coffee cartel ftw

Our search for a great local coffee house is now over. It is this place.

Open to 11 on weekdays and 12 on weekends, free wifi, plenty of couches and comfy chairs, not Starbucks*. Done and done.

*I still love you Starbucks.

i love wikipedia

from here
When Xerxes was crossing the Hellespont in the midst of the first Greco-Persian War, he built two bridges that were quickly destroyed. Feeling personally offended, his paranoia led him to believe that the river was consciously acting against him as though it were an enemy. As such Herodotus quotes him as saying "You salt and bitter stream, your master lays his punishment upon you for injuring him, who never injured you. Xerxes will cross you, with or without your permission."[2] He subsequently threw chains into the river, gave it three hundred lashes and "branded it with red-hot irons".[3]
It's the semi-snarky use of quotation marks that really puts it over the top.

magic beans

may be just what I'm looking for.

From the story:
  • Traded in parallel to conventional currency
  • Undervalued by muggles.
  • Actually pretty awesome.
Seems to fit the bill. We'll use 'beans' for short and 'Bs' for even shorter.

alphabet songs

The experiment is, sing along with whatever song is playing right now, but instead of the song lyrics, sing one letter of the alphabet for every note.

I found it really disorienting, and I had to think hard about each note. I think it's because I generally remember the alphabet by singing it, and without that melody and rhythm to fall back on it takes a while to pull up the knowledge.

Also, I've never been that great at alphabetization, my secret shame!

replacing money*

Money has worked pretty well over the years, but it is best suited to zero-sum trading (where, for example, I give you a chair and you give me $50, and then we are both happy.) Money is not so great at modeling other situations though, like chore distribution in a household, or volunteer efforts in a community. In fact there are lots of things we would like to do where money really isn't appropriate, because the nature of the transaction is just different. For instance if I watch a video online, I've gotten entertainment, but I didn't take anything away from the author, not time, not a physical good, so the interaction is not really zero sum.

Charles Stross writes about this topic in the early parts of Accelerando, where Manfred Manx is trying to escape the old zero sum economy altogether by simply doing favors for people and letting them reward him as they see fit. Clay Shirkey talks about large groups of people coming together for non-monetary projects in Here Comes Everybody, but what is missing is a currency... The good will and social capital that is built up within a micro-community is inherently non-transferable to another community, and without the security of being able to quantify and transfer this social good, incentives are low to produce it, and trade remains local and conservative.

In the early days of physical trade, local bartering systems gave way to communal, interchangeable currencies. What we have now is a similar problem, where we have a billion tiny economies of sharing, but no currency to tie them together, no liquidity of volunteerism. In the same way that your net worth in dollars is a measure of how much you own and control, your net worth in the currency of sharing will reflect the strength of your ties to the community, and the community's ties to you. Similarly to money, it will confer real-world benefits. Unlike money, it does not go away when you use it.

*I am not an anarchist or a communist, and in fact I don't think that money will ever quite go away, but I'd like to see a parallel system of currency that is better suited to the future.