Tools for Conviviality

Illich, tools for conviviality, tools, computing, society, community, production

To formulate a theory about a future society both very modern and not dominated by industry, it will be necessary to recognize natural scales and limits. We must come to admit that only within limits can machines take the place of slaves; beyond these limits they lead to a new kind of serfdom. Only within limits can education fit people into a man-made environment: beyond these limits lies the universal schoolhouse, hospital ward, or prison. Only within limits ought politics to be concerned with the distribution of maximum industrial outputs, rather than with equal inputs of either energy or information. Once these limits are recognized, it becomes possible to articulate the triadic relationship between persons, tools, and a new collectivity. Such a society, in which modern technologies serve politically interrelated individuals rather than managers, I will call “convivial.”

[1210.8144] Possible Bubbles of Spacetime Curvature in the South Pacific

south pacific, spacetime, bubbles, matter, curvature, physics, occultism, HP Lovecraft

In 1928, the late Francis Wayland Thurston published a scandalous manuscript in purport of warning the world of a global conspiracy of occultists. Among the documents he gathered to support his thesis was the personal account of a sailor by the name of Gustaf Johansen, describing an encounter with an extraordinary island. Johansen`s descriptions of his adventures upon the island are fantastic, and are often considered the most enigmatic (and therefore the highlight) of Thurston`s collection of documents. We contend that all of the credible phenomena which Johansen described may be explained as being the observable consequences of a localized bubble of spacetime curvature. Many of his most incomprehensible statements (involving the geometry of the architecture, and variability of the location of the horizon) can therefore be said to have a unified underlying cause.

Color Spaces

color, colour, colorspace, RGB, HSV, perception

Color input is processed at every stage of the nervous system, starting from the retina, and the experience of color is affected by numerous contextual and historical factors. Nevertheless, in broad strokes we can describe a color by three numbers. A common trope in science and math is that if we can describe an object by a set of numbers, we can think of these numbers as its coordinates in an abstract space, with each point in the space corresponding to a different object, and we can study the geometry of the space

Architecture and war are not incompatible. Architecture is war. War is architecture.I am at war with my time, with history, with…

“Architecture and war are not incompatible. Architecture is war. War is architecture.I am at war with my time, with history, with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms. I am one of millions who do not fit in, who have no home, no family, no doctrine, no firm place to call my own, no known beginning or end, no “sacred and primordial site.” I declare war on all icons and finalities, on all histories that would chain me with my own falseness, my own pitiful fears. I know only moments, and lifetimes that are as moments, and forms that appear with infinite strength, then “melt into air.” I am an architect, a constructor of worlds, a sensualist who worships the flesh, the melody, a silhouette against the darkening sky. I cannot know your name. Nor you can know mine. Tomorrow, we begin together the construction of a city.”

Lebbeus Woods (viadarklyeuphoric)

Context is everything - Charlie Stross

green, outside the box, environment, shaved apes, biological context, great oxygenation event

The short version of the environmentalist value proposition is: don’t shit in your own back yard. Ecosystems are complex and exhibit non-linear behaviour; it’s a bad idea to disrupt the natural balance, lest we find ourselves suffering from crop failures due to pollinator die-offs, for example. And because this is a complex, knotty, gnarly field of interdependencies, the precautionary principle should be applied: take disruptive action only with extreme caution.

(…) outside of the sphere of practical human concerns, nature is full of nonlinear phenomena. Highly complex processes can…

“(…) outside of the sphere of practical human concerns, nature is full of nonlinear phenomena. Highly complex processes can emerge from deceptively simple rules or parts, and small changes in one underlying factor of a complex system can engender radical, qualitative shifts in other factors that depend on it.”

Ramachandran, R.S. The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human. New York: W. W. Norton& Company, 2011. (viacarvalhais)

Developing 4X5 Sheet Film - An Alternative Method

4x5, darkroom, photography, developing, sheet film, DSF

The three tanks (Developer, Stop bath, and Fixer) are placed in a tempered water bath. An inexpensive plastic dishwashing tub seems to work very well for this purpose. Each tank contains one liter of solution. Actually, the tanks are capable of handling a slightly larger amount of solution, but one liter is sufficient to completely cover the films. Plain water can be used in the center tank, instead of acid stop bath, if an alkaline processing regime is being used. The center tank can also serve as a water pre-soak bath, if desired. A pre-soak is not an absolute necessity, since there is no danger of the films adhering to one another with this method. Also, Ilford does not recommend the use of a pre-soak. It seems that they have incorporated a wetting agent into the emulsion, or the coating of their films. They claim that pre-soaking may remove the wetting agent, possibly causing uneven development.

Mastering Linear Algebra in 10 Days: Astounding Experiments in Ultra-Learning

learning, study, MIT, courseware, Feynmann, understanding

We’ve all had those, “Aha!” moments when we finally get an idea. The problem is most of us don’t have a systematic way of finding them. The typical process a student goes through in learning is to follow a lectures, read a book and, failing that, grind out practice questions or reread notes. Without a system, understanding faster seems impossible. After all, the mental mechanisms for generating insights are completely hidden.–10-days-astounding-experiments-in-ultra-learning/

tone reproduction

photography, monochrome, blakc and white, greyscale, zone system, printing, tone, tonal range

The Zone System and in general every rule that matches the dynamic range of the capture medium and the maximum contrast of the scene tries to get two results: correlating the minimum and maximum points of subject contrast with the dynamic range/contrast index of the recording material and to record the maximum number of tones between these extremes. When working with black-and-white materials (Leica Monochrom and black-and-white silver emulsions) a third parameter is required: the spectral sensitivity of the material must equal the spectral sensitivity of the eye. This introduces a subjective factor, because every human will have a different perception of the brightness of colors.–10/colorimetryM9.html

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit - David Graeber

futurism, Future-Shock, research, collapsonomics, economics, post-structuralism, progress, marx, pos

Why did the projected explosion of technological growth everyone was expecting—the moon bases, the robot factories—fail to happen? There are two possibilities. Either our expectations about the pace of technological change were unrealistic (in which case, we need to know why so many intelligent people believed they were not) or our expectations were not unrealistic (in which case, we need to know what happened to derail so many credible ideas and prospects).

(…) in biological systems there is a deep unity between structure, function, and origin. You cannot make very much progress…

“(…) in biological systems there is a deep unity between structure, function, and origin. You cannot make very much progress understanding any one of these unless you are also paying close attention to the other two.”

Ramachandran, R.S. The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human. New York: W. W. Norton& Company, 2011. (viacarvalhais)

Internet of food: Arduino-based, urban aquaponics

IOT, farming, agriculture, groworld, arduino, aquaponics, urban farming, urban agriculture, US, Oakl

“I feel knowledge of electronics and software programming makes me a better farmer than just having a hoe. Gardens that can communicate for themselves using the internet can lead to exchanging of ideas in ways that were not possible before. I can test, for instance, whether the same tomato grows better in Oakland or the Sahara Desert given the same conditions. Then I can share the same information with farmers in Iceland and China.”

The Psychopath Makeover

TMS, narcisism, psychopathology, therapy, war, fear

The basic premise of TMS is that the brain operates using electrical signals, and that, as with any such system, it’s possible to modify the way it works by altering its electrical environment. Standard equipment consists of a powerful electromagnet, placed on the scalp, that generates steady magnetic-field pulses at specific frequencies, and a plastic-enclosed coil to focus those magnetic pulses down through the surface of the skull onto discrete brain regions, thus stimulating the underlying cortex.

Nicaragua Builds An Innovative Agricultural Information System Using Open Source Software

linux, OSS, FLOSS, Nicaragua, augmented ecology, SIMAS, agriculture, farming, open data

An experiment in Nicaragua shows just how powerful Open Source software can be in leveling the playing field. The second poorest country of the Americas now has one of the best software solutions for displaying agricultural data in the western hemisphere.

In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You

red plenty, communism, economics, planning, literature, cosma, mathematics

Attention conservation notice: Over 7800 words about optimal planning for a socialist economy and its intersection with computational complexity theory. This is about as relevant to the world around us as debating whether a devotee of the Olympian gods should approve of transgenic organisms. (Or: centaurs, yes or no?) Contains mathematical symbols (uglified and rendered slightly inexact by HTML) but no actual math, and uses Red Plenty mostly as a launching point for a tangent.