Quotulatiousness

February 2, 2018

Trump Diminishes the Power of the State in Our Heads: Wired Co-Founder Louis Rossetto

Filed under: Books, Liberty, Technology, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

ReasonTV
Published on 1 Feb 2018

Louis Rossetto, co-founder of Wired magazine, on politics, the dot-com bubble, and his new novel, Change Is Good: A Story of the Heroic Era of the Internet.
—————-
“Trump is a refreshing reminder that the guy that’s in the White House is another human being,” says Louis Rossetto, the co-founder of Wired and author of the new book Change Is Good: A Story of the Heroic Era of the Internet. “The power of the state is way too exalted [and] bringing that power back to human scale is an important part of what needs to be done to correct the insanity that’s been going on in the post-war era.”

In 2013, Rossetto was the co-recipient of Reason‘s very first Lanny Friedlander Prize, an award named after the magazine’s founder that’s handed out annually to an individual or group who has created a publication, medium, or distribution platform that vastly expands human freedom. Rossetto is also a longtime libertarian who knew Friedlander personally.

While still an undergraduate at Columbia University, Rossetto co-authored a 1971 cover story in the New York Times Magazine titled “The New Right Credo — Libertarianism,” writing that “[l]iberalism, conservatism, and leftist radicalism are all bankrupt philosophies,” and “refugees from the Old Right, the Old Left and the New Left, they are organizing independently under the New Right banner of libertarianism.”

Reason‘s Nick Gillespie sat down with Rossetto to talk about his new book (the paper version was lavishly designed and crowdfunded on Kickstarter), the 1990s tech boom, and why Trump “diminishes the power of the state” in our heads.

Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Ian Keyser. Cameras by Paul Detrick, Justin Monticello, Zach Weissmueller.
Machinery by Kai Engel is used under a Creative Commons license.
Photo Credits: Chris Kleponis/ZUMA Press/Newscom – Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/Newscom – Abaca Press/Douliery Olivier/Abaca/Sipa USA/Newscom

December 27, 2017

The Second World War – Operation Dynamo completed, The Long March has started.

Filed under: Britain, Europe, History, Military, WW2 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

TimeGhost
Published on 20 Dec 2017

Thank you all for your support so far! Every minute, every hour we move closer to launching The Second World War as the largest collaborative effort on YouTube ever, and you’re making it happen!

Launch WWII: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/…

Join the TimeGhost Army Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TimeGhostArmy/

Audio: Winston Churchill’s speech to the House of Commons on 4 June 1940 after the completion of Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk.

Footage from Frank Capra’s “Why We Fight” series from 1942 and “The True Glory” from 1945, a documentary based on photography by combat camera men produced by the governments of Great Britain and The United Sates. Both courtesy of The National Archive, all right released.

December 23, 2017

The team behind “The Great War” to produce a Second World War video series

Filed under: History, Media, Military, WW2 — Tags: — Nicholas @ 05:00

Perhaps the single question Indy Neidell and the team at “The Great War” channel have been asked most frequently was whether they were planning to do a similar kind of week-by-week history on the Second World War. They have finally committed to doing so, although it will be a much bigger effort than what they’ve been doing so far. Here’s the Kickstarter intro video:

The funding effort is going well, as the latest update indicates:

November 15, 2017

JourneyQuest S03E01 – “Potent Magic and Poor Impulse Control”

Filed under: Gaming, Humour — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Zombie Orpheus Entertainment
Published on 14 Nov 2017

JourneyQuest returns, thanks to our Kickstarter and Patreon backers!

Join the community at http://www.zombieorpheus.com and http://www.facebook.com/journeyquest.

June 18, 2017

Sabres and Smoke: The War of 1812

Filed under: Business, Cancon, Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Last month, Military History Now profiled a new game (and new Ontario-based game company): unusually for today, it’s not a computer game, but a board wargame:

MHN: Tell us about the game.

Sheppard: Sabres and Smoke: the War of 1812 is a two-player light strategy board game that allows players to relive 16 of the War of 1812’s most important battles. From Queenston Heights to Fort York, players command either the British or American armies in battles that shaped the future of North America.

MHN: Tell us about Hand 2 Hand Entertainment. Who are you guys? How did you get started?

Sheppard: We are based near Toronto, Canada and have been working on Sabres and Smoke: The War of 1812 since July of 2016. I founded Hand 2 Hand Entertainment in 2016, the summer after I finished Grade 12, because I although I was lucky enough to find a summer job, there were no hours available. So, I decided to spend my time combining two things that I really enjoy: history and board games. I started by visiting battle sites from the War of 1812 and doing extensive research to make my game historically accurate. From there I created the battle scenarios and the game rules. Hand 2 Hand Entertainment spent the fall and winter designing Sabres and Smoke: The War of 1812, and preparing to launch a Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2017. This summer, I am running the company out of the Propel Summer Incubator (PSI) program with the Propel Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Western Ontario.

[…]

MHN: The computer wargaming market is enormously popular; what can tabletop games offer that computers can’t?

Sheppard: This is an interesting question. I think there is a certain satisfaction to physically moving units on a battlefield in board games like this. Although you can look at units and terrain from a commander’s perspective in video games, doing it on a board feels more real. Players can look at the board in the same way Generals would have looked at maps when commanding real battles throughout history. I think this is what makes light strategy board games special.

April 27, 2017

Our Channel And The YouTube Adpocalypse I THE GREAT WAR

Filed under: Business, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 26 Apr 2017

Our Patreon: http://patreon.com/thegreatwar
Our Merch Store: https://shop.spreadshirt.net/thegreatwar/

A good explanation how YouTube Ads work by CGP Grey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW0eUrUiyxo

In light of the news surrounding YouTube and their ad policy we got a lot of comments asking how and if all this affects our show and production. We want to make a few things clear and also underline how you can support us.

» HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOUR CHANNEL?
You can support us by sharing our videos with your friends and spreading the word about our work.You can also support us financially on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thegreatwar

You can also buy our merchandise in our online shop: http://shop.spreadshirt.de/thegreatwar/

Patreon is a platform for creators like us, that enables us to get monthly financial support from the community in exchange for cool perks.

February 20, 2016

JOURNEYQUEST IS RENEWED!

Filed under: Gaming, Humour — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 07:46

Published on 19 Feb 2016

Thanks to over 5000 backers on Kickstarter, with mere hours to go, JourneyQuest has been renewed for a third season! Congratulations, thank you, and ONWAAAAAARD!

January 19, 2016

JourneyQuest Season 3 Kickstarter Begins

Filed under: Gaming, Humour — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Published on 18 Jan 2016

JourneyQuest 3 is funding on Kickstarter now! Click here to renew the show for a third season: http://vid.io/xqEB
Now on Kickstarter! Renew JourneyQuest for an epic third season, featuring the ongoing adventures of Perf, a dyslexic wizard with a quest problem.

Watch the first two seasons here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…

November 29, 2015

Technological attempts to preserve Middle Eastern antiquities

Filed under: History, Science, Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Ars Technica calls them the digital “Monuments Men”:

The student who proclaimed this idea is part of a new generation of cultural guardians who are starting to make a name for themselves around the world as the digital “Monuments Men.” Originally the Monuments Men were a group of people, most of them with a cultural studies background, who joined a special branch of the US Army for one reason only: to save and retrieve stolen art from the Nazis. The goal of the digital Monuments Men today is no less important: they want to save global culture from destruction.

As a member of CyArk, Davison is providing tech and knowledge to those on-the-ground experts. The non-profit organisation has dedicated itself to digitising the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Within five years it plans to scan 500 cultural sites in order to transform them into digital 3D models. So far that has worked out quite well — at least for easily accessible examples such as the Brandenburg Gate in Germany or ancient Corinth in Greece. In crisis areas, failed states, and autocracies this task is a lot harder.

The CyArk organisation uses just about every tool that high-technology has to offer: 3D scanners, drones of every size, 360-degree cameras, 3D printers, smart software, and virtual reality systems. It seems as if the idea is certainly causing some serious stir: over 250 ambassadors, government officials, experts, and activists from 35 countries attended CyArk’s annual conference in Berlin this year.

In countries such as Syria, Iraq, or Libya thousands are fighting against the ongoing destruction of historical sites. They are working against time, against the environment, against natural catastrophes, and most of all against war. Since ISIS (ISIL, Daesh) started its mass destruction of historical and religious sites, the threat has become bigger. Not a week goes by without a new YouTube video popping up that shows monuments being blown into bits and pieces or destroyed by hammer-swinging terrorists.

Davison and his students are supposed to respond to ISIS with a secret offensive—and they’ve got the support of industrial and political elites.

There are other groups with slightly different approaches to preserving what can be preserved even if only through crowdsourced images to help create 3D models:

Other groups of cultural guardian activists rely more on Internet communities than secret data-smuggling. “Project Mosul,” for example, named after the city of Mosul in Iraq, uses Internet crowdsourcing, letting users upload their photos directly. Project Mosul also uses pictures of places they find on Flickr. The more photos they find, the easier it gets for them to create a 3D model of an endangered site.

If critical information is missing, members of the community reconstruct the rest. Scientifically this isn’t 100 percent accurate, but it is better than nothing. “I lived in Jordan for eleven years, and the destruction from Syria came so close, I had to do something,” says cofounder Matthew Vincent. Now his platform processes pictures from all around the world, not only Mosul.

In another interesting development, some companies are upgrading these 3D models into full virtual reality environments. David Fürsterwalder just founded his startup, realities.io — a company that specialises in “virtual tourism.” “We need to bring those places back to life instead of just preserving them,” he explains. Fürsterwalder is convinced that we stand on the brink of a VR revolution: “This is not only something for the museum. It will bring virtual journeys to every living room.”

November 15, 2015

A countertop home-brewing appliance

Filed under: Randomness — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Pulkit Chandna reviews the “Brewie”:

Brewie 1

In the future, at-home beer brewing will be a set-it-and-forget-it cinch, and not the convoluted mess we have always known it to be. That’s the feeling one gets from looking at Brewie, the latest in a series of countertop appliances designed to automate the process of beer crafting.

The Hungarian startup behind it claims Brewie is better and more automated than the competition — including the PicoBrew Zymatic home brewery we reviewed back in June. That lofty claim has helped the company secure hundreds of pre-orders, worth more than $600,000, across two crowdfunding rounds on Indiegogo. It concluded the first leg in February with a funding tally of $223,878, only to return to the site late last month in search of yet more pre-orders. (Indiegogo, as part of its “InDemand program” allows project creators to accept contributions or orders even after their crowdfunding campaign has ended.)

The Brewie is said to distill the whole brewing process down to a series of simple steps requiring negligible human input, such that even the most hopeless of aspiring brewmasters can get started with it in no time at all. You can control the unit either through its 4.3-inch LCD touchscreen or via the companion app over Wi-Fi.

June 25, 2015

A different kind of crowd-funding

Filed under: Economics, Media — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Christopher Taylor starts off by praising to the skies a movie I’ve never seen … but he goes on to discuss a variant of crowdfunding that might be a significant change to how movies are made:

… the big studios are corporations that answer to a board of stockholders. And the stockholders aren’t interested in great film making, they are interested in making money off their stocks.

So the Broken Lizards guys went to crowdfunding to raise money for their film, and have done quite well. They did so well that they don’t need a big bunch of studio dollars and interference to make the movie.

But here’s where it gets really interesting. See, crowdfunding sites raise money by offering goodies and the joy of helping a product succeed. They are not investment sites so much as a chance to be a patron of something you want to see on the market as well as a chance to get something from the company. Free copies, a mention in the book, a token in the game named after you, and so on.
Well that’s all about to change in a big way.

Jay Chandrasekhar writes:

    At our meeting, I vented to Slava about my perception of crowdfunding. I told him I wished people could invest in the movie and then own an equity piece of the backend. He said, “I totally agree.” That’s when we hit it off. He said that there is legislation in Washington, as we speak, that if signed, will make equity-based crowdfunding a reality. Think about that.

I’m with Jay here. Think about that. Its very likely that soon you will be able to donate to a crowdfunded project and get money back from its sales. In other words, it will actually be an investment, not just patronizing.

This is a huge key in changing the way that media gets made. All those projects the studios and TV channels pass on because it isn’t hot or doesn’t make sense to them? If this happens, they can have a chance.

March 21, 2015

I know several people who’d want one of these

Filed under: Randomness — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Want a new exotic toy to show off to your buddies after you say “Here, hold my beer”? How about a personal flamethrower?

Personal flamethrower 1

Personal flamethrower 2

Personal flamethrower 3

November 21, 2014

Paging Delos D. Harriman – come to the Kickstarter courtesy phone, please

Filed under: Britain, Space — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:33

This is a use of crowdfunding I didn’t expect to see:

A group of British scientists have taken to Kickstarter in order to get the first set of funds to attempt a landing on the Moon. All ex-teenage (very much ex-teenage, sadly) sci-fi addicts like myself will obviously be cheering them on (and recalling Heinlein’s The Man Who Sold The Moon no doubt) and possibly even subscribing. They’re looking for £ 600,000 or so for the planning phase and will need £ 3 billion to actually carry out the mission. That’s probably rather more, that second number, than they can raise at Kickstarter.

However, over and above the simple joy of seeing boffins doing their boffinry there’s a further joy in the manner in which such projects disintermediate around the political classes. That is, we’ve not got to wait for the politicians to think this is a good idea, we’ve not even got to try and convince any of them that it is. We can (and seemingly are) just getting on with doing it ourselves.

[…]

Here’s what they’re proposing:

    In arguably the most ambitious crowdfunded project ever attempted, a British team is planning to use public donations to fund a lunar landing.

    Within ten years, they believe they can raise enough money to design, build and launch a spacecraft capable of not only travelling to the Moon, but drilling deep into its surface.

    They also want to bury a time-capsule, containing digital details and DNA of those who have donated money to the venture as well alongside an archive of the history of Earth. Finally, the mission will assess the practicality of a permanent manned base at the lunar South Pole.

There’s no doubt at all that the Apollo and similar Russian space adventures had to be run by government. The technology of the time was such that only a government had the resources necessary to drive such a large project. But, obviously, the cost of rocket technology has come down over time.

November 18, 2014

The Wikipedia editors circle the wagons

Filed under: Media, Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 06:50

Virginia Postrel talks about the greatest danger to the long-term health of Wikipedia — the diminishing central group of editors who do the most to keep it going:

Few of the tens of millions of readers who rely on Wikipedia give much thought to where its content comes from or why the site, which is crowdsourced and open (at least in theory) for anyone to edit, doesn’t degenerate into gibberish and graffiti. Like Google or running water, it is simply there. Yet its very existence is something of a miracle. Despite its ocean of content, this vital piece of informational infrastructure is the work of a surprisingly small community of volunteers. Only about 3,000 editors contribute more than 100 changes a month to the English-language Wikipedia, down from a high of more than 4,700 in early 2007. Without any central direction or outside recognition, these dedicated amateurs create, refine, and maintain millions of content pages.

But they don’t really do it for you. Wikipedia “is operated by and for the benefit of the editors,” writes Richard Jensen, one of their number, in a 2012 article in the Journal of Military History. (Jensen, a retired history professor, is a credentialed scholar, which makes him unusual among Wikipedia’s editors.) Unlike open-source software contributions, working on Wikipedia provides few career advantages. It’s a hobby, offering a combination of intrinsic and social rewards. People edit Wikipedia because they enjoy it.

And that is both the genius and the vulnerability of the organization. Wikipedia’s continued improvement — indeed, its continued existence — depends on this self-selected group of obsessives and the organizational culture they’ve developed over time. But the open structure that enabled the creation of so many entries on so many topics also attracts a never-ending stream of attacks from outright vandals and other bad actors. Forced to defend the site’s integrity, incumbent editors become skeptical, even hostile, toward the newcomers who could ensure its future. If Wikipedia eventually fades away, the reasons will lie in a culture that worked brilliantly until it devolved from dynamism to sclerosis.

May 11, 2014

Market disruption and innovation

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Business, Government — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:19

Innovation often leads to challenges to established markets. Existing players in those established markets have three choices when faced with a disruptive new competitor or technological change: they can innovate themselves, they can retrench and avoid direct competition, or they can do what most incumbents do — get the government regulators to fight their battles for them.

Market incumbents do not like disruption. Uber, the ride-sharing service that has loosened the stranglehold of the taxi cartels, has been the object of government attacks and vigilante attacks both. Various regulatory agencies have tried with varying degrees of success to shut it down, London’s taxi drivers are even as we speak promising “chaos” in response to the firm’s success, French vigilantes have attacked its drivers, and in Seattle — blessed Seattle! — self-styled anarchists are targeting its cars and drivers. “Anarchists” for state-enforced cartel economics to increase private profit — somebody is unclear on the concept, it seems.

A great deal of the program of the old Left — from its full-on Marxist wing to its Proudhonian anarchist wing — is in the process of being accomplished by 21st-century capitalism. The means of production have been radically democratized, with multi-billion-dollar firms springing up out of garages and dorm rooms. The privileged position of dominant old-line financiers is being undermined rapidly by innovations such as Kickstarter, which blurs the line between the altruistic and the consumerist. The life expectancy of large corporations has collapsed, from about 75 years in the 1960s to 15 years and declining today. When Pierre-Joseph Proudhon called for “a war of labor against capital; a war of liberty against authority; a war of the producer against the non-producer; a war of equality against privilege,” he certainly did not have in mind Uber or Outbox; his most famous motto was, after all, “Property is theft.” (I think there is rather more to his idea of property than that simplistic formulation communicates, but this is not the place for that particular essay.) But the characteristics of those firms — relatively modest capital requirements, subverting various kinds of political authority in the form of licensure and regulation enacted in the interests of market incumbents, empowering efficient producers to compete with rent-seeking non-producers, and, above all, undermining the privileged place of state-sanctioned monopolies and cartels — looks a lot more like what the 19th-century revolutionaries had in mind than the USPS does. If what you mean by “capitalism” is the East India Company, then capitalism is not very attractive; if what you mean by “capitalism” is Kickstarter, then it is.

Not that a man transported from the 19th century to our own time would recognize that. If we could transport M. Proudhon or any of his contemporaries to the here and now, their eyes would not register any economic system with which they were familiar at the sight of the daily wonders we take for granted. They wouldn’t see capitalism; they’d see magic. But the DMV, the USPS, the housing project, and the prison would all be familiar to their 19th-century eyes. Our choice is not really between neat ideological verities with their roots in Adam Smith or Karl Marx, but between the DMV and the Apple store. Each model has its downsides, to be sure, but it does not seem like a terribly difficult choice to me.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress