Planet Inc

December 28, 2010 § 1 Comment

I love crazy projects like this. Planet Inc. is an organisation that has charged itself with ensuring the survival and development of the human race, and the two founders are on the look for a CEO. What would be your agenda for the 21st century?

Nice touch – the creation of issue tribes and characterisation of all the famous faces you’ll see in the TEDx talk below.

Miracle On 22nd Street

December 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

A couple living on 22nd Street in New York received hundreds of letters addressed to Santa and decide to fulfil as many wishes as they can. Absolutely adorable little video from the New York Times.

via Pink News

Justice

December 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

After my visit to Harvard earlier this autumn, I delved back into iTunes University (which itself merits some thoughts on the conflict between free, online lectures and the corporatisation of education – more on which here), to find which courses they’ve uploaded.

Michael Sandel’s Reith Lectures last year were a big hit – and his philosophy course ‘Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do?‘ remains one of the most popular at Harvard.

Now uploaded online, each lecture is around 30 minutes long (although the podcasts contains two of them back-to-back), and they make for perfect end-of-the-day thinking nuggets. Being introduced to the great philosophers through their competing ideas, rather than through a time-line has been particularly enjoyable. So far, Alasdair MacIntyre‘s ideas around Communitarianism have struck a particular chord with my recent reading into the power of narrative.

The first lecture is below – download the other twelve here. Hope you enjoy!

Direct Action – But Not As You Know It

December 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

Rosa Parks sat on a bus, Lisa Robinson stood in front of a train.

Returning from a day in the city with her husband and 5-year-old son, 30 drunk football supporters joined Lisa’s train chanting ‘get your tits out’ to another woman on the station platform. Lisa went over, asked them to stop swearing – and they then turned on her. They hurled abuse at her husband, using the C word, and turned the sexist abuse onto Lisa. She complained to train staff, who waved off her complaints. Not accepting this, she pulled the emergency alarm as the train pulled into the next station and demanded to report the offensive behaviour to the police. Again she was told to forget it.

But Lisa isn’t that kind of person. She got off the train, slithered onto the tracks and stood in front of the train – blocking it’s path. She refused to move until the British Transport Police arrived so that the men could be reported, despite continued harassment from the drunkards.

Lisa’s interview on Women’s Hour is a dream. She is calm, comes across as totally herself, and makes it clear that this was about standing up for her values and principles. ‘If we accept that this is how society is today, how are we ever going to change it?’ she asks.

A good question for us all to ponder next time we see sexist, racist, homophobic or any intimidating behaviour on public transport.

They Can Keep The Charts All I Want Is Your Hearts

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Apparently I’m second generation black Caribbean and half white Scottish whatever that means
See lately I feel confused with the boxes, cause to me all they do is breed conflict,
It not that I’ve lost touch with the reality racism, sexism and nationality,
Just to me it all seems like insanity, why must I rob you of your humanity
To feel good about mine, it’s all about crime dehumanizing is how I justify it,
So I must keep on lying about the history of Africa, so I can live the with massacres and
Repeat my mantra of Muslim and terrorist so I can sleep at night as bombs take flight.

Eyes wide but I’m blind to the sight too busy chasing the perfect life and the working class keep them uneducated
Truly educated men could never be racist, to educate is to draw out what is within are all not the same under the skin,
I got a heart like yours that pumps blood and oxygen and insecurities are a whole lot of them,
I’m scared like you deep down,
I really do care that world is not fair like you,
But I don’t even believe my own prayers like you,
Chasing career going nowhere like you,
Lost in a fog of my own insecurities I hold myself up as a image of purity,
And I judge everybody else by the color of their skin or the size of their wealth.

But it’s not good for my health as the only one I ever really judge is my self
The oppressor must suffer like the oppressed though I pretend I’m in control of this mess
By inflating my ego, puffing my chest I see my weakness and need to show strength
For what we think strong is cause if were honest true strength is the strength to be honest
And if I’m honest I am just tired if I’m honest I am just tired,
Tired of everyday filling up my car and knowing that I’m paying for the bombs in Iraq
Tired of pretending like it don’t hurt my heart, of wanting change but not knowing where to start
Tired of listening to all the conditioning and all the forms they have me filling in.

Next time you see what is a thug and despise him, please know I was just like him,
Cause I was like eight the first time I saw crack, same time I first smoked weed chicking on blowbacks,
First time I saw knifes penetrate flesh it was meat cleavers to the back of the head,
As I grew and teenage years passed many more knifes pierced and the shots blast
And I not saying I had the worst upbringing but there a million young men just like me in prison
We complain about racism and elevate clowns with their trousers down swinging their dicks round,
Maybe that is not quite literal but everything they do is just as stereotypical.

To my real fans I feel your pain and I get the messages but don’t complain that we ain’t got more fame for paying our part,
They can keep the charts all I want is your hearts,
They can keep the charts all I want is your hearts,
They can keep the charts all I want is your hearts,

Call it black radio don’t make laugh, so is black music all about tits and arse,
You don’t represent nothing your just pretending, when was the last time you ever played
Hendrix or miles davis or john Coultrain or elefits gerald or billy Holliday
We can call it urban to me that’s cool if urban means street that means jazz to and rock for that matter
Go ask Mick Jagger or Jimmy Page what they were listening to – the blues
Not discrediting love Zeppelin to just giving credit where credit is due
That blood socked word rappers still use that just shows we still self abuse,
That was the word that was used to kill kelsa, coultrain and emit till
Hat was the word that the conscience eased and made people pleased to hung you from trees
That was the word that let the rips crack no matter what you say you can’t take it back
And I can say their black so I feel their pain easier but 1915 look at armenia,
If the whole world is human stupidity though we choke ourselves to death quite literally.

And I can talk with my comfortable mouth, with my comfortable clothes and my comfortable house
The tables will turn, we can but stall them every empire on this earth has fallen
So unless we can find another way maybe not today but it will come one-day,
It may sound like I’m bitter but in-fact truth be told I am quite the opposite,
I wake everyday and am overwhelmed just to be alive and be like no one else
And the sheer weight of the thought of space is enough to keep my little ego in place
All that we chase and try to replace all along it was right in our face,
The only we the only way we can ever change anything is to look in the mirror and find no enemy,
The only way we can ever change anything, look in the mirror and find no enemy,
The only way we can ever change anything, look in the mirror and find no enemy.

After Now

December 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

It seems as if different pixels of social transformation are beginning to reveal themselves on the canvas of society. Politics, environment – and now health.

After Now is a visionary project led by Dr Phil Hanlon of Glasgow University that asks the question, ‘what’s next for the health of society?’.

“Western civilisation has conquered great health perils in the past. But the peculiarly modern malaise seems resistant to treatment. Obesity, depression, addiction, loss of wellbeing – these are issues which sap the resources and spirit of modern practitioners. The After Now Project seeks to trace the development of our current situation.”

Each video is a bite-size presentation of a concept, with further resources to download on the topic. Very, very exciting.

The New Wave

Dis-ease

Consumerism

Endgame

Downshift

After Now

This Will Inspire You

December 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Download this.

Take ten minutes to read it. It’s wonderful.

Some choice paragraphs below – and the quotes that litter and illustrations throughout are beautiful.

It’s easy to feel paralysed by the complexities of the world, to feel like nothing you do will ever make a difference. Those in authority want us to feel that way, even though they tend to be the ones in the minority. But when we look back at history we see that every movement, every single shift in society began with a small group of friends having an idea that seemed impossible at the time.

Everything we take for granted: the weekend, gay rights, contraception, women wearing trousers, the right to strike, to form a union, to print an indepen- dent zine. Every thing was won by disobedience, by people breaking laws that they felt were unjust.

Nobody knows what a body can do. And civil disobedience is exactly that: misperforming the identity of civilian.

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