After America, Before New Zealand

... and what the future looked like 50 years ago.

Should I change my “cracked Capitol” icon? I drew it a few years ago to illustrate the tectonic change that I thought we were beginning to see.

The slide for modern era didn’t show a cracked Church - it showed what replaced it, state governments. The cracked Capitol was a placeholder because I don’t know what’s coming next.

I didn’t literally expect the Capitol to get invaded - not yet, at least - and I certainly didn’t foresee the QAnon-buffalo-Viking chap. But I guess underground movements causing unexpected changes is the entire point of the “state tectonics” thesis. Now that it’s happened, we should probably a think about what does come next, because it’s coming whether we like it or not.

When I was writing about state tectonics a couple of years ago, I wrote an article called “Make Christendom Great Again” about how Martin Luther would have nailed Twitter. Earlier this month, a much better writer and historian, Tom Holland, wrote “Martin Luther Would Have Ruled Twitter.” Read both :-)

The question from the end of my article is still urgent: Knowing what happened five hundred years ago should make us think about the path we take from here. The biggest question in politics today is: how do we get to where we’re going without another Thirty Years’ War?

Wellerman, the original Dunedin Sound

As well as the collapse of the Westphalian nation state, social media has brought us viral sea shanties. Whether either of these is net positive, opinion is divided. I’m happy to say that I’ve discovered a tenuous personal connection to the greatest viral sea shanty of all, Soon May the Wellerman Come.

First of all, here’s the viral phenom. Fair warning: this is the most infectious ear-worm I’ve ever encountered.

When my family first came to New Zealand, we moved to Dunedin. We lived in a house built by colonial entrepreneur Johnny Jones as a wedding gift for one of his daughters. The other daughter’s house was round the corner and Johnny Jones’s old home is now The Dunedin Club.

Jones was involved in various adventures around Otago including decimating the seal population, guessing incorrectly where the Dunedin settlement was going to be built, and buying most of the South Island from people who may or may not have had the right to sell it.

Jones was also involved in whaling, through the Weller brothers, partners and rivals from Sydney. Edward Weller founded the Otakou whaling station on the Otago peninsula on land bought from Jones. It was sailors from the Otakou whaling station who concocted Wellerman. The Otago Daily Times had an article covering the background last weekend.

Wellers’ Rock is now the departure point for wildlife cruises of the habour, a change from the days when the place had a sea wall made of discarded whale heads.

[Tidbits from Johnny Jones: A Colonial Saga.]

Why I Glued a Cheap Android Tablet to My Fridge

Smart fridges are dumb, for all the reasons explained on @internetofshit’s Twitter feed. The reason internet fridges are a bad idea was explained by Stewart Brand in 1994, the same year I found out what the internet was, in his book, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built.

His idea of “shearing layers” was the first inspiration for my glue-gun-and-magnets approach to building an Internet Fridge. The second inspiration was Microsoft’s release of Blazor, a technology that allows old dogs who program in C# to build modern web apps without learning new tricks.

Kitchen computers have been the future for fifty years. To follow along with how I’m building a modern progressive web application without learning JavaScript, have a look at my Internet Fridge project.

Progressive web apps are also ideal if you’re trying to accelerate the collapse of the nation state. The technology lets you build a chat app for extremists that can’t be kicked out of Apple or Google’s stores. The downside is it requires you to not be terrified of the word “progressive”, so it will never happen. Clever buggers, those Googlers.

Thanks for reading,

Bernard