Thomas Friedman interview on Charlie Rose - The World is Flat

Update April 27th: This program will be rebroadcast on tonight's Charlie Rose show. Check your PBS listings. This month's Wired Magazine has a 3 page interview with Mr. Friedman about his new book.

Set your Tivo to the record the Charlie Rose show on PBS for a great interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, where they discuss his new book, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century.

I was fascinated by the discussion of Friedman's multi-level analysis of how the world is collapsing into single global community, fueled by events as far back as the fall of the Berlin Wall to the rise of Netscape and the dotcom boom, to outsourcing, insourcing, and open sourcing. Yes, they even discuss the success of FireFox. Watch this video!

Editorial review of The World is Flat on Amazon.com:

In this brilliant new book, the award-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman demystifies the brave new world for readers, allowing them to make sense of the often bewildering global scene unfolding before their eyes. With his inimitable ability to translate complex foreign policy and economic issues, Friedman explains how the flattening of the world happened at the dawn of the twenty-first century; what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals; and how governments and societies can, and must, adapt. The World Is Flat is the timely and essential update on globalization, its successes and discontents, powerfully illuminated by one of our most respected journalists.

New ColdFusion MX 7 Podcast Series

Today I'd like to launch a new ColdFusion podcast series where I'll be reading articles on ColdFusion MX 7 from the Macromedia Developer Center. The first podcast of the series is a reading of Creating Better Forms Faster with ColdFusion MX 7, by Mike Nimer of Macromedia. Later, I as I gain experience with podcasting I'd like to expand the scope by adding interviews and news podcasts that relate to the ColdFusion Community.

To subscribe to the podcasts you can set your podcast-enabled blog aggregator to the ColdFusion Podcast RSS 2.0 feed, where you'll be subscribed only to podcasts but none of the other content on this blog. Alternatively, you could subscribe to the main TalkingTree RSS 2.0 feed which will include all content from this blog in addition to those blogs which contain podcast attachments.

Podcast-enabled blog aggregators include Feed Demon and iPodder. See my earlier blog entry on getting into podcasting for more information about configuring your blog reader for podcasts.

While my podcasting skills still need a lot of tuning, such as trying to speak more naturally and coordinating the music clip volume with the volume of my speaking voice, I think that a human voice is far better than the only other alternative right now for ColdFusion audio content, MXNA Take-away. That site uses text to speech translation software that results in audio that is barely discernable. While it is somewhat tolerable to listen when the speech is common english, as soon it hits technical vocabulary I find it very untolerable and indecipherable. My new podcast series intends to fill the gap with technical content in an understandable human voice.

I'd like to thank the makers of the free audio editing software used to create these podcasts, Audacity.

Getting into podcasting

Not long ago I decided to take the plunge and buy an Apple iPod. It was a great decision and now I love having all my music and photos on one small, portable device that I can take with me walking, running, and driving (while using the iTrip attachment).

One of the best advantages to the iPod is being able to listen to Podcasts. Podcasting is to Radio what blogging is to Publishing. Many individuals and organizations are now providing audio programs as attachments to blog entries. The programs might be a live interview, a tech show, a recorded keynote speech, a short newscast, or even a couple just hanging out.

There are several podcast directories where you can search categories and topics of interest. The two that I use are PodcastAlley and iPodder. PodcastAlley for example even has a Linux podcast category where my favorite there is from Linux Questions.

The convenience of listening to podcasts comes from blog aggregator software that is podcast aware. I use used Feed Demon ($29) from Nick Bradbury, maker of the Top Style CSS editor. With Feed Demon you just configure it to add the podcast channels that interest you and add specific podcasts to queue for download. Feed Demon can then synchronize podcast downloads with your iPod. Another popular podcast aggregator is the freely available iPodder, by Dave Winer and Adam Curry. I've just switched to using iPodder because I find it easier to use than Feed Demon, and I like its scheduling service a lot.

Podcasting was first envisioned by Dave Winer, who added it to the RSS 2.0 specification. In fact, just today I listened to a great IT Conversations podcast interview with Dave Winer where he discusses the origins of RSS, Podcasting, and his vision of how they serve the public by lowering the barriers to publishing so that the little guy can compete toe to toe with large publishers.

If you want to make your own podcasts like I've done, check this engadget blog.

For more on what podcasting is all about, check out the Boston Globe's Computer, microphone, iPod make broadcasting personal, and also Wired Magazine's Adam Curry wants to make you and iPod radio star.

Massachusetts Passes Bill to Strengthen Stem Cell Research

The Boston metropolitan area of eastern Massachusetts has perhaps the highest concentration of biomedical and life sciences research institutions in the world. State restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning have been overturned this week with a bill that was overwhelmingly passed in both the Massachusetts Senate and then the House of Representatives. Had the margin of approval been less, Governor Mitt Romney would have been able to veto the bill which he regards and distorts as a "radical cloning bill". Previously, investigators wishing to conduct such research had to obtain permission from their local district attorney. This bill removes that barrier to scientific research while simultaneously maintaining or even strengthening regulations that ban reproductive cloning.

Harvard's President Lawrence Summers writes in this article that this bill gives scientists the tools they need to help make Massachusetts "a global center in the life sciences revolution". Harvard's Stem Cell Institute (more) was formed last year to conduct the ground breaking stem cell research with private funds since the current federal government's anachronistic policies continue to ban funding of research done with new stem cell lines, limiting scientists to continue to use the aged cultures from the 60 existing embryonic stem cell lines. I can tell you from my own experience maintaing neuronal cell cultures, cell lines that have been maintained for long durations and divided over and over become observably aged and are often retired.

Michael Sandel, professor of political philosophy at Harvard, examines the ethical questions that fuel the controversy surrounding stem cell research in this article from the Boston Globe, where he considers the two primary debates to be a "right to life" objection and a "brave new world" objection.

Despite the Governor's challenge to the stem cell bill, he claims to be trying to increase Biotechnology jobs in Massachusetts, and has even fought to add Science to the MCAS test which determines if high school students may graduate or not. Some sources speculate that the Governor's mixed messages and weak position on stem cell research indicate that he may have ambitions for the next presidential race.

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