Because, seriously, who needs Snapchat?
Catherine Bracy at #PdF13 on how the demographic homogeneity & isolation of Silicon Valley means it’s not solving problems that need to be solved. Them’s fighting words! (via libawr)
cbracy being badass as always
See also: the Jacobin essay on doing what you love and the Google bus drivers who have to sit in the garage all day and aren’t allowed in the cafeteria.
Young people today have lots of experience… interacting with new technologies, but a lot less so of creating [or] expressing themselves with new technologies. It’s almost as if they can read but not write.
I spent a hour talking to a Japanese journalist last week, refusing to say “all journalists should learn to code” even though I think it. Everyone should learn how to sew a button on, hang a shelf, cook a meal. I go way farther. You should know how to can pickles and transform a shirt and make a roux and repair a lamp. These things aren’t magic, they aren’t mysteries. I had an earth moving breakthrough a few weeks ago when I realized we could just pay someone else to re-cane our busted chairs. It hadn’t occurred to me to not do it myself.
And so I think, yes, you should know, if not how to code, at least that you can learn. That code is structured and logical and possible. Not because you can’t be a journalist if you don’t know Rails, but because knowing how the engine works gives you a huge amount power and I think that is worth something. And yeah, in 1999, Alex Cockburn was faxing his typewritten columns to The Nation with hand-written notes in the margin, while everyone else just emailed their work in. So you can live without it. But do that because you want to live without it, not because you think it takes wizards or ninjas or gurus or sparkling unicorn fairies to write software that works.
Cleared out my mother’s closet today. Out with the debate trophies. And the collected reports. Apparently, at some point, I could label major Brazilian cities on a map. Why?
Mancuso showed a slide depicting how trees in a forest organize themselves into far-flung networks, using the underground web of mycorrhizal fungi which connects their roots to exchange information.
The pattern of nutrient traffic showed how “mother trees” were using the network to nourish shaded seedlings, including their offspring — which the trees can apparently recognize as kin — until they’re tall enough to reach the light. And, in a striking example of interspecies cooperation, Simard found that fir trees were using the fungal web to trade nutrients with paper-bark birch trees over the course of the season. The evergreen species will tide over the deciduous one when it has sugars to spare, and then call in the debt later in the season. For the forest community, the value of this cooperative underground economy appears to be better over-all health, more total photosynthesis, and greater resilience in the face of disturbance.
Michael Pollan, “The Intelligent Plant”
The trees are socialists.
Self-annealing properties of trees in a forest.
We honestly know nothing about the natural world, and we’re so addicted to computers and compartmentalization that we can’t imagine what we don’t know.