Tag Archives | Change

Improve Yourself First

i-8c66c4d51330345ea25f9764619ec10e-human-evolutionThe most important revolutionary aspect of the printed page: it allowed people to learn how to improve themselves and change the way they thought about the world

Disinfo has echoed the point that the internet is alike to the printing press here: The Global Awakening. It’s an observation which is almost a cliché and it certainly wasn’t new when I wrote that article. The frustrating thing about the comparison is how hard it is not to be drawn toward the headline grabbing side of what happened next,- The French Revolution and a whole lot of violence. This is partly because it terrified the world’s leaders so much at the time that they’ve never let us forget about it. For me though what’s more important is the spread of radical ideas which preceded and underpinned those events, a period known as “The Enlightenment”. That process is less spectacular and blood thirsty but far more important, long lasting and relevant to you right now.… Read the rest

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Welcome to the Future Nauseous

Venkat writes at Ribbonfarm:

Both science fiction and futurism seem to miss an important piece of how the future actually turns into the present. They fail to capture the way we don’t seem to notice when the future actually arrives.

Sure, we can all see the small clues all around us: cellphones, laptops, Facebook, Prius cars on the street. Yet, somehow, the future always seems like something that is going to happen rather than something that is happening; future perfect rather than present-continuous. Even the nearest of near-term science fiction seems to evolve at some fixed receding-horizon distance from the present.

There is an unexplained cognitive dissonance between changing-reality-as-experienced and change as imagined, and I don’t mean specifics of failed and successful predictions.

My new explanation is this: we live in a continuous state of manufactured normalcy. There are mechanisms that operate — a mix of natural, emergent and designed — that work to prevent us from realizing that the future is actually happening as we speak.

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Welcome To The Anthropocene

Planet Under Pressure commissioned a 3-minute animated film showing the last 250 years of our history, from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the Rio+20 Summit. The film charts the growth of humanity into a global force on an equivalent scale to major geological processes. Whether you agree with the filmmakers’ conclusions or not (comment below), I suspect you’ll admit that it’s a pretty cool piece of animation:

Welcome to the Anthropocene

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Funding My Existence

LightbulbNick Meador writes on his blog:

It appears we are living at the dawn of a new era. Throughout our culture we see signs of change, progress, and evolution. A “Creative Class” is on the rise that—with the help of the Internet and other related technologies—will reportedly transform our entire socio-economic system.

And yet, at the same time, something is amiss. Much of this so-called Creative Class can only prosper by finding work within the current corporate infrastructure, resulting in very little actual creativity or innovation. The very ones who might create the necessary change in society must expend their time and energy worrying about “making a living.” Those who can keep a job have to sacrifice ideas that contradict the wishes of bosses and the company’s stockholders.

For those who have been diagnosed “abnormal” by our society, this problem is especially prevalent. Such people are variably labeled anti-social, eccentric, introverted, highly sensitive, ADD, bipolar, neuro-atypical, differently abled, gifted, or one of many other similar terms that have a derogatory effect.… Read the rest

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Tempus Omnia Vincit

Charles II, known as El Hechizado ("The Hexed").

Charles II, known as El Hechizado ("The Hexed")

“Time Conquers All”, in Latin. A pithy little meditation on the transience of this vale of tears, paradoxically immortalized by being phrased in a dead language.

My pal Pete found it written on the bottom of a half empty beer can around closing time at the local beer garden, as we basked in Wisconsin’s recent and unusually mild late March weather. Or rather, I suggested he’d find it there.

I told him it was the lucky password the bar’s owner had written on the bottom of a randomly selected can as part of a free promotional giveaway contest. Turns out in actuality there was only an expiration date written there. And by the time he’d flipped the can over to read, it was completely emptied. Mostly onto Pete himself.

I laughed, but the barkeep seemed a little annoyed, as some of the beer had spilled on other patrons who didn’t quite get the joke.… Read the rest

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The Movement To Teach The Economy What It Is Doing

EMAIL to disinfoIn an essay penned over a decade ago titled “In Distrust of Movements”, farmer, author, and critic Wendell Berry beautifully summed up the nature of and need for an Occupy movement. Via the irrisistible fleet of bicycles:

One way we could describe the task ahead of us is by saying that we need to enlarge the consciousness and the conscience of the economy. Our economy needs to know — and care — what it is doing. This is revolutionary, of course, if you have a taste for revolution, but it is also a matter of common sense.

People in movements…often become too specialized, as if finally they cannot help taking refuge in the pinhole vision of the institutional intellectuals. They almost always fail to be radical enough, dealing finally in effects rather than causes. Or they deal with single issues or single solutions, as if to assure themselves that they will not be radical enough.

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When the Earth Gets Sick: Most Mass Extinctions Happened Slowly

Pangaea

Earth in the Permian period. Illustration: Kieff (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

In geology as in cancer research, the silver bullet theory always gets the headlines and nearly always turns out to be wrong. For geologists who study mass extinctions, the silver bullet is a giant asteroid plunging to earth.But an asteroid is the prime suspect only in the most recent of five mass extinctions, said USC earth scientist David Bottjer. The cataclysm 65 million years ago wiped out the dinosaurs.

“The other four have not been resolvable to a rock falling out of the sky,” Bottjer said. For example, Bottjer and many others have published studies suggesting that the end-Permian extinction 250 million years ago happened in essence because “the earth got sick.”

The latest research from Bottjer’s group suggests a similar slow dying during the extinction 200 million years ago at the boundary of the Triassic and Jurassic eras. The latest research from Bottjer’s group suggests a similar slow dying during the extinction 200 million years ago at the boundary of the Triassic and Jurassic eras.

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