watch a film or read a novel?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger observes that watching a film, compared to reading a novel, seems to deliver similar goods at less cost:

Given my utter inability to keep up with all the work and general interest material I’d like to read, I find it very satisfying to be able to enjoy a film in a couple of hours or so, as opposed to the many hours it would take me to read a novel.

I realize how different films and novels are, the latter usually being able to deal with characters and stories in significantly more depth than the former. But I still wonder if there is something about the visual and multimedia nature of films that permits them to tell a story in a couple of hours that would take significantly longer to read. Could it be that one of the reasons for the relative compactness of films is the fact that they are reaching our brains through a variety of channels, including the broader visual ones?

The traditional concept of sensory channels tends to obscure cross-sensory and forward stimulation effects. But this is a good example of how one sensory form can tell stories more efficiently than another sensory form.

In an analysis of a different sensory effect, I’ve estimated the ratio of personal photographs to words of telephone conversation over the past century. These estimates suggest that a picture is worth about twelve thousand words. Keep that in mind when you’re blogging!

ski 'n surf in Vermont

At the excellent Freedom to Connect 2007 conference, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas spoke about his e-state initiative. Gov. Douglas wants everyone everywhere in Vermont to have cellular and broadband coverage. Some quantitative goals are a minimum of 3 Mb symmetric bandwidth (upload and download) by 2010 and 20 Mb by 2013. This initiative, if supported and successfully implemented, will make Vermont an even nicer place for living, skiing, surfing the web, and running all kinds of great communication services.

[if you can’t see the video, try here]

Gov. Douglas proposes creating a Vermont Telecommunications Authority to lead public investment in the necessary communications infrastructure. The Telecommunications Authority will both provide access to relevant state assets and make new investments:

The state can provide the Authority with its moral obligation of up to $40 million in bonds to back projects in the first year of construction and possibly more if needed and sustainable. The initial target is to leverage more than $200 million in private sector investment with the state’s backing. Repayment of borrowing for the projects will be based on revenues generated from leasing access to the infrastructure, such as fiber optic networks and space on towers, or the revenues from services provided over the network. The value of the assets controlled or created by the Authority will also help to secure the value of any bonds.[Vermont Way Forward, p. 5]

The state can credibly commit to open access to the infrastructure and to not moving to capture profitable retail services. That institutional structure creates value that private investment cannot easily duplicate. It provides a good environment for mobile application development platforms like OpenMoko.

COB-8: the importance of editing

As part of our new program of continual innovation here at the Carnival of the Bureaucrats, we’ve tentatively established a new form for carnival post titles. Each carnival post will now begin with a Document Identification Code (DIC). The DIC Manager (DICMAN) has assigned DIC COB-8 to this carnival, the Carnival of the Bureaucrats #8. Based on the record before us, we find that DICs are easy to grasp and will readily meet important blogsphere needs.

Editing is important bureaucratic work. Apart from summarizing comments, an estimated two-thirds of bureaucratic work consists of editing edits. I remember a mentor once offered me three words of advice: “edit, edit, edit.”

Nothing can harm a promising bureaucratic career like a final document that someone reads, where that persons finds a superfluous redundant phrase in the before-mentioned document. This month, the Carnival of the Bureaucrats remembers and mourns those those bright, ambitious young bureaucrats whose careers were tragically wounded in action by non-standard use of the English language.

Many drafts of history are necessary to fully understand the enormity of the suffering of bureaucrats in battles of the sort that they encounter in every day of their lives on the job in the office. The Carnival of the Bureaucrats applauds the San Francisco Chronicle’s contribution to this important work.

Michael Rosenblum at Rosenblumtv observers that local television news all looks the same. He asks:

Why is a medium that could be so incredibly creative and innovative turns out to be so turgid, boring, banal and predictable?

But all tv news doesn’t show a guy with a box over his shoulder — check out Third Eye News. Mr. Rosenblum observes:

To improve you have to embrace failure. Which is something we don’t do in television news. We just keep repeating the same formula over and over and over for years and years.

Repeating the same formula over and over and over for years and years is what bureaucrats do well. The private sector can embrace failure. But that’s just not good enough for government work.

Steven Silvers at Scatterbox discusses a recent public outrage:

how some advertising guys created a terrorist scare in Boston after placing 38 blinking electronic signs beneath underpasses and along streets to promote a Cartoon Network show called Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The one-foot-tall signs depicted a boxy little cartoon character flipping off passing motorists.

This issue concerns a lot of different bureaucracies. Here I will merely report:

Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1464, prohibits the utterance of “any obscene, indecent or profane language by means of radio communication.” Consistent with a subsequent statute and court case, the Commission’s rules prohibit the broadcast of indecent material during the period of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. FCC decisions also prohibit the broadcast of profane material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Blinking electronic signs typically are not considered to be radio communication. However, the definition of radio communication deserves further discussion.

veryLegal discusses What Ails Lawyers:

Lawyers complain of a lack of control, being sandwiched between judges and clients. They complain about the increasing hostility between fellow lawyers, a lack of loyalty between partners, and a diminishing public image(all those lawyer jokes don’t help). But paramount to all these, they complain about the torturous hours.

Because organizational loyalty is an important bureaucratic value, I think more bureacratization of the legal profession would help to improve this situation. With respect to tortuous hours, good lawyers should know how to deal with that.

Brad’s Bits offers conference call tips for slackers. Brad explains:

It seemed like on most projects, we would wrap up the requirements phase and be ready for design when somebody would request a new feature, thus dragging requirements on for several more weeks. This meant daily conference calls to update documents and pore over the importance of each and every word for hours.

Brad seems not to like doing this. Bureaucratic work isn’t for everyone. Some people are cut out to be slackers, and some are cut out to be bureaucrats.

Anna Farmery at the Engaging Brand blog provides a generic Dear Boss letter. She believes that “leadership is so much more than having a great office and title.” In my experience, having a window in your office is a clear indicator of high rank.

Blue Steel offers to the Carnival of the Bureaucrats a post on how to make political cartoons with a computer. Professional bureaucrats do not make political cartoons.

David Maister at Passion, People and Principles offers a post entitled We’re All Dentists. He explains:

Well, not all of us, but many of us are.

The point about dentists is that while we may need them, we never WANT them. While they do very honorable, helpful caring things for us, their patients, we patients would rather avoid them if we can.

Bureaucrats definitely aren’t dentists. Bureaucrats are here to serve the public. The public wants bureaucrats, needs bureaucrats, and pays the salary of many of them. Get to know your friendly bureaucrats, and take advantage of the services they offer you!

That’s all for this month’s Carnival of the Bureaucrats. Submit your blog article to the next edition using our carnival submission form. Submissions should conform to the Carnival regulations. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the Carnival index page.