Farber List Helpful in Good Times and Bad

by Derrick Story

Little did I know 18 months ago that joining Dave Farber's "Interesting People" list would turn out to be my intelligence lifeline in the aftermath of terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

I had no idea, for example, that I would be better able to articulate why we shouldn't indiscriminately bomb Afghanistan because I had just read the well-written Farber post, "Mir Tamim Ansary on Afghanistan."

I'm not sure I would have come across "The Dalai Lama's letter to the President of the United States of America" on any of the typical news sites. But I read it yesterday morning on the Farber list.

And I was also made aware of the CNN story about cutting-edge radio frequency sniffers to help find people feared lost in the WTC collapse through a pointer on the Farber list.

Funny how one thing leads to another. A year and a half ago I was just standing there at the NAB conference in Las Vegas being overwhelmed by bright lights and sound when I noticed Dave Farber being interviewed for a webcast (He is the former Chief Technologist at the Federal Communications Commission). I liked him and liked knowing that we had someone like him in the government. When he mentioned his Interesting People mailing list, I decided to sign up right away.

For all the complaining we do about e-mail, this list illustrates that it can be a vibrant and important medium for relating news and sharing commentary. And as the events of the last week unfolded, the Farber list has helped me talk with reasonable intelligence among my family, friends, and co-workers.

If you'd like to see some of the threads from the Farber list, you can visit the Interesting People archive online.

If you're a member of the Interesting People list, I'd like to hear your comments about the recent dialogue there.