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How wonderful Rob! Congratulations to you and Robin :)
Toggle Commented Sep 8, 2011 on My new Grandson Hugo at Robert Paterson's Weblog
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Interesting thoughts. While I agree we're now able to handle intense networks in our connected world without geographic proximity, there are still things that are harder to replace. We live in a provincial town, about 2 hours east of the big 11M people strong conurbation that is the Dutch coastal region, and about half that far from a similar sized conurbation in Germany. That has its advantages, we pay much less for our housing, while we still have all urban amenities for instance. My work takes me everywhere in the Netherlands and the EU, and from that perspective location doesn't matter much: I'd need to travel wherever I would live. I stay informed about most of what's going on through my (online) networks, and am one mouse click away from basically anybody and anything. Yet, I feel I am missing out on some serendipity (as well as the noise that most of that by necessity is of course). In a big city, serendipity is basically thrown at you in buckets: there are always many impulses and distractions available, even if you don't consciously expose yourself to it. So I need to create my own exposure. Part that is in my feedreading and such, but the chance encounters with people, at parties, in cafes, salons, are not replaceable. I only get to hear things others are willing to report something about online. I also don't see my clients as often as others, which sometimes means I'm not on their radar at the precise moment they are looking for help I would be able to give. Haven't found a way of connecting contexts while remotely located. Also being in a less urban area decreases my average speed in acting, I feel. I haven't found a way around that, at least not one that is already easy to do or use. To replace the quick combinations and actions I see happening in urban environments, I shop online to have all material stuff at my fingertips in seconds, try to keep everything as digital as possible to always allow quick sharing and keep that synced across all my devices, I write scripts to help me automatically parse and be alert to important things in the outside world, I use scripted agents to do the same in my personal notes, I have a fablab available locally (though I don't use it much yet), I'm thinking of outsourcing to speed the execution of non-repetitive but non-core things up, but personal outsourcing is something I still need to really try and get the hang of. None of that is 'flowing' yet as much as I'd like, it's still too rough around the edges to be completely functional.
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That is a strange development. And a type of story that I've never heard around here in Europe. Me and my parents used to have a small plot of land at the edge of our neighbourhood, where we grew vegetables and strawberries etc. A farmer rented out these small plots for us city people to grow our own food. Also, as a counter example, and maybe something that can be copied to PEI: http://www.mundraub.org/map It's a German site that maps fruit trees around the country where anyone can come and pick some. As a lot of fruit trees grow by the roadside etc and are not part of orchards or something, and are accessible to the public. Here in the Netherlands there's a yearly 'tree planting day' to increase the number of trees around the countryside. There is a growing trend, I heard last year, to plant also fruit trees, apples mostly, as that brings an additional gain, the fruit for all to enjoy :)
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I've used AirBNB for a stay in Berlin last Feb, 11 nights for 550 Euro, for a newly renovated apartment that was actually a lot more spacious than it looked in the photos. Connecting to the person renting the apartment out etc. was easy. Trust issues are dealt with very nicely indeed. Regarding payment, clear indication of the policies / cancel procedure etc by the 'landlord'. To me being reviewed as a guest was a new experience, and surprised me as I hadn't seen that that was part of the interaction. But it equals out the relationship, so that's a good idea to do.
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Here's the link to Paleolithic starch eaters http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/10/08/1006993107.abstract
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Just this week archeologists in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences published findings of 30.000 year old proof from Italy, Russia and Czech Republic that hunter-gatherers had starch rich diets, using mill stones to grind up grasses/ferns. That puts starch diets a long time before agriculture.
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Thanks for the write-up Tony! sorry to have missed it. See you in December!
Hi Rob, I'm keeping half an eye on these urban farming developments, as they are part of what is needed I think for local resilience (mind you, I'm not talking autarchy, but relisience). What I'm curious about is the demographic side of this. How is the Detroit population developing in numbers and in age groups. It seems to me that urban farming is possible when there's a certain depopulation, and that increasing urban farming and depopulation are trends that meet somewhere to find a stable spot. Having a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit it seems the peak in population for the city proper was in the fifties, while the population of metropolitan Detroit as well as the region grew after that (suburbia sprouting). The numbers for the latter two seem to have wobbled up and down a bit in the past 20 yrs.
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Maybe it is time for something new? Like creating a free and open access mesh wireless network on PEI. Like they're doing in Afghanistan and Haiti, building the network out of garbage (i.e. locally available materials), with a FabLab. See http://fabfi.fablab.af/ and http://fabfiblog.fabfolk.com/
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Hi Rob. From your description, I'd say becoming self employed also is kind of like switching to 'Island time'. There was so much overhead timewise when I was employed, which is available to me now. The myth of 8 hrs of productivity a day has gotten punctured thoroughly as well, it was just the overhead eating my time. I haven't completely made the switch though, as I sometimes find myself thinking 'shouldn't I be hurrying more?' or find myself enjoying a task so much I think 'shouldn't I be 'really' working?' Last year when I was taking the metro in Paris and crossing to a different subway line I found myself panting and sweating all of a sudden. Then I noticed by going with the general flow of commuters at 8.30 am, I was almost running. Cities create a habit of being in a hurry (because of all the dynamics, connections and potential around you), you don't even notice anymore when there is actually no need to hurry. I enjoy cities a lot, precisely because they are this hub of connectedness,ideas, people, products and whatnot. It is the same reason I enjoy my feedreader so much. But I do my feedreading only once a day, and I dip into the city life only when there's an actual need or wish to take part in those dynamics. It's what I point to in my presentations: that internet and mobile communications provide the connectedness, access, and dynamics we until now built cities for. It allows you to do city time in smaller doses, and when it fits your otherwise island time schedule :)
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