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Derek Caelin

Joined 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Seeking a Solarpunk Future

Climate Feminist | Biodiversity | Open Source Software | Civic Tech | Games | Justice | Regenerative Ag | Green Energy | He/Him/His.

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Derek Caelin's books

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2022 Reading Goal

68% complete! Derek Caelin has read 34 of 50 books.

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Nature of Oaks (2021, Timber Press, Incorporated) 4 stars

It's funny how you can observe something for hours and not realize what you are seeing until someone explicitly points it out to you.

In one passage of "The Nature of Oaks" Tallamy points out that bird behavior at a bird feeder differs from species to species. Finches will stay and stack on seeds, eating as many as they can. Chickadees will grab a seed and then disappear to hide it (perhaps in a nearby tree).

Son-of-a-gun, it's true! As I sit in our library, staring at our own bird feeder, I see exactly this behavior. But until I had read a book, I'd never really noticed what was happening.

China's Leaders: From Mao to Now (Polity) No rating

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China over 70 years ago, five paramount …

A few chapters in and I'm already learning things.

Not having read any 20th-century Chinese history, I had thought that the "Cultural Revolution" was the founding of Communist China. Not so; it was launched by Mao well into his own reign, for the purposes of "reigniting" the spirit of revolution. It got a lot of people killed.

Interesting that a sitting leader would choose to mobilize the masses explicitly because he doesn't trust the bureaucracy he ostensibly governs.

A few years ago I had read "The Three-Body Problem", one of the most well-known instances of Chinese Sci Fi that has permeated the west. That book starts with a fairly brutal depiction of the Cultural Revolution. I was curious, because I had heard that books critical of the government were sensored in China. Now I understand that criticism of the Cultural Revolution is mainstream - in fact, the event disavowed and …

Engines of Liberty (2017, Basic Books) 5 stars

Upset About Roe V Wade Repeal? Read this book for some hope.

5 stars

Sometimes change seems to happen rapidly, but often it is the result of long, careful organizing by interest groups. This book looks at the role organized campaigns have played in impacting supreme court decisions.

Before reading "Engines", I had no idea that the current interpretation of the Second Amendment to support the individual liberty to bear arms was a modern interpretation that came into prominence in the 90s. Prior to this, activists planned to shape discourse, get professors with alternate perceptions in schools, develop a broad swath of lawyers and judges. The justices who repealed of Roe didn't emerge from nowhere; they existed in judicial societies, were educated by communities, sponsored and supported by interest groups.

There are other books that explore similar topics. ("Inventing the Future" by Srnicek and Williams documents the organized rise of Neoliberalism, another book I reccomend). The point is, major changes come with decades of …

Impact Networks (2021, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Incorporated) No rating

The social and environmental challenges we face today are not only complex, they are also …

Hierarchies are preferred by many for their predictability and stability - workers and leaders know what they can expect, and activities can be forecast well in advance. On the other hand, hierarchical structures are limited in their ability to address complex and multifaceted issues. Whereas networks work from the inside out, with ideas and actions emerging from the conversations happening between individuals, hierarchical structures operate from the top down, with powerful leaders sending instructions and resources to those lower in the hierarchy through layers of management. In the face of complexity, this structure turns into a bottleneck.

Impact Networks by  (Page 32)