4 days untethered – and it was kinda nice

If you sent me a text or called me on the cell since last Monday, I didn’t get it. It seems I’ll never get it either. The cause? I’m an idiot and left my cell phone on the roof of my car. It is now, I suspect, being slowly ground into the feeder road of I-10. mobile-phoneI lost a month of photos but that’s about it, and of course it was locked and, well if you know me, it was locked down. Not that it matters if it is in parts and pieces being massaged by Pirellis.

First – How was it for me? Well, I spent four days without a cell phone. And it was refreshing.

Second – While I was seriously tempted to continue the lifestyle of what was once called “being a normal human being with freedom” I came to the conclusion that my responsibilities said otherwise.. I am now tethered, monitored by PRISM again, consuming Soylent Green again like everyone else and accessible at all times via a small rectangle when it skitters across the desk vibrating. A compliant-monitored-geolocated-citizen here to serve you.

Still, four days of knowing I couldn’t reach the tribe for help, nor they me, was actually relaxing. They are quite capable. I’m the air-head. Yet I’m also pretty fault tolerant so I wasn’t too worried about me. It was the “I’ve committed to these people” factor, the DUTY factor, that made me pay the egregious cost of a cell phone without the contract benefit given it was a replacement.

Bottom line. I love freedom. I also understand that it comes with responsibilities. And as much as I wanted to opt out, that isn’t fair to everyone else in my current role. We all have a role. And those roles change over time. I get that. So I have my mobile back.

Oh, and if you sent me a text in the last week I did not receive it. Check the feeder road or resend it.

Geographic Determinism – Four Environmental Differences

From the book Guns, Steel, and Germs by Jared Diamond, there are four major geographic deterministic reasons for the disparity and cultural differences between people historically. (Again, a post mostly for my own notes.)  Specifically this is a follow up to my post on Yali’s question.dragon-fly-by-eschipul

From the book:

“The striking differences between the long-term histories of people of the different continents have been due not to innate differences in the people themselves but to differences in their environments.” – pg 405

Just four sets of (environmental) differences appear to me to be the most important ones.” – pg 406

1. Differences in plants and animals available as starting materials for domestication

“The first set consists of continental differences in the wild plant and animal species available as starting materials for domestication. That’s because food production was critical for the accumulation of food surpluses that could feed non-food-producing specialists, and for the buildup of large populations enjoying a military advantage through mere numbers even before they had developed any technological or political advantage. For both of those reasons, all developments of economically complex, socially stratified, politically centralized societies beyond the level of small nascent chiefdoms were based on food production.” – pg 406

“On each continent, animal and plant domestication was concentrated in a few especially favorable homelands accounting for only a small fraction of the continent’s total area. In the case of technological innovations and political institutions as well, most societies acquire much more from other societies than they invent themselves. Thus, diffusion and migration within a continent contribute importantly to the development of its societies, which tend in the long run to share each other’s developments… That is, societies initially lacking an advantage either acquire it from societies possessing it or (if they fail to do so) are replaced by those other societies.” – pg 406

2. Diffusion and Migration

“On each continent, animal and plant domestication was concentrated in a few especially favorable homelands accounting for only a small fraction of the continent’s total area. In the case of technological innovations and political institutions as well, most societies acquire much more from other societies than they invent themselves. Thus diffusion and migration within a continent contribute importantly to the development of its societies, which tend in the long run to share each others’ developments…  That is, societies initially lacking an advantage either acquire it from societies possessing it or (if they fail to do so) are replaced by those other societies.” – pg 406-407

3. Diffusion within Continents of technology and domestic plants and animals

“Related to these factors affecting diffusion within continents is a third set of factors influencing diffusion between continents, which may also help build up a local pool of domesticates and technology. Ease of intercontinental diffusion has varied, because some continents are more isolated than others.” – pg 407

4. Continental Differences in area or total population size

“The fourth and last set of factors consists of continental differences in area or total population size. A larger area or population means more potential inventors, more competing societies, more innovations available to adopt – and more pressure to adopt and retain innovations, because societies failing to do so will tend to be eliminated by competing societies.” – pg 407

There is something nice and compact about breaking such a complex topic as the history of the world’s people’s culture down to four primary environmental factors. And if correct, what balance of power gets shifted globally with the advent of global warming? Something to think about….

Yali’s Question: why we had so little cargo of our own?

Yali’s famous question from the book Guns, Germs, and Steel:

“All of those things must have been on Yali’s mind when, with yet another penetrating glance of his flashing eyes, he asked me, “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?” – pg 14

and

“The, questions about inequality (Yali’s question) in the modern world can be reformulated as follows. Why did wealth and power become distributed as they are now, rather than in some other way? For instance, why weren’t Native Americans, Africans, and Aboriginal Australians the ones who decimated, subjugated, or exterminated Europeans and Asians?” – pg 16

and the conclusion

“Yali’s question went to the heart of the current condition, and of post-Pleistocene human history… how shall we answer Yali? I would say to Yali: the striking differences between the long-term histories of peoples of the different continents have been due not to innate differences in the people themselves but to differences in their environments.” – pg 405

Ecosystems matter. Our environment matters. And in fact it becomes a matter of human rights in the long term. Yali was a wise man.

Technology for Communities – FullCircle Blog Organization Photo Set

Fullcirceventplanningorganization
Technology for Communities Flickr Set by Full Circle Online Interaction Blog. The images clearly took a lot of work and thought and would benefit many of our non profit clients in positioning their organizations.

Part of my focus on the process behind organizational acts of "organization" is from recent reading on rational, natural and open systems of organizations.  The concept of organizations-is-not-a-noun resonates and leaves us with "there is only the act of organizing over time".  Thus an open system

And be sure to read the post on Simon Pulman-Jones – Using Photographic Data to Build a Large-Scale Global Comparative Visual Ethnography of Domestic Spaces: Can a limited data set capture the complexities of “sociality"