An Imaginary Garden

A Riff on Scriptures and Other Texts

December 1, 1999

By Richard Thieme In “Islands in the Clickstream: Telling Time by a Broken Clock,” I said: All organizations are morphing into forms appropriate to the digital world. In retrospect, we will see our current structures the way Christians see remnants of what they call “pagan” myths in their stories. The miraculous is another name for […]

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Clap Clap

December 9, 1998

By Richard Thieme Back in the good old days of a Spain ruled with an iron fist by General Francisco Franco, everyone who mattered always knew where everybody else always was. Every means of transportation was watched by two members of the Guardia Civil, the state police known for their three-cornered patent leather hats. On […]

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A Breath of Fresh Air: A Partisan Perspective

November 4, 1998

The political campaign this year was claustrophobic, pressing us up against the simplistic misrepresentations and distortions that pass for debate in the digital world.  Much of the time, it felt like a small elevator, stuck between floors.  But the day after the election, there’s a breath of fresh air that reminds me of one definition […]

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Imagery Analysts

November 3, 1998

An article in this week’s Space News notes that “the coming surge in supply of commercially produced high-resolution satellite imagery threatens to siphon talent from U.S. and European defense departments.” Once upon a time, those incredible close-ups belonged to intelligence agencies. Now, anyone can buy them. But the data doesn’t speak for itself. With 28 […]

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Looking for a Silver Lining

October 28, 1998

Increasingly dire predictions about Y2K flash across the Internet. This morning it was Canadian Naval captains who were told their ships may have to be docked to serve as power plants, field hospitals, soup kitchens. And power grids in third world countries? Don’t even ask. Hoping to find an intimation of rationality in our species, […]

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Digital Jeopardy

October 23, 1998

In the television game show Jeopardy, contestants are given answers and asked to come up with the right questions. Wired Magazine provides a similar feature, juxtaposing statements by dead technocrats – a recent issue interviewed Nikola Tesla, for example – with modern questions. At first it felt like a disconnect, plugging questions into answers. But […]

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“Marginal Groups Thrive on the Internet”

October 22, 1998

That’s the title of a recent study of participation in newsgroups by psychologists who discovered that “online gatherings matter most to participants in marginalized but concealable groups.”  That probably isn’t news to you, if you’re reading this on-line, because you have long known that life on the margins is richly textured, nuanced in subtle and […]

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The Scent of a Flower

September 19, 1998

An email friend asked, “How’s your spiritual journey?” Then a friend called who I had just seen at a National Speakers Association convention. NSA is a huge circus tent into which all of us talking animals come prancing and dancing and making our various noises. One of the “center ring” presentations was overtly religious, and […]

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Fig Leafs

September 17, 1998

I seldom return to something I’ve written before, but the Islands in the Clickstream column called “Life in a Nudist Colony” is appropriate to the week’s events. “Behaviors,” I wrote, “that used to be called “back-stage” are brought into our living rooms twenty four hours a day. The internet and satellite and cable television are […]

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The Biggest Dysfunctional Family

September 11, 1998

The earth is one huge dysfunctional family and now and then it just has to act out. Most of the time, our species more or less manages. Yes, there are excesses, but the lack of immediate feedback lets them persist. We keep sweeping dirt under the carpet and walking uphill. Humanity lives inside a great […]

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