When the lines are cut

One day soon, we will not be able to communicate online because the government and the big tech companies won’t allow it. There will be some emergency, or a war, and the authorities will announce that it’s just too dangerous to let people use social media, for fear of “terrorism,” “sedition,” or “incitement.” The lines will be cut.

What do we do then? What do we do now, when our communications are subject to ruthless surveillance and manipulation? The answer in both cases is to seed centers of capability which are self-contained and self-sustaining. But, honestly, it is barely possible to conceive of such autonomous units in the modern digital world, for which interconnectedness is the very raison d’être.

We could print everything out, and walk it down the block. We could post flyers on lampposts. But if we’re organizing at the scale of the neighborhood while the government and corporations are organizing globally, it’s an easy call who is going to win any fight. That’s what’s happening already, and the governments and corporations are conspiring to make sure they keep control of the lines of communication.

I guess we talk while we still can, spreading wisdom and encouragement as far as it will go. Then, one day when we’re sitting alone in front of a dark screen, we can take comfort in the thought that somewhere the seeds of knowledge that we planted are still growing.

Dr. John Campbell, every day about the pandemic

For more than a year, Dr. Campbell has been providing near-daily updates about the pandemic and the medical science behind it. Combining a folksy wisdom with deep expertise and a long career in medical education, Dr. Campbell has amassed an audience now approaching one million viewers.

He was an early champion of the efficacy of Vitamin D as a public-health measure to reduce illness and death from SARS-CoV-2, and he follows the issue closely as more evidence becomes available. He is careful to say that he cannot prescribe for you, but he’s also forthright about sharing his own dosage (now up to 4,000 I.U. per day).

For me, Dr. Campbell’s comforting and knowledgeable voice will always be the soundtrack of these times.

» Dr. Campbell’s YouTube Channel

No moon shot for the pandemic

It is inconceivable that it has taken this long for common sense to become public policy. Of course we should be wearing masks! We’ve been doing it since the 13th century (says the article).

I have been bitterly disappointed at the U.S. response to the pandemic. When I first heard about the virus, I thought: “Ok, that’s bad, but we can handle it! We have the greatest scientists and the best technology in the world. This is the United States of America! We went to the moon! WE CAN DO THIS!”

Little did I understand the power of thuggish stupidity. The very notion that testing and research can be undermined by base political motives is gravely offensive to me. I suppose I was naive; it’s probably always like that. But in this case the narcissism required to ignore science – and not just ignore it, but sabotage it – is on a scale that beggars my ability to conceive.

So now we’ve come round to the right track. Great! But it’s too late to salvage the missed opportunity for an heroic response. Yes, we are working to save millions of lives, and we will. But we are inspiring no one. We’re just cleaning up the debris of a catastrophe that should have been avoided in the first place.

Singing in the Rain (Video)


In this first video for David B. – Live, I’m providing “proof of concept” for a technique I want to develop going forward: using photographs with a voice-over as a way of telling a story.

I cheerfully admit two things: 1) This is definitely a #FirstWorldProblem, and 2) I’m totally cheating, because I include the gorgeous singing of The Spectacles, which is so satisfying and beautiful that it makes up for all my deficiencies.

My real intention is to use other people’s photographs while they tell me what we’re looking at and what it means. Kind of a cross between an interview and a TED Talk, with pictures. I’m thinking “social media length” rather than “podcast length,” so 10 minutes or less. (But there could be many segments, aggregated over time!)

If you are engaged with collapse and adaptation, and you have a project or a topic that could lend itself to photos, please drop me a line.