Sepp Hasslberger: Beautiful Woven Refugee Tents Get Their Power from the Sun Read more: Beautiful Woven Refugee Tents Get Their Power from the Sun

Sepp Hasslberger

Sepp Hasslberger

Beautiful Woven Refugee Tents Get Their Power from the Sun

Designer Abeer Seikaly has developed a practical yet elegant solution to the need for lightweight, mobile, and structurally sound shelters for disaster zones.

The Canadian-Jordanian’s Weaving a Home project not only provides flexible, transportable shelter, but also incorporates water collection, solar power generation and solar water heating into the design.

Each tent has its own water collection system, utilizing the natural channels formed by the skin to direct water to the storage point. By using a fabric with strong thermal properties, the tents can alsoconvert solar radiation into power and heat collected water for showering.

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Sep 14

Owl: Religion is Not to Blame for “Terrorism”

Who?  Who?

Who? Who?

Atheists have It Wrong on Religious Causes of Terrorism and Suicide Bombing

This article dispels all illusions based on the belief that terrorism done by Muslim extremists is to be blamed on their religion, a view much favored by well-known atheist critics of religion such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

One of the implied back stories to this insightful article is that big-time atheist writers such as Harris and Christopher Hitchens (who is not mentioned), in blaming religion on terrorism perpetuated by Muslims and others, also happen to favor policies that perpetuate mass killing by larger western governments of large number of civilians in countries where Muslims live. That observation alone is worthy of an article all by itself.

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Sep 8

Marcus Aurelius: General Robert Scales on Defeating ISIS – Comment by Robert Steele

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

MG(R) Scales, a former Commandant of the Army War College, is nothing if not a controversial character.  I don’t necessarily disagree with his assertion, but I have a couple of practical questions:

  • Where are we going to get adequate numbers of personnel of the quality required to implement the McChrystal method on the scale proposed by MG(R) Scales?
  • If the McChrystal-method units suck up the quality people they will need, what will be left to execute other special operations requirement?

The only way to defeat the Islamic State – The Washington Post

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Sep 8

Eagle: Misery Index 2.0 – Real Unemployment, Real Income, Labor Share, Money Velocity (Charles Hugh Smith)

300 Million Talons...

300 Million Talons…

The New Misery Index

Charles Hugh Smith

The Status Quo is desperate to mask the declining fortunes of those who earn income from work, and the Misery Index 2.0 strips away the phony facade of bogus unemployment and inflation numbers.

The classic Misery Index is the sum of unemployment and inflation, though later variations have added interest rates and the relative shortfall or surplus of GDP growth.

Since the Status Quo figured out how to game unemployment and inflation to the point that these metrics are meaningless except as a meta-measure of centralized perception management, the Misery Index has lost its meaning as well.

I propose a Misery Index 2.0 of four less easily manipulated (and therefore more meaningful) metrics:

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Aug 25

Berto Jongman: THREAT is Too Many Humanitarian Crises — Along with Corrupt Governments and Totally Inept International Aid System

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Too many humanitarian crises, not enough global resources

Commentary: An overwhelming number of crises means the international community cannot respond well.

WASHINGTON — Humanitarian crises in the world today — Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, South Sudan and now Gaza — all demand immediate and massive humanitarian response.

The crises are not only large-scale, affecting millions, but the conflicts also are complex, each with unique political realities and on-the-ground difficulties.

They are not alone among crises competing for our attention. They are simply the biggest, pushing off the front pages other crises where human needs remain urgent: Darfur, Central America, Pakistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia.

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Aug 3

John Boik: Principled Societies Project – Local Economic Direct Democracy Association (LEDDA) Framework

John Boik

John Boik

Communities worldwide want economies that are stronger, greener, fairer, more resilient, more democratic, and more diverse. Jobs must be created, climate change addressed, infrastructure repaired, schools upgraded, and more. The LEDDA economic direct democracy framework, now under development, offers a bold yet practical solution.

The LEDDA framework provides greater organization to a local economy, one hard-wired for cooperation and steeped in democratic decision-making processes. A complete description is given in the book Economic Direct Democracy: A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being.

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Jul 27

Matt Taibi: The Divide – American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap — Legal Immunity for the 1%, Criminalization of Everything for the 99%

Amazon Pagae

Amazon Page

A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis
 
Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery:

Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles.

Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail.

In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends—growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration—come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime—but it’s impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side.

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Jun 1

SchwartzReport: Matt Taibbi on the Legal Divide — Two Justice Systems — Criminalization of Poverty Among the 99%, Impunity for the 1%

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

This is a very good interview with Matt Taibbi discussing what has happened to the American justice system. One of our myths is that we have the fairest justice system in the world but, like our fantasy that we have the world’s freest press, it is a delusion. As with the press we aren’t e! ven in the top 25. It is very hard to maintain a healthy democracy if both the government and the people insist upon lying to themselves.

‘It’s Total Moral Surrender”: Matt Taibbi Unloads on Wall Street, Inequality and our Broken Justice System
ELIAS ISQUITH, Assistant Editor – Salon

EXTRACT

Morally, it doesn’t work anymore. You just cannot have a society where people instinctively know that certain people are above the law, because it will create total disrespect for authority among everybody else. And that’s completely corrosive. You need to have people believing in the system to some degree – even if it’s just an illusion, you need to have them believing. And that was … another thing I was trying to get to in this book, the difference between what happened in the Bush years, with the scandals with Adelphi and Enron and Tyco, and what happened now, [when] they just stopped seeing the necessity of keeping up appearances. They didn’t even make a few symbolic prosecutions, and so it leaves the entire public with this glaring statistic that there were no prosecutions and there was massive crime. How does that make anybody else feel? How does it make you feel when you pay a speeding ticket, you can’t write that off, but HSBC can write off its $1.9 b! illion fine for drug trafficking? People start to think about these things, and they start losing their faith in the system and it doesn’t work anymore. It’s funny, because when they talk about income inequality on the campaign trail and in these elections … They always talk about it in this unthreatening, antiseptic way, and it’s just so much more extreme than that. It’s much broader and more disgusting problem than the way they typically present it in our political debate. So that was another thing I was trying to do, was to try to bring out the grotesque nature of the whole thing.

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May 20

Berto Jongman: South Sudan Crisis at Tipping Point — But Donors Still in Grid-Lock with Ancient Protocols

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

South Sudan crisis: famine and genocide threaten to engulf nation

Aid agencies say South Sudan at ‘tipping point’ as ethnic violence puts millions of people at risk of starvation and disease

It is happening again. Twenty years after the genocide in Rwanda, 30 years after the famine in Ethiopia, Africa‘s twin scourges are back. This time it is a single country facing a double disaster. South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, not yet three years old, is on the brink of catastrophe.

Here in Melut, on the banks of the Nile, close to the oilfields and the border with Sudan, the signs of impending disaster are impossible to miss. This week the world’s richest nations will have one last chance to make good their promises of help.

Nearly 20,000 people have fled to the refugee camps in Melut since fighting between rival government factions broke out last December. In total, more than a million people have fled from their homes and, with the rainy season starting, more than a third of the population – 3.7 million people – are already facing emergency and crisis levels of hunger.

“There is no food here,” a man tells me as we sit in the dust beneath an acacia tree in one of Melut’s makeshift camps. “No food. We eat leaves from the trees and the women go out to collect firewood. But when the rain comes, it will be still worse. We will starve – and then we will die.”

Relief agencies are fighting a desperate battle to alert the outside world to the scale of the impending disaster. Last week Oxfam warned that the crisis has reached a “now or never moment” to avoid catastrophic levels of hunger and suffering. Chief executive Mark Goldring said: “The crisis is at a tipping point. We either act now or millions will pay the price. We need a massive and rapid global surge in aid … We cannot afford to wait, and we cannot afford to fail.”

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May 18

Berto Jongman: US Child Labor Common in Tobacco Industry – Growing Marijuana Instead Would Be Good for Children

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

US tobacco child labour criticised in report

Children have been farming US tobacco fields for generations. But a new report from Human Rights Watch says the practice is dangerous and in need of reform.

It may be later than usual because of the harsh winter, but just as they have done for generations, people are planting tobacco across the vast coastal plains of North Carolina.

The crop put this state on the economic map, but methods used to farm tobacco here have now drawn the gaze of an international human rights group.

“Usually we would wake up around four or five in the morning and get to the farm around six,” says Fernando Rodriguez.

“I would spend the whole day going up and down the rows of tobacco, topping the plants, cutting the flowers, collecting the leaf and all.”

Fernando is 13 years old.

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Phi Beta Iota:  When — not if — marijuana replaces tobacco as the priimary cash crop of the South, this will bode well for children as well as human health.

See Also:

Marijuana @ Phi Beta Iota

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May 18