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Showing posts from 2020

Beamspun 1.1: 13th September 2020

Local sunrise / publish time: 0532 UTC (+11m)Welcome back. Thanks for sticking with me. It's been a while and I've forgotten how to format everything, but as posted before Beamspun will be less regular, and more focused on aspects of change. While we all want things to change as fast as possible, I'm currently thinking about disruption, and how our current normal (despite what people would have you believe about a new one) can be interrupted. There are still links, and I'm sure the mix of those with thoughts will change with each newsletter, but as always, feedback welcome.OK, time to shine. Blocking and DisruptionThe world has see a lot of disruption in forever years, and I'm never quite sure if the rate of disruption is increasing, or if the current generation - and our fad of never-ending news cycles - has an increased awareness of it. I think what is certain is that the powers which have wielded disruption (politics, propaganda, warfare, etc) are working out how…

2020-07-26 - Chapter One

Local sunrise / publish time: 0418 UTC (+10m)SolnotesHey, how are you? It's slightly mad I can type out some words and have no idea what you're doing when you pick them up. Maybe you're on a bus, a sofa, or beach. Maybe this is the day after I wrote it, freah as dew, or maybe I've worked out my archives and this is part of some strange collection a year, 5 years, 50 years down the line. Maybe I'm myself reading this back, wondering what I started or what I forgot all those years ago. Writing is weird like this. But however it happens, one thing is certain - writing is about a connection. Through time and space. From one culture to another. Injected into minds I can never obtain a true idea of the authenticity of. But here we are, here to conect.A few things have happened recently.I set up a notebook for Beamspun. It should probably be called PROJECT BEAMSPUN or somesuch now - once you write a name on a notebook, that's it - it's Official. Its part of your l…

2020-07-19 - Pause

What, was that two weeks? Never. It felt like a month and a breath all in one. Lots of things happened - comings and goings, reconnections and endings and re-birth. A happy time and a sad time. A busy time, and a relaxing one. It was a good time to have a break from writing, to be honest.I've been watching though. The world around us is into its difficult stage now - the initial urgency of the Covid pandemic is giving way into second waves, gradual rippling around the world, and more chances opening up to ask - what next? and what are we supposed to be doing? And so far, I'm not sure anyone has any real answers. There's a depressing lack of imagination floating around. The most imaginative we can get is to tell ourselves that there's some sort of "new normal" coming. But we daren't imagine what that look like, and so we seek out any return to the old normal. Sales are seen as a bridge to the old economies. Slogans help us put a veneer on old habits. Our c…

Beamspun 12: 5th July 2020

Local sunrise / publish time: 0353 UTC (+4m)Hello. Before we go any further, let's all just take a break. Pause this for a minute, five minutes, 20 minutes, an hour, whatever suits. It's ok. Take some breaths, look around to the corners of your vision, listen to the wind or the night or whatever else surrounds you. Just, you know, it's fine to stop. You don't have to feel guilty or excited or even curious about stopping. It's just a Thing that you can Do. Trust me, it'll be the best thing you do all day.Now you're back, I'll be stopping too. Just for a week, mind. I've written more at the bottom, but we have work to do, and gathering yourself first is the only way to know if you're doing that work sensibly.P.S. The ether went weird and this post was originally blank. Apologies if you get this twice, or never, or anything other than once...Linkscities: Anne Hildago has been re-elected mayor of Paris, and will be continuing the push towards a city…

Beamspun 11: 28th June 2020

Local sunrise / publish time: 0349 UTC (+3m)Hello world. Can you believe we've made it to this side of the apex? The long nights and frost are drawing in and .. well, not quite yet. But summer solstice always reminds me a little of where I was 6 months ago, and a lot more about where I'll be in another 6 months. This week the thunder was loud and even the ants are flying.“If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day." - Anthon St. Maarten I've been falling into a permaculture rabbit hole recently, on the back of reading Looby Macnamara's book mentioned last week. So this week's links might have more of a garden and farming feel than usual. Enjoy.Linksprinciples: Thinking a lot about principles as a way of guiding our actions this week. Some links on my radar are the three ethics of permaculture which I like because three is a good number, a new solarpunk manifesto, and six …

Beamspun 10: 21st June 2020

Local sunrise / publish time: 0346 UTC (+1m, ☰)Well, my calendars say it's summer solstice on Saturday, and my sunrise checker says Saturday and Sunday have the same number of seconds of daylight, so I figure somewhere out there, some major computations have decided that Saturday was a teensieth quanta of a grasshopper's leg shorter than Sunday. Either way, it's solstice weekend and a time to celebrate, take a pause, look straight up and see the clouds and that ring around the sun which you can't always see but you know it's there and you can feel it in your heart warming you when you wake up until you go to sleep. Bang the drums, blow the flutes, salute the flowers and spin in circles - fill yourself with light!And because there are too many words and not enough silences in this world, here is a void to fill with the songs of birds:Linkscommunities: Could mini-forests help establish networks and corridors of biodiversity in urban (and, indeed, rural areas crowded …

Beamspun 9: 14th June 2020

Local sunrise / publish time: 0345 UTC (-2m)Well it's one of those weeks when the flies are buzzing and the links are jumping out the walls. Not long until we hit maximum daylight here in the summer hemisphere, and the bindweed is having a party. Today the clouds looked like feathers dropped by the great god of birds for seagulls to play in. There's a clue somewhere in that. Get out and spread your wings.It's Sunday, here's the Beamspun.Returningintegrate: I've been fascinated by foraging for a few years, so was looking up cow parsley which also looks like hemlock it turns out. Anyway, the first half of this video on cow parsley and hemlock is all about not just foraging, but about getting away from books and screens, and getting to know plants up close and personal, out and about, in the wild. Embrace the wild, learn from each other, take a journey.healing: We're not happy, and we don't know what comes next. Here's a long read where humanity goes throu…

Beamspun 8: 7th June 2020

Local sunrise / publish time: 0347 UTC (-5m)Feels like a strange week to be writing about the future. The recent past seems like lifetimes ago, and the bitter histories people worked so hard to cover up carry on blowing into the present. Bait and switch between then and now, buried spirits becoming the shoots of something new, and yet so familiar. The summer weeds returning to the pavements and the undeveloped land, WE KNOW ALL THIS yet we want to be distracted by the future. Let's face it, the world has been driven by a longing for sci-fi since before I -probably you too - was born. Our sense of control and connection was always a myth from the before-days, yet here we stand, able to do anything we want, if we really want it. Or is that just an illusion too? Like the eyes on a moth's wings telling you that you're beautiful. Believe the wings, trust in the wings.And yet among the confusion, we find togetherness. We thread our strings through voices and ideas and "yeah…

Beamspun 7: 31st May 2020

Local sunrise / publish time: 0352 UTC (-6m)Hey Sunday folks, or whatever epoch it is where you are, and welcome new readers. Not going to lie to you, I am tired at the time of writing this. There will probably be typos, missing and incorrect links, grammatical crimes, hidden crocodiles, discarded sweet wrappers and all the other sins of humanity. All errors are my own, of course. Unless someone else made them.But that's no excuse. These things come and go, and we're in it for the long haul. We push on and do what we have to do, because nobody else is going to do it for us. And then we relax when we're done, kick back, smile, sleep, dream some more, snore, mutter strange paragraphs and then do it all again the next time the sun comes up. Because that's how stuff gets done and how the world changes.This week my energy is being sustained by photos of the little things from people I talk to. Flowers, skies, whatever takes their interest. So here's one for you from my …

Beamspun 6: 24th May 2020

Local sunrise / publish time: 0358 UTC (-9m)Hello world, you humans you. How are you? May always confuses me - one moment it's the start of the summer, and a month later the equinox is looming and I'm already thinking about autumn time. Not to complain though. This week, I've been tending. Tending to the seedlings to make sure they don't get eaten or shrivelled up. And tending to my broken self-hosted RSS feeds and feed reader, which means I've inundated myself with links to catch up on from the last few weeks. Weeding and reading go together, huh? Anyway, a special shout out to Giuseppe this week for his data visualisations newsletter, which has fed in at least a few of the links below.New moon, bank holiday, let's go let's go.Links#photos:Spana Reddy's featured Flickr images: "...we tend to forget that long before these places of worship were built there have existed natural cathedrals where the pillars rose from the depths of the soil and reache…

Beamspun 5: 17th May 2020

IntroLocal sunrise / publish time: 0407 UTC (-10m) (via my Flickr) Drawn out time. Long time. It's a thing. Our days are stretching out ahead of us, devoid of the novelty value we've become used to in our techno-middle-class lives. Repetitive days, sun up / make tea / sun down / dream / sun up / tea down / dream up / down down / etc. This is how the great trees live, how the bees spend their days. No Netflix for cacti. No world concerts that the ants can tune into. Enjoy the passage of time.Links#arts: Oh my, what is this Botanical Mind online gallery thing with its sections on things like Indigenous Cosmologies and some intriguing podcasts? In another world, I would have taken the name "Happy roots" for this newsletter from Adam Chodzko's piece: #videos: Hey, can we replace the term "ecosystem" with "living, green infrastructure"? From Nebraska Forest Service's Community Forest

Beamspun 4: 10th May 2020

IntroLocal sunrise / publish time: 0417 UTC (-12m)It is strange to hear talk of easing lockdown restrictions at the moment. Part of me is wondering what it will be like - not the practicalities and the guidelines, but the sense of return.I vividly remember coming back to the airport after a week's walking in the Alps. Heated wine replaced rapidly by giant TV screens. The meandering path substituted for signs and clocks with seconds on. I remember that moment more than many parts of the walking, and more than the air flight home.
The return is not important. Where we have been is not important. Right now, one thing matters - that we take the sense of confusion and disruption all around us, and drive it home. We explore it and use it as a tool to question ourselves, to cease our habits and to gaze into the deep, dark folds of our imagination.For what? For something different. Something we've forgotten. Links#longreads:This is a very goodexploration of the politics and futurethat s…

Beamspun 3: 3rd May 2020

Intro Local sunrise / publish time: 0429 UTC (weekly change: -13m) Mon 4th: Equinox / Solstice midpoint. Lake, Valley: ☱ Good morning. Is it May already? Bluebells and clouds have returned around these parts, billowing, bulbous cloud formations like you see in films. The end of April took a few days out to pretend it was still the April we knew - chilled days and sudden showers - but I'm on to you April, your blue skies and raised temperatures don't have me fooled. A quick shout out this week to both the Writers HQ mail-out and orbitalfox's Gaia group for keeping me inspired and looking forwards, not backwards. Because without inspiration, we've got nothing. Links#punk: Let's kick off with this great post from solarpunkdruid: The Punk in Solarpunk: Not all Rebellion is Performative: "Solarpunk says no, kindness and earnestness are better". #punk: And Freedom Bookshop's (old?) post on solarpunk and anarchist infrapolitics. #narratives: Wow, so many q…

Beamspun 2: 26th April 2020

IntroLocal sunrise / publish time: 0442 UTC
May Day is fast approaching on this edge of the sphere, although it feels like we fast-forwarded through April and woke up in June already. The world is a strange place, and even stranger the last few months. But the cycles turn and turn, and the ins and outs and ups and downs are what define us. The Green Man watches us. Celebrate the coming of change, and you will remember what it means to be alive.

Today's edition delves into trees a bit more, in celebration of the return of the leaves and the arrival of shoots. Just to refresh your memory, Beamspun is not a purely "solarpunk" thing - it's about investigating the web that exists around us, a result of living in a world that circles the sun.
Links#archive: What do you mean you haven't seen Studio Ghibli's NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind yet? It's from 1984, but you're not allowed to read any further until you've seen it. Go and find a copy, the wo…