Read On the Epidemic Situation (Versobooks.com)

Alain Badiou on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alain Badiou saying that despite the current necessary state interventions, the pandemic will not by itself change anything politically. But he doesn’t really say what actually is required to do so, other than the left needing to work on ‘new figures of politics’. Not much to go on.

Notes: On the epidemic situation.

Mentioned on Tom Critchlow’s website tour was Venkatesh Rao’s ‘calculus of grit‘. (Gotta say, finding some of these terms for basically ‘doing stuff on your website’ a teensy bit overwrought… but fair play, naming concepts does give you something to refer to and discuss).

I’ve not read the full article yet, but sounds like it’s a way of tending to the garden of your wiki.

It boils down to:

  • release work often
  • reference your own thinking
  • rework the same ideas again and again

I’m trying this out at the moment – putting thoughts in the stream, linking them back to ideas in the wiki, and updating those wiki pages as I go along. Going alright so far.

Read A Text Renaissance (ribbonfarm)

There is a renaissance underway in online text as a medium. The Four Horsemen of this emerging Textopia are: Roam, Substack, static websites, and threaded Twitter.

Reading Venkatesh Rao‘s article “A Text Renaissance“, and part of it is some interesting thoughts on Roam (“a note-taking tool for networked thought”). I stumbled across org-roam (emulating Roam in Emacs) recently, while looking for a way of improving my flow of working on my wiki, and am loving it so far.

Venkatesh says:

Roam attempts to implement a near-full conception of hypertext as originally conceived by visionaries like Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson.

A Text Renaissance

Returning to these ideas is exciting.

The text renaissance is an actual renaissance. It’s a story of history-inspired renewal in a very fundamental way: exciting recent developments are due in part to a new generation of young product visionaries circling back to the early history of digital text, rediscovering old, abandoned ideas, and reimagining the bleeding edge in terms of the unexplored adjacent possible of the 80s and 90s.

A Text Renaissance

Roam is built on Clojure (a modern Lisp), so props there too. I’m unlikely to use it myself, as it’s a silo, but looking forward to working in this style.

Read Open Transclude (Subpixel Space)

Knowledge is not an accumulation of facts, nor is it even a set of facts and their relations. Facts are only rendered meaningful within narratives, and the single-page document is a format very conducive to narrative structure.

While it’s useful to break down ideas into fine-grained units, collecting the dots, you have to connect them back together again to make sense of them. A collection of dots alone isn’t much use (although just navigating around them can be fun).

People often get carried away when they discover the original vision of hypertext, which involves a network of documents, portions of which are “transcluded” (included via hypertext) into one another. The implication is that readers could follow any reference and see the source material—and granted, this would be transformative. However, there’s a limit to the effectiveness of the knowledge network as a reading experience. “Hypertext books,” online books which are made up of an abundance of interlinked HTML pages, are mostly unpopular.

Open Transclude

Read Community of Gardens (CJ Eller)

Part of the Blogging Futures course blogchain. Feel free to participate! The garden metaphor is a compelling vision for what a blog can …

Reading CJ Eller’s quick thought on a community of gardens. The idea is that to a small degree we might be responsible for the upkeep of others’ sites, such that our digital gardens are not quite so fenced off from each other. It sounds like something more than simply commenting on others’ posts. It’s a nice phrase, kind of a form of networked learning.

The garden metaphor is a compelling vision for what a blog can be. It implies that our thoughts can grow over time with the right kind of nurturing care.

[…] But sometimes it feels as though these gardens are enclosed. Sure, a blog might allow comments, but this feels as though we are operating on a layer above the soil. Are others planting anything new, tending to the weeds in our garden, or are they talking to us from the fence that separates our garden from them?

Community of Gardens — CJ Eller

Via a link to Jared Pereira’s personal website tours posted on the IndieWeb chat, I stumbled on a bit of a goldmine of thoughts on the blog and wiki combo over at Tom Critchlow’s blog.

Lots of interesting new terms:

Also learned about are.na, which says it provides ‘tools for thinking, together‘. Which I like the sound of, but as are.na is a silo, it’s not something I will be using personally.

Replied to a post by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich

As I’ve been reading about Zettlekasten for part of the evening, it dawns on me that there are some likely overlaps with both my prior work on statistical mechanics and ideas of mnemonics and techniques like the method of loci. I’ll have to think of how to better memorize and specifically tag pi…

I’ve thought about this too – I started to think of my wiki as a textual memory palace in some way. For helping to path it out/memorize it I thought it would be fun to have kind of text adventure paths through it. I kind of did that (along with a little sketch) on the homepage. (mentioned briefly in here under the Personal textbooks? section commonplace.doubleloop.net/wikis)

I also wondered if wikis then became collaborative in some way, they could become collaborative memory palaces. commonplace.doubleloop.net/20200308210932-collaborative_memory_palaces

All quite half-baked ideas at the moment but something I really like the idea of.

Replied to a post by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich

According to Neil, this is using “emacs with Org mode and Org-roam and publishing it as static HTML from org-mode. My holy grail would be something like TiddlyWiki but in emacs.”
I’ll have to take a look at this sort of set up while I’m looking at wikis. I’m sort of partial to TiddlyWiki m…

I think starting as frictionlessly as possible is a really good idea. Something where you can just easily type plain text and link those thoughts together – that’s the best place to start. For me that meant org-mode because I use it regularly anyway.

It’s evolving now with org-roam in the mix, in a direction I’m really happy with, but I think if I’d started trying to get everything in one I might have fizzled out. (That happened when I tried org-brain before – it was just too much friction).

I have some notes on my progression of wiki tooling here: commonplace.doubleloop.net/20200317105640-wiki_tooling