Three Points to Remember

February in Paris, 1983. A group of student leaders are ushered into the presence of President Mitterand by huissiers. They stay slightly more than an hour, discussing Marxism-Leninism, youth, and society with the ever-inconsistent, sometimes brilliant, sometimes crooked, sometimes socialist and sometime fascist president. Years later, one of them, Jean-Claude Cambalebis remembers the three questions Mitterand advised him to deal with if he wanted to “avoid becoming Minister of Public Works”.

They were as follows: the first, he said, was Poland, or more specifically that spiritual power had defeated political power there. The second was the way Britain would never be European and would always prefer to maintain ties with its favoured trading partners in the Commonwealth. For the third, Mitterand produced an electronic listening device (un puce electronique) from his pocket and remarked that such things would “turn the organisation of work upside-down”.

23 years down-range from that meeting with the UNEF executive committee at the Elysée Palace, and ten years on from Mitterand’s death, how do those part-predictions, part-suggestions stack up?

More in the geek hole..
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Does relative size matter?

Over on almost a diary, I’ve recently mentionend a survey of German blogging called “Weblogs 2005 – Bloggen im deutschsprachigen Raum”, conducted by Jan Schmidt at the University of Bamberg. While the German blogger himself is a relatively unknown species to date, the relatively small size of the German blogosphere as a whole has been observed with some interest for a while now, particularly when compared to the French blogosphere, and the amount of attention blogs have suddenly gained in the so called German mainstream media. It’s one of the eternal questions of humanity asked a new variant: Does size matter?
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Show your love

You will all remember the Satin Pajama awards with great fondness, I trust. Lots of new blogs for everybody, staggeringly opulent prizes for the favoured few, and a juicy whiff of scandal into the bargain — good clean fun for the whole family.

Well, if you like that sort of thing, you’ll want to check out this year’s Koufax awards at the Wampum website. Unlike the Satin Pajamas, the Koufax awards are American, and unabashedly leftist1. But they will introduce you to some terrific writing, and your blogroll will be the better for it.

Here’s the thing, though: in America, bandwidth (like quality health care or influence over Republican politicians) apparently costs money. And because they are feckless socialist layabouts, the Wampumites aren’t showered with bushels of sweet, sweet cash from Richard Mellon Scaife and his like. So if you want to help them spread embittered Marxist-Leninist falsehoods, you should send them some money. PayPal and Amazon make this easy and painless. Or, if you prefer, you can send big chests stuffed with pirate gold to their snail mail address.
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Troubled Waters And No Bridge

Global Voices has a story (Hat Tip Financial Times and Simon World) about how China dissident Shi Tao has more than a little cause to be angry with Yahoo. Reporters Sans Frontiers, on analysing the text of the verdict in Shi Tao’s case (he was sentenced to 10 years in April for “divulging state secrets abroad”) , found that details supplied by Yahoo Holdings (Hong King) Ltd helped identify and convict him.

As Global Voices indicates Yahoo “provided the Chinese investigating organs with detailed information that apparently enabled them to link Shi’s personal e-mail account (on the Chinese Yahoo! service at and the specific message containing information treated as a “state secret” to the IP address of his computer”.

Now this raises a number of interesting issues.
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Freedom Blog Awards

The results of the Freedom Blog Awards organised by Reporters Without Borders are in.

Reporters Without Borders selected around 60 blogs that, each in their own way, defend freedom of expression. The organisation then asked Internet-users to vote for the prize-winners – one in each geographical category.

Go see. There are also a couple of European winners in this competition that reaches beyond the English-language blogosphere.