Such a choice is possible because of the most fundamental change in Earth history that the Anthropocene marks: the emergence of a form of intelligence that allows new ways of being to be imagined and, through co-operation and innovation, to be achieved. The lessons of science, from Copernicus to Darwin, encourage people to dismiss such special pleading. So do all manner of cultural warnings, from the hubris around which Greek tragedies are built to the lamentation of King David’s preacher: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity…the Earth abideth for ever…and there is no new thing under the sun.” But the lamentation of vanity can be false modesty. On a planetary scale, intelligence is something genuinely new and powerful. Through the domestication of plants and animals intelligence has remade the living environment. Through industry it has disrupted the key biogeochemical cycles. For good or ill, it will do yet more.
— Oliver Morton, from his Economist essay “The Anthropocene: A man-made world”
Posts from the ‘Asides’ Category
Over at The Next Web, Joel Falconer’s overview of the WordPress economy touches on many topics we’ve talked about over the years here at Automattic. Amazing to see what happens when software, web, and people meet to create a movement.
Perhaps one of the things Mullenweg can be most proud of is that his platform and the economy that has developed around it sustains the livelihood of probably hundreds of families and thousands of people, drawing on a wide range of talent in a loyal, dedicated community. Between theme developers who sell their products on marketplaces like ThemeForest, companies that make WordPress products and employ support staff, product managers, developers, designers, lawyers, accountants and more, and Automattic itself, the reach is huge.
When open source loyalists say that their philosophy can change the world, you only need to look as far as WordPress to see that mantra in action.
“Q. Even compared to how “The Simpsons” has mocked Fox in the past, this seemed to push things to a different level. Are you sure there’s no one higher up than you on the corporate ladder who’s displeased with this?
“A. I think that we should always be able to say the holes in our DVDs are poked by unhappy unicorns.”
– Al Jean, producer of “The Simpsons,” on the show’s recent Banksy-directed opening sequence
“Nevertheless, this Great Boom is also very different from all previous bubbles. This time around, globalization either will succeed and humanity will achieve a degree of freedom and prosperity that can scarcely be imagined, or globalization will fail and capitalism or even humanity itself may come to an end. The real alternative to good globalization is world war. And because of the nature of today’s technology, such a war would be apocalyptic in the twenty-first century. Because there is not much time left, the Great Boom, taken as a whole, either is not a bubble at all, or it is the final and greatest bubble in history.”
– Peter Thiel, in his essay, “The Optimistic Thought Experiment”
“Capitalism, I would assert, thrives on more, more, and more, but not so well when there is less or an expectation of less. This is not the Malthusian thesis, which maintained that at some point the world would run out of food to satisfy a growing population; it is an assertion that capitalism depends upon final demand and that if there ever comes a time when population growth slows, then the world’s most efficient economic system will be tested. If anything, my thesis is anti-Malthusian in its assertion that there will always be enough production to satisfy a growing population, but perhaps not enough new people to sustain growing production.”
– Bill Gross manages PIMCO’s gigantical bond fund. This excerpt is from his August client letter.
“As a matter of profit and loss, it doesn’t make sense to store wool in a spa and let it convalesce for six months, but the methods of Luciano Barbera were never destined for a get-rich-quick guide to manufacturing. His business will make sense only to customers, and for them, quality has a logic of its own.”
– A look at the waning days of a bespoke merchant: “From Taxis to Textiles, Italy Chooses Tradition Over Growth”
“Pig roasts often have as much to do with mechanical engineering as they do with the culinary arts. Serviceable roasters can be made from 250-gallon fuel-oil tanks. Brick ovens suitable to the task are often large enough to require municipal building permits. But there is a simpler option for the do-it-yourself cook who lacks welding supplies and masonry skills: start digging a hole.”
– Roasting a pig with your bare hands – the slideshow is atmospheric and filled with terroir