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G21 - The World's Magazine of News & Commentary
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FELICITY USSHER on An Interactive World:

The Heathrow Express [Macromedia Flash Plug-in required. --- Ed.] is a fantastic invention for any frequent flyer who doesn't fancy passing through Houslow West, Boston Manor and Northfields on their way from the airport to central London. These tube stops take forever - so Londoners and visitors alike were delighted when an express train was set up last year to do the journey in fifteen minutes flat.

With the new service came technological innovation. The Heathrow Express' "Entertainment Zones" are where you'll find Express TV on eight screens per carriage, each with surround speakers so no-one can miss out on the non-news, the unwanted information and the advertisements. They should call them the Sponsored Zones instead, because there is only one reason why those screens were put there, in my opinion, and that's ad revenues.

IBM's "Magic Box" servers and Nortel's "mine is smaller than yours is" mobile phone are two of the most sophisticated advertisements on TV at the moment - and thanks to the Heathrow Express, they are presented to most of the wealthiest, most technologically literate people in the world. What a valuable audience - and the only way to avoid it is to leave the carriage. Heathrow Express must be making a fortune.

But hey, what's wrong with that? It sounds like a great opportunity for new business. Yes, but no. My objection is that developments like this are missing the point of the information age. And if you'll read on, you'll see that corporates are creaming new profits off public ignorance about what the information era can do for them.

The business men and women of this world, rushing from one strategy meeting to the next, seem to accept that entering the technological era means having high-tech services blasting information at them wherever they go. But it does not.

To start with, the content of Heathrow Express TV is pointless. What good can it do anyone arriving in the UK to get the latest media spin on the Northern Ireland peace process? Take a guess - either the talks are in crisis (again) or (again) they are on the brink of peace. BBC Worldwide, which provides the train's news service, seems to get all its leads from yesterday's papers. But even if the news was well-researched, why should everybody have to hear it? It is the sort of information you should be given the choice to hear. Even better, you should be able to choose not just whether to listen to it, but when and where...
A space holder.

Read the full commentary in MEMOIRS OF THE INFORMATION AGE

JOHN MCGINNIS responds to the G21:

[Upon reading last week's DAY ONE, MOIA List member John McGinnis fired off an OP ED piece which we reprint with his permission. --- Ed.]

We don't have a winner in the bunch for president this time around. (Reagan might be better even with Alzheimer's.)

Yes, the school systems, especially in the large cities, are in terrible shape.

The crime rates in some segments of the populace are terrible (black and hispanic communities the worst).

Yes! "Advisors" say that Hillary will run in New York.
A satirical view of Hillary Clinton.
The plans/policies gaff is truly part of the problem. But I don't buy the rest of the argument.
  • First of all let's understand that our forefathers were bunch of rich capitalist landowners. Some earned it, others had it given by the crown. They saw three issues at stake -- property needed to be protected, greed was inherient in the human condition so you need to have structure that channels it construtively, protection of papers that define property needed protection from illegal search and seizure. So from DAY ONE THIS COUNTRY HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT MONEY (CAPITAL).
  • However with all of that our forefathers also feared unfettered capitalism. They believed that it was wrong to have capital passed down from generation to generation growing ever more powerful. They instituted federal estate taxation laws to blunt its affect and saw the federal governmemnt as the only remedy at the time. (Remember that this is a time before corporations where most enterprises were propertiorships.). For their day it was an effective tool.
  • We have a large prison population for one reason -- too many laws have been federalized. One can now be incarerated for possession of a very small vial of drugs. If you look at the prison populations, many are in jail for nonviolent crimes through drug possession, money laundering, or tax evasion purposes....

Read the full commentary in DAY ONE

MY GLASS HOUSE features Rod's latest maunderings ... (Read it INSIDE.)

Generating energy for the 21st Century.

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