such an old story

“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” — Jonathan Swift

health vs healthcare

stayin’ alive by Cervantes

One reason — a very important reason, as a matter of fact — why health care costs keep rising. Instead of dying, we are being converted into permanent patients.

And as we learn to manage more diseases we learn how to manage, without curing them, the trend will continue.

This is the world we live in, where everybody is diseased.

citizens for citizens

Pictures of those killed are displayed. The 25 January Revolution. Throughout the day they came from all over Cairo to take part in cleaning up the square.

Volunteers scrubbed paint and graffiti off walls. Volunteers began laying back paving they had used as weapons. Those involved say they are proud to be rebuilding their country. [BBC]

the if not now thing

If beauty were then beauty be,

 And not one of us lament,

But ugly is as ugly does,

 And not one of us content.

perk up, it’s our life

What did Robert Frost say?

The land was ours before we were the land’s.

She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

Discovered at and corrected by Ms. Wonderful Zo.

never be neutral

Take Back The Tubes.

CNN’s foreboding story, among many similar:

For all that the unrest in Egypt tells us about the power of networked media to promote bottom-up change, it starkly reveals the limits of our internet tools and the ease with which those holding power can take them away.

But Dave Winer, pioneer he’s been, forefather of blogging and creator of RSS, will not allow the Internet to be switched off at the whim of tyranny! He’s making it easy for home users to become web servers, far away and too numerous to be vulnerable to central commands.

There is no creed or constitution that’s good for people and also good for arrogant and cruel agents of government. No agency or corporation should control humanity’s knowledge or communication, nor hoard this knowledge, nor put it in silos easily metered, sold in mercantile chunks, nor shut off.

WebMonkey explains:

A centralized web is brittle web, one that can make our data, our communications tools disappear tomorrow.

Winer wants to demystify the server. “Engineers sometimes mystify what they do, as a form of job security,” writes Winer, “I prefer to make light of it… it was easy for me, why shouldn’t it be easy for everyone?”

Winer isn’t the only one who believes the future of the web will be distributed systems that aren’t controlled by any single corporation or technology platform.

Remove centralized bottlenecks !

To be free of corporate blogging silos and centralized services the web will need an army of distributed servers run by hobbyists, not just tech-savvy web admins, but ordinary people who love the web and want to experiment.

the party of we

Mike Masnick comments on an opinion piece by Douglas Wood asserting The Party of We’ is already in control.

…and the least understood in many of the discussions around what’s happening online. In the past, with traditional systems, if you didn’t agree with something, you would just protest.

But if you look at what’s been happening lately, when the public doesn’t agree with something -official secrecy, draconian copyright laws, censorship, privacy violations, etc.- rather than just protesting, they’re simply routing around those things. It’s an incredibly important point. They’re not protesting by saying “this will not stand”. They’re protesting by saying “your laws don’t matter, because we can simply route around them”. That’s a hell of a lot more powerful than most people realize.

Angela Natividad hoists that all the way up the pole: It’s a battle for the soul of all of us.

“When you read this, take into account that there’s no room left to behave as if human equality is a subjective thing. There is no more space in an increasingly connected world to say that what a tyrant, a tyrannous government or a tyrannous enterprise does with its dependents is its own business.

“Faster communications makes territory less important and distances insignificant. That means institutionalized repression and blows to free thinking, to the liberty that sparks innovation, becomes everybody’s business. The world is now too small for this.

“I’m going to say something cheesy now, but I think it has to be said this way. Technology is where it is today because of higher numbers of ever more ambitious hackers fighting odds, rigid corporate standards, suspected limitations and attempted castrations of the Internet’s liberty. They are dogged, they self-organize and recognize no authority but the merits of what works, cutting away what doesn’t, and we have all advanced because of it.

“In this world and tomorrow’s, that hacker culture belongs to everyone: people with access to the tools to fight governments, self-organize and speak out against human injustices without having to go through prescribed channels.

“The channels that matter now belong to us. Use them wisely, tirelessly and fearlessly. United, able and armed with knowledge, we can make civilization a kinder, more efficient machine, worthy of its name and richer because of the dynamism that serves one god: freedom. The freedom to think, be educated, feel safe, ask hard questions and decide our destinies.

“This is what Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen and other countries, newly inflamed, are fighting for now. This is what we should be defending every day, even if we feel like it’s not our fight.

“It’s always our fight.”

In this world and tomorrow, live and uncensored:

“Christians protect fellow Muslim protesters as they prostrated themselves to pray is worth bearing in mind while Mubarak talks his nonsense about not being able to leave lest the roiling mob destroy the country.”

I was there! they placed newspapers and towels on the floor so we wouldn’t pray on the hot asphalt. I love Egyptian Christians and although I am Muslim I would die defending any one of them.

cruel meets community

Folks in Seattle do stuff to foil the unjust.

The day we delivered my demand letter was one of the happiest days of my life, I felt so supported and strong. With our strength and persistence we have shown, and will continue to show, bosses can’t get away with abusing their workers.

economically-informed food

Jones at Tyler’s challenge on food bleg:

No economic, agronomic or environmental argument for localism is valid. And when you add food preparation to the equation the problem balloons to truly grand proportions.

But that’s not what localism is about. It’s entertainment, status signalling, social behavior, unexamined ideological biases, philosophical confusion, instrumental political posturing, sexual performance, etc. etc. Those are important issues that cannot be disregarded, but they have little or nothing to do with economic or agronomic systems optimization.

the pain is for the people

Getting elected is about finding a hook, a slogan to spur a teetering worry.

Yes — it’s not about evidence, it’s about finding an excuse to implement an ideology.

The recession got in the way of those efforts until the idea that austerity is stimulative came along. Thus, “austerity is stimulative” is being used very much like “tax cuts increase revenues.” It’s a means of claiming that ideological goals are good for the economy so that supporters in Congress and elsewhere have a means of rationalizing the policies they want to put in place. It’s the idea that matters, and contrary evidence is brushed aside.

Oh the vanity of it. Our era is sociopathic opportunism and that’s that.

Ineffectual theory is pilfering our pockets by misappropriating our good sense.

Our candidates steer us wrong.

Of course they do.

Aggrandizing is the only trick done. The result is our sad sad slipping. We’ve been slipping for decades.

Worry and confusion will defeat us until we choose better.

It’s not their ideology will take us forward. It’s projects which transform our poisons and waste and depletion and dumb extracting. When platforms discuss real things, efficient things, gifts we’re bringing home to fix our sloppiness and repair our solvency, only then we will see we’re choosing well.

More political rage will be storms we’ll see ahead, nothing to stop it; weather jolts and climate change seem abstract compared to resource depletion, OIL, and population crush, to these we have no adequate response. Our prowess is a clamor to grab riches, stumbling over shoulders to secure private solace, far too little achieving of better solvency! Folks get worried, launch Armageddon in degrees of organic tomatoes or penthouse annuities;  just silly when we should be declaring our communities are being transformed, one and then another, another, another, until we look over entire regions, i.e. Sweden’s shift from oil, and say, “Oh, we’re safe again. Can we help you?” That’s exports we could use. F* exporting pork-barrel tear gas to the middle east.

We’re in a long era of dread captured by brigands. There’s the nub behind the rage, this rage in all continents, France a few months ago, Iceland whomped its banks already, every continent offers more to come, we haven’t seen merely Iran/Eqypt/Jordan/upcoming youth vs. entrenched ol’ guard, we haven’t seen what’s coming yet, folks are pissed, the globe is pissed, and history is showing this grand trend increasing every year.

A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

How Can Rage Not Increase? Until organizations stiffen to the tremendous change of installing working structure that feeds and pleases, we’re heading into history much more disruptive than any milestone.

It’s exciting. Because there’s only one answer: Better. Yes. But 40% of your brothers and sisters are sunk like rocks in superstition, finds the Gallup Poll. That’s a climate needs a change!  Who IS the quintessential ‘hard-working American’? It’s not The Teabagger saying they never need government. We need it now, good government to bridle pirates and restrain the takings, to steer awhile.

the great decoupling

Do the Egyptian?

prosperity, opportunity, justice, peace

First, the megatrend view:

This is a story of aging populations and their bureaucracies versus swelling youth populations.

China, Japan, Korea, the United States, Australia and most of Europe feature the largest populations of senior citizens in history. Moreover, their children’s generation, especially Gen X (born 1965 – 1980) is not sufficiently big enough to counterbalance their representation in government and business. The demographic counterbalance of youth exists, not in  industrialized countries, but in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Old versus young, 20th century versus 21st, Cold War versus Assymetrical War, Core versus Gap, North versus south.

All of these tensions are at play in the countries where all the young people of the planet reside.

What we’re watching is a massive malfunctioning of the global economy.

At the root of the problem: dumb growth.

Dumb growth is, in many ways, bogus — rather than reflecting enduring wealth creation, it largely reflects the transfer of wealth: from the poor to the rich, the young to the old, tomorrow to today, and human beings to corporate ‘people’.

Dumb growth is growth without prosperity. And it’s far from an Egyptian problem.