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1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War
In the late 1960s, Fuller and Wiener had offered a vision of tool use that accorded well with youthful migrations back to the land; in the early and mid-1970s, Bateson offered a vision of the world itself as a system and of its inhabitants as potentially inﬂuential elements of that system, a view that neatly supported the New Communalists’ return to mainstream America. In Bateson’s vision, as in Brand’s, former counterculturalists and the society around them would have to coevolve. At one level, the turn toward coevolution marked a return to the systems orientation of the Whole Earth Catalog. At another, it represented a shift both in information theory and in its relationship to the New Communalist critique of technocracy. To the communities among which Stewart Brand moved in the 1960s—USCO, the downtown Manhattan art world, the communards of the back-to-the-land movement— cybernetics meant primarily the writings of Norbert Wiener.
Drawing on the systems rhetoric of cybernetics and on models of entrepreneurship borrowed from both the research and the countercultural worlds, Brand established a series of meetings, publications, and digital networks within which members of multiple communities could meet and collaborate and imagine themselves as members of a single community. These forums in turn generated new social networks, new cultural categories, and new turns of phrase. In 1968 Brand founded the Whole Earth Catalog in order to help those heading back to the land ﬁnd the tools they would need to build their new communities. These items included the fringed deerskin jackets and geodesic domes favored by the communards, but they also included the cybernetic musings of Norbert Wiener and the latest calculators from Hewlett-Packard. In later editions, alongside discussions of such supplies, Brand published letters from high-technology researchers next to ﬁrsthand reports from rural hippies.
of a cybernetic forest ﬁlled with pines and electronics where deer stroll peacefully past computers as if they were ﬂowers with spinning blossoms. I like to think (it has to be!) of a cybernetic ecology where we are free of our labors and joined back to nature, returned to our mammal brothers and sisters, and all watched over by machines of loving grace. As Brautigan’s poem suggests, by the end of the 1960s, some elements of the counterculture, and particularly that segment of it that headed back to the land, had begun to explicitly embrace the systems visions circulating in the research world of the cold war. But how did those two worlds come together? How did a social movement devoted to critiquing the technological bureaucracy of the cold war come to celebrate the socio-technical visions that animated that bureaucracy? And how is it that the communitarian ideals of the counterculture should have become melded to computers and computer networks in such a way that thirty years later, the Internet could appear to so many as an emblem of a youthful revolution reborn?
Meat: A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, call centre, carbon footprint, Community Supported Agriculture, deindustrialization, en.wikipedia.org, food miles, Food sovereignty, Haber-Bosch Process, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Just-in-time delivery, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, megacity, Northern Rock, Panamax, peak oil, refrigerator car, scientific mainstream, sexual politics, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
No sooner is this soup all gathered in one place than the water has to be separated off and cleaned up for release into the rivers or sea, bearing with it a permissible proportion of the nutrients and contaminants, and leaving the rest of the phosphorus, together with the chemical precipitate that removed it, in a pile of toxic sludge, which in John Driver’s words ‘is of dubious agronomic value and presents its own disposal problems’.81 When Ralph Borsodi coined the term ‘cross-hauling’ to describe similar consignments of apples or meat going in opposite directions, he failed to observe that the most pervasive form of cross haulage is the transport of huge volumes of biomass into urban concentrations and then back out again. In the UK, some of this sludge is landfilled or incinerated, but since dumping at sea has been banned, the majority is now put back to the land – though not where the nutrients are most needed (since its use is not permitted for organic agriculture), nor in the correct proportions. A further problem is that, en route, the sludge tends to lose nitrogen, which is volatile and leaks into the atmosphere (from what I can decipher less than 20 per cent of the N gets back to the land).82 However it not only retains most of the phosphorus we excrete, but also gains as much again from the addition of detergents and other industrial effluents.83 The result is that ‘the ratio of P to N in the sludge is significantly higher than that required by plants.
A 1998 US study of Chinese agriculture noted: ‘With the dissolution of many collective farms and the institution of the Household Responsibility System in the early 1980s, backyard [pork] production increased to 92.9 per cent by 1982.’24 The advantage of decentralizing pig production is that it is easy to find waste food locally, easy to dispose of waste, and easy to ensure that nutrients cascade back to the land in the form of manure. A pig in every backyard is like a living dustbin in every backyard. Another US study of small-scale pig production in China observed: Hogs in China frequently consume large amounts of green roughage such as water plants, vegetable leaves, tubers, carrots, pumpkins, and various crop stalks … green feeds account for 18 per cent of total feed consumption in backyard hog operations.
It also looks as though the business of making Tottenham Pudding could become a simpler and less energy intensive business. Tristram Stuart visited a firm in Japan which sterilizes food waste by pasteurizing it at 90 degrees for just five minutes, and then inoculates it with a Lactobacillus, that ferments the swill much as if it were yoghurt. The product keeps for two weeks, is cheaper than other feed and conforms with Japanese recycling laws.32 Local pigs are also necessary if we are to get the nutrients back to the land. Peter Brooks’ paper on ‘Rediscovering the Environmentally Friendly Pig’ remained unpublished because the pigs which he urged should be fed with recycled waste were to be kept on large scale, industrial farms, where manure accumulates in a heap that causes pollution and disposal problems.33 If we are to have industrial-scale food processing at all, then its waste nutrients need to be cascaded back to mixed farms and smallholdings across the expanse of our land, and the most viable way to do this is through pig-food.
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter
back-to-the-land, crack epidemic, David Attenborough, dumpster diving, Golden Gate Park, haute cuisine, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Mason jar, McMansion, New Urbanism, Port of Oakland, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, urban decay, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog
Bill had made it downstairs, where he was out front tinkering with our car. His legs peeked out from underneath our dilapidated Mercedes as he rolled around amid the street’s numerous Swisher Sweet cigar butts. I had warned him about my meat-bird purchase, and he had been excited about the prospect of homegrown meat, but now that he saw the baby birds—fragile, tiny—he seemed a bit skeptical. Tommy grew to be an enormous size, my mom said, and as back-to-the-land hippies, she and my dad had been very pleased. They didn’t encounter any predator problems that year, and butchering him was a cinch. But disaster did hit: the smokehouse burned to the ground while they were smoking the turkey. “Oh, no,” I groaned. “Life was like that,” she said glumly. I felt sorry for her. My mom’s stories usually involve some heroic hippie farm action. I hadn’t heard this part of the story before, but I knew bad things had happened.
I had been in love with the idea of beekeeping—danger coupled with hard work blended with sweet rewards—but figured that I could never do it in the city. My mom’s friend Lowell had been a beekeeper in Idaho. I distinctly remember a trip to his farm, a land of rolling gold hills dotted with dark pine trees and white painted boxes, which my mom told me were bee houses. Lowell had wild blond hair and an unruly beard, and he had studied agriculture at Cornell before going back to the land, so he had a leg up over most of the other hapless hippies struggling to live off the land. His bees’ honey came suspended in comb. The sweet golden liquid was the best thing I ever tasted. As a child, I never thought about the details. It was simple: Lowell made honey. And the idea of becoming a beekeeper myself? That seemed wildly improbable, about as attainable as becoming an astronaut.
Nico shouted when she saw my eyes following the shadow. There were four of them—two with white and brown spots, one pure white, and one solid brown—milling around the couch. “The woman I bought them from,” Nico said, offering me a homemade pickle from a murky mason jar, “lived entirely off a quarter of an acre of land.” “Really?” I said. “Eating rabbits?” I didn’t know much about rabbit tending, except that my back-to-the-land parents had once raised them for meat. Nico’s plan was grander than mere survival; she had high-end dining in her sights. Rabbit had recently been showing up on the menus of fancy restaurants, and Nico, always a dabbler looking for a new project, bought three young females and a solid brown buck named Simon with the idea that she would sell their offspring to these restaurants. She couldn’t have been doing it for the money.
The Locavore's Dilemma by Pierre Desrochers, Hiroko Shimizu
air freight, back-to-the-land, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, Community Supported Agriculture, creative destruction, edge city, Edward Glaeser, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, intermodal, invention of agriculture, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, labour mobility, land tenure, megacity, moral hazard, mortgage debt, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, planetary scale, profit motive, refrigerator car, Steven Pinker, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl
A brief discussion of some past American initiatives to promote increased community food reliance will now set the stage for a broader discussion of the inherent flaws of locavorism. As should be expected, the American pioneers of what could be termed the “romantic” wing of the local food movement originated from some of the wealthiest and most economically advanced regions of the country. After all, “moving back to the land” implies that you have other opportunities available, something that was obviously not the case for subsistence farmers. Best known are the New England Transcendentalists, who rejected science and objective experience as a basis for developing knowledge in favor of intuitive thought processes that transcended the physical and empirical world. Their creed included the dismissal of “urban life in favor of nature in all its wildness.”
Not surprisingly, if Brook Farm managed to last a few years, Fruitlands was abandoned after less than one.42 Similar sentiments would later be echoed by a wide range of Americans, from the so-called American Dutch Utopia painters at the turn of the 20th century who created visions of Holland that celebrated a preindustrial lifestyle,43 to the Southern Agrarian writers of the 1920s and 1930s who opposed the urbanization, industrialization, and internationalization of their country. And then there were the hippies of the 1960s and 1970s. Perhaps as many as a million of them temporarily moved “back to the land” and attempted to live from it before most eventually abandoned rural bliss and returned to the trappings of civilization. There is also a long history of politically-driven attempts to promote local food production in urban settings in times of economic depression. Much like the rise of agrarian romanticism, it was a reaction—in this case to the fact that much old-fashioned urban food production had vanished.
This particularly applies to the drying of vegetables and fruits which this year, in addition to canning, is being done by good housewives far beyond any anticipation.46 These results, he later added, were especially remarkable in light of the fact that this food was raised where none had “been produced in peacetime, with labor not engaged in agricultural work and not taken from any other industry, and in places where it made no demand upon the railroad already overwhelmed with transportation burdens.”47 Less well-remembered than wartime gardening policies are the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Administration’s promotion during the 1930s of “subsistence homesteads”—the best known being Arthurdale in West Virginia—into which impoverished laborers and coal miners could relocate and revert back to the land. From their beginnings, however, these experiments proved to be money-losing propositions that only lasted as long as their government funding.48 Sophisticated critiques of the modern food supply chain and proposals remarkably similar to those now put forward by locavores also have a long history. For instance, in 1918, Morris Llewellyn Cooke, then a former Director of Public Works of the City of Philadelphia, asked why do strawberries go from Selbyville, Delaware [the largest strawberry-shipping point in the United States at the time], to Philadelphia, 104 miles distant, to be resold and go back again over the same route as far as Wilmington, Delaware, 27 miles away, to be hauled to the storage house of the commission man, again sold, and hauled by huckster’s team fourteen miles to reach the consumer at Kennett Square, Pennsylvania?
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight
Stewart Brand has argued in his essay “We Owe It All to the Hippies” that “the counterculture’s scorn for centralized authority provided the philosophical foundations of not only the leaderless Internet but also the entire personal-computer revolution.”1 Theodore Roszak has advanced a similar argument in From Satori to Silicon Valley (1986), a monograph that traces the rise of the personal-computer industry to countercultural values of the period. In fact, the New Left and the counterculture were then split between modern-day Luddites and technophiles. Some espoused an antitechnology, back-to-the-land philosophy. Others believed that better tools could lead to social progress. Brand’s toolcentric worldview, epitomized by one of the decade’s most popular and influential books, the Whole Earth Catalog (1968), made the case that technology could be harnessed for more democratic and decentralized uses. The catalog ultimately helped shape the view of an entire generation, which came to believe that computing technologies could be used in the service of such goals as political revolution and safeguarding the environment.
At the time, the typesetting industry was independently developing similar languages, but they were all specific to a particular machine. Tesler’s was the first general-purpose programming language that would do typesetting for any type of device. While PUB was finding a devoted band of users, Tesler decided he had had enough of AI research. The Whole Earth Catalog was having a growing influence on the nascent counterculture, and thousands of people in their twenties were leaving the cities and striking out to create a back-to-the-land communal existence. Tesler found a small group of like-minded friends, one of whom, Francine Slate, had been an employee of the Whole Earth Catalog, and together they decided to buy farmland. Slate and several other members of the group had been in a rather unusual upscale commune in Atherton, a town just north of Stanford that was generally known as an elite bedroom community. They all had jobs and had rented an elegant sixteen-bedroom mansion in which they were happily living until the owner decided to move some of his family members back in, and they were evicted.
That concept ultimately became a touchstone for the environmental movement that was to spring from Earth Day, first held on April 22, 1970. Brand ultimately began calling upon NASA to deliver a photograph of the entire surface of the planet. He created a button that read “Why Haven’t We Seen a Photograph of the Whole Earth Yet?” and immediately hitchhiked to the East Coast selling copies along the way. In 1966, caught up with Native American cultures, Fuller’s ideas, and the beginnings of an American back-to-the-land movement, Brand also came up with the notion of a mobile “truck store,” which he drove around northern California with the intent of distributing goods and information to a new wave of urban refugees who were ill equipped for their newly adopted life. The Whole Earth Truck Store came into existence in Menlo Park just a few doors away from Raymond and Albrecht’s Portola Institute, where Brand was an informal fellow-in-residence.
Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid
1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, connected car, domain-specific language, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, dumpster diving, Extropian, full employment, game design, global village, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, V2 rocket, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, Zimmermann PGP
The dream about the day after the strike was harsh: “There was chaos, and then I looked around and I was the only person left alive in Rockford, Ill., a knee-high creature.”28 He wanted out, to escape the specter of nuclear annihilation. Brand is best known for founding the famous Whole Earth Catalog, a publication that itself became an emblem and icon of California’s late 1960s counterculture and back-to-the-land movement. One afternoon, probably in March 1966 in the hills of San Francisco, Brand dropped a bit of LSD and went up on a roof overlooking the city. It was a form of escape. He sat in a blanket, shivering in the cold spring air, overlooking the hills, lost in enhanced thought: And so I’m watching the buildings, looking out at San Francisco, thinking of Buckminster Fuller’s notion that people think of the earth’s resources as unlimited because they think of the earth as flat.
The CATALOG—he usually spelled it in capital letters—was to form a feedback loop. He wanted it to be a communication device that connected the far-flung community he cared so much about. He wanted the catalog to be part of something that would create an equilibrium. The catalog was part of a whole system, a dynamic and self-regulating system. Brand would collect the crucial negative feedback in the supplement every few months and loop it back to the land by mail, to the readers-turned-cogs of this machine of loving grace. His publications, as he saw it, were part of an adaptive machine, not unlike the magnetic forces that governed the adaptive behavior of Ashby’s homeostat. The catalog itself, with its supplements and its community, was the learning mechanism. Learning was a crucial part of counterculture. Learning was perhaps the only way to expand the mind to see the way into a better, more peaceful, and more just future.
Yet so-called bulletin boards were still geeky hangouts for lone nerds and hacker types, not the online equivalent of a coffeehouse or a countercultural commune where it was fun to hang out and to meet new people. The time had come for something bigger, something more inclusive. But Brilliant also had a point. The Whole Earth approach had already proved itself in paper form, in slow motion, with people writing in by mail and e-mail, and then waiting for the supplement to ship back to the land. Brand agreed to the deal. Brilliant’s Ann Arbor company backed the agreement with what was then a significant investment: $150,000 for a VAX computer, a dishwasher-sized mainframe manufactured by DEC, a rack of half a dozen modems, and initially six telephone lines, plus another $100,000 for the primitive conferencing software, a Unix-based platform called PicoSpan. Brand needed a name. Why not at least re-create the Whole Earth spirit in name, he thought.
Barefoot Into Cyberspace: Adventures in Search of Techno-Utopia by Becky Hogge, Damien Morris, Christopher Scally
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, information asymmetry, Jacob Appelbaum, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, mass immigration, Menlo Park, moral panic, Mother of all demos, Naomi Klein, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks
At about the same time, James Lovelock was engaged in similar thinking, thinking that would eventually lead him to formulate his famous Gaia Theory. For Brand, and for the hippies who bought into his “Whole Earth” enthusiasm, the idea of the earth as a system was a powerful one. And it was also seductive: it certainly looked like a better system than the military industrial complex they had fled back to the land from. Later in 1968, back in Menlo Park, Brand began preparations for the first print run of the Whole Earth Catalog, a Sears catalogue for hippy communards that juxtaposed practical advice and tools for back-to-the-landers with intellectual stimulation in the form of reviews of books Brand and his fellow editors thought should be informing the ideals of their peers. The first edition ran to 66 pages, and was published in the autumn.
You go to a place like Grindstone where you’re off the grid and you’re with your comrades and your extended political family but you’re also connected and you’ve got your tools with you and you can write.’ To see this proper tool there really kind of blew my mind and I thought, ‘Will I someday be able to sit in the hammock at Moonwatcher’s Point with a laptop on my lap?’ This just blew my mind. I just remember thinking that that would be Utopia, right? To have that, back to the land and high tech kind of in one place.” I’m about to segue into a question about Stewart Brand when Cory beats me to it, reaching up to the shelf behind him. “So I wanted to show you this before we go further. This is my collection of Whole Earth Catalogs. I stole them from the library at Grindstone. I rate these as some of the most important books ever published.” It’s the first time I’ve seen original copies of the Whole Earth Catalog, and as the cuckoo clock tick-tocks in the background I take my time carefully turning the yellowing, oversize pages.
And when information communications technology enables motivated individuals to come together across geographic boundaries, to collaborate in building products like Linux and Wikipedia, products that each trump any equivalent the commercial world has to offer, then it would seem sensible to hope that the hegemony of the corporation, the growing dominance of an organisational model that has developed for the large part outside of our ideals of democracy and human rights, might be sent into remission. As Dr Emmett Brown once said to Marty McFly “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”. It would seem sensible to hope all of these things. But have any of them actually happened? * * * On 21 January, around about the time I was sitting on Cory Doctorow’s sofa talking back-to-the-land tech-Utopianism, Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, delivered a lecture entitled Remarks on Internet Freedom at Washington DC’s interactive Newseum complex. Echoing Brand, Clinton started off her speech with the observation that “information has never been so free”. She went on to name and shame certain regimes for their choice to censor the internet – China, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Vietnam – and to praise the activities of the citizens of Iran, whose protests after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the previous year had gained a global audience via social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
In defense of food: an eater's manifesto by Michael Pollan
And the more eaters who vote with their forks for a different kind of food, the more commonplace and accessible such food will become. Among other things, this book is an eater’s manifesto, an invitation to join the movement that is renovating our food system in the name of health—health in the very broadest sense of that word. I doubt the last third of this book could have been written forty years ago, if only because there would have been no way to eat the way I propose without going back to the land and growing all your own food. It would have been the manifesto of a crackpot. There was really only one kind of food on the national menu, and that was whatever industry and nutritionism happened to be serving. Not anymore. Eaters have real choices now, and those choices have real consequences, for our health and the health of the land and the health of our food culture—all of which, as we will see, are inextricably linked.
If my explorations of the food chain have taught me anything, it’s that it is a food chain, and all the links in it are in fact linked: the health of the soil to the health of the plants and animals we eat to the health of the food culture in which we eat them to the health of the eater, in body as well as mind. So you will find rules here concerning not only what to eat but also how to eat it as well as how that food is produced. Food consists not just in piles of chemicals; it also comprises a set of social and ecological relationships, reaching back to the land and outward to other people. Some of these rules may strike you as having nothing whatever to do with health; in fact they do. Many of the policies will also strike you as involving more work—and in fact they do. If there is one important sense in which we do need to heed Burkitt’s call to “go backwards” or follow the Aborigines back into the bush, it is this one: In order to eat well we need to invest more time, effort, and resources in providing for our sustenance, to dust off a word, than most of us do today.
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
A. Roger Ekirch, back-to-the-land, British Empire, California gold rush, colonial rule, Copley Medal, desegregation, Donald Trump, feminist movement, full employment, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, joint-stock company, land reform, land tenure, mass immigration, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration
Like the refugees from Arkansas who poured into Missouri during the Civil War, the Migs formed a modern-day caravan of vagrants and nomads. John Steinbeck and John Ford made this cross-country trek famous, Steinbeck in his bestselling 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath, and Ford in his dark and disquieting 1941 Hollywood film of the same name about the Joads’ pilgrimage.16 Another chaotic migration was the “Back to the Land” movement that led to numerous rural communes. Some of these had outspoken leaders. Ralph Borsodi, who set up a subsistence homestead on the outskirts of New York City, helped to organize a cooperative village near Dayton, Ohio. Similar ventures appeared in other states. The southern journalist Charles Morrow Wilson described these folks as “American peasants,” but they are perhaps better described as the heirs of James Oglethorpe’s eighteenth-century Georgia colonists.
Here, nearly 63 percent of farmers worked as tenants. The Arkies were unlike the Tulsans, many of whom were educated, willing to work collectively, and devised a plan for the future. They might be slumming as white trash and living in shanties, but when the economy improved, the city folk would return to their former lives. For them the land was a “refuge,” not a permanent source of class identity.18 The “Back to the Land” movement had a marked influence on New Deal policy. So it made sense when Milburn Lincoln Wilson, a trained social scientist and expert in agriculture, became the first director of the Subsistence Homesteads Division in 1933. The government’s goal was to give tenants and sharecroppers the resources and skills to rise up the agricultural ladder and help city folk without jobs. Like the soil, the dispossessed had to be rehabilitated.
And on the importance of erosion to Roy Stryker’s photographic agenda, see Stuart Kidd, “Art, Politics and Erosion: Farm Security Administration Photographs of the Southern Land,” Revue française d’études américaines, rev. ed. (1986): 67–68; Arthur Rothstein, “Melting Snow, Utopia, Ohio,” February 1940, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC; and Peeler, Hope Among Us Yet, 148. 15. On waste, see Herbert J. Spinden, “Waters Flow, Winds Blow, Civilizations Die,” North American Review (Autumn 1937): 53–70; Russell Lord, “Behold Our Land,” North American Review (Autumn 1938): 118–32; on the chaotic groundswell, also see Russell Lord, “Back to the Land?,” Forum (February 1933): 97–103, esp. 99, 102. Spinden was an archeologist who specialized in Mayan art and was curator of American Indian art and culture at the Brooklyn Museum from 1929 to 1951. See Regna Darnell and Frederic W. Gleach, eds., Celebrating a Century of the American Anthropological Association: Presidential Portraits (New York, 2002), 73–76. Dorothea Lange and Paul Taylor, An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1939), 102.
Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee by Hattie Ellis
To assist in their honey-hunting, people began to make bee boxes, with one compartment filled with comb to attract the bee, a little door to trap it, and another to release it, in order to see in which direction it flew. SUCH METHODS OF honey-hunting were later added to by Euell Gibbons, the wild food guru whose book Stalking the Wild Asparagus (1962) inspired twentieth-century Americans to go back to the land. His readers may have been motivated by an earthy form of spirituality, but Gibbons himself developed his wild-food skills for a more practical reason: to stay alive. Euell Gibbons learned about edible wild plants as a boy growing up in the Red River Valley. When his family moved to New Mexico in the impoverished 1930s, and his father was looking for work with little luck, the family pantry at one point contained only a few pinto beans and a solitary egg.
(Sometimes he was more of a bee shouter; people say you must be calm with bees, but when they were in a temper, this steady man found a good shake could startle them into submission.) As an expert, he is often asked to collect swarms; some people now think he should pay for “their” bees; in fact, there tends to be a charge for their removal. Times change. Stephen has seen fluctuations of interest in beekeeping over the years. There are periods—such as the present—when people take it up, like allotment gardening, to get back to the land. But there were now far fewer beekeepers in Lewes than there once were; in fact, since Patricia left to live in France, I have not found another source of town honey. Stephen’s honey, from the surrounding countryside, is sold by my local greengrocer as well as at Stephen’s own door. It is completely different from generic honeys, those blends of whatever is cheapest on the world market, which are flash-heated and micro-filtered to make them stay runny in the pot, unfortunately in the process removing some of the good taste and healthy properties.
The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A Pattern Language, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, borderless world, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, fundamental attribution error, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Netflix Prize, new economy, PageRank, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social software, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the scientific method, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator
In the aisle between the rows of gray metal folding chairs was a microphone on a stand, where people would line up to say their piece. It was hardly a perfect system: Some speakers droned on; others were shouted down. But it gave all of us a sense of the kinds of people that made up our community that we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else. If the discussion was about encouraging more businesses along the coast, you’d hear from the wealthy summer vacationers who enjoyed their peace and quiet, the back-to-the-land hippies with antidevelopment sentiments, and the families who’d lived in rural poverty for generations and saw the influx as a way up and out. The conversation went back and forth, sometimes closing toward consensus, sometimes fragmenting into debate, but usually resulting in a decision about what to do next. I always liked how those town meetings worked. But it wasn’t until I read On Dialogue that I fully understood what they accomplished.
Type in a few lines, or a few thousand, strike a key, and something seems to come to life on your screen—a new space unfolds, a new engine roars. If you’re clever enough, you can make and manipulate anything you can imagine. “We are as Gods,” wrote futurist Stewart Brand on the cover of his Whole Earth Catalog in 1968, “and we might as well get good at it.” Brand’s catalog, which sprang out of the back-to-the-land movement, was a favorite among California’s emerging class of programmers and computer enthusiasts. In Brand’s view, tools and technologies turned people, normally at the mercy of their environments, into gods in control of them. And the computer was a tool that could become any tool at all. Brand’s impact on the culture of Silicon Valley and geekdom is hard to overestimate—though he wasn’t a programmer himself, his vision shaped the Silicon Valley worldview.
From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas L. Friedman
You mentioned Egypt and you mentioned Sinai, but after Sinai there was the Promised Land—Israel. What do you see as the significance of the land? “The significance of the land is that it allows you to see Judaism as a way of life. Coming back to the land of Israel is a way of saying that Judaism was never meant to be just a synagogue-based framework, centered around prayer and the holidays, which is what some Haredim seem to feel. Judaism was to be a total way of life that could provide answers for how to deal with hospital strikes and with the exercise of power. In other words, for me, you come back to the land in order to implement Sinai. I came back to the land not to rebuild the synagogue Judaism of European ghettos. I came back to the land to get back to the beginning—Judaism as a total way of life, not just ritual.” So you see the land as a corrective to the Haredim and their obsession with ritual.
The new village green: living light, living local, living large by Stephen Morris
back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, cleantech, collective bargaining, Columbine, Community Supported Agriculture, computer age, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Firefox, index card, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, McMansion, Menlo Park, Negawatt, off grid, peak oil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review
The two met briefly in 1921, then again in 1928, and were together from then on.They left New York City in 1932 for a simple life in rural southern Vermont, where they homesteaded and ran a maple-sugaring business, but felt frustrated by local household independence — which they felt contrasted unfavorably with the reality in many rural parts of Europe.Their valley neighbors in Vermont, the Nearings wrote,“…looked upon cooperative enterprise as the first step toward super-imposed discipline and coercion.They were suspicious of organized methods and planning.They would have none of it.” In 1952 they relocated to Harborside, Maine where they started over again, building their own house, outbuildings, and a business raising blueberries.Together, they wrote what they lived — Living the Good Life (1954) and Continuing the Good Life (1979) — and are often credited with being a major spur to the US back to the land movement that began in the late 1960s. Helen and Scott usually divided a day’s waking hours into three blocks of four hours:“bread labor” (work directed toward meeting requirements of food, shelter, clothing, needed tools, and such); civic work (doing something of value for their community); and professional pursuits or recreation (for Scott this was frequently economics research, for Helen it was often music, but they both liked to ski).They made good and regular use of the volunteer labor of young idealistic visitors who were always warmly welcomed and fed 210 chapter 8 : The Good Life a hearty meal of fresh greens, Helen’s famous soup, and Scott’s gruel — a combination of raw oats, raisins, peanut butter and honey.
Helen Nearing provides a truth so honest some find it threatening.The Nearings stand for good food, an honest day’s work, the straight talk on child labor, civil rights, the economics of oil, wars, the use base economy, and freedom. The Nearings vision of a future in a United, confederated World eerily parallels that of Star Trek creator, Gene Rodenberry’s. It’s a future of hope. That’s why I try to “Live the Good Life” everyday. Scott and Helen Nearing were the John and Yoko of the Back to the Land movement.They teach, preach, and embrace voluntary simplicity, respect for the earth, and the brotherhood of life.They advocate ownership of your own life, and of working damn hard to keep this experiment called humankind evolving. — Dave Bonta USA Solar Stores 212 chapter 8 : The Good Life Conventional “wisdom” dictates that Festivals can’t be Green. Hogwash! Here’s how they do it in Seattle, possibly one of the US’s three greenest cities.
Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand
agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, William Langewiesche, working-age population, Y2K
It could be one of the most important books of the decade.” —Larry Brilliant, president, Skoll Urgent Threats Fund “Rethinking and recalibration are hard, and there is a lot about Whole Earth Discipline that will be argued, vehemently. Brand, a challenging but trusted thinker, is a good place to start an essential rethinking process. Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog and Coevolution Quarterly were innovative crystallizations and guides to the ‘back to the land’ movements of the late ’60s and early ’70s. . . . Reinvention: are we up for that? We’d really best get started.” —Scott Walker, Orion “Orthodoxy is the enemy of invention. Despair an insult to the imagination. In this extraordinary manifesto, Stewart Brand charts a way forward that shatters conventional thinking, and yet leaves one brimming with hope. It has been years since I have read a book that in so many ways changed the way I think about so many fundamental issues.”
Following the deep seam of romanticism through successive centuries, Herman finds it leading through Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West (1918) directly to Nazi Germany. “Hitler’s generation was the first European generation raised on cultural pessimism.” There is a troubling Green thread in the Nazi movement. I first came across it in 1977 with an article I ran in CoEvolution on the German wandervögel (wanderbirds)—young hippielike back-to-the-land romantic strivers of the late nineteenth century who were all too easily co-opted into the Hitler Youth. I learned from Herman’s book that biologist Ernst Haeckel, coiner of the word ecology (oekologie, 1866), championed eugenics and selective euthanasia to purge an imperiled Europe of “degenerates such as Jews and Negroes.” According to Peter Coates in Nature: Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times (2004), “Nazi Germany led Europe in the creation of nature reserves and the implementation of progressive forestry sensitive to what we would now call biodiversity.”
The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans by Mark Lynas
Airbus A320, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Haber-Bosch Process, ice-free Arctic, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Negawatt, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, planetary scale, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, special drawing rights, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia
Indeed, if pollution and climate change are taken into account, no part of the planet’s surface is any longer truly wild. This does not mean that we must gloomily accept the continuing diminution of semi-wild areas and the erosion of the vital ecosystem services they provide. It does mean though that we need to challenge some orthodoxies that are no longer useful in this new era of near-total human planetary dominance. “Getting close to nature” or going “back to the land” will generally not be good for the environment, however psychologically fulfilling these objectives may be to individuals seeking escape from industrial living. Instead, we need to intensify agriculture and other human land uses in existing areas as much as possible, and encourage as an environmental boon the growth of the world’s major cities that already successfully concentrate today’s enormous human population onto only a tiny proportion of the world’s land.
Our best hope for meeting the land use planetary boundary is therefore to encourage the trends toward rising prosperity and demographic transition in developing countries, in order to allow their forests and other important natural habitats to survive and regrow. Given the choice, most people around the world already find city life more attractive and varied than that in the countryside. Forget the “back to the land” self-indulgence of some disgruntled people in rich countries. Billions of people want to move to urban areas to achieve increasing prosperity and improve their standard of living. Let us be glad of that. They are unwitting “Greens,” whose efforts at self-improvement should be celebrated. BOUNDARY FIVE FRESHWATER We have polluted the seas and appropriated land from other competing species—but water we have not so much stolen as imprisoned, behind concrete dam walls, within dark reservoirs, and behind the high levees that hem in once-mighty free-flowing rivers like the Mississippi and the Yangtze.
The English by Jeremy Paxman
back-to-the-land, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, Etonian, game design, George Santayana, global village, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Khartoum Gordon, mass immigration, Neil Kinnock, Own Your Own Home, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Right to Buy, sensible shoes, urban sprawl, women in the workforce
Then they start complaining about the mud on the roads, the fact that there aren’t any pavements or streetlights. And soon it’s all just another suburb. The whole country’s just one big suburb now. If they are honest, most country people will agree with her: where the English countryside remains, it exists only as scenery. North-east of Beaminster, on Cranborne Chase, is the place where an eccentric group of back-to-the-land romantics tried to act out the idea of England as some earthy dream. On a walking tour in 1924 the composer Balfour Gardiner had come across Gore Farm, a run-down part of an old Dorset estate. Before the First World War, Gardiner had, with Percy Grainger, Norman O’Neil, Roger Quilter and Cyril Scott, been part of the ‘Frankfurt Group’ of musicians who were to do much for English music. But he discovered that after the war the appetite for his romantically inspired work had almost disappeared, to be replaced by a taste for something altogether more austere.
But he discovered that after the war the appetite for his romantically inspired work had almost disappeared, to be replaced by a taste for something altogether more austere. As the well-off son of a London merchant, Gardiner could afford the gesture that followed, and he renounced music. It also meant he had the means to buy Gore Farm, where with his nephew, Rolf Gardiner (an ‘English patriot’ who was part Austrian-Jewish and part Scandinavian), he created a back-to-the-land community. The idea was to act out D. H. Lawrence’s incoherent urgings about escaping the horrors of industrialism (‘we’ll have to establish some spot on earth that will be the fissure into the underworld, like the oracle at Delphos’, the novelist wrote to Gardiner27). The principles of this curious group had a millennialist feel: they believed in organic farming, small communities, self-government and the beneficial power of folk-custom.
back-to-the-land, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, capital controls, centre right, citizen journalism, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, illegal immigration, informal economy, land tenure, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, Network effects, New Journalism, Occupy movement, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rising living standards, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, union organizing, We are the 99%, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, young professional
It can’t be based on schemes originating in the heads of philanthropic bosses or philosophers. And you can’t return to the past. So in the 1840s, as the workers’ movement became obsessed with model factory settlements set up by utopian visionaries like Robert Owen, Marx laid into the utopians. In the 1860s, when workers all over the world tried to set up cooperative shops and factories, Marx became a robust critic of cooperation. And he never ceased to pour scorn on the back-to-the-land socialists who wanted to return to rural communes and low growth. Capitalism, Marx argued, was headed in the direction of big enterprises, which the capitalists would own collectively via the stock markets. Co-ops and utopian villages were a distraction. You had to find a way to take control of this big stuff—finance, industry and agribusiness—and create enough wealth so that, when you redistributed it, it would eliminate human need.
Yet Mena, at my elbow, is feeding me this constant stream of verbal PR-copy: ‘We are happy; there is social cohesion here; only we can organize it like this.’ She’s all too conscious that the Estero de San Miguel has been condemned. The left-liberal government of Benigno ‘NoyNoy’ Aquino has decided to forcibly relocate half a million slum dwellers back to the countryside, and the Estero is at the top of the list. ‘Many of our people are no longer interested in agriculture, so we need to give them the incentives to go back to the land,’ says Celia Alba, who heads the Philippines Housing Development Corporation. ‘If we had to rehouse the slum dwellers inside Manila, in medium-rise housing, it would cost one third of the national budget.’ But the San Miguel will not go without a fight, says Mena: ‘We will barricade and we will revolt if we have to. We will resist slum clearance and we will fight to defend our community. We are happy here.’
A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams by Michael Pollan
A Pattern Language, back-to-the-land, Benoit Mandelbrot, dematerialisation, Frank Gehry, interchangeable parts, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Peter Eisenman, place-making, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, The Great Good Place, urban renewal, zero-sum game
Jim’s family had owned the lumberyard across the street, so he’d always been around wood and carpenters as a kid, but it wasn’t until he went away to college, in Vermont, that he got serious about woodworking. One of his professors at Godard was building an authentic timber frame house, cutting his own wood off the site, milling it by hand, and framing the structure solely with hand tools—no electricity allowed. It was the seventies, remember, and Vermont was teeming with back-to-the-land types who (not unlike members of the Arts and Crafts movement) made a moral and political virtue of traditional craftsmanship and self-reliance. After college Jim moved out to California, where he heard about the restoration of a Greene and Greene house in Berkeley. “I saw right away that the architect in charge didn’t have a clue,” Jim said. “I mean, he was butt-jointing everything for chrissake!
Charlie and Jim were both children of the seventies, their approach toward building having been shaped by an odd confluence of currents that was at the time helping to return American architecture to American sources. One of these currents was of course postmodernism, which by the mid-seventies had sparked a revival of interest in the American shingle style, a homegrown domestic architecture with deep vernacular roots. Also gathering momentum during the seventies was the push for historic preservation. And then, coming from an entirely different quarter, there was the back-to-the-land movement, which had its own reasons to revive vernacular building styles and methods, such as timber framing; it also happened to share many of the values of the Arts and Crafts movement. (You remember the crafts.) Though it seldom finds its way into the architectural histories, American hippie architecture of the 1970s played an important role, chipping away at modernist ideas from below while more academic postmodernists attacked them head on.
The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us by Diane Ackerman
23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, Internet of things, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microbiome, nuclear winter, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, skunkworks, Skype, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the High Line, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog
As we wade into the Anthropocene, we’re trying to reinsert ourselves back into the planet’s ecosystem and good graces. Unlovely as the word “sustainability” may be, it’s sashaying through the media, taking root in schools, and hitting home in all sorts of domiciles, entering the mainstream in both hamlets and megacities. We’re undergoing a revolution in thinking that isn’t a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, nor is it a back-to-the-land movement of the sort that became popular during the Great Depression and again in the 1970s. We might sometimes resemble startled deer in the headlights as we face Earth’s dwindling resources, yet at the same time we’re opening a door to a full-scale sustainability revolution. Our fundamental ideas about house and city have begun evolving into the smarter, greener matrix of our survival. PART III IS NATURE “NATURAL” ANYMORE?
It’s as if Gurdon and Yamanaka had found a way to reset the body’s clock to early development, enabling it to mint wild-card cells that haven’t chosen their career yet—without using the fetal stem cells that cause so much controversy. Space may be only one of the final frontiers. The other is surely the universe of human imagination and creative prowess in genetics. “We are as gods and might as well get good at it,” Stewart Brand began his 1968 classic, The Whole Earth Catalog, which helped to inspire the back-to-the-land movement. His 2009 book, Whole Earth Discipline, begins more worriedly: “We are as gods and have to get good at it.” Among the rarest of the rare, only several northern white rhinoceroses still exist in all the world. But, thanks to Gurdon and Yamanaka, geneticists can take DNA from the skin of a recently dead animal—say, a northern white rhino from forty years ago—turn it into “induced pluripotent stem cells” (IPS), add a dose of certain human genes, and conjure up white rhino sperm.
The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography by Stephen Fry
Alistair Cooke, back-to-the-land, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Isaac Newton, Live Aid, loadsamoney, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Sloane Ranger, South China Sea, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Winter of Discontent
.† The other two undergraduates chosen were a scientist called Barber and a lawyer called Mark Lester – no, not the child star of Oliver! but another Mark Lester altogether. We travelled north to Granadaland for the first round. It was my first visit to Manchester and my first close-up encounter with a television studio. In Norwich I had once sat in the audience for the taping of a largely forgotten Anglia TV sitcom called Backs to the Land but that was the extent of my penetration of the broadcasting world. Granada was a much more impressive outfit than dear, sweet, parochial Anglia. Their studios were the home of Coronation Street and World in Action. The corridors were lined with photographs of actors, film stars and nationally known television presenters like Brian Trueman and Michael Parkinson. We were shown down a labyrinth of these passageways to a large dressing-room, where we were asked to wait.
(TV programme), 338 Arena (magazine), 299, 325 Armitage, Reginald (‘Noel Gay’), 259–61, 376 Armitage, Richard: signs up Emma Thompson, 175; signs up SF and Hugh Laurie, 193–4; and SF at Edinburgh, 197; and Ben Elton, 229; offers advances to SF, 234; entertains at Stebbing Park, 258–9; and SF’s writing book for Me and My Girl, 259–62, 264–6, 342, 349, 390; background, 261–2; arranges SF’s part in Forty Years On, 270, 274; sends SF to BBC, 295; and SF’s radio appearances, 331; and SF’s earnings, 359; and Elton’s writing Blackadder, 373; influence over BBC, 376; and Me and My Girl on Broadway, 409, 420–2, 424; see also Noel Gay Artists Arnold, Matthew, 71 Ash, Leslie, 266, 298, 338, 343 Atkinson, Rowan: as Oxford man, 71, 129; performs at Edinburgh, 126, 129; on Not the Nine O’Clock News, 180, 193, 209; Armitage sends to watch and report on SF, 193–4; announces Perrier Award to The Cellar Tapes, 198–9; visits Stebbing Park, 258; Armitage signs up, 262; celebrity, 290; SF collaborates with, 298–9; motor cars, 369; and Blackadder, 372, 374, 376, 382–3, 385–7; character, 385–6; marriage to Sunetra, 387–8 Attenborough, Richard, Baron, 354 Auden, W.H., 31 Aukin, David, 266, 268–9 Australia: SF tours with revue, 203–5; SF visits for staging of Me and My Girl, 391 Ayckbourn, Alan (Sir), 191, 240 B15 (radio programme), 328 Backs to the Land (TV sitcom), 138, 193 Baddiel, David, 121 Baker, Tom, 384–5 Barber (Queens’ College undergraduate), 138–9 Barker, Ronnie, 209 Barrault, Jean-Louis, 127 Barretts of Wimpole Street, The: parodied, 190 Barton, Anne (née Righter), 85 Barton, John, 108, 190 Bates, Alan, 44, 338, 351 Bathurst, Robert, 128 Beale, Simon Russell, 90, 163, 190, 256–8 Beaton, Alistair, 333 Beckett, Samuel, 52 Belushi, John, 60, 206 Benn, Tony, 54 Bennett, Alan: as Oxford man, 71, 129; on snobbery, 105; SF admires, 270–1; at SF’s audition, 273–5; SF introduces parents to, 338; declines to join cast of Forty Years On for spaghetti meal, 344; takes over Tempest role in Forty Years On, 346–7; writes screenplay of A Private Function, 348; and Russell Harty, 351–2; Forty Years On, 271–3, 295, 325, 335–7, 342, 344–6, 350 Bennett, J.A.W., 89 Bennett-Jones, Peter, 404–5 Berger, Sarah, 44 Bergman, Martin, 128, 197, 205, 359 Berkoff, Steven: Decadence, 202–3 Berlin, Sir Isaiah, 85 Beverly Hills Cop, 203 Bird, John, 336 Birdsall, Timothy, 336 Bit of Fry and Laurie, A (TV programme), 217, 229, 424 Blackadder (TV programme), 217, 228, 237, 372–6, 381–90, 424 Blackshaw, Ben, 153–4; Have You Seen the Yellow Book?
One Less Car: Bicycling and the Politics of Automobility by Zack Furness, Zachary Mooradian Furness
active transport: walking or cycling, affirmative action, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, back-to-the-land, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, conceptual framework, dumpster diving, Enrique Peñalosa, European colonialism, feminist movement, ghettoisation, Golden Gate Park, interchangeable parts, intermodal, Internet Archive, Jane Jacobs, market fundamentalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, peak oil, place-making, post scarcity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, sustainable-tourism, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, working poor, Yom Kippur War
Health, being more at one with nature, and using our own resources were three ideals of the time, influenced by the Whole Earth Catalog. it was a time of be-ins, love-ins, smoke-ins . . . so it was natural to plan a huge Bike-in—one that would bring all groups together around a common dream.103 What is interesting about these early years of bike activism is that despite its cultural emphasis, there was also a firmly entrenched commitment to transforming bicycling and automobility through formal political channels, whether it be lobbying, hosting community events, meeting with politicians and urban planners, circulating petitions, and/or getting involved with local (and regional) governmental affairs. One of the prominent critiques of both the counterculture and appropriate technologists—who especially mingled in the pages of the Whole Earth Catalog as well as the back-to-the-land movement—is that they either advocated an individualist, escapist paradigm (“tune in, turn on, drop out”) or tried to naïvely solve complex social/political problems by simply “living differently” or by using different tools.104 Bike advocacy in the 1970s reveals the limitations and inaccuracy of this critique because cyclists were directly engaged with urban problems that are fundamentally social and political in their scope. rather than arguing for cyclists to just do their own thing, groups like Transportation alternatives, le Monde à Bicyclette, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (founded in 1970), the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater philadelphia, and the Washington area Bicyclist association (all founded in 1972), specifically worked to transform the urban milieu by addressing both the pragmatic needs of cyclists (and potential cyclists) as well as the overarching problems posed by poor urban planning and environmental pollution. like Jane Jacobs, many saw unregulated automobility as a problem requiring a positive orientation and a realistic set of goals: attrition [of automobiles], too, must operate in positive terms, as a means of supplying positive, easily understood and desired improvements, appealing to various specific and tangible city interests.
., 19 anti-roads program, 78 appadurai, arjun, 188 appropriate technology (aT) movement, 65–66, 191, 192–193; and counterculture, 68; critiques of, 68–69 armstrong, lance, 4–5, 119, 222n25 arnison, Matthew, 81 aronson, Sydney, 15 Arrested Development (television program), 112 articulations, 9 asheville recyclery, 149, 173 asia, railroad system in, 190 athineos, Steve “The Greek,” 125 atton, Chris, 144, 147 austin, Texas, 58 australia, 13, 172; bicycling in, 4 autobahn, 51 auto capitalism, 7 auto industry: automobile factories, forced labor in, 241n22; mass media’s shaping of, 49 automobile-industrial complex, 6 automobiles: and american dream, 7; critiques of, as cultural elitism, 7; drivers of, as victims, 129; and fatalities, 80, 135; as framing device, 88; “governors” devices in, 240n7; isolation of, 87; lack of future of, in cities, 208; love affair with, 5–6; and mobility, 45; and pedestrian fatalities, 124, 132; as automobiles (continued) replacement of citizens, 86; rise of, 48; and sales figures, 221n22; as status symbol, 6; and SUv hybrids, 288n10 automobility, 16–17, 23, 52, 54, 109–110, 204–205, 210; alienation of, 88; bad driving as aberration of, 131; and breaking of traffic laws, 132; and car accidents, 132; city as contested space of, 83; critiques of, 59; as dangerous, 131–132; and environmentalism, 60, 65; and gender, 180–181; as gendered phenomenon, 113; and Global South, 190; and gridlock, 208; as inevitable, 117; and masculinity, 114; and mobility, 213; and mutant bikes, 154–155; news media’s support of, 137; perpetuation of cultural supremacy of, 138; as political, 6, 96; protests of, 60, 62, 63–65; and public space, 83, 87, 104, 212–213; and roads, 83; system of, 6; as term, 6; and traffic deaths, 68 autopia, 60 autopolis, 52 awakening (band), 147 Ayamye (film), 283n49 Back-to-the-land movement, 68 Baker, Jimmy, 147 Bakhtin, Mikhail, 90 Balsley, Gene, 156 Bardwell, Sarah 219n7 Barnett, Gabrielle, 44–45 Barrett, Betty, 120 Baudry de Saunier, louis, 25 Baxter, Sylvester, 32, 39, 233n87 Bean-larson, Dennis, 163 Bel Geddes, norman, 50, 208 Belgian Congo, 196 Benepe, Barry, 67 Benjamin, Walter, 44 Benstock, Marcy, 63, 245n80 Berger, arthur asa, 66–67 Berkman, rivvy, 63, 67 Besse, nadine, 18, 25 Bey, Hakim (aka peter lamborn Wilson), 90–91 La Bicicleta y los Triciclos: Alternativas de Trans- porte para America Latina (navarro), 192 Bicimáquinas, 188 Bicycle action project Earn a Bike (EaB) pro gram, 171 Bicycle advisory Committees, 74 Bicycle Coalition of Greater philadelphia, 63, 68 Bicycle Commuters of new york, 268n113 Bicycle counterculture, 8 Bicycle craze, 14, 16, 196 Bicycle donation programs, 201 Bicycle Ecology, 60 Bicycle Ecology Day, 60 Bicycle education programs, 13, 71–72 Bicycle Habitat, 179 Bicycle production, 213–214, 217, 246n95; and labor practices, 216 Bicycle racing, 25 Bicycles, 217; and accidents, 132–133, 264n66, 267–268n111; advertising of, 18–19, 25; as anti-spectacular device, 89; aura of, 18; bamboo bicycles, 293n63; and bike hacking, 157; boyhood association with, 50; and centaur as metaphor, 23; and class discrimination, 32–33; classic bicycles, 260n29; collective shift to, 213; and colonialism, 196–198; compared to horses, 23–24, 232n65; and consumerism, 19, 160–161; and cyborgs, 24–25; design of, 115; as embodiment of environmentalism, 59, 246n99; as first luxury item, 17; fixed-gear bikes, 162–167; as “freedom machine,” 17; granny bikes, revival of, 167; idea of, 18; interest in custom builders of, 167–168; as metaphor for independence, 45; obsession with style and, 163; and oil embargo, 65; and “ordinaries,” 19; and pedestrian accidents, 264n66; and pedestrian fatalities, 268n117; and place making, 146; posters of, 18; in public protests, 104–105; and recycling, 154, 280n10; revival of as utilitarian, 167; and road taxes, 269n121; and rural women and girls, 190; sales of, 18, 49, 65; secondhand bikes, revival of, 167; signifying power of, 196, 198; and single-speed conversion, 153, 162, 167, 274n56; and social construction of technology (SCOT) paradigm, 226–227n2; as social revolutionizer, 32; support of as transportation, 8; as symbol of resistance, 47, 58; and telegraph messenger boys, 50; ten-speed bicycle, popularity of, 67; twenty-first-century usage of, 205–206, 218; as utility vehicles, 50; as utopian mode of transportation, 59; victory bicycles, 120, 262n47.
What Should I Do With My Life? by Po Bronson
back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, clean water, double entry bookkeeping, Exxon Valdez, financial independence, high net worth, job satisfaction, Menlo Park, microcredit, new economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, telemarketer, traffic fines, young professional
I had about thirty days to figure out what to do next.” “You didn’t have savings?” “Well, I had some, but with a mortgage and two kids . . .” He wasn’t going to let himself hang out for months waiting for a vision. “So, of all the things you could have done, how in the world did you end up a catfish farmer? Particularly if you didn’t think it was noble, and you weren’t an outdoorsman itching to get back to the land?” “It wasn’t like I chose catfish farmer off a long list of possibilities. It was the only opportunity that presented itself.” This farm had been passed down in his wife’s family since the Depression, but her generation had run for the cities and wanted nothing to do with farming. If they couldn’t find somebody to manage the operation, the family would have to sell the land. During this thirty-day period, Don’s father-in-law paid them a visit, described his problem, and Don—who’d never in his wildest dreams considered something like this—volunteered for the job.
They’ve created an American Indian Charter School in Oakland, and nearby, a Native American Cultural Center. He’s helping strengthen the only Native American–run university in the country, DQU, which is two hours north. DQU is an impoverished school, terribly underfunded by the state (another gross injustice!) and struggling to survive. But Deni sees these students as the future leaders of the businesses that’ll spawn on the reservations. He’ll give them a reason to go back to the land they came from. His list of projects is endless. Every time I called him, it was something else. “What are you working on today, Deni?” “Oh, we’re building an ecotourism resort in Costa Rica run by Indians.” “What are you working on today, Deni?” “Oh, a billionaire in China owns the world’s biggest sapphire, and he wants to put it on display at the Pequot casinos in Connecticut. I’m trying to insure it.”
Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey
There were no coveralls hanging on the backs of the doors, but one room was set up for conferences. The water in the pitchers had long evaporated out, but the purple tablecloth looked warm enough. Warmer than being naked. Juliette moved the assortment of cups, plates, and pitchers and grabbed the cloth. She wrapped it around her shoulders, but it was going to slip off when she moved, so she tried knotting the corners in front of her. Giving up on this, she ran back to the landing, out into the welcomed light, and removed the fabric completely. Grabbing the knife—the door squealing eerily shut behind her—she pushed the blade through the center of the tablecloth and cut a long gash. Her head went through this, the cloth falling past her feet in front and behind her. A few minutes with the blade and she’d cut away the excess, forming a belt out of a long strip and from another shock of fabric, enough to tie over her head and keep it warm.
He fumbled at her collar and twisted the lever to allow the flow of air. It hissed by her ear, quite noisily, and she could feel the suit puff out around her. The overflow valve she’d screwed into the other side of the collar squealed as it opened and let out the excess pressure, preventing her suit—and her head, she suspected—from bursting. “Weights,” she said, clicking the radio. He ran back to the landing and returned with the round exercise weights. Kneeling on the last dry step, he strapped these below her knees with heavy velcro, then looked up to see what was next. Juliette struggled to lift one foot, then the other, making sure that the weights were secure. “Wire,” she said, getting the hang of working the radio. This was the most important part: the power from IT would run the lifeless pumps below.
Radicals Chasing Utopia: Inside the Rogue Movements Trying to Change the World by Jamie Bartlett
Andrew Keen, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, brain emulation, centre right, clean water, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, failed state, gig economy, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, life extension, Occupy movement, off grid, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, QR code, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rosa Parks, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism
According to the Intentional Community Directory there are currently 2,255 eco-village communities around the world, spread across seventy countries and covering everything from a network of remote villages in Sri Lanka to the very popular Cristiana in Copenhagen, a self-proclaimed autonomous commune of 850 people founded by hippies, squatters and anarchists in 1971. Uncertain times often stimulate ‘back to the land’ movements like this. The seventeenth-century Diggers, with their dreams of small, independent, egalitarian agricultural communities, began during the great political and social unrest of the English Civil War.11 During the anxiety and strains that followed the Napoleonic Wars, social reformer Robert Owen imagined ‘villages of cooperation’ that would be economically and socially self-sufficient.12 The 1970s saw a surge in communal utopias (approximately 750,000 Americans lived in communes during that decade), some members of which were disappointed hippies, but many were explicitly driven by a fear of an impending apocalypse and energy meltdown, including the New Atlantis Commune and the Genesis Project.13 These are uncertain times too.
One recent study from Japan found that young people are struggling to develop relationships with anything but their phones.37 Within five years, I reckon internet addiction will be a widely recognised disorder. No one here seems to suffer with nomophobia (‘no mobile phone phobia’). No one in Tamera is frantically and pathetically checking if their last tweet went viral. I envied them for that. When Monika told me that there was Wi-Fi in the bar area, I went out of my way to avoid it. Tamera combines this back-to-the-land, almost tribal, simplicity, with a more modern individualistic impulse: that we happy few can change the entire world and everyone in it from our yurt, and fulfil all our sexual desires while we’re at it. That would normally seem solipsistic, but at Tamera you don’t need to feel guilty because you’re working for world peace. For some people, that’s a very attractive mix. But Tamera hasn’t succeeded either.
I haven’t found out if the bushy-tailed cat eats vomit, though, as he hasn’t let me close enough to ask him, and I sense he is even more unlikely to since, in an uncharacteristic territorial gesture the other evening, The Bear frightened him off with one of his best ‘gargling with lighter fluid’ noises. What with the bushy-tailed cat’s mournful meowing and Ralph loudly talking about himself in the third person, the house remains a hive of cat activity around dawn. Gemma can sleep through this stuff, but I know from experience that it’s no use for me to try to. If I get back to the land of nod after Shipley has shouldered open the bedroom door and attacked me with a machine-gun fusillade of expletives at 4.30 a.m., I’ll only wake up again half an hour later, when Alan lands heavily on the conservatory roof. Last weekend, I told Deborah about Alan’s early-hours landings, and she seemed surprised. ‘But we keep Alan in every night. It couldn’t have been him.’ ‘But I saw him this morning.
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, capital controls, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, first-past-the-post, fixed income, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, mass immigration, means of production, neoliberal agenda, obamacare, Occupy movement, open borders, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, Winter of Discontent
His father was a Jewish émigré from Poland who sold paint and his mother the daughter of émigrés. He went to the same high school that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Chuck Schumer attended, and he spent a year at Brooklyn College before transferring to the University of Chicago, where he graduated in 1964. He lived on a Kibbutz in Israel for six months, returned to New York where he worked at odd jobs, and in 1968, he and his first wife moved to Vermont as part of the New Left’s back-to-the-land movement. The Brooklyn in which Sanders grew up was a hotbed of leftwing politics and culture, and Sanders, when he came to Chicago, joined the Young People’s Socialist League, the youth wing of Norman Thomas’s Socialist Party, and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which at the time was a militant civil rights group. He read Marx and the history of American socialism, and got arrested in civil rights protests, but he never took the turn toward sectarian violence the leaders of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) took in the late ’60s.
The Rich and the Rest of Us by Tavis Smiley
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Buckminster Fuller, Corrections Corporation of America, Credit Default Swap, death of newspapers, deindustrialization, ending welfare as we know it, F. W. de Klerk, fixed income, full employment, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, job automation, liberation theology, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, mega-rich, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, traffic fines, trickle-down economics, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor
It took the Great Recession to make poverty a real threat to the American psyche. When folk who didn’t fit the stereotype started losing their businesses, jobs, and homes, and had to rely on government handouts, they took notice. Our fear is that this recognition of poverty is temporary. Headlines trumpeting a boost in manufacturing and exports, or an uptick in the stock market, or lower jobless rates will lull many Americans back to the land of comfortable stereotyping and demonizing the poor. Superficial snapshot indicators merely postpone a confrontation with the inevitable. America is no longer the indisputable world leader in innovation, manufacturing, and production. Worse yet, premature post-recession celebrations mean that we’ve blown another opportunity to really grapple with and solve the over-arching problem of poverty.
The botany of desire: a plant's-eye view of the world by Michael Pollan
back-to-the-land, clean water, David Attenborough, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Francisco Pizarro, invention of agriculture, Joseph Schumpeter, mandatory minimum, Maui Hawaii, means of production, paper trading, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Steven Pinker
Deep down I suspect that many gardeners regard themselves as small-time alchemists, transforming the dross of compost (and water and sunlight) into substances of rare value and beauty and power. Maybe at some level we’re still in touch with the power of the old gardens. Also, one of the attractions of gardening is the independence it can confer—from the greengrocer, the florist, the pharmacist, and, for some, the drug dealer. One does not have to go all the way “back to the land” to experience the satisfaction of providing for yourself off the grid of the national economy. So, yes, I was curious to see if I could grow some “really amazing Maui” in my Connecticut garden. It seemed to me this would indeed represent a particularly impressive sort of alchemy. But as things turned out, my experiment in growing marijuana was of a piece with my experience smoking it, paranoid and stupid being the operative terms
Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines by Richard Heinberg, James Howard (frw) Kunstler
anti-communist, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demographic transition, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Fractional reserve banking, greed is good, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), land reform, means of production, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, urban planning
The wide-eyed, self-congratulatory idealism of the “kids” — who arrived by automobile to liberate themselves through amateur psychopharmacology and to worship at the altar of electric amplification — is simultaneously touching and unbearable. It was no wonder the revolution failed: without an understanding of the energetic basis of industrialism and therefore of the modern corporate state, their rebellion could never have been more than symbolic. Where the hippie aesthetic drew on deeper philosophical and political roots (such as the back-to-the-land philosophy of Scott and Helen Nearing), it persisted, as it still does to this day. Perhaps the most durable and intelligent product of the era was the design philosophy known as Permaculture, developed in Australia by ecologists Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. A practical — rather than an aesthetic — design system for producing food, energy, and shelter, Permaculture was conceived in prescient expectation of the looming era of limits, and it is endlessly adaptable to differing climates and cultures.
Stuffocation by James Wallman
3D printing, Airbnb, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Black Swan, BRICs, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collaborative consumption, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Fall of the Berlin Wall, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Hargreaves, Joseph Schumpeter, Kitchen Debate, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, McMansion, means of production, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, Paul Samuelson, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, spinning jenny, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, World Values Survey, Zipcar
“In the popular imagination there is a tendency to equate the simple life with Thoreau’s cabin in the woods by Walden Pond and to assume that people must live an isolated and rural existence,” Elgin wrote in Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life that Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich. The simple life is not like that, though, he explained. “While ecological living brings with it a reverence for nature, this does not require moving to rural setting. Instead of a ‘back to the land’ movement, it is more accurate to describe this as a ‘make the most of wherever you are’ movement.” In the book, Elgin was keen not only to explain what voluntary simplicity was, but also to show how popular it was becoming. Near the beginning of the 1993 reprint of his book, he demonstrated this with some compelling statistics from two magazines. In a cover feature called “The Simple Life”, Time had reported that 69% of Americans said they would like to “slow down and live a more relaxed life”, and only 7% of them thought it was “worth bothering to shop for status-symbol products”.
Attempting Normal by Marc Maron
It is cheap, probably bad for you, and effective. Then get out there, tiger. But it’s not all breeze-triggered hard-ons and monster orgasms. There’s a dark side to Viagra and it’s this: The drug makes your dick a liar. Taking it and not copping to it makes you a liar. So you are a lying dick with a lying dick and that has its consequences. The sex is Olympian, but fraudulent. Like porn. After a while, I had to wean myself back to the land of emotion. And that meant that I also had to reassess my relationship with porn. Porn is a drug, and like any other drug it can ruin your mind and life, especially if you don’t realize you’re addicted. Sexuality has been unleashed and demystified by things like pornography and Viagra, but I don’t think this was Wilhelm Reich’s vision of what would happen if repression were destroyed. Sexual freedom has not obliterated neurosis.
Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle by Dan Senor; Saul Singer
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Boycotts of Israel, call centre, Celtic Tiger, cleantech, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, friendly fire, immigration reform, labor-force participation, mass immigration, new economy, pez dispenser, post scarcity, profit motive, Silicon Valley, smart grid, social graph, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, web application, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War
You are doing something for humanity. You are inventing a new drug or a new chip. You feel like a falah [“farmer” in Arabic], a farmer of high tech. You dress down. You’re with your buddies from the army unit. You talk about a way of life—not necessarily about how much money you’re going to make, though it’s obviously also about that.” For Margalit, innovation and technology are the twenty-first-century version of going back to the land. “The new pioneering, Zionist narrative is about creating things,” he says. Indeed, what makes the current Israeli blend so powerful is that it is a mashup of the founders’ patriotism, drive, and constant consciousness of scarcity and adversity and the curiosity and restlessness that have deep roots in Israeli and Jewish history. “The greatest contribution of the Jewish people in history is dissatisfaction,” Peres explained.
How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance by Parag Khanna
Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, bank run, blood diamonds, Bob Geldof, borderless world, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, commoditize, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, don't be evil, double entry bookkeeping, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, global village, Google Earth, high net worth, index fund, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, Live Aid, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microcredit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, Parag Khanna, private military company, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, sustainable-tourism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, X Prize
By contrast, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) reaches three-quarters of the country’s population with its micro-finance and village school programs.2 Such groups reinforce good governance without being captured by corrupt governments. They emphasize common purpose over clientelism, society over bureaucracy, and tangible belonging over abstract citizenship. Around the world, the community is taking center stage in development and politics. Israelis have long practiced the art of kibbutz living, and today Chinese and Japanese people are moving back to the land in droves in search of stable and sustainable community living. The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India has its own community-level banks, health clinics, child-care programs, legal services (such as sexual harassment and workers’ compensation), and retirement accounts. SEWA doesn’t just champion women’s rights; it provides those rights through its own quasi-economic and political communities across India.
Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin
1960s counterculture, 3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, David Brooks, David Graeber, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of journalism, future of work, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Google bus, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, revision control, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator
In the end Stewart Brand abandoned his communard dreams for a new calling: corporate consultant. He had gotten a taste of the power of a social network at the WELL. If a company could sponsor an online community and if it could convince its customers that they were engaging in social rather than economic activity, then they could increase customer allegiance and their own profits. From this insight flowed the Global Business Network. Forget going back to the land—there was gold in preaching that Whole Earth message in the suites of the Fortune 500. The corporate conquest of the Web had started. CHAPTER FOUR The Libertarian Counterinsurgency We are in a deadly race between politics and technology. —Peter Thiel 1. George Gilder was down on his luck. Sweating like a pig in a humid office with a broken air conditioner, he was working in 1972 for Ben Toledano, a failed candidate for mayor of New Orleans who believed he could become Louisiana’s next senator.
Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology by James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel
back-to-the-land, Columbine, dark matter, Extropian, Firefox, gravity well, haute couture, Internet Archive, pattern recognition, phenotype, post-industrial society, price stability, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, technological singularity, telepresence, the scientific method, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Y2K, zero day
collapsed after sixteen months of existence, having burned through millions and millions of dollars of OPM, the Applebrooks had cause to rethink their lifestyle and goals. They moved from Seattle to the less pricey rural environs of Medford, Oregon, and purchased a small pear orchard with some leftover funds they had secretly squirreled away from the screamingly burned investors. They took a vow then and there to have nothing further to do with any hypothetical future digital Utopia, making a back-to-the-land commitment similar to that made by many burnt-out hippies a generation prior. Surely the repentant, simple-living Applebrooks never reckoned that their only child, young Basho, would grow up to revolutionize, unify and dominate the essential ways in which digital information was disseminated across all media. But from his earliest years Bash exhibited a fascination with computers and their contents.
The display company had even included scent with the holos. The fragrance of lilies followed Aman out onto the street. He took a pedal taxi home, grateful that for once, the small wiry woman on the seat wasn’t interested in conversation as she leaned on the handlebars and pumped them through the evening crush in the streets. He couldn’t get the suit out of his head tonight. Jimi was right. The Gaiists were harmless, back-to-the-land types. The feds wanted this kid for something other than his politics, although that might be the media reason. Absently, Aman watched the woman’s muscular back as she pumped them past street vendors hawking food, toys, and legal drugs, awash in a river of strolling, eating, buying people. He didn’t ask “why” much anymore. Sweat slicked the driver’s tawny skin like oil. Maybe it was because the Runner was the same age as Avi and a Gaiist as well.
The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality by Richard Heinberg
3D printing, agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Gini coefficient, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, liberal capitalism, mega-rich, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, naked short selling, Naomi Klein, Negawatt, new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, price stability, private military company, quantitative easing, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, short selling, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade liberalization, tulip mania, working poor, zero-sum game
In the United States, the term “degrowth” is seldom mentioned; however, over the past twenty years a similar trend in thinking has spurred the “voluntary simplicity” movement, which questions the environmental, psychological, and social costs of ever-growing consumption. The movement has roots in the ethical beliefs of religious groups like the Amish, but also in the writings of philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) and back-to-the-land pioneers Scott and Helen Nearing (1883–1983; 1904– 1995, authors of Living the Good Life).36 The books Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin (1981), and Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (1992), and the documentary film “Affluenza” (1997) helped define this movement, which now also features magazines and newsletters to assist in the formation of local simple living networks.37 Many simplicity advocates promote Buy Nothing Day, which falls on the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, as an antidote to pre-Christmas shopping frenzy.
1989 The Berlin Wall: My Part in Its Downfall by Peter Millar
anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, kremlinology, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sinatra Doctrine, urban sprawl, working-age population
If a West Berlin allotment-owner fancied spending Sunday afternoon doing a bit of weeding, he rang the bell and an East German soldier escorted him along a track lined with barbed wire fencing to another door in a concrete wall, behind which lay his vegetable plot. When he wanted to come back, he repeated the procedure. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised,’ the pilot said as we wheeled around and headed back towards sanity, ‘if every now and then they slip one of them a cabbage or two.’ As we headed back to the landing ground he showed me one more of the Berlin Wall’s anomalous ‘exclaves’, as bizarre as the isolated allotments: the hamlet of Steinstücken. By any sensible point of view Steinstücken was part of Babelsberg, a suburb of Potsdam, the old city of royal palaces south-west of West Berlin (and therefore in East Germany). But because for more than 200 years this particular little parcel of land had been owned by farmers from the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, it was legally part of that district, and therefore belonged to West Berlin.
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
"No pun intended. But you were almost unrecognizable, John. A mess of parts. Don't take this the wrong way, but I prayed you would die. I couldn't imagine they could piece you back together like this." "Glad to disappoint you," I said. "Glad to be disappointed," he said, and then someone else entered the room. "Jesse," I said. Jesse came around the bed and gave me a peck on the cheek. "Welcome back to the land of the living, John," she said, and then stepped back. "Look at us, together again. The three musketeers." "Two and a half musketeers, anyway," I said. "Don't be morbid," Jesse said. "Dr. Fiorina says you're going to make a full recovery. Your jaw should be completely grown by tomorrow, and the leg will be another couple days after that. You'll be skipping around in no time." I reached down and felt my right leg.
back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, centre right, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, McMansion, medical malpractice, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, new economy, oil shock, old-boy network, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, private military company, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, South China Sea, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working poor, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War
He forecasts that the prairie heartland will be repopulated as advanced telecommunications allow families to live and work where land is cheap. But all of this, he cautions, can happen only if bottom-up local markets are left to flourish free of the heavy hand of centralizing government. Globalization, Kotkin glibly asserts, is decentralizing. Kotkin’s localism is more mainstream Chamber of Commerce than it is radical Tea Party or back-to-the-land communitarian. But like the Tea Party elderly man who demanded that the government keep its hands off his Medicare, Kotkin shares the contempt for big government while happily enjoying its benefits. Thus, for example, he writes that the suburbs and the rural United States spontaneously generate their own economic growth, with little reference to the massive government subsidies that support them.
Machinery of Freedom: A Guide to Radical Capitalism by David Friedman
back-to-the-land, Fractional reserve banking, hiring and firing, jitney, laissez-faire capitalism, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, means of production, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Stewart Brand, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog
But that, as we have seen, cannot be allowed: voluntary poverty is just as mischievous socially as involuntary poverty: decent nations must insist on their citizens leading decent lives, doing their full share of the nation's work, and taking their full share of its income. . . . Poverty and social irresponsibility will be forbidden luxuries. Compulsory social service is so unanswerably right that the very first duty of a government is to see that everybody works enough to pay her way and leave something over for the profit of the country and the improvement of the world [from chapters 23 and 73]. Consider, as a more current example, the back to the land movement, as represented by The Mother Earth News. Ideologically, it is hostile to what it views as a wasteful, unnatural, mass consumption society. Yet the private property institutions of that society serve it just as they serve anyone else. The Mother Earth News and The Whole Earth Catalog are printed on paper bought on the private market and sold in private bookstores, alongside other books and magazines dedicated to teaching you how to make a million dollars in real estate or live the good life on a hundred thousand a year.
The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling
Apple II, back-to-the-land, game design, ghettoisation, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, pirate software, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Silicon Valley, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review
Point Foundation's cultural efforts, like those of their fellow Bay Area Californians the Grateful Dead, were multifaceted and multitudinous. Rigid ideological consistency had never been a strong suit of the Whole Earth Catalog. This Point publication had enjoyed a strong vogue during the late 60s and early 70s, when it offered hundreds of practical (and not so practical) tips on communitarian living, environmentalism, and getting back-to-the-land. The Whole Earth Catalog, and its sequels, sold two and half million copies and won a National Book Award. With the slow collapse of American radical dissent, the Whole Earth Catalog had slipped to a more modest corner of the cultural radar; but in its magazine incarnation, CoEvolution Quarterly, the Point Foundation continued to offer a magpie potpourri of "access to tools and ideas." CoEvolution Quarterly, which started in 1974, was never a widely popular magazine.
The Weather of the Future by Heidi Cullen
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, air freight, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, availability heuristic, back-to-the-land, bank run, California gold rush, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, energy security, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, mass immigration, megacity, millennium bug, out of africa, Silicon Valley, smart cities, trade route, urban planning, Y2K
Some of the gases in the atmosphere—oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen—were essentially transparent to both sunlight and IR, but other gases were in fact opaque: they actually absorbed the IR, as if they were bricks in an oven. Those gases include carbon dioxide (CO2) and also methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor. These greenhouse gases are very good at absorbing infrared light. They spread heat back to the land and the oceans. They let sunlight through on its way in from space, but intercept IR on its way back out. Tyndall knew he was on to something. The fact that certain gases in the atmosphere could absorb IR implied a very clever natural thermostat, just as he had suspected. His top four candidates for a thermostat were water vapor, without which he said the Earth’s surface would be “held fast in the iron grip of frost”; methane; ozone; and, of course, carbon dioxide.5 Tyndall’s experiments proved that Fourier’s greenhouse effect was real.
Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams
3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, basic income, battle of ideas, blockchain, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, late capitalism, liberation theology, Live Aid, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, post scarcity, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, surplus humans, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population
Weeden, ‘Overwork and the Slow Convergence in the Gender Gap in Wages’, American Sociological Review 79: 3 (2014). 132.Keir Milburn, ‘On Social Strikes and Directional Demands’, Plan C, 7 May 2015, at weareplanc.org. 133.State of the Global Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for Business Leaders Worldwide, Gallup, 2013, pdf available at ihrim.org, p. 12. 134.As usual, the satirical newspaper The Onion is ahead of the curve, with a recent headline declaring: ‘Chinese Factory Workers Fear They May Never Be Replaced with Machines’. 135.Gáspár Miklós Tamás, ‘Telling the Truth About Class’, Grundrisse 22 (2007), at grundrisse.net. 136.While it adhered to unscalable folk-political practices, the ‘back to the land’ movement of the 1970s was in many ways an expression of the desire to escape the dominant work ethic. Bernard Marszalek, ‘Lafargue for Today’, in The Right to Be Lazy, p. 13. 137.Gorz, Paths to Paradise, p. 10. 138.Steensland, Failed Welfare Revolution p. 220. 7. A NEW COMMON SENSE 1.Lesley Wood, Crisis and Control: The Militarization of Protest Policing (London: Pluto, 2014). 2.For an overview of some of the debates around capitalism’s origins, see Ellen Meiksins Wood, The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View (London: Verso, 2002), Chapters 1–3. 3.For a foundational step towards understanding the conditions of postcolonial capitalism and the hegemony of ‘development’, see Kalyan Sanyal, Rethinking Capitalist Development: Primitive Accumulation, Governmentality and Post-Colonial Capitalism (New Delhi: Routledge India, 2013). 4.The unique conditions of Venezuela appear to have produced the only space in which this strategy is being meaningfully adopted, albeit in an intriguingly modified form.
The New Economics: A Bigger Picture by David Boyle, Andrew Simms
Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial exclusion, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, land reform, light touch regulation, loss aversion, mega-rich, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working-age population
WHY HAS LONDON TRAFFIC ALWAYS TRAVELLED AT 12MPH? 69 When Tom and Barbara Good, the popular characters in the BBC sitcom The Good Life, first emerged on British TV screens in the 1970s, the word ‘downshifting’ wasn’t in common use. It was actually coined in 1994 by Gerald Celente, the director of the Trends Research Institute in Rheinbeck, New York.6 But the idea of living a bit more simply, or going back to the land – as people put it then – was very much in people’s minds. By the 1990s, downshifting had emerged as an option for being less busy, taking more time, and trying to get off the treadmill to live a bit more authentically – which by then often meant making relationships more central in our lives. The simplest definition of downshifting – deliberately earning a bit less – would mean that anything between a quarter and half of the British and American population are downshifters in one sense or another, because they have taken the decision to earn less in order to live better.
Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, cognitive dissonance, Dava Sobel, Defenestration of Prague, Edmond Halley, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Murano, Venice glass, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Peace of Westphalia, retrograde motion
This was the renowned doctor Galileo Buonaiuti, who taught and practiced medicine during the early 1400s in Florence, where he also served the government loyally. His descendants redubbed themselves the Galilei family in his honor and wrote “Galileo Galilei” on his tombstone, but retained the coat of arms that had belonged to the ancestral Buonaiutis since the thirteenth century—a red stepladder on a gold shield, forming a pictograph of the word buonaiuti, which literally means “good help.” The meaning of the name Galileo, or Galilei, harks back to the land of Galilee, although, as Galileo explained on this score, he was not at all a Jew. GALILEI GENEALOGY GALILEI FAMILY COAT OF ARMS Galileo Galilei took a few tentative steps along his famous forebear’s path, studying medicine for two years at the University of Pisa, before he gave himself over to the pursuit of mathematics and physics, his true passion. “Philosophy is written in this grand book the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze,” Galileo believed.
Against Everything: Essays by Mark Greif
1960s counterculture, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, crack epidemic, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, income inequality, informal economy, Norman Mailer, Ponzi scheme, postindustrial economy, Ronald Reagan, technoutopianism, telemarketer, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, white flight
We witnessed, after the triumph of a previously unquestioned project, a characteristic latecoming struggle around the nature and direction of progress. First, in the late 1960s, came reactions against the inhuman technical character of food science and “agribusiness.” Critics in this phase pitted themselves against consumer capitalism. This initial reaction was romantic and primitivist, associated with the late-1960s counterculture and the movement “back to the land,” just a few decades after productivity gains had led an agrarian population to leave it. It brought a call to the East for mystic authenticity in the culture of “health foods”—tofu, brown rice, yogurt, seaweed, wheat germ, made from the live spirits and microbes excluded in industrial processing. (These were the parts that were said to live and germinate, against an antiseptic modernist technics of death: the Bomb and pasteurization were made by the same culture.
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mandatory minimum, mass incarceration, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, occupational segregation, Occupy movement, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wage slave, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration
Although in 1935 the Supreme Court declared NIRA unconstitutional, further legislation was passed to explicitly recognize the union right of collective bargaining.21 Under Roosevelt, the government took a more innovative approach to relief of the unemployed than Hoover had been willing to attempt. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) gave block grants directly to states to distribute for relief. FERA also established cooperative farms and rural industries for relief recipients—mostly young families—who wanted to stay in rural areas. The National Industrial Recovery Act also dealt with unemployment by moving some of the urban population back to the land, just as the National Reformers had recommended in the 1840s. Ultimately, these programs were merged into the Resettlement Administration and then the Farm Security Administration, and included not only cooperative communities but also planned suburban settlements.22 Relief also meant having the government directly employ millions of people, setting an example for future administrations that government-sponsored public service was possible and beneficial.23 The Public Works Administration (PWA), later renamed the Works Progress Administration (WPA), employed 8 million people and spent over $10 billion on roads, bridges, post offices, stadiums, and airports.24 It employed writers, artists, actors, musicians, and historians in the largest government-funded cultural project in the history of the United States.
The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China by David Eimer
back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, car-free, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, illegal immigration, mass immigration, megacity, offshore financial centre, open borders, South China Sea
So it’s mostly the Chinese who run companies, hotels, restaurants. They’ve taken over nearly all the tourist trade and almost all the money from tourism goes to the Chinese.’ But as Shigatse’s history indicated, the Tibetans in this part of U-Tsang were once traders. By closing the border with India, the CCP hasn’t just sealed off Tibet from foreign influence, it has driven the Tibetans here back to the land. Shigatse’s fifteenth-century dzong, supposedly the model for the Potala Palace, was completely destroyed in the Cultural Revolution and has since been rebuilt, using cement rather than Tibetan stone. The Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse’s other landmark, is rather more authentic. Like Sera, it is the size of a village and as much a university as a monastery. As the traditional seat of the Panchen Lamas, it is the only place in Tibet and the borderlands where I saw the young, bespectacled face of the present, disputed Panchen Lama on display.
The Last Best Cure: My Quest to Awaken the Healing Parts of My Brain and Get Back My Body, My Joy, a Nd My Life by Donna Jackson Nakazawa
Day by day, a small layer of low-grade pain that I’ve learned to live with for years in my back, my pelvis, my sacrum, even my legs, begins to lessen. Its disappearance shocks me one morning when I get out of bed. I am used to waiting during the first ten or fifteen minutes of the day, as I go through my morning routine, for the cranky, creaky pain to subside in my left back and hip. Like the Tin Man in want of an oil can. I have learned to wait, too, for any numb body parts—an arm I slept on, a foot that’s still dead—to come fully back to the land of the living. Yet as I groggily head downstairs to make my first cup of green tea, it dawns on me that I’m not wincing over my back or my left hip. Numbness—well, that’s a perennial. But the back and hip pain are . . . not there. Noticing this one change makes me think: I also haven’t been wincing when I get up from the couch or out of the car. I realize, as I kick off my slippers and stand in tadasana, watching the hot water course over my tea leaves, that I hadn’t realized how much those small aches were adding to my Pain Channel static until I see what I’m like when just this one small symptom fades into the background.
Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization by Stephen Cave
Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, back-to-the-land, clean water, double helix, George Santayana, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, life extension, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, stem cell, technoutopianism, the scientific method
Sentaro could not begin to understand these people’s unhappiness. He started a little business and settled down to live forever on this magical island. But after three hundred years, he too was growing weary of life’s monotonies—the frustrations of work, the arguments with the neighbors. It all seemed dull and pointless. Finally, having once prayed to Xu Fu to make him immortal, he prayed to him once again to bring him back to the land of mortality. Instantly the paper crane flew out of his pocket and unfolded to its giant size. Sentaro climbed onto its back, and they took off. But on the way a terrible storm struck: the paper crane crumpled and fell into the sea. As Sentaro struggled to stay afloat, he saw a great shark coming toward him, its terrible jaws open—he screamed for Xu Fu to return and rescue him. And then he woke up—in the little shrine where Xu Fu had first appeared to him.
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley
23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game
Trade with Egypt and India largely dried up, especially once the Arabs took control of Alexandria, so that not only did oriental imports such as papyrus, spices and silk cease to appear, but those export-oriented plantations in Campania became the plots of subsistence farmers instead. In that sense, the decline of the Roman empire turned consumer traders back into subsistence peasants. The Dark Ages were a massive experiment in the back-to-the-land hippy lifestyle (without the trust fund): you ground your own corn, sheared your own sheep, cured your own leather and cut your own wood. Any pathetic surplus you generated was confiscated to support a monk, or maybe you could occasionally sell something to buy a metal tool off a part-time blacksmith. Otherwise, subsistence replaced specialisation. This was never, of course, absolutely true.
Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds
Iverson lifted a hand from beneath the bedsheets, examining his palm and the pattern of veins and tendons on the rear. “This is the same body I went under with? You haven't stuck me in a robot or cloned me or hooked up my disembodied brain to a virtual-reality generator?” “None of those things, no. Just mopped up some cell damage, fixed a few things here and there and -- um -- kick-started you back to the land of the living.” Iverson nodded, but Clavain could tell he was far from convinced. Which was unsurprising: Clavain, after all, had already told a small lie. “So how long was I under?” “About a century, Andrew. We're an expedition from back home. We came by starship.” Iverson nodded again, as if this were mere, incidental detail. “We're aboard it now, right?” “No... no. We're still on the planet.
Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, business climate, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, Edward Thorp, horn antenna, Hush-A-Phone, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Karl Jansky, knowledge economy, Leonard Kleinrock, Metcalfe’s law, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Picturephone, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, William Shockley: the traitorous eight
And there are other people who just build a mystique and give the impression of a mystique around them. And Bill had that, too.” His mystique, perhaps even more than his intelligence, separated Baker from his colleagues. “Nobody knows what I do,” he would sometimes say to his son. This was correct. And nobody really knew who he was. “IN THE SPRING OF 1913,” Bill Baker’s mother, Helen, wrote about her family, “my husband and I yielded to that mysterious back-to-the-land urge and bought a farm.” In fact they had left New York City and bought four hundred acres, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland on the Chester River where it empties into the Chesapeake. The area, known as Quaker Neck, was located just south of the small town of Chestertown; it was so rural and remote that it was hard to find on road maps. The Baker house was an old brick colonial, built in 1768 by a Dutch immigrant named Edward Cornelius Comegys.
Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet by Jeffrey Sachs
agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, British Empire, business process, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, demographic transition, Diane Coyle, Edward Glaeser, energy security, failed state, Gini coefficient, Haber-Bosch Process, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, low skilled workers, mass immigration, microcredit, oil shale / tar sands, old age dependency ratio, peak oil, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, Skype, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population
Of the 2.75 percent that is freshwater, roughly three quarters is locked in glaciers, sea ice, and the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. Most of the rest is in freshwater lakes, with a much smaller amount of freshwater in rivers, wetlands, and the atmosphere. A full breakdown is in Table 5.1. Human life, and ecosystems generally, depend vitally on freshwater, and especially on the flows of freshwater from the land and sea to the atmosphere into precipitation (rainfall) and back to the land and sea in the hydrological cycle. From ancient times, human societies have grown up along rivers and other locations from which they could tap into freshwater supplies for food production and other uses. In recent decades, with the advent of diesel and electrical power for pumping, there has been considerable tapping of groundwater as well, most remarkably, and alas, unsustainably, in Asia.
Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedman
affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, bank run, banking crisis, Corn Laws, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, German hyperinflation, invisible hand, labour mobility, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, price stability, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, road to serfdom, school vouchers, Simon Kuznets, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration
From 1949 to 1969, output per man-hour of all persons employed in private business—a simple and comprehensive measure of productivity—rose more than 3 percent a year; in the next decade, less than half as fast; and by the end of the decade productivity was actually declining. Why link these two developments? One has to do with assuring our safety, protecting our health, preserving clean air and water; the other, with how effectively we organize our economy. Why should these two good things conflict? The answer is that whatever the announced objectives, all of the movements in the past two decades—the consumer movement, the ecology movement, the back-to-the-land movement, the hippie movement, the organic-food movement, the protect-the-wilderness movement, the zero-population-growth movement, the "small is beautiful" movement, the antinuclear movement—have had one thing in common. All have been antigrowth. They have been opposed to new developments, to industrial innovation, to the increased use of natural resources. Agencies established in response to these movements have imposed heavy costs on industry after industry to meet increasingly detailed and extensive government requirements.
One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution by Nancy Stout
She wanted a place of her own and moved into the Calle Once apartment in the first days of February. Not missing a beat, or unable to function without her, depending on how you want to look at it, Fidel started showing up there, daily. RIGHT AWAY, WITH A PLACE to spread things out, Celia hauled out her collection of documents collected in the Sierra. There were battle plans, pieces of correspondence, tapes from her adding machine, notations for her expenses dating back to the landing of the Granma, messages from her Manzanillo helper Elsa Castro, Fidel’s and Frank’s letters. She’d kept this collection close at hand for such a long time. It is a collection of materials that Pedro Álvarez Tabío describes as “born in Celia’s knapsack and the most precious treasure of the Revolution.” This collection, from its inception, is something she had gone about making with the steadfastness of a woman on a personal mission.
3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game, Zipcar
The movement began in the 1970s and was inspired by the writing of Mahatma Gandhi, and later E. F. Schumacher, Ivan Illich, and—if it’s not too presumptuous—a book I authored called Entropy: A New World View. A new generation of DIY hobbyists, most of whom were veterans of the peace and civil rights movements, loosely affiliated themselves under the appropriate technology banner. Some preached a “back to the land” ethos and migrated to rural areas. Others remained in the poor, urban neighborhoods of major cities, often squatting and occupying abandoned neighborhood buildings. Their self-proclaimed mission was to create “appropriate technologies,” meaning tools and machines that could be made from locally available resources, that were scaled to steward rather than exploit their ecological surroundings, and that could be shared in a collaborative culture.
Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein
Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Bretton Woods, capital controls, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate raider, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial independence, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global supply chain, God and Mammon, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, land value tax, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, lump of labour, McMansion, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, special drawing rights, spinning jenny, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail
Right-wing criticisms of pro-environment, pro-labor, antiwar policies are correct—they do hurt economic growth. If I go to an indigenous culture, convince its people that subsistence farming is degrading and primitive, and induce them instead to work in a factory and join the market economy, then GDP rises (and I’ve created an “investment opportunity”). If, on the other hand, I inspire people to abandon their high-paying jobs and “go back to the land,” then GDP falls. If I create a community where we no longer pay for child care but instead care for each others’ children cooperatively, then GDP falls. And if we succeed in protecting the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling, that’s tens of billions of dollars that will never materialize. That is why I say we are using money to destroy money. Sometimes, the master’s tools can dismantle the master’s house.
In the Company of Heroes by Michael J. Durant, Steven Hartov
This was the thieves’ backyard, and they could probably hide out in these wilds for days. In the meantime, Gerry’s bird had been repaired and was en route back to our landing zone. Ray called on the radio to inform the ops center of our situation, and Gerry heard the call and flew out over the dunes to try to help me. But by now it was completely dark, I had no radio, and I was so pissed off I didn’t even try to signal them as they flew by. I walked back to the landing zone, trying to calm myself down. Back at our bird, I was so red-faced and furious that Ray just watched me like a kid whose alcoholic father is on a binge. I got on the radio and explained to the commander at the ops center what had happened. I acknowledged it was all my fault. He agreed. I felt like an ass. While the Rangers humped the half-mile back to the helos, a negotiator and a translator drove out to our location.
Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
Possibly this formulation itself is the deep diagnostic of all human cognition—the tell, as they say, meaning the thing that tells, the giveaway. In the infinite black space of ignorance, it is as if stands as the basic operation of cognition, the mark perhaps of consciousness itself. Human language: it is as if it made sense. Existence without Devi: it is as if one’s teacher were forever gone. People came from all over the ship for the memorial. Devi’s body, disassembled to its constituent molecules, was given back to the land of Nova Scotia, with pinches given out also to all the rest of the biomes, and a larger pinch saved for transport down to Aurora. Those molecules would become part of the soil and the crops, then of the animals and people, on the ship and also on Aurora. Devi’s material being would thus become part of all of them. This was the import of the memorial ceremony, and was the same for all of them on their deaths.
airport security, Atahualpa, back-to-the-land, Bartolomé de las Casas, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, dematerialisation, diversified portfolio, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, joint-stock company, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, trade route, urban renewal
“Without waiting for further talk, or counter-arguments,” a soldier “put a cord around the Indian’s neck from behind and tightened it with a stick. That strangled him, and then they buried him next to the tent.” Coronado raised a cross to mark the farthest spot that his expedition had reached in Tierra Nueva. Then, provisioned with dried corn, and led by fresh Indian guides, the conquistador and his thirty horsemen turned and rode west along buffalo paths, back to the land of the “flat-roofed houses.” BLOATED WITH BUFFALO meat, and bleary from too much driving, I barely registered the scenery as I drove east from Elkhart, piloting from silo to silo, the great pueblos of grain marking every town. The farther I went into Kansas, the more incredible it seemed that Coronado had kept going—seventy-seven days on the Plains!—through a landscape that offered so little relief, not only to Spanish stomachs but also to their spirits.
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr
Worrying he got everything wrong. The weight in his gut swings pendulously. Here’s a large ornate room crammed with trinkets and crates and books and mechanical parts. A desk, a bed, a divan, three windows on each side. No model. To the sixth floor. On the left, a tidy bedroom with a single window and long curtains. A boy’s cap hangs on the wall; at the back looms a massive wardrobe, mothballed shirts hung inside. Back to the landing. Here’s a little water closet, the toilet full of urine. Beyond it, a final bedroom. Seashells are lined along every available surface, shells on the sills and on the dresser and jars full of pebbles lined up on the floor, all arranged by some indiscernible system, and here, here! Here on the floor at the foot of the bed sits what he has been searching for, a wooden model of the city, nestled like a gift.
The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry by Gary Greenberg
Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, back-to-the-land, David Brooks, impulse control, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, late capitalism, Louis Pasteur, McMansion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, selection bias, statistical model, theory of mind, Winter of Discontent
I got it sometime in the early 1980s, when I was in my early twenties and the DSM was in its third edition. I don’t remember why I wanted to be in therapy or very much of what I talked about with my therapist. I do remember that my father was paying for it. He was probably hoping I would discover that my self-chosen circumstances—living alone in a cabin in the woods without the modern conveniences—were a symptom of something that could be cured. What I was being treated for, however, was not “Back to the Land Disorder” or “Why Don’t You Grow Up Already Disorder,” but rather, as I discovered one day when I glanced down at my statement on the receptionist’s desk, Adjustment Disorder. I guess the tag seemed about right. I definitely wasn’t adjusting; and if it occurred to me that by calling my lifestyle an illness (if indeed that’s what he meant to do, as opposed to just rendering the most innocuous-sounding diagnosis possible), my therapist had passed judgment on exactly where the problem resided, I didn’t think much of it at the time.
anti-communist, back-to-the-land, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, centre right, Chelsea Manning, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, energy security, Exxon Valdez, invisible hand, means of production, Myron Scholes, offshore financial centre, random walk, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, transfer pricing, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, Yogi Berra
Etok himself had flown down to Seattle, where he retained his two Jews: first, former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg (my second cousin, really), and later, Goldberg’s would-be replacement on the Court, Abe Fortis, personal counsel to the President of the United States. Etok had zero sympathy for Father Nicholas and the One-Dollar Warriors. What could I have said to Etok to change his opinion? Maybe this: No Chugach had come back to the land of ice because they’d grown tired of San Francisco and university life. The Chenega refugees and the other Chugach did not have a pot to piss in. When “Humble” Oil showed up, their Native Association had exactly $129 in the bank. I saw the old records. So, how were these Natives who spoke Aluutiq better than they spoke English supposed to get to Seattle? By kayak? They couldn’t afford a used chicken sandwich, let alone airfare.
The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, demand response, dematerialisation, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, full employment, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Internet of things, laissez-faire capitalism, Menlo Park, Negawatt, new economy, off grid, post-oil, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, the built environment, too big to fail, washing machines reduced drudgery, Whole Earth Catalog
“The ones in America were built by hippies who actually had masters degrees, bachelors and masters degrees in aeronautical engineering. It was the middle of the Vietnam War and it became clear to them that the only jobs they could get was with Sikorski Helicopter or some other defense thing which was going to build stuff for Vietnam and they didn’t want to do that.” “So they were stuck with an expertise and many of them went just back to the land and then they sat there and watched the wind go by and said: ‘I know enough about air: I could build a little thing.’ And they began building these little wind turbines in different places in the country. And then they thought: ‘Well, maybe I should build some for my friends and we should make a little company.’ And so they did that.” Interview with Tyrone Cashman, March 2011. 10 percent of its in-state generation: These numbers come from “U.S.
Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger
Bin Kabina smiled and answered, ‘We shall, it is true, be more comfortable and able to eat more if we feed as we are accustomed, but, Umbarak, do not mention this if it would cause embarrassment. We don’t know your customs, and you must help us now as we helped you in the desert.’ We dined that night with the Sheikh of Dibai on the far side of the creek. The lad I hired to row us over asked if he should wait to bring us back and I told him to return at ten o’clock. As we were coming back to the landing-stage bin Ghabaisha suddenly said, ‘Umbarak, we have done an awful thing,’ and when I asked what was wrong he answered, ‘We have forgotten to bring back any food for our travelling companion.’ Puzzled, I asked whom he meant, and he said, ‘The boy who brought us over.’ I assured him that the boy would not expect it, as the customs of the town were different from the customs of the desert, but bin Ghabaisha shook his head and said, ‘We are Bedu.
The Way of the Gun: A Bloody Journey Into the World of Firearms by Iain Overton
air freight, airport security, back-to-the-land, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, clean water, Columbine, David Attenborough, Etonian, Ferguson, Missouri, gender pay gap, gun show loophole, illegal immigration, interchangeable parts, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, More Guns, Less Crime, offshore financial centre, Ronald Reagan, Y2K, Yom Kippur War
The bags were then sent elsewhere to be burned, and they packed your body with ‘pulverised hardening compound’ instead. After a while I shook their hands, and they told me to stay, to come back soon, but I wanted to leave. I did not want to know more about plastic bags filled with intestines or skulls filled with balloons. And the smell had long ago seeped into my clothes. I had seen enough of death’s ugly business – I knew all too well what the gun could do. I just wanted to head back to the land of the living. Or, at the least I wanted to see a glimmer of hope in all of this sunless despair; so I left and sought instead to meet those who had managed to survive the gun’s barbed impact. 3. THE WOUNDED South Africa – a bedside visit – the gun’s hidden impact revealed – a chat with a trauma surgeon – a blood-tinged night in a Johannesburg emergency ward – understanding how science feeds off the gun’s misery – a trip to the BBC to meet a paralysed correspondent The boy – for he was hardly a man – lay there and watched me.
The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth's Past) by Cixin Liu
back-to-the-land, cosmic microwave background, Deng Xiaoping, game design, Henri Poincaré, horn antenna, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Norbert Wiener, Panamax, RAND corporation, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Von Neumann architecture
The two worlds were like the source and mouth of a river that crossed space. Any connections between them would be extremely attenuated. One winter, Ye received an invitation from a not-very-prominent university in Western Europe to be a visiting scholar for half a year. After she landed at Heathrow for her interview, a young man came to meet her. They didn’t leave the airport, but instead turned back to the landing strip. There, he escorted her onto a helicopter. As the helicopter roared into the foggy air over England, time seemed to rewind and Ye experienced déjà vu. Many years ago, when she first rode in a helicopter, her life was transformed. Where would fate bring her now? “We’re going to the Second Red Coast Base.” The helicopter passed the coastline and continued toward the heart of the Atlantic.
Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling
Ammonia. Her eyes watered. “Lights …” she croaked. The overheads dimmed to murky amber. She felt old, sick, like hours had marched through her on hangover feet. She was half-buried in something—she struggled, sudden claustrophobic rush … She was lying in a beanbag chair. Like something her grandmother might have owned. The room around her was bluish with the grainy light of televisions. “You back to the land of the living, Blondie.” Laura shook her head hard. Her nose and throat felt scorched. “I’m …” She sneezed, painfully. “Goddamn it!” She got her elbows into the shifting pellets of the beanbag and levered herself up. The Tamil was sitting in a chair of plastic and tubing, eating Chinese takeout food off a formica table. The smell of it, ginger and prawns, made her stomach tighten painfully.
Inversions by Iain M Banks - Culture 06
Even with the help of the two guards — and it was a refreshing experience to be able to do the ordering around, rather than to be subject to it myself — it would be a close-run thing to produce a small amount of the substance in less than two bells. At least it would give me something to do. I only heard later and at second hand about the outburst of Duke Quettil, in the King's chamber. The sergeant of the guards who had released us from the cell in the torture chamber spoke quietly with you, master, shortly after the King was brought back to the land of the living. I am told you looked a little shaken for a moment, but then went, grim-faced, to inform Duke Quettil of the fate of his chief questioner and his two assistants. 'Dead!Dead? By fuck, Adlain, can you arrange nothing right!' were the Duke's precise words, by all accounts. The King glared. The Doctor looked unperturbed. Everybody else stared. The Duke attempted to strike you, and had to be restrained by two of your men, who acted, perhaps, before they thought.
Wireless by Stross, Charles
anthropic principle, back-to-the-land, Benoit Mandelbrot, Buckminster Fuller, Cepheid variable, cognitive dissonance, colonial exploitation, cosmic microwave background, epigenetics, finite state, Georg Cantor, gravity well, hive mind, jitney, Khyber Pass, lifelogging, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, peak oil, phenotype, Pluto: dwarf planet, security theater, sensible shoes, Turing machine
She splashes the best part of a gallon of fuel over the heap, coughing with the stink: she caps the jerry can, drags it away from the mound, then strikes a match and throws it flickering at the disordered insect kingdom. There’s a soft whump as the igniting gas sets the mound aflame: small shapes writhe and crisp beneath an empty blue sky pierced by the glaring pinprick of S Doradus. Maddy doesn’t stay to watch. She hauls the heavy sample case back to the Land Rover, loads it into the trunk alongside John, and scurries back toward town as fast as she can. She’s almost ten miles away before she remembers the camera, left staring in cyclopean isolation at the scorched remains of the dead colony. HOMEWARD-BOUND The big ground-effect ship rumbles softly as it cruises across the endless expanse of the Dzerzhinsky Ocean at nearly three hundred knots, homeward-bound at last.
The omnivore's dilemma: a natural history of four meals by Michael Pollan
additive manufacturing, back-to-the-land, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Community Supported Agriculture, double entry bookkeeping, Gary Taubes, Haber-Bosch Process, index card, informal economy, invention of agriculture, means of production, new economy, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, Whole Earth Catalog
Originally called the New Cascadian Survival and Reclamation Project, the farm was started in 1971 by Gene Kahn with the idea of growing food for the collective of environmentally minded hippies he had hooked up with in nearby Bellingham. At the time Kahn was a twenty-four-yearold grad school dropout from the South Side of Chicago, who had been inspired by Silent Spring and Diet for a Small Planet to go back to the land— and from there to change the American food system. This particular dream was not so outrageous in 1971, but Kahn's success in actually realizing it surely is: He went on to become a pioneer of the organic movement and probably has done as much as anyone to move organic food into the mainstream, getting it out of the food co-op and into the BIG O R G A N I C * 1 4 5 supermarket. Today, the eponymous Cascadian Farm is a General Mills showcase—"a PR farm," as its founder freely acknowledges—and Kahn, erstwhile hippie farmer, is a General Mills vice president.
In the past, home mills have been known for being heavy, rustic, and tremendously laborious hand-cranked jobs, most certainly a link to the past. I had an incredibly heavy but fascinating hand stone mill I was given by a friend. It was a modern quern; a descendant of an ancient hand milling tool. I found out that it was a Samap from France. It made flour, as well as cracked grains, but I spent lots of time grinding. The counter-clamped steel Corona hand mill, which caused a sensation in the 1960s during the back-to the-land movement, is still a good method for grinding wet hominy for masa, soaked soybeans for tofu, and a variety of cracked breakfast grains. It is usually the first mill in a home grinder’s life. My friends Ralph and Toni Korgold have been using theirs for decades, mixing and grinding the grains for their cooked breakfast cereal blend of the month. The next step, the modern, lightweight plastic-bodied electric mills are incredibly efficient, living up to names like Magic Mill or Whisper Mill.
Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, colonial rule, commoditize, corporate governance, David Graeber, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, double entry bookkeeping, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, informal economy, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit motive, reserve currency, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, sexual politics, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, urban decay, working poor, zero-sum game
At the same time, from the perspective of many ordinary farmers and urban laborers, times couldn’t have been much better. One of the perverse effects of the bubonic plague, which killed off about one-third of the European workforce, was that wages increased dramatically. It didn’t happen immediately, but this was largely because the first reaction of the authorities was to enact legislation freezing wages, or even attempting to tie free peasants back to the land again. Such efforts were met with powerful resistance, culminating in a series of popular uprisings across Europe. These were squelched, but the authorities were also forced to compromise. Before long, so much wealth was flowing into the hands of ordinary people that governments had to start introducing new laws forbidding the lowborn to wear silks and ermine, and to limit the number of feast days, which, in many towns and parishes, began eating up one-third or even half of the year.
Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay
3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kangaroo Route, knowledge worker, kremlinology, labour mobility, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game
His unrepentant drawl and modest pompadour mark him as a native who grew up in the Age of Elvis. He is a third-generation Memphian; his grandfather was a cotton trader, and mother a local belle, while his father moved here from New York in 1937 to build a paper plant for Kimberly-Clark, only to see it promptly swept away in a flood. Dexter has been on the economic development beat for more than thirty years, so he remembers the day in 1979 when the city essentially decided to go back to the land. Not all the way back to cotton or timber (another discarded mainstay) but to the river and the railroads that had sprung up to support them, to the trucking lines that called the tangle of interstates around Memphis home, and suddenly to the airport, where FedEx was finally beginning to gain some altitude. “There was a huge swing back to the city’s roots, which were geography and logistics,” he said.
So unless you’re gonna run the whole, unedited transcript of me talking about how amazing it was for Mewes to get clean (a fifteen minute oral story), I’d rather you not include just that bathroom sex snippet, which makes it all seem like unsavory locker-room chit-chat.” Naturally, I’m not expecting they’ll keep the context. Sadly, it’s not news that Jay — with nearly both feet in the grave at the lowest point in his life — was able to single-handedly pull himself out of the self-made hell of drug addiction and work his way back to the land of the living, clean and sober; what’s news is that he had sex in a bathroom stall with a dork from a reality show. *sigh* Slow News Day Monday 27 March 2006 @ 3:31 p.m. Much ado about nothing, over some shit I said in the UPenn Q&A... All stemming from the same poorly-worded story. All insisting I’m still harping on Reese when it was in response to a question. All treating it like it’s new info, when the Reese story alone’s been around for five years, online, and in print...
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, British Empire, carbon footprint, collaborative economy, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, feminist movement, global village, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, off grid, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, supply-chain management, surplus humans, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, working poor, World Values Survey
If there is a silver lining in this undifferentiated “misty” existence, it is that archaic people do not have an existential sense of their own personal death because they do not conceive of themselves as finite, mortal beings. As previously mentioned, all primitive societies share the universal belief that people don’t die but simply go to sleep and enter a netherworld—a parallel existence—which they inhabit, with occasional forays back to the land of the “living” as spirits. Nor do primitive people have an understanding of birth. Rather, birth is considered a matter of immaculate conception. A spirit enters a girl’s body and is then brought forth. Babies are not considered human beings as we know the term but, rather, hybrid beings, half spirits, half humans, who remain in contact with the world from which they came. The hybrid being becomes increasingly part of the community over a period of years by passing through various rites of passage.
Against All Enemies by Tom Clancy, Peter Telep
Ozzy was referring to the AH-64D Apache Longbow, the Army’s premier attack helicopter armed with an M230 chain gun, Hydra 70 air-to-ground rockets, and AGM-114 Hellfire or FIM-92 Stinger missiles. The mere silhouette of that helicopter summoned up horrific death in the imaginations of the Taliban who’d seen their fellow warriors shredded under its unceasing fire. Ozzy got back on his radio and talked to the chopper pilot, requesting that he come to the village immediately and put his chain gun to work on the insurgents. “We’ll get you back to the landing zone right now,” said Ozzy. “You hear that?” Moore asked Rana. “We’re heading back. We’ll be okay.” Rana clutched his Makarov to his chest. “I don’t like this.” “I’m with you, Rana,” Moore said. “You’ll be fine.” As the words left Moore’s lips, he flicked his gaze up toward the opposite end of the house, where a figure had just rounded the corner, and the figure’s rifle appeared in the moonlight.
The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge by Vernor Vinge
anthropic principle, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, dematerialisation, gravity well, invisible hand, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, source of truth, spice trade, technological singularity, unbiased observer, Vernor Vinge
It couldn’t cut butter, and it would shatter at the first blow. The girl gestured imperiously at the chief Sib, the one who must be Coronadas Ascuasenya. The Sib slid forward, and spoke hissingly into Hrala’s ear. The rescue party was about out of options. No doubt they were heavily armed. If they acted quickly, while the tattered bluff had some credibility, they could probably fight their way back to the landing boat—and at least save themselves. Hrala listened to the Sib for a moment, then interrupted. The two were arguing! It was consistent with all the stories, but why now? Cor’s hissing broke into full voice for an instant, and suddenly he realized this was no sham. Hrala shook her head abruptly, and handed her sword to the Sib. Cor sank beneath the pretended weight of Death. She didn’t have much choice now.
O Jerusalem by Larry Collins, Dominique Lapierre
He was saying the words, but. as he would one day recall, there 'was no joy in my heart. I was thinking of only one thing, the war we were going to have to fight.' 'Exiled from the land of Israel.' he said % 'the Jewish people remained faithful to it in all the countries of their dispersion, never ceasing to pray and hope for their return and the restoration of their national freedom. Impelled by this historic association, Jews strove throughout the centuries to go back to the land of their fathers and regain their statehood.' In recent decades, he reminded his audience, 'they returned in their masses. They reclaimed the wilderness, revived their language, built cities and villages ...' It was, he continued, 'the self-evident right of the Jewish people to be a nation, as all other nations, in their own sovereign state*. Accordingly, he said, 'by virtue of the natural and historic right of the Jewish people and of the Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations, we hereby proclaim the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel'.
Airbnb, Alexander Shulgin, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, post scarcity, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
Here are two specific tools that I’ve found effective: 10 minutes of Tetris before bed: This recommendation is from Jane McGonigal, PhD (page 132). The free version works fine. OR Short and uplifting episodic television: I’ll offer just one recommendation here: Escape to River Cottage, Season One. I’ve watched this series multiple times. If you’ve ever fantasized about saying “Fuck it,” quitting your job, and going back to the land, buy this as a present for yourself. If you’ve ever dreamed of getting out of the city and moving to Montana or God-knows-where rural Utopia, procuring your own food and so on, then this is your Scooby snack. It’s endearingly retro, like a warm quilt from Mom, and host/chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will make you want to grow tomatoes, even if you hate tomatoes. And catch eels, too. Don’t forget the eels.
Matter by Iain M Banks - Culture 08
“We’ve been sailing over this water for the past five long-days or so and while the prospect is most impressive at first and the air bracing, you’d be amazed how quickly the impressiveness and the bracingness become tedious when that’s all there is to contemplate all day. Well, all there is to contemplate all day save for your good self, of course, sir, and frankly you were no circus of boundless fun either in your sleeping state. Nary a word, sir. Certainly nary a word of sense. But in any event, sir, welcome back to the land of the living.” Holse made a show of looking beneath his feet, through a translucent membrane that showed a hazy version of the ocean far below. “Though land, as you might have noticed, is the one thing this level appears to be somewhat short of.” “Definitely the Fourth?” Ferbin said. He leaned up on one elbow – something twinged in his right shoulder, and he grimaced – to look over the side of the bed he was lying on, peering down through the hazy surface Holse was standing on.
The ultimate aim was to turn southern Africa into ‘one Dominion’, under one flag with a common government dealing with customs, railways, defence and native policy - ‘a self-governing white Community, supported by well-treated and justly governed black labour from Cape Town to Zambesi’. Milner threw himself into his great scheme with formidable energy. A massive effort was soon under way to transport Boers back to the land. By the end of the war the bulk of the Boer population had been removed from their homes: 117,000 men, women and children were living in concentration camps; 31,000 burghers were prisoners-of-war, most of them held in camps overseas, as far afield as Ceylon and Bermuda. Returning farmers were provided with seeds, livestock, implements and building materials. A department of agriculture was established for the first time with sections dedicated to veterinary science, soil chemistry, forestry, horticulture and locust control.
back-to-the-land, Boycotts of Israel, Burning Man, facts on the ground, friendly fire, ghettoisation, illegal immigration, mass immigration, New Journalism, out of africa, Ronald Reagan, Transnistria, Yom Kippur War
We didn’t return to Zion to be turned into urban waste but to be Jews in the land of Israel. The Ashkenazi Labor establishment reacted with defensiveness and contempt. Golda Meir—who took over as prime minister following Levi Eshkol’s death in 1969—dismissed the Panthers as “not nice.” Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek told a group of Panther demonstrators outside the municipality to get off the grass. FOR ALL THE FISSURES, the ingathering of the exiles back to the land of Israel was intensifying. Tens of thousands of Jews from the Soviet Union, the most sealed nation in the world, were being given exit visas. Young men in ill-fitting gray suits, old men with gold teeth and peddlers’ caps, and old bent women in kerchiefs disembarked at Lod Airport with bound boxes for suitcases and squinted into the Israeli sun. It was, Israelis said, a miracle. Until the Six-Day War, Soviet Jews, subjected by the Kremlin to a policy of enforced assimilation, appeared lost to the Jewish people.
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
They wouldn’t understand. Why didn’t I think of coming back sooner? Wearily, timorously, Roth began to run. * * * “What are you … Sicill?” Polack asked Minetta. They were trudging along together through the sand. Minetta with a grunt dropped his ration box on a new pile they were starting. “No, Veneetz,” he said. “My grandfather was a big shot, you know, an aristocrat near Venice.” They turned around to go back to the landing craft. “How do you know that stuff?” Minetta asked Polack. “Aaah, what do ya t’ink?” Polack said. “I lived with a bunch of dagoes. I know more about ’em than you do.” “No, you don’t,” Minetta said. “Listen, I wouldn’t tell anybody this, ’cause you know how guys are, they’ll think you’re handing them a line of crap, but you can believe me, this is the truth, honest. We were really society, nobility, back in the old country.
I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel by Tom Wolfe
She knew immediately that she had written something witless that gave every indication of having been slu ng together in a rush. But it was done. That was the main thing. In any case, it was the limit of her energy and patience. All she wanted right now was a little oblivion. Of cours e, she‘d have to go over to the library before she crashed, to the computer cluster, and transcribe and print it out. But first she needed a break. She lay down again. In no time, the Sandman carried her back to the Land of Nod. Some hours later—she had no idea how many—she was aware of Beverly returning to the room in the dark…aware, and that was all…This time she didn‘t have to feig n sleep, and Beverly didn‘t contest the matter. The next day, Monday, Charlotte couldn‘t get out of bed. Her alarm clock sounded its grating buzz over and over again, and sh e kept hitting the snooze button. Beverly? Gone, thank God.
State of Emergency: The Way We Were by Dominic Sandbrook
anti-communist, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, centre right, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, David Attenborough, Doomsday Book, edge city, estate planning, Etonian, falling living standards, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, feminist movement, financial thriller, first-past-the-post, fixed income, full employment, German hyperinflation, mass immigration, moral panic, Neil Kinnock, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, North Sea oil, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, sexual politics, traveling salesman, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Winter of Discontent, young professional
Only when she has begged the stone for forgiveness – and received by telepathy some home truths about man’s greed and pollution – is the terrible process reversed, the world apparently having been restored to ‘balance’ between nature and machine – although what that means is anybody’s guess.42 In April 1975, only a month after the conclusion of The Changes, the BBC showed the first episode of what would become the last word in eco-catastrophe dramas. Thanks to its terrifying global-pandemic opening, its earnest back-to-the-land message, its endless shots of Volvos trundling down country lanes, and its cast of balding men in parkas and feisty women in dungarees, Survivors captured the spirit of the mid-1970s better than almost any other cultural product of the day. It follows the adventures of three plucky survivors – Greg, an engineer, Abby, a middle-class housewife, and Jenny, a young secretary – in the aftermath of a devastating pandemic that has wiped out the vast majority of the world’s population.
The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New SF by Gardner Dozois
back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, Columbine, congestion charging, dark matter, Doomsday Book, double helix, Extropian, gravity well, Mason jar, offshore financial centre, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, Turing machine, Turing test, Winter of Discontent, Y2K, zero-sum game
He would tell them about the kid falling out of the chopper, the white-haired girl in Tecolutla, the emptiness, God, yes! How you went down chock-full of ordinary American thoughts and dreams, memories of smoking weed and chasing tail and hanging out and freeway flying with a case of something cold, and how you smuggled back a human-shaped container of pure Salvadorian emptiness. Primo grade. Smuggled it back to the land of silk and money, of mindfuck video games and topless tennis matches and fast-food solutions to the nutritional problem. Just a taste of Salvador would banish all those trivial obsessions. Just a taste. It would be easy to explain. Of course, some things beggared explanation. He bent down and adjusted the survival knife in his boot so the hilt would not rub against his calf. From his coat pocket he withdrew the two ampules he had secreted in his helmet that long-ago night in the cloud forest.
England by David Else
active transport: walking or cycling, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, colonial rule, Columbine, congestion charging, David Attenborough, David Brooks, Etonian, food miles, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, new economy, New Urbanism, out of africa, period drama, place-making, sceptred isle, Skype, Sloane Ranger, South of Market, San Francisco, Stephen Hawking, the market place, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, unbiased observer, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Winter of Discontent
Even the most unbiased observer would have to admit that there’s something slightly awry in a country that has more CCTV and speed cameras than anywhere else in Europe and where the nation’s kids have been dubbed ‘the unhappiest in the Western World’ according to a recent Unicef poll. It’s perhaps unsurprising that record numbers of people are giving Blighty the boot in favour of pastures new. But others are opting to stay in England and go back to the land, quitting the cities for slower, greener, more sustainable lives in the countryside. Transition towns, organic farms, yurt campsites, rooftop wind-generators and grow-your-own vegetable patches are all the rage in England. In a world staring down the barrel of irreversible climate change, England’s newfound eco-consciousness might have arrived in the nick of time. So while there may be choppy waters ahead, if there’s one thing this plucky little nation has proven down the centuries, it’s resilience (so long as there’s a nice hot mug of tea to hand, of course).
France (Lonely Planet, 8th Edition) by Nicola Williams
active transport: walking or cycling, back-to-the-land, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information trail, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, pension reform, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Sloane Ranger, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket
* * * TREETOP SLEEPS Château de Gauthie ( 05 53 27 30 33; www.chateaugauthie.com; Monmarves; d €90-100; ) This château B&B is a family-friendly wonder, with five delightful knick-knack-filled rooms, all with wood floors, parkland views and a choice of wooden or cast-iron beds. But if you’re looking for a truly unusual night’s sleep, ask for the wooden tree house, accessed via its own spiral staircase and arranged around the trunk of a soaring oak tree. Note that credit cards are not accepted. * * * * * * THE GOOD LIFE If you’re looking to get back to the land, take some tips from the owners of Tondes ( 05 63 94 52 13; Castelsagrat; d €47;), a pair of expat Brits who upped sticks for rural France to set up an eco-friendly, sustainable, 100% organic farm. All the eggs, milk, yoghurt and organic vegetables are produced on the farm, and even the bread’s home-baked, so you couldn’t really ask for a greener place to stay. The simple B&B rooms are decked out with country fabrics, walk-in showers and rustic decor, and if you fancy trying your hand at a spot of milking or vegetable tending, the owners will be only too happy to oblige.