Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Suspended Coffees Movement

 There's an old tradition in Naples, Italy called 'Caffè Sospeso' where someone who is pretty well off would buy a coffee and an extra cup which was suspended for someone less fortunate.

The cafe kept a log of the number of "suspended coffees" that had been bought and gave them out to people who couldn't afford them; a simple but lovely idea.

That great tradition was the inspiration for Cork man John Sweeney's Suspended Coffees Movement, which is now in operation in over 1,800 coffee shops in 20 countries in the world.

But it really is about so much more than the coffee. It can provide physical comfort, conversation, a smile or even a laugh, and a sense of belonging. A suspended coffee can change lives, sometimes even save them.

Link to website: suspendedcoffees 


Thursday, December 11, 2014

China's Rat Tribe

“Rat Tribe” explores the lives of low-waged migrant workers who live underground in Beijing and make up one-third of the city’s estimated 20 million people. These waiters, karaoke hostesses, hairdressers, chefs, security guards, domestic workers and kitchen helpers are the backbone of Beijing’s service industry. But they have been unkindly dubbed the “rat tribe” for making a home in Beijing’s 6,000 basements and air raid shelters — about one-third of the city’s underground space.

Photographer Sim Chi Yin spent two years shooting members of the capitol’s so-called “rats.” “

Monthly rent for a single that sleeps two and three people can range between an affordable 300 and 700 renminbi (about $50 and $100). But kitchens and bathrooms are communal. Hallways are dank, dark, and airless.

The spending of the rich and famous, meanwhile, is insatiable. Consultancy McKinsey & Company forecasts that China will dominate more than one-third of worldwide luxury spending by 2015, a stark comparison to an urban underbelly populated by people referred to as rats.

China's Rat Tribe, by Sim Chi Yin from Invisible Photographer Asia on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Hour of Code - WORLDWIDE

The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries.  It is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 30 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104.  Last year 15 million students worldwide learned an Hour of Code.

The Hour of Code is organized by, a public 501c3 non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. An unprecedented coalition of partners have come together to support the Hour of Code, too — including Microsoft, Apple, Amazon,Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Linkedin etc.

JOIN THE LARGEST LEARNING EVENT IN HISTORY, DEC 8-14, 2014. SIGN UP to host an Hour of Code event here- and start planning. You can organize an Hour of Code event at your school or in your community  like in an extracurricular club, non-profit or at work. Or, just try it yourself when Dec. 8 arrives.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fresh Prescription

Instead of pills, doctors prescribe fruits and vegetables through program that unites health care with local food systems

The typical idea of treating diseases in this country consists of seeing a doctor, who then prescribes medication, says Dr. Richard Bryce, a senior staff physician in the Department of Family Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital who works full time at CHASS.

With Health Rx, he has the option of telling patients, “Here are meds. These are good meds but there’s a lot of side effects that go along with them, and if we can fix this problem with just nutrition and exercise you’ll feel better and you’ll be helping your health in general overall.”

Connecticut-based nonprofit Wholesome Wave, founded by a James Beard award-winning chef in 2007, created the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program that reached more than 5,000 low-income families between 2010 and 2014.

Health Rx, a partnership between the Ecology Center and CHASS, aims to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables as a way to manage chronic diseases. CHASS, which piloted the program last year, had 45 participants in 2013. This year, they have the capacity to reach 140 people who receive a total of $40, distributed through debit cards, to be used in $10 increments at the farmers market held every Thursday at CHASS.

Read the entire original article in Hour Detroit by DOROTHY HERNANDEZ in the link below..
Fresh Prescription - Hour Detroit

Sunday, October 19, 2014

BIONEERS: Restoring the Earth and its People

Bioneers is a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world's most pressing environmental and social challenges.

It arose from three principal streams of work: Biological and cultural diversity, Biomimicry, Natural medicine

Founder Kenny Ausubel coined the term Bioneers in 1990 to describe an emerging culture. Bioneers are social and scientific innovators from all walks of life and disciplines who have peered deep into the heart of living systems to understand how nature operates, and to mimic "nature's operating instructions" to serve human ends without harming the web of life. Nature's principles—kinship, cooperation, diversity, symbiosis and cycles of continuous creation absent of waste—can also serve as metaphoric guideposts for organizing an equitable, compassionate and democratic society.

Since 1990, Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons have been assembling Bioneers for an annual conference, a gathering of scientific and social innovators who have demonstrated visionary and practical models for restoring the Earth and communities.

Bioneers' Founding Perspectives
Natural Medicine. Nature has a profound and profoundly mysterious ability for self-repair. The primary source of healing lies in nature. In environmental restoration as in medicine, the role of the practitioner is to support nature to heal itself. This principle became foundational to Bioneers.
Nature’s Solutions. Nature has solved all the ecological challenges we’re trying to address. Practitioners such as John Todd, Amory Lovins, Wes Jackson and Donald Hammer, as well as traditional indigenous practices, were a primary inspiration. In 1997, naturalist and author Janine Benyus gave this emerging science a name in her landmark book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, the same year she first spoke at Bioneers. Biomimicry has been a core focus since Bioneers’ inception.
Biocultural Diversity. In nature, diversity is the very fabric of life. Because change is the only constant in nature, diversity is the source of resilience to adapt to change in both natural and human systems. Successful adaptation requires keeping open the greatest range of biologically and culturally diverse options.

From the Mission Statement of Bioneers:

"Founded in 1990 in Santa Fe, New Mexico by social entrepreneurs Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons, Bioneers has acted as a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. A celebration of the genius of nature and human ingenuity, Bioneers connects people with breakthrough solutions and each other. Our acclaimed annual national and local conferences are complemented by extensive media outreach including an award-winning radio series, book series, and role in media projects such as Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The 11th Hour. Our programs further focus on Women’s Leadership, Indigenous Wisdom, Community Resilience Networks, and Leadership Development and Youth.

Our work has evolved into six programs:

Changing the Mindscape. A Public Education program that features the Bioneers conference(s) and extensive media production and outreach, including an award-winning radio series, book series, satellite and TV broadcasts and a consulting role for third-party films, press and media. Watch for the new Media component on our web site this year.

Education for Action. A Formal Education program that acts as a hub for educators and students, and brings Bioneers Education for Sustainability (EfS) materials to schools and colleges. We work with specific groups and institutions to leverage educational systems for social transformation.

Resilience from the Ground Up. A Localization program that works through the award-winning Dreaming New Mexico project to bring a practical toolkit and methodology for effective systemic change at the municipal and state level, and that other communities can customize.

Every Woman's Leadership Initiatives. A whole systems approach to diverse Women’s Leadership that provides experiential education and media to strengthen women’s capacity to be bold, congruent and effective leaders on behalf of a healthy, just and peaceful future. The program encourages all people toward “full-spectrum leadership,” with flexible access to all of our feminine and masculine qualities.

Becoming Native to Place. An Indigeneity program that educates people about the essential practices of indigenous and traditional knowledge. We invite people to learn with leadership from First Peoples how to re-indigenize our societies as citizens of planet Earth and our local address.

Bioneers Global. An international program to connect social and scientific innovators for the purposes of network cultivation, cross-pollination and the transfer of effective practices, models, technologies and key ideas."

Link to Bioneers:

The House of One in Berlin: A Mosque, Synagogue, and Church—All Under the Same Roof

In Berlin something unique is created, the House of One: the world´s first common house of prayer and learning built for Jews, Christians and Muslims - synagogue, church and mosque under one roof. A house in which a shared central space gives room for encounter and discussion. A house of dialogue, understanding and peace.

Pastor Gregor Hohberg first put forward the idea of multi-faith building, and Rabbi Tovia Ben-Chorin and Imam Kadir Sanci have now joined him in the project. Each religion will have its own practice space, all equally sized but with different designs. There will also be a central room connecting the prayer rooms and providing an area where Christians, Muslims, and Jews can all meet, along with those of other faiths.

In 2012, local architect Wilfried Kuehn won a competition to design the building. Construction will begin next year and the doors will open in 2018. To raise money for construction a crowdfunding campaign is under way, with a target of $58.6 million.

Become a part of this hope-giving idea and help building The House of One. Here is the link

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Introducing slow Jo: The Slow Watch That Help Us Reimagine Our Relationship With Time

In a time when our phones are fast becoming our clocks and watches, and displaying the exact time, down to the minute, is just a click away, we're more aware than ever before that time is ticking away.

 But do we really need to always know the exact time, or does it just stress us out and keep us from living in the moment? According to Slow, because of our busy lifestyles, "we often forget that we actually have a choice of how to live," and their reinvention of the watch helps us put our own time in perspective.

 A different kind of wristwatch, the Slow Watch, aims to help us reimagine our relationship with time, by putting it into context and allowing us to visualize our entire day. First launched last year, and sold only online, the first of the Slow Watches (the Slow Jo) displays the entire 24 hour time cycle on the face of the device, and uses just a single hand to indicate the time, letting us focus on the moment, not the never-ending march of seconds.

 "The slow watch is a subtle reminder that time is the most precious thing we have so we should enjoy everything we do and stop chasing every minute. 

In order to be a true symbol of this idea, the slow watch has only one hand that rotates once every 24 hours. It actually moves at half the speed of a normal watch, but allows you to see the progress of your entire day at a glance." - Slow

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Forest Man: Documentary Preview

Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC. His forest has transformed what was once a barren wasteland, into a lush oasis. Humble yet passionate and philosophical about his work. Payeng takes us on a journey into his incredible forest.

Filmmaker William Douglas McMaster directed and wrote this documentary “Forest Man.” It won Best Documentary at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

  Official Sites: |

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Capital in the 21st Century: Revolutionary analysis questions basic distribution of wealth

Few economists inspire popular movements, but Thomas Piketty has. “We are the 99 per cent”, the slogan of the Occupy Movement, was based on his in-depth analysis with Emmanuel Saez of income distribution and inequality in the US in 2003.

The Frenchman’s new book Capital in the 21st Century is already causing a stir. Some reviewers have called it the economic book of the year, others of the decade.

Piketty’s ground-breaking work on the historical evolution of income distribution is impressive, but he covers many other areas, including the erosion of meritocracy by inherited wealth, public debt, education, health and taxation. He also proposes challenging ideas for funding the social state in the 21st century. 

Piketty’s central point is that when the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of economic growth, the economy automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities which undermine the meritocratic values on which democracy is based.

Unless capital owners consume all of the return on their capital, more will remain for them and they get richer, effortlessly.

Read More from the original article in the link here Revolutionary analysis questions basic distribution of wealth - Economic News | Ireland & World Economy Headlines |The Irish Times - Fri, Mar 28, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cloak App Helps You Avoid Social Contacts

Cloak App Helps You Avoid Social Contacts (via InformationWeek)

Meet Cloak, the antisocial media app that uses your friends' Instagram and Foursquare location feeds so you can avoid running into them. There's no shortage of social apps that help you connect with friends both in real life and over the web -- take…

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lessons from the World's Most Tech-Savvy Government

Estonia may not show up on Americans’ radar too often. It is a tiny country in northeastern Europe, just next to Finland. It has the territory of the Netherlands, but 13 times less people—its 1.3 million inhabitants is comparable to Hawaii’s population. As a friend from India recently quipped, “What is there to govern?”

What makes this tiny country interesting in terms of governance is not just that the people can elect their parliament online or get tax overpayments back within two days of filing their returns. It is also that this level of service for citizens is not the result of the government building a few websites. Instead, Estonians started by redesigning their entire information infrastructure from the ground up with openness, privacy, security, and ‘future-proofing’ in mind.

The first building block of e-government is telling citizens apart. This sounds blatantly obvious, but alternating between referring to a person by his social security number, taxpayer number, and other identifiers doesn’t cut it. Estonia uses a simple, unique ID methodology across all systems, from paper passports to bank records to government offices and hospitals. A citizen with the personal ID code 37501011234 is a male born in the 20th century (3) in year ’75 on January 1 as the 123rd baby of that day. The number ends with a computational checksum to easily detect typos.

For these identified citizens to transact with each other, Estonia passed the Digital Signatures Act in 2000. The state standardized a national Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), which binds citizen identities to their cryptographic keys, and now doesn’t care if any Tiit and Toivo (to use common Estonian names) sign a contract in electronic form with certificates or plain ink on paper. A signature is a signature in the eyes of the law.

As a quirky side effect, this foundational law also forced all decentralized government systems to become digital “by market demand.” No part of the Estonian government can turn down a citizen’s digitally signed document and demand a paper copy instead. As citizens opt for convenience, bureaucrats see a higher inflow of digital forms and are self-motivated to invest in systems that will help them manage the process. Yet a social worker in a small village can still provide the same service with no big investment by handling the small number of digitally signed email attachments the office receives.

Read More at the entire article in the link below..

Monday, January 20, 2014

What Was Edward Snowden Doing in India?

 (Source:Shane Harris, Foreign Policy)

Nearly three years before he revealed himself as the source of leaked documents about NSA surveillance, Edward Snowden traveled to New Delhi, India. There, he spent six days taking courses in computer hacking and programming at a local professional school, according to school officials and people familiar with Snowden's trip.

Working with a private instructor, Snowden, who was then a contractor for the spy agency, took a course in "ethical hacking," where he learned advanced techniques for breaking into computer systems and exploiting flaws in software. The class's ostensible purpose is to train students to protect computers and their contents from thieves and spies. But in order to do that, they learn how to break into computers and steal information. Snowden also inquired about...

Read full article in the link below..