This older homeless lady just broke down sobbing toward me because I listened to her tell me about her weekend while she smoked a cigarette on a bench near my apartment.

Talk to folk around you, folk.

She has a cool weekend she wrote down which flowers were in bloom at the arboretum/garden. She apparently has such notes for all over town, on many days.

I told her she should take her notes to the university's botanists because they might not have that sort of data and she got really excited and is going off to do so now. Perk of not having a set job.

I know they have no means to pay her, which sucks, but it's cool that her hobby might be of use to someone.

Also sometimes I feel like I live in a weird markovian generated combination of steinbeck and kafka.

"Ahh, you commoner, you may hold valuable data! The system cannot pay you but here is a can of beans that I would've given you anyway."

(Also I want to be clear this isn't really a joke I made her a lunch of a can of beans some cornbread and a peach.)

(Why yes I do live in the American South, why do you ask?)

@emsenn The current system is effectively: if what you have/know/do isn’t immediately monetisable, it’s worthless.

(Even if it could eventually be made monetisable, you personally have to have enough resources to survive while figuring it out.)

@emacsomancer But see I bet it WOULD be instantly monetizable wtihout much work. Blooming data is used by farmers, almanacs, etc.

The university gets money for the data.

They just don't have a thing like OpenCollective that can help it get out of their system.

@emacsomancer I mean I guess not even that. How come the head of the department doesn't just have a checkbook with a fair amount of discretion? "Yea lady here's $5 come back next week."

@emsenn You do realise that universities are byzantine bureaucracies, right?

@emacsomancer I only ever look at them from the outside but yes: I just don't accept that as a reason. Once you've got a robe, cloak, and hood, you should get an expense account.

@emacsomancer I mean shit even /I/ have a monthly discretionary fund, come to think of it!

@emsenn If people were generally trustworthy, yes. But in many cases they’d be spending money from the state or federal government, so it’s not entirely unreasonable to expect some oversight so that unscrupulous people aren’t just lining their own pockets &c.

More realistically, the chair could just pay her out of their own (private) pocket.

@emacsomancer six and half dozen IMO; give them a discretionary account (small enough they can personally embezzle all of it if they want: DISCRETIONARY account) or give them the salary they can do the same.

@emacsomancer Like I'm legit thinking maybe $200/mo per department head to cover stuff like this. If this lady's note-sharing were going to be recurring, then set her up as a contractor proper like.

I guess this is just another spin on "organize in ways that help workers" lol

@emsenn Yeah, but, see, that’s still not “immediate”, because it would require some amount of invested work.

@emacsomancer And what's she gonna do, withhold the data? That just hurts everyone, herself included.

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