[hackerspaces] Let's end the unnecessary joining of the words "food" and "hacking"

Kevin Mitnick kevin.mitnick at outlook.com
Thu Jan 30 05:52:10 CET 2014

And yet you have failed to define "food hacker" other than some ideals that any person could crank out. The only reason why people tack "hacker" on to things is to sound edgy in what would otherwise not be in the first place. It's just to inflate one's ego so they can feel like they're out of the mainstream when really they are just as much in it as the next person.

If anything, defining yourself as a "food hacker" or "civic hacker" for example is nothing more than "ego hacking" and that is loose at best.

Quite pathetic and sad to say the least.

Kevin Mitnick
(May or may not be the Kevin you think I am)

Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2014 03:32:11 -0800
From: lishevita at gmail.com
To: discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
Subject: Re: [hackerspaces] Let's end the unnecessary joining of the words "food" and "hacking"

Jumping into the discussion realllllllly late, but since I didn't see my favorite definition of hacking and since I haven't seen anyone point out how fucked up the exclusionary definition of hacking is, I'm going to go ahead and jump...

So, first off, the definition of hacking that I always share with people in my talks is the one given by the hacker Jude Milhon who was hacking from the late 1960s until her death in 2003:
"Hacking is the clever circumvention of imposed limits, whether imposed by your government, your IP server, your own personality, or the laws of physics." 
In the context of food hacking, I'd like to suggest that at least some of the imposed limits are those of culture. Food ways are a major aspect of culture. There is also a technical aspect of food hacking which has to do with chemistry and physics.

Moving on to the issue of exclusion, please remember that the ones who limited "hacking" to unauthorized use of computers were movie makers, journalists and politicians, especially in the hysteria after the success of the movie War Games in the 1980s. The community of hackers has been much wider and more diverse than that from the start.

As for the question of whether a thing is hacking or not, do not ask only what the activity is, but what the philosophy and intent behind the activity may be. It's the "food hacker" or "civic hacker" or "textile hacker" subverting a dominant paradigm? Are they pushing their area of activity beyond the usual boundaries? Are they, in the process of doing that activity, adding to their own knowledge and understanding of how the thing works, having at least sometimes bent the thing so far out of shape to break it? (For how else can you know the difference between real limits and artificial ones?)

Let's keep hacking food, at Noisebridge and beyond. 
- Lisha Sterling

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