Sporulation (early draft)

From the wikipedia
a spore is a reproductive structure that is adapted for dispersal and surviving for extended periods of time in unfavorable conditions. Spores form part of the life cycles of many bacteria, plants, algae, fungi and some protozoa.[1] A chief difference between spores and seeds as dispersal units is that spores have very little stored food resources compared with seeds.
I can't find a quote, but apparently some organisms create spores when the environment starts to get stressful.

Some history

Some 20-30 years ago, I read in the Byte magazine an article, possibly by Jerry Purnelle, about how there where 3 ages in computing: mastodontic computers with priests and air-conditioning (for the few, period), the revolution of the dwarfs (in which we all wanted our own hard disk and pre-laser printer), and finally the network (in which you could be brains or memory or google or a printer of whatever kind, and finally, they say, the internet of things).

Some time after 2005, my own inmersion in catastrophology, surrounded by stuff like The Citizen's Manual (FluWiki), Get Pandemic Ready / Ready Moms, and Gupta's Severe Pandemic [insert links later], gave birth to the idea of The Final Edition. This was to be a compilation of open documentation that would be explicitly made available to newspapers all over the world, so that they would be able to use the last drops of civilization's ink to provide “survival and better” content to everyone, in paper format.

All this is of course part of the idea behind medieval monasteries: you collect important knowledge in safe places, and keep it ready to spread as soon as the outer atmosphere changes again to make new growth possible.

And “stress”, well, it's all around us, no? After all, that's why Monki created the “6 ways to die” for the internet.


There are a few elements in this, so let's sort it out.

Which knowledge? I'd vote for Appropedia (images included), Where there's no doctor, Wireless Networks for the Developing World, and a few other things. When I read “Earth Abides” - in which the main character decides it's not read-and-write skills that will make the most difference, but arrow-and-bow skills, transferred as fun games - I thought I'd include Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats and Lateral Thinking tools. But of course each of us has their preferences [Josef Davies Coates' compilations], and some even have their own specific contribution [Vinay's] that they would like to put out there for others to download [link to Linus Torvald's quote on “real men don't make backups”].

In which format/medium? Computers are thought to be the default place to stick the knowledge into. Some have tried to print the whole of Wikipedia, creating a hardpaper. A combined approach, like The Final Edition idea, is promoted by the “2 pager docs” by Whoever He Is [ask Vinay]: keep it in files, but by all means make it printable just in case. Of course, the availability and size of external drives makes it possible to keep maybe 1 terabyte of data, making copies into other people's disks in a kind of distributed network of sporae (sp?).

Both questions feed on each other, of course.

Next steps

So, what do we do now?

Personally, I'm restructuring my storage into 3 kinds of folders/directories: Private (birthday pictures and the like), Action (getting things done, given that life goes on regardless of perceived risk), Spores (the kind of things I'd share with others in a network of sporulation). A couple of external drives will act as memories. I'll try and convince a few friends of mine to keep copies of at least some things, here and there.

Regarding most issues I'd appreciate your help:

Computers, there are a few, but I'm not sure what to do about energy. Solar panels are not easy & cheap right now. Other solutions, not sure at all. It's an open question.

As for content, I have some ideas, and we could use what Alex suggested: a piratepad instance for a collection of links to the stuff we need.

We need to streamline the whole process: what to keep, how to keep it, how to transfer it to other places, and how to de-sporulate (the “then what” question, which includes “translation”). I'm a newbie, but I'm sure many others have thought deeply about it, so we need to use that, right?

4 comentarios:

  1. http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/other/the-gupta-state-failure-management-archive-a-public-resource-for-hard-times-2636

  2. We should make a "distro". I could get a little interface going with autohotkey(very easy). So people can download it and burn to DVD(or 2) with wikipedia, appropedia, a PDF reader, a browser like ff portable and a wee web server(server2go for example) serving all the other stuff.

  3. Un portátil moderno puede consumir entre 50 y 100W (dependiendo de procesador y pantalla, principalmente). Hay paneles solares que te dan el doble de eso por unos 300 a 400 Eur. Añádele regulador (100 a 200 Eur) y baterías (de coche, p.ej.), y puedes tener alimentación solar por un precio razonable. Eso sí, para llevarla de un lado a otro necesitarás una carretilla (échale unos 40 Kg al invento). :-)

  4. thanks for the link across from twitter - @susan_calvin.
    I was thinking of this as a way to use up old e-readers.
    Attach a cheap solar panel to charge them - even if slowly. Put a couple of GB of basic, public domain textbooks from a variety of fields on there.
    Give away.