psybelle: (sweeney todd)
Did I burble about the amazing LongNow talk a little while back with Nicky Case?


Highly recommended if you have an interest in systems behavior, shifting or managing complex feedback loops, or just like the stuff the Long Now does.


Apr. 21st, 2016 02:52 pm
psybelle: (. . .)
I think this is going to be my standard response to the loss of role-models and heroines…

We are all mortal, role-model or not; all of our heros are going to die and many of them are going to die long before we think they should. Whether or not you think you have any hero-stuff in you, *you* can still help, still make things better for somebody else.
psybelle: (sweeney todd)

(Yeah, it's local; not sure if I'm going to go down there or if I'll just read out loud… I don't know that any of my wardrobe is appropriate anymore.)

(tix for the local folks are through eventbrite: )
psybelle: (shit.)

I'm frustrated/angry/scared about the latest pronouncement from Trump… The man is an unrepentant fascist, and has an appalling amount of support. Fuck all the polls asking whether you'd go back in time and kill Baby Hitler - what are you going to do about the monster we have here and now?

Seriously - what would it take to illustrate the trainwreck in such a way that his support would evaporate overnight? Obviously, black-bag jobs are out - the last thing we need is a martyr. Simple comparisons to the Third Reich aren't going to do it (see appalling amount of support, although I wonder what would happen if somebody asked him how he felt about the Nuremberg Trials). I'm not sure he's capable of showing embarrassment in public - the bluster/attack reflexes are too keenly honed.

This feels like a cross between The Lathe of Heaven and The Screwfly Solution - it's a test, and we're failing quite thoroughly.
psybelle: (. . .)
I want to go back to school.

It's a combination of this article on depleting aquifers (which doesn't just apply to California) and the current batch of speculative fiction on JM Greer's blog, and finishing off The Peripheral (and contemplating The Jackpot)…

I want a degree in "Resiliency" but I don't think such a thing exists.

Parts of it do, under different names - systems theory is the skeleton on which everything else is built, risk-modeling (at both insurance industry and .gov levels, though I could do without the latter's "elite panic" biases) is a piece of it, George Foy's nodes versus megorgs is a chunk, ecology and doughnut economics are the foundation of it, some form of sustainability is the end goal…

a few strands in the web )


Jul. 7th, 2015 10:01 pm
psybelle: (. . .)
There is a certain relief in seeing my reactions, my thought processes, my fears in other people. It doesn't solve the underlying problem in any way, but it's a comfort of sorts…

Well, yeah, we're fucked.
psybelle: (sweeney todd)
I'v signed on for the next course over at SDSN...

So far, it looks good (though the course material was recorded last year, and so is a year out of date for some of the conferences mentioned).

I highly recommend the course-work!
psybelle: (shit.)
Arsenic alert:

The analysis is only on California wines - I have no idea if there are similar issues with the cheaper wines coming out of other states in the US, or from Italy, Australia, or South America.
psybelle: (sweeney todd)
Fire extinguishers are awesome, and everybody should own at least one.


If you're a San Francisco resident, take the NERT training - it's also awesome and you get to practice with a fire extinguisher (one of *many* useful tidbits). Other communities may have similar programs - search for CERT or check with the local fire department/emergency services folks.

(Nope, it's not April yet, but I'm starting with the earthquake safety and emergency-preparedness early…)

um, wow.

Mar. 3rd, 2015 04:22 pm
psybelle: (sweeney todd)
Penzeys Spices get all my love…

got this email... )
psybelle: (sweeney todd)
There's an interesting article on how to be a techie and a "good San Franciscan" over here:

It contains six solid suggestions (that the rest of us should be attempting as well, if we're not happy with the ongoing gentrification and outright rot in our city), as well as lots of linkses to more info for most of the points the author raises.
psybelle: (shit.)
People talk about the shift from old print-based journalism to the new world of social media and the sites adapted to serve it. These are fast, responsive, and only just beginning to discover the power of controversy. They are memetic evolution shot into hyperdrive, and the omega point is a well-tuned machine optimized to search the world for the most controversial and counterproductive issues, then make sure no one can talk about anything else. An engine that creates money by burning the few remaining shreds of cooperation, bipartisanship and social trust.

Epistemic parasites and the toxoplasma of outrage - I think this may be the most important single essay I've read recently.

Ferguson? Gamergate? PETA? Uber? The skeleton of the virality in all these things is here...
psybelle: (sweeney todd)
Wow. This could be an ongoing source of rabbit-holes to fall into (as well as an endless fountain of interesting tidbits to note):
(not, on the face of it, as grim as it sounds)
psybelle: (. . .)
Networked mortality: a thoughtful piece on what happens to the online and digitized bits of our lives when we're not around anymore, and a start towards tools to deal with it all.

Ah, I see.

Oct. 30th, 2014 11:28 pm
psybelle: (. . .)
Compare and contrast.

David Graeber (of Debt) and Thomas Piketty (of Capital) in conversation.

Quinn Norton on celebrating the Giants' win in the Mission.

"Keeping the dissatisfied poor satisfied with circuses and bits of bread goes back to at least Roman times, where the Caesars coined the term bread and circuses as a way of giving enough to the people to keep them under control. But it points to the need to keep them, that the people for whom we need bread and circuses are both dangerous and angry. This mass of people must be placated, be allowed their pressure valves, in order that nothing changes for the worse, or better."

"A lot depends on ... the ability of the elites to persuade the rest of the population that the present situation is acceptable. If an effective apparatus of persuasion is in place, there is no reason why the system should not continue to exist as it is."

"The riots start where the circuses fail."
psybelle: (shit.)
Twitter is exploding with #Ferguson, and I just can't cope.

Silence is not an option, but I … don't want to watch in real-time...
psybelle: (. . .)
I think I'm mostly caught up on the usual suspects. And, as usual, both Peter Watts and John Michael Greer are spot-on (and David Brin is starting to look like a complete ass, but that simply scores another point for "do NOT read the comments").

And as I contemplate Greer's ruminations on the fall of civilizations and the similarity of various "dark ages" … and I remember the Motie museum, and think about the Long Now's Rosetta Stone project and Clock … I wonder if it's possible to salvage more knowledge this time?

What would it take to avoid a global Dark Age? What might it take to "reboot" a somewhat technical civilization (something we might recognize/feel comfortable in) in the absence of fossil fuels?

I am an introvert, and feel like I'm lacking some crucial insights into basic human power-structures and dynamics; have never been a keen student of history. So, I have absolutely no idea how something like the preservation of knowledge over centuries of strife and dissolution might be accomplished. I really don't even know where to start. But it's going to be occupying a good bit of my thought processes for a while…

(And, in my usual practical/cynical fashion, I am not at all surprised that the silverbacks are getting agitated, given where we are on the general downslope of "civilization" - buckle your seatbelts and get your kill-switches ready, decide ahead of time where you look back and where you decide not to be seen in the first place.)
psybelle: (. . .)
June 5th isn't entirely over yet, right?

This is awesome: Reset the Net.

(boingboing has a nice piece here:

So, yeah… i'm gong to be downloading the set and seeing how easy the various parts are to implement (because, yes, there's a bunch of stuff I could have done but haven't yet). And if I run into more than three snags, I'm going to put out a public call for a "reset party" (along the lines of a cryptoparty) and ask that somebody who knows these tools help out…

And… I'm going to ask that you all consider using these tools, as well (if you're not doing so already). To use a last-century model, these sorts of tools have the utility of a fax machine: one lonely fax machine is worthless, but the more fax machines there are in the world, the more machines each one can talk to. Encrypted email does absolutely nothing if the recipient's machine is not secure, but as more people use secured / crypto systems, they become logarithmically more useful. And while you, personally, might not "have anything to hide" there are a lot of folks who are not so privileged and whose only "wrongdoing" is a lack of conformity (whether through being queer, or not white, or not fitting in the standard binary gender profiles, or being female and loud, or being involved in a local green/political/economic protest, or ...). As Doctorow says, Those who have nothing to hide have a duty to protect the privacy of those who do.

The damage that surveillance does to freedom of speech and freedom of thought is huge. But we can reroute around some of the damage...



August 2017

2021 2223242526


Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags