Ecologies are stable until they’re not

Systems Theory is central to my approach to understanding decision making, whether looking at mental activity or brain function. Systems Theory shows us how uncertainty arises even in fully deterministic of systems. When cause and effect feedback on each other and small changes result in non-linear effects, the future behavior of a system becomes harder to predict just because linear correlation and simple cause and effect lose explanatory power.

More often than not, I look at complex systems through the filter of ecology. Ecology is the term we use for the study of interacting biological organisms and their habitat in the real world. But by analogy, this mode of thinking becomes useful in thinking about how or brains interact with other brains and the environment. And of course we like to think of technologies, like Apple products and services as being an ecosystem where users, devices and information interact in a system.

Ecologies, like the organisms that live in them, are generally resilient. If they weren’t they wouldn’t last long enough to recognize as ongoing, functioning systems. But that’s not to say that ecologies don’t change over time in response to external inputs or changes in the environment.

A nice example from Ed Yong, who’s writing I treasure. An ecology of whales, krill and the ocean floor. Introduce man and the ecology collapses. The system is hurt but not gone and it may be possible to restart.

To Save the Whales, Feed the Whales – The Atlantic

Just as many large mammals are known to do on land, the whales engineer the same ecosystems upon which they depend. They don’t just eat krill; they also create the conditions that allow krill to thrive.

That’s the key to ecologies. They are constructed and maintained by their participants- all the animals in the environment have to reach a stable balance to persist over time. With change, a new stable state may be reached if the system persists. It may be diminished or barely recognizable, but it changes until it comes to rest in some newest of relationships.

Yong understands ecology and evolution, making his writing rich and deep. By the way, that’s a pointer to the article where it appeared in the Atlantic, behind a paywall. I read his writing in the Apple ecosystem, in Apple News+. As an information source, to enrich my information environment, Apple provides a great service.

As and ecology, I can’t see how these paywalls and Substack subscriptions reach a long term stable state. We used to have newstands where you could dip into a copy of the Atlantic for a small price. You got to read the New Yorker or Readers Digest in the doctor or dentist’s waiting room. Sure, once you have a readership you can move behind a paywall. But once the NYT and Washington Post have aggregated all the readers behind their paywalls they become just another monopoly like Facebook, YouTube and Google.

Not a stable information ecosystem.

By the way, I’m glad I read the Foundation Trilogy before starting the AppleTV series. They are very different works, related stories.

The Apple series is way more coherent and focused. They’ve collapsed lots of Asimov’s threads into a real fabric, but along the way has become so much more conventional modern SciFi than Azimov’s experimental imaginings that made less sense but were wilder with huge story gaps.

The Apple show introduces some of the fantasy elements that Asimov added only in the second book and amplified in the third. Just so you know, I can enjoy stories with mind reading and mind uploading, but I find it much more likely that antigravity and faster than light travel are possible than the possibility that neuronal networks can ever be instantiated in computers or that their activity can be read out externally. But all fiction requires suspension of disbelief.

Casual Blogging and Hypertext

One of the advantages of adopting casual blogging is that the blank paper fear is banished. I put the date or a topic at the top and simply write what comes to mind. It should be easy to write. Publishing should be frictionless. But hopefully that casual journaling is the first part of a bigger process.

Why blog?

In a note about the Tinderbox Meetup he participated in, Dave Rogers on Nice Marmot discusses why he blogs

I don’t do this for an audience. I do it for myself. I have no idea how many people visit here. I looked at the logs once, can’t make head or tail of them. Can’t deny that it’s a pleasure whenever I learn that someone reads what I post here, but I don’t chase it.

I’m also writing primarily for my benefit and grateful to those like Dave who have been steady readers over the years. Do we write ourselves into existence on the internet?

The narrative voice is the point of view, the way in which the reader will hear and experience the story. The first-person point of view invites the reader to see the story through the author’s perspective. The narrative voice is a reflection of the writer’s personality, a reflection of who they are. The writer displays their voice in the way they tell their story, the words they use, the aspects they highlight, the feelings they describe. Through the writer’s voice, readers can experience an event in a unique way.

Imagining an audience provides meaning to the public act of writing. Even if no one reads, there’s an implied listener. There’s a sense of creating something bigger than the grind of day to day life in art.

For years Michelle Silver, a sociologist at the University of Toronto, studied doctors as they shifted from being on call to doing secondary work to eventually retiring. And she found that, at the end, they essentially fell off a cliff. One day they were respected and passionate, with a clear purpose. Then they were just normal people.

Tinderbox is a hypertext tool

In his post, Dave makes some points about how these meetups and videos may not be doing Tinderbox any favors. I tried to watch the first one on blogging and as Dave pointed out it was filled with editing HTML and long complex coding that was not at all useful to me. Some of Michael Becker’s first YouTube videos were somewhat introductory gave me some nice ideas about setting up and using Tinderbox. For the vast majority of users looking at the new crop of personal knowledge management apps like Obsidian, Craft and Notion, I think it makes Tinderbox look too intimidating and complex.

Michael looks at Tinderbox as a programming environment, I fear, not as a hypertext tool for notes. Mark Bernstein has written about the philosophy behind the tool over the years.

Mark has always emphasized “incremental formalization”, which means starting with the notes and letting the objects dictate the organization as you go along. Obviously a set of notes referencing academic literature is going to need some way of referencing those publications, but there are many ways to accomplish that and the approach could differ for different projects. This is from The Tinderbox Way:

Tinderbox is designed to help you write things down, find them, think about them, and share them. Tinderbox is an assistant. Its meant to help, to facilitate. Its not a methodology or a code. Its a way to write things down, link them up, and share them. Its a chisel, guided by your hand and your intelligence.

The other key feature of Tinderbox is that it’s built on a hypertext foundation, supporting multiple views into the notes. Not only are there note to note links, but text to text and note to text links. You can look at a set of notes as an outline or as a map.

As we’ve all recognized over the years, Tinderbox’s greatest weakness is that flexibility. The competing tools have clear affordances that show you how it is to be used. But the truth is that it really only takes a few hours of use to start down the road of note taking and incrementally building a structure to support workflow.

Right now, I’m in the process building a Zettelblogging Tinderbox. My use is different from anything I’ve done before because of the wide variety of topics I’ve been writing about here at ODB. The other difference is that I’m putting Tinderbox in the center of a processing flow where text flows from Drafts into DEVONthink and on to Tinderbox for summarizing. I’m surprised that I’m then moving my notes out of Tinderbox into Ulysses to become text again. It’s a chain, but each program is supporting a unique activity.

It’s important to summarize and synthesize. Otherwise you fall into the well known Collector’s Fallacy

But knowledge-building doesn’t work that way. And saving content into some archive doesn’t either. I’m guilty of this myself. Having used Evernote for a decade I was used to saving everything I wanted to remember into the tool. I sorted and curated, tagged, and sometimes even highlighted content. But I fell victim to the Collectors Fallacy. Because you collected something doesn’t mean you learned it or are able to explain it.

This is where the hypertext environment of Tinderbox excels for me.

Evolution Requires Pre-Existing Variation

A pet peeve of mine- the suggestion that an animal or an organization or any complex system can evolve to become better adapted.

I ran across this today in an otherwise interesting discussion of life beyond the earth’s environments:

SETI: Why extraterrestrial intelligence is more likely to be artificial than biological | Space

AI may even be able to evolve, creating better and better versions of itself on a faster-than-Darwinian timescale for billions of years. Organic human-level intelligence would then be just a brief interlude in our “human history” before the machines take over. So if alien intelligence had evolved similarly, we’d be most unlikely to “catch” it in the brief sliver of time when it was still embodied in biological form.

I’m interested in this question of whether what is called artificial general intelligence is possible and if so, what form would it take. What bothered me here was equating AI evolving with creating better versions of itself. That’s not evolution; that’s merely improvement.

There’s a real argument to be made that fundamentally an algorithmic process can’t get outside of itself to ever be better than it was originally programmed to be. As argued in this paper, there may be fundamental limits on artificial general intelligence as long as we try to create algorithms limited to a particular problem space

We show that it is impossible to predefine a list of such uses. Therefore, they cannot be treated algorithmically. This means that “AI agents” and organisms differ in their ability to leverage new affordances. Only organisms can do this. This implies that true AGI is not achievable in the current algorithmic frame of AI research. It also has important consequences for the theory of evolution. We argue that organismic agency is strictly required for truly open-ended evolution through radical emergence.

Real evolution in the natural world demonstrates, I think, that there’s no fundamental limit as long as we build in variation so that novel forms of the algorithm are tried and can be selected for against a real ecology independent of the algorithm.

So remember, evolution needs both pre-existing variation and selection of the best adapted variants. You can’t evolve, you can express differences that the world will choose from.

On the other hand, we can see this going on right now.

Ed Yong is one of our best working science writers. This article so clearly lays out how evolution occurs all the time, right before our eyes. The story is that there is a gene for brittle tusks being selected for in the population because tuskless elephants have a survival advantage in an ecology with ivory poachers.

African Elephants Evolved Tusklessness Amazingly Fast

Campbell-Staton’s team has “done a convincing job showing that the Gorongosa elephants have evolved in response to poaching,” Kiyoko Gotanda, an evolutionary biologist at Brock University, told me. Usually, evolution is a slow process, but it can proceed with blinding speed.

I’ll give Dr. Gotanda some leeway here because he said the elephants “have evolved” which is a passive construction, since obviously the elephants didn’t actually do anything to evolve. Well, actually what they had was a pre-existing genetic variation that caused loss of tusks. Had that gene not been there, no selection could have occurred. It’s the part of evolution often forgotten. Variation is extremely valuable to a species because it allows for very rapid adaptation to a changing ecology.


Interesting to see the range of responses to the Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of his aspiration to build a virtual world. This is the best of the interviews I read. As far as I can tell the only achievement that Facebook has is it’s algorithm that stole social interaction from the distributed net and concentrated it in a walled garden. Contrast that with Apple or Microsoft’s or Google’s embodiment of a vision in shipped products evolved to meet the challenges of advancing technology. It seems to me that the Facebook founder knows his time on stage will draw to a close as his users age and his only move will be to acquire the next platform (Instagram, What’s App).

You have to be in awe of what Apple has become from Apple II to Mac to iPhone to iPad to Watch. Never inventing the future mind you, just iterating to create a better, more expensive, more profitable experience. And kudo’s to Microsoft to emerging from the PC era to the cloud, continuing to dominate business software. My company’s IT infrastructure is almost entirely built on Microsoft products from email to Teams to Sharepoint.

Tech visions don’t always fail, but they do turn out to take unexpected turns and end up in places you wouldn’t expect. I loved my Palm Pilot, never got along with the Blackberry I had for a couple of years, enjoyed the Newton, but preferred the Palm Pilot. But we ended up with iPhones in the end. And that’s been the end of the chain for a long time now. A glass slab.

You can talk all you want about the vision. The lesson of Deciding Better is that you have only the Now in which to act. You can’t bring about the future, you can only do things in the present. Of course, those actions make some futures more likely and others less likely or maybe even impossible. But you can’t will the future into reality. I’ve found that it’s a common illusion among CEOs actually. They get disconnected from the real work of creating in the now and start to believe that their vision is what has brought the current reality into being.

Wow me with the first step toward this future and I’ll believe. So far all I can tell the VR rigs are good for is playing Fruit Ninja in 3-D or taking calming immersive journeys. Sometimes I wonder whether Tim Cook’s frequent enthusiasms about augmented reality isn’t trolling competitors like Zuckerberg. But no, Apple has not only shipped “Spatial Audio”, they are using it and integrating it into daily use for music and conferencing. I’ve seen QR-coded exhibits where you can get an AR overlay for the phone. My car has a heads up display that alerts me to speed limit changes. These are real steps toward a future where there is more than our mind’s semantic tags on what we see, but an extension of what we can know spatially integrated into the world as we move through it.

As some one once said, “Real artists ship”

Notes for Thursday, October 28, 2021

I’m not very interested in the Nikon Z9 announced today, way too much camera. But the NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 lens is the Z mount version of my carry around lens I used for the D800 and D850 when I went full frame. That was a really nice lens after I sent it to Nikon for adjustment. I use the SL2 on occasion but it’s heavy and the primes I have are big and heavy. It only comes out for events, never travel.

Apple reported earnings today. For some reason I was looking at some information on the industrial side of computing like Wind River and other real time operating systems and it struck me how close Apple stays to its original vision and remains a consumer device company that sells a software, hardware and service package to consumers. Unique really. But with these latest generation SoCs, aren’t advanced robotics, intelligent control systems with visual input and other industrial uses in reach? All are like the automous vehicle market, but the prospective Apple Car is a consumer package. Seems like these chips would be very capable of doing much more, starting in robotics.

For the first time I’m dipping into dynamic web content. I’ve never edited my web posts, but I see maybe I should be updating and expanding earlier posts. Maybe not touching old blog posts is a philosophical line like cropping photos.

I was skeptical of using baking soda to polish scratched eyeglasses

Mix a couple of tablespoons of baking soda with a small amount of water to create a thick paste, Zavaleta says. Then grab a clean microfiber cloth (i.e. not the one you just used) and gently rub the solution onto the lenses.

My wife tried it and was really pleased with the result. I was told by a Zeiss microscope salesman many years ago to use a facial tissue and condensation from the breathe. The tissues are made to be very soft and non-abrasive and the condensation is close to distilled water. My glasses remain unscratched for my years. Also, I have them on from when I get up in the morning until I’m ready to sleep at night.

I dropped my Medium subscription. I used to follow links and get stopped by their paywall. Now Medium seems mostly clickbait. I have no substack subscriptions. I don’t think hiding behind a paywall based on internet fame is a sustainable business model.

Zettelblogging Notes

I’m working in public here on the Zettelblogging method and there’s much to learn. While I was excited about using the RSS feed from the site as an archive, it turns out that the original Drafts document is just cleaner. But I now have a Drafts action that posts, sends a markdown copy to DEVONthink and archives the file in Drafts.

As I’ve started dividing up each days notes and bringing them into Tinderbox, I’ve begun to realize that posting a big end of day draft with topical headings looks like an imitation of a calendar structure but doesn’t help find older posts. I’ve looked at current and historical linkblog examples and there’s really no reason not to publish short notes like this as their own posts.

This post for example now is part of the breadcrumb trail in the development of the method.

As I’ve been pulling notes into Tinderbox, I realized that my note taking style is much better aligned with the Bullet Journal school than the Zettelkasten school. My notes have always tended to be telegraphic and aids to memory, not finished writing that could be understood by some one else or even by myself years later. I’m capturing daily notes and links in Drafts, then editing them into a post like this for publication.

Since this is a blogging method, my current thought is that my Tinderbox files can be populated by notes that have been published, but then summarized and synthesized in my usual note taking style. Those summaries then form the basis of new notes to be published in what should be a virtuous cycle of notes resulting in posts that result in notes and more posts.

Since this is casual blogging, I don’t care about finishing a full exposition. This is all work in progress and publishable when I’m done with the idea for the day.

Like now.

Notes for Wednesday, October 27, 2021

I finally rewatched all of the first four seasons of Money Heist on Netflix so I can finally start the new episodes that dropped a few months ago. It was so long since the first watching that I wanted to re-experience the story before embarking on what will be the end of the story released in December as Season 5, part 2.

The Spanish phenomenon has been one of the most polarising shows of the past five years, transcending the language barrier and entertaining tens of millions of non-Spanish speakers from around the world. While we still wait for the viewing figures from part 5, we do however know that part 4 ensured Money Heist became the most-watched non-English title ever when over 65 million households tuned in to watch within the first month.

I got the new Mac Book Pro set up with my external monitors and drive with an old USB-C dock I had. I’ll be switching to a newer Thunderbolt dock soon.

In appreciation of the greatest achievements in Western Culture: J.S. Bach: Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello

The suites, which were composed ca 1720 but remained in obscurity until a young Pablo Casals rediscovered them in a secondhand sheet music store in Barcelona in 1890, contain some of the most joyous, moving, and profound music in the Western classical music canon.

The many recordings I’ve heard are individual looks into the performer’s essence.

Notes for Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Mac Book Pro arrived today, got my apps and data migrated from the Mac mini so it’s now my single Mac for use at the desk and around. Initial impression is that its solid, big and very fast.

Looking at ways of scripting the Zettelblogging process, but I’ve begun building a bit in Tinderbox, but convinced I’ll probably keep the output for the site in Ulysses.

Another photographer who pre-visualizes in camera is Phil Penman. He was using a Leica SL, which is the big , heavy mirrorless but switched to the rangefinder M, but using the screen at the back or a Visoflex accessory electronic view finder so that he sees what the camera will record. I’ve used the display on my M a good bit, but don’t really like focusing using the peaking function which detects image edges by contrast.

Tax on unrealized capital gains that’s been proposed seems to me to be just a way to redistrubute some money from a dozen extraordinarily wealthy stock holders to the Federal Government which aims to further redistribute to people. I’m not really convinced that’s a public good, which should be the function of government.

On the other hand, many Americans are used to paying taxes on unrealized gains when they pay real estate taxes to their local government. Your house is appraised by the government and every year they take a small percentage of that appraised value for the public good to provide services like sewer, schools and local roads. A wealth tax like that which included private businesses, stock holdings, bonds, real estate, art and other wealth seems more reasonable as a way to provide for the public good other than just taxing income rather than investment and ownership gains. There’s also an argument that a Value Added Tax, used through much of the rest of the word, is a better way to tax commerce to provide for the public good.

What if you created a monster?

Dave Winer writes

Re Facebook and hate speech, every online system is a haven for all kinds of speech. No one knows how to control it, and esp not at the scale that Facebook operates.

It’s not that Facebook needs to control it. The hate and lies on the internet reflect the bad impulses that people have. We’re socialized to moderate these behaviors and use our impulses for good to keep control. The internet environment is permissive and the evil that people harbor comes out.

We don’t hold manufacturers of printers responsible for what’s printed and we don’t hold phone carriers responsible for what’s said on their networks. In fact, for the most part, no one criticizes the internet infrastructure for enabling this bad behavior.

The difference is that Facebook, Twitter and other platforms employ algorithms that amplify bad behavior because content that gets attention is good for selling advertising. The algorithms may be independent of moral values and only distinguish activity, but they create an environment where hate and lies thrive.

Sure it’s an unintended consequence, but if you own the machine that’s doing harm, even though you never wanted that outcome, its sensible that you’ll be held responsible for the results of your attention driven system full of hate and lies.

From a simple moral perspective, if I created a monster that caused harm, I’d pull the plug or at least take action to moderate the injury even if it cost money. We couldn’t sell a drug which caused that kind of injury along with the good, but of course pharmaceuticals is a highly regulated industry for just that reason.

What is Zettelblogging?

From casual blogging to knowledge management

I’ve got a quick way to do casual blogging that works so well, it has me posting near daily. The key is to send anything I see of interest over to Drafts via the share sheet. If I have some text selected, Drafts capture it as a Markdown link plus a pull quote. I used to do that with a bookmarklet and MarsEdit. Since that fine app is Mac only, it hasn’t been a practical blogging aid for a while. This works.

After I’ve edited the collection as a Journal post for the day in Drafts, I just copy it over to the WordPress app on iOS or the web editor on the Mac. Works the same either way. I’ll probably use a Drafts action for this soon just to save a few clicks.

I’ve been contemplating the next step which would be to use these daily notes to help curate and synthesize information over time. These mixed, short journal style entries are easy and fun, but lost in the stream of posts very quickly. I had started archiving them to DEVONthink using a Drafts action, but I discovered today that’s entirely unnecessary. I’ve had an RSS feed of On Deciding . . . Better in a database for a while. To my surprise, when I switched to this pasting of Markdown into the WordPress app, the RSS feed in DEVONthink is now just the Markdown file. So I get an archive of published drafts for free!

Now that I’m synthesizing some notes from the journal, I figured I need a name for the process. The note taking world seems quite taken by the Zettelkasten method, but most of the discussions I read miss the point of the method. It’s not about linking notes, it’s about writing ideas in your own words gleaned from research and then creating higher level topical notes based on and linked to the evidence and other relevant concepts. So it is Hypertextual in some sense, but its about synthesis. But it was created in an academic world of taxonomy, I think, where enlightenment thought promised to unify knowledge, whereas in my post-modernist, ecological frame knowledge is best framed as just densely interconnected.

In my casual blogging method, I’m starting with small summaries to begin with. Here, for example, I’m bringing together concepts of casual blogging, Zettelkasten, and the ecology of knowledge. The job, it seems to me, is to spend some time synthesizing those ideas from this kind of casual journaling.

Why Zettelblogging? Well a Zettel is just a note. Luhrmann used index cards, thus Zettelkasten or note-cards. I’m using the blog as the container, with the same idea of collection and curation of ideas. The synthesis could just resurface in more journaling, with curation being behind the scenes in this author’s head and private notes. But blogging implies publication, so at some point, presumably those ideas become blog posts of their own to represent some higher level of organization than just the daily note.

So far, the only tool I have at my disposal seems to be Tinderbox for the analysis and synthesis part. Drafts and Ulysses both have stronger support for bidirectional editing of WordPress posts through the API. Actually, MarsEdit does this very well too. So it may be that writing gets done in one of those apps based on the Tinderbox knowledge management. Let’s put this into action and see where it leads. This is, after all, casual blogging and working in public.

Tinderbox is not so complicated

Just few thoughts on TInderbox, then. I’ve been using it for a very long time and like by blogging, I’m a casual user. The potential power inherent in the software leads to many overcomplicating things with multiple prototypes and actions. I don’t have time.

For me, Tinderbox is a Hypertext Notes app that provides me with multiple views of the document. I’m a visual thinker and love moving concepts around in maps. But because I’ve lived in organizational systems of topical folders my whole life, I also like to sort by topic to enable focus. Tinderbox lets me easily switch back and forth. And because we’ve laid hypertextual links on the world as an express lane from one note to another, I create those links to be able to create connections across topics.

Those powerful tools are also quite simple and familiar. Notes have attributes, which is just metadata that’s useful to attatch to text. Like a URL or reference to a file on the computer. Then there are Actions to change or otherwise use that metadata.

As a tool for idea manipulation, I’m working on taking these daily journal Markdown files with their free associations across topics and using the Explode function in Tinderbox to create individual notes divided by the headlines or horizontal rules I used to organize the page. From there it’s a matter of topical sorting and starting to create topic level notes to synthesize more ideas. It doesn’t use much of Tinderbox’s potential power, but then that’s also how I use Word and Excel. Document creation, some graphs, often a Pivot Table.

The commercialization of Earth orbit begins: Orbital Reef | Orbital Reef

Orbital Reef will be the premier mixed-use space station in low Earth orbit for commerce, research, and tourism by the end of this decade.

Free of national control and regulation. Unlimited void to dump waste heat. Unlimited solar power unimpressed by weather. Having the government fund the development of the launch vehicles was a boon. We’ll be manufacturing and housing server farms in space pretty soon.

On the other hand, my industry, pharmaceutical companies and biotechs continue to be free of any market limits on what we charge. And it looks like it won’t change. How PhRMA is trying to thwart Democrats’ effort to lower drug prices – The Washington Post

Brian Newell, a PhRMA spokesman, said only that the trade group has had “constructive engagement with various policymakers” in an effort to “lower costs for patients, while protecting choice, access and future innovation.”

What drug companies charge is only limited by social pressure based on their profits. When profits grow too large, there’s pressure to play ball from multiple stakeholders including insurers and the government. But as long as the R&D spend continues and new treatments appear, it’s a matter of what you can charge, not what anything actually costs or is actually worth.

I have no real solution for the problem. Government negotiation is just shifting the social pressure from public opinion to government agencies that can only look at the same profit vs R&D spend metrics. Pricing based on some notion of added health or clinical benefit is just not how we’ve ever priced medical care- The Neurologist who diagnoses dementia but can’t offer treatment will be compensated more than Walgreens tech that administers the life saving COVID vaccine. Prices can’t be based just on health outcome. In the end there’s some overall national budget for healthcare and it gets divided up between administration,providers, capital costs and drugs. Balancing that is hard and I don’t know how to reduce that to the price charged for a new drug with either a bigger or smaller benefit than what has come before.

I’ve learned to value doing hard things. Some times the hard thing is just a strength training session and sometimes the hard think is controlling anger and frustration. But recognize that these things are hard and look for more hard things to do.

Notes for Sunday, October 24, 2021


I knew about the pandemic boon in cycling. The shops were backed up weeks for repairs and everyone got their bikes out of the garage to get out and ride. Supply chain disruptions caused shortages in availability of new bikes and parts for repair. Things are still nowhere near normal.

I hadn’t thought about the pandemic fueling a running boom. Shut out of gyms, I guess it’s an easy available form of fitness. I hadn’t really noticed more runners, just more bikes and few cars.

Cycling is much more group oriented than running. Strava is how I track my local cyclists and some well known current and retired racers. Runners do the same, but I think it’s a bigger change for runners: How Strava Shapes Our Running Stories – Outside Online

Now that the once-private, lonesome pursuit of long-distance running is an increasingly public exercise, there’s more incentive than ever to chronicle our successes and failures for an expectant readership.

This dovetails with my recent thoughts about the return of blogging. It’s a challenge to make sure the social performance doesn’t become more important than the activity itself. The social media is incentivized exactly the opposite way- the want to drive attention not the underlying activity.


I’ve been working on how to process these Journal posts in Tinderbox. I’m writing a lot, but its fragmented. My idea is to use a Zettelkasten style of summary notes as I flesh ideas out here. That doesn’t mean reusing the text or even linking back to these daily Journal pages. I think it means curating summaries of the various topics I return to here time and again.