From Nytimes

When N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver announced a lifetime ban of the disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and said he would urge the league’s Board of Governors to vote for a forced sale of the team, Silver was widely hailed for his decisive leadership in defusing a burgeoning crisis.

But in tracing the timeline of events that led to the announcement Tuesday, it is apparent that the league’s response was shaped as much by the influence of a player turned politician who has no official affiliation with the N.B.A. as it was by Silver’s conviction.

Kevin Johnson, a former N.B.A. star who is now the mayor of Sacramento, was able to channel the growing anger among the league’s players and made clear to Silver the types of steps that needed to be taken to keep the situation from veering out of control.

With a long history as a fractious group plagued by infighting among empowered player agents and their famous clients, with its last three executive directors departing involuntarily, the players union has not been normally viewed as having a powerful voice in N.B.A. affairs. And it certainly did not seem to be cohesive enough to forcefully deal with the fast-moving, emotionally charged reactions to Sterling’s comments.



Mesh Networking

From the NYTimes



Wireless routers attached to rooftops in Sayada form a local network that the developers say is more secure than the Internet. CreditSamuel Aranda for The New York Times

SAYADA, Tunisia — This Mediterranean fishing town, with its low, whitewashed buildings and sleepy port, is an unlikely spot for an experiment in rewiring the global Internet. But residents here have a surprising level of digital savvy and sharp memories of how the Internet can be misused.

A group of academics and computer enthusiasts who took part in the 2011 uprising in Tunisia that overthrew a government deeply invested in digital surveillance have helped their town become a test case for an alternative: a physically separate, local network made up of cleverly programmed antennas scattered about on rooftops.

The State Department provided $2.8 million to a team of American hackers, community activists and software geeks to develop the system, called a mesh network, as a way for dissidents abroad to communicate more freely and securely than they can on the open Internet. One target that is sure to start debate is Cuba; the United States Agency for International Development has pledged $4.3 million to create mesh networks there.

Even before the network in Sayada went live in December, pilot projects financed in part by the State Department proved that the mesh could serve residents in poor neighborhoods in Detroit and function as a digital lifeline in part of Brooklyn during Hurricane Sandy. But just like their overseas counterparts, Americans increasingly cite fears of government snooping in explaining the appeal of mesh networks.

“There’s so much invasion of privacy on the Internet,” said Michael Holbrook, of Detroit, referring to surveillance by the National Security Agency. “The N.S.A. is all over it,” he added. “Anything that can help to mitigate that policy, I’m all for it.”

Since this mesh project began three years ago, its original aim — foiling government spies — has become an awkward subject for United States government officials who backed the project and some of the technical experts carrying it out. That is because the N.S.A., as described in secret documents leaked by the former contractor Edward J. Snowden, has been shown to be a global Internet spy with few, if any, peers.


Networks and Netwars Notes V2

Perception Management: “Given the importance of knowledge and soft power to the conduct of netwar, it is not surprising that networked terrorists have already begun to leverage IT for perception management and propaganda to influence public opinion, recruit new members, and generate funding.” Rethink running around yelling we are for communism when most of the world thinks communists murder oppressed people. A comrade was telling me that what is important is to communicate the message we want as quickly and effectively as possible is key. If saying you are communist does not do that, why be stuck to it. Other people might think that is opportunistic… I am not sure.  I see the point about conveying the accuracy of the message.

How Plastic are the organizations we build: “These characteristics—their pervasiveness, their capacity to coexist both within and outside hierarchies, their ability to make markets more efficient by facilitating directed flows of information and commodities—give networks an elusive quality. In some respects, they appear little more than plastic organizations that can be molded in many different ways.”

How much Shock can organizations take? “Networks are highly resilient, partly because of what might be termed loose coupling. Charles Perrow distinguishes between tightly coupled and loosely coupled systems. He contends that tightly coupled systems are the least stable because disturbances involve a chain reaction or, at the very least, serious knock-on effects. In contrast, “loose coupling gives time, resources, and alternative paths to cope with the disturbance and limits its impact.”25 Criminal networks—apart from the core—are based largely on loose coupling. Even if some parts of the network are destroyed, the effects are limited since other parts are left intact. In a loosely coupled network, knock-on or cascading effects are limited and damage to one part of the network does not undermine the network as a whole. Loose coupling also preserves more diversity, in response offering considerable latitude in the decision of which parts of the network should respond, in what manner and in what location”