Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Future visioning for San Diego: some local examples -- know of any others?

We got to re-introducing ourselves on the sdishmael list, and Chet Fagin shared the following.

"future" (photo: carf)

[. . .] I live in San Diego with my wife and 2 year old daughter.
I joined the list mainly because I am concerned about where humanity is headed and about its long term survival. I wrote a piece earlier this year (inspired by Ishmael of course) called "Four Generations" which theorizes where we'll be 4 generations from now. I've referred to it as a "thinly veiled manifesto wrapped in a science fiction story". I consider it a work in progress so I'll be starting a blog soon to continue the conversation.
Meanwhile, if you're interested to read, you can download it here. I certainly welcome your feedback.

- Chet

My response (which began a short email and led to this post!):

Thank you for sharing this!

"The more you do, the more your mind will shift, and the more you’ll discover."

That is a beautiful view. I've been following a general feeling of beauty / aesthetic sense / sense of what is right (sort of summed up by "carfreeness") where it leads me for many years now, and my mind shift continues to take me more interesting places.

I don't want to get wrapped up in commenting on your presentation--

I think it is more important to encourage everyone who can take it on to practice the kind of long visioning you model here (following the lead of The Long Now Foundation & Stephen Covey's 8th habit).

"Some things don't change at all" was my last attempt at the theme.

The breadth of your manifesto reminded me of Arth's The Labors of Hercules: Modern Solutions to 12 Herculean Problems.

It is also nice for us to celebrate ourselves as local authors, enlivening and visioning our local future, instead of, say, always looking to the Bay Area, Cascadia, etc.

A local example of a well-published author practicing future visioning is Vernor Vinge's SD County-set Rainbows End, the entire text of which is online. (What a sentence! but I don't want to spend all night revising). I found his vision both life-changing--in how it affected my view of personal use of technology--and, regarding future transit and industry, conservative.

Hmm. And my two cents on your presentation (only since you wrote, "I certainly welcome your feedback."):
  1. You give us an odd, unexplainable scenario right off the bat (a good device for encouraging us to read on), but, as far as I can tell in my quick read, it is never resolved or elaborated on!
  2. Maybe differentiate the voices more--perhaps with more description interspersed with the dialog, since, for me, sometimes the voices ran together.
So, do any of you have more local future visioning projects to share? Literary, visual, or otherwise?

And, Larry, I love that you're helping keep this blog alive, and that you're finding pictures for your posts! So I scrounged up a photo for this post too.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wild Salad Bowl

Saw this article on Grist, about using weeds and invasive species for food. Wondering if the same thing could work for our local California wild mustard?

Anyone have any good recipes?
Photo by Lars Jensen, who also has stunning photos of other San Diego locations, including Anza-Borrego.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Speak Out for Real Renewable Energy

Interested in getting real renewable and clean energy alternatives for San Diego? Then hie ye to Borrego Springs on Monday, to tell the California Public Utilities Commission to reject the Sunrise Powerlink boondoggle and to pursue instead the alternatives recommended in the San Diego Smart Energy 2020 report. Two separate hearings start at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

One activist is running 50 miles to the meeting. Another is hiking from the mountains to the desert and then hitch-hiking the last few miles. However you get there, we hope to see you.

Full details are on the Desert Protective Council's Sunrise Powerlink page, or check the running commentary at

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

BarCamp San Diego 3; The evolving network and whole-system health

Saturday Sunday

I had been thinking I needed to write a post-mortem for this blog--this site was intended to demo technology, and it has. I've moved on from obsessively hacking at it however. Recently I've just been posting at Colin's Forest Blog.

Well, Bar Camp this past weekend pushed me to post here again. Let me list the reasons:
  • Bar Camp is intensely collaborative (a main intent of this--the SDTJDPH--web space).
  • I met Jed Sundwall(T)--who's put up a google map of places to find & eat local food. I've added this map to our map channels. Jed helped get Jay Porter of the Linkery to show up at Bar Camp -- a main reason I decided to head out there for the weekend. Jed also has helped make a documentary on cilantro. And he gardens.
  • I met Rachel -- who informed me about a group of San Diegans who, from what she told me, are quite serious in helping there be affordable, sustainable, land trust housing for community-minded San Diegans.
  • I met Robin--a proclaimed non-techhie interested in social justice activism.
  • The empowerthyself crew was there--from Santa Barbara, LA, and some other CA town.
  • But our local indymedia/ hacklab wasn't really there--except through Rachel!
  • Eric Bidwell(T) was there--updating us on his mayoral campaign.
  • Ian Miller--another SDFNL participant (more active than I am) and California Rare Fruit Growers participant & gardener was there.
  • There was interest in many of the sessions I posted to the board:
    • Barcamp in the forest - well attended, appreciated
    • Net philosophy / visioning / Sci-fi / Transhumanism -- Where do networked identities lead? What examples do you have already? Participants shared their past awareness-changing experiences with the net + future visions; well attended, appreciated.
    • Morning Exercises - Integral Transformative Practice Kata: easy yoga, tai chi, qi gung at 8am brought out Jay, who did some qi gung while I followed my routine, as we looked out over the bit of canyon.
    • There was a lot of interest in Carfree cities / Carfree living, but I wasn't sure how to best manage this and I tend to get a little crazy / emotionally involved. . .
    • Meditation (Walking & Sitting) + what is it about? Peace? Creation vs. Reproduction? didn't get any takers. Nor did the Plant Walk. But it was nice to get out of the office­ building and do some sitting and relaxing.
    • Permaculture: what is it? (hacking the landscape?) didn't draw a soul--though many of the first-day attendees mentioned interest in this, and both Jay and Jed wanted to look more into this concept. To be fair, I hardly touched a computer the whole weekend, so my presentations were nothing special, except where they benefited from a good round-robin type sharing--when I managed to set it up well with some good questions. No slideshows, photos, or video here. I was too busy enjoying being with people to want to look at a screen.
  • Presentations I was able to get to and enjoyed:
    • Jay Porter on the Pre-industral / slow-food vision behind the Linkery and what they've accomplished so far.
    • Jeff's (Jeffrey Johnson of Pictearth) presentation on unmanned aerial vehicles + imaging.
    • David Horn (and at raconteuring, [T] ) on location based services. LBSs use info about one's location, often through GPS, cell phone tower location, or manual entry. Some sites mentioned:
    • Hacking the mind (I forgot who did this--but it had a good audience & good things came up)
    • Andy Mesa - (T) on the iPhone
      • iLiberty, iNdependence, iPownage -- all utilities for jailbreaking (allowing third-party apps) and unlocking (allow use with other mobile providers)
      • He uses a prepaid plan with TMobile--$20 for unlimited data $20 for 1000 min / month (is this accurate?) + tmobile hotspot wifi access
      • Phring (use iphone as phone over ip)
      • A carfree discussion enthusiast-- and had many great stories to share on Portland
      • He informed me that SD is on google transit. . . I guess it has been for a while. But it doesn't integrate with North County Transit.
    • Richard Hilton on Lucid Dreaming
    • Nikolaj Baer on python and pygame . . . & pyglet.
      • He showed a quick demo where tilting his laptop would roll a circle (ball) around his screen and bounce against the sides of an n-gon. Different segments of the polygon made different tones when hit. Very simple code attaching into 2-d physics libraries (pymonk?), plus the alsa/timidity synth, cat-ing the tilt sensor device (had to add kernel module for that).
      • He rode his bike the first day from PB. A long ride. Once upon a time he was a major gear(bike)head.
  • People I met:
[Well that's about 6 hours of Internetting. What's left to explore?]

I'm in the dark about many things at this event. Twitter in particular. . . Here's the
#Nom = food (not sure why. Natural Organic Matter??)

[I'm hoplessly lost in netland--back to now taking a look at some other people who I noticed and only now have their names/online ids:]
[Alright. The Internetting is petering out. . . I'm up to 12 hours at this point. Nearly. . .
The free connection failed. . . as a result I got out and got some exercise, and was compelled to walk to campus this morning. So now this is the second day of fiddling with this post. What's left?]

A lot more can be said. The contrasts between this gathering and the Feral Visions Against Civilization 2007 in location and feel. . . I could address that.

I camped in the canyon. . . the scrap of canyon left.

Here's the bird's eye view of the location. University City--very Le Corbusian. I thought the bird's eye view would bring it out, but street view may be better. Looking south toward the building:
Every office monolith surrounded by an asphalt sea or harboring a parking tower. A new monolith and tower combo was nearly completed in the adjacent lot. The garage lights are on all night.

Overall, what was going on at barcamp?

Here's one vague way to look at it: The physical and social technologies there are developing the wiring and self-organization of a global organism. And there should be some new, emergent qualities of this network of consciousness/spirit/interest/motivation.

Notable is the intrinsic motivation apparent in this type of gathering.

Participants are not paid to be there. It is an economy based on curiosity, interest, and ability to inspire rather than potential for $$ profit or fear of some force.

Twitter in particular and the sessions organized around it show how this group is figuring out the wiring, flow, and organization of the sending of signals throughout this networked entity.

Some were attempting to address the overwhelming amount of tweets and other content coming in.

Others are exercising the location-sensing capability of mobile devices--and considering what this makes possible.

The iceberg of data-flows below the surface of an in-person encounter: I become aware of someone's presence. Looking into the twittering of the conference--or just the list of registrants--I find connections to data flows and can explore more contact.

I notice the compelling connection with the networked entity--as, for example, in the sending and receiving of tweets on a mobile device.

To click a link and see a recent short statement of another's focus of attention--that is easy to digest--is compelling.



Expanding awareness?

It is easy to follow what is closest to our current state and stretches us just a little? Creating the background familiarity enables deeper, more changing communication later on?

In considering who I might twitter-follow--Thich Nhat Hanh?--I found the mindfulness chimes of innertwitter. Ken Wilber has an account, but no tweets.

But twittering is participative?

There's no johnheron twitter account. . .

Barcamp seethes. They are creating.

An element of creation is withdrawal for reflection.

The balance between jumping in the flow of barcamp,

between compulsively exploring the new links/flows/personalities/patterns/concepts/realms,

and withdrawing to care for body and independent perspective.

The jumping of attention & immediate reaction & creation vs. single-pointed mind or expansive all-awareness.

I'm done exploring this

I'll let this go.

Bringing consciousness into matter

The Aurobindian view on what is occurring?

My challenge is

reconciling the somewhat body-destructive behavior of working with the computer/mobile devices all day with how compelling it can be to do so.

It may come down to seeking connection and not having healthier sources close at hand.

I can't ignore the barcampers--

Some of them handle the tech well, and are thriving & healthy.

I find the outdoor gatherings more healthful and nourishing. More body, life, ecosystem awareness there.

Both styles of community are converging. Green anarchists, permaculturists, & others use the tech the barcampers mature. Barcampers seek personal, social, and ecosystem health.


Garret Lisi's Science Hostel + Ongoing barcamp in the forest . . .

We may be challenged by a large amount of differentiation. We have lives & landscapes of dis-integration that we're learning to consciously re-integrate-- using & incorporating evolving capabilities.

As a result we have what can be overwhelming gatherings, bingeing, drinking from a fire hydrant.

I can learn to drink what I can handle as well as to integrate in moderation more of the elements I usually lack into an ongoing life.

I can spend more time in the state of no lack/great awareness/great care.