Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Digital Apocalypse: How the Information Age Scares the Shit Out of Us

It's 1991. I'm at my mom's for the weekend, and her partner is up, chain smoking Moore Lights, and listening to Art Bell. The house is dark, and the silent, intense droning of Art Bell and his guests fills the trailer home with fucking DREAD.

"Who is this?" I ask quietly, my eyes peeled on her smoking visage as she casts the only shadow in the house because of a small desk lamp next to her.

"Art Bell. Quiet," she says in that husky, serious voice I immediately obey.

Fucking Art Bell, man. That dude could scare the shit out of me and I had no clue what he was talking about. All I knew was that the world was about 5 minutes from cracking in half, and the only thing to be done was to sit in a dark kitchen and chain-smoke, listening to the details and hushing interruptions.

I grew up in an apocalyptic religious sect, so end of the world stuff was nothing new to me. I had some gnarly nightmares growing up. But Art Bell could add a gravitas to it that beat out Gawd.

But that was just on the radio. I heard Art Bell once in a great while. I wasn't constantly connected to the information. I got away from it, the apocalypse ebbed.

Then came the information age, and holy shit did doom floweth.

I love the internet. It is basically a new human appendage, well beyond anything we have ever built. That doesn't mean it's not sometimes a pain in the ass. Information increases exponentially every year, not insight, necessarily, but information.

Combine this increase of information with our culture's fascination with its own demise, and you get some scared ass mother fuckers. In virtual reality as in conventional reality, there is a natural human tendency to group with those of a like mind. As such, we can exponentially magnify our cultural mythologies of doom, making them seem more real, more immediate, and often more terrifying.

Since many of us are quite aware of the unsustainable nature of civilization, there is a tendency to reinforce those beliefs, especially within ourselves. Personally, I believe we have some great social opportunities in the information age, in fact, I believe the internet can play a fundamental part in creating a free, sustainable and decentralized society.

If you're feeling scared or uncertain, remember: apocalypse is a part of our culture. Civilization is unsustainable and way deep down we remember this. It permeates our mythologies past and present.

Transition may very well be upon us, and we can make it our best yet.

Now, watch this shit and laugh:

The Complete Guide to the Future from Everything Is Terrible! on Vimeo.

EMBED-Apocalypse! - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Greasy Water is NOT as Good as Greasy Food

Don't believe the hype. If the BP oil disaster fucks everything up to the point of harshing water supplies, the water will NOT taste better. So, let's look at some ways to clean your water if it has little rainbows in it. By the way, I have no idea if oil can actually get in the rain. I'm thinking it doesn't make it any HEALTHIER though. In fact this could be the case.

I would totes ride this to work.

We are in for a rough ride in the years ahead following the oil disaster. This is some serious shit. Start thinking about who you live with or near. Get networked.
This could be the demise of humans, or it could be our salvation. Who knows? But we have to begin NOW to learn shit like, oh, HAVING POWER AND WATER!!!!!

Fortunately for YOU there is my blog. The idea is to collaborate on sustainable technologies that will see us through some rough transitions. Cooperation and mutual aid are the key to resiliency.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

BP, Free-Market Environmentalism, and Rothbard's Stupid Wrongness

That's a long fucking title. And not really witty. I was going use the word "immense" instead of "stupid," but I felt the title needed wit. Didn't really work. Shit.

I'm going to go ahead and outline simple things. I hate boring, complicated shit. So thank GAWD I don't have to write any. HA!

1. In a free market (and I'm talking an authentic free market. What's that? GOOD QUESTION! A freed and open market (the agora) is the sum total of all voluntary market transactions. Basically, I only trade shit with you if I want to, and vice-versa (Judge Reinhold ftw!). All people have private property rights, which begins with self-ownership, and have no right to violate the private property rights of any other person. Immigration prohibition is not compatible with a free market. Fiat money is not compatible with a free market. CIVILIZATION is not compatible with a free market. Think we have a free market? FUCK NO PLAYA! A free market is inherently localized and networked. It represents a both/and paradigm.) a company like BP would be unlikely to exist in the first damn place.

2. Free Market environmentalism is real, don't be a dick. Look, now that you know what a free market (agora) actually is (you're welcome), the two concepts can actually merge nicely. Since we own ourselves, if our air/water is poisoned by other assholes, our private property rights have been violated, and we have the right to seek restitution (there are a variety of dispute resolution systems that could be discussed, but fuck that shit for right now, I'm keeping it SIMPLE remember?). Since full responsibility and accountability are fundamental to a freed market, there are sizable socio-economic disincentives to poison and destroy ecosystems. How would companies behave if there were no state guards funded by fiat currency to protect them? Real private property rights insure that sustainable activity is the norm. Nobody washes a rental car, nor do they shit where they sleep. Unless they are someone who shits the bed because of glands or something.

3. Murray Rothbard is the reason I became an anarchist. He rules, basically. But DAMN was he fucking WRONG about ecological importance. Basically, he claimed that destruction of animal life had no relevance to human life. Claiming that the destruction of animal life has no relevance to human life is not just selfish, but fucking sociopathic (not an uncommon trait in our culture). It is that disregard that helps lay the groundwork for oppressive institutions. You can a learn lot about a person based on how he/she treats animals. Norman Bates beat mice with hammers. I'm just sayin'. Now, it may seem strange to call my main man a sociopath, but I'm a member of this culture too, and when someone I admire so much says some seriously fucked up shit, it reminds me of how sick we really are.

So there you have it. The reason for my rad title. Basically, in a free market the planet matters, so support local farms, co-ops, and all that hippie shit, because market forces are powerful enough to help us all live in a balanced way ecologically, and even move beyond civilization.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Power Cube Cometh!

While it sounds like some new awesomeness from Nintendo, in fact the power cube is a fucking sweet little contraption. It demonstrates the power of human ingenuity and adaption. It ALSO demonstrates the possibility of beginning to live post-civ right now.

I suck at describing machinery and shit. But from what I understand, this thing is a homemade energy generator that will soon run on steam. Give it a peep here.

I've lately been on this kick about the concept of resilient communities and why they are so important. Over at Global Guerrillas the talk is over the concept of localizing production and virtualizing everything else.

I couldn't agree more. We have the potential to bring the information age into convergence with decentralized communities, thus allowing us to live locally but stay connected with a larger community, sharing information on how we are living locally, what we are doing to innovate responsibly.

Resilient communities aren't just a back-up plan, they are the answer. The power cube shows human ingenuity done responsibly, and shows how widely we can instantly share the information on creating local technologies.

This represents real potential of providing a global, decentralized infrastructure.