Archive for June 23, 2006

Transalation lation what’s your station?

June 23, 2006 Leave a comment

Here's a game, translate, retranslate, retranslate, and repeat watch how you phrase shifts using this non-human translations software. 

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Apple back at Best Buy.

June 23, 2006 Leave a comment

Best Buy is going to start selling Apples again, so I guess CompUsa is going to start selling peaches and cream.

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Is Virtual Community Community?

June 23, 2006 2 comments

Online communities are exploding across the web offering new opportunities to join social networks each day. This catches my attention with my longing and study of community over the last 20 years. I see it as part of a larger trends that has been in motion for over 100 years. The ideas that gave rise to the Enlightenment challenged the collectivists oppression of Europe and sought to make room for the value of the Individiual.

These ideas played a fundamental role in the shaping of America. When Alexis De Tocqueville visited America in the early nineteenth century, he was fascinated by our individualism and highly valued it. Yet, he warned of the dangers of unrestrained individualism that would destroy the common good. He suggested that America has certain restraining forces that held individualism in check: civic commitment, family, and communities of faith.

The power of these forces have eroded giving rise to a culture of individual right and lacking individual responsibility. The side effect is individuals feeling cut off from the whole resulting in alienation, loneliness, meaninglessness and desire for a connection to something greater then themselves. Kierkegaard noted this development in mid nineteenth century and many existintialists and postmoderns have built upon in the 20th century.

The current explosion of online communities is but another manifestation of humans trying to find a way to connect–just as we saw in the the communes of the 60s. Local manifestations include the rise of knitting circles, quilting and other clubs, smoking rooms, reading circles and even a small group movement in the church. I see online communties developing and reshaping for years to come, but our sense of individualism is so strong that I do not think they or many other attempts at building social networks successfully connecting people in authentic lifelong relationships.

There may be a few deep relationships of lifelong reciprical love emerging from these trends but there will also continue to be many lonely, disatisfied people. Just today Washington Post ran an article about the growing sense of isolation among American in spite of the explosion of social networks.

I think businesses, civic leaders and churches would be wise to study this trend and think deeply about what responsibility they may have in helping encourage the formation of community in the workplace, online, the local community and the houses of worship.

I see this struggle between individulism and community as a renewed struggle between the ancient philosophical problem of the one and the many. I will write more later about how I see the Trinity as a genuine response to this dilemna.

Looks Like Downloadable Movies are Almost Here

June 23, 2006 Leave a comment

Engadget reports that Netflix may release special set top box for downloading films before the end of the year. Rock!

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