Glad to say, number 10 (Italian) is on the way, but in a later batch. Same for Swedish
This 15 minute video shows how an ocean farmer grows mussels, scallops and kelp in an eco way that is beneficial to the climate. Super inspiring story.
Each language version is a now separate topic under the main page, because I could not yet figure out how to create sub-topics under a main topic. More versions are coming!
Edit: Now the newest language in the Polyglot Pot of Libro Werde is: Bicol!
Incredible work! I am impressed, and humbled @iouxo. Tell you what, can we send you some Sci-Fi Econ Lab stickers and gadgets as a token of our appreciation? Send me a DM with your address?
Hi & thank you for the offer, but how about some shiny digital Sci-Fi Econ Lab banners and links & tiny stories to be shared, instead of physical ones? In the meanwhile, here’s a Bicol translation: Libro Werde, in Bicol language
USA Bullshit Update, or, how surreal is are things going to get?
In case you think this is an isolated view from today’s GOP, there’s this:
These media people are taken seriously by a lot of Americans. The crazy fringe is so large now that it isn’t really a fringe anymore.
Worthwhile analysis of the current state of crypto tech by Tim O’Reilly.
I was having a chat with an intelligent person, about being sick during a pandemic, all the tests the we need to endure, despite being vaccinated, the patience we must muster on the face of vaccine apartheid, which is why we are still knee-deep in shit, and so on…
Or at least, that’s what I thought the direction of the conversation should have been. Instead, halfway through expressing any of the above, what I got was a combination of “enough, they already broke our balls” (they …who?! …I couldn’t help but thinking…) and “but I’m fine, this is just a cold” (vaccinated person, but still… have you heard of the latest variants?!), and the cherry on top: “85% of vaccinated people (in Italy) and still you blame the remaining unvaccinated population?!”. …maybe the meaning of the term “pandemic” is not that clear to you after all?!
…to be fair it isn’t clear to the companies holding vaccines’ IP either, nor the world leaders, so…
We are so fucked.
I recommend Paul Kingsnorth’s three essays on the Vaccine Moment. These conversations are happening all over, and they tell us a lot about where we are and where we are going.
This is narrative fracture at work, and in the last month or so it feels like it has been happening faster: we have seen the outsider Antithesis apparently gaining ground and the establishment Thesis bleeding support. This is probably due both to the increasingly obvious shakiness of much of the Thesis - especially the failure of the vaccination programme to end the pandemic - and to the radically coercive measures being pursued by its advocates. Vaccine mandates, ‘green passes’, mass sackings, lockdowns of the ‘unvaxxed’, covid detention camps, and a sinister scapegoating campaign: all of these are entirely unprecedented, and are being pursued with little or no transparency, debate or consent. This seems to be sowing doubt in the minds of more and more people who were previously prepared to accept the Thesis.
Paul is not very scientific, and he often gets his facts wrong and doesn’t grasp immunology very well. Nevertheless, I think he is largely right in his analysis of why this fracture is happening. He also, elegantly, outlines a very compelling version of the arguments of your interlocutor. In my opinion, a version of those opinions can certainly be held by an intelligent person.
A comment before I have a chance to properly read the essays to you sent:
I also think it’s rational to be frustrated, disappointed, and generally upset, at how this pandemic is being managed.
But in my opinion, unless this anger is directed at the root cause of the issues, it’s just like we are blowing hot smoke into each other’s eyes: irritating, aggravating, and generally pointless.
The problem, I believe, is that we still think that whatever happens to poor people elsewhere doesn’t matter to us, the reality is that unless we are (were? Is it too late now anyway?) all swiftly vaccinated (85% of global population would be a more interesting result, I’m unsure of what would be the actual needed target though) we are not going to get the virus under control, mutations will still happens, and everybody would keep suffering more, and more, and more.
So I’d like to see more people in the streets fighting for patent waivers, denouncing corporate greed and profiteering over common health, global justice, and all of that because of self interest really. Alas, we have people that are tired of wearing masks and want to use dewormers and vitamin c to cure a deadly disease. Blowing hot smoke into each other’s eyes. Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know, but the intuition feels more solid to me.
Global problems need global solutions. But I’ve heard this elsewhere (hello climate!) and I’m afraid it’s a statement that tends to be ignored…
I agree with this.
But here’s where I think you’re jumping to conclusions. I don’t think this is necessarily true.
Rather, I think it’s like this: Even if we are all swiftly vaccinated we will not get the virus under control. We can’t control it. At best we can slow it down, we can keep people from getting as sick as they would otherwise be when they inevitably get the damn thing. We should, and we have. But as the last few weeks have shown: A highly contagious but often mild virus will always eventually circumvent vaccines through mutation. And people are right to ask themselves - how long are we going to keep acting as if we could completely eradicate this thing?
I think we’re wise to put out the fires as they arise (with vaccines, medications and some well thought through public health measures), but we are really just waiting for the virus to run its course and become yet another endemic coronavirus (like the four others that already have been for at least a few hundred years). Evolutionary pressure on the virus will mean that the most successful version of this thing will be the variant that spreads as fast as possible with minimal damage to the host. Once a variant arises that has a low enough mortality rate (perhaps one similar to influenza), we will all have to say “alright, we will have to live with this” and then go on to offer seasonal vaccines to the sick and vulnerable. There is some growing evidence that Omicron might be a step towards that. Let’s see.
Finally, another great quote from Paul Kingsnorth on control.
I feel some strange glimmer of hope. Control: this is the story that the Machine tells about itself, and it is the story that we would all, at some level, like to be true. But control systems never last. The world is beyond both our understanding and our control, and so, in the end, are people. We barely understand ourselves. Perhaps Klaus Schwab’s desire to ‘improve the world’ is real and felt: but he will still never be able to grip it tightly enough to bend it to his will. Who can?
The world is not a mechanism: it is a mystery, one that we participate in daily. When we try to redesign it like a global CEO, or explain it like an essayist, we are going to fail: weakly or gloriously, but fail we shall. The Machine, the technium, the metaverse: whatever we name our 21st century Babel, and however overwhelming it seems to us in the moment, it can never conquer in the end, because it is a manifestation of human will and not the will of God. If you don’t believe in the will of God, call it the law of nature instead: either way, it speaks the same thing to us. It says, gently or firmly: you are not in charge.
Only came across Kingsnorth recently, honestly felt several magnitudes saner after.
I’m in the camp of being far less concerned about the disease - omicron seems sufficiently mild in clinical outcomes that the evolutionary direction is playing out - more concerned on the direction of societal travel playing out from the disease.
The whole thing that fecks me off is the de facto ‘vaccine-only’ strategy. Not a fan of singular solutions to complex problems to begin with. If I’m super-charitable I view it as neoliberalism cannot understand public health, only individual treatments.
A whole range of basic public health principles have been thrown to the wind for a quite frankly oversold in efficacy magic bullet hightech solution. The opportunity cost versus multiple cheap interventions is absolutely nuts.
My 2c is its pharma taking a rentier position, more than anything based on good public health practice. This is then exacerbated by the public health damage done by the lockdowns themselves.
The Rhetoric of ‘but the hospitals will collapse’ while not adding any real additional public health capacity just doesn’t scan for me.
Anyway here’s my current ‘feck it, what can I do about it’ concept proposal:
I’ve a lot of sympathy for the approach outlined above - I’d basically consider it necessary but not sufficient. There are many strands, and fraying any thread is helpful.
However, I’m not exactly a card-carrying rationalist - my main intellectual imprint is psycho analytic, or worse…
Theories do not die from argumentation, but from the die-off of their proponents, unfortunately. I forget the reference, probably Kuhn? But the ‘refute specific point’ tends towards ‘additional bulwark position’ in the rhetorical cascadia.
Tldr I don’t think rationality or logos are Where We Are At. On a micro level I’m too lost to a peripheral artistic and cultural vibe for that personally haha - and the main Vibes atm in a more macro sense seem to be a: fear b: anger.
So any ‘cogito ergo’ I’d unfortunately view as waaaay downstream from Damasios Error or whatever.
So, pathos, maybe?
To return rational, my issues on a public health basis are everything so downstream, so reactive - generals eternally fighting the last War, majors become colonels, just ‘juke the stats’. Its equivalent to chlorine-washing industrial chicken, rather than not letting animals get sick
So I don’t think you deal with the problem within its own Narrative - my personal Feels is disambiguation and ‘going wide’ has better adjacent futures.
There are a number of X-risks make C19 look like a sneeze, even if I stay strictly within immunological risk?
I mean, Albertos Monastery has a probable method for Plague - you close the doors to the Abbey, good chance you can wait it out. The Assembly probably is fairly resilient - lots of outdoor activities, less cluster risk from decentralization to begin with.
Hygge idk, sounds vulnerable to me.
He disappeared for quite some time. Then he re-emerged with this essay about six months ago:
Oh, indeed. In fact, this reminds me that in April 2020 we held a small online event we called a “Community listening post”, where we discussed the role of the Internet in pandemic life. One of the results was:
Kingsnorth’s position can be wrong (as can my own!), but it sure is reasonable. If anything, I marvel at the docility with which I myself grumblingly accepted to have to show my ID to go to a restaurant, or a gym.
Hm, this video apparently got removed because it ‘violates community guidelines’… Just how controversial was it?
I have no idea about this video in particular, I didn’t watch it. However, basically anything that doesn’t tow the party line of the American CDC can get taken down. One example was this video which got taken down for the same reasons - violating community guidelines.
This is very problematic, since the expert government agencies of other countries reach other conclusions, which are determined by the US social media companies to be “fake news”.
Centralization is so last century
Cool read, Thom! Good to hear from you, and I wish that were the case…
I also like your framing: ‘what can I do about it’… I think it’s the only way to stay sane, even if most of us can’t really do much but find some cocoons.
Pretty sure the overall levels of learned helplessness - taught helplessness(?) - have gone up markedly lately.
I guess I’m reminded a lot of one of the earliest ‘conspiracy theories’ I came across in the mid 90s, that the purpose of said is to spread a feeling of powerlessness in the population.
Notwithstanding any talk of reality, this still hits me now and then.