politics (50)

Stewart Brand’s Summary of Mariana Mazzucato’s Recent Seminar at Long Now Foundation

Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014

Subject: [SALT] Government as radical, patient VC (Mariana Mazzucato talk)

“The iPhone, Mazzucato pointed out, is held up as a classic example of world-changing innovation coming from business.

   Yet every feature of the iPhone was created, originally, by multi-decade government-funded research.  From DARPA came the microchip, the Internet, the micro hard drive, the DRAM cache, and Siri.  From the Department of Defense came GPS, cellular technology, signal compression, and parts of the liquid crystal display and multi-touch screen (joining funding from the CIA, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy, which, by the way, developed the lithium-ion battery.)  CERN in Europe created the Web.  Steve Jobs’ contribution was to integrate all of them beautifully.

   Venture Capitalists (VCs) in business expect a return in 3 to 5 years, and they count on no more than one in ten companies to succeed.  The time frame for government research and investment embraces a whole innovation cycle of 15 to 20 years, supporting the full chain from basic research through to viable companies. That means they can develop entire new fields such as space technology, aviation technology, nanotechnology, and, hopefully, Green technology.

   But compare the reward structure.  Government takes the greater risk with no prospect of great reward, while VCs and businesses take less risk and can reap enormous rewards.  ‘We socialize the risks and privatize the rewards.’

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War and Peace, Wolf and Wolf

Article in Sunday New York Times, “Are We Hard-Wired for War?” By DAVID P. BARASH
September 28, 2013

…concluded with:

“…There is a story, believed to be of Cherokee origin, in which a girl is troubled by a recurring dream in which two wolves fight viciously. Seeking an explanation, she goes to her grandfather, highly regarded for his wisdom, who explains that there are two forces within each of us, struggling for supremacy, one embodying peace and the other, war. At this, the girl is even more distressed, and asks her grandfather who wins. His answer: ‘The one you feed.’”

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Benefit April 1st Drakes Bay Oyster Farm in Petaluma

This event is to help this wonderful local food operation stay in business while they are being persecuted by uber-environmental groups such as the West Marin Environmental Action Committee (one of the Tea Party type environmental groups — well financed, politically connected, and heads up their ass), and misrepresented with blatantly false scientific reports by the National Park Service.

   I heard that a petition with some 50,000 signatures was obtained in favor of closing the operation down. I’ll bet 95% of these were city dwellers and 98% of these people had never been to the farm. My first-hand and native Californian assessment is that is a triple-win food production system, and it will be a tragedy if it is closed own by what the Italians call the talibano dell’ ecologia .

From sananselmofairfax.patch.com: “…If they lose, the Lunnys will be forced to demolish buildings, remove and destroy an estimated $4.5 million worth of oysters, and put 30 people currently employed at the farm out of work.…With thirty full-time workers, many of whom live on the property, the farm is currently the second largest employer in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Oysters harvested from Drakes Bay make up nearly 40% of California’s yearly shellfish production, some 500,000 pounds of oyster meat annually, marketed exclusively in the Bay Area. The farm is also the last operating oyster cannery in the state.…”

Other stuff I’ve written about this in the past here.

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Secrets and Lies of the Bailout by MattTaibbi

By Matt Taibbi, January 4, 2013, Rolling Stone

“It has been four long winters since the federal government, in the hulking, shaven-skulled, Alien Nation-esque form of then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, committed $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue Wall Street from its own chicanery and greed. To listen to the bankers and their allies in Washington tell it, you’d think the bailout was the best thing to hit the American economy since the invention of the assembly line. Not only did it prevent another Great Depression, we’ve been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right? 


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Early Morning Day After

Got up at 6, just as dawn was breaking. Wish I could say I do this often, but I don’t. When I do I get 3 times as much done, everything is so quiet, exquisite, as the day unfolds.

  As I write this, right now on BBKing’s Bluesville, “I’m Tore Down” by Freddie King. “I’m tore down, I’m almost level with the ground.” Next: “Temptation” by Kelly Hunt. Shit, what great music!

 Change in the weather last night. Feels good. Been unseasonably warm. Fog now in, storm coming. Rain, rain (+ neg ions), come our way…

   I gotta say, the election was a huge relief to me. For the future of Supreme Court, for just one thing. In fact I’m pretty fucking overjoyed to think that the Koch brothers and Carl Rove and the Tea Party and Fox and the Money Guys and Trump/Limbaugh/other mean-spirited, controlling people couldn’t buy (and lie their way to) the election. This just happened in America and it reminds me that there are things that I love about this country.

Now on radio, Buddy Guy with “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember,” done live in the Sirius blues studio. Great vocal harmonies.

Tiny Homes On the Move: Water & Wheels We’re in full gear. I’m corresponding with dozens of contributors. Material is coming in daily. Much from the UK — lot of nomads there. I’ve got about 50 pages roughed out. The book has come to life, as our books do once underway. Mojo workin.

   It changes from day to day. About 25% so far are “Water” (houseboats,sailboats, tugboat); 75% “Wheels” (house busses, house trucks, RVs, trailers, vardo, vans). I sort of schizophrenically juggle this blog, all the necessary pub biz necessities, and working on the book (and getting out to the beach). Both Lew and Evan are starting to work on the book. Lew on various vehicular homes, Evan on snowboarder Mike Basich’s truck/camper and 39′ sailboat, and some bike guys.

Tiny Homes at San Francisco Green Festival this Weekend We’ll have a booth, be selling Tiny Homes (plus other building books) for 20 bucks, giving away the mini (2″x 2-1/2′) books. Lew, Evan and me. It’s at a great venue, the SF Concourse Exhibition Center, which is like a big steel and timber barn. Sat-Sun, November 10-11, details here.

Stretching, the eBook Rick Gordon is putting the finishing touches on the iPad version of Bob and Jean Anderson’s book Stretching (which has sold over 3 million copies and is in 23 languages). When Rick started putting together our 1st eBooks, none of us realized that he was going to do such a masterful job. Jeff Galloway’s Marathon is head and shoulders (in design and ease-of-use) above any other running eBook in Apple’s library. Then he did Tiny Homes and it’s spectacular — even on an iPhone. The electronic Stretching looks really good. It’ll work on an iPad, also on an iPhone (dial up “Airplane Stretches” during your flight, or “Hotel Stretches” when you travel…).

Green Smoothies We just got a Blendtec super-powered (3 hp) blender. I’m making drinks with fresh fruit and greens (parsley, kale, spinach, dandelion roots, or carrot tops). A lot of times I get going in the office and skip lunch and this is a great solution. Interesting comparison between a juicer and a blender. With the latter, you get all the fiber. When I realized that, it was, like, duh…Not just carrot juice, but the whole carrot.

   Yesterday I made pancakes by adding 1 cup of oat groats, eggs, buttermilk, and baking powder (+ a little baking soda) —  blending, and voila — batter. This is a wonderful tool (better late than never). I got it with two books by the Boutenkos which are exceedingly relevant in explaining the principles and providing recipes. Here it is on Amazon.

Elegant Mini Reading Glasses You can put these on your keychain; I keep a pair in my fanny pack. They fold up tiny. For whenever I don’t have my backpack (with regular reading glasses). Discovered here on CoolTools (my favorite blog in the world). NOT available from Amazon; let’s hear it for the manufacturers!

As I sign off, it’s Slim Harpo doing “I Got Love If You Want It.”


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Willie Brown and Mayor Ed Lee at Cafe Roma This Morning

Willie Brown (Speaker of the California State Assembly for 15 years, San Francisco mayor in the late ’90s) must have a TV show. I’ve seen him often at a table in Cafe Roma in North Beach, SF, with major size video cameras filming him, when I get there, around 7 AM. This morning he’s meeting with SF’s new mayor Ed Lee and a third politico guy who’s always here with Willy. They’re sitting about 15 feet away. Wille’s telling stories and there’s a lot of laughter

Willie is a beautiful man, he’s gotten better looking with age. This morning he’s wearing a gorgeous brown sport coat, dark slacks, a deep red tie and deep red handkerchief. Dude!

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Jay Shafer’s Tiny House Into Manhattan Tomorrow

12:30 PM Monday

I just talked to Jay, who’s in Nantucket. He said they’re going to take it (model shown here) into the East Village tomorrow, He said hooking up with the Occupy folks turned out to be too complicated. “It’ll be a tiny house protest…” — against McMansions, heavy mortgages, high rents, overconsumption, energy and material wastage in housing as it’s been practiced in America in the last 20 years.

For New Yorkers: Jay will be speaking in Manhattan at 1-4 PM tomorrow. Details: https://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/see-a-tiny-house/tiny-house-in-manhattan/

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