Stewart Brand

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pages: 339 words: 57,031

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner

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1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

And as they rose to power, more than a few rightwing politicians and executives longed to share the hip credibility of people like Stewart Brand. This book, then, does not tell the story of a countercultural movement whose ideals and practices were appropriated by the forces of capital, technology, or the state. Rather, it demonstrates that the New Communalist wing of the counterculture embraced those forces early on and that in subsequent years, Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth network continued to provide the intellectual and practical contexts within which members of the two worlds could come together and legitimate one another’s projects. At the same time, however, this book is not a biography of Stewart Brand. Brand certainly deserves a biography, and one will no doubt be written in the years to come, but this book makes relatively little effort to understand Brand’s personal history except insofar as it illuminates his role in reshaping the politics of information.

And how is it that the communitarian ideals of the counterculture should have become melded to computers and computer networks in such a way that thirty years later, the Internet could appear to so many as an emblem of a youthful revolution reborn? For answers to these questions, we need to turn to the biography of Stewart Brand and the history of the Whole Earth network. CHAPTER 2 Stewart Brand Meets the Cybernetic Counterculture In the spring of 1957, at the height of the cold war, Stewart Brand was a nineteen-year-old freshman at Stanford University, and he was deeply worried. Even though Europe lay more than six thousand miles to the east, Brand had begun to write at length in his diary about his fear that the Soviet Union would soon attack the United States. If the Soviets invaded, he wrote, he could expect That my life would necessarily become small, a gear with its place on a certain axle of the Communist machine.

From Counterculture to Cyberculture From Counterculture to Cyberculture Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism Fred Turner The University of Chicago Press / Chicago and London Fred Turner is assistant professor of communication at Stanford University. He is the author of Echoes of Combat: The Vietnam War in American Memory. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637 The University of Chicago Press, Ltd., London © 2006 by Fred Turner All rights reserved. Published 2006 Printed in the United States of America 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 1 2 3 4 5 ISBN-13: 978-0-226-81741-5 (cloth) ISBN-10: 0-226-81741-5 (cloth) Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Turner, Fred. From counterculture to cyberculture : Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth network, and the rise of digital utopianism / Fred Turner. p. cm.

 

pages: 509 words: 132,327

Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid

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1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, connected car, domain-specific language, Douglas Engelbart, dumpster diving, Extropian, full employment, game design, global village, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, V2 rocket, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, Zimmermann PGP

Anthropologist and social theorist Gregory Bateson was part of the original cybernetic Macy conferences and later applied cybernetics on a higher level, articulating his theory in the 1972 cult book Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Barry Schwartz Photography. The first issue of Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog was published in 1968. It was meant to be a printed feedback loop for back-to-the-land communards, and it reviewed six books on cybernetics. Stewart Brand (left) and company play with the Earth Ball at the New Games, an event that Brand organized in California, October 1, 1973.© Ted Streshinsky/CORBIS. Stewart Brand holds a copy of the Whole Earth Catalog on July 6, 1984.That same year, he launched the Whole Earth ’Lectronic Link, or WELL, the first real computerized social network. © Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS. The US Air Force pioneered the concept of “virtual space” in the late 1970s.

Phillip Guddemi, “Gregory Bateson and Ross Ashby,” e-mail to the author, August 27, 2015. The reading list was published in the winter 1974 issue of Co-evolution Quarterly, p. 28. 54.Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, 323. 55.Ibid., 467. 56.Ibid., 468. 57.Ibid., 469. 58.Stewart Brand, Two Cybernetic Frontiers (New York: Random House, 1974), 9. 59.See ibid., 24–25, where the story is reprinted. 60.Ibid., 29. 61.Ibid., 7. 62.Ibid., 48. 63.Ibid., 39. 64.Ibid., 49. 65.Stewart Brand, “SPACEWAR: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death among the Computer Bums,” Rolling Stone, December 7, 1972, 58. 66.Brand, Two Cybernetic Frontiers, 78. 67.Stewart Brand, “We Owe It All to the Hippies,” Time 145, no. 12 (March 1, 1995): 54–56. 68.Ken Goffman, “Wake Up, It’s 1984!” High Frontiers 1 (1984): 3. 69.Ibid. 70.Terence McKenna, “Phychopharmacognosticon,” High Frontiers 4 (1988): 12. 71.Ibid., 11–12. 72.Quoted in Goffman, “Wake Up, It’s 1984!”

Pedipulator courtesy of miSci—Museum of Innovation and Science. Photo of Handyman courtesy of miSci—Museum of Innovation and Science. Photo of Hardiman courtesy of miSci—Museum of Innovation and Science. Photo of Gregory Bateson. Courtesy of Barry Schwartz Photography. Cover of the first issue of the Whole Earth Catalog. Courtesy of Stewart Brand. Photo of Stewart Brand playing with the Earth Ball at the New Games. © Ted Streshinsky/CORBIS. Photo of Stewart Brand holding an issue of Whole Earth Catalog. © Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS. Second Insert Photo of Staff Sergeant Vernon Wells with Visually Coupled Airborne Systems Simulator (VCASS) helmet. Department of Defense. Public domain. Computer-generated image projected inside the VCASS Helmet. Department of Defense. Public domain. Photo of Timothy Leary.

 

pages: 394 words: 108,215

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, El Camino Real, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

It was the Alto that finally brought Doug Engelbart’s 1968 demonstration to life, making it accessible beyond the boundaries of a computer laboratory. And yet the first true personal computer remained more or less locked away in Xerox’s secretive corporate laboratory throughout the 1970s. It had not quite become public when Stewart Brand’s seminal Rolling Stone article appeared in December 1972. In an Annie Leibovitz photo that accompanied the piece and captured the long-haired spirit and free-flowing culture of the lab in the Palo Alto foothills, John Shoch’s face was hidden, his nose buried in a notebook. Having managed to navigate the antiwar demonstrations at Stanford, Shoch had developed a good instinct for avoiding trouble. Stewart Brand had been hanging around the lab with the photographer, talking to people, and Shoch had a notion that trouble was exactly what his visits might lead to. This can’t be good, he thought, and ducked his head into his notebook just as Leibovitz snapped a shot of a PARC research group relaxing in a corporate office setting that appeared more like a college dorm room.

Michael Keller, Stanford’s head librarian, was kind enough to offer me a library fellowship and access to the university’s invaluable special-collection materials. Henry Lowood and Alex Pang, Stanford University archivists and historians, took time out of their schedules to answer my questions. Paula Terzian was a wonderful transcriber on a moment’s notice. Finally, Leslie Terzian Markoff was there for me when I needed her most. NOTES Preface 1.Stewart Brand, “We Owe It All to the Hippies,” Time, special issue, spring 1995. 2.Stewart Brand, “Spacewar: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death among the Computer Bums,” Rolling Stone, December 7, 1972. 3.The meaning of the term “hacker” changed beginning in the early 1990s, when it came to refer to teenagers who used modems to break into computers. Originally the term was used to describe a group of almost exclusively young men who were passionate in their obsession with computing and computers.

., p. 7. 5 | Dealing Lightning 1.The origin of the phrase “dealing lightning with both hands” is intriguing. It was first reported in Stewart Brand’s seminal Rolling Stone article about PARC and SAIL in 1972 and attributed to Alan Kay. However, Kay does not remember if he used the phrase first, while Chuck Thacker has a clear recollection of exclaiming, “He sat on stage for an hour and a half dealing lightning with both hands,” after watching a video of Engelbart in 1970 or 1971. Robert Taylor, director of the computer-science laboratory at PARC, also remembers Thacker using the phrase first. Thus it is ironic that Michael Hiltzik chose the phrase “Dealers of Lightning” as the title of his thorough history of Xerox PARC, when in fact the term was first used to describe Engelbart’s work. 2.“Whole Earth Visionary: Stewart Brand,” The Guardian (London), August 4, 2001, p. 6. 3.Sam Binkley, “Consuming Aquarius: Markets and the Moral Boundaries of the New Class, 1968–1980,” Ph.D. dissertation, New School University, 2002. 4.Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools, Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration (San Rafael, Calif.: Point Foundation, 1998), p. 2. 5.Stewart Brand, personal journals, Stanford University Special Collections, March 24, 1957. 6.Charles Irby, “The Augmented Knowledge Workshop,” in A History of Personal Workstations, ed.

 

pages: 171 words: 54,334

Barefoot Into Cyberspace: Adventures in Search of Techno-Utopia by Becky Hogge, Damien Morris, Christopher Scally

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Naomi Klein, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks

Are the positive, intended effects of hacker culture enough to outweigh the negative, unintended effects? Is Rop prepared, I wonder, for the next generation to look back on the hacker counterculture and see that it failed? “Oh sure.” says Rop, “Nobody’s perfect.” * * * Chapter 3: Information wants to be free “What’s wrong with the corporate world? I don’t get what’s wrong with consumerism and I don’t get what’s wrong with corporations per se.” Stewart Brand is sitting across from me in the small private living room of a central London hotel. At 72, he’s looking remarkably well, although the trip over here from his hometown of Sausalito, California – where he lives on a tugboat with his wife – has taken its toll on his voice. We’ve already had to reschedule this interview once – the publicist for his current book was worried he might overdo it, and his slot on Radio 4’s Start the Week was certainly gravelish.

But his eyes are bright, and his old world courtesy combines well with his check shirt, leather waistcoat and slacks. I’m feeling very comfortable sitting across from him on a cosy sofa, as a particularly violent bout of January weather rages in the city outside. Brand is a 1960s original. When Tom Wolfe first came across him as one of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, madly driving a souped-up pickup through the streets of San Francisco, he recorded the encounter thus: Stewart Brand, a thin blonde guy with a blazing disk on his forehead too, and a whole necktie made of Indian beads. No shirt, however, just an Indian bead necktie on bare skin and a white butcher’s coat with medals from the King of Sweden on it. Brand comes from a world I dreamed about in my teens, one I searched for through celluloid and print. A world where Steppenwolf growl “You know I smoked a lot of grass.

At it, the Grateful Dead and Big Brother & the Holding Company (a few months before they enlisted their iconic lead vocalist, Janis Joplin) play against fantastic light shows to “the heads”, who are “pouring in by the hundreds, bombed out of their gourds”. In the nights before the party, while planning the festival at Brand’s apartment in North Beach, Kesey racks up his second charge for marijuana possession, an inconvenience that would see him forced underground – paranoid and on the run – in the following months. But the party itself was a blast, and what’s more, it grossed over $12,000. He may have been a hippy, but Stewart Brand was good at making money. I’m not quite sure how I inspired the anti-anti-corporate rant Brand has just finished, but it serves to illustrate the time that stretches between his generation and mine. Whereas Brand’s generation had the military-industrial complex of the Cold War to haunt their nightmares, the politically conscious and privileged young hipsters of today are more likely to be found protesting Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Pharma.

 

pages: 422 words: 113,525

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

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agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, working-age population, Y2K

—Jon Turney, The Guardian (London) “This is a short course on how to change your mind intelligently. Stewart Brand is the master guru of following the early warning signals of first adopters and the rough edges of science wherever it might lead. In this book he reveals how this discipline has landed him at the very front of cultural change once again.” —Kevin Kelly, author of What Technology Wants “In the face of climate change, a founding father of the greens argues the movement must embrace whatever works—even if that happens to be nuclear power, mass urbanization, or genetic modification. . . . The environmental left needs to view the world afresh. Once it has done so, Brand writes, it is likely to see that many of its most cherished notions are inconsistent with reality.” —Mark Williams, Technology Review “It’s not what Stewart Brand says that is important (and there is quite a bit I disagree with in the book).

Brand’s discussion of genetic engineering of crops and food production is perhaps the best single exposition for the intelligent general reader why genetic engineering is needed for pragmatic solutions of important environmental challenges. . . . Fortunately Brand’s wonderful book will not be ignored because it makes its statements in a highly direct controversial fashion.” —David Tribe, Biofortified.org “I adored this book. Even the few parts I disagreed with. Stewart Brand’s mind is exhilaratingly clear, rational, and passionate. His pen is, too.” —Matt Ridley, author of Genome and Nature Via Nuture “On the first page of this landmark book, the lateral-thinking, San Francisco tugboat-based ecologist Stewart Brand sums up his philosophy in a single line: ‘We are as gods and HAVE to get good at it.’ It’s a staggeringly arrogant statement, guaranteed to offend everyone from religious fundamentalists to those at the mystical, misty-eyed end of the green spectrum, but after reading Whole Earth Discipline, you’ll find it difficult to disagree.”

Whole Earth Discipline contains every reason why they should: three hundred pages of data, anecdotes, and arguments that illustrate, in withering detail, the scale of ecological problems we face today, and the utter inability of faith-based environmentalism to fix them.” —Maywa Montenegro, Seed “Yet again, in a single book Stewart Brand provides us a clear catalog of everything important on Earth.” —Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us “In these pages, Stewart Brand lays out a mind-blowing vision for the planet’s salvation: migration to the cities, power generated by mini-nuclear reactors, healthier crops through genetic engineering. This may well be the most important book I’ll read this year. Certainly, it’s the most aggressively optimistic book that’s also closely reported.” —Jesse Kornbluth, Headbutler.com “An important book on the collision between humanity and earth’s limits—on the facts, the problems, the passions, the politics, and the realistic possibilities for better outcomes. . . .

 

pages: 194 words: 49,310

Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand

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Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

“Time & Bits: Managing Digital Continuity” was sponsored by the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Information Institute, and The Long Now Foundation. Participants were Peter Lyman, Howard Besser, Danny Hillis, Brewster Kahle, Jaron Lanier, Doug Carlston, Kevin Kelly, Brian Eno, Stewart Brand, Margaret MacLean, and Ben Davis. A book of the proceedings is available from The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049. 3 Just to try out the 10,000-year perspective, the remainder of this book employs the five-figure year dates proposed in the previous chapter. OTHER WORKS BY STEWART BRAND: Whole Earth Catalog Two Cybernetic Frontiers The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built

Published by Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group Copyright © 1999 by Stewart Brand All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, address Basic Books, 387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016. A CIP catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. eISBN : 978-0-786-72292-1 Table of Contents Title Page Copyright Page NOTIONAL CLOCK KAIROS AND CHRONOS MOORE’S WALL THE SINGULARITY RUSH THE LONG NOW THE ORDER OF CIVILIZATION OLD-TIME RELIGION CLOCK/LIBRARY BEN IS BIG THE WORLD’S SLOWEST COMPUTER BURNING LIBRARIES DEAD HAND ENDING THE DIGITAL DARK AGE 10,000-YEAR LIBRARY TRAGIC OPTIMISM FUTURISMO USES OF THE FUTURE USES OF THE PAST REFRAMING THE PROBLEMS SLOW SCIENCE THE LONG VIEW GENERATIONS SUSTAINED ENDEAVOR THE INFINITE GAME APPENDIX: ENGAGING CLOCK/LIBRARY AFTERWORD: JANUARY 02000 Notes Recommended Bibliography Acknowledgments Index Other Works by Stewart Brand NOTIONAL CLOCK Time and Responsibility.

eISBN : 978-0-786-72292-1 Table of Contents Title Page Copyright Page NOTIONAL CLOCK KAIROS AND CHRONOS MOORE’S WALL THE SINGULARITY RUSH THE LONG NOW THE ORDER OF CIVILIZATION OLD-TIME RELIGION CLOCK/LIBRARY BEN IS BIG THE WORLD’S SLOWEST COMPUTER BURNING LIBRARIES DEAD HAND ENDING THE DIGITAL DARK AGE 10,000-YEAR LIBRARY TRAGIC OPTIMISM FUTURISMO USES OF THE FUTURE USES OF THE PAST REFRAMING THE PROBLEMS SLOW SCIENCE THE LONG VIEW GENERATIONS SUSTAINED ENDEAVOR THE INFINITE GAME APPENDIX: ENGAGING CLOCK/LIBRARY AFTERWORD: JANUARY 02000 Notes Recommended Bibliography Acknowledgments Index Other Works by Stewart Brand NOTIONAL CLOCK Time and Responsibility. What a prime subject for vapid truisms and gaseous generalities adding up to the world’s most boring sermon. To spare us both, let me tie this discussion to a specific device, specific responsibility mechanisms, and specific problems and cases. The main problems might be stated, How do we make long-term thinking automatic and common instead of difficult and rare? How do we make the taking of long-term responsibility inevitable?

 

pages: 287 words: 86,919

Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway

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Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor

CAE’s “present enemy,” I have argued in part I of this book, is in fact distributed rather than centralized. Thus, it makes sense that any forces desiring to resist distributed power should themselves be adept at distributed strategies. I discuss this idea in what follows. 30. “The Victor Spoiled,” 2600 (Winter 1998–1999), p. 4, emphasis mine. 31. Stewart Brand, “SPACEWAR: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums,” Rolling Stone, December 7, 1972, p. 51. 32. Stewart Brand, The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT (New York: Viking, 1987), p. 264. Chapter 5 160 CAE proposes a “nomadic” (rather than sedentary) model for resistance. The nomadic model “seeks to undermine the symbolic order with more ephemeral, process-oriented methods,”33 it writes. Different nomadic cells, or tiger teams, would coalesce around a specific problem, allowing resistance “to originate from many different points.”34 Then the team would dissolve.

As an introduction to the emergence of autonomous life forms in the material realm, let me first consider the theory of life that is known as the “anti-entropic” position. The anti-entropic position states, simply, that life is precisely that force that resists entropy. Entropy is the physical principle derived from thermodynamics that states that, in any given system, things will tend to “fall apart” or tend toward disorder. Moreover, entropy means that 72. This might also be dubbed the “computers don’t know shit” ideology. See Stewart Brand, “SPACEWAR: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death among the Computer Bums,” Rolling Stone, December 7, 1972, p. 58. 73. Leopoldseder, “Forward,” p. 6. 74. Jonathan Crary and Sanford Kwinter, “Forward,” Incorporations (New York: Zone, 1992), p. 13. 75. Crary and Kwinter, “Forward,” p. 13. Power 103 information, defined as any nonrandom measurement or quality, has a tendency to be forgotten. This physical principle is seen throughout nature: When something falls apart, the information about its organization is in essence forgotten and chaotic arrangement sets in in the form of decay.

Computers can change your life for the better.12 Several of Levy’s points dovetail with my earlier conclusions about protocol. Like the hacker’s access to computers, protocol is unlimited and total. Like the hacker’s mistrust of authority, protocol also seeks to eliminate arbitrary 9. Steven Levy, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution (New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1984), p. ix. 10. This dictum is attributed to Stewart Brand, who wrote that “[o]n the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.” See Whole Earth Review, May 1985, p. 49. 11. Many hackers believe that commercial software products are less carefully crafted and therefore more prone to exploits.

 

pages: 222 words: 53,317

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman

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3D printing, algorithmic trading, Anton Chekhov, Apple II, Benoit Mandelbrot, citation needed, combinatorial explosion, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, HyperCard, Inbox Zero, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, mandelbrot fractal, Minecraft, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Parkinson's law, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, software studies, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Therac-25, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

., The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, anniversary ed. (Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995; orig. pub. 1975), 53. It seems that this quote is a Latin proverb, misattributed to Ovid. a process of accretion: This term is also used in Homer-Dixon, The Ingenuity Gap. “Typically, outdated legacy systems”: Stewart Brand, The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 85. only gingerly poke it: From an essay by Stewart Brand: “Beyond the evanescence of data formats and digital storage media lies a deeper problem. Computer systems of large scale are at the core of driving corporations, public institutions, and indeed whole sectors of the economy. Over time, these gargantuan systems become dauntingly complex and unknowable, as new features are added, old bugs are worked around with layers of ‘patches,’ generations of programmers add new programming tools and styles, and portions of the system are repurposed to take on novel functions.

Isaac Asimov is reputed to have noted: Howard Wainer and Shaun Lysen, “That’s Funny,” American Scientist 97, no. 4 (2009): 272, http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/thats-funny. one way that new drugs are created: Dan Hurley, “Why Are So Few Blockbuster Drugs Invented Today?” The New York Times Magazine, November 13, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/magazine/why-are-there-so-few-new-drugs-invented-today.html. This point about what we can learn from testing pharmaceuticals was made to me by Edward Jung. Stewart Brand noted about legacy systems: Stewart Brand, The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 85. a partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant: Peter G. Neumann, Computer-Related Risks (New York: ACM Press, 1995), 122. elaborates on the structure of the pantheon: Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon (New York: Avon Books, 1999; repr. 2002), 802–3. Corky Ramirez: Note that in the episode “The Van Buren Boys,” someone is referred to as “Ramirez” in a bar (though I believe his name is stressed differently than Kramer’s pronunciation of Corky Ramirez).

In the case of computers, technological systems often rely on machinery that is no longer manufactured and code written in programming languages that have long since been retired. Many pieces of scientific software exist as legacy tools, often written in Fortran, a powerful but archaic programming language. Given the speed with which technology moves, reading Fortran is almost the computational equivalent of being well-versed in Middle English. To quote the Whole Earth Catalog creator Stewart Brand in The Clock of the Long Now: “Typically, outdated legacy systems make themselves so essential over the years that no one can contemplate the prolonged trauma of replacing them, and they cannot be fixed completely because the problems are too complexly embedded and there is no one left who understands the whole system.” When we are left with a slowly growing, glitch-ridden legacy system, we can only gingerly poke it into doing our bidding, because those who designed it are long gone.

 

pages: 224 words: 91,918

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

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Bonfire of the Vanities, Buckminster Fuller, edge city, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, Menlo Park, Ronald Reagan, stakhanovite, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen

And, oh yeah, there's a long-barreled Colt .45 revolver in her hand, only nobody on the street can tell it's a cap pistol as she pegs away, kheeew, kheeew, at the erupting marshmallow faces like Debra Paget in ... in ... —Kesey's coming out of jail! Two more things they are looking at out there are a sign on the rear bumper reading "Custer Died for Your Sins" and, at the wheel, Lois's enamorado Stewart Brand, a thin blond guy with a blazing disk on his forehead too, and a whole necktie made of Indian beads. No shirt, however, just an Indian bead necktie on bare skin and a white butcher's coat with medals from the King of Sweden on it. Here comes a beautiful one, attaché case and all, the day-is-done resentful look and the ... shoes—how they shine!—and what the hell are these beatnik ninnies—and Lois plugs him in the old marshmallow and he goes streaming and bouncing down the hill...

Back in New York City, Black Maria, I tell you, I am even known as something of a dude. But somehow a blue silk blazer and a big tie with clowns on it and ... a ... pair of shiny lowcut black shoes don't set them all to doing the Varsity Rag in the head world in San Francisco. Lois picks off the marshmallows one by one; Cool Breeze ascends into the innards of his gnome's hat; Black Maria, a Scorpio herself, rummages through the Zodiac; Stewart Brand winds it through the streets; paillettes explode—and this is nothing special, just the usual, the usual in the head world of San Francisco, just a little routine messing up the minds of the citizenry en route, nothing more than psyche food for beautiful people, while giving some guy from New York a lift to the Warehouse to wait for the Chief, Ken Kesey, who is getting out of jail. ABOUT ALL I KNEW ABOUT KESEY AT THAT POINT WAS THAT HE was a highly regarded 31-year-old novelist and in a lot of trouble over drugs.

I soon found out that the head life in San Francisco was already such a big thing that Kesey's return and his acid graduation plan were causing the heads' first big political crisis. All eyes were on Kesey and his group, known as the Merry Pranksters. Thousands of kids were moving into San Francisco for a life based on LSD and the psychedelic thing. Thing was the major abstract word in Haight-Ashbury. It could mean anything, isms, life styles, habits, leanings, causes, sexual organs; thing and freak; freak referred to styles and obsessions, as in "Stewart Brand is an Indian freak" or "the zodiac—that's her freak," or just to heads in costume. It wasn't a negative word. Anyway, just a couple of weeks before, the heads had held their first big "be-in" in Golden Gate Park, at the foot of the hill leading up into Haight-Ashbury, in mock observance of the day LSD became illegal in California. This was a gathering of all the tribes, all the communal groups.

 

pages: 476 words: 132,042

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

New York: HarperCollins, p. 34. 83 slum at its peak in the 1880s: Robert Neuwirth. (2006) Shadow Cities. New York: Routledge. 83 “this serves all the purposes of the family”: Ibid., p. 177. 83 “bona fide legal title to their land”: Ibid., p. 198. 83 “half a dozen tents or shanties”: Ibid., p. 197. 84 “Cities are wealth creators”: Stewart Brand. (2009) Whole Earth Discipline. New York: Viking, p. 25. 84 “nearly 9 in 10 new patented innovations”: Ibid., p. 32. 84 “GNP growth occurs in cities”: Ibid., p. 31. 84 “in the city at least six years”: Mike Davis. (2006) Planet of Slums. London: Verso, p. 36. 85 but 94 percent of their kids were literate: Stewart Brand. (2009) Whole Earth Discipline. New York: Viking, pp. 42-43. 85 “Discomfort is an investment”: Ibid., p. 36. 85 “get education for her children”: Ibid., p. 26. 86 “more options for their future”: Donovan Webster. (2005) “Empty Quarter.”

The ragpickers and resellers and scavengers all live in the slums and scour the rest of the city for scraps to assemble into shelter and to feed their economy. Slums are the skin of the city, its permeable edge that can balloon as it grows. The city as a whole is a wonderful technological invention that concentrates the flow of energy and minds into computer chip-like density. In a relatively small footprint, a city not only provides living quarters and occupations in a minimum of space, but it also generates a maximum of ideas and inventions. Stewart Brand notes in the “City Planet” chapter of his book Whole Earth Discipline, “Cities are wealth creators; they have always been.” He quotes urban theorist Richard Florida, who claims that forty of the largest megacities in the world, home to 18 percent of the world’s population, “produce two-thirds of global economic output and nearly 9 in 10 new patented innovations.” A Canadian demographer calculated that “80 to 90 percent of GNP growth occurs in cities.”

As Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City (about Mumbai), says, “Why would anyone leave a brick house in the village with its two mango trees and its view of small hills in the East to come here?” Then he answers: “So that someday the eldest son can buy two rooms in Mira Road, at the northern edges of the city. And the younger one can move beyond that, to New Jersey. Discomfort is an investment.” Then Mehta continues: “For the young person in an Indian village, the call of Mumbai isn’t just about money. It’s also about freedom.” Stewart Brand recounts this summation of the magnetic pull of cities by activist Kavita Ramdas: “In the village, all there is for a woman is to obey her husband and relatives, pound millet, and sing. If she moves to town, she can get a job, start a business, and get education for her children.” The Bedouin of Arabia were once seemingly the freest people on Earth, roaming the great Empty Quarter at will, under a tent of stars and no one’s thumb.

 

pages: 520 words: 129,887

Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future by Robert Bryce

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Bernie Madoff, carbon footprint, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, flex fuel, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Indoor air pollution, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Menlo Park, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog

Title=Solar-plant-set-to-open-even-as-shadows-loom. 28 Energy Information Administration, “Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy Markets 2007,” April 2008, http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pdf/subsidy08.pdf, xvi. 29 Ibid. 30 Simon Lomax, “Nuclear Industry ‘Restart’ Means More Loan Guarantees, Chu Says,” Bloomberg, October 27, 2009, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601072&sid=aR1MVERYEgAs. 31 This is commonly called the Price-Anderson Act. For more, see Wikipedia, “Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price-Anderson_Nuclear_Industries_Indemnity_Act. 32 David Bradish, “Amory Lovins vs. Stewart Brand—Part Four,” NEI Nuclear Notes, November 16, 2009, http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.com/2009/11/amory-lovins-vs-stewart-brand-part-four.html#links. 33 Note that the total in this report includes petroleum liquids. The EIA’s official statistics on electricity generation show that in 2007, natural gas total generation was 896.5 billion kilowatt-hours. See Energy Information Administration, “Net Generation by Energy Source by Type of Producer,” http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epat1p1.html. 34 Recall that wind gets $23.37 per megawatt-hour, and gas gets $0.25.

Today, 90 percent of the horsepower we use (or, if you prefer, 9 out of every 10 watts) comes from the burning of oil, natural gas, and coal.3 And the key attribute of hydrocarbons is their reliability. Renewable energy is dandy, but it simply cannot provide the gargantuan quantities of always-available power that we demand at prices we can afford. The production of electricity from the wind and the sun will continue growing rapidly in the years ahead. But those sources are incurably intermittent. As Stewart Brand, the environmental activist and creator of the Whole Earth Catalog, put it during a lecture in mid-2009, “wind and solar can’t help because we don’t have a way to store that energy.”4 Given our inability to store the energy that comes from wind and solar, those sources will remain bit players in our overall energy mix for the foreseeable future. After two decades of studying the energy business, I believe those points about energy and power are self-evident.

They allow us to enjoy mountains, plains, and deserts without having our views obstructed or disturbed by spinning wind turbines, sprawling solar arrays, towering transmission lines, or miles of monocultured crops. As the architect Witold Rybczynski wrote in Atlantic Monthly in an essay expounding the environmental benefits of cities, “density is green.”27 Rybczynski’s endorsement of cities echoes that of Stewart Brand, who, in his latest book, the Whole Earth Discipline, argues that cities, and even densely populated slums, provide a path out of poverty for millions of people. Brand says that “cities are probably the greenest things that humans do.”28 Embracing the density of cities make sense. And to properly fuel them, we need energy sources with the highest possible densities. Energy projects with small footprints are not only green, they reduce the potential for NIMBY objections.

 

pages: 289 words: 112,697

The new village green: living light, living local, living large by Stephen Morris

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back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, cleantech, collective bargaining, Columbine, Community Supported Agriculture, computer age, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Firefox, index card, Indoor air pollution, invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, Menlo Park, Negawatt, peak oil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review

The NEW VILLAGE GREEN 151 7 WHOLE EARTH CATALOG “ Civilization’s shortening attention span is mismatched with the pace of environmental problems. . . Environmental health requires peace, prosperity, and continuity.” — Stewart Brand 152 T he original Whole Earth Catalog was not “given” to me; it was “laid on” me by someone who had moved on to a newer edition. It was dog-eared then. It’s more dog-eared now. It has survived more than forty years of moves and life changes. The publication of the Whole Earth Catalog was fueled by new technology. The IBM Selectric typewriter now had changeable type fonts, bringing the world of typesetting, hitherto the exclusive province of printers and publishers, into the home. That was enough to convince a bunch of Berkeley counterculture mavens that the time was right to reinvent publishing. Stewart Brand enlisted family members, design instructor J. Baldwin, Kevin Kelly, and others to identify products, organizations, and services that passed the criteria of being useful as a tool, relevant to independent education, high quality or low cost, and easily available by mail.

But safe, nontoxic alternatives exist for nearly every real need around the home, and the search for them may help consumers distinguish between what they really do need, and what may be “luxuries” that could compromise their famSea-squirt ilies’ health. The NEW VILLAGE GREEN 205 Whole Earth Catalog The New Village Library How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built. Stewart Brand. Viking, 1994. The Clock of the Long Now. Stewart Brand. Basic Books, 1999. The Natural House: A Complete Guide to Healthy, Energy-Efficient, Environmental Homes. Dan Chiras. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2001. Earth Sheltered Houses: How to Build an Affortable Underground Home. Rob Roy. New Society Publishers, 2006. The New Independent Home: People and Houses that Harvest the Sun. Michael Potts. Chelsea Green Publishing, 1999.

. — Bill McKibben, author & activist When a decision is made to cope with the symptoms of a problem, it is generally assumed that the corrective measures will solve the problem itself.They seldom do. Bioregionalism, in combination with deep ecology, is the most important ecological idea of our time. — Kirkpatrick Sale, author and director of the Middlebury Institute All historians understand that they must never, ever talk about the future. — Stewart Brand, jack of all trades, master of more than a few The anti-nature attitude in our culture comes from some very respectable sources. — Euell Gibbons, forager The New Village Green is a testament that life endures, even flourishes... Do we know the factors that support community, enhance civility, and achieve sustainability. Read this book and find out. — Paul Freundlich, Founder and President Emeritus of Co-op America N EW S OCIETY P UBLISHERS C ATA L O G I N G IN P U B L I C AT I O N D ATA : A catalog record for this publication is available from the National Library of Canada.

 

From Satori to Silicon Valley: San Francisco and the American Counterculture by Theodore Roszak

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Buckminster Fuller, germ theory of disease, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet Archive, Marshall McLuhan, megastructure, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, Silicon Valley, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog

DELACORTE PRESS for "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace" by Richard Brautigan, copyright 1968. Excerpted from The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, reprinted by permission of Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, New York. DOUBLEDAY & CO. for Hackers by Steven Levy, copyright 1984. PRAEGER PUBLISHERS Society, edited for quote by Bill Voyd from Shelter and by Paul Oliver, copyright 1969. SAN FRANCISCO FOCUS MAGAZINE view with Stewart Brand in the for quotes from an inter- February 1985 issue. SAN FRANCISCO ORACLE for quotes from issues #6, 1967, and #12, 1967. Reprinted with permission of Allan Cohen, Editor. ST. MARTIN'S PRESS for Buckminster Fuller, An Autobiographical Monologue!Scenario by Robert Snyder, copyright 1970. ST. MARTIN'S PRESS copyright 1978. for Children of Prosperity by Hugh Gardner, The Times They Are A-Changing A shortened version of this essay was presented at San Francisco State University Alvin Fine Lecture. 1985 as the in April A few weeks before the event, student in the Public Affairs Office called arrange some campus publicity.

man who in- was already on board a Fuller had a long, long His prefabricated Dymaxion House of the late twenties (also called "the four dimensional liv- ing machine") dates back to the grandparents of the countercultural ward, his generation. story life From that point went through many ups and downs; but there can be no question (when Fuller was in his seventies) Not only did he make the magazine (in that the sixties were his zenith. front cover of Time 1964) but he became one of the pro- phetical voices of the starting with a American counterculture - prolonged campus residency Jose State College that brought in early 1966. for- Thanks to that 18 him to the at San Bay Area appearance and subse- him quently to the prominence Stewart Brand gave in the Whole Earth Catalog, was launched on and most spectacular phase of the final On Fuller his career. the first page of the Catalog, the full corpus of Fuller's works was generously presented under the inscription: "the insights of itiated this catalog." became From Buckminster Fuller in- that point forward, Fuller the necessary presence at New Age confer- ences, symposia, and workshops: a sort of peripatetic global wizard audience down who might tie his awe-inspired for four or five hours at a stretch while he recited the history of the universe.

 

pages: 226 words: 71,540

Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web by Cole Stryker

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4chan, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, crowdsourcing, Firefox, future of journalism, hive mind, informal economy, Internet Archive, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, wage slave, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

We routinely read and say things that we’d never say in real life. When someone lets loose with a string of expletives in a comments section I roll my eyes and keep scrolling. But if someone said those things to me on the street my heart would stop. During the early days on the Internet, there were no agreed-upon standards of etiquette. Templeton helped to define the way people would behave for decades to come. The Virtual Community: The Well In 1985 Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant founded the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link, or WELL. The WELL was made up of a new breed of techno-utopian ex-hippies who’d been experimenting with communal living and other alternative lifestyles. These baby boomers had grown up a bit, and where their ’60s brethren had failed, they believed they’d succeed, with the power of network technology. It was all very back-to-the-earth, but with a focus on the power of computing.

Back then it wasn’t so glamorous, and Cliff doesn’t have a whole lot of nostalgia for those days. He’s quick to point out how much a pain in the neck running the WELL could be. And he quickly dispels any image of the pre-AOL Internet as an anarchic proto-4chan. I only had to ban one person in ten years at the Well. It was too expensive and difficult to dial in; the people who were there had a good reason to be there. We were very friendly, but very hands off. I asked Stewart Brand, cofounder of the WELL and editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, about the nature of anonymity in an effort to draw parallels between 4chan and the infancy of the Internet. Unlike other Internet communities of the day, the WELL forced identity on its users. Stewart attributes the success of the community to “continuity of community and absence of anonymity”—what he calls “the main preventatives of destructive flaming.”

After a while we did experiment with one anonymous conference, and it was so immediately destructive it was shut down within the week by popular demand. Where Usenet had newsgroups, the WELL had “conferences,” subject areas devoted to computing, religion, politics, whatever. The community was like the Wild West in the sense that it was writing the rules as it went along. This new territory didn’t have any mores. One defining maxim that Stewart Brand coined for the WELL was, “You own your own words,” which reinforced personal responsibility. Cliff told me a story about cantaloupes and how this early community dealt with unsubstantiated claims. Just after I was named Director of the WELL in August 1986, one of the WELL’s earliest members openly discussed her idea of starting an online news service using USENET (not the WELL) as her platform.

 

pages: 379 words: 108,129

An Optimist's Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson

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23andMe, Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, augmented reality, bank run, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, clean water, computer age, decarbonisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, packet switching, peak oil, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, the scientific method, Wall-E, X Prize

I have clearly chosen the wrong seat. But, as the conversation behind me drifts towards the frame-shifting potential of alien civilisations, I reflect that my own chosen topic, on this trip to California, is hardly less fantastical. Nanotechnology, at first glance, sounds much like science fiction. Yet it seems likely that it will radically reshape our future. At least, that’s what future commentator and ‘eco-pragmatist’ Stewart Brand believes: ‘The science is good, the engineering feasible, the paths of approach are many, the consequences are revolutionary-times-revolutionary, and the schedule is: in our lifetimes.’ Brand wrote that in 1991. Today nanotechnology is infiltrating nearly every sphere of human endeavour, from health care to construction. It has the potential to end industrial capitalism, revolutionise energy production, boost the power of medicine, deal a death-blow to nearly any resource crisis and ask you to review your relationship with your cleaning habits.

We want more of the land, food, minerals, labour or fuel, and suddenly there isn’t enough. Nations try to ring-fence sufficient resources and sometimes that means taking them from someone else. As the population rises we have two choices: find a way to increase carrying capacity; or fight (justifying the latter with some form of ideology). But what has this to do with nanotechnology? The same Stewart Brand who suggested the impacts of nanotechnology would be ‘revolutionary-times-revolutionary’ provides a link in his book Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto: Peace can break out, though, when carrying capacity is pushed up suddenly, as with the invention of agriculture, or newly effective bureaucracy, or remote trade or technological breakthroughs. Nanotechnology can potentially (and dramatically) increase carrying capacity and, crucially, the distribution of resources – because everyone has the raw materials needed to make whatever they need, including food.

Most of us are familiar with this trend in the way computer-processing power has skyrocketed (‘a billionfold since I was a student,’ he says) but this rapid doubling can be found operating in many other places too. Its significance stems from the fact that each tool we build gives us a better platform on which to build its successor. Computers, for instance, allow us to design more powerful computers than themselves. This phenomenon is called ‘autocatalysis,’ where the output of a process can be fed back into the process itself, spurring it on. In the opening chapter of Whole Earth Discipline, Stewart Brand gives a useful perspective: Not all technologies are autocatalytic: New discoveries don’t make every technology advance faster. Progress in automobile technology and wind technology makes better cars and wind generators but not better tools for the engineering itself. The current autocatalytic technologies that goose themselves into exponential growth are infotech (including computers, communications, and artificial intelligence), biotech, and nanotech (which is blurring into biotech).

 

pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

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23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra

By 2008, less than twenty-five years after they were first invented, fully 10 per cent of all arable land, thirty million acres, was growing genetically modified crops: one of the most rapid and successful adoptions of a new technology in the history of farming. Only in parts of Europe and Africa were these crops denied to farmers and consumers by the pressure of militant environmentalists, with what Stewart Brand calls their ‘customary indifference to starvation’. African governments, after intense lobbying by Western campaigners, have been persuaded to tie genetically modified food in red tape, which prevents them being grown commercially in all but three countries (South Africa, Burkina Faso and Egypt). In one notorious case Zambia in 2002 even turned down food aid in the middle of a famine after being persuaded by a campaign by groups, including Greenpeace International and Friends of the Earth, that because it was genetically modified it could be dangerous.

All across Asia, Latin America and Africa, a tide of subsistence farmers is leaving the land to move to cities and find paid work. To many Westerners, suffused with nostalgie de la boue (nostalgia for mud), this is a regrettable trend. Many charities and aid agencies see their job as helping to prevent subsistence farmers having to move to the city by making life in the countryside more sustainable. ‘Many of my contemporaries in the developed world,’ writes Stewart Brand, ‘regard subsistence farming as soulful and organic, but it is a poverty trap and an environmental disaster.’ Surely a Nairobi slum or a São Paolo favela is a worse place to be than a tranquil rural village? Not for the people who move there. Given the chance they eloquently express their preference for the relative freedom and opportunity of the city, however poor the living conditions. ‘I am better off in all facets of life compared to my peers left behind in the village,’ says Deroi Kwesi Andrew, a teacher earning $4 a day in Accra.

Russia’s population is falling so fast it will be one-third smaller in 2050 than it was at its peak in the early 1990s. Do these statistics surprise you? Everybody knows the population of the world is growing. But remarkably few people seem to know that the rate of increase in world population has been falling since the early 1960s and that the raw number of new people added each year has been falling since the late 1980s. As the environmentalist Stewart Brand puts it, ‘Most environmentalists still haven’t got the word. Worldwide, birth-rates are in free fall ... On every part of every continent and in every culture (even Mormon), birth rates are headed down. They reach replacement level and keep on dropping.’ This is happening despite people living longer and thus swelling the ranks of the world population for longer, and despite the fact that babies are no longer dying as frequently as they did in the early twentieth century.

 

Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns

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anti-communist, bank run, barriers to entry, centralized clearinghouse, collective bargaining, desegregation, feminist movement, financial independence, George Gilder, invisible hand, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, lone genius, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, RAND corporation, rent control, road to serfdom, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, side project, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, union organizing, urban renewal, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog

This distinction is made by Andrew Kirk, Counterculture Green: The Whole Earth Catalog and American Environmentalism (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007). Whether this set of ideas transcends or represents yet another iteration of what Donald Worster called the dialectic of “arcadian” and “imperialist” ecology is an important question to explore. Worster, Nature’s Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977/1994). 47. Stewart Brand, diary entries dated July 9, 1968 and August 16, 1968, Stewart Brand Papers, Stanford University Special Collections. 48. The Last Whole Earth Catalog (Menlo Park, CA: Portola Institute, 1971), 185. The catalogue included only books deemed either “useful as a tool” or “relevant to independent education,” making mention tantamount to endorsement. It also recommended the A Is A Directory and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (344).

Pragmatic or countercultural environmentalism focused on invention and innovation, rather than regulation, as solutions to the environmental crisis. The survivalist Whole Earth Catalog, a hippy-techno-geek bible, was an important node of this movement. “We are as gods and might as well get good at it,” the catalogue announced, striking a vaguely libertarian note with its intention to support “a realm of intimate, personal power” and “the power of the individual.” Not surprisingly the catalogue’s founder, Stewart Brand, thought Rand was an exciting thinker.46 In 1968 Brand noted in his diary, “I’m reading Atlas Shrugged these days, again, on quite a different level—keeping some watch on myself, but mostly letting the notions run on.” He returned to Rand during a period of deep thinking, aided by his near daily consumption of nitrous oxide. For more than a month his journal made occasional references to Rand and showed unmistakable traces of her thought.

Permission to include excerpts from the writings of Rose Wilder Lane has been granted by the copyright owner, Little House Heritage Trust. The Rothbard Papers are cited courtesy of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, Auburn, Alabama. Material from Leonard Read is used with permission of the Foundation for Economic Education (www.fee.org). The Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, granted me permission to use material from the Stewart Brand Collection (M1237). Barry Goldwater is quoted with the permission of the Arizona Historical Foundation. Barbara Branden and Nathaniel Branden, Ph. D, kindly granted use of photographs and documents. Permission to quote from Ayn Rand’s unpublished material was granted by the Estate of Ayn Rand, and other material is used courtesy of the Ayn Rand Archives. The Ayn Rand Archives at the Ayn Rand Institute is a reference source.

 

pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

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algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K

This notion of temporal diversity offers a new way of understanding the particular characteristics of different timescales. While chronobiologists looked at the various natural cycles influencing the processes of life, proponents of temporal diversity are encouraging us to understand and distinguish between the different rates at which things on different levels of existence change. Former Merry Prankster and Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand applied temporal diversity to different levels of society. In his book The Clock of the Long Now, he argues that we live in a world with multiple timescales, all moving simultaneously but at different speeds. Brand calls it the order of civilization. Nature, or geological time, moves the slowest—like the skater in the middle of the pinwheel. This is the rate at which glaciers carve out canyons or species evolve gills and wings—over eons.

What we really need is access to both: we want to take advantage of all the time that has been bound for us as well as stay attuned to the real-world feedback we get from living in the now. While they often seem to be at odds, they are entirely compatible, even complementary, if we understand the benefits and drawbacks of each. It’s not solely a matter of establishing appropriate “temporal diversity,” as Stewart Brand suggests. That may work for processes that are unfolding over historical time, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with the now that we’re contending with in a presentist reality. We’re not in nature’s time nor fashion’s time. We’re in no time. All we presentists get from zooming out to ten-thousand-year time spans is vertigo. The stuff of time binding—all that information, however dense—is like the data on a hard drive.

Decades of social control—from corporate advertising to manufacturing public consent for war—were exercised through simple one-to-many campaigns that discouraged feedback from them and between them. As long as people didn’t engage with one another and were instead kept happily competing with one another, their actions, votes, and emotions remained fairly predictable. Screech could be kept to a minimum. But the Cold War gave rise to something else: a space race, and the unintended consequence of the first photographs of planet Earth taken from the heavens. Former Merry Prankster Stewart Brand had been campaigning since 1966 for NASA to release a photo of Earth, aware that such an image could change human beings’ perception of not only their place in the universe but also their relationship to one another. Finally, in 1972, NASA released image AS17-148-22727, birthing the notion of our planet as a “big blue marble.” As writer Archibald MacLeish described it, “To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold—brothers who know now that they are truly brothers.”11 Soon after that, the development of the Internet—also an outgrowth of the Cold War funding—concretized this sense of lateral, peer-to-peer relationships between people in a network.

 

pages: 274 words: 75,846

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A Pattern Language, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, borderless world, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, fundamental attribution error, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Netflix Prize, new economy, PageRank, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, RFID, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social software, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the scientific method, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

That every programmer’s career begins with “Hello, World!” is not a coincidence. It’s the power to create new universes, which is what often draws people to code in the first place. Type in a few lines, or a few thousand, strike a key, and something seems to come to life on your screen—a new space unfolds, a new engine roars. If you’re clever enough, you can make and manipulate anything you can imagine. “We are as Gods,” wrote futurist Stewart Brand on the cover of his Whole Earth Catalog in 1968, “and we might as well get good at it.” Brand’s catalog, which sprang out of the back-to-the-land movement, was a favorite among California’s emerging class of programmers and computer enthusiasts. In Brand’s view, tools and technologies turned people, normally at the mercy of their environments, into gods in control of them. And the computer was a tool that could become any tool at all.

Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. New York: The Penguin Press, 2008. Solove, Daniel J. Understanding Privacy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008. Sunstein, Cass R. Republic.com 2.0. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. Turner, Fred. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006. Watts, Duncan J. Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2003. Wu, Tim. The Master Switch : The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. Zittrain, Jonathan. The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

Harris, “Facebook’s Advertising Fluke,” TechRepublican, Dec. 21, 2010, accessed Feb. 9, 2011, http://techrepublican.com/free-tagging/vincent-harris. 155 have the ads pulled off the air: Monica Scott, “Three TV Stations Pull ‘Demonstrably False’ Ad Attacking Pete Hoekstra,” Grand Rapids Press, May 28, 2010, accessed Dec. 17, 2010, www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2010/05/three_tv_stations_pull_demonst.html. 157 “improve the likelihood that a registered Republican”: Bill Bishop, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008), 195. 157 “likely to be most salient in the politics”: Ronald Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), 10. 159 Pabst began to sponsor hipster events: Neal Stewart, “Marketing with a Whisper,” Fast Company, Jan. 11, 2003, accessed Jan. 30, 2011, www.fastcompany.com/fast50_04/winners/stewart.html. 159 “$44 in US currency”: Max Read, “Pabst Blue Ribbon Will Run You $44 a Bottle in China,” Gawker, July 21, 2010, accessed Feb. 9, 2011, http://m.gawker.com/5592399/pabst-blue-ribbon-will-run-you-44-a-bottle-in-china. 160 “I serve as a blank screen”: Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (New York: Crown, 2006), 11. 161 “We lose all perspective”: Ted Nordhaus, phone interview with author, Aug. 31, 2010. 162 “the source is basically in thought”: David Bohm, Thought as a System (New York: Routledge, 1994) 2. 163 “participants in a pool of common meaning”: David Bohm, On Dialogue (New York: Routledge, 1996), x–xi. 164 “define and express its interests”: John Dewey, The Public and Its Problems (Athens, OH: Swallow Press, 1927), 146. Chapter Six: Hello, World! 165 “no intelligence or skill in navigation”: Plato, First Alcibiades, in The Dialogues of Plato, vol. 4, trans. Benjamin Jowett (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1871), 559. 166 “We are as Gods”: Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog (self-published, 1968), accessed Dec. 16, 2010, http://wholeearth.com/issue/1010/article/195/we.are.as.gods. 167 “make any man (or woman) a god”: Steven Levy, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution (New York: Penguin, 2001), 451. 167 “having some troubles with my family”: “How Eliza Works,” accessed Dec. 16, 2010, http://chayden.net/eliza/instructions.txt. 168 “way of acting without consequence”: Siva Vaidyanathan, phone interview with author, Aug. 9, 2010. 168 “not a very good program”: Douglas Rushkoff, interview with author, New York, NY, Aug. 25, 2010. 168 “politics tends to be seen by programmers”: Gabriella Coleman, “The Political Agnosticism of Free and Open Source Software and the Inadvertent Politics of Contrast,” Anthropological Quarterly, 77, no. 3 (Summer 2004): 507–19, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost. 170 “addictive control as well”: Levy, Hackers, 73. 172 “Howdy” is a better opener than “Hi”: Christian Rudder, “Exactly What to Say in a First Message,” Sept. 14, 2009, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/online-dating-advice-exactly-what-to-say-in-a-first-message. 173 “hackers don’t tend to know any of that”: Steven Levy, “The Unabomber and David Gelernter,” New York Times, May 21, 1995, accessed Dec. 16, 2010, www.unabombers.com/News/95-11-21-NYT.htm. 174 “engineering relationships among people”: Langdon Winner, “Do Artifacts Have Politics?”

 

pages: 184 words: 53,625

Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson

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airport security, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, future of journalism, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, Jane Jacobs, John Gruber, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, packet switching, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, pre–internet, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tim Cook: Apple, urban planning, WikiLeaks, working poor, X Prize

— In the mid-1950s, a Polish-born engineer named Paul Baran took a job at Hughes Aircraft while working on his graduate degree in engineering through night classes at UCLA. His work at Hughes gave him intimate access to the nascent technology of nuclear war—specifically the control systems that allowed the military to both detect inbound missiles and launch first strikes or retaliations. Years later, he would recall his horror at watching Hughes bid on the control system for the new Minuteman missile. “I was scared shitless,” he later told Stewart Brand, in a Wired magazine interview, “because you had all these missiles that could go off by anyone’s stupidity. The technology was never to be trusted.” As the cold war intensified after the launch of Sputnik in 1957, Baran took a new job at the RAND Corporation, where he got involved in a project to design a new command-and-control architecture for military communications. Baran was concerned that a nuclear detonation would disrupt high-frequency communications, so he began tinkering with a model whereby the military could hijack “ground wave” communications between broadcast stations, with each station relaying the message to others along the chain.

It took me a while, but eventually all these nudges came together to form Future Perfect. My thinking on these issues has been greatly expanded—if not downright borrowed—from conversations with Beth Noveck, Yochai Benkler, Fred Wilson, Brad Burnham, Larry Lessig, Denise Caruso, John Mackey, John Geraci, Paul Miller, Roo Rogers, Rachel Botsman, Reid Hoffman, Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, Clay Shirky, Stewart Brand, Howard Rheingold, Kevin Kelly, Jon Schnur, Raj Sisodia, Gordon Wheeler, Nick Grossman, Jay Haynes, Eric Liftin, John Battelle, and my mother, Bev Johnson. Special thanks to the group who were generous enough to comment on the manuscript in draft: Bill Wasik, David Sloan Wilson, Dan Hill, Henry Farrell, and my father and longtime political sparring partner, Stan Johnson. As usual, my wife, Alexa Robinson, shared her invaluable talent for improving my sentences and my arguments.

Hayek’s arguments are nicely summarized in his 1945 essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” which appeared in The American Economic Review. Jane Jacobs’s attack on centralized planning appears in her classic work, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. For a comprehensive history of the birth of the Internet, see Where Wizards Stay Up Late, by Matthew Lyon and Katie Hafner, as well as Stewart Brand’s interview with Paul Baran, “Founding Father,” in Wired. I first came across the concept of “positive deviance” in the article “Design Thinking for Social Innovation,” by Tim Brown and Jocelyn Wyatt, in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. For more on the approach, see the website of the Positive Deviance Initiative at http://www.positivedeviance.org/. For more on Marian Zeitlin’s original work, see Positive Deviance in Child Nutrition (with Emphasis on Psychosocial and Behavioural Aspects and Implications for Development), coauthored with Hossein Ghassemi and Mohamed Mansour.

 

pages: 369 words: 98,776

The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans by Mark Lynas

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back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Haber-Bosch Process, ice-free Arctic, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Negawatt, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, planetary scale, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, special drawing rights, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia

This is the story of a species whose biological characteristics combined with an accident of fate to have world-shattering consequences. And it is a story that might shed some light on the central question of this book—whether we are rebel organisms destined to destroy the biosphere, or divine apes sent to manage it intelligently and so save it from ourselves. Perhaps the environmentalist and futurist Stewart Brand put it best when he wrote these words: “We are as gods and have to get good at it.”5 Amen to that. THE DESCENT OF MAN Listening to some environmentalists talk, it is easy to get the feeling that humanity is somehow unnatural, a malign external force acting on the natural biosphere from the outside. They have it wrong. We are as natural as coral reefs or termites; our inherited physiology is entirely the product of selective pressures operating over millions of years within living systems.

“One does not fight the corporate misdeeds of the automotive industry, for instance, by demanding that the wheel must be banned,” someone pointed out in a thought-provoking analogy. I decided to stop writing about genetic engineering for a while and read up on the science before tackling the subject again. A second eureka moment came in a book by an environmentalist who had already changed his mind about genetic engineering, the American writer Stewart Brand. In the opening sentence of the “Green Genes” chapter in his 2010 book Whole Earth Discipline, Brand writes: “I daresay the environmental movement has done more harm with its opposition to genetic engineering than any other thing we’ve been wrong about. We’ve starved people, hindered science, hurt the natural environment, and denied our own practitioners a crucial tool.” That is a strong statement, but the more I looked at the evidence, the harder I found it to disagree with him.

There can of course be no definitive answer to such a question, but if we say that 150 additional plants would by now have been running for 20 years, these would have avoided the emission of 18 billion tonnes of CO2.67 In climate change terms, opposing nuclear was a gargantuan error for the Greens, and one that will echo down the ages as our globe’s temperature rises. Some in the environmental movement have begun to realize this mistake, including members of the Green Party and the former director of Greenpeace U.K., Stephen Tindale, who courageously joined with me to make a front-page “mea culpa” declaration in the Independent newspaper on February 23, 2009.68 In the U.S., both Stewart Brand and NASA scientist (and planetary boundaries co-author) James Hansen have strongly supported nuclear in the battle against climate change. In Britain, my friend and colleague the writer George Monbiot, one of the Green movement’s most fearsome and well-known campaigners, wrote in the Guardian that the Fukushima disaster had convinced him that nuclear power was actually less dangerous than his environmental comrades confidently asserted, especially when compared to fossil fuels.

 

pages: 299 words: 19,560

Utopias: A Brief History From Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal

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1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

Much of the renewed interest derives from the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which “is stuffed with generous subsidies for nuclear power and other alternatives to fossil fuels.” As the head of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, has argued, “it’s hard to believe simultaneously in energy security and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions without believing in nuclear power.”43 Increasing numbers of environmentalists are conceding this point, among them the famous Stewart Brand, creator of The Whole Earth Catalog. Brand confessed to his traditional opponents: “I’m sorry. I was wrong, you were right. I’m sorry.” Brand has nevertheless maintained his utopian propensities despite this Utopia Reconsidered 153 change of heart and has embraced a decentralized corporate vision of information technologies and computer networks that nicely complements those of capitalist leaders such as Immelt.

No radioactivity was released, but this accident took place just as the plant’s owners had applied to the NRC for a twenty-year extension of its license beyond its 2012 expiration date. That twenty-year extension was later granted by the NRC, but both the governor and the state are fighting it. Yet Vermont Yankee provides a third of the state’s electricity generation, and the same dilemma that converted Stewart Brand confronts Vermont’s residents. As a New York Times reporter noted recently, at present Vermont has “only one commercial wind farm, eleven turbines along a mountain ridge. They have less than one percent of the capacity of Vermont Yankee,” itself a relatively small nuclear power plant.47 Should we be surprised that Maine Yankee’s most passionate defenders have made the same point in denouncing that plant’s closure?

These figures and the quotations come from Whitford, “Going Nuclear,” 45, 45–46. See also Matthew L. Wald, “After 35-Year Lull, Nuclear Power May Be in Early Stages of a Revival,” New York Times, October 24, 2008, B3; and Elizabeth Spiers, “The Case for Nukes,” Fortune, 157 (June 9, 2008), 22. Steward Brand quoted in Whitford, “Going Nuclear,” 54. See Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006). See Whitford, “Going Nuclear,” 48. One possible new—or, more precisely, partially new—plant could be the presently dismantled Unit 2 of Seabrook Station. Although there are no plans to reopen Unit 2, opponents of any revival have made their concerns amply known. At the fortieth anniversary of the Seacoast Anti-Pollution League in 2008, they contended that nuclear power remains obsolete and that renewable energy is still the wave of the future.

 

pages: 349 words: 95,972

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

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affirmative action, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Basel III, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Erdős number, experimental subject, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Frank Gehry, game design, global supply chain, Googley, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, Inbox Zero, income inequality, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, microbiome, out of africa, Paul Erdős, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Turing test, urban decay

Thanks to everyone who gave up their time to be interviewed for the book: David Allen, Gwyn Bevan, Stewart Brand, Shelley Carson, Mathijs de Vaan, Brian Eno, Digby Fairweather, Tim Gill, Nicola Green, Andy Haldane, Guy Haworth, Craig Knight, John Kounios, Charles Limb, Michael Norton, Gerald Ratner (interviewed by Emma Jacobs), Ken Regan, Keith Sawyer, Balázs Vedres, and Holly White. As a glance at the references will reveal, I have a considerable debt to the journalists, writers, and thinkers whose reporting or analysis has informed my own ideas, but in particular: On music: Ashley Kahn, Paul Trynka, and the BBC documentary teams behind For One Night Only: The Cologne Concert and Oblique Strategies. On creative prodigies: Paul Hoffman and Ed Yong. On architecture: Warren Berger, Stewart Brand, Alain de Botton, and Jonah Lehrer. On Martin Luther King, Jr.: Taylor Branch, David Garrow, and Stephen Oates.

But few modern offices boast the extreme reconfigurability of Building 20: when the atomic clock was being developed by a team led by Jerrold Zacharias, the group simply removed a couple of floors from their laboratory to accommodate it. And Building 20’s true advantage wasn’t so much that it was reconfigurable by design, but that the building’s inhabitants felt confident that they had the authority (if only by default) to make changes, even messy changes. It was that it was so cheap and ugly that in the words of Stewart Brand, author of How Buildings Learn, “Nobody cares what you do in there.” Unlike at Kyocera or Chiat/Day, Building 20’s inhabitants were in control. Heather Lechtman, professor of material science and archaeology, told Brand: “We feel our space is really ours. We designed it, we run it.” After Jerome Wiesner became president of MIT in 1971, he kept a secret office tucked away in Building 20. Why?

pagewanted=all&src=pm; Eve Downing, “Letting Go,” Spectrum (Spring 1998), http://spectrum.mit.edu/articles/letting-go/; and Steven Levy, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, 25th Anniversary Edition (Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, 2010). 19. A lovely half-hour documentary, “Building 20: The Magical Incubator” was made by MIT in 1998. It’s tape T1217 in the MIT archives, online at: http://teachingexcellence.mit.edu/from-the-vault/mits-building-20-the-magical-incubator-1998; a definitive account of the merits of Building 20 is in chapter three of Stewart Brand, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built (New York: Viking, 1994). 20. Robert Campbell, “Dizzying Heights in Frank Gehry’s Remarkable New Stata Center at MIT, Crazy Angles Have a Serious Purpose,” The Boston Globe, April 25, 2004. 21. Robin Pogrebin and Katie Zezima, “M.I.T. Sues Frank Gehry, Citing Flaws in Center He Designed,” The New York Times, November 7, 2007. See also Spencer Reiss, “Frank Gehry’s Geek Palace,” Wired (May 2004), http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.05/mit.html. 22.

 

pages: 326 words: 103,170

The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks by Joshua Cooper Ramo

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Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Google Chrome, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, market bubble, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, packet switching, Paul Graham, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Vernor Vinge, zero day

(To be determined!) Working with composer Brian Eno on the sound of the clock chime, and with a team of geologists and physicists, Hillis had made the clock into a natural extension of his Tinkertoy tic-tac-toe machine, a device that served a purpose and sent a message. If there is an emotion the clock conveys in the way that Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne might inspire terror or joy, it is meant to be awe. Stewart Brand, one of the supporters of the clock and an early member of the New Caste too, would tell you that the idea for the clock had emerged from a desire to emphasize, to physicalize, the importance of longer-term thinking in a way that no one could forget. We’ve all arrived now, Brand and the other clock masters worried, at a moment in history when no one has a view that extends much past his or her own life—or sometimes past the next election, or the next fashion season, or the next financial quarter.

This demolishes an older, easier sense of pace. Computers were once switched on at nine and off at five—just like their human masters. But digital activity is constant now. The networks are paying attention all the time. They have to. Our machines—tractors and trains and cars—used to echo our pace of life. Now we echo theirs. We want them to be fast. To be instant. It was certainly true, as Stewart Brand insisted in his manifesto, that the Clock of the Long Now was meant as a reminder, as a kind of constant totem of the fact that we’re all just a small tick on the endless continuum. We do think in too short a time frame. But the clock also, I began to suspect as I considered it, had another role. Those ten thousand years of marked time were an attempt to scratch an itch bothering these pioneers of cyberspace.

The immense possibility: Ryan Gallagher, “Profiled: From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities,” The Intercept, September 25, 2015; GCHQ documents, “PullThrough Steering Group Meeting #16,” at https://theintercept.com/document/2015/09/25/pull-steering-group-minutes/. “We were not aware”: John Maynard Keynes, “My Early Beliefs,” in Two Memoirs by J. M. Keynes: “Dr. Melchior, a Defeated Enemy,” and “My Early Beliefs” (New York: A. M. Kelley, 1949), 99. Chapter 8. “MAPREDUCE”: THE COMPRESSION OF SPACE AND TIME “Civilization is revving itself”: Stewart Brand, The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 2. “Summer afternoon”: Edith Wharton, A Backward Glance (New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1934). See chapter 8 for her tale of an afternoon with Henry James. “With each crossing”: Georg Simmel, “The Metropolis and Mental Life” (1903), in The Sociology of Georg Simmel, trans., ed., and intro by Kurt H. Wolff (New York: The Free Press, 1950), 410, 413.

 

pages: 559 words: 157,112

Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

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Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, computer age, Dynabook, El Camino Real, index card, Jeff Rulifson, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, oil shock, popular electronics, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

Ingalls, LRG member, developer of “BitBlt” graphic program and principal developer of Smalltalk Adele Goldberg, LRG member, learning specialist and co-developer of Smalltalk Ted Kaehler, LRG member, co-developer of Smalltalk and “Twang” music program Diana Merry, LRG member and co-developer of Smalltalk Larry Tesler, LRG member, co-designer of Gypsy user-friendly word processing program and first PARC principal scientist to be hired by Apple John Shoch, LRG member, inventor of the Worm Tim Mott, co-designer of Gypsy Chris Jeffers, childhood friend of Kay’s and “chief of staff” of LRG Gary Starkweather, inventor of the laser printer Lynn Conway, co-developer (with Carver Mead) of VLSI tools and technology allowing the design of highly complex integrated circuits on silicon chips Douglas Fairbairn, hardware implementer of POLOS and co-designer (with Tesler) of the Notetaker portable computer Bill English, head of POLOS (PARC On-Line Office System) group, early but unsuccessful multimedia office network Bill Duvall, chief designer of POLOS David Liddle, head of System Development Division after 1978, supervisor of the development of the Xerox Star, first fully realized commercial version of a PARC computer GENERAL SCIENCE LABORATORY Gerald Lucovsky, associate manager (reporting to Pake) David Thornburg, scientist David Biegelsen, scientist OPTICAL SCIENCE LABORATORY (AFTER 1973): John C. Urbach, manager OTHERS: Max Palevsky, founder of Scientific Data Systems (SDS), sold to Xerox in 1969 Rigdon Currie, chief of sales at SDS Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog and author of “Spacewar,” 1972 article in Rolling Stone that introduced PARC to the general public Carver Mead, California Institute of Technology professor and co-developer of VLSI tools and technology at PARC James Clark, principal inventor of the “Geometry Engine” graphics chip at PARC, founder of Silicon Graphics Inc. and Netscape Communications Corp.

June: Bob Metcalfe encounters a technical paper describing Hawaii’s ALOHAnet, several principles of which he will incorporate into Ethernet. September: MAXC having been completed, Thacker and Lampson invite Kay to join their project to build a small personal computer. The machine will be known as the Alto. November 22: Thacker begins design work on the Alto. December 7: Rolling Stone publishes Stewart Brand’s article “Spacewar,” sparking months of controversy by its depiction of computer research at PARC. April: The first Alto becomes operational, displaying an animated image of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster. April: Dick Shoup’s “Superpaint” frame buffer records and stores its first video image, showing Shoup holding a sign reading, “It works, sort of.” May 22: Metcalfe writes a patent memo describing his networking system, using the term “Ethernet” for the first time.

“It’s some druggie magazine,” she reported. Jones swallowed hard. “We’d better get a look at it.” Together they drove to an off-campus newsstand where they found the magazine prominently displayed. Before they had read to the end of “Spacewar” they knew they had a major crisis on their hands. With Bob Taylor’s apparent permission, but to the complete ignorance of anyone else in PARC management, the writer Stewart Brand had apparently been ranging freely through the Computer Science Lab for weeks. Brand was a technology fancier whose recent sale of the Whole Earth Catalog, his popular offbeat guidebook, had left him with the money and time to conduct a personal grand tour of the Bay Area’s leading computer research facilities. (A few years later he would resurface as a founder of The Well, a pioneering on-line computer service.)

 

pages: 380 words: 118,675

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

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3D printing, airport security, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, call centre, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, game design, housing crisis, invention of movable type, inventory management, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, late fees, loose coupling, low skilled workers, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Rodney Brooks, search inside the book, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Skype, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, why are manhole covers round?

That fall, Shel Kaphan drove a U-Haul full of his belongings up from Santa Cruz and officially joined Bezos and his wife as a founding employee of Amazon and as its primary technical steward. Kaphan had grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area and as a teenage computer enthusiast explored the ARPANET, the U.S. Defense Department–developed predecessor to the Internet. In high school, Kaphan met Stewart Brand, the writer and counterculture organizer, and the summer after he graduated, Kaphan took a job at the Whole Earth Catalog, Brand’s seminal guide to the tools and books of the enlightened new information age. Sporting long hippie-ish hair and a bushy beard, Kaphan worked at Brand’s Whole Earth Truck Store in Menlo Park, a mobile lending library and roving education service. He tended the cash register, filled subscriptions, and packed books and catalogs for shipment to customers.

Then he surprised Kaphan with what he dubbed the Shelebration, a weekend in Hawaii to celebrate Kaphan’s four-year anniversary at Amazon. Bezos flew in colleagues and Kaphan’s family and friends and put everyone up for three days in private cabins on a Maui beach. Every attendee received an ornamental tile coaster emblazoned with a picture of Kaphan wearing a goofy Cat in the Hat hat. That weekend spawned a fortuitous relationship for Bezos. One of Kaphan’s friends who came on the trip was Stewart Brand, the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog. Brand and his wife, Ryan, bonded with Bezos and MacKenzie, forging a connection that led to Bezos’s involvement in the Clock of the Long Now, an aspirational project aimed at building a massive mechanical clock designed to measure time for ten thousand years, a way to promote long-term thinking. A few years later, as a direct result of that weekend, Bezos would become the biggest financial backer of the 10,000-Year Clock and agree to install it on property he owned in Texas.

Outside, chunks of brick and mortar were shaken loose from the sixty-eight-year-old Pacific Medical building and rained to the ground. Inside, the sprinklers went off and employees rolled under their mercifully thick door-desks. Bezos’s tiny conference room was full of tchotchkes like Star Trek figurines and water guns, many of which noisily rattled to the floor. Also in the room was a twenty-two-pound ball made of the dense metal tungsten, a memento from Stewart Brand and the organizers of the Clock of the Long Now. Halfway through the earthquake, the executives in the room heard the ominous sound of the ball rolling off its stand. “I was the low man on the totem pole, so my legs were halfway exposed,” says Neil Roseman, only partly in jest. Fortunately, the ball thudded harmlessly to the floor. As the earthquake progressed, Killalea poked his head out, retrieved his laptop, and checked to see if the Amazon website was still running.

 

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Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

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Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

A better model might be MIT’s legendary Building 20, the temporary structure built during World War II that somehow managed to last fifty-five years, in part because it had an extraordinary track record for cultivating both breakthrough ideas and organizations like Noam Chomsky’s linguistics department, Bose Acoustics, and the Digital Equipment Corporation. As MIT wrote in a press release commemorating the building’s remarkable history: “Not assigned to any one school, department, or center, it seems to always have had space for the beginning project, the graduate student’s experiment, the interdisciplinary research center.” The magic of Building 20, powerfully eulogized in Stewart Brand’s How Buildings Learn, lay in the balance the environment struck between order and chaos. There were walls and doors and offices, as in most academic buildings. But the structure’s temporary origins—it was originally built with the expectation that it would be torn down after five years—meant that those structures could be reconfigured with little bureaucratic fuss, as new ideas created new purposes for the space.

The notion of “patterns” of innovation is loosely based on the concept of patterns and metapatterns developed by Gregory Bateson in Mind and Nature. The “long zoom” approach is discussed in more detail in the appendices of my earlier books Everything Bad Is Good for You and The Invention of Air. The idea has roots in Edward O. Wilson’s notion of “consilience,” and was partially inspired by a “pace-layered” drawing of civilization that I first encountered in Stewart Brand’s How Buildings Learn. CHAPTER 1: THE ADJACENT POSSIBLE For a history of the incubator, see Jeffrey Baker’s “The Incubator and the Medical Discovery of the Premature Infant.” The site Neonatology on the Web (http://www.neonatology.org/) maintains an excellent archive on the history of incubators and other neonatal technologies. For more on Design That Matters’s approach to innovation, see Timothy Prestero’s “Better by Design.”

For more on the power of collective decision-making, see James Surowiecki’s Wisdom of Crowds, Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs, Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody, and Kevin Kelly’s Out of Control. Jaron Lanier’s critique of the “hive mind” appears in his book You Are Not a Gadget, and in shorter form in the essay “Digital Maoism.” For more on Kevin Dunbar’s research, see “What Scientific Thinking Reveals About the Nature of Cognition.” Malcolm Gladwell’s take on the Jane Jacobsian future of workspace design appeared in the New Yorker in the essay “Designs for Working.” Stewart Brand devotes a chapter of How Buildings Learn to the “low road” approach of Building 20. MIT also maintains a website that includes reminiscences about the building at http://libraries.mit.edu/archives/mithistory/building20/quotes.html. CHAPTER 3: THE SLOW HUNCH The intelligence failures surrounding the Phoenix Memo and the Moussaoui investigation are addressed in the 9/11 Commission Report and in Bill Gertz’s Breakdown.

 

pages: 353 words: 98,267

The Price of Everything: And the Hidden Logic of Value by Eduardo Porter

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Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Credit Default Swap, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, happiness index / gross national happiness, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, new economy, New Urbanism, pension reform, Peter Singer: altruism, pets.com, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, ultimatum game, unpaid internship, urban planning, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, young professional

As the price of storing, copying, and transmitting information in digital form fell, the producers of songs, movies, and other digital media lost their ability to stop consumers from copying their products endlessly and distributing them as widely as they wanted. In June of 1999, Shawn Fanning, a teenager from Brockton, Massachusetts, known to his friends as the Napster, launched a system that allowed people to share over the Internet the music files stored on their hard drives. By July of the following year, one in four adults who used the Internet said they had downloaded music for free. Stewart Brand, a countercultural prankster of the acid-laced sixties who evolved into a revolutionary futurist, told the nation’s first hackers’ conference near San Francisco a quarter of a century ago that “information wants to be free.” In the 1990s, Apple advertised its new iMacs equipped with a writable CD drive as the tool to “Rip. Mix. Burn.” Today, creators have lost control of their creations. The minute they become a digital file they “belong” to everybody, so nobody owns them.

He argued that artists should not be given a free hold over their works because their talent was a God-given gift that should be used for the public benefit. He argued that piracy allowed the fruits of this talent to reach consumers who couldn’t afford the extortionate prices charged by the labels. But Willetts lost and was jailed. And the bootleggers were cowed out of existence. Information became expensive again. Ultimately, information cannot be free. It only looks that way sometimes. The quote by Stewart Brand that became the slogan of online freedom fighters has a prelude that acknowledges that information also “wants to be expensive” because of its enormous value to recipients. This is a reasonable proposition. Still, it leaves no space for the producer of information. Information can’t exist without her. CHAPTER SEVEN The Price of Culture DEMOCRACY SEEMS TO have taken over the world. By one account, at the end of the twentieth century 63 percent of the world’s population lived in democratic regimes, up from 12 percent at the end of the nineteenth.

The Korean reaction to spam is in Robert Kraut, Shyam Sunder, Rahul Telang, and James Morris, “Pricing Electronic Mail to Solve the Problem of Spam,” Yale ICF Working Paper, July 2005. 137-141 Napstering the World: The falling prices of computers are found in Bureau of Economic Analysis, NIPA table 1.5.4, Price Indices for GDP, expanded detail (www.bea.gov/national/nipaweb/TableView.asp?SelectedTable=34&ViewSeries=NO&Java=no&Request3Place=N&3Place=N&FromView=YES&Freq=Year&FirstYear= 1980&LastYear=2009&3Place=N&Update= U pdate& Java Box=no#Mid, accessed on 08/16/2010). The explosion of free music downloads is detailed in Amanda Lenhart and Susannah Fox, “Downloading Free Music,” Pew Internet and American Life Project, September 28, 2000. Stewart Brand’s quote is in Jack Fuller, What Is Happening to News: The Information Explosion and the Crisis in Journalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), p. 104. Chris Anderson’s thoughts can be found in Free: The Future of a Radical Price (New York: Hyperion, 2009). Data on the declining sales of music recordings come from the Recording Industry Association of America (awww.riaa. org) and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (www.ifpi.org).

 

pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

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3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

By 2012 there were more than 3 billion email accounts around the world sending 294 billion emails, of which around 78% were spam.37 Another popular feature was the Bulletin Board System (BBS), which enabled users with similar interests to connect and collectively share information and opinions. Among the best known of these was the Whole Earth ’Lectronic Link (the WELL), begun in 1985 by the Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand. The WELL captured much of the countercultural utopianism of early online users who believed that the distributed structure of the technology created by Internet architects like Paul Baran, with its absence of a central dot, represented the end of traditional government power and authority. This was most memorably articulated by John Perry Barlow, an early WELL member and lyricist for the Grateful Dead, in his later 1996 libertarian manifesto “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace.”

This libertarian worship of the unregulated network and disdain for government destroys jobs “without creating new ones,” Cohen explains, and it compounds “the already dizzying chasm between the rich and the rest.”3 The origins of this infinitely disruptive libertarianism, of the only rule being the absence of rules, can be traced back to the 1960s. According to the Stanford University historian Fred Turner, the Internet’s borderless idealism, and its ahistorical disdain for hierarchy and authority, especially the traditional role of government, were inherited from the countercultural ideas of Internet pioneers like WELL founder Stewart Brand and the “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” author John Perry Barlow.4 Silicon Valley, Turner says, has become an extension of the fancy-dress affair in Marin County where I met Michael Birch. It’s a sixties nostalgia fantasy hosted by space cadets like Birch who appear to have seceded from both time and space. To borrow some of Apple’s most familiar marketing language, everybody now is supposed to “think different.”

I also got lucky in early 2010 when I recieved a call from my friend Keith Teare, Mike Arrington’s cofounder at TechCrunch, who was setting up the TechCrunchTV network. Keith recommended me to Paul Carr and Jon Orlin at TechCrunchTV, and my show Keen On . . . was the first program on the network, running for four years and including over two hundred interviews with leading Internet thinkers and critics. In particular, I’d like to thank Kurt Andersen, John Borthwick, Stewart Brand, Po Bronson, Erik Brynjolfsson, Nicholas Carr, Clayton Christensen, Ron Conway, Tyler Cowen, Kenneth Cukier, Larry Downes, Tim Draper, Esther Dyson, George Dyson, Walter Isaacson, Tim Ferriss, Michael Fertik, Ze Frank, David Frigstad, James Gleick, Seth Godin, Peter Hirshberg, Reid Hoffman, Ryan Holiday, Brad Horowitz, Jeff Jarvis, Kevin Kelly, David Kirkpatrick, Ray Kurzweil, Jaron Lanier, Robert Levine, Steven Levy, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Andrew McAfee, Gavin Newsom, George Packer, Eli Pariser, Andrew Rasiej, Douglas Rushkoff, Chris Schroeder, Tiffany Shlain, Robert Scoble, Dov Seidman, Gary Shapiro, Clay Shirky, Micah Sifry, Martin Sorrell, Tom Standage, Bruce Sterling, Brad Stone, Clive Thompson, Sherry Turkle, Fred Turner, Yossi Vardi, Hans Vestberg, Vivek Wadhwa, and Steve Wozniak for appearing on Keen On . . . and sharing their valuable ideas with me.

 

pages: 304 words: 88,773

The Ghost Map: A Street, an Epidemic and the Hidden Power of Urban Networks. by Steven Johnson

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call centre, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, Dean Kamen, double helix, edge city, germ theory of disease, Google Earth, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, John Snow's cholera map, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, megacity, mutually assured destruction, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, peak oil, side project, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, trade route, unbiased observer, working poor

The history books tend to orient themselves around nationalist story lines: overthrowing the king, electing the presidents, fighting the battles. But the history book of recent Homo sapiens as a species should begin and end with one narrative line: We became city dwellers. If you time-traveled back to the London of September 1854 and described to some typical Londoners the demographic future that awaited their descendants, no doubt many would react with horror at the prospect of a “city planet,” as Stewart Brand likes to call it. Nineteenth-century London was an overgrown, cancerous monster, doomed to implode sooner or later. Two million people crowded into a dense urban core was a kind of collective madness. Why would anyone want to do the same with twenty million? To date, those fears have proved unfounded. Modern urbanization has thus far offered up more solutions than problems. Cities continue to be tremendous engines of wealth, innovation, and creativity, but in the 150 years that have passed since Snow and Whitehead watched the death carts make their rounds through Soho, they have become something else as well: engines of health.

I’m indebted to a number of people who read the manuscript and improved the book immensely with their thoughts and corrections: Carl Zimmer, Paul Miller, Howard Brody, Nigel Paneth, Peter Vinten-Johansen, and Tom Koch. A number of scholars were kind enough to comment on specific sections of the manuscript, or to answer my questions about the material: Sherwin Nuland, Steven Pinker, Ralph Frerichs, John Mekalanos, Sallie Patel, and Stewart Brand. My research assistant, Ivan Askwith, was once again an invaluable collaborator, as was Russell Davies, who came through with some last-minute additions from the streets (and libraries) of London. Whatever errors remain are mine alone. I’m grateful to the many libraries whose resources I drew on in my research: those of Harvard, MIT, and NYU, and the New York Public Library. I am particularly indebted to two London institutions: the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine and, of course, the peerless British Library—even the remote newspaper reading rooms in Colindale.

There are innumerable portraits of Victorian London, but Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor is still the most riveting and thorough account of the city’s vast underclass, rivaled only by Engels’ London chapters from The Condition of the English Working Class. Among the contemporary accounts, Liza Picard’s Victorian London, Roy Porter’s London: A Social History, and Peter Ackroyd’s London: A Biography are all worth reading. On the future of cities, I recommend Stewart Brand’s essay “City Planet” and Richard Rogers’ Cities for a Small Planet. The best account of the psychological and cultural impact of urbanization remains Raymond Williams’ masterly The Country and the City. Stephen Halliday’s The Great Stink tells the amazing story of Joseph Bazalgette’s battle to build London’s sewer system. For a modern look at waste management, I recommend William Rathje and Cullen Murphy’s Rubbish: The Archaeology of Garbage.

 

pages: 345 words: 105,722

The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling

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Apple II, back-to-the-land, game design, ghettoisation, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, pirate software, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Silicon Valley, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review

(This group of hackers were the exact sort of "hackers" most likely to react with militant fury at any criminal degradation of the term "hacker.") Barlow, though he was not arrested or accused of a crime, and though his computer had certainly not gone out the door, was very troubled by this anomaly. He carried the word to the Well. Like the Hackers Conference, "the Well" was an emanation of the Point Foundation. Point Foundation, the inspiration of a wealthy Californian 60s radical named Stewart Brand, was to be a major launch-pad of the civil libertarian effort. Point Foundation's cultural efforts, like those of their fellow Bay Area Californians the Grateful Dead, were multifaceted and multitudinous. Rigid ideological consistency had never been a strong suit of the Whole Earth Catalog. This Point publication had enjoyed a strong vogue during the late 60s and early 70s, when it offered hundreds of practical (and not so practical) tips on communitarian living, environmentalism, and getting back-to-the-land.

Steve Wozniak (perhaps a bit stung by the NuPrometheus scandal) swiftly offered to match any funds Kapor offered the Foundation. John Gilmore, one of the pioneers of Sun Microsystems, immediately offered his own extensive financial and personal support. Gilmore, an ardent libertarian, was to prove an eloquent advocate of electronic privacy issues, especially freedom from governmental and corporate computer-assisted surveillance of private citizens. A second meeting in San Francisco rounded up further allies: Stewart Brand of the Point Foundation, virtual-reality pioneers Jaron Lanier and Chuck Blanchard, network entrepreneur and venture capitalist Nat Goldhaber. At this dinner meeting, the activists settled on a formal title: the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Incorporated. Kapor became its president. A new EFF Conference was opened on the Point Foundation's Well, and the Well was declared "the home of the Electronic Frontier Foundation."

What he really hopes to do is make the world safe for future Mitch Kapors. This world of decentralized, small-scale nodes, with instant global access for the best and brightest, would be a perfect milieu for the shoestring attic capitalism that made Mitch Kapor what he is today. Kapor is a very bright man. He has a rare combination of visionary intensity with a strong practical streak. The Board of the EFF: John Barlow, Jerry Berman of the ACLU, Stewart Brand, John Gilmore, Steve Wozniak, and Esther Dyson, the doyenne of East-West computer entrepreneurism—share his gift, his vision, and his formidable networking talents. They are people of the 1960s, winnowed-out by its turbulence and rewarded with wealth and influence. They are some of the best and the brightest that the electronic community has to offer. But can they do it, in the real world? Or are they only dreaming?

 

pages: 397 words: 102,910

The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet by Justin Peters

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4chan, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Brewster Kahle, buy low sell high, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, don't be evil, global village, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Lean Startup, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, profit motive, RAND corporation, Republic of Letters, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Silicon Valley, social web, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

The oral tradition, the printing press, the railroad, the telephone, the radio, the television, the Internet—all of these innovations opened channels for what otherwise might have remained stray ideas, and gave those ideas velocity and direction. They are the mechanisms by which an entire society can come to consider and discuss the same ideas and events. Lawmakers have never been quite sure whether to feed or starve the cultural brain. As communications technologies have advanced, this conflict has intensified. In his 1987 book, The Media Lab, the entrepreneur and futurist Stewart Brand memorably asserted that “information wants to be free”: that it is effectively impossible to restrict the flow of (and artificially maintain high prices for) data in a world rife with photocopiers, tape decks, instant cameras, digital networks, and other such disseminative tools.32 Brand was the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, which, in the 1960s and 1970s, brought long-haired shoppers a message of conscientious consumption.

Soon after that, if history is any guide, the general copyright statute will be due for revision. Soon after that, if history is any guide, copyright stakeholders will gather in private to draft a statute that protects and advances their financial interests. Information wants to be expensive. Information wants to be free. Today, with the developed world linked by digital networks that have not entirely fulfilled their transformative promise, Stewart Brand’s paradox seems more relevant and more frustrating than ever. Aaron Swartz spent his life caught in this paradox, and while he didn’t quite succeed in disentangling it, he at least called attention to the fact that it exists. Three years on, the story of his life and death serves as a necessary reminder that there is a fundamental disconnect between our laws and our habits, between the way we are supposed to conduct ourselves online and the way we actually do.

“Stop Online Piracy Act, Hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Twelfth Congress, First Session, on H.R. 3261.” Serial no. 112-154, November 16, 2011. Tirella, Joseph. Tomorrow-Land: The 1964–65 World’s Fair and the Transformation of America. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2014. Townley, Benjamin. The Quest for Nationality: An American Literary Campaign. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1957. Turner, Fred. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. Twain, Mark. Autobiography of Mark Twain. Edited by Benjamin Griffin and Harriet Elinor Smith. 2 vols. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. Unger, Harlow Giles. Noah Webster: The Life and Times of an American Patriot. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1998. US Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

 

pages: 322 words: 88,197

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

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Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Landlord's Game, lone genius, megacity, Minecraft, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern

You might teach a computer to play chess in order to determine how intelligent the machine had become, but programming a computer to play games just for the sake of playing games would have seemed like a colossal waste of resources, like hiring a symphony orchestra to play “Chopsticks.” But the Spacewar! developers saw a different future, one where computers had a more personal touch. Or, put another way, developing Spacewar! helped them see that future more clearly. In 1972, during a hiatus between publishing issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, Stewart Brand visited the Artificial Intelligence Lab at Stanford to witness “the First Intergalactic Spacewar! Olympics.” He wrote up his experiences for Rolling Stone in an article called “Spacewar: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums.” As one of the first essays to document the hacker ethos and its connection to the counterculture, it is now considered one of the seminal documents of technology writing.

My brilliant new editor, Courtney Young, widened the scope of this book—and its cast of characters—in many significant ways. And I’m also very grateful to Helen Yentus and Ben Denzer for what may well be my favorite jacket design of all of my books. A number of people were gracious enough to read the book (or sections of it) in draft form. I’m deeply indebted to the comments, corrections, and encouraging words from Alex Ross, Ken Goldberg, Stewart Brand, Steven Pinker, Mike Gazzaniga, Filipe Castro, Jane Root, Fred Hepburn, Chris Anderson, Juliet Blake, Angela Cheng, and Jay Haynes. As always, my wife, Alexa Robinson, read every word—but only improved every other word—with her wisdom and line-editing mojo. Thanks to Franco Moretti for introducing me to the kleptomaniacs of Paris more than two decades ago. And thanks to Jay Haynes, Annie Keating, Alex Ross, and Eric Liftin for so many conversations about music and the mind over the years.

Recent studies show that when latex from Castilla elastica is boiled with the juice of moon vine, sulfonic acids that occur naturally in the vine increase the plasticity and elasticity of the rubber and produce a degree of vulcanization.” Fox, Kindle location 1300. “It should demonstrate”: J. M. Graetz, “The Origin of Spacewar!,” Creative Computing, August 1981, www.wheels.org/spacewar/creative/SpacewarOrigin.html. “The game of Spacewar!”: Stewart Brand, “Spacewar!,” Rolling Stone, December 7, 1972, www.wheels.org/spacewar/stone/rolling_stone.html. “Using data from the American Ephemeris”: Graetz, “The Origin of Spacewar!” “mechanically well made”: Edward O. Thorp, “Wearable Computers,” Digest of Papers, Second International Symposium on. 1998. “It had perhaps a hundred thousand”: Ibid. “As we worked and during”: Ibid. “The computer’s techniques”: Ken Jennings, “My Puny Human Brain,” Slate, Newsweek Interactive Co.

 

pages: 342 words: 86,256

Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck

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A Pattern Language, active transport: walking or cycling, car-free, carbon footprint, congestion charging, David Brooks, edge city, Edward Glaeser, Enrique Peñalosa, food miles, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, if you build it, they will come, intermodal, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Florida, skinny streets, smart cities, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, transit-oriented development, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

“We’re able to attract creative and tech talent because we are in the city,” acknowledges Colleen McCreary, Zynga’s head of human resources.31 Ultimately, though, it would seem that urban productivity has even deeper causes. There is mounting evidence that dense, walkable cities generate wealth by sheer virtue of the propinquity that they offer. This is a concept that is both stunningly obvious—cities exist, after all, because people benefit from coming together—and tantalizingly challenging to prove.● This hasn’t kept it from the lips of some of our leading thinkers, including Stewart Brand, Edward Glaeser, David Brooks, and Malcolm Gladwell. Speaking at the Aspen Institute, David Brooks pointed out how most U.S. patent applications, when they list similar patents that influenced them, point to other innovators located less than twenty-five miles away. He also mentioned a recent experiment at the University of Michigan, where “researchers brought groups of people together face to face and asked them to play a difficult cooperation game.

Newman, Beatley, and Boyer, 117. 33. Jeff Mapes, Pedaling Revolution, 81. 34. Witold Rybczynski, Makeshift Metropolis, 83. 35. Jeff Speck, “Six Things Even New York Can Do Better.” 36. Ken Livingstone, winner commentary by Mayor of London, World Technology Winners and Finalists. 37. Data taken alternately from two sources: Ibid., and Wikipedia, “London Congestion Charge.” 38. Ibid. 39. Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Discipline, 71. 40. Wikipedia, “New York Congestion Pricing.” 41. Ibid. 42. Ibid. 43. Nozzi, op. cit. 44. Bernard-Henri Lévy, American Vertigo. 45. Ivan Illich, Toward a History of Needs. 46. Ibid., 119. 47. Duany, Plater-Zyberk, and Speck, 91n. 48. Catherine Lutz and Anne Lutz Fernandez, Carjacked, 145. STEP 2: MIX THE USES 1. Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck, Suburban Nation, 10. 2.

air conditioners Alarm UK Alaskan Way Viaduct Alexander, Christopher Alfonzo, Mariela Allen, Paul Amazon.com American City American Dream Coalition American Recovery and Reinvestment Act anchors and paths ArtPlace Aspen Ideas Festival Aspen Institute asthma Atlantic, The autobahns Baacke, Adam Babjack, Kristen Barnes, Henry “Barnes Dance” intersections Barnett, David Beatley, Timothy Bed Bath & Beyond Belden Russonello & Stewart Bel Geddes, Norman Bellow, Saul Benfield, Kaid Bernstein, Andrea Bernstein, Scott Berreby, David Best Buy Bettencourt, Luis bicycle boulevards Bicycling (magazine) bikerealtor.com biking; accidents; bicycle boulevards and; cycle tracks and; docking stations; and “green waves”; health benefits of; housing values and; infrastructure for; investment in; lanes for; rise in commuter; safety and; separated path for; shared route; sharing programs for; sharrows and; statistics on; urbanism needed for; vehicular Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Birk, Mia Bloomberg, Michael Blue Zones Blue Zones, The (Buettner) Board of Trade (Washington, D.C.) Board of Zoning Appeals (Washington, D.C.) Boston Globe Boulevard Book, The (Jacobs) Bowling Alone (Putnam) Boyer, Heather Brady Bunch, The (TV show) Brancusi, Constantin Brand, Stewart Brand Muscle British Columbia, University of British Medical Journal Brookings Institution Brooks, David Broyard, Anatole Buehler, Ralph Buettner, Dan “Built Environment and Traffic Safety, The: A Review of Empirical Evidence” (Ewing and Dumbaugh) Burden, Dan buses Bush, George W. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Byrne, David Calder, Alexander California, University of, Los Angeles California Health and Safety Code Campanella, Thomas “Canadian and American Cities: Our Differences Are the Same” (London) Capital Bikeshare (Washington, D.C.)

 

pages: 223 words: 52,808

Intertwingled: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson (History of Computing) by Douglas R. Dechow

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3D printing, Apple II, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

The pros and cons of doing tech alone are that you are not constrained by anyone else’s tendency to go a different direction or do interpret an idea another way, but what you create is limited by your own technical skills—a dilemma. PS: Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib/Dream Machines had two front covers, no back cover. One front cover was for Computer Lib, which dealt with computer politics and tech. Flip the book over, start reading from the other cover and you have Dream Machines, dealing with the visionary use of computers. Stylistically Computer Lib/Dream Machines was modeled on Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog, interspersed with hip illustrations, weaving odd stories and quotations into the text. The book was not meant to be read in a linear fashion. For 1974, it was completely revolutionary. LS: The forms Ted’s early books took showed the essence of the problem. We simply don’t think in sequential streams. Those early books of Ted’s did their best to circumvent the limitations of words on paper.

University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, pp 43–57 Nelson TH (1992) Silicon valley story, the preview 1.3. https://​www.​youtube.​com/​watch?​v=​AXlyMrv8_​dQ Excerpt (?) of “The Silicon Valley Show“ uploaded in 2010 to YouTube Nelson TH (1992) The silicon valley show. http://​archive.​org/​details/​Timothy_​Leary_​Archives_​189.​dv. A video short called “The Silicon Valley Show” featuring Ted Nelson, Douglas Engelbart, Rick Mascitti, Stewart Brand, and Timothy Leary. Directed by Ted Nelson Nelson TH (1992) Xanadu space, 1993. Autodesk, Sausalito. http://​archive.​org/​details/​01Kahle000838. Wide Area Information Servers Project Documentation, scanned in 2013 Nelson TH (1993) Literary Machines … 93.1 edn. Mindful Press, Sausalito, CA Nelson TH (1993) Publishing contracts for a point-and-click Universe. Xanadu World Publishing Repository, Sausalito. http://​archive.​org/​details/​01Kahle000846.

 

pages: 200 words: 60,987

The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America by Steven Johnson

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Albert Einstein, Chance favours the prepared mind, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, Danny Hillis, discovery of DNA, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kevin Kelly, planetary scale, side project, South Sea Bubble, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I’m grateful to several institutions for their willingness to let me work through the major themes of this book in public. First, NYU’s School of Journalism, for letting me teach a graduate seminar on Cultural Ecosystems, and my students there who contributed so many helpful ideas (and who, I’m thankful to report, shot down more than a few of my less helpful ones). My friends at the Long Now Foundation—Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, Brian Eno, Danny Hillis, and Alexander Rose—were kind enough to invite me to discuss the “long zoom” approach to cultural history at one of their seminars in long-term thinking in 2007. I was also lucky enough to be invited to discuss these issues onstage with Brian at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. I’m also indebted to Larry Lessig for the Jefferson quote at the beginning of this book, an early link that led me to one of the book’s major themes.

In part his prediction failed because he neglected other macro forces, including the capacity of capitalism to evolve corrections to the problems it created, and in part because he couldn’t shake off the organizing principle of Hegel’s dialectic. 44 “Aside from occasional brief asides” Kuhn, p. xii. 47 thousands (or millions) of years to play out This layered view of cultural development was directly inspired by the pace layered diagram of civilization that I first encountered in Stewart Brand’s wonderful book, How Buildings Learn. Brand’s levels are slightly different, and are focused primarily on the speed at which each layer changes. The main categories are, going from fast to slow: Fashion; Commerce; Infrastructure; Governance; Culture; Nature. 50 “By the way” Schofield 1966, p. 54. 54 “The impact of the introduction of coffee” Standage, p. 135. 55 “In electricity, in particular” Priestley 1775, p. xii Chapter Two: Rose and Nightshade 61 “The work of a button” Journal of Jonathan Williams, Jr., of His Tour with Franklin and Others through Northern England, May 28, 1771.

 

pages: 598 words: 183,531

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition by Steven Levy

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air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, El Camino Real, game design, Hacker Ethic, hacker house, Haight Ashbury, John Conway, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, non-fiction novel, Paul Graham, popular electronics, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, software patent, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

They not only did so against the active disinterest of corporate America, their success forced corporate America to adopt their style in the end. In reorganizing the Information Age around the individual, via personal computers, the hackers may well have saved the American economy . . . The quietest of all the ’60s sub-subcultures has emerged as the most innovative and powerful. --Stewart Brand Founder, Whole Earth Catalog In November 1984, on the damp, windswept headlands north of San Francisco, one hundred fifty canonical programmers and techno-ninjas gathered for the first Hacker Conference. Originally conceived by Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, this event transformed an abandoned Army camp into temporary world headquarters for the Hacker Ethic. Not at all coincidentally, the event dovetailed with the publication of this book, and a good number of the characters in its pages turned up, in many cases to meet for the first time.

Fred Moore’s interest in computers was not only for the pleasure they gave to devoted programmers, but also for their ability to bring people together. Fred was a vagabond activist, a student of nonviolence who believed that most problems could be solved if only people could get together, communicate, and share solutions. Sometimes, in the service of these beliefs, Feed Moore would do very strange things. One of his more notable moments had come four years earlier, in 1971, during the demise party of the Whole Earth Catalog. Editor Stewart Brand had thrown this farewell-to-the-Catalog bash into turmoil by announcing that he was going to give away twenty thousand dollars: it was up to the fifteen hundred party-goers to decide whom he should give it to. The announcement was made at 10:30P.M., and for the next ten hours the party turned, variously, from town meeting to parliamentary conference, to debate, to brawl, to circus, and to bitching session.

I hear that dozens of times a year and never tire of it. Just as satisfying is the fact that the issues raised by the book have become some of the central controversies of the information age. On the week of the book’s publication, many of my subjects, (along with other remarkable hackers I hadn’t included), met in Marin County, California, for the first Hackers Conference. It was there that Stewart Brand, hacker godfather and Whole Earth Catalog editor, hacked the “Information Should Be Free” principle. It’s worth citing his comment, uttered off the cuff at a session I hosted called “The Future of the Hacker Ethic,” because it’s so often misquoted. “On one hand, information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable,” Brand said. “The right information in the right place just changes your life.

 

pages: 411 words: 80,925

What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live by Rachel Botsman, Roo Rogers

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Airbnb, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bike sharing scheme, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, George Akerlof, global village, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, information retrieval, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, out of africa, Parkinson's law, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Simon Kuznets, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, South of Market, San Francisco, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, web of trust, women in the workforce, Zipcar

Williams. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (Portfolio, 2008). Thackara, John. In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World (MIT Press, 2006). Thaler, Richard, and Cass R. Sunstein. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Penguin, 2009). Tomasello, Michael. Why We Cooperate (MIT Press, 2009). Turner, Fred. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (University of Chicago Press, 2006). Wilkinson, Richard, and Kate Pickett. The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger (Bloomsbury Press, 2009). Index The pagination of this electronic edition does not match the edition from which it was created. To locate a specific passage, please use the search feature of your e-book reader.

Michael Tomasaello’s research and new book Why We Cooperate were covered in Nicholas Wade, “Why We May Be Born with an Urge to Help,” New York Times (November 30, 2009), www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/science/01human.html?pagewanted=1. 3. Michael Tomasello, Why We Cooperate (MIT Press, 2009), 5. 4. Statistics retrieved from, “The Rise and Rise of eBay,” Nielsen//NetRatings. Retrieved October 2009, www.nielsen-online.com/pr/pr_050823_uk.pdf. 5. Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago University Press, 2006). 6. “Zipcar Rolls Out National Low-Car Diet.” Zipcar press release (July 21, 200), http://green.autoblog.com/2009/08/25/zipcars-low-car-diet-results-save-money-lose-weight 7. Ibid. 8. Philip Ball, Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006). As cited on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_mass_(sociodynamics). 9.

 

pages: 239 words: 68,598

The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James E. Lovelock

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Ada Lovelace, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, discovery of DNA, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Henri Poincaré, mandelbrot fractal, megacity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, planetary scale, short selling, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia

Countless numbers still die and are made ill by coal smoke in the world, especially in China and Mongolia. Yet it is not the coal itself that kills but the inefficient way we burn it in open fires. London’s air, apart from traffic pollution, is now almost clean to breathe, although 33 per cent of all the electricity we use still comes from burning coal. In 2008 Sandy and I were invited to have breakfast at a London hotel with James Rogers of Duke Energy, and Mary, his wife. My friend Stewart Brand had made the introduction and thought that we would both benefit from the meeting: he was right. I found Jim Rogers, a leading figure in the huge American coal industry, to be as concerned with our future as I was, and wonderfully practical. We shared the opinion that there was neither the time nor the resources to bury the carbon dioxide effluent of coal‐fired power stations on a global scale.

Were it not for the deadly serious consequences of using the wrong theory, the disagreement would be no more than the normal slow progress of scientific understanding. It is normal to debate a new hypothesis, so what went wrong? Why was the Gaia hypothesis thrown into the rubbish bin? The trouble started in 1979 when the Canadian biologist Ford Doolittle wrote his lively and well‐written critique of Gaia. Interestingly, he chose to publish it in the American New Age magazine Coevolution Quarterly, edited by Stewart Brand. Scientists may pretend to deplore the New Age, but that does not stop them reading its publications and in no time Gaia’s face was turned to the wall, especially in the neo‐Darwinist community of scientists. Neither Lynn Margulis nor I could make a convincing defence – partly because, as we had stated it, the Gaia hypothesis was wrong. We had said that organisms, or the biosphere, regulated the Earth’s climate and composition.

 

pages: 288 words: 76,343

The Plundered Planet: Why We Must--And How We Can--Manage Nature for Global Prosperity by Paul Collier

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agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, business climate, Doha Development Round, energy security, food miles, megacity, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shock, profit maximization, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stewart Brand

Eight-year-olds are not, on the whole, always repositories of good sense, and Daniel is no exception. But by chance his anger is right on target: son and father are ethically aligned in the battleground of natural assets. First, the left flank. I agree with environmentalists that nature is special: at some level most of us recognize that. But why is it special? Mainstream environmentalists, such as Stewart Brand, offer one answer. Nature is especially vulnerable and that matters because, being dependent upon it, mankind is thereby vulnerable. But as Brand argues, many environmentalists are carrying ideological baggage that needs to be discarded. For romantic environmentalists nature is incommensurate with the mundane business of the economy: it is in some way ethically prior. Echoing Baron d’Holbach’s diagnosis of modern angst, they see industrial capitalism as having divorced us from the natural world which it is rapidly destroying.

By far the most carbon-efficient advanced economy is France, which, following the oil shock of 1974, decided to achieve energy security by investing in nuclear power. France was able to do this because whereas elsewhere the political left was hostile to nuclear energy, in France it was nationalistic and so supported the idea of independence from imported oil. Wind, wave, and solar power may eventually become scalable (provided enough money is put into research), but for the moment pragmatists such as Stewart Brand, one of the pioneers of the environmental movement, have accepted that nuclear power is an essential part of the battle to contain global warming. They are in tune with the spirit of this book, which is that decisions over the management of natural assets and liabilities are too important to be guided by romanticism. Faced with a shadow price for carbon of around $40 per ton, the world will gradually respond efficiently to global warming.

 

pages: 270 words: 79,992

The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath by Nicco Mele

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3D printing, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, business climate, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Gordon Gekko, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mother of all demos, Narrative Science, new economy, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, pirate software, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

Computer Lib You’ve heard of “women’s lib” coming out of the Vietnam era? Well, turns out there was “computer lib,” too. Ted Nelson’s pivotal 1974 book Computer Lib: You Can and Must Understand Computers Now confronted nerds everywhere with a rousing call to action, demanding that they claim computing for individuals so as to free them from the oppression of, you guessed it, large institutions. Computer Lib had a radical style similar to Stewart Brand’s countercultural publication The Whole Earth Catalog, yet Computer Lib devoted itself to computers, offering both a primer on the basics of programming and a breathtaking vision of computing’s future. The book’s cover art—a raised fist, à la the Black Panthers—left little doubt about its intended radicalism. Computer science was burgeoning as a discipline at major universities. At the same time, much of the country was still caught up in the turmoil of antiwar protests and other social movements.

In May 1970, a group of students at the University of Illinois organized a day of action to protest the construction on campus of a supercomputer called the ILLIAC IV, primarily because it was funded by the Defense Department. They called their protest Smash ILLIAC IV and included a cartoon of the mainframe computer with screens tracking things like a “kill-die factor” and a gaping mouth labeled “Feed $$$$$$ here!” 12. Stewart Brand is a particularly interesting figure because he bridged these two branches of nerd culture. He was the camera operator at Engelbart’s “Mother of All Demos,” but he was also one of the Merry Pranksters running around on Ken Kesey’s bus. The quotation is taken from his essay “We Owe It All to the Hippies,” Time, 1 Mar. 1995. 13. http://www.digibarn.com/collections/newsletters/peoples-computer/peoples-1972-oct/index.html 14. http://www.atariarchives.org/deli/homebrew_and_how_the_apple.php 15. http://www.digibarn.com/collections/newsletters/homebrew/V2_01/index.html 16. http://www.gadgetspage.com/comps-peripheral/apple-i-computer-ad.html 17.

 

pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Once Toyota had extraordinary craftsmen that were known as Kami-sama, or “gods” who had the ability to make anything, according to Toyota president Akio Toyoda.49 The craftsmen also had the human ability to act creatively and thus improve the manufacturing process. Now, to add flexibility and creativity back into their factories, Toyota chose to restore a hundred “manual-intensive” workspaces. The restoration of the Toyota gods is evocative of Stewart Brand’s opening line to the 1968 Whole Earth Catalog: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” Brand later acknowledged that he had borrowed the concept from British anthropologist Edmund Leach, who wrote, also in 1968: “Men have become like gods. Isn’t it about time that we understood our divinity? Science offers us total mastery over our environment and over our destiny, yet instead of rejoicing we feel deeply afraid.

More than a decade ahead of its time, the Alto was the first modern personal computer with a windows-based graphical display that included fonts and graphics, making possible on-screen pages that corresponded precisely to final printed documents (ergo WYSIWYG, pronounced “whizziwig,” which stands for “what you see is what you get”). The machine was controlled by an oddly shaped rolling appendage with three buttons wired to the computer known as a mouse. For those who saw the Alto while it was still a research secret, it drove home the meaning of Engelbart’s augmentation ideas. Indeed, one of those researchers was Stewart Brand, a counterculture impresario—photographer, writer, and editor—who had masterminded the Whole Earth Catalog. In an article for Rolling Stone, Brand referred to PARC as “Shy Research Center,” and he coined the term “personal computing.” Now, more than four decades later, the desktop personal computers of PARC are handheld and they are in the hands of much of the world’s population. Today Google’s robot laboratory sits just several hundred feet from the building where the Xerox pioneers conceived of personal computing.

Gordon, “Why Innovation Won’t Save Us,” Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2012, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324461604578191781756437940. 48.Gordon, “The Demise of U.S. Economic Growth.” 49.Craig Trudell, Yukiko Hagiwara, and Jie Ma, “Humans Replacing Robots Herald Toyota’s Vision of Future,” BloombergBusiness, April 7, 2014, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-06/humans-replacing-robots-herald-toyota-s-vision-of-future.html. 50.Stewart Brand, “We Are As Gods,” Whole Earth Catalog, Fall 1968, http://www.wholeearth.com/issue/1010/article/195/we.are.as.gods. 51.Amir Efrati, “Google Beat Facebook for DeepMind, Creates Ethics Board,” Information, January 27, 2014, https://www.theinformation.com/google-beat-facebook-for-deepmind-creates-ethics-board. 52.“Foxconn Chairman Likens His Workforce to Animals,” WantChina Times, January 19, 2012, http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?

 

Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Writing Science) by Thierry Bardini

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Apple II, augmented reality, Bill Duvall, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Grace Hopper, hiring and firing, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, invention of hypertext, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, unbiased observer, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

This link between evolutionary ecology and cybernetics through the notIon of co- evolution gained popular currency through the life and work of a former student of Paul R. EhrlIch's: Stewart Brand. According to hIs own account, Brand "was bit early by a series of biologists" including Ehrlich, who had supervised his undergraduate research at Stanford in I 9 5 9, and "last but deepest, Gregory Bateson" (Brand, in Kleiner and Brand 1986, 3). In 1968, Brand founded the Whole Earth Catalog, whIch he edIted and published untIl 1972. In 1974, with the proceeds of the catalog, Brand founded CoEvolutIon Quarterly (CQ). Both the catalog and CQ were institutions of the counterculture in the late 1960's and early I970'S. In his introduction to a col- lection of ten years of CQ entitled News that Stayed News, Art Kleiner recalled that the catalog was "started by Stewart Brand in I968 to cater (at first) to hippies liv- ing on commune" (Kleiner, in KleIner and Brand 1986, xi).

As a matter of fact, I think Bill English never did let me see how much it really cost. (laughs) But I know it was on the order of $IO-I5,000, which would be like $50,000 now- adays, or the equIvalent. A lot of money. (Engelbart 1996) Back in our lab, we dismantled a number of the display units in our display sys- tem, so that we could use the cameras in San Francisco and SRI. We borrowed a few tripods and got some extra people to be camera people. One of our friends, Stewart Brand, who was at that time workIng on his first Whole Earth Catalog, helped as well. So it was really a group project; there were about 17 of us. SRI and the oN-LIne System 141 On my console on the stage, there was a camera mounted that caught my face. Another camera, mounted overhead, looked down on the workstatIon controls. In the back of the room, Bill English controlled use of these two video signals as well as the two video sIgnals coming up from SRI that could brIng eIther camera or computer video.

 

pages: 675 words: 141,667

Open Standards and the Digital Age: History, Ideology, and Networks (Cambridge Studies in the Emergence of Global Enterprise) by Andrew L. Russell

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barriers to entry, borderless world, Chelsea Manning, computer age, Edward Snowden, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, open economy, packet switching, pre–internet, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, web of trust

Nelson, Sources of Industrial Leadership: Studies of Seven Industries (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 79–132; Chandler, Inventing the Electronic Century, 94–106; Ceruzzi, A History of Modern Computing, 128–143, 161–173; Gerald W. Brock, The Second Information Revolution (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2003), 106–111. 29 Steven Levy, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution (New York: Doubleday, 1984); Edwards, Closed World; Atsushi Akera, “Voluntarism and the Fruits of Collaboration: The IBM User Group, Share,” Technology and Culture 42 (2001): 710–736; Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006); John Markoff, What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry (New York: Penguin, 2006); Ted Friedman, Electric Dreams: Computers in American Culture (New York: New York University Press, 2005); Steven W. Usselman, “Comment: Mediating Innovation: Reflections on the Complex Relationships of User and Supplier,” Enterprise & Society 7 (2006): 477–484. 30 Steven W.

Nye, “Shaping Communication Networks: Telegraph, Telephone, Computer,” Social Research 64 (1997): 1067–1091; Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, “The Californian Ideology,” Science as Culture 6 (1996): 44–72; Paulina Borsook, Cyberselfish: A Critical Romp through the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High Tech (New York: PublicAffairs, 2001); Pekka Himanen, The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age (New York: Random House, 2001); Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006). Bibliography Manuscript Collections Alex McKenzie Collection of Computer Networking Development Records (CBI 123), Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. American Engineering Standards Committee Minutes, American National Standards Institute, New York, New York.

New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Thompson, George V. “Intercompany Technical Standardization in the Early American Automobile Industry.” The Journal of Economic History 14 (1954): 1–20. Toth, Robert, ed. Standards Activities of Organizations in the United States. Gaithersburg, MD: National Institute of Standards and Technology, 1996. Turner, Fred. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. United States Congress, Office of Technology Assessment. Global Standards: Building Blocks for the Future. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1992. Updegrove, Andrew. “A Work in Progress: Government Support for Standard Setting in the United States, 1980–2004.” Consortium Standards Bulletin 4 (2005): 1–8.

 

pages: 400 words: 94,847

Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen

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Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, medical residency, Nicholas Carr, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, social web, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge

According to numbers included in that report, the US government spends 39 billion dollars each year on basic research. The report does not directly compute total worldwide governmental spending on basic research, and so the figure of 100 billion dollars is an estimate, based on several other numbers from that report. p 206: The Daniel Hillis quote “there are problems that are impossible&0;. . .” is from page 157 of Stewart Brand’s book The Clock of the Long Now [27]. Appendix p 211: A gentle introduction to the density Hales Jewett (DHJ) theorem, including on explanation of the concept of combinatorial lines, may be found in [66]. p 212: For Szemerédi’s theorem, see [218]. The Green-Tao theorem is proved in [84]. p 212: The original proof of DHJ was in [66]. References [1] Aotearoa. Comment on a blog post at Boing Boing (blog), May 3, 2009. http://www.boingboing.net/2009/05/03/wasting-time-for-a-g.html#comment-481275

Position paper for Astro2010 Decadal Survey State, available at http://arxiv.org/abs/0909.3892. [25] Todd A. Boroson and Tod R. Lauer. A candidate sub-parsec supermassive binary black hole system. Nature, 458:53–55, March 5, 2009. [26] Jean-Claude Bradley. Open notebook science. Drexel CoAS E-Learning (blog), September 26, 2006. http://drexel-coas-elearning.blogspot.com/2006/09/open-notebook-science.html. [27] Stewart Brand. The Clock of the Long Now. New York: Basic Books, 2000. [28] John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid. The Social Life of Information. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2000. [29] Zacary Brown. I’m a solver. Perspectives on Innovation (blog), February 4, 2009. http://blog.innocentive.com/2009/02/04/im-a-solver-zacary-brown/. [30] Admiral Bumblebee. Comment on submission “Kasparov versus the World,” 2007. http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/2hvex/kasparov_versus _the_world/

 

pages: 313 words: 92,907

Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are Thekeys to Sustainability by David Owen

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A Pattern Language, active transport: walking or cycling, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, delayed gratification, distributed generation, drive until you qualify, East Village, food miles, garden city movement, hydrogen economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, linear programming, McMansion, Murano, Venice glass, Negawatt, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, placebo effect, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas L Friedman, unemployed young men, urban planning, urban sprawl, walkable city

City families live more compactly, do less damage to fragile ecosystems, burn less fuel, build stronger social ties to larger numbers of people, and, most significantly, produce fewer children, since large families have less economic utility in dense urban settings than they do in marginal agricultural areas. Wealthy westerners are capable of romanticizing truly desolate urban living conditions, as was evident with Hollywood’s embrace of the 2008 movie Slumdog Millionaire. But humanely managing wholesale urban migration will play a critical part in any quest for global sustainability. Stewart Brand has written, “Already, as a result of headlong urbanization, birthrates have plummeted in the developing world from 6 children per woman in the 1970s to 2.9 now. Twenty ‘less developed’ countries, including China, Chile, Thailand, and Iran, have already dropped below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman.”8 That’s good news, both locally and globally, and Brand sees hope for the world in the spread of dense, jumbled urban neighborhoods very much like the ones that the Chinese have assiduously been leveling in Beijing.

Sachs, “Coping with a Persistent Oil Crisis,” Scientific American , October 2008. 5 Charles Dickens, Bleak House (New York: Modern Library Edition, 2002), p. 28. 6 There are some good hutong photographs here: http://beijingman.blogspot.com/2007/12/beijing-hutong-time-out.html. See also Wang Wenbo, Recollections of Hutong (Beijing: China Nationality Art Photograph Publishing House, 2006)—a wonderful book, if you can find it. 7 Peter Hessler, “Hutong Karma,” The New Yorker, February 13 and 20, 2006. 8 Stewart Brand, “City Planet,” Strategy + Business, Spring 2006: http://www.strategy-business.com/press/16635507/06109. 9 Elisabeth Rosenthal, “New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Saving Primeval Rain Forests,” The New York Times, January 30, 2009. 10 Danielle Pergament, “36 Hours: Dubai,” The New York Times, April 6, 2008. 11 Seth Sherman, “Dubai, Where Too Much Is Never Enough,” The New York Times, June 4, 2006. 12 William McDonough and Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (New York: North Point Press, 2002). 13 Jennifer Conlin, “Going Green in Australia’s Blue Mountains,” The New York Times, April 6, 2008. 14 Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (New York: Penguin Books, 2006), p. 242. 15 Michael Specter, “Big Foot,” The New Yorker, February 25, 2008. 16 From “Tesco, Carbon and the Consumer,” a speech by Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco’s CEO, given in London on January 1, 2007.

 

pages: 379 words: 109,612

Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future by John Brockman

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

Myers Navigating Physical and Virtual Lives: Linda Stone Not Everything or Everyone in the World Has a Home on the Internet: Barry C. Smith Ephemera and Back Again: Chris DiBona What Do We Think About? Who Gets to Do the Thinking?: Evgeny Morozov The Internet Is a Cultural Form: Virginia Heffernan Wallowing in the World of Knowledge: Peter Schwartz One’s Guild: Stewart Brand Trust Nothing, Debate Everything: Jason Calacanis Harmful One-Liners, an Ocean of Facts, and Rewired Minds: Haim Harari What Other People Think: Marti Hearst The Extinction of Experience: Scott D. Sampson The Collective Nature of Human Intelligence: Matt Ridley Six Ways the Internet May Save Civilization: David Eagleman Better Neuroxing Through the Internet: Samuel Barondes A Gift to Conspirators and Terrorists Everywhere: Marcel Kinsbourne The Ant Hill: Eva Wisten I Can Make a Difference Because of the Internet: Bruce Hood Go Virtual, Young Man: Eric Weinstein My Internet Mind: Thomas A.

Our effective personal memories are now vastly larger—essentially infinite. Our identity is embedded in what we know. And how I think is an expression of that identity. For me, the Internet has led to that deep sense of collaboration, awareness, and ubiquitous knowledge that means that my thought processes are not bound by the meat machine that is my brain, nor my locality, nor my time. One’s Guild Stewart Brand Founder, Whole Earth Catalog; cofounder, the WELL; cofounder, Global Business Network; author, Whole Earth Discipline I couldn’t function without them, and I suspect the same is true for nearly all effective people. By “them,” I mean my closest intellectual collaborators. They are the major players in my social, extended mind. How I think is shaped to a large degree by how they think. Our association is looser than a team but closer than a cohort, and it’s not a club or a workgroup or an elite.

 

pages: 313 words: 84,312

We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater

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1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, double helix, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Whole Earth Catalog, Zipcar

The computer industry did not realise his dream until cheap personal computers and the Internet were combined in the mid-1990s. Before Engelbart, the computer was distrusted as a dehumanising tool of corporate and bureaucratic control. His work re-imagined it as an instrument of personal liberation and freedom of expression, with the potential to flatten hierarchies, decentralise organisations and unleash collective creativity. The man recording Engelbart’s presentation in December 1968 was Stewart Brand, a 29-year-old itinerant artist and journalist. Brand’s eclectic interests meant he had links with avantgarde artists in Manhattan who were exploring new art forms; with backwoods communes in New Mexico where people were exploring new ways of living; and with the counter-culture of San Francisco, where technology, protest and drugs fused together. As technologists like Engelbart were imagining new ways for people to collaborate using computers, others were experimenting directly with communal living: by 1970 about 750,000 people were living in tens of thousands of recently established communes, in search of a simpler, more authentic way of life.

People often discussed ideas in the coffee room. They were exploring new territory, devising the process as they went along, so there were no fiefdoms to defend. Sharing ideas quickly became normal. As the community grew, researchers communicated their progress through the relentlessly practical Worm Breeder’s Gazette. (The Gazette was like a cross between Lean’s Engine Reporter, which organised innovation in the Cornish tin mines and Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog, which listed useful technologies.) Brenner’s openness set off a virtuous cycle of knowledge-sharing, which was the only way to get the work done. He had identified a task so complex that no single laboratory could complete it. Knowledge about what a particular gene did was worthless unless it could be combined with information about other genes. The jigsaw puzzle had so many pieces it could be completed only through collaboration on a massive scale.

 

pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman

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23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog

Sean Carroll The Pointless Universe Looking at the universe through our anthropocentric eyes, we can’t help but view things in terms of causes, purposes, and natural ways of being. Samuel Arbesman The Copernican Principle We are not anywhere special. J. Craig Venter We Are Not Alone in the Universe There is a humancentric, Earthcentric view of life that permeates most cultural and societal thinking. Stewart Brand Microbes Run the World This biotech century will be microbe-enhanced and maybe microbe-inspired. Richard Dawkins The Double-Blind Control Experiment Why do half of all Americans believe in ghosts, three-quarters believe in angels, a third believe in astrology, three-quarters believe in hell? Max Tegmark Promoting a Scientific Lifestyle Our global scientific community has been nothing short of a spectacular failure when it comes to educating the public.

The recent discoveries by Dimitar Sasselov and colleagues of numerous Earth and super-Earth-like planets outside our solar system, including water worlds, greatly increases the probability of finding life. Sasselov estimates that there are approximately a hundred thousand Earths and super-Earths within our own galaxy. The universe is young, so wherever we find microbial life, there will be intelligent life in the future. Expanding our scientific reach farther into the skies will change us forever. Microbes Run the World Stewart Brand Founder, Whole Earth Catalog; cofounder, the WELL; cofounder, Global Business Network; author, Whole Earth Discipline “Microbes run the world.” That opening sentence of the National Research Council’s The New Science of Metagenomics sounds reveille for a new way of understanding biology and maybe of understanding society as well. The breakthrough was the shotgun sequencing of DNA, the same technology that gave us the human genome years ahead of schedule.

 

pages: 518 words: 107,836

How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (Information Policy) by Benjamin Peters

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Brownian motion, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, double helix, Drosophila, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, hive mind, index card, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Peter Thiel, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, scientific mainstream, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technoutopianism, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, transaction costs, Turing machine

“There was a clear but not formally stated understanding,” noted Baran, “that a survivable communications network is needed to stop, as well as to help avoid, a war.”38 A network that can survive an enemy attack could ensure the threat of the mutual nuclear annihilation—a threat so cataclysmic that it would rationally deter (Baran and his military superiors hoped) either the Soviets, the Americans, or any other nuclear power from striking first.39 Baran’s inspiration for packet switching as a way to build a survivable network traces back to Warren McCulloch’s cybernetic conception of the human brain as a complex and resilient logical processor. As Baran reported in an interview with Stewart Brand, “McCulloch in particular inspired me. He described how he could excise a part of the brain, and the function in that part would move over to another part.”40 The same interview lists McCulloch and Pitt’s 1943 paper on neural networks as a sensible reference, although Baran also noted that he was reading more broadly in the “subject of neural nets,” a literature that probably included McCulloch, Pitts, Jerome Lettvin, Humberto Maturana, and others.

Leslie, The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 203–231. 37. Kristie Mackrasis, Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi’s Spy-Tech World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 23, 133, 139, esp. 112–140. 38. Judy O’Neill, “Interview with Paul Baran,” Charles Babbage Institute, OH 182, March 5, 1990, Menlo Park, CA, accessed April 15, 2015, http://www.gtnoise.net/classes/cs7001/fall_2008/readings/baran-int.pdf. 39. Ibid.; see also Stewart Brand, “Founding Father,” Wired 9 (3) (1991), accessed April 15, 2015, http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/9.03/baran_pr.html. 40. Brand, “Founding Father.” 41. Ibid. 42. Bradley Voytek, “Are There Really as Many Neurons in the Human Brain as Stars in the Milky Way?,” Nature (Scitable blog, May 20, 2013), accessed April 15, 2015, http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/brain-metrics/are_there_really_as_many. 43.

 

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander

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Alistair Cooke, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, full employment, invention of agriculture, Menlo Park, music of the spheres, placebo effect, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Stewart Brand, the medium is the message, trickle-down economics

In this sense, the machine is literally dominant, and you are pas- SIve. 171 III. EFFECTS OF TELEVISION ON THE HUMAN BEING Health and Light As I began to look around for an explanation to account for the physical symptoms people were describing, particularly those related to "deadness," "zombielike feeling," "irritation," and so on-symptoms ordinarily explained as psychologically induced-Stewart Brand sent me a copy of a book called Health and Light by Dr. John Ott, a former banker who quit to become a time-lapse photographer and then founded the Environmental Health and Light Research Institute in Sara- sota, Florida. Now in his seven ties, Ott presides over a board of directors of doctors and medical researchers who do pio- neering work on the effects of light on the human body. I had heard of Ott as a major source for government agen- cies seeking evidence of the effects of X-radiation emanating from television sets.

Gossage exposed me to a way of thinking about media, its power and its absurdities, which probably affected my own perceptions more than any other single person or source. Often while working on this project, I found myself mentally checking things with the way he would have seen them, his mind remains that alive to me. Finally, for contributions of hot leads and miscellaneous good ideas, I would like to thank Larry Adleman, Rina AI- calay, Obie Benz, Jeff Brand, Stewart Brand, Susan Brock- man, Neeli Cherkovski, Sheldon Davis, Libby Edwards, Mali Gesmundo, Todd Gitlin, Rubin Glickman, Colette Goerner, Arlene Goldbard, Rasa Gustaitis, Jim Harding, Janet Kranz- berg, Ann Kyle, Marie Helene Laraque, George Leonard, Leo Litwak, Jerry Lubenow, Joan Lubenow, John Magnuson, Jane Margold, Susan Margolis, Katinka Matson, John Matt- son, Jeannie Milligan, Albert Morse, Stewart Mott, Mike Murphy, Michael Nolan, Mark Obenhaus, Zev Putterman, Michael Shamberg, Michael Singer, Dick Shouse, Sara Ur- quart-Duskin, Henry Weinstein, and the folks at the Ant Farm, Optic Nerve and Malvina's. .,. .f' - "..f'

 

pages: 372 words: 89,876

The Connected Company by Dave Gray, Thomas Vander Wal

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A Pattern Language, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, complexity theory, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, Googley, index card, interchangeable parts, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, loose coupling, market design, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, profit maximization, Richard Florida, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, Vanguard fund, web application, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

I have also had the privilege to receive help and advice from true luminaries, such as Richard Saul Wurman, Saul Kaplan, Kevin Kelly, Jared Spool, Peter Vander Auwera, Dan Roam, Thor Muller, Paul Pangaro, Lane Becker, Peter Morville, Lou Rosenfeld, Nilofer Merchant, John Hagel III, JP Rangaswami, Doc Searls, Stowe Boyd, Jay Cross, Marcia Conner, Ben Cerveny, Chris Brogan, Bob Logan, David Armano, Alex Osterwalder, and Don Norman. Although I don’t know them personally, for the ideas in this book, I owe a deep debt of gratitude to the works of Gary Hamel, Clayton Christensen, Arie de Geus, Ricardo Semler, Eric Beinhocker, Daniel Pink, Richard Florida, Stewart Brand, Bill McKelvey, Stafford Beer, Herbert Simon, John Boyd, and perhaps most of all, Dr. W. Edwards Deming, many of whose groundbreaking ideas are only now being realized. For the access they provided to connected companies and their inner workings, I must thank Ray LaDriere, Kevin Kernan, Michael Bonamassa, Jerry Rudisin, Sunny Gupta, Adrian Cockcroft, Harry Max, Mary Walker, Mark Interrante, Ben Hart, Livia Labate, Sherri Maxson, and Sharif Renno.

Freedom from Command and Control: Rethinking Management for Lean Service By John Seddon, Productivity Press, 2005. The Future of Management By Bill Breen and Gary Hamel, Harvard Business School Press, 2007. The Ghost in the Machine By Arthur Koestler, Macmillan, 1968. The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity By Richard Florida, Harper, 2010. How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built By Stewart Brand, Viking Adult, 1994. Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter By John Fleming and Jim Asplund, Gallup Press, 2007. In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives By Steven Levy, Simon and Schuster, 2011. Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy By Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian, Harvard Business Review Press, 1998. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail By Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business Review Press, 1997.

 

pages: 417 words: 109,367

The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century by Ronald Bailey

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Cass Sunstein, Climatic Research Unit, Commodity Super-Cycle, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, diversified portfolio, double helix, energy security, failed state, financial independence, Gary Taubes, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, invisible hand, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, phenotype, planetary scale, price stability, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, yield curve

Nevertheless, marine fauna generally are in better condition than terrestrial fauna: Fewer marine animal extinctions have occurred; many geographic ranges have shrunk less; and numerous ocean ecosystems remain more wild than terrestrial ecosystems.” As a result, the researchers conclude that while the need for action is urgent, there is still time to rescue and restore the biodiversity of the oceans. Cities Spare Nature Another extremely positive megatrend with regard to protecting and restoring nature is urbanization. In his 2010 article “How Slums Can Save the Planet,” prominent environmental thinker Stewart Brand cited architect Peter Calthorpe’s 1985 assertion that “[t]he city is the most environmentally benign form of human settlement. Each city dweller consumes less land, less energy, less water, and produces less pollution than his counterpart in settlements of lower densities.” By 2010, the majority of people lived in cities for the first time in history. Demographers expect that 80 percent of people will live in urban areas by 2050 or so.

Jackson, “Ecological Extinction and Evolution in the Brave New Ocean,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105, supp. 1 (August 12, 2008): 11458–11465. www.pnas.org/content/105/Supplement_1/11458.full. “halts, and even reverses”: Christopher Costello, Steven D. Gaines, and John Lynham, “Can Catch Shares Prevent Fisheries Collapse?” Science 321.5896 (September 19, 2008): 1678–1681. www.sciencemag.org/content/321/5896/1678.short . “The city is the most environmentally benign form”: Stewart Brand, citing Peter Calthorpe in “How Slums Can Save the Planet.” Prospect, January 27, 2010. www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/how-slums-can-save-the-planet/#.U7sUp6goxyg. a globally interconnected world: Paolo D’Odorico et al., “Feeding Humanity Through Global Food Trade.” Earth’s Future 2.9 (September 2014): 458–469. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014EF000250/abstract. “we will need to find a way to reintegrate”: Jeremy Rifkin, “The Risks of Too Much City.”

 

pages: 283 words: 85,824

The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Brewster Kahle, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, digital Maoism, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, future of journalism, George Gilder, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Naomi Klein, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, oil rush, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, slashdot, Slavoj Žižek, Snapchat, social graph, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Works Progress Administration, young professional

This group performed the remarkable feat of transforming computers from enablers of stodgy government administration to countercultural cutting edge, from implements of technocratic experts to machines that empower everyday people. They “reconfigured the status of information and information technologies,” Turner explains, by contending that these new tools would tear down bureaucracy, enhance individual consciousness, and help build a new collaborative society.15 These prophets of the networked age—led by the WELL’s Stewart Brand and including Kelly and many other still-influential figures—moved effortlessly from the hacker fringe to the upper echelon of the Global Business Network, all while retaining their radical patina. Thus, in 1984 Macintosh could run an ad picturing Karl Marx with the tagline, “It was about time a capitalist started a revolution”—and so it continues today. The online sphere inspires incessant talk of gift economies and public-spiritedness and democracy, but commercialism and privatization and inequality lurk beneath the surface.

Marina Gorbis, “Ain’t Gonna Work on Arianna’s Farm No More,” Institute for the Future, Future Now (blog), September 1, 2010, http://www.iftf.org/future-now/article-detail/aint-gonna-work-on-ariannas-farm-no-more/. 14. For example, both Clay Shirky (in Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age [New York: Penguin Press, 2010]) and Lawrence Lessig (in Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy [New York: Penguin Press, 2008]) take time to dispute the digital sharecropping argument. 15. Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), 238 and 247. 16. For a good discussion of this history, see Evgeny Morozov’s profile of Tim O’Reilly, supporter of the open source movement and founder of O’Reilly Media. Evgeny Morozov, “The Meme Hustler,” Baffler, no. 22 (2013). 17. Openness is the “key to success,” says Jeff Jarvis in What Would Google Do?

 

pages: 103 words: 32,131

Program Or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age by Douglas Rushkoff

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banking crisis, big-box store, citizen journalism, cloud computing, East Village, financial innovation, Firefox, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the printing press, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, WikiLeaks

To most people, this meant a confirmation of copyright—that everything we posted on the bulletin boards belonged to us, and couldn’t be published by someone else without permission. To others, including me, You Own Your Own Words served as an ethical foundation: You, the human being on the other side of the modem, are responsible for what you say and do here. You are accountable. Given that the WELL was developed by farsighted cultural pioneers such as Stewart Brand, Larry Brilliant, Kevin Kelly, and Howard Rheingold, we shouldn’t be surprised that they sought to compensate for some of the disconnection online between people and their words. And that’s why, from the very beginning, I decided to be myself online. I’ve only used one name on the Internet: Rushkoff. I figured the only real danger was from government, corporations, or some other “big brother” out there using what I posted against me in some future McCarthy hearings.

 

pages: 669 words: 210,153

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss

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Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, post scarcity, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

I took the actuarial tables for the estimated age of my death, for someone born when I was born, and I worked back the number of days. I have that showing on my computer, how many days. I tell you, nothing concentrates your time like knowing how many days you have left. Now, of course, I’m likely to live longer than that. I’m in good health, etc. But nonetheless, I have 6,000-something days. It’s not very many days to do all the things I want to do. “I learned something from my friend Stewart Brand [founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, president of the Long Now Foundation], who organized his remaining days around 5-year increments. He says any great idea that’s significant, that’s worth doing, for him, will last about 5 years, from the time he thinks of it, to the time he stops thinking about it. And if you think of it in terms of 5-year projects, you can count those off on a couple hands, even if you’re young.”

Feynman), Recession Proof Graduate (Charlie Hoehn), Ogilvy on Advertising (David Ogilvy), The Martian (Andy Weir) Kamkar, Samy: Influence (Robert Cialdini) Kaskade: Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath (Ted Koppel) Kass, Sam: Sapiens (Yuval Noah Harari), The Art of Fielding (Chad Harbach), Plenty; Jerusalem; Plenty More (Yotam Ottolenghi), The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs (Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg), A History of World Agriculture (Marcel Mazoyer and Laurence Roudart) Kelly, Kevin: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko (Daniel Pink), So Good They Can’t Ignore You (Cal Newport), Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts), Future Shock (Alvin Toffler), Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 (AnnaLee Saxenian), What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry (John Markoff), The Qur’an, The Bible, The Essential Rumi; The Sound of the One Hand: 281 Zen Koans with Answers (Yoel Hoffman), It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff (Peter Walsh) Koppelman, Brian: What Makes Sammy Run? (Budd Schulberg), The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal (Julia Cameron), The War of Art (Steven Pressfield) Libin, Phil: The Clock of the Long Now (Stewart Brand), The Alliance (Reid Hoffman), The Selfish Gene (Richard Dawkins), A Guide to the Good Life (William Irvine) MacAskill, Will: Reasons and Persons (Derek Parfit), Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World (Mark Williams and Danny Penman), The Power of Persuasion (Robert Levine), Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (Nick Bostrom) MacKenzie, Brian: Tao Te Ching (Lao Tzu), Way of the Peaceful Warrior (Dan Millman) McCarthy, Nicholas: The Life and Loves of a He Devil: A Memoir (Graham Norton), I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone (Nina Simone) McChrystal, Stanley: Once an Eagle (Anton Myrer), The Road to Character (David Brooks) McCullough, Michael: The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career (Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha), Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (David Allen), The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (Stephen R.

Rose, Kevin: “‘Strive to share your fears and secrets with the world.’” Rubin, Rick: “‘choose peace’ (all lowercase).” Sacca, Chris: “This form of advertising is archaic and unaccountable. Don’t waste your money.” Sethi, Ramit: “‘Tell me a secret you’ve never told anyone. I’ll keep it confidential. Email me: ramit.sethi@iwillteachyoutoberich.com.’” Silva, Jason: “‘We are as gods and might as well get good at it.’—Stewart Brand” Sivers, Derek: “Well, my real answer, if I was taking that literally, is that I would remove all the billboards in the world, and ensure that they were never replaced. . . . So, my better answer is, I would make a billboard that would say, ‘It Won’t Make You Happy,’ and I would place it outside any big shopping mall or car dealer.” Starrett, Kelly: “‘Every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.’”

 

pages: 636 words: 202,284

Piracy : The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates by Adrian Johns

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banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Corn Laws, demand response, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Marshall McLuhan, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, pirate software, Republic of Letters, Richard Stallman, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, software patent, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, traveling salesman, Whole Earth Catalog

The answer involves a history extending back beyond the development of digital technology itself, to ideals of science and media that were forged in the days of the radio and telephone trusts. It also derives from underground practices seen by their proponents as upholding those ideals in the face of industry and monopoly. Take radio. All the principal participants in the making of the home computer either had backgrounds as ham radio aficionados or came from whole families of them (as did Stewart Brand, founder of the first online community, the WELL). Before their experiences at MIT, Stanford, or any of the other canonical sites of the computer revolution, these figures were already acculturated into norms of open access, technical meritocracy, libertarianism, and the sharing of information. These were the values bequeathed to amateur and pirate radio from the 1920s–1930s patent fights against AT&T and the radio trust and, in the UK, from those around the BBC, and identified, thanks to those fights, with science itself.

As in Cambridge, however, a merger of phreaking and hacking was central to defining the new technology. It occurred at a range of extramural and sometimes transient social settings, including various homes, Kepler’s bookstore (a place reminiscent of the bookshops and coffeehouses of Restoration London), and a Free University that offered courses on “How to End the IBM Monopoly.” In print, there was of course Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog, a guide to “tools” useful for readers impatient with the conformities of American consumerism. Launched in 1969, the catalogue touched on an extraordinary range of topics, from cybernetics and communication theories to agriculture and medicine, with an eclectic individualism purportedly inspired by Buckminster Fuller. It grew with successive editions until by 1971 it was almost 450 pages long.

The reality, extent, and epistemic implications of piratical practices were held up as not only challenges to intellectual property – though those challenges were widely declared to be fundamental – but as threats to the possibility of a rational online public. The need to articulate the moral economy of digital networks became acute. The best known of the early networked communities was the Whole Earth ’Lectronic Link, or WELL, a Sausalito group cofounded by Stewart Brand. Before long other online collectives – Usenet, MUDs, MOOs, and the like – were multiplying. The earliest BBS (bulletin board system) was older, having been created by two Chicagoans in the late 1970s as a substitute for swapping cassettes. Some of these groups, like the WELL, were fairly small and localized; others were larger and adopted fictional locations, leading at length to ventures like Second Life.

 

pages: 423 words: 126,096

Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity by Edward Tenner

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Bonfire of the Vanities, card file, Douglas Engelbart, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Network effects, optical character recognition, QWERTY keyboard, Stewart Brand, women in the workforce

Of course, new technology could in turn serve these trends: braiding machines with today’s sophisticated controls can produce patterns in laces, including ways to identify corporate and school affiliation. Technique and technology reinforce and modify each other, coevolving unpredictably and endlessly. Building on the ideas of the architectural theorist Christopher Alexander, the writer and designer Stewart Brand has illustrated how structures “learn” by absorbing the additions, subtractions, innovations, and restorations of successive owners. Adaptability is equally vital in designing the smaller things in life. What Brand writes about buildings, that each is a prediction and a wrong one, applies to our tools as well.9 Our Own Devices is thus an exploration not only of inventive genius but also of user ingenuity.

“‘Miracle’: Rescuer Describes Man Forced to Cut Off Leg,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 23, 1993; Carolyn Hughes Crowley, “College Cribbers,” Washington Post, January 6, 1992. 8. J. H. Thornton, Textbook of Footwear Materials (London: National Trade Press, 1955), 55–56, 210–14; Jeff Bailey, “Unfit to Be Tied: It Really Isn’t You, It’s Your Shoelaces,” Wall Street Journal, January 28, 1998. 9. Stewart Brand, How Buildings Learn (New York: Penguin Books, 1995), 12–23. 10. Hans Fantel, “Portable CD Players Advance,” New York Times, May 17, 1987; Jon Van, “Teletubby Infatuation Gives Fermilab Inspiration,” Chicago Tribune, September 13, 1999; “Totally Random,” Scientific American, vol. 278, no. 5 (November 1997), 28. CHAPTER ONE 1. Sally Holloway, London’s Noble Fire Brigades (London: Cassell, 1973), 51. 2.

 

pages: 391 words: 22,799

To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise by Bethany Moreton

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affirmative action, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, collective bargaining, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, estate planning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Gilder, global village, informal economy, invisible hand, market fundamentalism, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, price anchoring, Ralph Nader, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, walkable city, Washington Consensus, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, Works Progress Administration

Fones-Wolf, Selling Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism, 1945–60, History of Communication (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994); Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2007); Kim Phillips-Fein, “Top-Down Revolution: Businessmen, Intellectuals, and Politicians Against the New Deal, 1945–1964,” Enterprise & Society (2006): 686–94; Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007). 312 NOTES TO PAGES 127 – 1 3 1 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. Interview with Jim von Gremp, September 8, 2004. Ferold Arend, “Store Talk: Definition of ‘Tactful,’” WMW, February 1972, 16.

Trimble, Sam Walton: The Inside Story of America’s Richest Man (New York: Dutton, 1990), 277. 32. John Huey, “Wal-Mart: Will It Take Over the World?” Fortune, January 30, 1989, 55; Soderquist, The Wal-Mart Way: The Inside Story of the Success of the World’s Largest Company. 33. http://larryholder.blogspot.com/2008/02/my-early-days-with-wal-mart-data. html; accessed July 15, 2008. 34. Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture; the quoted phrase, reports Turner, appeared in Stewart Brand’s opening statement to evÂ�ery edition of the Whole Earth Catalog (1969–1971); Ibid., 82. 35. Between 1959 and 1997, acÂ�tual skilled high-tech jobs like systems analysts and code-writers grew only from 3.4 percent of all U.S. jobs to 6.6 percent; even at a paradigmatic high-tech corporation like Intel, three-quarters of the jobs are for routine clerical, sales, production, or maintenance work.

 

pages: 205 words: 18,208

The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? by David Brin

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affirmative action, airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, data acquisition, death of newspapers, Extropian, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, informal economy, Iridium satellite, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, means of production, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, open economy, packet switching, pattern recognition, pirate software, placebo effect, Plutocrats, plutocrats, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telepresence, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yogi Berra, Zimmermann PGP

Or that some who rode with Ken Kesey in the Electric Koolaid Schoolbus later established pioneering outposts on the cybernetic frontier? Almost no one foresaw the personal computer. Certainly not the big shots at IBM or Burroughs. But society acquired the PC and other wonders because a cohort of young minds were indoctrinated to seek novelty where standard organizations never looked. Would another culture put up with the likes of Stewart Brand, always poking at stagnant structures, from state government to the stuffy profession of architecture? Would Steve Jobs or Andrew Grove be billionaires in an economy based on inherited advantage? Where else might happy magicians like Howard Rheingold and Kevin Kelly be more influential than establishment priests or scientists? Would important power brokers hang on the words of Esther Dyson, Sherry Turkle, and Dorothy Denning if this culture did not value original minds?

Some have called for modification of slander and libel laws, applying them fiercely to those who post malign or unsupported missives on the Net. But this is just another example of trying to solve problems by reducing information flow. After all, a flamer isnʼt really different from the motorist who cut you off last week, nearly causing an accident, flipping an obscene gesture and laughing at your frustration, safe behind a mask of anonymity. Driven by rancorous behavior he witnessed in the Netʼs early days, Stewart Brand, cofounder of the Whole Earth Catalog and Whole Earth Review magazine, realized there would be no peace as long as nastiness could find shelter behind false identities. Brand lobbied successfully to have anonymity strictly forbidden on the pioneering Internet service the Well. True, there are disadvantages to this rule, and I do feel there should remain places where anonymous postings are possible, especially for whistle-blowers reporting crimes.

 

pages: 363 words: 123,076

The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion, Capote, and the New Journalism Revolution by Marc Weingarten

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1960s counterculture, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, Donner party, East Village, Haight Ashbury, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Menlo Park, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, pre–internet, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Stewart Brand, upwardly mobile, working poor

The spring 1964 bus trip on the International Harvester bus the Pranksters called “Furthur,” in which the group traveled to New York and Canada, would provide the bulk of the narrative. But the acid trips would provide the meta-narrative—or, rather, the metaphysical narrative. This objective presented a new set of problems. Anything Wolfe didn’t witness firsthand would have to be re-created from interviews and whatever else he could get his hands on. So he went back to La Honda, tracked down Pranksters such as Ed McClanahan and Stewart Brand, and interviewed them at length about what acid really felt like, what visions they might have had on the drug, and how it altered their perception of the world. Because the Pranksters were so attuned to the use of multimedia, Wolfe had the advantage of a tremendous amount of audio and visual documentation, particularly films of various Acid Tests, which Kesey screened for him. But the story itself was changing, and the truth was uglier than Wolfe had anticipated.

INTERVIEWS Marco Acosta Marshall Fishwick George Plimpton Ken Auletta “Mouldy” Marvin Gilbert Bert Prelutsky Ken Babbs Ralph Ginzburg Alan Rich Ralph “Sonny” Barger Milton Glaser Hugh Romney Julie Baumgold George Goodman Lillian Ross (via email) Jim Bellows Pete Hamill Ron Rosenbuam John Berendt Christopher Lehmann- Mort Sahl Burl Bernard Haupt Lawrence Schiller Patricia Bosworth George Hirsch Robert Semple Stewart Brand Clifford Hope Robert Sherrill Jimmy Breslin David Horowitz Jim Silberman David Broder William Kennedy Ralph Steadman Brock Brower Robert Kotlowitz Gloria Steinem Bill Brown Michael Kramer Gay Talese Art Buchwald Paul Krassner Hunter S. Thompson David Burgin Zane Kesey Nicholas von Hoffman John Burks George Lois Dan Wakefield Midge Decter Frank Mankiewicz Richard Wald Ed de Grazia Martin Mayer George Walker David Dellinger Charles McAtee Bernard Weinraub Byron Dobell Ed McClanahan Jann Wenner Elaine Dundy Larry McMurtry Les Whitten Clay Felker Thomas B.

 

pages: 565 words: 151,129

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, Zipcar

Particularly noticeable, at least in hindsight, is that a decade after the Appropriate Technology Movement emerged, a distinctly different movement of young tech-hobbyists came on the scene. These were the geeks and nerds of IT culture who shared a love of computer programming and a passion for sharing software in collaborative learning communities. They made up the Free Software Movement, whose aim was to create a global Collaborative Commons (that movement will be considered in greater detail in part III). Their slogan was “information wants to be free,” coined by Stewart Brand, one of the few who bridged the Appropriate Technology Movement and hacker culture. (The Whole Earth Catalog, which Brand edited, helped elevate the Appropriate Technology Movement from a niche subculture to a broader cultural phenomenon.) What’s often lost in Brand’s remarks on the software revolution is the rest of the utterance, which he delivered at the first hackers conference in 1984: On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable.

Mary Beth Griggs, “3-D Printers Spit Out Fancy Food, Green Cars, and Replacement Bones,” Discover Magazine, March 26, 2012, http://discovermagazine.com/2012/mar/31-3-d-printers -spit-out-fancy-food-and-green-cars#.UnvIBPmkoSU (accessed November 7, 2013). 30. “Manitoba’s Kor Ecologic Debuts Hybrid Urbee,” Canadian Manufacturing, November 2, 2012, http://www.canadianmanufacturing.com/designengineering/news/manitobas-kor-ecologic -debuts-hybrid-urbee-11992 (accessed November 1, 2013). 31. Stewart Brand and Matt Herron, “Keep Designing—How the Information Economy Is Being Created and Shaped by the Hacker Ethic,” Whole Earth Review (May, 1985): 44. 32. Deborah Desrochers-Jacques, “Green Energy Use Jumps in Germany,” Der Spiegel, August 30, 2011, http://www.spiegel.de/international/crossing-the-20-percent-mark-green-energy-use -jumps-in-germany-a-783314.html (accessed August 7, 2013); Berlin and Niebull, “Germany’s Energy Transformation: Eneriewende,” Economist, July 28, 2012, http://www.economist.com /node/21559667 (accessed October 1, 2013). 33.

 

pages: 528 words: 146,459

Computer: A History of the Information Machine by Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray, Nathan L. Ensmenger, Jeffrey R. Yost

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, Byte Shop, card file, cashless society, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer age, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, garden city movement, Grace Hopper, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, pirate software, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the market place, Turing machine, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, young professional

Few computer-liberation advocates came from the ranks of the student-led New Left, who commonly protested against IBM punch cards and all they symbolized. Instead, most individuals who viewed computers as tools for liberation were politically agnostic, more focused on forming alternative communities, and inclined to embrace new technology as a means to better achieve personal liberty and human happiness—what one scholar has labeled as the “New Communalists.” Stewart Brand, Stanford University biology graduate turned publishing entrepreneur, became a leading voice for the New Communalists through creating The Whole Earth Catalog. Deeply influenced by cybernetics visionary Norbert Wiener, electronics media theorist Marshall McLuhan, and architect and designer Buckminster Fuller, Brand pressed NASA to publicly release a satellite photo of the Earth in 1966. Two years later the photo adorned the cover of the first edition of The Whole Earth Catalog.

Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce. Turck, J. A. V. 1921. Origin of Modern Calculating Machines. Chicago: Western Society of Engineers. Turing, A. M. 1954. “Solvable and Unsolvable Problems.” Science News, no. 31, pp. 7–23. Turkle, Sherry. 2011. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York: Basic Books. Turner, Fred. 2006. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Valley, George E., Jr. 1985. “How the SAGE Development Began.” Annals of the History of Computing 7, no. 3: 196–226. van den Ende, Jan. 1992. “Tidal Calculations in the Netherlands.” Annals of the History of Computing 14, no. 3: 23–33. ———. 1994. The Turn of the Tide: Computerization in Dutch Society, 1900–1965.

 

pages: 464 words: 155,696

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, computer age, corporate governance, El Camino Real, Isaac Newton, Jony Ive, market design, McMansion, Menlo Park, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. When I was young, there was an amazing publication called the Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, thirty-five years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions. Stewart and his team put out several issues of the Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue.

We had been talking about the trajectory of his career when, in a rambling aside not unlike the road on the back cover of the last issue of the Whole Earth Catalog, Steve told me about the impact that the Catalog had had upon him. “I think back to it when I am trying to remind myself of what to do, of what’s the right thing to do.” A few weeks after that interview had been published in Fortune, I received an envelope in the mail. It was from Stewart Brand, and it contained a rare copy of that final issue. “Please give this to Steve next time you see him,” Stewart asked. When I did, a week or two later, Steve was thrilled. He’d remembered the issue for all those years, but had never had the time to locate a copy for himself. The end of the Stanford speech focuses on the Catalog’s back-cover motto, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish,” but my favorite line about the catalog in Steve’s speech is when he describes it as “idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.”

 

pages: 212 words: 49,544

WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency by Micah L. Sifry

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1960s counterculture, Amazon Web Services, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Buckminster Fuller, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Climategate, crowdsourcing, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, Internet Archive, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, Network effects, RAND corporation, school vouchers, Skype, social web, Stewart Brand, web application, WikiLeaks

Scott Neuman, “Clinton: WikiLeaks ‘Tear at Fabric’ of Government,” NPR, November 29, 2010, www.npr.org/2010/11/29/131668950/whitehouse-aims-to-limit-wikileaks-damage. Chapter 2 1 Micah L. Sifry, “The Rise of Open Source Politics,” The Nation, November 22, 2004, www.thenation.com/article/rise-open-source-politics. 2 Interview with the author, June 2004. 3 See Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (University of Chicago Press, 2006). 4 Jay Rosen, “The People Formerly Known as the Audience,” PressThink. org, June 27, 2006, http://archive.pressthink.org/2006/06/27/ppl_frmr. html. 5 Howard Rheingold, “Crap Detection 101,” SFGate.com, June 30, 2009, www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/detail?entry_id=42805. 6 Micah L. Sifry, “The Deaning of America,” The Nation, March 25, 2004, www.thenation.com/article/deaning-america. 7 See Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), Chapter Seven: “Political Freedom, Part Two: The Emergence of the Networked Public Sphere,” for a detailed exploration of the Diebold case.

 

pages: 173 words: 14,313

Peers, Pirates, and Persuasion: Rhetoric in the Peer-To-Peer Debates by John Logie

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1960s counterculture, Berlin Wall, book scanning, cuban missile crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Hacker Ethic, Isaac Newton, Marshall McLuhan, mutually assured destruction, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, Richard Stallman, search inside the book, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog

Segaller writes: Pa r l orPr e s s wwwww. p a r l or p r e s s . c om Hackers, Crackers, and the Criminalization of Peer-to-Peer Technologies 29 By 1984, as the Macintosh was launched, the hippie origins of networking were once again beginning to show themselves. Part of the impetus came from an electronic version of the Whole Earth Catalog (whose Epilog had come and gone a decade earlier). Inevitably, it was Stewart Brand who originated and branded what he called the “Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link,” or WELL. Now more users were able to tune in and turn on to the highs of networking, attracted by the chance to connect with like-minded people— even “Dead” people. One should not underestimate the importance in the history of the Internet of the Grateful Dead. (269) The Grateful Dead, of course, holds special significance in the prehistory of the peer-to-peer debate.

 

pages: 222 words: 54,506

One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com by Richard L. Brandt

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Amazon Web Services, automated trading system, big-box store, call centre, cloud computing, Dynabook, Elon Musk, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, new economy, science of happiness, search inside the book, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, software patent, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

“Having worked for a large number of more technologically oriented start-ups that didn’t do so well, I liked the idea of one in which I could easily describe where the revenue stream was going to come from,” he recalls. “At that time both Jeff and I believed Amazon could succeed as a relatively small business, compared to what it eventually became. I liked that too.” Plus, it reminded Kaphan of an enjoyable, although brief, time he had spent in 1970 working for Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Truck Store, precursor of the Whole Earth Catalog. “I saw Amazon’s mission as a continuation of certain aspects of that same mission: to supply hard to find tools (mainly information-based tools) to a far-flung clientele who might not have easy access to those tools in their local communities,” he says. Bezos offered to hire both Kaphan and Herb. Kaphan even started looking around for office space in Santa Cruz, hoping that Bezos might decide to put down his entrepreneurial roots there.

 

pages: 162 words: 42,595

Architecture: A Very Short Introduction by Andrew Ballantyne

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dematerialisation, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, late capitalism, means of production, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Stewart Brand, the built environment

Michael Pollan, A Place of My Own: the Education of an Amateur Builder (Random House, 1997) describes the commissioning and construction of a small building in the author’s garden, and shows how personal and emotional investments are made along with the effort and ingenuity involved in building. The range of forces at work on buildings is explored in Edward Allen, How Buildings Work (Oxford University Press, second edition 1995). The books shows how many things find resolution in a building’s design, and is complemented by Stewart Brand, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built (Viking, 1994) which shows how people adapt buildings to overcome problems that the designers did not anticipate. There is a host of more specialized studies that caters to particular interests, and the bibliographies and recommendations in the books listed above will point towards them. A few historic texts can be recommended for the insight that they give into the architecture of different eras.

 

pages: 186 words: 49,251

The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry by John Warrillow

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, barriers to entry, call centre, cloud computing, discounted cash flows, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, Network effects, passive income, rolodex, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, subscription business, telemarketer, time value of money, Zipcar

For $129 a year, you can subscribe to the Wood Whisperer Guild, a membership website set up by Marc Spagnuolo, who shares his knowledge of woodworking with thousands of hobby cabinetmakers and enthusiasts. Sharing of specialized information via a membership website is a relatively recent phenomenon made possible by advancing technology—and is a testament to the way the public now values information. There was a time when technology hippies thought information should be accessible to all. Stewart Brand, speaking at a 1984 Hackers Conference, reportedly used the phrase “information wants to be free.”1 Brand’s quote was largely taken out of context, but it was enough to become a rallying cry for a small, noisy faction of technology activists fighting for free information online. These people believed information was a basic right and would start online petitions the moment anyone threatened to charge for content online.

 

pages: 168 words: 50,647

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5 by Taylor Pearson

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbnb, barriers to entry, Black Swan, call centre, cloud computing, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Google Hangouts, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, means of production, Oculus Rift, passive income, passive investing, Peter Thiel, remote working, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, Thomas Malthus, Uber and Lyft, unpaid internship, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

Just as Amazon took a traditional retail shelf and added online reviews making the buying process easier, online marketplaces make the hiring process easier. Instead of a large, up-front investment in hiring and training someone who may or may not be good enough for the role, you’re able to make a small investment, over time, in someone that has been vetted by other people in your industry. Self-Education: Information Wants to Be Free In 1984, at the first Hackers Conference, Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand was overheard telling Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak the now iconic phrase: “Information wants to be free.” The internet has done more to facilitate information transparency than any technology since the printing press. Knowledge that used to be opaque and hard to source is often now just a Google search away. Scott Young, a young entrepreneur who now teaches others about advanced learning strategies, put himself through the entire MIT course material in twelve months for two thousand dollars.

 

pages: 210 words: 56,667

The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity From Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs by Alexa Clay, Kyra Maya Phillips

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3D printing, Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Burning Man, collaborative consumption, conceptual framework, double helix, fear of failure, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Occupy movement, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, union organizing, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar

But they do say ‘Oh, what if you had stayed in school?’ ” The unschooling movement may be a niche, but alternative education is a growing marketplace. “Our education system was used to make industrial workers out of agricultural workers. It is no longer adequate,” Howard Rheingold told us. Rheingold, sixty-seven, is the former editor of Whole Earth Review. Founded in 1985, Whole Earth Review was a countercultural publication evolving out of Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog and rooted in “that old American tradition of self-reliance,” Rheingold shared, “building on that misfit streak started by Emerson.” In Rheingold’s perspective, Whole Earth Review was all about sharing tools and ideas to get people to take more control over their lives. “There was this hope that you didn’t have to depend on distant institutions—government, business, religious organizations—to shape your life.”

 

pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson

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23andMe, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, digital Maoism, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peak oil, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Florida, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, smart transportation, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, supervolcano, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Turing test, urban decay, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, young professional

“Traditionally, problems of urban decay and associated issues, such as crime, have been seen as domestic issues best dealt with by internal security or police forces. That will no longer be an option.” Richard Norton, Naval War College Review People power But it’s not all bad news. If governments or aid agencies cannot provide food, water, shelter or other necessities, people will often organize these things for themselves. Moreover, as the American writer Stewart Brand has commented, adversity can breed inventiveness, especially ways of collaborating at a local level. Brand also points out that informal cities can reduce fertility, in some instances by encouraging women to enter education or find paid work, which benefits not only the individual, but the nation as a whole. And let’s not forget that when it comes to the utilization of scarce resources, those living in informal cities in countries such as India can usually teach wasteful Westerners a thing or two about materials reuse, recycling and reduction.

 

pages: 170 words: 51,205

Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age by Cory Doctorow, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbnb, barriers to entry, Brewster Kahle, cloud computing, Dean Kamen, Edward Snowden, game design, Internet Archive, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, optical character recognition, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, profit maximization, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, transfer pricing, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy

These groups don’t give the Internet giants a free pass, but they understand that just because they’re mad at Google and their publishers are mad at Google, it doesn’t mean that they want the same things as their publishers. It’s up to creators everywhere to engage with their colleagues about the ways that expanded liability for intermediaries drive us all into the old-media companies’ corrals, where they get to make the rules, pick the winners, and run the show. 3. DOCTOROW’S THIRD LAW Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, People Do BACK IN 1984, Stewart Brand—founder of the Whole Earth Catalog—had a public conversation with Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak at the first Hackers Conference. There, Brand uttered a few dozen famous words: “On the one hand, information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time.

 

pages: 236 words: 77,098

I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted by Nick Bilton

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, 4chan, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, death of newspapers, en.wikipedia.org, Internet of things, John Gruber, Marshall McLuhan, Nicholas Carr, recommendation engine, RFID, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand

Ultimately, some companies will win, and those winners will be the ones that create the best and most meaningful experiences for their customers. A lot of visionaries and futurists worked on the Minority Report concepts. Steven Spielberg, the director of Minority Report, asked his team of designers to envision what the year 2054 might look like. Spielberg tapped into the creative talents of famous writers such as Douglas Coupland and Stewart Brand, and also worked with interface designers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including John Underkoffler, the movie’s science adviser. A creative team involved in the retail experience of the movie said “customers did not actually have to try on the clothes in the store but could do so in a virtual way.” A three-dimensional representation of your body would be stored in your mobile phone or wristwatch.

 

pages: 238 words: 73,824

Makers by Chris Anderson

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3D printing, Airbnb, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, business process, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, factory automation, Firefox, future of work, global supply chain, global village, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, South of Market, San Francisco, spinning jenny, Startup school, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Y Combinator

“It gave a tremendous sense of self-confidence, that through exploration and learning one could understand seemingly very complex things in one’s environment,” he told [an] interviewer. Later, when Jobs and his Apple cofounder, Steve Wozniak, were members of the Homebrew Computer Club, they saw the potential of desktop tools—in this case the personal computer—to change not just people’s lives, but also the world. In this, they were inspired by Stewart Brand, who had emerged from the psychedelic culture of the 1960s to work with the early Silicon Valley visionaries to promote technology as a form of “computer liberation,” which would free both the minds and the talents of people in a way that drugs had not. In his biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson describes Brand’s role in the origins of what is today the Maker Movement: Brand ran the Whole Earth Truck Store, which began as a roving truck that sold useful tools and educational materials, and in 1968 he decided to extend its reach with The Whole Earth Catalog.

 

pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

Mix well by hand A cookbook with a soufflé recipe that tells you to add “just enough milk” would be worse than useless. The same is true of a book that tells you to add “just enough diversity.” How much is enough? We know that it’s considerably less than we thought, but the problem is that there is no set amount of diversity that is just enough. That’s why The WELL has moderators. Founded in 1975 by the generational icon Stewart Brand, with Larry Brilliant, The WELL has been one of the longest-running conversations on the Net. Its origins are in the hippie culture of which Brand is an avatar—the name stands for The Whole Earth ’Lectronic Link, a reference to Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog—but the 4,000 current members seem to reflect more of an earnest coffee-shop culture than the shirtless non-linearity of Haight-Ashbury. Jon Lebkowsky, who has been on The WELL since 1987, says that the site’s success was not accidental.

 

pages: 267 words: 78,857

Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff by Dinah Sanders

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Atul Gawande, big-box store, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwatching, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, credit crunch, endowment effect, Firefox, game design, Inbox Zero, income per capita, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Kevin Kelly, late fees, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Merlin Mann, side project, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand

When you are creating or modifying something—a new furniture arrangement, a new aspect of your routine, or a new way that you want to approach particular social situations—design for the expected use as well as for several possible other conditions, in case major variables switch to other settings than what you had predicted. Prepare yourself for comfortably rolling with the changes. Writer and futurist Stewart Brand, in How Buildings Learn (a book that informs about a much broader range of thinking than merely the architectural), discusses this principle: “All buildings are predictions. All predictions are wrong.” I'll tone it down just a hair: All plans are predictions. No predictions are 100% perfect. By preparing yourself for imperfection and envisioning reasonable responses to the most likely alternate scenarios, you'll reduce your stress and optimize your results.

 

pages: 224 words: 64,156

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

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1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, digital Maoism, Douglas Hofstadter, Extropian, follow your passion, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, social graph, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

If a design like Facebook or Twitter depersonalizes people a little bit, then another service like Friendfeed—which may not even exist by the time this book is published—might soon come along to aggregate the previous layers of aggregation, making individual people even more abstract, and the illusion of high-level metaness more celebrated. Information Doesn’t Deserve to Be Free “Information wants to be free.” So goes the saying. Stewart Brand, the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, seems to have said it first. I say that information doesn’t deserve to be free. Cybernetic totalists love to think of the stuff as if it were alive and had its own ideas and ambitions. But what if information is inanimate? What if it’s even less than inanimate, a mere artifact of human thought? What if only humans are real, and information is not? Of course, there is a technical use of the term “information” that refers to something entirely real.

 

Masters of Deception: The Gang That Ruled Cyberspace by Michelle Slatalla, Joshua Quittner

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dumpster diving, East Village, Hacker Ethic, hacker house, job automation, packet switching, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Review

Shouldn't he be able to copy it as many times as he wants? It's his, after all. What if his sister accidentally on purpose stuck his disk in the microwave? How's he going to play? This was a widespread concern among teenage boys all over the country. It was perhaps their first conscious political stand. Even if they didn't know it, they were following a basic truth identified by Whole Earth Review founder Stewart Brand: Information wants to be free. To liberate it, these kids became "warez" dudes, amateur software pirates who put their collective ingenuity together. They traded tips for breaking lame copy protections. They even wrote little lockpicking programs, like Kwik Copy, that could copy a disk protected by measly Error 23. It was a macho thing to do. Computer macho. Naturally, the companies abandoned Error 23.

 

pages: 268 words: 75,850

The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems-And Create More by Luke Dormehl

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3D printing, algorithmic trading, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, computer age, death of newspapers, deferred acceptance, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Earth, Google Glasses, High speed trading, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, pattern recognition, price discrimination, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, upwardly mobile, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator

“Postscript on the Societies of Control.” October, vol. 59, Winter 1992. 46 Poole, Steven. “The Digital Panopticon.” New Statesman, May 29, 2013. newstatesman.com/sci-tech/sci-tech/2013/05/are-you-ready-era-big-data. 47 Anderson, Chris. The Long Tail (London: Random House Business, 2006). 48 Ellul, Jacques. The Technological Society (New York: Knopf, 1964). 49 Turner, Fred. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006). 50 Turkle, Sherry. Life on Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995). 51 Singer, Natasha. “When Your Data Wanders to Places You’ve Never Been.” New York Times, April 27, 2013. nytimes.com/2013/04/28/technology/personal-data-takes-a-winding-path-into-marketers-hands.html. 52 Sussman, Warren.

 

pages: 294 words: 80,084

Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction to Science Fact by Steven Kotler

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Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Burning Man, carbon footprint, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, epigenetics, gravity well, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Louis Pasteur, North Sea oil, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, theory of mind, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

And it’s this list that’s put the nuclear option back on the table, a process well summarized by Peter Schwartz and Spencer Reiss in a recent Wired article: “Burning hydrocarbons is a luxury that a planet with six billion energy-hungry souls can’t afford. There is only one sane, practical alternative: nuclear power.” Many feel the same. Both the previous Bush administration and the current Obama administration back the nuclear option, as do an increasing number of serious environmentalists like Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, Gaia theorist James Lovelock, and eco-author Bill McKibben. Congress as well. In 2007, they gave the nuclear industry $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for up to 80 percent of the cost of new units. Since then, US power companies have submitted applications for 30 new plants. Worldwide, there are 31 new plants under construction and even more promised. China alone has plans for 26. All of this, the experts say, might signal the end of our energy woes or the end of the world — no one is quite sure which.

 

pages: 296 words: 76,284

The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher

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Airbnb, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, car-free, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collaborative consumption, Columbine, crack epidemic, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tony Hsieh, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

In 2007, those numbers peaked: Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics 2010. This shift is major: Alexis C. Madrigal, “The Beginning of the End for Suburban America,” The Atlantic, September 14, 2011. The author and provocateur: James Howard Kunstler, The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape (Simon & Schuster, 1993). In an interview in the late 1990s: Stewart Brand, “Vital Cities: An Interview with Jane Jacobs,” Whole Earth, Winter 1998. A 2006 documentary, The End of Suburbia: The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream, written and directed by Gregory Greene, 2004. A prescient and informative film; see http://www.endofsuburbia.com. “We’ve reached the limits”: Joel Connelly, “As Suburbs Reach Limit, People Are Moving Back to the Cities,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 4, 2010.

 

The Techno-Human Condition by Braden R. Allenby, Daniel R. Sarewitz

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airport security, augmented reality, carbon footprint, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, facts on the ground, friendly fire, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, prediction markets, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Whole Earth Catalog

Indeed, many scientists are beginning to call this era the Anthropocene (meaning, roughly, the Age of Humans). The background to much discussion of transhumanism is a world in which human activity increasingly affects global systems, including the climate and the hydrological, carbon, and nitrogen cycles of the anthropogenic Earth. l l And yet we know it not. We are strangers in our own strange land, homeless because we have been turfed out by our very successes. As Stewart Brand put it in his first Whole Earth Catalog (1968), "We are as gods and might as well get good at it." So far, we fail that test, and we do so for reasons that the philosopher Martin Heidegger stated succinctly: So long as we do not, through thinking, experience what is, we can never belong to what will be .... The flight into tradition, out of a combination of humility and presumption, can bring about nothing in itself other than self deception and blindness in relation to the historical moment. 12 We are as gods.

 

pages: 193 words: 19,478

Memory Machines: The Evolution of Hypertext by Belinda Barnet

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augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Duvall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, game design, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, linked data, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, publish or perish, semantic web, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons

The tantalizing but unrealized potential of this literary work permeates its memory, much like Xanadu’s unrealized potential. It also permeates Nelson’s memory. He is filled with a deep regret about his life and the failure of his vision: ‘I see today’s computer world, and the Web, as resulting from my failure’ (Nelson 2011). Although people were and still are inspired by his design, like Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan’, it exists in potentia. Everyone from Stewart Brand to Alan Kay seems to have been ‘inspired’ by Nelson, but nobody has built the design exactly as he wants it. ‘Nobody is building my/our design! They are building things vaguely like hearsay about the design!’ (Nelson 2012). One of the first people who thought they might try to build part of Nelson’s design was Andries van Dam (I stress ‘part’ here because van Dam had ideas of his own that he wanted to explore at the same time, such as print text editing).

 

The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal by M. Mitchell Waldrop

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Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Apple II, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Wiener process

And not even a pack of total computer illiterates could fail to see how incredibly beautiful that was. Could they? THE END OF EDEN On December 7, 1972-coincidentally, just a few weeks after Chuck Thacker had started work on the prototype Altos-Rolling Stone magazine ran a banner head- line: "SPACEWAR-Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death among the Computer 388 THE DREAM MACHINE Bums." In the article that followed, a thirty-three-year-old counterculture guru named Stewart Brand, the founder and publisher of The Whole Earth Catalo re- counted a wild-eyed night of Spacewar competition at the Stanford AI Lab, and then went on to proclaim the revolution. "Ready or not, computers are coming to the people," he declared. "That's good news, maybe the best since psychedelics. " Spacewar, Brand contended, was not just fun; it also symbolized a profound shift in the nature of technology.

And the result was that we had to have identity badges at PARC." Of course, he says, this restriction was no worse than what researchers had to live with at, say, Bell Labs. But before it was all over, the badges became a big symbolic issue at PARC, where they were widely reviled as an outrageous assault on free speech and the free flow of information. The badges were also seen as re- taliation for the Stewart Brand article, which had appeared only a short time be- fore. "I think a lot of the computer-science people wanted to believe the article caused the crackdown," says Pake. "But I never saw any evidence of it." And then on top of the homegrown paranoia, says Pake, you had the arro- gance factor. "The computer scientists had these incredible systems up and run- ning," he says. "But they weren't very congenial to visitors trying to understand those systems.

Lick may have revealed a hopelessly unfashionable lack of cynicism in that last paragraph, but his "self-motivating exhilaration" was real enough-and not just in the Tech Square terminal room, either. The phenomenon had been gath- ering force for the better part of a generation, both in the marketplace and in society at large. Witness the public's eager embrace of computer utilities in the 1960s, when thousands of nonprofessionals had finally gotten the chance to tap in and experience the exhilaration firsthand. Or witness the rhetoric of counterculture gurus such as Stewart Brand (who'd called computing "the best news since psychedelics") and Ted Nelson, an independently wealthy computer activist who had declared that "hypertext" -a word he'd invented to describe the electronic links first imagined by Vannevar Bush-would at last allow us to break free from linear thought and hierarchical power structures. The ARPA vi- sion of personal involvement with computers had resonated deeply with the head-tripping, antiestablishment spirit of the era.

 

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

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additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

While there are active organizations to make copies, we will keep our information safe, we do not have an effective mechanism to make 500 year copies of digital materials...." Peter Lyman and Brewster Kahle, "Archiving Digital Cultural Artifacts: Organizing an Agenda for Action," D-Lib Magazine, July–August 1998. Stewart Brand writes: "Behind every hot new working computer is a trail of bodies of extinct computers, extinct storage media, extinct applications, extinct files. Science fiction writer Bruce Sterling refers to our time as 'the Golden Age of dead media, most of them with the working lifespan of a pack of Twinkles," Stewart Brand, "Written on the Wind," Civilization Magazine, November 1998 ("01998" in Long Now terminology), available online at http://www.longnow.org/10klibrary/library.htm. 43. DARPA's Information Processing Technology Office's project in this vein is called LifeLog, http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/Programs/lifelog; see also Noah Shachtman, "A Spy Machine of DARPA's Dreams," Wired News, May 20, 2003, http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,58909,00.html; Gordon Bell's project (for Microsoft) is MyLifeBits, http://research.microsoft.com/research/barc/MediaPresence/MyLifeBits.aspx; for the Long Now Foundation, see http://longnow.org. 44.

 

pages: 829 words: 229,566

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

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1960s counterculture, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

In some cases, the effect of the astronaut’s eye view proves particularly extreme. Their minds hovering out in orbit, there are those who begin to imagine leaving the planet for good—saying, “Goodbye Earth!” to quote Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill, who, in the mid-1970s, started calling for the creation of space colonies to overcome the earth’s resource limits. Interestingly, one of O’Neill’s most devoted disciples was Stewart Brand, the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, who spent a good chunk of the 1970s arguing that the U.S. government should build space colonies; today he is one of the most vocal proponents of Big Tech fixes to climate change, whether nuclear power or geoengineering.59 And he’s not the only prominent geoengineering booster nurturing the ultimate escape fantasy. Lowell Wood, co-inventor of the hose-to-the-sky, is an evangelical proponent of terraforming Mars: there is “a 50/50 chance that young children now alive will walk on Martian meadows . . . will swim in Martian lakes,” he told an Aspen audience in 2007, describing the technological expertise for making this happen as “kid’s stuff.”60 And then there is Richard Branson, Mr.

Martin’s, 1999), 324. 58. Kurt Vonnegut Jr., “Excelsior! We’re Going to the Moon! Excelsior!” New York Times Magazine, July 13, 1969, SM10. 59. Poole, Earthrise, 144–145, 162; Peder Anker, “The Ecological Colonization of Space,” Environmental History 10 (2005): 249–254; Andrew G. Kirk, Counterculture Green: The Whole Earth Catalog and American Environmentalism (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007), 170–172; Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wildlands, and Geoengineering Are Necessary (New York: Penguin, 2009). 60. Leonard David, “People to Become Martians This Century?” NBC News, June 25, 2007. 61. “Richard Branson on Space Travel: ‘I’m Determined to Start a Population on Mars,’ ” CBS This Morning, September 18, 2012; “Branson’s Invasion of Mars,” New York Post, September 20, 2012; “Branson: Armstrong ‘Extraordinary Individual’ ” (video), Sky News, August 26, 2012. 62.

 

pages: 786 words: 195,810

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman

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Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental subject, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, Isaac Newton, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mother of all demos, neurotypical, New Journalism, pattern recognition, placebo effect, scientific mainstream, side project, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, union organizing, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

It was the first computer designed to support McCarthy’s time-sharing scheme directly. It was also the computer Engelbart had used to power the Mother of All Demos. It was a chunk of hardware with unusually good karma. The hacker subculture incubated at MIT was thriving in places like SAIL, Xerox PARC, and the now legendary garages of Cupertino and San José. Soon Whole Earth Catalog impresario Stewart Brand would unleash this subculture on the unsuspecting inhabitants of Greater Mundania with the ultimate endorsement in Rolling Stone: “Computers are coming to the people. That’s good news, maybe the best since psychedelics.” The focus of the article was Spacewar, the seminal computer game developed in 1961 by four of McCarthy’s students high on the fumes of pulp science fiction. But one of the most compelling things about the game, Brand noticed, was the insidious way that it turned a glorified number cruncher into a “communication device between humans.”

“I realized that I had made a mistake”: Lee Felsenstein, interview with the author, 2014. While McCarthy wanted to design machines: “An Interview with John Markoff: What the Dormouse Said.” Ubiquity, Aug. 2005. tools that would facilitate “conviviality”: Tools for Conviviality, Ivan Illich. Harper & Row, 1973. a programmer at a bustling commune: “Spacewar: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death among the Computer Bums,” Stewart Brand. Rolling Stone, Dec. 7, 1972. which was twenty-four feet long: “Convivial Cybernetic Devices: An Interview with Lee Felsenstein,” Kip Crosby. Analytical Engine (newsletter of the Computer History Association of California), Vol. 3, No. 1, Nov. 1995. a “communication device between humans”: “Spacewar.” Emoticons like :-)—originally proposed by Lisp hacker Scott Fahlman: “Smiley Lore,” Scott Fahlman. https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~sef/sefSmiley.htm On August 8, 1973: “Convivial Cybernetic Devices.”

 

pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

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1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

In this famous TV advertisement aired only once—during the 1984 Super Bowl—a young rebel representing Apple hurls “a torch of freedom” into the screens on which the face of “IBM” drones on. The promise is that with Apple's new colorful day, 1984 (the year) will not be like 1984, the Orwellian dystopia. If the reader is unfamiliar with the advertisement, its Wikipedia page will explain its significance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_%28advertisement%29. 58.  See Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006). For an example of Limbaugh's Apple love see http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/search/?query=apple&go.x=-299&go.y=-365&go=go. For a unusual and interesting take on Jobs and Wozniak's early relationship, see the Steve & Steve comic, http://www.steve-and-steve.com/. 59.  “What then is an object?

See Nicholas Felton's work at http://feltron.com/. 22.  Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1980). 23.  The overlapping territories between early computer culture and the counterculture imagined the potential in global cybernetics to provide various dissolutions of the self into recursive networks. Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006). 24.  Bruno Latour, “The Tarde Durkheim Debate,” http://www.bruno-latour.fr/node/354. 25.  Jon Cohen, “The Patient of the Future,” MIT Technology Review, February 21, 2012, http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/426968/the-patient-of-the-future/. 26.  Antonio Regalado, “Stephen Wolfram Adds Analytics to the Quantified-Self Movement,” MIT Technology Review, May 8, 2013, http://www.technologyreview.com/news/514356/stephen-wolfram-on-personal-analytics/. 27. 

 

pages: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan

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1960s counterculture, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, computer age, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, data acquisition, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full text search, global village, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pirate software, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, single-payer health, Skype, social web, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, web application

Nicholas Lemann, The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy (New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1999). 47. Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (New York: Knopf, 1992). 48. Langdon Winner, Autonomous Technology: Technics-out-of-Control as a Theme in Political Thought (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1980). 49. Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006). 50. Fred Turner, “Burning Man at Google: A Cultural Infrastructure for New Media Production,” New Media Society 11, nos. 1–2 (2009): 73–94. 51. Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006). 52. Dalton Conley, Elsewhere, U.S.A.

 

pages: 367 words: 99,765

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings

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Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, clean water, David Brooks, don't be evil, dumpster diving, Eratosthenes, game design, Google Earth, helicopter parent, hive mind, index card, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, Mercator projection, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Journalism, openstreetmap, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Stewart Brand, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, traveling salesman, urban planning

CHAPTER 11: FRONTIER 212 “Our age today”: Quoted in John Noble Wilford, The Mapmakers (New York: Vintage, 2000), p. 112. 212 “Mein Herr”: Lewis Carroll, Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (London: Macmillan, 1893), p. 169. 212 1982 essay: Umberto Eco, “On the Impossibility of Drawing a Map of the Empire on a Scale of 1 to 1,” in How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays (Orlando, Fla.: Harcourt, 1994), p. 95. 216 twenty terabytes or so: Stewart Brand, The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility (New York: Basic Books, 1999), p. 87. 217 George Armstrong Custer: Jeffry D. Wert, Custer (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 50. 217 drop film packets: Nicholas M. Short, The Remote Sensing Tutorial (Washington, D.C.: Federation of American Scientists, 2001), http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Intro/Part2_26e.html. 218 a military incursion: Daniel Hernandez, “Tensions High Between Nicaragua, Costa Rica in Border Dispute,” Los Angeles Times, Nov. 19, 2010. 218 “McDonaldization” of cartography: Martin Dodge and Chris Perkins, “Reclaiming the Map: British Geography and Ambivalent Cartographic Practice,” Environment and Planning A 40, no. 6 (June 2008), pp. 1271–1276. 219 briefly given Chinese names: “Google Admits ‘Mistake’ of Wrong Depiction of Arunachal,” The Times of India, Aug. 8, 2009. 220 Meteor-impact craters: Richard Macey, “Opal Miner Stumbles on Mega Meteorite Crater,” The Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 23, 2008. 220 a Roman villa in Parma: “Internet Maps Reveal Roman Villa,” BBC News, Sept. 21, 2005. 220 a lost Amazonian city: Ed Caesar, “Google Earth Helps Find El Dorado,” The Sunday Times, Jan. 10, 2010. 220 a remote forest in Mozambique: Louise Gray, “Scientists Discover New Forest with Undiscovered Species on Google Earth,” The Daily Telegraph, Dec. 21, 2008. 220 the so-called forest swastika: “German Forest Loses Swastika,” BBC News, Dec. 4, 2000. 220 eight thousand grazing cattle: Thomas H.

 

pages: 465 words: 109,653

Free Ride by Robert Levine

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Anne Wojcicki, book scanning, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Firefox, future of journalism, Googley, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, linear programming, offshore financial centre, pets.com, publish or perish, race to the bottom, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

But these companies depend on a ready supply of content that consumers want, and the lack of a functioning market online has already endangered this. Like TV, the Internet is only as good as what’s on. The one thing everyone can tell you about the Internet is that “information wants to be free.” This memorable phrase, coined at a 1984 hacker convention by the influential technology thinker Stewart Brand, evolved into a media business mantra that shaped the online world as we know it. This is why newspapers gave away Web content, why Hulu doesn’t charge users, and why music fans expect albums to be free for the taking. Unfortunately, we’ve forgotten the rest of Brand’s quotation: On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life.

 

pages: 328 words: 92,317

Machinery of Freedom: A Guide to Radical Capitalism by David Friedman

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back-to-the-land, Fractional reserve banking, hiring and firing, jitney, laissez-faire capitalism, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, means of production, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Stewart Brand, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

The gentleman did very well for himself until the day that he tendered a bid to the U.S. government to carry the government's mail — at one-fifth the price the U.S. Post Office was charging. The Post Office regarded this as going a bit too far and insisted on its rights. The gentleman was put out of business and the Post Office stole his idea. When a mail truck gets stuck in the mud, third class is what they throw under the wheels. Stewart Brand MONOPOLY II: STATE MONOPOLY FOR FUN AND PROFIT A reg'lar pollytician can't give away an' alley without blushin', but a businessman who is in pollytics . . . will . . . charge an admission price to th' lake front and make it a felony f'r annywan to buy stove polish outside iv his store, and have it all put down to public improvements. . . . MR. DOOLEY* In the United States in this century the predominant form of monopoly has not been natural monopoly, artificial monopoly, or direct state monopoly, but state monopoly in private hands.

 

pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator

And this is where a great many of the technologies discussed in chapter 3 now sit. But when technologies are in the trough, we are again swayed by the hype (this time, the negative hype) and consistently fail to believe they’ll ever emerge, thus missing their massively transformative potential. Gartner Hype Circle Source: www.gartner.com Take the personal computer. Back in the late 1960s, when folks like writer Stewart Brand (who coined the term personal computer) first started discussing the idea of the PC, it was with an incredible amount of “change the world” fervor.3 Then the machines actually arrived, and all most people could do was play Pong. This was the trough of disillusionment, cultural deception at its finest. But imagine being able to take your knowledge of what computers can do today back to the early 1980s—what bold entrepreneurial business opportunities might this have unlocked for you?

 

pages: 357 words: 99,684

Why It's Still Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions by Paul Mason

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back-to-the-land, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, capital controls, centre right, citizen journalism, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, illegal immigration, informal economy, land tenure, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, Network effects, New Journalism, Occupy movement, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rising living standards, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, union organizing, We are the 99%, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, young professional

This process did not appear out of the blue; it can trace a direct lineage to the liberation movements of the hippy Sixties. In her brilliant cyber-memoir, technology writer Becky Hogge describes how survivors of the LSD fraternity in California ‘quit drugs for software’, seeding a techno-revolution that would create the mouse, the pixel, the Apple Mac, the Internet, hacking and free software.15 Their goals were made explicit in two famous statements by Stewart Brand, the visionary founder of the Whole Earth Catalog: ‘Like it or not, computers are coming to the masses’; and ‘Information wants to be free’. This would open up a forty-year battle, still ongoing, between those trying to monopolize, censor and commercialize information technology and those who want it to be open, uncensored and free. And it’s a battle over fundamentals. The rise of the profitless enterprise, of unmanaged collective labour, of free information and the massive scalability of collaborative work: each of these issues challenges a core belief in management theory.

 

pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

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Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, wages for housework, women in the workforce

Everybody else in the carriage fits into a demographic from the twentieth century: the elderly middle-class couple in their hats and tweeds; the stubbly manual worker reading his newspaper; the guy in the suit typing on his laptop, too busy for headphones, but who’s taken the time to polish his shoes (i.e. me). The first group consists of what sociologists call ‘networked individuals’, adept at drawing down knowledge from a relatively open and global system. They behave in a networked way – from work to consumption to relationships and culture. Thirty years on from Stewart Brand’s famous claim that ‘information wants to be free’, they instinctively believe that under normal circumstances it should be free. They will pay for their drugs at a dance club but still find it an imposition to pay for downloaded music. This group is already so large and well defined that in some cities – London, Tokyo, Sydney – it is the twentieth-century types that are the minority: still consulting analogue maps instead of GPS, still confused by the coffee options available at Starbucks, appalled and fascinated by the mercurial lifestyles that the other group sees as normal.

 

pages: 317 words: 107,653

A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams by Michael Pollan

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A Pattern Language, back-to-the-land, Benoit Mandelbrot, dematerialisation, Frank Gehry, interchangeable parts, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, place-making, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, The Great Good Place, urban renewal

Modernists often designed their interiors not so much for particular individuals as for Man; they regarded the addition of clients’ stuff as a subtraction from a creation they thought of as wholly their own. This is one legacy of modernism that we have yet to overcome; our stuff, and in turn our selves, still very often have trouble gaining a comfortable foothold in a modern interior. Even now most of them seem designed to look their best uninhabited. Stewart Brand, the author of a recent book on preservation called How Buildings Learn, tells of asking one architect what he learned from revisiting his buildings. “Oh, you never go back,” the architect said, surprised at the question. “It’s too discouraging.” For many contemporary architects, time is the enemy of their art. In The Timeless Way of Building, Alexander writes that “those of us who are concerned with buildings tend to forget too easily that all the life and soul of a place…depend not simply on the physical environment, but on the pattern of events which we experience there”—everything from the transit of sunlight through a room to the kinds of things we habitually do in it.

 

pages: 380 words: 104,841

The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us by Diane Ackerman

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, Internet of things, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Masdar, megacity, microbiome, nuclear winter, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, skunkworks, Skype, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the High Line, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog

It’s as if Gurdon and Yamanaka had found a way to reset the body’s clock to early development, enabling it to mint wild-card cells that haven’t chosen their career yet—without using the fetal stem cells that cause so much controversy. Space may be only one of the final frontiers. The other is surely the universe of human imagination and creative prowess in genetics. “We are as gods and might as well get good at it,” Stewart Brand began his 1968 classic, The Whole Earth Catalog, which helped to inspire the back-to-the-land movement. His 2009 book, Whole Earth Discipline, begins more worriedly: “We are as gods and have to get good at it.” Among the rarest of the rare, only several northern white rhinoceroses still exist in all the world. But, thanks to Gurdon and Yamanaka, geneticists can take DNA from the skin of a recently dead animal—say, a northern white rhino from forty years ago—turn it into “induced pluripotent stem cells” (IPS), add a dose of certain human genes, and conjure up white rhino sperm.

 

pages: 313 words: 95,077

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky

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Andrew Keen, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, c2.com, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, hiring and firing, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, Internet Archive, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, Kuiper Belt, lump of labour, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Merlin Mann, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, Picturephone, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, prediction markets, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Yogi Berra

Other students who have been especially incisive on social topics are Mouna Andraos, Jake Barton, Michelle Chang, John Geraci, Elizabeth Goodman, Christina Goodness, Sam Howard-Spink, James Robinson, Matty Sallin, Nick Sears, Mike Sharon, and Shawn van Every. Alicia Cervini’s careful reading has improved both the ideas and their expression from the first draft. My field has a tradition of thinking out loud. Chris Anderson, Andrew Blau, Stewart Brand, Lili Cheng, Esther Dyson, Hal Levin, Bob Metcalfe, Jerry Michalski, Richard O’Neill, Tim O’Reilly, Peter Schwartz, Andrew Stolli, and Kevin Werbach all provided both observations and public platforms for the development of this work. Articles written for Chris Anderson for Wired and Thomas Stewart for Harvard Business Review did likewise. Long-running conversations with many colleagues have provided material and insights for this book.

 

pages: 378 words: 94,468

Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution That's Changing How the World Gets High by Mike Power

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air freight, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, double helix, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, frictionless, Haight Ashbury, Kevin Kelly, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Satoshi Nakamoto, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, Zimmermann PGP

It was the beginning of the modern age.1 Engelbart, in common with many intellectuals and technologists of the era, had attended LSD-assisted creativity sessions in the 1960s at the International Foundation for Advanced Study, a California psychedelic research group founded by a friend of Alexander Shulgin’s, Mylon Stolaroff. The Shulgins wrote the preface to Stolaroff’s book Thanatos to Eros (1994) detailing his experiences with LSD, MDMA, mescaline and a number of Shulgin’s creations.2 Author Stewart Brand, who coined the phrase ‘Information wants to be free’ in 1984, was responsible for filming the Mother of All Demos, and that same year he launched the Whole Earth Catalog, the ad-free samizdat techno-hippy bible. Its esoteric and wide-ranging content, from poetry to construction plans for geodesic domes by physicist Buckminster Fuller, from car repair tips to trout-fishing guides and the fundamentals of yoga and the I-ching, was hacked together using Polaroid cameras, Letraset and the highest of low-tech.

 

pages: 391 words: 102,301

Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety by Gideon Rachman

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Asian financial crisis, bank run, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, global reserve currency, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, laissez-faire capitalism, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, offshore financial centre, open borders, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, RAND corporation, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sinatra Doctrine, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, Thomas Malthus, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent

See Misha Glenny, “Drugs cartels open another front in a futile war,” Financial Times, December 11, 2009, and Misha Glenny, McMafia: Seriously Organized Crime (London: Vintage, 2009). 23. ZERO-SUM WORLD 1. Tom Friedman, The World Is Flat (London: Penguin, 2005), 544. 2. Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World (New York: Norton, 2008), 218. 3. See “Lessons from ‘The Leopard,’” Economist, December 11, 2009. 4. See, for example, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Discipline (London: Atlantic Books, 2010). 5. Martin Wolf, “The dangers of living in a zero-sum world economy,” Financial Times, December 18, 2007. 6. “U.S. Seen as Less Important, China as More Powerful: Isolationist Sentiment Surges to Four-Decade High,” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C., December 3, 2009. Available from http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1428/america-seen- less-important-china-more-powerful-isolationist-sentiment-surges. 7.

 

pages: 350 words: 103,988

Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets by John McMillan

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, congestion charging, corporate governance, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, Deng Xiaoping, experimental economics, experimental subject, fear of failure, first-price auction, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, George Gilder, global village, Hernando de Soto, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job-hopping, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, land reform, lone genius, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market friction, market microstructure, means of production, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, proxy bid, purchasing power parity, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Stewart Brand, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, yield management

Cutting out the middleman is a common refrain. But sometimes intermediaries are valuable. If information flowed freely, then the middlemen could be cut out; when information is not free, they serve a useful purpose. “Information wants to be free. Information also wants to be expensive.” This mantra of high technology applies as well to the low-tech world. It was coined by the computer guru Stewart Brand, who went on to explain, “Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine—too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient.”6 Buyers are empowered by anything that makes it easier for them to acquire information. Any market innovation that lowers search costs, such as the advent of electronic commerce, makes markets more efficient.

 

pages: 407 words: 103,501

The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Netwo Rking by Mark Bauerlein

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, centre right, citizen journalism, collaborative editing, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, disintermediation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pets.com, Results Only Work Environment, Saturday Night Live, search engine result page, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technology bubble, Ted Nelson, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, web application

Today, in the world of online social networks, the oracle’s advice might be show thyself. >>> making connections The earliest online social networks were arguably the Bulletin Board Systems of the 1980s that let users post public messages, send and receive private messages, play games, and exchange software. Some of those BBSs, like The WELL (Whole Earth’Lectronic Link) that technologist Larry Brilliant and futurist Stewart Brand started in 1985, made the transition to the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s. (Now owned by Salon.com, The WELL boasts that it was “the primordial ooze where the online community movement was born.”) Other websites for community and connection emerged in the 1990s, including Classmates.com (1995), where users register by high school and year of graduation; Company of Friends, a business-oriented site founded in 1997; and Epinions, founded in 1999 to allow users to give their opinions about various consumer products.

 

pages: 455 words: 133,322

The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick

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Andy Kessler, Burning Man, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, Howard Rheingold, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, Peter Thiel, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, social software, social web, Startup school, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Whole Earth Review, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator

As a key employee in the Advance Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense, Licklider helped conceive and fund what became the ARPAnet, which in turn led to the Internet. A decade or so later, a few pioneers were beginning to spend time in such online communities. The first service on the Internet that captured substantial numbers of nontechnical users—long before the invention of the World Wide Web—was the Usenet. Begun in 1979, it enabled people to post messages to groups dedicated to specific topics. It functions to this day. In 1985, Stewart Brand, Larry Brilliant, and a couple of others launched an electronic bulletin board called The Whole Earth ’Lectronic Link, or Well, in San Francisco. In 1987, Howard Rheingold, a big user of the Well, published an essay in which he coined the term virtual community to describe this new experience. “A virtual community is a group of people who may or may not meet one another face to face,” Rheingold wrote, “and who exchange words and ideas through the mediation of computer bulletin boards and networks.”

 

pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

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Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

Department of Energy: <http://www.llnl.gov/> NEC Begins Designing World’s Fastest Computer: <http://www.nb-pacifica.com/headline/necbeginsdesigningwo_1208.shtml> FUTURE VISIONS ACM 97 “The Next 50 Years” (Association for Computing Machinery): <http://research.microsoft.com/acm97/> The Extropy Site (a web site and on-line magazine covering a wide range of advanced and future technologies) <http://www.extropy.org> SETI Institute web site: <http://www.seti.org> WTA: The World Transhumanist Association: <http://www.transhumanism.com/> HISTORY OF COMPUTERS Advances of the 1960s: <http://www.inwap.com/reboot/alliance/1960s.txt> BYTE Magazine-December 1996/Cover Story/Progress and Pitfalls: <http://www.byte.com/art/96I2/sec6/art3.htm> History of Computing: IEEE Computer Society: <http://www.computer.org/50/> The Historical Collection, the Computer Museum History Center: <http://www.tcm.org/html/history/index.html> Intel Museum Home Page: What is Moore’s Law?: <http://www.pentium.com/intel/museum/25anniv/hof/moore.htm> SPACEWAR: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums, by Stewart Brand: <http://wwwbaumgart.com/rolling-stone/spacewar.html> Timeline of Events in Computer History, from the Virtual History Museum Group: <http://video.cs.vt.edu:90/cgi-bin/ShowMap> Chronology of Events in the History of Computers: <http://www3.islandnet.com/~kpolsson/comphist.htm> Unisys History Newsletter: <http//www.cc.gatech.edu/services/unisys-folklore/> INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AND LUDDITES/NEOLUDDITE MOVEMENT Anarcho-Primitivist, anticivilization, and neo-Luddite articles: <http://elaine.teleport.com/~jaheriot/anarprim.htm> What’s a Luddite?

 

pages: 415 words: 103,231

Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence by Robert Bryce

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Berlin Wall, Colonization of Mars, decarbonisation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, financial independence, flex fuel, hydrogen economy, Just-in-time delivery, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, price stability, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Yom Kippur War

Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its approval.56 Some of the world’s leading environmentalists have decided that nuclear power is the best option for the future. Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace, has become one of the most ardent backers of the nuclear option. In 2006, Moore wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post saying that nuclear energy may be the “energy source that can save our planet.” Although Moore now does public relations work for the nuclear power industry, he pointed out that many other ardent environmentalists, including Stewart Brand, one of the founders of the Whole Earth Catalog, and James Lovelock, the British scientist who came up with the Gaia theory about the resilience of the planet Earth, are advocates of nuclear power. In mid-2006, Moore told me that when it comes to producing large increments of new, low-carbon electricity, there “aren’t really any other choices. Fossil fuels are still a large segment of our consumption.

 

pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg

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A Pattern Language, Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

In the spring of 2002, around the time Mitch Kapor and the early members of the Chandler team were beginning to zero in on their new software’s architecture, Kapor made the tech news headlines for something entirely different: He entered into a Long Bet about the prospects for artificial intelligence. Long Bets were a project of the Long Now Foundation, a nonprofit organization started by Whole Earth Catalog creator Stewart Brand and a group of digital-age notables as a way to spur discussion and creative ideas about long-term issues and problems. As the project’s first big-splash Long Bet, Kapor wagered $20,000 (all winnings earmarked for worthy nonprofit institutions) that by 2029 no computer or “machine intelligence” will have passed the Turing Test. (To pass a Turing Test, typically conducted via the equivalent of instant messaging, a computer program must essentially fool human beings into believing that they are conversing with a person rather than a machine.)

 

pages: 525 words: 116,295

The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives by Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen

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3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, borderless world, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, Elon Musk, failed state, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Google Earth, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, invention of the printing press, job automation, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, offshore financial centre, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Singer: altruism, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, The Wisdom of Crowds, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

This is all legal and generally considered fair. There is an underside to SEO, however—“black-hat SEO”—where efforts to manipulate rankings include less legal or fair practices like sabotaging other content (by linking it to red-flag sites like child pornography), adding hidden text or cloaking (tricking the spiders so that they see one version of the site while the end user sees another). 2 This dictum is commonly attributed to Stewart Brand, the founder and editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, recorded at the first Hackers’ Conference, in 1984. 3 While in the technical community the term “hacker” means a person who develops something quickly and with an air of spontaneity, we use it here in its colloquial meaning to imply unauthorized entry into systems. 4 Among the tweets the Pakistani IT consultant Sohaib Athar sent the night of the bin Laden raid: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 5 “Predictive analytics” is a young field of study at the intersection of statistics, data-mining and computer modeling.

 

pages: 377 words: 21,687

Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight by David A. Mindell

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1960s counterculture, computer age, deskilling, fault tolerance, interchangeable parts, Mars Rover, more computing power than Apollo, Norbert Wiener, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, telepresence, telerobotics

., and David G. Hoag. ‘‘Apollo Spacecraft Guidance System.’’ Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, 1965. Turkle, Sherry. Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Turkle, Sherry. The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, 20th anniversary ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2005. Turner, Fred. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. Vincenti, Walter G. What Engineers Know and How They Know It: Analytical Studies from Aeronautical History, Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990. Voas, Robert. ‘‘Manual Control of the Mercury Spacecraft.’’ Astronautics (March 1962): 18.

 

pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman

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3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

Entrepreneurs will say that this is the future of making things—the dark factory, with unflagging, unsalaried, uncomplaining robot workers—although what currency postemployed humans will use to acquire those robot products, no matter how cheap, is a puzzle to be solved. Here’s my belief: We long to preserve ourselves as a species. For all the imaginary deities we’ve petitioned throughout history who have failed to protect us—from nature, from one another, from ourselves—we’re finally ready to call on our own enhanced, augmented minds instead. It’s a sign of social maturity that we take responsibility for ourselves. We are as gods, Stewart Brand famously said, and we may as well get good at it. We’re trying. We could fail. WELCOME TO YOUR TRANSHUMAN SELF MARCELO GLEISER Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy, professor of physics and astronomy, Dartmouth College; author, The Island of Knowledge Consider this: You’re late for work and, in the rush, forget your cell phone. Only when stuck in traffic or in the subway do you realize it.

 

pages: 494 words: 142,285

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig

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AltaVista, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, business process, Cass Sunstein, computer age, dark matter, disintermediation, Erik Brynjolfsson, George Gilder, Hacker Ethic, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, invention of hypertext, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, linked data, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, price mechanism, profit maximization, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, smart grid, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, transaction costs

Frieden, “Universal Service: When Technologies Converge and Regulatory Models Diverge,” Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 13 (2000): 395. 9 Peter W. Huber, Michael K. Kellogg, and John Thorne, Federal Telecommunications Law, 2nd ed. (Gaithersburg, Md.: Aspen Law & Business, 1999), 17. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 Mueller, 162. 14 Interview with Paul Baran in Stanford, California, November 14, 2000. For other interviews of Baran, see Stewart Brand, “Founding Father,” Wired (March 2001), available at http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.03/baran_pr.html; interview by David Hochfelder with Paul Baran, electrical engineer, Newark, New Jersey (October 24, 1999), available at http://ieee.org/organizations/history_center/oral_histories/transcripts/ baran.html; interview by J. O'Neill with Paul Baran, Menlo Park, California (March 5, 1990); George Gilder, “Inventing the Internet Again,” Forbes (June 2, 1997), 106 (lengthy article about Baran); Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon, “Casting the Net,” The Sciences (September 1, 1996), 32. 15 American Telephone & Telegraphy Co., Telephone Almanac, foreword (1941). 16 Interview with Paul Baran. 17 Ibid. 18 Peter Huber, Orwell's Revenge: The 1984 Palimpsest (New York: Free Press; Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan Canada; New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1994), 268-69; Huber, Kellogg, and Thorne, 416. 19 And the decision was reversed by the D.C. circuit.

 

pages: 566 words: 151,193

Diet for a New America by John Robbins

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Albert Einstein, carbon footprint, clean water, Flynn Effect, haute cuisine, Isaac Newton, placebo effect, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Review

Selected Environmental Contamination Incidents, Committee on Environment and Public Works, 289. 147. Regenstein, America the Poisoned, 255–56. 148. P. Hilts, “Chemicals at Parents’ Job May Cause Child’s Tumor,” Washington Post, July 3, 1981. 149. Council on Environmental Quality, Chemical Hazards to Human Reproduction, Washington, DC (January 1981), II-3, 12. 150. “Politics of Poison,” KRON-TV, San Francisco, 1979. 151. J. Gofmann and A. Tamplin, quoted in Stewart Brand, “Human Harm to Human DNA,” CoEvolution Quarterly (Spring 1979): 11. Chapter Twelve. All Things Are Connected 1. Mary Bralove, “The Food Crisis: The Shortages May Pit the ‘Have Nots’ against the ‘Haves,’” Wall Street Journal, October 3, 1974, 20. 2. H. J. Maidenburg, “The Livestock Population Explosion,” New York Times, July 1, 1973, Finance section; Jane E. Brody, “The Quest for Protein,” from Give Us This Day (New York: Arno Press, 1975), 222. 3.

 

pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

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3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

It’s hard to overstate how influential this movement was in Silicon Valley. Not est specifically, for there were hundreds more like it. In the 1980s the Silicon Valley elite were often found at a successor institution called simply “the Forum.” The Global Business Network was a key, highly influential institution in the history of Silicon Valley. It has advised almost all the companies, and almost everyone who was anyone had something to do with it. Stewart Brand, who coined the phrases “personal computer” and “information wants to be free,” was one of the founders. Now Stewart is a genuinely no-nonsense kind of guy. So is Peter Schwartz, who was the driving force behind GBN and wrote The Art of the Long View. And yet the ambience of the New Age was so thick that it helped define GBN. It was inescapable. I was one of the so-called remarkable people of GBN.

 

Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia by Dariusz Jemielniak

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Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, citation needed, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, Debian, deskilling, digital Maoism, en.wikipedia.org, Filter Bubble, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, hive mind, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, moral hazard, online collectivism, pirate software, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons

Collectivism vs. individualism in a wiki world: Librarians respond to Jaron Lanier’s essay “Digital Maoism: The hazards of the new online collectivism.” Serials Review, 33(1), 45–53. Turek, P., Wierzbicki, A., Nielek, R., Hupa, A., & Datta, A. (2010). Learning about the quality of teamwork from wikiteams. In Proceedings of the 2010 IEEE Second International Conference on Social Computing (pp. 17–24). Washington, DC: IEEE Computer Society. Turner, F. (2006). From counterculture to cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the rise of digital utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive. (2010, May 9). Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved August 22, 2013, from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive 2 7 6    R e f e r e n c e s User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive/2010/5. (2010, June 5). Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved November 8, 2013, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jimbo _Wales/Archive/2010/5 User talk:Jimbo Wales/Difference between revisions. (2011, August 24).

 

pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

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Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social software, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

In doing so, IBM saved $900 million a year developing its own proprietary systems and created a platform on which it built a multibillion-dollar software and services business. Experience shows that long-term sustainability of volunteer communities can be challenging. In fact, some of the more successful communities have found ways to compensate members for their hard work. As Steve Wozniak said to Stewart Brand, “Information should be free, but your time should not.”19 In the case of Linux, most of the participants get paid by companies like IBM or Google to ensure that Linux meets their strategic needs. Linux is still an example of social production. Benkler told us, “The fact that some developers are paid by third parties to participate does not change the governance model of Linux, or the fact that it is socially developed.”

 

pages: 801 words: 242,104

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

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clean water, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Donner party, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, means of production, new economy, North Sea oil, Piper Alpha, polynesian navigation, profit motive, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transcontinental railway, unemployed young men

What was the Achilles’ heel that made Angkor and all those other cities unsustainable in the long run? ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I acknowledge with gratitude the big debts that I owe to many people for their contributions to this book. With these friends and colleagues, I shared the pleasure and excitement of exploring the ideas presented here. A special badge of heroism was earned by six friends who read and critiqued the entire manuscript: Julio Betancourt, Stewart Brand, my wife Marie Cohen, Paul Ehrlich, Alan Grinnell, and Charles Redman. That same badge of heroism, and more, are due to my editors Wendy Wolf at Penguin Group (New York) and Stefan McGrath and Jon Turney at Viking Penguin (London), and to my agents John Brockman and Katinka Matson, who besides reading the whole manuscript helped in myriad ways to shape this book from its initial conception through all stages of production.

 

pages: 753 words: 233,306

Collapse by Jared Diamond

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clean water, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Donner party, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, means of production, new economy, North Sea oil, Piper Alpha, polynesian navigation, prisoner's dilemma, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transcontinental railway, unemployed young men

My hope in writing this book has been that enough people will choose to profit from that opportunity to make a difference. A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S I acknowledge with gratitude the big debts that I owe to many people for their contributions to this book. With these friends and colleagues, I shared the pleasure and excitement of exploring the ideas presented here. A special badge of heroism was earned by six friends who read and critiqued the entire manuscript: Julio Betancourt, Stewart Brand, my wife Marie Cohen, Paul Ehrlich, Alan Grinnell, and Charles Redman. That same badge of heroism, and more, are due to my editors Wendy Wolf at Penguin Group (New York) and Stefan McGrath and Jon Turney at Viking Penguin (London), and to my agents John Brockman and Katinka Matson, who besides reading the whole manuscript helped in myriad ways to shape this book from its initial conception through all stages of production.

 

pages: 651 words: 180,162

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Air France Flight 447, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discrete time, double entry bookkeeping, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, financial independence, Flash crash, Gary Taubes, Gini coefficient, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, informal economy, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral hazard, mouse model, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Yogi Berra, Zipf's Law

I also checked and saw that the most expensive neighborhoods in Paris today (such as the Sixth Arrondissement or Île Saint-Louis) were the ones that had been left alone by the nineteenth-century renovators. Finally, the best argument against teleological design is as follows. Even after they are built, buildings keep incurring mutations as if they needed to slowly evolve and be taken over by the dynamical environment: they change colors, shapes, windows—and character. In his book How Buildings Learn, Stewart Brand shows in pictures how buildings change through time, as if they needed to metamorphose into unrecognizable shapes—strangely buildings, when erected, do not account for the optionality of future alterations. Wall to Wall Windows The skepticism about architectural modernism that I am proposing is not unconditional. While most of it brings unnatural stress, some elements are a certain improvement.

 

pages: 1,087 words: 325,295

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

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anthropic principle, cellular automata, Danny Hillis, double helix, interchangeable parts, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, phenotype, Stewart Brand, trade route

“It makes you wonder about the Cousins,” I said, thinking back to a wild notion that Arsibalt had raised last night: that the Cousins might have come, not just from another solar system, but from another cosmos. “Yes,” Criscan said, “it makes you wonder about the Cousins.” ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ANATHEM COULD NOT HAVE been written had the following not come first: the Millennium Clock project being carried out by Danny Hillis and his collaborators at the Long Now Foundation, including Stewart Brand and Alexander Rose. a philosophical lineage that can be traced from Thales through Plato, Leibniz, Kant, Gödel, and Husserl. the Orion project of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The author is, therefore, indebted to many more people than can comfortably be listed on a traditional acknowledgments page. The premise of the story, as well as the simple fact that it is a work of fiction, rule out the use of footnotes.

 

pages: 956 words: 267,746

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion ofSafety by Eric Schlosser

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haight Ashbury, impulse control, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, life extension, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Stanislav Petrov, Stewart Brand, too big to fail, uranium enrichment

But a series of small power surges could mimic those pulses and activate the motors. The motors might silently rotate, one notch at a time, over the course of days or even months, without the launch crews knowing. And then, when the final notch turned, fifty missiles would suddenly take off. Rubel interview. “I was scared shitless”: The engineer was Paul Baran, later one of the inventors of packet switching. Quoted in Stewart Brand, “Founding Father,” Wired, March 2001. the redesign cost about $840 million: Cited in Ball, Politics and Force Levels, p. 194. To err on the side of safety: See Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight, pp. 276–79; and “Strategic Air Command Operations in the Cuban Crisis,” pp. 72–73. “Mr. McNamara went on to describe the possibilities”: “State-Defense Meeting on Group I, II, and IV Papers,” p. 12. “to fire nuclear weapons”: Ibid.

 

pages: 945 words: 292,893

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

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clean water, Colonization of Mars, Danny Hillis, double helix, epigenetics, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filipino sailors, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, kremlinology, Kuiper Belt, microbiome, phenotype, Potemkin village, pre–internet, random walk, remote working, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, the scientific method, Tunguska event, zero day, éminence grise

Again, this work hasn’t led to an actual game yet, but it had the side effect of helping me put flesh on the bones of the story. Thanks also to James Gwertzman for introducing me to Ed and for his advice and feedback on this front. Ben Hawker of Weta Workshop read the manuscript and pointed out that Cradle would be rusty, a detail that had somehow escaped me; hasty last-minute alterations ensued. Stewart Brand and Ryan Phelan, by dint of their connection with the Long Now Foundation’s Revive and Restore Initiative, had much useful background to supply on the genetic challenges associated with reviving species from small breeding populations. While the first two parts of the story are a tale of straight-up global disaster and hastily improvised technology, I always viewed the third part of it as an opportunity to showcase many of the more positive ideas that have emerged, over the last century, from the global community of people interested in space exploration.