Cool History Society The Internet

Human Scale

Bookmarked Ri — The Distance Walked in an Hour by Craig Mod (

A ri is a unit of measure, it’s about how far a person can walk in an hour at a reasonable pace…Remnants of the ri system are scattered along the old roads of Japan. During the Edo period, ri were marked recurrently by hulking earthen mounds that flanked the road — ichi-ri zuka, “one-ri mounds.”

The idea of a single ri is old, simple, and human scale.

Human-scale things at a human-scale pace.

I feel like human scale is missing in so much of the world these days. Our cities are built at a bigger scale, our sprawling suburbs disconnected from a human pace and reliant on car travel. Walk? No one can fulfill their lives by walking — yet that is the most human of movement (no disrespect meant to those who cannot walk).

The internet is vast and contains multitudes, with few spaces that acknowledge our humanity — websites are designed for growth, more more more, never content to stay small. Never forming community at the scale people build community, because that’s not profitable enough, because community isn’t the real goal. Looking forward to seeing how non-profits and small groups can invent more, smaller public spaces online that operate on a more human level.

See also: Skittish, another experimental online gathering space that works to embody participants. Sounds similar to Gather.

Society The Internet

Virtual Gathering Space in Real Time

Bookmarked Gather (

Gather is a video-calling space that lets multiple people hold separate conversations in parallel, walking in and out of those conversations just as easily as they would in real life.

I came across Gather which seems very much like what I described thinking about online parks.

Food Future Building Society

Read Be My Guest

Read Be My Guest by Priya Basil

We live in a world where some have too much and others not enough, where immigrants and refugees are both welcomed and vilified, and where most of us spend less and less time cooking and eating together. Priya Basil invites us to explore the meaning and limits of hospitality today, and in doing so makes a passionate plea for a kinder, more welcoming realization that we have more in common than divides us.

A series of short reflections, all flowing into each other, not always perfectly, but always in a way that makes sense for a shift in the train of thought. Ideas, sometimes expressed in a couple hundred words, others in a couple pages. She weaves in reflections on the value of hospitality at a societal level, and what it means to welcome others to our communities, especially when they are different than we are. What are the conditions of our welcome? Is unconditional hospitality possible today? Interesting collection that’s short but I liked spreading over several days to let it sink in more.

Future Building

Discord, the Internet’s Third Place

Liked How Discord (somewhat accidentally) invented the future of the internet by David Pierce (Protocol)

Discord’s founders just wanted to create a way to talk to their gamer friends. They created something much bigger.

I’ve started using Discord during the pandemic and it’s been an incredible tool to stay in touch with friends. We set up a text channel where we’d regularly hang out on weekend mornings when we used to hit the coffee shop together, then added weekly video hangouts on the nights we used to meet up in person. We started using video chat to accompany DnD on Roll20, since we tend to play theater of the mind and character focused games. And now we’re using a Discord video channel to do NaNoWriMo together this month. It has become our virtual Third Place to get together in real time.

Funny how I didn’t make that connection earlier this year thinking about what online public spaces look like. On top of hanging out with my friends, I also attended a Discord conference, with each track bring held in a different channel. I’m also using it for one to one connections like old school AIM. If this is the future of the internet, so far it’s working out pretty well for me.