“Then what do you depend on? My own internal reactions. I read myself, not the person in front of me. I always know a lie because I want to turn my back on the liar.”
Frank Herbert

Chapter House Dune

Oligarchy of Programmers?

n

A twitter interaction with Pietro led to him sharing with me the following video:

I do think that bitcoin as an amazing technological innovation (that may give birth to other valuable inventions), but I also believe it is, for now, a useless one. If to embrace the metaphor from the video – bitcoin is like the invention of the engine. However the engine itself is a useless thing to anyone but engineers who understand and can work with engines. And engineers can speak passionately about what can be done with this engine but that doesn’t make the engine anymore useful. For an engine to become useful someone must transform it into something non-engineers can use – a car, a boat, a tractor, a plane, a drill, whatever. Doing that is way outside the skillset of engineers.

For all the wonderful things described in the video to come to life there is a huge road of end-user product development ahead. Who is going to do that?

Open Source Developers? Though I am a big fan of and live almost entirely with open-source software there is one thing that open-source, as a community, fails to do – and that is to create end-user products. The amazing proliferation of Linux is not as an end-user product but as an engine developed by engineers for other engineers. So I do not see the open-source community being able to deliver the promised future in the video.

Venture Capitalists? So far most (if not all) of the developments that have given public awareness and rise to bitcoin have been made by people with parasitic vested interests – to exploit bitcoin for profit. Their entire mentality (from business models to code) is closed and is a parasite on top of the open system. Given the generic abilities of the bitcoin system – there is nothing to prevent parasites from attaching themselves to it. If you are engineer involved in bitcoin you can get along (have a wallet) without help from anyone else. But everyone else is going to have to through the parasites to gain acces … and the parasites are going bring with them fees … but more importantly exploitation … they are going to bring with them the same faulty mentalities that have brought us to where we are. That is a change that takes more then technology.

Either way – bitcoin is going to both feed an already vast digital divide and move power from finance geeks to  software geeks.

What is amazing to me is how, in the most practical way, bitcoin has almost zero relevancy to my actual day-to-day life. Granted I do not live a typical life, but my life is at a kind of middle-ground between those living in the comforts and delusions of technology and those who will either go to sleep hungry today or slave through the day for their food. Zero relevance. That itself is a problem, but a bigger problem is that the makers of this technology cannot see it.

Posted in AltEco, Intake, Intellect Run Amok, Open Source, outside, Tech Stuff | Tagged | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Chris Hedges – The Pathology of the Rich

n

Chris Hedges seems to bring together the ideas of This Civilization is Already Dead and the Charitable Industrial Complex – describing how the lives of the very rich nurture deep misperceptions which have been dominating and shaping the world we live in.

via CC Magazine

Posted in Business, Intake, outside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Charles Eisenstein & Polly Higgins in Olso – November 2013

n

A fresh conversation between Charles Eisenstein and Polly Higgins. Having heard them before the talk itself feels like a repeat but the audience questions (almost an hour) brought some new, interesting and fresh things to the surface. I first read about Polly Higgins and her ecocide work in Permaculture one or two years ago. It’s great to feel it maturing into a word that is better known and can be used fluently in conversation.

 

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This Civilization is Already Dead

n

“…

Now, when I look into our future — into the Anthropocene — I see water rising up to wash out lower Manhattan. I see food riots, hurricanes, and climate refugees. I see 82nd Airborne soldiers shooting looters. I see grid failure, wrecked harbors, Fukushima waste, and plagues. I see Baghdad. I see the Rockaways. I see a strange, precarious world.

Our new home.

The biggest problem we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is already dead. The sooner we confront this problem, and the sooner we realize there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves, the sooner we can get down to the hard work of adapting, with mortal humility, to our new reality.”

source: Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene

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Peter Buffett on the Charitable Industrial Complex

n

“It’s time for philanthropy to be held accountable. Not only to the people they intend to help, but also to the public. When big philanthropic dollars come in, government feels less obliged to spend money towards issues like poverty, hunger, or education. At the same time, government’s weakened when an affluent class parks its assets in tax shelters and deploys its huge wealth to push its own interests.”

source

article mentioned in the interview The Charitable Industrial Complex @ The New York Times

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Yoga On the Mat Practice: Summer-Fall 2013

n

During late spring and early summer months I was slowly trying to make my way onto the mat to find a regular practice. I was getting on occassionaly but not regularly. I was getting on the mat, but it wasn’t inviting. I was struggling to make a proper space for it … a daily routine that would incorporate a practice smoothly. The daily routine wasn’t settling (to say the least) and neither was my practice.

In late June I was speaking to my teacher who suggested that I was trapped in practicing irregularity. He took a piece of paper, wrote, scanned and sent me a practice sequence. Since then I’ve been practicing regularly. That is one of the valuable (and tricky) gifts my teacher has to offer me … an uplifting inspiration and motivation. There was no way I was going to let his attentions wash over me and leave me behind. Still I did not practice every day due to planned journeys and inevitable life-waves; I generally do not get on the mat to settle my life but settle my life to get on the mat.

Practice

This is the practice I was given. It is a cikitsa (recovery) practice:ronen-june-2013

Health Insurance

Though I’ve placed myself in a nourishing environment in terms of food, air, space, etc. the transition to it was (and sometimes the continued participation in it still is)  very demanding. I believe that my past investments in Yoga practice supported me in the transition yet the transition itself depleted me (in many ways). I used myself up and it was now up to me to pull myself back together.

I have no official (as in organized/regulated by society) health insurance (through a combination of choice and circumstance). Yet when I received this practice it dawned on me what amazing health insurance I do have. I recognized that my teacher handed me a prescription. Though unlike a typical prescription that you take to someone else to fill for you this is a prescription that I must be able to read, understand and put to action on my own.

I am able to read this prescription because of my extended training. To outsiders I am a trained Yoga teacher, though within my teacher’s circle I am first and foremost a yoga practitioner. I took up  “teachers training” for my own benefit, not for becoming a teacher. The prescription is filled with explicit but also implicit information. It takes a long, quality and established relationship – like that of a teacher and a student – to be able to have access to and benefit from such a gift.

I am able to to put it to use because of how my life is organized. The first two years at Bhudeva were extremely hectic and demanding. This year, with most of life foundations in place, I decided not to take on anything more than life would hand me. I focused on settling down, making space, nourishing myself and creating conditions for practice. I designated this year (though it is not limited to one calendar year) as a time of healing. That is also the scale of healing that I was taught. There is no take these pills or do this practice and tomorrow everything will be better. Health is a continuous effort and investment, healing even more so.

Lying Down First

The practice I prescribed to myself, before being given this practice by my teacher, was a basic SKLIBS (more like SL[B]S). Though I was doing it softly it was an incorrect practice for me. Standing postures drained me very quickly. Then lying down became a trap – I would be so tired that I would have a hard time continuing beyond lying down. I became wary of lying down and my “solution” was to avoid a stay in savasana and discipline myself to continue the practice sequence (a strategy that did not work many times).

When I was first given this practice I recognized that I had accumulated a subtle fear of lying down, fearing that would steal my strength and motivation to practice. Yet over these past months lying down at the beginning of the practice was an oh-so-welcome experience. I was starting from a place of rest, gently introducing breath and movement. Building up instead of wearing down.

Ironically, now that tiredness was not weighing down on me, staying in savasana became more difficult. Now I had a settled body but an unsettled mind to deal with. It is only in recent days (almost 5 months of practice) that I began to experience an inviting savasana. A peaceful steadiness that I could hold and could hold me. Not only that, but the savasana that invites me to stay is in the middle of the practice (step 7 in the sequence) and even though I do stay in it, it does not trap me. I am able to continue a quality, present practice after it.

Breath

The quality of breathing was the first thing to surface from my past. It was such a core and immersive part of the teachings and practices that it is a second nature to me. My breath quickly expanded in asana to a vicinity of an 8 second inhale with an equal or longer exhale. That may vary depending on the asana and my overall vitality – so the inhale can drop to 6 seconds and the exhale can extend to 10 seconds and beyond.

My body also has a very good memory of the subtelties of practice. The practice itself is accessible. So during uninterrupted stretches of practice the focus of most of my attention and most of the refinement came in the quality of my breathing.

In the beginning my breath was very demanding in the standing postures (regardless of how much space I gave the movement within the breath). Now my breathing is fairly steady and available throughout the practice. A very noticeable improvement.

Bahya Kumbhaka

The Bahya Kumbhaka (holding the breath after the exhale) had a very powerful impact on me. At first it caused quite a bit of resistance which I met with just enough discpline to visit the place, but not for a long stay.

It has now evolved to be a potentially very different experience. For the most part it is an inviting place that I can stay in without ripples of effort and stress emanating from it. It is overall a steady experience though ripples of tension from life off-the-mat can and do effect my ability to stay in it. This 2 or 3 second window is a direct and honest portrayal of where I am.

 Shoulders

When I started the practice my shoulders hurt. Especially in parivrti trikonasana (triangle pose – #6) where I had to use a variant that would not send shooting pains in my shoulder blades.

That has improved drastically. It took some patience in the beginning to work through it but there was a fairly quick improvement. Then something seemed to open up and I believe I now have access to this posture (shoulders included) that I’ve never had before.

When my continuous practice breaks this is one quality that seems to fade slightly. My shoulders and shoulder blades become tensed and heavy and it takes another stretch of patient and continuous practice for me to experience them opening up again.

Lying Twists

The range of exploration I’ve experienced in this sequence is hard to out in words. The work in the posture was a dance between rigidity in my hips and my shoulders. The first steps were about simply gaining access to the posture and most of the work went into the hips. Then when they opened up (to places I’d known before) the exploration extended into the shoulders and then the muscle-chains that connect the two areas.

I have an unusualy mixed relationship with this posture. On the one hand I feel that between the hips, shoulders and breath I could continue exploring and refining it forever. On the other hand I am beginning to feel that I have completed this posture and that there is an opportunity to move to wider variations.

Like my shoulders in parivrti trikonasana, here my hips aptly reflect life tensions. Also like the shoulders, a continuous and attentive practice brings back release and space … even quicker than it comes to the shoulders.

Stamina – Stretching Consciousness

My physical stamina is still very low (or at least thats how I perceive it). To me its not just about stamina … I think vitality is a better word … though in this context it is expressed as physical vitality.

I meet it most in the forward bends (standing and sitting). If I consciously meet these postures on a physical level (which is the default) I experience a heaviness and a resulting effort. When this happens I am fairly quickly able to make what is at first a physical shift: relating to them as stretches rather then lifts. The first impact this has on me is less physical effort by subtly working more / smaller / subtle muscles – a little movement in a lot of places rather thatn a lot of movement in a few places.

However that is old news for me. What has become an interesting experience is a subtle shift in consciousness. The shift in physical awareness seems to echo back into a more subtle aspect of my consciousness and generates there a sensation of expansion and lightness (the opposite of heaviness). It is as if the lifting is no longer just a physical act but an act of consciousness. I cannot at this point in time say more about it … just that it is there, it is very subtle and intriguing.

Unlike my physical stamina in which I experience (and have always experienced) limitations … this stretching of consciousness feels potentially endless.

Pranayama

Though it isn’t really a pranayama practice, the ujjayi breathing sequence has been a fairly steady experience from the beginning. My sequence is as follows:

4.0.4.0 x4
6.0.6.0 x4
8.0.8.0 x4
10.0.10.0 x4
10.0.12.0 x4
10.0.15.0 x4
free x4

The first  formula (4 seconds) I don’t do much anymore. It was very useful in the beginning. Though I felt I could skip it I felt that when I did there was a subtle ruggedness in the rest of the sequence.

I was able to go up to 10.0.12.0 fairly quickly and comfortably. The exhale expanded to 15 soon after. Though that too may not be available to me when there are life-tensions reverberating through me.

Sitting

A couple of months into the practice sitting became a welcome place for me. I found myself staying and present in a seated position. My focus has been “I am  sitting”. Recently I’ve refined that to touching my thumbs and first fingers together and placing my attention on those point of contact.

I find myself wanting a more specific focus for sitting.

Eyes

In the beginning my eyes would not stay steadily and softly closed, they displayed plent of agitation. That has improved greatly, though there is still room for improvement.

Summary

The practice has been very supportive and educative. I am a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to navigate myself into such a practice. I am more grateful that I have a teacher that could support me.

I’ve asked my teacher to change the practice into a raksana (sustenance) practice. That will happen next week … which is what prompted me to finally write this long overdue post.

As winter sets it practicing gets trickier. The floor is getting colder and colder. I now practice on two layers of rigid foam insulation, a blanket and a yoga mat. I tend to practice in the middle of the day afer the rocket stove (and hopefully the day) has warmed the room. Though, because hot air rises, lying down on the floor is still getting colder (and the change is radical when kneeling and standing which bring me closer to warmth). I still have layers of clothes available to use. I hope to be able to benefit from the rest-space of winter and to sustain a regular practice throughout.

winteryogamat

Posted in Expanding, inside, Yoga, Yoga & I, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Two Women

n
Posted in Enjoy, Expanding, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

Udacity Succumbing

n

This article about Udacity and its founder Sebastian Thrun was a fascinating read. It is impressive to read about a business leader that is not blinded by the indicators of success but looks for a deeper truth and tried to address it. However unlike the person who brought it to my attention I do not view this change as a positive “pivot” but rather as succumbing. This is the part of the text where disappointment set in:

“At the end of the day, the true value proposition of education is employment”

This is an old truth that has been recognized and challenged for some years now. Udacity was born into a reality where this truth no longer holds true (or at least not as obviously as Thrun presents it, and surely not as a “revelation”). Ironically Thrun already knows better, a truth that surfaces when he speaks of his own 5 year old son:

“In my son’s kindergarten, they’re telling us how to get him into Stanford,” he says. “By their advice, I’m doing everything wrong, because I’m trying to make him happy rather than putting him through as many piano lessons as possible.”

So which is it happiness or employment? (If you want to argue that the two are synonymous then please don’t waste my time and do so somewhere else)

What if many of the people who do not complete the courses or pass the tests are there out of … oh … curiosity? a passion to learn? what it they are not doing it for a job?

What would happen if Udacity would continue to be available to people as they seek out education in their lives?

What if instead of suddenly large streams Udacity would become another channel of education, one that challenges the foundations of the crumbling paradigms of modern day societies?

What if Udacity was able to remain present those who wish to learn for the sake of learning and do for the sake of doing?

But more importantly what is causing Udacity to succumb to dominant paradigms? I would suggest that one substantial compromise in its foundations causes this … the venture capital that went into it. Udacity can no longer do for the sake of doing, that has been undermined with a need to do for the sake of making a profit. It is also I believe a key difference between it and the not-for-profit KhanAcademy (which apparently inspired Thrun to create Udacity in the first place) who have stayed true to their path with a simply stated, clear and humble purpose of free education for all.

The irony of it all is that Udacity doesn’t need to pivot. Maybe Udacity needs to re-evaluate its attitude towards and understanding of its “failing” majority?

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Woman

n

At LOTE3 I met Annelieke … I like how her name demands to be said … completely properly.

Bembo sent her my way on the day before the even opened … initially we sat down in the company of another person … then it was just the two of us … then there was a whole and complete sense of connection. Later that evening was the Pasta party. I took comfort in seeing her … in having her in my line of sight … then she disappeared .. and I became strangely anxious

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EdgeRyders and Living on the Edge 3

n

I am back (already a week) from a 10 day journey to Matera in Italy where partook in the LOTE3 EdgeRyders gathering. I have been hesitant about putting my thoughts into writing but decided to do so for my own personal journal. What, if anything, this may contribute to EdgeRyders is not on my mind as I write these words.

Travel

It was a demanding and inefficient journey which had many parts which did not come together nicely. Europeans seem to be used to traveling and traveling is fairly inviting if you live in Europe – a 2 hour flight can land you in a new world. This is new to me. I haven’t traveled much in my life and most of that was from Israel so flights were longer and more of a grandiose event.

Yet, I am quite happy with my “performance”. Half a year ago I would come back from a day in the city with a headache. No headaches this time … and this was much more demanding than a day in the city. It did take me a week to arrive completely (to be able to get on and stay present on the mat for an entire practice sequence).

We flew to and from Rome and made the journey from and to Rome by bus (6.5 hours). The journey to Matera was in the night so there was nothing to see. The journey from Matera was in the morning so I could see the part of Italy that we drove through … and there was still nothing to see. Roads, concrete and plowed fields … a look that seems to be taking over the world … making it all look the same … left with me with a sense of emptiness and disinterest.

Diversity

I was amazed by the diversity of people in this gathering (I was also pretty amazed that I was part of it). The group is filled with gifted people. The dominant vibe of the event was not one that appealed to me but that just made the gifts even more precious. In every session I was present in, no matter how I felt about it, there was a constant presence of precious moments where light would come to the surface and fill the space …  someone would say or do something that was deeply refreshing.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in the presence of a more diverse and rich group of people. That is the crown jewel of this event for me. It is a precious and demanding social achievement.

Intellect and Spirit

There is a dominant voice in the community that I would describe as intellectual. I experience it as limiting and aggressive. It seems to radiate strongest from the group at the core of the community. It had a defensive flavour.

However I also sensed that there were other voices … voices from the heart (and other parts of the body). I was not present at the previous two LOTE events … but I wondered if this wasn’t a growing voice.

I had this image in my mind of a maturing energy. An energy that started as an intellectual pursuit but has (inadvertently?) drawn to it a spiritual pursuit. And these two voices have not yet found a harmonious existence.

I believe that intellect needs direction from the heart otherwise it is likely to get lost (and still seem very smart).

“The intellect’s evolutionary purpose has never been to discover an ultimate meaning of the universe. That is a relatively recent fad. It’s historical purpose has been to help a society find food,detect danger, and defeat enemies. It can do this well or poorly, depending on the concepts it invents for this purpose … Knowledge has grown away from this historic purpose and become an end in itself, just as society has grown away from it’s original purpose of preserving physical human beings … and this growing away … towards greater Quality is a moral growth. But those original purposes are still there. And when things get lost … it is useful to remember that point of departure.”

Robert Pirsig

Community

When practicing a long sequence of yoga postures breathing can be a challenge. My teacher taught me to observe the breath before continuing from one pracice to the next … he spoke of “waiting for the breath to cease to be demanding and to become at your service”.

I believe the purpose of community is to be in service of its individuals. The EdgeRyders experience was, for me, more demanding than nourishing … but that may be due to my own capacities and limitations.

Presence

There was a phase in my career where I had days and weeks of back to back meetings. I was impressed myself at the time for being involved and contributing to so many things.

Then I met Shahar and through him encountered a discipline of arriving. Dancers would take at least 30 minutes, sometimes an hour of lying on the floor allowing themselves time to arrive … allowing their emotions, thoughts and energy to join the physical body in the space. Having learned this skill I looked back at my “efficient” career and realized that I didn’t really attend most meeting. I was there in body but my mind was filled with contents from previous and upcoming meetings.

In LOTE3 I found myself in a reality I had heard of but never witnessed first hand. A room where people are sitting together but many participants are actively using laptops or smartphones.  In LOTE3 this activity had a worthy purpose – to document what was happening for the sake of others who were not present with us. But to me what this meant was that we weren’t really together in the first place. Granted there were some people who seemed to be really good at this … the skill to send out live twitter updates is impressive … one I do not have (nor one I care to develop). I can at best take a few notes … and that too I do knowing it will, even if shortly, detach me from the space.

Yoga

I came to LOTE3 to contribute to the Burning Edge theme by offering Yoga in the mornings. I shared this wish with the community and the community replied with keen interest … so I decided to go. Very few people showed up. From what I can tell, this was mostly due to the early hour (7:30am) coupled with the fact that many people stayed out to socialize (and drink) late into the night.

That made my investment in the community inefficient … almost wasteful.

To bring a further sense of irony to this story … there was the session itself about the burning edge. I was silent because I had too much to say and could not find something clear enough to contribute to the space. But my main train of thought was – for starters how about eating and sleeping better? … oh yeah … and trying out this Yoga thing in the mornings …

This example is a very subjective one … but I had the impression that the community is lacking in its ability to back intentions and words with actions … coherently, clearly and efficiently.

Design

The design session was shot down. It was a painful experience.

I am trying to harness the intensity of the experience into a constructive effort on the platform.

Conclusion

From where I am right now I do not intend to participate in another LOTE.

I am happy that EdgeRyders has lost its sheen of importance … that was quick … a sign of progress for me personally.

I am still curious about its potential and my ability to contribute to it.

It is very difficult to participate in such an event and maintain a bubble of visual privacy … it took lots of conscious effort for me to mostly stay out of the way of all the cameras that were active.

I did have an opportunity to make a few personal connections for which I am grateful.

I may have planted some seeds that may flower in the future … thought their maturity is out of my hands.

There were surprises which made the entire excursion a precious experience for me.

I’m happy that I went. I am happier to be back in my retreat.

On with life 🙂

Following are a few images that made their way into my camera (which I didn’t use too much). This is a live collection of media from the event and this is a nice gallery of photos.

 

 

 

Posted in About, Myself | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Crash 2016

n

Also from DemocracyNow:

via David Korten

Watching this brought even further into the light that the most substantial contribution that I can make to this world is a shift in my own consciousness. No amount of composting, rainwater harvesting, naturally grown foods … none of this can prevent the melting of the polar caps and the release of transformative amounts of methane into the atmosphere. None of this can stop financial predators.

Submitting my consciousness to this information opens up two paths before me. One is a path of succumbing – a depressing futility that renders actions useless – nurturing inaction. The other a path of activism – an urgent and agressive need to act … which to me feels as futile as inaction. Neither path appeals to me.

Which brings me back to consciousness. The only thing that feels substantial to me is creating life circumstances that support an evolution of my consciousness. It can seem (it has to others and to me) that the current expression of my life is that of retreat I am also starting to discern a movement into immersion. There is a retreat from the material and social world. There is also an immersion in an honest and raw experience of consciousness – a clear and unyielding reflection of my own perception – how I perceive the world rather than what the world is … and that feels like a substantial and inviting avenue of doing and exploration … and it seems that it has already spread beyond me, through my actions, into the lives of others … so who knows where this is all heading 🙂

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Thoughts on the Philippines

n

Disclaimer: as I, who have retreated to soft rolling hills in north-eastern Romania,  was watching this video I was having breakfast. I found two ducks eggs this morning (after many months with no duck eggs) and made an omlet from them, with dried mushrooms and cheese. I also made a lovely fall salad of spinach, salad leaves, cabbage, carrot and onion.

source: DemocracyNow

As I was listening, despite the warm omlet, cold shivers traveled through my spine and abdomen.

It IS too late. There is nothing we can do to change the short and mid-term effects of global warming. All we can do, especially those of us who are most vulnerable, is hold on tight and find shelter. Anything we do manage to do in the near future may have effects on future generations … though I have my doubts about our capacity as a human species to do much right now. Sandy didn’t put a dent in American consumerism. Chinese walking with breathing-masks didn’t put a dent in Chinese real-estate development. What can we expect the cry of the Philipphines to do when it too will quickly fade from public awareness? Consciousness will eventually shift, there is no doubt in my mind about that … just as there is no doubt that it will take many more typhoons and deaths for that to happen.

The brutal irony of this situation is that the most constructive thing in terms of overall ecological health is the devastating storm itself. That is the planet healing. That is our planetary ecological system responding to the current ecological stresses, moving energy, trying to restore a healthier balance in the ecosystem. Such storms and anomalies will continue until the planetary ecology is healed and there is nothing we can (nor should) do to stop it. We can however learn from it. We can, though it will continue to come with a devastating price, learn to embrace it, to appreciate it and to reshape our lives with it.

We have been building up to these stormy times for a long long time. It is a storm we have unleashed. It would be naive and foolish and wasteful to even think that we can stop it. This is us, as a species, learning that fire burns by reaching into the fire. Now comes the burning sensation. I have faith in human nature. We will learn not to reach into the fire. Our wounds will heal and we will have earned scars of wisdom … but that is a long and gradual journey that can only grow from the present, not change it.

George Carlin was right when he said “The planet is fine, the people are fucked”:

Closing thought (also inspired by the words of the Philippines representative): Skiing season is starting and is the only sport I enjoy watching (used to enjoy doing it too). I would love to see this Skiing season take a huge hit due to a boycott of the coming Russian winter olympics. The Russian olympics are a rare opportunity to come together around nature (arctic drilling), human rights (sheesh the list is long), gay rights, civil rights, balances of power in government, etc. It is way more important to me that we come together in values then we do in sports. Boycotting Russia is an opportunity for valuable unification – a simultaneous disintegration and re-integration. It is hard for me to understand or accept how there can be any athletes that are actually willing to participate in this event.

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Apple’s Embodied Energy

n

Apple is apparently just ahead of getting a new campus approved with a huge unified “ecological” round building surrounded by green park spaces.

I couldn’t watch the entire video because I got nauseated by the superficial sweet-covering and false-hubris of the Apple real-estate guy who sounds like a hyped up … well … real estate agent.

I am assuming that maybe (just maybe) the completed campus will behave ecologically. But what is not mentioned at all (and is often ignored when people talk about ecology is embodied energy – the energy that has gone and will go into making the new campus – this includes everything from the pollution costs by people travelling to meetings in the design process through to the manufacturing of all the raw materials and transporting them to the site.

One good example of embodied energy in the presentation is the trees. Trees have already been grown for Apple so that they me planted in mature form on the campus. Each such tree is already heavily loaded with embodied energy due to the fact that it is being grown inside containers and not inside the earth. Each such tree will have to be transported to the site – this includes heavy machinery for loading/offloading/transportation/planting. An alternative, given California’s super convenient climate, would have been to plant a seed on site not to mention a whole range of solutions between that simple act and the strategy Apple has chosen. Ecology and sustainability are long-form and do not sit well with immediate gratification.

And that’s just the trees. The presenter mentions that every single detail, in the spirit of Apple’s approach to design, has been considered and tailored – the way the rounded glass is manufactured and the sprinklers. I can’t begin to fathom the overall embodied energy that will go into creating this thing and reshaping its environment. I don’t think anyone can. But that (as embodied energy often does) pulls the rug out from under the feet of “ecological” claims. And probably in 20 years or so (way before any ecological returns can be made on the embodied energy invested in it) this building will go out of style and be replaced by another fashionable and of course “even more ecological” building.

Why is this happening? What makes this possible? Do you own an Apple product? How many? Have you considered the embodied energy of those devices? Have you considered the unquantifiable embodied energy represented by the quality of life of the slaves who made them?

This potential ecological tragedy is a huge joint venture that goes way beyond Steve Jobs, Apple, their architect and the city council of Cupertino.

source: Raymond Pirouz

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“The Internet” breaking free of USA control

n

two things:

  1. something good coming out of all that NSA mass spying?
  2. is there really a single “root server” which controls DNS?

” … Right now, the Internet is governed by a set of organizations with diverging responsibilities. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) helps assign domain names and top-level domains (the letters, like “.com” or “.org,” that come after the dot). Two other groups develop the standards for how information is shared and displayed through the Internet and on the web. And five regional Internet address registries assign IP addresses to Internet-connected devices.

… In the 1990s, the U.S. government found itself in control of the servers which controlled the domain name system behind the burgeoning web. For a number of reasons, it didn’t want to entirely retain this power, and it sought a way to delegate it. So the government—the Clinton administration, at the time—privatized control of the “root” DNS servers in a non-profit body called ICANN, which would administer domain names. This happened in 1998; since then, ICANN has operated the system. Since then, too, its power and independence has grown, and the U.S. reaffirmed its delegation of the DNS to ICANN while insisting it could step in in case of emergency.

Most recently, in September 2009, the U.S. and ICANN agreed on an “Affirmation of Commitments” The U.S. permitted the corporation more independence, but retained its power to take over the root server in an emergency.

… So when the Uruguay statement mentions “accelerating the globalization of ICANN,” it’s essentially reopening negotiations which ended four years ago. Moreover, the statement frames ICANN’s independence as an eventual, unavoidable end to history. Talk about “accelerating” something, and you’re suggesting its an incontrovertible process.

… The NSA leaks, says Froomkin, have “become a way for a lot of different agendas to meet.” …

… So this statement is tied to the NSA. But it’s not entirely provoked by the NSA. Rather, it lets countries (with their own spying services) and companies (who often want more freedom on the web) complain about the U.S.’s small corner of Internet oversight, and possibly find a reason to re-negotiate with the country.”

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Li Fi

n

… as in Wi-Fi just with light … how cool is that? At first read it seemed kind of ridiculous but I quickly warmed up to the idea:

“A one-watt LED light bulb would be enough to provide net connectivity to four computers, researchers say …

Visible light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum and 10,000 times bigger than the radio spectrum, affording potentially unlimited capacity.

But there are drawbacks: block the light and you block the signal …

the technology was still in its infancy and needed further developments in microchip design and optical communication controls before it could go mass market.”

source

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From hurt to sick

n

After leaving abruptly Andreea went into a series of very hectic and busy days … 3 consecutive births that aligned perfectly one after another but left her without sleep for 3 or 4 days.

I was slowly recollecting myself … and for the most part getting better

Then the day before yesterday, just past 13:00 Levente appears. He came to check on me Andreea had been trying to reach me from the previous evening and for some reason (!?) my phone wasn’t ringing.

A couple of night before that Andreea dreamt I had died … we don’t take our dreams literally and not too seriously … but we do pay attention to them and let them, if possible, assimilate …

When she couldnt’ reach me she panicked, for real … and so called Ildi and Levente and asked them to check on me

Andreea and I spoke, everything was fine …

I went outside to move my body a bit … some light physical work, and to my surprise came back with rough breathing

Later that evening we spoke and Andreea said she felt her anxiety leave … and given our connection … it may have passed on to me

Practiced at rough breathing … I waited it out slowly, patiently and it passed … and was replaced by a resurrection of my sensitive throat … with more intensity.

Since then I have drifted into illness … weak, soar throat, congested … though to my surprise not too distracted …

Taking natural stuff to support my body and riding it out.

time and again surprised by the intensity and depth of the connection Andreea and I have …

a demanding relationship

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NSA Snooping

n

Fascinating read on an evolution of cyber-warfare.

My mind latched on to one underlying question: how much of the world is actually “out there” and how much of it is a manifestation of our imagination?

via Michel Bauwens

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Of Jobs and Farming

n

A new name to me – Frithjof Bergmann speaks of lost jobs due to  automation and globalization (two widely cited causes) and farming (a much less cited cause):

via David Korten and The Partially Examined Life

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Something hurt

n

Andreea left abruptly from her last visit (last weekend) … she was called to a birth.

It wasn’t just how she left, but also how she was here.

When she got on the bus, we were both choked by tears … we were both hurting.

Something in me was hurt during that last visit.

The days since then I’ve felt deflated, low energy, low motivation … I’ve been living with a background headache.

Today my calves hurt, my gums are sensitive, my throat is sensitive … something in me was hurt.

Thankful for quiet days, good food … looking to recollect myself.

 

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Food Sharing & Living Without Money

n

An interesting video about a German who lives off the wastes of society, demonstrating that we live in a world of abundance and that scarcity is a misperception rooted in our relationship with the prevalent abundance. I have mixed feelings/thoughts about this (there are english captions):



As I was watching it I thought about strawbale and earthship construction methods. Both are prominent players in the eco-construction field and both rely on the wastes generated by modern day society. This dependence on waste questions, in my mind, their sustainability. If one day we stop massive monoculturing of straw-producing crops (or leave the straw to decompose and nourish the soil in which it grew) and stop moving around on tires and, for example, start moving around on magnets (or bicycles, or heck stop moving altogether) then both these construction methods become obsolete. What then? We are still going to need to build houses – how will we go about doing that?

I live in a Romanian village. There is no waste here. Everything is used, then reused, then reused and continually used even when things are unsafe or unreliable to use. This mentality has its limitations. Animals, for example, are also used … and mistreated. Forests are used … illegaly harvested and entire ecosystems are in a state of deterioration. Soil is used … and is dying, infertile and inable to hold water. People are used … there is very little sharing and giving … most giving is done in barter mentality that can be as careless and ruthless as money.

I placed myself in this reality and in this reality a life cannot be created through sharing. I find myself reflecting on many issues faced by leading edge thinking of more modernized societies and I often, by trying to apply their solutions to the reality in which I exist, come to the conclusions that their logic is incomplete or flawed simply because it is not applicable here in a Romanian village. They seem to imply that the Romanian village would first have to become a wasteful modern city-like entity and then, upon the waste, we could apply these new “solutions”. I believe that Romanian village life presents a raw challenge and a valuable playground for experimenting with a better future.

It is in that spirit that I questioned the ideas in this movie. Raphael is a courageous and committed person. He is a force of nature that is much needed in a modern city-scape. His existence complements and balances the wasteful habits that modern cities have become. His efforts may inspire others and may give birth to new ideas. But his view, to me, is incomplete. His solution makes him a parasite on the back of a beast that itself is threatened – making his life-balance as fragile as that of the people who’s waste he consumes.

My financially-poor neighbors (destructive though they may to their environment) are still the most resilient people I’ve met … yet their way of life is dying and to me unappealing. In this reality I ask myself what to do? In this reality I see the useful functions that money can have and I live with nagging and difficult (for me) questions not on how to escape money but how to shape it into a better tool.

A few meta-observations came to me as I re-read this post.

  1. Wow! There is a growing global society of deeply motivated and caring people who are compelled to question, challenge and create a better world.
  2. Wow! These people were born from the patterns of the existing world. That indicates that the existing world we can be so critical of has embedded in it DNA the potential for becoming better.
  3. Wow! Many of these people seem to be rooted in a “protesting-against” mentality. That indicates that they are still indirectly defined by and tied to the patterns they want to change. I have a feeling that’s a good thing(just getting used to it myself). What may not be is not acknowledging this relationship and not appreciating its evolutionary role.
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