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[ba-ohs-talk] Emergence, REST, and purple numbers

There's an interview on oreillynet with Steven Johnson, author of 
"Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software", 
about bottom-up organization of complex systems, that's just chock full 
of riches: 
http://www.oreillynet.com/lpt/a//network/2002/02/22/johnson.html.    (01)

How do I do a look up to see if this book has already been recommended 
in this conversation?    (02)

There is some dissing of the book by readers on Amazon.    (03)

Here's one connection to the Augment discussion. In the interview:
"Our frontal lobes differ dramatically from those of the other primates. 
It's disproportionately large, and one of the things that happens there 
is all the different specialized data processing going on through the 
rest of the brain gets brought there and kind of synthesized -- what's 
going on in the visual cortex, the audio realm, the emotional realm. All 
that stuff is brought together.    (04)

I was thinking that what the Web needs is a big neo-cortex. There are 
all these very specialized smart, focused tools being developed, and 
data that's being mined, and collective intelligence on specific 
problems. But we're not as good yet at, not just filtering all that 
stuff, but figuring out what belongs connected to what else. Google is, 
in a way, the beginning of that. It's letting the Web solve that pattern 
itself, looking at patterns and links of what should be connected to 
other things. But we need more of that kind of synthesis going on. I 
think XML is going to be a great platform for that. Once you have clear, 
simple markup for describing big chunks of data, it should be easier to 
do that as well.    (05)

Sims. And it offers the potential of two-way linking.    (06)

Johnson. Yeah, two-way linking is kind of essential to letting the Web 
evolve in an organic way."    (07)

My understanding is that purple numbers provide an easy way for a reader 
of a paragraph (to be specific, of a paragraph that is web-addressable 
(has a URI)) to make a link directly to that paragraph (by doing a "Copy 
Link" on the purple number).    (08)

So this starts making it easier to create "links-to". Not quite two-way 
links, but at least closes the cycle:
- you go to some chunkable piece with a URI (and a quick and dirty for 
chunkable is anything that makes sense to be inside a <p> ... </p> tab);
- you easily harvest the URI into some info-ecology of your own.    (09)

This echoes the suggestion made in Paul Prescod's article on REST 
(http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/02/20/rest.html), where a key "aha" came 
"A balkanized way of submitting a purchase order is to call an RPC 
end-point which returns a corporation-specific purchase order identifier 
(even a UUID). A universally addressable way is to ask the server to 
generate a new location (using POST) where the purchase order can be 
uploaded (using PUT)."    (010)

So the key is two-fold web addressability: read and write! Easily plop 
and populate new web addresses: write the web! If you start thinking of 
resources in a uri-centric fashion, then the key thing is to be able to 
_create_ URIs.    (011)

The cosmology is: there is nothing but URI's. You can get URI's, and you 
can plop new URI's.    (012)

Purple numbers help you grab web addresses. That's the first, still 
incomplete step in web addressability: you need to be able to get the 
address. But then you also need to be able to put that address (and 
probably some meta-info) somewhere, and not just anywhere, but somewhere 
that's addressable.  You still need to be able to _write_ purple numbers 
somewhere (and easily!).    (013)

How will the paragraphs in this e-mail of mine get purple numbers? 
Within bootstrap.org's archiving of this message they should (although 
that doesn't seem to be the case yet, after doing a quick check of the 
archive). More generally, though? I suppose paragraphs to XML, then XSLT 
to lay a fragment identifier and purple number interface (for rapid 
copying of the URI) on each paragraph. We tend to write in editors, so 
that's something an editor could do (Save As Purple XML...).    (014)

In terms of ABCs, is furthering something like this in the realm of "B 
activity" (improving a process) and maybe "C activity" (improving the 
improving process)?    (015)

Mark    (016)