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."

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Documentário "Alimentos S.A."

O documentário Alimentos S.A. (Food Inc.), legendado em Português, é mais um numa série de filmes que levantam o véu para a realidade da produção de comida. Este explora o sistema capitalista de agricultura em que o único incentivo é fazer mais lucro a qualquer custo, inclusive o da saúde, ambiente, direitos dos animais e social. Enquanto que o marketing agrícula continua a vender a idea da quintinha familiar e pacata que acabou há decadas.

O filme sugere que votemos com o nosso garfo, comprando comida local e/ou biológica sempre que possível, tornando cada refeição num acto verdadeiramente revolucionário.

Documentário "O Futuro da Alimentação"

O Futuro da Alimentação ou "The Future of Food" (legendado em Português) explora um pouco a história da evolução da agricultura no ultimo século, expõem o sistema de agricultura industrial currente e os seus problemas ambientais (incluíndo o da saúde humana), sociais e económicos. Explica também como o processo da modificação genética funciona na criaçāo de organismos transgénicos e os riscos que os acompanham. Conclui com uma breve explicação da importância do movimento de agricultura biológica. Um verdadeiro "abre-olhos".

Estão disponíveis mais filmes acerca deste assunto na Videoteca extensiva da Plataforma Trangénicos Fora.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

BBC tax payers sponsor biotech propaganda

A while back I wrote "The invisible noose", a short post based on a compilation of studies, articles and documentaries warning about the risks of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and the industry driving (i.e. profiting from) them.

Today, the BBC News reported on "The eco-friendly pigs genetically modified for food". Those that have cared enough to research GMOs will gasp at the disturbing title as they see the barefaced lie turned into free marketing for the biotech giants. This industry has hijacked the currently fashionable "eco-friendly" label to propagandise a dangerous technology to exploit a hyped up and misinformed global warming population. We must admit, it's not a stupid way to disguise its real agenda — to control the global food supply and to own all life itself through patents — but a very deceiving one.

Then the article goes on to explain how GMOs are "a solution to feeding a hungry planet" and will help on "cutting down pollution" while there's proof that GMOs cause more pollution, are a human health hazard while there are plenty of common sense arguments why GE food will NOT feed the world.

The BBC bias towards the biotech industry becomes even more transparent, as the reporter goes through the trouble of interviewing two pro-GMO scientists (one of which used to be anti-GMO) and only one concerned grocery store clerk woman whom does not get the chance to explain WHY she is concerned. This is the sort of propaganda that the UK TV license tax payer is not only funding but already literally swallowing.

If you care about your health and the environment and do want to understand the concerns of that wise woman regarding GMOs, watch the following documentaries: (below) The Future of Food and The World According to Monsanto.

Then cancel your TV license and dump the TV.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Documentário "O Alimento é Importante"

Menu de capítulos
O documentário "Food Matters" (O Alimento é Importante) está agora disponível (em seis partes) no YouTube com legendagem em Português. Vê agora e descobre o que está de errado com o presente sistema de saúde, porque é que uma população saudável não dá lucro e o poder que uma nutrição equilibrada tem na cura de todas as doenças. Uma vez que "nós somos aquilo que comemos" "a população precisa é de educação e não medicação". Bom apetite!

(Se as legendas não estiverem ligadas, "clicka" no botão do lado direito com a seta e depois seleciona "CC".)

Parte 1/6

Parte 2/6

Parte 3/6

Parte 4/6

Parte 5/6

Parte 6/6

Hungry Beast educates by animation

The Australian TV show Hungry Beast is "a cross between a current affairs program and a sketch comedy show". Allegedly, the presenters editorial instruction was: "tell us something we don't know". And heck, have they delivered!

I particularly enjoy the short animation segments. Each is a sort of concentrated education pill which usually ends with the "shocking revelation" side effect. This far, they have done one on WikiLeaks, one on Obama's entourage, another on internet censorship and several exposing the influence and wastefulness of public resources by the military industrial complex, such as in this outrageous example of the Australian submarine fleet.

Hungry Beast has found an interesting and engaging way to inform, and here I leave you with a few examples, both prime results of globalization and (possibly) a scarily snapshot of what's to come in the future. The first is about "Serco - The biggest company you've never heard off" and the second about our bigger brother Google. Sit tight.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Lessons learned and new year's resolutions

The Cat's Eye Nebula - a dying star.
2010 was a year of change. I did something I meant to have done for a long time, I took a break from the full-time office job and volunteered for causes I believe in — worked on organic farms, visited an eco-community, collaborated with an anti-gmo organization, saw breathtaking nature, spent more time with family and met incredibly inspiring people.

This last ride around the sun was crazily tumultuous but also provided plenty of learning/growing opportunities. I learned we can't run away from our creation. I learned that there are a lot of courageous people out there, doing what they believe is right. I learned how much power people give away to each other, mostly unconsciously, and how destructive this can be. I learned how we often confuse dependence and attachment with real happiness. I learned that there's nothing out there that will miraculously heal the inner grieving or forever fulfil our happiness expectations. I learned that you can't willingly wipe memories or change the past. I learned that we don't stare into space often enough. I learned that you can't force anyone to feel what you feel... nor would that be right. I learned how important it is to show you care... while you can. I learned that it's not where you are and what you do that matters as much as who you're with and how you do it.

However, the main revelation of all this year was to discover how shockingly little I know myself, as I observed my ego's insecurities hurt the one I cared for the most, sabotage a loving relationship and dissolve lifelong dreams, overnight. Let this be my lesson from 2010 and learning how to assume responsibility for the consequences of my own (perceived) mistakes, my 2011 resolution. Well that and saving the world... after all aren't those one and the same? Happy new year.