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 Wind Power getting cheaper
Rocky Mountain Collegian:
The cost for wind power is more expensive than other options, but the cost has recently decreased.

The price used to be 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, but as of June it dropped to 1 cent per kwh.

[ | 15 Sep 2004 @ 10:44 | PermaLink ]

 Mayan hieroglyphs deciphered
Linguists have discovered a still-surviving version of the sacred religious language of the ancient Maya - the great pyramid-building civilisation that once dominated Central America.

For years some Maya hieroglyphic texts have defied interpretation - but now archaeologists and linguists have identified a little-known native Indian language as the descendant of the elite tongue spoken by rulers and religious leaders of the ancient Maya.

The language, Ch'orti - spoken today by just a few thousand Guatemalan Indians - will become a living "Rosetta Stone", a key to unravelling those aspects of Maya hieroglyphic writings which have so far not been properly understood. Over the next few years dozens of linguists and anthropologists are expected to start "mining" Ch'orti language and culture for words and expressions relating to everything from blood-letting to fasting.
[ | 9 Jul 2004 @ 17:46 | PermaLink ]

 Arctic Ocean Survey May Reveal Lost World
picture A new survey of the depths of the ice-capped Arctic Ocean as reported at Reuters, BBC, and others, could reveal a lost world of living fossils and exotic new species from jellyfish to giant squid, scientists said on Thursday. They speculated that Arctic waters might hide creatures known only from fossils, such as trilobites that flourished 300 million years ago. The international scheme will include probing a 12,470-foot abyss off Canada described by project leaders as the "world's oldest sea water -- a vast, still pool unstirred for millennia, walled by steep ridges and lidded with ice."
[ | 26 Jun 2004 @ 09:19 | PermaLink ]

 Friendly dog prevents killing spree
Yahoo News:

A Canadian man, driving a car packed with weapons and ammunition, was intent on killing as many people as possible in a Toronto neighborhood but gave up the plan at the last minute when he encountered a friendly dog, police said on Thursday.

The middle-aged man, who police said was mentally disturbed, had planned to carry out the shooting spree on Wednesday to ensure he would be put in jail permanently, Toronto police said.

He had set himself up in an east-end park to load his weapons and then planned to drive around shooting. He later told police that a dog then approached and started playing with him.

The encounter melted the man's heart, and he then went in search of police to give himself up, police said.

[ | 26 Jun 2004 @ 09:16 | PermaLink ]

 They Rule Now
From WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: They Rule is an amazing tool, which documents in clear visual language the interlocking directorates of the world's largest corporations, what some call the "permanent government." They've just released a new updated version. Check it out.
[ | 19 Jun 2004 @ 01:01 | PermaLink ]

 Can Poor People in the Developed World Leapfrog?
From WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: One of the surprising things about poverty, to those who've never experienced it, is how damn expensive it is. One of the advantages of being fairly prosperous and credit-worthy is that corporations compete to be able to sell you things, driving down prices and driving up quality, while the poor make do with whatever they can find.

Neal Pierce does a fine job of laying out this dilemma in The High Cost Of Being Poor: Fighting The Land Sharks:

"Poverty is not just miserable, it's actually expensive, the Annie E. Casey Foundation asserts in its "KidsCount" report. The foundation documents how every outlay -- from food to rent to loans to health coverage to check-cashing or a car for commuting -- is likely to cost you an arm and a leg more if you're a low-income American.

"Some of the conditions can't be fixed quickly -- food prices up to double suburban rates in some inner cities that have been deserted by supermarkets, for example. Or rents so high that more than 5 million families are now obliged to spend over half their entire incomes for shelter.

"But there's a depressingly long list of predatory fiscal devices that have ballooned in number since 1990. Collectively, they're ripping off low-income America, trapping millions of poor Americans in permanent, high-cost indebtedness."

Pierce then goes on to talk about subprime mortgage-lenders, check-cashing outlets, payday loan shops and other businesses that prey on the poor. One solution he discusses is Centers for Working Families, a foundation-led effort to create one-stop shopping for services for the poor
[ | 16 Jun 2004 @ 15:02 | PermaLink ]

 The Self as Metaprogrammer
From Future Hi: Chris Arkenberg (LVX23) April 2004 The human brain is not a static computing device merely receiving and processing information acquired by its sensoria but, rather, it is a dynamic and plastic network of neural centers, each specialized to handle specific tasks, coordinated with each other through a continuously changing...
[ | 16 Jun 2004 @ 15:02 | PermaLink ]

 Wealthy Beyond our Dreams
picture From Synergic Earth News: Timothy Wilken, MD writes: If we humans synergically reorganized our world, we would all be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. Today in 2002, if we were to reclaim the gift of all the land and natural resources presently held on planet Earth as individual property. And if we were to further reclaim the gift of Progress from those few who control it today, and then divided these two gifts equally among the 6 billions of us living on the planet, we would discover to our surprise and amazement that every man, woman, and child is wealthy beyond their dreams. With synergic organization, and careful utilization of the planet’s total wealth for the benefit of all humanity, the carrying capacity of the Earth could be maximized to solve all our human problems and meet our all our needs. And this is without any need to damage the Earth, or degrade our environment. There would never be any need for humans to earn their livings again. Our livings have already been earned by all those humans who lived and died to give us the great gift of progess. Then all humans would be free to spend their time making their lives meaningful by creating more wealth to be gifted to living and future humanity. To better understand my proposal for a synergic future, it is important to understand what I mean by wealth. ... In a synergic culture wealth is defined as that which supports life for self and others. It is mutually life affirming. This by definition excludes adversary wealth — physical force that hurts other human beings, and neutral wealth — money that ignores other human beings. Synergic humans recognize that interdependence is the human condition. They recognize that all humans need help unless they wish to live at the level of animal subsistence. They know that adversarial humans make people help them. This is help obtained with coercion — force or fraud. Those providing the help are losing. When you force others to help you, they do the least they possibly can. Because the helper is hurt, adversary help produces the lowest quality help. They know that neutral humans purchase help through the open market place. This is help purchased from others. This is the way most of us living in the free world get help today. We hire it or we buy it in the market place. When I go to McDonald's, I pay them five dollars to help feed me. The focus in the market place is on a fair price. Because the helper is ignored, neutral help is of average quality. They understand that synergic humans attract help by helping others. This is help attracted by helping others — when another individual understands that by helping you, they will also be helped, they will automatically help you. When others understand that when you win, they win, they will support and celebrate your success. This is the power of the win-win relationship. Show those who can help you, how they will win by doing so. Show them how they will be helped by helping you. Because the helper is helped, synergic help is of highest quality.  (03/22/04)
[ | 16 Jun 2004 @ 15:02 | PermaLink ]

 Synocracy & Sociocracy
picture From Synergic Earth News: Timothy Wilken, MD writes: All members of a synergic heterarchy are required to veto any plan where they or anyone else would lose. This is not an arbitrary veto. This is a veto to prevent loss. The heterarchy is seeking to win together. Plans causing loss need to modified to plans that insure winning. Therefore all vetoes are immediately followed by renegotiation to modify the plan of action so that loss can be eliminated. Synergic consensus is unanimous consensus. Unanimous consensus is protected by the judicious use of the synergic veto. Synergic relationship requires that when any party within a group is losing, the action causing the loss must stop. But again all vetoes are immediately followed by renegotiation to modify the plan of action so that loss can be eliminated, and action can continue. Thus synergic consensus is a two step process. 1) consensus--to find mutual agreement, and 2) consent--to find specific disagreements and eliminate those through modification and re-negotiation of proposed plans. This second step is initiated by use of the synergic veto. After I designed Ortegrity, which uses the process of synergic consensus and synergic veto, I learned about Sociocracy. It is from Sociocracy that I have borrowed the term consent for the second phase of synergic consensus. ... Any group of humans organized as an Ortegrity are using synocracy. If a nation of people chose to organize as an ortegrity they would have a synocracy. If all of humanity were organized as an Ortegrity, we would have world wide synocracy. ... Today, mind and brain scientists have made enormous progress in understanding how the human brain works. There has been many surprises in these recent advances. But the biggest shocker is that the brain doesn’t decide what to do. Decision making is not controlled centrally in the brain. The mind-brain appears to act as a coordination and consensus system for meeting all the needs of the cells, tissues, and organs of the body. The brain doesn’t decide to eat. The cells of the body decide to eat, the brain coordinates their activity and carries out the consensus will. Our human brain stores the gathered information from the body’s sensing of its environment, the brain presents opportunities for action reflective of both the sensing of environment and the needs and goals of the 40,000,000,000 cells it serves. The brain is not the leader of the body, it is the follower of the body. It is a system that matches needs of the body with its sensing of opportunities to meet these needs by action within the environment. The brain is a ‘synergic government’ that truly serves its constituents—the cells, tissues, and organs that make up the human body. The body is governed by a unanimous rule democracy that has survived millions of years. The apparent ‘I’ is not real. It is really a ‘we’. We humans have mistaken the self-organization of synergic consensus for the directed organization of an ego decider. If the human body can using unanimous rule democracy and synergic consensus can organize and coordinate the actions of 40,000,000,000 cells so totally that we identify the whole organism as a single individual, then we humans should be able to use these same mechanisms to organize our species and solve our human problems. (03/17/04)
[ | 15 Jun 2004 @ 15:39 | PermaLink ]

 The Wisdom of Crowds
picture From Smart Mobs:

Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion points to James Surowiecki's new book, The Wisdom of Crowds:
The book's premise is that "large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant—better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future."

Though not mentioned on the book's Web site, weblogs, wikis and RSS - perhaps more than any other tool - play a big role in enabling crowds to form and share opinions. This is why they will become a critical part of every PR campaign.

For more on the book, check out Surowiecki's essay in this month's Wired, a published excerpt and this author Q&A.

Also note a clever jellybean contest designed to prove that collective intelligence is greater than the individual intelligence.

[ | 15 Jun 2004 @ 15:39 | PermaLink ]

 Living Off-Grid Mentally, Physically, Spiritually, Linguistically...
Via Future Hi, Phil Dhingra, of the Philosophistry blog, shares his ideas on the potential of radical independence.

What are the pros and cons of living off-grid? By living off-grid, I don't just mean living off the electrical grid. I mean off-grid in the sense of having opinions completely non-mainstream, believing in unpopular religious perspectives, subscribing to alternative arts, speaking a different language, living away from large cities, taking non-traditional jobs, and dropping out of school.

It's hard to identify the pros and cons, but I want to explore the various ways in which we can be off-grid.

One of the most novel ways is being agenetic. Ultimately our genes created this machine with some sort of "design" in mind, particularly to be the vehicle for duplicating DNA into our progeny. However, what if you circumvented that design? You could choose not to marry or have kids. That would be the simplest defiance. You could go even further, for example, by not catering to your self-interest, or not getting jealous, or not subconsciously manipulating others through emotional back-n'-forth. Transcending genetics is in a large part transcending emotion.

Utimately you cannot transcend all emotional causes. Some emotion is indeed drawing you to seek transcendence. However, your emotional desire for transcendence was probably meant as a method of obtaining new knowledge, not as a way to avoid the ultimate genetic design.

You could have chosen as a child not to learn the language of your parents. You could try to seek a truly independent, natural, and pure form of communication.

Using the off-grid measure is a new way of looking at ourselves. Rather than calling this person an "independent" person or a "dependent" person, we should analyze to what degrees and in what areas is this person consciously or unconsciously living off-grid. What aspects of being off-grid are morally correct? How is morality merely a matter of just swimming mainstream?

For example, I am off-grid religiously simply because the concepts violate what I believe. However, I'm strongly on-grid when it comes to education and the career-ist life; I have stuck with schooling through the end of college. I'm also on-grid morality-wise as I naturally follow the golden rule: do unto others as they do unto you.

What are the benefits of being on or off grid? What are the genetic underpinnings of a desire to relate to the mainstream or average in varying ways?

To what extent are we naturally chained to the mainstream that is completely inescapable? I didn't choose to speak English, I didn't choose to graduate from High School, nor did I choose to have an eclectic worldview. Those were all chosen by my parents. But my parents didn't really choose, but rather they too were emotionally trapped by a guilt that if they didn't give me those things they would be cutting me short. Imagine how much of a sin it would be not to teach your children a language or to deny them from schooling? why? See, there is a compellation that the "grid" makes you feel right and wrong automatically without a coherent rational analysis.

And it's this grid-based computing that is the essence of the cultural revolution in humans. You can call it grid-based, or memetics, or whatever. It's a matter of coupled oscillation and synchrony that provides much of the substance of style of living.

[ | 15 Jun 2004 @ 15:39 | PermaLink ]

 Hybrid Vigor
From WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: The Baltimore Sun provides some useful info on the current status of hybrid cars in the American automobile market: U.S. registrations for hybrid cars rose more than 25 percent last year, to 43,435...Sales of Toyota's new Prius shot up 62.4 percent in the first quarter compared with sales in the first three months of last year...In March, Honda sold 2,725 hybrid Civics, the most ever in a single month... Half of the hybrids sold in 2003 were the Honda Civic hybrid, and just under half the old model Toyota Prius. Over 11,000 were registered in California, with Virginia coming in at #2 with about 3,400 new hybrids in 2003.
[ | 15 Jun 2004 @ 15:39 | PermaLink ]

 Human-Caused Global Warming Confirmed
picture From WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: Almost lost amidst the (justifiable) outrage and attention regarding the Iraqi prisoner abuses is news that a team at the University of Washington has knocked down the last scientific objection to the notion that global warming is real, and that human activity is a significant causal factor.

As reported in the May 6, 2004, issue of Nature, researchers from UW investigated why, if surface temperature records show clear signs of warming, satellite measurements of the troposphere -- the atmosphere from the ground to about 11 kilometers up -- did not. Opponents of the human-caused global warming model pointed to this contradiction as a sign that climate change wasn't real or was triggered by natural causes. According to Dr. Qiang Fu's team, cooling in the upper atmosphere -- itself a known result of greenhouse gases -- alters the satellite measurements; when that is accounted for, the troposphere data matches precisely with current models of human-caused warming.

While not good news in the "we're all going to be just fine" category, it does mean that we now have a much better understanding of the mechanisms underlying global warming, as well as confirmation that the current models work. It also means that the inevitable continued objections to doing anything about global warming have likely lost any remaining scientific credibility.

The Nature link above is to a short report; the article (linked from that page) is not freely available. Better details on the story can be found in this article from the London Times, and this release from UW, via Eurekalert.
[ | 14 Jun 2004 @ 17:07 | PermaLink ]

 Consensus & Consent
picture From Synergic Earth News: Timothy Wilken, MD writes: How will we make decisions in a synergic future? In today’s world 2004, it is assumed without question that majority rule democracy is the best way to organize humanity. But what if there were something better? ... Unanimous Rule Democracy or Synocracy is a much more powerful mechanism of decision making than the majority rule of present day democracy. Synocracy is a synergic decision making system. Synergy means working together—operating together as in Co-Operation—laboring together as in Co-Laboration—acting together as in Co-Action.  However Synocracy, which gives us humans the opportunity to accomplish more together than we can accomplish separately, also requires more from us. It requires synergic consensus. For any group of humans, synergic consensus can provide a much more powerful mechanism of decision making than even the best majority rule democracy carefully following Roberts Rules of Order. Synergic consensus occurs when a group of humans sit as equals and negotiate to reach a decision in which they all win and in which no one loses. In synergic science this is called heterarchy. That means all members of the deciding group sit on the same level as “equals”. All decisions within a truly synergic group are made within decision heterarchy”. A decision heterarchy is made up of a group of humans with common purpose. The minimum number is 2 the maximum number is presently unknown. I believe the ideal size may be ~six or seven individuals. The group is organized horizontally with all individuals sharing equal authority and equal responsibility. Synergic consensus occurs when a group of humans sitting in heterarchy negotiate and reach a decision in which they all win and in which no one loses. In a synergic heterarchy, all members sit on the same level as “equals”. No one has more authority than anyone else. Every one has equal responsibility and equal authority within the heterarchy. The assignment for the heterarchy is to find a plan of action so that all members win. It is the collective responsibility of the entire heterarchy to find this “best” solution. Anyone can propose a plan to accomplish the needs of the group. All problems related to accomplishing the needs would be discussed at length in the heterarchy. The proposed plan of action for solving a problem is examined by all members of the heterarchy. Anyone can suggest a modification, or even an alternative action to solve the problem. All members of the heterarchy serve as information sources for each other. The heterarchy continues in discussion until a plan of action is found that will work for everyone. When all are in agreement and only then can the plan be implemented. The plan insures that all members of the synergic heterarchy win. ... Originated in the Netherlands in 1945 by Kees Boeke, a Dutch educator and pacifist, Sociocracy was a way to adapt Quaker egalitarian principles to secular organizations. It uses the decision-making process of consent which is different than most systems of  'consensus'. Consent looks for disagreement and uses the reasons for disagreeing to come up with an amended proposal that is within everyone's limits. Consensus looks for agreement. If a group wants to paint an outbuilding, consensus would require everyone agreeing on a color. Consent would require everyone defining their limits and then allowing the choice to be made within those limits. The painter might end up with three colors that are acceptable to everyone and then choose from those. (03/15/04)
[ | 14 Jun 2004 @ 17:07 | PermaLink ]

 Peter Senge on awareness and environmental stewardship
From Smart Mobs: Sutainable development, collective awareness and ostensibly collaboration on a global scale was the topic of Peter Senge's presentation on ASTD 2004, held in Washington DC this week.

For Senge collaboration is a necessity in order to confront problems which have grown too large and too complex for any one actor (nation, corporation, etc.) to handle alone. The problem that Senge focused on here was global climate change.

This and more conference impressions are blogged on e-Clippings.

Senge is co-author of a new book - Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future.

ASTD 2004 conference site
[ | 14 Jun 2004 @ 17:07 | PermaLink ]

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Here you will find a cornucopia of ideas, resources, connections, information, inspiration and surprises, all aimed at growing, creating or discovering a world that works better for all of us.

Previous articles
  • Trustegrities could change our Future
  • Wind Power getting cheaper

  • 2004-07-09
  • Mayan hieroglyphs deciphered

  • 2004-06-26
  • Arctic Ocean Survey May Reveal Lost World
  • Friendly dog prevents killing spree

  • 2004-06-19
  • They Rule Now

  • 2004-06-16
  • Can Poor People in the Developed World Leapfrog?
  • The Self as Metaprogrammer
  • Wealthy Beyond our Dreams

  • 2004-06-15
  • Synocracy & Sociocracy
  • The Wisdom of Crowds
  • Living Off-Grid Mentally, Physically, Spiritually, Linguistically...
  • Hybrid Vigor

  • 2004-06-14
  • Human-Caused Global Warming Confirmed
  • Consensus & Consent
  • Peter Senge on awareness and environmental stewardship
  • The Dreaming Universe

  • 2004-06-13
  • Biophilia
  • Synocracy
  • Arnold Toynbee, Time Traveler

  • More ..

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