communication (24)

Zucked – And How!

Check out this new book.

Facebook is turning out to be a horror story.

Go to Amazon here and read the author’s prologue in the “Look Inside.” Please read this if you use Facebook. It’s chilling.

…democracy has been undermined because of design choices and business decisions by Internet platforms that deny responsibility for the consequences of their actions. How the culture of these companies causes employees to be indifferent to the negative side effects of their success. At this writing, there is nothing to prevent more of the same.

It’s giving me second thoughts about using Instagram. Rick Gordon pointed this out to me yesterday:

You may be shocked to find out that once you post on these sites (Facebook, Instagram), that although you still ‘own’ the photograph, you grant the social media sites a license to use your photograph any way they see fit for free AND you grant them the right to let others use your picture as well.

Sheesh! I had no idea. Instagrammers, photographers, check this out: www.shltr.net/zucked

From Tom Bissel’s review in the 1/29/19 edition of the NY Times:

…McNamee saves his most conspicuous outrage for Facebook’s amoral leadership at the hands of not just Zuckerberg but also his chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, whom McNamee recommended Zuck hire before she could take a job at The Washington Post. McNamee describes their grip on the company as “the most centralized decision-making structure I have ever encountered in a large company.” Their power dyad is possible only because Facebook’s “core platform,” as McNamee puts it, is relatively simple: It “consists of a product and a monetization scheme.” Non-tech companies with comparable global reach (Coca-Cola, Exxon) must deal with complex real-world infrastructure issues as well as the needs of a highly diverse work force. Large corporations also typically create interrelated eddies of economic activity, whereas Facebook’s business model is founded upon sucking the economic activity out of otherwise productive workers. Most troubling of all, a company whose product is used by one-third of the planet has only 30,000 employees. In every imaginable sense, Facebook is a Borg-like drain on the world’s economy. It doesn’t make you better and likely makes you worse. Unlike Exxon, it can’t even get you to Albuquerque.…

…McNamee’s book is … a robust and helpful itemization of the ways Facebook could be brought to heel. McNamee clearly believes the company can be made into something more benign, and perhaps even socially beneficial. That may or may not be true, but the damage it has already done is not precisely containable. Considering the high likelihood that Russian activity on Facebook may have tipped the 2016 election to Donald Trump, the damage is already of generational measure.

But here’s the bizarre quirk of the Facebook dystopia, whose sheer perversity would have likely pleased Orwell: It’s all Big and no Brother. Our time and lives are the company’s only currency. Without our continued attention, Facebook quite literally has nothing, and its empire could be brought down with a feather. Now, blow.

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99 Years Ago…

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

–H.L. Mencken,
Baltimore Evening Sun
July 26, 1920

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Whole Earth Catalog’s 50th Anniversary

Here’s a video made for the occasion. I was the shelter editor for several incarnations of the Catalog, including The Whole Earth Epilog.

“Meet the creators of the Whole Earth Catalog and the community they inspired. This video history of the Whole Earth culture covers 50 years of collective innovation in just 38 minutes.

“Whole Earth Flashbacks” takes you on a dazzling journey through time, from the first Whole Earth Catalogs to the Co-Evolution Quarterly, the Whole Earth Review, the Hackers Conference, the Well, Cyberthon, Wired, Burning Man and the 10,000 Year Clock, to name but a few.

These projects have one thing in common: they gave access to tools and ideas to help people bring their dreams to life — and change the world together.

This video retrospective features many creative minds and thought leaders: Stewart Brand, Jay Baldwin, Stephanie Mills, Lloyd Kahn, Ted Nelson, Doug Adams, Steven Levy, Andy Hertzfeld, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, Wavy Gravy, Kevin Kelly, Larry Harvey, Danny Hillis and Steve Jobs, in order of appearance.

Whole Earth Flashbacks was created by Fabrice Florin, with the help of over 60 community members…. Our video premiered at the 50th Anniversary of the Whole Earth Catalog on October 13, 2018, at Fort Mason in San Francisco.…”

https://vimeo.com/album/5479545/video/294878432

(In the 2nd row of the above collage, 2nd from left, is a fisheye shot of me in my dome at Pacific High School in 1968.)

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Three-Dot Wednesday Morning Fish Fry

Came across the ever-beautiful Golden Gate Bridge 6:30 this morning, in my 19-year-old incredibly luxurious Mercedes E320, latte at my favorite North Beach cafe, listening to my fave DJ, Michael de Barres on Sirius radio (forever indebted to Lew for Sirius), the Underground Garage station, Michael an English rocker (and musician) who plays bad-assed rocknroll…Bon Jovie: Runaway; Aerosmith: Walk This Way; Billy Idol: “Rebel Yell;” Dire Straits: Money For Nothing.…The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime) is really marvelous. The first 3 episodes are radiantly funny, Rachel Brosnahan is brilliant…it can’t maintain that level, but the other 5 episodes are still worth watching…A few nights ago, we came across a White House event: “Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles: In performance at the White House.” I looked at the Obamas and almost cried. This elegant, soft-spoken, soulful man, and his strong, beautiful, soulful wife.…On the drive in this morning, I thought about seeds. Years ago, in planting carrot seeds, I thought: I’m putting these seeds here, information packets that tell the natural world how to organize ands coordinate soil, water sunshine and air and  – voilá – carrots. Milagro!…Through our building books, we  have lots of fans. I try to think how big a group this is. Smaller, for sure, than the minimalist, sterile Dwell magazine crowd.…Probably, what we (our group) have in common is the desire to use hands in creating shelter, and (some) food. Maybe we’re the Handmade Homemade group…I’m kind of excited to start a blog on the ’60s. What didn’t work as a book may work online. Think about it: you read a book right-to-left — it’s linear. Online you’re going up and down; you can hop around at a click. This may be the way to convey my take on the ’60s. Tossing things out there in not necessarily linear order. Feedback could be great. Hey, family of kindred spirits out there, send comments with your ’60s experiences (blog should be up and running by early March)…Fun to practice 3-dot journalism. Non-linear…Now out to make the rounds in this vibrant and beautiful city…Leather store for copper rivets/plumbing/hardware search for 10MM tubing for blowgun/art store for pen to do hand lettering on our next short-run color book, Pop’s Diner — stay tuned; delivering 12 copies of our new Driftwood Shacks  book to Mollusc Surf Shop, to Trouble Coffee, check out Outerlands restaurant/go swimming in cove (Aquatic Park)/Irish coffee, watch surfers through windows at Cliff House…Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Great White now playing…

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Friday Night Fish Fry

Last (rainy) Friday night, 5 of us (Dipsea running friends) went over the bridge to San Francisco and had dinner at the R&G Lounge (specializing in deep fried fresh Dungeness crab). then to Vesuvio’s bar next to City Lights, which has had like 70 years of good vibes; Patrons that night looked like good people. Pic below is of a little tableau on the wall with miniature figures, maybe 26″ wide by 16″ tall (can you see the ghostly image at top left?) (Photo by Jakub)

I’m sort of taking a month to get reorganized with my work and at the same time reintegrating myself with the physical world, after a couple of years of being injured, then recovering from shoulder surgery — let me tell you the details — just kidding. Suffice to say I’m hiking more, clamming (tuning up my 12′ Klamath boat with vintage 15 HP Evinrude outboard for saltwater exploration and fishing, trying to remember to stretch. It’s so easy to get sucked into sedentary pursuits, like sitting in front of screens and neglecting the body in which the mind is, after all, housed.

I’ve done very little blogging in recent years about what’s going on my life, partly due to Instagram and partly because after 5000+ blog posts, I realized it wasn’t bringing in any income — so I slacked off on blogging.

I’ll be spelling out my future plans, including a new blog — my take on the ’60s –in my forthcoming GIMME SHELTER email newsletter, something I send out every few months to about 600 people. If you want to be on the mailing list, send me your address at lloyd@shelterpub.com.

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Gimme Shelter — Late, Hot Summer 2017

I started writing GIMME SHELTER email newsletters about 15 years ago, maybe one every month or two. They were originally intended for sales reps (first at Random House, then Publishers Group West), to keep them apprised of our publishing activities, and then later, I added friends to the mailing list. As I got into blogging, the frequency of the newsletters dropped off.

Here’s the latest one. If you’d like to be on the list, send me your email address.

Water tower near Prineville, Oregon, on my trip last week to see the eclipse

I’ve written less and less of these newsletters recently, as I’ve been blogging and now doing Instagram regularly. Made me think about all the different forms of communication I’ve employed over the years. My high school year book, running an Air Force newspaper in Germany for 2 years, then working the Whole Earth Catalog, and then — books.

Followed by, over the years: booklets, pamphlets, flyers, posters, 20-30 handmade books, mini-books, magazine and newspaper articles, videos, interviews … I’m a compulsive communicator.

These days I put up posts on my blog, but not as often, or as in-depth as a few years ago. I do Instagram almost daily and all these photos automatically go onto my blog, and to my Twitter and Facebook pages. You can check my Instagram account here; it’s a summary of posts: www.instagram.com/lloyd.kahn

Three New Books

The ’60s

I decided to do a book on the ‘60s, since there’s been so much attention given to the “Summer of Love” lately, and because as a person who grew up in San Francisco, went to high school in the Haight-Ashbury, and watched the ‘60s unfold first-hand, I don’t agree with what’s being presented all over the media; these accounts don’t coincide with what I saw happening at all.

“The Haight-Ashbury was a district. The ‘60s was a movement.”  –Ken Kesey

I started the book tentatively, to see if it was going to fly. I thought I’d give my background, what San Francisco was like in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and track my life — a kid growing up in San Francisco, college, Santa Cruz, Big Sur, the Monterey Pop Festival, building domes at Pacific High School, the Whole Earth Catalog — so readers would know where I was coming from. Rather than starting in 1960.

I started getting into it, recalling things that had been buried in my semi-consciousness. This was fun! And I realized that the ‘60s completely changed my life. In 1965, I quit my job as an insurance broker in San Francisco and went to work as a carpenter.

I’m going to illustrate it with black and white photos I took doing those years.

I’ll start posting parts of the book on my blog as I go, to get some feedback.

Read More …

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