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Thoughts on reading "After Collapse: the regeneration of complex societies" by Glenn Schwarts and John Nicols

Ancient Syria, Iraq, Greece, Cambodia and Peru - all were home to complex societies with central governments, state religions, mega-monuments, tax-collectors and imperial wars, that collapsed back into self-governing tribes and villages.

These societies were on different continents and differed in almost every way, but there are definite patterns in both the growth of complex society - government - and in the reversion to simpler forms.

Collapse was usually accompanied by violence and significant social dislocation, but the aftermath was varied and could be stable and prosperous. In some places, government stayed absent for centuries, in others it was reestablished by different rulers / religions / cities almost immediately.

Collapse was less destructive when:
- The area was peripheral to the collapsed government - central, metropolitan areas suffered greater population loss and physical destruction.
- The local economy was diversified, especially in means of subsistence. Climate changes have provided the initial impetus for many / most collapses, multiple... show more
This entry was edited (2 months ago)


Thoughts on reading "Trust: the social virtues and the creation of prosperity"


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GnuPG public key

Ever wanted to send a message via public channels that the intended recipient(s) can read but no one else can?

No creepy ad agencies, no stalkers, no dubious freedom-hating governments around the web, no political/terrorist organisations building lists?

Its great that Diaspora allows us greater control of who can access our data compared to other social media, but still, that data exists somewhere and can be seized/hacked/stolen. But not if its encrypted and readable only by the intended recipients :-) (linux) or (windows) is one free and publicly-documented way to encrypt stuff. You can import my public key below, or using "gpg --search-keys"

If you're using gpg, send me your public key too, and then we can better control who can listen to our conversations.

-----BEGIN PGP PU... show more
This entry was edited (2 months ago)

I agree, for public content public key encryption cannot be more than "security by obscurity", and a bit of a nuisance.

For self-selected groups of people who already know each other (online or offline), though, it would be very useful. Encrypting for multiple recipients public keys is a thing, "group keys" can be shared by multiple people, and different posts can be encrypted with different keys.

The real barrier to adopting this is that attempts like WebPG to make GnuPG user-friendly and in-browser have foundered on the fact that anything done in-browser using Javascript is (potentially) accessible to the (potentially) untrusted server.

EDIT - - GPG encryption and decryption in the browser! Working! And works in another tab, so no javascript sniffing
This entry was edited (2 months ago)

@Rorus What's your thoughts on Keybase? If used with just the app (no account signup at all) it seems to be a pretty slick solution. It feels a bit like training wheels though, and I worry many folks won't use the tools correctly with them being so easy to get running, negating the need to pass thru the initiation of just figuring all this shit out, haha. At the same time, there needs to not be such a hurdle... so I'm really torn on how I feel about it.

Reading about it now, curious as to why its not in usual Debian repos. Thanks Adam!

@Rorus last I checked it wasn't in Arch's repos either, however there are several in the AUR, including (iirc) an official package. I found it incredibly easy and simple to use. I didn't even need to consult documentation... I did just find myself wondering, like I said previously, if it's good to have one entity making such a solution, though. Where it becomes so easy to use, but then Keybase gets to define much of the utility of these tools, and I fear that might prevent users from groking their true potential.

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