Ethical Software For Everyone Nov 28, 2019 Can I interest you in a nutrition label? Ethics! We all have a few. Every day, my personal ethics evolve in varying degrees. It seemed harmless to speak loudly and abrasively in my early twenties — a speech full of arbitrary and contrary words. Who was I hurting? Now I know. The increments of personal ethics evolution are slow and sometimes the work takes decades. Crossing the bridge of intoxicants, for example. ...
Hacker Villages Nov 20, 2019 The inevitable advent of जादूगरों का गाँव. “Land in Canada costs how much?” Ragul queries me a second time. His eyes are wide and I can tell he's asking me to confirm the cost of property in Eastern Canada because half of him doesn't believe it. “Yeah, I know,” I say, “$23,000 CAD for 20–30 acres is…” I pull out my phone and start punching the forex conversion into the search box but he gives me the answer off the top of his head before I can finish. ...
Compassion For Donald Aug 28, 2019 The 2019 Canadian federal election is over. I doubt anyone feels very good about it. Not because a minority government threatens to immobilize the Canadian government. I mean, there is that. But the suffocating air of this election was far less tangible, far less quantifiable, than counted ballots. The outmoded left-right political spectrum is gasping for breath through a death rattle and, for those of us who plan to be here on the far side, it's disgusting to watch. ...
I started meditating... now what? Aug 21, 2019 Two weeks ago, a friend struck up a conversation with me about his meditation practice. His query was: Hi Steve, I started meditating like a month ago. Nothing fancy, just sitting down and observing my breath. I did it because my anxiety was really, really bad and I couldn't sleep at all most nights. It was horrible. At first the meditation made no difference. But then things started improving. ...
Silent Spaces Mar 01, 2019 How often do we experience real silence? Universal Spaces was written out of necessity. There is nothing profound about the idea of universal spaces — spaces without any form of exceptional availability — but no preexisting terminology satisfies the requirement of defining spaces only in terms of that quality. Universal spaces require an identity, something we can point to when we presuppose them as a superset of Silent Spaces. ...
Universal Spaces Feb 05, 2019 Yesterday we visited Chennai's Theosophical Society. Prior to this visit I knew little of Theosophy and nothing about the space. The Society is staggering in size. Bountiful gardens spread across 260 acres. Although it is dwarfed by large city parks like Central Park (850 acres) in New York and Stanley Park (1000 acres) in Vancouver, the Theosophical Society Gardens have an even more surprising quality: they are privately owned. Think what we might about the Society's belief systems, what became clear on our journey back home from an hour of meditation in the gardens was that they constitute an example of an idea Siggu has tossed around for a while: Universal Spaces. ...
India Has A Three-Body Problem Feb 01, 2019 When I moved to Bangalore six years ago, I had no interest in India's garbage management problem. I moved here to build a software company, not to muck about with garbage bins. But every time I would fly between the subcontinent and the Americas, I would find relief on my home continent and exhaustion on my continent of immigration. Living in a giant garbage heap is mentally taxing. Every moment spent outdoors is either an angsty mental rundown of how I might help, complete with acute feelings of powerlessness, or searching for someone to blame (my brain's lazy personal favourite is a generic and completely unhelpful “the middle class”). ...
How To Disconnect Jan 16, 2019 For those of us who grew up in the 1990s (Gen-Y-ers? Pre-Millennials?), the sound of connecting was Pshhhkkkkkkrrrrkakingkakingkakingtshchchchchchchchcchdingding*ding and there was a certain romance to the ritual of Getting On The Internet. At least, there is a certain romance now, looking back. Now that we live in the era which precedes the era of ubiquitous computing, with all our nerdy fantasies fulfilled, the internet is everywhere and the ritual is our lives. ...
Does Smoking Marijuana Harm Your Meditation Practice? Jan 11, 2019 tl;dr: Yes, it does. A friend with very little drug experience recently asked me if smoking (or eating) marijuana would harm her nascent meditation practice. She had a few follow-up questions, one of which was “have you ever written about this?” which caused me to turn our conversation into this essay. First off, on the broad topic of drugs and meditation, I have written about my experiences and categorized the options once before in Drugs, Meditation, Warnings. ...
Steve Yegge, You Are Half Right (Part Two: Software Ethics) Jan 01, 2019 In 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari repeatedly emphasizes the need for society to apply critical thinking to the future of software, algorithms, and artificial intelligence. Harari is one of the more forward-thinking philosophers when it comes to disruptive technology and 21 Lessons lucidly collects the requirements for our species’ future: our new tools must sustainably respect future arcs of aggregate data use and they must do so globally. ...