"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Resisting Apocalyptic Thinking, Part 793

So after this weekends Kinetic festivities and my own automotive troubles, I feel it's appropriate to take note, again, of the hard facts facing humanity.

Things are going to be different. The price of gasoline is not going to reverse its trend this year, or the next. The rate of CO2 saturation in the atmosphere is also not going to turn itself around for some time, even under ideal circumstances. Things will change.

And we'll deal with it. That's the main thing to keep in perspective. The world will not end. Humanity will not be extinguished. Our particular configuration of civilizations cannot persist indefinitely, but it's not as though we're doomed as a species.

Rocks from space could come close to wiping us out -- real mass-extinction events do happen -- but even in that kind of case it seems highly unlikely to me that humanity (let alone life) would go into the wings.

It's important to resist apoclyptic thinking. This is something that's wired into us as people, a weakness for believing the end is nigh. It's an idea that pops up throughout history, and it's never correct. Which is not to say that terrible tragic things don't happen, but that the rapture never comes, and even sweeping watershed changes take time.

And even better is remembering that dealing with it can be fun. Like these biodiesel cats in Colorado who cut a deal w/New Belgium Brewery:

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Vote For Joe. Again.

My man Joe is close to internet fame. Vote for him again even if you did before (1 vote per day is allowed apparently):


It's internet democracy, Chicago style.

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Back Again With The Quickness

Fuck. That was lame. My hosting provider hosed my server, and because I pay not so much money, it didn't really get resolved until just now. Email is piling up and whatnot, and I've failed my three and a half loyal readers yet again.

On the upside, the server is all clean. I aught to do a redesign.

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BART has WiFi

Sitting here in the Embarcaderro station with 10 minutes to burn, and I whipped out the old lappy for to do a little writing. Whaddya know: Wifi!


Three days later I'm in the BART again, and I haven't update the site. Shoot. Here's the short and sweet:

  • Housewarming on saturday!
  • Clutch is pretty awesome live, and the cello/piano player from Murder By Death is superhot.
  • Saw Mike Connery last night on his book tour. Was real good to catch up.
  • Work is taking up a lot of my time, but generally going well; we're getting out of our ruts and making some moves.

And here comes the train...

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The Con is On

Overnight flight to Boston. DrupalCon. My third. The first one was kind of magical, back in 2006, Vancouver BC, getting the real buzz for the first time. I haven't been able to explain very well to my non-geek peers how awesome this software project is, which is a shame. Because it really is pretty rad.

To wit: some Belgan computer science students started working on a system for their dorm-hall community to use to stay in touch after graduation. Eight years later the open-source software, Drupal, is powering hundreds of thousands of websites, including bigshots like The Onion, MTV UK and others. But that's not even the cool part.

The truly awesome thing about this project is that it's been built by literally thousands of people. For free. There are a core cadre of a few hundred or so coders who do a lot of this, most of them (like me) making a living off it in one way or another, and an even smaller group of legendary developers at the center of all of it. But it happens openly, as a community affair, and it works in large part people people are friends over it, taking pleasure from working on something together.

This is what open-source is really all about to me. It's the recognition that programming is an act of creativity, and the growth of communities of creators around their project. It's no coincidence that many Drupalists have artistic backgrounds; it has many aspects of a theatrical troup, of a band.

This is a kind of cultural production that's really new. Never before have people been able to be intellectually creative in this way and on this scale, and it's deeply gratifying to be a part of this scene, exploring a new mode of association and camaraderie, proving that the ethos of a community can outperform that of a corperation.

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Among the many other things my mother does, she's started using her position at the UO Student Union to organize an annual LAN event.

Pretty cool!

For my part, I did my nerdly community service this Sunday, and recorded a new Drupal Dojo screencast on the new 6.0 theming techniques.

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Time After Time Those Fanatical Minds Try To Rule All The World

draft lessig

That's right. Tell a friend, sucka.

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What Does The Future Hold?

As a fan of many things sci-fi, I think it's worthwhile to sometimes take a step back and ponder the future. For instance, in 1908 cars and telephones were just beginning to make their presence felt. The US was just starting to experiment with imperialism in Central America and the Philippines. Things were very different.

It makes me re-realize that the ginormous problems we face as a species are going to be managed, if at all, through similar deltas of change. For instance, as we learn to stop digging things out of the ground and burning them to power our civilizations, things like harvesting energy from the friction of walking will be employed along with now-familiar wind and solar power. Or maybe, on the dark side, we'll be sending the space equivalent of oil supertankers to <a href="http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMCSUUHJCF_index_0.html>the moon of Titan to suck up it's hydrocarbon-rich atmosphere to be brought back here to burn.

Who knows. My gut sense is that investing outside the status quo is probably smart.

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The Big D

Well, I'm glad I got out of debt, but I'm also glad I didn't do it early enough to sink any money into "the market." While I'm sure many funds will still do well and long-term investors have little to fear, the current economic trajectory is pretty ugly. The dow is headed towards 52-week lows, and there's more bad news to come.

This is what happens when you run things like the Soviets. It's increasingly obvious that our economy, beyond being unsustainably debt-based, is also build on a series of consensual hallucinations that don't map well to reality. Because our made-up-prowess is in "financial products" rather than steel and wheat production, we can get by for longer than they did in the USSR -- and we get hit with mortgage defaults rather than breadlines, which is an improvement -- but the books are no less cooked, and CNBC is a propaganda outlet, not a news channel.

The Big D may indeed be coming, although a new bubble/rally may emerge around alternative energy and infrastructure instead. Here are the fundamentals:

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My Shit's All Retarded

For anyone who's tried to email me in the past couple days and gotten a bounce, I apologize. This old server needs to be burned down and restarted. For better accuracy, you can always use my gmail, which is where mail to @outlandishjosh.com goes anyway.

It's outlandish.josh at the gmail.com, yo.

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