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The Following are my rants and raves. sorry.
8.10.28: The BRIDGE Africa Project
Hello all. I have a plan.
I will graduate in Jun 2009. By October my girlfriend and I will fly to an undetermined location in Africa.
To choose this location, we will start with the Human Development Index of countries. We will take the 20 or so countries minus those which are relatively unsafe and lacking broadband access. Of those countries which are left, we will choose our ultimate destination based on things like language, climate, culture, etcetera. Based on our research last night, Etheopia seems like a likely target.
Then we will sell off all of our goods here in America and fly out with our camcorder, a laptop, and some idea of accommodations for when we land. When we get there, we will move in with some of the locals and begin living like them. We will eat what they eat and learn their language.
The key to this project is that we will video cast our experiences in the manner of the uncultured project. The goal of this would be to create an online community of people working to eliminate poverty. Additionally, we would utilize the crowd that resulted as a mechanism of fund raising. Additionally we would learn a lot. Additionally we would have a hell of a good time.
the science of change
I read a post tonight about free energy machines. To an engineer, things like this are like rubbing a cat the wrong way. But then, you can't blame the average person for thinking such things, without a knowledge of physics, thermodynamics, etcetera, why wouldn't such a thing as free energy be possible?
In the world of social change, I am as educated as that guy writing about free energy. I know absolutely nothing, and I am sure there there is a whole body of knowledge repleat with volumes of research papers, theories and books.
I only hope that my crackpot schemes here sound more plausible than free energy.
Why does this page have 100 page views? Are people really reading this crap?
If you are out there, make an edit for me and let me know who you are. Perhaps we can get a conversation going.
- This is an example of how to comment --David.reber 05:20, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
There is a poster in my school trying to encourage people to take clinical laboratory classes. The poster reads something like "I helped save 13 lives this month".
This is obviously false. A laboratory technician is a replaceable cog in the machinery of the medical field. This machine is run purely by money. People want to live longer so they give this machine money and keep it running. Money is that reward that caused that lab technician to take that job and help save those lives. The personal satisfaction is something of a perk, just like the movie theater you worked at in high school which let you see free movies.
That is an admittedly base analysis of why people become lab technicians, but in truth, if the job provided no income, no one could do it because those people need to eat and pay their bills.
The real people to feel accomplished in the medical industry are those that set up its rules and systems that can hire a technician and replace them when necessary. Or those scientists who developed the laboratory technologies which allow the tests. To move the world, you must be one of these people.
My question, is how do we make a machine, like the medical industry which will slowly grind up poverty and spit out a better world on the other end? Do we fuel it with money as most other machines are fuled? Can we fuel it with personal satisfaction?
That is after all the argument of Muhommad Yunnus: traditional capitalism treats the human as an animal motivated only by greed, but we can create social businesses motivated by altruism.
But hasn't all of this been tried before? Wasn't that the fundamental difference between communism and capitalism? Isn't that the definition of an NGO? I don't see what is new in social businesses.
I want bridge to be an organization which like EWB and DWB allows people to do their good work in their free time so as not to require money, but yet and still money gets in my way.
Even for the paltry sums of money such organizations need to purchase the capital required for their projects, it is (required? nice?) to get governmental 501c3 (nonprofit) status. Now this is an onorous task which will drive away all but the most committed. Another principal of BRIDGE is to set the bar as low as possible for people to do this kind of work.
So the idea comes to mind to provide fiscal sponsorship to upcoming BRIDGEs. Here you run into the problem of trust. Acting as a shell organization is just fine if you are working with people you trust, but do we just funnel donations through our account and provide grants to unknown people? Do we become "more evolved" which means "more red tape"?
These are the insights that I have been building BRIDGE to obtain. To me, BRIDGE is a teething biscuit at this stage by plunging into the NGO world head first and largely alone, I can bump my head into the problems and take a first hand gander.
How can we make a machine to fight poverty? And through all of this, the only thing I can think of is to open source international development.
8.9.27 - tools
The world's society is something like a city. It started out long ago and built up from megar beginnings. We haven't always had the foresight that we should have had. For instance, the oldest parts of our world were designed for people walking or maybe a horse carriage or two, so the streets are not wide enough for all of the parking and multi lane roads that we would include if we started designing today. We are always looking for new technologies to solve our old problems - for instance hybrid cars to adress smog problems.
So many times, especially in the unpredictable world of society, our new tools are unproven. Communism was one of them. It was simply a new social organizational tool which many tried to use to address the old problems. Unfortunately it failed on at least two fronts. The first failure is that both China and the USSR managed to kill off millions of their own people. This was mostly because the governments of these countries were too top down so that when one government felt threatened, it killed off all of its enemies, and when the other thought that a great leap forward was a hot idea, they ended up fucking up and everyone starved to death. The other failure of these countries is that they couldn't compete with capitalism. If you placed two warring countries next to one another, all else being the same, the communist country will fall to the capitalist. This seems fundimentally to be because the capitalist country is more efficient because its citizens motivated by greed rather than altruism. People seem to be motivated by both altruism and greed but the greed will win out as a motivator.
So communism went the way of the dodo and we are left with the old problems. We have new tools in the box though. We have Appropriate Technology, Social Businesses, and the Internet. I apologize but I am inclined to discount the first two. Appropriate technology is an oldish tool which never seemed to have an effect. Social Businesses are a new tool but I suspect them flawed in the same way that communism and cooperatives were. If you were to place two businesses to compete in the same market, all else being equal, the capitalist business will prevail because it is again more motivated because of greed. One laptop per child is an example of a social business getting its ass handed to them. On the other hand, Newmans Own baked goods seems to be doing well for themselves. Perhaps I am wrong.
Part of the reason for delaying my lanuch into the real world with engineering was to give me a hange for my ideas to develop into something more coherent, but all that i have managed to do in the last 3 years is to realize that I need oh so much more study and thought.
It seems like we come up with nothing new on our own, the best we do is merge ideas. What I am doing now is modeled mostly after the blogging of my youth, but I am doing it in a different format with a different goal. Nothing ground breaking, just a slight modification and merger of things I already know.
Why do so many people feel content to sit on their asses watching life pass them by? Those of us who do get started working on those issues are actually capable of so much (I think) but it is just that so many don't try.
I get mad at the green revolution because it is the bandwagon that everyone has jumped on and it will therefore ultimately get somewhere. No one today is at all interested in jumping on the humanitarian band wagon. I would like to say that things were different in the past. I am slightly under the impression that there was previously a lot of interest in bettering the world with the communist and the appropriate technology movements. Both of those are now so dead that we need not mourn them.
This green thing. perhaps people are not capable of a lot of change. I have a theory. For thousands of years, those who drank tea seemed to be healthier and so the practice was picked up more and more. Eventually we learned that it was the boiling of the water and not the tea that was really the thing to do and we now have clean sources of water, but we all still drink tea because the practice is so established in our culture. It is just like the flat earth people - it took HUNDREDS of fucking years for common people to accept that the world is round. There was no particular reason to believe that the earth was flat, but because that was the established thinking, it took an act of god to get people to give it up. The same thing is now happening with evolution. There is no particular reason to doubt evolution except that the established theory is that of creationism and so it is again taking hundreds of years to dispel the myth. All of this is to say that the world changes so very slowly, and there is little more established than children picking through a dump.
So if we are to assume that change is slow, then the things to accelerate change must be obvious, no? We can connect people so that ideas can travel more rapidly. we can educate them so that their minds are prepared for new ideas. I would also like to assume that change on the aggregate, like change in general, is exponential. This fact comes from the distributed effect that ideas have. Before the unity is reached, you would have been better off slogging on alone just getting shit done. If, however, unity can be reached or exceeded, then you are better off as an idea spreader.
Sometimes, however there is no point in trying to spread the idea because the unity time is greater than your time and socity is not (and maybe never will be) ready for it. What I need to do is write more. As with my inner thoughts, writing can focus my outer thoughts and I can get to places I would not have gotten before. As I become an expert on poverty, perhaps I can get places where no one has gotten before and move the world in a good direction.
So in that, I have pretty much decided it. I must approach this cerebrally. I must write more and publish my writings, however insane. These writings will eventually get somewhere and perhaps people will join me along the way and get there with me.