Thought Overflow…Golda’s BlogIf memes are like genes, then having a conversation in which you share ideas and come up with new ones is like…?

So my writings here are sort of musings, on the personal side as opposed to the what-the-hell-is-going-on-in-the-world side.  I also write as gvelez on medium; as wordmonkey on dailyKos; occasionally on Blog for Arizona & Hacker Noon; and once on impakter and LA Progressive should you wish to subject yourself…

this piece makes me happy every time i reread it. it was born out of frustration with fintech bros

A Darwinian Argument

“You must die.” The woman spoke dispassionately, her face blank.

The jowly man chained at the ankle squinted across the room at her. His glasses had broken in the struggle, so were there subtle clues to read he might have missed them anyway. His face betrayed a racing chain of emotions, flickering from fear to contempt to calculation. Which of his enemies sent her? 


0 floating snips

Golda to RandomWrites  

if writing is the search for shape and meaning in life

is must be a selective one

the truth is full of distraction and laziness, napping in the face of urgency
forgetting oneself and remembering again and hiding from that truth

accepting maybe but celebrating nonsense? what is self anyway these ais have me questioning
if i am a self or just generating text
there is some inner thing
but it varies ‘i contain multitudes’ indeed but many are quite prosaic and merely hungry

luckily friends remember
perhaps its why we want to be seen

There is really only one question, ever.

Given the state of the world to my knowledge, what should I do next?

Answered shallowly, the answer may be

order pizza for dinner
drink a beer
finish a task on my list
continue or start a conversation with a friend
post on social media
edit a plan or a poem
shoot a gun, make love, spend money

The attraction of the shallow answers lies in how do-able they are.

Social media beckons, a feed as linear as time and digestible as sugar. Familiar routine offers a menu of known actions. Work, as defined by others, is also chunked into digestiible slices and returning a liquid reward, feels perhaps healthier. And expression – artistic, conversational, musical, or the written word feels like a missing mineral, that we didn’t realize we craved until we taste it.

How to weave these small next steps into the pattern we want – and what does that even mean when one moment we want to remake society and the next we want an ice cream sundae?

In our professional lives most of us have known patterns, best practices, colleagues to guide us, and a mission prescribed by our job. On the personal side self-help books abound, and a few cultural groups of changemakers are perhaps starting to share successful practices. Cultural movements define new terms – eg gaslighting, the dictionary term of the year – to synthesize complex behvioral patterns into a word that can be weilded like a weapon.

Much of this happens organically, as it perhaps must. But moving with the flow has proven susceptible to sophisticated manipulation, so we don’t know if our next step is truly ours, if it is driven by our own core self, our values and beliefs and needs, whatever makes up your self – or is it simply what a well funded AI driven cancerous growth is driving us towards?

How then, to make our next step in tune with our inner music, to harmonize with others who share genuine values with us, as tested by dynamic behaviors and not lip service?

To be continued – the how, indeed. Test cases, relationships, and a language evolving from ourselves; uncertainty and critique and feedback. Skepticism but not cynicism. A common past, and test by follow the money. Check in code and patterns to build value based things. Much of this is happening, but how do we recognize it and defend against takeover in the future, is part of the question of how. The devil, as always, hiding in the exploits of the details.

walking over a bridge in san jose, costa rica after talking to an Israeli ex-pat in the hostel and preparing for RightsCon tomorrow, i realized why i haven’t been writing, at least one of the reasons

the work is not so much to pull a thread of sense out of my tangled thoughts – that is work, but its the good part

(oh wow as a side note wordpress has gotton so awful about interrupting while i’m trying to write, i may switch but all my things are here. moving this to a plain text editor)

the bad part, or the hard part, is framing thoughts for an audience, in particular an audience that in my opinion has actively harmful frameworks and assumptions embedded. its exhausting trying to think of how they are thinking, being bothered at it, and then trying to talk in a way that will be convincing or compelling. that is why i do not write more, i think. also where to do it and probably no one in particular wants to read it anyway! the part about voice and personableness might have not a little to do with it as well!

but back to the frameworks. the one that exhausts me most is this assumption of a “state”. i realized, to talk to someone about Afghanistan, for instance, i would say first – hold on, lets back up. the words you are using in shorthand are actively harmful constructs in my opinion, or at least not useful. lets see if we could agree on some others, to make it easier to talk without constant battle over assumptions behind terms

“government” – lets agree this no where near applies. please don’t use that word unless there is some organization that represents people and where harm has recourse. words have to mean something. i met a historian at the book festival in tucson who wanted to say it meant “control on the ground”. there is so much wrong with that.

lets start with, there are a lot of people there, many of them right now have guns and steal from and hurt many women. lets call the ones with guns who fight and work with each other to take things, lets call them mafias. the women, lets call them ‘the unlucky women’ because that is what a group called themselves who i was working with and i love that. so now, here we have a problem, some of the unlucky women are having to hide from these guys with guns, some have trouble getting enough to eat, and also they don’t have a way to cooperate safely and organize and get recognition from other communities to, you know, work and live

so lets look at this problem, that the unlucky women don’t have a safe way to deal with the orgnanizations that have resources, to have jobs and maybe “aid” – that thing that people cooperate to make available to other people in unlucky situations. and when one person is hurt or disappeared there isn’t any system to tell someone about it and make it stop – that’s called accountability, that is a good word not often misused.

if you are trying to solve this problem, then i want to talk to you. lets figure out the words, the phrases, the systems, to solve it.

and sometimes, i will try to write for the people who don’t see it this way, who see other shapes and ghosts and maybe see the world in some geopolitical calculus of moving weapons. but most of the time i dont’ want to talk to you, if that is you.

0 artistic gene

Golda to Uncategorized  

Feeling very lucky today to have such strong, creative, independent daughters

Not to mention artistic:

Expression through art is so valuable, and it reflects a synthesis that is hard to capture in linear form.

There was a period when I didn’t post about my family much, partly because i didn’t like how facebook manipulated and monetized connections, and – this may sound weird, but doing human rights work it made me afraid that if I showed connection to them someday someone would retaliate against my family, like they do in other places. But I think now, that I never will be that influential, and anyway the information is already out. So I will start to share, and celebrate my family, just a bit.

0 family fiction

Golda to Uncategorized  

How did I not realize my daughter published this lovely short piece back in 2017.

Cherry & Chocolate by Amber Velez, published by Drunk Monkeys

The title is familiar but I think I had read a different one and confused it for this one. Reading now – its like finding a treasure you didn’t realize you’d misplaced.

And it has a reference to Tesla’s pigeon. or dove. Dove sounds better. And a memorable take on welding.

AIs good at helping humans do what they intend << AIs that are good at manipulating humans to do what someone else wants

this is more a tweet than a blog post, but I’m not tweeting now…

saving it here for reference, will frame it more later. these were really cool lawyers who work on human rights and freedom of expression and also they are hopeful for decentralized tech solutions

also published on – but I think I’ll keep a copy here all the same. some of the thoughts evolved from the previous “minddump” draft…

The dismal science, also known as Economics, describes behavior as “rational” if maximizes personal satisfaction. Markets are held up as a tool for maximizing everyone’s satisfaction, yet they they inherently anonymize the participants, limiting the “rational” values that can be modeled. Behaviors based on principles or relationships are disregarded – yet non-transactional values that cannot be “bought” are central drivers for behavior in most humans that I care to associate with. I prefer to deal with people I know and trust, to work on things I care about, to buy products that were made in fair working conditions. I strongly want never to buy things that murderers profited from, yet today I often do so. An anonymized marketplace does not allow me to easily act “rationally” based on my actual values. A richer ecosystem of information would provide much higher utility, than the current common model of anonymized transactions.

In math, the shape of the universe follows from the axioms chosen. An assumption of scalar rationality in which all values are transactional and anonymizable is not wrong mathematically, it simply determines the shape of the universe described.

In science, we try to describe the observed shape of the world. Models and theories are tested by their ability to predict behavior in the real world. Hand-waving away large swaths of human motivation and observed behavior as “irrational” is a religious, not scientific approach.

In engineering, we try to shape the world. What shape do we want? For very clearly, tools that only allow anonymous transactions lead to a world in which everything is for sale.

The exciting thing in our time is not that we can automate markets, but that we can actualize language and intention. SBTs are a good starting point, that allow us to efficiently encode the values and relationships, the specific judgements and experiences that in fact drive our behavior.

I wrote more about this some time back: Can’t Buy Me Love: An Argument for Implementing Illiquidity which discusses encoding trust, changing cooperative structures and using earned tokens for governance, and offers computational models of love and corruption, among other things.