Tag Archives | Alternatives

The Stories We Tell and the Future We Create

Rade writes at A Lament for the Tir Nan Og:

It is fashionable, and unfortunate, that among people interested in living sustainably, having children is often seems as part and parcel with the downfall of everything good.  The usual statistics showing how the average America uses an exorbitant amount of energy and resources per-capita are presented, which I think in a subtle way, denigrates the message of a sustainable life.  It is as though people who are most committed to sustainable living are telling a story that says their children will follow the usual path of leaving home, setting out on their own and will eventually become SUV driving, McMansion dwelling boobs.  The question of who will take the sustainable way of living into the future is not dealt with (in most cases).  This is perhaps what I see as the biggest problem with the Permaculture movement as I understand it (aside from the fact that, like every movement, there seem to be a great many who want to put the “cult” in Permaculture).

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The Wild Unadulterated Joy of Revolt

Natalie W. and Aaron Cynic write at Diatribe Media:

For more than a week, a coalition of Chicago activists including patients and staff from the Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic, representatives from the Mental Health Movement, STOP Chicago, and Occupy Chicago have been protesting the closure of six mental health care facilities as part of austere city budget cuts. In order to save a reported $2.3 million, the city has already closed two neighborhood clinics, and plans to shut down an additional four. Officials argue that by shutting down these facilities, they will be able to restructure and provide more options for consumers and say they’ve invested $500,000 already in expanding services for psychiatric care and plan to increase access to services. Such measures are a kick to the guts of the people most in urgent need of mental health care. Those most wholly affected by this are poor, held hostage by not only their health needs but limited access to funding for care.… Read the rest

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Advanced Dinosaurs May Rule Other Planets

Fantastic Adventures 1940 Oct coverOkaaaay, Dr. Breslow, let's hear your theory... (via TG Daily):
It sounds like the plot to a science fiction story, but new scientific research hypothesizes that "advanced dinosaurs" may have evolved on other planets in the universe. According to Dr. Ronald Breslow, the advanced versions of T. rex and other dinosaurs would likely be monstrous creatures with the intelligence and cunning of humans. "We would be better off not meeting them," Breslow concludes in a study that appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. In his report, Breslow discusses the age-old mystery of why the building blocks of terrestrial amino acids (which make up proteins), sugars, and the genetic materials DNA and RNA exist mainly in one orientation or shape...
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World Peace through Egalitarianism

EqualTo achieve world peace, one has to focus on international, national, local, and personal issues. The three most important goals in achieving world peace are egalitarianism, ecological wisdom, and emotional maturity. Participatory and consensus democracy and the reduction of hierarchy in government and in the workplace are integral components in attaining egalitarianism.

Considering the rapid growth of world population, environmental degradation, the vast disparity between the rich and poor nations, the dangers of nuclear energy and weapons, and the effects of corporatocracy — it is necessary to view the world as one organism, even if that is not what it is. Take the healthy human body. The heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys do not compete. They cooperate.

The ecosystem is being overloaded by unsustainable growth, species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate, drilling for oil easily is reaching its peak, and global injustice and inequality are on the increase. Ross Jackson in his book Occupy World Street: A Global Roadmap for Radical Economic and Political Reform presents evidence that the planet is under siege and our civilization is already in the middle of a global collapse.… Read the rest

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The Politics of Belief

Aboriginal War Veterans Monument

Photo: Padraic Ryan (CC)

A tribal shaman was once interviewed by a skeptical anthropologist and asked whether or not he actually believed in the truths behind the spiritual medicine he practiced. The shaman’s reply was surprisingly candid, for he admitted that his technique was completely fraudulent, and yet he still defended it for the simple reason that it often seemed to heal the patients.  This brief exchange cuts to the core of the issue of why some people are religious and others are not. It all boils down to two simple questions – “Is it true?” and “Is it good?”

An atheist is someone who answers “no” to the first question, and usually (but not always), “no” to the second question as well. As such, there are a variety of tactics that atheists will employ in promoting arguments against religion. Charles Darwin, for example, was supposed to have been nudged permanently over the cusp into disbelief after having studied the behavior of a certain species of parasitic wasp.… Read the rest

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A World of Religion

In honour of the recent "world's largest" gathering of atheists in Washington D.C, a reminder of their place in the great scheme of things — there are less than 150 million of them at last global count: Religion Still beats the Wiccans, Bahai'i and Yazidis combined. On the other hand, secularism (separation of church and state) counts as 1.1 billion. Reference: 'Graphic: A demographic breakdown of the world of religion', National Post, 23 March 2012
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A New Evolutionary Theory: The Black Queen Hypothesis

Hearts Penalty Cards

Photo: Liko81 (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

Microorganisms can sometimes lose the ability to perform a function that appears to be necessary for their survival, and yet they still somehow manage to endure and multiply. How can this be? The authors of an opinion piece appearing in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on March 27 explain their ideas about the matter. They say microbes that shed necessary functions are getting others to do the hard work for them, an adaptation that can encourage microorganisms to live in cooperative communities.

The Black Queen Hypothesis, as they call it, puts forth the idea that some of the needs of microorganisms can be met by other organisms, enabling microbes that rely on one another to live more efficiently by paring down the genes they have to carry around. In these cases, it would make evolutionary sense for a microbe to lose a burdensome gene for a function it doesn’t have to perform for itself.

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Minnesota School Board Interferes With Senior’s Porn Star Prom Date

Mike StoneWhat a little genius. USA Today says:
A Minnesota school district has quashed a high school's senior plan to bring a porn star to his senior prom. Mike Stone, 18, had tweeted hundreds of porn actresses with an invitation to the Tartan High School prom May 12 until adult film star Megan Piper accepted his proposal. Piper tells KSTP-TV's Mark Saxenmeyer that she missed her own prom and couldn't turn down Stone's invitation. "It was a sweet gesture. It was so cute. I couldn't say no," she tells the Twin Cities TV station. The adult film star adds that she had no intention of turning the evening into a sordid spectacle: "I don't plan to show up butt naked or anything. I'm going to wear a pretty prom dress."
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Greece’s Cashless, Euro-Free Currency Working

HermesReports Jon Henley in the Guardian:

In recent weeks, Theodoros Mavridis has bought fresh eggs, tsipourou (the local brandy), fruit, olives, olive oil, jam, and soap. He has also had some legal advice, and enjoyed the services of an accountant to help fill in his tax return.

None of it has cost him a euro, because he had previously done a spot of electrical work – repairing a TV, sorting out a dodgy light – for some of the 800-odd members of a fast-growing exchange network in the port town of Volos, midway between Athens and Thessaloniki.

In return for his expert labour, Mavridis received a number of Local Alternative Units (known as tems in Greek) in his online network account. In return for the eggs, olive oil, tax advice and the rest, he transferred tems into other people’s accounts. “It’s an easier, more direct way of exchanging goods and services,” said Bernhardt Koppold, a German-born homeopathist and acupuncturist in Volos who is an active member of the network.

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