I was sitting at my computer this morning checking emails and news when up popped a single Google Alert for CCK08. Today’s alert was for Malinka Ivanova‘s post on Microblogging in Education.

I thought her post was a great example of someone investing energy in support of a community of practice (around Plurk and Twitter). (Shortly after I posted this I received Stephen’s OLDaily with his link to Malinka and his follow up on Plurk.)

I noticed that Malinka had a Sprout at the start of her post and I followed her lead to Sprout. I am keen to explore tools that make sharing possible and I had not seen Sprout before (and missed news of the beta launch January 2008, Marshall Kirkpatrick’s review and Raj Boora’s post in February).

This is my first Sprout project (I could not embed it in WordPress but did post it at Posterous). I realise that I am a long way away from the potential uses I could make of SproutBuilder!


I thought I would share it here as a marker in my learning about mashing resources.


After posting this I spent some time working on Sprout and followed up with registration for Plurk. Within a few minutes I had met Jo McLeay

The Human Condition and Moral Hazard

Last week I was working in the garden at Mongarlowe. It is a most wonderful place to think and reflect.

A story about Muhammad Ali started me off. I was fascinated with Angelo Dundee‘s relationship with Ali and the insight he brought to a young person who became one of the most memorable faces of the second half of the twentieth century. Simon Canning wrote of the program that:

In an age when we have grown accustomed to confected celebrity and beliefs of convenience, this documentary serves as a useful reminder of what a true celebrity and sportsman of substance really was all about.

I could not stop thinking about Angelo Dundee’s wisdom illustrated by the documentary and I felt very strongly that having someone in your corner, literally and metaphorically, is a very special relationship and a wonderful antidote to ‘confected celebrity’.

I managed every kind of fighter and I understood very quickly that every human being has his own approach to life. I didn’t try to change them. I just asked them to follow my advice inside and outside the ring, to be sure that they were 100% the day of the fight. I can proudly say that I became friend of every boxer I worked with.

What is fascinating is that Angelo Dundee was able to use this approach with a range of boxing champions over a long period of time.

Whilst thinking about the documentary I listened to a Radio National program, Counterpoint, featuring Kate Jennings and was introduced to ‘moral hazard’. She discussed two kinds of moral hazard. One is the subject of her novel and the other is that discussed in detail in Wikipedia. This latter moral hazard arises when “an individual or institution does not bear the full consequences of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to bear some responsibility for the consequences of those actions.”

My pondering on her work was somewhat later than Guy Maddison in his post. In August last year he introduced his post thus:

What’s going on in the financial markets? It’s not just about liquidity and asset bubbles. We’ve long been conditioned to think the stock market is relatively safe because of all the reforms and regulations implemented since 1929. Sure, the market might go up or down hundreds of points in a day — but off a 13,000-plus Dow that’s nothing. Most people think a 1929 style crash couldn’t possibly happen now.

He concludes (after a synopsis of Kate Jenning’s novel):

Much of our securities trading now takes place under the totally unregulated umbrella of the hedge funds, which have been operating on a laissez faire frontier for a long time now. They should have learned — and been regulated — after LTCM in 1998, but that didn’t happen.

Now, nobody knows what’s going on behind their walls. There’s no way to know, with their very limited reporting requirements. The bottom could fall out tomorrow, and the damage would be done before anything could be done about it.

Back to Angelo who started me off thinking about the essence of a person that has insight and a real understanding of human behaviour. As the world financial crisis unfolded in the latter part of 2008 I wondered who was in whose corner and who defines risk and hazard.

In earlier blog posts I have linked to homelessness, fistula and the Merry Makers. What links these posts I believe is a human condition that could transform moral hazard into an ethical set of behaviours to underpin business practice.

I understand that such transformation requires dealing with ‘insatiability‘. It necessitates addressing the impetus to seek ‘confected celebrity” too!

I am off to the garden to work out some of these thoughts! I am wondering too about the concept of the Commons and the possibilities for a common wealth. I need to get started on Metcalfe’s Law too!


My last post on this blog was about George Oates and The Commons. I was very excited about what was being discussed in relation to national collections.

I was in the process of writing a post about moral hazard when I received Stephen Downes’ OLDaily with a link to Jeffrey Zeldman’s post about Yahoo laying off George Oates. This is George’s post about Not quite what I had in mind

I am not sure why I was so shocked about news of George’s firing. I think it has a great deal to do with my naive approach to life and my attraction to energetic vibrant people. Seb Chan’s post conveys some of my thoughts and Courtney Johnson‘s comment (on Seb’s post) shares the impact George’s work had.

I know I speak for the hundreds of attendees to the recent National Digital Forum in Auckland, NZ, as well my team members at the National Library when I say that we were all shocked and saddened to hear this news. As very recent members of The Commons, I know part of the attraction of the project – in addition to being able to share our collections with a passionate and curious community – was the generosity and genuine interest George showed towards collecting institutions, and the work she did to bring us together in a new way.

If a blog post can be a lament then this is a lament. I am not making a judgement about Yahoo’s decision. The decision makes it more important for me to finish my post on moral hazard started by accessing Kate Jennings‘ work and its juxtaposition with a technical definition:

Moral hazard is the prospect that a party insulated from risk may behave differently from the way it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk. Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not bear the full consequences of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to bear some responsibility for the consequences of those actions.


Some other posts about George:

Bobbie Johnson (11 December) Now Flickr is hit by Yahoo layoffs

Owen Thomas (12 December) Flickr layoffs could spell a photo finish

Scott Gilbertson (12 December) Yahoo Layoffs Continue

Seeking Alpha (16 December) Microsoft Would Do Well to Hire Yahoo’s latest Flickr Fire

Tyler Hellard (16 December)

Thomas Hawk (17 December) Former Flickr Designer George Oates on Getting Fired by Yahoo