boy change world

from the book: the boy who could change the world – (compiled posts of Aaron Swartz)

(notes/highlights.. reading actual hand held book – thanks al)

lessig forward

didn’t want blog read.. now reading it in book form.. wonder how he feels about that..

from a very young age, aaron felt a freedom that most of us never really know: the freedom to simply do what you believe is right.

something else .. luxury ness


not as if he was a guy preaching in the corner to the unwilling listener.. he spoke through questions not commands. he inspired by giving others a sense of he best they could be. and he often was super-quiet as he worked out what or whom to believe. a quiet kid among strangers. a deep blue pool, hiding a volcano.

al again – the swim freely in the world book

but he was not quiet in his endless writings. and these writings capture well a mind in constant reflection.

p 3

we will

p 7

Aaron’s life was shaped by an ethical belief that information should be shared freely and openly….transfixed by the fact that a piece of knowledge, unlike  apiece of physical property, can be shared by large groups of people without making anybody poorer…. . unethical to deprive people of info by creating artificial scarcity in knowledge, culture or info.

1\ free culture (wikipedia)

p 16 – i mean, talking to your girlfriend can often be more enjoyable than listening to music, but i don’t think we need to start suing girlfriends.

p 17 – i’m optimistic that if you provide something people really like, and you make it easy for them to pay you for it, that you’ll do fine.

p 18 – geek seem a lot more willing to treat people based on what they can do rather than who they are

p 21 – on why bad ui – experts don’t need goo ui ‘ they know exactly what to do already and they just want to be able to do it as fast as they can

p 22 – tim berner lee‘s original plan was to let the web be a collab space… and web pages would be the trails left behind by their activities. web browsers would have an edit button that you could click and modify or annotate any page…

chip as easy ui/entry (a mechanism simple enough) to leaving trail to/for io dance ness

p 27 – sharing isn’t immoral.. it’s a moral imperative… there is not justice in following unjust laws.

p 28 – it is possible to take on grand projects

p 30 – semantic web.. berners-lee.. users together to build grand data bases

self talk as data

p 31 – a third way.. million-dollar users…wikipedia points to a diff model.. where all users come to one website… perhaps time to try 3rd way

again – chip as easy ui/entry to leaving (wikipedia ish) trail to/for io dance ness

p 35 – wikipedia too important both as resource and as model.. to see it fail

p 36 – on Jimmy Wales saying – wikipedia isn’t wisdom of mobs/swarm.. he insisted it as rather different… written by ‘a community.. dedicated group of a few hundred volunteers… who all know each other.. much like a traditional org.’

p 37 – wales saying wikipedia not that shocking.. his view is actually much more shocking.. around a thousand people wrote the world’s largest encyclopedia in four years for free. could this really be true?

p 39 – when put it all together, story becomes clear: an outsider makes one edit to add a chunk of info. then insiders make several edits tweaking/reformatting….. categorizing across entire site… as a result, insiders account for vast majority of edits. but it’s the outsiders who provide nearly all of the content.

makes sense.. writing encyclopedia.. you’d have to know tons of info… doing all background research seems impossible for a few.. on other hand… everyone has a bunch of obscure things that … they’ve come to know well..

p 40 – even if all formatters quit – wikipedia would still be immensely valuable…. so… growing it requires making it easier and more rewarding to contribute..

dangerous is wikipedia continues down this path of focusing on the encyclopedia at the expense of the wiki, it might end up not being much of either

p 42 – wikipedia runs because of community. .. a group of people that took the project as their own and threw themselves into making it succeed

everyone knows wikipedia as the site anyone can edit. the article about tree frogs wasn’t written because someone in chard decided they needed one and assigned it to someone; it was written because someone, somewhere, just went ahead and started writing it. and a chorus of others decided to help out.

huge. on collaboration (agenda) vs cooperation (choice everyday)

this is so unusual, we don’t even have a *word for it. it’s tempting to say democracy but that’s woefully inadequate… ie: wikipedia doesn’t hold a vote and elect someone to be in charge of vandal fighting. .. wikipedia doesn’t do anything at all. someone simply sees there are vandals .. and steps up to do the job

*word – perhaps – stigmergyness..?

p 43 – on the volunteerism ness of it.. that eliminates infighting about who gets to be what…. tasks get done by people who genuinely want to do them..

wikipedia’s biggest problems have come when it’s strayed from this path, when it’s given some people official titles and specified tasks… power..

labels et al

p 48 – building a community is tough.. need just right combo of tech rules and people.. we’re still at very early stages of understanding what it is that makes that work (2006)

perhaps free people – let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

ibp ness to the tech, people, rules..

p 49 – wikipedia as a community set up to make itself… and since wikipedia first to do that.. hardly know anything about building communities like that… radical collaboration… instead of assigning tasks… let anyone work on whatever they wanted, whenever they felt like it…

stigmergyness. – ginormous

in the city. as the day.

a nother way

p 50 – extending wikipedia’s success …means figuring out key principles of radical collab

p 66 – throwing darts at their (friends) jobs has only made my life worse.

p 70 – on transparency – there’s just one problem: if you can’t trust the regulators, what makes you think you can trust the data…. matt taibbi reveals..

p 71 – ie: on power in ny being controlled by one man…. robert moses

whoa. jane jacobs ness

on hundreds of millions of dollars spent funding transparency… goal of getting straight answer.. not of doing anything about it… ie: make transparent to public who are too busy to do anything about it

p 72 – it’s through people coming together – not websites analyzing data – that real political progress can be made..

huge – so imagine data being used specifically to facilitate people coming together..

to make progress.. need to best about solving problems.. not using tech that has worked in other fields..

systemic change.. deep enough..

p 73 – that’s why i got swept up in the promise of transparency. it seemed like just by doing the things i kew how to do best – write code, sift through databases – i could change the world….. but it just doesn’t work.. putting databases online isn’t a silver bullet.. as nice as the word transparency may sound.

perhaps.. we need a diff data set.. first

p 75 – on sopa being a bill about the freedom to connect – (not about copyright)

p 76 – on porn harder to shut down than copyright

p 78 – on social security – rockefeller sick of having to pay worker’s pensions out of profits.. so let govt take from workers

p 82 – the day … it was no longer ok to not understand net.. clueless members of congress debating the bill.. going to shut down internet and they didn’t care… irrational fears… ie: nuclear missiles on net..

p 83 – it was the people themselves that rose up and caused sea of change in washington .. not the press..

p 84 – they did whatever they could think of to do. they didn’t stop to ask anyone for permission…. the senators were right – the internet really is out of control.. but if we forget that.. if we let hollywood rewrite the story so it as just a big company google who stopped the bill, if we let them persuade us we didn’t actually make a difference.. if we start seeing it as someone else’s responsibility to do this.. next time we might not win.

so .. perhaps we go one step further.. dive/leap deeper .. past these battles.. to ie: rev of everyday life.. where b is irrelevant..

2\ computers

p 87 – on aaron not wanting to retreat to the elite.. but wanted to make things simple and accessible..

p 88 – in essence .. was his technological philosophy: to build things for anyone on the internet.. not just hackers..

that the internet is growing farther from his ideals rather than closer signals just how much we lost with him.. – david auerbach

p 89 – on us being tethered to the web.. which didn’t even exist 10 yrs ago

p 90 – until one day.. your computer is as tethered to the web as you yourself are now…. making a web that other computers could use is the fantasy of some (rather unimaginative i would think) sci fi novelist.

so perhaps unsurprising that one of critics who has expressed something like this view.. cory doctorow, is in fact a rather imaginative sci fi novelist… doctorow argues that any system that collects accurate ‘metadata’ the kind of machine processable data that will be needed to make this dream of computers using-the-web come true will run into seven inescapable problems: people lie, people are lazy, people are stupid, people don’t know themselves, schemas aren’t neutral, metrics influence results, and there’s more than one way to describe something.

whoa. science of people ness..

instead doctorow proposes that instead of trying to get people to provide data, we would instead look at the data they produce incidentally while doing other things.. and use that instead..

why so many insteads.. and imagine we can get the seven resolved.. via self-talk as data.. as the day

p 91 –  on semantic web and w3c workers… they spent hours in talmudic debates over whether a washing machine was a kitchen appliance or a household cleaning device….. they’ve convinced people interested in these ideas that the first thing we need to do is write standards (to engineers this is absurd from the start – standards are things you write after you’ve got something working, not before)…. and so the semantic web activity at the w3c has spent its time writing standard upon standard..

p 92 – instead of getting existing system to talk to each other and writing up the best practices, these self-appointed guarantors of the semantic web have spent their time creating their own little universe.

need for io dance ness

it’s hard enough getting people to share data as it is, harder to get them to share it in a particular format, and completely impossible to get them to store it and manage it in a completely new system… and yet this is what semantic webheads are spending their time on…. causing those working on … world where software can communicate, to burn out and tune out and find more productive avenues for their attentions…

p 93 – aaron’s thought experiment.. on the distracted ness of too much b ness..

aaron's thought exp

the programmable web is anything but a pipe dream – it is today’s reality and tomorrow’s banality.

p 94 – providing a website where people can look things up can be plenty valuable, but it’s nothing compared to what you can do when you combine that info with others.

p 95 – so much better if put together.. but requires real access to the data…. can only get there if willing to share their data… fortunately for us.. web was designed with this furture in mind

unfortunately, far too few are aware of this fact. (web made to be safe, even inviting, for applications) it hasn’t helped that the few who are aware have spent their time working on teh semantic web nonsense that i criticized above.

i think of vinay now… being shiny‘d away..

p 96 – when a web application is designed properly, apis naturally grow out of it and require little effort to maintain…. this means exposing your data to be queried and copied and integrated, even w/o explicit permission, in to the larger software ecosystem, while protecting users’ freedom..

p 104 – interoperability is the primary concern – …..postel’s law has no exceptions

p 106 – i have my problems with bitcoin, but it’s manifestly not impossible.

p 108 – to say that to join a network, you need a list of nodes where at leas a majority are actually nodes in the network. this doesn’t seem like an overly strenuous requirement.

i don’t get much of the rest of this section on computers..

p 110 – programmers don’t mind using things that are unpolished. they can see what you’re going to do next and help you get there. the public isn’t like that. don’t treat them like they are..

p 119 – djb – uncompromising vision, which many misinterpret as arrogance and rudeness…. djb’s programs do not work like most programs, for the simple reason that the way most programs work is wrong

p 120 – but who else is even trying. who else is even knows this is possible..?

p 121 – on reading g h hardy: if a man has any genuine talent he should be ready to make almost any sacrifice in order to cultivate it to the full.

p 122 – ironic… more hardy: a man who is always asking – is what i do worthwhile.. and .. am i the right person to do it.. will always be ineffective himself and a discouragement to others… must think more of subject and himself than they deserve..

but now i find myself face with this dilemma: it is those other areas (outside programming – which he’s really good at) – i would much prefer to work in

p 125 – and even if (highly implausibly) we were able to control the circumstance in which all children grew up so as to max their ability to perform the most important tasks, that still would not be enough, since in addition to aptitude there is also interest.

huge. interest/curiosity is engine/energy… trust rest will work out

someone who’s heart isn’t in it is unlikely to spend the time necessary to excel.


writing code.. although it can be enjoyable, is hardly something i want to spend my life doing (rather skip out and talk politics)….

perhaps i fear, this decision deprives society of one great programmer in favor one mediocre writer. … even so i would make it. the writing is too important, the programming too unenjoyable. and for that , i apologize.

3\ politics

p 129-30 – aaron was decidedly not cyber-utopian – …. he was willing to engage w/in the system to get there… on money – his final tweet – the fed should be printing money that we then give to the poor people (or everyone if that’s easier)……he believed that one must dissect structure an d learn how they tick, develop the tools, tactics, and strategies that are most likely to manipulate them for good, and organize people to implement those approaches – david segal

p 174 – really hard to follow elections, congress, et al.. feels so irrelevant.. here talking keynes – and how stocks are like musical chairs..

p 175 – stocks supposed to help us determine what we as society should build for future.. but ends up a crap shoot… people changing depending on how they think people are changing et al..

p 176 – when you have a system that only works when businesspeople feel good, their fears become a self-fulfilling prophecy

the result, keynes suggests, is that the govt will have to step in to prevent the economy from crashing every time rich people get a bit of indigestion.

p 177 – keynes suggests 1\ lower interest rates 2\ give money to poor..

another good solution is redistribution income. poor people are a lot more likely to spend money that billionaires. if we take some money from the billionaires and give it to the poor, the poor will use it to buy things they need and people will get jobs making those things.

remember that money is just a kind of illusions. in reality, there are just people who want things and people who make things. but we’re stuck in a completely ridiculous situation: there are lots of people who desperately want jobs making things – they’re literally not doing anything else – while at the same time there are lots of people who desperately want things made. it seems ridiculous not to do something about this just because some people have all the little green sheets of paper.

p 179 – (when i shared ideas in class at stanford).. the others didn’t just disagree – they found the idea incomprehensible. how could you run a factory without managers..

p 180 – personally i adore chomsky,, henwood, and klein – i find both their writing and their personalities incredibly inspirational. and while i could quibble with their strategies, it’s difficult for me to imagine, let alone desire, a world in which they did anting particularly different. but my own plans – forge in the stanford classroom and (to my surprise) unshakeable ever since – take a different tack….

p 181 – … it hasn’t exactly created an alternative culture of its own… socialism… so watered down…. except for file sharing …. if there was ever a time for anew program, this would seem to be it. the economic crisis has shattered the washington consensus more than a thousand chomsky op-eds could, while the internet has made it possible to organize people by the millions. but the left ca’t seem to move beyond its reactive stance. if you want books that criticize the policies of the bush admin, you can fill up a whole library. but if you want books on what to do instead, where do you go…?

a nother way

i’ll even go further and take a stab at describing chomsky’s solutions: democracy. media (keep from mislead); economic (distribution); political (military check)

but who’s even trying…. instead, the audience is forced to read a shelf of chomsky and reverse-engineer the principles behind it…. leftist intellectuals need to move from simply poking holes… to clearly articulating alternative..

p 186 – reps today avg per 700 000 citizens

but what madison missed is that there is no similar limit (1 rep per 50 people) on the number of such groups. to take a tech analogy.. the internet is, at bottom, an enormous collection of wires. yet nobody would ever think of it this way. instead, we group the wires into chips and the chips into computers and the computers in to networks and the networks into the internet. and people only deal with things at each level: when the computer breaks, we can’t identify which wire failed; we take the whole thing into the shop.

huge – ginormously small ness – small world network ness

so to being with .. let us imagine a council of you and your 40 closest neighbors – perhaps the other people in your apt or on your block

neighbor\hood govt ness

p 187 – by the power of exponents, just five levels of councils, each consisting of only fifty people, is enough to cover over three hundred million people. …. and this is the truly clever bit… at the area council the whole process repeats itself… rep to area council… rep to city council… rep to state council… to national council.. et al.

? – do we need that.. thinking of the case for democracy .. as we practice it .. as meetings .. so that everyone gets voice.. (ie: democratic schools) perhaps we don’t need most of those meetings.. perhaps we just live.. and deal with whatever.. whenever..

in the same way blogs let everyone be publisher, wikipedia let everyone be author, youtube let everyone be tv producer, parpolity would let everyone be a politician

the democratic power of the net means you don’t need connections to succeed…. professional politicians beware

p 191 – suggesting to read dean baker’s the conservative nanny state: how the wealthy use the govt to stay rich and get richer – free online

p 192 – .. use power over interest rates to drive econ into recession so wages won’t get too high.. that’s right, the govt tries to slow down the econ to that you get paid less.. full details in baker’s book

corporations aren’t part of free market.. but a gift offered by the govt…. copyright/patents… not a law of nature… but big govt gift…

p 193

americans spend $220 billion on prescription drugs.. largely because of govt patents.. instead of handling that money to big drug companies, the govt could spend far less (only a couple hundred million) funding researchers itself and making the resulting drug discoveries free to the public.

college students spend$12 billion on textbooks alone. again, govt could make textbooks for one-thousandth of that..

we spend 80% of what britain spends on health care altogether simply on administration…

p 199-200 – he brought many worlds together. his activism went hand in hand with a deep commitment to the intellect and to figuring out the world through argument. this could discomfit other activists, since it meant that he often changed his mind. he had the profound intellectual curiosity of a first-rate scholar, without the self-importance that usually accompanies it……. it’s hard to face up to what we’ve lost. he wasn’t just an activist, or a programmer, or an intellectual. he was a builder of bridges between many different people from many different worlds. only after he died did i begin to realize how many people he corresponded with.. .. when i write… i imagine his impatience with this or that plodding sentence, too far removed from the real concerns of real people…henry farrell

4\ media

p 203-04 – being a science fiction writer is nothing like a futurist. or shouldn’t be, anyway. .. the point of science fiction is to talk about the present – to build a counterfactual world that illustrates some important fact about the present that is so vast and diffuse that it’s hard to put your finger on…. we pluck a single tech fact out of the world around us, and we build a world in a bottle where that fact is the totalizing truth … take reader on tour of this thought experiment that gives him the power to intuit the way tech is flexing our reality, … making the invisible visible… its value is not in prediction but in description…… call it hope… even if i was convince nothing i did mattered, i’d still be out there .. because this world is people i love… ask what you can do to make the world better.. live as though… – cory doctorow


p 205 – i watched.. manufacturing consent.. it’s undoubtedly the best doc i’ve seen… i understood enough to realize that something was severely amiss… and the u.s. media ignore it and  .. covers.. and distorts..

noam – manufacturing consent

p 206 – understanding power.. the book that changed my life

recommended to overdrive

an incredibly wide range of topics and on every single one what he tells you is completely shocking, at odds with everything you know, turning the way you see things upside-down…..each story, individually, can be dismeissed as some wierd ofddity like what i’d leanred about he media focusing more on poweters than on policy. but seeig them all together, you ca’t help but begin to tease out the larger picture, to ask yourself what’s behind all theise disparate things, and what that means for the way we see the world..

reading the book, i felt as if my mind was rocked by explosions. at times the ideas were too much, and i literally had to lie down.. i’m not the only one to feel this way – norman finkelstein noted that when he went through a similar experience, ‘it was a totally crushing experience for me.. my world literally caved in. and there were quite a number of weeks where.. i just as in bed totally devastated..’ i remember vividly clutching at the door to my room, trying to hold on to something while the world spun around… for weeks afterwards, everything i saw was in a different light…… i reconsidered everything i knew, everything i thought i’d learned. and i found i didn’t have much company..


systemic ness – question everything..

one terrifying side effect of learning the world isn’t the way you thin is that it leaves you all alone…

p 207

every since then i’ve realized that i need to spend my life working to fix the shocking brokenness i’d discovered..

on seeing too much to not..

p 209 – objectivity – in media – wasn’t even invented till the 1900s

p 212 – in four short years, big business had managed to turn nearly half the country around and halt the efforts to protect the planet…. ross gelbspan: by keeping the discussion focused on whether there is a problem in the first place, they have effectively silenced the debate over what to do about it.

p 214 – nearly half of heritage’s $30 million budget is spent on publicity, not research….. and heritage computers are stocked with the names of over 3500 journalists, organized by specialty, who heritage staffers personally call to make sure they have all the latest conservative misinformation….

it all add up – a 2003 study by fairness and accuracy in reporting, the media watch group, found conservative think tanks were cited nearly 14 000 times in major newspapers, tv, and radio shows.. (by comparison, liberal think tanks were city only 4000 times that year)

p 216 – if have doubt about power of think tanks… look no further than the story of the bell curve, written charles murray, who received over 1.2 mill from right wing foundations for his work.. the book claimed that iq tests revealed black people to be genetically less intelligent than whites.. thus explaining their low place in society… murray published the 845 page book w/o showing it to any other scientists… withholding them from likely critics..

p 217 – this was a full on media endorsement of racism… that’s certainly what the bell curve (book) did, replacing a debate over how to improve black achievement with one about whether such improvement was even possible.

p 218 – … a series of scientific article debunked all the book’s major claims…

p 222 – as the conservative message machine grew stronger, political debate and electoral results began to shift…. to right.. eventually allowing extreme conservatives to be elected, first reagan and now bush…

p 223 – extremely strong public support for social security – conservatives could certainly never just come out and say they wanted to end it – so their plan is to deceive the public. first, persuade people that social security is facing some sort of crisis and won’t be around for next generation. second, convince them to begin replacing social security with a privatized version....the only problem is that social security isn’t facing a crisis and any from of privatization, which would require both paying out to existing retirees and saving away money for the private accounts of the current generation, would worsen whatever financial problems ss does have.


p 224 – cbs, for ie, presented a segment featuring man-on-the-street tad dehaven : i don’t expect to get anything from ss ok?… it’s not going to be there – that’s may assumption. dehaven had good reason to say these things, for years , he’s been one of the leading republican activists in the fight to get rid of ss. cbs never mentioned the connection…..

ss admin concedes that by 2042 ss will be able to pay nearly 80% of scheduled benefits, which is still far more than what it pays out today.

abc report: ‘one thing everyone agrees on, the ss system as it exists now won’t be able to afford those payments for long after the wilsons retire.’ …. in fact, it’s quite the opposite: even the most pessimistic prediction say the ss will be fine until the wilson’s are statistically dead. again, no critics got a voice.

p 226 – six major companies own nearly 90% of all media outlets.. (2006) on weapons of mass destruction… bush promoting info about the weapons iraq had, w/o mentioning they had been destroyed.

p 227 – when aristide was finally freed, he insisted on returning to his country and again amy goodman was the only us tv journalist who dared to accompany him back..

amydemocracy now

still democracy now audience is rather small compared to that of mainstream media.. but stories from overseas hint at what could happen if enough people began paying attention to such sources. in south korea, the country with the highest rate of broadband adoption, politics has been turned upside down by ohmynews..

pluralistic ignorance ness

there’s no reason why what happened in south korea (first internet president et al) can’t happen here..

p 228 – working together committed citizens can make amazing progress, even when up against the most powerful interests…  up to us…

p 230 – false claims on wmds… the times didn’t to that (get two sources) on wmds they just printed whatever the admin said. and when the admin used their bogus reporting to go to war, the times did its best to ignore the fact that the war was a blatant violation of international law…. blogs point to people like weapons inspector scott ritter, who correctly point out there were no wmds or the iraqi defector who explained the had all been destroyed.. blogs 1 .. times 0

p 231 – if the times won’t talk about policy.. no one will.. and if nobody talks about policy ten nobody votes on the basis of it..

p 232 – one of most important things i think blogs do, though, is teach people. the media… is supremely unintelligent. but i don’t think the people of this country are. and one of the most striking things about blogs to me is how they almost never talk down to their readership. indeed most seem to think higher of their readership than they do themselves.

p 234 – rachel carson… silent spring.. widely credited with launching the modern environment movement…. ddt killing.. esp birds… w/o them.. silent spring… people claimed she was worse than hitler.. blaming millions of deaths of malaria in africa from stoppage of ddt

p 236 – ddt use decreased.. but not because of ban.. real reason – evolution.. mosquito populations rapidly develop resistance to ddt, creating enzymes to detoxify it…modifying nervous systems to avoid its effects…. no responsible person contends that insect-borne disease should be ignored.. carson wrote in silent spring.. the question that has now urgently presented itself is whether it is either wise or responsible to attack the problem by methods that are rapidly making it worse

p 237 – the pesticide companies themselves got to participate in the un agency that provided advice on pest control.. not surprisingly, it continued to recommend significant pesticide usage…

silent spring came out in 62, in 1963 17 cases of malaria, in 1969 537 700 cases of malaria… many causes… – sri lanka had been testing.. but halfway through program, their standards were dramatically lowered… not recorded.. but it was obvious that some mosquitoes were developing resistance and the change was made to justify continued spraying…. instead of apologizing, the chemical companies went on the attack. they funded front groups and think tanks to claim the epidemic started because countries ‘stopped’ using their products..

p 239 – ddt – these myths can have serious consequences. for one thing, despite what is claimed by the right, ddt itself is quite harmful.. ….. for another, resistance is deadly. not only has ddt’s overuse made it ineffective, but, as noted, it has led mosquitoes to evolve ‘cross resistance’.. not only to ddt but also to other insecticides…

p 243 – why this decline in undercover reporting? kurtz had an explanation – the reason is that, no matter ho good the story, lying to get it raises as many questions about journalists as their subjects… but may be that isn’t the whole story….. nellie bly, famous for traveling around the world in 80 days, also did a famed investigation of the conditions in insane asylums for the new york world.

p 244 – pam zekman.. got job at nursing home.. show mistreatment… dance studio.. show cheating money.. abortion clinic .. show performing abortion on women who weren’t pregnant..

p 245 – food lion fought back.. filing lawsuit against abc.. not challenging accuracy but charging reporters with dishonesty.. fraud (lying on application) trespassing.. et al… after years of legal wrangling.. in 1997.. jury award food lion a 5.5 mill verdict. in 1999 was overturned… but by then it was too late.. the case had been grinding through legal system for nearly seven years, and journalists and news outlets had gotten the message: undercover reporting has serious costs

p 246 – you can expect journalists in the wake of this to give us more stories about dennis rodman and madonna instead of more stories that are important to us..1st amendment lawyer.. bruce sanford…

as reporters have grown more socially prominent during the last several decades, they’ve become part of the very power structure that they’re supposed to be tracking and scrutinizing..  ken silverstein.. la times

5\ books/culture

p 251-2 – he was obsessed with a lot of things… that was aaron. … even when he loved a book, he argued with it, or told the author about the book she should have written… aaron would have bee the perfect subject for a david foster wallace profile. as it was, aaron found a literary lodestar in the wordy moody warmhearted maddening saddening uplifting brilliant dfw. as a writer; aaron played with imitating wallace’s digressive footnote-freckled voice, but he quickly fell back into his own. as a read, though, aaron latched on to this grandmaster of seeing people as they really are and loving them nonetheless.. .. aaron maintained comprehensive wikipedia bibliographies of dfws works……later aaron would write: ‘dfw’s suicide hit me very hard, i ended up coping by reading every piece of nonfiction he’d ever published. he was a brilliant, tortured man and i see so much of myself in him. ‘ … i would say that aaron was the dfw of his generation, … – james grimmelmann

david foster wallace

p 253-264 – aaron’s suggested book reads from 2006-11

p 254 – becoming attached, robert karen – one of my very fav books

a and a, liedloff

p 255 – taibbi is my fav political journalist

p 263 – video with alan kay and timothy gallway will blow your mind- the inner game of tennis

code: the hidden language… charles petzold… story of two kids across the street who wish to communicate with each other…  i never really felt i understood the computer till i read this book

p 265 – review of chris hayes’ the twilight of the elites..

hayes pins the blame on an unlikely suspect: meritocracy..

p 266 – opening up elites to more efficient competition didn’t make things more fair, it just legitimatized a more intense scramble… as competition takes over at the high end, personal worth resolves into exchange value, and the elite power accumulated in one sector can be traded for elite power in another…… this creates a unitary elite, detached from the bulk of society, yet at the same time even more insecure….. the only cure is to reduce economic inequality, a view that has surprising support among the population

p 267 – i notice a confusion that’s worth clarifying, about the structural results of inequality rather than the merely quantitative ones…. after all, we started by claiming the problem is meritocracy, but somehow the solution is taxing the rich?…. it’s not picking surgeons by lottery, hayes clarifies,but then what is it? it’s about ameliorating power relationships altogether. meritocracy says.. ‘there must be one who rules, so let it be the best’ . egalitarianism responds, why must there?’ its the power imbalance, rather than inequality itself, that the problem.

imagine a sci fi world in which productivity has reached such impressive heights that everyone can have every good they desire just from the work young kids do for fun… by twiddling the knobs on their local makerbot… et al so instead of working, mort people spend their days doing yoga or fishing.. but scarcity hasn’t completely faded away – there’s still competition for the best spots at the fishing hole.. so we continue to let those be allocated by the market.. .. the people who really want it earn the money to pay for it by helping people…

in this sort of world, inequality doesn’t seem like much of a problem. sure, some people get best fishing hole… but that’s because they didi more chores. if you want the spot.. you can do more work.. but the inequality doesn’t come with power

this sci fi world may sound ridiculous, but it’s basically the one keynes predicted we’d soon be living in

p 268 – (keynes) when these needs are satisfied in the sense that we prefer to devote our further energies to non-economic purposes…

indeed… if focus is on deep enough problem/desire..

(keynes – 188-1946) but of course it will all happen gradually, not as a catastrophe. indeed, it has already begun

well – not yet.. so perhaps.. need  leapfrog

p 269 – and the genius of hayes’ book is to show us why this is not enough.. not more black/female pop stars… but.. why we need elite superstars at all.. i hope hayes’ next book shows us what the world without this is like..

a nother way… radical econ … already there.. bucky ness.. that.

2 needs/desire deep enough – so that we’re actually us rather than science of people in schools

mechanism simple enough – so everyone can access use

system open enough – to set/keep everyone free

p 270 – freakonomics.. if want truth go to science.. then to stats..


p 271 – iq as accurate.. despite rather glaring lack of evidence

p 274 – on immorality of freakonomics..  when make people’s lives depend on artificial test.. end up cheating..

p 276 – standards for measuring music so it can get better..

? whoa.


p 277 – for as long as i’ve been building web apps, it’s been apparent that most successful websites are communities.. not just interactive pages..

magazines export communities.. instead of bringing together.. suggest what group of like minded might say…

p 279 – intellectual honesty requires bending over backwards to provide any evidence that you might be wrong, eve if you’re convince that you are right… requires you show your work in advance, so that others can see if you’re missing something..


p 281 – the small talk question.. i propose instead that one ask…

what have you been thinking about lately…

in the moment; what’s already on person’s mind; likely to be novel; helps capture person’s essence..rather than label or pleasing others

swartz small talk law

6\ unschool

p 285-6 – part of what i find so captivating about aaron’s writing on education is his exuberance at discovering a philosophy of learning that aligns with his instincts and experiences. aaron was nothing if not a compulsively curious and hardworking person, yet, as these pages make viscerally clear, he felt profoundly stifle in school….. online, aaron found a community that pointed to the possibility of another way of doing things…. fear is a big them of aaron’s writing on education, as is boredom, and for him the two go together. like most prominent unschooling advocates, aaron believe human beings are naturally curious; the problem is that conventional schooling stamps this inherent inquisitiveness out of us…. fear tends to toe the line,  while curiosity interrogates and crosses it….. though only a fragment of what he envisioned as a larger project, the essays that follow are a welcome and thought-provoking contribution to a long-standing and ongoing debate about learning, freedom,pedagogy, econ, and the public good…. provide a valuable window on the learning process – an illustration of aaron’s fundamental argument about curiosity engaged…what a gift to see such a keen/conscientious mind at work, striving to understand a world he care so much about… . astra taylor


astra taylor quote

perhaps.. a nother way

p 287 – but they (scientists testing what babies can do.. ie: count) overlook something even more important: babies get bored…. infants aren’t just playing around because they’re bored – from birth, they know the pleasure of figuring things out

richard feynman

p 288 – they apply such dedication to everything in their world….. littel kids are curiosity machines…

we could/should be at all ages.. you^th ness… if we didn’t squelch it.. let’s just see…

the toy itself isn’t nearly as interesting as the fact that the rake moves it closer….. we seem to have a kind of explanatory drive.. like our drive for food/sex

p 289 – the explanatory drive is so powerful it can overcome fear….

they sought out the problems that were just right for them…. providing a little bit of a challenge, but not so much… unless they were rewarded, that is – when they were given rewards for solving puzzles, they headed straight back for the easy ones..

preschoolers do’t need to be motivated to learn… why.. why… why… it’s almost kind of annoying.. so we ship them off to school..

p 290 – try to imagine it: torn away from your family, shipped off daily to a strange and uncomfortable place, thrown into a sea of unfamiliar faces, each scared in his/her own way and often taking it out on you..

gabor maté

but that was my world: day in and day out, those giants controlled my life, those children were my only companions and what happened in these classes? i did not get to explore or experiment as i did at home. i did not learn things the way i had learned them the rest of my life – through trail and error though experience and experiment. no, school was the place for Real Learning and, i was told, Real Learning was Work

occasionally there’d be a picture or a diagram or a worksheet, but for the most part it was simply talk. think of how many hours you spent sitting at those desks – 6 hrs a day, 180 days a year, for 12 years – listening to those teachers… that’s nearly thirteen thousand hours…..

the teachers weren’t oblivious to this (that we were zoning out), of course – that’s why they’d call on us, punctuating the long hours of boredom with moments of panic and terror..

p 291

i was flabbergasted – to find this in a school which people think of as progressive, which does its best not to put pressure on little children, which does not give marks in the lower grades, which tries to keep children from feeling that they’re in some kind of race.. i asked them why they felt gulpish… afraid of feeling themselves stupid… even in the kindest and gentlest of schools, children are afraid, many of them a great deal of the time, some of them almost all the time. this is a hard fact of life to deal with… – john holt


fear makes you dumb. your field of vision literally narrows.

neocortex threatened et al..

p 292 – when the teacher asks you a question, there’s no time to try to understand what they’re really saying or how it fits into some bigger picture. it’s not the time to get clarification on some point that’s confused you. and it’s not the time to make an honest mistake and learn from it. it’s about getting the right answer, fast, through whatever means necessary…

like tests…. ie: cheating or survival..

this isn’t about learning, this is about survival.

yet schools seem almost perfectly designed to keep kids scared… no time to think about the bigger picture…never get a moment to pause, to think for yourself… there’s never time to stop and ask why…

p 293 – stream of predigested facts… when the fifty minutes are up.. you have to stop being interested in this and switch over to being interested in that. but curiosity cannot be ordered around via remote control, the channel changed at fifty minute intervals. the only way to survive is by giving up on curiosity altogether, not caring about the subjects you’re supposed to be learning, just letting it all become a blur..

p 296 – they couldn’t detect any diff – not eve between the award winning teacher and one who read from the textbook. measured by a simple test like this, all were equally bad. it didn’t make a diff what the teachers did; the students still didn’t learn anything… well i felt challenged, mazur recalls…

eric mazur

p 297 – according to what you taught me or according to how i usually think about these things… how was he (mazur) supposed to answer that ..

p 300 – mazur was shocked to see that there were students who aced the traditional question but flunked the conceptual one. even more shocking, there were no students who did the reverse – there was nobody who answered these basic questions perfectly and then went on to fail the harder parts of the test. no one.

p 301 – it was not the she could not make the classroom analyses; her vector addition was, by itself, faultless. it is more that her naive physics and classroom physics stood unrelated and in the is instance, she exercised her naive physics..

p 302 – college in general seems to make little dent in this kind of basic reasoning. one study found that students took pretty much the same approach to reasoning social and political issues before they went to college as they didi after..

p 303 – in every case, we see the same phenomenon at work: children may be able to memorize enough formulas and facts to pass the test, but they literally have no idea what they’re talking about. when asked the question in a slightly different way or with a practical application, the appearance of understanding simply collapses

so .. the… what do schools do.. because schools do something…. we all know that getting a degree increases your wages, .. but what is it that schools do

the standard theory of course is that schools teach. we go there, we learn things, and they make us better at our jobs, which causes employers to pay us more. but evidence for this theory turns out to be rather hard to find…

economist joseph altonji tried to calculate the benefits of education by looking at the benefits of each individual high school class. he compared the *wages of people who took a class with those who didn’t take it …

*wages – wrong question.. no?

the result was shocking: taking no classes has not statistically significant effect on wages; indeed it might even increase them..

p 304 – i should note that the researchers are not happy with these results. john bishop, for example, considers them an outrage. but despite their best efforts, they cannot make the facts go away.

so what it it schools are really doing if not educating the next generation: well, just look at what’s left over: schools are places where kids must show up every day at 8 am for years on end, sit at uncomfortable desks under fluorescent lighting with a group of relative strangers, and obey arbitrary instructions from their superiors about the appropriate way to carry out repetitive intellectual assignments. even a casual glance at a modern office will show you that these are skills very much in demand.

instead, employers as for ‘character, a sense of responsibility, self-discipline, pride, teamwork and enthusiasm’ in other words, …employers want people they can rely on to do their work with pride and enthusiasm – and certainly not people who would engage in misbehavior and sabotage.

p 305 – in short, school don’t really teach kids anything because they’re not about really teaching kids anything. they’re about teaching kids to stay quiet, do their work, and show up on time. this isn’t an accident. this was the plan all along.

it’s difficult to even imagine what america was like before the industrial revolution….. worked whatever hours they liked… …. but you were free…  (summary p 318)

p 306 – on mills… and women…. after first pay day came.. and pay came.. they’re bowed heads were lifted…. harriet robinson.. 1898

how sad.. we equate pay and worth .. way back when…

p 307 – for the first time in this country woman’s labor had a money value

the work was dull, but it allowed plenty of time to think, and despite their lack of formal education, these girls did plenty of it… after work… read assiduously.. attended lectures… the lowell hall was always crowded, and 4/5 of the audience were factory-girls.

p 308 – i have never seen anywhere so assiduous note-taking. no, not even in a college class – harvard prof

and through all that thinking and learning and discussing, they began to question the less pleasant aspects of their situation….. harriet leads women to first strike 1836 – when she was 11 yrs old..

pluralistic ignorance ness

p 309 – the solution was not simply to demand that the bosses be nicer to them or pay them more, but to abolish the bosses entirely…. they must consolidate and combine so as to become their own employers and do their trading w/o the interference of the go-between and jobbers.

p 310 – they who work in the mills ought to own them.. – perhaps marxist.. but many years before mars.. it was just plain common sense..

the mill owners were not happy about such agitation…. they fired troublemakers and sought out more compliant replacements

their most striking plan – send the girls to school… the schools they built.. common schools..  (each hour planned out)… instead of corporal punishment, teachers were encouraged to secure order ‘by the mildest possible means’ to instill ‘ a regard for right, and thus a standard of self-govt in the minds of the children themselves.

p 311 – students tested… working coordinating other students was considered cheating and punished. (perhaps they were worried that if students learned to coordinate they might be more likely to foment strikes once in the mills.)

curriculum also much like modern schools – candidates for high school entrance in 1850, for example, were expected to know the names of capital of abussinia, of two lakes in the sudan, of the river…….- in 1850s

p 312 – so why did the mill owners spend so much money building and running these schools? they were quite clear about their intent. the classes were justified not for their usefulness but because memorizing them was a form of ‘moral education’ leading to ‘industrious habits.. and the consequent high moral influence which it exerts upon society at large’

one lowell manager: ‘never considered knowledge valuable in itself.. i have uniformly found the better educated…. more ready to comply with the wholesome and necessary regulations of an establishment’

not only were those who went through school better at following rules, but thew were less likely to stir up trouble..

intent of school…

p 313 – lowell committee summarized findings: the proprietors find the training of the schools admirably adapted to prepare the children for the labors of the mills… when laborers are well educated.. controversies and strikes can never occur… students, they noted, ‘have to receive their first lessons of subordination and obedience in the school room… indeed, school was so important that the mill owners quickly decided to make it mandatory… universal schooling is ‘our surest safety against internal commotions


the children who didn’t attend school ‘constitute an army more to be feared than war, pestilence and famine – warned the committee

ie: unsuccessful attempts to burn down schools….and index of public resistance to such coercion.. in 1844 .. the irish population went on strike from the schools, reducing attendance by 80%

p 314 – an analysis of census data by alexander field round that what led to a town getting a school was not its growth into a cit nor a rise in incomes nor the intro of expensive machinery, but instead the intro of the factory system itself. as factories marched across the country, public schools followed.

merle curti: hardly an annual meeting of the national education association was concluded w/o an appeal on the part of leading educators for the help of the teacher in quelling strikes and checking the spread of socialism and anarchism…. nea president james h smart declared that schools did more ‘ to suppress the latent flame of communism than all other agencies combined..

jane addams:  saying business men say… teach children to write legibly, and to figure accurately, and quickly; to acquire habits of punctuality and order; to be prompt to obey, and not question why; and you will fit them to make their way in the world as i have made mine

p 315 – despite all talk about educators and education priorities, the most important people in any school have always been businessmen. they constantly complain that our schools are failing, that they need to cut out modern fads and go ‘back to basics’ that unless schools get tougher on students american business will be unable to compete.

p 317 – in 1988 – chairman of xerox warned that ‘public ed has put this country at a terrible competitive disadvantage.. if current.. trends continue.. american business will have to hire a million new workers a year who can’t read, write or count…  (he has several ie’s of this sentiment)

similar complaints continue right to this present day. they are always followed by calls for ‘education reform’ and higher standards’ which in practice always translates into the same old ‘drill and skill’ of old. and of course, that’s exactly the point.

p 318 – people claiming this as conspiracy theory… a conspiracy theory is the notion that a small group of people have , in secret, managed to subvert the way things normally work. what i’m talking about is exactly the opposite: it’s a large group of people, working in public, making sure things keep going the way they normally keep going..

perpetuate\ing ness

now, it’s reasonable to believe that all of these things have flaws – that schools, for example, could do a better job of teaching students. after all, things can always be improved, sometimes quite a lot. but when you go further and say that schools are not only bad at teaching people, but that they’re not about teaching people at all – well, that when things get scary..

summary: look back over history.. there’s no conspiracy. a group of bold entrepreneurs find they can make cloth more efficiently by building large mills. the girls who staff them keep causing strikes and other trouble, so they require their employees go to school from a young age and learn to behave themselves.

but obviously most people won’t be thrilled to go to school so that they can learn to accept lower wages w/o complaint so the bosses develop a cover story: schools are about teaching people the things they need to know to survive in the world of business. it’s not true, of course – there’s no connection between the facts memorized in school and the skills needed on the job – but the story is convincing enough.

and so the spread of schools and factories destroy the american model of freedom. instead of being independent farmers of self-employed manufacturers. americans are herded into factories en masse, …

..forced to work for someone else because they cannot earn a living another way. but thanks to schools, this seems normal, even natural. after all isn’t that just the way the world works..

p 319 – today seems like everyone agrees that what we need are more rigorous schools.. bush/kennedy – no child left behind… tests determine – punishment – take money away… obama never so cruel.. instead,, race to top.. catch schools doing right and reward w/extra funding..

p 320 – the single-minded goal of maximizing test scores has been a blessing for the textbook market, which forces schools to buy expensive ‘evidence-based curricula’ .. proven to max test scores… the package.. also comes w/trained supervisors… making sure teachers stick to script… effect on students… they learn to hate reading… joy of findingg things out.. is banished from the classroom.

such drills don’t teach children anything about the world, but it does teach them ‘skills’ skills like how to follow senseless orders and sit at your desk for hours at a time… critics of higher stakes testing say it isn’t working… teaching to test rather than learning… but maybe that is actually the plan.. after all , employers seem to like it..

as i’m reading.. (just finished first section) this tweet:

Obama Wants $4B to Help Students Learn Computer Science – ABC News #educon @TheLovettSchool #lovettat…

haven’t read it.. probably won’t.. but my thinking is.. even if we think there’s a skill someone should learn.. any skill… and in any kind way… it’s still about control. we are really just wanting people to be like we think they should be (good intention or not).. not like they already are.

and so.. we keep on missing us.. perpetuate\ing not us ness.

p 321 – writing on unschooling in 2001 – age 14.. unschooling someone is surprisingly simple. you first deal with whatever regulations your state requires to homeschool.. then the child simply stays home and explores the world as he pleases..parents and other adults can assist… but must do their best not to force the kid into things…

p 322 – teenage liberation handbook (tlh) – .. the book has plenty of experiences where unschooling has improved family relationships, ‘cured’ cases of depressions or’ learning disabilities.’ and, most importantly, made kids happier

p 323 – science is not the memorization of uninteresting facts, as 12 years of science classes may lead you to believe. science is merely a process of asking questions and searching answers, …. the process is called the scientific method… letting you explore the world..

p 324 – the world around us is an enormous classroom and we merely need the time to explore it, and the drive to ask questions and try to answer them

in the city. as the day.

as tlk points out, adolescence is one of the most exciting and important times of transformation… other cultures mark it though strong/powerful experiences….. why do we go on like nothing is happening, throwing our children into a mind numbing spine straightening painfully useless ordeal

p 325 – first, school is not a place to develop social relationships.. in fact, it seems designed to stifle them… second, who decided that meaningful relationships could only be had with other people who happen to be in roughly the same physical area at roughly the same age? if anything this is a severely restrained peer group

i’ve implied unschooling only takes place at home. this is not true… unschooling movement considers sudbury schools part of them.. and playfully calls them the unschooling schools, unfortunately, through all my research in sudbury schools, i had not heard them mention unschooling movement – this would be especially appreciated for fans of the sudbury mode who do not have such a  school close by.

? not sure sudbury is unschooling.. close.. but not close enough.. for systemic change..

p 326 – unschooling is not only a change – it’s a tidal wave knocking out all that we know and believe about the school system and providing a vastly different – and better – alternative…. our slavery has lasted long enough…

p 327 – school rules (2000) age 14 – they tell you to behave to follow rules.. to do what they say to e quiet and polite and kind. don’t listen to them it’s a scam…. school.. supposed to be a safe place to experiment…. none of this was in my head as i hid out in the bathroom. these thoughts and justifications didn’t come to mind as i slithered down the hallway. it wasn’t there to console me as i was caught and dragged back down the hallway, onto the bus. the neurons didn’t fire as i sat, in tears, through a bitter interrogations and reprimand  the principal. i never realized them as i scrubbed the desks and shelves during my saturday detention. in fact, the didn’t hit me with full force until several days ago – a full year or so after the even took place…

p 328 – that’s the kind of thing that the big folks don’t understand, or at least they often pretend not to. they deliver their harsh words with all the anger they can muster, and perhaps they truly are angry but some part of me can’t help but wonder if deep inside they really understand…. that it’s a test… meant to crush self confidence.. to have it grow back even stronger… if that’s true. i want to tell them that there are easier ways. ones that work not through hatred and pain, but through love…

instead of fighting each other, and sowing hatred that will last throughout our lives, why don’t we work together to solve the problem, and share the love that we all want and need.

a and a… a nother way

p 329 – he (john holt) had never actually watched the kids – watched them carefully, that is..

quiet enough to hear ness

p 330 – a teacher in class is like a man in the woods with a powerful flashlight in his hand..whenever he turns his light, the creatures on whom it shines are aware of it, and thus to not behave as they do in the dark.. – jh

he began to realize that the students were not learning what he ‘taught’ them, but merely pretending to…

p 331 – after more of these experiences he gives up on teaching..

on seeing/hearing too much to not..

noticing that they (his small baby cousins) are relentless scientists, always observing and experimenting

p 332 – the first set of children al had trouble in spite of the fact that we – or so we thought – had done everything possible to set up a situation that would make discovery more easy…. .. but we hadn’t and they didn’t, for just this reason, that.. was our problem they were working on and not theirs.. jh

ginormous.. who’s curiosity is it.. today even (ie: yours could change for tomorrow).. bravery to change mind and raised eyebrow ness matter. huge.

worse, they begin to think that this is how to behave in every situation – on hiding, playing dumb, forget, weasel their way out, or trick you…..

how children fail (john’s book) makes clear through simple stories…

…why teaching plain doesn’t work..

p 333 – education was originally practiced through a system of apprenticeship… despite its success.. moved to a system of mandatory schooling..

p 334 – what’ important, however, is that we don’t force anyone into this program (of matching mentor to kids online et al). everything must be voluntary, or else we’ll lose the magic of community

gray play law – freedom to quit – voluntary – magic of community

p 336 – intellectual diversity at stanford – far left academic just ignore these devastating critiques. they continue to pretend their job is to investigate ‘reality’ and believe things based on ‘evidence’ when everyone can see that these are merely absurd justifications for them to maintain their positions of power and status over society. and as has widely been conceded., their advance ‘search committees’ and hiring requirements’ are just ways to prevent nonconformists from challenging their orthodoxes…

sinclair perpetuation law ness

p 338 – hide my copy of a people’s history of the u.s. as horowitz gives me the pen back, in order to avoid some epithets of my own…. he says this civility is because the uni management carefully ‘disciplines troublemaker

to enforce decorum, so he thanks the management for that..

[didn’t follow this horowitz section]

p 344 – on what it means to be intellectual – do i have to justify enjoying certain tv shows as well? at some point, isn’t pure enjoyment just enough? after all, time isn’t not be content to simply feel sad but to ask what sadness means… to not just get a bus pass but to think about the economic reasons getting a bus pass makes sense. i call this tendency the intellectual.

p 345 – word intellectual has a bad rap. and why is that.. one reason is that many people simply don’t like to think about things. perhaps it reminds them of school, which they didn’t enjoy, and they don’t want to go back there. another is that they’re busy people – men of action – and they don’t have time to sit and think about every little detail. but mostly it’s just because they think it’s a waste of time. what’s the point. what difference does it make what you think about punctuation? it’s not going to affect anything..

when i think of intellectuals though… they have something else in common – they don’t just love thinking, they love language.

language is the medium of thought


someone who spends a lot of time thinking spends a lot of time thinking about how to communicate their thoughts as well.. what good is thinking if you can’t share… they love nothing more than explaining their ideas so that anyone who’s interested can understand them.

caricature seems more like academic than intellectual (perhaps worth noting that most of the intellectuals i can think of aren’t academics or at least have left the academy) far from being intellectuals, academics are encouraged to be almost the opposite instead of trying to explain things simply, they’re rewarded for making them seem more complicated. instead of trying to learn about everything, they’re forced to focus in on their little subdiscipline. instead of loving books, they have to love gabbing – up in front of class or at office hour with students or at professional conferences of faculty meetings.

p 347 – anyone who wants to build a decent educational environment is going to need to solve this problem.. (feeling degraded when you fail) .. and there seems to be two ways of doing it: try and fix the people so that they don’t feel embarrassed at failing, or try to fix the environment so that people don’t fail.

p 349 – seems unlikely  that a lot of the fear is induced by goal oriented ed system, obsessed w/grades for work…. if this is the case, then simply building a decent non-coercive environment for children will solve the problem.. but that seems liek too much to hope for..

spaces of permission with nothing to prove... not too much. we can. we can’t not.

the real piece, it would seem, is ..

finding some way to detach a student’s actions from their worth.

..the reason failing hurts is because we think it reflects badly on us. i failed, therefore i’m a failure. but if that’s not the case, then there’ nothing to feel hurt about.

removing shame ness.. focus: 2 needs..  deep enough for all of us to be

where the sea is eternal and the wave is just its present form…

alfie kohn – finds that it’s essential for a child’s mental health that parents communicate that they love their child for who they are, no matter what it is they do..  children.. indeed all people.. need unconditional love and support to be able to survive in this world.


a and a ness

p 349 – obviously we’ll want to get rid of competition as well as grades, but even so, as we saw with mission hill, kids are scared of failure…. even mission hill, which ensure every classroom was mixed -age, still had a notion of age and clear requirements for graduating…

why we need to leap – for (blank)’s sake

what is school… instead of a bunch of activities you had to march through, was a bunch of activities students could pick and choose from…

what if it just facilitated your curiosity/whimsy.. no list to choose from.. no assumptions/precautions/basics/agendas/raised eyebrows… this is what we are capable of today.. with the http://www.. www ness

a nother way … as the day.

p 350 – too often people think of schools as systems for building good people. perhaps it’s time to think of them as places to let people be good..

ie: why have we not yet..

let go.

let people.

in the city. as the day.

let’s do this firstfree art-ists.


mar 2016 – excerpt from book in new republic – against school


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