Plex: 6 July 2022

News and views from around the Plex.

Plex: 6 July 2022
The Bright Line – Peter Kaminski

The Biweekly Plex Dispatch is an inter-community newspaper published by Collective Sense Commons on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Price per issue: 1 USD, or your choice of amount (even zero).

In This Issue

  • Save The Planet: Focus On The 2023 Farm Bill
  • Collaborative Technology Alliance Pledge v1.0
  • Rel8 - Creating Shared Memory
  • “Office Hours”
  • Data as the New Soil, Not Oil
  • Free Jerry's Brain?
  • Massive Wiki Builder v2.0
  • Grandchildren Pay
  • In The Web of Nature

Save The Planet: Focus On The 2023 Farm Bill

Our fellow Plexian Klaus Mager and friends have conjured something powerful, important, and wonderful, a kickoff webinar to focus on the 2023 US Farm Bill, with the goal of bending it towards improved soil health, repaired watersheds, and clean water. Doing all that will also help with climate change, although certain parties don't care and don't want to know about that.

Thursday, 28th July 2022
7 pm Eastern, 6 pm Central, 5 pm Mountain, 4pm Pacific
Register now:

If you're interested in helping spread the word about this important event, email Pete at and I'll put you in touch with Klaus.

A little more information, from a draft press release (marketing materials are still coming together):

The Connection of Soil Health and Water - Farm Bill 2023
A conversation with farmers, USDA and the Soil and Water Conservation District

The Farm Bill in size, scope, and complexity only compares to the US national defense bill. Congress deals with the renewal and revision of the comprehensive omnibus bill every five years, next in 2023. The Farm Bill impacts everything we eat and drink, our water, air, soil, and natural resources. It also profoundly impacts the lives and well being of our farmers.

For this webinar focused on soil and water, we have invited a panel of commodity crop farmers and senior level officials from USDA and the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau.

In the discussion our expert farmers will explain what they need in terms of support and funding to repair and protect watersheds, pollinators, biodiversity, and increase carbon levels in the soil.

The USDA and Soil and Water Bureau representatives then explain which programs embedded in the Conservation section of the farm bill apply for such purposes.

With each 1% increase in carbon, the soil can hold an additional 20,000 gls of water, replenishing aquifers, streams and the local water cycle.

Please REGISTER HERE to join the conversation; we will send video and follow up materials after the event.

For the 2023 Farm Bill, funding will need to be reallocated to compensate and incentivize farmers to shift into regenerative practices. It will be important to know and understand the Farm Bill in some detail.

charles blass

Collaborative Technology Alliance Pledge v1.0

by Tibet Sprague

The Collaborative Technology Alliance exists to facilitate collaboration among those building social technology in service to a thriving world. Today we take the next step in building our alliance with the launch of the Collaborative Technology Alliance Pledge! Signing this pledge means committing to follow these principles in your work of designing and building social platforms and tools. It is also the baseline agreement we ask you to commit to if you want to join the Alliance.

We know that releasing this version 1.0 of the pledge means we are going to get a bunch more feedback from the wider world, which is great. Please do let us know if there are major concerns/blockers that are preventing you from signing, and we are likely to do a fairly quick turnaround on a version 1.1.

This pledge is just the next step for the CTA, there's much more to come! These principles are fairly general, and we will now build on top of them more detailed agreements, practices and projects that move us towards the long term vision of deep collaboration and interoperability across all aligned platforms.

One of the next projects that has the most energy right now is the idea of creating Nutrition Labels for social platforms/technologies, which would have much more detailed and concrete information about each platform and how they are living up to these principles (or not). Also soon to come is the process and invitation to step into more of a leadership/stewardship role for the Alliance, as we are looking for more stewards to join the core team!

For now, this pledge is a solid foundation to build on and a beacon to the rest of the world, to call in all the other collaborative technologists out there who want to join forces with us, so please spread around!

May all our collaborations be meaningful, impactful and joyful!

Pledge link:

charles blass

Rel8 - Creating Shared Memory

Rel8 is a new focused project by Jerry Michalski. The following was ripped from the Rel8 Wiki, hot off the keyboard.  Rel8 is a work in progress; you are welcome to join in.

Rel8 is born from two questions:

  • Why is it so difficult for us to share our notes?
  • Why don't we know what we know collectively?

At the very personal scale, plenty of individuals are perfecting their note-taking, but usually those notes are just for themselves. The rest of us are often duplicating those efforts and not benefiting from the possibilities of a hive mind.

At the larger organizational scale, plenty of companies and nonprofits are tktk...

Rel8 is a shepherding and stewarding project, not a coding project to build yet another platform.

Rel8 is figuring out what conditions, organizations and dynamics need to exist so we can create a shared memory. This mission requires:

  • Convening solution-finding conversations
  • Creating prototype code and use cases to illustrate what's possible and why

What Are We Doing Now?

  • Improving the wiki.
  • Holding office hours (to build the wiki)

charles blass

“Office Hours”

by Stacey Druss and Peter Kaminski

Ever wanted to talk with somebody, but “didn't want to bother them?”

Into that space, and inspired by Jerry's idea to have “office hours” (see Rel8 just above), Stacey and Pete are starting an informal experiment to have office hours, too.

Hey, do you want to set up office hours, too?

For more details, see OGM Culture / Office Hours - OGM Wiki

charles blass

Data as the New Soil, Not Oil

A conversation with futurist Jerry Michalski about how we need to build a “betterverse,” not the metaverse.

In The Connector, Micah L. Sifry presents “the edited transcript of a recent conversation I had with my dear friend Jerry Michalski.

Read here: Data as the New Soil, Not Oil.

charles blass

Free Jerry's Brain?

by Peter Kaminski

Serving as an update, of sorts, on the Free Jerry's Brain project.

In [ogm] Town Square, spirit asked,

Hi! Was wondering if there are any developments on getting “Jerry’s Brain” into a more open format (than the brain format) to work as a “sourdough starter” for other mapping projects? 🙂

Yes, we have the data in Jerry's Brain available in a more open format. Thanks to code (“MemeBrane”) developed by the “Free Jerry's Brain” group, and deployment by @maparent, the data is stored in a PostgreSQL database.

The MemeBrane server at  shows a human-readable preview of the data for each thought; the same can be retrieved programmatically by setting Accept: application/json.

It “wouldn't be hard” (ymmv) to export the data from Postgres to any other reasonable format.

The next step, which can be hard (ymmv), is to write code / create visualizations that uses the data as “sourdough starter”.

The data is loaded into the database in two ways:

  • importing a saved export (as Jerry says, an export that is 1.5 years old for the current load)
  • individual thoughts are updated from the WebBrain source when they are loaded through the MemeBrane web interface (in this mode, the database works as a read-through cache, with a TTL for individual thoughts of 24 hours)

So, if you're reading JSON through MemeBrane thought-by-thought, you'll see fresh thoughts every time.

If you did a database dump, you'd have a mix of current and old thoughts.

spirit continued,

It’s almost as if someone would have to rewrite the code for the Brain software or something similar. Has anyone attempted this?

Also I wonder could the data be imported into the mind mapping software @jonathansand is creating? Or too incompatible?

@bentleydavis made a fairly straightforward HTML5+JS front-end for MemeBrane, Brainy McBrainface, which made it look more like Jerry's Brain. It's pretty interesting, but not powerful enough to replace TheBrain.

Zsolt Viczián is creating ExcaliBrain, which creates a TheBrain-link interface within Obsidian.  In some ways, I think it's even more powerful than TheBrain.  It's great work, but still early and kinda creaky (no insult intended, it's amazing what he's doing).

You could probably import Jerry's Brain into Jonathan's Seriously, although Seriously is top-down mindmap rather than a directed graph.  (This might count as “too incompatible”.)  Also, Jerry's Brain is hundreds of thousands of nodes; Seriously might run into CPU, memory, or user interface scaling issues.

Similarly, you could import TheBrain into e.g., Kumu.  I don't think the Kumu interface would really replace TheBrain's, and again, there are possible scaling issues.

I've imported small exports of TheBrain into small websites with internal navigation; they work well for what they are, but they're read-only, of course.  (See and the sites linked from there; they are exports from TheBrain.)

I've also imported small exports of TheBrain into TiddlyWiki (and could do Massive Wiki); those would be read/write, but they wouldn't natively have the graphical interface of TheBrain. This might be a pro or a con, depending on the user, but admittedly, it would not replace TheBrain.

Stay tuned for more as it happens. Contact Pete or Jerry for more info. Thank you for the prompting question, spirit!

charles blass

Massive Wiki Builder v2.0

by Bill Anderson and Peter Kaminski

Massive Wiki Builder is code that publishes the Massive Wiki on your computer to the web, as a (read-only) website.

Energized by the progress being made by Lionsberg Wiki, Rel8 Wiki, and others, we have been making great progress on MWB, and will release v2.0 this week.

New features will include:

  • Full-text search with no server-side code needed (static site hosting friendly!)
  • Better support for static assets (images, CSS, JavaScript), including support for favicons in the root directory
  • Custom colors on the Alto and Basso themes
  • Strikethrough formatting

charles blass

Grandchildren Pay

A parable for our times

by Ken Homer

One day a hungry man was walking past a restaurant where the most amazing aromas were wafting out to the street. A sign in the window caught his eye:

Come in and enjoy – all you can eat!
Your grandchildren will pay the bill!

Hesitating slightly, he approached the door and opened it. The restaurant was lavishly appointed with dark wood, crystal chandeliers, plush carpeting, leather seats in the booths and tables set with fine linens, silver and china. But what really drew his attention was the buffet. Several huge tables ran the entire length of the room, heaped with platters of every kind of dish imaginable: seafood, game, meats, casseroles, grains, pastas, savory vegetables, salads, appetizers and soups. The sight of all this food and the incredible aroma of so many delicious dishes practically made him dizzy.

A waiter appeared out of nowhere and led him to a booth where was he told to take his plate and help himself. The man filled his plate three times and gorged himself. Fine wines were poured for him with each course. Afterwards, a dessert cart came by and he had several desserts accompanied by delicious coffee and exquisite port.

Luisa Brimble on Unsplash

He sat for a long while, lingering over the port and enjoying the feeling of fullness. As much as he hated to leave, he knew he must, so he pushed back from the table and made his way to the door. Just as he placed his hand on the knob, the waiter again appeared out of nowhere and handed him a bill.

Shocked, he protested: “But the sign! It said that my grandchildren would pay for me!”

“That is correct, sir,” replied the waiter. “This is the bill for your grandparents.”

charles blass

A closing thought from Christopher Alexander's book, A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, page xii:

This is a fundamental view of the world. It says that when you build a thing you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must also repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it.

Thank you for reading! Next edition will be published on 20 July 2022. Email Pete with suggested submissions.

Special Thanks to Our Contributors: Bill Anderson, Charles Blass, Luisa Brimble, Stacey Druss, Ken Homer, Klaus Mager, Tibet Sprague. You light up the world.

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