David Graeber's The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy
Unlike the enormous and comprehensive Debt, Utopia of Rules is mostly argument, not history. It sets out to investigate the problem of "bureaucracy" -- basically, rules, and the simmering threat of violence that underpins them. Hidebound adherence to awful, runaround bureaucracy was always the sin laid at the feet of slow-moving, Stalinist states under the influence of the USSR. Capitalism, we were told, was dynamic, free, and open. But if that's so, why is it that since the USSR imploded, bureaucracy under capitalism has exploded? If you live in a western, capitalist state, you probably spend more time filling in paperwork, waiting on hold, resubmitting Web-forms, attending performance reviews, brainstorming sessions, training meetings, and post-mortems than any of your ancestors, regardless of which side of the Iron Curtain they lived on.[more inside]
Lights Out in Nigeria by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [New York Times]
"LAGOS, Nigeria — WE call it light; “electricity” is too sterile a word, and “power” too stiff, for this Nigerian phenomenon that can buoy spirits and smother dreams. Whenever I have been away from home for a while, my first question upon returning is always: “How has light been?” The response, from my gateman, comes in mournful degrees of a head shake. Bad. Very bad.Previously.
How do we, the public, decide what's in the public interest? Specifically, in the context of eminent domain: In 2005, in Kelo v. City of New London, the concept of eminent domain, or taking of private property to benefit public interest, was expanded to allow governments to take private property and turn it over to private commercial interests, if deemed to benefit the public. Although some states later passed legislation designed to curb abuses of this power, the state of Virginia is now taking it to the next level. [more inside]
The "Women Fashion Power" Exhibit at the Design Museum in London has reignited the discussion regarding fashion as a symbol of power among women. [more inside]
"I am seldom considered liberal, but happily so when regarding the quantity of healthy fat in my coffee. " [more inside]
"A new electricity distribution system being described as the "'Hoover Dam' of the 21st century" will bring wind energy from Wyoming to customers in California—and it will get there by way of a $1.5 billion artificial cave built specifically for storing air inside a salt dome in Utah. " [more inside]
Legendary industrial music pioneers, KMFDM's 30th anniversary this year, saw the release of a live album and tour called "WE ARE". Sascha Konietzko took some time to provide insights about his friendship with Ministry's Al Jourgensen as well as the last thirty years, and his philosophy on making music. [more inside]
uBeam - the wireless charging platform that uses ultrasound to send electricity to devices through the air.
Monopoly is back: Barry Lynn on the concentration of American economic power — and how we can restore fairness. Highlights: [more inside]
Ladypockets! "true story: I met Kirsten Gillibrand in 2006, when she was running for office against John Sweeney. I was getting a haircut in a salon in Saratoga Springs, New York and it was just me and the stylist in there, after the store had already closed for the day, just hanging out waiting for the foil in my hair to do its thing. This panicked-looking woman with a bluetooth and a clipboard knocked on the window and asked to be let in. She explained that she was the assistant of a woman who was running for office, they’d been asked to do a last-minute live TV appearance, and she’d left the house without wearing makeup that day; could we help? "
UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
DoYogaWithMe.com is a free, constantly expanding resource of online yoga videos created by a passionate group of experienced instructors. Our yoga videos include classes, poses, breathing techniques and anatomy videos. Search their entire collection by difficulty, length, style, and teacher or start in the Beginner's Studio. Yoga has a unique way of strengthening and toning your body, improving flexibility and enhancing your sense of well being.
Clear some of your floor, put on some comfy clothes, turn off your other electronics and turn on a video. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of that great journey for you!
Mothers in law have long been a focal point of Indian society. With the modernization of Indian culture, their roles are changing for better and for worse.
Ever wanted to know why the Bluetooth symbol looks like it does, or what the deal is with the logo on the Command button on Apple keyboards? This link, which tells the story behind the design of many common user interface symbols, has got you covered.
OBEY is a glitchy, psychedelic look at the rise of the corporate state and the future of obedience in a world of unfettered capitalism, inequality, and climate change, based on Chris Hedges' Death of the Liberal Class.
Installed solar capacity is growing by leaps and bounds, led by Walmart and Apple, and helped by bonds backed by solar power payments,[*] which have sent industry stocks soaring, even as molten salt and new battery technologies come on line to generate storage for use when the sun doesn't shine. Of course we could always go to geostationary orbit -- or the moon -- as well we may (if politics allow it) as thirst from the developing world grows beyond the earth's carrying capacity. [more inside]
"While DC continues to race through San Francisco power lines at nearly the speed of light, it does so anonymously. You’ll find no reference to DC power distribution in PG&E’s annual reports or on its websites. Even some utility engineers are unaware of its existence, which raises a curious question: Why is the inheritor of this legacy, the mighty and sophisticated PG&E, still bothering with DC distribution 133 years later?" [more inside]
"I saw the conversation we were about to have like a long, familiar tunnel, and I turned around and walked away, done with riffing forever."
A few months ago there was a list of links to classic video game emulators posted. Very recently, I'm pleased to report, those links all came true. The Internet Archive bespoke upon aforementioned consoles, computers, and mileposts on our way to the tech utopia of today, (seriously, where's my flying car?) and they asked us to do something: Imagine every computer that ever existed, literally, in your browser. And it was so. I have absolutely no affiliation with jscott, btw. Thought I should disclose that.
The thing about being an unstoppable force is that you can really only enjoy the experience of being one when you have something to bash yourself against. Allie Brosh is in fine form in the latest Hyperbole and a Half, which is oddly appropriate for almost-Halloween. Previously. Previouslier. Previouslierer. Previousliererer.
Canada has lost its famous politeness. With oil and gas now accounting for approximately a quarter of its export revenue, over the last decade Canada has not so quietly become an international mining center and a rogue petrostate.
Aereo is a web service that allows subscribers to watch broadcast TV on their computers or mobile devices. The broadcast networks are furious. Aereo is ready for a PR fight, and is currently winning the legal battle. Variety wonders: Is Aereo Actually a Good Thing? [more inside]
Engineering question: say you only had one generator with multiple places that needed power in real time. How to get power to them? Caveat: do it mechanically with no electricity. Low Tech Magazine brings you the Jerker Line System and the Stangenkunst, for all your post-apocalyptic / steam punk power distribution needs. Some are still in operation: Jerkerline Field wheel near Oil Springs Ontario (video), and Oklahoma (video).
The New York Times asks seven 'experts': Does makeup ultimately damage a woman’s self-esteem, or elevate it? [more inside]
How We Happened to Sell Off Our Electricity is James Meek's dissection of the systematic re-privatisation of the UK power industry.
Are you an enemy of liberal principles if you question the fact that, when local electrical engineers dig up the roads in London, they’re working for East Asia’s richest man, the Hong Kong-based Li Ka-shing? In north-east England, they work for Warren Buffett; in Birmingham, Cardiff and Plymouth, the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company; in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool, Iberdrola; in Manchester, a consortium of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and a J.P. Morgan investment fund.
I love a sun-powered country, A land of deepening mines, of ragged nuclear plants, of biomass and hydropower
While developed countries are pondering whether they should sign up to The Kyoto 2 Protocol and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5% by 2020, based on 2000 levels which may be of questionable impact, the tiny Pacific territory of Tokelau has ditched its primary source of electricity generation, costly diesel imports, in favour of 100% renewable solar power, becoming the first nation in the world to do so, at a time when the global energy systems of the 21C are struggling towards decarbonisation. [more inside]
Fast tracking kebal - Plugging the cord into an electric socket, I was instructed to place my foot on top of one of the plates. Pak Edi held the other plate under his own foot, and immediately his leg began to quiver from the electric current.
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
While you'd never know from the US media, the US wind energy industry has breezed past a 50GW milestone. That's enough to power 13 million homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association. [more inside]
A Post-Mortem on India's Blackout: IEEE Spectrum's energy, power, and green tech blog gives an excellent overview of what led to the devastating blackouts that occurred in India on July 30th and 31st leaving more than 600 million people (approx 10% of the world's population) without electricity. Bonus: BBC's Soutik Biswas gives us 10 interesting factoids on India's power situation to chew on.
Colorblind Racism Inside the U.S. Advertising Industry. A dissertation by Chris Boulton. [15:13 Vimeo] [more inside]
"The more ghoulish and extreme the show becomes, ...the more accurately it captures the reality of the cartels and their business."
MyTube60 gives you an easy way to string together clips from videos on youtube. It allows you to pick your videos, put them in order, and choose start and end points within the video. Also gives you the ability to search power hours put together by others.
Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines—and machines won. Bio-Dreads — monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them!In 1987, before he created Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a live-action sci-fi show for kids. 24 episodes were produced. Straczynski wrote or co-wrote 14 of them, including multi-episode plot arcs. A line of interactive toys brought the battle into kids’ living rooms, and Captain Power was also one of the very first shows on television to feature computer animation in every episode. But in an attempt to appeal to both children and the adults who watched with them, the campy show included some concepts and scenes critics deemed too violent for children and lasted only a single season in syndication. The full run of the show has now been uploaded to Youtube. [more inside]
Earth Faces 12% Chance of "Catastrophic Solar Megastorm" by 2020 The last gigantic solar storm, known as the Carrington Event, occurred more than 150 years ago and was the most powerful such event in recorded history. [more inside]
Some interesting things have recently happened in the world of solar power: Evergreen and Solyndra have gone bankrupt, panel cost has gone sub $1.00/watt, and China has vastly increased production capacities. [more inside]
The best wind in America is in Wyoming. It is a door-snapping, heart-pounding wind that barrels in from the west, chasing the truckers along Interstate 80 as they race to make Omaha by nightfall. It is sometimes described with words ordinarily associated with dark chocolate or exceptional pinot noir. It has been called dense, world-class, consistently extraordinary, special, and fabulous.. Advocates of wind power though are faced with a conundrum. [more inside]
Slightly Darkened Streets of Tokyo [SLYT] By fading back and forth between scenes of pre- and post-quake Tokyo, this time-lapse video by YouTube user darwinfish105 shows how the metropolitan night-scape has been affected by Japan's ongoing power shortages and conservation efforts.
The Parable of the Tribes. A classic essay by Andrew Schmookler on the Hobbesian struggle for power, and its inevitability. [more inside]
"According to a study by Scott Wiltermuth, assistant professor of management organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, and Vanessa K. Bohns, postdoctoral fellow at the J.L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, adopting dominant versus submissive postures actually decreases your sensitivity to pain. " [more inside]
Most of the talk about renewable energy is aimed at electricity production. However, most of the energy we need is heat, which solar panels and wind turbines cannot produce efficiently. To power industrial processes like the making of chemicals, the smelting of metals or the production of microchips, we need a renewable source of thermal energy. Direct use of solar energy can be the solution, and it creates the possibility to produce renewable energy plants using only renewable energy plants, paving the way for a truly sustainable industrial civilization. [more inside]
Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists presents Fifty Years of Space Nuclear Power "A plutonium fueled RTG that was deployed in 1965 by the CIA not in space but on a mountaintop in the Himalayas (to help monitor Chinese nuclear tests) continues to generate anxiety, not electricity, more than four decades after it was lost in place. See, most recently, "River Deep Mountain High" by Vinod K. Jose, The Caravan magazine, December 1, 2010." (MeFi previously)
Which device in the American home uses the most energy? No, it's not the refrigerator or the TV. It is actually the HD DVR cable box.
-Only an 'energy internet' can ward off disaster
-We must electrify the transport sector [more inside]
-We must electrify the transport sector [more inside]