming, a self-contained world of media products.


Multi-Racial Americans Feel the Porousness of Racial Identity

Matt Kelley,of the Mavin Foundation, says in an article in LiP Magazine, "I don't get a race [box to check off], even though there are more multiracial babies born on the West coast than any other race except white babies." The article explores his experience of having a distinct racial identity that few can recognize.

The more sensitive we become to race, the less useful it becomes as a container. A positive value of race lies in understanding the individuality of a human; but racial identity has long been a favorite concept of those who think individuality should be supressed for group political gain. But it appears that, given time, biology's natural fragmentation will trump ideology.


Bill Gates Warns of Broken Windows

In his testimony in the States monopoly suit, Bill Gates said: "If the Windows platform were to fragment, the primary value it provides — the ability to provide compatibility across a wide range of software and hardware — would be lost." The states' lawyer Kuney pointed out that fragmentation already exists with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, XP etc. Gates replied, "It's a type of fragmentation."

Gates also revealed, in later testimony, that a modular form of Windows already exists: WindowsXP Embedded. It is designed for ATM's, cash registers, and other single purpose digital technologies. It lacks browser, media player, instant messaging, etc., that are so threatened by anti-trust fragmentation. Asked whether it could be made to run on a PC, Mr. Gates said, "Yes and No." Detailing that layered response, he said all it lacked was an installer so that other applications could be added.

Cubistro's favorite quote from the testimony appeared in The Register's article: "Absent steady advances in operating systems and applications, consumers have little reason to buy new software products since software never wears out. That is why it is especially important in the software industry that new product releases provide consumers with new capabilities." So the real reason why Windows fragmentation is such a problem is that it hurts someone's software business, not that it impedes getting work done.

Read more in USAtoday.

Read more in The Register.

Read Microsoft's Brief


Cyberschools Dissolve Boundaries, Funds Leak

Cyberschools have been getting funding from school districts around America as a result of the complexities of state laws mandating charter schools and other forms of competition in education. Reporting in The Wall Street Journal, Robert Tomsho describes the consternation this is causing in school districts who see their money leaking into other towns or counties, to educate students in their own districts. This technological dissolution also threatens teachers unions. And it raises new opportunities for complex accounting between school districts competing for students, as physical barriers dissappear.


TV Touts Tots "Multiple Intelligences"

Viacom and Disney are using Harvard University Professor Howard Gertner's theory of "multiple intelligences" in constructing new programming for preschoolers. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Sally Beatty reports that the media companies are using fancy educational theory to win over the parents who control the dial for this big audience, and who may otherwise listen to such authorities as the American Academy of Pediatrics . The Academy recommends no TV for kids under two since it inhibits proper development of the brain.


Fragmentation of Audience Threatens Network News

In an article in the Washington Post, discussing the weakness of network evening news, Howard Kurtz reports: "Aaron Brown, a CNN anchor, said those being talked about as successors — John Roberts at CBS, Brian Williams at NBC — simply lack broad exposure in an era of fragmented audiences."

Although the new direction of news absorbtion does carry with it the perils of "self editorship" for internet news, Kurtz article also note that cable news "uses a more informal style than the 'star-driven newscasts' of ABC, CBS and NBC where the anchors are paid $7 million to $10 million a year."


Media Mergers Mush Missions: Retreat from Optimal Fragmentation

The consolidation of media companies is the opposite of fragmentation. But cubo-analysts take note, it's dissolution and overlayering of form is distinctly cubist. Disney's move to replace Ted Koppel with David Letterman demonstrates how it's purchase of ABC has bent the mission of that news organizations as it is layered with Disney's mission of entertainment.

The media consolidation is a move away from optimal fragmentation. In the New York Times, William Safire laments the loss: "and with appeals courts approving the concentration of media power as if nothing had changed since President Taft's day, the checks and balances made possible by diverse competition are being eradicated. The longtime anti-business coloration of liberals reduces their ability to take on the convergence con. It is for conservatives to ask ourselves: Since when is bigness goodness?"

Multi-channel Shoppers are a Hit with Retailers

According to a study of Christmas 01 shopping by dataminer DoubleClick, people who shop using all three retail channels — stores, catalogs, and website — are bigger spenders than people who use only one or two channels.


Cubo-Clean: Layering and Smurfing in Money Laundering

Global money launderers use layering and fragmentation to hide flows of bashful cash. In Wired Magazine's Must Read , January 2002, Hugh Garvey describes layering as the process of distancing money from its source, via "a series of wire transfers or other system." A technique of fragmentation is called Smurfing; to avoid the federal oversight of transactions larger than $10,000, the transfers are broken into smaller packets. (See "Frag Bombers" .)


Iowa Fertilizer Creates Ocean Dead-Zone

Fragmented regulation allows agricultural runoff from America's heartland to create an expanding dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.