Weeknotes 8


I don't think I've ever had so much stuff to do. It's been a bit pully-hairy. Anyway, between fetching sleep on public transport I've been working on wasps stuff a bit for Into Your Hands... the premise being that the wasps have developed the ability to reproduce from inorganic matter - abiogenesis. This little guy is a Megarhyssa Petrolis with larvae. Clue's in the name.

Megarhyssa Petrolis hyper-parasitising Larvae

EVERYBODY loves Noam Chomsky and I recently read his article about the growth of the 'precariat' on the Huffington Post (which I'm finding more and more alarmingly tabloid for something that started as a politics blog.)  It's really well done and he has this great way of sort of saying: 'It was obvious then, it's obvious now and yet *sigh* you refuse to do anything about it. Well. Your fault really.' At once enlightening and contemptious. Check this out:
So, for example, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, at the time when he was still “Saint Alan” - hailed by the economics profession as one of the greatest economists of all time (this was before the crash for which he was substantially responsible) - was testifying to Congress in the Clinton years, and he explained the wonders of the great economy that he was supervising. He said a lot of its success was based substantially on what he called “growing worker insecurity.” If working people are insecure, if they’re part of the precariat, living precarious existences, they’re not going to make demands, they’re not going to try to get better wages, they won’t get improved benefits. We can kick ’em out, if we don’t need ’em. And that’s what’s called a “healthy” economy, technically speaking. And he was highly praised for this, greatly admired.
The other, of course, is environmental catastrophe. Practically every country in the world is taking at least halting steps towards trying to do something about it. The United States is also taking steps, mainly to accelerate the threat.  It is the only major country that is not only not doing something constructive to protect the environment, it’s not even climbing on the train. In some ways, it’s pulling it backwards.

Reminds me of an absolutely brilliant part of Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood deconstructing the psychology of simply not being able to deal with environmental issues.
Surely I was an optimistic person back then, she thinks. Back there. I woke up whistling. I knew there were things wrong in the world, they were referred to, I’d seen them in the onscreen news.
But the wrong things were wrong somewhere else.
By there time she’d reached college the wrongness had moved closer. She remembers the oppressive sensation, like waiting for a heavy stone footfall, then the knock at the door. Everybody knew. Nobody admitted to knowing. If other people began to discuss it, you tuned them out, because what they were saying was both so obvious and so unthinkable.
We’re using the Earth. It’s almost gone. You can’t live with such fear and keep on whistling. The waiting builds up in you like a tide. You start wanting it to be done with. You find yourself saying to the sky. Just do it. Do your worst. Get it over with. She could feel the coming tremor of it running through her spine, asleep or awake. It never went away, even among the Gardeners. Especially - as time wore on - among the Gardeners.

Replicator Warehouse E&C

Squeezed between Greggs, poundshops, a Tesco, international calling card suppliers and the usual ephemera of a South London shopping experience nestles a new curio. It's strange to see this amongst the listless vagrancy of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre but here we have an authentic private 3D printing exercise stripped of all the glamour of WIRED or design studios and adorned in the familiar signage of earnest enterprise.

E&C 'Replicator Warehouse'

E&C 'Replicator Warehouse'

E&C 'Replicator Warehouse'

The products largely appear to be novelty crapjects - miniature Yoda heads abound at the price of £9.99 in a nod to THE cliche at the core of 3D printing. But the man inside said they actually mostly serviced people with orders for small parts.

This is essentially a shop built around a single Makerbot and not a large-scale super high-tech enterprise. My learned colleague (perusing in the yellow jacket) pointed out that it reminded him of the first time colour printers dropped in price and little shops popped up to sell colour prints using domestic equipment. Go check it out if you ever happen to be around, it's certainly a curious, almost discordant setting with what we think of as 3D printing.

E&C 'Replicator Warehouse'

McCarthyism Alive and Well

Nothing to say really, this came through Superflux's door.


Money Grasping

There's a lot of stuff (straw that broke the back, can't be bothered to find/link others, you know they're there) around at the moment about trying to understand money. Books, kickstarter films and articles are all saying that we need to understand money, and then proposing a solution. There's two major problems with both parts of this idea. One - no one understands money and so no one has the authority to tell us how we should understand money and two - proposing a solution is part of the problem.

For the last few hundred years we've been trained to look for an easy solution / conclusion to all problems and there just isn't one. There isn't really even a problem in any definable sense. Outlining a problem now implies that when we were being deceived and everything was great at the sake of other people's / future suffering that that WASN'T a problem. Both are a problem for someone - it's just that now the 'problem' is more evenly distributed. Anyway, good luck trying to understand money and find the golden solution that will solve all our problems. I suspect that solution takes the form of the entire undermining of human civilisation so far.