The Longest Now


So Long, Ought-Eight
Wednesday December 31st 2008, 6:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

…welcome, 2009.  Somewhere in the world, at least.   Happy New Year, everyone, young and old.

And happy intercalendrical second!   [Posted at 18:59:60 ET]



End Homelessness: Build Community Hospice Complexes
Wednesday December 31st 2008, 8:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Urban homelessness as we currently know it in the United States is only moderately serious, compared to the way it ravages other urban centers.  Our national problem is limited enough in scope that one can imagine abolishing it entirely.  We currently adopt a small-scale approach to offering a helping hand to homeless individuals and families; but it is a patchwork of different uncoordinated religious and social groups, each constrained by the particular guidelines of the founding body, and relatively expensive to maintain per person served.  Many shelter and halfway house designs are unhealthy and unscalable in cold weather when contagious illness is a real threat.

Part of the social contract of our cities should include building community hospice complexes in major cities which go far beyond providing basic lodging and food, offering tools and services for every stage in the transition through homelessness to independence.

Thanks to change.org‘s Ideas for Changing America for making me condense that into two paragraphs.



EveryTopicInTheUniverseExcept…
Sunday December 28th 2008, 4:23 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire,Uncategorized

I am constantly amazed by the froward march of technology · to a beat · you can’t touch.     So when it was decided to solve the world’s problems by allowing children and people to collaborate on every topic in the world, except war, I thought that was pretty fantastic.  OLPC is a step in that direction – Much as I have tried to do every imaginable thing with my XO,  war is right there in the small of my conceptual back that I just can’t scratch… even with the XO’s ears locked pointy-side out.

So you can Imagine my delight when that most famous of all Beatles, childhood idol John Lennon, dropped by to support this idea.  And this wasn’t any John Lennon, it was Reanimated John Lennon, the most accomodating instance of John Lennon in the known universe (easily identifiable by the glint of sunlight passing across his cheek when he grins).

He was captured on tape speaking reanimatedly about changing the world.  Spooky!  Before I could catch him to ask about the skills of peace, he was gone.



Mad economics, devourer of minds
Sunday December 21st 2008, 1:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Paul Krugman points out what too few have been saying : that Madoff’s deception and decade-long shell game is hardly different from what the entire industry has become — specifically that the 3% growth in the proportion of GDP taken up by ‘financial services’ over the past generation may be fictional, supported  temporarily by the same forces that support any Ponzi scheme.

He has one particularly poignant comment about the damage done to society (OK, he’s stops patriotically at nation) by this undue emphasis:

Meanwhile, how much has our nation’s future been damaged by the magnetic pull of quick personal wealth, which for years has drawn many of our best and brightest young people into investment banking, at the expense of science, public service and just about everything else?

I have often been disappointed to see classmates with extraordinary talent turn to modern short-term finance and corporate law, jobs that leave no lasting foundation or failsafe for the future discoveries and recoveries of our people. Note my qualification — taken as science and art, as instruments of long-term planning, finance and law are integral to robust, efficient, joyful society.  But as practiced today, both use elaborate rules of thumb, accumulated over time like so many superstitions, supported by a scattering of deep principles yet without a natural framework.

And the fallacy that high-paying jobs are proportionately valuable to their community (integral to efficient markets, necessary for successful capitalism and corporate ecosystems, for the very god progress himself) is common in the industry. Of course we should all be unsatisfied that this is a fallacy, and who better than finance theorists and economists to find a way to resolve that gap? But this is not their current purview.

If we want our best and brightest to work on “science, public service, and just about everything else“, we must provide better, clearer, comprehensive prioritization of what is important (whoever we are). So how about it, Paul? It will take more than two people, but it will certainly take more than the occasional barb from the sidelines.

(more…)



communal projects worth watching
Thursday December 11th 2008, 11:39 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Some projects I hope to see soon on laptops everywhere : Mugshot, Fedora-the-commons-interface (req. Java), and an Earth-overlay system for arbitrary data sets (one simpler than Google Earth, but using compatible layer data).




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