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Where Open Source Contributors Come From

In a post today, Chris Blizzard discusses the way "IT" workers are viewed and asks why open source contributors exist in the places where they exist (and don't where they don't).

I've thought about this a bit and my own personal take on this based upon some maps I've seen like the map of contributors/mentors in the Google Summer of Code project (which is a really neat project if you hadn't heard of it). Basically, if you look at the countries with large numbers of participants you'll notice that the countries are more likely to have participants based upon 1) the wealth of the country 2) the "tech focus" of the country 3) relative level of "safety net" policies in the country. There are a few outliers and that's understandable in any sampling.

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Stupider Spam

I've had fun with stupid spam in the past, but this was basically just as good in a different way.

I just got a call from an autodialer - they didn't actually talk to me, just played me a voice mail. I rarely go over on minutes, so I wasn't too worried about the time, but it's my cell phone for crying out loud.

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Libertarians Unite: Even if you don't know you are one

The NCPA has a news summary about how more people are breaking from the traditional "left/right" pigeonhole that politics puts us into even if we don't recognize it and vote that way. The basic idea is that lots of people are Libertarians but don't know that they are.

So Take a political test and figure out where you stand already. And once you do figure it out, think about voting that way.

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Noble Savage, nostalgie de la boue, and Origins of Virtue

I read Matt Ridley's book Origins of Virtue a while ago, but just now in reading an article by iMomus in Wired about Nostalgia For Mud I was reminded of the Origins of Virtue.

The book takes an anthropological/sociological look at the idea of altruism, gift giving, and community to find where the history of animal and mankind these ideas have come from. Ridley notes how a certain species of bat will go out looking for food, return to the nest, and share food that they have with other bats who did not find food. Since the bats are not guaranteed to find food when they go out hunting, this provides the community with an insurance or "shared risk" policy that helps them all stay helathy. However, they keep track of who they have shared food with and if someone becomes a "free rider" on the system then the rest of the bats will stop sharing with them. Sounds an awful lot like the 1996 "Welfare to Work" and change from "entitlement" to "Temporary Assistance" kinds of changes that were made to welfare programs in the US.

Another interesting part of the book was a review of a set of Australian tribes that each produced different goods which they would trade with each other. They didn't need to trade - they could have all produced the items themselves and not had to trade. Ridley theorized that they forced themselves to specialize, to become reliant on each other, because it reduced the chances that the tribes would fight with each other. Ever hear of the Smoot-Hawley tarriffs (and their contemporaries) which probably helped usher in World War II? What about the establishment of the European Common Economic Zone (the commercial side of the EU) as a means to foster inter-reliance and reduce the chances of war. Would Germany, France, and England go to war today? Not as long as trade depends on it. There are certainly other reasons for a country/state to specialize, but as the US has shown with our Strategic Oil Reserves countries generally only specialize to a point and then will try to maintain some of the capability in an area to maintain a smidgen of independence.

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Sakai and Moodle Comparison and Project ReDuplication in General

Project re-Duplication? Well that's a crazy idea that people would not only duplicate a project, but re-duplicate on top of that. Except that it happens all the freaking time!

Project Cooperation vs. Competition

Zack from CivicSpaceLabs has done a comparison of Moodle and Sakai.

Either one of those projects could/should easily be integrated/absorbed into other Content Management Frameworks which is his kind of his point today.

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How To Fix a Jutting Jaw

Dear Lazyweb,

When I get stressed I have a habit of jutting out my jaw.

I'd like to stop doing that.

I have the following solutions:

  1. Duct tape my jaw to the back of my head
  2. Dig out my head-gear from middle school and attach it to my bottom teeth this time
  3. Get my mom to sit next to me all the time and say "ah, ah, ah" whenever I jut it out

Technique 3 was my solution last time I had this problem. Sadly, last time I was 4 years old and bringing her to work would just be weird and work (surprise) is where I get the stress that makes me jut the jaw. If I worked from home or something, that might work, but I'd have to work from her home.

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