Wednesday, July 16, 2008


After four long years, finally some relief for Critial Art Ensemble (CAE) artist Steve Kurtz regarding his legal battle. In February 2006, I moderated a discussion with members of the CAE Defense Fund and the CAE This is a recent post from the CAE Defense Fund web site:

Department of Justice Fails to Appeal Dismissal
Kurtz Speaks about Four-Year Ordeal

Steve Kurtz still needs your support. Our next step will be to get back his art projects, research materials and personal belongings taken by the FBI in 2004. Please join our low-frequency email list so you will be informed of any important updates and Action Alerts.



Saturday, February 2, 2008 + MindMap

This is cool! It has been around for a while, but as I am new to Freemind this is a novelty. Delicious Mind puts your bookmarks into a mind map format.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Google Gathers Social Graph Information From The Web, Launches API

link to article 'Graph Information From The Web, Launches API'

Tens of millions of people have been busy the last few years building Facebook’s most valuable asset - their social graph. As people add friends, and those people add friends, Facebook gets to understand exactly how its users know each other. And as we saw with their “social ads platform,” where users essentially (and sometimes unwittingly) pimp services to each other, it’s not hard to make a little money from data like this.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Buffalo, NY — On Monday in Federal District Court, attorneys for SUNY Buffalo Professor Steven Kurtz presented motions to dismiss the charges against him. Defense attorney Paul Cambria was able to disassemble the government’s entire “case.”

The problems for the prosecution began when it was unable to produce the original material transfer agreement (MTA) on which it has based its entire allegation of “mail fraud” (charges now punishable under the USA PATRIOT Act by up to 20 years in prison). Cambria then went on to demonstrate that no crime was committed. For mail fraud to be prosecuted, there must be a clear representation by the parties involved of what cannot be done (in this case, according to the government, transferring material) which is then followed by willful misrepresentation to get around the rules by those intending to defraud. None of these conditions were demonstrated in the indictment against Dr. Kurtz. Cambria showed that even the ownership of the harmless bacteria samples—and thereby what could be done with them—was unknown, since the American Type Culture Collection MTA policy and the University of Pittsburgh purchase order contracts were in direct contradiction with one another. Steps to
remedy this problem were taken in 2005 by Pitt and ATCC (one year after this case began) further showing the acknowledgement of these contradictions by the institutions involved.

U.S. Prosecutor William Hochul seemed flustered. While he did not admit that he had failed to provide adequate evidence, he could not provide the evidence. Judge Arcara repeatedly asked the prosecutor to explain how these requirements were fulfilled in the indictment, to which Hochul could only repeat that they were. After an hour, the frustrated judge gave up asking. Judge Arcara also asked Hochul if the cases he cited as precedents for the prosecution were in actuality to the benefit of the defense. Confirming the Judge’s concerns, Cambria went on to show that, indeed, the cases cited supported the argument of the defense rather than that of the prosecution.

The hearing ended with the judge granting Cambria’s request to submit a brief to the court summarizing his arguments – a request rarely granted in Judge Arcara’s court. All briefs are to be filed by March 7, and the judge’s ruling will follow within weeks of that date.

While it may have been clear to everyone in the courtroom that no crime was committed by Drs. Kurtz or Ferrell, and that this action by the Justice Department is a flagrant attempt to implode civil and criminal law, it is unlikely that a dismissal will be forthcoming. Grand Jury indictments are rarely dismissed, no matter how thin. While there is some room for hope for a dismissal that did not previously exist, hopes should not be built too high.

Should Judge Arcara rule in favor of the government, a trial will likely be scheduled for Summer 2008. Should the judge rule to dismiss the case, a potentially years-long appeal process by the prosecution will begin.

For more information about the case and how you can help, please visit:

Data Visualization - Modern Approaches

An article from Smashing Magazine title Data Visualization - Modern Approaches has some very interesting and diverse examples of how data can be visualized.

For example, Amaztype is a typographic book search that collects the information from Amazon and presents it in the form of keyword you’ve provided. To get more information about a given book, simply click on it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Free Software Advocacy and Politics - Danny Yee

Free Software Advocacy and Politics - Danny Yee
An interesting site with many useful links ro free ware and avocacy web sites. the owner, Danny Yee says "I'm interested in linking the free software movement with the struggle for social justice and developing the synergies between them, and in connecting free software with freedom of information issues in other areas. (For freedom of speech issues, see my fighting Internet censorship in Australia.)"

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Data Mining: Text Mining, Visualization and Social Media

A Beautiful WWW has posted an updated version of their viz of Wikipedia. This version specializes on science and technology articles. The map is generated by first laying out the graph of Wikipedia (nodes are articles, edges are links between articles) and then decorating that substrate with colours (for topics: maths, science and technology) and images.

See the entire article on Data Mining