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December 11, 2003

Shashi Shocked. Kofi Annan's man for Communications and Public Information, Shashi Tharoor, got a bolt from the blue on Wednesday from Professor Annabelle Sreberny, visiting professor at SOAS, University of London.

She interrupted Shashi just as he was winding up a session called View from the Bridge and pointed out that none of the grandees on the bridge or the several voices called from the floor was female.

For the record the male grandees were:German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, the Chilean boss of the International Labour Organisation Juan Somavia and American armed forces consultant John Rendon - plus, on a big screen, BBC boss Greg Dyke detained in London by fog.
Claire Regan @ 11:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 02, 2003

Shame and Ridicule. A few weeks ago, Sony was brought low by the power of distributed computing. Allow Ghenwivar to tell the story: "On monday November 17th, in the most amazing and exciting battle ever, Ascending Dawn, Wudan and Magus Imperialis Magicus defeated Kerafyrm, also known as The Sleeper, for the first time ever on an EverQuest server."

For the unitiated, Everquest is "the world's #1 massively multiplayer online game" and recently its owner, Sony Online Entertainment, decided to spice things up by creating an "unkillable" monster. Big mistake.

People love a challenge - and many full-on gamers have (an at least slightly) obsessive nature. So 200 players, from the world's top guilds, clubbed together and spent four hours... clubbing the thing to the ground.

And they had to do it twice - because the first time Sony couldn't believe what was happening and simply pulled the plug.

So why does this matter? Well two reasons that I can see. First, as Reason's Hit and Run points out, it demonstrates how powerful networks can be: "The basic problem for any central entity trying to cope with a very distributed computing network. Anything you build will face tens of thousands of man hours dedicated to taking it apart."

And second, as Andrew Phelps (a technology professor and hardcore gamer) puts it, Sony's reaction to challenge (if you don't play by our rules, then we'll change them) shows how little big companies understand about the forces they've unleashed.

"We thought you understood us better," Andy admonishes. "The fact you let it happen the next night means very little - the point is on that first magical evening when warriors rode off to battle the supreme, you meddled. They thought of something you didn't, something legal by the rules of the game you set forward, and you meddled. In the parlance of the world you created: 'shame & ridicule'."
David Steven @ 10:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 26, 2003

WSIS stunts volume 1 - A t-shirt campaign, run by NGO Gender Strategies Working Group, has had government delegates craning their necks to read a message that until now had fallen upon deaf ears.

Ahmed Reda @ 11:58 PM | TrackBack

November 25, 2003

Hijab news. Khadija Bin Ghena, established newsreader on Al-Jazeera, read her bulletin on 24 November in the same way she has done for the past five years; except, for the first time, she was wearing Hijab. In both Arab and Western societies few expect a female journalist, to do so, probably due to misconceptions about Muhajjabat (women in headscarfs) - generally perceived as subordinate rather that self-motivated and independent. Ultimately, the issue of Hijab has gone beyond religious and social dimensions, namely in Turkey and Europe, and, as such, it's something that should be discussed at WSIS.

Katia Nasser @ 10:29 PM | TrackBack

November 11, 2003

Women and WSIS- "Isis International Manila is organising the Panel Presentation "Globalised Media and ICT Systems and its Intersection with Globalisation, Fundamentalism and Militarism" as part of its active engagement in the WSIS process. The Panel Presentation will be conducted within the parallel WSIS space booked by the NGO Gender Strategies Working Group (NGO GSWG) on 10 December 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland."

Ahmed Reda @ 12:31 AM

November 10, 2003

Conflict Women. The internet is being used as a tool to help track the impact of armed conflict on women, and women's roles in peace-building. The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) has launched a web portal with information on women in conflict zones. Three years since a UN Security Council resolution called for prosecution of crimes against women and increased protection of women and children during war, UNIFEM says information is still scarce and scattered.

Cara Swift @ 01:37 PM | TrackBack
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