Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Blogs are becoming powerful tools of first-hand journalism, most recently evidenced by the conflict going on in Myanmar. A London blogger named Ko Htike has been blogging the violence against monks occurring in his homeland, but from his current locale in England. Htike wakes up in the middle of the night to review all the ‘digitally smuggled’ pictures and video that is sent to him from people in the thick of it in Myanmar. This is particularly important since very few Western journalists are allowed in Myanmar, limiting the amount of unbiased information released to the rest of the world. The residents are even forbidden to send the images out of the country, so they are taking a large risk by sending information to Htike.


UPDATE 9/28/07: Myanmar cuts internet in an attempt to prevent bloggers from receiving info on the conflict.


  1. #1 Sam Leven
    September 28, 2007

    On legalizing drugs:
    Were we to legalize marijuana and regulate its sale and distribution, we could use taxes collected to advertise the very real risks powerful psychoactive meds have [N.B.: I stopped “smoking dope” before Al Gore did!].
    Drug use could be addressed as cigarette use is — a health and safety risk to users and everyone else. Alcohol could be treated as the mild — but highly addictive — intoxicant it is. Taxing all these drugs at their “social cost” [added costs users impose through additional medical costs, law enforcement costs, and lost productivity].
    Ironically, the government would do more to promote Puritan values by emphasizing the personal and social costs of dangerous and abusive self-indulgence than it can by criminalizing wasteful behavior. Which is, of course, what we do by legalizing lotteries and race-track betting [or would, if we actually addressed gambling addictions].
    Further, we could address the real social ills of persistent poverty if we stopped jailing young men for engaging in the only entrepreneurial activity available to ghetto and barrio youths — drug business.
    Perhaps Republicans would cooperate — if we promised to stop bathroom stings for gay risk-seeking rich white men.

  2. #2 Yuval Langer
    October 3, 2007

    Myanmar proves that the Internet is a very fragile thing with only cable lines infrastructure to hold the intertubes in them. The future of the hardened internet is in the aether.

    David Brin wrote (copy pasted from

    “Consider how future Sept. 11-type events might differ if the wireless ‘intelligence network’ worked even faster or if cell phones had cameras that let citizens instantly transmit useful intelligence about perpetrators. Or if millions of cheap, solar-powered ‘volksradio’ phones using relay-style formats were to flood poor countries, helping locals discuss issues unobserved by their tyrants.”

    A friend of mine told me the day before: “Everyone is carrying around a tiny, immensely powerful radio in our pockets”

    He also said that cellular phones should have a fallback p2p mode in mesh wireless LAN with backup satellite links. The technology is already there, so what’s stopping Big Cellular from doing so?

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