Friday, April 25, 2008

May 10th is Pangea Day

Pangea was the name for the one continent of the world, before things shifted 250 million years ago and split into the current set of separate continents on which the human race now lives. You probably learned about it as we did, somewhere around third grade. The continents make a great puzzle for children, and the bright ones pick up on the fact that when laid out on the map, the pieces look like they fit together. And they do!

Pangea Day is a brilliant idea meant to reunite all the peoples of the world through the power of music and video. It will be broadcast on TV, the web, digital cinema and mobile phone. One of the highlights IMHO will be the Anthem Project. The Pangea Day website simply asks, "ever try singing another countries' national anthem?" And so it is that we will exchange anthems. Here France sings for America. This is beautiful and humbling. Thank you. Thank you, France.

More anthem videos can be found at the Pangea Day site, including America singing for Mexico.

Our hope for the intriguing Pangea concept is that technology will finally link the simplistic visual trait in many of us (as we view the event) to the complex creator also residing somewhere within, to finally harness this message that continues to echo through time.

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in Peace

No, we're not just dreamers. What would it take for each of us to spread a little more love? After all, there is little room in the world left for fools with armies. And aren't we all losing patience with the constant saber-rattling and battle cries of hate and fear?

A stronger, louder, clearer and more balanced message has been years in the making. Isn't it time we really listened?


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Un-Bee-Lievable, Bee Bandits, Whod'a Thunk It?

Well, it's always the thing you least expect that fills you with amazement. Seems as we've predicted in previous posts, with this economy, thievery is in vogue. And the nay-do-wellers are stealing everything that isn't screwed down.

Apparently, as if we only had Colony Collapse Disorder to boggle all scientific minds to date, now a bunch of idiots find profit in stealing entire hives of bees from beekeepers. Now, like most dumb criminals, they've overlooked a pretty big issue - the fact that the beekeepers' boxes are all marked and registered with each State. Doh!

Scientists have predicted that if bee colonies collapsed completely, leaving the poor bee extinct, along with the millions of other species being effected by the human species' lavish lifestyle, humans would follow (in extinction, that is) just four years after the bees. Yes, you read right. Four Years. That is how important the bee is to our very survival. So, as anyone with half a mind to think about it for a second will realize, we certainly don't need a bunch of two-bit, profiteering agricannibals in our midst (it's enough that we've got Monsanto to deal with).

So, anyway, this is the latest and greatest sign of our weakening economy. We've got copper pipe thieves and now bee thieves. Our own minds here in Charleston are pondering who these people are exactly. Copper pipe thieves, for instance....are they out of work subcontractors? Bee Thieves. Out of work apiologists? What are we missing here?! Is it possible people who study bees are out of work because of Colony Collapse Disorder, or are these just really smart criminals?

Anyway, here are two cases. The pilfering is occurring in California and Maryland.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Embracing Shrinkage

These people in Ohio got it goin' on. Recognizing their paradigm of growth was dead (yours is too, you just may not know it yet) they have embraced shrinkage! Tearing up streets, razing vacant houses and creating green space is, in fact, the future of many American cities (we venture to say within a decade) as we run up against massive growth-hindering resource limitations. Growth as we have known it is over. O V E R. It's time to look down at our teenie weenies and figure out a new game plan. And, that is just what the people of Youngstown have done. This article, from CNN, appropriately titled for the mainstream media, The Incredible Shrinking City, provides a pretty good platform for diving into the details.

It's an odd way to pioneer. "The American narrative always includes growth," said Hunter Morrison, Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at Youngstown State University, which works closely with the city on plan 2010's implementation. "No one wants to talk about shrinkage. That's too threatening to politicians, civic boosters and Chambers of Commerce."

It may be mildly humorous to note the "harebrained schemes" those civic boosters clung to as they hatched plans to save an antiquated past, their marketing attempts ultimately failing to their own sad chagrin. You may have a laugh as you read the article to understand what we're getting at here.

Zeppelin's aside, and on a more human scale, these people have empowered themselves by embracing the reality of their situation in this post-industrial nation. We here can only hope that we all find the very best within ourselves in an uncertain future. Limitations are not all that scary when we make decisions that are based in sound reality, rather than fearful whims later faced with regret.

"It's getting us to think about where we're going into the future, rather than where we've been in the past."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Scottie, Beam Me Up to the Polar City!

Deng Cheng-hong's depiction of a model "polar city", circa year 2500 A.D. Polar cities are an adaptation concept for future generations living on a ravaged planet long after those of us doing the ravaging have said goodbye.

It's also certainly interesting to note that this concept isn't that far out there either. Although in the 70s and 80s we were sold The Jetzens and Star Trek-like visions of the future, none of us have a flying car yet, and hello, it's like, 2008 already! So, it seems reasonable to imagine that with the flood of news related to peak oil and other environmental limitations, including a bunch of wild cards yet to be dealt by global warming, our offspring may be living in the poles while we will never own a flying car or be beemed up anywhere within our lifetimes. It seems even more reasonable to wonder if the recent opening of the seedbank in Svalbard, where "Norway blasted the...Vault deep into the permafrost of a remote Arctic archipelago to protect as many as 4.5 million of the world's agricultural seeds from climate change, plant epidemics, natural disasters or war," couldn't be the very first stones cast as the foundations for these future milieus.

If you've got the time, there is a wealth of information on polar cities in the comments section, as well as some provocative debate on the global warming issue.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Now, Here's An Idea For Barack and Hillary

Put this guy in charge of your health care system. He knows how to stretch a dollar (and gee, we'll be needin' that trait), he wants for nothing - he is simply here to help his own kind, he is realistic, he has a great accent and orates better than any of the buffoons wallpapering our TV screens lately. What a beautiful human.


Hat tip to Carolyn Baker's site for providing some good fare.