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#micropoetry microcurated 2: Wind|Spirit

A lot of interesting micropoetry is done by people who don’t have legions of followers. #micropoetry microcurated is drawn from their micropoetry. This is about finding micropoetry that’s interesting, great, fun, thoughtful or sometimes just plain delightfully strange.

Instead of assuming people without legions of followers are focused on finding this, I decided to reverse the usual formula and go find them.

And sometimes, it’s actually been surprisingly hard to connect with some of the authors. The first thing I picked for this issue actually a tweet pulled from the contents of a blog entry without any way to contact the original author. I’m going to gamble that most of these authors will get it.

Raise the black flag!

Ellusive gem of micropoetry! Cower before me for I am the Dread Pirate Roberts and you, micropoem, I am dragging you back kicking and screaming while I smile gallantly!

 

one lone cloud
a curl of duck-down
sails the lake

Jan Dobb

 

#haiku, from statuses of friends

Back to work today
I want to stay home and write
to the maple blues

Robyn MacKinnon  ‏@art_rat

 

The weather man
(having visions)
foretelling chances

which half of the sky
will rain this time?

Positively Wyrde  ‏@Wyrde

 

Humanity: Bored at breakfast!
G*d: Have smartphone

School closures not
t
t
loading
Stare
Yep
Still bored

Tim 4til7 Wood   @4til7

This may feel a little… strange at first

After we eat breakfast, I drive my daughter to school. When I get back I get a cup of coffee and start the writing part of my work day. Sometimes I start that by continuing to work on something I’ve already started writing or editing. And sometimes, just by thinking.

Today, traffic kick started me. It feels like the drivers in this town are worse than they used to be. Part of it is there are almost three times as many people as there were when I moved here the first time. There are at least three times as many people screwing up based on that alone. And it’s partly gadgets. Show me someone driving with a phone to their ear in Colorado Springs and there’s a good chance I’ll be looking at someone whose car tires do not stay in their own lane. Gadgets are a great opportunity to not see what’s going on around and a great way to screw up without trying.

Anybody who’s heard me talk about traffic probably expects me to go into a full rant. But that’s where this thunk got interesting.This went on a tangent.

to be continued…

From Footnotes to the Shared Information Aether

With Google’s search parties reporting they’re close to capturing the one remaining wild piece of information known to exist (rumors indicate it has something to do with a blue dress and birth certificate), we’ve gone from a world where lots of information was precious and hard to get at to one where we’re swimming in an ocean of it. We swim in it, we breath it.

If I said the sky is blue and backed it up with a wikipedia link, most of my readers would read the wikipedia article and agree with it. There was no need to prove the sky is blue: we all “know” that.

There is a vast amount of information that (essentially) all of us know. Sometimes it’s literally in our heads. A lot more information is so easy to access that it’s still common knowledge. How to avoid a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant is not a mystery as I’m connected because I can have the address of every Chuck E. Cheese in moments.

Knowledge is power. As long it can effectively be used, more and “better” information is a huge advantage because, generally, individuals and groups will better decisions and carry those out more effectively.

And, shared knowledge is shared power. Humanity organically developed a whole series of adhoc mechanisms for sharing information: storytelling, papyrus, word-of-mouth, books, magazines, posters, magazines, cartoons, billboards, bumper stickers, advertising…

That pool of ad-hoc mechanisms has been mirrored in the online world. Everyone is contributing to this knowledge constantly. Sometimes, it’s simply by the act of being connected to the online world and sometimes, it’s through a facebook post (say on growing peaches at 8,000) that 35 people repost and then gets cited in Wikipedia. Each of us, by being online, both passively and actively increases our pool of knowledge.

This pool of information has been growing exponentially for long enough that is many orders of magnitude larger than what one person (or perhaps all of us) can read, let along memorize. There is more information in this shared pool than in all the human heads on this planet.

When you look at humans as a group you see things that are not possible without a group: the collective unconscious, consensus reality (e.g. we agree that black is not white), the wisdom of the crowd (groups make higher-quality decisions than experts). We, as a group, share an unconscious framework, develop agreement about reality and make better decisions. These are naturally occurring characteristics of humans as a group.

But our shared pool of information, what I call the Shared Information Aether, is qualitatively different precisely because it is not naturally occurring. We, as a group, decided to build it. Essentially, we have evolved our group brain by intentionally choosing to evolve the species as a group

 

After physicists figured out that light was a wave, many went looking for the sea that was waving. Something had to be waving and it had to be all around us, like air, so that light could shine. Someone called it the aether and went looking for it. Eventually, they decided there was no aether, just the waving. Our information is like that now. It’s what the term ‘Cloud’ is trying to get at.

The online world was built from the beginning with lots of redundancy. Most specific bits and pieces of data are protected by error checking, backups, monitoring software, server mirroring and so on. And there’s a lot of additional redundancy because of how we share information. We gossip and paraphrase and report that and summarize and analyze and recombine into a million copies in a thousand languages.

If you look at the internet as a collection of computers, you miss the point. Of course we’ve filled the world with computers and connected them all together. Without them, the Shared Information Aether would not be possible but the computers are not what’s waving. With a book, information is tied to a physical place; it’s as if the pages are what the ink (and information) is waving. But there is no physical books in the Shared Information Aether. Words are not written on little pieces of paper. They arn’t even “written” in specific places. Information is not static; especially in the Shared Information Aether. It changes, grows, lives, flows. The information is literally flowing all around us

We have made ourselves the collective to change our future as a species.

What’s waving is us.

Grading College Papers

One of my High School teachers told me she takes the grade’s on an assignment, charts them and those grades cluster: A’s then B’s then C’s and so on.

Part way through my first semester grading college papers, I noticed something strange. Even though this was a class for upper level college humanity majors, it was clear quite a few of these students didn’t know how to write a basic paper.

A paper is, is a bit like a lawyer making a case in court: it’s supposed to prove or show something. To do that, it has to actually start, preferably in one place, and get somewhere else (in an at least vaguely connected fashion) while backing it up with some evidence (teachers call those footnotes).

But, by the second paper, the grade clusters showed a bunch of students couldn’t even do that. What were basically english majors couldn’t write a basic high school paper. So, all these students needed to do to get a C was to start one place and get somewhere else without dropping me in the Grand Canyon while throwing a few footnotes my way. That’s it.

If I expect that out of one of my students, I’m kind of stuck with it as a rule when I write and publish. Some writing really does need evidence like footnotes. If I’m claiming Elvis is alive and well because I saw it on a webcam, I’m going to provide a link. If I’m analyzing the first album by an obscure Dallas band from decades ago, I’m going to try and give you links to some of their songs so you can listen for yourself.

Whoops

A future blog post (“We are toolmaker”) went live early. Worse, it wasn’t actually a full draft. It was more a collection of notes. If you read it, I apologize for the confusion. Worsest of all? It went live early due to me me me. I done did not do what I knew I was supposed to do and…. yeah. “We are Toolmaker” will be start later this week.

A book!

I’ve got a book coming out on pressWoodInk about prayer as an intentional practice called Practicing Prayer. This one is going to be a publishing back-to-the-future. Once, books were often first published in serial form. Many of Dickens’ books originally appeared as a series of episodes in the newspaper. Publishing has rediscovered this and pressWoodInk is going to try out the idea with Practicing Prayer. The first part will appear soon.

News, Updates and the Hopelessly Interesting

sounds-like-the-90s

What happened to my blog?! The colors and design and… wait? There are pictures showing up all the time? Waz up with that?!

Well… the design is something of an accident. I moved the site to a different hosting company and my wordpress theme decide it was time to eat my (old) custom design work. Why didn’t it tell me it was hungry instead of eating some tastless CSS. Well, it was past due for an update. What you see (design-wise) is a crude placeholder. And, if I’m going to change the design, I decided it’s time to start using more images.

The real change is in the content. While moving the site, I pulled in a lot of my blog posts that once appeared at eDao’s website and, before that, on the Data Wranglers’ site. It’s internet archeology with posts that pre-date Apple’s iPhone and iPod, the first internet bubble and the term “blog”. The (awkward) term back then was weblog. Oh my. But, back in 1997, I started (we)bloging under the subtitle “News, Updates and the Hopelessly Interesting”. Originally, each post was a bit of handcrafted HTML. Eventually, I crafted a very crude homegrown CMS to semi-manage it. Some it is a touch puzzling. Some of it probably belongs in the “who cares?” category. And, weirdly, on some of it I could change a few names and places and re-run it today. At one point, I changed who hosted the website and my home grown CMS blew up. But, now –with some digging and de-crufting, it’s back. In all it’s occasionally embarrassing two hundred and twenty-seven posts semi-glory. Just scroll down to the archives:

My first job (at a swim meet)

Paper Boy

I’m at a swim meet with my 12 year old daughter waiting for her first heat. In Twitter:

@Kelsye: In SIX WORDS, write a story about your first job http://kelsye.com/six-words-fewer-write-story-first-job/ #6words

I write

throw papers
avoid
creepy old man

I was a little younger than my daughter when I worked that job. The past shouldn’t echo but it does.

gazaWe’re still waiting so I listen to BBC news. The reporter is at a hospital in Gaza. An old lady moves slowly down the street …with her husband… holds a white flag as far over her head as she can maybe they …miles away they… won’t fire on her? Beyond the reporter …end of the block… artillery? mortars? explosions. The reporter …war reporter… keeps going through a voice that wavers her past experience not enough?  around the edges and shakes.

She won’t can’t? describe the body in front of her. Into my head pops Monty Python explosion… Time Bandits midget gone. She doesn’t say if the old lady makes it. More explosions disappear Python.

I think the reporter will make it. For me, BBC News has this weird quality that won’t countenance otherwise. It just wouldn’t be proper. What I don’t know is whether she’ll survive.

And I’m not sure which she I really mean.

Recent Found Images

Each piece is two images printed on a pair of metal plates. The front image is found digital photograph (unmodified other than minor adjustments/mostly cropping). The back image is printed across the plates in an image pair and is a composite of the images on the front plates. All six pieces were featured at a short-lived gallery in Waco TX. The first and last set were part of the Modbo Small Works show (December 2013):

Decision, Offering
exploring childhood’s choices and, by analogy, our own in reality and in our minds
Red

Light/Post, Rising
Grey

Spin, Blur
exploring motion and trying to capture the experience of a moment
Purple