High chicken aspirations, Aristotle, Twitter radar

Plus a wild new bird discovery

“Welcome to stay where she wants to be is a high chicken aspiration.” With this quote, manure and compost farmer Karl Hammer captures a sentiment that a colleague and I have been working towards with our approach to contracts for creative work. We care very much about creating a working relationship with partners where they stick with us because they want to and have what they need to thrive, not because onerous terms keep them there. We’re determined to make that a business reality as we move forward, and as I heard this I was inspired by Karl Hammer and his chickens, who are “more enabled to express their full chickenhood than lots of people on this sad planet.”

This interview with Karl Hammer by Erica Heilman on Rumble Strip Vermont has valuable and unusual perspectives to offer you on labor, relationships, manure, the orientation towards technology power vs. animal power, and what differentiates donkeys and Teslas.

The bomber and tanker crew families all decided it was a nice day for 250 mile drive to northern Vermont. A couple of weeks ago, if memory serves about an hour before the president announced that he had tested positive for Covid-19, rumors were swirling and I saw this tweet that strongly suggested (or maybe validated) that something was going on:

Tim mentioned in a tweet that followed that there was an incident when he grew up that taught him to look out for these kinds of signs. “I was 10 during the Cuban missile crisis. My town was next to a SAC B-52 base. One day a lot of classmates just disappeared. The bomber and tanker crew families all decided it was a nice day for 250 mile drive to northern Vermont.”

This is at least the second time I’ve seen these kinds of unofficial markers of something brewing first via first-person accounts (and data or observation) on social media. I still follow Sohaib Athar, @reallyvirtual on Twitter, who was sitting in a coffee shop in Abbottabad, Pakistan when the Bin Laden raid got going. I saw a tweet amplified from others about unusual activity there, and followed. “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event),” and then “A huge window shaking bang here... I hope its not the start of something nasty.” Here’s a piece from Reuters at the time if you don’t remember or are interested in looking back on it.

It’s a really valuable “eyes on the world” function of Twitter, and I would miss it if I stopped using the platform. It’s also a way I expand my followers and worldview by getting to know the twitter lives of people who share this kind of thing in an important moment. For all of the downsides, this is a thing I’m glad I have. It is, of course, vulnerable to all kinds of manipulation by bad actors, but in my experience if you’re cautious, patient, and use your skills of source evaluation and consideration, you can usually get to the table early when something of this significance is going on. It’s all the more important right now as people are holed up in their home/makeshift offices so much and we so rarely have baseline patterns of normalness to gauge out in the physical landscape any more. I wonder if Tim would even easily notice nowadays if suddenly a lot of friends just disappeared. It might be a couple of days at least.

Some interstitial animal heads on people bodies.

I didn't make the world, I just theoro it. I’m really enjoying following this Twitter account purporting to be the Twitter embodiment of Aristotle in today’s world. I think the first thread I saw and really got in to was this one about Basketball that starts here. Click in to it to read more:

The argumentation is refreshingly focused, thoughtful, and also kind of breezy. The responses it elicits, at least in the case of this thread, match that tone, answer with respect and collegiality, often clash directly, and produce something that is really enjoyable to follow. As an example, a branching reply to one of their tweets:

I don’t know if any of the responders are sock puppet accounts or in on the Aristotelian action, but the whole effect brings something great to Twitter and made me think about how something like Twitter could look if it had tidy and respectful argumentation more commonly.

I DM’ed Aristotle to ask if they had revealed anything about the account that I missed, and they said no, that it is pretty much a mystery at the moment, and I’m ok with that. They have also made an appearance at a Gonzaga Philosophy 201 class, which sounds like it was a good time.

Bonus banana: A beautiful and badass half-male and half-female songbird was discovered last week. It’s super cool.

Those are the bananas I found for you this week. You can hit “reply” and it will go only to me. Thank you.