Interview with Ghana TV Repair Veteran, and Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt

A Great Gift - The Ability to Interview Elders

Why do some of us become very attached to our grandparents, and others of us secretly dread the holiday base-touch?  Why do some of us spend thousands of dollars per year flying back and forth to visit elderly relatives, and others don't bother to make a ten minute drive, more than once a year?

The gift of boredom.  It's something perhaps lost on the current generation of non-fisher, non-hunter (I'm neither, either), non baseball-watcher generation.  The ever-ready internet is at our fingertips. The cell phone has balmed our boredom so thickly that even minutes lead to fidgets.

Will this reduce book reading?  Great books have made me better than who I am. Could I have finished reading them if I'd had internet in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s?  I appreciate many people who know history and still read books (many far more often than I do). But in wondering at my own weakness for distraction, I fear that great books will not die in fire... but in ice.

Master Baba of Tamale Ghana, retired Tech Sector, on the history of West Africa Television

Discard Something Today: Day One "Perishable Goods"

After reading author Adam Minter's Secondhand: Travels In the New Global Garage Sale, I'm confronted with my September 2019 dilemma.

Adam followed Good Point Recycling and one of our many overseas reuse partners, Chendiba Enterprises. And he corrected the abismal reporting on Agbogbloshie, to boot. He understood, and translated, my furious defense of geeks of color, accused of being "waste tourists" because "big shred", through its donations to NGO Basel Action Network,  had more clout with reporters than the accused.

But Adam's book revolves around the End... After Second-hand, there may be a third-hand. Rarely, a fourth-hand vintage collectible. He is fair in defending and supporting the reuse market. But the Secondhand Market is fundamentally tied to our parents death, and the cleanout of their homes one day, beit in Japan, Tucson, India, or Middlebury, Vermont.


Facultat d'Informàtica de Barcelona Presentation: Influencing Environmental Impact of Marketplace with "Zeroknowledge"

A gigantic crane is swinging overhead, no doubt carrying some new material for the erection of another spire atop the Sagrada Familia Basilica, here in Barcelona.

It's a distraction from this week's challenge. How to explain to a group of Catalan University Professors how markets for used devices work, and how they can be measured without influencing the way they move. The title of our talk is "ZeroKnowledge". It is about the so-called "Observer Effect" in scientific study, and in particular, how data collection in "e-waste", "e-scrap", or "surplus property" can affect the policies and contracts and trade that add up to the actual outcome.

In my first chart, above, we can recognize the so-called "Circular Economy", but also the gravitational shortcuts of efficiency. When a ton does not "show up" to meet the scrap shredder/refiner/urban miner's prediction (and the hours of use of their shredding machine suffers), you cannot state that the material is "lost". It probably went into a more efficient gravitational orbit of "reuse". And countries which are good at reusing and repairing devices also tend not to throw copper away.  We may object to the way they extract the copper when the device is eventually discarded after many more years of use, but the calculation of environmental cost must be honest about the fact that brand new device production to meet the demand in emerging markets is a far worse carbon scenario. The two choices are, let them reuse and repair, or keep them in the dark (nighttime in "project eden").

But I digress. Today's talk is not about what the Waste/Mineral Policy should be, but about how the study, monitoring, regulation, certification, blockchain tracking, warranty registration, and GPS tracking devices will spin it, and to what ends.

Above are 3 slides we worked on with the Barcelona group.

They are working with us and a larger OBADA group to get Catalonian computer procurement officials to put into the RFP for purchase of new laptops a "blockchain" which would allow a surplus property officer at end of life to insert a USB key, find the blockchain, wipe the drive, and "inflate" a "spare tire license" such as Chromium or Linux.  The Spanish government would pay $1 per PC for "pre-wiping", which would be save $5 per HD wiping fees, and allow the PCs to be sold directly through surplus property auctions.

(longtime readers will recognize this "spare tire licence" from my first business in 2001).