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"There’s No App For That" - Interview with Richard Heinberg

from teamhuman.fm
Playing for Team Human today is Post Carbon Institute fellow Richard Heinberg. Richard is the co-author of Our Renewable Future and most recently, the manifesto, There’s No App For That.

Nice interview with Richard Heinberg by Douglas Rushkoff.  He questions what role technology should play in the solution to the current existential crises facing humanity, and advocates for community resilience – building local, grassroots connections as a way to respond to these challenges.

Ep. 57 Richard Heinberg “There’s No App For That”

Monday

Monday I went on an Insider walking tour. I really like walking tours in unfamiliar cities. If you get a good guide it’s a great way to see some of the major attractions, in a short span of time, and to get some deeper insights into the city and its history in the the process. This was great, the guide Brian was really fantastic – funny and knowledgeable.

We got some of the history of Berlin right back from where it started up until the present day. It was interesting to learn some basics of of Berlin and German pre-history – such that Berlin wasn’t the capital of Germany until relatively recently (and in fact Germany as a country didn’t exist for a long time – it was the kingdom of Prussia for centuries.) Hopefully I haven’t mangled the region’s history too much there.

The post WWII era holds the most historical intrigue for me, literally East meeting West and colliding in a barrier between the two. The demarkation of the path of the Berlin Wall is fascinating and boggling. It’s one of the starkest physical representations of humanity’s split into competing politcal ideologies, at least in Europe. It’s hard to imagine a city carved into two like that, in this case with a graphically-titled ‘death strip’ in between. It’s like for me if suddenly overnight a wall went up through London, and friends north of the river are suddenly in a different state and a different regime and I need to cross a border to see them.

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I spent a few days in Berlin at the start of November to bookend the IndieWebCamp conference. The opportunity to travel again to Berlin was in fact a big draw of the IWC. I’ve been a couple of times before, once 15 years ago as a backpacker, and another time about 2 and a half years ago. Each time I’ve really enjoyed Berlin – a modern city with many layers of history.

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Made a bit of progress setting up a travis ci build for my website – https://github.com/ngm/doubleloop-specs/blob/master/.travis.yml. Not fully working yet, but a good start.

Dropping some links here for reference:

Just finished the second season of The Expanse. Not as good as the first series (which was really brilliant), but still enjoyable. The first series felt a bit more polished, and with a bit more focus on the geopolitics.

[read]

Can Basic Income Plus The Blockchain Build A New Economic System?

(Fast Company)
To stop society’s unsustainable demand for ever-more resources, we need to decentralize and localize our economy. Combining the new ledger technology with UBI may be the way to make that happen.

I’m not clued up enough to know what the final result of the blockchain hype vs antihype ping pong match will be. Ditto UBI. This article is about both. Nevertheless, regardless of the means, I like the ends they’re aiming for: decentralization, degrowth, reinvigorated local communities, post-capitalism. https://www.fastcompany.com/40482312/can-basic-income-plus-the-blockchain-build-a-new-economic-system

Some new items for the reading list (after just reading the Wikipedia article on The Dispossessed): Mutual Aid by Kropotkin; Post-Scarcity Anarchism by Bookchin. And The Left Hand of Darkness by Le Guin.

I read The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin recently. It’s quite a few weeks since I finished it, so my recollections are now a little hazy, but I wanted to take the time to write something about it, as it was very good.

It was indeed a great book. Beautifully written. The story revolves around the life of Shevek, an inhabitant of the world of Anarres. The central premise is that Anarres is a world where anarchism is the predominant political system, founded by individuals who splintered away from the neighbouring world of Urras many years ago to start a different society. The life and travels of Shevek serve as the vessel for contrasting full-blown anarchism with full-blown capitalism, as he visits and explores the country of A-Io on Urras. A-Io is patriarchy and individualism dialled up to 11. The book provides many moments of point and counterpoint on the merits and dismerits of individualism and communalism when both go to their extremes.

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Reading The Causal Angel at the moment. Enjoying it, but The Quantum Thief is the best of the trilogy. Also I’ve gotten this far and still don’t really know deep known who half of the species/races/deities/characters he refers to are. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention?

(Day 1 is here: IndieWebCamp Berlin 2017: Day 1, and Joshi has posted some photos from the weekend here)

So Day 2 was hack day, where each person worked on a problem that tickled their fancy.  At the start of the day we did a brief go-round, with everyone giving a short outline of what they planned to work on.  A good idea to do this, in case there was any overlap or someone willing to help with a particular problem.

After that, we got cracking (well, hacking.)

Hack hack hacking along – photo by tollwerk, click image for original

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Made a little bit of progress on the photo posts. Mostly progress in understanding how they work, not so much actually changed in the output of my site. The BDD approach worked OK too. A long way off from a solid development process, but again a good learning experience.

Great interview with Carne Ross (‘The Accidental Anarchist’). He gives a very articulate account of his views on anarchism, which are given an interesting perspective given he was previously fully ensconced in the present power system as a British diplomat. I found very interesting the discussion around the suggestion that anarchism fosters a more loving society.

Also on:

I attended my first IndieWebCamp last weekend, in Berlin.  It was a brilliant experience – great city, great venue, great organisation, and great people.

In brief, the indieweb movement is about reclaiming your identity and your data back from the corporatised web.  It advocates having your own website, where you blog, microblog, post images, add check-ins, etc – and crucially, interact with others – all the things you might currently do across multiple silo’ed platforms owned by the big digital corporations, but here originating from a site under your own control.

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Hats off to the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin to opening up their exhibition on the October Revolution for free on November 7th. (Got lucky and strolled past that day while on holiday.)

Statue of Lenin