Wild Green Yonder
Thursday, June 13, 2002
There's another world beneath your feet...
This is one of the weirdest things I've read in a long time: the subterranean exploits of a group of Russian "researchers," who spend their time exploring the 12 layers of basements, sewers, subway tracks and fallout shelters that honeycomb the earth beneath the city of Moscow. You can't make this shit up.
'First, they explored the bomb shelters under Leningradsky Prospekt, then they came across an Academy of Oceanology warehouse. "Imagine walking along endless corridors," recalls Mikhailov, "something dripping from the ceiling, the uneven light of torches. And all of sudden you find yourself in a room full of tanks of formalin, containing various sea monsters."'
(from Bruce Sterling)
Creativity = Urban Vitality
Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, argues that cities, in order to prosper, must become the kind of hip, open, arts-filled and gay-friendly places that will attract creative professionals. This interview is a good summary.
I have some problems with his arguments - and find his attempts to quantify these characteristics even more laughable than most - but he is hitting on an essential aspect of contemporary urban growth. One thing, though, that I think he gives short shrift is the extent to which urban design itself facilitates these kinds of communities and interactions. Arts districts don't sprout in every kind of soil.
Still, worth a peek. (thanks, Alix!)
Tuesday, June 11, 2002
"The Withering Away of the Intellectual Property System..."
Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright is the most brilliant explanation of the Free Software movement and its implications I've ever read. Cory over on bOING bOING calls it required reading: I'd say he's right.
Recipe for a Lousy Blogger
Mix equal parts laziness and ADHD. Muddle well. Strain through two weeks of mayhem.
That's my way of apologizing for not updating more frequently these last weeks. It's been a wild time in NYC and Boston. Incredible interviews (with Jaron Lanier and JC Herz being the most intriguing). Great conversations (talking about GE foods with Christina over dinner on the rooftop of her building in the East Village, dinner with a bunch of friends from high school at Cara's place on the Upper East Side, cynical banter with Sarah at some random bar, playing chess and going over remodeling plans with Cheney at his house in Boston, discussing global activism with Mille and Zaid). Good parties. One failed attempt at a date. One great kiss. Walking the Freedom Trail and getting all tingly when I realized, suddenly and viscerally, that the American Revolution was the real thing, complete with secret cells and radical presses and terrorist attacks and armed revolt. Pitching myself to an agent, and feeling full of brilliance and confidence. Having lunch with an editor from the New York Times Magazine, and feeling suddenly very inconsequential and far from home. Writing sometimes, and sometimes just looking at the 11 notebooks I've filled with notes, transcripts and random blather and wondering how in the world I'm going to make a book out of all this.
I'm headed next for Detroit, then Chicago and the Twin Cities. I'll be back in Seattle the last weekend in June. I'll try to post more between now and then.
Monday, June 03, 2002
In case your slight feeling of paranoia about the power and influence of the corporate elite has worn dull, check out They Rule. Remember, as Burroughs said, a paranoid is a man with the facts.
(from Bruce Sterling)
This piece is a stunning little data-point: the child of a dead father, conceived in-vitro, after he died, is denied Social Security benefits. Technological policy-lag has made this little girl an unperson.
(boing boing/ seattle times)
Saturday, June 01, 2002
Made it to Boston, driving through an awe-making summer rainstorm: the sky was a ruddy gray, the rain came is sheets, the lightning and thunder were close together... warm as humid as the bathroom after a shower, and the feeling of electricity making the little hairs on my arms tingle.
On a completely different note, this Paul Krugman column, Heart of Cheapness, is well worth reading. Does anyone actually think this sort of callousness and the events of September 11th are unrelated? Or that we can pull through as a planet with these sorts of priorities?