10 Nordic Principles for a Hyperconnected Planet

11707611_10153597504299180_5868535755002560607_n-720x270

The Nordic think tank, Demos Helsinki, has created 10 principles for the so-called “Internet of Things.”

Here are the first three:

Planet Earth is becoming hyperconnected. This transformation is called the Internet of Things, Connected Devices, Programmable World, and many other names. As a result, we are at a major crossroad. What are the conditions under which this change becomes the guiding development of our time? How can we support positive change and use technology to create a better world?

Demos Helsinki has identified 10 principles to guide development towards a hyperconnected, sustainable planet. Our claim is that if these principles are not followed, our hyperconnected planet will have a more dystopian than utopian future.

We’re using the principles to construct an index for comparing nations, cities, and companies, and providing them with recommendations about how to do this correctly.

I. The Parity principle

In order for hyperconnectedness to be a truly significant development, it has to play its part in solving the grand challenges of our times – It must solve bigger problems than it causes.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Girl Stabbed at Israeli Gay Pride March Dies

Shira Banki

Shira Banki

Via Al Jazeera English:

A teenage girl stabbed along with five other people at a Jerusalem Gay Pride parade by a suspect identified as an Ultra-Orthodox Jew has died, according to a hospital statement.

Hadar Elboim of the city’s Hadassah Medical Centre said the 16-year-old succumbed to her wounds on Sunday and that her organs would be donated.

Shira Banki had been in critical condition since being stabbed in the back during Thursday’s march. The five other victims suffered various degrees of injuries.

The suspect, Yishai Shlissel, was arrested at the scene.

Continue reading.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Inside the Goth Chicken: Black Bones, Black Muscle & a Black Heart

I have a feeling that more than a couple of disinfonauts are going to want a Goth Chicken, profiled here by Nautilus:

In the historical novel The Black Tulip, written by Alexandre Dumas, an honest and decent Dutch tulip fancier is nearly brought to ruin by his quest to breed a purely black flower. More precisely, his misadventure is due to the dastardly schemes of his neighbor, who, frantic with spite and jealousy over the plants, frames him for a political crime and gets him thrown in jail. The potboiler plot is ridiculously overheated, but Dumas got one thing exactly right: People will go nuts over the desire to possess a living thing in a strange and beautiful color.

Ayam cemani.jpg

Goth Chicken (Ayam cemani) by Kangwira (CC)

 

Almost 400 years after the Dutch tulip craze drove prices of some flowers to ridiculous heights, legions of U.S. poultry fanciers are now obsessing over another unusual breeding product: a chicken called the Ayam Cemani.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Revolt Against the Ruling Class

A recent Bernie Sanders rally in Minneapolis, MN. (Credit: Bernie Sanders Campaign)

A recent Bernie Sanders rally in Minneapolis, MN. (Credit: Bernie Sanders Campaign)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.

“He can’t possibly win the nomination,” is the phrase heard most often when Washington insiders mention either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.

Yet as enthusiasm for the bombastic billionaire and the socialist senior continues to build within each party, the political establishment is mystified.

Political insiders don’t see that the biggest political phenomenon in America today is a revolt against the “ruling class” of insiders that have dominated Washington for more than three decades.

In two very different ways, Trump and Sanders are agents of this revolt. I’ll explain the two ways in a moment.

Don’t confuse this for the public’s typical attraction to candidates posing as political outsiders who’ll clean up the mess, even when they’re really insiders who contributed to the mess.

What’s new is the degree of anger now focused on those who have had power over our economic and political system since the start of the 1980s.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Nick Bostrom & Ray Kurzweil – Could Our Universe Be a Fake?

A word from the experts…

Robert Lawrence Kuhn, creator and host, “Closer To Truth” via Space.com:

It’s like the movie “The Matrix,” Bostrom said, except that “instead of having brains in vats that are fed by sensory inputs from a simulator, the brains themselves would also be part of the simulation. It would be one big computer program simulating everything, including human brains down to neurons and synapses.”

Bostrom is not saying that humanity is living in such a simulation. Rather, his “Simulation Argument” seeks to show that one of three possible scenarios must be true (assuming there are other intelligent civilizations):

  1. All civilizations become extinct before becoming technologically mature;
  2. All technologically mature civilizations lose interest in creating simulations;
  3. Humanity is literally living in a computer simulation.

His point is that all cosmic civilizations either disappear (e.g., destroy themselves) before becoming technologically capable, or all decide not to generate whole-world simulations (e.g., decide such creations are not ethical, or get bored with them).

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Human Rights Organisation Calls for Decriminalizing Prostitution

el-toro (CC BY 2.0)

el-toro (CC BY 2.0)

Michaela Whitton via antimedia:

(ANTIMEDIAUnited Kingdom —Amnesty International is facing an intense backlash after announcing its intention to adopt a policy supporting the decriminalization of sex work. The organisation’s recently released “Draft Policy on Sex Work” will be considered at Amnesty’s main decision making forum, the International Council Meeting (ICM), in Dublin later this week.

The policy essentially endorses the full decriminalization of the sex industry, including the legalisation of pimps, brothels and the purchase of sex. It also acknowledges that Amnesty’s position on trafficking and the criminalisation of forced prostitution has not changed.

Within 24 hours of the proposed policy being announced, an international grassroots campaign was launched urging Amnesty to stand with those exploited in the sex trade. A wave of scathing criticism and dismay was unleashed by an array of human rights groups, celebrities, and organisations.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Ahimsa for All the Cecil-the-Lions of the World

This post originally appeared on Consciousness is Everything.

The Cecil the Lion issue happening in the news has had a predictably polarizing effect. Here’s what this swami thinks. Below I quote a Facebook friend who prompted me to address the issue:

I don’t understand the desire to kill an animal for sport. It’s not an accomplishment; you’ve got a gun.

cecil3
My response:

I understand it. I disapprove, but I understand. As a kid with a bb gun, a logical leap (even if based on poor logic) of testing my skills was shooting birds. The first time I ever shot a bird, it was a robin. When I had hit it, I ran up to it and picked it up. Seeing and feeling this other creature die in my hands because of me, my stomach sank and I knew everything about it was wrong. But I also had this conflicting sense of urgency to hone hunting and survival skills; for what reason I don’t know.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Army Has Plans For Real, Live Killer Robot Swarms

Leading scientists including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Steve Wozniak penned an open letter last week demanding a ban on autonomous weapons (i.e. killer robots). If the smartest minds of our time are demanding this, shouldn’t we think about it? On top of that, new information has come forward that the military is planning to have killer robots that act in swarms by 2050. They would be devoid of human oversight and act as judge, jury, and execution. This video by Redacted Tonight puts a little comedy into the subject – but that doesn’t mean this is a joke! 

Read the rest

Continue Reading

From kitsch to Park Avenue: the cultural history of the plastic pink flamingo

Ryan Hyde (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Don Featherstone, the creator of the iconic lawn ornament, died in June. Ryan Hyde (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In 1957, a 21-year-old art school graduate named Don Featherstone created his second major design for the Massachusetts-based lawn and garden decoration manufacturer Union Products: a three-dimensional plastic pink flamingo propped up by two thin, metal legs that could be plunged into soft dirt.

Featherstone’s duck and flamingo ornaments sold in pairs for US$2.76, and were advertised as “Plastics for the Lawn.” They became simultaneously popular and derided in the late 1950s and remain a recognizable species of American material culture.

Featherstone died this past June, but over five decades after he submitted his design, the plastic pink flamingo continues to grace American lawns and homes. While many are quick to label the plastic ornament as the epitome of kitsch, the flamingo has actually taken a rather tumultuous flight through an ever-changing landscape of taste and class.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Future Will Be Full of Lab Grown Meat

Here’s another one of those lab-grown meat boosting articles, this time from Gizmodo. I think I’ll stick to tofu.

In 2013, the world’s first lab-grown burger was unveiled to the world. It carried a $330,000 price tag, and apparently, it wasn’t all that tasty. But the scientists behind the idea have been hard at work, and artificial meat that’s both cost-effective and palatable may arrive sooner than we think.

Meat-grinder-30701283801918LoLK

It’s not just cow-free beef burgers on the future menu — several groups around the world are attempting to clone chicken breasts and fish fillets, as well. Why do scientists want to grow meat in vats instead of on animals, and how close are we to actually accomplishing it?

The Big Resource Hog

The arguments for growing so-called ‘cultured’ meat are as wide-ranging as the reasons people decide to become vegetarian or vegan. If you’re not vegetarian or vegan, you’ve probably received a mouthful on this subject from a friend or family member before, so I’m going to keep it brief and focus on the argument cultured meat proponents seem to embrace the most: Sustainability.

Read the rest
Continue Reading