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Friday, March 31, 2000
fuzzy does as buzzy loves. wooda scuzzy hubby take a chug? huggy lovey needs a buzz so mizzy frizzy sucks his lug.

”that was nice my mizzy frizzy!” says huggy lovey to his lug, “now clean the porch! so i can chug will i the tv be the rug.”

“ohno, ohno!” says fuzzy duzzy to the loo, “he likes me not and i sucked his lug! what’s a mizzy frizzy gonna do?”

“dunno, dunno.” was all she knew and whistles chirped and blew birds chewed. then fuzzy tears blew out her nose while buzzy sat and watched the close.

“i’m not sure why it struck me so,” said fuzzy to the dying dough, ”but he sure seemed reel, from me to you all misty eyed and black and blew.”

and misting were to ever fail to never know to no avail.

Thursday, March 30, 2000
some really great poems from 'the dainey'.

drugs and technicity i think is a nice companion piece to sadie plant's writing on drugs.

Wednesday, March 29, 2000
been doing more reading on idle theory :) i'm particularly interested in how it fits in with the current economic paradigm, or lack thereof.

one of the critiques of economics as practiced today is its pursuit of maximal economic value through growth in real GDP, that aggregate economic output can serve as a best proxy for social utility.

while theories of production have proved a stunning success this century, particularly in wartime where national product accounts were developed (by lord j.m. keynes no less!) in order to optimize resource planning to best gear the productive capabilities of a nation for full-scale war, economics as applied to social theory in a post-war context has not been as useful and hence lacking in "vision." i guess some would say that it's been co-opted as a "science" by the powers-that-be in order to maintain the status quo.

instead, i think, gaining credence is the concept of the "good society." one in which i guess the conventional wisdom says there is:

  1. a fair an impartial system of government where the rule of law abides,
  2. a free and open society that encourages entrepreneurship with the proper combination of regulation, taxation and safety-nets, and
  3. an educated population able to readily upgrade its skill-sets

from this i gather the three principals at work for the creation of a good society are the democratization of government, the democratization of capital and the democratization of knowledge (or, generally, the devolution of power to the many from the few). the institutions of the first, bring forth the actualization of the second and then the third.

from an economic perspective public goods theory (relating to non-economic rents and externalities) and game theory (structuring incentives to produce an optimal outcome amongst self-interested actors) have a lot to say about how this dynamic gives rise to a win-win mutual co-prosperity sphere. what i think is interesting about these sub-disciplines is their emphasis on the social aspect of economics.

conspicuously lacking in economics (where the fundamental assumption upon which the subject was founded is that human beings are rational utility maximizers) is any kind of rigorous concept about what a maximal social utility curve might look like. granted this is a very difficult task (as explained in cryptonomicon!), but because of its increasing relevance i think the concept of social utility should be more fully incorporated into an integrated understanding of economics. as professed and practiced today, economics generally either ignores or dismisses, by definition, non-economic outcomes.

now i don't think that policymakers or whoever are like beholden to economics or anything. like i'm sure its strengths and failings, the "construction" of economics, has been picked apart at great length (in the fine tradition of karl marx :) and are well known. but i think concentration on economic or exchange value has kind of blind-sided the profession.

idle theory points out this discrepancy in its discussion of exchange value vs. use value and offers a new framework to place economics, where time and leisure are figured more prominently in the picture. as goods with little exchange value but high use value, their utility cannot be measured monetarily. but in that humans are utility maximizers, use of time and consumption of leisure need be investigated in order to better understand rational economic behavior.

moreover, in a so-called new economy where product cycles are short, planned obsolescence is in, network externalities are the rule and intellectual property is skyrocketing amid increasing returns to scale, it makes sense to reappraise what we may exchange relative to what we can use. with the world transubstantiating from atoms to bits, idle time might just supplant any commercial realization of heaven on earth.

Tuesday, March 28, 2000
more tinker-links. (via carey!)

big guy & rusty the boy robot (via andrew & pam)
a great comic illustrated by geof darrow, who happens to have also done the original concept artwork for the matrix!

they blew up the kingdome.

Monday, March 27, 2000
so i dug out my old econ textbook, the classic! economic problem by robert heilbroner and lester thurow, after reading about chris davis' idle theory and found this quote in a section discussing economics in relation to thomas kuhn's structure of scientific revolutions:

"We live in a period in which much of the conventional wisdom of the past has been tried and found wanting. Economics is in a state of self-scrutiny, dissatisfied with its established premises, not yet ready to formulate new ones. Indeed, perhaps the search for a new vision of economics, a vision that will highlight new elements of reality and suggest new modes of analysis, is the most pressing economic task of our time."

i also found this sidenote on acquisitiveness:

"Remember that we are talking about the kind of behavior that we find in a market society. Perhaps in a different society of the future, another hypothesis about behavior would have to serve as our starting point. People might then be driven by the desire to better the condition of others rather than of themselves.
"A story about heaven and hell is to the point. Hell has been described as a place where people sit at tables laden with sumptuous food, unable to eat because they have three-foot long forks and spoons strapped to their hands. Heaven is described as the very same place. There, people feed one another."

Sunday, March 26, 2000
idle theory (via ed)

this is a really cool link from ed who got it from someone else's weblog. it's like an extension of thorstein veblen's theory of the leisure class.

some other books on leisure economics :)

  • waiting for the weekend - witold rybczynski
  • the overworked american - juliet schor
  • the end of work - jeremy rifkin

Saturday, March 25, 2000
on design (via carey)

I loved it. This new design for a baby bottle empowered this little girl. By making it doughnut-shaped, the designers gave her a weapon to thwart Big People and a tool to feed herself.

Friday, March 24, 2000
i found this old (1996) neal stephenson essay, mother earth mother board, on laying trans-oceanic fiberoptic cabling around the world. the link was off this nice sf site.

it has influences from the diamond age in it, like the globe-trotting chapter synopses, but what's interesting i think is how "hacker tourism" shaped his ideas in cryptonomicon. like i'm only 2/3 of the way through, but what i find fascinating about it so far is how the history of technology reflects on the present and how he shows the relational impact on culture in the process.

i have to say the story itself is plodding, like an ernst & young consultation-cum-formulaic hollywood outing – imagine the cluetrain manifesto intercut with saving private ryan. it's more of a showcase to display his tech-savvy business knowledge and grainy ultra-high speed shutter depictions of war than anything else i think.

i mean i liked snow crash and diamond age a lot despite the cardboard cutout characters/archetypes/puppets or whatever because he draws attention to them as background to the speculative setting he creates, which i think is the real highlight. like i know that's stephenson's m.o., but in a 900+ page intergenerational epic spanning the intricacies of theatre warfare in WWII to backroom business dealings in the info-age, it comes off as tired melodrama more often than not. i guess my thing is that i much prefer stephenson the essayist when it comes to idle speculation on society as it is rather than what it could be.

Thursday, March 23, 2000
more extropian literature. (via memepool)

some non-extropian literature.

Wednesday, March 22, 2000
i recently read this book the large, the small, and the human mind by roger penrose. it's really cool. not as lucid or well written as james gleick's chaos, in terms of scientific journalism and reportage, but seriously engaging. like the guy created the "impossible triangle" optical illusion! escher based a lot of his engravings and stuff on penrose's work on mathematical tiling... plus he taught stephen hawking a thing or two about physics :)

to learn a little more about him and his work check it out here.

tom green has testicular cancer? (via busychild)

Tuesday, March 21, 2000
semi-frequent contributor to FEED, techgnosis author erik davis writes on the antique roadshow.

barbara marx hubbard's the hunger of eve makes for some dated but interesting-weird extropian literature.

you can take part in our conscious evolution by participating in co-creation of the "universal human," ostensibly i guess within the nurturing confines of the neo-hippie peace room.


The Word of the Day for March 21 is:

propitiate • pro-PIH-shee-ate • (verb)
: to gain or regain the favor or goodwill of : appease, conciliate

Example sentence:
The locals invited some of the tourists to participate in a traditional ceremony in which offerings were made to propitiate the region's deities.

Did you know?
Like its synonym "appease," "propitiate" means "to ease the anger or disturbance of," but there are subtle differences between the two terms as well. "Appease" usually implies making concessions to quiet insistent demands, whereas "propitiate" tends to suggest averting the anger or malevolence of a superior or of one having the power to injure. In fact, "propitiate" often occurs -- as in our example sentence -- in contexts involving deities, spirits, or other preternatural forces. You might "appease" your hunger, but to speak more colorfully, you could "propitiate the gods of hunger."

i like the word in context with esprit de corps - the common spirit existing in the members of a group and inspiring enthusiasm, devotion, and strong regard for the honor of the group. kind of like its opposite or antonym, but not really.

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