Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Speech: Clay Shirky - Why SOPA is a bad idea

What does a bill like PIPA/SOPA mean to our shareable world? At the TED offices, Clay Shirky delivers a proper manifesto -- a call to defend our freedom to create, discuss, link and share, rather than passively consume.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Speech: Julian Baggini - Is there a real you?

One of the best known philosophers in the UK, Julian will ask the question 'Is There A Real You? He will draw on the research supporting his latest book 'The Ego Trick' and challenge our audience to reflect on their understanding of the 'Self'.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Article: The Real Reason We Don’t Need SOPA or PIPA - We Already Have Broken Copyright Law, DMCA

Original Article written by Eric Limer for Geek-o-System - Wednesday 18, January 2012

Now don’t get me wrong, there are awful, awful aspects to both SOPA and PIPA. The prospect of DNS blocking is egregious censorship. The prospect of cutting off funds and ad revenue to “infringers” without due process is egregious. Even without those provisions, though, we still don’t need or want SOPA or PIPA. Why? Because we already have dangerously broken copyright law: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

It’s almost funny, in a I-want-to-cry sort of way. SOPA and PIPA seem to be constructed on the premise that the DMCA had the right approach, but just isn’t strong enough. The fact of the matter is that DMCA has the wrong approach and is too powerful. There’s evidence to back this up.

The main DMCA principle that SOPA and PIPA are building on is the takedown request. Under DMCA, anybody – anybody – can file a takedown request claiming that something on the Internet falls under their copyright and needs to be removed from wherever it is, typically YouTube. That’s all fine and dandy — good even — the problem is that there are norepercussions for filing a bogus takedown request, something that happens all the time.

Under DMCA, the content just comes down. Under SOPA and PIPA, the government could call on ISPs to block entire sites via DNS, not just specific content. Granted, those DNS blocking provisions have largely been “dropped,” but SOPA was “shelved until consensus,” so take that with a grain of salt. Even without DNS blocking provisions, SOPA and PIPA still

Monday, 23 January 2012

Speech: Alain de Botton - Atheism 2.0

What aspects of religion should atheists (respectfully) adopt? Alain de Botton suggests a "religion for atheists" -- call it Atheism 2.0 -- that incorporates religious forms and traditions to satisfy our human need for connection, ritual and transcendence.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Speech: Alain de Botton - A kinder, gentler philosophy of success

Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure -- and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure? He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Speech: Bunker Roy - Learning from a barefoot movement

In Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men -- many of them illiterate -- to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It's called the Barefoot College, and its founder, Bunker Roy, explains how it works.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Article: Fresh Practices - A Few Things To Start TODAY

Original Article written by Russ Baker for WhoWhatWhy - Sunday 1, January 2012

People are always saying to me,okay, now that you’ve told us what the problems are, what can be done about them?

A good practice is to start by working on yourself. From individual choices and thinking, on matters large and minuscule, emerges the state of mind that leads invariably to broad benefits for us all. Here are a few simple things to try in the new year, if you’re not already doing them:

-Notice what you notice: Make a conscious, deliberate mental note of things you noticed. This is a great technique for writers and reporters, but generally useful for creating more awareness of your life, your world, and the things in it. From awareness springs action. Solutions are to be found everywhere.

-Notice how you feel: What makes you feel good—and why? What makes you feel bad—and why? Most of us are not especially introspective, because self-examination can be painful. But it isn’t so difficult if you start with small exercises. These lead gradually to revelation.

-Identify especially two categories: (a) The bad things that make you feel good, and (b) The good things that make you feel bad.

First, A: We fill our lives with bad things that make us feel good for a moment, but in the

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Documentary: What the Bleep Do We Know!? (2004)

This a GREAT thought provoking and mind opener documentary. It's quite hard to describe it, but in short, it brings together science and spirituality in a mind blowing way.

I think EVERYONE should watch this, and then watch it again to really understand it!

It's a great start understanding ourselves through science and spirituality and realizing we can change ourselves if we want to and we can create our own realities.

Note: even though most of the content is amazing, I don't think it is produced in the best way possible, since it involves a (boring) story and some special effects which I find a bit too much some times. 
Also bare in mind that this is NOT a purely scientific film, and there's stuff in there that's either not really proven or sometimes plain bullshit (some examples here). Please try to see through them and get the most out of this film, instead of bitching about it not being scientific. Just follow it through and keep watching, ti won't fail to amaze you!


Saturday, 7 January 2012

Article: The Problem With Patents (Infographic)

Original Article written by Jason for Forbes - Wednesday  04, January 2012

There’s no question that software and technology represent some of the fastest growing industries today. The internet has fundamentally changed the way we interact, do business, and spend money. That said, I always try and keep abreast of what’s happening in these sectors, and to be aware of how the online and tech industry makes its money.

I recently listened to an episode of This American Life called “When Patents Attack!”. Something that surprised me while listening was that while I think of patents as being mostly for gadgets and the kinds of products you see on infomercials, patents have become a huge factor in the software and online industries, to the tune of billions of dollars.

This infographic discusses some of the facts behind the patent industry and how it’s changed as software, technology, and the internet have developed at an incredible pace. I find the information to say a lot about the state of development and innovation; both how important it can be to everyday life, and the problems it can face on a larger scale.

patents infographic
Source: http://frugaldad.com

Research (Videos): Obama Signs NDAA Bill - What is the NDAA Bill?

The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) was signed by president Barack Obama on New Year's eve (2012) and I believe is of significant importance.
It has been commonly called the "indefinite detention" bill, because it gives the US Armed forces the right to indefinitely detain (even) US citizens suspected and accused of terrorism, without ANY trial whatsoever.

This post contains three chosen videos (as promised), that clearly explain the NDAA. 
To READ about the NDAA click here.

Read about the NDAA here.

. . .

Friday, 6 January 2012

Speech: Justin Hall-Tipping - The Future of Energy

Justin Hall-Tipping (CEO of "Nanoholdings") explains how nanotechnology is set to change the future of energy and replace fossil and nuclear fuels.

"The powerplant of tomorrow, is no powerplant."

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Research (Articles): Obama Signs NDAA Bill - What is the NDAA Bill?

The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) was signed by president Barack Obama on New Year's eve (2012) and I believe is of significant importance.
It has been commonly called the "indefinite detention" bill, because it gives the US Armed forces the right to indefinitely detain (even) US citizens suspected and accused of terrorism, without ANY trial whatsoever.

Yes, it's scary and yes it reminds us of those authoritarian regimes the USA has been criticizing (but secretly supporting) all those years. 
This is why I think its necessary to understand how the Act works and what it means for US citizens and for the rest of us. (Ναι, κι εμάς λέω)

This post contains two chosen cross-posts from the Guardian and Salon.com, which I think give a thorough explanation of the act.
I have included a few links to other informative articles and have posted some helpful videos too. I hope it helps.   /od

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The NDAA's historic assault on American liberty
By signing into law the NDAA, the president has awarded the military extraordinary powers to detain US citizens without trial

President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. It was a symbolic moment, to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking and celebrating, Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country … and citizens partied in unwitting bliss into the New Year.

Ironically, in addition to breaking his promise not to sign the law, Obama broke his promise on signing statements and attached a statement that he really does not want to detain citizens indefinitely (see the text of the statement here).

Obama insisted that he signed the bill simply to keep funding for the troops. It was a continuation of the dishonest treatment of the issue by the White House since the law first came to light. As discussed earlier, the White House told citizens that the president would

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Article: Why don’t the US and Iran choose dialogue first?

Original Article written by Linda Heard for Arab News - Wednesday 4, January 2012

If you believe that current hostilities between Washington and Tehran are all about Iran’s uranium enrichment program opening the door to a potential Iranian-made nuclear bomb engraved “Tel Aviv,” you’ve yet to peel the layers of this increasingly poisonous onion. Once you do, you’ll understand that fundamentally the feud is over which side gets to dominate the oil-rich Gulf region.

Before taking office, President Barack Obama was keen to initiate face-to-face talks with the Iranian leadership which he later failed to pursue despite having received a rather rambling conciliatory letter from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At stake is a major regional conflict, if not World War III, so one must wonder why the US president who was once keen to reach out to the Muslim world has swapped diplomacy for bellicosity.

There may have been a time when Obama fantasized riding into Tehran on a white horse, olive branch in hand, to end decades of enmity but he would have swiftly bolted that stable on being schooled that America’s strategic interests leave little room for warmth and fuzziness.

America’s appreciates allies as long as they submit to US diktats which the Iranian ayatollahs conceivably would never do as much of their standing at home and elsewhere rests on an ultra-conservative anti-Western ideology. For example, the Americans had no problem with their man Saddam Hussein until he became a liability and were happy to pander to the Shah until he got ideas above his station when he was unceremoniously dumped.

In one way, the US and Iran represent both sides of the same coin. It’s in the interests of both countries to keep up the enmity. In the absence of Saddam Hussein, Washington needs a regional bogeyman as a pretext to retain its mushrooming military bases and sell weapons to the tune of billions to Iran’s worried neighbors. And Tehran needs the “Great Satan” and the “Little Satan” as a locomotive to distract public sentiment from anti-government discontent and to reinforce its ideological tentacles with

Article: LEAKED - US to start 'trade wars' with nations opposed to Monsanto, GMO crops

Original Article written by Anthony Gucciardi for Truth Theory - Tuesday 3, January 2012

The United States is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) crops with military-style trade wars, according to information obtained and released by the organization WikiLeaks. Nations like France, which have moved to ban one of Monsanto’s GM corn varieties, were requested to be ‘penalized’ by the United States for opposing Monsanto and genetically modified foods. The information reveals just how deep Monsanto’s roots have penetrated key positions within the United States government, with the cables reporting that many U.S. diplomats work directly for Monsanto.

The WikiLeaks cable reveals that in late 2007, the United States ambassador to France and business partner to George W. Bush, Craig Stapleton, requested that the European Union along with particular nations that did not support GMO crops be penalized. Stapleton, who co-owned the Dallas/Fort Worth-based Texas Rangers baseball team with Bush in the 1990s, stated:

“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices.”

The Leaked Political Agenda Behind Monsanto’s GMO Crops

The ambassador plainly calls for ‘target retaliation’ against nations who are against using Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, admittedly linked to organ damage and environmental