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Mindful Cyborgs #51 — Nordic Larp, Social Change, and Free-will Agency with Eleanor Saitta

Change is going to hap­pen. I guess in a lot of cas­es I see my role in the world as try­ing des­per­ate­ly to build enough tools, and enough under­stand­ing of how they work and how they can be used, and to get that stuff out into the world enough so that when stuff inevitably breaks and falls apart and explodes in our faces, we’ve got kind of a first aid kit that we can reach for.

Jen Kirkman’s Advice for the Next President

Whoever the next President is, the non-politician that they should call once in awhile to get per­spec­tive from is Howard Stern.

Hearsay Culture #252 — Prof. Ben Peters on the History of the Failed Soviet Internet

The Soviet expe­ri­ence sug­gests some­thing real­ly impor­tant for us today, which is that net­works are entire­ly com­pat­i­ble with sur­veil­lance. And many of our favorite things to talk about, then, peer-to-peer pro­duc­tion, or end-to-end intel­li­gence, kind of missed the point that I think is now obvi­ous. That whether you’re the NSA or Google or who­ev­er else…you’re a gen­er­al sec­re­tari­at, seek­ing to pri­va­tize our pow­er, and you are sur­veilling us, because you have a net­work in place. 

Self-healing Concrete for Low-carbon Infrastructure

Our bridges, motor­ways, tun­nels, and dams, and all the build­ings that make up our infra­struc­ture are vital to our soci­ety and eco­nom­ic growth yet we take them for grant­ed. The shock­ing truth is that our infra­struc­ture is crum­bling beneath our feet. And this is cost­ing us dear­ly, both in terms of mon­ey and car­bon.

The Conversation #26 — Jenny Lee

The worst-case sce­nar­io for Detroit would be that the archi­tec­ture of the Internet as it is now con­tin­ues, and Detroiters’ sto­ries, voic­es, lives, are absent. And the New York Times sto­ry about the cre­ative class sav­ing Detroit, or the doc­u­men­tary about the aban­don­ment and whole­sale destruc­tion of Detroit that por­trays it as a waste­land and a blank can­vas ready for entre­pre­neuri­al exploita­tion, that those sto­ries are defin­ing the nation­al, the glob­al imag­i­na­tion of what Detroit is. And that those sto­ries, they don’t use influ­ence people’s desire to come here and do those things and live that life, though that’s part of it, but it also shapes the per­cep­tion of peo­ple inside the city.

The Conversation #19 — Joseph Tainter

I see a set of con­straints fac­ing us in the future, and they’re all going to be very expen­sive. First is fund­ing retire­ments for the Baby Boom gen­er­a­tion. Second is con­tin­u­ing increas­es in the costs of health­care. The third is replac­ing decay­ing infra­struc­ture. The fourth is adapt­ing to cli­mate change and repair­ing envi­ron­men­tal dam­age. The fifth is devel­op­ing new sources of ener­gy. The six­th is what I see as in all like­li­hood con­tin­u­ing high mil­i­tary costs. The sev­en­th is the costs of inno­va­tion.

The Conversation #20 — David Miller

I enjoy clean air and clean water as much as the most rabid envi­ron­men­tal per­son. I just think we can have the prod­ucts of soci­ety, as well as hav­ing the­se things. Progress is a good thing. I’m just sim­ply a real­ist. And I’m just try­ing to enjoy life, enjoy fam­i­ly, enjoy friends, and con­tribute to soci­ety as best I can. And I think pro­vid­ing ener­gy, I think pro­vid­ing the met­als that soci­ety con­sumes, that peo­ple have in their their iPads, in their iPods, in their iPhones… I think that’s an hon­or­able thing to do. What else would you do? You know, why fight that?

Four Trends for the Digital World

This quote’s from Andy Warhol. He was look­ing at America and say­ing America’s dif­fer­ent. He’s say­ing, Well, Elizabeth Taylor’s drink­ing Coke and I’m drink­ing Coke and the bum on the street’s drink­ing Coke, and it’s all the same thing.” For the first time in his­to­ry, mass mar­ket cul­ture has allowed us all to enjoy the same thing. This is not cham­pag­ne. The bum on the street can’t afford cham­pag­ne.

Digital Privacy IRL

As we’re giv­ing our homes this new lay­er of smart­ness and intel­li­gence, we’re giv­ing away its own­er­ship to very large orga­ni­za­tions. And as we become a gen­er­a­tion of renters, what I’m very inter­est­ed in is how do land­lords respond to that?

Infrastructure and Systems for a Nine Billion World

This is a com­plete­ly new kind of design chal­lenge. There’s no way that you can take the civ­i­liza­tion we have and re-scale it for 110 kilo­grams of cop­per per human per life­time. You have to think in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent way if you’re going to oper­ate inside of this frame­work where you take the sus­tain­able har­vest of the Earth and you divide by nine bil­lion.

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