Archive for the 'society' Category

Loan me a comment and Prosper

on Thursday, February 9th, 2006 ... ob: business + geek + meta + society

I’m fairly excited about peer to peer loan ideas emerging. Launched this past Sunday Feb 5th, the basic idea behind Prosper, Inc., at, I expect will eventually be huge business. Individuals may share the risk of funding their peers’ loans of up to $25,000, in chunks as low as $50 per person. Of course you may also ask for a loan from your peers and allow them to bid on the ability and rate at which to lend you money. CEO of Prosper is Chris Larson, the cofounder, in 1996, of the successful E-Loan, now owned by the Puerto Rican banking group Popular, Inc.

I’ll be watching the discussion forums to guage initial activity, currently very low. I expect and hope that some mad ideas will be funded well below market interest rates. Best yet, $2,700 for ‘
Wardrobe for work
‘, already fully funded at 8% by 11 different lenders. What a fascinating new tool.

See also — writeup on the Prosper launch at TechCrunch, the more established ( from London ), individual to small buisness in developing economies at, the group fundraising focus at, the sourceforge/pgp attempt at Ripple, and the article on free banking at wikipedia.

I installed wordpress 2.0.1! My first upgrade since 1.5, the improvements are immediate. After removing the 15,000+ spam comments which had accumulated, new spam appears to be effectively blocked (~100 in 24 hours) thanks to the newly implemented akismet. Their stats currently claim that 82% of all comments are spam!

As a result, I’ve re-styled and re-enabled all comments on the blog! They should work great and be spam-free … for now!

Freedom for watchlists !

on Sunday, November 20th, 2005 ... ob: geek + media + society

I’m working on making the watchlist contents of consenting wikimedia project users public. Help with a javascript hack to work around existing structure requested! Read all about it on

Lets also store article histories locally, and share the histories via bittorrent. ~~~~ (haha. .. ::ahem::.. never again..)

Pork Fest 2005

on Monday, January 10th, 2005 ... ob: gatherings + society

From the #hooked daily grind, sunday brings a special occasion, Pork Fest 2005.

… I found myself rapidly embroiled in a debate over whether a human could eat all of that ham in one day. “Of course you could,” I said, “hell, I’d eat all that in a day, no problem.”

No problem indeed. And thus was born the great PORKFEST of 2005: an all-day attempt to dispatch a plastic-wrapped hunk of meat roughly the size, shape, and density of a bowling ball. Ill-advised? Maybe. Dangerous? Perhaps. An offense to all that is good and right in this world? With absolute certainty, yes. See you Sunday.

Best of luck.

Burning Man Politics

on Monday, November 29th, 2004 ... ob: gatherings + society

Dissent is afoot within the burning man community. What else is new ;). This “we have a dream” petition, and various responses ( larry harvey included), focuses on the apparent lack of inspiring art at the event. A more public proposal and voting system is proposed for burning man art funds distribution. I happen to agree with larry harvey on opposing any formal voting structure. Adding a ‘democratic’ vote process, ignoring implementation issues, is hardly a step toward reduction in bureaucracy. Threads on eplaya like “The decline of burning man“, echo the petition’s sentiments less optimistically.

This fantastic example of bureaurocratic creep brings back memories of nomic as a generic model demonstrating such ‘progress’. In fact, the spirit demonstrated during my various nomic experiences feels deeply similar to that of playa anticipation. Radical self expression, attempts at approaching the (once) minimal rule set with a novel and creative eye, complete disregard for structures embraced by society at large, even a feeling of creating something grander and better suited to the ‘participants’.

Naturally, our games ended in an unrecoverable bureaucratic mess. To all those involved in this inevitable and repetitious debate: it’s the art silly, but don’t upset the spectators, and beware the angry artist — they’ll take your guns away. (… and dogs, and radio stations, and ‘rave’ music, and …) For perspective, here’s a death note from 1997.

Perhaps a spectator-only event (museum?) would solve the problems? No gang related clothing allowed on the premesis.