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a man slumped on his desk, from 'The Sleep of Reason Produces



academic problem

I was wandering around my PGP key neighbourhood last night, and foundĀ  Isis Agora Lovecruft’s distributed aggregating library, which I am immediately envious of (even though I suppose anything I could covet there I could just take with me). It is a library in the sense that it is a collection of books and papers, (although the other usage, as inĀ  “code library” might work perhaps literally as well as metaphorically.)

Mostly it prompted me to see what it would take for me to develop an academic paper habit. I don’t have a guide here, so I immediately started uncovered mad evolutionary psychology papers that could so easily convince me of anything I wanted to believe was true. So in that corner at least, academia is less the sum of human knowledge and more another set of paths which takes you on a tour of the local ideas around your starting point. How do you get out? How do you see the shape of the whole thing? What happens when you bump into somebody coming in the exact opposite and contradictory direction?

It is also making me think about individual tools to manage vast personal data sets. We sort of faded out on this problem when the Great Centralisation began, and everything began ascending into the cloud. I think it might be where we should start, so when everything starts falling out again, our books and photos and films and songs and lives, we’ll know where to put it, and where to find it again later.

Isis is probably one of those few people who are close to the invariants of my personal politics, though I seem to remember that we had a blazing argument about basic ideological axioms within minutes of meeting (edit: I should note that my idea of blazing argument is most people’s idea of mild disagreement). Well, she signed my key regardless. You should sign my key too! To hell with all this passport and identity card waving. You know it’s me! It is! I’m in here! It’s me!

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petit disclaimer:
My employer has enough opinions of its own, without having to have mine too.