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Club of Amsterdam Journal, April 2007, Issue 86

April 2007, Issue 86

Welcome to our bi-weekly Club of Amsterdam Journal.

"We all have every right to a successful life, happy life," His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama said, emphasizing that money shouldn't be part of the definition of success or happiness. "We should not forget our inner values. By inner value I mean ... human affection, or another word, human compassion."

Felix Bopp, editor-in-chief

our next Season Event about the future of Success on April 26.:

And check out our lab in Girona near Barcelona:
LAB on MEDIA and Human Experience - May 29&30


Aspects of Mobility

News about the future of Success

Club of Amsterdam blog

News about the Future


Event about the future of Success

Recommended Book

First Deep-Sea Observatory

LAB on MEDIA and Human Experience

From water into wine into ... dresses?


Club of Amsterdam Open Business Club

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.Aspects of Mobility

By Arnab B. Chowdhury

Arnab B. Chowdhury is founder and CEO of Ninad ( – an international e-Learning consulting firm, headquartered at Pondichéry, South India.

What is the most perceptible differentiator between plants and us? What enabled Babur to cross the Hindukush mountains to establish the Moghul dynasty in India, Columbus to discover the New World in an ad-hoc fashion or Neil Armstrong to take that small first step on the moon? Is there a common phenomenon that underlies these questions?

The answer perhaps lies in that basic instinct called - mobility.Over the past two hundred odd years, the fundamental pattern of human mobility has changed. Physical mobility has begun to be superseded by logical mobility that relates more towards our emotional and intellectual needs rather than solely our physical wants. For millennia, we have been physically mobile whether in the form of individual, family, tribe or army moving in search of better sustenance - better arable land, water, wealth, power or simply aspiring for better quality of life.

Logical mobility was founded more recently in 1830 when Joseph Henry demonstrated the potential of using electromagnetic phenomenon of electricity for long distance communication by sending an electronic current over one mile of wire to activate an electromagnet which caused a bell to ring. Later in 1844, Samuel F. B. Morse used this property of electricity to invent the telegraph and transmitted his famous message "What hath God wrought?" from Washington to Baltimore – a distance of 40 miles. Then followed, the epoch making first voice call over wire -- "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you!” by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Logical mobility evolved from ringing a bell to telegraph to telephone, which in turn led to the television.

Later, in 1957 in retaliation to the launching of Sputnik – the first artificial satellite by the USSR, the United States formed the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) within the Department of Defence. The mandate for Paul Baran of RAND corporation was to maintain its command and control over its missiles and bombers with a decentralized communication network in case of a Soviet nuclear attack. His final proposal was a packet switched network wherein packets of data (datagrams) were labelled to indicate the origin and destination of the information to be sent to the destination computer in the network. Multiple flavours of packet-switched networks including TCP/IP and X.25 emerged. TCP/IP, driven by education and defence in the United States, grew as a data network for computer users community - while the European industry nurtured X.25 that grew as the network offered by the telecom operators.

Add to it the development of the World Wide Web (WWW) started by Tim Berners-Lee as a text processing software in European Particle Physics Laboratory in Switzerland back in 1989. This phenomenon converged communication technology with information technology, which ushered in the digital economy. With the World Wide Web, three societal needs were given the appropriate media platform to nurture: communication, commerce and entertainment. In all, this convergent development met the basic aspiration of logical mobility – the need and ability to access data, information and knowledge from anywhere, anytime.

But is logical mobility really making a difference to the quality of human life from a socio-economic perspective? The answer is 'yes' among the digital divide 'haves'. We, as distant learning student, sales professional, retail investor, digital entertainment consumer or anybody labelled as mobile worker, are already leveraging upon near-instant wireless and wireline information on the fly with networked devices such as cell phones, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) and a host of smart mobile devices like the iPod.

But what about the 'have-nots'? What about that eighty percent of the global population that lives on less than one dollar a day, most of whom -- according to the World Resources Institute -- have never made a telephone call, let alone used the Internet? The answer is an almost inaudible 'yes' with a booming 'no'.

We still have to imagine how the benefits of mobile computing can percolate down to the larger bottom-tier of humankind when much larger issues such as health, literacy, and economic sustenance-related issues are looming ahead. A total sceptic might snigger – hey if we cannot supply decent electricity can we have PCs or cell phones that don't use electricity instead? Or look at the Dot Com boom and bust wherein we simply ignorantly labelled the 'have-nots' as 'have-laters'?

However, the optimist in us says that all is not lost. We aren't talking about the Wi-Fi hotspots and satellite telephones in the digital 'haves' world but about a couple of pioneering instances closer home in the Indian subcontinent where the digital economy landscape is as diverse from the hi-tech hub of Bangalore to Balasore district and where logical mobility has changed the lives from 'have-nots' to 'haves-now'.

One shining example is the Village Phone Program by GrameenPhone in cooperation with Grameen Bank – Bangladesh's internationally renowned micro-credit lending institution. This Program is a unique effort that provides telecommunications facilities in rural areas while providing the Village Phone operators, mostly poor rural women, a good earning opportunity with the commitment of "good development is good business". As an owner-operated pay phone, the Village Phone Program provides telephone services in rural areas where no such facilities existed before. It allows the rural poor, who cannot afford to become a regular subscriber, to avail the service. Typically, a borrower of Grameen Bank takes a loan of around 12,000 Taka and buys a handset and subscription of the mobile service while she is also trained on to how to operate it and how to charge the users for it. As of October 2003, there were more than 39,000 Village Phones in operation operating in nearly 28,000 villages of some 58 districts encompassing more than 50 million people living in remote rural areas!

Technologically, High Gain Antenna ensures smooth call completion in areas of weak signal while extending coverage for the Village Phone operation without further investment in network expansion. To counter remote villages without electricity, solar panel and DC batteries are being used for charging the cell phones. As a business, the average revenue per user (ARPU) of Village Phone subscribers is double that of the average business user. So imagine the difference in quality of life this Program can create in terms of being an essential communication channel during relief operations in the context of natural disasters, and in future when GrameenPhone integrates content services such as distance education, health assistance and adult education via fax, e-mail and Internet.

Another potential case is a project called 'Open Source Simple Computer for Agriculture in Rural Areas' or OSCAR that has the objective of developing a decision-making tool for weed identification and control that will address the issue of the declining agricultural productivity in South Asia. And that decision-making tool is essentially logically moulding agronomy know-how software onto a 'Simputer' - a hand-held 32MB Linux-based computer using smartcard technology that runs on three AAA batteries with a price tag of about Rs.10,000. Imagine Baldev Singh, a wheat farmer, instead of relying on his Doordarshan-fed Krishidarshan capsule, checking out his crop to evaluate his quality of wheat output with an easy-to-interface species identification software program in Hindi! A joint effort by French Institute of Pondicherry, Rice Wheat Consortium for the Indo-Gangetic Plains (Delhi), University of Wageningen (the Netherlands), and Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD–France), OSCAR has the potential to make a difference to the quality of agro-output, mindset and finally the quality of life for the millions of farmers and in turn millions of consumers in the Indo-Gangetic Plains and beyond.

With the digital economy, a new mobility paradigm has evolved from a physical mobility of goods (atoms and molecules) to logical objects (bits). Actual information and business workflows have changed in terms of operations leveraging upon the four essential characteristics of the digital economy – digitisation, immediacy, globalisation and virtualisation.

Economic divide in the society-at-large between the rich and the poor has always been an age-old issue that thinkers, philosophers and politicians have been trying to bridge with severe lack of success. In the digital context, the economic divide continues to lie in the ability to find, create, develop and utilize the right information at the right time in a cost-effective manner. Is logical mobility as a phenomenon going to help us to bridge that divide or is it going to be a grand global case of technological apartheid?

.News about the future of Success

Parents Influence Children's Success, Duke Social Psychologist Says

Research shows that parents do matter, especially in adolescence, when children decide whether or not they want to go to college and what jobs they want as adults.

Students whose parents are involved in their schooling have higher career and educational goals, according to a new Duke University study of middle- and high-schoolers.

And parents' influence on how their children think about the future and perform in school continues through adolescence, according to the study, which followed nearly 500 black and white children from seventh through 11th grades.

"Some previous research has indicated that parents' involvement isn't that significant as children move into adolescence," said Nancy E. Hill, associate professor of social psychology at Duke. "But our research shows that parents do matter, especially in adolescence, when children decide whether or not they want to go to college and begin thinking about what jobs they'd like to have as adults."




Positive thinking: A skill for stress relief
by Mayo Clinic

Stress management requires a positive perspective — knowing how to turn pessimism into optimism.

Is your glass half-empty or half-full? How you answer this age-old question may reflect your outlook on life and whether you're optimistic or pessimistic.

In fact, studies show that these personality traits —optimism and pessimism — can affect how well you live and even how long you live.

Need an attitude adjustment? Find out how to reduce your stress by halting negative thoughts and practicing positive self-talk.

Be positive: Live longer, live healthier
Self-talk is the endless stream of thoughts that run through your head every day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you're likely an optimist.

Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of lack of information.

.Club of Amsterdam blog

Club of Amsterdam blog
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April 20: Aspects of Mobility
April 4:
Lifestyle and New Media

March 20:
The Future of the Web
March 13:
"We Media"

.News about the Future


Jaman is the way people discover, enjoy and share world cinema. Jaman's global online community is pioneering social cinema. It is a new destination for moviegoers to watch and discuss the world's best films. Having curated and assembled one of the world's largest online libraries of feature films and documentaries, Jaman provides filmmakers and studios a secure way to distribute and market films worldwide. Cascade, Jaman's global peer to peer network, delivers movies with better-than-DVD quality to Macs, PCs or home entertainment systems via a sleek, device-independent player.

  Measuring Innovation

The US Commerce Department is seeking public input on ways to measure innovation in the economy.

"Input from innovators, entrepreneurs from businesses of all sizes, and academics is very important to the Committee as it develops ideas for innovation metrics," Gutierrez said. "Innovation is a driver of our economy and we need to help policymakers and the business community better measure innovation for the purpose of developing appropriate public policy."

The Committee anticipates the recommendations will cover the following four major categories identified by the participants during the initial meeting:
1. Improvement of the underlying architecture of the U.S. System of National Accounts to facilitate development of improved and more granular measures of innovation and productivity;
2. Identification of appropriate economy-wide and sector-specific statistical series or other indicators that could be used to quantify innovation and/or its impacts;
3. Identification of firm-specific data items that could enable comparisons and aggregation; and
4. Identification of specific "holes" in the current data collection system that limit our ability to measure innovation.


CitySense is an urban scale sensor network testbed and will consist of 100 wireless sensors deployed on light poles around the city of Cambridge, MA. Each node will consist of an embedded PC, 802.11a/b/g interface, and various sensors for monitoring weather conditions and air pollutants. Most importantly, CitySense is intended to be an open testbed that researchers from all over the world can use to evaluate wireless networking and sensor network applications in a large-scale urban setting.

  A CitySense node gathers weather data on the rooftop of BBN Technologies Inc.

"An open test bed lets people reprogram the network to run their own experiments," Matt Welsh said, head of the project and assistant professor of computer science at Harvard University. Each node contains a tiny computer that can upload programs. "Researchers can then have access remotely over the Internet," he said.

.Next Season Event

the future of the Success
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Registration: 18:30-19:00, Conference: 19:00-21:15
Where:, Sint Antoniesbreestraat 16, 1011 HB Amsterdam [Next to Nieuwmarkt]

Tickets for € 30, € 20 [discount] or € 10 [students]

Nisandeh Neta, Founder, Open Circles Academy:
Beyond Success

Huib Wursten, Managing Partner, ITIM International:
The Meaning of Success in Different Cultures

Moderated by Homme Heida, Promedia, Member of the Club of Amsterdam Round



.Recommended Book

  Elements of Success
by Nisandeh Neta

This book reveals the ingredients that make up every successful result. It offers a five-step process of creating success, with in-depth explanations on each step and tips how to work with them.
It teaches you how to manage every step of the way to your personal success, with little effort and maximum results.

Often we are not aware of what the elements are of the process of creation. Once we're good at something, we think it is because of our talent, or because of being lucky, without investigating what the process was that moved us from the state of "hunger" to the state of "fulfilment".
If we don't know what the recipe for success is, it is difficult to repeat it.

The book "Elements of Success" teaches you all you need to know about the recipe for success.

Becoming successful is easy, if you know what to do...

.First Deep-Sea Observatory

Providing electrical power and data connections for new research instruments in the deep-sea. That's the vision behind the Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS). The system, currently under construction, consists of a 52-km (32-mile) undersea cable that carries data and power to a "science node" 891 meters (2,923 feet) below the surface of Monterey Bay. Up to eight different science experiments can be attached to this central hub.

Most oceanographic instruments on the seafloor have no connections with the surface, so they have to run on batteries and store their own data. A cabled observatory like MARS removes those restrictions, allowing scientists to design new types of oceanographic equipment and study the ocean in new ways.

The MARS observatory will place advanced science instruments in deep water near the rim of the Monterey undersea canyon. Scientists on land will have constant access to their equipment through a seafloor cable that carries both electrical power and data.

The MARS project marks a major step toward realizing a long-held dream in ocean science. Because radio waves barely penetrate water, it is easier to get data from an interplanetary probe than from an instrument in the deep sea. Cabled undersea observatories are beginning to change this, linking seafloor instruments directly to scientists' desktops.


.Media LAB

LAB on MEDIA and Human Experience
An immersed experience of a Do-Tank

May 29 & 30
, 2007

Location: Girona near Barcelona, Spain
Max. 20 Delegates
Please use our Media LAB Registration at

Moderated by Humberto Schwab, Director, Club of Amsterdam, Innovation Philosopher and the Thought Leaders

Laurence Desarzens
, urban communicator,
Media & communication specialist for lifestyle companies
Paul F.M.J. Verschure, ICREA research professor, Technology Department, University Pompeu Fabra
Psychologist. Specialist for wheeled and flying robots, interactive spaces and avatars
Ricardo Baeza-Yates
, Director, Yahoo! Research
Specialist for content and structure organization of a website and for blogs, vlogs and social networks
Rudy de Waele
, Founder,

Wireless communication expert

.From water into wine into ... dresses?

A biologist and artist make clothing out of the slimy films from wine contaminated with bacteria

We're looking at [the dresses] to provoke some discussion about future fashions, about the possibility of other material we can use instead of our normal cottons and silks," says Gary Cass, who works on the Micro'be' project at the University of Western Australia.

Micro'be' Seamless Wear investigates the practical and cultural biosynthesis of clothing
- to explore the possible forms and cultural implications of futuristic dress-making and textile technologies.
Instead of inanimate weaving machines producing the textile, living microbes will ferment a garment.
A grown seamless garment will not only rupture the meaning of traditional interactions with body and clothing;
but also raise questions around the contentious nature of the living materials themselves.
grown seamless garment will not only rupture the meaning of traditional interactions with body and clothing;
but will also raise questions around the contentious nature of the living materials themselves.
This project redefines the production of woven materials.

  Fermented fashion, cavewoman style. The dress is made from fermented red wine and must be kept wet otherwise it tears (Images: Micro'be' project)



Tickets for Seasons Events: € 30, 20 [discount] or 10 [students]

Our Season Events for 2006/2007 are on

the future of Success
April 26, 2007, 18:30 - 21:15

the future of Tourism
May 31, 2007, 18:30 - 21:15

Taste of Diversity
June 28, 2007, 18:30 - 21:15

LAB in Girona near Barcelona, Spain, moderated by Humberto Schwab:

LAB on MEDIA and Human Experience
May 29 & 30, 2007
Please use the Media LAB Registration

.Club of Amsterdam Open Business Club

Club of Amsterdam Open Business Club
Are you interested in networking, sharing visions, ideas about your future, the future of your industry, society, discussing issues, which are relevant for yourself as well as for the 'global' community? The future starts now - join our online platform ...:

CIWI - Creative Minds Worldwide
CIWI Club of Amsterdam Forum


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