Wednesday, April 30, 2008


You decide: Hagee-McCain vs. Wright-Obama

Nobody's reporting this obvious juxtaposition:

Pastor John Hagee: "America is under the curse of God"
John McCain: "I'm glad to have [Hagee's endorsement]."

Pastor Jerimiah Wright: "God damn America."
Barack Obama: “I’m outraged . . . and saddened . . . I find these comments appalling."

McCain embraces his minister's outrageous comments.
Obama is outraged by his minister's outrageous comments.

Is the corporate establishment press pimping the right story?

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Junk Economics Wrong on Oil

It is one thing to do basket-of-apples gedanken experiments but the real world is just a weeeeee bit more complicated. Some of my friends deny the peak oil hypothesis, aka Hubbert's Peak, even though the scientific underpinnings are clear, the confirming evidence gathers and the disconfirming evidence is nowhere in sight.

In today's New York Times, in an article entitled Oil Price Rise Fails to Open Tap, the words "peak" and "oil" are not found together, but the article is chock full of confirming evidence for peak oil, to wit:

A central reason that oil supplies are not rising much is that major producers outside the OPEC cartel, like Russia, Mexico and Norway, are showing troubling signs of sluggishness. Unlike OPEC, whose explicit goal is to regulate the supply of oil to keep prices up, these countries are the free traders of the oil market, with every incentive to produce flat-out at a time of high prices.

But for a variety of reasons, including sharply higher drilling costs and a rise of nationalistic policies that restrict foreign investment, these countries are failing to increase their output. They seem stuck at about 50 million barrels of oil a day, or 60 percent of the world’s oil supplies, with few prospects for growth.

“According to normal economic theory, and the history of oil, rising prices have two major effects,” said Fatih Birol, the chief economist at the International Energy Agency in Paris. “They reduce demand and they induce oil supplies. Not this time.”

At the same time, oil consumption keeps expanding. Global consumption is forecast to increase by 1.2 million barrels a day this year, to 87.2 million barrels a day, with much of the growth in demand coming from China, India and the Middle East, according to the International Energy Agency, a group that advises industrialized countries.

(expanding consumption is one leg of the peak oil hypothesis) and

“What is disturbing here is that things seem to get worse, not better,” said David Greely, an analyst at Goldman Sachs. “These high prices are not attracting meaningful new supplies.”

The outlook for oil supplies “signals a period of unprecedented scarcity,” Jeff Rubin, an analyst at CIBC World Markets, said last week. Oil prices might exceed $200 a barrel by 2012, he said, a level that would very likely mean $7-a-gallon gasoline in the United States.

Some regions are simply running out of reserves. Norway’s production has slumped by 25 percent since its peak in 2001, and in Britain, output has dropped 43 percent in eight years. Production from the giant Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska has dropped by 65 percent from its peak two decades ago.

“It’s a crunch,” said J. Robinson West, chairman of PFC Energy, an energy consulting firm in Washington. “The world is not running out of oil, but rather it’s running out of oil production capacity.”
(a decline in global production is the other leg of the peak oil hypothesis) and

Mexico, the second-biggest exporter to the United States, seems increasingly helpless to find new supplies to offset the collapse of its largest oil field, Cantarell. . . . Russian energy officials warned recently that the days of stunning growth that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union were over . . . Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is completing a $50 billion plan to increase capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day, but it signaled recently that it would not go beyond that. That means Saudi Arabia could fall short of the 15 million barrels a day that most experts had expected it to produce in the long run . . . OPEC will need to pump 60 million barrels a day by 2030, up from around 36 million barrels a day today, to meet the projected growth in demand. Analysts say that without Iran and Iraq — where nearly 30 years of wars and sanctions have crippled oil production — reaching that level will be impossible.
but . . .

Not everyone is pessimistic about energy supplies. A study by the National Petroleum Council, an industry group that provides advice to the secretary of energy, concluded that the world still had plenty of petroleum resources that could be tapped.
I sure hope that the "experts" at the National Petroleum Council tell the oil producing nations where all this untapped oil is in a hurry . . .

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Fighting Words for Network Neutrality

By permission of my friend Abell Smith, perpetrator of Fighting Words Comics.

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Monday, April 21, 2008


Coming Home from Iraq

Rafael Noboa tells it like it is for a soldier coming home from Iraq . . .

You’re on that plane, and you’ve got your kit with you. You spend 18-20 hours on that plane, and all you can think is, I’m coming home. I’m coming home. I’m coming the fuck home. I’m coming home!

Then you start thinking about the kind of welcome that you’re going to get, and the things that you’re going to do. You’re going to get your party on, you’re going to buy this, you’re going to buy that (because there’s nothing to really spend your money on in Iraq, so you have a decent amount saved up, if you’re smart).

You think about the food you’re going to eat — I’m gonna eat some Chinese, some Mexican, man, I want some Taco Bell now! — you think about the beer you’re going to drink.

You get off the plane, you hurry through your inprocessing at the station, and then, just like that, you’re free on a four-day pass. . . . You shower. You eat. Then, you go out.

And…and…and nothing. You head to the mall, for lack of something better to do, and you see the people milling around — and it’s like nothing ever changed. If you didn’t tell them, they wouldn’t know you’re a soldier, they wouldn’t know we’re at war, and they wouldn’t know that you just got back.

Don’t get me wrong — they’re not ungrateful. They’ll thank you, they’ll congratulate you…and then, they’ll go on their lives and you’ll go on with yours.

Except for this: the whole time you were in Ar Ramadi or Balad or Tuz Khurmatu, your platoon leader and your company commander and various VIPs were telling you that you were the only thing standing between America and the massed hordes of Osama bin Laden. We were fighting them in some godforsaken shithole in Ad Dawr because the other option was kicking their ass in Aurora or Hilliard or Prestonsburg.

But none of this matters to the folks out at Nordstrom’s or JCPenney’s or Bed, Bath & Beyond. They’re just regular folks, they just want to do their thing.

You turn on the news…nothing. The very thing that was at the center of your life for a whole year…you might see it get 90 seconds in the regular news. And when I say a whole year — I mean it: I lived my life day to day. I was grateful to see the dawn — the end of my tour snuck up on my ass like a thief in the night. There’s really no way to describe the centrality of existence to someone who hasn’t been there.

Read the whole piece here. No wonder so many returning soldiers have post-traumatic psychological disorders . . .

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Saturday, April 19, 2008


Quote of Note: Jim Cicconi

"We are going to be butting up against the physical capacity of the Internet by 2010."

Jim Cicconi, vice president of legislative affairs for AT&T, quoted here.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008


The business case for rural fiber

In 2005, Ken Di Pietro laid out the business case for rural fiber. By his conservative, reasonable assumptions, a fiber deployment to a town of 1000 homes, with a conventional triple play bundle of voice, TV and Internet connectivity for $70/mo, would pull down about $18 per user per month in profit. Today, two Moore Intervals later, the numbers only look better. If the architecture were wireless from the side of the house, it'd be even better. If we figured out how to offer Skype-like phone service and Vuze-like TV that was acceptable to Ma and Pa America, it'd be a . . . pardon the much-misused expression . . . a slam dunk.

Worth a look at Ken's numbers. Comments? Objections?

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Quote of Note: Allen Sinai

"What Milton Friedman said was that government should not interfere. It didn’t work. We now are looking at one of the greatest real estate busts of all time. The free market is not geared to take care of the casualties, because there’s no profit motive. There’s no market incentive to deal with the unemployed or those who have lost their homes."

Allen Sinai, quoted in the New York Times, A Fresh Look at the Apostle of Free Markets, 14 April 2008.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Shang's Obit in The Enterprise

[From The Falmouth Enterprise, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, p 2 & 3. No byline, but a comment on's first Shang story by Enterprise sailboat race reporter Janet Chalmers says she wrote it. Nice job, Janet.]

[UPDATE April 10: Janet Chalmers sent me her "as written" obituary, which contains some charming descriptive language that the editors of the Enterprise cut. One paragraph in particular stands out; I've included it in square brackets below the published one -- search for Chalmers' Original. The Enterprise edits, in my opinion, make the obit significantly less interesting, and certainly reduce the way it conveys Shang's essence.]

Charles Goodwin III

Charles Goodwin III, a lifelong summer resident of Quissett and Woods Hole, died of pancreatic cancer on April 1 at his home in Baltimore, Maryland. He was 84.

Mr. Goodwin was the husband for 39 years of Charlotte Moseley Ober-Lord Goodwin.

The son of F. Lawrence Goodwin and Frances K. Goodwin, Mr. Goodwin was born December 21, 1923, in Baltimore and raised in that city’s Guilford section. He was a Gilman School graduate and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Brown University in 1947 and a master of education from Harvard University in 1959.

A retired private school educator, he taught fifth grade at Gilman School in Baltimore from 1947 to 1957, and in 1959 was named headmaster of the Meadowbrook School in Weston. In 1969, Mr. Goodwin returned to Baltimore, where he taught fifth grade at Boys’ Latin School until retiring in 1971.

Mr. Goodwin served on a number of boards. He was a member and honorary member of the Corporation of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a commodore of the Quissett Yacht Club, a member of the Elkridge Club, Men’s Hamilton ST Club, and the Bachelor’s Cotillion.

Called Shang by his many friends, he got his nickname as a child when he asked his brother to call him Shanghai for Shanghai Charlie, a character in a radio program.

David S. Isenberg, a Woods Hole friend of Mr. Goodwin, described him perfectly in his blog on April 3, writing, “Shang was geeky and quirky, and kind of frail in a robust way, but unfailingly happy. He knew everything about flags. Everything. Not just American flags, but every kind of flag and crest and burgee and seal and pennant. Provenance, etiquette, symbology, you-name-it. He carried the Stars and Stripes at the head of the rag-tag July 4th parade in Quissett every year until last year when his pancreatic cancer had begun to weaken him.”

Mr. Goodwin grew up sailing his family’s Herreshoff 12 1/2-footer Spindrift when he spent summers in Quissett. Though he and his wife built a home on Penzance Point, Mr. Goodwin was a fixture at Quissett Harbor. In his years as commodore, he was always on the Harbor House dock to congratulate the winner when the Herrshoff racers returned to their moorings. He donated a flagpole in front of the Quissett Harbor House on which the Quissett Yacht Club burgee and the American flag fly daily during the summer. Mr. Goodwin flew the flags of all the yacht club officers during club meetings and he sponsored a contest for the creation of a Watersports flag, which has flown on Watersports day every year since.

Mr. Goodwin had a vast collection of flags. On his own flagpole he would fly a different flag every day, each marking a significant event somewhere in the world.

Mr. Goodwin was a generous supporter of many causes, often as an anonymous donor.

He was known for his wit and his great sense of humor. Intelligent and a gifted conversationalist, Mr. Goodwin could speak on any topic. Mr. Goodwin loved a party and loved dancing.

[Chalmers Original Paragraph: Mr. Goodwin was known for his wit and his great sense of humor. One thing that made him special was the fact that people felt good when they spent time with him. Intelligent and a gifted conversationalist. Mr. Goodwin could speak on any topic; old friends and strangers alike left his company feeling that this man really cared about who they were. Many lives were likely altered when Mr. Goodwin connected the dots and one friend or acquaintance was introduced to another in a mutually beneficial way. Mr. Goodwin loved a party and could dance with the best of them; leaving this life on April Fools Day was his last “wink” to his friends and family.]

A memorial service was held yesterday at 4 PM at St. Mary’s Seminary and University School of Theology and Ecumenical in Baltimore. In addition to his wife, he leaves two stepsons, Mason F. Lord Jr. of Sherman, Connecticut, and Hambleton D. Lord of Wellesley; two stepdaughters, Charlotte Lord of Reading and Rebekah L. Gardiner of Weston; a sister, Emily G. Kemp of Omaha, Nebraska; and eight step-grandchildren: Mason F. III, Alexander McK. and James E.C. Lord of Sherman, Connecticut, Helen S., Olivia M. and Julia H. Lord of Wellesley, and Charlotte P. and Samuel T. Gardiner of Weston.

Mr. Goodwin’s brother, F. Lawrence Goodwin Jr., died in 2007.

Contributions in Mr. Goodwin’s memory may be sent to Gilman School, 5407 Roland Ave., Baltimore, MD 21210, or to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543.

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Monday, April 07, 2008


Results from F2C

There are LOTS of spinoffs from F2C this year -- press articles, chat logs, live-blog records, presentations on line, etc. You can find my collection of pointers here.

If you have, or know about, other items that should be included, please tell me.

Soon come: photos. Longer come: streams and/or movies.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008


We won't know what we never got

Damian Kulash of the band OK Go, in Op-Ed in today's New York Times:

. . . When the network operators pull these stunts [violations of neutrality -- David I], there is generally widespread outrage. But outright censorship and obstruction of access are only one part of the issue, and they represent the lesser threat, in the long run. What we should worry about more is not what’s kept from us today, but what will be built (or not built) in the years to come.

We hate when things are taken from us (so we rage at censorship), but we also love to get new things. And the providers are chomping at the bit to offer them to us: new high-bandwidth treats like superfast high-definition video and quick movie downloads. They can make it sound great: newer, bigger, faster, better! But the new fast lanes they propose will be theirs to control and exploit and sell access to, without the level playing field that common carriage built into today’s network.

They won’t be blocking anything per se — we’ll never know what we’re not getting — they’ll just be leapfrogging today’s technology with a new, higher-bandwidth network where they get to be the gatekeepers and toll collectors. The superlative new video on offer will be available from (surprise, surprise) them, or companies who’ve paid them for the privilege of access to their customers . . .
Exactly. Outright censorship is way too visible for them to get away with. Creeping proactive censorship built into a new infrastructure is a MUCH harder story to tell. And a MUCH bigger danger.

And they're building it. And at first it will look exactly like legitimate network management.

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Friday, April 04, 2008


Ken Camp, Cheryl Breuker engaged

At VON last week, Ken Camp and Cheryl Breuker did a session together that had a surprise ending for Cheryl. Ken proposed. Cheryl accepted. The ring went on the finger. All was streamed, twittered, etc., etc., Here's Cheryl's account of it.

Very cute. Congratulations Ken and Cheryl!!!

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Crandall on F2C

My friend Steve Crandall blogs at tinglinde that F2C: Freedom to Connect, ". . . is simply the best conference out there on the overlap of networks, society and technology."

Who denies that non-financial signals are meaningful? I am so proud when critical, discerning friends like my work.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008


Shang Goodwin

Shang Goodwin died on April 1. I think it's a cruel April Fools joke, because as long as I'm alive, he will be too.

[I took this photo of him about two years ago. It is licensed under the same CC license as most of the rest of this blog.]

UPDATE 4/9/08 . . . this article keeps changing as I find new pictures to add. Also some of the comments from others who Shang touched are beautiful . . .

Shang's secret -- not a secret, a finely-honed skill -- Shang's craft was listening. He would ask you a question and listen with his whole brain to the answer. Then he'd ask you a deeper question. Sometimes they were very personal questions; if somebody else had asked, it'd be impolite. But Shang had such genuine curiosity that it was OK when he asked.

One day, two of Shang's other friends, John B and Carol B, and I were sitting in a restaurant on a slow night, and we consciously Shanged our waitress. We were emulating Shang, asking ourselves at every step, what would Shang ask? We tried to dig deeper, and we asked follow on questions, and we remembered the answers, and we actually learned all about her. She told us her story, right down to, "Are you going to have kids? How many do you want?" She told us, if a bit hesitatingly. We weren't as good as Shang was at it.

It is astonishingly rare to be so purely curious about somebody you're not dating or working with or have some kind of ulterior motive on. I have not Shanged anybody since then. But I don't know why. There's a cultural MYOB ethic, for sure. But, just as surely, people want to tell their story, and mostly, people's stories are fascinating -- if you get the real story. Why don't we ask more? Why don't we want to know who the people around us really are?

[This pic is of Shang and Carol Reinisch on the Quissett Yacht Club race committee boat, by permission of Carol. Please ask her about re-use.]

Shang did that with everybody he knew. And not just once. If you saw him two weeks later, or the next summer, he'd remember, and he'd ask you very specifically how it went, or what happened. And he'd listen. And he'd keep asking with disarming openness until he understood. And got the story.

Once he got my story out of me, well, it was impossible not to like him. And Shang was as open himself as he was curious. He told me all about his summers in Woods Hole and Quissett 70 or 80-some years ago. He used to wear braces and corrective shoes. One day when he was a kid, his older brother tricked him into climbing onto "the gaslight" -- a buoy in the mouth of Great Harbor that's still there -- and then the brother sailed away. Another time, his brother asked him to do a favor, and in return, he (born Charles) demanded that his brother call him Shanghai, after the hero of a book he was reading. He was never Charles again.

Shang was geeky and quirky, and kind of frail in a robust way, but unfailingly happy. He knew everything about flags. Everything. Not just American flags, but every kind of flag and crest and burgee and seal and pennant. Provenance, etiquette, symbology, you-name-it. He carried the Stars and Stripes at the head of the rag-tag July 4th parade in Quissett every year until last year, when his pancreatic cancer had begun to weaken him.

A couple of years ago, in the middle of the summer, Shang told me that he and his wife would be in New York on November 3 and would like to take me and my wife out to dinner. Sure enough, on November 3, 2006, we went to a very nice French restaurant. Shang relished every bite. He and Charlotte were charming company. Paula and I had huge fun.

One day at breakfast late last summer, at the bakery in Woods Hole with about eight other friends sitting around the table, Shang turned to me, without any context, in a low voice but in a matter-of-fact way, told me, "I'm not coming back. This cancer is all through me." Nobody else heard. I didn't know what to do. The circumstance dictated a matter of fact answer, and I tried. I caught my breath. I wanted to stand up and scream, "NO FUCKING WAY SHANG." I wound up suppressing everything. Shang turned back to the conversation as if it were just another breakfast on just another summer day. And so did I.

[I took this photo (same CC license as this blog) a few years ago at breakfast. It illustrates Shang's participatory sense of humor.]

I saw Shang one more time. Last fall I told him and Charlotte I was going to a meeting in Washington, and could I stop by and visit him in Baltimore. Of course I could. I took the train down, took a taxi to Shang and Charlotte's house.

Shang was home from the hospital between chemo treatments and in GREAT spirits. He was wearing a beautiful green shirt, a loud bow tie, and Bermuda shorts with a urine bag and catheter peaking out from one leg of the shorts -- the outfit looked very stylish on him.

He was just as "all there" as ever, and we talked about everybody in Woods Hole and what we were all doing. He has a realistic view of his own condition. He said he wanted to, "beat the bell curve." The chemo actually did seem to be shrinking the tumors.

He described his doctors at Johns Hopkins in detail. He thought they were the best. My guess is he had discovered his doctors' hobbies, what kind of music and art they liked, their wives' names and what they did, their kids and how old they were and what they liked to do. And when they decided to become a doctor, why they decided to become a doctor, what their parents did and whether they were doctors, how they experienced medical school, etc., etc., etc.

At that point, he was hoping he would get to Woods Hole one more time, but I don't think he ever made it back. I left him sitting on the couch with a giant toothy smile plastered all over his face. And that huge, loud bow tie. That's how I want to remember him. Charlotte drove me back to the train station. On the way she said she couldn't imagine a better patient. He was unfailingly happy.

I just Googled for Shang's obit, but it's not there yet. It will be. Meanwhile, just this, from the Baltimore Sun via a Woods Hole friend:
GOODWIN , Charles On April 1, 2008, CHARLES GOODWIN; beloved husband of Charlotte Ober Goodwin. Survived by four step-children, Acha Lord, Mason F. Lord, Jr., Hambleton D. Lord and Rebekah L. Gardiner. Also survived by four granddaughters, four grandsons and one sister Emily G. Kemp of Nebraska. A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Mary's Seminary, 5400 Roland Avenue on Monday, April 7, at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Gilman School, 5407 Roland Avenue, Balto, MD 21210 or to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543. Arrangements by family owned Henry w. Jenkins & Sons Funeral Home.
Goodbye Shang. I'll never ever forget you.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008


F2C: My Opening Remarks

Here are my opening remarks at F2C: Freedom to Connect yesterday:

Welcome to F2C: Freedom to Connect

I am honored to be among so many remarkable people. We have to be remarkable people, because we have a hell of a job to do. The Internet has been given to us. It is a miraculous gift, and a boon to our lives . . . at least in part because it accidentally matured outside the purview of profit and loss. Now the money has arrived. If you want to see what happens when the money arrives, look at Nigeria or Venezuela or Russia or Iraq.

I challenge you to expand the discussion over the next two days. Our planet is in danger of becoming hostile to life. I'm not talking about the flooding of Miami and New York and Bangladesh. I mean that because of the carbon we humans put in the air, Earth could become Venus, a place where life can't live. So I believe -- and I put this forward as a hypothesis -- I believe that we can use the Internet to conserve more atmospheric carbon than its infrastructure generates. Furthermore, I believe we can use the Internet for global participation that transcends tribalism and nationalism to end war . . . for discussion!

We're a remarkable group. We've come from Japan and New Zealand and the Netherlands, from England and Canada and California. We're from 23 states, and two provinces.

We're innovators and activists, academics, investors, lobbyists, lawyers, regulators, reporters, builders of networks and a man of the cloth. Among us is a Son who brought his Father to Freedom to Connect, and a Mother who brought her Daughter. This is good -- saving the Internet *should* be a family affair.

Some of us are here because they don't think the Internet needs saving . . . or if it does, it needs saving from people like me, who are dissatisfied with what the telcos and the cablecos and the Bush-Martin FCC have been doing. I welcome them, because too often we only talk with our friends. I honor Richard and Scott and John and Brett for having the courage to be here. I have no illusions that anybodys minds will change, but I look forward to their contributions to the discussion, and perhaps to some degree of mutual understanding.

The story we will tell in the next two days is not widely told.
It is a story of telephone companies and cable companies, and the disruptive power of the Internet.

It is a story many of us wrote. Some of us wrote it in networks strung across neighborhoods and nations. Some of us wrote it in blogs. Some of us wrote it in C code. Some of us wrote it in The Federal Register. Some of us wrote it in a checkbook. Some of us wrote it in wrinkles on our faces and hands.

It is a story we will not find in the mainstream media, because it would be the story of their own Internet-wrought disruption . . . or even destruction.

It is a story of A Telephone Company that I loved, and hated, and worked for, and tried to save, called AT&T. That AT&T doesn't exist anymore. AT&T created the digital switch, but failed to understand that when digital switching matured, it would make AT&T's business obsolete.

It is the story of a Goliath composed of a thousand Davids. I am one of them. AT&T shaped me. It made me who I am today. Like Barack Obama, I'm of mixed heritage . . . half BellHead, half NetHead.

AT&T had other Davids too, who not only invented the digital switch, but also the transistor, stereo recording, photovoltaics, Information Theory, digital signal processing, C, Unix, DSL and the Cable Modem.

It is also a story of managers who didn't understand technology so they sent consultants to Bell Labs rather risk displaying their ignorance in a personal visit.

It is the story of a corporate culture so deeply rooted
that its assumptions were not only un-questioned
-- they were unquestionable.

It is a story of a system that couldn't possibly be merit-based, because managers had to rise through eighteen layers of management in a 20-some-year career. It is the story of an AT&T CEO that said the Internet was a toy. It is the story of an executive who drove AT&T's computer business into failure, then he presided over AT&T's NCR's failure, and then he was promoted again. It is the story of a failed credit card business, a failed cable business, millions of dollars of failed Silicon Valley partnerships, and a cell phone division that would have failed over and over if it had not been tied to such a large mother ship.

It is a story of a telephone company called Qwest, that built a transcontinental fiber-optic network of unprecedented capacity, and then sold twelve fibers to create competition so capable that the competitor almost put Qwest out of business.

It is a story of hundreds of facilities based competitors that were created with the stroke of a President's pen in 1996, and then -- just a few years later -- these same companies were put out of business by a million tiny pen strokes by the Courts and the FCC .

It is a story of a nation that passed a law mandating competition as a substitute for regulation, and then competition was destroyed.

It is the story of the rise of a neo-conservative economics that correctly notices the market-signalling power of money, but mistakenly denies that non-financial signals are meaningful. By this mistake, the Neo-Econs reject an 800 year old principle of common law that when you offer public services, you have public duties.

It is a story of people struggling to be free. When every major record label abandons DRM, this is a victory! When when one third of iPhones are unlocked, this is a victory. When Verizon Wireless says it will accept any device, this is a victory. When Comcast abandons network management by packet forgery, this is a victory. The Neo-Econs say these are responses to market forces, but they're WRONG. These are victories -- our victories!

The struggle to keep the Internet free is just like the struggle to have our vote count, just like the struggle to control the size of our family, just like the struggle to work a 40 hour week, and just like the struggle to end stupid wars. We win, AND can't stop fighting. Nobody's going to say, "Hey have some more rights." If we want a free Internet, we have to take it!

The story we will tell in the next two days is the story of the future of the Internet.
It is an unfinished story. We are writing it. But we do not know how it will end.

But let me show you some technology that illustrates what is possibile.

This cable has 864 fibers.

Each fiber carry 160 different wavelengths, each wavelength can carry 10 Gigabits.
The technology to do this has been in the marketplace for at least five years.
This 1.6 terabit signal can go from Washington DC to Chicago without active regeneration.

How big is a gigabit? One gigabit can carry the entire conventional telephony load of a city of 100,000 people. So one fiber can carry 1600 Gbits, or 160 million people -- two or three fibers would carry the conventional telephony of the entire United States.

Here's another way to see this cable. If all 6.5 billion people on earth had a telephone, and if they were all off-hook, generating 64 kilobits a second, and all those conversations were routd to this cable, there would be 100 fibers still dark.

Now imagine this running down your street. Imagine that each house could have two or three fibers, more bandwidth than a telco in each house.

In other words, the problem is completely mis-framed. Comcast and Verizon -- and even Net Neutrality Advocates -- are are talking how to manage scarcity. We should be talking about how to achieve abundance.

But -- and there is a big but here -- All of this transmission capacity takes energy. And this is a problem. Global computing and communictions uses as much energy as the airline industry. We Netheads have a social duty to reduce the energy our infrastructure uses. I believe that we can go much further -- I think we can use the Internet to manage energy, to cut traffic congestion, to reduce travel, to actually conserve more energy than we use. We'll devote almost all of Tuesday afternoon to discussing this hypothesis . . .

How will the Internet story end?

Will a few of the smartest telephone companies, such as BT and Verizon who have the wisdom and foresight and courage to sponsor Freedom to Connect, evolve to be the abundant Internet access providers of tomorrow?

Or will the biggest telcos corporatize and homogenize the Internet in the image of Clear Channel?
Will they lock it down so that personal expression and innovation are driven into an isolated ghetto accessible to only a small minority, where people must devote their lives, like monks, to gain its benefits? Will an oppressive government make the Internet so invasive that nobody creative goes there anymore?

Or will new entities, maybe cities or non-profits,
but maybe new, Benkler-style forms of organization made possible by the Internet itself,
arise to build and operate the infrastructure we must have.

Or will other countries, such as Japan and the Netherlands, or maybe China or Brazil, show the way, assuming the United States is capable of seeing what they put in front of our collective face?

Welcome to Freedom to Connect. I can't wait to see how the story of the Future of the Internet evolves over the next two days!!!

But before we begin, I would like to thank our courageous and foresighted sponsors:
Magic Jack
The Sunlight Foundation

Also, thanks to our organizational partners
The New America Foundation
The Mozilla Foundation

Thanks to our tech support sponsors:
Atlantech Online
37 Signals
The Berkman Center for Internet and Society

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