Culture Politics

Day 1285 and Platform Changes

I don’t want to make this into a whole thing but the Republicans have posted the GOP party platform. The Silicon Diaspora is now such an important constituency we’ve got enough sway to move policy.

A network state of e/acc, crypto builders, Bitcoiners, El Segundo hardware startups, deep tech autists and white pilled Space dorks changed a political party’s platform.

And it wasn’t the one I expected. Scientific progress was something I’d come to associate with liberals. It would seem Democrats are not as certain about being technically progressive anymore. But the middle that builds is a constituency.

It’s such a small thing and I know politicians don’t have a track record of doing what they say. But the idea that a ragtag group of internet friends could get our issues given place of pride in a platform feels nice. A multimodal pro-social game yielded a positive sum.

We want more technology being built quickly by those with the agency to do so. We’ve got diseases to cure, climate change to adapt to, software to be coded, nuclear reactors to be spun up and a long path to space from there.

I hope the value of better medicine, better tools, and more ambition makes its way to everyone.

For now I think it’s cool that I can see where every line in this policy document came from. A very hodge podge group of internet weirdos in Discords, policy shops, Twitter communities, and group chats got politicians to agree with us. It feels kind of nice. I believe FreedomToCompute is a constitutional American right and we are proving our case

Community Media

Day 1281 and Independence Day

On day 915, which was last year’s 4th of July I wrote about the aspirational America as an idea. It involved blowing shit up. It seems like each Independence Day I find a way to praise Roland Emmerich’s fine science fiction film.

I haven’t watched it yet today but hopefully I’ll at least put on a few clips to enjoy fighter pilots, aliens, inspirational Presidential speeches and fireworks.

The backdrop of drama in the media about Joe Biden is in some ways an ideal way to recall the fractious American community. A continent held together not by ethnicity or religion but by entirely abstract ideals is going to constantly tested.

The theory of print capitalism posits that capital sprung from the solidarity of nationalism presented for the first time in mass media. The common cause of one’s countryman makes it easier to levy for taxes for conflict.

We are far beyond print in our media now. It’s almost cheap to call out media climate “totalizing” an it undersells the experience. Social media makes the experience of Americanness so fluid it ranges from aesthetic choice to the anarcho-tyranny of ailing power.

And yet we try to do better as the general temperament of the nations. America is a place where the founding mythos is that anyone from anywhere can become one of us.

The nationalism of belonging in America has nothing to do with meeting a check box of criteria. Though we are trying to make it more so with bureaucracy. The ideal is that free country sets the condition so anyone succeed. Liberty is a hard fought thing. You can celebrate it in a manner that’s pleasing here. Namely fireworks.

Happy 4th of July everyone. I’m as committed to the American project. The frontier is in our souls and we search it out together in freedom.

Media Politics

Day 1280 and Campaign Season

I am very much beginning to wish I had not watched the presidential debates. I want to say it’s been amusing to watch the different flavors of panic, but it makes me feel a bit gross.

Schadenfreude feels like a cousin to envy. It’s a dirty vice you shouldn’t be swift to cultivate in yourself even if it’s a very human response. I’d prefer to cultivate what virtues I can embody even if imperfectly.

I don’t want to lose my head just because everyone else seems to be doing so but it’s hard not pay attention to the politics when it’s the 4th of July week. I know I can’t do anything about national politics so I continue locally and on issues where we can have clear impact like housing and regulatory reform.

It’s possible that having more hands on experience with on community boards and with local permitting made the more tangible aspects of “Yes In My Neighborhood” campaigns clear to me.

I would prefer to be active in my contributions and focus on solutions. Am I angry and afraid when I see national politics and grand geopolitical news? Of course. If I thought about it too much I’d remember that everyone involved is human just like me. Then I’d worry even more. So I’ll try to focus on moving what I can.

Politics Preparedness

Day 1276 and Not Just A River in Egypt

I’m pretty comfortable with being embarrassed. I get stuff wrong and I have to come to terms with it even as my ego complains bitterly. The ego protects itself with denial but that doesn’t mean its conclusions are correct.

Being impartial about your reality is hard. Denial is such a normal part of catastrophic events the CDC even has handy public health explainers. I hope post pandemic everyone can enjoy the irony of that.

Taking an impartial view when approaching a problem is hard. If it’s an especially destructive situation (as most forms of crisis tend to be) wanting to put off action is a common coping mechanism. We do it as individuals and we do it within the meta-organisms that form the cultural and political systems we live within.

My suspicion is that some of our current political problems are a result of denialism. Seeing things as they are is impossible for some people. Avoidance, rationalization and minimization is practically a skill set.

I’d hope in a crisis I would attempt to solve a problem with whatever meager tools and skills I had at my disposal. I’ve done my best to take action on a few slow moving problems. And yet impartiality only arises when I can accept reality. And I wouldn’t blame anyone who finding the reality completely unacceptable.


Day 1275 and Old Goat

I miss living in a world where nothing happens. I suspect well-off Americans took for granted the artificial smoothing of conflicts & markets that our global dominance granted. That era seems to be over. And blame must be apportioned.

Like many people, I watched the presidential debate last night between former President Trump and President Joe Biden. I had low expectations. It would seem they weren’t low enough.

You expect the lies from politicians. You expect spin from media commentators.

But nothing prepared me for the scapegoating of an old man clearly struggling. The entire chattering class, sensing weakness in Biden, seems to have decided to turn en mass.

A screenshot of headlines declaring Biden’s performance was a disaster.

Americans have many sins, not the least of which is tolerating a political establishment that is unable or unwilling to be held accountable.

Making a sacrifice of Biden when the hour is so late has the flavor of a desperate prayer. Placing those failures onto one symbol is powerful. Biden being subject to the ancient ritual in Leviticus was perhaps inevitable. The poor old goat deserved better than being made to carry the iniquities of us all.

Internet Culture Politics

Day 1272 and GWOT

As an elder millennial fascinated by the mass media I have a lot of mixed feelings on the American government and how it waged the “war on terror.”

It is heavy on my mind with the current news of Julien Assange’s agreement with the American government.

I think a lot about media, and in particular the technology that powers media. An informed population can still act in its own best interests but what we get told affects what we perceive as our best interests. And as we become more informed naturally some skepticism of the intentions of power arise.

Media affects how nation states wage wars. As we’ve evolved from print to television to radio to the internet how we sell the costs of war changed. But there are always populations who pay enough attention to be skeptical.

The open internet was born of that skepticism of government even so much of the technology emerged thanks to America’s heavy investment in defense industries.

Scientists used to have a wide range of politics and it’s not a surprise that defending American interests is a popular idea amongst people who work for the government. But maybe you see things and fight for more accountability along the way.

The GWOT unevenly affected millennials. If you were middle class your kid probably didn’t join up unless being in the service was how you got to being middle class. There was no draft.

Being in Colorado I had exposure to folks who worked for defense contractors as a lot of the private sector had settled around the cluster of talent from Boulder’s science labs down to the Air Force Academy in Fort Collins.

But there has been skepticism in all the branches of government as it became harder to control the narratives. And Americans don’t particularly like the idea of having propaganda even though I’d argue we produce and consumer enormous quantities of it as a nation.

I wish I could be more cogent about any of this. I am regularly shocked by how little people seem to remember how we prosecuted these long wars. We quickly forget.

Don’t be too sure human nature had changed. Don’t be too keen to give the government power because you are afraid. We’ve already seen what they do with it.

Internet Culture Preparedness

Day 1261 and the Jackpot

Dedicated roamers of the internet are people who like to notice things. Cyperpunk aesthetics made it romantic to experience global abstractions even as the reality of the power of oligarch, state and corporation blended into murky dystopian reality.

I said recently on this photo that we’ve got to stop hyperstitioning William Gibson. We keep finding ourselves further into the future. Just look at these anonymous accounts (so you can enjoy being a participant in the propaganda) joking about a drone operator in Ukraine.

We have netrunners. They’re autistic Ukrainian drone operators and their ice baths are niccy rushes

It’s hard to remember that real people exist on the other side of the abstractions. And yet here we are about to be those real people facing history. And it does seem like the time for taking action is now.

Venkatash Rao wrote an essay “many shoes are dropping” that gave me the kind of frisson of living in future, but as Gibson famously says, a bit unevenly. Across all narrative and technical arcs and and inside geopolitical realities we are starting to see the change.

In this I can’t help but see Gibson’s Jackpot. The elements that Rao calls out are multiple significant elections (not the least of which is the final installment of Biden vs Trump), the capital and nation state power consensus he calls “after Westphalia” and the intertwined fates of artificial intelligence and crypto.

A lot can change in a world where every form of power is being tested. I’ve written about this Jackpot energy before.

The fictional “jackpot” described in the novels is an “androgenic, systemic, multiplex” cluster of environmental, medical and economic crises that begins to emerge in the present day and eventually reduces world population by 80 percent over the second half of the 21st century

The Jackpot Trilogy.

I myself think it a privilege to even be a bit player in this moment in time. That I can allocate resources in any way feels high leverage in a way I didn’t anticipate experiencing.

We are the adults in the room. It may not be mich but we have agency. I feel good about putting my focus on crypto, AI and nuclear energy. Like Rao I can tie together past thoughts across a wide corpus by writing here every day and make decisions based on what has emerged.


Day 1256 and Nothing Ever Happens

I enjoy that “nothing ever happens” has become something of an in-joke about how the end of history thesis was very right/wrong (apparently this depends on your reading). I find altogether too much to be happening.

I was quite surprised to see France’s Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron decide to dissolve France’s parliament and call for elections after the European Parliament elections showed his unpopularity rather starkly.

If he’s calling the French electorate on their bluff it’s a ballsy move in the middle of a tense continental climate. He must really think the Paris Olympics is going to go well.

It wasn’t the only coalition crisis for a government today. It is a sensitive time for institutional distrust and the will of the people move history forward (or backwards) as something is always happening. I expect it will be an interesting summer in Europe.


Day 1254 and Zipppp

I hadn’t expected to have a busy day. I’m really not enjoying having Covid. It’s an inconvenience and it sucks.

But suddenly I was getting all good news from all sides. A startup with a round. Another founder preparing to go out for an enviable raise with exceptional traction. An SPV for a round everyone wants in on. A colleague who had been thinking of taking action on a thesis is going to run an experiment. It’s just all very much my investments and my ecosystem thriving.

I felt like I was in William Gibson’s Jackpot. Incredible things are happening across so many industries and the world is an absolutely chaotic mess. It’s nothing but wars, gerontocracy and resource constraints out there. But here we are working.

Chaos pulls acceleration out of us because we must solve the problems in front of us. War and geopolitical turmoil and climate change require us to shoulder more.

We have real engineering challenges in compute, nuclear, decentralized systems, artificial intelligence and open source to solve to get to meaningful breakthroughs.

The problems are not easy. But our tools are getting better and the compounding effect of this renaissance in intelligence is that we might be able to build for bigger things.

Doomerism wants to focus on how bad things are. And I am the last person to disabuse you of a realistic model of what we are up against. I live off grid in Montana, I own crypto and I like my freedoms.

Humans are resourceful. Given ingenuity and incentive incredible talent has the will to say that I will take on this piece of the future for all of us.

It’s such a privilege to be woven into the ecosystem that is getting us through the Jackpot. And dare I say maybe the application of our ingenuity gets a better result and we can improve on Gibson.

The fictional “jackpot” described in the novels is an “androgenic, systemic, multiplex” cluster of environmental, medical and economic crises that begins to emerge in the present day and eventually reduces world population by 80 percent over the second half of the 21st century

The Jackpot Trilogy.

Maybe we can improve on these numbers. We’ve got the doomer version in our imaginations so now we can find a solution. Life, as Jeff Goldblum reminds us in Jurassic Park, finds a way.

Politics Preparedness

Day 1247 and For The Uncertain

If you have concerns about the instabilities abroad and at home in America, I am here to be of service. Being a Cassandra is a curse but when the moment arrives you are at least well prepared.

And so if you’d like to chat about things like moving to Montana, being prepared for disasters natural or man-made, or otherwise how to invest in adaptability at venture scale I am your woman.

I’ve been discussing my concerns in prestige glossies and serious news media for years. I see venture friends throwing apocalypse themed parties and I can’t help but feel like the hour is late.

I call this kind of mass awakening to reality the Thursday Styles Problem. By the time something is cool it’s already past time for you the regular person to benefit much from the knowledge of what’s coming.