Since I’ve joined the Fediverse, every now and then I stumble upon cool and inspiring things. Usually I “star” them in order to be able to return and re-read them in my free time. But that re-reading never actually happens because I don’t browse my old favourites…
I’ve decided to celebrate November 11th by reading about IT and CS, and a bit of philosophy of course. I’ve started with the great essay by Joseph Gentle about 3 tribes of programmers, which is a very nice summary of the key differences between groups of software engineers and where they come from.
Typical Polish Christmas and New Year’s Eve usually mean a lot of eating and drinking. The first thing we say after the winter break is “gosh, I’ve eaten so much” or something similar. This year, I’m doing my best to change it.
For a few years, I’ve been trying to convince my family to prepare fewer dishes, because quite often there’s so much food prepared for those 3 days that we end up eating it over the next week. We also used to buy one another presents but I don’t think anybody was really enjoying them. The fun was in giving, not receiving. And what’s the point of giving if the one receiving doesn’t enjoy it?
So this year, I’ve asked them to donate to Public Benefit Organizations instead of buying me any presents. This way, those who really need money will get it, while I can live up to my ideals of minimalism and antimaterialism.
Over the years, I’ve read a bunch of incredibly interesting computer stories. Perhaps they should be called computer horror stories? This is highly recommended reading:
- Unix Recovery Legend
- VAXen, My Children, Just Don’t Belong In Some Places
- The case of the 500-mile email
They involve different levels of problems and different approaches to solving them, but they have one thing in common: they’re awesome!
One good story is missing from this list because I can’t recall too many details – it involved raised floor tiles in a server room somewhere. Perhaps I’ll find it some day!
Before going on vacation, I’ve decided I’d download some papers about degrowth in order to learn more about what’s actually going on in the topic, instead of relying on the gossip. After a short visit to Research Gate, I was ready to go offline for the two weeks I had to take some rest.
I really enjoyed reading these papers and I’m definitely going to read more.
Degrowth Politics and Policies for Degrowth
The first paper (also available online) gives an outline of 19 policies we could use, from regulating taxes with the aim to encourage certain behaviours, to changing social norms related to consumption. It also gives a very important hint: that degrowth movement should build alliances with other movements (e.g. veganism). Several other movements I could think of were: philosophical minimalism (as opposed to aesthetical one), zero-waste and solarpunk, because each of these movements is already trying to solve at least some of the problems that degrowth is focusing on.
Matrix of Convivial Technology
- Vetter, Andrea. (2017). The Matrix of Convivial Technology — Assessing technologies for degrowth. Journal of Cleaner Production. 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.02.195.
The other paper describes Matrix of Convivial Technology (MCT), a tool designed to qualitatively assess impact of technology. There are several possible uses for this tool, among which there are:
- self-assessment of our own development of degrowth-oriented technology;
- as an educational tool to help the young ones make better decisions about the technology they use.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I think I will — quite soon — because I’m planning to start a little project of my own, with the purpose of allowing zero-waste and degrowth communities to record and exchange ideas and knowledge. (At the moment of writing, I’m thinking about a wiki, but it might change over time.)