Astoundingly, I haven’t sent a newsletter since August, 2018. In case you’ve forgotten who I am:
- Sonya Mann (AKA @sonyaellenmann)
- formerly a tech journalist
- used to write a cyberpunk newsletter called Exolymph, may it rest in peace
Currently I run communications at the Zcash Foundation.
Anyway, since August, I’ve published one essay: “The Internet Won’t Kill Gun Control By Itself” for Palladium, an online magazine devoted to “governance futurism.”
The essay analyzes cypherpunk Second Amendment advocacy. I tried not to moralize in either direction, instead focusing on the movement’s strategic choices.
Some technology can be seen as a means of self-liberation, insurance against coercion. The cypherpunks regard encryption as such. Guns are similar.
True believers’ faith in the primacy of the Second Amendment is evident throughout American history. Despite the wide broadcasting of each new mass shooting and growing sentiment for serious gun regulations, frontier activists have opened a new, orthogonal battlefront. The use of the internet, coupled with CNC milling machines, is intended to route around rhetorical and ideological battles in the public sphere.
The cypherpunk attitude that the technology of ungovernability can make these rhetorical battles obsolete, itself a descendant of American individualism and cynicism toward centralized power, is neatly applicable to the domain of firearms.
That’s a taste; go read the rest.
In other news, this Saturday I’ll be on the panel “Raising and Resolving Conflict in Online Communities” at InfoCamp 2019 in Berkeley, CA.
Then in early May, I’ll be giving a talk of some kind at MIT’s Business of Blockchain conference in Boston, MA.
Also since August, I’ve blogged about…
- the hassle of turning Kindle books into DRM-free .epub files
- my addition to “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”
- why feeding the trolls is tricky and fraught
- bootstrapping tools that I’ve bookmarked
If you feel inclined, reply to this email and let me know what you’ve been up to! (I can’t guarantee a timely or lengthy response, but I’ll get back to you at some point.)
Thank you for reading my newsletter 💖