Tag Archives | Community

Living in Little Boxes

Little HouseFor years, it has been reported that standard homesizes (with the US being the glaring exception) are shrinking. How small is too small? And what is the relationship between liveable space, architecture, community, and sustainability? In this article from the Independent, RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) “slams” the (non) architectural standards of suburban house building.

Architects have criticised the “shameful shoe-box homes” being built in Britain today, saying many are too small for family life. Research by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) found the floor area of the average new three-bedroom home in the UK is 88 sq m, some 8 sq m short of the recommended space.

One-bedroom properties, at an average of 46 sq m, are 4 sq m smaller than the recommended size, the Case For Space study found. This is the equivalent of a single bed, a bedside table and a dressing table with a stool, the report said.

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Learning Lessons From Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

I dropped in on the Occupy Chicago demonstrators on Tuesday to check on their morale after spending mostof my Saturday with them last weekend. As the occupation of Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park begins to enter its third week, the small but spirited occupation of the corner of Jackson and LaSalle, mere feet in front of the doors to the federal reserve, enters its second.

Most of the people I found in front of the Fed were new, showing up in solidarity after hearing about the movement on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook or what little major media coverage has trickled out. The newer occupiers blended perfectly well with the ones who had been taking part since Friday morning, providing a much needed energy boost to a rain soaked and weary core in need of a good night’s sleep and a fully charged cell phone.… Read the rest

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Cleaning up the Religion Debate

Lately there have been a few articles on Disinfo that eventually, either immediately or after a few days, spurred an argument that rears its head fairly often here. The debate between atheism and religion is one in which I usually enjoy taking part, and I like that it pops up on Disinfo with a certain regularity.  What I don’t like, what I suspect many of us don’t like, is that they often devolve into, if not begin as, something along the lines of:

Poster A:  religion is stupid

Poster B:  YOU’RE stupid

Sometimes it’s a little more eloquent, but this is the bare bones of it. Not very useful, nor very informative. This I think we can agree on.  So how does one go about creating a better, more informative dialogue? Can it even be done? One side believes the other to be irrational, delusional, utilizing a sort of maladaptive coping mechanism to either protect oneself from the harsh realities of life or as an easy way to answer the hard questions with which life presents us.Read the rest

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On Bullying

Bullying is taught in schools, churches and families throughout America. Bullying is a common practice in our military training. An extremely prevalent form of this teaching is “group punishment.” One person or more breaks the rules or is accused of not carrying his or her weight; and everyone is punished for the perpetrators’ infractions or inadequacies simply because they’re in that class or unit.

This incites the group to pressure the perpetrators into working harder or altering their behavior. This form of bullying is also very common in the work place and is an encouraged form of harassment. This pressure is “bullying” and it takes many forms: Beatings, hostile behavior and threats, ostracism, and many other forms of harassment. At Columbine the victims of bullies bullied back and only after that did people speak out against bullying on a nation-wide scale.

They formed organizations to prevent and stop bullying. All of their efforts are in vain until we stop the unjust practice of group punishment.… Read the rest

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Economic Inequality Promotes Self-Aggrandizement

Richa and Poor

Rich and poor in São Paulo. Photo: Tuca Vieira (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

Pretty much everybody thinks they’re better than average. But in some cultures, people are more self-aggrandizing than in others. Until now, national differences in “self-enhancement” have been chalked up to an East-West individualism-versus-collectivism divide. In the West, where people value independence, personal success, and uniqueness, psychologists have said, self-inflation is more rampant. In the East, where interdependence, harmony, and belonging are valued, modesty prevails.Now an analysis of data gathered from 1,625 people in 15 culturally diverse countries finds a stronger predictor of self-enhancement: economic inequality.

“We don’t know the precise mechanism, but it seems unlikely that it is primarily an East-West difference,” says University of Kent research associate Steve Loughnan. “It’s got to do with how your society distributes its resources.” The study — whose 19 collaborators represent 16 universities around the globe — will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

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Douglas Rushkoff On Flash Mobs

Doug Rushkoff. Photo by Paul May (CC)

Doug Rushkoff. Photo by Paul May (CC)

Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff explains why limiting access to social networks is not the answer to preventing riots, for CNN:

In the past, people seemed to require a massive “cue” to form a mob. The New York blackouts of the summer of 1977 resulted in citywide looting, not just because alarm systems were down, but because a whole lot of hot, angry, frustrated people had an excuse to act en masse. Likewise, the verdict on the Rodney King trial served as a spark, synchronizing simultaneous explosions of mob behavior in a dozen North American cities.

Media can certainly accelerate or even reproduce this process. Radio gave Hitler a way to unify angry crowds as never before, and it both inspired and facilitated the chasing down and murder of about 800,000 Tutsis by gangs with machetes in Rwanda. Radio broadcasters announced where potential victims were hiding, coordinating the violence via media.

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Burning Man Has (Literally) Sold Out

Burning ManAnyone going this year? If not, ever been? If not … Andrew Averill writes on SF Gate:

Many Burning Man festival participants climb a huge butterfly art structure to watch the sunrise over the playa. This year, the festival’s permit limits participants to 50,000 at one time.

When the first Burning Man event took place on San Francisco’s Baker Beach in 1986, it was such a lawless free-for-all that when it came time to burn The Man, a woman ran toward the engulfed 20-foot-tall humanoid structure and held its hand while wind blew the flames away from her.

Twenty-five years later, the annual event has become a mass sojourn into the Nevada Black Rock desert — one that some of its most loyal followers complain is becoming increasingly rigid and commercial.

And now it has come to this: For the first time ever, Burning Man has literally sold out. Organizers were forced to cap the number of attendees to the weeklong event, an art-focused, community-centric festival that starts Aug.

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A Visionary Way To Bring Good Food To The Poor Is Taking Off

Photo: Carrie Leber

Photo: Carrie Leber

Don’t have enough money to go out and eat?  Panera Cares is an innovative café that allows you to pay what you can without leaving you feeling guilty or hungry. Via AlterNet:

If you were to only judge the world by watching the news, you’d think we had collectively lost all of our humanity, our intergrity. Neverending wars, devastating environmental disasters, punishing austerity measures… all of which impact the poorer among us more than the richer. Rare is the voice that speaks for the underprivileged. But, if you listen hard enough, you might just hear a little whisper out there in the distance.

Among those voices, Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich might well be the loudest. Last year, Shaich began an experiment in Clayton, Missouri. He opened a Panera Cares pay-what-you-can café and it has been an unqualified success, so much so that he has since opened two more locations – in Dearborn, Michigan, and Portland, Oregon.

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Anonymous Launches Social Networking Site: AnonPlus

anonymouslogo0207211AnonPlus is to be a new social networking site without censorship, but how different is it from other social networks? The Raw Story reports:
Infamous hacker group Anonymous launched Monday its own social network after being rejected by Google's freshly-launched online community. "Today we welcome you to begin anew," the hacker alliance said at the website anonplus.com, which it described as a platform to distribute information. "Welcome to the Revolution - a new social network where there is no fear...of censorship...of blackout...nor of holding back." The drive to build a social network came after the Anonymous account was suspended at the Google+ online community, which was launched last month by the Internet giant as a challenge to Facebook. A message on the anonplus.com website promised that the Anonymous social network would be for everyone and listed online monikers of developers taking part in the project.
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