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WSE Suspends Trading!

I’m rushing off to do politics for the next few days, and won’t be able to pay close attention to the Second Life Stock Exchanges. However, I did get a note earlier this morning about the World Stock Exchange (WSE) in Second Life shutting down for up to 45 days for a software upgrade.

There is a bit of a discussion about it over on the Second Life Forums. It isn't very friendly, and people ask what others would think if the NASDAQ suspended trading for a month for a software upgrade.

I have not been able to get in touch with members of the Second Life Exchange Commission (SLEC), however, they issued a recommendation a while ago, which caused great turmoil, when they suggested investors withdraw from WSE. I expect IntLibber to be writing a memo any moment saying, “I told you so.”

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Rae, Fiona and Sarah, originally uploaded by Aldon.

A few years ago, we were heading up to a family reunion. As we explained the purpose of our trip to Fiona, she asked, “Who died?” Our extended family gathers too rarely, and typically only at funerals, which over the past few years have been a bit too frequent. We told this story at our most recent family reunion, the wake and funeral for my Uncle Fred.

Fiona is getting older now, and she understands these events better. She went over and gave Uncle Fred’s oldest granddaughter a great big hug saying it looked like she needed one. Fiona understands very well the importance of grandparents in people’s lives.

Later, at my cousin’s house, she came to understand that this was a cousin she had hugged. In this case, a second cousin, a nuance few understand or really care all that much about. For Fiona, what mattered is that she found new cousins to play with, and there are few things as important to her as playing with her cousins.

Everyone seemed to have a good time, and it made me think a bit more about the family dynamics. I’ve always felt a little awkward and out of place at our family gatherings. My mother was the youngest of seven children, and I was her next to youngest child. This meant that all of my cousins on my mother’s side were older than me, and I always felt like my older cousins viewed me as either a toy or an annoyance. Neither role was one that I particularly enjoyed.

This time, however, things felt different. We talked about what a hard year 2007 had been for so many of us. We laughed about cellphones that had been dropped in chicken soup, we talked about healthcare and politics, and as Fiona played on the couch with her cousins, we were all family.

I will miss Uncle Fred, though probably not as much as his children and grandchildren will. I thought of the great line from John Donne.

any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

All of us are diminished by the passing of Uncle Fred. Yet as I listened to his granddaughter talk about how much he will be missed, I reflected on how we all carry part of Uncle Fred with us. For Rae, Uncle Fred was that part of the family where there was always compassion, forgiveness, a caring hand to help, and a smile to laugh. We all need people like that in our lives.

So, what I take away from this funeral is that while I can never become the father or grandfather to my cousins that they have lost in the passing of Fred, I can at least try to bring some of his compassion, forgiveness, caring and laughter to them, and to everyone I meet. We can all do that, and take the tolling of the bell of sadness and transform it to peals of joy. I will do my part, will you do yours?

So, Fiona will enjoy playing with her cousins, and to these cousins, I say, “I am here to help in whatever way I can.’

Rest in Peace, Uncle Fred.

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Thursday, January 3rd, 2008. Today was supposed to be the big demonstration in Uhuru Park in Nairobi Kenya. I wasn’t planning on attending, but I was hoping, that if I could find time between this event and that to write up more about what is going on in Kenya. I checked the usual Kenyan blogs this morning, and didn’t find any news. However, according to Bloomberg the Associated Press is reporting the rally is cancelled, and Agence-France Presse is reporting that it is postponed to January 8th. The Washington Post, the LA Times and Voice of America are all reporting that Kenyan Riot police fired tear gas on supporters of the opposition party and William Ruto, a top official with presidential candidate Raila Odinga's party, has called on supporters to peacefully disperse. I find it interesting to note that the demonstrations had been scheduled to take place on the day of the Iowa caucuses. They have now been postponed to the day of the New Hampshire primary.

I also hope to get some time to write about the Iowa caucuses. I am an Edwards’ supporter and I hope to see Sen. Edwards do well in Iowa this evening. As I find time, I hope to write about this. Tomorrow, we will head up to campaign in New Hampshire through the primary. I am unlikely to be responding to most email between now and after the primary. Depending on my schedule, I would love to get up there in time to greet Sen. Edwards plane as he arrives from Iowa. I’m just not sure there are enough hours in the day.

Also, this evening at 9 PM Eastern, George Lakoff will be appearing on Virtually Speaking, a progressive show broadcast from Second Life. Next week, Ned Lamont will be on the show and I hope to attend tonight as well as help build crowds for both tonight and next week.

However, the top concern for me today is my uncle’s funeral. I will try to write a blog post about the wake yesterday before hitting the road, but I need to leave fairly soon, so I’m not sure I’ll get it done.

Stay tuned!

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Blogger, OpenID, and Gravatars

The acceptance of OpenID in the blogger community is growing, which IMHO, is a great thing. Today, as I visited various Wordless Wednesday sites, I found more and more people using OpenID, and I appreciated being able to click on their links and go directly to their websites. Unfortunately, the Drupal implementation of OpenID doesn’t handle it quite as nicely.

One downside of this is that OpenID comments on Blogger do not show people’s gravatar. The problem is that gravatar’s are based on email addresses, and OpenID is based on website addresses. One solution would be if Gravatar would accept OpenIDs. Another solution would be if sites managing OpenIDs would support email addresses and connect with gravatar. seems like a perfect candidate for this. You can already verify your OpenIDs and your email addresses with them. If they would make email addresses available, as md5 hashes, then Blogger could connect to ClaimID to display gravatars. It would be a nice addition, and I’m sure there are a lot of other neat applications that could be created if there was a source of md5 hashed email addresses associated with OpenIDs.

Wordless Wednesday - Kenya

Kenya, originally uploaded by Aldon.