The Real Paul Jones

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Poetry 2020 – May – July

Accepted for future publication:

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.
The Disappointment of the Comet Kohoutek. March, 2021.

American Journal of Poetry.
I Too Dislike Them. January, 2021.

2River View.
25th Anniversary Issue.
In Praise of Small Disturbances. September, 2020.
In an Unripe Season September, 2020.

Red Fez.
To a Certain Feeling of Optimism. August, 2020.
To Very Small Devices. August, 2020.

Available for Reading Now:

Ekphrastic Review.
Lewis Morley’s photograph of Christine Keeler sitting the wrong way round on a copy of an Arne Jacobsen chair (UK) 1963. July 22, 2020.

Grand Little Things
Cicadas. July 21, 2020
Prayer to a Deer in Summer. July 21, 2020

Unbroken Journal.
The Church of Misdirected Saints. July 2020.
Pig’s Eye. July 2020.

Redheaded Stepchild Magazine.
Pulled Up My Socks. Spring 2020.

Vox Poetica Magazine.
Slugs. Spring 2020.

South Writ Large.
Bee Fall. Spring 2020.
Beach at Corolla, NC. Spring 2020.

Third Wednesday Magazine.
The Happiness of Fear. Summer 2020.
An Honest Talk To The Shadow. summer 2020.

Triggerfish Critical Review.
Visiting Lhakdor. July 2020.
The Trouble With Macaques. July 2020.
The Hidden Buddhists of Baikal. July 2020.

Turtle Island Quarterly
Early Fall Full Moon. January 2020.

Broadkill Review
Seventy Three. March/April 2020.
Moving From House to House. March/April 2020

Poetry in May (so far)

This week saw three of my poems published:

  • Slugs in Vox Poetica

    They are so unlovely and unloved

  • Beach at Corolla, NC and Bee Fall in South Writ Large

    Inside the beached whale was a library

    Can goodbyes last past parting
    or are they, like bees visits
    to clover, intense moments
    of working passion, nectar
    searching, the sweet flight begun
    soon after? Home to the hive.

Also I will be going to the Sewanee Writers Conference. Not this year but in 2021 as this year the conference has been COVIDed into Master Classes.
I have not been to such a conference since being at Warren Wilson in the very early 1990 and before that at Breadloaf in the very early 1980s.

Looking forward.

The Great Pestilence of 1855 in Virginia

In June 1855, a ship, the Benjamin Franklin, coming from the West Indes was placed under quarantine in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The captain broke quarantine. 3000 people–1/3 of the population of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va.–died of yellow fever.

The first doctor treating patients to die was Dr Richard Silvester (he thought he might have immunity from previous exposure) in August. In September, his wife Lydia, his son Richard also a Doctor, and a younger son, William, were struck by the fever and died. Before winter, a daughter, Margaret, also died of the fever.

The elder Dr Silvester was my great-great-great-grandfather. The story of how the family was nearly wiped out by the captain breaking quarantine has been in my family since.

Yellow Fever was localized, carried by mosquitoes (that was not understood at the time. Vapors and the like were blamed), but ravaging. Today’s pandemic is at global scale, but the swiftness of the spread, the quarantine, and costs of particular lives echoes the so-called Great Pestilence in Virginia.

(note to myself: add links to this later)

Open tabs, new words

Yesterday, my friend Eric (the Silent K) asked folks on Facebook:

Hey, word-smiths. Is there a word that describes the sensation of doing something normal in abnormal times?

In response, I coined not one but two related words – Abnotopia the sensation of doing something normal in abnormal times and Abnophoria Feeling elation in an abnormally weird or scary time. They’re now in Urban Dictionary. Vote ’em up!

Incidentally some open tabs in my browser:

  1. The Myth of Voice by Sean Igoe in The Lark
  2. “All You Have To Do Is Say The Words” Some notes regarding Robert Hass’s “Summer Snow” by Jonathan Farmer in Believer Magazine’s Logger
  3. Windows, Emily Leithouser’s translation of Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fenêtres in LIterady Matters
  4. Narasimbha – the 4th avatar of Vishnu. The half-man/half-lion avatar is a one time use god. He incarnated, he killed a very bad deamon, and that’s it.

Prosing in Poetry

After being heavily tied to verse, I’ve taken a vacation into prose poems. This despite Robert Pinsky’s warning in his appreciation of Robert Hass’ A Story About the Body:

“A standard form for young poets these days, as the sonnet might have been for another generation, is the prose poem. It seems that most first books must contain one or two prose poems, if only to demonstrate the poet’s ability to manage the form, or awareness of fashion.”

In part this is also driven by my reading through “A Cast Iron Airplane That Can Actually Fly,” an anthology with commentary that includes Robert Hill Long and Charles Fort, which includes a wide variety of prose poems.

I did one prose poem a while back for Triggerfish Critical Review, but now have 3 or 4 more.

Anyone else working in this genre? Have favorite ones? Say Hass’ Paschal Lamb or Carolyn Forche’s The Colonel?

Update: Since posting this I’ve had three new prose poems accepted by Triggerfish Critical Review for their 24th issue due out online in July 2020.

Poems literally on the Moon

A manuscript of my poems was sent to the moon’s surface April 11, 2019 as part of Arch Mission Foundation’s Lunar Library delivered by SpaceIL’s Beresheet lander.

Just my manuscript?

First, let me be a bit more modest. We, Arch Mission, created a library designed to be landed on the moon via SpaceIL. The library contains over 30 million pages of text and images etched into 40 micron thick nickel foils. My manuscript is only about 60 pages of all of that.

All of Project Gutenberg, all of the English language Wikipedia, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (in all of the recognized languages), the PanLex datasets (from the Long Now Foundation, a linguistic key to 5000 languages, with 1.5 billion translations between them), and some “private collections” (the entire works of Peter Drucker, the poetry of Kathleen Spivak, and more) make up a few of the other pages in the library. Some contents are yet to be revealed for various reasons but see The Lunar Library Overview for details on content and on the physical construction of the disks and etching process.

How am I involved with Arch Mission?

I’m on the Advisory Board for the Arch Mission Foundation helping the founder Nova Spivak identify free and open content to represent our human endeavors in the library. I also give advice as to categories of material to include. I was delighted that Nova asked me for a manuscript that might become lunar.

Where is the Lunar Library?

That’s a good question. The Beresheet lander landed really hard. That is to say it crashed on the lunar surface somewhere near or in the Sea of Serenity. The Library could have been ejected or sailed off at impact or… well, we’re not sure. Nova and other team member have created a document that speculates on the fate of the library.

So it’s on the moon. Even likely in one piece. But it’s small and waiting to be discovered.

And there are tardigrades!

At least we think so. Nova (I wasn’t part of this bit) had the library coated with protected resin in which there are, as far as I know, water bears aka tardigrades, embedded. Tardigardes are the roughest creatures on earth and can survive in a state of limbo for a long time under adverse conditions. While their inclusion concerned some people, the very idea that some form of earth life might be part of the library effort is novel.

2017 – 2020 Poetry Publications

Turtle Island Quarterly
Early Fall Full Moon. Issue 18. March 2020.

Broadkill Review
Seventythree. March/April 2020.
Moving From House to House. March/April 2020

Red Fez
At Seventy. Issue 131. January 2020.

Blake-Jones Review
Messengers. December 2019.

Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing
Scavangers. December 2019. Redemption and Grace Issue 5.4.
(digital subscription required)

Speckled Trout Review
Skinnydip in the Mill Pond. Fall 2019.

Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing
Against Desirelessness. November 2019. Broken/Whole Issue 5.3.
(digital subscription required)

Kakalak.
The Red Vinegar Sauce. December 2019.
(print only)

Hermit Feathers Review.
Lost Harbor. 2019.
Blue Ridge. 2019.
(print only)

Light: A Journal of Light Verse Since 1992.
My Roommate Joeffry. Winter/Spring 2019.

Red Fez
On an Okra Flower. Issue 117. October 2018. Best of the Net Prize nomination

Trigger Fish Critical Review.
State Mayakovsky Museum. Issue 19. 2018.

PinesongNorth Carolina Poetry Society.
2018 Award Winners:
Start the Game. Joanna Catherine Scott Award – First Place. Pushcart Prize nomination.
Hymn to Cash. Katherine Kennedy McIntyre Light Verse Award – Second Place.
Where I Come From. Mary Ruffin Poole American Heritage Award – First Place.
(print only)

International Lawrence Durrell Society.
She Sails. White Mice Poetry Contest 2017.

North Carolina Literary Review
Basketball is a Kind of Poetry. 2017 (online only) Best of the Net Prize nomination. Honorable Mention in James Applewhite Poetry Contest.
Clear Channel. 2017. (print only). Pushcart Prize nomination. 2nd Place in James Applewhite Poetry Contest.

Enough of #noemail and on to verse

I pretty much quit blogging about not doing email and about the various alternatives in 2016. No, I didn’t decide to pick email back up. I was not only tired of email, but tired of arguing about it. The crushing failure of email to adopt to 21st Century mobile first communications is either 1) obvious or 2) you are too entrenched to ever be convinced by the facts and trends.

Consider the case, like my Inbox, closed. That is closed except for a few dire or important circumstances.

I started this blog in 2004 as Facebook was beginning, 2 years before Twitter started, and 6 years before Instagram was founded. In the beginning, blogs did a lot of what those services do now, but–as you know–link sharing, photo sharing, event sharing, and many other functions have moved to services that do a better job. Blogs are back to being a place personal essays and personal websites. Not a bad place to be, really.

I’ll do a bit more blogging here about poetry publications and the like instead starting now.

Open source app takes on Ebola and mental health in Liberia

Starting in September, I’ve been doing consulting with IntraHealth International‘s Informatics group. I’ve been impressed by the ways that this small group of dedicated people have developed Open Source software infrastructure for increasing the capacity of frontline health workers to do their jobs under tough circumstances. No circumstances — Palestine and Afghanistan perhaps excepted but for different reasons — are tougher than in Liberia during and in the continuing aftermath of the Ebola epidemic.

IntraHealth folks collaborated broadly and quickly to develop a new open source project mHero to create a bidirectional linkage between frontline health workers and ministries of health to help get out information about Ebola and to get information back to the ministry.

Largely because of IntraHealth’s strategy of developing increased capacity in both ministries and workers, and because the software and culture takes advantage of open source principles for remix and resuse, the ministry workers in Liberia found ways that mHero could be used in the diverse areas of mental health and in Information, Communications and Technology evaluation.

I just wrote about this work in detail for Open Source dot Com in an article Open source app takes on Ebola and mental health in Liberia. Check it out.

Open Source Global Healthwinksplay

The Web Going Dark – Preserving and Serving Aging Websites

Adrienne LaFrance writes in the Atlantic in an article called “Raiders of the Lost Web” about vanishing websites and the recovery of one particularly important investigative reporting piece, “The Crossing.” Along the way, LaFrance discusses the state of web archiving through brief interviews with Jason Scott and Brewster Kahle of Internet Archive as well as Alexander Rose of the Long Now Foundation. The problems of preserving everything are still insurmountable. The problems of just preserving and serving valuable websites, those curated say or deemed to be of ongoing importance, is possible but not yet done well.

I’m glad to see the continued attention to this problem. With the help of support from IBM research grant entitled “Keeping the Historic Web Alive and Accessible: preserving and serving,” I’m involved in using virtualization to keep older versions of older software open and accessible.

In fact, I’ve kept open and accessible a version of Tim Berners-Lee’s earliest public webpage from 1991. You can read about the context of the page in an Atlantic article from 2013.

Despite the great efforts of Internet Archive and others, archivists attempts at preserving websites have largely been a collection of web page collected periodically by such successful software as Archive.org’s Heritrix. While page collectors provide a good service especially for sites that do not allow access to the database that drive them, they fail on several fronts.

First, a complex site can never be completely captured by a screen capture program or even a video. The number of potential pages and interactions cannot be duplicated in such a manner.

Second, user interactions with a complex site cannot be duplicated by a captured set of static pages. Understanding interactions is important to the use of archival material.

Third, the context of use and interactions is lost when the user experience is changed from one of interactivity and customization to one of simply retrieving selected static pages.

Even worse are archival activities that attempt to preserve by atomizing the objects from the pages removing images, audio, texts, etc and placing them in new decontextualized object databases completely unrelated to their original context.

We propose, using ibiblio as an example, to attack this preservation problem by using machine virtualization and virtual machine management tools. One suite of tools that particularly interest us are NCSU’s Virtual Computing Lab known as VCL. VCL is in use at over 200 institutions and has a strong support structure. Open source and licensed under the Apache project licenses, VCL is mostly used to provide temporary virtual machine for training computer scientists. We and our partners at NC State see a new use for VCL as a way to manage and present older servers Running older software in a secure yet living and interactive way.

I hope that we and those others of us working on digital preservation and in virtualization can provide a framework that benefits the creators, the archivist, and publics present and future.

Look for some initial results to be posted here soon.

#switchpoint ideas: Digital Development Principles

On Thursday April 22, I’ll be leading a MicroLab session on Digital Development Principles with Merrick Schaefer, the Lead of the Mobile Data team at USAID, and INTRAHealth’s own Dykki Settle as part of the SwitchPoint conference in my favorite NC community, Saxapahaw.

Do concepts like designing with the user, understanding ecosystems, and using all things open (source, standards, data, innovation) around the world excite you? They excite the international development community too! Join us for a discussion about the Digital Development Principles (www.ict4dprinciples.org) – the product of a global groundswell to capture lessons learned and guide future donor investments in information and communication technology for development (ICT4D). Together we will explore how the Principles help create new opportunities and synergies, driving us beyond simple technology solutions to true transformative change.

A photo posted by switchpoint (@switchpoint) on

#noemail at the End of 2014

As usual, XKCD nails it with a set of panels on email and #noemail and phone and fax. It makes so much sense — Snapchat or Fax instead of email or voicemail.

What is email?

But a new report from Pew Research on the perceived importance of work communication says people at work value email over even “the internet.” I have nits to pick here. the biggest one being that email is part of the internet. I think the survey meant to ask the Web, but just as the same Pew folks did a quiz about how well you “know the Web” which asked several questions that were about the internet as a whole and about apps that are not Web apps — this drives me bananas.

A lot of people are concerned about productivity and the negative impact of email on the office. Over the past week or so:

Perry Timms of i-Practice was interviewed about #noemail by Claire Burge at her blog. Irony alert: To find out more about i-Practice, just click on the mailto: link and you will send email to Perry.

Andy Swann of The Work Project writes about The Last Days of Email in Medium. Subtitled “Re-humanising the way I communicate” (yes he is British and so we get “s” for “z” occasionally), Andy encourages more human contact (without saying as I’ve said here that we are engaged in a robot war against evil robots (spam), well-meaning robots (sending notifications and the like), humans that act like robots (ReplyAll, acknowledging to an entire list, etc) and the robotic architecture of email itself). Call him or follow him on Twitter. Both are more human. I agree.

Founder and CEO of Pyrus, the workplace collaboration and productivity platform, Max Nalsky writes in The Next Web that “How quitting email helped my company communicate better”. Rather than tell how he did it with examples, Nalsky provides a better service; he suggests several solutions for various size companies and includes a section advice for “brave CEOs.” Among the suggested tools are Slack, HipChat, TigerText and building your own solutions.

Another person collecting #noemail stories for productivity is the aforementioned Claire Burge who interviewed Perry Timms. It all started with a moment of madness. I had simply had enough of email. It ruled my workday and I didn’t want it to dictate my life anymore. And so I decided to quit… Burge writes on her page dedicated to “Living a Life Without Email,” which is the tag line long used by Luis Suarez. Burge includes a link to a video interview with Suarez. She also offers workshops on reducing dependence of email within your workplace.

All of the above, and I, are offering more social solutions for increased productivity and a better life. But venture capitalist, Fred Wilson insists “Social is over” and it is increasingly being replaced by Messaging and Mobile.

“What Just Happened?” Wilson asks. And having seen this trend myself, I too wonder what’s in store for the new year.

Imagining the Future of Privacy and Security

Pew Research Internet Project
The latest Imagining the Internet report is out from The PewResearch Internet Project and Elon University. This one focuses on the future of Privacy and Security.

In it, I say:

During the previous century of urbanization, we constantly complained of alienation and isolation. No one knew anyone quite as well as we did when we were in small towns. Now, like it or not, we are having to relearn the social behavior of small towns: how to cooperate, tolerate, or just ignore differences. Frankly, we were not so great at all of that when we were in small towns. Now, we get another chance to try to live like a Family of Mankind.

But read the report for more and varied insights.

Killer Apps of 2025 – Pew Internet

Imagining the Internet logo

No I did not say email. Nor did I say #noemail. What I did say in response to Pew Internet’s Imagining the Internet in 2025 survey question:

New killer apps in the gigabit age: Will there be new, distinctive, and uniquely compelling technology applications that capitalize upon significant increases in bandwidth in the US between now and 2025? Please elaborate on your answer. Explain why you think there will be hardly any change or tell what new tools and applications will excite people in the next decade and envision the kinds of personal connectivity and immersive media experiences that will seize the public imagination.

was this:

“More visual information that can be scanned and reconfigured and customized for the needs of the moment will be the hallmark of the next 10 years. Significant increases in bandwidth will remove some of the barriers to that end. Expect this information to be 3D and easily manipulated. Expect a new era of literacies more special than ever available to us.”

Many great insights passing as foresights in this report.

Speaking in Porto, Portugal – October 26 – 27

Still working on topics, as one talk was just added, for WWW/Internet 2014 Conference (where I’m to keynote) and the 11th International Conference on Applied Computing.
Watch this space for more soon.

More predictions for 2025

Continuing releases from Pew Internet/Elon University Imaging the Internet in 2025

Regarding changes brought by AI and Robots: We will experience less drudgery, and more leisure time

I responded:

“I for one welcome my new robot masters. I don’t welcome the loss of jobs or the depersonalization of services. The social impact will continue to force us to refocus on what makes us human, who we are in relation to each other. And the terms of the social contract that binds us. In the [US] South we saw great changes when the plantation system was abandoned. Not for the best—much room for improvement—but certainly for the better. Human augmentation, both onboard via wearable and implants and offboard with devices that think, are unstoppable. We want them. We want our hearts to keep pumping, our eyes to keep seeing, and we want to know more now! A further and unresolved question coming to confront us: Where does personhood reside? In our bodies or in the robots that may become the housing for our new selves?”

Futures: What Did I Say?

For several years now, the good folks at the Pew Internet Project and at Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Project have asked people they consider experts to respond to questions about the Future of the Internet as it relates to different topics. A bit of what I’ve said has been sprinkled through those reports. The most recent series began coming out to public in March of this year. Here’s what I said–or more properly, some of what I wrote–about the next 25 years (with links to the larger reports):

As regards Digital Life in 2025
A: “Television let us see the Global Village, but the Internet let us be actual Villagers.”
Full report here.

As regards The Internet of Things.
A: I predicted that body movements may evolve into commands. “The population curve … will cause much of the monitoring and assistance by intelligent devices to be welcomed and extended. This is what we had in mind all along—augmented life extension. Young people, you can thank us later. We look like kung fu fighters with no visible opponents now, but soon, the personalized interface issues will settle on a combination of gestures and voice. Thought-driven? Not by 2025, but not yet out of the question for a further future. Glass and watch interfaces are a start at this combination of strokes, acceleration, voice, and even shaking and touching device-to-device. The key will be separating random human actions from intentional ones, then translating those into machine commands—search, call, direct, etc.”
Full report here.

As regards Threats to Net access and innovation
A: “Historic trends are that as a communications medium matures, the control trumps the innovation. This time it will be different. Not without a struggle. Over the next 10 years we will be even more increasingly global and involved. Tech will assist this move in a way that is irreversible. It won’t be a bloodless revolution, sadly, but it will be a revolution nonetheless.”
Full report here.

More to come in the coming months from
Imagining the Internet

Metrolina Librarians Association Keynote

Last week on June 12, I delivered the keynote talk at the 9th Annual Metrolina Librarians Association meeting in Charlotte. (slides below)

As you can see if you look at the slides, I provided a survey of activities underway at the UNC School of Information and Library Science to illustrate new trends and directions for engagement and research in Information and Library Science.

Kaeley McMahan of Wake Forest University‘s Z. Smith Reynolds Library writes about her pick of top three projects here on their blog.

The conference hashtag was #mlachange2014 You can find references on Twitter and Facebook and on the MetroLibs group on Facebook.

Thanks to Doug Short of Central Piedmont Community College and the Board of Metrolina Librarians Association for having me down.

Trip to Prague and the Czech Republic

I was in Prague and around the Czech Republic from mid-May til early June leading the UNC-Charles University Seminar on Libraries of Central Europe. Google Awesome collected my pictures and location and automagically created this story book about my travels.

Enjoy


Thanks and best wishes to El Sua

On January 30, Luis “elsua” Suarez visited our UNC School of Information and Library Science senior capstone course on Emerging Issues and Technologies to talk with us about his 6+ years without email while at IBM.

Luis brought a lot of good insight to the class as he did a Google Hangout with us from his home on Gran Canaria. Luis lives in Africa, reports in Europe and works most closely with a team in North America — without using email.

Near the end of his talk, he told us a little — very little — about his new adventure which was to start only a few days later. Luis is a charter member of Change Agents Worldwide.

Luis, who was extremely generous to spend time with us during his transition, will be moving from being a Change Agent within a very large global and hierarchical organization to advising and assisting organizations of all sizes to work better by learning about Social Business practices.

Luis has been a global presence already as has been noted in Wired, New York Times, and at Outside The Inbox dot EU (among others). His experience and personal engagement will definitely be a leader and advisor to call on.

Working with Luis has taught me not to look for the smartest person in the room but to look for the smartest network that has someone in the room with you.

Looking forward to his and CAWW’s future adventures.

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