Syrian war spurs first withdrawal from doomsday Arctic seed vault

Svalbard, seed vault, biodiversity, war, syria, seed bank

Syria’s civil war has prompted the first withdrawal of seeds from a “doomsday” vault built in an Arctic mountainside to safeguard global food supplies, officials said on Monday. The seeds, including samples of wheat, barley and grasses suited to dry regions, have been requested by researchers elsewhere in the Middle East to replace seeds in a gene bank near the Syrian city of Aleppo that has been damaged by the war. “Protecting the world’s biodiversity in this manner is precisely the purpose of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault,” said Brian Lainoff, a spokesman for the Crop Trust, which runs the underground storage on a Norwegian island 1,300 km (800 miles) from the North Pole.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/21/us-mideast-crisis-seeds-idUSKCN0RL1KA20150921

It could be worse

conformity, china, nudge, citizen score, social media, social pressure, economics

The gamification of social conformity, overseen by an authoritarian government and mediated by nudge theory, is a thing of beauty and horror; who needs cops with nightsticks to beat up dissidents when their friends and family will give them a tongue-lashing on behalf of the government for the price of a discount off a new fridge? But don’t worry, I could make it a whole lot worse. The first notable point about this system is that it’s an oppressive system that runs at a profit. Consider the instant no-colateral loans for online shopping: the Chinese system only grants these to folks who are a good credit bet. The debt will be repayed. Meanwhile it goes into providing a Keynsian stimulus for the productive side of the economy. And it rewards people for political right-thinking. What’s not to like?

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2015/10/it-could-be-worse.html

While we often see smart refrigerators as in concept kitchens, IKEA and the designer believe that fridges will become obsolete…

“While we often see smart refrigerators as in concept kitchens, IKEA and the designer believe that fridges will become obsolete in the future due to their energy inefficiency. Rather, people will store food much as how they have done so in the past—using materials that are naturally insular, such as cooling ceramic, to keep items as fresh as possible. People will no longer buy groceries on a weekly basis, but with automatic delivery from drones and the like, fresh food will be just as easy to get on demand. The design also promotes a mindful way of storage, with clear containers that display the state of food and serve as a visual reminder to eat before it goes bad.”

According to IKEA, the Kitchen of 2025 Will Be Refrigerator-Less - PSFK (viaiamdanw)

Uncovering The Secret History Of Myers-Briggs

digg, MBTI, psychology, history, personality, Myers-Briggs

Yet though her creation is everywhere, Myers and the details of her life’s work are curiously absent from the public record. Not a single independent biography is in print today. Not one article details how Myers, an award-winning mystery writer who possessed no formal training in psychology or sociology, concocted a test routinely deployed by 89 of the Fortune 100 companies, the US government, hundreds of universities, and online dating sites like Perfect Match, Project Evolove and Type Tango. And not one expert in the field of psychometric testing, a $500 million industry with over 2,500 different tests on offer in the US alone, can explain why Myers-Briggs has so thoroughly surpassed its competition, emerging as a household name on par with the Atkins Diet or The Secret.

https://digg.com/2015/myers-briggs-secret-history

The tools of the trade. There is nothing more satisfying than making something for yourself! As the genius Mr Buckmisterfuller…

The tools of the trade. There is nothing more satisfying than making something for yourself! As the genius Mr Buckmisterfuller used to say, “You find out what it is when you find out what it isn’t! ” #getlost #tools #draw #make #sell #r&d #craft #create #curious #product #development #storiestotell #play #photography #explore #understand by thelostexplorer (via https://instagram.com/p/8sA3pvAX5O/)

Philip Ob Rey from Iceland uses VHS tape to sculpt these massive, forlorn looking creatures. The desolate and deserted frozen…

Philip Ob Rey from Iceland uses VHS tape to sculpt these massive, forlorn looking creatures. The desolate and deserted frozen landscapes of Iceland serve as the backdrop to what is a gorgeous, mournful elegy to these soon to be forgotten curios of at-home viewing 📼
#creepyart #weirdart #darkart #art #eerie #creepy #woman #witch #witches #alien #monster #fantasy #mythology #beauty #beautiful #vhs #bw #blackandwhite #instaart #instagood #potd #fotd #artmag #artmagazine #collidemag by collidemag (via https://instagram.com/p/8sDZC-H1Ug/)

Disaster Preparedness Tokyo

Disaster Preparedness, Tokyo, manual, Japan

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has compiled a manual called “Disaster Preparedness Tokyo” (Tokyo Bousai*) to help households get fully prepared for an earthquake directly hitting Tokyo and other various disasters. “Disaster Preparedness Tokyo” is tailored to the various local features of Tokyo, its urban structure, and the lifestyles of its residents, and contains easy-to-understand information on how to prepare for and respond to a disaster.This information will be useful now and in the event of an emergency. *“Bousai” is Japanese for “disaster preparedness”

http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/GUIDE/BOSAI/index.htm

Navigating through digital folders uses the same brain structures as real world navigation - Nature Efficient storage and…

new-aesthetic:

Navigating through digital folders uses the same brain structures as real world navigation - Nature

Efficient storage and retrieval of digital data is the focus of much commercial and academic attention. With personal computers, there are two main ways to retrieve files: hierarchical navigation and query-based search. In navigation, users move down their virtual folder hierarchy until they reach the folder in which the target item is stored. When searching, users first generate a query specifying some property of the target file (e.g., a word it contains), and then select the relevant file when the search engine returns a set of results. Despite advances in search technology, users prefer retrieving files using virtual folder navigation, rather than the more flexible query-based search. Using fMRI we provide an explanation for this phenomenon by demonstrating that folder navigation results in activation of the posterior limbic (including the retrosplenial cortex) and parahippocampal regions similar to that previously observed during real-world navigation in both animals and humans. In contrast, search activates the left inferior frontal gyrus, commonly observed in linguistic processing. We suggest that the preference for navigation may be due to the triggering of automatic object finding routines and lower dependence on linguistic processing.

Why the ‘Kitchen of the Future’ Always Fails Us

food futures, IoT, futures, house of the future, kitchen, history

The home of the future has a long history. In 1893, at the World’s Fair in Chicago, domestic science and home economics were presented on the global stage for the first time as academic disciplines, topics to be systematically considered and innovated upon. In 1933, the Chicago World’s Fair was themed “Century of Progress.” It had a whole exhibition called Homes of Tomorrow, advertised by a flyer touting “the home of the new era … a steel house you would want to live in,” one that’s “fireproof and sanitary.” The home itself was now fair game for innovation, and companies like Monsanto and General Motors started to get on board.

http://www.eater.com/2015/9/15/9326775/the-kitchen-of-the-future-has-failed-us

There is very good reason to believe that, in a generation or so, capitalism itself will no longer exist—most obviously, as…

There is very good reason to believe that, in a generation or so, capitalism itself will no longer exist—most obviously, as ecologists keep reminding us, because it’s impossible to maintain an engine of perpetual growth forever on a finite planet, and the current form of capitalism doesn’t seem to be capable of generating the kind of vast technological breakthroughs and mobilizations that would be required for us to start finding and colonizing any other planets. Yet faced with the prospect of capitalism actually ending, the most common reaction—even from those who call themselves “progressives”—is simply fear. We cling to what exists because we can no longer imagine an alternative that wouldn’t be even worse.

How did we get here? My own suspicion is that we are looking at the final effects of the militarization of American capitalism itself. In fact, it could well be said that the last thirty years have seen the construction of a vast bureaucratic apparatus for the creation and maintenance of hopelessness, a giant machine designed, first and foremost, to destroy any sense of possible alternative futures. At its root is a veritable obsession on the part of the rulers of the world—in response to the upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s—with ensuring that social movements cannot be seen to grow, flourish, or propose alternatives; that those who challenge existing power arrangements can never, under any circumstances, be perceived to win. To do so requires creating a vast apparatus of armies, prisons, police, various forms of private security firms and police and military intelligence apparatus, and propaganda engines of every conceivable variety, most of which do not attack alternatives directly so much as create a pervasive climate of fear, jingoistic conformity, and simple despair that renders any thought of changing the world seem an idle fantasy. Maintaining this apparatus seems even more important, to exponents of the “free market,” even than maintaining any sort of viable market economy. How else can one explain what happened in the former Soviet Union? One would ordinarily have imagined that the end of the Cold War would have led to the dismantling of the army and the KGB and rebuilding the factories, but in fact what happened was precisely the other way around. This is just an extreme example of what has been happening everywhere. Economically, the apparatus is pure dead weight; all the guns, surveillance cameras, and propaganda engines are extraordinarily expensive and really produce nothing, and no doubt it’s yet another element dragging the entire capitalist system down—along with producing the illusion of an endless capitalist future that laid the groundwork for the endless bubbles to begin with. Finance capital became the buying and selling of chunks of that future, and economic freedom, for most of us, was reduced to the right to buy a small piece of one’s own permanent subordination.

DEBT, David Graeber (viam1k3y)

What Pragmatism Means

WIlliam James, pragmatism, philosophy, 1906

It is astonishing to see how many philosophical disputes collapse into insignificance the moment you subject them to this simple test of tracing a concrete consequence. There can be no difference anywhere that doesn’t make a difference elsewhere – no difference in abstract truth that doesn’t express itself in a difference in concrete fact and in conduct consequent upon that fact, imposed on somebody, somehow, somewhere, and somewhen. The whole function of philosophy ought to be to find out what definite difference it will make to you and me, at definite instants of our life, if this world-formula or that world-formula be the true one.

https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/us/james.htm

How representations of the future are mired in the past: a case study An analysis of the Mercedes-Benz collaboration with Ars…

additivism:

How representations of the future are mired in the past: a case study

An analysis of the Mercedes-Benz collaboration with Ars Electronica for the European launch of the brand’s intelligent car prototype - the F 015 Luxury in Motion - and the problems that many high-end brands in traditional industries seem to have envisioning a believable future.

Is the Theory of Disruption Dead Wrong?

disruption, biz, innovation, belief

The attacks have not dimmed disruption’s popularity as a management buzzword. Eric Schmidt, Google’s former chief executive officer, has said that Europe can solve its unemployment problem with disruptive innovation. This year, USAID, a government agency, credited disruptive innovation for helping curb Nepal’s “extreme poverty.” In a speech at New York University this summer, Hillary Clinton said she was looking for “innovative, disruptive ideas that will save capitalism for the 21st century.” Business leaders seem so enamored with the idea that they’re reluctant to seriously consider naysayers who poke holes in it. “Ninety percent of the problem isn’t Clay, it’s what happened afterwards,” King says. “People don’t want to give this up for some reason.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015–10–05/did-clay-christensen-get-disruption-wrong-

Parasitized bees are self-medicating in the wild, Dartmouth-led study finds Bumblebees infected with a common intestinal…

currentsinbiology:

Parasitized bees are self-medicating in the wild, Dartmouth-led study finds

Bumblebees infected with a common intestinal parasite are drawn to flowers whose nectar and pollen have a medicinal effect, a Dartmouth-led study shows. The findings suggest that plant chemistry could help combat the decline of bee species.

The researchers previously found in lab studies that nectar containing nicotine and other natural chemicals in plants significantly reduced the number of parasites in sickened bees, but the new study shows parasitized bees already are taking advantage of natural chemicals in the wild.

The study is to appear in the journal Ecology but may be reported now by the media. A PDF of the preprint is available on request. The study was conducted by researchers at Dartmouth College and the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Caption: A Dartmouth-led study finds that bumblebees infected with a common intestinal parasite are drawn to flowers whose nectar and pollen have a medicinal effect, suggesting that plant chemistry could help combat the decline of bee species. Credit: Leif Richardson

The Port of Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark has one of the largest passenger terminals in the Baltic Sea, handling more than…

dailyoverview:

The Port of Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark has one of the largest passenger terminals in the Baltic Sea, handling more than 1.6 million passengers annually. A cruise ship with an approximate length of 1000 feet (305 meters) is seen at one of its docks. The facility also contains one of the region’s busiest cargo terminals, which moves more than 18 million tonnes of cargo each year.

55.6718°N 12.5817°E

www.dailyoverview.com

The price of the Internet of Things will be a vague dread of a malicious world

IoT, dread, consumerism, corporatism, deception, paranoia, futures, 2015

So the fact is that our experience of the world will increasingly come to reflect our experience of our computers and of the internet itself (not surprisingly, as it’ll be infused with both). Just as any user feels their computer to be a fairly unpredictable device full of programs they’ve never installed doing unknown things to which they’ve never agreed to benefit companies they’ve never heard of, inefficiently at best and actively malignant at worst (but how would you now?), cars, street lights, and even buildings will behave in the same vaguely suspicious way. Is your self-driving car deliberately slowing down to give priority to the higher-priced models? Is your green A/C really less efficient with a thermostat from a different company, or it’s just not trying as hard? And your tv is supposed to only use its camera to follow your gestural commands, but it’s a bit suspicious how it always offers Disney downloads when your children are sitting in front of it.

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/rinesi20150925

Exxon Confirmed Global Warming Consensus in 1982 with In-House Climate Models

climateadaptation:

rjzimmerman:

This is the third in a series of articles published by InsideClimate News disclosing that ExxonMobil was conducting an extensive internal research project internally to analyze the effect of carbon emissions on atmospheric CO2, global warming and climate change. It’s clear from the material described and presented in the article that ExxonMobil, within its science group and at the highest management levels, was aware of the risk of climate change from carbon emissions. Notwithstanding that knowledge, ExxonMobil decided to protect its business model and go down the denial path.

What’s amazing is how accurate the ExxonMobil scientists were in their projections of the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere and the effect those levels of concentration would have on global warming.

Here’s an example of an internal memorandum. An explanation of this memo, including more on its contents, the context in which it was written and delivered and the identities of the author and addressee, are included in the article.

A timeline of ExxonMobil’s research and external outreach efforts on the climate change issue. If the text is too tiny or blurred, a better copy, which you can enlarge, is included in the article.

The above was posted by the indefatigable rjzimmerman, and the story got a lot of play last week. It should be made clear that ExxonMobil has always held the position that carbon emissions contributes to climate change. They’ve not deviated from this. What the company advocates for is a slow down in policy actions. So, for example, in 2002, Exxon took out this full page ad acknowledging humans are affecting climate; but the company makes it clear that aggressive policies to curtail carbon emissions could harm economies in unforeseen ways - after all, economies require intense amounts of fossil fuels to function. Exxon advocated for a more methodological route, and in doing so made the critical error of funding hacks in order to obfuscate the efficacy of climate policy regimes, such as the unprecedented Kyoto Protocol schemes.

I agree that Exxon should be condemned, even sued, for funding organizations that intentionally clouded the science or created false debates. It’ll be difficult to show that nefarious behavior was illegal, unfortunately.

On the other hand, Exxon has - consistently- acknowledged anthropocentric climate change. In fact most, if not all, oil and gas companies publicly share their climate and emissions research right on their websites.

I published a list of oil company’s climate change websites two years ago, here: http://climateadaptation.tumblr.com/post/47456183104/why-dont-oil-companies-hire-climate-deniers.

Oil companies disagree with some of the untested policy tactics advocated by policy makers and environmental groups; the companies openly want clarity on the affects of such policies on economies. These are fair questions! Exxon really fucked up by repackaging these questions by hiring hacks and goons.

Ironically - and virtually unreported - Exxon arguably has funded more research for lowering emissions than they have funded anti-policy groups. See, for one example, “Exxon and others Give $225 Million to Standford to Research Lowering Emissions” NYTimes, November 2002:                    

Four big international companies, including the oil giant Exxon Mobil, said yesterday that they would give Stanford University $225 million over 10 years for research on ways to meet growing energy needs without worsening global warming.                          

Exxon Mobil, whose pledge of $100 million makes it the biggest of the four contributors, issued a statement saying new techniques for producing energy while reducing emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases were “vital to meeting energy needs in the industrialized and developing world.”

Many scientists and environment experts said the Stanford project was likely to be a valuable new assault on a serious environmental problem. NYTimes.

Exxon Confirmed Global Warming Consensus in 1982 with In-House Climate Models