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Welcome to "Unarmed but still Dangerous"

Hi, everyone! "Unarmed but still dangerous" (subtitled "Changing the world one post at a time") aims at providing insights about applied philosophy that one may even find useful at times, from the perspective of computer software and media enthusiasts, who enjoy writing software applications, articles, essays, works of fiction, images, pictures and photos, music and sounds, videos, games, and/or works of science or technology. In short: "hackers" (not necessarily computer intruders, though the more honest, "white-hat" ones are also encouraged to read this blog), be it of software, or of anything from cooking up to rocket science. What you will find here is an attempt to expand the intelligence, wisdom, and insights gathered from hacking on stuff to other fields, including software, of human-to-human or human-to-machine interactions.

The name "Unarmed but still Dangerous" is as a homage and parody on Eric S. Raymond's blog "Armed and Dangerous", which I neither follow nor read regularly, but which does provide some insights at times (or leads one to better insights). I should note that I am very fond of a lot of the stuff on Raymond's old homepage, especially his "How to Become a Hacker" document, and his "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" series.

My name is Shlomi Fish, I'm an Israeli open source and open content enthusiast. I have kept several blogs on various topics, both technical and philosophical/personal, and an actively updated and enhanced personal web-site, which contains many original online resources, including fiction, presentation material, mathematics, essays and software resources.

One myth that I'd like to help dispel in this blog is that philosophy is not practical. The first fact to note is that the ancient Greek called all scholars "philosophers", and that they often dealt in many fields of scholarship that we now consider more sciency. This is still preserved in the expansion of a Ph.D. - "Doctor of Philosophy". Often philosophy and philosophy as applied to different fields can lead one to detect common errors as they are done, avoid bad situations, and win arguments. I am philosophising now and you philosophise all the time.

The main audience of this blog are what Ben Collins-Sussman (of Subversion fame) calls the "20% of programmers" - the alpha programmers, those who love programming, are constantly expanding their horizons, spend a lot of time hanging on various online and offline forums for geeks (including mailing lists, IRC (Internet Relay Chat), Slashdot, Reddit/Digg, various blogs, various open-source clubs), often have their own blog, and who are otherwise brighter and more intelligent (not necessarily in the IQ sense, which does not say a lot of one's mental potential for growth and success). Hopefully, it may also be of interest to geeks of other fields of endeavours who are still computer savvy enough to read and follow a blog.

Hope you enjoy it here and happy hacking!

Update 1: This blog and entry, and this blog in general, had been referenced in Eric S. Raymond’s Armed and Dangerous blog, which like I said inspired the title of Unarmed but Still Dangerous, and had sparked a discussion there. Sorry for not putting it here earlier, but Raymond’s blog had been offline for a while .


Mar. 9th, 2011 08:25 am (UTC)
Re: Practical Philosophy

Hi e3gazette. Yeah, you're probably right. I think it's a shame, of course. What I read somewhere is that over-specialisation of knowledge is a very bad idea and that some of the leaders (who are generally not good men) want that the people who will be able to criticise them (e.g: people who studied "Political Science") to be divorced from enough knowledge and experience to be able to think clearly. I know it sounds a bit like a grand conspiracy, but I think I can agree that it just happened and that it isn't a good idea that it did.

One of the things I like about the Internet is that now people can express opinions on things that they are "under-qualified" to write about. So Eric Raymond (ESR) can write a blog about lots of earth-shaking stuff (a bit weird and assaultive, but insightful nonetheless), despite not being a professional in all these subjects. The whole "blogosphere" concept allow common yet intelligent people to share, collect, and integrate knowledge of various different fields, and to pass them to their peers. I often found a lot of value in a single comment on an obscure blog. This is what Paul Graham describes in his Web 2.0 article and later on in What business can learn from open-source as democratising knowledge and media and giving power to the people (maybe these are my own words). As a result, we may hopefully see a future where a significant percent of the intelligentsia have a lot of diverse knowledge and intuition despite being "experts" only in very few things.

I also suspect that people who are really knowledgeable can convey most of their knowledge in a more accessible language, and in a way that people can understand and remember. But naturally, there's the extreme of the Simple Wikipedia, but I suspect even most children will look down upon this.