Prevalent tech teaches helplessness & disempowerment. Another paradigm already exists — tech that is hackable and fixable by design, tech that empowers.

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Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

When I was a junior in college, I was broke as hell. Sometimes my girlfriend would smuggle food out of the dining hall and bring it to me because I couldn’t afford the meal plan. With a minimum wage job and high rent, I could barely afford food. But my laptop sucked. It was heavy, enormous, and slow.

However, my girlfriend’s mom had a tiny “netbook” that was virtually brand new. She couldn’t stand how slow it was, so she offered to sell it to me for fifty bucks. I bought it because it was so small and soon saw…


Many of us are not accustomed to the pandemic lifestyle. Here are some habits & activities that can allow these months of social distancing to be a time of re-centering and personal growth.

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Photo by W A T A R I on Unsplash

I’ve been noticing that different people in similar situations have been having vastly differing experiences handling the self-quarantining asked of us during this pandemic. As a service worker, my income has been nearly completely annihilated by the temporary shutdown of non-essential businesses and I normally spend a lot of time in coffee shops — yet I’m still having somewhat of a great time now, with so much ability to think deeply about things and pursue goals I wouldn’t normally be able to pursue.

So since we’re all going to be inside a lot for the next weeks and months, I…


Waves of infection will be significantly outlasted by the economic impacts of the novel coronavirus. While most are thinking about short-term measures, some of us must prepare for the long haul and build long-term community resilience.

You can watch or listen to this blog post here:

Dealing with the stress and mental stain caused by social distancing and the immense uncertainty of the situation, the likelihood of a the healthcare snafu, and the urgency to facilitate emergency basic needs provisions due to Covid-19 are (relatively) short-term concerns, which are absolutely necessary to think about and work within. So I’m extremely glad that many people are taking this quite seriously and organizing around it.

But a few people need to be thinking about how to brace ourselves for the marathon struggle, the economic situation that our…


Capitalism fails because it operates on principles that are at odds with the ecologies of the planet it operates upon. Here’s a design philosophy to counter it — informed by complex systems.

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Photo by Thomas Peham on Unsplash

This is a time when millions upon millions are realizing that the old systems are in a freefall, collapsing together and bringing us down with them. Inequality is on everyone’s mind, yet it continues to grow worse and worse. This is a time when privatization and commodification have begun to consume everything and the overarching force that drives it — neoliberal Capitalism — has begun to reach its logical conclusion: self-cannibalization.

This is a time when millions are coming into the awareness that allowing the old systems to continue will result in our annihilation.

And now, what might be the…


To understand reality, forget the individual and try to understand patterns of how things flow.

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Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash

Today, the world is primarily transformed by human systems. That is to say that on a material level, natural systems maintain a level of relative stasis relative to the rapid rate of material change caused by human systems. When natural systems change rapidly (as with climate change) it’s now largely a result of the relatively rapid rate of material change caused human systems.

So to understand how the world is shaped, it is crucial to understand the key principles of how human systems operate and how they are shaped.

And it seems that all human systems are systems of flow…


Why removing fear and financial coercion from the equation can rapidly multiply our allies

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Photo by Philip Brown on Unsplash

At the community film screening of Invasion yesterday that some friends and I put on (about neo-colonial intrusions into indigenous territory to build multi-billion dollar fossil fuel infrastructure) I was struck by something that I hadn’t noticed in my first couple views of it. The white man with glasses offering the pathetic, poorly thought-out “offering” of bottled water and packaged cigarettes looked truly ashamed of what he was doing. The moment occurs 12 minutes in (see below). He looked humiliated. …


Emin Gün Sirer of Cornell created a virtual currency that predated Bitcoin. In an interview, he talks about the problems & potential of blockchain, energy consumption, and new consensus protocols.

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Emin Gün Sirer is a computer science professor at Cornell University and co-director of The Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3). Sirer created a P2P proof-of-work digital currency (Karma) that preceded Bitcoin by six years, has played a significant role in the development of core consensus protocols, and has previously alerted the cryptocurrency community of previously-undetected security flaws in various protocols.

I spoke with Sirer in his office about increasing blockchain adoption in the general public and how groups within the crypto-space have changed their ideas around the immutability of code as these systems continue to evolve to solve real…


Emin Gün Sirer of Cornell on Problems & Potential of Blockchain

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Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

Emin Gün Sirer is a computer science professor at Cornell University and co-director of The Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3). Sirer created a P2P proof-of-work digital currency (Karma) that preceded Bitcoin by six years, has played a significant role in the development of core consensus protocols, and has previously alerted the cryptocurrency community of previously-undetected security flaws in various protocols.

I spoke with Sirer in his office about increasing blockchain adoption in the general public and how groups within the crypto-space have changed their ideas around the immutability of code as these systems continue to evolve to solve real…


How the intersection of land reform, agriculture, & community finance makes up the bedrock of economic & political resistance today

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Archival slide image from New Communities, the first community land trust in the United States.

In June 1968, a group of eight American civil rights and land reform activists traveled to Israel with a plan that was ambitious, if not outright radical. They made the journey in order to study the legal foundations and management practices behind the Jewish National Fund’s leasehold system, and to use this knowledge to advance the civil rights movement and broad-based land reform.

One of these activists was Robert Swann, co-author of The Community Land Trust: A Guide to a New Model for Land Tenure in America. In the book he explained that, “Israel has been one of the few…


A beginner’s guide to blockchain startups transforming our world for the better

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Brooklyn Microgrid community event, Photo courtesy of LO3

The volatility in the price of cryptocurrencies doesn’t matter to restaurateur Helena Fabiankovic, who started Baba’s Pierogies in Brooklyn with her partner Robert in 2015. Yet she and her business are already positioned to reap the real-world benefits of the technology that underpins these digital currencies — the blockchain — and they will be at the forefront of a sustainable, community-based peer-to-peer energy revolution because of it.

So what does a restaurateur have to do with the blockchain and local energy? Fabiankovic is one of the early participants in the Brooklyn Microgrid, a project of the startup LO3 Energy that…

Aaron Fernando

Intellectual scout. I explore alternate (social & economic) worlds. Then, I report back.

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