“Growing, Fermentation, Canning and Why?” Maurin Academy is hosting a discussion group on home food production to get you ready for the growing season: “It’s time to plan a garden, whether it’s in your yard, your yard, or someone else’s yard! Ryan Dostal will be running two sessions on garden planning in February, and then in March we have Ryan and Deacon Chris May on deck to teach fermentation and canning storage techniques. Many of the Maurin crew will do a final session in which we will discuss the economic, social and political consequences of these types of activities. Come for one or all five. Registrants will receive recordings of any sessions they miss.”
“Agriculture for the future.” On March 9, Plow hosts Joel Salati and James and Helen Rebanks for an afternoon of workshops and good food. It looks to be a great event: “They will show how they have learned from the past and from science as they work to build a thriving ecosystem of animals, plants, fungi and soil, renewing their land and communities. The event will be followed by a complimentary BBQ with meat and vegetables grown at the Fox Hill Bruderhof.”
“The Deep Wisdom of Rooting.” Fergus Butler-Gallie tries to understand why many public ethical arguments are so shallow: “Their main problem is that they talk about ethics completely out of context. From the past, the place or, indeed, any sense of personhood that goes beyond the concept of “I should be able to do what I want, when I want.” They speak of a society that has lost touch with deep wisdom, that is so determined not to communicate with the places and people that formed it, that it dismisses the small life concerns it has built for itself as ethical problems.
“Alexis de Tocqueville, Meet My Mother.” Jeff Polet remembers his remarkable mother and reflects on how she exemplifies one of the essential paradoxes of democracies: “My mother personified the angst of the American status quo, but unfettered by our egalitarian impulse. It made her pure, even if she never recognized it within herself. When I shared with her my observation that I thought of him as a monarchist, she did not treat it as an accusation.”
“Music on Main Street: Building Community Through Music.” Megan Brand reflects on the benefits of playing and enjoying good music: “Amid political polarization and concerns about declining social capital, local classical music associations are a bright spot for building humane and civil communities. Every aspect of making music – including the instruments themselves – connects us to the past and to each other. The discipline required to learn the music, the earthy character of the instruments, the intergenerational interaction that occurs in practice and performance, the communal nature of playing with others, and the reliance on composers and luthiers who preceded us all suggest that classical music has a place in community formation. .”
“Today’s Poem: The Windhover.” Joseph Bottum and Sally Thomas have launched an email newsletter that shares a poem each day. In an entry this week, Sally Thomas contrasts the poetic prose of JA Baker with the prosody of Gerard Manley Hopkins and contrasts their story of a hawk on the hunt.
“Apple Vision Pro is spectacular and sad.” Ian Bogost has some concerns with the new “spectacles” from Apple – or are they actually a “blind”? “Maybe if I act like a computer, I’ll look more normal,” I suggested. When I roboticized my diction, she seemed to think it helped. I was joking, but then, somehow, I wasn’t either. I felt like I had turned into a robot person of some sort. Is this what the creators of these glasses were hoping for, or was it just what I expected? If Apple Vision Pro wants to reconcile life outside the computer and life inside it, the challenge may be insurmountable.”
“Free yourself from Amazon and Spotify.” Will Bardenwerper offer a non-algorithmic recommendation – go out and look for good art away from the mass platforms: “Why should anyone care about my odd discoveries of an old book and new set? The reason is that both discoveries were the result of escaping ‘recommendations’ from sites like Amazon and Spotify, algorithmically programmed nudges (or nudges) that directed us to best-selling authors and singers.”
“Can humanity survive AI?” In a long and detailed essay, Garrison Lovely provides an overview of AI discourse. While doomsayers and boomers trade claims about the future, AI is advancing and causing more mainstream damage already: “The mainstream idea that AI poses an existential risk has many critics, and the disruptive discourse of AI is hard to ‘was analyzed: equally credentialed people do the opposite. claims whether the xi AI risk is real and venture capitalists are signing open letters with progressive AI ethicists. And while the idea of risk x seems to be gaining ground faster, a major publication publishes an essay seemingly every week arguing that risk x distracts from existing harms. Meanwhile, more money and people are quietly devoted to making AI systems more powerful than to making them safer or less biased.”
“Sacred Art and Artificial Intelligence.” Artist Daniel Mitsui probes the tensions beneath the noise of AI: “I think using the term ‘AI Art’ takes too much – I’m not convinced that what we’re dealing with can properly be called intelligence, or art, at all.”