Posted by & filed under General.

Superclusters – regions of space that are densely packed with galaxies – are the biggest structures in the Universe. But scientists have struggled to define exactly where one supercluster ends and another begins. Now, a team based in Hawaii has come up with a new technique that maps the Universe according to the flow of galaxies across space. Redrawing the boundaries of the cosmic map, they redefine our home supercluster and name it Laniakea, which means ‘immeasurable heaven’ in Hawaiian.

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Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Village Development.

A view of Rancho Mastatal through the Zone 1 gardens

I’ve had the opportunity to become of one the co-directors for the Rancho Mastatal Sustainable Education Center in Costa Rica over the last five years. It is now my primary home and where I practice and teach permaculture design. The site and all that it encompasses present an established model for groups and individuals interested in building permaculture-based education/demonstration centers. I hope this graphically inclined article can serve as an introduction to this work and a base for future articles detailing our successes, challenges, ideas, and projects.

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Posted by & filed under Health & Disease, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

by Julie Wilson, Natural News

Earlier this month, scientists presented groundbreaking research at the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) 248th National Meeting and Exposition regarding the potential dangers of hydraulic fracking.

The meeting featured nearly 12,000 presentations on a range of scientific topics. A team of researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of the Pacific disclosed information they obtained from reviewing the contents used in the hydraulic fracking process.

Led by William Stringfellow, Ph.D., the study’s results raised concerns about several ingredients used in the controversial drilling process. Stringfellow conducted the review in hopes of solving public debate over the controversial drilling.

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Posted by & filed under Design.

What is often left out in much of permaculture teaching is the "how to install the design". And not only what that entails, but steps in how to do it. It is most manageable when the design is implemented in stages (you cannot put the electrical systems into a building without the mainframe support in), and should build upon each other. As well, it is wise to note that it is possible for some of the later steps to be started in earlier stages — this is encouraged when possible.

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Posted by & filed under Insects.

Note: If you haven’t already done so, you can read Part I here.

Worker pupae

Hold on to your hats, ‘cause this story contains awesome parenting, sexual suppression, and murderous rampages!

A honeybee egg hatches after three days, and then emerges a tiny white larva that is completely helpless. It is meticulously cared for by its older sisters, who feed it a protein rich substance called royal jelly, from a special gland in their head. All bee babies get the same food for the first three days, and then an interesting phenomenon happens as the bees use nutrition to manipulate the development of workers vs. new queens.

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

One of the most exciting parts of taking the reins to a hectare of lakeside land in Panama was planning just exactly what kind of experimenting was going to be on order. We knew there would be a food forest. We knew there’d be a vegetable garden, fresh herbs, and lots of very dense clay soil with which to contend. Much of the space was steep hillsides, but at the bottom of those slopes sat a nice little swath of land that had already been dotted with plantains (the banana-like fruit, not the weed) and yucca. Beyond that, there was a lot of canvas to play with.

So, my wife Emma and I got out our notebooks and started sketching, putting this here, that there, and whittling out spots for all of the different types of no-till/one-till beds we’d discovered over the last half-year (from volunteering on farms). Some of the designs we’d only read about; some of them we’d helped to build. All of them were a step away from conventional garden rows. All of them were chosen with concern for the ground we were working — not being the most fertile we’d ever seen.

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres.

Caroola Farm Open Day

We are now coming into our second Spring at Caroola Farm after devastating fires in the Summer of 2013 and we are pumped at the progress we’ve made.

We had our first ‘Open Day’ on International Permaculture Day this year and were blown away by the attendance of over 500 people — it put a bit of pressure on the new compost toilets and was a freezing cold and windy day… but a good time was had by all!

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Posted by & filed under Conferences, GMOs, Health & Disease.

When: September 12 & 13 in Portland, Oregon — All Day Event
Where: First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1126 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR 97205

Join the largest gathering in the US focused on educational campaigns related to Genetically Engineered Organisms. GMOs are one of the most common ingredients of commercial and industrial food in North America. Learn from the most important non-GMO advocates about successful campaigns, strategies and tactics. We will have colleagues working on various issues related to promoting a non-GMO food supply.

The 2014 Justice Begins with Seeds Conference will have plenaries and workshops that will explore an array of issues related to GMOs. Our goal is to have a diverse audience from various backgrounds and organizations join together to strategize around important issues related to reclaiming our food system. We want to include groups working on non-GMO campaigns at both the local and global level, including political campaigns. Topics range from labeling to banning GMOs as well as shareholder and consumer campaigns to stop the use of GMOs in our food supply. We are expecting over 700 attendees during the gathering and hundreds more during the pre-conference and post-conference events.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Economics, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

Scots voting no to independence would be an astonishing act of self-harm.

Imagine that the question was posed the other way round. An independent nation is asked to decide whether to surrender its sovereignty to a larger union. It would be allowed a measure of autonomy, but key aspects of its governance would be handed to another nation. It would be used as a military base by the dominant power and yoked to an economy over which it had no control.

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