What a family’s story says about a city of romantic delusions and hazardous fortunes.
You get the picture. Some I traveled to explicitly with the hope of following up on a rumored barking sand report, others were opportunistically presented. Show me a pile of sand and I will check to see if barks, even at gravel yards or construction sites.
It got the point where the futile search for barking got to be a family joke. To be fair there are many such family jokes regarding me and my obsessions, but this was perhaps the most extreme. In the intervening years, science has made some progress in understanding the phenomenon.
It appears to depend on particle size, but humidity is also a factor. Yesterday I realized that, completely by accident, my search for barking sand had succeeded. The look on his face went from puzzled to a crestfallen, a visage that was equal parts pity and exasperation.
Living In A Dream by Nathan Adam Elemen — Kickstarter
Clearly the old man had finally lost it entirely. My son Cameron and our naturalist guide were up ahead. I was carrying a huge telephoto lens on a large carbon fiber tripod, which was way too heavy for the occasion, so I lagged behind. At first I thought it was a bird or other animal noise, but then I noticed it was correlated with my steps. I looked to see if there was something caught on my pants or shoes.
Nathan Has a Dream: The Power of Dreams
The claim was that at certain places around the world, the sand would make sounds when you stepped on it. I consoled myself that my entirely negative result was due to bad luck on the humidity front. That was the noise I heard when my feet hit the sand. I'm a restless VC hunting for cutting-edge technologies, maverick entrepreneurs and bold contrarian theses.
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Nathan Myhrvold's Childhood Dream Comes True
An Amazon owned by everyone. His account highlights the spiritual impulse behind these efforts to create digital alternatives in order to find new ways of working and living with each other in cooperative economic models based in a desire for community. Equally important, Schneider explains the tensions that emerge as the spiritual visions for a new culture come into conflict with the realities of actual business development and real-world collective decision making that are contentious, slow, and messy.
Instead, he skates around the contradictions that his work reveals and quickly moves on to the next anecdote. For example, cooperatives do not by themselves construct either a renewed culture or an alternative political or economic system. Or are there good reasons to think that Ocean Spray, the Associated Press, and the international credit card interchange system—while technically cooperatives—may simply not be playing on the same side as the idealistic young platform cooperators trying to remake the world that Schneider spotlights?
For instance, the Italian cooperative movement has experienced rapid scaling that has resulted in businesses looking increasingly like their capitalist competitors, and which, Schneider observes, leave a younger generation unsatisfied and in search for more radical alternatives. Or, consider the electrical cooperatives of the Deep South, which arguably have stymied economic and racial justice, even though they offer the potential for justice—this is a potential which the incredible organizers of One Voice and their Electric Cooperative Leadership Institute have seized upon by mobilizing poor black residents in Mississippi to take back their cooperatives from their sedimented white leadership.
Here, what matters is the movement to build local power, rather than the cooperative form itself.
In elevating cooperatives, Schneider leads the reader to mistake the model for the system. This mistake has political consequences, because our focus needs to be on changing the system, not just replicating models. Or is it a democratic-socialist program in which cooperatives are one part of the means to the endgame of justice? The result is an eclectic, decontextualized collection of anecdotes of experimentation at the margins.
While evocative and inspiring, Everything tells us little we need to know if we truly want to change the system. Take worker cooperatives, for instance: While intuitively appealing, the truth is that no country has ever been able to create a worker-cooperative sector that includes more than a very tiny percentage of the workforce.
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