Pinned toot

Long weekend in Lancashire, visiting family, exploring Lancaster (where I'll be moving to in September!), and attending bits and pieces of the Full of Noises festival in Barrow-in-Furness.

As part of a summer school, we're running a bunch of lessons with refugee and asylum seeking youth on how to use, repair, and upgrade a bunch of Dell E5400s.

Tomorrow we're discussing types of long-term storage, putting in an SSD, and installing Windows. (Dual booting Linux in the next couple of sessions)

I'm currently using dd to clone img of Windows install media onto 15 USBs.. (3 at a time). I used woeusb to make the main copy. MS installation tool is crap.

Hope this shizzle all works

Heck.  The third and final part of All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is grim, bleak and depressing.

Biased data sets in law enforcement.

"The problem is that crime statistics do not reflect the crimes actually occurring; rather, they provide a picture of the state's response to crime."

"The data on which we train technology 'uncritically ingests yesterday's mistakes', as James Bridle puts it, encoding the barbarianism of the past into the future."

(Future Histories)

neil boosted

Hello fediverse,
this is our very first toot.

"The Hambach Forest, which one could call the last “primeval” forest in Central Europe, is being stubbed for Europe’s biggest climate pollutant – the Rhenish lignite mining area of RWE (Rheinisches Braunkohlerevier), in which RWE mines brown coal. Whole villages and the health of human beings are destroyed in this process.
To prevent all of this it we squatted the Hambacher Forest and take part in other effective and direct Actions."

Since 2012 it is squatted and defended against cops and security forces from #RWE. #hambibleibt!!!

Berxwedan Jiyane

Says O’Shea:

“We need to protect space in our minds for the vulgar and the strange, for the unpredictable experiences of living free from the influence of commercialism. Like the flâneur or flâneuse, we should aim to cultivate curiosity through this liberated lens.”

In the frame of digital urban planning, this quote from Jane Jacobs’ (discovered via Future Histories) is very IndieWeb:

“What a wonderful challenge there is! Rarely has the citizen had such a chance to reshape the city, and to make it the kind of city that she likes and that others will too. If this means leaving room for the incongruous, or the vulgar or the strange, that is part of the challenge, not the problem. Designing a dream city is easy; rebuilding a living one takes imagination.”

O'Shea is using urban planning as an analogy for thinking about how we could design our digital spaces. Riffing off Freud's thoughts about the mind as a city, and Jane Jacob's work on cities and planning.

I'm liking this, I was thinking about it recently, with an online presence being like a person's home on the web. Taking it up a layer you think about digital urban planning, how these homes (and other things) fit together to make a city. I like it as a frame. 

Good bit in Future Histories about the Marine Police Office, the oldest police force in England.  Set up in cahoots with the merchants, to enforce wage labour paid by time and stamp out the labourers taking stock from the employers.

"The origins and functions of the police are intimately tied to the management of inequalities of race and class." -- Alex Vitale

Today's words of the day are:

- thistledown

and

- blackberries

I've been doing a thing where I've written a blog post and then broken it up into a bunch of toots all posted at once. Dunno if that's good, bad, ugly? Could just link to the blog post. Still thinking on and off that the microblog medium is not the best medium for me. Seems difficult (or an art) to be nuanced about anything in 500 characters or less.

Anyway, all fascinating stuff. I don't think I would really call it a documentary, in the sense of historical record. It's more of a visual essay, one man's (elegantly crafted) opinion. Certainly getting me thinking about a few things, can't ask for more than that.

I can't really figure out if he's presenting history as technological determinism or social determinism. It seems a bit of both, e.g. Rand influences tech bros, tech bros build selfish tech, selfish tech drives selfish society. Or nature influences cyberneticians, who translate the technology to the society.

(Part 3 gonna be some synthesis or middle ground? Is he going to suggest that society is dynamic, we shouldn't cling to a notion of natural balance, that we need a radically new system to beat climate breakdown and inequality, and that technology should serve society, not the other way round? If so. I'm down with that.)

So probably the common theme between the two episodes is that of being against blind faith in technology for societal ends. Part 1, he didn't like the undue faith given to algorithms to support selfishness and neoliberal financial systems. Part 2, he doesn't like how ideas from technology were used to support the idea that humans are relatively unimportant cogs in a larger system.

I think he was making the point that nature doesn't tend towards a stable equilibrium, so we shouldn't lean on that idea for our social systems. I don't think I've seen a modern environmental movement, at least the ones I'm interested in, suggest that we *don't* need to radically change the system though. Maybe I need to read more into the Club of Rome and what it's current descendents are.

The suggestion that the ideas of the balance of nature and ecosystems thinking is all bunk, is all new to me. That's really interesting. I've fairly unthinkingly bought into a strain of thought that we are affecting an implicit natural balance, the narrative that we're interfering with delicately balanced ecosystems, and that we need to not do that, in order to prevent the worst of climate breakdown. I'd never really thought of that as being concomitant with trying to preserve an unequal system.

I found it really interesting when talking about the Club of Rome and limits to growth. Apparently the idea of stopping growth and finding ‘a natural balance’ (in an attempt to curtail climate catastrophe) was protested at the time as being akin to Jan Smuts’ ‘holism’ – a disingenuous and racist way to maintain a currently unequal system. I guess the protestors weren’t championing growth, though – presumably they wanted a complete system change altogether.

I think he probably strawmans cybernetics a bit for his own ends there, but I suppose machine control makes for a good boogieman. He also seemed to be saying that hiearchy creeps in, however horizontal and interconnected you try to make your structure, so you shouldn’t bother trying a flat structure. Again, I don’t think total flatness is really how cybernetics presents systems theory though (although I don’t know a lot about cybernetics to be fair.)

I think the main gist of the argument was against the ideas from systems theory and cybernetics that either nature or society have a tendency to self-regulate and self-stabilise. He seemed to be making the point that all attempts at a kind of social homeostasis are doomed to failure, because it’s based on flawed thinking, and that it doesn’t translate from machines to societies.

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