Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Monday, September 05, 2005

  The War on Error

Doc is doing amazing things for The War on Error.

As I was pumping gas today a bicyclist zoomed by a group of kids collecting money for Katrina victims. He passed them a 10 dollar bill without stopping. It was an amazing sight. And humbling. And wonderful all at the same time.

We have, with the Net, the most formidable vehicle getting people organized that has ever existed, and people like Jeff Jarvis are working at making it even more effective:We're in an age where the encyclopedias update in realtime!

And through my head all week has run through my head the refrain "Who will take responsibility?" from The Postman. When I was growing up we had half-assed drills on nuclear safety in our schools, so watered down as to be obviously useless and futile... but they didn't need to be. On the internet today are simple howto instructions for how to build a latrine, a water distillery, or a fallout shelter - and in many cultures with universal military service, these sorts of survival skills are embedded in the entire population.

How helpless would those remaining in New Orleans have been if they'd had these basic survival skills?

How helpless would those trying to help have been had they too had these skills? How more effective would the relief effort have been if our relief forces, fearing for the unprofessionalism of the populace pouring in to help, hadn't barred entry - and instead confidentally embraced and deputized every man and woman willing to help? If they had a plan for such volunteerism?

A friend commented:

Well, OK, some skills can be misapplied... but...

The power of an enabled, enraged, educated, alert, and compassionate populace is ours to make ever more real over the coming century in our War on Error.


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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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