No, no, you don't understand. I don't give a fuck about politics. I just care about being engaged in the world and Doing Things. We don't have a political structure which holds the terms for what it is I believe.

Fuck your flag, it becomes a box.

tools and crutches

Over a RepRap I was asked why I advocated against laptops at Jigsaw. I had difficulty explaining it. As a builder of communities, I staunchly support face-to-face interaction. As a Transhumanist, I understand the usefulness of Internet and laptop use to accomplish things.
Now that I've had a moment to think (a bathtub epiphany while listening to Gibson, to be honest), I think I have a better answer: using a laptop in a space for community is like a cat looking at your finger instead of what you're pointing at.

Your tool should not be what you are focusing on, you should rather be focusing on the task at hand. Computers and the Internet are powerful tools, but they are many deviations away from replacing the depth of knowledge and serendipity of talking to the person next to you.
A tool also encourages focus, which comes hand-in-hand with loss of a wider view. That view is where new things lie, although the discoveries of fine detail under scrutiny are also worthwhile.
We've stared in one direction for long enough. I like to look around, look up, see what there is and how it relates. The future is in cross-contamination of ideas. Many people already have the hyper-focus covered. Let's shake the world up, build the bridges between those bits of knowledge, see where things go.

45 e-mail threads since 7a this morning

...and some of those are 20 deep.

Today I set up the Twitter for Cyborg Camp Seattle 2010, created the FaceBook invite, managed the volunteer and ToDo list for it, got in contact with people for stickers for the event.

I also did a bunch of correspondance for Jigsaw about membership language, structure, and dues. I talked with people about our Potential Space. I helped book Upcoming Events. I managed calendar access and account permissions.

I saw Pip for lunch, ran into my Favorite and Brother His at Pike Place, and fulfilled a personal assistant gig. I applied for 7 jobs I'm at least remotely qualified for and would enjoy. I friended Ian's Pants. I followed up on personal obligations and love-notes.

Day before yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Case Organic, and she got my brain spinning on Cyborg Anthropology and the like again. I hope to post here more often, if my schedule allows for it.

I am sitting at Remedy Teas, listening to phenomenal music, drinking fantastic tea, and you better bet your socks I'm going for a drink after all this. My brain needs its own Fail Whale for being over capacity.

Time Capsule

Listening to a Radiolab episode on space capsules... how to indicate to an alien race what we're like. All of them are quirky, passionate, hopeful. It's the best of the human race, or at the very least a sidelong look at our more complex sides.

What would you send?

I'd send video, sound, and the brainwave patterns of a calm day. One that you just chilled out on, did your dishes, read a book.
Maybe I'm smitten with the calm times, but I also wonder what disappointment they would be met with if the only glimpse they got of us was in our greatest moments. Kind of motivational, in a weird exhibitionist sort of way.

language kick

Watching this youtube video with my new boss this morning, I had a lovely realization about language and censorship.

In the same way that Victorians covered "chair legs" because "legs" were considered unchaste, we now hear the censor beep as "fuck". It's not the word that's bad, it's the meaning sometimes placed in it, which has now translated to a computerized tone. What about warning beeps on equipment you have? Notification beeps? How will we indicate this in the future? I'm reminded of Zoe Keating talking on Radio Lab about trying to figure out ways of making musical notation for tumping on the back of her cello.

So on that note, a TED talk from Steven Pinker about how language indicates how our brains work.



How does one encourage an agenda of action in others?

On that question, I'm pleased to announce the Meet-and-Greet for Jigsaw Renaissance, the maker space I've been helping to create over the past several months, occurs on September 5th from 12-2 at the Tower Room of 1415 2nd Ave. I do hope you'll all come out.

(Please do answer the question whether or not you can attend. Just two things in the same post)


I'm presenting an Ignite tonight at the King Cat Theater. Show starts at 7:30, I go on in the second track (starts at 9:30). Will be talking about Jigsaw Renaissance, the maker space I've had the honor to participate in set-up for. Please do come out.


I only started reading scifi about 7 years ago - not that long, if you think about how long the majority of my social groups have been reading it. I used to be a fantasy kid. Yup. And while I've been into the social aspects of the Internet since I was in middle school, the actual workings of computers and how we use them never occurred to me as something worth studying. I learned BASIC in elementary school, along with the typing space-shooter game (some of you will know what I'm talking about), was smothering my modem in high school to log into mIRC past my curfew, and understood the workings of Microsoft Office to the point of being the dorm compound expert (half a page short with an established font size? Character spacing! Need to build a schedule in Excel? Page-long IF-THEN statements!). But it never struck me that it was worth being passionate about, it was simply a very established aspect of my life. It was when I left the bubble of my astounding nuclear family that I realized the rest of the world didn't look at the Future as something to always be working towards, to always be excited about.

That's part of why I realized my Future was so neat. I want everything to be accessible. I want everyone to participate. And that sort of joy is infectious. I started running with the geek circles. (In small-town Indiana, there are no weird-subgroups, only one group of Weird, because there aren't enough of you to factionize.) I started talking to people about their Futures. And I started to be told that a lot of the ideas I had were also represented in scifi literature. What part of my idea process has to do with these scifi stories being so a part of the folklore of my social groups that of course I think of them too? What part of these ideas is just essential to the current course of humanity? Can ideas be archetypal as well, or only personality? I want to know where I could go if I read all these stories, if my starting point is an already thought-out idea rather than the fragments bouncing around the social psyche?
I wonder which of the ideas I come up with have to do with scifi stories being such a part of the folklore of the groups I run in, and which occur to me because it's a part of my structure. I wonder what I could come up with if I used those stories as springboards, took the ideas offered and ran with them instead of having to come up with them on my own.

Really, I just need about 12 more hours in each day, so I could actually get something close to the amount done that I'd like. Including reading. Maybe I just need to finally break down and get an audible account. But then I can't take notes. I need more technology! Minute marks in a story do not translate yet to page numbers. Someday. I'll wait, albeit impatiently.

Relevance Follow-Up

I want to hear from you. What did you think of the Relevance Challenge?

Did it change the way you posted? How you viewed other people's posts?

I'll admit: I was not perfect. I never am. But while the challenge stopped me from making some inane comments, it also impeded me from interacting with others in the way I usually do. I think I'll likely keep the idea for blog posts, but not for instant areas like Twitter and FaceBook status. While I think some filtering definitely needs to take place, a lot of people I've talked to about the idea hint that it might be better to lead by example instead of ranting at people. So I guess this is where I refer back to my Twitter chart.


It is now possible to post without an LJ account. Apologies.

I want my Future back.

I want the Web 2.0 I was promised, a user-backed web in which we are the machine. I etched that message into my skin1, I believe in it so much. We get to work together to decide where we go.

And we fucked it up.

We can't shut up about our cats and what we ate today1.5 and what we saw on YouTube. We quote what we read instead of what we think.

I'm not saying there isn't a place for cats and food and YouTube. What I'm saying is that should be the break from the rule. I miss brilliant points from people because I don't have the time to filter out their signal from all their noise. And often people are just passing along an idea instead of building on it. Sure, over the course of time we gain some new facets to an idea, but if you think about the vast number of people which had contact with that, it could have grown so much more. Some ideas are put incredibly well and we should stick with that2, but so much more could be done if people *interacted* with an idea, and were not afraid to voice that opinion, instead of just passing around the shiny object. Say something relevant, for fuck's sake.

So what's relevant? When I said "Based on discussion last night, a Twitter experiment: if it doesn't provide relevant information to others, don't say it." on Twitter April 14th, I got a number of responses. Most were concurrence, but nearly as many were "define relevance." Here's an example from the discussion3 which spawned the original Twitter post:
Say I'm throwing a dinner party. A number of scattered individuals know to head over to my house when I indicate I'm starting to cook. Due to timing, I don't type out an individual message to each, nor am able to sort through a contact book for a group text, to let them know to start their trek. I then might Twitter "I'm in my kitchen."
Or if I've been working on renovating a new home, the progress of which has been followed by a number of my internet contacts, none of which I have personal information for. When I'm done with the finishing touches on the kitchen sink, I might Twitter "I'm in my kitchen."
Both provide relevant information in these contexts.
But if I'm standing in my kitchen in my socks and am bored and so Twitter "I'm in my kitchen." I am just adding to an already high-traffic area of information, and should probably have my technology taken away from me until I know what is relevant and what is not.4

We are responsible for what we say. We should not have to dumb things down in order to have it be accessible when stumbled upon in the mess of "Can you hear me now? Good." If you're having a conversation with someone, why aren't you having it *with them*? Why are you doing it across Facebook walls, across Twitter, across publicly viewable forums? Are you scared that if you actually give someone a direct message they won't be so nice? That they might say no to hanging out, but if you ask when everyone can look, they aren't going to shame you in a public space? Or do you want to prove that you talk to neat people, that you have neat ideas too?5

Grow some balls6. Talk to people like they're people, not like it's just an exchange of petty ideas over the ethers or that having certain friends is a credential.

If you choose to say things to the public sphere which matter7, the responses people have to you will be more thought-out. And the people who follow it will be challenged to learn8, to spawn new ideas with which to join the discussion.

In short, have private conversations in private. Think before you speak and type. Take responsibility to add value to the existing conversations, and to start new ones. We are the machine. We work together. Don't spin in place without giving some assistance to the guy next to you. Because the two of you working together means all the other people around you can work that much better. Lubricate, damn it, lubricate! We can steer in any direction, we can have anarchists and communists and feminists and Christians and all sorts of people having dialogue so long as they remember there is a whole, and to give *something* back.

Thank you. Feedback is welcome and encouraged. Play devil's advocate or downright disagree with me. I want to hear it. Chew your brain food and then tell me what you make of it.

1. video, tattoo
1.5. I love blogs that tell me how to cook food. But I don't care if you had German for lunch unless we're hanging out later.
2. I won an improv round of Forensics once by saying in response to a quote, "it's a quote because of how well it's put. I can't say it any better."
3. Focus group on Information Diets, Self Control, and Attention. It will be up by week's end on
4. Twitter Shitter!
5. Of *course* there are exceptions to this. If you have something terribly clever to say to a posed question, go for it. But don't do the "@name doing better?" "@OP nah" WTF, guys.
6. I recognize the valuation of courage as a male trait with this comment, but I choose the vulgarity and accessibility of this idea over something more pompous. Also, I'm tired. And here's a Google Image Search because it's funny.
7. Bullshit and Snark amongst friends is not only allowable, but is also essential.
8. Which is not to say you should have elitist conversations in which you block out potential participants. Accessibility with challenge is key.

Side note: yes, I know there are people who are just connected to their friends and don't interact with the rest of the world. It's closed communication for them, not broadcast. And while I understand that, I also feel that is what mailing lists are for. Then again, that's the beauty of Twitter: it's opt-in. There is no spam, because you just have to quit following the person who is spamming.