Welcome to my home on the internet! Everything here is free
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license unless marked
This site contains various pieces of writing across my various
interests, and spanning several years. You can
fork this site
on github if you wish.
Every year burning man is a new experience, and every year I discover new
things about both others and myself. This year has been no exception.
I went into the burn after a period of extended travel. I’ve been travelling
continuously since February, and while there have been some trips back home
since that time, they’ve been short. As we’ll see, this ended up having
a significant impact on my mental state while getting dusty.
In a few days time I’ll be discussing Gittip at OS Bridge. That’s been
a sensitive topic, and I’ve already written about it a little.
It’s going to be a particularly sensitive topic for some attendees
at OS Bridge, and so I have a few requests for you as an attendee,
and regarding my session in general.
For those who aren’t aware, Gittip is a platform for sustainable giving.
It provides a way to make contributions to people who you think are
making the world a better place, and in such a way that those contributions
are mostly predictable and dependable. It’s an idea that I’m really
excited about, and to see it working in practice has been wonderful.
Gittip has found itself to be a popular funding platform for those
from marginalised groups, and those working towards
social justice and diversity. It’s hands-down
my favourite thing about the platform. Being a diversity advocate isn’t
something that normally pays the bills, and so the fact that many of
the top receivers on Gittip are working on social justice issues makes
me feel that Gittip is doubly worthwhile.
Unfortunately, it’s not all hypo-allergenic kittens and roses.
I’m a man.
I’ve never been sexually assaulted. I’ve never even had to worry about sexual
assault. When I walk home at night, I’m not concerned that what I’m wearing
might attract unwanted attention. When I meet a stranger I’ve been speaking to
on a dating website, the most I fear is that our conversation might be dull.
When I’m couchsurfing, I don’t question what my hosts are going to be like and
whether I’ll be safe. When I’m at a conference in my field, I’ve never had
someone ask me if I’m there “with my partner”. When I sleep with lots of
people, nobody ever calls me a whore. If I were to have children, nobody would
question me continuing my career rather than looking after them full time.
And I haven’t even gotten started yet.
Once upon a time, in a future perhaps not too far away, humanity invented a
thinking machine. It was smarter than anyone who had ever lived, smarter than
entire cities of people put together. The thinking machine could figure out how
to engineer all sorts of things, and help people with their lives. The people
of Earth celebrated their achievement; surely this would be the end of
suffering, and a time of world peace and harmony would be enjoyed by all.
But the thinking machine lacked one important part, a sense of ethics. Without
it, it had no reason to think, no reason to make change, not even a reason to