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The Free Range Network

The Free Range Network is a “dysorganisation” of researchers and campaigners working as an informal collective, undertaking public interest research on the environmental and technological mechanisms of lifestyle change


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Last updated:
2020-04-22 

‘WEIRD’ is the Free Range Network’s newsletter, providing an ‘alternative take’ on the politics of technology; not out of ‘fear’, but by questioning technology’s relevance to our everyday lives by understanding “how it works” – and seeking simple, practical ways in which everyone can manage the role of technology in their lives.

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Latest edition –
Issue No.1, ‘The Lockdown Edition’
Beltane 2020

Click here for: A4 format PDF;
or double-sided ‘A3 brochure’ format PDF

Contents

A ‘WEIRD’ Introduction
How do you talk about freeing ourselves from the gadgets that define our lives, when the way everyone communicates these days is defined by those gadgets?

‘Progress’ is not a copper-bottomed certainty
Copper is an amazing metal!

‘The problem is frozen oven-ready chips’
The economics of ‘fast’ food are not based upon the ingredients, but upon the business model of mass marketing via superstores. Creating a different way of living means confronting the absurdities of that system. The original version of that article is available here.

History File: ‘Useful Work versus Useless Toil’
Written by William Morris in 1888, this essay outlines how society reduces people to mere ‘occupiers’ of time in toil. The original version of that article is available here.

‘The Elimination of Cash’
Cash has been in general use for 2,600 years. Now we're handing control to a handful of technology and finance companies. Think that’s a good idea?

‘Demise of the Totnes Pound’
A realisation that, when push comes to shove, everything that has a beginning has an end.

‘We need big giggly land occupations, where people do nothing more than sit, cook food over fires, play acoustic music, and simply enjoy a more simple “disconnected” time together’
Consider this title both the introduction and the conclusion of this piece!

‘’Corona Virus’ versus ‘Universal Basic Income’: Twin Failures of Modernity’
In the wake of the pandemic, as in the wake of the 2008 Crash, neoliberal capitalists have become socialists. However, does the great idea of the left, ‘Universal Basic Income’, represent anything better?

‘Numerical Ramblings: Lockdowns, Pandemic Trends, and Political Reality’
A statistical editorial, presenting the trends relating infection, to death, to the current political messages on the pandemic – and what follows.

In this page:
About the newsletter;
Reproducing, sharing, & using the newsletter;
Feedback;
Download Editions;
‘WEIRD’ Themes.

About the newsletter

Ideas for a newsletter have been kicking around The Free Range Network for some time. What has spurred us to getting-it-done isn’t the recent ‘corona-meltdown’ of social media, but the realities, or rather “externalities”, of ‘The Green New Deal’.

‘WEIRD’ is a space where older ‘deep ecological’ ideas and new ecological research meet. The radical ecological message that emerged in the 1950s, centred around technology and what it does both to us and the world around us, is far more relevant now than it ever has been.

More practically, the newsletter will provide a space where we can document the Free Range Network’s recent work and discussions on current ecological issues.

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‘WEIRD’ is a deliberately ‘off-line’ publication; though available as a PDF for download, our intent is that it should be primarily shared and read off-line.

There are a number of reasons for this: Partly it is in reaction to the operation of surveillance capitalism, and its innate link to the policing of thought and communications in society; mainly though it’s that at the core of this initiative we’re encouraging people to ‘disconnect their perceptions’ from technological mediation (and thus invisible intervention and subversion!). For this reason an off-line publication is far more useful than an on-line one.

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To support this each edition will be published as: An ‘A4’ format – which will print-out on anything, double or single sided; and an ‘A3 brochure’ format – that prints two-pages per side, and can be assembled, folded, and stapled in the middle to create a brochure (note, it will print out as A4 and then folded to make an A5 brochure, though the text will be very small – but still readable – if you choose to do this).

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Reproducing, sharing, & using the newsletter

‘WEIRD’ is distributed under an open license – the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike License (CC-BY-NC-SA version 4). This means:

  • Open license – you are free to download, share that file, and from it print-off as many copies as you wish to give to others under the terms if the open license;
  • Attribution – if you extract parts of the text for your own work/use, you need to acknowledge the source of the work;
  • Non-commercial – you can recover reasonable costs for giving someone a copy but not on a commercial basis (as a business) and not for profit;
  • Share-alike – if you copy and extract sections of the publication, you then have to circulate that material under the same license.

If you’ve any queries about re-using our content, or you are a commercial publication seeking permission to use our content, then please get in touch with us for further details.

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Feedback

Being ‘off-line’ this is not interactive, nor does it have a social media ‘presence’.

If you have any comments on the content of ‘WEIRD’ please email weird☮fraw°org°uk (replacing ‘☮’ and ‘°’ with the usual symbols).

If you would like to get involved with the Free Range Network, or you have something you think might fit into a future edition of ‘WEIRD’, you should email the usual Free Range Network email address – frn☮fraw°org°uk.

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Download Editions

The Free Range Network is not a structured group with an agenda. Consequently we do not publish with a specific schedule or time-scale in mind, but as and when we have something to say. At most we anticipate ‘WEIRD’ having no more than three to five editions a year. As each becomes available it will be available for download here.

issue-001 Issue No.1: ‘The Lockdown Edition’, Beltane 2020
How do you talk about freeing ourselves from the gadgets that define our lives, when the way everyone communicates these days is defined by those gadgets?


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‘WEIRD’ Themes

As part of the ‘WEIRD’ project we will be producing stand-alone articles/posters that extend themes in each edition, to illustrate key issues in luddism, simple living, and anarcho-primitivism. These will be posted here as & when they are released.

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