Greetings from Bosnia! I just came back from Sombor, Serbia where I
visited Sasha Mrkailo and his family and greeted the New Year. This week
I give and grade algebra finals.
Then I fly to Boston where I arrive Sunday, January 11, early evening and
meet up with Edward Cherlin of Earth Treasury
We're attending the One
Laptop Per Child's XO Camp 2 miniconference, January 12-16.
Edward leads an endeavor to create
open source electronic textbooks. I've agreed to create mathematics
learning materials in the Public Domain. Edward and I and others will
look for funding and business opportunity. This will be a priority for me
for the next few months, whether or not I teach here in Bosnia next
semester (and it's still not clear). I will be writing up a set of
"classic math problems" and consider how they build on each other, much
like architect Christopher Alexander's pattern languages. I encourage us
to join our efforts. I look forward to staying with Barbara Horst and, if
possible, visit Janet Feldman. I would like to visit Wolfram Science.
Education will be a key theme for our network this year.
Janet Feldman, Franz Nahrada, Jeff Buderer, Benoit Couture and others have
brought up another key theme that we've grown to take up. That's the idea
of "we", what does that mean? and how does that work? I look forward to
our new ideas. My own aspirations are:
* to lead Minciu Sodas http://www.ms.lt
as founder and owner as a haven
for independent thinkers where all are invited to work openly on their
projects in the Public Domain, share and give free services, and come
together for work for pay. Minciu Sodas should be large enough for me to
make a living and support my projects. Perhaps a few hundred active
members is enough. I'm interested that all at Minciu Sodas participate at
their fullest, but I want to downplay any sense of "we" and instead by
sensitive to what our individual interests truly are. I would like to work
together with many more such laboratories which have their own
* to organize WorkNets http://www.worknets.org
as a culture of independent
thinkers, perhaps 100,000 active and 1,000,000 supportive, enough to take
up every issue in life; to nurture creativity that encourages people to
care for each other, fall in love and raise children; to have a strong
economy, self-learning program, technology base, festival calendar; to
reach out to all; to intervene for those who ask for help; to govern
ourselves as relevant; to engage and enjoy God. I aspire that WorkNets be
what Jesus calls the Kingdom of Heaven and that it merge constructively
with all other such networks.
I'm very interested how to define the WorkNets culture as the minimal
expectations for including all people, inasmuch as they are self-directed.
Pamela McLean and I recently spoke by phone, which I found very helfpul,
because she's very sensitive to when I'm speaking what I myself think and
when I'm implying that we all accept some value. My thought is to author
a WorkNets charter with the expectations for participants, starting with
the basic rules and ideas. This charter might be updated as we go on. I
think a simple way to accept this charter would be to put up at one's
website a banner or widget with our feeds (Meet with us! Shop with us!
Network with us! Chat with us!) I look forward to our thoughts and our
alternatives. A related theme for me this year will be making our
websites cohesive so that we can access and contribute content in
We have almost 4,000 euros in travel money to attend the COMMUNIA meeting
on March 26-27, 2009, in London, hosted by the Open Knowledge Foundation
on the topic "Accessing, Using and Reusing Public Sector Content and
Data" which very much relates to open source textbooks. The COMMUNIA
meetings are becoming more work-oriented and can include additional topics
we bring up. Also, they are an opportunity for us to come together as we
did last March in Vilnius.
Natural topics for London include:
* Public Domain textbooks, especially in mathematics. I will be able to
share my results.
* Open source hardware. Graham Knight of DIY Solar is in the UK, and we
could fly in Peter Ongele and Samwel Kongere, for example.
* Public Domain fashion. I have given Sasha Mrkailo $260 of which $60 is
for sending the Pyramid of Peace videos to Rachel and Kennedy and me, and
$200 is for 2 months work at $100 to develop business opportunities for
our lab, small and large. In particular, I encouraged him to support his
wife Zdenka's talent in fashion design. We met in Sombor at Cafe des Arts
with Ana Ilic Lagundzin, an experienced fashion designer and creative
organizer. They were all very interest in Public Domain fashion which
would invite all people to use, share, modify, copy African textiles, to
use and change designs and patterns that Ana and Zdenka will make, and
also to be interested in the people who create these works and learn their
stories. I even suggested "high fashion sanitary pads" made in Africa as
a business opportunity. Fashion may be perfect for showing the value of
the Public Domain. COMMUNIA meets this summer in Torino and we might
organize a related event in Italy.
* We will also bring together all of our topics, our individual endeavors
and our shared concerns.
I ask us now to think, who might like to come to London? who would we like
to see there? who might help organize our meeting there? who might write
invitations for our African participants?
Pamela McLean is interested to participate, but not as the chief
organizer. So we need help to organize this. It's not that complicated,
but I ask for our leadership, especially those of us living in the UK.
Certainly, we'll adapt our program to the goals of our UK leaders, and
together we'll think through who we might best invite.
I encourage us to act quickly so that by the end of January we have a
clear plan and we can write invitations to our African participants. This
meeting could be a great catalyst for our work. Please let us know why
you might like to participate!
P.S. By "our" I would encourage us to think more and more in terms of
WorkNets as we can "share" that much more than we can Minciu Sodas, which
I own. I am taking the lead to organize WorkNets as a culture of
independent thinkers, and so ultimately it must be shared and thrive
without me. Whereas Minciu Sodas is a business for me to make my living,
if at all possible, living from Lithuania, and need not persist.