Davos Newbies Home

***Be your own broadcaster
I spent a fascinating part of today with Adam Curry in Amsterdam. His United Resources of Jamby is working on bringing broadcast power to every desktop. Watch his space in January for a beta test download. In a lovely demonstration of syncronicity, I read an article by Hal Varian on the flight back to London. “In the near future, tools for creating, editing, manipulating and sharing video over the Internet will become a hot commodity. When the vid-kids become screen-agers, the market for these products will mature and personalized video will be integrated into our lives, as has desktop publishing.”

***Bush and the world
Tony Judt raises an important concern in the latest issue of New York Review of Books. Bush supporters dismiss suggestions of Dubya�s naivety on foreign policy by pointing to the experienced counselors with which he surrounds himself. Judt refers to some of the more frightening pronouncements of Condoleezza Rice, who is likely to be national security adviser in a Bush administration. What is novel, however, is Judt�s demolition of Colin Powell as a potential secretary of state.

�General Powell has the bureaucratic, action-adverse outlook of many deskbound senior staff officers� In an all-powerful secretary of state, exercising unimpeded influence over an uncertain newcomer whose instincts are to do the minimum, Powell�s dislike of all foreign ventures could be a disaster.� Judt�s comment is datelined, significantly, Zagreb.

***Europe�s capital

Brussels fashions itself as Europe�s capital city, as the home of the European Commission. But I spent yesterday in the city that bids fair to be the true capital of the continent, particularly if the EU summit in Nice reaches agreement on expansion to embrace the countries of central and eastern Europe.

The last time I was in Berlin, it was a divided city. As someone acutely interested in architecture, I walked up the Unter den Linden to its culminating point of the Brandenburg Gate. But in those days, this great urban axis was obscenely frustrated by the Wall, just beyond the gate. The ruins of the Reichstag were just the other side.

Now Unter den Linden, and all of Berlin Mitte (the old, historic centre which was largely falling apart when it was part of divided East Berlin), is well on its way to being restored to the glories of its Prussian heyday. The Brandenburg Gate, rather sadly to my mind, has traffic funnelled through its arches. The Reichstag has been brilliantly restored into the home of the German legislature by British architect Norman Foster. Its dome, with spiralling ramps climbing to wonderful views over the city and down into the debating chamber, is one of the great urban architectural experiences anywhere in the world.

There are more major construction sites in Berlin than any city I�ve seen, China�s metropolises possibly excepted. When the work is completed, Berlin will be even more extraordinary than it is today. Part of the impact is the historical resonance of Berlin: the locus classicus of the darkest memories of the 20th century. Now it is a city filled with young people and spectacular democratic institutions. Truly uplifting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *