I recently enjoyed a recorded talk by Christine Peterson, co-founder of the Foresight Nanotech Institute, on open-source security and politics.
The basic point is to get alpha geeks to think about what they can contribute to basically polticial questions–to better, less invasive physical national security but also to stand up and fight against absurdities like polling machines running proprietary software, when everyone in software knows open source would provide a much better check on potential hacks.
She has a section that mirrors how I feel about the new OCLC Policy and librarians’ and library technologists’ responsibility to get engaged and do heroic things, to keep libraries “free to all” and not the cornerstone of a perpetual monopoly:
So you may be sitting there going, “God, the Constitution! Franklin, Jefferson… this is like a Heinlein novel! She’s trying to convince me I’m in a Heinlein novel, where there’s heroic action to take.”
Well, guess what, you are! You really are. This is a critical time. And there’s going to be huge decisions and a lot of work to be done. And you’re the best ones to do it. I hate to tell you that. I know you have other things to do.