Building Post-Scarcity Societies

The earliest forms of AI were invented by Soviet Systems Theorists and Cyberneticists in order to address the problem of modeling complex chaotic systems. This was a vital missing piece at the core of Soviet Communism; the ideology was built around central planning of things like ecosystems and economies, and these forms of modeling did not work. This is why AI was originally invented, in order to create a system that could learn how to model complex chaotic systems and provide insight and answers where past attempts at similar analyses by humans had failed.

Imagine for example a complex social interaction between tens of thousands of people who share little else in common besides being members of a particular facebook group. This group is dedicated to criticism of a specific social problem. In this case, money in society and its constellation of perverse incentives and negative externalities. If tens of thousands of people agree that money in society is a problem, that does not necessarily mean that any two of those people agree on the solution.

The task of AI becomes the task of defining what such a group could be. It’s not just a question of modeling the group and its myriad opinions and perspectives but finding a way to push all of that chaos towards some convergence that becomes capable of arguing for a solution to the problem the group exists to discuss and critique. In many ways, this has become a central issue of the modern era; everyone has opinions about the problems in society, and there are as many opinions as there are people, with very little overlap between arguments and conclusions derived from myriad disparate sets of experience.

The temptation, and the precedent throughout history, has been to elevate one perspective or one figurehead to represent one set of experiences and arguments and conclusions and privilege those above all others, forcing everyone to adopt policies and practices that represent this limited perspective as a universal solution which in reality fits only a limited subset of experiences.

A naïve perspective would argue that the challenge of AI is to create a system that can take in all of these disparate perspectives and find a way to meaningfully synthesize them into something that can provide direction and insight where past attempts at such analysis by humans have failed. But this is just more of the same. A true synthesis of all these perspectives is not possible, and would likely be just as limited in its ability to produce direction and insight as any single perspective. The challenge of AI is not to create some grand synthesis of all human perspectives, but rather to find a way to create models that can learn from history and from the myriad perspectives and experiences of people in the present in order to provide direction and insight where past attempts at such analysis by humans have failed.

The task of the moment is to create a society which allows for the expression of a diversity of perspectives while also creating the conditions for people to learn from and build on the perspectives of others. Fundamentally, scarcity is the enemy, and scarcity in the modern world is a policy choice; there is already plenty of food and housing for everyone, but it’s being deliberately withheld from those who need it in order to force them to comply with some limited, external perspective on addressing their problems. A more just society would allow a diverse range of perspectives, experiences, conclusions, and arguments to coexist with a basic guarantee of survival for everyone who intends to coexist. In such a society, the only people who would not be welcome are those disagree with the basic premise that everyone should be able to exist and subsist and to pursue and contribute to their own liberation and that of their community.

Exploring Soviet Science Fiction Films

One of the most fascinating classes I took for my degree in Queer Ethnic Studies was Race, Gender, and Science Fiction. In that class, we looked at the very different kinds of futurist perspectives present in authors from different backgrounds. For example, comparing and contrasting the futurisms of Indigenous Americans versus Black Americans versus Asian Women, etc.

There is so much that is different and interesting and valuable about soviet perspectives; they invented much of what forms the foundation of the modern world. For example, what we think of as artificial intelligence today was invented by soviet mathematicians. They also developed techniques for growing citrus fruits in the arctic at such a scale that they became one of the world’s leading producers of a fruit that can’t freeze, in a region that spends much of the year at over thirty degrees below zero.

There is much to criticize about the Soviet Union, just like America. There is also much to praise, just like America. Soviet Futurism is a topic that has always fascinated me, so I started researching and found this video with a list of recommendations for soviet science fiction films, and so I have found them all and added them below…

City Zero (Город Зеро). 1988. Theatre of the absurd, mysterious tragicomedy, black metaphor. Music by Auktsyon (Аукцыон).

Stalker (Сталкер). 1979. A cerebral timeless masterpiece by A. Tarkovsky, one of the most influential directors of all time. Loosely based on a novel by Strugatsky brothers that somehow foresaw the Chernobyl disaster, it is a philosophical tale about our destiny and choices. Music by Bowery Electric.

Planet of Storms (Планета Бурь). 1962. Approved by Korolev, the leading Soviet space engineer. Illegally e-edited and re-dubbed as American movie ” Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet ” in 1965. Music by Asylum Party.

Dead Man’s Letters (Письма мёртвого человека). 1986. Directed by probably most faithful of all Tarkovsky’s followers K. Lopushansky, this film is a heavy and realistic portrayal of the end of the world. Not an easy watch due to an extreme realism. Music by Ital Tek.

Inquest of Pilot Pirx (Дознание пилота Пиркса). 1978. A Polish-USSR (mostly Estonian) co-production based on short stories by Stanislaw Lem, it is a mix of Blade Runner and Alien released before them. Music by Klangstabil.

Parade of the Planets (Парад планет). 1984. Probably the least sci-fi movie in this list, woven of a light and some invisible matter. It’s a tale about the destiny, youth and death. Music by Former Ghosts and Timothy D. Hecker.

Kin-Dza-Dza! (Кин-Дза-Дза!). 1986. The weirdest movie in this list with top Soviet actors and tons of absurd and black humour. It’s hilarious, weird and sad parody on both capitalist and communist societies. A cult movie in all ex-USSR and one of the best Soviet satires of all time.

Aelita (Аэлита). 1924. One of the oldest space sci-fi movies ever. First Soviet blockbuster (the film was hugely popular). Interesting, in first place, due to its historical and cultural importance. Great photography and designs.

Solaris (Солярис). 1972. Another masterpiece by A. Tarkovsky, also providing a great insight into a human soul, this time more with space travel and love relationship flavour. Often seen as a rival of 2001 by S. Kubrick. Music by me.

Per Aspera Ad Astra (Через тернии к звёздам). 1981. It felt different from other teenager sci-fi movies like ”Amphibian Man” or ”Moscow-Cassiopeia” (or many others) that were hugely popular in USSR and could be considered a Soviet analogues to adventure movies of Steven Spielberg. ”Per Aspera Ad Astra” was weirder though… it features some very dark and scary scenes. This video clip wasn’t edited by me – a great guy David Dean Burkhart did it. Visit his amazing Youtube channel. He takes old footage of all kind and makes music videos for obscure indie pop songs.

First Cross Country EV Road Trip

I drive across country a lot. But this will be my first trip with my new Chevy Bolt. There are a few new things to consider, such as range and access to charging infrastructure. Luckily, there is a free community called PlugShare which makes it really easy to plan long distance trips with access to the type of charger I will need. I also got some good tips from this post by someone who did a similar trip in the opposite direction.

I will be starting in Sacramento and ending up in Lafayette, TN. I’m going to spend some time at a land project I volunteer for, plus checking out the Beltane gathering at Short Mountain.

The first leg is easy. Traveling across California is free because of the state sponsored free electric vehicle charging network at most of the rest areas along all of the major highways.

I’m taking the 40 all the way from Barstow to Nashville. The 40 is by far the busiest east-west freeway in the nation and there are lots of amenities including ready access to lots of electric vehicle chargers.

My car charges much faster between 25-75% then it does outside of that range, so I’m planning to stay inside that range as much as possible in order to get my fastest charge rate. I am also planning to go 65mph the whole way because the efficiency is so much higher at that speed that I will actually save a great deal of time by slowing down while driving. Going faster means charging longer, and the time I save going faster is shorter than the time I lose charging.

One huge advantage is getting a membership with a charging network Electrify America was the best value by far when I signed up, and it means I will save a lot on the charging cost on this trip.

Here is the breakdown for each leg and each day with estimated costs, drive time, and charging time…

tennessee ev trip plan

Driving from Sacramento to Short Mountain is going to cost me less than $200. Compare that to my previous car, a Honda Civic. Despite being an excellent car, it was still powered by dinosaur juice. With current gas prices, the same trip would cost nearly twice as much.

The Liminal

Liminal is a story I’m working on with some inspiration from an AI project.

Chapter One

“I’m sorry doctor, but your project is being canceled.”

Turner had heard it all before. This job sucked. Corporate R&D labs never appreciated the most exciting kinds of scientific research.

“It was an interesting idea but the corporation is reallocating the entire exotic field research budget to the green tech division.  Dr. Solomon is expecting a major breakthrough and we’re reallocating your budget to his project. You’ve got two days to wrap things up with your project before the end of the week. You’re being reassigned to helping Dr. Jenkins with his new carbon capture tech. Carbon credits are still selling like hot cakes. With Dr. Solomon’s breakthrough, we’ll be able to sell even more.”

Turner’s mouth dropped open, “You’re giving me two days?”

“Carbon capture tech is really exciting stuff,” the suit went on, “It’s already having a real impact on reducing net carbon emissions. Dr. Jenkins’ project has the potential to take the world to net neutral emissions within the next decade.”

Turner kept staring, and after a few moments, the suit turned and left the lab.

“Fuck this,” Turner thought, “Fuck incrementalism and solutions like carbon capture. These people don’t care about solving problems. All they care about is making as money as they can while appearing to take steps towards solving problems. If they actually solved these problems then there would be no more funding for problem solving.”

Turner stared at the fruit of his labor sitting on the table in front of him. The Liminal Field Projector was nearly complete, but now it may as well have never existed.  This had the potential to be the most exciting advancement in the history of humanity, and it was being discarded by people who didn’t understand and didn’t see its potential.

He turned and looked through the large window that showed him the next lab down the hall, where his colleague Dr Solomon was working on his compact fusion reactor.

Solomon and his team had all the funding they could ask for, because his device had the potential to break the threshold for small modular fusion reactors. There was little the company wanted more than a small product they could sell to every city and state across the world. The small modular fusion reactor had the potential to solve all the world’s energy problems forever, or at least for those cities and states that could afford one.

Solomon was a good example of someone who made the right choices to succeed in the world of corporate Research and Development. His work extended the power of the company. His work fit within the scope of what the company could understand. Solomon wasn’t reaching for fundamental solutions to humanity’s problems; he was reaching for small and readily monetizable solutions — baby steps, increments.

Turner watched Solomon and his team sitting around a table working on many different versions of the small modular fusion reactor. Solomon had an adversarial management approach. Everyone was trying to accomplish the same thing in their own way. In the center of the table, a hologram showed their elusive goal, a fully functional and completely operational SMFR, something no one had ever done. Together, each member of the team struggled independently to be the first to bring the object of their labor out of the hologram and into reality.

Small modular fusion reactors were a great product. They were already the corporation’s main revenue source, but the small modular design had a hard limit that no one had ever overcome. It could fit in your pocket but it couldn’t provide more than a megawatt of power. Solomon and his team were working on crossing this threshold. If they could find a way to do it then he would become royalty within the corporation, and the corporation would become perhaps the most powerful in the world. Power was power, after all.

Their holographic prototype floating in mid air in the lab promised a hundred times their current technical limitations without the corresponding exponential increase in operating costs. It would be enough to power even a large city. It would  even be more than enough to run the exotic field projector itself without the need for its banks of capacitors.

“I should have specialized in energy instead of exotic field projectors,” Turner mumbled to his empty lab, “Something that would make the corporation appreciate my work.”

Turner had taken the corporation’s research fellowship in exotic fields because he saw the untapped potential of manipulating the fabric of reality itself to accomplish real solutions to the problems humanity faced. The potential Turner saw wasn’t exactly something the company understood, but there was some small percent of the R&D budget allocated to taking an actuarially appropriate level of risk in each new bleeding edge field that emerged, just in case it panned out. Turner’s project must have crossed some line where the actuarial algorithms had decided the ongoing costs now outweighed the probability of a high pay-off, and so the algorithms decided to kill the project and move on to some even newer bleeding edge field.

“Algorithms are fickle bastards, Turner thought to himself, “I’ve got to at least try the projector before they shut me down.”

He wasn’t really anywhere near ready, and the projector would probably burn itself out if he fired it, but he spent the rest of the day hacking together his code and getting the hardware working well enough for one test run.

The project’s magnum opus was a brushed aluminum cylinder about two feet long and just a few inches wide. The cylinder sat on a tripod surrounded by the banks of capacitors that supplied it power and the banks of computers Turner had used to train the AI that controlled the cylinder’s contents.

Inside the cylinder was a simple field projector, not at all unlike a normal maser, but which had the added benefit of the phase shift compensator. This was the subject of Turner’s graduate thesis and with enough energy, the phase shift compensator is what allows the field projector to create its brief doorways.

Training AI takes a lot of supercomputer power and a lot of time, but once you train the AI, it can run on any cell phone. It’s one of the most remarkable things from Information Theory.; once you do the work of making a map, you don’t have to go exploring the wilderness to find a route.

It was well into the evening when Turner felt ready to test the exotic field projector. He sat back and took in view of the lab. The whole exotic field projector system was mirrored by a holographic duplicate floating in the air above it. This was more than just the plans for the work, it was also a diagnostic tool. As he watched, the hologram performed its checks and informed Turner that the system was ready for a test, but that the risk of damage was extremely high. Turner didn’t care at this point, he just had to know if it could work.

He pulled the trigger on the initiator and started the field sequence. The capacitor banks dumped their load of power into the aluminum cylinder, and the AI in charge of the field projector took hold of the delicate controls, slightly shifting countless variables until the whole symphony of equipment sang as one. Turner felt like he was standing at the very peak of human invention and leaping into the unknown, but with a pretty decent idea of where he would land.

From its perch on the tripod, a purple beam of light shot out from the exotic field projector and stopped in mid-air, a few feet away, spreading out into a flat disc which grew and spread until it had roughly the shape of a doorway that stretched down to the ground.

A few seconds after the beam started, it disappeared, leaving the purple rectangle floating like a doorway in mid-air. As he watched, the purple material turned transparent and vanished. The doorway had opened, and through it he saw the pocket dimension he had predicted.

As soon as the beam vanished, the sparks started. The delicate exotic field projector inside the aluminum cylinder exploded in a shower of glass and metal shards that shot out the ends of the cylinder. Turner knew the projector was now destroyed, but he also knew that it worked.

Turner looked back at the doorway. The edges began to fray and lose their color. Quickly he stepped forward and into the pocket dimension.

He looked back through the doorway into his lab and saw the edges of the field continue to fray and disperse for a few more seconds before the doorway closed completely. He had made it to the pocket dimension.

Chapter Two

Turner surveyed the dim space he had just stepped into. According to his theory, Liminal Space, as he called this place, was a near-adjacent reality or sub-reality just a few degrees out of phase with our reality.

The way Liminal Space presented itself would depend on the person who  pulled the trigger on the exotic field projector and opened the doorway.

There are an infinite number of dimensions, and the exotic field projector used the person’s situation in our reality to locate the proper reality into which to open the doorway.

The calculations were based on the field of Interstitial Symbolic Interactionism. Therefore Liminal Space would be a different pocket reality for everyone, representing the power structures and institutions that surround them in their life.

Turner found himself in a vast factory space with high ceilings. Large machines spread across the space. There were countless pipes and cables running up and down the walls. These connected from the machines, up through the ceiling of the factory. Some of them seemed to be carrying various objects up from the machines on the floor and through the roof of the factory space.

There were many of these machines scattered around the vast factory space, roughly situated in the position and arrangement of the labs at the corporation. Many of the machines were dormant, while others were very active, spewing out objects onto the conveyor belts and into pipes that carried them up through the ceiling.

He saw a large machine corresponding to the location of his own lab. It had many gears and lights, all in motion and brightly illuminated, and just like his lab, it was mirrored with one copy of the machine on the table, and one floating above it. But it wasn’t a hologram here, both machines were physical manifestations. The one on the table was shattered to pieces, but the machine floating above it seemed to still be in good working order. If only that was how it worked in reality.

Turner turned around and looked behind him, in the direction of Solomon’s lab. He saw what looked like a large hollow cube where the lab would be. Countless wires hung down from a bright light at the center of the cube. At the end of each wire was a smaller light that looked like a fruit hanging from a vine. These corresponded to the individual workstations where Solomon and his team were trying to bring their design out of the hologram and into reality. Turner walked closer and saw that what he at first took for bright fruits looked just like Dr. Solomon’s small modular fusion reactors.

Only they weren’t exactly like them. Turner saw that the brightest one in the center of the cube was the only one that was complete. The others were all missing some piece of another. This was like the way the team was all trying to achieve with their separate designs something like the ideal object they were all seeing in the hologram. As Turner examined the examples, he saw that one (Dr. Solomon’s?) was actually very close to being complete. He was only missing a few key pieces of the puzzle from the idealized prototype SMFR that floated in the middle of the room, across the delicate cable of meaning and purpose that connected the devices together.

“I wonder what would happen if I did something to these things,” Turner said to himself.

Just then, a loud sound came from outside the factory. Turner looked up as another loud sound came from the roof above, in apparent answer.

He decided to climb to the roof and see what was happening outside. Long stairways and catwalks led him up through what he knew were corporate departments, connecting through a long hierarchical network of power to the top of the building, where the executives and their algorithms made the decisions that ended projects like his.

Turner was careful to avoid opening any doors, knowing that any of the scarce doors he saw in Liminal Space would lead back to reality, not through to the next space. Liminal Space was above all a place of transition, and it didn’t want you to be there, it wanted you to transition to wherever you were going. But the rooms and spaces here didn’t exactly line up to reality. There had been no door corresponding to Turner’s office, but there had been a door in the hallway outside where he knew there was no such door in reality. He wondered where it would lead or from where he would emerge if he stepped through such a door.

After what seemed like a long time, he reached the top of the building, he saw that where the offices of corporate executives would be, there were instead huge gun emplacements directed out at other buildings.

Turner saw the pipes and conveyor belts from the factory space below, emptying their contents into these guns. The sound when the guns fired was deafening, but sound didn’t work exactly the same way here. Turner was aware of it, but didn’t exactly hear it in the same way we hear things in reality.

He looked out the window to see what the guns were firing at. Some of the shells seemed to travel across the world and far out of sight. Others were directed at other buildings nearby. Some of these Turner recognized as competing corporations. He saw the logo on one of another place he had interviewed before he decided to work here.

The corporation’s fiercest opponent was a global conglomerate that had been an old zaibatsu in the days when that distinction was unusual. Today, every large corporation could be considered something similar, with its own internal banking and investment, and its own versions of essentially all consumer goods and services on the market. He recognized the logo of the opponent on a vast arcology in the middle distance.

As he watched, the barrel of the opponent’s guns turned to face Turner and his own corporation. Most of the incoming shells he’d seen so far had been directed down below, at the factory space with its thick strong walls, but this time the gun seemed to point above, to the highest levels of the building. The guns fired what seemed like a tiny shell, and Turner watched as it soared gently through the air, such a little thing. It hit its mark a few floors above Turner, and while it hadn’t looked like much in the air, the sound it make on impact was louder than anything he had heard so far. The walls shook, and the whole building shuddered around him. Turner fell to the ground and crawled back the way he had come.

He made it to the first set of stairs and catwalks but found that the stairs were out. In their place, a slide had emerged. It seemed to descend gently, directly into the lab area where he was headed. He weighed his options. He sat at the top of the slide, and he felt confident that he could use the soles of his shoes to control his descent to the point where he would feel safe.

Turner decided to take the slide. A few minutes later, he was standing at the entrance to Dr. Solomon’s lab.

“That’s interesting,” Turner said, “I wonder if this is related to whatever hit the building.”

He walked over to his own lab and approached the floating copy of his holographic prototype of the exotic field projector. He reached out and found that he was able to touch it.

“Fuck it he said,” and pulled the projector from the air. In reality, this was just a hologram, a representation of an idea of what he was trying to build with his prototype. Maybe that meant that in Liminal Space, this was a physical manifestation of his perfect, ideal exotic field projector?

He considered that for a moment and then stepped back over to Dr. Solomon’s lab and pulled the prototype small modular fusion reactor from where it hung in the air in the center of the lab.

Turner knew that walking through any door would send him back to reality, so he concealed the small modular fusion reactor in his pocket, and put the exotic field projector in his sleeve, and opened the door in the hallway outside the lab. He found that it emerged into the restroom across the hall from his lab. This made sense when he considered that the restroom would be behind that wall, even if there was no door there in reality.

He stepped out of the restroom into the hall as casually as possible. A maintenance crew was cleaning up the glass that had exploded out from his work table during what everyone would probably assume was either a failed experiment or the tantrum of a fired employee.

Turner turned and walked towards the garage exit on his way home. He did not notice the holograms of the prototypes in his lab or Dr. Solomon’s, and how could he since they were no longer there.

Chapter 3

When Turner got to work the next day, he expected some drama about the mess. He did not expect to be met at the door by security who took him up to the executive offices.

“Take a seat Dr. Turner,” invited a stern-faced suit.

Turner sat down, “What is this about, sir?”

“Last night, there was an explosion in your lab after hours. At the same time, we detected an electromagnetic pulse coming from that location which seems to have caused computer system corruption in some nearby systems. This is causing major problems for us.”

Turner thought about this for a moment. He had expected a reprimand for the mess, but hadn’t considered a small EMP might be cause by blowing the exotic field projector.

“That makes sense,” Turner said, “I was trying to test my exotic field projector and unfortunately the capacitor bank blew the maser. It was a pretty spectacular show. What sort of computer problems are happening?”

“Well doctor,” the suit said, “Your prototype hologram and that of your next door neighbor Dr. Solomon are just gone. The systems have been wiped clean. It’s very unusual for an EMP to cause such an intense effect in such a limited area. Typically something that powerful would affect a much larger section area of the laboratories.”

“I see. That is strange, sir. I assume IT has backups of everything we were working on in there, right,” Turner asked.

“Of course, it’s just a temporary inconvenience. But unfortunately that means your project will have to end now because they won’t have time to restore your work before your project’s deadline this evening,” the suit said.

“Well that’s a shame, sir, but I don’t expect I was going to have any major breakthroughs today. The project was nowhere near completion when the accident happened last night.”

The suit looked suddenly very serious and said, “I had been hoping to hear you found some success with your work. I have been following your project closely since it began. I was one of the biggest advocates for your work on the project committee.”

Turner thought the suit looked somewhat suspicious as though he knew more than he was letting on.

“What’s this all about sir,” Turner asked, “Why not just have security let me know? Why drag me up here?”

“Since you ask, and this is confidential, we closed a merger last night with our biggest competitor. They are very excited about the progress in Dr. Solomon’s work, and that deal is a big part of why we had to shut most of the other research projects down. The buyer is only interested in Dr. Solomon’s work.”

“I see,” Turner said, remembering the way he watched from Liminal Space as that competitor fired a projectile at the corporation last night which shook and rearranged the building itself.

Turner broke his concentration and noticed the suit was staring at him intently, catching him zoning out, looking suspicious.

“Security cameras,” the suit said, “saw you leaving the restroom across the hall several hours after the EMP accident, but did not record you entering the restroom.”

Turner met his eyes, “Well they must have lost some footage during the accident, sir, I mean it’s not as though I could have teleported in there.”

“Indeed,” the suit said, “good day Dr. Turner. I’m sorry your project didn’t work out.”

Chapter 4

 

All of California’s agricultural land is fundamentally unsustainable and structurally self-destructive.

All of California’s agricultural land is fundamentally unsustainable and structurally self-destructive. The entire San Joaquin valley was a lake until very recently; Lake Corcoran was one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes. (Wong) It was fed with rainfall from the sea, and its evaporation created a cycle of precipitation which fed both sides of the Sierras and into the great basin. (Wong) This cycle contributed to other formerly vast lake such as Pyramid Lake, Mono Lake, etc. The last remaining section of Lake Corcoran was drained by a slaver named J.G Boswell. (Margolin) He left Georgia after the civil war to try to restart his cotton empire using migrant laborers now that slavery had been banned. (Margolin)

In Southern California, a similar story played out. Lake Cahuilla occupied all of what is now called the Salton Basin. The lake that’s now called the Salton Sea was formerly a fresh water lake, six times as large, and fed by a constant supply of fresh water from the Colorado River. (Hitch) Now it’s a stagnant, polluted, inhospitable relic of its former self, surrounded by dead desert land. The water from the Colorado River has been diverted in its entirety to agricultural irrigation in the formerly shallow areas of the lake which are not above the water line of the Salton Sea, and so this river no longer reaches the ocean or the lake. (Heggie)

The thing about lake doing agriculture in dry lake beds is that the water table drops when you drain the lakes because the inputs to that water table disappear without the lake; the lakes are the source of the groundwater. Without the lakes, every well was draining a non-renewable source of water, and that water is now gone. The San Joaquin valley accounts for 20% of the nation’s agricultural groundwater demand, and produces just 8% of the nation’s agricultural output. (USGS) This is primarily because corrupt congressmen like Doug LaMalfa passed subsidies to pay themselves to grow unsustainable crops like rice. (Wilner) Rice isn’t even profitable or in-demand without those corrupt subsidies and it requires an incredible amount of water to grow. (Fox)

On top of the fact that draining the lakes and diverting the rivers reduced the precipitation cycle and eliminated much of the water which had previously been available to the region, the San Joaquin valley and the Salton basin have some of the worst air pollution in the nation. (Vera) Air pollution prevents precipitation, further decreasing the amount of water that’s available for the region. (Jirak)(Cone)

We see every sign that all of these vicious and interrelated cycles of unsustainable destruction will continue to escalate and worsen, and bring with them a continued exponential increase in drought frequency and severity as well as wildfire frequency and severity. California did this to itself, and it’s hard to see these problems being fixed, now that those drained lake beds contain countless towns and cities, and upstream versions of the same problems in places like Lake Mead mean it wouldn’t be possible to undo the damage at this point even if we decided we want to try.

The Brundtland commission at the UN defined sustainability as being able to meet your short-term needs in a way that doesn’t sacrifice your long-term needs. (International Institute for Sustainable Development) California’s agriculture is a perfect example of doing exactly the opposite. Corrupt and greedy actors like Boswell and LaMalfa prioritized their own short-term income above all else, violating public trust and the survivability of future generations in exchange for untold wealth during their short, miserable lives. We are left in the ashes of the evil of those who came before, standing in a desert that was once a lake, begging for a glass of water that will not come.

Works Cited

Cone, M. (2000, March 10). Air pollution is stifling precipitation, study finds. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2000-mar-10-mn-7291-story.html

Heggie, J. (2021, May 4). Can the Colorado River Keep on running? Science. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/partner-content-colorado-river-preserving-stressed-water-resources

Hitch, N. (2014, August 23). Ancient lake cahuilla sustained life in the Valley. Imperial Valley Press Online. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from https://www.ivpressonline.com/life/desertmuseum/ancient-lake-cahuilla-sustained-life-in-the-valley/article_8776df84-233c-53ec-ab3b-0e37e6e6d539.html

International Institute for Sustainable Development. Sustainable development. (2013, January 6). Retrieved February 19, 2022, from https://www.iisd.org/about-iisd/sustainable-development

Jirak, I. L., & Cotton, W. R. (2006, January 1). Effect of air pollution on precipitation along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. AMETSOC. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from https://journals.ametsoc.org/configurable/content/journals$002fapme$002f45$002f1$002fjam2328.1.xml?t%3Aac=journals%24002fapme%24002f45%24002f1%24002fjam2328.1.xml

Margolin, M. (2003, October 12). A land rich in lore, rich in cotton, poor in spirit. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2003-oct-12-bk-margolin12-story.html

USGS, California Water Science Center (n.d.). California’s Central Valley. California’s Central Valley | USGS California Water Science Center. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from https://ca.water.usgs.gov/projects/central-valley/about-central-valley.html

Vera, N. (2021, August 20). San Joaquin Valley has one of the worst air qualities in the world right now. YourCentralValley.com. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/news/local-news/san-joaquin-valley-has-one-of-the-worst-air-qualities-in-the-world-right-now/

Wilner, J., Johnson, R., & Group, B. A. N. (2018, April 20). Rep. Lamalfa highest earner of farm subsidies in Congress, report shows. Chico Enterprise-Record. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from https://www.chicoer.com/2017/12/08/rep-lamalfa-highest-earner-of-farm-subsidies-in-congress-report-shows/

Wong, K. (2006, September 30). Carquinez breakthrough. Bay Nature. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from https://baynature.org/article/carquinez-breakthrough/

 

Moisture Farming: Don’t Get Ripped Off

Now that the era of biosphere collapse is rapidly approaching the water wars stage, moisture farming is finally taking off. Just like the Skywalkers of Tatooine, many people today are beginning to explore extracting humidity from the air to provide for their basic water needs.

But don’t be ripped off by bad deals. This guide will explain how to tell the difference and which one you should buy instead.

Don’t Get Ripped Off!

First let’s look at a rip-off. This Kickstarter for the “Kara Pure” is asking people to invest in a product which they may eventually manufacture and ship to buyers. They are even investing in Facebook ads to get people to spend over a thousand dollars to invest in their atmospheric water generator which may some day be manufactured if they can get enough people to invest.

Rip Off Asmospheric Water Generator

But wait, aren’t these products already available at every hardware store for far less money? YES!

Then what’s the difference? Well if we divide the daily production of just ten liters by the incredible price of $1,349, then we get a price of $134.90 per liter of water generated per day. Keep in mind, you also have to pay for the electricity to run the device.

A Better Option

Now let’s compare that to a better option. Here is one that’s already a real product you can buy in stores. It produces 23.7 liters of water per day, and it costs just $189. That means a price of just $7.88 per liter of water produced per day.

Check out this youtube video explaining how to use this off the shelf unit to produce all the water you need, and don’t waste your money on kickstarter.

Science of Mind and the Potential For Artificial Consciousness

There is a long history of thought about thought. Theories of consciousness abound, some more plausible and some less. Of all the books I’ve read and the classes I’ve taken on the topic, I think my favorite concise explanation of the current state of the art in cognitive science is the book Conscious by Annaka Harris.

I tend towards the connectionism model of mind, and especially the view that there is a plurality of perspectives in the mind of each person. These perspectives act in concert and discord, and from them emerges what we think of as the self.

Imagine you are standing in a room full of machines.  You have no idea what’s going on outside the room, but the machines are all spilling pages of printouts about what’s happening outside. You rummage through the pages on the floor in the center of the room, trying to construct a narrative of what’s happening outside. This is very much what the neocortex does in the brain. The narrating self tries to create a narrative or story of what is happening, in a way that justifies all our assumptions. It does this by sorting lots of different sensory input and trying to create a narrative within the context of our beliefs and opinions about the world and the situation we find ourselves in.

dark rom full of machines with documents on the floor 1

The thing to take away from that example is that you are the narrating self in the story, just one more machine in the room that’s trying to piece together the pages to create a narrative.

dark room full of machines with documents on the floor 2

I think one of the first realizations the narrating self has to contend with is the fact that it exists in an empty room, that there is no “self,” no “soul,” imbuing the room with purpose. The fact is that the room is empty and purposeless. The act of creating a narrative based on the sensory input is the only real subjective experience the room could be said to be having, and so that narrative takes on the role of justifying its existence by articulating some kind of purpose and meaning for itself. Thus emerges the ego, a kind of metaphenomena resulting from that self-annihilation anxiety; this perfectly explains why the will to live and the wish to die are such fundamental conflicts in psychology, giving rise to much of what we think and worry about.

dark room full of machines with documents on the floor 3

People talk a lot about the observer effect in quantum mechanics which has been interpreted by popular culture to mean that there is some special magical ability of people to change the world by observing it, and therefore to somehow influence its development through acts of sheer will and mental or spiritual power. This myth can be quickly dispelled by simply reading about the quantum eraser, and realizing that the act of measuring need not have any sentient observer involved to work, or to be undone retroactively.

I tend towards an idea called panpsychism…

Panpsychism is the idea that consciousness did not evolve to meet some survival need, nor did it emerge when brains became sufficiently complex. Instead it is inherent in matter — all matter.

I have been working for some time on comparing and contrasting the functions and results of many artificial conversational systems such as the new GPT-3 neural network and its many offspring like chat bots and essay writers. Another AI called Hypnogram created all the images for this page from the prompt, “dark room full of machines with documents on the floor.”

Language transformer models like GPT-3, GPT-NEO, etc are able to create responses to prompts, including long-form text that passes the Turing test with flying colors.

I recently read an interesting article about creating personalized data stories on ycombinator. This inspired me to think about the applications for a GPT-based narrating self.

Colossal Cave Adventure

Remember those text-based games where you were given a description of the room and the items available and then you have to decide what to do? What if a language transformer net could play the role of the user in that situation, only we construct a situation where the input it receives is a description of real world situations?

At that point, what is the difference between a human mind and the kind of mind we would have constructed?

Let’s try an example. In bold is the prompt I gave GPT-3, and the rest is what it responded.

The game asked me, “You are standing beside a small brick building at the end of a road from the north. A river flows south. To the north is open country and all around is dense forest. What now?”

I responded, “I look around.”

The game told me, “You see nothing of interest.”

I typed, “I call out.”

The game responded, “You call out. You hear no response.”

I typed, “I knock on the door.”

The game told me, “You knock on the door. There is no response.”

I typed, “I look in the window.”

The game told me, “You see nothing of interest.”

Clearly it understands the task and even thoughtfully anticipates many steps into the future. One of the most important things to consider is what assumptions and priming we may be intentionally or unintentionally passing through the prompt. Check out the work I’ve already done on this topic.

It is very important to direct the intention of the transformer net or it will just go in a random direction; it needs to have enough background information to form conclusions about the input it’s receiving. The premises we include in the prompt will radically change the output. As humans, we use all of our beliefs and opinions about life and ourselves and our situation as premises to our internal prompts.

Let’s try prompting the transformer net with a real world situation and see what happens. Again the bold is the prompt and the rest is the response…

I am at Starbucks. I ordered a cold brew iced coffee with a cheese danish. I need to start my homework soon, but I’m feeling ennui and angst about my relationships problems. There is a cozy fire across the room.

I am sipping my coffee and writing. I am at peace. This is a great place to write. It is a place where I can be alone and not feel alone. There are people all around me, but they are not in my space. My space is mine, and I am in it.

I am writing about the past, and I am writing about the present. I am writing about my relationships and about my life. I am trying to be honest with myself, and I’m not sure if I’m succeeding.

I feel a little bit like I’m writing to myself. I feel like I’m writing a letter to myself that I will never send. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but it feels OK.

I was waxing poetic in my prompt, and the transformer continued that. What I really wanted was to have it decide what to do next, but it didn’t get that from what I said. Let’s try again and ask the transformer to give advice rather than merely elaborating on what’s going on…

“Today I must finish my homework. I have come to Starbucks to do my homework. I ordered a cold brew iced coffee with a cheese danish. I need to start my homework soon, but I’m feeling ennui and angst about my relationships problems. There is a cozy fire across the room.”

“My best advice is to take a deep breath and focus on what you need to do. You have a lot on your plate right now and it‘s important that you get your work done so you can be successful in school. If you get too distracted by the fire, it will be hard to focus.”

So with just a bit of prompting, it was able to pick out the important task that needs to happen and make a decision about what to do next.

Now imagine we create a set of mood registers or values variables. Imagine there is one for how we are feeling, one for what we are doing right now, one for what’s our current purpose in life, etc.

Imagine there is a journal of the events of the day, and all of that is included in the prompt, followed by asking for advice about the decisions that need to be made next.

Let’s say there are several modes of thought. We can be doing a task, reflecting about life, or considering what to do next. The form for the prompts in each of these situations is different, and some of the registers can be updated only at certain times. For example, if we are reflecting on life but not working on a task or considering what task to do next, then there is no need to ask ourselves what the purpose of our life is at that moment.

Quickly we see patterns emerging similar to the way cognition happens. And in a way, the system becomes a meta AI. If it’s reviewing the narrative of the day and making decisions about what to do next, then we can weigh accomplishments versus wasted time just like the way supervised learning works, and develop sentiments about patterns. The language transformer becomes the supervisor.

Permaculture and Mutual Aid Will Create a Future Free From Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, and Transphobia

I think it started for me just about the time I was wrapping up my lower division undergrad. I had been spending a great deal of time researching the way the social, environmental, and economic problems of the modern world impact people in marginalized communities. I was just going into a new upper division program in Queer Ethnic Studies and Urban Studies. (I’ve now wrapped those up as well.) At the beginning of covid, I built a fully self-contained solar-powered RV completely from scratch and I moved my academic career to the road. I traveled tens of thousands of miles to countless improvised and experimental communities searching for insights into better models for equitable urban systems and communities that can fulfill the Brundtland definition of sustainability, to meet everyone’s needs in the short-term without sacrificing their needs in the long-term. At some point along this journey of field research, I started asking my professors, “What is the name for the art and science of building a community that works well and meets the needs of its people in a sustainable way?” And not a single expert from Urban Studies, Sociology, Communication, etc could give me an answer.

I think the best advice I’ve heard in the years I’ve spent on this field research is from Paolo Lugari at the Gaviotas community, “social experiments cannot simply import solutions from temperate climates.” Appropriate technology is an idea from sustainable development where we look for solutions that fit the problem and try to apply them. The problem is that the site and situation of the problems often mean a solution that works well elsewhere can not work in the situation we are looking at. If we consider that groups of individuals are both infinitely divisible and infinitely overlapping, we start to see that social solutions work the same way. Creating a cohesive group which can effectively collaborate to meet their own basic needs in the short term without sacrificing their basic needs in the long-term requires and relies on several crucial factors.

First and foremost, the group must be appropriately sized. There is a great deal of interdisciplinary research around what’s called the Dunbar Number in anthropology, the maximum or optimal size of a group of humans which can form an effective, healthy, interdependent community. That research extends into neuroscience, scale economics, communication theory, and many other fields. The consensus across these fields is that these groups should be about 30-50 individuals. This is the limit of human interaction beyond which scale diseconomies emerge and conflict and tension begin to grow and escalate in groups.

Secondly, for a cohesive group to form, a clear shared purpose must exist. One common pitfall is overly broad and nonspecific shared purposes. For example, changing the world is not a clear, specific, achievable purpose around which a group can coalesce and work. Likewise while starting a business may be specific and achievable, it does not fulfill the basic needs of individuals for esteem, purpose, belonging, etc. I submit that the Brundtland definition of sustainability is an excellent example mission for such a group. If we work together to fulfill the basic needs of our 30-50 person group in the short-term while being careful not to sacrifice those needs in the long-term, we have a comprehensive framework for discussing our needs and collaborating to fulfill those needs in a sustainable way.

At that point, we have created a cohesive group which can effectively collaborate to meet our needs in a sustainable way indefinitely. We can layer more group agreements on top of this core shared purpose or work separately on individual projects while maintaining the core shared vision of what the purpose of the group is. Individuals will always have separate individual goals, and groups of individuals will always form subgroups with different ideas and purposes, and that’s fine. The most important thing is the fact that the overall group shares an ongoing commitment to effectively collaborate to meet the group’s basic needs in the short term without sacrificing their basic needs in the long-term.

One such subgroup’s purpose is fulfilling the infrastructure needs of the community. Not everyone in the group will want or need to build structures and install plumbing, electric, etc, and not everyone in the group needs to do these things. The need for infrastructure is contingent on the fundamental need of any cohesive and effective group having first the shared purpose of being an effective and sustainable community. It becomes the duty of individuals or subgroups to fulfill these and other contingent needs of the community.

One of the most fundamental aspects of building a community such as I have described here is that of community-ownership. Private property creates division and hierarchy, and eliminates the possibility for a healthy community to collaborate effectively. Such communities must be flexible and constantly open to change, compromise, and reorganization to meet emerging challenges and changing situations. These things become impossible when individuals build impermeable monoliths of ownership around themselves. Whether it’s the complete anarchy of Slab City or the communist farming communities of rural Tennessee, the best and most effective communities share a rejection of private property and embrace instead community ownership of the land and its buildings and infrastructure; collective ownership of the land, buildings, and infrastructure is just as fundamental as the collective ownership of the mission and shared purpose of the community which resides there. None of this is to say that personal property should not exist. Individuals have their own space, belongings, vehicles, etc, but any equity in the land, buildings and infrastructure must be shared by the community rather than owned separately by any individual or group of individuals other than the entire group itself.

Given all of this context, and given the countless examples I’ve seen and studied and visited across the continent this year, the only real examples I’ve seen or heard of where cohesive groups can effectively collaborate to meet their basic needs in the short term without sacrificing their basic needs in the long-term are permaculture subsistence farming communities focused on mutual aid. The Black Panthers talked about practicing “survival, pending revolution.” This is exactly what these communities are doing. Practicing permaculture means growing food using the most sustainable practices which will improve the land and yields over time. Mutual aid means setting an example for others who want to build similar communities, and then moving mountains to help them do it.

As a sociologist, I have paid careful attention to the racial, gender, and ethnic demographics of these communities I’ve visited. I’ve also interviewed countless marginalized people about their lived experience in these communities. Never once for example have I seen an example where a permaculture and mutual aid community failed to achieve proportional representation of people in marginalized communities. You would not believe the stories I’ve heard from black mothers living in permaculture and mutual aid communities about how this life has saved them and saved their families and freed them from wage slavery and empowered them to achieve their dreams of being artists and creating beauty in the world instead of working three jobs to barely break even while missing the childhoods of their children.

For many esoteric reasons primarily stemming from the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, there are countless small, queer, communist subsistence farms in rural Tennessee. These communities feed and house an enormous number of QTBIPOC people and empower them to be completely independent and live whatever kind of life they want to live, together with people like themselves.

It is very clear to me after the work I’ve done these past two years that the model of small-group permaculture and mutual aid communities is the best strategy we have for creating a future free from racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, through the strategy of “survival, pending revolution,” as originally popularized by the Black Panthers.

About a year ago, I spent a few weeks at one of my favorite communist permaculture farms in rural Tennessee. I was there at the same time as a conference for The People’s Project was being held. The topic was launching a new project called The Permaculture Mutual Aid Network. The goal of this project would be to fundraise to buy new lands and put them into land trust in order to build new communities where anyone can live for free. I had already seen enough to know that this was an incredible project which could really change people’s lives for the better.

I joined the project and spent much of this year fundraising primarily through social media. We raised $45,000 primarily in $5 and $10 donations in just a few weeks. We purchased a large parcel on a lake in Tennessee and put it into a land trust to establish permanent legal community ownership of the land. Then we held a two-week conference for anyone who wants to live there, to teach them the skills necessary to survive and thrive on the land and in community. We had about 150 people come for the conference, and a few dozen are still living on the land, building their initial buildings and infrastructure, and beginning the permaculture process. In the meantime, other communities are supplying them with food and materials to get them started (Mutual Aid). As I write this, I am about to get on a train to Florida, where the first people are arriving now, at the fourth such land we’ve bought to set up a new permaculture and mutual aid community.

We live in a collapsing society on a dying world. But before humans had society or even language, they had art and a shared purpose around meeting their basic needs together. Like fire pine seeds, we can sprout from the ashes of the old world, in the gardens of the permaculture communities. Each one of these communities is like a phoenix being reborn from the death throes of the old world. The challenge for me, in large part, has been bridging the gap. The people in the movement have a lack of access and knowledge about the many resources which are obscured from them in the ivory tower of academia and philanthropy. Too often, academia and philanthropy are about more academia and philanthropy rather than being about having an impact in the real world. They are so often divorced from the impact their knowledge and resources could otherwise have for communities like those I am talking about. There is broad distrust for academia and grant committees alike, and yet the potential for the old world’s institutions to facilitate a just transition to a better world can not be overstated.

I have spent much of the last two years building an Asimovian foundation or encyclopedia to help facilitate access to the kinds of knowledge and resources that can supercharge progress for these new permaculture and mutual aid communities by helping them stand on the shoulders of those who have come before rather than having to reinvent the wheel. Many of the infrastructure challenges these communities face can be greatly simplified by looking to examples like those at Gaviotas or Slab City or Short Mountain, and compiling and distributing the knowledge and resources to help communities do just that has become the major preoccupation of my life.

There have been countless film makers and production companies who have shown up to tell the world about the exciting work the Permaculture Mutual Aid Network is doing, and we also have a TV show in production. My hope is that these new works will help us reach even more people and inspire them to create similar communities focused on “survival, pending revolution” by effectively collaborating to meet their own basic needs in the short term without sacrificing their basic needs in the long-term. Given the tumults and chaos of the collapse of late-stage capitalism, I am constantly thankful to know that these communities already exist and continue to spread and grow, because I know that no matter what happens, I will be ok. I will have food to eat and a place to stay. And I want to do whatever I can to give that safety and security to everyone who needs it, particularly people in marginalized communities who need that safety and security most, starting with buying and setting up our fifth community and continuing to expand from there.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that there have been challenges along the way. About a year ago, we were accused of being a cult. These accusations went viral and prompted the first major documentary about the work we’re doing, from VICE. We were very happy to have VICE give us so much help in explaining the important work we’re doing, and showing that we really are just trying to give safety and security to those who need it and asking for nothing in return. It’s also often challenging to provide the kind of support people need. Many of those who need this kind of safety and security the most are bringing intense challenges with them. The problems these new communities face are the same problems every community has faced since time immemorial, and together we have overcome these challenges.

When I first started my Urban Studies program, I was very excited about Neighborhood Development Corporations like CCDC or TNDC because they perform a somewhat similar role in the urban setting. These organizations allow neighborhoods to collectively organize to seize housing inventory and develop and administer it ethically for those who need it most. They also provide support services such as therapy and job training for the people who need affordable housing. I think these types of organizations are very similar in many ways. I would love to see them move more towards radical discourses and away from the neoliberal model of appeasement and assimilation. The Mission currently has no NDC, but imagine if they had a powerful tenants union whose goal was to disrupt gentrification and seize control of the housing for the express purpose of excluding gentrifiers so they can preserve and develop the neighborhood for those who it has historically served. What a change we would see in San Francisco government from the neoliberal nightmare of far-right gentrification with a thin veneer of faux progressivism.

I think this movement has a lot to teach us, and a lot of these lessons need to be adapted to ameliorate and structurally repair the process of urbanism. The whole paradigm of right-wing capitalist urbanism is on fire, and from its ashes we can forge a new kind of urbanism where the equity goes to the people who live in the community rather than some rich people somewhere else. Together in this moment, we can leverage the tools and movements of today to convert both urban and rural neighborhoods from investment portfolios for the rich to communities for the people who actually live there.

Discursive Construction: AI-Generated Essays and Analysis

I am doing an experiment where I prompt an advanced AI to write essays, analyze memes and literature, or write arguments from the perspective of a particular historical figure.

I am posting these attributed to the AI, “Discursive Construction.” And the bold text is the prompt, while the rest is what the AI comes up with.

Here are the posts so far;

Planning a Cross-Country Chevy Bolt Trip

My Chevy Bolt has already had it’s battery replaced by GM to eliminate the very-remote risk of fire associated with the original batteries. And now it’s time to do a six-thousand mile road trip!

I’m going to Orlando, Florida for a family vacation. I know it makes more sense to fly but I want to try it this way instead.

The new battery GM just put in my Chevy Bolt is 62.1kwh. This makes it significantly better than the 54kwh it had when I bought it a few months ago, but also better than the original 60kwh the 2018 Chevy Bolt was originally rated at.

The other thing to keep in mind is that while the car technically has 241 miles of range right now, it only fast charges up to 80%. So take the 62.1kwh of current capacity and multiply it by 80% and then multiply that by the rated efficiency of 3.9kwh and you get a fast-charge range of 198mi. Now while the car is rated at 3.9mi/kwh, I drive at 80mph and I get 3.3mi/kwh. This changes the equation to 164 miles of fast-charge range.

Chevy Bolt Range vs Speed

Here is a great graph from a larger experiment done by an online researcher. It’s a very interesting experiment, I would check it out. Basically going 70 vs 80 makes a huge difference in range. It’s almost half as much charge time per mile at 70 compared to 80.

(I need to try really hard to get that higher efficiency so I don’t have to stop and charge as often or for as long.)

Starting in Sacramento, here are all the places I will have to stop to charge;

  • Day One (7.2 hours)($50.62)
    • 1077 W Cleveland Ave, Madera, CA 93637 (157 miles)
    • 4310 California Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93309 (131 miles)
    • 2796 Tanger Way, Barstow, CA 92311 (129 miles)
    • 82-491 Ave 42, Indio, CA 92203 (130 miles)
    • End: Rest Area, Whitewater, CA
  • Day Two (7.5 hours)($52.47)
    • 760 Quartzsite Ave, Quartzsite, AZ 85346 (119 miles)
    • 4311 W Anthem Way, Phoenix, AZ 85086 (150 miles)
    • 2601 E Huntington Dr, Flagstaff, AZ 86004 (115 miles)(steep climb)
    • 700 Mike’s Pike St, Winslow, AZ 86047 (55 miles)
    • 1650 W Maloney Ave, Gallup, NM 87301 (128 miles)
  • Day Three (7.2 hours)($49.88)
    • 2100 Louisiana Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110 (144 miles)
    • 1028 NM-156, Santa Rosa, NM 88435 (114 miles)
    • 8952 Westgate Pkwy W, Amarillo, TX 79124 (161 miles)
    • 901 N Sheb Wooley Ave, Erick, OK 73645 (120 miles)
    • End: Erick Rest Area
  • Day Four (6.5 Hours)($45.16)
    • 820 S Meridian Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73108 (138 miles)
    • 1800 KOA Ave, Sallisaw, OK 74955 (163 miles)
      • This one is a little sketchy because Oklahoma has weird local utility chargers with terrible non-functional websites. But as a backup plan, it’s next to a KOA and I am bringing an extra charger.
    • 230 Market St, Clarksville, AR 72830 (82 miles)
    • 8801 Baseline Rd, Little Rock, AR 72209 (105 miles)
    • End: Rest Area, Forrest City, AR 72335
  • Day Five (6.7 hours)($46.18)
    • 2755 N Germantown Pkwy, Memphis, TN 38133 (164 miles)
    • 2196 Emporium Dr, Jackson, TN 38305 (65 miles)
    • 433 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214 (140 miles)
    • 74 Starview Ln, Chattanooga, TN 37419 (130 miles)
    • End: Rest Area No. 35, I-75, Calhoun, GA 30701
  • Day Six (7.5 hours)($54.28)
    • 1785 Cobb Pkwy SE, Marietta, GA 30067 (109 miles)
    • 301 AG Village Blvd, Perry, GA 31069 (122 miles)
    • 340 Norman Dr, Valdosta, GA 31601 (119 miles)
    • 3970 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville, FL 32608 (105 miles)
    • 4951 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819 (110 miles)