Making large things visible to the human eye

Amy Farrah Fowler and soft power

The Wall Street Journal ran this report last week: “Fleeing the Dollar flood: The world tries to protect itself from US monetary policy .”

Time was, it was with some pride and hope that one read “When America sneezes, the world catches cold” – because US policy didn’t threaten the world; it saved the world.

So what if it was hubris? It was only the same kind of hubris you saw motivating the best MIT engineering student or Google software coder. That student coder—like any Amy Farrah Fowler—would quickly enough solve whatever problem you threw at her.

But now even the Wall Street Journal documents how much the traditional global economy has shifted in perception.

Who’s running the pool on how long before conventional soft power goes too?

Contrast this with what brains and goodwill such as those at Facebook, Paul Butler for one, achieve:

Facebook connections - December 2010

Facebook connections - December 2010

Facebook 2010 – The Social Graph. A weightless-economy world of digital connections without borders

Or, look at Jon Chiu‘s version with national boundaries drawn in:

Facebook 2010 – The Social Graph, with national boundaries. Superfluous?

Just two quick observations: First, it’s known that Facebook is, while not impossible, difficult to access in China for reasons of policy: That’s why China appears dark in these images; the competing renren.com is used enough there.

Second, as far as I can tell, both these renditions were coded by Canadians.


One response to “Amy Farrah Fowler and soft power

  1. Anonymous 2011.05.15 at 20:47

    Russia is dark on these pictures because Facebook is not popular in Russia. A rival local network with similar features and additional multimedia possibilities VKontakte (literally “In Contact With”) emerged earlier than Facebook and has attracted almost all Internet-active population to it.

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