Growing What Money Can’t Buy

Living in Northern California at a time when the tech industry is booming and at a time and place where the faux “sharing economy” (websites that let you buy and sell any service you can imagine) is all the rage, I’m reminded quite frequently how people expect that they can buy anything. It’s just a … Continue Reading

Efficiency as a Vice

In modern economic thought, efficiency is paramount. The goal of economic systems, and entities within those systems, is to maximize efficiency. Policymakers are supposed to remove impediments that are making markets inefficient, and cut government inefficiency. Even those that claim not to buy into such thinking often still do without realizing it. There have been … Continue Reading

The Societal Cost of Computer Science

It’s often said as a joke among computer scientists (especially among those who work on systems, as opposed to theory) that there are really only two ideas in the field: abstraction and indirection. I’d like to explain what happens when these ideas (more about which in a moment) are applied not just in the abstruse … Continue Reading

Observations and Questions

For some time I’ve been accumulating observations and questions on a variety of topics but have felt the need to have, for the former, deep analysis, and for the latter, answers. I don’t have much in the way of either, but I’d like to share them nevertheless. Cause and Effect. Is technological progress driving prosperity, … Continue Reading

The Decline of Falsifiability

Recently there has been much discussion and debate on the revelations of government surveillance programs. While I think the specifics of those revelations, and the debate around them, are interesting in themselves, I think the manner in which the debate is happening points to a deeper issue that our society is facing that I haven’t … Continue Reading

more minimalism

There’s a knock-knock joke that goes like this: Knock-knock. Who’s there? Knock-knock. Who’s there? Knock-knock. Who’s there? Knock-knock. Who’s there? Philip Glass. Which is a hilarious dart aimed at another minimalism.   But I found myself thinking of it upon looking at this recent NYTimes piece on minimal living, which sings the same old song.  … Continue Reading

Free Services

A while back I had considered free energy as it exists in modern industrial society. Today I want to consider free services provided by nature, but that are ignored for what they are, especially in the context of a long-running trend that is finally getting notice in the tech-centric media: the tension between automation and … Continue Reading

4 arguments for deliberate descent, part 3: moral

This is part 3 in a series of posts on a taxonomy of arguments for deliberate descent.  Parts 1 and 2 are here and here. Moral arguments. A moral argument for deliberate descent is premised on claims about how we ought to treat each other. Such claims can take many forms, but here I want … Continue Reading