This week, we had each other. We had The March. And we had Fiona Apple. We don’t want your tiny hands anywhere near our underpants.
Of all things this week, it seems esoteric to be worrying about food security and the scalability of organic farming practices. But the biggest fights remain ahead of us. As farmer Chris Newman argues at NewCo Shift (an occasionally interesting Medium magazine in the social enterprise/entrepreneurship space), the long-term answers are more complex than simple economics or homespun wisdom.
There are a lot of problems to address when it comes to sustainability. But the difference between proposing solutions and implementing them is the difference between campaigning and governing. It’s easy to demand reductions in population growth, global adoption of vegetarian diets, or the proliferation of permaculture farms if, after so doing, you just drop the mic and excuse yourself from the hard part: designing a solution to make it happen and mitigate — or absorb — the consequences. In designing and implementing our ideas, there’s a real chance that we’ll be wrong, or look foolish, or otherwise open ourselves up to ridicule, derision, or accusations of “selling out” if we have the unmitigated gall to alter course on the basis of evidence. But, with the lives of every human being on Earth at stake, there’s little time for vanity; I’m looking forward to looking very, very stupid for at long as I’m lucky enough to be alive.
Obama’s “nudge” team—properly known as the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team—was perhaps the most unorthodox arm of the administration. The team was built by 26-year-old Maya Shankar and does really important stuff. For instance, they renamed plain old broccoli to “Power Punch Broccoli” in school cafeterias and consumption soared. Now they’re working on water contamination in Flint.
Right now, our privacy is not something we can be lax about. The Guardian’s flimsy recent reporting on a supposed “backdoor” in WhatsApp’s encrypted messaging highlights the dangers of even well-meaning lay journalists wading into a complex field and becoming seduced by sensationalism. This co-ordinated response by basically the entire security community is clear and brutal, painting the reporting as similar to the kinds of naively-published early bullshit that continue to enable the anti-vaxxer community.
Meanwhile, the faraway Randians remain active. The seasteaders are fleecing Pacific islands now, hoping for them to give up their sovereignty in exchange vague promises. They should come home though, New Prez will surely build them a nice marina on the Potomac.
The Times, at war with Mr President though it may be, is coming to terms with the kind of business it’s in now. Hint, Times – you’re in the fascism-fighting business now.
Obama’s instinct is that “everybody hates media right now… that has to be an opportunity.” Trump’s press secretary tends to agree, using that opportunity to provide the media some direction on “what you guys should be writing and covering.” Buzzfeed is responding with a more bottom-up approach, appealing to the public to help flesh out their TrumpWorld map.
We posted about the tragic passing of Mark Fisher last week. We’re going to do so again, via these two intimate obits from his peers Simon Reynolds and Owen Hatherley. If you haven’t read his writing, do.
From the geniuses who brought you The Neu Jorker, here’s Paul Ryan: The Magazine.
Oh this? This is just your everyday, average, run-of-the-mill audiovisual representation of the varieties of emergence.
☝️ Stay brave out there y’all. Tell your friends about all this. ☝️