Like many people around the world, I was stirred by the inauguration of President Obama. Listening to his speech, I wanted to share a couple of the bits that stood out for me, as well as a few related links that caught my eye during the day. I already shared most of these links via twitter but thought they deserved a blog post as well.
- As you might guess, I loved Obama’s inauguration speech calling to America to step up to big challenges:
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom….
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage….
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
Amen! As you know, I do believe we face great challenges, and must rise to them. How fabulous to have a President who acknowledges the joy of what is hard! Leadership begins with vision, hope and a sense of possibility. People follow because they believe in that vision. This is a man who makes me want to sign on the dotted line!
- I loved the promise on the new whitehouse.gov to “publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.” I also love the fact that all of the public comment on whitehouse.gov is licensed under Creative Commons licensing. (As Carl Malamud pointed out, the government-contributed material is already in the public domain – a good reminder!)
- In a lighter vein, I loved the San Francisco prank that replaced Bush Street signs with Obama Street. Amazing bit of coordination to get as many of the street signs relabeled as they did before the police stopped them.
- I also got a kick out of Jennifer Pahlka’s tweet: “I’m taking obama’s mention of “makers of things” as a coded endorsement for MAKE”
- CNN’s partnership with Microsoft to build a Photosynth model of the Inauguration out of user-contributed photographs is an amazing demonstration of the power of Photosynth and the future of collective visualization. What’s so cool is that the demo keeps getting better as more photos are added. (Silverlight install required, but worth it. And yes, Silverlight, AKA moonlight, works on Linux.)
- The other great image of the inauguration came to me via Doc Searls on twitter: the ManyEyes visualization of the word tree for the Inauguration speech, showing phrases rooted in the words “we will”:
(Also try searching just on the word “we,” as well as “we are”.) A cool visualization tool helping to see the key ideas of a wonderful speech!
- Update: A wonderful photo, via Dave Winer:
Sasha gives her dad the thumbs up! (Not reprinted here, because it’s “all rights reserved,” but do follow the link and take a look!)
- Update 2: Another wonderful photo, from Popular Science, shows a satellite view of the Inauguration. Amazing how like an antheap Washington looks.