A lot of rain here the past few weeks, although mostly showers and “Euclidean rain”  (that phrase from Scott Bakker’s evocative post The Lesser Sound and Fury).  Here the trees are close in and it can be difficult to really appreciate a good storm.

So Scott’s piece reminded me of when we lived on the other side of the valley –  in a former creamery on top of a hill above a bend in the Susquehanna River.  Thunderstorms would come down the valley from the west. Sitting in Adirondack chairs in the front lawn, 800 feet above the valley , we would watch each storm come toward us.  The blur of rain and hail falling from the thunderhead’s floor, sometimes, for a while below where we sat, the visibility of the full height of the cumulonimbus cloud, the advancing thunder, the ionized air, terrified and thrilled us until, in  a panic, we would run into the building, itself barely more than a ruin, that seemed in those moments, a place of safety.

A Thing is a Whole in the Thing It Is Not

Establishing the boundaries of a thing is indispensable for perceiving it.  Contained in those boundaries is not only the thing, but the thingness of the thing – that it is somehow, in some sense, a whole.

Like the fourth wall in theater, the willing suspension of disbelief in fiction of any sort, the thing’s boundary,  must be part of the thing, not part of the thing and not a whole in itself.

This relation is reproduced in the relation of every part to the whole, every part of every part that in itself is a whole of some kind.

The more tolerance there is to this infinite regress, to this paradox, the more a perceiver will be able to perceive.  It is one of the challenges of the continued development of machine intelligence.  So far,  machine executed algorithms may  exceed human capacities by order of magnitude in some areas, but they do not yet have this tolerance to a thing’s impossibility.


Labor Day

More than any other labor dispute of the past three decades, Reagan’s confrontation with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or Patco, undermined the bargaining power of American workers and their labor unions. It also polarized our politics in ways that prevent us from addressing the root of our economic troubles: the continuing stagnation of incomes despite rising corporate profits and worker productivity. NY Times 8-2-11

[The original post had a You Tube video of Bob Dylan’s “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” here, but the account was terminated because of copyright violations. ]

Help Bring The Strike To Your Town

Print and cut out our campaign cards to let your local fast food employees know about the national strike.

As you go through the drive-through or order something at the counter, ask if the employee has heard about the national fast food strikes and if they think they get paid enough. If they answer “no,” hand them the card and ask them to get involved at

Low Pay is Not OK PDF

Digitism Part 4 (Awareness: Contingent and Ideal)

The next dimension of my map of Digitism I want to consider is Awareness.

When I was in college I went  with my roommate to his home in Queens, NYC.  Growing up in the wilds of Upstate NY, I had not knowingly known any Jewish people.  I had never eaten a bagel.  Certainly I knew Jews existed, and their history of diaspora and persecution.

My roommate was Jewish, as were several of my college friends.  I was puzzled at first that foods they considered Jewish, I considered Polish.

My roommate’s parents were survivors of Auschwitz.  Upon release from there, my roommate’s father vowed to enjoy the rest of his life as much as he could.  Part of this was that he ate steak either with or for dinner every day.

So when I sat down with them for dinner, we might have gwumpki with various side dishes.  My roommate’s father ate stuffed cabbage, but had his steak as well.

One afternoon my roommate and I were in the living room listening to The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour.  After a minute or so of Strawberry Fields, my roommate’s mother burst into the living room from the kitchen.

Let me take you down, cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

“What are they saying about Israel?!” She asked, clearly upset.

“No no no” my roommate said, “They’re not saying anything about Israel.  They’re saying “Nothing is real.”

“Well OK then – that’s fine.”

Cyborg Writing: Unbecoming

Look: In my mind is a single flowing page, constant, unbroken; when I write it pours out of me. Not seamless but nearly so. It might be more seamless still, in time; there might be no more walls, just me and my words and the world. I reject the idea of “age-old”. What age? How old? Better to ask what the words look like when still inside, how they flow outward, what they look like when they are at once inside me and inside you, (Sarah Wanenchak, Cyborg Writing:becoming the Tools – Cyborgology).

See: In my mind are scraps, paper, crumpled and torn, neurons interrupted by infarcts and lesions, lacking object permanence to the illusion of the self that seems to have a voice of its own although its seems to be my voice (there’s that “my,me self” again) when it comes out of my (sigh) mouth in fits and starts, then sometimes, like somebody turned on some big ol’ reel to reel tape recorder (is this In Real Life Fetishiizing?) with a bad motor and when its done I sit there dazed and somebody takes the reel and puts it back on the shelf in my head and I look and wonder if anyone involved understood anything of what whoever said whatever they said or wrote or thought.  Better to ask were there any words at all.