Posted by & filed under Building.

by Nikos A. Salingaros, The University of Texas at San Antonio (This article first appeared in Meandering Through Mathematics, 2 September 2011.)

Conjectures on combinatorial complexity

When applying mathematics to interpret our world we invariably run into formidable difficulties. Explaining human perception of our surroundings and our reactions to the environment requires that we know the mechanisms of our interaction with the world. Unfortunately, we don’t — not yet. Thus, explanations of why we react to different forms in our environment tend to be conjectural.

We know from observation that human beings crave structured variation and complex spatial rhythms around them, but not randomness. Monotonous regularity is perceived as alien, with reactions ranging from boredom to alarm. Traditional architecture focuses on producing structured variation within a multiplicity of symmetries. Contemporary architecture, on the other hand, advocates and builds structures at those two extremes: either random forms, or monotonously repetitive ones. Let us explore why human beings find the latter unappealing, and propose what they do like instead, with the ultimate aim of characterizing that mathematically.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Consumerism, Peak Oil, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development.

The heroes and heroines of history’s past are so well-known they need not be mentioned. Lesser known and perhaps more integral, however, are the countless individuals whose stories remain untold and hidden by history. “Orlando Permaculture” is a documentary of the latter modern-day individuals. It is a story of a community of people who have read cover to cover the “story of pattern recognition in a sea of apparent chaos” of which Troy Ansley, speaks. They have also repeatedly heard the story modern culture sells them on how the world operates, and decided they would like to write a new, yet somehow ancient story of their own. A story of community, integrity, true sustainability and new beginnings. A story of belonging.

The film, “Orlando Permaculture,” poignantly reveals that great movements are birthed in the dreams of those who desire more, and molded between the hands of those who reach out to one another and to the land. Through visiting a variety of different people within the city of Orlando, the film and portrayals serve to inspire, enlighten and engage your heart & mind to dream of a more colorful and living world in which all are welcome. This is a world of possibilities, togetherness, and balance. Indicative of the subject matter, Ansley weaves a beautiful fabric of sound and image to ornately clothe this emerging community whose story otherwise might remain hidden by history. Listen to this story, dear viewer, so that you might share it and likewise reach out your hand and mold it with us. — Richard G. Powell December 20th, 2011 Orlando, FL

Posted by & filed under Comedy Break, Society.

I wanted to send some sort of holiday greeting to our friends and readers, but it is difficult in today’s world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. So I met with my lawyer yesterday, and on advice I wish to say the following:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, gender neutral celebration of the summer solstice holiday practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious / secular persuasions and / or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all….

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2012, but not without due respect for the calendar of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that Australia is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the culture, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee….

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:

This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her / him or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. The wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

I just want to express my gratitude to all our readers and supporters who have contributed in various ways over the last year. What a year it has been! We’ve seen the launch of the Worldwide Permaculture Network, with your support — which now enables us to see who is doing what, and where, and even how they’re doing it. We saw the Tenth International Permaculture Conference & Convergence (IPC10) come and go, and by all accounts it was a great success. And most importantly, we’ve done our darndest to help permaculture individuals and projects in some of the world’s neediest places. We even restarted the PDC Teacher registry, so students can have choice in the quality of instruction and to protect the integrity/reputation of permaculture as we move forward into the next few challenging years.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Development & Property Trusts, Eco-Villages, People Systems, Village Development.

To confidently face the many challenges that the future holds for us, we need new models for living lightly on Earth and for building resilience into our communities.

We can’t expect that we can merely change our intentions and the existing economic, physical and social structures will magically serve our new intentions with ‘green’ add-ons.

Design follows intention.

We are challenged to dream new dreams and to have the courage to manifest those dreams; crafting them in the spirit with which they were dreamed. This is the challenge of our time. “We are the ones we have been waiting for”.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

by Dr. Mercola

Dr. Don Huber is an expert in an area of science that relates to the toxicity of genetically engineered (GE) foods. (Alternative terms for GE foods include genetically modified (GM), or "GMO" for genetically modified organism.) His specific areas of training include soil-borne diseases, microbial ecology, and host-parasite relationships. Dr. Huber also taught plant pathology, soil microbiology, and micro-ecological interactions as they relate to plant disease as a staff Professor at Purdue University for 35 years.

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Posted by & filed under People Systems, Society, Village Development.

by Harry Byrne Wykman

In 1899, Peter Kropotkin, anarchist geographer, detailed a vision of ‘the factory amidst the fields’ in which the ‘two sister arts of agriculture and industry’ are joined to meet the needs of all and to give each worker an opportunity for ‘brain work and manual work’. Never have more supportive material conditions prevailed for the realisation of Kropotkin’s vision. The advent of ‘personal fabrication’, presently most fully realised in the fab lab (fabrication lab), provides “widespread access to [the] modern means for invention” which have historically been limited to large capital.

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

Rightwing libertarians have turned “freedom” into an excuse for greed and exploitation.

by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.

Freedom: who could object? Yet this word is now used to justify a thousand forms of exploitation. Throughout the rightwing press and blogosphere, among thinktanks and governments, the word excuses every assault on the lives of the poor, every form of inequality and intrusion to which the 1% subject us. How did libertarianism, once a noble impulse, become synonymous with injustice?

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change.

Why is it so easy to save the banks, but so hard to save the biosphere?

by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.

They bailed out the banks in days. But even deciding to bail out the planet is taking decades.

Lord Stern estimated that capping climate change would cost around 1% of global GDP, while sitting back and letting it hit us would cost between 5 and 20%. One per cent of GDP is, at the moment, $630bn. By March 2009, Bloomberg has revealed, the US Federal Reserve had committed $7.77 trillion to the banks. That is just one government’s contribution: yet it amounts to 12 times the annual global climate change bill. Add the bailouts in other countries, and it rises by several more multiples.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Consumerism, Society.

by Øyvind Holmstad

This article is inspired by the Alexandrine pattern 134, Zen View. The pattern states: “The archetypal zen view occurs in a famous Japanese house, which gives this pattern its name.”

Let’s start with listening to the wisdom of A Pattern Language (Please note that the illustrations of the original text are missing):

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Compost, Deforestation, Energy Systems, Land, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees, Waste Systems & Recycling.

In the book Another Kind of Garden, the methods of Jean Pain are revealed. He spent his entire short-lived life studying brush land and forest protection, specifically fire prevention, alongside his wife Ida. These studies led to an enormous amount of practical knowledge for composting, heating water, as well as harvesting methane, all of which are by-products of maintaining a forest or brush land with fire prevention techniques. While this knowledge is applicable in many instances, it is worth remembering that the root of all of this knowledge lies in forest preservation. All of the activities described below are by-products of that process. The book goes into detail with the economics of such an operation. I will focus on the applications.

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