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 well hang on now"s and "what about"s. The questions bubble up, freed from their usual routines of being cast aside in favour of old wallets. The future, like the past, was never about tech or about brands or curvy things, but always stories, communities, and "hey it was ok all along".

We'll get there.

New Ways

  • communities: If you read one thing this week, read Sahana Chattopadhyay on The Power of Communities in Uncertain Times (Part 1), in which she digs into the common narrative of heroism, the inherent, forever war that goes with it, and the something else: "Our forgotten humanity — submerged in the false busyness of our days — is rising to the surface."

  • talking: ... And at the risk of convenience, there are some great links in there, such as this video jumping through an intro to control over nature, and separation from each other, and the answer of who and what you are. Lightweight stuff then.

  • democracy: Which also reminds me to shout out to Tom Atlee's work and book on on wiser democracy, which has guided me a lot over the last few years. It's refreshing to know that people have been working on not just new tools for discusson and disagreement for years, but also the skills and mindset to wield them.

  • solarpunk++: Andrew Dana Hudson writes Rendering The Mess, looking at why we need more than just pretty buildings with trees. "I feel I now need to amend that formula. Brutalism plus plants graffiti is solarpunk." This is also why I on't put a lot of 'classic solarpunk' images in this newsletter. I'm looking for something fundamentally different, that goes beyond pure tech and trees.

The Pretty

  • Always great to see new work from Q1R0Z, making me want a headdress:

Stylishly designed print of a native american-style elder wearing a golden cape made up of techno-style shapes and patterns.

  • And this pic has been doing the rounds on the medias - I'm not sure on the source, but I think it might be German based on the police car in the background?:

A man looks on at the back of a policeman. The man's head is completely covered in a transparent box filled with plants. -

  • I'm really into people sharing their photos of flowers, stuff growing, and the little details at the moment. So I totally loved this photo of an old watermill from user Pempri over on my XMPP streams:

The crumbling walls of an old stone builing are overgrown with trees and moss.

Make It

  • starting: Looking for an intro to setting up a simple solar system? This Instructables guide is a good starting point.

  • growing: And then when you get really serious, the site can give you detailed run-downs of expected solar and wind generation in your area. One for the data geeks out there.


I'm not really sure if I prefer section headers or not. I think, maybe, I'll just keep things fresh and make up the format on a week-by-week basis. Creativity is good for me. Randomness is good for you.

If you're liking the links, then please do pass a link to the newsletter on to someone that you think might appreciate it. The link thing to use is in case you missed it.

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Tillllllll next time, may the snails keep off your patch.

Get in touch

For any feedback, suggestions, broken links, comments, or general 'hi there' type stuff, leave a comment, or you can find me hanging out in any of these places:

I'm also documenting my own 'everyday solarpunk adventures' over at the 6suns blog.