STATUS: Dashing out to meetings soon. I did plan a write up my most recent notes but two headlines pre-empted my intention. These are too good to pass up.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? TRAIN IN VAIN by Clash
The first story is just brilliant. From the Washington Post:
DHS Enlists Sci-Fi Writers to Imagine Future Dangers
The line between what’s real and what’s not is thin and shifting, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has decided to explore both sides. Boldly going where few government bureaucracies have gone before, the agency is enlisting the expertise of science fiction writers.
The second story clearly illustrates that the “pen” is mightier than the sword. Never underestimate the fury of book lovers or the power of the internet to enact change. Power to the People! A wrong has been righted.
The Philippines 2009 Book Blockade
Earlier this month (Shelf Awareness, May 4, 2009), Hemley had written about “The Great Book Blockade of 2009,” (also seen in McSweeny’s) in which customs officials in the Philippines began requiring that duty be paid on all incoming books.
Hemley reported that, “Within a day or two of my story going online, bloggers all over the Philippines had caught it and were reproducing and commenting upon it, and hundreds and then thousands of book lovers were voicing their outrage. . . . Soon, the story hit the mainstream media in the Philippines when Manuel Quezon III wrote a column for the Philippine Inquirer, also titled ‘The Great Book Blockade of 2009.’
Now the story had gone beyond the blogosphere and other media started picking it up.” Finding himself “more or less at the center of this controversy,” Hemley was even contacted by a U.S. Embassy official “who told me that if there’s one lesson he had learned from this it’s that ‘we have greatly underestimated the power and reach of the internet as an organizational tool in the Philippines.'”
Hemley added, “As I write this, I’ve just heard from a friend that President Arroyo has lifted the book blockade, that effective immediately, there will be no taxes on imported books. Together, Filipino book lovers have performed what I consider a miracle in less than a month’s time.”