fredag 24 oktober 2014

The future of the sharing economy 12 times over

My previous blog post listed all the guest lecturers that have visited our course "The future of media" during the first half of the autumn term. This year's theme is "The future of the digital commons and the sharing economy". Last week we had our last guests drop by and we also divided the students into no less than 12 project groups. They have by now worked together for 10 days and we met each group to review their project plans earlier this week. Some groups have probably already found their Great Idea that they will work with during the rest of the terms, while other groups still have work ahead of them trying to figure that out.

Below is a list of the 12 project groups together with the short descriptions that brought the students together. For several groups, these descriptions are already outdated, but they are still good enough to get an idea about what topics our students are working on now and will work on for the rest of the autumn term.

Trust and reputation systems. For sharing to be able to work, there has to be (justified) trust between strangers. So who should you trust? How do state-of-the-art reputation systems encourage and ensure the creation of “social capital” and mutual trust today (and punish free riders and cheaters)? How could such systems be further developed to support the digital commons and the sharing economy of tomorrow?

3D society. 3D-printers (and makerspaces and Fab labs etc.) will change society forever. Explore and explain how by finding, talking and participating with the Stockholm “scene”. Choose to explore the positive effects (Rifkin) and/or possible negative effects (printing guns and drugs, who has control over the printers or of the equivalent of the “ink”).

The future of learning. What is the future of learning and the future of universities in an age of free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on the Internet? What are the pros and cons of MOOCs compared to the alternatives?

A sustainable sharing economy. What is the relationship between sustainability and the sharing economy? How can a future sharing economy be shaped to be maximally sustainable?

Sharing motivations. Why do people share? For the noble good, for making some extra cash for myself, from dire need or for some other reason (or combination of reasons)? What does this imply for the future of sharing?

The end of big business. The sharing economy will undermine and topple some (or many?) of the giants of the 20th century industrial economy. Explore and explain how. Will collaborative consumption ruin old business structures and create a new economic system?

The future of crowdwork. Crowdwork is a powerful idea. Some work is done by voluneers for free (Wikipedia, Foldit), other work is done for profit (Amazon Mechanical Turk). What is the future of crowdwork? For for-profit crowdwork, how can such ideas be leveraged to be beneficial for employers and service providers (e.g. Amazon) as well as for employees?

The future of piracy. What is the connection (if any) between piracy and the commons? Do pirates perceive themselves to be “commoners”? Are pirates “liberating” things that should be in the common or are they criminals who should be stopped? Hunt down your very own pirates (and anti-pirates) and find the answers to how these things go together.

The future of trust. Trust might very well be *the* issue that determines the future of the digital commons and the sharing economy. How do companies (and non-profits) work with issues of trust today? What are the possibilities and what are the challenges?

The bottom-up revolution. Instead of installing expensive meteorological weather stations, why not let (many) ordinary users report the temperature and the shape of the clouds through an app (e.g. Shareweather)? And why not build bottom-up maps of pollution or congestion or where the nearest sushi bar or free wi-fi is? What are the implications of creating new commons through this bottom-up “revolution”?

The future of shared food. Can food production (locally cultivated organic food in gardens) and preparation/consumption (shared dinners etc.) be brought to the cities and mediated by ICT?

The future of work. What will happen to work (good jobs, bad jobs, no jobs) if the sharing economy expands? Will sharing create a better society for all or will it undermine safety and security in the job market, e.g. taxi drivers starting to work for Uber but with lower salaries)? What are the effects of the current sharing economy on job creation and the job market?

söndag 19 oktober 2014

Future of Media 2014 line-up

The first part of the project course I'm teaching, DM2571 "Future of Media", came to an end this past week and we are now moving from the start-up phase (with lots of guest lectures) to the project phase. We change the theme in the course every year and this year's theme - the 12th - is "The Future of the digital commons and the sharing economy". Last year's theme was "The Future of News / News of the Future".

Since we change the theme every year, we basically also deliver a new course every year. More specifically, we make a few changes in the format but replace all the content since the content naturally is very much dependent on the theme. That means lots of work each year. This year has been particularly stressful since I was away on a sabbatical during the spring and could not start to plan the course before the summer (which I usually do). Having the first part of the course come to a close is thus a huge relief. While there is still quite some work left to do, it will definitely demand less from me from now on.

This time last year I took the opportunity to write a blog post where I listed all the great guest lecturers we had had visit the course. Below is the 2014 line-up of our (no less than 18! guests lectures. Twelve different student project groups will present their visions of the future in the form of a larger (200+ persons) public presentation (welcome!) in mid-December. I will shortly write a follow-up blog post about the 12 different projects and the topics they plan to look into.

-------------------- Lectures --------------------

- Jan Forsmark, coordinator for the Transition Sweden network, "From Global challenges to local projects".

- Peter Jakobsson, Ph.D. in Media and Communication, Södertörn University, "Contested cultural commons: a political-economy perspective".

- Daniel Pargman, KTH/CSC/Media Technology and Interaction Design, "The digital commons, the sharing economy and collaborative consumption"

- Six Silberman, Co-maintainer for Turkopticon; PhD student at the Department of Informatics, UC Irvine, "Crowdwork and the 'sharing economy': a non-exuberant introduction to the commons".

- Christofer Gradin Franzén, Psychologist and master of science business and economics, "Co-creating the financial, social and psychological space for a paradigm shift".

- Visit to Dieselverkstadens bibliotek, Nacka where we we taken care of by Margareta Swanelid (CEO), Kalle Molin (librarian), Per Perstrand (librarian) and Anna Lundmark (librarian).

- Jan Ainali, CEO of Wikimedia Sverige, "Collecting the sum of all human knowledge - why and how?".

- Airi Lampinen, Postdoctoral Researcher at Mobile Life Centre, Stockholm University, "Social Interaction in the Sharing Economy".

- Kristina Alexanderson, project leader at Creative Commons Sverige, "Creative Commons: On leading a creative community with yourself as a ”guinea pig”".

Daniel Pargman, KTH/CSC/Media Technology and Interaction Design, "Checkpoint & looking forward towards the second half of the course".

- Roope Mokka, Founder of the think tank Demos Helsinki, "Smartups – sharing economy as part of a next wave of startups".

- Robin Teigland, Associate Professor at the Stockholm School of Economics, "The Sharing Economy and Collaborative Consumption".

- Daniel Wentz, VP Strategy, Schibsted Media Group, "Schibsted and the Peer 2 Peer Economy".

- Daniel Ljungstig and Anders Tyrland, founders and owners of 3DVerkstan, "3D Printing: Hype or a truly disruptive technology for the future? Our kids might have the answer!".

- Mattias Jägerskog, founder of Skjutsgruppen and #RidesharingDay, OuiShare connector for Sweden, "The return of the Collaborative Economy".

- Karin Bradley, Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Studies at KTH, "The interplay between urban commons and digital commons".

- Anna Swartling, Usability architect at Scania CV AB, "Project TEAM work".

- Milad Hossainzadeh, Dip.MArch, White Architects, "Exception = Exceptional - alternative futures through big picture thinking in a creative process".

We unfortunately had a few guests cancel their lectures, and there was one person I really would have wanted to listen to, but alas, in the end he cancelled his lecture with short notice. 

lördag 18 oktober 2014

Sustainability and Media Technology 2014 line-up

About this time last year I published a blog post with a list of all the (guest) lectures in my course DM2573 "Sustainability and Media Technology". This blog post does the very same for this year's course. The last lecture (wrap-up and course evaluation) was held only yesterday and the only thing now remaining is to grade the exam and to report the results. We have changed the course contents significantly this year so the majority of the lectures below are new for this year.

The course once more ended with a "gripe session" where we got a lot of feedback that will help us improve the course for next year. I hope me and Elina will once more write a paper about the course and submit it to a suitable conference. We have written two papers this far; "'It's not fair!': Making students engage in sustainability" and "ICT4S reaching out: Making sustainability relevant in higher education". I can see four different possible angles for a new paper right now but the fourth requires a somehow more extensive explanation (below):
1) a paper about our use of the GaSuCo board game that we have used in the course,
2) a paper that utilises the (literally hundreds of) seminar questions the students have submitted in the course,
3) a paper focusing on this year's use of social annotations systems in the course.
4) see below

Idea number 4 was inspired by listening to a podcast interview with Chris Martenson (Extranvironmentalist #81, Sept 2014, 81 minutes into the show). Chris said that during the last five years, he has come to realise that he is not in the information-sharing business, but rather in the belief-challenging business. Those two businesses are very different. Beliefs are not changed by information. Changing your own or someone else's beliefs rather has something to do with some sort of "emotional processing". This raises the question of what business we are in when we teach a course about sustainability. We share a lot of information that is potentially very worrisome for the students taking the course, but what are we - as teachers - supposed to do then? Leave them dangling and let them take care of it themselves? Or do we have a responsibility to - in some way - take care of their "emotional needs"? As university teachers we can do seminars, but a course at a technical university is not a "retreat", not an ashram and not a support group. If we tried to turn a course into any of those things, we would quickly land in trouble! I'm a researcher. I can read up and I can share facts and to some extent also my opinions about this-and-that, but, how good am I at meeting my students' emotional needs? 'Not very' I would say. This is something worthy of further reflection, and why not in the shape of a text?

Below is the 2014 line-up for our course (16 lectures + 1 panel).

------------ DM2573 - Sustainability and Media Technology - lectures ------------

Daniel Pargman (Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Media Technology, KTH/MID) and Samuel Mann, Associate Professor at Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand,
"Course introduction"
"Why sustainability is important for you!"

Josefin Wangel, Ph.D., Researcher at KTH/Division of Environmental Strategies Research (FMS),
"Sustainability and Sustainable Development - Defining the concepts"

Elina Eriksson, Ph.D., Researcher at KTH/Media Technology and Interaction Design (MID),
"Climate change and planetary boundaries"

Daniel Pargman, KTH/MID,
"Global resource challenges and implications for ICT and media"

Daniel Pargman, KTH/MID and Christian Remy, PhD Student at the People and Computing Lab at the University of Zürich

Pella Thiel, The Transition Network and Common Cause,

Cecilia Katzeff, adjunct professor at KTH/MID,

Marcus Nyberg, senior researcher at User Experience Lab at Ericsson Research,
"A networked society contributing to positive change"

Jorge Zapico, Post-doctoral researcher at KTH Centre for Sustainable Communications (CESC) and at the Linnaeus University,
"Data for sustainability"

Karin Edvardsson Björnberg, Assistant Professor of environmental philosophy at the KTH/Division of Philosophy and Elisabeth Ekener Petersen, PhD at KTH/FMS,
"Social sustainability and ICT"

Daniel Berg, PhD student in Economic History at Stockholm University,
"From Credit Crunch to Climate Crunch - How the ecology is acknowledged to suffer from overconsumption, and the economy is uniformly said to suffer from underconsumption"

Greger Henriksson, Senior Researcher at KTH/FMS and Björn Hedin, Ph.D., KTH/MID,
"Sustainability and behavioural change"

Daniel Pargman, KTH/MID,
"Rebound effects"

- Concluding panel discussion"Images of the future"
ModeratorDaniel Pargman, KTH/MID. 
Peter Nöu, Senior Program Manager at The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova)
Ambjörn Næve, Senior Researcher, KTH
Erica Öhlund, PhD student in Environmental Science, Södertörns Högskola

Daniel Pargman (teacher) and Elina Eriksson (assistant teacher)
Wrap-up of the course and gripe session

söndag 12 oktober 2014

Birth of a research project

We got funding for a three-year long research project last year - "Improved energy habits through Quantified Self" - and the time for starting up that project is now! The project is lead by my colleague Björn Hedin. Besides me, Henrik Artman also works in the project. Jorge Zapico is in the project too, but won't do any work in the project during the first year.

We've had two shorter start-up meetings this far and this blog post chronicles the early discussions in this project (recreated from my memory since my web browser crashed and I lost the ample notes from our meeting). This research project touches on no less than seven different areas:

- ICT (everyone)
- Quantified Self (Björn, Daniel)
- Behaviours and habits (Björn)
- Energy, energy use (Daniel)
- Climate and CO2 emissions (Daniel)
- Food (Björn)
- Advising, guidance (Henrik)

That's a lot of different areas. We decided that there should be some internal division of labour in the project (marked out above). Because of my prior interests, I will be the "point man" or the go-to person in the areas of energy and climate, just as Björn is the natural go-to person in the area of behaviour and habits. Looking at these seven different areas, some are more and some are less central to the project. Behaviour and habits is probably the most central area - it's difficult to imagine that we we will write a single academic paper based on this project that does not touch on that area. Still, there are many different possible overlaps so which particular area(s), journals and conferences should we aim for? We haven't really decided yet and I think that will be part of an ongoing discussion for at least the remainder of the year.

One important task for the remainder of this year is for all of us to read up in our chosen areas of expertise as well as to read and discuss some articles together so as to build up a common ground. I'm a supremely structured reader (which comes as no surprise for the regular reader of this blog). I will start to think about how to go about to read up and will then start to work my way through articles. While I like to read in general, this time around it's also a job that has to be done. We will probably create a structured form where we will enter a few sentences about project-relevant articles we read, for example: author, title, main argument, relevance to our project - just to keep track of stuff we as a group read and their relevance to our project. We have also created a shared folder in Google drive as well as a shared folder in KTH Box (KTH's own "Dropbox").

In our application, we promised the project would have some kind of presence on the web and we will have to discuss the level of ambition. It could be a (for the most part) static homepage or it could be something almost as ambitious as this blog (for example with each project member writing a blog post every month).

Me and Björn had a discussion about what we personally want to accomplish with this project and "becoming experts" and publishing papers in high-quality journals came out high for both of us (Björn also raised "changing the world" which indeed is a worthy - but hard - goal). I have already decided that the area of expertise that I work towards is situated in the intersection of computing (Human-Computer Interaction) and Sustainability. That means that Sustainable HCI and ICT4S are important areas for me. I could imagine that I will broaden my interests and add something more to that mix through this project - even though I don't know exactly what yet.

Even though we are starting to work on this project now (October), Björn was quick at defining a few bachelor's thesis topics already at the end of last year and no less than three couples of students worked on three different projects during the past spring. One couple was very successful and they were funded by the project also during the summer and part of the autumn term. That means the project already has results to present and part of what we will do during the rest of the year is to read up - and to write up! The students' project could (should) result in two papers. We will for the most part aim for journal articles but we should perhaps also plan for a paper to next year's ICT4S conference? We also give high priority to defining new topics for masters' and bachelors' thesis topics and to have students work within (for) this research project during the coming spring.

Since this is a project about changing people's habits and since me and Björn have a long-standing interested in topics such as procrastination, life-hacks and in utilising our own working hours more effectively, we also plan to work on our own work habits within this research project. We have set aside one day per week for the project and we will try to work together during that one day. We will probably experiment with different methods to get things done and I very much look forward to that and to forming new (research) habits within the project. Who needs the Panopticon when we can surveil and discipline ourselves? We have only had two (short) meetings this far but it feels like we have gotten off to a great start!

söndag 5 oktober 2014

Articles I've read (June)

Below are the last articles I read earlier this year, in June, on my sabbatical at UC IrvineHere is my previous blog post about the articles that I read back in May. I've been busy after the summer vacation and haven't read any more articles. That means I have finally caught up with writing about articles I've read!

Each asterisk before the name of an article implies that there is a quote further down on this blog post!

Batch/week 1 - mixed papers, mostly critical analyses of new phenomena
Mostly these are papers that have been "thrown at me", thereby constituting an eclectic mix of different topics.
    • Kelly, S., & Nardi, B. (2014). Playing with sustainability: Using video games to simulate futures of scarcity. First Monday, 19(5). */ Using examples from commercial simulation games, post-apocalypse first-person shooters, multiplayer survivor horror games, and historical recreation games, we identify narratives, themes, and game mechanics that would be useful for exploring sustainable practices in possible global future of scarcity." This paper was fun! "The willingness to entertain strong notions of societal decline along with the energizing nature of gaming and its can-do attitude are promising means for designing and thinking through scenarios of possible futures." /*
    • * Irani, L. (2013). The cultural work of microwork. New Media & Society, 1461444813511926. */ "Like "cloud computing" services more generally, AMT [Amazon Mechanical Turk] offered immediate, on-demand provisioning of computational power accessible through computer code. In  this case, however, the computational power was human." "AMT [obscures] workers behind code and spreadsheets." "AMT has allowed canonical AI projects to proceed by simulating AI's promise of computational intelligence with actual people." This article is a great analysis of crowdwork in general and AMT in particular. Is this the future of work? Highly recommended! /*
    • Fabricatore, C. And López, X. (2014). A model to identify affordances for game-based sustainability learning. To be presented at the upcoming 8th European Conference on Games Based Learning  (ECGBL), Berlin. */ "in this paper we present a model for the identification and analysis of game-based sustainability learning affordances. Our model can be used to support he selection of games for educational purposes ... our model was extrapolated through an iterative process of analysis .. of the contents of 30 games." Since we have used a game in our course on sustainability and ICT, I should have liked this paper more than I did. It was unfortunately hard for me to see the practical use I could have of the article. /*
    • Alperovitz, G. (2011). The New-economy movement. The Nation, 13, 20-24. */ "Over the past decade ... a deepening sense of the profound ecological challenges facing the planet and growing despair at the inability of traditional politics to address economic failings have fuelled an extraordinary amount of experimentation by activists, economists and socially minded business leaders." Interesting overview and analysis of under-the-radar counter-movements. /*
    • Timberg (2014). Astra Taylor’s radical Internet critique. */ Who would have thought that really thoughtful critique and analysis of the Internet, journalism, surveillance, commercialism etc. would have have come from a documentary filmer who has read up? I had never heard of Asta Taylor before but her book is on my to-buy list now! "So okay, you may not feel like you're being exploited by Facebook ... but value is being extracted from us, value is being extracted from areas of life that were once unprofitable, like conversing with your friends." /*
    • Fry, C. (2014). Jobs and the maker movement: A tale of two economies. An unpublished essay I was recommended to read. */ Treats very interesting questions head-on such as the relationship between 3D printing and the maker movement and the future of capitalism, production and work. The paper is fun to read but very utopian and differs significantly from what I personally believe since it strongly posits (a specific) technology as "the saviour". /*

        Batch/week 2 - mixed papers.
        The papers below cover a range of topics; ICT and sustainability, (ecological) economics and more. Mostly these are papers that have been "thrown at me", thereby constituting an eclectic mix of different topics.
        • Raghavan, B. and Ma, J. (unpublished document). Are we greenwashing green networking? */ much of [the work in "green networking" research] aims to optimize a single metric: the electricity consumption of deployed devices, ignoring other significant environmental costs involved in the manufacture, installation, operation, and disposal of networked systems." Another great paper by Barath Raghavan. It's unpublished but we have discussed some of the ideas in this paper so perhaps part of the line of reasoning presented here will make it into a future paper of mine and Barath's...? /*
        • Hilty, L. M. (2011). Information and Communication Technologies for a more Sustainable World. In Haftor and Mirijamsdotter (eds.), Information and communication technologies, society and human beings: Theory and framework. */ "a reduction of the input of natural resources into industrial production and consumption by a factor of 4-10 is a necessary condition for Sustainable Development. This paper discusses the potential contribution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to such a dematerialization of the industrial societies" "the global economy will have to learn to produce more quality of life with less input of material and energy." Very good paper. Should have been part of the course literature in the course we are giving right now. /*
        • ** Daly, H. E. (1991). From Empty-World Economics to Full-World Economics–Recognizing an Historical Turning Point in Economic Development. Goodland R, Daly H, El Serafy S, von Droste B (1991) Environmental Sustainable Economic Development: Building on Brundtland. UNESCO, Paris, 29-38. */ It's disappointing that someone who "says it like it is" in such a terse and logical language has not had a greater impact in the 20 years that have passed since this short text was written... "The evolution of the human economy has passed from an era in which manmade capital was the limiting factor in economic development to an ear in which remaining natural capital has become the limiting factor." "The complementary nature of natural and manmade capital is made obvious by asking, what good is a saw mill without a forest? a refinery without petroleum deposits? a fishing boat without populations of fish? ... the limiting factor determining the fish catch is the reproductive capacity of fish populations, not the number of fishing boats" Highly recommended! /*
        • * Daly, H. E. (2005). Economics in a full world. Scientific american, 293(3), 100-107. */ Daly basically says that same thing again, but 15 years later. The message is falling of deaf ears once more. "Properly functioning markets allocate resources efficiently, but they cannot determine the sustainable scale; that can be achieved only by government policy." /*
        • Daly, H. (2011). Growth, debt, and the World Bank. Ecological Economics, 72, 5-8. */ Unveiling problems and contradictions at the very core of the idea of an institution such as the World Bank. "Why, one might ask, would a country borrow money at interest to make policy changes that it could make on its own without any loans, if it thought the policies were good ones? Maybe they did not really favor the policies, and therefore needed a bribe" /*
        • Stokols, D., Lejano, R. P., & Hipp, J. (2013). Enhancing the resilience of human–environment systems: a social–ecological perspective. Ecology and Society, 18(1), 7. */ In this article, we briefly trace the emergence and core themes of social ecology as a basis for understanding and enhancing the quality of people-environemnt relationships". Discusses different kinds of "capital" including economic capital, natural capital, technological capital, human capital, social capital and (new for me) "moral capital". /*
        • ** Sanguinetti, A. (2012). The design of intentional communities: a recycled perspective on sustainable neighborhoods. Behavior and Social Issues, 21, 5-25. */ "[Intentional Communities] and be defined as a deliberate attempt to realize a common, alternative way of life outside mainstream society". An in-depth analysis of intentional communities in relation to B.F. Skinner's 1968 paper "The design of experimental communities". /*
        • Rahm, L. (2014). Dystopia for the Unprepared, Utopia for the Prepared: Why zombies are no promise of monsters. Immediacy. */ "Dystopias and utopias can not be understood without considering who will win and who will lose." "prepping although coloured by a dystopian veiw of the future (and the present), is not primarily characterized by pessimism, but rather by an optimistic belief in the capacity to survive ... real hazards." Interesting paper about the use of and the danger of using the metaphor of a "zombie apocalypse" when thinking about the breakdown of society as this view/metaphor legitimizes individualism and violence. /*

        There's usually a week 3 and sometimes a week 4 but alas, this is what I had time to read before the summer break. As noted above, I have not had the time to read any more articles since June but will pick up that habit again in two weeks when the courses I teach wind down. Not the least since I need to read the 15 articles I should have read this past summer, since we are starting up a new 3-year long research project and I need to read up and since I will give a ph.d. course on ICT and sustainability in the spring (more info on that later).

        ---------- QUOTES ----------

        ----- On "microwork" as the next step in the exploitative regime of a global marketplace for outsourcing work -----

        "In 2006, CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos ... introduced a twist on digital data services. Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) would enable technology builders to farm out massive volumes of small data processing tasks, including transcription, image labeling, pornography categorisation and informational research tasks. ... Like "cloud computing" services more generally, AMT offered immediate, on-demand provisioning of computational power accessible through computer code. In this case, however, the computational power was human.
        Where AI has fallen short, AMT compensates by construction a new frontier on which the software industry can invest i high-growth startups, intelligent software, and low-risk labor. AMT also helps ameliorate the contradictions of intensified labor hierarchies by obscuring workers behind code and spreadsheets.
        Irani, L. The cultural work of microwork

        ----- On natural resources as limiting factors in today's world -----

        "A standard assumption of neoclassical economics has been that factors of production are highly substitutable. ... consequently the very idea of a limiting factor was pushed into the background.
        The switch from manmade to natural capital as the limiting factors is ... a function of the increasing scale and impact of the human presence.
The complementary nature of natural and manmade capital is made obvious by asking, what good is a saw mill without a forest? a refinery without petroleum deposits? a fishing boat without populations of fish? Beyond some point in the accumulation of manmade capital it is clear that the limiting factor on production will be the remaining natural capital. For example, the limiting factor determining the fish catch is the reproductive capacity of fish populations, not the number of fishing boats; for gasoline the limiting factor is petroleum deposits, not refinery capacity and for many types of wood it is remaining forests, not saw mill capacity."
        Daly, H.E. From Empty-World Economics to Full-World Economics:
        Recognizing an Historical Turning Point in Economic Development


        ----- On the long overdue shift from empty-world to full-world economics -----

        "The evolution of the human economy has passed from an era in which manmade capital was the limiting factor in economic development to an era in which remaining natural capital has become the limiting factor.
        Why has this transformation from a world relatively empty of human beings and manmade capital to a world relatively full of these not been noticed by economists?
According to physicist Max Planck, a new scientific paradigm triumphs not by convincing the majority of its opponents, but because its opponents eventually die. There has not yet been time for the empty-world economists to die, and meanwhile they have been cloning themselves faster than they are dying by maintaining tight control over their guild.
        Daly, H.E. From Empty-World Economics to Full-World Economics:
        Recognizing an Historical Turning Point in Economic Development

        ----- On the impossibility of establishing a sustainable economy -----

        "Growth is widely thought to be the panacea for all the major economic ills of the modern world.
        Relying on growth in this way might be fine if the global economy existed in a void, but it does not. Rather the economy is a subsystem of the finite biosphere that support is.
        Because establishing and maintaining a sustainable economy entail an enormous change of mind and heart by economists, politicians and voters, one might well be tempted to declare that such project would be impossible. But the alternative to a sustainable economy, an ever growing economy, is biopysically impossible. In choosing between tackling a political impossibility and a biophysical impossibility, I would judge the latter to be the more impossible and take my chances with the former."
        Daly, H.E. Economics in a full world

        ----- On sustainability practices adopted in cohousing communities -----

        "Specific measures frequently taken in cohousing include composting (96%), community managed recycling (94%), low-impact landscaping (84%), edible landscape and/or permaculture (77%), rainwater catchment (51%), outdoor clotheslines (57%), permanently conserved land through a conservation easement (23%), community vegetable garden (91%), community orchard (72%), raising chickens for egg production (40%), convenient bike storage areas (67%), regular carpooling (52%), and car-sharing (33%)."
        Sanguinetti, AThe design of intentional communities: 
        a recycled perspective on sustainable neighborhoods

        ----- On intentional communities -----

        "intentional communities (ICs) ... encompasses a variety of types of cooperative living and defines a growing grassroots movement.
        IC types include ecovillages, cohousing, urban communities, housing cooperatives, conference and retreat communities, rural homesteading communities, spiritual communities, Christian communities, and income-sharing communes. An empirically established typology ... yielded four types of communities: religious (most withdrawn), ecological, communal, and practical (most integrated)"
        Sanguinetti, AThe design of intentional communities: 
        a recycled perspective on sustainable neighborhoods

        torsdag 2 oktober 2014

        Blog post #300 + 4th anniversary of the blog!

        This is blog post number 300 since the start of this blog. Exactly a month ago the blog celebrated its 4th anniversary - the very first blog post was published in the beginning of September 2010 - 49 months ago on this day. One year ago, with some advance planning, I managed to synchronise the third anniversary to the 200th blog post in the beginning of September. That means I have published no less than 100 blog posts in the last 13 months, or, 7-8 blog posts per month in average.

        I have, over time, increased the tempo of publishing; from around 50 blog posts during the first year (Sept 2010 - Aug 2011) to around 75 during the second and the third year and now to over 90 blog posts during the last year (Sept 2013 - Aug 2014). I don't think it's possible for me to go any higher than that; my goal has since the very start been to publish at least one and at the most two blog posts every week. I did have a "blog week" last year though when I published a new blog post every day. A year ago, blog post #200, I wrote:

        "Looking at the number of unique visitors to the blog, as many people had visited the blog between January and May [of 2013] as in all of 2011 and just a few weeks ago, in mid-August, I had had as many visitors this year as in all of 2012"

        Last year, I have a huge surge with lots and lots of visitors during a specific day - due to a specific blog post being linked to from a hugely more popular blog. This year - with no such flood of visitors - I again surpassed the number of visitors from 2011 in the middle of May and I surpassed the number of visitors from 2012 at the end of June:

        The number of unique visitors to the blog passed the total figure for 2011 back in mid-May (2014)

        The number of unique visitors to the blog passed the total figure for 2012 back at the end of June (2014)

        Within a week from now the blog will surpass the number of unique visitors from last year (2013). Part of the increasing number of visitors depends on an increasing the number of blog post, but the larger part is due to the blog becoming more popular. While I can see how many persons visit and read the blog, I have little idea of exactly who reads it and why. Since it's becoming exceedingly unusual for people to comment on blog posts, I have become too wise to ask who is reading this blog post in a blog post! This is the 64th blog post this year and only five of the preceding blog posts (8%) have garnered any comments at all...

        The number of unique visitors to the blog is slated to pass the total figure for 2013 within a week.

        I try to find an angle and write about something new in these texts about the blog itself. This time around I decided to make a small inquiry into the volume of my production of text here on the blog. I took three months from the last 12 months as samples; Jan 2014, May 2014 and September 2014. The number of blog posts during these three months are very much in line with the average (8, 8 and 7 blog posts). I then pasted all the text from these 23 blog posts into a document and the sheer volume of text came out at more than 37.500 words. I usually equate 400 words with one page of text and that means I produced no less than 95 pages of text during these three months. If the volume is in line with what I write also during other months (it should), it have thus written and published somewhere between 350 and 400 pages of text on this blog during the last 12 months!

        That's a lot more than I thought - even if some of the "text produced" might be quotes from a book, from an invitation to a seminar or a workshop, or perhaps a list of references to articles I have read. Still, it makes me wonder if the whole effort of writing this blog to some degree is misplaced? Should I perhaps spend less time documenting what I do and spend more time doing it? Or is writing these (apparently) long blog posts on the larger whole a good allocation of my time and my energies?

        I lean towards the latter since I have found that the blog is so immensely useful for myself. I will for example meet my boss and discuss ("negotiate") my salary a few weeks from now. All I have to do is to look through the blog to remember what I did during the last year and find arguments that I can bring with me to that talk. It's also pretty great to just document what I do since it's so easy to forget the actual work done (and the ideas thought) as time - days, weeks and terms - pass by. I'd say that when it comes to this blog, I'm my own greatest fan!

        Hopefully I'm not the only fan though! There ought to be some more people who have read this text this far for example. When I go back six months in time, I find that of the 20 blog posts I wrote during the period from February to April this year, only one has has less than 100 unique visitors and two of the blog posts have actually had more than 700 unique visitors. (That would easily have gotten these two blog posts onto the top 10 most read blog posts back in January this year.)

        I'm not really sure what it is that people like about the blog - perhaps the rising numbers are just an effect of Google liking this blog and sending people over here when they search for stuff(?). Having readers (even anonymous readers) is gratifying though and I plan to continue to write a minimum of one and a maximum of two blog posts per week - so see you around!