Note — Oct 25, 2020

No.147 Asides

  • 🎥 I haven’t watched this yet (1h34m) but considering the people involved (Ingrid LaFleur, Tim Maughan, Jorge Camacho, Liam Young, and Anab Jain), I’m confident in sharing it right away. Future as (Creative) Practice. “This panel gathers experts who imagine futures as part of their creative practice. With knowledge spanning social justice, architecture, experimental film, and science fiction, they’ll share insights on how preferable futures can be modeled and why narrative and world-building are effective forms of cultural critique.”
  • 📚 🌍 Free Download of Africanfuturism: An Anthology. “Stories by Nnedi Okorafor, TL Huchu, Dilman Dila, Rafeeat Aliyu, Tlotlo Tsamaase, Mame Bougouma Diene, Mazi Nwonwu, and Derek Lubangakene” Africanfuturism is a term coined by Nigerian sci-fi/fantasy author Nnedi Okorafor to describe science fiction that is rooted in the African world. Other African writers have since embraced the term as a way of identifying what makes their work distinct from Afrofuturism.”
  • 🏢 🏡 This online event should be interesting. Higher Ground “Through a virtual event format, we will explore and analyze climate adaptation, resilience, and politically off-the-table until recently, managed retreat away from coastlines, floodplains, and other high-risk areas. Convening public officials, policymakers, engineers, planners, real estate professionals, patient capital, and climate migrants, we will discuss how cities are leading the way and planning for a future inland.”
  • Room-temperature superconductivity has been achieved for the first time. “The exact details of why this compound works are not fully understood—the researchers aren’t even sure exactly what compound they made. But they are developing new tools to figure out what it is and are optimistic that once they are able to do so, they will be able to tweak the composition so that the compound might remain superconducting even at lower pressures.”
  • 🇮🇷 Short 🤩 🧵 These are the salt glaciers of Iran. Million of years ago, the Persian Gulf was a much larger body of water, as the water evaporated / retreated, vast quantities of salt remained. Over the years, thousands of feet of mountain sediment washed down in rain, compacting it.
  • 📚 (Published in full on Medium.) ‘Bloodchild,’ a Short Story by Octavia E. Butler “This peerless short story by visionary fiction writer Octavia Butler examines the legacy — and future — of colonization and human bondage”

Cohesion is not conspiration

From a thread I sent as I was writing this issue: When someone writes about capitalism, or tech, or gamification, or anything else, and makes it sound like there’s a grand scheme by dozens of companies or governments over decades, where each of their other arguments are good but they make it sound like the arc has intent instead of being a sequence of decisions that yes, build on each other, but have no malicious or coordinated intent.

Is there a name, a “law” to pin that to? I see it in a number of otherwise excellent articles and, to my mind, it just weakens the point they are making.

In other words, lining up solid facts but walking a line uncomfortably close to jumping into conspiracy theories. It’s usually not CAPITALISM DID IT but more “in a capitalist system, capitalists will capitalise.”

Not a conspiracy but another kind of example of what I have in mind: “What Technology Wants,” as if it’s a cohesive force that decides things. It’s decision upon decision by people following the same “religion.” There is cohesion but no collective, agreed upon intent.