Thursday, 2 December 2010

education paradigms

Enjoyed this animated talk (which reminds me of Tony Buzan's Mind Maps), adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson.

As an alternative to changing the current educational paradigm, there's 'dropping out'. Time Magazine ran an interesting piece last year on trends for the upcoming decade. They reckon the Dropout Economy is one and I agree. Ran Prieur has a great essay, 'how to drop out', covering some of the popular myths and a review of his own journey.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Stroke of insight

Scientist Jill Bolte Taylor(Ted Talks) had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness -- shut down one by one. An astonishing story demonstrating the importance of balance and our potential to feel totally connected.
"I am an energy-being connected to the energy all around me
through the consciousness of my right hemisphere.
We are energy-beings connected to one another
through the consciousness of our right hemispheres as one human family.
And right here, right now, we are brothers and sisters on this planet,
here to make the world a better place.
And in this moment we are perfect, we are whole and we are beautiful."

Friday, 28 May 2010

tipping point

Is industrialised civilisation on the verge of a tipping point to decline? Well, if you have the patience, this sobering analysis is well worth the read.. Near-Term Systemic Implications of a Peak in Global Oil Production "We are at the cusp of rapid and severely disruptive changes. From now on the risk of entering a collapse must be considered significant and rising. The challenge is not about how we introduce energy infrastructure to maintain the viability of the systems we depend upon, rather it is how we deal with the consequences of not having the energy and other resources to maintain those same systems."

In the same vein, is the snappily titled Nine Meals from Anarchy from the New Economics Foundation in a 2008 Schumacher Lecture.

As a late addition, here is a link to David Malone's, High Anxieties - The Mathematics of Chaos, in which James Lovelock prefers the model of a slope as opposed to a tipping point in reference to climate change. "..I like to think of it not so much as a tipping point, but as a slope that gets ever steeper and at some point it gets so steep you can't hold on any longer.."

And then of course there is the eponymous book by Malcom Gladwell. And his enjoyable TED talk on spaghetti sauce.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Do we walk wrong?

It took 4 million years of evolution to perfect the human foot. Now we're wrecking it with every step we take.. "Admittedly, there’s something counterintuitive about the idea that less padding on your foot equals less shock on your body. But that’s only if we continue to think of our feet as lifeless blocks of flesh that hold us upright. The sole of your foot has over 200,000 nerve endings in it, one of the highest concentrations anywhere in the body. Our feet are designed to act as earthward antennae, helping us balance and transmitting information to us about the ground we’re walking on." -New Yorker Magazine Article

Here's a guy who knows a thing or two about walking, John Francis Walks the Earth.

We were not born with wheels upon our feet, oh no,
Not even wings to help us fly,
It's for this reason I'd suppose,
We walk the earth for our short lives..

Check out Barefoot Ted if you're interested to make yourself a pair of minimalist running sandals.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Is google making us stupid?

I often wonder about this, what are the effects of copious internet reading? What the Internet is doing to our brains " are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation."

And another good article referencing changes on brain function with regard to internet usage. I know there is often the tendency to romanticise the past over the present but.. Is It Just Us, Or Are Kids Getting Really Stupid?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Recommended Reading:

This book is stunning. Profound understanding of civilisation and its unsustainable course. The Final Empire: The Collapse of Empire and the Seed of the Future - by William Kötke. Available to read online at: "The crisis of the planet Earth is so profound that all of our lives will be caught up in it. Our lives will change because of it. Our lives will change because of the apocalyptic events happening now and the even greater dislocations to come. We cannot avoid these great trends of history but we can exercise awareness and skill in action in dealing with them. The tumult will be environmental and it will also be within the social body of civilization."

The americanization of mental illness

We may indeed be far along in homogenizing the way the world goes mad. "Nowhere are the limitations of Western ideas and treatments more evident than in the case of schizophrenia. Researchers have long sought to understand what may be the most perplexing finding in the cross-cultural study of mental illness: people with schizophrenia in developing countries appear to fare better over time than those living in industrialized nations." -New York Times Article

On this topic, a link to Sean Blackwell's thought provoking blog exploring his own experiences and interpretations of bi-polar. A favourite idea: a breakdown or a breakthrough?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

to be connected..

To see the world in a grain of sand,
and to see heaven in a wild flower,
hold infinity in the palm of your hands,
and eternity in an hour.

-William Blake