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…?


Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

So I signed a petition today at dailyKos, asking congress to prevent Trump from having the authority to start a nuclear war. And I thought, well, petitions aren’t very effective and I don’t know if this will do any good. But at least, if there is a nuclear war and we are all gonna die, at least I know I signed a petition….


I did get a bunch of people at the peace fair today to agree to make phone calls against that SB1142 bill. Now back to aligning voter files to enable our communities product. Would it have made any difference if I just went hiking? But then there was Anna Maria with the families of those killed by the border patrol. I think I’m glad I went. Fighting back is a funny thing.

A friend introduced me yesterday to the Alexander technique, which after reading about on various websites, I still know very little about. Here is why I consider that a failing in principle.

I am not merely a demanding, impatient, spoiled American, though I am those things too. But the technique, or the description of it I was able to gather in my very brief reading, seems to me to contain powerful principles that reach beyond use of one’s body.

The Alexander technique, in my limited understanding, involves not only release of tension but minimalist motion and effort, a conscious avoiding of unnecessary muscle action.

This principle of minimalist, focused effort is both general and powerful: Omit Needless Words. Treat every problem as if its solution were extremely simple (Extreme programming). Write.

So here is a challenge to you folks who do understand the Alexander technique, who are teachers and who have dedicated years to its understanding: Can you write a page or two of imperatives that distill your deep wisdom to the fewest possible words?

In the meantime, I’ll keep reading: a good life is having a framework in which you can spend the bits of time doing good things, things in line with your long term deep goals. That’s it. And that’s the software I really want to write, the thing that ties together the long-term threads and deeper goals with the daily feed and workflow. But in the meantime use the tools there are, which maybe could already be used that way…

kinda obvious but most things that make sense are obvious, no?

0 quiet thoughts

Golda to Thoughts  

so many things that cannot be said…at least the good thing about voice is it doesn’t leave a record

Second things first: Google Plus is too all-encompassing and controlling. I can’t get a feed to publish elsewhere, or hack at, or stream, or store as text. Anything I write there lives ONLY in Google Plus, it seems, and can be taken out only manually.

And I’m not sure I want to write primarily for my friends. If I wanted to tell my friends something, I’d send them an email. If I have an idea to share, it seems cleaner in some way to publish it anonymously – or at least without notifying my friends – so that it stands on its own merits, and the reaction to it is not muddled up with relationships and niceness. Besides, if the writing is both honest and personal, it may relate to people my friends know or would recognize, and that is the last thing I would want. Unavoidable, perhaps, but not desireable.

Postscript: Google Plus may open itself up when the API is launched:

The larval stage is when living in the host’s brain; metamorphosis is the act of writing; and the mature stage capable of reproduction is in written form.

Sometimes larval stage ideas reproduce in casual conversation, but mass reproduction is almost always after metamorphosis. Even ideas transmitted in speeches or on TV have generally gone thru the transformative writing process before being re-emitted as speech.

Much has been written about the impending demise of journalism. No doubt, papers and magazines are in trouble, and with them the usual revenue stream of the professional journalist.

Ellen Goodman wrote a recent column in which she made a great call that crowdsourcing leads to the basing of facts on opinions, instead of opinions on facts. There is truth to this. The famed ‘many eyes’ approach of open source software works best when all the eyes are dispassionately looking for truth, and not spin.

I believe though that journalism has a fascinating future. The key is trust, and for readers to be able to make informed judgements. Goodman pointed out that there seems to be no consequence for bloggers who make things up. Some consequence exists, in that other bloggers may write about their lack of veracity, and individual readers reduce their trust level, but it doesn’t reduce the number of links to the lying blogger’s page and thus does not reduce their PageRank, which is essentially Google’s level of trust that they have something useful or interesting to say.

The web may need an explicit TrustWeb, where users and webmasters/bloggers can state their level of trust in a website or even a website author (the latter requiring some of the semantic web technology that allows more explicit markup of relationships between things). Initial work has been done on Trustwebs (search on Guha + trust web) in a controlled setting. To have a distributed trustweb may come out of semantic technology, or it may get done as some kind of a hack: <a href=”somesite” trustlevel=-8 rel=nofollow &rt;this guy is ridiculous </a&rt;

If TrustRanks become public (and perhaps disjoint – there may be different named trustwebs that propagate separately) you can bet having a high trust level will get a dollar value attached – either from associated advertising or from micropayments from readers. Then abusing the reader’s trust will once again have an immediate consequence to the writer – maybe even more so than an irate boss.

On a related note to the last post, I have been wondering what became of the “Hot Seat” group therapy developed by Bill Sands and the inmate Ezra Kingsley. From what I read it sounds pretty effective – its sort of honesty therapy. In The Seventh Step, Sands describes it as the invention of lifer inmate Ezra Kingsley: each member of the group takes a turn in the ‘hot seat’, and talks about their efforts. The other members ‘rip the sheet off’ the speaker, pointing out ways in which he isn’t being honest with himself. This strikes me as pretty strong stuff, and I could see how it would be effective therapy.

The only links I’ve found online that reference the program are this one in Canada:
and a publication from around 1966:

It seems to me like effective help for convicts is just an extremely important area – not only for the convicts themselves, but for communities and even state budgets.

I’ve seen a flyer at Antigone Books in Tucson about a Books behind Bars project or something like that that sends books into prisons. I think its a great idea but another incident made me start thinking, which books?

One day I took a walk in the Santa Cruz wash, happened to be after a city sweep of the homeless camps. They had pretty much bulldozed them, so leftover things and trash were scattered around. I found a book, that one of the homeless folks had owned. It was some kind of psychic text that sort of blamed problems on society in a kind of ranting way. I can’t remember the name of it now but it struck me that this book probably wasn’t going to be the one to help someone get their life back together.

On the other hand, some books are truly powerful and inspirational. I posted somewhere else about the prisoner with a quote from Anne Frank’s diary tattooed on his back. And that is not even one I would have chosen. Maybe Victor Frankl? My Shadow Ran Fast by Bill Sands?

I am curious, what books people have found to be really helpful in changing their lives. Especially that would be relevent to prisoners today.