Month: June 2013

Civilisation innovates, culture consolidates.

To make the distinction unmistakably clear: Civilization is the vital force in human history; culture is that inert mass of institutions and organizations which accumulate around and tend to drag down the advance of life; Civilization is Giordano Bruno facing death by fire; culture is the Cardinal Bellarmino, after ten years of inquisition, sending Bruno ...

Embrace Life – always wear your seat belt


Profits Without Production

One lesson from recent economic troubles has been the usefulness of history. Via

Does transparency lead to trust? Some evidence on the subject.

As open government gains traction in the international agenda, it is increasingly common to come across statements that assume a causal relationship in which transparency leads to trust in government. But to what extent are claims that transparency leads to trust backed up by evidence? Via

Zen courage.

The banks of the far shore are beautiful, but the turbulent river hides all but a few stepping stones. Courage. More will appear as you move.

With an Eye Toward Disaster, NYC Debuts Solar Charging Stations

Nerval’s Lobster writes “When hurricane Sandy pummeled New York City last fall, it left a sizable percentage of the metropolis without electricity. Residents had trouble keeping their phones and tablets charged, and often walked across whole neighborhoods to reach zones with power. Via

What happened to political leadership?

I have no idea what happened to political leadership, and in many ways I don’t much care. What is where are the politicians with vision? It used to be that the greatest minds went into politics with the sole intention of helping the citizens they cared for navigate the future successfully.  Now it would appear ...

Ancient Roman Concrete Is About To Revolutionize Modern Architecture

schwit1 sends this news from Businesweek: “After 2,000 years, a long-lost secret behind the creation of one of the world’s most durable man-made creations ever — Roman concrete — has finally been discovered by an international team of scientists, and it may have a significant impact on how we bu Via

Do-It-Yourself Brain Stimulation Has Scientists Worried – Slashdot

“Dave Siever always fancied himself as something of a musician, but also realized he did not necessarily sing or play in perfect key. Then he strapped on the electrodes of a device made by his Edmonton company, and zapped his brain’s auditory cortex with a mild dose of electricity. The result, he claims, was a ...

Why doesn’t Monsanto fix energy?

There’s a very simple way we can tell that GMO companies (a) don’t understand genetic modification very well, and (b) aren’t interested in solving humanity’s biggest challenges. Ask yourself what you would do if you ran Monsanto. If it was me, I’d look at the reasons people don’t like my work: it’s tampering with complex ...

Superior orders

Since we keep being asked to do immoral things by our businesses and our Governments* it’s worth remembering Rule IV of the Nuremberg principles: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible ...

Evidence-based policies

Let’s face it, we know a lot of stuff now. Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media ...

A film about The Prince and Global Sustainability

“”I have long been deeply concerned about the effect our modern, highly industrialised approach is having on nature’s capacity to sustain life on Earth.” Source:

A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales to the Future for Food Conference, Georgetown University, Washington DC

“President de Gioia, Ladies and Gentlemen. Having such fond memories of my last visit, it is a great joy to be invited back to Georgetown to speak at this conference. It certainly makes a change from making embarrassing speeches about my eldest son during wedding receptions…!” Source:

If Day

“If Day (French: “Si un jour”, “If one day”[1]) was a simulated Nazi invasion of the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and surrounding areas on February 19, 1942, during the Second World War.” Source:

“The Great Feast” – TEDxOxbridge

This is the transcript from my talk at TEDxOxbridge last weekend. —————–   If you a have a phone, take it out and hold it up. This device makes us magicians: At any time, from any where, we can know almost ANYTHING that is known to mankind. Ok – hands down. But what is truly ...

There are two kinds of failure.

There are two kinds of failure. The failure of ambitious dreams that maybe we’ll see in China. And the never ending failure of the miserable cynical bastards in the west who never open their mouths but to whine about how terrible everything is. People so fundamentally opposed to a better world tomorrow that the highest ...