Saturday, 17 December 2011

Growing down

In 2010, four friend students concerned with the lack privacy of online social networks, such as Facebook, set out to create a decentralized, open source network, called Diaspora*. They quickly gathered enough support and donations to dedicate themselves to its full-time development. In November 2010 the first version of Diaspora* was released to the public.

In the evening of 12 of November 2011, one of the talented developers, 22 years old Ilya Zhitomirskiy was found dead at home! The following is one of the last posts that he shared on his Diaspora* profile... Rest in peace Ilya.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Us when?

Once a week, for the past few weeks, I've been hosting a documentary evening with friends and anyone interested in non-fictional "edutainment"... or a nap (you know who you are :). For a few hours we watch the movie, share food, have a catch up and sometimes a healthy debate about the issue at hand.

Decided by majority vote, this week's documentary was Us Now, which you can watch below. This one hour long, fast passed, picture from 2009, analyses online social networking and how this unprecedented amount of non-hierarchical collaboration threatens the millennia old pyramid shaped power structures still so prevalent today.

The movie goes on to explore the still untapped potential of this relatively new capability, such as to allow citizens to be more involved in their government's policy and decision making, by creating a system of direct democracy.

The audience of 8 agreed that the documentary put across an interesting argument but there was some scepticism as to the practicalities and the safeness of such direct democracy system. Some said they don't trust the general public with decision making, while others seemed to agree that a transparent and decentralised power structure is less corruptible and preferable to the current system. What do you think.

After a short discussion we ended the evening with a bit of classic George Carlin stand up comedy... or rather a wake up call disguised as comedy.

For more information, extra clips and reviews please go to

Watch Us Now in other languages here.

Buy the DVD here.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Capitalism humour by Calvin & Hoobes

This 20 year old Calvin and Hobbes comic, made by Bill Watterson, explains in simple terms the roots of the current economic crisis and the injustices concerning the ever growing Occupy movement. Click the image for larger version.

Calvin & Hobbes

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Voices of the occupations

A compilation of a few voices from the various occupations dotted across the world.

New York City

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Occupy demands and solutions

We are the 99%
As the occupy movement gathers momentum more and more aware people start believing in the strength of their voices (specially if in unison with others) as we create a human microphone that is drawing the image of the future as we speak.

However, despite the movement's relative awareness and clear dissatisfaction with today's systemic problems, as a whole, it appears to still not have a very practical list of demands. As we grow, it's important that we draft a set of solutions that will not just try to remedy the superficial symptom temporarily. In order to do this we must find the very root of the rot and inoculate the system against the greed and corruption viruses, for good.

Following are a bunch of suggestions (by a well seasoned researcher), which I feel would serve us very well indeed from the moment they're implemented. If you agree with them, please help bring the focus of the occupy movement to these demands by spreading them far and wide. Thank you for caring.
  1. An end to creating money out of thin air on computer screens and charging interest on it (fractional reserve lending).
  2. An end to governments borrowing fresh-air money called ‘credit’ from private banks and the people paying interest on this ‘money’ that has never, does not and will never exist. Governments (and that concept must change radically) can create their own currency – interest free.
  3. An end to private banks issuing non-existent money called ‘credit’ at all and thus creating ‘money’ as a debt from the very start.
  4. An end to casinos like Wall Street and the City of London betting mercilessly on the financial and commodity markets with the lives of billions around the world.
  5. An end to all professional lobby groups that earn their living and their clients’ living from corrupting the professionally corruptible – vast numbers of world politicians and the overwhelming majority on Capitol Hill.
  6. An end to no-contract government in which mendacious politicians can promise the people they will do this and that to win their support and then do the very opposite after they have lied themselves into office (see Obama).
  7. An end to the centralisation of power in all areas of our lives and a start to diversifying power to communities to decide their own lives and thus ensure there are too many points of decision making for any cabal to centrally control.

    99% too big to fail

    Inspired by this years' Arab spring revolutions and sparked by the Occupy Wall Street protest, which started over a month ago, last Saturday 15th of October were launched synchronised protests in over 1500 locations worldwide! Many of which turned into full-time, long-term camps or occupations. There are currently over 100 cities in the United States alone and many other locations elsewhere.

    The languages are many but the voice is the same. The 99% (referring to wealth inequality as owned by the 1% richest) is shouting; enough economic corruption and corporate greed! Following are a few pictures, of the Occupy London crowd, expressing the general sentiment permeating the global movement.

    Saturday, 8 October 2011

    Occupy Wall Street Heroes

    2nd time I've fought for my country. 1st time I've known my enemy.

    The 99% are growing louder and larger everyday.

    Saturday, 1 October 2011

    Scientists under attack

    Scientists Under Attack is an investigation into the scientists researching the health impacts of Genetically Modified Food. This film is recommended for all those who love nature, and for everyone who eats. View the trailer here and buy the film here.

    "When scientist Arpad Pusztai reported that genetically modified (GM) foods caused serious health problems in rats, he was a hero at his prestigious UK institute — for two days. But after two phone calls (apparently) from the Prime Minister’s office, he was fired, gagged, and mercilessly attacked.

    When UC Berkely professor Ignacio Chapela discovered GM corn contamination in Mexico, he too faced a firestorm of distortion and denial that left him struggling to salvage his career. Find out how the biotech industry “engineers” the truth and what they are trying to hide from you."

    Tuesday, 20 September 2011

    How the world changed after 9/11

    Ten years after 9/11, the main stream media is finally catching on. Hats off to the 9/11 researchers, writers, activists, for relentlessly waving the flag for so long... the flag of the false flag. Following is an excerpt of a refreshing article about 9/11, written by Charlie Skelton and published on The Guardian newspaper website.

    September 11, he argues, was a coup carried out by a rogue network within the US military and government. A cabal of fascists, working with (and for) a banking oligarchy, "the old boys of Wall Street".

    Saturday, 20 August 2011

    The unheard voice of the riots

    When politicians claim there's something wrong with society, are they referring to the symptomatic riots or the real underlying problem?

    While the political class chooses to worship the bankers and the elite and ignore the voices of those that are hurting and feel they have nowhere to turn to, the problem will not be solved. Here, an indignant Londoner speaks his mind and heart out, and gives his first hand view on the underlying problems that triggered the riots.

    Regardless of time and age, history appears to keep repeating itself as if patiently trying to teach us a basic lesson; the bigger the inequality, the bigger the unrest... maybe one day we'll get it.

    Saturday, 6 August 2011

    Gramatik beats

    A couple of beats have recently (and pleasantly) found their way to my ear drums... repeatedly. Stupendous background for cooking... or general standing activities, specially if you have a few spare limbs to jerk around, hip & hop style.

    Gramatik - Orchestrated Incident
    Gramatik - Lonely & Cold


    José Saramago
    "We use words to understand each other and even, sometimes, to find each other."

    "There are times when it is best to be content with what one has, so as not to lose everything."

    "What kind of world is this that can send machines to Mars and does nothing to stop the killing of a human being?"

    “Perhaps it is the language that chooses the writers it needs, making use of them so that each might express a tiny part of what it is.”

    "Every man has his own patch of earth to cultivate. What’s important is that he dig deep."

    "Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we are."

    José Saramago (1922-2010)

    Monday, 1 August 2011

    Big tiny

    Through the ear of the butterfly
    gently the breeze shouts,
    stop, listen to the rain drops
    splashing the petals' spots.

    High above from the grass blade
    spy a tiny human being play,
    with a smile speaking fascination
    over ants, beetles and clay.

    Walk under leaves, climb up stems,
    dive into the nectar you must.
    Shower in the palpable flowery scent,
    bathe in its sweetness until dusk.

    AL 01/08/2011

    Picture by TanWei

    Friday, 27 May 2011

    Random drops of wisdom

    "When told that man lives in delusion everyone thinks of himself as the exception – hence his delusion." ~ Vernon Howard

    "Fear is the great robber of time." ~ (Unknown)

    "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education." ~ Einstein

    "With all the conflicting information on diet, what makes sense? Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, larvicides, genetically modified organisms, chemical fertilizers, microwaves, pasteurization, homogenization, hormonally injected animals, color dyes, artificial additives, and high fructose corn syrup? Or raw, organic, sun-ripened plant food?" ~ David Wolf

    "The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease." ~ Voltaire

    "Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane--like all dreams:[...] a God who mouths justice and invented hell--mouths mercy and invented hell--mouths Golden Rules, and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all;[...] and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!..." ~  Mark Twain - The Mysterious Stranger

    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." ~ Mahatma Ghandi

    Friday, 29 April 2011

    Portico Quartet - Isla

    The Portico Quartet is my latest musical find, which brings me lots of joy and pleasure. Thought I'd share the love.  Here's one of their singles... simply divine!

    Wednesday, 20 April 2011

    What you cannot imagine

    "I died from minerality and became vegetable;
    And from vegetativeness I died and became animal.
    I died from animality and became man.
    Then why fear disappearance through death?
    Next time I shall die
    Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels;
    After that, soaring higher than angels -
    What you cannot imagine,
    I shall be that." 
    ~ Rumi
    "When a baby is taken from the wet nurse,
    it easily forgets her
    and starts eating solid food.

    Seeds feed awhile on ground,
    then lift up into the sun.

    So you should taste the filtered light
    and work your way toward wisdom
    with no personal covering.

    That's how you came here, like a star
    without a name. Move across the night sky
    with those anonymous lights." 
    ~ Rumi

    Monday, 18 April 2011

    Friday, 25 March 2011

    Deolinda - Um contra o outro

    Desliga o cabo
    Que liga a vida
    A esse jogo
    Joga comigo
    Um jogo novo
    Com duas vidas
    Um contra o outro

    Já não basta esta luta contra o tempo
    Este tempo que perdemos a tentar vencer alguém
    Ao fim ao cabo
    Que é dado como um ganho
    Vai-se a ver desperdiçámos
    Sem nada dar a ninguém

    Faz uma pausa
    Encosta o carro
    Sai da corrida
    Larga essa guerra
    Que a tua meta
    Está deste lado da tua vida

    Muda de nível
    Sai do estado invisível
    Põe um modo compatível
    Com a minha condição
    Que a tua vida
    É real e repetida
    Dá-te mais que o impossível
    Se me deres a tua mão

    Sai de casa e vem comigo para a rua
    Vem, que essa vida que tens
    Por mais vidas que tu ganhes
    É a tua que mais perde se não vens

    Mostra o que vales
    Tu nesse jogo
    Vales tão pouco
    Troca de vício
    Por outro novo
    Que o desafio
    É corpo a corpo
    Escolhe a arma
    A estratégia que não falha
    O lado forte da batalha
    Põe no máximo poder
    Dou-te a vantagem
    Tu com tudo
    E eu sem nada
    Que mesmo assim desarmada
    Vou-te ensinar a perder

    Sai de casa e vem comigo para a rua
    Vem, que essa vida que tens
    Por mais vidas que tu ganhes
    É a tua que mais perde se não vens

    Wednesday, 16 March 2011

    O Linux nosso de cada dia

    Esta é p'rós "geeks" ; )

    Logotipos do Linux e varias distribuições
    O Linux Nosso

    "Linux nosso que estais no PC
    Bem compilado seja o vosso Kernel
    Venha a nós o vosso código
    Seja feita a vossa tarball
    Assim em casa como no trabalho
    O bit nosso de cada dia seja escovado
    Apagai com rm -rf
    Para nunca mais recuperar o que foi perdido
    Não nos deixeis errar a compilação
    E livrai a todos da M$, Amém."
    ~ Autor desconhecido

    Tuesday, 15 March 2011

    Big Bang Breathe

    The Big Bang Theory S04E18
    "We tell ourselves stories. We weave together different plot lines, wondering if the outcome of the story might be different were we to have done or said something other than what we had done or said, all the while knowing that the various alternative outcomes are just more stories - fictions meant to distract us from what's actually happening. And so we pause from weaving and comment breathing, gently and non-judgementally saying hello to what is...

    Oy vey." ~ Chuck Lorre

    Monday, 14 March 2011

    Ino da geração á rasca

    "Sou da geração sem-remuneração
    e nem me incomoda esta condição...
    Que parva que eu sou...

    Porque isto está mau e vai continuar
    já é uma sorte eu poder estagiar
    Que parva que eu sou....

    e fico a pensar
    que mundo tão parvo
    onde para ser escravo
    é preciso estudar...

    Sou da geração casinha-dos-pais
    Se já tenho tudo, pra quê querer mais?
    Que parva que eu sou...

    Filhos, marido, estou sempre a adiar
    e ainda me falta o carro pagar
    Que parva que eu sou...

    e fico a pensar
    que mundo tão parvo
    onde para ser escravo
    é preciso estudar...

    Sou da geração vou-queixar-me-pra-quê?
    Há alguém bem pior do que eu na TV
    Que parva que eu sou...

    Sou da geração eu-já-não-posso-mais-Que-esta-situação-dura-há-tempo-de-mais!
    e parva eu não sou!!!

    e fico a pensar
    que mundo tão parvo
    onde para ser escravo
    é preciso estudar..."

    Deolinda - "Parva que sou"
    Música e letra: Pedro da Silva Martins

    Sunday, 20 February 2011

    The Self: a poem by Friend

    The Self

    "It is only the self that can profit
    it is only the self that can gain
    it is only the self that sheds its tears
    from laughter love and pain.

    It is only the self that gets lonely
    as it is only the self that can care
    and it is only by self realization
    that the self can become self-aware.

    So it is only the self that is selfish
    as only the self can be less
    and it is only the self that is everything
    that's why I'm in such a mess.

    For only the self can cause doubt
    and only the self can cause fear
    and it is only the self that can fuck things up
    the things the self holds dear.

    So if only the self learns the lessons
    before it leaves it too late
    or the self by not recognizing
    will doom itself to an unconscious fate."

    by Friend

    Know: a poem by Friend


    "Know one can make a difference
    Know one can change it all
    Know one can learn the lessons
    or know one in fractions will fall

    Know one can look to the future
    Know one can learn from the past
    Know ones' free will is al they have
    and know one can change really fast

    Know one can look in the mirror
    Know one can see their own fate
    Know one can truly love and care
    or know one will leave it too late

    Know one can live without envy
    Know one can wake from the sleep
    Know one can stop all the violence
    and know one can take faiths leap

    Know one can stop all the wars
    Know one can stop all the crime
    Know one can take the right action
    or know one will run out of time

    Know one can live in freedom
    know one can truely share
    know one can open up one's heart
    and know one can be aware."

    by Friend

    Carta á Camara Municipal de Penafiel

    (Enviado a 19 Fevereiro 2011)

    Cara(o) Sr(a),

    Camara Municipal de Penafiel
    Venho por este meio comunicar-lhe uma proposta simples e grátis para o melhoramento ambiental, de saúde e social do conselho de Penafiel.

    Descobri recentemente que a Camara de Penafiel está a promover a agricultura biológica e a disponibilizar alguns apoios para novos aderentes deste tipo de agricultura ainda em fase emergente em Portugal. Gostaria antes de mais de aplaudir os responsáveis pela introdução desta visão progressiva e importante em múltiplas vertentes, com vantagens incalculáveis para o concelho, país e planeta.

    Contudo, sinto que seja o meu dever alertar o governo local que para esta iniciativa suceder é crucial salvaguardarmos a certificação dos nossos agricultores biológicos, para que estes não sejam contaminados por transgénicos ou organismos geneticamente modificados (OGMs). Os perigos destes foram á muito documentados(1) mas Portugal ainda é dos países Europeus menos informado acerca de OGMs, como se pode verificar nesta sondagem recente:

    Venho portanto propor que a Camara Municipal de Penafiel declare o conselho como Zona Livre de OGMs e se junte á lista Europeia de países, concelhos e localidades conscientes dos perigos dos trangénicos, listados neste mapa:

    Esta simples acção enviaria uma mensagem forte, não só de suporte pela agricultura biológica atraindo assim mais investimento nesta área, mas especialmente uma mensagem séria, do presente governo da Camara, de preocupação pelo bem estar de saúde, ambiental e social de cada cidadão deste concelho. Espero que considerem esta proposta com a seriedade que merece, pois cada vez mais o nosso futuro depende dela.

    Aguardo atentamente uma resposta.

    Com os melhores cumprimentos,
    António C. F. Luís
    Boelhe, Penafiel

    P.S. - Caso esta mensagem tenha chegado ao recipiente “errado”, por favor re-envie-a para o recipiente relevante.

    (1) O documentário “O Futuro da Alimentação” relata de forma concisa e acessível, a tecnologia por detrás da manipulação genética, fazendo perceber assim os seus óbvios perigos. O documentário está disponível livremente nesta página:

    (Recebido a 22 Fevereiro 2011) Sr. António Luís,

    Incumbe a Vereadora responsável pelo Pelouro do Desenvolvimento Rural, Dr.ª Susana Oliveira, de acusar a recepção do V/e-mail e informar que o mesmo mereceu a sua melhor atenção.

    Assim, agradece-se o contacto e a mensagem, bem como o conselho deixado.

    Mais se informa que, estamos a avaliar a situação e a fazer os contactos e as diligências necessárias para conhecer exactamente o âmbito do proposto.

    Sem mais de momento, subscrevo-me ao dispor de V/Exa. para qualquer outro assunto,

    Ana Margarida Mota Fernandes
    Gabinete de apoio à Sr.ª Vereadora Dr.ª Susana Oliveira
    Tel: 255710700 | Fax: 255711066

    Friday, 18 February 2011

    O tabu emocional

    A sociedade humana, em média, tem evoluído tremendamente nos últimos milénios. Os desenvolvimentos científicos e tecnológicos são inegáveis, assim como são os progressos gigantescos nos campos dos direitos humanos e da liberdade de expressão. Contudo, quando olho para toda esta passada [r]evolução, encontro uma área que me parece ser rodeada por um certo nevoeiro cerrado de tabu. Refiro-me aqui á evolução emocional, no contexto de liberdade de expressão. Enquanto que quase todos os aspectos intelectuais são encorajados na sociedade actual, a faceta emocional do ser humano parece-me extremamente ignorada, marginalizada e até mesmo reprimida.

    Na escola aprende-mos a ler e a escrever, aprendemos matemática, história, geografia e biologia. Ou seja aprendemos tudo o que já para aprender acerca do mundo exterior. Mas quem nos ensina a nos compreendermos a nós próprios? Quem é que promove a auto-analise? Ninguém. O que não surpreende uma vez que o ensino escolar não existe com o intuito de criar humanos auto-suficientes (salvo seja!), mas sim humanos moldados e prontos a encaixarem na máquina de produção industrial capitalista. E assim passam gerações de humanos, muitos deles até relativamente cultos em matérias do exterior, inconscientes deles próprios, cada um lidando com crises interiores como pode.

    Alguns contam com a ajuda, feliz ou infeliz, de um “perito” da matéria, o psicólogo da mente humana. Este analisa a superficialidade, em vez de compreender a profundidade. Distribui opinião, em vez de compaixão. Receita medicações, em vez de meditações. E assim pergunto-me, não seria o mundo mais sincero e mais saudável se a expressão de emoção fosse encorajada, suportada e conversada? Se berrar alto quando estamos furiosos; se chorar em bica quando nos sentimos fracos; se rir á gargalhada sem razão aparente, fosse não apenas aceite mas também celebrado no meio social? Isto, claro, desde que não magoe e de preferência que não ofenda ninguém, pois para isto se inventaram as almofadas.

    Emoções ditas “negativas” não são bem vindas, são especialmente proibidas. Fúria, ódio, ciúme, tristeza, saudade, etc. Quantas vezes perguntamos “Como estás?” sem querermos ouvir a resposta realmente honesta? Quantas vezes respondemos “Bem, obrigado!” porque sabemos que se disséssemos a verdade, não seria apenas socialmente “incorrecto”, mas pior, levaríamos com uma carrada de julgamento (ainda que não expressado) que não ajudaria em nada como nos sentimos cá dentro. A verdade é que todas as emoções são validas. As razões porque nascem podem não ser lógicas mas não acredito que seja benéfico ignorar ou reprimir algo sob o qual parece termos pouco o nenhum controlo. E uma vez que “sou o que sou, por causa do que todos nós somos” porque será que não nos interessamos verdadeiramente com o bem estar do vizinho quando perguntamos “Como estás?”

    French environmental poster campaign stirs up controversy

    The environmental organization, France Nature Environnement (FNE) made up of over 3000 environmental associations, is running a poster campaign in the underground of Paris, putting the spotlight on the problems of intensive farming. Pesticides and genetically modified organisms are the main targets. Needless to say that big agri-business are furious.

    Le Figaro has an article regarding this campaign and a video interview with FNE's Benoît Hartmann, if your French is up to scratch.

    "On genetically modified organisms, has yet to drop..."

    "The law does not require special labelling for animals fed genetically modified food."

    "Certain pesticides carry a mortal risk for bees and it's not the cinema."

    "Certain pesticides carry a mortal risk for bees."

    "Intensive industrial hog farms and fertilizers promote the growth of green algae."
    "Their decomposition emits a gas which is lethal for man."

    "Intensive industrial hog farms and fertilizers promote the growth of green algae."
    "Their decomposition emits a gas which is lethal for man."

    Sunday, 13 February 2011

    Concentrated wisdom

    Eckhart Tolle
    Some favourite quotes by Eckhart Tolle, from his books A New Earth and The Power of Now.
    "If her past were your past, her pain your pain, her level of consciousness your level of consciousness, you would think and act exactly as she does. With this realization comes forgiveness, compassion, peace. The ego doesn’t like to hear this, because if it cannot be reactive and righteous anymore, it will lose strength."

    "One conscious breath is meditation."

    "Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose."

    "...sometimes letting go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on."

    "Identification with your mind creates an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, words, judgements, and definitions that blocks all true relationship."

    "Whenever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it, although you may not see it at the time."

    "Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place."

    "Power over others is weakness disguised as strength."

    "The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you."

    "All the things that truly matter — beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace — arise from beyond the mind."

    "...relinquish, for a moment, your desire to explain and label..."

    "The reason why the romantic love relationship is such an intense and universally sought-after experience is that it seems to offer liberation from a deep-seated state of fear, need, lack, and incompleteness that is part of the human condition in its unredeemed and unenlightened state."

    "Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be."

    Thursday, 10 February 2011

    Zeitgeist Movement: doubts and reservations

    In January 2011, the movie Zeitgeist III: Moving Forward was released online, for free and for anyone willing to invest two hours and forty minutes of viewing time. The movie is divided in two distinct parts. The first half analyses the current economic and social condition of humanity as a whole, while the second part presents and proposes a possible solution, known as The Venus Project.

    Whether people like the movie or not, one thing is sure, it makes them question themselves and things they take for granted, as well as sparking debate on what is possible. Regardless of whether The Venus Project is the future or not, seeking alternatives to an obviously unsustainable and corrupt system nearing a collapse is, in my view, not only a healthy exercise but an ever more urgent one, if we care about the future.

    From what I understood (please correct me if I'm wrong), The Venus Project core, is the idea of a Resource Based Economy. Since we live in a finite planet, all of the world's resources become heritage of everyone on the planet and are then allocated on a per need basis. There are no politicians, as there are no decisions to be made, instead all decisions are arrived at through scientific methods. There's no money in this system as people have always free access to what they need.

    After watching the movie, most people seem to agree that the first part is an accurate analysis of our current conditioning and relative problems. However, when it comes to the proposed solution, the consensus is not as prevalent and so the aim of this post is to present the reservations I have regarding The Venus Project also known as The Zeitgeist Movement. These are probably common questions that the Zeitgeist Movement supporters hear on a regular basis, so hopefully someone will be able to jump in and clarify them with ease.

    In a resource based economy:
    1. What happens to people who don't agree with it and therefore don't want to be a part of it? We all know we can't please everyone all of the time, so how does it deal with dissent? Or for example, what happens to people who don't want to live in a city, who want to be self-sufficient, growing their own food, generating their own power, etc?
    2. I keep hearing that nobody makes decisions in a resource based economy, that decisions are arrived at. But someone would have to define the education curriculum for example, no? And who would allocate jobs for example? A central computer would? Based on people's qualifications and skill sets? How about skills that can't be accurately measured, say due to their subjectivity? Right now I'm thinking of creativity as an example but I'm sure there are many more.
    3. Who defines and how is it defined, how much is enough? For example, lets say I want or need a second computer? Would I be allowed one? What if someone wants a much bigger house and a swimming pool than everybody else, using therefore more energy and water? Who's going to tell him/her that and they can't have it?
    4. Cybernated Government
    5. Whoever has access to the central resource management computer, has incredible power, be them programmers, engineers, etc. How is corruption prevented in this centralized system?
    6. What happens when there are bugs, errors, breakdowns of the system and what would it be its global impact? Same question goes for an entire society living of the grid, what happens if/when the grid fails? How is resilience achieved in a grid system?
    7. Something that concerns me deeply is Genetically Modified food and I know many who avoid it at all cost. Even if the technology was safe, I would rather not eat GM food for ethical reasons. What if scientists found that this was the only logical way to grow food, despite there being other options? What choice does the individual have? I mean, how do ethics meet logic in a world where scientific progress rules all?
    8. (This is an organic list so expect updates. Update 1 starts here.)
    9. Great, so everyone can choose to be or not to be in the RBE. So this would allow parallel systems to coexist or compete with the RBE? Does the RBE then account for the resources used outside of itself? Would it still be sustainable this way?
    10. The decision making process is still unclear to me. I like all of the examples I read but they don't answer my question specifically. Even if just for the transition period or the duration of construction of the first city, won't someone have to call the shots? I can't see how the project will get off the ground without some sort of leadership and decision making. This is a question that I have seen Jacque 'dodging' before, which seems out of character for him.
    11. It sounds like a lifetime holiday, nobody being coerced to do anything they don't want to do, everyone working and spending their time as they wish, great! In this case, what are the chances that what people want to work on will match the RBE's needs? And what happens when there's a gap in the human skills resource? Yes, because humans are also a resource in the RBE, right?
    12. A few friends told me that if they could live this way they'd love to have large families and just enjoy the time with them. They seem to believe that this is what everyone would naturally do. What's preventing a sharp rise of population? And what happens when/if the population grows beyond the carrying capacity of the Earth?
    13. I understand that a lot of these questions are coming from a mindset of the current system and that in the future people will not want the things we think we want now. However if the RBE is to ever materialise it must account for the transition period where all that people are equipped with is their experience so far. This is why I ask how is calculated the amount of resources each citizen is allowed to use and how is that enforced? I gave the example of a second laptop or a bigger house but it could be anything, at some point someone will want something ridiculous. How do you deal with that?
    14. I'm happy with the open source and transparency approach to the Resource Management System as well as all technology. It seems that alone would have an incredible positive impact in today's world, but how many of you still use windows? (There's no need to answer this, the Ubuntu folks paid me to plug Linux ; ) My point is, there are a lot of personal choices available to us today and I wonder how many in the movement are aware of these.
    15. I was relieved to read that people in the movement are aware of the dangers of Genetically Modified food. Even if the technology ever becomes 'safe' and stable, does anyone care to discuss the ethical implications of taking a gene, lets say, from an animal and inserting it in a plant and then releasing this into nature allowing it to cross pollinate with the local species and eventually extinct what took millions of years to evolve? Fact: 97% of all varieties of food crops in the US have already gone extinct since the industrial revolution. Over 95% of corn grown in the US is already GM, and new GM crops are approved frequently. Isn't the mechanistic approach to nature not just a side effect of the current society but the core of science in general? 
    16.  I see the current human problems as a symptom of human consciousness, or rather the lack of it. However, it's from within the current Zeitgeist that we must try to abstract ourselves from, if we're not to transfer our current inhumanities to the new one. And although I can see the possibility of this happening in small steps, isn't the Venus Project hundreds of years ahead of its time?
    17. (This is an organic list so expect updates.)

    The way I understand it, any system is only as morally ethical as the people running that system. Sure, some systems may promote more moral corruption than others, however is a science driven society by definition free from corruption? Isn't science only as accurate and as ethical as the human mind (or ego) of the time allows? My opinion (which in a RBE would have no value) is that decentralization of power, regardless of the system, is the only way to prevent corruption on a massive scale. The Internet is the best example of this today.

    Yes, the Zeitgeist Movement is incredibly ambitious but making people wonder about what kind of world they'd like to live on, instead of merely point out the problems, can't be a bad thing. Critics are everywhere (including myself) but I don't hear them coming with better solutions. Even if it never comes to be, the Venus Project is promoting a discussion and a mental exercise long overdue, to dream of a humanity in harmony with the planet and itself. What's the harm in that?

    A Venus Project city

    Saturday, 5 February 2011

    Tudo o que eu queria

    Tudo o que eu queria era nascer,
    brincar e correr,
    mas porquê morrer?

    Tudo o que eu queria era aprender
    o jogo de viver,
    mas e se perder?

    Tudo o que eu queria era sinceridade
    seriedade sem piedade,
    mas será verdade?

    Tudo o que eu queria era sentir
    as asas a abrir,
    mas para onde partir?

    Tudo o que eu queria era voar
    além do luar,
    mas para quê voltar?

    Tudo o que eu queria era amor
    com todo o furor,
    mas sem dor, por favor!

    Tudo o que eu queria era conseguir
    te deixar ir,
    mas sem fingir.

    Tudo o que eu queria eras tu...

    AL 05/02/11

    Friday, 4 February 2011

    How nutrition affects behavior

    In this short presentation (48mins), doctor Russell Blaylock explains how nutrition affects behaviour. How a deficient diet relates to higher crime as studies show a correlation between violent criminals and nutritional deficiencies. How sugar intake leads to a higher incidence of Alzheimer's disease. How aspartame and mono-sodium-glutamate (MSG) contribute to hypoglycaemia and cause other health problems. How vitamin deficiencies and unsuspecting food allergies effect how the brain functions. How vaccines provoke immune reactions that go on for years causing brain dysfunction and creating certain mental related diseases. The talk concludes with a list of environmental toxins to avoid, as well as a shocking fact regarding pesticides.

    Monday, 31 January 2011

    Documentário "A vida fora de controlo"

    "A engenharia genética, de certa forma, é um erro com cerca de 400 anos. Um erro que começou com a revolução Cartesiana e com a idea de que vida é uma máquina.

    Decartes disse, basicamente, que os animais são máquinas. Os Cartesianos faziam vivissecções de gates e cães, e quando ouviam os berros, diziam "Ah! Isto é como as engrenagens de uma máquina a mexer. É de onde vem o barulho!" Era uma visão totalmente mecanicista.

    Se analizarmos os últimos 400 anos, verificamos que tem havido, por parte da comunidade ciêntifica, não de toda, uma continuidade deste mito mecanicista muito perigoso. Portanto, agora veêm o mundo todo como simples máquinas e os genes como software. É por isso que acreditam na engenharia genética. Esles estão a "engenhar" vida como se estivessem a "engenhar" máquinas. É eficiência reducionista, justamente o mesmo princípio a que tentam reduzir a vida. Este é o erro fundamental da engenharia genética." (0:53:55)

    Wednesday, 26 January 2011

    Zeitgeist III: Moving Forward

    The original Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007) is said to be the most watched online documentary ever. With over an estimated 200 million views, it joins the dots between religion, the 9/11 "attacks" and the economic system in a way unexpected to many and still unacceptable by some. This controversial documentary inspired The Zeitgeist Movement, a grass-roots social movement of activists. 

    In 2008 Peter Joseph released the sequel, Zeitgeist: Addendum, which focuses in more depth on the intrinsic flaws of the monetary system and introduces The Venus Project, the birth child of Jaques Fresco, an engineer and self-educated inventor in many fields. At the end, The Zeitgeist Movement is formally introduced.

    Today is an epic day for many as Peter Joseph steps up the tempo again. The third movie of the controversial Zeitgeist series has just released. Zeitgeist III: Moving Forward can be download or watched online for free. The full 2 hours and 41 minutes documentary film is available below. Are you ready?

    Tuesday, 25 January 2011

    Grocery Store Wars (2005)

    Star Wars parody of the war between Organics vs Conventional food taking place in a supermarket near you. Obi One Cannoli, TofuD2 (lol) and friends come to the rescue... a serious subject turned into a hilarious watch!

    (Com legendas em Português.)

    Monday, 24 January 2011

    Report concludes GM food "not a solution" to feed the world

    A recent Guardian article analyses the ever more recognised truism that the "Global food system must be transformed 'on industrial revolution scale'". With the bio-tech multinationals at one side pushing for the opportunity to grab full control of the profitable global food market (under the banner of altruism) and at the other side the environmentalists concerned with the sustainability of current agricultural methods, which if expanded could cause more harm than good. The article ends as follows:

    The Foresight report is significantly different in its conclusions to that of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development report – approved by the UK government and 57 others in 2008. This found that small-scale, environmentally friendly and organic production methods, based on local knowledge and protected from globalised markets, were the way forward to avert hunger in the next 40 years and that GM food was not a solution.

    Tuesday, 18 January 2011

    The elephant in the room

    We spend so much of our lives busy with the so many duties, things and people that seem to require our constant full-time attention, always with a sense of such extreme importance and urgency, that often we loose perspective of the true dimension (or context) in which we exist.

    In fact, many spend their whole lifetime without stopping for a second to contemplate the wider Universal context. It may appear irrelevant to our daily lives but to ignore its existence is to ignore the elephant in the room... or rather the forest surrounding the grain of pollen.

    The following animation takes us on a ride through the widest (known) context of all the drama and excitement being played out on the crust of (what Carl Sagan once called) "a fraction of a dot". Fasten your seatbelts!

    Passamos tanta parte das nossas vidas ocupados com tantas preocupações e ocupações que parecem exigir a nossa atenção constante, sempre com a sensação de extrema importância e urgência tais, que muitas vezes perdemos de vista a verdadeira dimensão (ou contexto) em que existimos.

    O facto é que, muitos passam a vida inteira sem pararem um segundo para contemplarem este contexto, o contexto Universal. Pode parecer irrelevante para a nossa vida diária, mas ignorar a sua existência é ignorar o elefante na sala... ou melhor, a floresta que rodea o grão de pólen.

    A animação seguinte leva-nos num passeio através do contexto mais amplo (descoberto) em que todo o drama e emoção se está a passar, na crosta (do que Carl Sagan uma vez chamou) "uma fracção de um ponto ". Apertem os cintos!

    Jónsi - Go Do

    Go sing, too loud
    Make your voice break - Sing it out
    Go scream, do shout
    Make an earthquake...

    You wish fire would die and turn colder
    You wish young eyes could see you grow older
    We should always know that we can do anything

    Go drum, too proud
    Make your hands ache - Play it out
    Go march through crowds
    Make your day break...

    You wish silence released noisy drummers
    You wish white noise surrendered to summers
    We should always know that we can do everything

    Go do, you'll know how to
    Just let yourself, fall into landslide

    Go do, you'll know how to
    Just let yourself, give into flood tide

    Go do!

    Tie strings to clouds
    Make your own lake - Let it flow
    Throw seeds to sprout
    Make your own break - Let them grow

    Let them grow (Endless summers)
    Let them grow (Endless summers)

    (Go do endless summers)

    You wish surprise would never stop wonders
    You wish sunrise would never fall under

    You wish surprise would never stop wonders
    You wish sunrise would never fall under
    We should always know that we can do anything

    Go do!

    Saturday, 15 January 2011

    The happiness mirage

    Every human being seeks happiness in one shape or another and most would probably agree that happiness appears to be a very subjective thing. A lot of us spend our whole lifetimes seeking that which will make us happy, only to find out, time and time again, that happiness that comes from exterior events, people or things is short-lasting. If it did, the wealthy Western society would not have so many people suffering from depression and anxiety.

    However even after we own everything, we thought would make us happy, and we are at the top of our game, we realise that that happiness was a temporary mirage... because there's still that a inner void... a sense of unfulfilment and loneliness even... and makes us wonder if lasting happiness exists at all.

    Many have attempted to define happiness but Gandhi, I feel, described it most holistically:
    "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."
    Once we realise (not just think) that at the most basic level of existence, we are fine the way we are, that there's no need to try add more to our being, we start accepting ourselves. This is the beginning of the end to try to find happiness somewhere else... and certainly not by acquiring a new phone or waiting for the victory of our favourite sports team.

    Comic "Buttercup Festival"

    by David Troupes

    Friday, 14 January 2011

    TED: Ken Robinson's humourous talks on education

    TED talks have become famous all over the world. The following videos have been around the internet quite a bit but it's not everyday we come across something funny and worth hearing so here it is one of my favourite speakers, Ken Robinson. Enjoy the following two talks, the first from 2006 and the second from 2010, as Ken discusses and proposes changes to the education system.

    ("Clicka" em View Subtitles para selecionar legendas em Português.)

    Bertrand Russell: In praise of idleness

    Bertrand Russell [1872 – 1970]
    Ever had the feeling that work is overrated? That you live for the weekends, which never seem long enough and that Monday mornings are like torture? Have you ever wondered how wonderful it would be to have more time for yourself and all the things you would do with that valuable spare time? If you have had the fortune, or misfortune, of having a full-time job long enough, chances are, that these questions have crossed your mind. Or possibly not, since we have been taught to accept that the present lifestyle of over working is fair and even necessary for one's survival.

    Back in 1937, Bertrand Russell had a different opinion and in his essay 'In praise of idleness' he points out the advantages, not just to the individual but to the society as a whole, of a four hour work day. Although, a bit aged in its vocabulary and the current affairs of the time, his core thought remains just as valid (if not more) today. The following is a compilation of what I see as the most relevant bits, of which you can read in full here.
    I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached.

    I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work.

    First of all: what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders, but those who give advice as to what orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill required for this kind of work is not knowledge of the subjects as to which advice is given, but knowledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, i.e. of advertising.

    To this day, 99 per cent of British wage-earners would be genuinely shocked if it were proposed that the King should not have a larger income than a working man. The conception of duty, speaking historically, has been a means used by the holders of power to induce others to live for the interests of their masters rather than for their own. Of course the holders of power conceal this fact from themselves by managing to believe that their interests are identical with the larger interests of humanity.

    The war showed conclusively that, by the scientific organization of production, it is possible to keep modern populations in fair comfort on a small part of the working capacity of the modern world. If, at the end of the war, the scientific organization, which had been created in order to liberate men for fighting and munition work, had been preserved, and the hours of the week had been cut down to four, all would have been well. Instead of that the old chaos was restored, those whose work was demanded were made to work long hours, and the rest were left to starve as unemployed.

    The idea that the poor should have leisure has always been shocking to the rich. In England, in the early nineteenth century, fifteen hours was the ordinary day's work for a man; children sometimes did as much, and very commonly did twelve hours a day. When meddlesome busybodies suggested that perhaps these hours were rather long, they were told that work kept adults from drink and children from mischief. When I was a child, shortly after urban working men had acquired the vote, certain public holidays were established by law, to the great indignation of the upper classes. I remember hearing an old Duchess say: 'What do the poor want with holidays? They ought to work.' People nowadays are less frank, but the sentiment persists, and is the source of much of our economic confusion.

    If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day, there would be enough for everybody and no unemployment -- assuming a certain very moderate amount of sensible organization. This idea shocks the well-to-do, because they are convinced that the poor would not know how to use so much leisure.

    The wise use of leisure, it must be conceded, is a product of civilization and education. A man who has worked long hours all his life will become bored if he becomes suddenly idle. But without a considerable amount of leisure a man is cut off from many of the best things. There is no longer any reason why the bulk of the population should suffer this deprivation; only a foolish asceticism, usually vicarious, makes us continue to insist on work in excessive quantities now that the need no longer exists.

    For ages, the rich and their sycophants have written in praise of 'honest toil', have praised the simple life, have professed a religion which teaches that the poor are much more likely to go to heaven than the rich, and in general have tried to make manual workers believe that there is some special nobility about altering the position of matter in space, just as men tried to make women believe that they derived some special nobility from their sexual enslavement.

    Manual work is the ideal which is held before the young, and is the basis of all ethical teaching.

    In the West, we have various ways of dealing with this problem. We have no attempt at economic justice, so that a large proportion of the total produce goes to a small minority of the population, many of whom do no work at all. Owing to the absence of any central control over production, we produce hosts of things that are not wanted. We keep a large percentage of the working population idle, because we can dispense with their labor by making the others overwork. When all these methods prove inadequate, we have a war: we cause a number of people to manufacture high explosives, and a number of others to explode them, as if we were children who had just discovered fireworks. By a combination of all these devices we manage, though with difficulty, to keep alive the notion that a great deal of severe manual work must be the lot of the average man.

    to the actual worker. If you ask him what he thinks the best part of his life, he is not likely to say: 'I enjoy manual work because it makes me feel that I am fulfilling man's noblest task, and because I like to think how much man can transform his planet. It is true that my body demands periods of rest, which I have to fill in as best I may, but I am never so happy as when the morning comes and I can return to the toil from which my contentment springs.' I have never heard working men say this sort of thing.

    It will be said that, while a little leisure is pleasant, men would not know how to fill their days if they had only four hours of work out of the twenty-four. In so far as this is true in the modern world, it is a condemnation of our civilization; it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency.

    The notion that the desirable activities are those that bring a profit has made everything topsy-turvy.

    The pleasures of urban populations have become mainly passive: seeing cinemas, watching football matches, listening to the radio, and so on. This results from the fact that their active energies are fully taken up with work; if they had more leisure, they would again enjoy pleasures in which they took an active part.

    University life is so different from life in the world at large that men who live in academic milieu tend to be unaware of the preoccupations and problems of ordinary men and women; moreover their ways of expressing themselves are usually such as to rob their opinions of the influence that they ought to have upon the general public. Another disadvantage is that in universities studies are organized, and the man who thinks of some original line of research is likely to be discouraged. Academic institutions, therefore, useful as they are, are not adequate guardians of the interests of civilization in a world where everyone outside their walls is too busy for unutilitarian pursuits.

    In a world where no one is compelled to work more than four hours a day, every person possessed of scientific curiosity will be able to indulge it, and every painter will be able to paint without starving, however excellent his pictures may be. Young writers will not be obliged to draw attention to themselves by sensational pot-boilers, with a view to acquiring the economic independence needed for monumental works, for which, when the time at last comes, they will have lost the taste and capacity. Men who, in their professional work, have become interested in some phase of economics or government, will be able to develop their ideas without the academic detachment that makes the work of university economists often seem lacking in reality. Medical men will have the time to learn about the progress of medicine, teachers will not be exasperatedly struggling to teach by routine methods things which they learnt in their youth, which may, in the interval, have been proved to be untrue.

    Above all, there will be happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia. The work exacted will be enough to make leisure delightful, but not enough to produce exhaustion. Since men will not be tired in their spare time, they will not demand only such amusements as are passive and vapid. At least one per cent will probably devote the time not spent in professional work to pursuits of some public importance, and, since they will not depend upon these pursuits for their livelihood, their originality will be unhampered, and there will be no need to conform to the standards set by elderly pundits. But it is not only in these exceptional cases that the advantages of leisure will appear. Ordinary men and women, having the opportunity of a happy life, will become more kindly and less persecuting and less inclined to view others with suspicion. The taste for war will die out, partly for this reason, and partly because it will involve long and severe work for all. Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life of arduous struggle. Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some and starvation for others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish forever.

    Documentary "PsyWar: the real battlefield is your mind"

    PsyWar is an incredibly provocative film that investigates how today's power structure of western society came to be and how the public is manipulated to believe it is the best option. This documentary will make you question what is happiness and why you do what you do. Is it because you love it or because you have to? A piece of advice, do not watch if you're happy with your own existence.

    A few quotations from PsyWar:
    "National security is one of the most powerful notions in modern times to swindle, I think, people to do things that are not in their best interest. And to support massive military complexes that are not in anybody interests but that are like cancers feeding on society." ~ Graeme MacQueen (28:30)

    "Wars are an opportunity for the government to grow in power" ~ Howard Zinn (46:50)

    "A shorter work week would undermine the work ethic and potentially ferment radicalism. If people had the time to stop and think, they might also take the time to rethink their position in life. The emphasis should be put on work... More work and better work, instead of upon leisure." ~ John Edgerton (1:10:20)
     And here's a short movie that I think complements the above fairly nicelly.

    Wednesday, 12 January 2011

    O estado da agricultura biológica em Portugal

    O seguinte programa da Biosfera é dedicado á agricultura biológica, especificamente em Portugal. Descobre o porquê e a sua importância para além das vantagens para a saúde humana. Este é provávelmente, até ao momento, o relatório Português mais aprofundado acerca deste tema.

    Saturday, 8 January 2011

    Documentário "O Mundo Segundo a Monsanto"

    Capa do DVD
    A Monsanto foi fundada nos Estados Unidos em 1901 como uma empresa de productos químicos. Começou na altura a produzir productos altamente carcinogénicos, como os PCBs que estão relacionados com proplemas reprodutivos e do sistema imunitário.

    Durante a segunda gerra mundial a Monsanto participou significativamente no projecto Manhattan para desenvolver a bomba atómica. Depois da guerra a Monsanto foi pioneira no desenvolvimento de químicos para a agricultura, tal como o herbicida "Agente Orange" que foi usado no Vietnam e que desde o fim da guerra é responsável por cerca de meio milhão de crianças nascerem deformadas.

    A história mórbida da Monsanto não acaba aqui mas é demasiado extensiva para reproduzir neste blog. O que é importante realçar é que é uma empresa que tem sido culpada vezes sem conta de publicidade enganosa, poluição ambiental extrema e de causar sufrimento a milhões pelo mundo fora, recusando sempre qualquer tipo de responsabilidade.

    Hoje, a Monsanto quer tomar controlo da comida. Tornou-se na maior multinacional de biotechnologia e de sementes patenteadas do mundo e de momento produz cerca de 90% de todas as sementes genéticamente modificadas. Ainda é também a maior produtora de herbicída, chamado "Roundup". Um outro producto da Monsanto são as hormonas sintéticas que são injectadas nas vacas para produzirem mais leite.

    O documentário "O Mundo Segundo a Monsanto" (abaixo) explora as profundezas da corrupção das pessoas que gerem esta empresa, que páram a nada para fazerem mais lucro.  Com uma história e atitude destas como podemos confiar-lhes a produção da nossa comida que eles tanto querem?

    Friday, 7 January 2011

    John Pilger interviews Julian Assange

    A few excerpts from the interview:
    Julian Assange: "There have been 7 Reuters journalists in Baghdad and all of them have been killed by US military fire."

    Julian Assange: "These people [civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan] are shot in the same way that an everyday person walks over ants in the street because they just seem to be irrelevant, they don't complain, there's no disciplinary procedure. So as the war goes along, civilians do become just as something to get rid off."

    Julian Assange: "We have acquired records of 6 years of civilian kills in Iraq and Afganistan, not just the big ones where there's 100 people killed, but rather these sort of everyday incidences... there's hundreds and hundreds of those 'small' incidents."

    John Pilger: "The propaganda efforts of governments has become vast. I read an AP investigation that said the US had spent $7.4 billion over the last 5 years basically winning hearts and minds not of the enemy but of its own people. Information war has never been more important."