Sunday, November 20, 2005

Home improvement

The situation here in Troense. Green dust is everywhere. We're working on it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The place to sleep in Copenhagen

I have previously blogged about how much I like staying at hotel Guldsmeden in Århus. They have a hotel in Copenhagen as well and I can now report that it is just as great. Good atmosphere, nice furniture, free wifi, best breakfeast I can remember offhand. Reasonable prices too.

Appearantly the Guldsmeden folks are going upscale next. They are renovating another Copenhagen hotel, it will be a 4 star joint, with a cafe. If I get the chance to stay there, I shall report.

Olafur Eliassons "Light Setup"

If you are anywhere near the Swedish cities Malmø or Lund I can recommend taking a look at Olafur Eliassons twin exhibitions at the municipal art spaces of those two cities. The title is ”the light setup”.

The show in Lund is a collection of around hundred works, more or less finished, each an experiment testing some idea, an effect, a shape, an optical illusion. At first it looks it looks pretty messy, like a peek into someone’s workshop, but once you get into it, great depths of beauty reveal themselves.

The way I see it, Eliasson doesn’t really create art himself. Rather, he creates mechanisms and spaces where we can stop and discover the art and beauty in natures’ shapes and functions. Waves, spiral, shadows, fractals. Very stimulating.

The other show is very different. All of Malmø kunsthal is just one great space. At one end the whole is turned into a bright, uniform light, with the warmth of the color oscillating slightly from yellowish to more blue. Part of the ceiling is also a big sheet of light. Simple, beautiful. Go see!
Open til january 8th.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Clashing paradigms - work in progress

So, I've tried to list the characteristics of these two paradigms that seem to be clashing and changing in strength relative to eachother, un-easily overlapping and co-existing.
I'd be happy to hear any comments or additions.
Sorry about the layout, I can't figure out how to fix it. Just keep scrolling down, it will come.

industrial societyinformation society
top downbottom up
client - serverp2p
zero sumplus sum
screw 'emexplicit interdependence
exclusivitysharing, open source
distinct roles, producer - consumerblurring roles, co-creation
Monopolization of means of productionDistribution of the means of production
high entry barrier to productionlow entry barrier
Broadcastmany to many
Authoritywisdom of the crowd
Follow orderscreative thinking
motivation; money, ordersmotivation: fun, recognition
controlanarchy (as Kropotkin defined it)
vision, direction, intentemergent solution
Radically different innovationincremental innovation
Longterm planningAd hoc
mechanical paradigmbiological
hard science, predictablesoft science, probabilistic
reductionistholistic, emergence

Flying in the face of reason

Weird, this shouldn’t happen. One of the largest adjustments in the national budget that the government just announced is removing the taxes on airplane trafik, which currently is about 10 euro pr. Flight.
In the news, this was presented as something like a christmas gift to us all; Ah, now we can go fly as we please, unburdened by crunching taxation.
But this is 2005, we’re in the age of rampant global climate change and the end of fossil fuel is near. If anything, I would have expected an attempt to finally put some taxes on jet fuel which at the moment is totally exempt.

We’ve got a fundamental clash of logics happening here:

The prevailing logic: Gotta move faster. Of course, cause everybody else does, too. I understand, I really do.

The logic of reality as I see it to the best of my knowledge:
Air traffic is the fastest growing segment in transportation. Travelling a mile in a plane uses about the same amount of fuel pr. Person as in with cars – but you rarely just get in and fly 1000 km. or more for a meeting or a weekend. Plus, the fumes are released in a more fragile part of the atmosphere making their contribution to the greenhouse effect much worse. Compared to car travel, air traffic is way cheaper because there are no taxes on the fuel.

Meanwhile, DSB – the national Danish railways – are losing thousands of passengers due to perpetual, yet un-predictable major delays because the trains can no longer drive at high speeds on rails that are poorly maintained.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Good reasons not to act

Looking at the various curves stretching upwards forecasting the rising consumption of natural ressources - the number of people on earth, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, the rising sea level and increasing temperature - it is pretty obvious that we are in for some fundamental changes in the coming decades.The main question seems to be whether it will be a relatively smooth transition or one of collapses and disruptions.
We ought to change our lifestyle and our consumption – but we don’t. To the contrary, it’s an age of expansion, for many of us way beyond what we were able to imagine just recently.

There are good reasons NOT to hold back on consumption. Maybe the most important one is that consumption of ressources is directly related to power. The more energy you use, the more power you have – more or less. If you jet around, if you jump in the car and speed ahead, if you don’t slow down to pick up the garbage, you will have more power. You can get things done, you are a player in a very different way than somebody ”sitting self- righteously at home in a woolen sweater”, as British journalist Mark Lynas puts it.
Changing the world by setting a good example of low consumption and responsible behaviour sounds like the right path, but it’s just not very sexy.
And maybe, maybe it’s simply not the best solution.
Who knows? Maybe the best we can do is to keep jetting around, accellerating life and the economy in the hope that this will quicken the development of some wonderful technical fix that will once again buy us time in the land of mindless, convenient consumption.
It’s weird, though, there’s so much we ought to do, so many solutions that we pretty know would help somewhat, but ironically we’re simply too busy to do anything serious about it.
Engaging ourselves in changing the world will be a very sophisticated sell – or it will be prompted by un-ignorable necessity.