He's gotten pretty friendly with them over the years. When we bring friends along to their farms to pick up goods, they're always shocked how contemporary these guys are.
One of them has a pretty sophisticated machine shop, with tools like drill presses, saws, sanding belts, etc. all driven by a series of axles forming a mechanical drivetrain that snakes throughout the barn (eventually to a very old diesel motor).
A couple of the young men came out to frame a house he's building. Once on a day off, they arrived by carriage and brought a pair of young Amish ladies with them to hang out at the beach. The next day, my dad found one of the girl's leggings left behind. He was discreet enough to return it to the girl's younger brother, instead of her dad.
All the kids know how to use iPhones - they sometimes ask to borrow his so they can make a call.
One of the more technically inclined gentleman even showed up one day with a cutting-edge drone, and had a blast flying it around with my dad. He made it very clear his wife isn't allowed to know he owns it! Last I heard that same guy is helping plan a solar array my dad wants to install to go off-grid.
Slandering an entire group of people out of ignorance is a habit we should work to break away from, not reinforce.
In other words, it's easy for the husband to sneak a drone among his belongings to have fun. It's impossible for his wife to sneak a washing machine among hers to make her life less difficult.
And like it or don't, much of the outcome of the Amish lifestyle, regardless of the point of it, is an absolutely awful power dynamic based on gender.
Having said that, what we see in the example above is a classic example of game theory. The husband is the defector and benefits as a result.
Is this an assumption? Of course! Perhaps his wife is playing Smash Bros on a secret Nintendo Switch while her husband is piloting his drone. But the fact remains that there's a lot of technology--specifically washing machines, dishwashers and the like--forbidden by Amish rules that could make her household chores (which she is obligated to do by her gender) much easier.
 Timothy 2:11-12
My parents are Deacons in their local church, and believe you me, they pick and choose which parts to interpret as allegory and which parts to interpret literally all the time.
The Amish subculture seems to have a functional reverse gear, allowing them to try out a technology and then decide not to allow it after all. It would be a good feature to have, for our society more generally.
No matter the hobby or location you can be sure that space had hackers and tinkers. Some really cool hacks come out of restrictions and lack of money for what we would consider 'proper' solutions, and each technology however analogue will be a space with its own hackers.
I really enjoy writeups like this of ingenious solutions to problems I will never face. Growing up having friends living on old farms far away from villages or towns I got to see some crazy contraptions, my favorites of which were probably various uses of streams (of water) for mechanical work.
They also had a young boy, maybe 12-14 years old, apprenticing with them. I believe Amish only need to do K-8 school and then they start their careers.
Blind allegiance to a group leads to endemic corruption, always has, always will.
A specific example was about technology that saved many hours of simple/light mechanical work for women: as a result, it eliminated the communal practice for women to be together in a large room talking while doing it. The technology was tried but then removed, as the result was less communal engagement.
To oversimplify: we default to using whatever comes up (Facebook, etc), whereas their approach is to evaluate the new thing as a community and decide.
I read numerous books on topic of Positive Psychology ... a really good academic one, tying together the field into a unifying framework is: The Good Life: Unifying the Philosophy and Psychology of Well-Being by Michael A. Bishop
If you read Ira Wagler's book Growing Up Amish, he covers some of this as his family (and him alone) moved around various Amish communities in North America.
To the article:
> This method works for the Amish, but can it work for the rest of us?
I don't think that it would. Neither is there a community to enforce the rules, nor would it be able to scale. I think the author agrees between the lines or at least has serious doubt.
1) Initial (chaotic, ad hoc, individual heroics) - the starting point for use of a new or undocumented repeat process.
2) Repeatable - the process is at least documented sufficiently such that repeating the same steps may be attempted.
3) Defined - the process is defined/confirmed as a standard business process
4) Capable - the process is quantitatively managed in accordance with agreed-upon metrics.
5) Efficient - process management includes deliberate process optimization/improvement.
Amish tech processes seem to me higher up the chain than most people, so from this point of view, they are actually more advanced..
Back in my twenties, I started noticing that there really wasn't much on TV that I wanted to watch, and so never got around to subscribing to cable. To me, in the intervening years, TV has only become worse. My TV set spends most of its time as a large monitor.
Same here. I grew up with television, but once I got my first own apartment I never bothered to get a cable subscription. I have a TV in my living room, but I consider it as a monitor for my game console and chromecast.
The first thing people ask me when they hear I don't have a cable subscription is usually: how do you watch the news then? The answer is simple: Except for stuff that interests me (tech mostly) I do not read, watch or listen the generic news. Most news is depressing anyways, and you really don't miss out on anything imo.
In the meantime, I put an antenna in the attic and wired it to all the TVs in the house. Primarily this was to pick up local stations because I live in an area prone to severe weather, but we ended up getting something like 30 over the air channels. Some of them are low-power (primarily religious) stations that we never watch, but we get all the majors (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, CW) and a bunch more on sub-channels. I was pretty surprised by how much could get for free with just an antenna.
Between that and Netflix, Hulu, and (now) Disney Plus, we are never short of things to watch and still get the local news when we need that coverage.
Note that news shows cover a much larger area than my neighborhood and wouldn't give me that anyway. What I need most is a local newspaper with a small circulation.
Even if they have a political slant (which (a lot|most|all) of them do), it's easy to ignore that coverage and focus on the truly local news. Also, tons of local gossip.
This. I stopped actively following news around the time the iPhone 3GS came out and within a month or two I was far happier in general.
Around the time iPhone 6 came out I was using flipboard on an iPad nightly for a few weeks, found it pretty miserable and quit again.
Now I will look at my Google news recommendations on my phone once or twice a day for the first few articles, rarely doing more than scanning the headlines. These articles are almost always of interest to me as I will tell it I don't want to see these kinds of articles when it puts garbage in there so it's mostly NASA and SpaceX news which I'll hear about on a few podcasts I listen to anyway. Aside from that my news is limited to a story or two on the Adam Carolla podcast each weekday, whatever I see on HN on weekdays and whatever gets sent to me via SMS.
Right now I'm currently checking /r/China_flu every day because I work in international freight and we're already feeling the virus in our volume due to Chinese freight slowing but once the virus starts to decline I'll stop.
All the negativity in news was definitely bad for my mental health. Constantly checking out news was also a giant waste of time - time that could have been spent on self-development, or something that makes me happy. Now I've blocked all news sites of my country on all my devices, and I definitely feel much better. Checking out bbc.com or whatever once a day is enough.
Discussed (barely) at the time: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=476454
Yeah, this is definitely a sensible approach to doing things. They get most of the benefits of modernity, but few of the downsides. I wish our regulators would do the same.
quasi-relevant xkcd: https://xkcd.com/606/
There are real comments too, though, starting from 8 years ago: "I can't say that I would ever manage to live like this, but I applaud their motivations behind it. // ... Why they don’t use automobiles ... // Actually, some do. ... Local church elders basically determine what is acceptable ..."