The scheduling on these is going to be a bit erratic during my travels, but I'll try my best to keep them up anyway!

What I Did:

  • After 3.5 days in Singapore last week, I flew to Manila (4 hours away!) on Sunday night to start working. Monday - Friday was another run at the 5 day version of the workshop, and things went pretty well despite some tech mishaps, a bit of miscoordination, and lots of scheduling interruptions due to the board of the company being in town.
  • On Saturday, Stuart and I flew to Cebu for a last minute long weekend trip. It ended up being pretty action-packed: we visited (and feasted at) the newly Netflix-famous Entoy's Bakasihan, ate a lot of lechon and mangos and halo-halo, traveled to Bohol to see the fireflies and the tarsiers and the Chocolate Hills, and even snuck in some beach time.

Thoughts, Feelings, Lessons Learned:

  • My collaborators (and the clients!) are much too outgoing for me. There's been drinks and dinner and sometimes more drinks almost every night this first week, and while I've enjoyed it all I'll need to slow down next week to conserve socializing energy and make space for my own thoughts.
  • This is my first time teaching in a different country (albeit in one where English is an official language, and at a multinational English-speaking company at that) and it's been interesting to see how my translator tendencies still more or less work even when I don't know the language on the other end. There's a baked-in understanding of communication potholes that absolutely transfers.
  • The Philippines is home to over 120 languages!

🎵📚

Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated
Especially the earworms Happy Not Knowing and Feels Right.

David Graeber, The Utopia of Rules

"Democracy" thus came to mean the market; "bureaucracy", in turn, government interference with the market.
Ability is discounted without credentials, but the ability to purchase credentials rests, more often than not, on family wealth.
It’s in this sense that I’ve said one can fairly say that bureaucracies are utopian forms of organization. After all, is this not what we always say of utopians: that they have a naïve faith in the perfectibility of human nature and refuse to deal with humans as they actually are?
The bureaucratization of daily life means the imposition of impersonal rules and regulations; impersonal rules and regulations, in turn, can only operate if they are backed up by the threat of force.

Kate Crawford (but not the AI Now one): Danger! Weird Ways Engineers Think and Talk About Disasters in Cities

Really great reflection on the precise pitfalls engineering & design & indeed any kind of outsider-driven problem solving faces when it conceptualizes of cities and societies as "problems" to be solved.

When you have the power and resources to make decisions, incompetence has an outcome that looks the same as corruption; narrow diagnosis has an outcome that looks the same as malpractice; privileging the familiar—certain people, certain places and ways of thinking—has an outcome that looks the same as racism.

Anne Galloway: Speculative Design and Glass Houses

Here what I wanted to draw attention to is often our imperative to fix or to solve or to change things comes with a belief that we’re not part of the world that we’re trying to fix and change.
For me, that was the most exciting result that came out of [the speculative design project "Bone Knitter"], because the design itself, it was the least interesting and most interesting. People didn’t talk about it, what it allowed them to do was talk about everything else that concerned them. Whereas, the other designs seemed to compel people to talk about that design itself.
One of the post-graduate students in the class really took umbrage at this and wanted to know why it was that designers were arrogant for offering to fix problems, but a builder wasn’t, or a doctor wasn’t. Well, my answer was, generally speaking, people go to them first and say, “I have this problem, I need help.” Whereas, designers come up with a problem, go find people that they think have it and then tell them they’d like to solve it. I think just on a social level, that is profoundly anti-social. That is not how people enjoy socially interacting with people.
If a flock of sheep or a flock of any prey animal is calm, you can rest assured that you are safe. To sit in the middle of a bunch of sheep that are calm is the safest I have ever felt in my entire existence.