Roundup: January – May 2012

First off, a big thank you to all those who have signed up to sponsor ribbonfarm in 2012 so far. The total has already hit $2550, about 25% more than last year’s total. This has opened up many more interesting possibilities for activities online and offline, compared to last year. Stay tuned for more on that front.

Here is the roundup of new posts since January. The last roundup can be found here, and from there, if you so desire, you can backtrack through the entire history of this blog, roundup-by-roundup, through approximately 300 posts. I wouldn’t recommend doing that, since there’s more crud in the archives than I like to admit, and because a better option is brewing.

  1. 2012 Reading List, January – June
  2. Seeking Density in the Gonzo Theater
  3. The World is Small and Life is Long
  4. Peak Attention and the Colonization of Subcultures
  5. How to Name Things
  6. The Greater Ribbonfarm Cultural Region
  7. Refactor Camp 2012: Generativity and Captivity
  8. Glimpses of a Cryptic God
  9. Just Add Water
  10. Hall’s Law: The Nineteenth Century Prequel to Moore’s Law
  11. Reviewing Refactor Camp 2012
  12. Can Hydras Eat Unknown-Unknowns for Lunch?
  13. How Do You Run Away from Home?
  14. Lawyer Mind, Judge Mind
  15. Hacking the Non-Disposable Planet
  16. Go Deep, Young Man: 2012 Call for Sponsorships
  17. Rediscovering Literacy
  18. Welcome to the Future Nauseous
  19. Discussion Note: Sartre’s Nausea vs. Future Nausea (guest post)

Not counting administrative/meta posts and the sole guest post, I’ve managed 13 real posts so far this year. There has also been plenty of excellent discussion. I am pretty happy with these dozen posts, since a lot of themes that have been evolving over several years appear to be cohering in interesting ways. This was one of the reasons I was able to draw a conceptual map of ribbonfarm and its neighborhood (item 6) and write several pieces that I think capture the learnings from the writing/thinking process I’ve been developing (2, 5, 9 and 16).

Speaking of cohering themes, I am posting this regular biannual round-up a month earlier than usual. This is because I am planning something a little special for June, in the run-up to the fifth anniversary of this blog on July 4th (I started the blog on July 4th 2007).

In June, there will be no new content. Instead, I plan to go back through five years worth of archives and create 4-5 themed summaries of all the good posts, along with some (hopefully helpful) commentary.

For the significant number of people who have started reading this blog relatively recently, this should be helpful, since I back-link extensively through my older stuff (though I only rarely do true series posts, my posts generally make more sense in the context of older ones). Since many new readers attempt to read through the entire archives (otherwise known as the Ribbonfarm Absurdity Marathon), I am hoping to cut down the time necessary for this brave catch-up attempt by somewhere between 50 to 70%. This will probably mean some tough elimination decisions.

It is going to be pretty challenging to partition over 300 posts, averaging 2000-3000 words, with a ton of  cross-referencing, into 4-5 decoupled and linearly sequenced series, but it’s about time. This blog is becoming too much of an illegible slum even for my own slobby, unshaven tastes, so a few guided tours wouldn’t hurt. It won’t be pretty, but I hope machetes will no longer be necessary once I am done.

For those in the US, here’s wishing you a Happy Memorial Day and a good start to your summer.

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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter


  1. Jacob Rus says

    I think as or even more useful than sequences of blog essays would be a glossary of important terms and concepts, linked back to the posts where they arose/developed.

    • Yeah, probably. I did that for the Tempo blog, and have thought of doing it here, but I get tired even thinking of the tedious schlepping involved.

      Will see.

  2. I seem to remember you put a bit of work a one point into threading through multiple comments with trailmeme, but seem to have abandoned that approach for some reason. Any reuse potential there?