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Posts Tagged ‘impact’

A Sacred COW

March 26, 2012 Leave a comment

The last time I felt a similar sense of belonging and being a part of something really HUGE was when I watched for the first time the Future of Money video around a year ago.

It seems obvious to me that young people everywhere are not happy with what they see is the state of our world.  They understand this state in a way that very few people previously understood.  Part of this is the ubiquity of the internet.  Part of it is their sense that they can trust each other via social media much more than they can many of the companies, politicians, and organizations that surround them in their real-life communities.

But another part of their newfound understanding is due to the tenuous state of our world.  Environmentally, it seems that we are on the brink of ecological catastrophe.  Economically, it seems that there is no end to the greed that motivates the few to punish and persecute the many.  Militarily, it seems that the mighty continue to fuel instability in the lands of the less mighty in order to continue to maintain control of energy resources.  Politically, it seems that we can only elect people who are willing to pander to the corporate elite and continue the fiscal pyramid scheme that Wall Street propagates.  Socially, it seems that the gates of the Gentlemen’s Clubs are closed permanently as the wealthy get older and the older live longer and healthier lives.

Cover of "When Corporations Rule the Worl...

Cover via Amazon

The OWS and 99% movements, Arab Spring, and indigenous peasant movements of Latin America are only some of the signs that people are not happy with the direction of global corporate rule.  Naomi Klein‘s The Shock Doctrine and David Korten‘s When Corporations Rule the World

are but two of many voices of dissent that are reverberating throughout the socially connected world.

Coalition of the Willing

When G.W. Bush used the term “Coalition of the Willing”, he referred, of course, to the countries who supported, militarily or verbally, the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent military presence in post-invasion Iraq. The irony is that many of the nations in the coalition had their political arms twisted, included countries that do not have standing armies, and was eventually the butt of the joke that its acronym, COW, refers to the situation that the United States is being milked as a “cash cow”.

ExPrime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony B...

ExPrime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair shaking hands with President of the United States, George W. Bush, after they conclude a joint news conference at the Camp David (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But now, a new Coalition of the Willing is beginning to emerge that is truly a coalition of people who are willing to plan and act with the future at stake.  This new COW is, firstly, a collaborative animated film and web-based event – an online war against global warming in a ‘post Copenhagen’ world.

The film is a collaborative effort of 24 artists from around the world.  This is, in itself, a feat that probably could not have happened a mere decade ago.  If it could, it would have taken years to create.  I have no idea how long it took these artists to collaborate on the 15-minute film, but I assume it has been created over a period of a few months – or even weeks.  Full details on the 24 collaborators can be found on the COW Website.

The film is an incredible inspiration!

12 Things Really Educated People Know

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment

12 Things Really Educated People Know

This list was compiled by John Taylor Gatto, a teacher in New York City for 30 years and selected the state’s Teacher of the Year three times.  Gatto is the author of 6 books, including the wonderfully and colorfully titled Weapons of Mass Instruction (2008).

It is a wonderful and succinct list, one that I believe everyone should thoughtfully consider and most to enthusiastically adopt.  I am particularly fond of #s 4 and 5 on his list.

DIY Physics: Physics in the 21st Century

February 9, 2012 Leave a comment

In a post-punk, Internet dominated, democraticized world, science and physics will become a subject of online discussion and debate. Online physics is likely to share a lot more in common with the physics of the Big Box DIY store than the university laboratory or a Nobel laureate’s lecture.

This may not make online science academically defensible, but if it ends up making more people think deeply and talk to others about how our world works, then it may be profoundly good for people and planet.

Occupy Everywhere: From Wall Street to Main Street

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

The Occupy Wall Street has become so ubiquitous that its acronym – OWS – is now familiar. Still, it is primarily interpreted as a protest, which is only a small part of the movement’s intent. It is actually probably a bit presumptuous to call it a singly movement, when it is really a combination of many movements. While most people are focused on what appears to be a tidal wave, I think that the most important thing is that there are billions of people riding that wave, not being swept underneath its path.

A related movement, of course, is 99%.

We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

While the recent days have seen police throughout the US break up tent cities and arrest mostly non-violent protesters, it is clear that the vast majority of Americans see that the basic tenets of OWS and 99% are true. They are upset over the bankers, the investment brokers, and the 1% that own and employ and enjoy the corporate welfare while continuing to exert pressure on the government through lobbying and threats to move capital and jobs offshore. Their threats work, because recent history indicates that these threats are real.

So what is left for the rest of us to do? Everything, really. It is not really Wall Street or Oakland or the city centers anywhere that we need to occupy. We obviously need to live somewhere. We all need to work, play, learn, love, eat, do, and sing and dance.

We need to gather and talk, to think and act, to be firm and certain, to question and reconsider. We need to be considerate and kind, deliberate and apologize when we are wrong. But we cannot continue to expect that somehow pandering to the greed and power of the 1% will somehow lead to a desirable end for all. It won’t happen – ever.

So OWS is here to stay, at least until WS is just another street where some blokes live. I will choose, then, to live on a stream, rather than a street, pursuing a less convenient life in order to find, with a bit of difficulty, the pleasures that come the hard way. But to get there, we have a whole lot of hard work ahead. Good thing that there are a lot of people willing to lend a good hand. Chippin’ in, as they say, with a little bit of a lot.

It’s mighty fine company we share! Good to be a part of the 99; it sure is lonely being the only 1.

This 2 hour video is from The Nation and The New School in New York City and is about the movement after OWS. It comes from a live broadcast of an event held on Thursday, November 10, at The New School in New York City. The New School hosted Occupy Everywhere: On the New Politics and Possibilities of the Movement Against Corporate Power, a discussion featuring award-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore (Here Comes Trouble), best-selling author and Nation columnist Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine), Nation National Affairs correspondent William Greider (Come Home, America), Colorlines Publisher Rinku Sen (The Accidental American), Occupy Wall Street Organizer Patrick Bruner and Richard Kim, executive editor, The Nation.com (moderator).

Tickled about Twylah

November 17, 2011 2 comments

I just got started with Twylah. I found out about it from my friend and Social Media Marketing Strategist, Neal Shaffer.

Twylah is most importantly, a way of organizing and visualizing a person or organization’s Twitter stream, so that they can be made sensible to someone who is not a real active Twitter user. On Twitter, the stream is an endless roll of short messages that seem disconnected of logic or organization. However, using its analytical and display algorithms, the branded Twylah page becomes a convenient and effective means of directing followers of your personal or organizational brand to news, other content, and commercial activities, which can significantly increase the monetary potential of the brand’s Twitter presence.

Currently in Private Beta, Twylah is not yet above the radar. But I am certain that it will. I think that the potential to make an impact in many non-monetary areas where brand is still very critical is immense. I will continue to explore and tweak its potential.

Check it out!

What would you do as the new President of the United States?

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

The question was asked to Henry Rollins, the outspoken American singer-songwriter, spoken word artist, writer, comedian, publisher, actor, and radio DJ. He was the former frontman of hardcore punk band, Black Flag, and the lead of his own Rollins Band.

In addition to his prolific career as a musician, artist, actor, and dj, Rollins has also become quite well-known for his political activism. He has campaigned for various political causes in the United States, including promoting LGBT rights, World Hunger Relief, and an end to war in particular, and tours overseas with the United Service Organizations to entertain American troops.

On October 1, 2011, just over one month ago, Rollins published a book, Occupants. The book is about Rollins’ extensive travels around the world, to places such as Afghanistan, Mali, South Africa, Iraq, Thailand, Burma, Northern Ireland, and Saudi Arabia, sharing his photographs and observations about the suffering, anger, and resilience of the people throughout the world.

Rollins’ disappointments with American foreign policy don’t just end there. He is very well voiced in Patriotism, based in careful study and thought about American and world history.

And so when some politicians say when a hurricane comes through Texas New York’s tax dollars shouldn’t be diverted to Texas to help, because Texas is Texas, 10th amendment, I say “No! It’s the United States.” We’re a team, America. I want to help the people in Texas. They are my neighbors. Take my California tax dollars to help these people. I don’t want to see them flooded. I want to see them rescued and that’s where we stick up for each other.

That is what the founding fathers (who some people like to mention so often), that is what they were beating each other up over in un-air-conditioned rooms in sweltering Philadelphia – that we stick together through thick and thin. That, to me, is being patriotic. That is what paying taxes is all about. That is what you see in great American cities. You see people looking out for one another. When we lose that, we lose the whole ball of wax.

It’s pretty obvious that we’re already losing “the whole ball of wax” when the next Presidential election is likely to be between the increasingly unpopular President Obama and the only person left standing on the right, Mitt Romney. Obama has become not only disappointed many of his 2008 supporters who were swept enthusiastically into politics for the first time by his emotionally charged, dramatic, and dynamic campaign, but also angered many of them for his apparent pandering to the political, economic, and military elite in order to secure small advances out of the quagmire that Washington has become. Romney, on the other hand, is most well known for his handsomeness and whose primary strength as he seeks to be the Republican nominee is that he is not crazy, mean, stupid, or lazy. Kind of sad, that the “Supreme Leader of the Free World” in 2012 will be a choice between a guy who has been accused of betraying his commitment to the 99% and another guy who won mostly because he is not pathetic. For many, apathy is more interesting than the alternative.

Apathy, of course, is not the solution. We need to return to the thinking that we can each do our part to change the world. Self reliance and personal responsibility, of course, will enable us to gain control of the things we can change and make better. But it is quite interesting to consider what impact a different leadership would have.

So when the Big Think went to ask Henry Rollins what he would do if he were elected President of the United States, this is what he had to say:

Henry Rollins on Big Think

Japanese company unveils iPhone Geiger counter – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

November 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Japanese company unveils iPhone Geiger counter – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Instead of paying ¥60,000 or more for a Geiger counter, this new device, coupled with a standard iPhone, will make it possible for anyone to measure radiation around them following the Fukushima nuclear accident.  At a price of 9,800 yen, the new device and app, called Geiger Bot,

Art and its Social-Political-Cultural Impact

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I am a firm advocate of the thinking that all Art has a social and political impact. In particular, the self-indulgent art that portrays an apolitical stance is firmly rooted in a political perspective that some people can remain aloof to and abstain from the political sphere of human societies. This is not only not possible, but the direct result of a media-driven and politically-motivated economic model of society, which assumes that the appropriate role for most people is merely as a consumer, allowing the producers and owners of material wealth to monopolize political power.

But Art has a way of undermining all monopolies. Art is very nearly nothing unless it mimics, ridicules, satirizes, parodies, exaggerates, highlights, and illustrates reality. In fact, it is because of its abilities to do so that we enjoy our Arts, preferring it to News, which attempts to tell stories without relying on these very human tools of expression and persuasion. (This is one reason that I consider much of contemporary TV news – like Fox News to be *poor* art and not news.)

Whether it is music, comedy, plays, movies, sculpture, painting, or collage, much of modern art is at the cusp of political unrest and upheaval. One of my favorite urban art forms – graffiti – is an irreverent form of art as protest, often merely belligerent, but occasionally poignant and historically significant.

In East Los Angeles, where I grew up, graffiti artists continuously modified the walls, telephone posts, and billboards of our neighborhood, tagging it with their identities and constantly showing their disapproval of their social and economic status.

While graffiti has been frequently denigrated as a sign of degenerate youth, there can be no doubt that public art has had a profound political impact, including on the fall of the Berlin Wall, the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the so-called anti-globalization movement, and the recent freedom-movements in the Middle East and North Africa, collectively referred to as the Arab Uprising.

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In March 2011, TED awarded its TEDPrize to French artist JR, for his project “InsideOut“. In his award speech, JR said, “I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world…INSIDE OUT.”

The prestigious TEDPrize awards $100,000 to an individual to share “One Wish to Change the World.” Previous award winners include Jamie Oliver, Sylvia Earle, José Abreu, Bill Clinton, and Bono.

What I found most significant about JR’s award is his insistence on the InsideOut Project to be crowdsourced and global. Anyone can participate. Here’s how:

One of the most significant results has been in Tunisia, where InsideOut first and JR first made an impact. All results are temporal – history never ends – but there is no doubt that InsideOut has given many people a powerful perspective that they are now the foundation for a new era in Tunisian history. No longer dominated by a single face, many faces will lead a less simple and certain future.

But good Art is often like that; it is uncertain and a bit difficult to comprehend. It is imprecise. It is inscrutable. Because life itself is difficult to comprehend, imprecise, and inscrutable. But that is this quality of life and art – conflict, hope, and uncertainty – that is the true source of beauty, its significance, power, and impact on politics and society.

NYOYN the Encounter

July 13, 2011 Leave a comment

NYOYN… What does he mean? Well, the Dutch company says it is
pronounced, “Enjoy’ng”.

I was walking by the booth last week. I saw the colorful pads on the
floor and some people milling about near the pads talking. There were
even more colorful posters on the walls, of children playing in a
classroom. The kids looked like they were having fun.

Screen_shot_2011-07-13_at_11

I could imagine that the company was showing their educational
products for children. I could not yet imagine how it worked, but I
was intrigued. I stepped closer.

Then, despite the noise coming from the 200 other booths echoing
throughout the hall, I could hear sounds emanating from the box on the
floor.
“Bee-po-bee-po-bee….!”

One of the people in the group, who seemed to be leading them in the
discussion, stepped on one of the pads. It was red. The voice
indicated that the answer given was correct – a siren.

Next, I heard a tweeting sound coming from the speaker. Before anyone
else could react, I stepped on the yellow pad in front of me. Then,
as I expected, the voice indicated that the answer I gave was correct.

Suddenly, the big guy who was explaining to the group turned around.
He looked at me quizzically. In a moment, he communicated a multitude
of thoughts.

“Hey, that guy got it right. He knows English. He looks Japanese…. Where
did he learn English? Was he there for awhile (behind us, listening
in)?”

In that instant, I knew, that this system was capable of a lot more
than was obvious. I could see that it used “software.” Hence, a
variety of applications could be used for a variety of learning games.
I could see that the experience was tactile and experiential. It
also enhanced some kinds of interpersonal communication. In short, it
was an extensible learning interface.

Screen_shot_2011-07-13_at_11

After that initial encounter, I discovered many more things about the
products and the company. I found an old friend from JETRO helping
them with market entry. I found the meaning of their strange name.
But most importantly, I found that I enjoyed the encounter. That
profound moment of joy was one that will last awhile. I plan to be
NYOYN it for a long time!

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