Banishing the demons of war plank by rotten plank

In Nation­al Geo­graph­ic, Jane Brax­ton Lit­tle writes about the restora­tion of one of the most sto­ried protest boats of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry:

The Gold­en Rule project is an improb­a­ble accom­plish­ment by unlike­ly vol­un­teers. Mem­bers of Vet­er­ans For Peace, they are a mot­ley bunch that might have appalled the orig­i­nal crew, all con­sci­en­tious Quak­ers. They smoke, drink and swear like the sailors, though most of them are not. Aging and per­pet­u­al­ly strapped for mon­ey, the most­ly retired men sought to ban­ish their war-related demons as they ripped out rot­ten wood and replaced it plank by pur­ple­heart plank.

Friends Jour­nal ran an arti­cle by Jane, Restor­ing the Gold­en Rule,  back in 2011 when the VFP vol­un­teers first con­tem­plat­ed restora­tion, and a longer fol­lowup by Arnold (Skip) Oliv­er in 2013, The Gold­en Rule Shall Sail Again. Of course, the cool thing about work­ing at a estab­lished mag­a­zine is that it was easy for me to dip into the archives and find and com­pile our 1958 cov­er­age of the ship’s famous first voy­age.

You ca fol­low more about the restora­tion work on the VFP Gold­en Rule web­site or check out pic­tures from the re-launch on their Face­book page.



Religion in the mainstream press

They default to the same bor­ing tropes, says Amy Levin at TheRe­veal­er:

Reli­gious wars, reli­gious dress, reli­gious mon­ey – these are the real and yet superbly com­plex ele­ments of our cul­tur­al exis­tence. Scout any crack or cran­ny of pop­u­lar cul­ture and you find reli­gion cre­at­ing a glo­ri­ous maze of top­ics for writ­ers to dis­cov­er and sift and sing to the mass­es.

But late­ly, I find that a repul­sive plague of rep­e­ti­tion and banal­i­ty has swept over the dis­en­chant­ed cyber­sphere. Each day I begin my reli­gion news search with hope­ful eager­ness, sift­ing close­ly through main­stream and fringe out­lets, hun­gry for signs of a new trend, move­ment, argu­ment, study – any­thing oth­er than what I con­sumed the day before. But I search in vain, and my dol­drums have led me to take action.

(H/T to David Watt on Face­book)

Is dairy overrated?

None oth­er than the NYTimes’s Mark Bittman sounds like a veg­an polemi­cist:

Most humans nev­er tast­ed fresh milk from any source oth­er than their moth­er for almost all of human his­to­ry, and fresh cow’s milk could not be rou­tine­ly avail­able to urban­ites with­out indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment not only sup­ports the milk indus­try by spend­ing more mon­ey on dairy than any oth­er item in the school lunch pro­gram, but by con­tribut­ing free pro­pa­gan­da as well as sub­si­dies amount­ing to well over $4 bil­lion in the last 10 years.

These aren’t new argu­ments, but Bittman presents them well, cit­ing his own expe­ri­ences. And of course it makes a dif­fer­ence that he’s a charm­ing, high pro­file Times colum­nist.

Steve Jobs on his major mistake during Apple’s troubled years: “Letting…

Reshared post from +Tim O’Reilly

Steve Jobs on his major mis­take dur­ing Apple’s trou­bled years: “Let­ting prof­itabil­i­ty out­weigh pas­sion” http://​huff​.to/​n​N​H​jGY #dit­to (a tweet by @stevecase) struck home for me, because in the after­math of Jobs’ death I’ve been think­ing a lot about O’Reilly, want­i­ng to make sure that we stream­line and focus on the stuff that mat­ters most.

Here’s the mon­ey quote from the arti­cle:

“My pas­sion has been to build an endur­ing com­pa­ny where peo­ple were moti­vat­ed to make great prod­ucts,” Jobs told Isaac­son. “[T]he prod­ucts, not the prof­its, were the moti­va­tion. Scul­ley flipped these pri­or­i­ties to where the goal was to make mon­ey. It’s a sub­tle dif­fer­ence, but it ends up mean­ing every­thing.”

Jobs went on to describe the lega­cy he hoped he would leave behind, “a com­pa­ny that will still stand for some­thing a gen­er­a­tion or two from now.”

“That’s what Walt Dis­ney did,” said Jobs, “and Hewlett and Packard, and the peo­ple who built Intel. They cre­at­ed a com­pa­ny to last, not just to make mon­ey. That’s what I want Apple to be.“
All of our great­est work at O’Reilly has been dri­ven by pas­sion and ide­al­ism. That includes our ear­ly for­ays into pub­lish­ing, when we were a doc­u­men­ta­tion con­sult­ing com­pa­ny to pay the bills but wrote doc­u­men­ta­tion on the side for pro­grams we used that didn’t have any good man­u­als. It was those man­u­als, on top­ics that no exist­ing tech pub­lish­er thought were impor­tant, that turned us into a tech pub­lish­er “who came out of nowhere.”

In the ear­ly days of the web, we were so excit­ed about it that +Dale Dougher­ty want­ed to cre­ate an online mag­a­zine to cel­e­brate the peo­ple behind it. That mor­phed into GNN, the Glob­al Net­work Nav­i­ga­tor, the web’s first por­tal and first com­mer­cial ad-supported site.

In the mid-90s, real­iz­ing that no one was talk­ing about the pro­grams that were behind all our most suc­cess­ful books, I brought togeth­er a col­lec­tion of free soft­ware lead­ers (many of whom had nev­er met each oth­er) to brain­storm a com­mon sto­ry. That sto­ry rede­fined free soft­ware as open source, and the world hasn’t been the same since. It also led to a new busi­ness for O’Reilly, as we launched our con­fer­ence busi­ness to help bring vis­i­bil­i­ty to these projects, which had no com­pa­ny mar­ket­ing behind them.

Think­ing deeply about open source and the inter­net got me think­ing big ideas about the inter­net as oper­at­ing sys­tem, and the shift of influ­ence from soft­ware to net­work effects in data as the key to future appli­ca­tions. I was fol­low­ing peo­ple who at the time seemed “crazy” — but they were just liv­ing in a future that hadn’t arrived for the rest of the world yet. It was around this time that I for­mu­lat­ed our com­pa­ny mis­sion of “chang­ing the world by spread­ing the knowl­edge of inno­va­tors.”

In 2003, in the dark days after the dot com bust, our com­pa­ny goal for the year was to reignite enthu­si­asm in the com­put­er busi­ness. Two out­comes of that effort did just that: +Sara Winge ‘s cre­ation of Foo Camp spawned a world­wide, grass­roots move­ment of self-organizing “uncon­fer­ences,” and our Web 2.0 Con­fer­ence told a big sto­ry about where the net was going and what dis­tin­guished the com­pa­nies that sur­vived the dot­com bust from those that pre­ced­ed it.

In 2005, see­ing the pas­sion that was dri­ving garage inven­tors to a new kind of hard­ware inno­va­tion, Dale once again want­ed to launch a mag­a­zine to cel­e­brate the pas­sion­ate peo­ple behind the move­ment. This time, it was a mag­a­zine: Make: (http://​makezine​.com), and a year lat­er, we launched Mak­er Faire (http://​mak​er​faire​.com) as a com­pan­ion event. 150,000 peo­ple attend­ed Mak­er Faires last year, and the next gen­er­a­tion of star­tups is emerg­ing from the fer­ment of the move­ment that Dale named.

Mean­while, through those dark years after the dot­com bust, we also did a lot of pub­lish­ing just to keep the com­pa­ny afloat. (With a small data sci­ence team at O’Reilly, we built a set of ana­lyt­i­cal tools that helped us under­stand the untapped oppor­tu­ni­ties in com­put­er book pub­lish­ing. We real­ized that we were play­ing in only about 2/5 of the mar­ket; mov­ing into oth­er areas that we had nev­er been drawn to helped pay the bills, but nev­er sparked the kind of cre­ativ­i­ty as the areas that we’d found by fol­low­ing our pas­sion.)

It was at this time that I for­mu­lat­ed an image that I’ve used many times since: prof­it in a busi­ness is like gas in a car. You don’t want to run out of gas, but nei­ther do you want to think that your road trip is a tour of gas sta­tions.

When I think about the great per­sis­tence of Steve Jobs, there’s a les­son for all of us in it.

What’s so great about the Apple sto­ry is that Steve end­ed up mak­ing enor­mous amounts of mon­ey with­out mak­ing it a pri­ma­ry goal of the com­pa­ny. (Dit­to Lar­ry and Sergey at Google.) Con­trast that with the folks who brought us the 2008 finan­cial cri­sis, who were focused only on mak­ing mon­ey for them­selves, while tak­ing advan­tage of oth­ers in the process.

Mak­ing mon­ey through true val­ue cre­ation dri­ven by the desire to make great things that last, and make the world a bet­ter place — that’s the heart of what is best in cap­i­tal­ism. (See also the won­der­ful HBR blog post, Steve Jobs and the Pur­pose of the Cor­po­ra­tion. http://​blogs​.hbr​.org/​c​s​/​2​0​1​1​/​1​0​/​s​t​e​v​e​_​j​o​b​s​_​a​n​d​_​t​h​e​_​p​u​r​p​o​s​e​_​o​f​.​h​tml I also got a lot of per­spec­tive on this top­ic from +Lean­der Kah­ney’s book, Inside Steve’s Brain http://​www​.ama​zon​.com/​I​n​s​i​d​e​-​S​t​e​v​e​s​-​B​r​a​i​n​-​L​e​a​n​d​e​r​-​K​a​h​n​e​y​/​d​p​/​1​5​9​1​8​4​1​984 )

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What Steve Jobs Learned From His Biggest Fail­ure
Wal­ter Isaacson’s autho­rized biog­ra­phy of Steve Jobs traces the Apple co-founder’s career in Sil­i­con Val­ley – from its soar­ing highs to its crush­ing lows. Jobs has been hailed as a tech vision­ary, but …

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PicPlz being sold off

I tope it con­tin­ues and evolves as I’ve grown fond of it for the one-off cell snap­shot.

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Don’t Call It A Piv­ot­Plz: Pic­Plz Spun Off As Mixed Media Labs Pre­pares Their Next Prod­uct
When Mixed Media Labs raised a $5 mil­lion round last Novem­ber, it raised quite a few eye­brows. After all, the mon­ey came from Andreessen Horowitz, the VC firm which had backed Insta­gram. To be fair, t…

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Iran-Contra alum behind Terror Psychic Network

The Idiot who came up with the “Ter­ror Psy­chic Net­work” is leav­ing the Pen­ta­gon over the flap. What’s even more strik­ing is his iden­ti­ty: it’s John Poindex­ter, one of the peo­ple at the heart of the Iran-Contra scan­dal that rocked the Rea­gan Admin­is­tra­tion.

For those too young to remem­ber, in the Iran-Contra affair Reagan’s kook­i­est spooks secret­ly sold arms to U.S. arch­en­e­my num­ber 1 (Iran) in order to cir­cum­vent Con­gres­sion­al demands that they not fund an oppo­si­tion army against U.S. arch­en­e­my num­ber 2 (Nicaragua), with the mon­ey being fun­neled through the coun­try that then and now still inex­plic­a­bly isn’t pub­lic ene­my num­ber 3 (Sau­di Ara­bia). It was the cir­cuitous­ness of it all more than any­thing that kept Rea­gan out of jail for all of this.

Why Poindex­ter was ever allowed back any­where near Wash­ing­ton, much less the Pen­ta­gon, is a mys­tery. Here are some arti­cles on Poindexter’s return to Wash­ing­ton and return of the Iran-Contra crew to the (Bush II) White House. Here’s anoth­er arti­cle on the res­ig­na­tion of the Rea­gan crook turned Bush-II fool.