I posted this on Thanksgiving in 2019. I think it bears re-posting. Have a good day with your friends.

(the following are a few thoughts that went through my mind this Thanksgiving as I was snowed in. Since I was by myself I had time to write them down)

On this Thanksgiving day I want to acknowledge the gentle people. I think of the many native peoples who were erased from this earth [1], or enslaved. I think of visionaries and geniuses who were killed or imprisoned because they thought differently. I also think of women, who did not have access to education and, in too many places on this planet, still don’t. It also brings to my mind the many recluses and hermits who walked into the woods and mountains, to get away from humanity.

For millennia a brutish man could be very successful. This kind of man would offer a sense of security to a mate and could therefore pass on his genes. Because there was always a war, there was always an opportunity for a man of strength to become a hero. Those heroes might have been much more brave than they were intelligent, they were brutal, even psychopathic, but they were considered heroes nonetheless. The bully has been a pretty successful model of a human, at least in terms of Natural Selection. The gentle people paid the price, all over the world. Our genetic programming does not favor the gentle people and in many cases their DNA was lost to humanity. I fear that if human DNA was programmed by Gods, it was a junior God’s first project and he or she didn’t have a lot of experience and very little foresight.

Humans are this planet’s most powerful and utterly dominant predator. Now our survival will depend on turning bullies into gentle people. Can the competitor become a collaborator? We believe that we are better now, more civilized and less violent, but in truth we have only exchanged the physicality of swords and fists for the power of computers, the internet, and social media. The bullying is now done with a keyboard. Instead of practicing sword fighting or aiming a gun at a target, we aim zeros and ones at each other. The effect is worse. Nobody sees the wounds, there is no smell of blood. The victims live to suffer another day. The old bully wore a uniform and carried weapons, the new bully weaponizes words and monetizes data. The old-fashioned bully took his chance in a fight that he might, albeit rarely, loose. There was always that slim possibility that his victim might get the upper hand. Bullying by keyboard involves no such risk of bodily harm. Anyone can do it.

We CAN revolt against natural selection. The planet will heat up, millions of species will be erased. We need to change OURSELVES. We need to grow, despite our programming and against our programming! The great human hack of the 21st century… to become a new species, homo sapiens 2.0.

[1] Estimates, of course, vary greatly, but up to 100 million people lived in the Americas before the Europeans arrived… 90% of them were killed. While most died from the viruses the Europeans brought with them, many of them died in the most carelessly cruel way. And that’s just the Americas…

1,000 Trees

Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has written to Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, in order to protest the city’s Jingu Gaien redevelopment plan. Led by major real-estate developer Mitsui Fudosan in conjunction with the Meiji Shrine, the project will demolish the city’s beloved Meiji Jingu baseball stadium and chop down almost 1,000 trees, many of which are more than 100 years old.
Tuesday 21 March 2023 – Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sakamoto, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, wrote that “trees benefit everyone without discrimination but a development will only benefit those with vested interests and rich people”.


Drones and Rwanda

This video blew me away. Come for the cool engineering and stay for the story about Abdul and Rwanda.

Everything Is A Spectrum

Neurodiversity, gender identity, sexual preference, politics, religion, mental illness, physical wellness. While we aim for some personal goal or societal endpoint, all of our lives seem to be lived on a spectrum. A sliding scale. A gradient. A tapestry.
What if all points on any spectrum were acceptable?

What if everything’s a spectrum? – Mediatinker

I have long thought that everything is a spectrum. Everything is on a scale. There is so much space between the end points. To think in black and white means losing out on so much differentiation. It means missing the beauty that lies in subtle gradations. Imagine a gas pedal (accelerator pedal for electric vehicles) that only has two positions: on and off. Imagine only running or standing still. Too often we look at either / or instead of that which lives in between the two.

Time Reflection

This feat caused a significant portion of the broadband signals traveling in the metamaterial to be instantaneously time reversed and frequency converted. The effect forms a strange echo in which the last part of the signal is reflected first. As a result, if you were to look into a time mirror, your reflection would be flipped, and you would see your back instead of your face. In the acoustic version of this observation, you would hear sound similar to what is emitted during the rewinding of a tape.
Scientists demonstrate time reflection of electromagnetic waves


IMG 8665

I came across this photo of a stencil that somebody found in Milan. It was posted on Mastodon by