Julian Assange is certainly an intricate and multi-layered man, without this mysterious demeanor it would be difficult to manage the massive undertaking that is WikiLeaks. The sub-headline of the Slate article on Assange pretty much encapsulated the “mantra” that ran through my mind as I continued to learn more about this fascinating character, “Is radical transparency compatible with total anonymity?”

How is it that Assange can so boldly demand that the government’s secrets be made transparent, yet he will not volunteer any personal details about himself. This ultra-secretive nature may often serve to protect the viability of WikiLeaks, but it doesn’t change the fact that Assange contradicts himself in not practicing what he preaches. The New Yorker piece uncovered a great deal for those eager to learn more about the leader of this anti-government institution, and a picture was painted of a thorough and shrewd individual so committed to his cause that basic survival needs were simply forgotten. His calculated moves to garner the most and clearly-defined public attention prove that he has a specific goal to accomplish. His mysterious nature leads me to believe that there’s probably a little more to this goal than Assange may publically admit. His delicate steps and constant paranoia suggest that there’s something deeper that’s troubling him, something that’s giving Assange the feeling that he is, or information he has, is going to be discovered.

It’s too bad the man’s too mysterious for me to even begin taking a stab at this one…

Raffi Khatchadourian’s article details Julian Assange’s creation WikiLeaks and the kind of work he and his staff do on it to bring truth to society. It’s an interesting idea that’s been discussed and argued a lot over the past few months. Do we have the right to know everything about our government and its practices, or is some information best left private to ensure the safety of ourselves and others?

Julian Assange clearly believes the former, and has taken countless steps to ensure that the material he posts will be seen by everyone who desires to find it. He has hired a team of Icelandic activists to delegate work on his Project B and is actively involved in searching for information and craftily finding ways to post it without it getting taken down. It seems like he’s thought of everything, from contacting Google to make sure YouTube would host the footage, to getting just enough details from the cops about a young volunteer’s arrest without giving too much to them in return. Despite all this, Assange and his team are used to the paranoia they constantly feel, which begs the question: does some part of him think that what he’s doing might be slightly immoral, or does he truly believe people should not be subjected to censored information in any way?

It’s an interesting debate to have, whether we as a unified society have the right to know the inner workings of our government and deserve better than government cover-ups and unjust laws. But many believe that the site is dangerous, especially to soldiers defending our country abroad and citizens here who think that information needs to be withheld to protect legitimate policies.

So, is Julian Assange a madman, who has the potential to transform our society into chaos, or a hero fighting for a censor-free society? And is a censor-free society a good thing, or a dangerous threat?

Whatever happened to meeting a guy at a café? At school?  Through friends? I’ve recently noticed that many of my friends are finding their boy/girlfriends via the internet. Oh, what our grandparents would think. It seems that dating sites are the matchmakers of the 21st century, able to generate a list of ‘like-minded’ potential partners in your area with similar interests. RIP, Cupid. When my desperate single self had signed up for a dating site a couple of years ago, I used to receive countless messages like “Hey cutie, u like da beatles? ME TOO! Message me.” Wow, who doesn’t? Is that really the best thing you could have chosen to comment on, from my super witty profile? After testing the waters and realizing that I was swimming in a sea of creeps, I deleted my account soon after.

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For months now, Peter has been unable to contain his fascination with his new music toy – a box with a keypad, backlit by LEDs, that can be connected to a computer. Its design is elegant, but it has no inherent functionality. Pressing one of the buttons sends a message to the computer and the computer can send a message to the device, lighting up one of the LEDs. That’s it.

It comes alive though with user-created software, or patches, as insiders like Peter call them. From there, the possibilities are endless: music, video games, art, sequencing DNA (whatever that means), and MIDI data generating applications. While the products of their labor are quite amazing, videos and recordings abound, the community that has flourished on the forums is the truly extraordinary biproduct of the monome. Driven by a set of environmental and economic ethics, they are committed to open source. They teach each other. They organize real world events to give live tutorials and share their wealth of knowledge. They keep much of their patches free.

While I am sure that I would like to do some sort of ethnographic research about this community, both through observing and participating in their forums and attending some of their events, I am not sure yet what research questions I am seeking to answer. I hope over the next few days to engage a bit more with the information that is readily available, identify some of the key players on the forum, and hone in on a more specific topic.

Recently location based applications like Foursquare and Facebook Places have been gaining popularity especially among smartphone users. The idea that people are willing to share their location to the world at any given time raised huge privacy issue. According to Foursquare, as of December 2010 there are over 5 million Foursquare users worldwide. That means about 5 million people are sharing to the world where they are at any given moment, and they don’t really mind who sees it. It used to be people would just go to a store and purchase whatever they like, but now, some people go to the store and check in to the place on their mobile phone. What’s the reason for people to feel the need to check in to places? To feel connected by telling people where they are? So people can find them? I definitely remembered thinking application like Foursquare will let stalker find me easier, but now I am an active user on Foursquare.

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