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Month June 2007

On Creativity

John Wesley:

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. -Einstein
The biggest misconception about creativity is that it involves a moment of magical creation when the incredible appears out of thin air. The truth is less romantic. Everything comes from somewhere. All ideas have been thought before and all artists, especially the most brilliant, have their sources of inspiration. I’m going to break Einstein’s famous rule by revealing some of my sources and explaining how I use the genius of others to further my own ambitions.

The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care

Jon Udell:

For each mapped variable, mousing over the displayed hospital referral regions yields the local, state, and national values for that variable.
It’s nicely done. There’s no question that, as of mid-2007, this is cutting-edge data interactivity for the mainstream. But times are changing fast. The Times sourced this data from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care.

Ancient Road, Timeless Trip

A few extraordinary photos from a drive across the ‘stans.

LA 1920 – 1990

UCLA Library Photo Project:

The UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library Department of Special Collections has selected and digitized 5,746 of the more than three million images contained in the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News photographic archives. The photographs chronicle the history and growth of Los Angeles from the 1920s to 1990.

This collection of digitized images is made available online by the UCLA Digital Library to assist a wide variety of researchers, including scholars, educators, students, writers, filmmakers, urban planners, community activists, librarians, and members of the general public.

On Wisconsin Photo Project

Mark Brautigam:

Mark Brautigam (b. 1972) is a photographer living in Milwaukee, WI. He attended the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps for four years.

Google’s Privacy Policy Criticized


Google Inc.’s privacy practices are the worst among the Internet’s top destinations, according to a watchdog group seeking to intensify the recent focus on how the online search leader handles personal information about its users….

There’s a Difference Between Politic Support for (Big and Small) Business

A friend recently remarked over lunch that the Bush Administration was decidedly pro-busines. I quickly corrected him by pointing out the the Administration is pro “BIG” business. There’s a difference. Case in point – Microsoft’s political power within the Bush Justice Department (here’s another example: 5.25% offshore corporate tax rate – supported by our Senators Feingold & Kohl):
Stephen Labaton:

Nearly a decade after the government began its landmark effort to break up Microsoft, the Bush administration has sharply changed course by repeatedly defending the company both in the United States and abroad against accusations of anticompetitive conduct, including the recent rejection of a complaint by Google.
In the most striking recent example of the policy shift, the top antitrust official at the Justice Department last month urged state prosecutors to reject a confidential antitrust complaint filed by Google that is tied to a consent decree that monitors Microsoft’s behavior. Google has accused Microsoft of designing its latest operating system, Vista, to discourage the use of Google’s desktop search program, lawyers involved in the case said.
The official, Thomas O. Barnett, an assistant attorney general, had until 2004 been a top antitrust partner at the law firm that has represented Microsoft in several antitrust disputes. At the firm, Justice Department officials said, he never worked on Microsoft matters. Still, for more than a year after arriving at the department, he removed himself from the case because of conflict of interest issues. Ethics lawyers ultimately cleared his involvement.
Mr. Barnett’s memo dismissing Google’s claims, sent to state attorneys general around the nation, alarmed many of them, they and other lawyers from five states said. Some state officials said they believed that Google’s complaint had merit. They also said that they could not recall receiving a request by any head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division to drop any inquiry.

Obama T-Shirt Sighting

Seen on the street. I’m told these t-shirts are available on Obama’s website.

Classic Volkswagen Transporter Pickup

Censorship ‘changes face of net’


Amnesty International has warned that the internet “could change beyond all recognition” unless action is taken against the erosion of online freedoms.
The warning comes ahead of a conference organised by Amnesty, where victims of repression will outline their plights.
The “virus of internet repression” has spread from a handful of countries to dozens of governments, said the group.
Amnesty accused companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo of being complicit in the problem.

Amnesty’s 2007 report can be found here.