Friday, May 25, 2018 | RECENT NOTES

Alexa wants to gossip

Alexa is Amazon’s AI-ish household assistant. It lives inside a device called an Echo, and acts as a hub. You connect it to other devices from televisions and phones to heating systems.It sits listening to everything you say, waiting to hear you say “Alexa”, at which point it interprets the next thing you say as a command and does what it thinks you have told it to do.

Once in a while it might like to tell someone else about this.


Decentralising September

Today I sent an email to Sophie Hope and Nick Mahony to bring them up to date with the plans Oliver and I have so far devised for the Convivial Mechanics event in September. In part I said that

We will organise a two-day event. The overall topic will be around decentralising culture and cultural decision-making in a networked world. Ideas of cultural democracy are central to this, as are a set of practical tools and strategies for the decentralised decision-making that cultural democracy will require.

I feel hopeful that this might help us take the ideas we have discussed, and the workshops we have held so far, and boost them into orbit or, even better, past the moon and in the direction of the nearest faraway star.


Sunday, June 17, 2018 | THE TIME OF DAY


Wednesday, November 25, 2015 | ESSAYS

A Primer on Refugees

I did not write this essay. David Rovics wrote it. I subscribe to his newsletter, which is always informative and sometimes amusing, and this arrived this morning. For those who don’t know, David Rovics is “an American indie singer/songwriter”.

The essay does exactly what the title suggests. It provides a clear and detailed historical background that explains how and why the current situation arose.