One of the really great things about the WWW, as opposed to the Internet in general, is that the Web separates the concept of naming from everything else. A URL is bit of text that names a resource. You can type it. Except for some long URLs used by banks and in ecommerce, you can often even remember it. But most importantly, you can include the text in some other technology such as an email, an instant message, a calendar invite, a Web page, or even in a book or piece of paper. It can be sent and stored. The URL can be transmitted through this separate non-WWW media, and it still works on the other end.
When you name something, you have power over it. Like the dreidel mnemonic of the title, names help you to remember stuff. You can speak clearly about places and objects instead of just using misunderstood pronouns and long descriptions. And best of all, if you know something’s name, you can use it in casting a spell. (We call them programs.)
So a big part being able to work with virtual worlds, talk about them with other people, and use them in programs is to have a name – a URL that corresponds to each interesting thing about a virtual world.
According to this article in the New York Times, the baillout money that was ostensibly given to the banks to jumpstart the economy or forestall a collapse, etc, by opening up the credit spigots is not in fact, being used for that purpose.
On some other blogs I read (obsessively, lately), I’m starting to see people calling for a run on the banks. Go down and take out $700.00. Or or $70. Or $7,000. Whatever you can afford. That’s what they’re saying, not me. The idea is that even though nobody in the country likes this bailout, congress is going to vote for it. Since they won’t listen to our calls, faxes and letters, send a message that they cannot ignore.
Frankly, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me. Sure, it’s like burning down your own house to make a point, but it’s better than just being robbed at gunpoint with no protest at all.
I agree that we are on the precipice of a disaster. I would like us to act to prevent it. I do not insist on assigning blame or even being fair in how we act, as there will be time for that later. The only thing that is required of how we act is that it solves the problem.
No one has explained to me how taking the bad loans off the books of banks actually solves the problem. What has been explained to me by the officials and the politicians is that there is far more money at risk than that tied up in these loans. The money has been promised to average Joes, governments, and wild speculators, based on the idea that other average Joes, governments, and wild speculators will pay even more for these incomprehensible instruments in the future. At the original bottom of this pyramid are the at-risk loans. Yes, I agree that there is a crisis of confidence in the market, as the President put it. But I fail to see how now the politicians now suddenly understand these instruments, and that the way to keep them from collapsing is to take the loans off the books of the banks.
Are they saying that they intend for average Joes, governments, and wild speculators to keep shoveling ever-increasing amounts of money into the derivative market based on these loans? Ponzi schemes do collapse when triggered by a failure of confidence, but a child can see that even with no failure of confidence, they can only be sustained as long as there are increasing amounts of investment at the bottom. Eventually, the world runs out of money.
Now is the time to drop a note or leave a message for your representatives and let them know how you feel. Their contact info is online. Don’t forget to tell them that you’re in their district/state.