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The state of Roman metallurgical science determined the maximum length of a chariot’s axle and hence its wheel-base
The Roman-chariot’s wheel-base determined the width of the Roman roads
The width of the Roman roads determined the width of modern carts
The width of modern carts determined the width of modern roads
The width of modern roads determined the width of wheel-bases for cars and lorries
The width of lorries determined the width of containers and the parameters of rail-cars and container-ships
And since the Space Shuttle’s reusable fuel-tanks had to be transported on these roads and railroads, they, too, were ultimately determined by the state of Roman metalurgy, thousands of years ago
This is, of course, a gross oversimplification, but it is intended as parable and not as history
The reason to recount this parable here, now, at this early, liminal moment in the future history of the information age is that:
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1. Don’t make something you don’t use yourself.
2. Know who you are making it for.
3. Know what you want out of it.
4. Make projects, not platforms.
5. Respect the intelligence of the beginner.
6. Experts are not the best advisors when you want to make tools for beginners.
7. If nobody complains you're doing something wrong.
8. Including people is hard (but necessary)
9. Good hardware, good software, good explanations, and generous users make a great project
10. If you're not prepared to have someone adapt, improve, clone, or trash your work, don't share it.
11. Open source software doesn't necessarily translate into a business model... open source hardware must.
12. Expect resistance... and conspiracy theories.
13. Don’t let the fact that you don't know what you're doing stop you.
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It's important because people have to have the chance to talk about what they care about, what the domain of their rights should be; where the boundaries should be drawn and to draw them themselves. Our rights are inherent to us, as a people, as a society. They're inherent to our nature, not granted by governments, merely guaranteed by governments. When you talk about encryption, they're missing the point. It's not really about encryption, encryption is a means to an end. Encryption is a benefit of enforcing rights to which you're already entitled. The real question here is - Do you have a right to have a conversation only with yourself? Do you have a space to develop your own ideas before you're comfortable sharing them with the world? Do you have the right to enjoy the fruits of your own intellect in the privacy of your home, your community, and your associates, without it having been intercepted, analyzed, and fundamentally, in a basic sense, prejudged by others who are not entitled to it?
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There’s an implied max/min problem here: the intersection of a curve representing the amount of wealth you need to spend on guards to maintain stability in the presence of a widening rich/poor gap and the amount you can save on guards by creating social mobility through education, health, and social welfare is the point at which you should stop paying for cops and start paying for hospitals and schools.
This implies that productivity gains in guard labour will make wider wealth gaps sustainable. When coercion gets cheaper, the point at which it makes “economic sense” to allow social mobility moves further along the curve. The evidence for this is in the thing mass surveillance does best, which is not catching terrorists, but disrupting legitimate political opposition, from Occupy to the RCMP’s classification of “anti-petroleum” activists as a threat to national security.
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I love the 'Week in Review' summaries I am seeing at blogs like: https:/
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"So now the dozens of people who have given their time and expertise to what has been hailed by journalists and advocacy groups as a crucial journalistic enterprise are now at risk of being indicted under the same sort of spurious charges that I was facing not long ago, when the government exposed me to decades of prison time for copying and pasting a link to a publicly available file that other journalists were also linking to without being prosecuted. The fact that the government has still asked you to punish me for that link is proof, if any more were needed, that those of us who advocate against secrecy are to be pursued without regard for the rule of law, or even common decency."