Farming as retro-tech

All sorts of news in the zeitgeist about how young folks my age and younger want to go back to nature. Not because of some mystical hippy connection with the backwoods, but out of a sort of Long-Now perspective on the world. Basically, they don’t think that the planet — or their kids — will survive without knowing about how food works, and how to be farmers. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of farming-in-the-backyards, coverage in the NY Times, an emphasis on last-days Peak Oil scenarios, and a feeling that all too soon we’ll all be living with horses and cows again (a trend? Maybe, maybe not….) there’s actually useful information about this. To cite just a few examples, seeNo Impact Man, a crazy stunt that thus far...

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Victorian Flatscreen: A Steampunk Adventure

Inspired by the Steampunk Workshop, I undertook the grand adventure of modding my flat monitor in the Victorian industrialist style. My rationale was not merely that steampunk is the cool meme du jour, but also because the monitor was a distinctly beige oddity in a vast wood-paneled family library full of gilt-edged books on Milton, Dante, Plato and other luminaries of earlier eras. I did one of my graduate degrees in English, and another in philosophy — so although I do have a few shelves of computerese books, most of my rather extensive library is focused more on literary pursuits and Victorian-era poetry. This being the case, it only made sense to create a difference-engine type environment for the computing activities I undertake in such a rarified...

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