Buckminster Fuller and his domed city design, image by Steve Yelvington (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Sentiers No.18

Talk loudly, cities, history, the firm, geekery, drones and dolphins

Hello again, I hope you had a good holiday break.

I’ve managed to get back into the habit of checking RSS again (!!) and I’m hoping to re-reduce my Twitter reading so if you think this week there are too many links to Twitter threads, you’re right and it’s possibly the last time that happens.

By the way, if you are in Montréal, I host a small coffee gathering once a month called Les ponts, you can sign up to be notified.


Start With This
This year, talk about the future you want.

If I had one piece of 2018 advice for literally everyone, it would be to talk, loudly and frequently and in detail, about the future you want. You can’t manifest what you don’t share.

Which was in reply to a thread that included this:

We need to keep talking about the future we want, the one where we turn back global warming, where we decarbonize the world, where we make sure every human has good food, clean air and water, and a warm home. Everyone. Yes, even that guy.


Cities
Self-Contained Cities: Hyperdense Arcologies of Urban Fantasy & Utopian Fiction
An overview of self-contained cities by way of Archigram, Fuller, Stephenson, Doctor Who, Fermont, Le Corbusier and Dredd.
Also on 99% Invisible: Must-Read Megacities of Science Fiction & Fantasy.

Why Cities Fail
Venkatesh Rao proposes a way of explaining city success and failure by looking at ‘ambition fit’ and ‘idea fit.’ (Plus lots of other insights on cities.)

A city is not a place, but a social brain. A collective intelligence. A city is great when it has found a unique way of looking out on the rest of the world, and at its own past and future.

Embracing the Paradox of Planning for Informality
Some great notes on the urban qualities of Villa 31 in Buenos Aires, a slum / neighbourhood the city wants to invest in.

It can’t be said enough that it’s essential to not romanticize conditions that emerged out of scarcity and need. However, it is also necessary to elevate the values and strengths of the community so to retain them in the redeveloped neighborhood and apply their lessons to other development projects.


History 🇭🇹🇨🇳
In the ‘events in history that we don’t read enough about’ department;
How Haiti became poor.

Racists have needed Haiti to be poor since it was founded. They pushed for its poverty. They have celebrated its poverty. They have tried to profit from its poverty. They wanted it to be a shithole. And they still do.

History of the word “tea”: How the word “tea” spread over land and sea
Tea and chai both mean the same thing. The former is used in countries where tea travelled by water and the latter in countries where it traveled by land, because the distribution started from different parts of China using different varieties of Chinese.


Organizations
From back in 2014, Matt Webb in Filtered for the future of the firm collects a few ideas around firms. We hear quite a bit of talk around the end (or reduced usefulness) of nation states in some way but not so much about the end (or outdated form) of something that’s also very old; the corporation. Some tantalizing ideas in there.

I’d say: Make a little bottle-city company that embodies all of this. Consumer-owners, internal currencies for resource allocation, corporate governance as executable code, doing an actual interesting tractable not-too-ambitious thing. Half co-op, half lifestyle business, half startup. Show what happens when we use capital, instead of capital using us. Do it simply and elegantly. Make a little nest of these companies.

Lessons from Finland: building a co-operative economy
I had no idea there were so many coops in Finland, lots of interesting bits in this short article.

[T]here are more member-owners of co-operative enterprises in Finland than there are people. The average adult is a member of two co-operatives; those in a rural setting, such as farmers, are likely to be a member of four.


Geekery
A crazy amount of work and awesomeness went into this collection of visualizations of 2569 Choose Your Own Adventure books. 📚🔥😍❤

++ “Am I the only one intrigued by the centrality of archives in recent science fiction movies? (Rogue One, Blade Runner 2049…)”

++ “Black Panther” Isn’t Even Out Yet, But It’s Setting Records. Great news and from what we can tell by the trailers, well deserved.


The Churn
You might have heard about “Meltdown” and “Spectre”: Every modern processor has unfixable security flaws? Be sure to also check out Zeynep Tufekci’s and Ben Thompson’s views.

++ In the reality catches up to fiction department, Russia says mysterious armed drones are attacking its military bases in Syria – and they don’t know who’s sending them. Jon Evans wrote about something like this in 2012’s Swarm (Which I quite enjoyed).


Twitter
The Tigers Come at Night is a short fable spun around a good idea to lessen the influence of bots on Twitter.

Mike Monteiro is at it again, writing Jack Dorsey’s Resignation Letter to Twitter.


Milieu
Why dolphins are deep thinkers. Dolphins, whales, octopi. There’s some unheralded smarts in the seas. 🐙🐬🐳🐋

++ Roberto Greco has a fantastic multi month thread called entangled with hundreds of quirky animal links.

++ New Zealand gives Mount Taranaki same legal rights as a person (the third geographic feature in the country to be granted those rights) and also creates special refugee visa for Pacific islanders affected by climate change, Australia/NZ News & Top Stories.


Unread (yet) but sure to be good


Learn more