M&A Book Club Season 2: Ani*mystic Chapter1: Robots & Aliens

Metropolis by Fritz. Langu

This year Aya and I are reading Ani*mystic by Gordon White from Rune Soup. I have read all of Gordon’s books, and I am excited to dive in. This week is a meditation on Chapter 1.

For years I taught a class called Computers, Robots, and Film at Fordham University. It was an incredible class. Often we discuss the relationship between aliens and robots – even though aliens were not on the curriculum. Gordon’s chapter sort of goes from robots to aliens which is why I bring this up. But I am starting in medias res. Let me instead start with what is alive in me.

“We make the ocean when we fish in it” This sort of encapsulates the feeling of this chapter and perhaps this book. What is the world? I read a book a few years ago by Markus Gabriel – a brilliant philosopher – and the book was called ‘why the world does not exist.’ I mean obviously the world exists. But we live in a time where someone can make the claim that the world does not exist, and this is partially Gordon’s issue – I mean this should be everyone’s issue because doubting something as fundamental as the world is totally nihilistic (even if it is a joke). This is not only an animist notion it is a nonduality notion – as a nonduality practitioner – this is how I identify with animism.

Gordon talks about another favorite author of mine, Charles Eisenstein, and the story of separation.

What is the story of separation – It is when we no longer make the ocean when we fish it. It is when the ocean exists apart from us.

As a once and future roboticist it is hard for me to see the “metaphor of machines” as the root of the story of separation- although this may true. Machines are other – they divide the world into natural and artificial – where as there is nothing nature and nothing artificial. A foreign seed becomes a local seed and a local seed migrates to become a foreign seed.

Make we should move to the metaphor of aliens now – and we are all aliens and all native. I am the other and I am the self.

Solidity day 3 – Its ALIVE!


Today is day 3 of my 30 day solidity journey with https://github.com/scaffold-eth/scaffold-eth

I finally deployed a contract

I changed my process

I was tired and kept it simple.

I fired up 3 iterms, set an alias to my directory and ran my three yarn commands: yarn build, yarn start and yarn deploy

I wanted to avoid the proliferation of node processes I had yesterday

I replaced the current YourContract.sol via cut and paste from the primitives data point sample.

Then I ran yarn deploy AND IT FAILED

The default version of hardhat was using a different version of solidity.

So I edited the config and updated it to use the version in my contract

yarn deploy AGAIN and SUCCESS

What did I learn?

Sometimes when you do the least you make the most progress, but only if you have been making progress every day along the way.

Solidity Day 2/ 30


Most people don’t know that installing software packages takes more time than programming.

This is why using containers is so revolutionary – they are like little preinstalled computers.

This is what I learned day 2 of solidity programming

My computer ground to a halt.

I ran the three functions in scaffolding eth. I started them stopped them restarted them. And then my computer stopped.

I had like 10 million node processes running. Maybe I should run this in a container!

While waiting for everything install I thought about port 3000.

Is it related to @mst3k mystery science theater 3000?

Probably not but I went down a rabbit hole.

Here are all mst3k episodes ranked.

I have a favorite – but I don’t know its name 😦

I started programming a python app.

The python app turns mantras into sounds. I am going to use #scipy and matrices. http://zulko.github.io/blog/2014/03/29/soundstretching-and-pitch-shifting-in-python/

Maybe I will work on it more doing this 30for30 when solidity is slow – like saving things to the blockchain.

At one point my terminal stopped working!

The error: Clear error in Linux: Terminals Database Is Inaccessible Solution https://programmersought.com/article/78227910950/

I reset the terminal emulation:
export TERM=vt100. Something I have not done in like 20 years. And it worked!

I researched tricking out my tmux config – as one does.

Can different panes in #tmux have different color schemes?

Day 2 and it does not feel like much solidity was learned, but sometimes the hardest part is getting your environment set up

If you liked this :

1. Toss me a follow for more threads → @hackerm0m

2. Join me in learning solidity this month

Day 1/30 solidity in public


Solidity 101

I have mucked around with solidity for years but still don’t feel solid.

This month I am coding examples scaffold-eth every day on, https://twitch.tv/thehackerm0m

Today was day 1 and this is what I learned 🧵👇

#1: https://github.com/scaffold-eth/scaffold-eth

It takes a long time to clone

•I think I should have done the cooking show technique and pre-downloaded it

But this gave me time to pay closer attention to the solidity contracts

#2: What is the goal?

No cut and paste CODE!

• Week 1 go through the basic exercises

• Week 2 build a staking app on buidl guide

• Week 3 build a dex

This is pretty ambitious — go BIG or go home!

#3: What did we learn today?

The repo is still cloning as we speak, we learned a lot

• 3 types of variables: local, state & global (ie blockchain)

• Gas fee logic (non-linearly related to # of statements & more) — https://dlt-repo.net/storage-vs-memory-vs-stack-in-solidity-ethereum/

• Beanstalk was hacked 😦

TL;DR: A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step

Today I took one step along with some folks

• We installed the scaffolding-eth repo

• Made a Plan

• Learned some things

Want to learn solidity with me? Follow me @hackerm0m and join on twitch every day this month!

Read this post and more on my Typeshare Social Blog

What I learned about Art from reading Walter Pater


Today I discussed The Renaissance Studies in Art and Poetry, by Walter Pater, with my painting group.

Pater wrote this book in the 1800s and includes chapters on various Renaissance artists and writers. We discussed the Da Vinci chapter only and it made me think about the artist.

Two Things Pater Wrote

  1. Pater says the role of the critic is to determine the type of genius an artist possesses
  2. Pater tells the story of the entire life of the artist – the character and life of the artist are inseparable from the art.

The Genius

The genius of Da Vinci, as Pater sees it, is a combination of appreciation of beauty and curiosity. This idea of Genius as a combination of qualities is very thought-provoking for me. I now think of other artists, like Picasso or Matisse, and wonder about their genius. Picasso is something about line and innovation or vision, Matisse about color and objects. I am just riffing here.

The Life

We live in a time when how an artist lives their life is as important as the art. And many people, including myself, will not look at or support artwork that contradicts their values. But this is something more. The expression of life is similar to the expression of art.

It reminds me of the Jungian concept of individuation. For Jung, In the plant kingdom, roses all become roses, but with humans, each person can individuate into something completely unique. There is no blueprint.

Curiosity and Beauty

Walter Pater writes that not only was Da Vinci interested in beauty, but he himself was also beautiful. As a child, he would buy birds from the market and let them fly free.

Da Vinci’s notebooks are filled with descriptions of the natural world, like how water flows. He observes all the different ways that water flows around rocks and in rivers. He speculates why water moves the way it does.

Nature Today

Today we understand a lot about water flows. We have mathematical models that can recreate water flowing down a river in animated films.

Today, the artist-scientist does not just have water. Nature today is the invisible and distant: dark matter and black holes. We look through instruments and our instruments comprise our art: Video art and Installations, and generative art and NFTs.

I think about what would Da Vinci write today in his journal. What are the mysteries of nature now? How much can we appreciate them with our senses? How much do the instruments get in the way? Or how can we use the instruments to see more clearly?

The Trouble With IPFS and Python


The saga continued today… on twitch.tv/msrobot0. I attempted to web3 ify ex-worlding. By web3ify I mean that you don’t log in – you connect your wallet to the site (its safe). And if you create a world, this is the user associated with the world. Otherwise worlds are anonymous.

Also by web3ify I mean we don’t use databases. We just use ipfs – which is a database – and probably less secure – but its web3.

I have made a bunch of sites before that connect to a wallet but this is my first time creating a site that connects to ipfs. And it is a pain. I am writing this in python. I had an old version of the ipfs daimon installed. A lot of sites said to upgrade this – so I did. Thanks homebrew – I am on a mac. Then I was using a client library ipfshttpclient. I apparently was using an old version so I force installed version 7. Pip used to handle package dependencies I think but maybe I am deluded. Anyway it clashed with some other library. I uninstalled that library and then did a clean install of the new ipfshttclient and everything seemed ok.

Until I got an error that my ipfs daemon version (11 – the latest) was not supported yet.

I just threw in the towel. I fired up my trusty request for humans library. I mean this is why we cant have nice things and I still use vi. Things seemed to g a little better – I got a 400 error – which is still an error but I think I was getting a 503 error before (a gateway error – which is worse -imho). At least here I am connecting with the ipfs gateway – I think.

Anyway- it still did not work because it needs a keyword file. I tried a few things that did not work – and this error is logged on the internets – from October 21. I do feel like have made progress. I wrote this blog post while finishing my twich live stream. And now I am going to close it out with a yoga kriya.

Happy Full Moon in Leo Folks – be bold and use conditioner even if you are bald.

Thinking about Communication

  1. I am twitching at twitch.tv/msrobot0 4 days a week. Twitching during a live stream – even when there is no one watching – is really leveling up my programing practice for two reasons.

Narrating what I am doing helps me understand what I am doing and to find better ways to improve – it provides transparency to my process. It reminds me of teachings. When teaching yoga for example you need to explain how to do each kriya and it is a much different experience than just practicing yoga. You get an inner and more nuanced understanding.

I am less likely to write garbage code. Since someone might watch, I take extra care to write good code. Its kind of nuts that I can only behave in the panopticon but it is a good thing to know about myself. I also take care of my environment and use tmux and my nice vi config.

2. I started my newsletter again – It’s going to be short and I hope fun. I am experimenting with different forms of communication – twitch, medium, my blog, my secret blog you can only access with my token (which I will gladly send you if you sign up for my postcard project https://twitter.com/hackerm0m)


3. My favorite type of communication is one on one though. This could be hanging out, conversation, carousing, or pair programming.

Helms and Edges


These days I am into dual meanings or multiple meanings.

Two words that have stood out to me in the last few days are Helm and Edge.

Helm is a package manager for Kubernetes. Kubernetes is a system for managing containerized applications.

Kubernetes is an English rendering of the greek word κυβερνητική -pilot.

Helm is the front of a ship, also “the handle or wheel which controls the direction in which a ship or boat”, also the head of something.

I like that middle definition – the helm is a tool.

I also think of Helms deep from The Lord of the Ring. I also thing of the Helm of the astrology chart – which is the ascendant. The ascendant is often referred to as how the world perceives the chart owner. However, if we think about the ascendant as the Helm, then it is what drives the vehicle, the life.

Edges… Edges

One way to think about edges is in graph theory. We have nodes and we have edges. My older kid used to be obsessed with the edge of his train tracks – he would always ask what is an edge. I think about optical illusions as playing with edges. When I paint it is important to pay careful attention to edges. I was reading an article today and the more edges a field has the less vulnerable it is not pests. Edges are the in between spaces. Edge is also the name of a browser. Edge can also mean a quality – edgy itself is a quality.

If I were to write an esoteric language it would be a language of edges. maybe I would just represent them as pipes | or _ – / \. Now I think of super Mario. For some reason my edge language cannot have any bends or curves. = is not an edge it is a symbol – * is a shape. an edge is what makes a shape and a symbol.

A language of edges

Knowledge and Web3


I was working on a hackathon project today around web3 and knowledge creation. The internet seemed rooted in a utopian knowledge project and was inspired by things like Vannevar Bush’s Memex. The history of the world is littered with knowledge projects. Does web3 provide any technology to rethink knowledge? What web3 can do is connect knowledge with value in an exact and quantifiable way, and provide a clear lineage of knowledge – what ideas grow from which ideas.

We have the encyclopedists of the enlightenment – people like Diderot. We have the monasteries, universities, and libraries of the Middle Ages and the libraries of the ancient world like the Library of Alexandria. Reading and writing, once the barrier to knowledge, are table stakes, and the barriers now are things like spaceships and laboratories.

I am constantly amazed at what I can learn from web2 crowdsourced information like youtube and Wikipedia. This sort of knowledge is like a modern decentralized encyclopedia or library. For this hackathon, we are working on networks of knowledge – a flow diagram to accumulating more knowledge. It is about optimizing knowledge production – or perhaps solutioning.

To connect knowledge production to solutioning makes me uneasy. I definitely am interested in purposeless knowledge – but I am probably in the minority. And, truth be told, we do have a bunch of problems that could use organized knowledge solutions to fix – like climate change. Many times when I attempt to solution – one of the best things I can do is simplify the problem and remove chaos – ie do less and have other people do less. But with some of these tricky problems we are facing today perhaps we need a new way to think about knowledge just as the encyclopedia was a new way to think about knowledge during the enlightenment.

Lyotard – Book Club – Theory of Computation


100 years ago I went to Las Vegas with my girlfriends. Because I am a super nerd I brought along a copy of “The Postmodern Condition.” This is a short book and the only thing I remember is that Lyotard adds another level to the 3 metacategories of Kant: Aesthetics/judgement, Epistemology/knowledge, Ethics/action.

Lyotard adds speed. In the postmodern world we have a new category of speed. This really spoke to me as a technologist because computers give us power over processes. And this power, is the power to streamline (ie automate, ie make faster).

This also makes me think about the theory of computation. ToC is an Aristotelian project that attempts to categorizes computational processes by the time with which things happen. You have things that happen in polynomial time or non-polynomial time. This expands into space (in the time-space continuum), and certain processes have certain space limitations.

I would call this new category – Optimization. My notion of optimization is not really the fastest, but perhaps the most resiliant. It is a category the only pertains to networks and system – to relations not subject/object distinctions. Kant’s project is thoroughly embedded in the subject/object distinction.

Most people reference something about narrative as the most salient point of TPC -this obviously was not my takeaway.

I was reminded of Lyotard while I was listening to the Hermitix podcast on my way home from picking up a birthday gift for one of my children. The show interviewed Lyotard scholar Ashley Woodward, and one of things I found interesting was that there were not a lot of scholars familiar with the corpus of Lyotard’s work. One reason might be because it was so genre bending.

Sounds like my kind of corpus. So I went to Woodward’s site and found this list– about 30 books in Lyotard’s corpus. I thought -what if I read allof Lyotard’s books this month. That sounds a bit insane, but why not. Lets give it a shot. I doubt it will be the closest reading ever.

I remember reading about cinematographer Walter Murch and how he listened to particular composers or styles for months at a time and how that affected his perception of music. What I do that with authors.

Well I am putting down my current books – and picking up Lyotard.

I am excited for my month of Lyotard. I am thinking perhaps I will do other authors in other months.