Through WSJ Online which I follow on Twitter, I was alerted to Kuroda’s Wall Street Journal timely and informative opinion piece on Asia’s Food Crisis (2008-05-05). I realized that this article was rich in research-based information and provided an excellent summary of a pivotal moment in the social history time-line of the way in which “Wealth Disparities Will Intensify.” See Drummond and Tulk (2006). First I dugg Kuroda’s article.

Then I began a slow world rhizomic process using the semantic web with its microblogs, blogs, social bookmarking, aggregators and folksonomies locating this article at the centre of a dendronic cartography.

Leaving all the windows and tabs open on Firefox I worked with and between Adobe Photoshop, notepad, blogs, etc to produce this series of layered images which I call digitage. They conform to Powerpoint’s default size and highest resolution (1440 x 900). I saved them as .jpg to upload to the Flickr account using my new handy Flickr desktop uploader. These images Circum Asian Pacific Globe 2. “Globalization: Food, Fertilizer and Fuel“, 3. On the Tomato Trail 4. Consuming Questions: East and West were then combined into a .ppt PowerPoint file entitled “Food, Fertilizer, Fuel” which conforms to the default size. Once the presentation was uploaded I collected all the urls and transformed them into snurls. (Snurls are shortened urls that can also be used with microblogging services like Twitter.)

This article then on the East and West was a catalyst to my first “snurl cloud” or “snurl roll” on on Twitter. (A second snurl cloud links to the first: “Wealth Disparities Will Intensify also on Twitter (2008-05-06).

In a sense this is a virtual faint echo of Barndt’s Tangled Routes (2001). See also Flynn-Burhoe (2006-11-17) on the layered digitage linking tomatoes, French Fries, fast foods, high-meat-protein-consumption, Milton Friedman’s “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Profits” (1970), Cannibals with Forks and Barndt’s Tangled Routes: Women, Work and Globalization on the Tomato Trail (2001).

Webliography and Bibliography

Barndt, Deborah. 2001. Tangled Routes: Women, Work and Globalization on the Tomato Trail. Aurora, ON. Garamond Press.

Drummond, Don & Tulk, David (2006 ) Lifestyles of the Rich and Unequal: an Investigation into Wealth Inequality in Canada. TD Bank Financial Group.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2006. “Wealth Disparities Will Intensify (Drummond and Tulk 2006).” >> December 15, 2006.

Kuroda, Haruhiko. 2008. “Solving Asia’s Food Crisis“. Wall Street Journal Asia. May 5, 2008.


Merrill Lynch Bull Reflecting on Enron

Originally uploaded by ocean.flynn.

Tse, Tomoeh Murakami. 2008. “Economic Downturn Emboldens Shareholder Activists.” Washington Post. February 19, 2008.

tag cloud: corporate governance, senior executive compensation guidelines, New York, investor groups, plunging stock prices, executives, corporate board members, accountability, annual shareholder meetings shareholder, U.S. companies, credit crunch, activist investors, financial services companies, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual, shareholder proposals, major banks, transparency, discloser, risk management, mortgage-related risks, Wall Street investment firms, executive succession plans, credit-rating agencies, conflicts of interest, rate securities, security rating, CtW Investment, major financial institutions, subprime mortgage-related losses, shareholder value, economy, recession, investors, withhold votes, network of shareholder groups, multimillion-dollar payouts, financial executives, worst corporate performance, executive compensation, residential homebuilding crisis, credit crisis, corporate affairs, Laborers’ International Union of North America, shareholders, public, housing market decline, losses in securities related to subprime mortgages, five-year housing boom, that peaked in mid-2005, mortgage lenders, risky credit, Wall Street investment banks, complex securities, ultra-safe, AAA ratings, credit-rating agencies, defaulting mortgage payments, risk-averse, management experts, Enron scandal, shareholders challenged corporate boards, larger, more widespread losses, toxic subprime mortgages, investment portfolios, Wall Street banks, large institutional money managers, pension plans, small towns overseas, advocating changes in corporate governance, directors elected by majority of stockholders, shift to majority voting, Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at University of Delaware, shareholder resolutions, union pension funds, measure of shareholder unrest, high investor support, opportunity for hedge funds, shareholders with larger stakes, mount a takeover campaign for board seats, dissatisfied investors, opportunistism, challenge management, effect change, shareholders, improved disclosure, mortgage-related risks, Ryland Group, home builder, mortgage-lending unit, types of home loans, secondary market, fair disclosure rules, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, Beazer Homes, Securities and Exchange Commission, credit agencies, safe mortgage-backed securities, billions of dollars, mortgage-backed securities, safe investments, credit agencies, shareholder scrutiny, Moody’s, parent company, Standard & Poor’s, direct involvement, management potential conflicts of interest, enhancing independence, rotate lead analysts, hire outside firm, conduct regular reviews, rating process, customer feedback, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, write down securities, $46 billion, mortgage-related securities, restate value on company books, targets of shareholder proposals, AFL-CIO, limit executive employment agreements, exclude evergreen clauses, automatic renewal of employment agreements, shareholder approval, bans on accelerated vesting of stock options, ban on excise tax gross-ups, ban on paying executives’ taxes, response to CEO’s multimillion-dollar pay packages, senior executive compensation guidelines, current practices, expanded disclosure of succession plans, CtW Investment, directors responsible for risk oversight, risk oversight, protect shareholders, mortgage-related losses, epicenter of the meltdown, huge losses, destabilized market, value strategies, pension funds, corporate governance, protect shareholders’ interests, directors independent of management, audit committee,

From one of the tops on my blogroll reports on reporter Todd Bishop at Seattle P-I newspaper, who used a ‘gizmo’ to generate this tag cloud of Bill Gates’ address to the International Electronics Show. Readwriteweb provides the link to the full talk

ReadWriteWeb is delivered to my PC through my gmail every morning. I chuckled when I read the article and Dugg it immediately.

One of the things that I really appreciate about your way of working is the strenuous efforts you make to provide all relevant references. So I read Bill Gates’ key note address and I used ClearForest Gnosis
to tag cloud Gates’ article and I came up with a different cloud.

I am quite sure that I learned about Gnosis from your blog? Anyhow I think the device of tag clouds, that is also a feature of and my favourite feature in WordPress, is one of the best conceptual tools being explored on Web 2.0. (I inserted my delicious tag roll or tag cloud into my Blogger page, which is very much work-in-progress inuitartwebliography). I haven’t yet been able to figure out how to insert it into the widgets on my two (free) WordPress blogs. However, WordPress use of Featured Tags has been particularly kind to my 2 blogs speechless and papergirls and they actually generate reliable tag clouds with each of these Featured Tags. This will actually help me in writing articles since the tags clouds themselves become the article.

I have been using tag clouds as a thumbnail image of my own work and for complex texts.

For complicated texts like a book on Western political philosophy I prefer to generate my own using a pencil and paper. For this one of the Fraser Institute, a think tank in Canada similar to the Cato Institute in Washington, I used a cut and paste method while reading through their web site and annual reports. This is the tag cloud imageproduced in Adobe Photoshop and hosted on my Flickr account.

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Pure mathematics is not so pure anymore. Power, politics and control . . . that’s just the way it is in the Faulty Ivory Towers. But a new Internet approach might alter the topology of hard and soft science. The deep Internet is that part of the Net where only insiders can access. The Public Library of Science PLoS is challenged peer-review system.

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Poincare, Perelman, Hamilton, Yau

“It’s just the way it is,” isn’t anymore. As I read the Nasar and Grubermanifold New Yorker article (2006) I was deeply moved by the life story of Gregory Perelman who can live on a $100 a month and who managed to wipe out an entire branch of pure mathematics in a few years by working alone, even isolated in the slow world. He is described as an idealist, an ascetic, a Russian Jew who lives with his mother in a gray neighbourhood of gray apartment buildings. But in this article he shines brilliantly. He may be part of the answer to my own puzzle, the ethical dilemma of being an academic in the 21st century.

Henri Poincaré created a True Knowledge Gap in mathematics, giving rise to an entire branch in his discipline when he slipped in an offhand question that became the legendary problem of the 20th century (Nasar and Grubermanifold 2006).

By the nineteen-sixties, topology had become one of the most productive areas of mathematics, and young topologists were launching regular attacks on the Poincaré. To the astonishment of most mathematicians, it turned out that manifolds of the fourth, fifth, and higher dimensions were more tractable than those of the third dimension. By 1982, Poincaré’s conjecture had been proved in all dimensions except the third. In 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute, a private foundation that promotes mathematical research, named the Poincaré one of the seven most important outstanding problems in mathematics and offered a million dollars to anyone who could prove it.

In 1992 when Gregory Perelman (b. 1968) posted his solution to the problem on the Internet on a site used by mathematicians working with advanced concepts, he supplied enough information for the handful of minds capable of understanding to know that he had cracked it.

It took me a few days to feel I had understood enough of their article to appreciate it. I used my new Firefox add-on Gnosis.[1]

Why then did this story continue to unfold on some very messy battle Fields? Politics, power and control. To understand more fully, I worked out some of the ideas at Tim’s and in an easy chair playing with pictures. I also had to map out a brief timeline and the biographies of the main characters: Perelman, Hamilton, Yau, Tian, Zhu, Cao, Ball and Thurston. I played with the concepts of Knowledge Collisions in the Battle Fields of Mathematics but this was not about knowledge collisions on a level playing field.

Poincaré’s bagel, coffee mug handle, soccer ball and noose knot were great for starters. The table itself was easily transformed into a topology of Battle Fields. Cigars and necks protruded on the topological landscape like stalagmites. I laid a silk cloth over it all so it could drape over the edge of the table. I left a space on the table edge for a dented fender. The True Gap gaped like a crevice in an otherwise relatively level playing field. The coffee mug with its insignia of Stephen Hawkings casts a long shadow and the handle represented the branch of mathematics called topology. Since we are looking at a cross section of topological field the branch that has disappeared over the edge represents a small sorrow [2]

I didn’t know where to put Gregory Perelman my new hero, so I put a spoon in the coffee mug which he of course had stirred up. Then I balanced a swing at the top of it giving him a higher vantage point from which he can quietly survey the field. He swings slowly back and forth without those below noticing. All they can see is the spoon and the bottom of his swing. I turned him into a pearl and remembered a quote, “Not every sea has pearls . . .”

My early experiences in academia were entirely positive. It was only when I was in my fifth year of graduate studies, my second in my PhD that I began to realize the hidden power and politics behind the scenes in the ivory towers as one professor after another sought to gain control over academic and/or grant capital at any cost. I caught myself transforming campus towers into Freudian phallic symbols as I watched with dismay my PhD slipping away from me. I was disgusted mainly with my own naïvity, my lack of campus street-smarts but by then it was too late. It seems my university students in their twenties had figured it out long before I did. No wonder we all make fun of Ph.D.s!

So here I am typing away in my living room office with my old PC perched on this great glass-topped Business Depot computer desk, reflecting Mount Tzuhalem with the fire crackling off to my left and our family sound asleep. I’m emptying my PC into a dozen or more free Web 2.0 sites.

I’m not a Perelman but he is my hero. If you can only learn to live on $100 a month, keep access to the Internet, connect one’s PC’s memory to the free Web 2.0 you can sit back in the slow world and quietly watch a lifetime of experience upload to this strange virtual space we call the Internet.

Perelman’s copyright took the risk of losing his intellectual capital. For some Yau and his students really did deserve the Fields Award he received from Ball.

But for me I would rather face the perils of a Perelman Risk, tie my intellectual capital to my Creative Commons stake and at least let people share some of the amazing experiences I was privileged to have before the Fawlty Towers crumbled around me.


[1] See the article on ClearForest. I had to select a chunk of the article at a time for Gnosis to do its magic but undeniable it makes digesting lengthy, complex articles less cumbersome. At the most elemental level it is similar to the Google generated highlighted key words in .pdf files found in response to a user’s Google search inquiry. Gnosis uses a number of colour codes to highlight a number of themes which I am just trying to work out now.

[2] Its a bit like the death of a meteorite in a fiery explosion would be to the person who had named and followed the passage of the meteorite for decades.
[I have even heard on academic hearsay which is as reliable as Frank I suppose, so I should not repeat this but . . . this is not a journal it is a blog . . . an archaeologist explained to his First Nations guide (who later whispered this to me) that he would not reveal their findings in the field since it would be so hotly contested by his colleagues in his branch it would consume his entire career to defend it. Academic hearsay. Fireworks, not a meteor. Take away 5 credibility, legitimacy points from this author immediately!]

for its disciples.

Selected webliography

Swaminathan, Nikhil. 2006. peer_review_is_sooooo_old_school
Scientific American Blog. December 22, 2006.

Nasar, Sylvia , Grubermanifold, David. 2006.”Manifest Destiny.” The New Yorker: Fact. Annals of Mathematics. A legendary problem and the battle over who solved it. Issue of 2006-08-28; Posted 2006-08-21; accessed December 22, 2006.

Herper cites Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford neuroscientist and author of “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” (1998 [1994]) (based on the classic 1960’s study of 17,530 UK male civil servants) and

The 1960s big office versus cubicle argument

Dr. Marmot’s Whitehall classic study begun in the late 1960’s of 17,530 men in the British civil service concluded that higher ranking civil servants lived longer than those lower on the ladder. A 25-year follow-up of the Whitehall subjects of the same group concurred with the original findings.

The poor people have unhealthy lifestyles argument

Was it surprising when science confirmed that greater poverty levels increase risk of illness and earlier death as do life styles that include cigarette smoking, obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol. In 1998 the focus on NIH was on vulnerabilities based on social class and/or minority status.

Articles using the status argument re: wealth, health and death also refer to Dr. Jay R. Kaplan’s research findings that dominant monkeys with less stress who are fed a luxury diet fare better.

Robert Putman’s social capital argument

“For both blacks and whites, living in a neighborhood where social bonds have eroded may have negative effects on health. Dr. Robert Putnam of Harvard University coined the term “social capital” to describe the elements that contribute to social cohesion (Goode 1999).”

Dr. Ichiro Kawachi, director of the Harvard Center for Society and Health, has explored one aspect of social capital — interpersonal trust — and its relationship to national and community rates of illness and death. Dr. Kawachi and his colleagues correlated mortality rates in states with the percentage of state residents who agreed with the statement, ‘Most people would try to take advantage of you if they got the chance’ (Goode 1999).”

“Social class is an uncomfortable subject for many Americans. “I think there has been a resistance to thinking about social stratification in our society,” said Dr. Nancy Adler, professor of medical psychology at the University of California at San Francisco and director of the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health. Instead, researchers traditionally have focused on health differences between rich and poor, or blacks and whites (unaware, in many cases, that race often served as a proxy for socioeconomic status, since blacks are disproportionately represented in lower income brackets). But the notion that a mid-level executive with a three-bedroom, split-level in Scarsdale might somehow be more vulnerable to illness than his boss in the five-bedroom colonial a few blocks away seems to have finally captured scientists’ attention (Goode 1999).”

Those with greater vulnerability to social exclusion have a heightened risk to poverty, violence, inadequate access to health care, employment and education.


Goode, Erica, (1999), “For Good Health, It Helps To Be Rich and Important,”New York Times, June 1, 1999, Tuesday. Accessed November 23, 2006.

Herper, Matthew 2006. Why The Rich Live Longer. Forbes.

Kawachi I, Kennedy BP. 1999. “Income inequality and health: pathways and mechanisms.” Health Services Research, 1999 April; 34:215-227.The journal Health Services Research on the web.

Sapolsky, Robert M. 1998 [1994]. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. New York, Henry, Holt and Company.

Seligman, Dan 2004. “Why the Rich Live Longer.” Forbes. New York, Henry, Holt and Company: 113-114. stress

Shi L, Starfield B, Kennedy B, Kawachi I. 1999. “Income inequality, primary care, and health indicators.” Journal of Family Practice 1999 April;48(4):275-284.

Reflection Nebula NASA

© NASA: Hubble Heritage Project
NGC 1999, a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion

This nebula in the constellation Orion is a reflection nebula which does not emit visible light on its own but is illuminated by a neighbouring recently born white star, V380 Orionis which is visible left of center. NGC 1999 became famous when the first Herbig-Haro object was discovered next to it. Herbig-Haro objects are now known to be jets of gas ejected from very young stars. V380 Orionis has a mass three times that of our sun and it twice as hot on its surface. This jet-black cloud near the centre is an example of a “Bok globule,” (after Bart Bok) a dense, cold light-eating cloud which might be where new stars are formed.(NASA 2006)

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Hosted by NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration on their image of the day, November 21, 2006.



Fred Gage’s team at Salk Institute for Biological Studies (2006/08/16) reported in “Nature” that young cells compete with mature for connectivity. We know that the human brain produces new nerve cells throughout its life and new neurons may be key to learning new information (Biello, David, (06/08/14) ScAmerican).

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