Economy << Ecosystem

Today it hit me that the model of the economy and the ecosystem in ecological economics is more right than I had previously understood. The work of Herman Daly and others made sense before today, with its key premise that the human economy is a subset of the ecosystem. This is something neoclassical economists, not … Continue Reading

Networking for Undeveloping Regions

I wrote the short position paper below, with a bit of help from a colleague, for an academic audience, but never published it. Today I was thinking about it and realized that it synthesizes some of my thinking on computing and economic trends. For the last decade there has been an active area of computing … 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

A Singul(arity) Track Mind

I like reading things that I think I’ll disagree with. I just borrowed one such book from the library—Peter Diamandis’s Abundance. His book has gotten a fair bit of traction in the mainstream and technology press, and more than that Diamandis seemed to be one of the few techno-centric authors willing to at least attempt … Continue Reading

Free Energy Does Not Occur in Nature

[F]ree energy does not occur in nature… There’s one thing about that Orlov quote that has struck me over the years: how it applies more broadly than he originally meant it. It’s not just that what we generally think of as free energy doesn’t occur in nature, but also that free energy does occur in … Continue Reading

Computing in the Long Emergency, part 2

I recently learned about a (so-called) international development project taking place in Niger. People in a region of the country have been suffering from malnutrition and outright hunger due to periodic drought-induced crop failures. To help respond to this humanitarian crisis, an NGO that was providing food aid to the region partnered with some researchers … Continue Reading

Limiting the Complexity of Complex Systems

It’s widely known that financial system is very complex. Even just the credit system is complex: One question we might ask is “is the global financial system complex?” The answer is obvious: yes. But there’s a different question I’ve been wondering for some time: “how complex is it?” That is, is there a way to … Continue Reading

If Only We Had Free Energy

I thought I’d do a thought experiment. Suppose tomorrow morning a hypothetical university—let’s call it T.I.M.—sends out their weekly press release claiming a “revolutionary breakthrough” that will change the way we think about energy. Unlike every other time in the past decade they’ve made this claim, though, suppose this time it’s actually true: they’ve discovered … Continue Reading