the human niche: towards an ecological politics

7f30b0e81d90a4fc1cfa5d8560de1de0When life was new on Earth, it invented photosynthesis. Photosynthesis takes light from the Sun and captures it as useful energy. It also produces waste oxygen.

We like oxygen, because we breathe it, but we forget that chemically, it’s pretty nasty. Oxygen gas is implicated in lots of bad things, from rust to explosions. It’s not stable, and it’s highly chemically reactive. It sits on the periodic table next to fluorine, and if you know anything about fluorine, you know you should stay away from it. And when photosynthesis first evolved, oxygen was deadly to most life on Earth.

And in fact, once it started reaching high concentrations in the atmosphere, it wiped a lot of that life out, in what we now call the Great Oxygenation Event. But then other organisms evolved to make use of that oxygen. They produced waste CO2, which the photosynthetic organisms used. So a cycle emerged, and an ecological balance came into existence. And here we are.

We talk about nature’s harmony and balance as though it’s eternal, but that’s wrong. These sorts of balances and cycles are older than humanity, but they are born in time, in the process of evolution. They are dynamic, and they shift with changes in the Sun and solar system, and with the things evolution invents as it progresses.

We are one of the things evolution invented. There is an idea that humans exist somehow outside nature, and that we create things and environments that are ‘artificial.’ I think that’s misguided. The problem is time: if you make enough of the very most toxic things humans produce, and then give nature enough time, it will invent processes that will make use of them, or render them harmless somehow.

It’s less a matter of ‘damaging nature’ than incurring a debt to Darwin: creating ‘waste,’  or unlooped materials, substances that nature doesn’t yet know what to do with. And time really is the problem: we don’t have the millions of years to wait around while evolution figures out what to do with our garbage.

Personally, I don’t think it’s within our power to threaten all life on Earth. Life has endured worse things than us. It might be in our power to extinguish all human life, though humans are pretty hardy: we have existed in a lot of environments, from the Arctic to the Sahara to the Amazon, for many generations. It would be possible to render our current civilization untenable. I think that’s the track we’re on now.

To get off that track, we need to think about humanity in the context of broader nature. We often talk about other species as occupying an ‘ecological niche,’ a role in nature. Wolves are hunters, at the top of the food chain; wildebeests are ruminants, eating grass, pooping fertilizer, and feeding alligators. But we don’t talk much about the human niche.

We do talk about our ‘footprint,’ but that’s still non-ecological thinking: everything in our ‘footprint’ is assumed to be artificial, damaging, an interruption in nature; everything outside is assumed to be harmonious, balanced, and ecological. When we seek to ‘reduce our footprint,’ we seek to reduce the damage we do. But we don’t seem to focus much on legitimate ways for humans to participate in nature.

Notice we never ask: what is a wolf’s ‘ecological footprint?’ It’s hard to apply the logic of ‘footprint’ when we assume an organism is already operating in a way we see as ‘natural.’

the human niche

So what would a human niche be? Being humans, we have some choice in the matter. We probably can’t become ruminants, because we can’t digest grass (unless we modify our own biology, or the biology of the grass), but there are so many things we can do. The only question is, how long can we do them? If we don’t consciously choose to participate in ecological cycles, we can only persist doing what we’re doing so long. Our current role is probably short-lived, one way or the other. So for a longer-term role, we need to be inventive. Here are a couple ideas that come to mind:

ecological designer

So what can humans do that other species can’t? The closer we look at that question, the shorter that list is, but we do seem to be pretty good at designing things, and we do seem to have some ability to be reflective. So if we combine those and look at our role in nature, it’s logical that we could find  a long term role as ecological designers, creating and participating in new natural cycles.

And clearly, to create a natural cycle is to participate in it. You might not execute all the steps yourself, but you can cooordinate with others, humans and other species, to close your loops and eliminate your debt. Bill McDonough talks about it in detail in Cradle to Cradle.

OK, then: what does it mean to do good ecological design?

A lot of what comes to mind should be familiar: closed loop recycling, balanced capacities for generating and using waste products, complete recycling of the entire waste stream. Some might seem pie-in-the-sky, but we’ll have to get there at some point. I’m reminded of this Ted talk by Michael Pollan. A couple new things (to me) do come to mind:

managing debt: parsing waste as debt brings to mind all the financial tools related to debt, as well as all their risks and rewards. You can build up debt in planned and unplanned ways. You can pay down debt. You can work with it in a strategic way. Which I think would be useful in moving towards a more sustainable society.

But debt can also mess up your life, and on a large scale, your society. Ask a Greek how they feel about debt right now. Poison in the groundwater,  waste CO2 in the air, can cause us and a lot of other organisms problems. Like I said above, maybe if we had a few million years, we could wait around for nature to adapt our debt to its use. But in the time scales humans care about, we need to take some kind of action.

beauty: the dimension of time is central to the idea of sustainability. For humans to continue to make choices that benefit an ecology over long periods, they must develop a heritage of an appreciation of that ecology. So beauty is more than a good thing we should all want, it’s also a material priority.

It’s part of what persuades others to join us, and part of what binds the next generation’s way of life to ours. We don’t expect them to live the same way we do, but we do need to persuade them that what we create for them is worth sustaining and building upon. And if what we create is beautiful, and we can show them how to appreciate that beauty, that will be easier.

infection agent

Terraformation is a staple of science fiction. But from the viewpoint of Earth’s ecology, it’s infection: spreading Earth’s life to other worlds. Mixed with the ‘ecological designer’ role, it means we could be a vector for life in general, inventing new ecologies that could persist in diverse environments. Freeman Dyson speculates that we could even make species ‘native’ to space itself. It’s an interesting idea. One open question: how do we get off Earth in  a harmonious way? Launching payloads into space requires enormous concentration of energy in one place, far more than nature generally does. And the scale of terraforming would require truly massive launch capability, or very long timeframes.

biome protector

Another staple of science fiction is the comet strike. Protecting the Earth’s life from comets could be an important ecological role for humans to play.


I guess what I’m saying is: we can participate in natural cycles deliberately or not. Not participating is not an option.

We’ve built a civilization that we value. If we want to operate in a civilized, conscious way for the extended future, we need to include nature in that vision of civilization. If we don’t deal with broader nature on the best human terms, it will deal with us on its own.


money hacking: my politics

This is the fourth article in a series. The previous ones are

So I feel uneasy about the near-to-middle term economic future. I feel like there are a lot of challenges we face as a society, and we’re going to have to go back and rethink a lot of things to get through.

But that’s not all that’s going on here. I do have political sensibilities behind this. They’re kind of… unusual.

There’s this dualism between liberalism and libertarian conservatism in American politics that I’m unsatisfied with. In economic liberalism, there’s a focus on human value, and an idea that human beings deserve support and care. Society should provide a baseline level, a ‘safety net,’ that keeps people from falling into destitution, and it does that by some amount of redistribution of wealth. In libertarian conservatism, there’s an idea that society has scarce resources that need to be managed, so historically, we defined an economic game to manage those resources. Those who play the game well deserve to keep their rewards. (Never mind that the game we chose was predicated on uninterrupted, infinite economic growth, and stands in mathematical contradiction to the scarcity conservatives are concerned with. But that’s certainly not the fault of today’s conservatives.)

Both of these ideas presume the game itself. They presume a game whose rules aren’t completely understood by most folks in the debate. Liberalism has some amount of redistribution around the edges, but it presumes the same game as libertarian conservatism.

And it fails both sides. From a liberal perspective, redistribution has not lifted generations out of poverty. And from the other side, there is enormous (and growing) human potential lying unfulfilled. I think the problem is not just the game itself, but that there is limited room for establishing new games with new rules, that might solve this problem and others in better ways.

The debate about socialism versus capitalism feels very twentieth century to me. I’m much more interested in exploring the new possibilities information technology opens for us. I hope the previous articles give you a sense of what I’m talking about.

I’m interested in thinkers like Kevin Kelly more than Karl Marx. Kelly’s ‘Out of Control’ [free download] was formative for me. I think it’s best to approach economics as a branch of systems theory. Liberal though I may be, I’m not a fan of centrally controlled systems. I’m interested in self-organizing systems, games, new ideas and abstractions applied to economics. I want to add degrees of freedom to our civilization’s operating system, and help people find new ways to create more justice and prosperity together. Thus, open architecture economics.

in knowledge is power; in wisdom, humility

If you ever get an email from me, you’ll notice a line at the bottom: ‘In knowledge is power; in wisdom, humility.’ These are serious watchwords for me. Initially, I put them there so that if I said anything arrogant in the body of the email, people would have something to call me on: I’m more sensitive to my hypocrisy than my arrogance.

But as an idea, it took root and spread into my thinking about a lot of things. The deepest way to make it relevant here is: understand the limits of your ideas. There’s very little in economics that is not subject to legitimate debate. That doesn’t necessarily mean split-the-difference is always the way to go.

It also says this to me: pursue approaches that are experimentation-friendly. Maybe your bright idea works well in your head, but when real human beings in the real world start trying to use it to rip each other off, it will be tested. Economic ideas need a laboratory where real people can try them out in the real world.

This, to me, is a big failing of globalism as it’s currently conceived: it forces a uniform economic architecture on the entire world. It creates an intellectual monoculture. And if it’s flawed or ill-adapted to changing conditions, that architecture doesn’t accommodate new systemic ideas well. It doesn’t compare well with, say, the Internet. A neutral Internet allows lots of sophisticated, powerful systems to be built upon it: email, the Web, Bittorrent, and so forth. It’s designed to support new architectures and systems, without imposing a lot of its own priorities.


I think technology and economics are two halves of the same thing. Together they bracket the operational capabilities of a society. Talking about economics without considering technology tends to lead you to miss revolutionary possibilities; building technologies without considering their economic dynamics  tends to lead to, well, unforseen economic dynamics. I suppose people in the music industry have an understanding of what I’m talking about.

And when new technologies emerge for economic mechanisms themselves, you have an intersection of powerful levers for social change. Any economic theory that doesn’t take that into account seems badly incomplete to me.

forced understanding

I think one problem with the current economic order is its lack of forced understanding. There are a lot of details that the casual user of money doesn’t have to understand to use it. By ‘forced understanding’ I mean you have to understand things in a complete way to make use of them. For example, in Greco’s you standard, you are hit over the head with these details: how does money enter and exit circulation? How do I make use of those mechanisms to produce wealth? This puts a premium on understandability, simplicity, and good user interface design.

But it also makes a distinction between ‘understandability’ and ‘dumbing-down.’ The current system is ‘dumbed down:’ you get money, and you spend it, and you don’t need to care how it was born into the system, or how it will die.

But you’re also left scrambling to get it from those who have it. Ulimately, you’re at the whim of those who control its production for the system. Your sense of its abundance or scarcity is a matter of luck more than mastery. You might be a master of some skill that is in demand, but you have no handle on where that demand ultimately comes from.

Widespread mastery of monetary operations at a societal level seems to me like a good thing. If there’s a way to make that knowledge more accessible and useful, we should pursue it.

the information age

The information age may feel like it’s in full swing. iPhones, mp3s, music and newspaper and movie and publishing industries collapsing and reshaping, capital zooming through computer networks… there’s been a lot of change the last few years.

I’m of the opinion that it’s still in its infancy.

The Information Age can be described in a lot of ways, but the relevant patterns here are: industrial capacities in individual hands, and  flexibility. So, desktop manufacturing is beginning to get exciting: your Reprap/Makerbot will be a manufacturing plant. People are beginning to grapple with how to make big tools more flexible and accessible. Your laptop is now a mixing board and recording studio (and a million other things), you can rent a some space on a server and get your own radio/tv station or spread your own crackpot ideas to the masses (I resemble that remark!) The industrial is personal.

That logic can apply to the way you account for the wealth you produce.There isn’t a reason to delegate that to Wall Street and Washington anymore. It can be democratized. The foundational framework is here. It’s now a design problem: how do we take the means to manage an economy and turn them inside out? How do we make them easy enough to use without diluting their power? How do we make them as easy as money is now? And how do we do so and enhance economic integrity?

the holographic economy

When everyone has industrial capacities at their fingertips, the economy will have a holographic structure. If you break a hologram, you’ll find you can see its entire image through each piece. Much like a hologram stores its entire image in every part of its structure, I think the economy of the future will replicate fundamental production capacities across its entire structure. Global trade may be unrestricted, but people will meet their needs by using capabilities close to home as much as possible, and exchanging and sharing capabilities globally.

This economy will be more responsive to changing environments and cultures. This economy will be more resilient, responding to catastrophes through distributed capabilities. This economy will exploit economies of flexibility rather than scale.

But a holographic economy needs a holographic system of accounting for its wealth, a holographic, highly adaptive monetary system. It can’t have a hypercentralized financial capitol (Wall Street) organizing its investment (and siphoning off  an ever larger share for itself). As fast as Wall Street operates, it isn’t close enough to the real action to respond to more than crude quantified signals.

And information technology operates like crack cocaine for Wall Street: it’s not helping. Systems like high-frequency trading cause problems faster than humans can respond. I think Wall Street is basically becoming an economy for machines and not people. It’s informational in its capabilities, but industrial in its pattern of ownership and operation.

I’m essentially advocating a human-scaled, human-paced, human-serving information age.

The next chapter: problems and pitfalls.

Eric Holzle gets it going

So at least he’s not a patent troll… Some of you may recall my previous post on the subject of Eric Holzle. Well, he’s doing it: he started, a dating site that matches people based on their major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, plus some personality matching stuff. Plus they check you out, pretty thoroughly. Something to keep an eye on, see how it goes. Still, $1995 for a membership. It’s lifetime, but I wouldn’t expect to spend that much in my life on a dating site.

creative implosion

More and more businesses these days are essentially creative. Maybe art is central to their product, like movie and music industries. Maybe they’re technology businesses–I suppose most businesses are technology businesses these days. Many businesses combine elements of both–the automotive industry comes to mind.

There’s a point of vulnerability in all these businesses. When business turns down–for whatever reason–the business instinct is to cut risk. In an artistic business, that means pushing a blander product: as risk-taking declines, so does interest in their product–art without risk is, well, boring.

I see this dynamic most distinctly in the current music industry. It’s restructuring around new technology, and the major labels built around big blockbuster hits are in a state of free-fall. And they’re pursuing all the defensive business measures, working in Washington to ban as much of their competition as they can, laying off and slashing budgets. And betting on the sure things: the big glamorous groups, the conventional music… Britney Spears would have made the list, until recently.

And the most interesting music is coming from outside of the major labels. Not only is the technology changing, the attitudes of artists are changing. You don’t need to spend millions to distribute music anymore. So people who are amateurs in the original sense of the word–in it for the love–have new modes of success. You can have a really solid middle-class income, or even forgo that, and make music in your spare time, and still get heard, if that’s all you want.

This calls in to question one of the capitalistic rationales that the big labels use to defend the prosecution of piracy: that if you don’t protect copyright, you’ll lose the incentive to make music. Which is ridiculous: we don’t know any human cultures that don’t have music. We’ve had music much longer than we’ve had modern capitalism.

Now, you will lose the opportunity to “make it big.” Which is too bad: after all, isn’t all the best music produced in the name of outsize greed? I mean, I don’t hate capitalism, it does keep a roof over my head. But does everything have to be optimized according to its criteria? I don’t think so.

patent jealousy

I hate you, Eric Holzle. Well, maybe not hate. But I am extremely jealous…
Some of you may have heard of the original ‘stinky t-shirt study‘:

In 1996, Claus Wedekind, a zoologist at Bern University in Switzerland, conducted what’s become known as the stinky T-shirt study. Wedekind had 44 men each wear a t-shirt for two nights straight, then tested how women reacted to the smelly shirts.

Like mice, women preferred the scent of men whose immune systems were unlike their own. If a man’s immune system was similar, a woman tended to describe his T-shirt as smelling like her father or brother.

More recent fiindings link this effect directly to genes in the major histocompatibility complex, or MHC:

…Then they looked at three MHC genes, each with two different varieties, and compared each partner’s genetic makeup.

The more similar, the less sexually responsive they were to their partners. They also were more unfaithful. The genetically similar women reported more attraction, interest and fantasy toward other men prior to ovulation. When they were not in this phase of the cycle, they showed no sexual interest outside of their partner.

So, I’m poking around at this stuff, thinking “This is the basis of a dating site! I can see it now: Get people to get their genes tested, have them post the data about their alleles to the site… it’s a simple match. If you make some money, you could even fund some research to collect more data about the impact of particular differences. You could market through gene testing clinics… damn, this has legs!”

Then, as I googled, I saw Eric’s patent application:

3. A method of matching human beings with others, comprising the steps of: (a) assembling and/or defining a population of human participants, physically and/or virtually, to be matched amongst themselves and/or any future or past participants in the context of a dating service, dating services, or other social groups or organizations; (b) producing, assembling, and/or observing the class I and class II MHC profiles of all or any fraction of the participants, where said profiles include the HLA-A and HLA-B loci in the class I region, and the DRB1 locus in the class II region; (c) comparing said profiles of some or all of the participants with said profiles of others and rating the degree of compatibility between any two or more people according to the number of alleles they have in common, where fewer commonalities represent a greater degree of compatibility; (d) matching said participants based on said comparisons.

Well, it is just a patent application, but if Amazon can get the 1-click patent, this is a shoo-in. I’m not familiar with the relevant bodies of prior art, but as such claims go, this isn’t bad.

Damn you, Eric Holzle. Damn you.

a sad opposition

In the debate over “network neutrality,” there is a sad and unneccesary opposition between two streams of innovation.

One is bandwidth innovation. The telephone companies claim to champion increased bandwith available to the consumer. They claim that without tiered bandwidth access for big websites, they won’t have incentives to build the next generation of networks.

Notice their rhetoric acknowledges only bandwidth innovation: they say the most important thing the American net needs is more bandwidth, so they can give us more channels of TV. Note also they only acknowledge one source of innovation: themselves. All Google does is freeload on their wires. Who cares where companies like that come from? After all, the telcos have such a sterling history of innovation.

The other stream is applications innovation. Companies from Yahoo to Google to Flickr stand on the other side of the debate as proven innovators. These post-AT&T-breakup companies have delivered wave after wave of new technology to customers around the world.

Notice how the telcos have framed it: you can have one stream, from us, or another, from them. You can’t have both.

It’s interesting to compare their attitudes to those of the applications innovators. In a recent interview, James Gosling had this to say about American telecom firms:

Q: Has North America’s extensive fixed-line networks held back the jump to massive mobile development?

A: No. The place it’s been most advanced and most interesting is Japan, and Japan has at least as much old-line infrastructure as North America. … They [NTT DoCoMo] came up with this scheme of encouraging third parties to develop lots and lots of services in the hopes that that would drive network usage. They came up with a methodology where you could be a software developer for their network. What it took the join was essentially nothing. So, you get two guys and a dog going off to do a game. The game would get popular and the way that popular culture works it explodes really quickly. People were going from napkin to millionaire in two months. This started this huge feeding frenzy of developers, writing all kinds of software, making it really easy for people to get at. It really hinged on having this mechanism from the phone company that allowed third-parties to do all kinds of stuff, to get great diversity.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been in conversations with people [in North America] where they go, “Well, we think DoCoMo was stupid for giving up all that revenue. We want all of it. We’re going to have our developers develop all the games.” I actually had somebody from Telus say to me, “You know, we did this analysis and we decided that there are eight apps that people need on their cellphones. So we’re having our developers develop those eight apps.” And it’s like — (Mr. Gosling scrunches his face with incredulity) — the person just so deeply doesn’t get it.

First, the kind of apps that phone companies generate tend to be mind-numbingly bad. And you can’t actually predict what’s going to be successful. In a lot of these things that are truly social experiments, you got to try stuff. You’ve got to have the creative weirdoes out there. And by and large, creative weirdoes don’t work for big phone companies. You’ve got to figure out a way to tap into the creative weirdoes.

So it seems clear that this is what causes this unneccessary opposition: American telcos are unwilling to leave cash on the table. In a very shortsighted, pre-1994 way. I mean, if anyone should have learned the value of establishing an innovation ecosystem in the past ten years, it’s the telcos. But every time their executives open their mouth, they make it clear they haven’t learned a thing.

Worse, the limit of their vision is profoundly narrow. They want to sell more channels of television. Exactly what the world needs: we have conventional broadcast, cable, sattelite, and now AT&T delivering more video. Aain, I’m reminded of 1993: a communications revolution was coming, and right-thinking folks knew it would be based on the Internet, but there were all these visions of 500-channel TV, too. And you know what, we do have 500-channel TV now, and it’s not changing the world. Is it even making much money?

Maybe it’s an organizational culture thing. Maybe the telcos need to go through the same kind of near-death experience IBM did in the mid-nineties. Maybe they just need to die. I find a scenario for their death (er, marginalization) easy to imagine. That’s a future post.

human powered vehicles in Northbrook

So this last Saturday, I went with my friend Todd and some folks from the Chicago Cycling Club up to the Northbrook velodorome to see the human powered vehicles race. It was a great trip, though it was challenging.

First we biked up to Northbrook, from the lakefront in Chicago. Which is 25 miles one way. I don’t think I’ve ridden that far since high school. Not to mention that these CCC types were very serious cyclists. The spandex, the fancy bikes, the 25-mile-a-day bike commute to work…on my city clunker backup bike I was having trouble keeping up. I’m not in bad shape, but I’m more strength-fit than endurance-fit. So it was a trial.

But it was worth it. The velodrome in Northbrook is kinda cool, but the HPVs were awesome. The Barracuda was a big banana-yellow full-fairing machine, that got up to 42 miles/hour. In a 100 lap race it lapped the next fastest competitor five times. You could only see a little bit of the rider’s head sticking up in the canopy, and he was riding hard. I think he averaged in the high thirties. I kept thinking of the old Heart song: “Dum-da-da-Dum-da-da-Dum-da-da-Dum-da-da-Dum-da-da-Da-Da…”

I got to check out some of the bikes up close. Some of the coolest ones were “stock,” or non-fairing bikes. There were a number of Velokraft bikes. Velokraft is a Polish company that makes these carbon-fiber frames that are ridiculously light and super low. The frames on the site are in the 5 1/2 pound range. Some were also front-wheel drive, which was interesting. Some also had solid carbon-fiber wheels. Feel the techo-lust.

It was also interesting to hear about the development of the technology. It’s very much an ad-hoc competitive field, with people of varying degrees of engineering professionalism. There was the guy in a crash last year: he had mounted a camera on top of his bike, and the wire between the cam and the screen got caught in one of his wheels. He was blinded, and he slammed into a post. I think they banned camera bikes after that.

Aso, it seems that trikes are out, too. Three wheeled low racers were big until they started losing races.

The world record stands right now at 81 miles/hour. It’s increased about 20 miles/hour in the last few years. They seem to think 100 is possible soon. imagine doing 100 miles an hour under your own power.

I wish we had gotten to stay for the stock race. It would have been cool to see those Velokraft bikes in action.

in the grip of techno-lust

must… have… so… cool…

The Medtronic Mag Pro, used by an Autralian research neurologist, is used to selectively activate and supress different areas of the brain, to elicit savant-like capabilities, enhanced creativity and mathematical abilities among other things. Really really hard things like instantaneous recognition of large prime numbers. For the non-mathematicians, it’s a very difficult thing to do.

All of this is based on theories about autism and autisitc savants The article explains it well enough. Suffice it to say, maybe you really do only use ten per cent of your brain.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. I’m reminded of the science fiction of Ted Chiang, one of the better speculators about enhanced intelligence. His collection of short stories, Stories of your Life and Others is superb.

A personal note: I wonder if such a device could treat my dystonia, without brain surgery or drugs that render me unable to finish a sentence.

extreme programming: some first impressions

This post is pretty techie; my non-techie readers may want to ignore it. I promise I’ll try to be less esoteric.

You techies have probably heard all about Extreme Programming. I myself am familiar with the ideas, though I’m only begining to experiment with using them. I have not fully integrated test-first methodology into my development habits, but I do operate in a highly iterative fashion as I write code. I can see the benefits as I alter my habits and move in that direction. I think the coding and testing XP processes look generally salutary.

The problems I see in XP are more at the front-end of the process, working with business stakeholders in a highly iterative and interactive fashion. There seem to be some assumptions there:

  • that software developers can function well as business analysts: That they can communicate effectively with non-technical personnel; that they understand the business of the customer; that they have well-developed business sense;
  • that management is willing to cede some authority/accountability in favor of the flexibility created by a more give-and-take relationship between IT and its customers;
  • fundamentally, that political boundaries between core business and IT organizations–internal and external–are essentially superfluous.

I would like to work in an organization where these assumptions are true. But my experience indicates they don’t always hold. If these assumptions hold in your organization, you’ve already solved or avoided a bunch of problems much more difficult than anything XP addresses.

The gurus who came up with XP seem a little shortsighted. A lot of methodolgy movements seem to spring out of the “hey, this thing works, lets bottle it and sell it” impulse; it’s interesting to note what someone chooses to put in the bottle.