Archives for April 2008

Sci Fi Predictions

Dan Damon Dan Damon | 10:51 UK time, Wednesday, 30 April 2008

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As the Arthur C. Clarke awards are announced for Britain's best Sci Fi writer, it's fun to look back at Science Fiction which became fact.

And what's coming up? Well, personal force fields, WiFi brain implants and steel exo-skeletons for infantry soldiers are close to reality, so I'm told.

Undercover

Dan Damon Dan Damon | 11:39 UK time, Tuesday, 29 April 2008

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Chris McGreal of the Guardian told us this morning about working undercover in Zimbabwe for the past month.

He didn't feel he was being hunted even though officials there could obviously tell he was around despite a ban.

He was willing to tell us almost everything, he said, except how he got out - because he might need to use the same route in the future.

I tried to work undercover once, in Kosovo during a period of police repression in the 1990s.

I didn't shave for a few days, then went to neighbouring Macedonia to get the bus, rather than fly in or go in my own car.

I was doing video in those days, and put my camera into an old bag and covered it with clothes.

I thought I was doing rather well - I got in without having my passport checked, because the bus was used by peasants, not Western journalists, so the police just waved it through the border.

I stayed with a friend once I reached the capital, avoiding any hotel or guest house. I did some interviews that would have been uncomfortable doing if I was being followed - or so I thought.

But when at the end of the trip I had to go to the Grand Hotel to make a phone call, the man at the desk spotted me.

"Oh, Mr Damon, we knew you were around, we wondered why you hadn't checked in with us yet!"

(Perhaps you can guess that anyone working in a hotel in a police state is an employee of the security service as well.)

I suppose being 6ft 4ins tall in a country where 6ft is exceptional didn't help.

Afterwards I felt bad that I might have compromised the opposition figures who had agreed to talk to me. But in view of what came later, in 1998, I guess I was the least of their problems.

The Next Stage

Dan Damon Dan Damon | 11:09 UK time, Thursday, 17 April 2008

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We've been a bit restricted on the way we can use your comments in this blog until now - and limited on use of audio and pictures. But with an upgrade to the software, we're now in a much stronger position to include your views in all kinds of ways - images, voice and type.

You will have to register to leave your comments - that will weed out a lot of the unwanted Internet trash we've been plagued with (like everyone else).

So please register, join in and thank you.

Blogs That Would Have Changed History

Dan Damon Dan Damon | 09:22 UK time, Wednesday, 16 April 2008

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There is a feeling amongst some bloggers that they have become so important and influential, they are changing the course of history - forcing politicians to rethink, affecting the outcomes of elections and so on.

The bloggers that exposed the fake documents about George W. Bush's Vietnam era military career would probably claim that.

So I've been thinking: "how would blogging, with all its painstaking detective work and openness, have changed history?"

I'd be glad if you could come up with some points in history that might have been changed by blogging, and I'll try to construct the blogs that might have matched the moment.

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