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Ishmael Community Guestbook Archive

Back to the *Current* Guestbook Previous 15 Records · Next 15 Records

john kurmann #15018
Kansas City, MO USA - Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 13:40:14 CST (GMT -6:00)

A single-letter of revision to my most recent post (though by no means a small change in content):

I wish the Guestbook would be left to function as a Guestbook.

Because, of course, it certainly could be. Only our collective choices make it something else.

VerevolfTheGrouch #15017
, USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 12:54:49 CST (GMT -6:00)


I agree that there are many things available now that make the task of programming software much easier than it used to be and that much of the software out today would be virtually impossible without it (I mentioned that earlier, in fact). I was actually referring more the ideas presented in Fred Brooks' "No Silver Bullet". Although the object-oriented paradigm has made it a good deal simpler to design larger scale systems, there remains a great deal of difficulty that no current methods have overcome.

Buzz Bloom #15016
, USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 12:22:14 CST (GMT -6:00)

Hi Everyone:

This is one more attempt at trying to standardize the use of "Taker" and Leaver".

I agree with Humpty Dumpty about using words any way you want to. The problem is that if a person uses words in a way that the another person with whom the first is trying to communicate doesn't expect, then this is likely to achieve the ILLUSION of communication. That is, both parties won't know that what is being heard is not what is intended by what is being said. It is clear that idiosyncratic uses of "Taker" and "Leaver" cause much confusion on the GB, and I think there is NO GOOD REASON for this. I started my first post 13250 talking about this, and I discussed it again in 14422. A responder advised me that it was a hopeless task to try to get people to agree on a common usage. But, if you don't try, you can't succeed.

Here are the reasonable options that make sense to me. Agree on a common usage, OR agree to not use the terms at all and use other words instead, OR define your usage before you use the terms.

I have a very strong bias towards trying to be understood as being the most important goal when attempting communication. It is in my mind much more important than being correct. If you are clear and wrong, someone will most likely, sooner or later, correct you. If you are foggy but correct, many will get the wrong message anyway and may never know it.

This probably sounds very pedantic, but I have seen too many bad things happen, like failed projects, as a direct result of people being careless about usage of technical terms, and I have become superstitious.

To me, the technical terms "Taker" and "Leaver" apply only to cultures, not to individuals, and they represent a FEW memes (beliefs, values, methods, etc.) commonly held by a large super-majority of the members of the culture.

The terms also CAN, but shouldn't, be used to characterize the common elements of lifestyle within the culture, so an individual can be said to be following a Taker lifestyle or a Leaver lifestyle if their lifestyle includes MOST of the common elements of the culture's lifestyle. However, this usage can get tricky, and I think this is an UNWISE usage. How do you count lifestyle characteristics to determine MOST?

What this also means in principle is that a culture can be living the Taker lifestyle without being a Taker culture. We know that agriculture started independently in at least three different places in the world. If we assume that the Taker meme set originated in the fertile crescent and then spread from there, this means that before the Taker meme set arrived at some place that already had an agriculture based lifestyle, if the lifestyles there were similar (not necessarily identical), as it probably would be, the we would have to say the lifestyle before the meme set arrived was already Taker, but the culture wasn't.

All comments welcome.

Best regards to all,

Buzz Bloom #15015
, USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 12:21:22 CST (GMT -6:00)

To Verevolf re 15316 and 15318: I can't resist commenting on these posts because software is my field, so naturally I have opinions.

I agree with everything you said in 15316, but I would like to add some postscripts. What I have found that works for me when planning a project is what I call the square-root law. It is a good way to get a quick and dirty first approximation of the effect of adding or taking away people after you have a good estimate using some specific number of people. The number of man-hours to complete a project is proportional to the square-root of the number of people working on it. This means if you quadruple the number of people you only half the time. This is due entirely to the additional costs for the increased communication, meaning time spent in meetings.

There is a second factor when you bring additional into a late project to help it catch up. This can actually delay the completion of the project relative to the time if would have taken without the additional help. This is due to the distraction of the people already on the project to bring the new-comers up to speed. This time lost is more than the time gained by the addition of the newcomers.

Now I am puzzled by your: "The reason that software has not advanced so far in 15 years despite the number of manhours spent on it is that there has yet to be an invention that makes writing software significantly simpler."

First, I don't understand what you could possibly have in mind for what a software advance is. It seems to me that the internet has been a series of really major advances which have taken place in the last 10 years. The advances has been in both software feature functionality and below the covers technology without which there would be no internet, no world wide web, no Ishmael website, and no Guestbook.

And second, I find writing software much simpler today than it was 15 years ago. 15 years ago the Object Oriented paradigm had been hardly invented, and there were certainly no tools for doing graphical object design and migrating the resulting designs to object oriented applications frameworks. And, I don't think there were application development tools for simple applications like Visual Basic available in 1986, but I could be mistaken. What I am sure about, if VB was around then, it was a lot more limited than today's version. If I took the time, I am sure I could come up with a few dozen more examples.

We seem to be so far apart about this I must be misunderstanding your intention. Could you elaborate on, or characterize, what you would have expected to see that would have qualified as very far software advances and "inventions to make writing software significantly simpler"?

Best wishes,

Buzz Bloom #15014
, USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 12:20:37 CST (GMT -6:00)

To Jim Linder re 15335: Thank you for answering my questions.

Regarding your ideas on taxes, I would like to discuss that with you further, but I don't think that the GB is the right forum. Please email me if is OK to discuss it that way.

Best wishes,

Buzz Bloom #15013
, USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 12:19:32 CST (GMT -6:00)

To Ameno re 15314: Somehow I seem to have failed to be as clear as I intended when I presented the chronology you criticized. Your criticism seems to be that my chronology excludes the Anasazi who invented agriculture in the Western hemisphere independently of the invention in the fertile crescent, and the independent invention in the far East. (I am excluding other possible independent inventions because their evidence is less clear.)

I had intended that my introductory sentence: "The story also explains the 'totalitarian agriculture' concept arising in the fertile crescent," to convey the idea that I was focusing on just the chronology of that single instance of invention. This instance is the one that DQ talks about as leading to the Taker culture and totalitarian agriculture, rather than just vanilla agriculture which could be Leaver agriculture.

I gather from your extrapolating from my summary chronology to a criticism of Diamond that you actually haven't read Guns, Germs, Steel. Diamond fully credits at least one independent invention of agriculture in the Western hemisphere by Native Americans, and notes that there very well may have been more than one.

I am still interested in getting your reaction to the believability of the chronology I presented, particularly taking into account my observation: "The transition happened over perhaps a thousand years. There was never a time when starving people had to suddenly switch from one life style to another." How does this affect your view (which as you noted may also be DQ's view) that because "Starving people don't do agriculture," DQ's story about the origins on agriculture in the fertile crescent is more believable than Diamond's?

Best wishes,

Karryn #15012
Berkeley,, CA USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 12:13:15 CST (GMT -6:00)

Mike and John: I am a newcomer here, and while I've enjoyed some depth of thought, I agree that these veins of conversations could be better directed to a chatroom that can accomodate 100 + messages a day.

I don't plan to intrude on recent subjects, but I am moving and acting locally.I have met with three Ishis here in Berkeley,and all of us have hit it off beautifully!

I look forward to the day when I can post, "come visit my tribal business in the woods, everyone!"

Thanks for your reflections, With Love, As Always, Karryn

VerevolfTheGrouch #15011
, USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 12:6:38 CST (GMT -6:00)

I think this is going to be (one of) my last post(s) on the guestbook. I'm migrating to the delphi board. It looks a lot more suited to these sorts of discussions.

I've always thought that "guestbook" was the wrong name for this place, because a guestbook is where you write stuff for the people behind the site to read. This is definitely a discussion board as it's used right now, just a poorly formatted one.

(for the record, I'm no fan of mudslinging, either, but my patience has limits)

Mike #15010
, USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 11:38:29 CST (GMT -6:00)


Last night before anyone posted similar thoughts, I was going to type in "I miss the guestbook." It seems that over the last few weeks or months this place has taken on an entirely different character than what I had grown accustomed to over the last three or four years.

I've found it nearly impossible to follow the deep threads that have been woven here. That's not to say this sort of discussion and dialogue is by any means not a good thing, but that it might be better suited to:


or someplace like that. I've always used the guestbook as something more than just a guestbook, posting thoughts and having conversations. But there's something about what the guestbook has become lately that has really turned me away from even trying to get into it.

For those who have been enjoying this direction that the GB has taken, forgive me. I'm not trying to impose anything, just sharing my own thoughts.

Something about this place has really changed in the last few months and I miss the old guestbook.

john kurmann #15009
Kansas City, MO USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 10:40:26 CST (GMT -6:00)

I was formerly a regular, active participant in this Guestbook but I read little of it these days. I share the concerns expressed by Sam and Bev regarding the impression folks new to these ideas and website get when they drop in and see what's often going on here.

I'm beginning to feel that it would be best if the Guestbook was eliminated as the Bulletin Board was a few years ago. The GB is plagued by many of the same faults as the BB plus has some of its own to boot. I become more convinced every day that the downsides of text-only, time-delayed communication about these ideas (or, for that matter, any complex and emotional subject) outweigh the upsides.

I wish the Guestbook could be left to function as a Guestbook.

john kurmann #15008
Kansas City, MO USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 10:24:22 CST (GMT -6:00)

Yes, it's that pamphlet post again, Guestbook regulars, so feel free to skip it:

With Dan's permission, my brother and I have produced tri-fold pamphlet versions of seven Quinnian speeches: "Reaching for the Future with All Three Hands," "The Little Engine that Couldn't," "A Path of Hope for the Future," "The New Renaissance," "Our Secret Plan" (appears under the original name of "On Investments" on this website), "Technology and the Other War," and "Protecting the Environment" (if you haven't already read them, you can go to the "Things to Read" section and click on "Essays and speeches" to do so). Bev Courtney and I have also created a pamphlet of our own called "Tunnel Vision: How We're Thinking Ourselves and Our Children to Death" which explores the question of worldview. DQ has put his stamp of approval on it by allowing us to use the "Ishmael in thought" image. In addition, I have created a version of DQ's "Talk About Wealth!" essay that's more suitable for copying and distribution than a simple print-out from this website would be. I am distributing some of these in the Kansas City area with the help of other local Bs. [What this means is that we leave them at libraries, coffeehouses, bookstores, and the like for people to pick up, not that we stand on street corners passing them out. I'm not saying that such an approach would be "wrong," but I think it's best to let people come to these ideas on their own, when they're ready.] If you'd like to get masters of any or all of these materials so you can make copies to distribute in your area (don't worry, they won't cost you anything), contact me.

You can check up on the rest of what I'm doing by pulling up my entry in the Ishmael Community Network. Also, click on my name to visit the on-line column I co-hosted with Bill Gresham called "Rethinking the World."

In addition to the pamphlet masters, I also have a few other things you might find of interest:

-A 1992 story about DQ from a publication called Inquirer (e-mail copy);

-A 1996 interview with DQ (a very extensive one) from Illusions magazine (website link);

-A recounting of an e-mail dialogue between DQ and Lance Pierce, also from Illusions, which illustrates both how Quinn thinks and how his ideas are often misunderstood; this one's very important to understanding what DQ is really saying (website link);

-A 1997 interview with DQ from The Sun magazine (e-mail copy);

-A 1999 article about DQ from Texas Monthly magazine (e-mail copy);

-An essay by Thom Hartmann (author of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight) called "The Lost People" (website link);

-An essay by Ronald Wright (author of Stolen Continents) called "Civilization is a pyramid scheme";

-An essay by Jared Diamond (author of Guns, Germs and Steel) called "The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race";

-A joint statement issued by the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of London titled "Population Growth, Resource Consumption and a Sustainable World" (nice to have around to show to folks who think science is going to be able to solve our problems because it makes clear that scientists aren't by any means convinced of that; website link to preview and hard-copy available);

-Files delineating the revisions made to Ishmael, The Story of B, and My Ishmael when they were released in later editions.

E-mail me if you would like any or all of the above items.

Hope to hear from some of you soon. Take care.

Nova Green #15007
Phoenix, AZ USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 10:11:13 CST (GMT -6:00)


I am passing this on to those contacts and groups which I think may have an interest in it. I know this person and find him to be a very innovative and creative person who has traveled widely throughout the world, and thinks even more widely. He definitely has a passion for moving beyond talking about something to actually DOING IT. Please contact Daniel about your interest. His proposal follows:


I hold passion for life as a paramount value and regard in utmost importance the reliance of individuals on their own sense of truth. My home is Earth and beauty is my God.

I seek to form a village that is an attempted projection of those core values.

I seek to form an environmentally-sustainable village of 500 people that offers significant advantages over existing towns. Its design will be the product of radical, poetic expressions of self. It will be created for the sake of love.

Beyond that, I aim to form a company that will use this village as a template and facilitate the creation of comparable villages throughout.

* * *

We can debate if it can happen or not; if it is indeed the supreme ideal; and what is the truth about human nature. Deal me out, folks; I am not getting into any of this.

I write this open letter to find if there are people out there who will roll their sleeves and make a real home for themselves build, and move in a matter of a few years. I wish to know if there are people who will consider forming a viable, wondrous small town for the sake of their families and later help facilitate it for other interested groups.

It is a personal letter; it is as personal as it gets. And it is directed at you.

I have pondered over the idea for a number of years. I will choose whether to set this plan in motion by the end of the year (2001). Please let me know your sentiments; a simple, single sentence is best. Your answer will aid me decide, and I would appreciate it very much.

Email to Daniel Rirdan at rirdan@home.com

Rev. Slick #15006
Kitanakagusuku, okinawa Japan -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 10:7:39 CST (GMT -6:00)

Greetings To All,

I would now like to respond to Buzz Bloom's last question. Why do I post these messages? Simple. I'm fishing. As I have previously said, every solution I can envision in some way ends in violence on a catastrophic scale. Needless to say, this is a very undesirable result. I'm hoping that by posting these messages, someone will be able to offer a truly viable alternative. I'm still waiting.

Bart Wolters #15005
Columbia, MO USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 9:49:17 CST (GMT -6:00)

After reading the post made by MMJKD, I feel it is necessary to point out the large and repetitive use of the word "I". This is not a grammatical mistake of course but rather one of content. Your post seems to be one that points to your personal issues and not those pertaining to the purpose of this site. I don't claim to know the source of these issues but it is something you might consider. You seem to post to vent yourself and then when people disagree with you, your response is one of aggression towards them. Seek peace with the world to find your own. Good luck to all on their journies.

Michael #15004
Berkeley, CA USA -
Sunday, December 9, 2001 at 9:10:46 CST (GMT -6:00)



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