Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mixed Greens!

Okay, got a collection of related leafy good videos for you to sink your roots into.

Do we have the agricultural technology and resources to feed every human being on Earth and in a manner that does not destroy our environment? 

Well, major advances over the last ten years in hydroponics, aeroponics, LED lighting systems, renewable energy sources and indoor vertical-based methods of crop production – to name only a few – are now offering us the opportunity to unlock a treasure trove of bountiful pesticide free organic food for the whole of humanity to enjoy. What is more incredible is by fully leveraging our capability not only can we feed every man, woman and child on the planet we can do so while simultaneously returning huge tracts of acreage back to nature and therefore provide the Earth's biosphere the desperately needed habitat to pull itself from the brink of collapse and conveniently save our hides along with it. 

All we require now is action and the determination to sweep aside a few hundred years of outmoded economic dogmatism and a century worth of industrial-era chemical & fossil fuel intensive farming practices and the pale blue dot we find ourselves on can again glimmer emerald green. 

Like a tossed salad these videos are mixed up for your viewing pleasure...

The OmegaGarden Rotating Hydroponic Garden with LEDs

First up is an amazing new rotating hydroponic garden you could actually have at home!

OmegaGarden's Farmdominium 

... on a larger scale take the rotating LED garden above and scale it up to a building and you can feed an entire community!

Dutch PlantLab Plant Production Unit

The Dutch given their colder climates are now heavily researching food production in skyscrapers, buildings and even underground. Amazing!

For more on this see this article.

Dickson Despommier – The Vertical Farm

This TED talk from Columbia microbiology professor Dickson Despommier eloquently lays out the case why we no longer have any choice but to fully adopt vertical & underground farming techniques if we expect to survive and flourish as a species.

For more info from Despmmier his website is here.

Paignton Zoo's Vertical Farm

Damn! These animals eat better than I do!

Brita Riley – A Garden in my Apartment

Lastly, this TED talk from Britta Riley discusses the new and exciting Open Source community that has sprung up around creating hydroponic food gardens for urban windows. Everyone can do their small part in the new paradigm and have a lot of fun in the process!

For more on upgrading our food systems check out these fish.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What Motivates Us?

How does money motivate us? This is one of the most important questions to ask given its predominance in all our lives.

If you haven't seen Dan Pink's presentation below then you may be surprised by the latest scientific findings and how they overturn decades and even centuries of belief on money's role as the primary mover in our advancement as a species.

Turns out money is only a good motivator for tasks that require basic mechanical skills – lifting boxes, ringing up merchandise on the cash register and the like – exactly the types of jobs that are now being rapidly automated away by mechanization that Ben McLeish and others speak about. Once tasks require even rudimentary cognitive skills money counterintuitively hinders performance.

This is an interesting state of affairs and one that is fundamentally redefining our conceptions on how to best tap the vast capability we collectively possess and in so doing how we can most effectively transition from a society based on scarcity to one of abundance.

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fish: A Love Story!

It's not everyday you fall in love with a fish (let alone two!) so this TED talk from Dan Barber is one you won't want to miss...

Our current intensive and unsustainable industrial-era fishing practices have stressed the ecosystems of the seas well past the breaking point and why seeking more intelligent options is critical if we have any hope of staving off irreversible & cataclysmic damage to the web of ocean life and therefore all life on Earth.

Fortunately, two billion years of evolution is here to the rescue if we have the foresight, wisdom and humility to learn from it. A few are...

Dan Barber – How I Fell in Love with a Fish

Monday, November 21, 2011

Occupy Your Heart

"...only joint creativity and gifts create intimacy and connection."

Occupy Wall Street – The Revolution Is Love

If the words of Charles Eisenstein resonate with you here is more of his timely wisdom.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Collateral Damage"

Ben McLeish in this fascinating August 2011 podcast peels back the layers of Doublespeak which permeate our culture and blind us from deeper truths that are critical to see if we ever expect to reach an ecologically sustainable and thriving world community.

Among other topics, McLeish also delves into the economic realities that are currently unfolding as automation of labor continues its inexorable process – thus collapsing the income-for-labor mechanism at the very heart of the monetary/market system.

This is a must listen for anyone who wants to get a clearer picture on the impending challenges & opportunities at humanity's doorstep.

NOTE: If your browser is not picking up the audio player try this YouTube version.

If you would like to get more from McLeish here is a another great interview.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Punishment Does Not Prevent Violence...

Crime rates in the United States are five to ten times higher than any of the other developed countries on the planet. Why is that?

Recidivism rates in U.S. prisons currently average around 65% within three years of release. Why is that?

Is it possible to achieve recidivism rates of less than one percent with release periods as long as 25 to 30 years? If such outcomes are possible why on Earth would we not adopt them?

Renowned violence expert James Gilligan in this very interesting series of short videos delves into these questions and unveils the surprising evidence that our current punitive mindset is actually at the very heart of the sicknesses we are seeing reflected around us.

Punishment Does Not Prevent Violence

No One is Hopeless

How Prison Worsens Violence

James Gilligan on Violence

On a related topic see Richard Wilkinson's presentation on the societal harm caused by economic inequality.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Middle Class? What's That???

The Middle Class over the course of the last generation has steadily been pushed toward the precipice and in ever-growing numbers over it and into the abyss. We are going from a three-class society – upper, middle and lower – to a two-class society – a minority up top and everyone else a weak exploitable underclass to serve them. Understanding the underlying factors that has lead to this sad state of affairs is critical if we ever expect to reorient our national and world priorities to halt this appalling trend.

Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren in this next presentation and interview from January 2008 blows through the myth that today's Middle Class in America is in such dire straights as a result of overconsumption and fiscal irresponsibility. Looking at the hard numbers an entirely different picture comes to light...

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

Conversations with History: Elizabeth Warren

Related to the topics discussed by Warren I highly recommend checking out these presentations from Richard D. Wolff.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Capitalism Hits the Fan!

Are we experiencing a "financial crisis"? Before looking about at the state of the economy and rubber stamping this label on what we see going on today, perhaps we need to take pause and ponder if the problems we are experiencing actually run much deeper and expose flaws at the very core of the Capitalistic system we find ourselves in.

These next two presentations from Richard D. Wolff ~ Professor of Economics Emeritus from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst ~ lucidly and powerfully lays out the arc of history over the last thirty-plus years for how we arrived at a society with such massive concentrations of power, wealth and corruption. You will not get a more hard-hitting and eye-opening presentation on the topic than presented here.

Capitalism Hits the Fan | Dec 2009

Opposition to Paying for Capitalism's Crisis | April 2011

P.S. If you enjoyed these videos then I also recommend tuning into Professor Wolff's amazing weekly radio program Economic Update on WBAI New York.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Story of Broke

Are we broke or simply directing our precious resources into obsolete, non-productive and outright destructive pursuits? The Story of Broke takes off where The Story of Stuff ends and potently makes the case why our current dinosaur economy needs to go.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Moral Landscape

Neuroscientist and author Sam Harris challenges head on the prevailing notion that facts and values are somehow distinct non-overlapping magisteria and therefore science – since it presumably only operates in the sphere of facts – is incapable of informing and guiding us along the journey to higher levels of moral enlightenment. Harris brings forth the notion that not only is science up to the task, but more importantly provides us the framework and empirical foundation that no other "moral" system invented over the course of human history has and now tantalizingly offers us the toolset to allow humanity to bridge the cultural, religious and nationalistic barriers that are keeping us divided, weak and in constant states of conflict.

Depending on the depth you wish to proceed on the topic you can (1) watch the shorter TED presentation Harris gave in February 2010, (2) then move to the second video Harris gave later that year where he was given much more stage time than the limited timeframe provided by TED and lastly (3), if you still want more, then I highly recommend picking up a copy of Harris's book, "The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values". I did and it is an amazing mind-expanding read. Two thumbs and two toes up!


Sam Harris – Science Can Answer Moral Questions

Sam Harris – The Moral Landscape

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Great Dictator Speaks!

It's been seventy years since Charlie Chaplin issued the call for humanity to unite with the shared ethos of peaceful coexistence. I can't think of a better time than the present to take up that call.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Future is Open...

QUESTION: What would a drug company do if one of their researchers happened to stumble upon a promising drug for a particular disease? 

ANSWER: They would keep it a closely guarded secret until the prototype drug could be turned into an active pharmacological substance that could be patented – thus giving the corporation full control in its application to maximize profit.

QUESTION: What would happen instead if this promising drug were instead freely shared with a broad array of interdisciplinary & interconnected researchers spanning the globe?

ANSWER: Jay Bradner ~ research scientist and chemist at Harvard and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, did exactly that with a particular molecule engineered at his lab to treat a rare form of cancer. The results of utilizing this alternative open methodology turns out to be nothing short of miraculous and should make us pause and wonder what other areas of investigation would flower if removed from the darkness of proprietary corporate vaults.

Jay Bradner – Open-Source Cancer Research