• poetry

    Tu B'shvat

    Having made the journey from the front yard to the back, beneath the weight of the second story where morning light was filling rooms, I was comfortable with the progress of our adolescent wildflowers. Then light filled me up between the backdoor and backfence, mild flakes of disappointment at my temples that the poppies stubbornly refuse to bloom. For a moment I considered the preposterous notion of watering the Redwood Tree. Erect there, concentric symmetrics, wheels blooming over our rented house. Me, corrected, sighing. Sharing the embarrassment with the pointed bamboo that lived partially in their shadow, flakes brushed aside. I stepped into the shadow and gazed up into the vortex of leaves. You don’t need tepid municipal sink juice. (But I’ll get some for you, you potted co-dependents that dot the interior landscape, scrubbing and smoothing the nervy corners of brutal Puritan design. You little fuckers, in comparison.) I remember where Dottie scratched your delicate conifer skin when she was given a chance to roam wild. (Too few moments with that champion, I miss you.) I push on that spot with my imagination from a mile away through my keyboard, where Dottie, me, Redwood, and microbes had a chance encounter on earth in space. I’m reminded of one time I tried striking the Redwood. The is the way that you do as a martial artist who’s curious about surfaces and transfer. There was a sharp, uneven slap, because of that sketched conifer texture. More impenetrable than cement, completely full of form. Not the satisfying feedback of leather wrapped compressed textile. There are few living things that are so dense to human body sacks, I suspect.

    Sunday June 2, 2024
  • poetry

    Guy outside Ritual Coffee on 5/27/24, I had a hot chocolate inside

    The guy in combat boots with a skull reading Love In the Time of Cholera on a call through the over ear headphones with coffee.

    Monday May 27, 2024
  • poetry

    Seung Sahn's Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, and chat with Seraph and Marshall

    Dottie on koans.

    Good morning

    A man came into the Zen center and dropped ashes on the Buddha.

    One hundred and fifty years ago men put metal penises in the earth and started burning fuel in earnest, beginning to fill the atmosphere with ash.

    These men claim “Buddha is everything.” They are very strong and will hit you if you say otherwise. How do you fix their minds?

    In a stroke of brilliance, I piped the morning meditation’s Zoom call audio through the Sonos. It’s quite silly though I waited so long to figure this out. Clifford’s Morning Bell Chant is wailing now. Felicitous: pausing the onslaught on my geriatric iPhone’s speakers eliminated the rheumatic gargles and burps.

    Good evening

    There was a moment yesterday, around the routine crepuscular slide, when Seraph mentions how the diaspora broke us. (Sambal moves around the gums.) We broke, to assimilate. We discontinued mentions of the moon cycle’s importance in our rituals. We cleared the forest from the imagination. My chest balled up. I could cry. It had been a tough Sunday already in one of those classic disorientations of a fleeting weekend. Just as a week or two of life pressures edged to the pinnacle for a breath and place to lookout with a panoramic view. (I’m thinking of the top of Bernal hill.)

    I don’t love the language of broken and fixed because it’s hard, phallic. It makes me think of split wood. (I have too many planks, not enough logs to build Atul’s workshop!) My own notional machine of my mind body conjures gushier platelets. Like a pre-cum immured into being across a white plane with a left-to-right, slightly downward stroke of a palette knife squishing a wave of paint across a plain surface. I love the way paint breaks. How air bubbles create a torn moon surface. Within this mode perhaps I’m become dabs and waves. Uneven, partial, preparation for art, art substance, also a soothing transitioning item from globular mound to wave. So that’s why it’s hard to feel broke, or whatever the reverse, some architectural rebar. Nonetheless, the near-tears I felt at the invocation of brokenness are a clear indication that the door has been shut on joy before.

    Monday May 20, 2024
  • poetry

    How to read A Hacker Manifesto

    McKenzie Warks' A Hacker Manifesto is so bergizi (trans from indonesian: nutrient-stuffed) so I skipped to the end notes. Reading ass backwards might be the trick here. (Or spin the bottle to choose an entry point.) As you make progress, reprint and scatter the individuated sections that you’ve read, then affix them to posts along Triton’s surface.

    “A free yet not merely random productivity”: this sentence gets me thinking about open source collaborations.

    End note on Gregory Bateson from McKenzie Warks' A Hacker Manifesto
    Tuesday April 16, 2024
  • poetry

    The kind of extro, outside RItual coffee on Valencia

    Being around people Benching just outside the coffee shop Heads pointing down Talking Tap clink Passersby entering and exiting Entering and exiting is the point

    Tuesday April 16, 2024
  • poetry

    Machinery: Eva Hesse, her machinery

    Sunday March 24, 2024
  • poetry

    From Amy Kurzweil at The Ruby in San Francisco on February 29th, 2024

    The room was cold. The light a little caustic. Acoustics wan. From the back row I had to squirm to the side to see Kurzweil’s full face. Like 17 people there, maybe? Intimate, secret, and in on it. Rugged cool!

    “Paper is pleasurable.”

    “My life for a while was in pages.”

    “My visual secret is that all my characters look like me.”

    Monday March 4, 2024
  • poetry

    Two drinks max or else

    The bartender at Berreta is asking if I like bitterness and I answer yes. At this point I’m open to interpretation and open to interpretations. I get Cynar, a hefty portmanteau that smoothes out my technologies of resistance across the bar plane. An incubation space for monsters. To the right of my glass, an open challah bag is a gaping hole.

    Tuesday February 20, 2024
  • poetry

    Sunday Prayer before heading to altitude

    Saying no to Lucy Ives everywhere and hitchhiking Leather Blvd. sipping cool aid

    Kita anak-anak keren

    Sunday February 4, 2024
  • poetry


    Can you eat here
    Can you get food here
    I can get food here
    I will get food here
    This place is too expensive for you
    I will eat at this place
    There is another food for you over there

    Wednesday January 24, 2024
  • poetry

    Relationships in this economy

    “I didn’t realize what we had.”

    He couldn’t see from the view within his stomach. Nerves are too high.

    Well, you work full-time, overtime frequently because it’s only a five-day work week. Your hands are full cutting a path through what the racists made today.

    Your Yeezies are barely scuffing the stacked monomers, my guy! Where did you come from? There are dicks the size of city blocks clouding your view. Same-day tsukumogami are drilled into the soil and rock and you trip on them.

    You weren’t taught to realize her/they from the muscles between your shoulder blades, reaching behind you to turn it around, reaching in all four directions with the somaticists. Need I remind you that we only had one chance to spin the title track. (Ascenseur pour l’Ă©chafaud). You barely heard the record pops. The time that remained didn’t leave us one breath to talk about the sound before the rich were on the ballot again.

    Written at the kitchen counter. My overcooked omelette lays on the cutting board. The sangha relaxing down into the sunrise and into memory.

    Wednesday January 24, 2024
  • 2170

    Kelsey Blackwell's Race and the Body: Why Somatic Practices Are Essential for Racial Justice

    “Racism is a visceral experience” - Coates


    “Including the body…towards social justice…is the primary path forward” - Blackwell


    “We focused our efforts in the wrong direction…white supremacy doesn’t live in our thinking brains…it lives and breathes in our body.” - Resmaa Menakem


    “The only path forward requires dismantling who we think we are.” - Blackwell


    “The body…says, this is true…this is happening…this is honest.” -Blackwell

    “Few skills are more essential than the ability to settle your body.” - Menakem

    { This one. A superpower. Also, settle your body vs settle on your body or your land vs settle an argument. }

    “There’s a saying in Guinea that ‘knowledge is only rumor until it’s in the muscle.'” - Blackwell

    “Rocking, humming, and making physical contact with each other…” - Blackwell

    { Sitting, bowing, chanting, walking, eating, cooking, cleaning. To retreat, to practice. To leap like a tiger while sitting. }

    Thursday January 18, 2024
  • 2170

    Class warfare on Duolingo 🌹

    Duo lingo lesson
    Tuesday January 2, 2024
  • habitations

    My sparse margin note couplet from Jon Bentley's Programming Pearls, also bit of a book review, and a whole ass

    comic frame of Batman on top of a man who says 'I'm Fine' keyboard laying on top of an oyster shell and a pearl necklace
    In 2015 I bought this book.    
    7, or 8 years ago.    
    Year one into my software career.   
    This book is canon.   
    I've had little use for its studies of algorithms. # thus far, see below     
    I don't think Bentley would be offended.    
    First sentence: "Computer programming has many faces."    

    I’m sure I glanced at its pages before entering the corporate interview gauntlet, to get in the vigilante mood. Like shaking out the shoulders when staring down a twenty two minute treadmill run (or pile of laundry Sunday evening). (You must to armor up for the algos in the kingdom of men.)

    You know, Bentley’s pearls are usually the type of polished wisdom earned through real life experience I drift with, but this book never became the vade mecum for my quotidian affairs. Is it for others? Most of it, after Part I, was too metallic for an early-career front-end Rails dev. But the book can quickly be pragmatic in the earlier pages – see 3.2 Form-Letter Programming!. Templating is up there with the best of them.

    The book is pedagogically caring (great headings). It’s pornographically geeked in thoroughness. The cases are so well-situated. Bentley spoils you with opinionated further reading and subjective sidebars that add the kind of first-hand-account historical/social context that remind you that the metal has been worked over by person hands.

    It reminds you that software is not lonely.

    Look out, there’s a modest amount of myth-making for his contemporaries and mentors. But who wouldn’t. The most honest plagiarisms. Yes/and he’s humbler than many. Ok maybe I have to read it again now that I have more years behind me.

    Although I am a visual learner and thinker: logical word-problems were always a pain. In recent years I tend to reach for Bhargava’s Grokking Algorithms for a refresher on binary search or walking trees. It has cute pictures. It’s stacked next to other faves like Land of Lisp and Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby.

    Hmmm (thinking emoji, I will not look you in the eye as I cock my head buried in thots). After all the solstice konmari of my bookshelf – which I thought would elicit a reflection on some forgotten paper taking up space – has become the discovery of lost treasure. And yet, I’m still tickled by the scant amount of notes taken. I can’t read without a pen. Perhaps we’re time-traveling, then.

    It's year one. 
    Young Rails dev. 
    He makes only two liner notes in a book considered staple grocery. 
    I don't remember if I even read the whole thing. 
    I bet I got through Part 1's wider lens, then started to gloss over.

    One note is an exaggerated check mark next to this principle listed on p29 (Second Edition, published 2000):

    Rework repeated code into arrays. A long stretch of similar code is often best expressed by the simplest of data structures, the array.

    With “the array” also underlined from the outer left edge of the “t” to the outer right edge of the last “a.”

    This one has stuck. Arrays, especially maps, can be more durable when staring down change. Before long any thoughtful software developer will realize that the components of a software system will become ordered and/or multiple.

    There is no lonely software.

    Data, whether as scalar, “bags” of properties, even subroutines and processes, even the manual lever pulling human tasks must be sequenced, serial, bound, reversed, indexed, sorted. The maintenance cost of housing data in ordered collections is generally low.

    [<anything>, <anything>] 

    Whole ass languages, like Clojure, were designed to favor ordered, associative arrays. As I learned after finding Hickey’s seminal talk Simple Made Easy. (Richly simple and luxurious as Hockney’s bathers.)

    hockney's sunbather painting

    A second mark: a vertical line next to the opener for section 12.2 One Solution. This was (yet another moment in my lifetime) I learned that we never have to go it alone when staring down the void of what we’re building next:

    As soon as we settled on the problem to be solved, I ran to my nearest copy of Knuth’s Seminumerical Algorithms (having copies of Knuth’s three volumes both at home and at work has been well worth the investment).

    This has also stuck, reified after seasons.

    Friday December 22, 2023
  • rutabagas

    Rutabagas Vol. 3: The Softest Ware: Is

    1. What are probably appropriate attacks on assigning calamity to the hand-wavy concept of “human error”. Lorin strengthens his theory that human error probably doesn’t exist by considering complex, fault-tolerant systems like Amazon S3 incapable of receiving “human error” as apology or eulogy when there’s a hard drive failure.

    2. WHAT. Secret guerrilla human rights interventions by the artist collective GALA Committee on Melrose fucking Place.

    For three years, as the denizens of the Melrose Place apartment complex loved, lost, and betrayed one another, the GALA Committee smuggled subversive leftist art onto the set, experimenting with the relationship between art, artist, and spectator. The collective hid its work in plain sight and operated in secrecy. Outside of a select few insiders, no one—including Aaron Spelling, Melrose’s legendary executive producer—knew what it was doing.

    1. There are widely acknowledged “hard things” in software development, but the pith used to describe them usually falls short or flat for me. But in less than 100 words jenniferplusplus achieves serious depth:

    It’s a little bit shitposty, but it’s 100% true. People think cache invalidation is hard because it has no right answer, so it’s a question of iterating until you get a right-enough answer.

    People think naming things is hard because it’s about communicating with each other.

    People don’t even think about managing dependencies. It’s invisible. It’s about cooperating across time and organizations to do maintenance chores. It’s so hard and so unglamorous that people can’t even see it.

    What’s important to observe here is (the appropriate, warranted, overlooked) framing of these software problems as social problems, not logical puzzles or struggles with language and framework semantics. Even cache invalidation, despite being a requirement in nearly any useful application that nearly every developer must address, escapes a general solution – meaning developers must continuously arrive at socially acceptable, technically sufficient solutions – but not total – as the seasons change and the desires of forces and actors in the system change. There is always more than one person at large in negotiating the solution, if even only a developer and a single someone using the software.

    1. jenniferplusplus again, but this time bringing Peter Naur’s lasting insights into the AI conversation: programming is theory building. Software developers are quickly discovering the usefulness of LLMs trained on code to assist in some of their more menial daily work – especially when working with common constructs (languages, frameworks) that are personally unfamiliar – but it’s hard to imagine LLMs replacing the core intellectual work which requires understanding: like the socially syrupy hardness they discuss in the above toot. Although we might imagine a generative computer program giving semi-useful suggestions for the complex|complicated|sophisticated|confusing real-world development scenarios if trained on the correct historical inputs for that milieu; and if you were stuck in a vacuum somewhere without recourse to more senior colleagues who possess similar tokens of guidance to steer you toward the right away to handle background jobs (without such an exhaustive cataloging as you’ll see ChatGPT 3.5 vomit below):
    Handling background jobs is a common requirement in software development, especially in scenarios where certain tasks need to be executed asynchronously or in the background to avoid blocking the main application thread. There are various ways to handle background jobs, and the choice often depends on the specific requirements and the technology stack being used. Here are some common approaches:
    Task Queues:
    Message Queues: Use message queuing systems like RabbitMQ, Apache Kafka, or Redis to enqueue and dequeue tasks. Popular libraries for this approach include Celery (Python), Sidekiq (Ruby), and Resque (Ruby).
    Job Queues: Platforms like AWS Simple Queue Service (SQS) or Google Cloud Tasks can be utilized to manage queues of tasks.
    Asynchronous Programming:
    Async/Await: In languages that support asynchronous programming (e.g., Python with asyncio, JavaScript with Node.js), you can use async/await to perform tasks concurrently without blocking the main thread.
    Multithreading/Multiprocessing: Use threads or processes to run background tasks concurrently with the main application. Be cautious with shared resources and synchronization.
    Background Job Processing Frameworks:
    Delayed Job Processing: Libraries like Sidekiq, Delayed Job (Ruby), or Hangfire (.NET) allow you to schedule and execute background jobs at a specified time or after a certain delay.
    Job Scheduler: Tools like cron (Unix/Linux) or Windows Task Scheduler (Windows) can be used to schedule recurring background jobs.
    Serverless Computing:
    Functions as a Service (FaaS): Platforms like AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, or Google Cloud Functions enable you to run individual functions in the cloud without managing the underlying infrastructure.
    Database-backed Queues:
    Database Queues: Store tasks in a database table and have worker processes periodically check for and process these tasks. This approach can use a library like Active Job (Ruby on Rails) or Hangfire (C#).
    Container Orchestration:
    Kubernetes: Container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes can be used to deploy and manage background job processing containers.
    Job Management Services:
    Job Management Platforms: Use specialized services like Jenkins, CircleCI, or GitLab CI/CD for scheduling and executing background jobs.
    Webhooks and Event-Driven Architectures:
    Event-Driven: Design your system as an event-driven architecture, where background tasks are triggered by events. Webhooks can be used to notify the system of events.
    Choose the approach that aligns with your application's architecture, scalability requirements, and the specific nature of the background tasks you need to handle. Keep in mind factors such as reliability, scalability, and ease of maintenance when making your decision.

    Quoting Nauru’s seminal vintage paper (1985, the year my brother was born):

    The fundamental task of software development is not writing out the syntax that will execute a program. The task is to build a mental model of that complex system, make sense of it, and manage it over time.

    1. Another entry from tobi on the contempt culture of software engineers. (Where does this come from?)

    So anyway this post is both a big “thank you” to the many nerds who are chill and easygoing and joyful, and an exhortation to others to free yourself of contemptuous, competitive attitudes, and re-embrace the intellectual curiosity that presumably once brought you into programming in the first place.

    Friday December 15, 2023
  • 2170

    Goings on about town: Iowa teen grew 7,000 pounds of veggies, then gave them all away

    Over morning coffee, mixed with used iron goddess king tea leaves. Questions about things in paper.

    kopi pagi tambah daun teh raja dewi besi

    Why ya why ya why ya why ya why ya wanna why ya wanna

    1. Some people just have acres of arable land lying around to play with
    2. Why didn’t Lauren work with her family to give this land back to indigenous tribes? In 2022 tribes finally won 7 acres back after 200 years. If the Schroeder’s gave back their 2 acres, they would increase the footprint of sovereign native lands in Iowa by 30%.
    3. What happens if Lauren loses interest in this project? Or goes off to college? Will the people served by the food banks and other orgs she’s supporting suffer as a result?
    4. How is hunger an issue in a heavily agricultural state?
    5. Is this an acceptable form of child labor, especially with her two siblings also working with her?
    6. I wonder if Lauren offered the unnamed domestic violence survivor a chance to help with the project and give her kids a chance to grow their own food again.

    Why did Dr. J shave his beard and mustache?

    Friday December 15, 2023
  • poetry

    Modern cities are inhuman: Vol 1

    Wednesday December 13, 2023
  • poetry

    Le Guin on write what you know

    Monday December 4, 2023
  • poetry

    I slept pretty well last night

    Monday December 4, 2023
  • rutabagas

    Rutabagas: Vol. 2: Japan transform , museums saving the web, c apitalism makes software bad again, and more

    1. Aaron Straup Cope’s talk notes for Wishful Thinking
    postcard finnaire Sud Aviation Caravelle 1970s sfo museum


    I read this post a few days ago and have since wandered through the hyperlinks to his other stuff. It’s clear that for some time Cope has been baking thoughts about the cultural heritage sector and its responsibility - “relationship” - to engage with emerging “virtualization” technologies and the techno-capitalist system.

    (As I’m learning: he’s been committed to the web writ large, you can see it through numerous cyber- and hyper- textual projects playing freely in the “network of patient documents”; his own delightful euphemism. In these projects he goes deep for the web’s inherent nature of democratic, atemporal revisiting and recall." “That access to recall is what makes the Network special to me.” At first blush, these are not impossible conservationisms. As he says: “The point is not that our relationship with technology should end with the web.”

    Reminds me of Avdi Grimm’s discussion of conservation:

    “Healthy growth starts where it is, and both builds on and repurposes what came before. No clean slates, but also no bans on knocking down walls.”

    Cope has chosen not to wave the white flag, and fends off the grievings, misgivings, and saudade of laments starting a decade ago.

    We managed to build a lot of cool shit on the back of 56Kb modems. We built a lot of cool shit – including entire communities – on top of a technical infrastructure that is a pale shadow of what we have available to us today. We know how to do this.


    Cope is saying: The (open) web is good, actually. Which is what Cory Doctorow picked up and so it found it’s way into my inbox.

    In Cope’s newer account at hand from the 2023 Museum Computer Network conference, we get these thoughts reapplied to emerging virtualization technologies, VR, AR, particularly the “so called ‘metaverse’” (the name scare-quoted out of exasperation, maybe?). He wants to remind us that we’re not done with the web yet.

    At the outset, Cope moves quickly to invoke a reminder about the museum’s networked power - it’s webiness; at the same time its implication in the network of patient documents:

    …the practice of revisiting is the bedrock of the humanities. Revisiting is what distinguishes entertainment from culture.

    The decade+-long struggle continues. We must understand how our bargains with techno-capital hegemony (apps, ad-driven social networks) deepens the threat against ideas (I’d add emotions, evolutions, revolutions) flourishing outside the corporate fence. What Cope describes as “time to warm up to ideas.”

    I’m game. And Oh! The cultural heritage sector seems a perfect backdrop to wrestle with the threats of new tech. The material threats are lived: even pragmatically, the museum can not, may not, should not be able to afford the costs of bug-eye headsets and visors. The larger scheme is almost dialectic, smooth: the plunder and seizure of open-access-egress recall power while the cats keep entertaining my eyeballs. While Facebook’s controlled metering of power to content creators (colonial policemen) transforms cultural value from something that moves freely across past and future, geography; that’s cheap, abundant; that’s allowed to take root…organically (for lack of a better term): transforms into something judged too quickly, cast away, spent, ephemeral. (Remember, DIGITAL != EPHEMERAL). Prepping us for some greedy end, like recording everything we see because Cambridge Analytica and genocide, and… He says:

    Namely that if you publish something online – whether it’s a selfie, a “hot take”, an essay or a multi-year project; anything really – and it is not immediately successful or viral then it was a waste of time and effort. It was not worth doing.

    Which is insane. It is insane because that’s not how ideas take root.

    It takes people time to warm up to ideas, especially new or challenging ideas, if only because we are busy just juggling the ideas and beliefs we already hold with the complexities of our lives in relation to one another.

    It is also hard not to understand this idea as a deliberate of attempt to gaslight the web and everything that makes the web important.


    We would do well to understand the web not just as a notch in the linear progression of technological advancement but, in historical terms, as an unexpected gift with the ability to change the order of things; a gift that merits being protected, preserved and promoted both internally and externally.

    On time-traveling temporality, from back in www.aaronland.info/weblog/20…

    The web gave us the ability to return to a thing outside the shared (or master) narrative at a time of one’s own choosing. Of shifting time in the service of one’s own interest or in the service of simply coming to an understanding of one’s own interests.

    1. Japan’s haiku poets lost for words as climate crisis disrupts seasons

    2. Ship/Show/Ask: More often than not web dev shops I’ve worked in are weighted toward the “Ask” strategy because of blanket policies. So even in cases where a team had reached a degree of trust that would allow for releasing with “Ship” or “Show” there were mechanical bulwarks in place. For example, physical restrictions to self-merge a Github Pull Request.

    3. It’s amazing what a small amount of imagination + green can do to the built world. In Japan, the Federation of Landscape Contractors holds a contest each year for best-looking garden on the back of a pickup truck. Some winners.

    4. Having worked tangentially to direct patient care in the health tech biz building industrial pharmacy software, these insights about how bad healthcare software can be resonate. Paper: You want my password or a dead patient?. Good summary with pull quotes from Fred Herbert from a short draft paper.

    Tuesday November 28, 2023
  • rutabagas

    Rutabagas: Vol. 1: Careful with Octavia Butler, the Sex Forest Movement, Nat King Cole Sampler, and of course tech doomsayers

    Originally posted as a micro website at https://ross-rutabagas.neocities.org/. Rutabagas are now sprouting here when the time is right. Volume 1 includes “found dates” – but later volumes will be less temporally registered (I think).

    (Why “Rutabagas”? This was Zee’s fault when he extemporaneously blurted “Ross' Rutabagas” as a fake shop name to stand in for an example during a Zinc Coop ensemble sesh.)

    1. 10/06/23 - [r/Jazz] Nat King Cole Appreciation Post & [r/Jazz] Nat King Cole Piano Recordings

      When you need to deep dive into the influential piano playing of Nat King Cole that influenced greats like Oscar Peterson.

    2. 10/02/23 - Make the Golf Course a Public Sex Forest!: An excerpt by Anna Aguiar Kosicki

      <p>Discovered via Sophie Lewis’ <a href="https://www.patreon.com/posts/repro-utopian-11-89509663">Patreon</a>.
      Book ordered!</p>
    3. 09/25/23 - Block the Bots that Feed “AI” Models by Scraping Your Website by Neil Clarke

    4. 09/25/23 - The Unreal Writer by Joanne McNeil

      Discovered via my mastodon feed, shared by Betsy Haibel:

      “This is happening with Octavia Butler in real time. Her daring and the moral complexity of her characters is swept away in recent assessments to create a coherent legacy—that of an earth mother tote bag caricature-icon. This is reading authors as flap copy, accessing the top layer of the writing, and refusing to convene with the messy human elements in the work. What are their books—any books—even for, other than for us to approach as humans, wandering around with their words and experience the extraordinary workings of another human’s mind?

      The snobbery against science fiction in the past and today’s cartoon icons of some of its weirdest authors comes from the same root: an establishment that doesn’t know how to read or appreciate it. The establishment needs the work digestible as buzzy fragments. The feral elements in what are now science fiction classics—the originality and experimentation—isn’t legible to them; which means even the most famous authors, when you encounter the work on your own, are likely to surprise you. Their mysteries as authors remain mysteries and to a more generous reader—that mystery is exactly what hooks you.”

    5. 09/24/23 - Apple fucked us on right to repair (again): “Parts-pairing” is a scam by Cory Doctorow

    6. 09/24/23 - 🎧 Bizarre and Dangerous Utopian Ideology Has Quietly Taken Hold of Tech World by Kelly Hayes

    Tuesday November 28, 2023
  • habitations

    But night software is not like that. It’s not written for the day job. It’s not written to see the light of day at all. It’s not written to be looked at and scrutinized by anybody. It’s intimate and personal, it’s messy and buggy. To take a look is to transgress.

    Boundary cross. Sex.

    From a small heap software that helps make software. By way of Devine Lu Linvega

    Monday November 20, 2023
  • habitations

    DEI Grieving and AI Skepticism

    IYKYK DEI in tech is all but dead. If you’re an outsider, it’s important to understand that employee-led efforts to make workplaces less racist – which began in earnest at the onset of the Obama years – have been steadily blotted out since Trump. The Tech aristocracy has decided to abandon DEI budgets along with other workplace perks. As @betsythemuffin notes (in the thread I’ll be referencing below):

    DEI is seen by a sizable chunk of the funder class as an allowable luxury to keep the peons happy.

    It has been tragically hard to swallow this defeat. @betsythemuffin again:

    Regret that we didn’t do more to build material power when we had the chance.

    And yet, as the movement has regrouped and recentered to reposition the struggle, some have begun to take note of a problematic adaptation in the techy left’s rhetoric. @danilo started a thread on Mastodon that points out a new-born form of absolutist skepticism for emerging technologies – notably AI (of course). Regardless of why the left slips into what @glyph calls a problem of “semasiology” around the term “AI”, point is, the hurt seems to be cutting so deep that the movement has retreated into an unproductive preservationism.

    The abject and understandably heartbreaking defeat of DEI-type progress in tech has moved most leftist critique of the space into a technological conservatism built on denialist, magical thinking.

    You can’t successfully advocate for a dead end when the other side is investing in roads that lead to helpful places.

    You can’t win against technologies people find useful by pretending they aren’t useful.

    Check out the rest of the conversation. There are smart people in here thinking through this “AI” moment. The underlying question seems to be how we can continue the fight without completely disavowing what might be practical revolutions borne out by this albeit early phase of “AI” that is “finally bearing serious fruit.”

    If you’re wondering on what side of the line I fall, my major beef with the LLMs is their wanton extractive consumption of human labor without citation or, god forbid, recompense. Of course, a time honored tradition of slave traders and capitalists. Here is Marc Andreesen with a recent plea written to the US copyright office, hopeful we can just all ignore this blatant theft for the common good of the funder class. This is class warfare:

    Imposing the cost of actual or potential copyright liability on the creators of AI models will either kill or significantly hamper their development.

    I hold that citation is feminist since it combats the authoritative mansplain that obscures collaboration, hardens selfhood, and hoards ideas. Ergo I consider the de-linkified, referent vacuum of effluvium produced by ChatGPT et al as patriarchal in its presentation of “knowledge” and preoccupation with mastery. I’m scare quoting because philosophically I’m confused about what this content even is, so unhinged. Although I recognize that the interplay of this text with the reader and their investigative context does produce meaning.

    UPDATE (minutes after the writing the above): heh, Danilo actually expounds generously about the left’s false critique of AI in a long-form piece on his blog.

    Monday November 20, 2023
  • 2170

    From the hunter to the tactical tornado. Man and his-story!

    Sunday November 19, 2023
  • poetry

    Book review: Event Factory

    Event factory renee gladman

    I’m not sure how far Gladman’s fantastic Ravickian worlding has spread betond smaller literary, artistic, critical conclaves. She reached me by way of Lucy Ives' article on the “weak novel” (after listening to Ives on a BISR’s podcast paneling the same topic). (I’ve since bought almost every book Ives mentions in this article; I’m on a rapid tour of postmodern anti-novels.)

    I’m curious who would fancy this book. I loved it. But I love a good ontological drift through space-time. Are we meant to be reading the artifactual record of the protagonist’s survey? Nope. Maybe? This isn’t the same kind of world-inhabiting, context-laden ethnography that frequents the beginnings of book parts and chapters in sci-fi and fantasy volumes. Well, perhaps it is a long opener as the first of many books.

    What feels most real is that Gladman’s text is constantly in question.

    Dorothy (the publisher) leaves far too much margin.

    The story can hardly get going since getting past “Hello” is nearly impossible. It’s some kind of language issue. But also architectural, since the built world is in some kind of crisis or revolution. Something really bad is happening on Ravicka, and we don’t get enough for a complete analysis. What’s maddening is that the locals seem to brush it off. But it’s not a total wash in the yellow. There are wonderfully concrete and vivid moments of the Ravickian world. It’s not simply abstract for abstract’s fancy. There are stakes here for Gladman. That’s what makes this anti-novel of sorts hard to dismiss. We oscillate between a strong foothold and floatation. Personally I find it seductive-enough.

    Is Ravicka even a faraway planet at all? Could other worlds be close, not worlds away?

    There are also gestures that feel fresh and exciting, partly because they are given so much room. Is this record incomplete? Were parts intentionally left out? Were they lost? Did they never happen? Sex with strangers. Music is important. Underground civilizations. Dancing is important to speak. Writhing to speak. Unlikely inter-species/cultural collaborations. Going to and waking from sleep. Sleep is important. Obvious love lost, longing. A book that de-centers the written and spoken word, somehow, while concerned with it and the slippage of translation; including awkward encounters with native speakers and their disinterest. Gladman’s person is put through tenderness and saddening separation with every encounter.

    This is a small book that you cannot breeze through. But it is pleasure book bound.

    Reproduced from Bookwyrm

    Tuesday November 14, 2023