Its a funny old world.

Its a funny old world.

I was wondering whether or not to write about how small and fragile the world of business can make those involved in it feel. I was about to write about someone I know who has just had a deeply unsettling experience in a work environment. Her day has been full of people scoring points off each other, second guessing each others next move – generally behaving unpleasantly under the guise of smartly dressed up business language. Then I decided not to as they will all have been doing the best they can given what they know at this time. No one (and I mean no one) wakes up in the morning and decides to be a wee shit. Whether it is lack of understanding, fear, misguided world views – whatever. People, I believe, mostly try to do their best.

Having decided not to write this I read Doc Searls’, as usual, excellent piece on competition.

A couple years ago I was talking to Brian Behlendorf, who brought us Apache and co-founded CollabNet, about coming up with a way to reward open source contributors to Jabber. I suggested that we look to the peer review process for some kind of guidance, and to best reward those contributors most respected by their peers. “You mean like high school?” Brian said.

He had a point.

I grew up before geeks were programmers. In my day geeks were into electronics. So I was a ham radio operator. The code I learned was Morse. I liked the ham radio culture (which is back there in the modern geek culture evolutionary tree, even though ham radio is hardly extinct). It was a place I could go that was absolutely unlike school, which I hated from the first day of kindergarten until my junior year in college. In the ham world, everybody was curious about you, and eager to let you know something about themselves. Everybody was smart, and assumed you were too. It was a gift culture: Everybody liked helping everybody else, and to do good work in real world emergencies too. The field had its graybeards, but nobody was exceptionally important, other than novices. Bringing people into the community mattered perhaps more than anything other than having fun and doing good work. There was no social caste system. Sound familiar?

He says elsewhere in todays blog that he doesn’t think of himself as a Big Time Blogger. I’m not so sure – he hits the button for me most of the time – I even voted for him even though I too feel uncomfortable with competitions!

Post Modernity…. a definition Modern,

Post Modernity…. a definition
Modern, overloaded individuals, desperately trying to maintain rootedness and integrity…ultimately are pushed to the point where there is little reason not to believe that all value-orientations are equally well-founded. Therefore, increasingly, choice becomes meaningless. According to Baudrillard (1984: 38-9), we must now come to terms with the second revolution, that of the Twentieth Century, of postmodernity, which is the immense process of the destruction of meaning equal to the earlier destruction of appearances. Whoever lives by meaning dies by meaning (Ashley 1990).

from Postmodernism And Its Critics via synthesis

The Principle Of Least Action

The Principle Of Least Action
Your mathematicians have discovered that whatever happens in the universe happens in such a way that the total amount of action is always the lowest possible. It’s what they call ‘The Principle of Least Action.’ And your scientists use it all the time to predict how things will happen. Those balls the White Rabbit is throwing trace out a curve in the air, yes? Well that curve happens to be the one that involves the least amount of action. Any other curve you could imagine would require more action.

from Alice in Quantum Land via abuddha’s memes

Double Meanings Coffee (n.), a

Double Meanings

Coffee (n.), a person who is coughed upon.

Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight
you have gained.

Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a
flat stomach.

Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent

Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie.

Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

Gargoyle (n.), an olive-flavored mouthwash.

Flatulence (n.) the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.

Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.

Circumvent (n.), the opening in the front of boxer shorts.

Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there.

Pokemon (n), A Jamaican proctologist.

via e-mail but originally from The Washington Post

A bit of the other

A bit of the other
When you smile into a camera, who are you smiling at? When you�write a letter to the internet�or a mailing list, who are you writing to? When you put a picture on the internet, who are you showing it to?

Have we known all along about the conversation? Has it always been there, an itch on the underside of our subconscious? All those thousands of years we spent trying to deal with our lonliness… didn’t we always know that we are never truly alone?

Self and Other. Words that philosophers have struggled with for centuries. Words that we have struggled with for�millenia. They identify something in the real world – you and me – but they are also abstract contradictions. There can be no me without you. How can I understand myself without understanding you? How can I know myself without knowing you?

Who am I writing to?

Who are you?

from synthesis

Is The Pope A Catholic?

Is The Pope A Catholic?
The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counterreformist and has been influenced by the “ratio studiorum” of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory, it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach – if not the Kingdom of Heaven – the moment in which their document is printed.

from MacNN via Scottish Lass Seeks

Ooooh…. he’s so good. Vox

Ooooh…. he’s so good.
Vox populi, vox dei, someone said, and getting the equation backwards, we were lost in gods. For a thousand years or a million. For as far back as we can remember. Unimaginable, they must have dreamed us, we dreamed. Must have dreamed these sounds and these maps and these endless rhythmic meanings. And even then, it was only starting. Only then it was getting even with itself. Catching up with what had already come. Been said, been mapped, been vocalized, been spelled. For once called, it cannot be unbidden. Such is the way it takes.

And the way it takes leads where it likes. Whether we like it or not. Whether we continue or try to go back. Back to what, exactly, it might taunt. Whatever calls, whatever asks such things. There is only onward, only more. Combination and recombination. Names unhinged from the things they once named, set free, gone native. Simile, metaphor, idea, abstraction. Fa, ka, bo, ro. Ma, re, lo, tu. But modulated, shifted up a couple octaves. Natural languages, natural musics. Natural wonders of the world. And naturally, what is called, if called often enough, eventually replies. Be careful what you wish for.

RageBoy

A Senecan Praemeditatio [The wise]

A Senecan Praemeditatio

[The wise] will start each day with the thought….
Fortune gives us nothing which we can really own.
Nothing, whether public or private, is stable; the destinies of men, no less than those of cities are in a whirl.
Whatever structure has been reared by a long sequence of years, at the cost of great toil, and through the great kindness of the gods, is scattered and dispersed in a single day. No, he who has said ‘a day’ has granted too long a postponement to swift misfortune; an hour, an instant of time, suffices for the overthrow of empires.
How often have cities in Asia, how often in Achaia, been laid low by a single shock of earthquake? How many towns in Syria, how many in Macedonia, have been swallowed up? How often has this kind of devastation laid Cyprus in ruins?
We live in the middle of things which have all been destined to die. Mortal have you been born, to mortals have you given birth.
Reckon on everything, expect everything.

from The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

Courage It is in the

Courage
It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

Later,
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

Later,
if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

Later,
when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you’ll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.

from Anne Sexton The Awful Rowing Toward God via In A Dark Time

Fantastic! A powerful inter-galactic conversation

Fantastic!
A powerful inter-galactic conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to waste time at work, download naughty pictures, and build pipe bombs. As a direct result, things are getting really weird — and getting weird faster than the parking lot at a Grateful Dead concert.

from The Gluetrain Manifesto

A Brave Man I really

A Brave Man
I really love reading In A Dark Time. It is full of beauty and wisdom. I had no idea just how dark the dark time is…

Suddenly, though, that my concern over the nation’s problems has taken a backseat to my own personal crisis. In the last month-and-a-half I have discovered that I have a large cancerous tumor in my throat and have had to examine the different treatments available, none of which are very good, and decide which of these treatments I will try. In essence, I have been making life-and-death decisions and decisions about the quality of life almost daily over the last two weeks

And yet in the face of such a crisis there is still truth…

I truly believe that moments like this, if we survive them, help us to get more out of life. By forcing us to see our life’s decisions in the hard glare of critical decisions, we can begin to see how strong our beliefs are and whether or not they truly help us to make decisions when we need to. They force us to consider whether we are wasting our lives when there are more important things to be done and to decide what really is important.

…and beauty…..

So the abyss;
The slippery cold heights,
After the blinding misery

The climbing, the endless turning,
Strikes like a fire,
A terrible violence of creation,
A flash into the burning heart of the abominable;
Yet if we wait, unafraid, beyond the fearful instant,
The burning lake turns into a forest pool,
The fire subsides into rings of water,
A sunlit silence.

from Theodore Roethke’s The Abyss in The Far Field

Creativity versus productivity? Creativity is

Creativity is often thought of in terms of artistic expression or hobbies, while productivity is most commonly associated with work and value creation. In truth, there is no difference as each set of activities involves the creation of something. Those who identify primarily with the word creativity tend to abhor structure and look upon work as a limiting factor to their self-expression. Conversely, those more comfortable with the term productivity tend to regard it as an efficient and valuable endeavor and are suspicious of “creative types”….The truth is that both groups are invovled in the same activity, whether they perceive it or not.

from Nathan Shedroff via evhead