A Map of Where to Give Thanks

posted in: Ape Con Myth, Maps 0

During hard times, being thankful for what we have comes a little easier.  Here’s a map to help guide your thoughts of thanks in regards to food.

But before you breath a sign of relief over there being so much room to grow more, remember that only 29% of the Earth’s surface is land and only 9% of it is arable.  And guess what, we’re not taking good care of it.

We have much to be thankful for, but it’s not a guaranteed condition.  They’ll still call it Thanksgiving, even if there’s hardly anything on your plate.  Just ask anyone with hardly anything on their plate.

[Map 1 from Radical Cartography, Map 2 from The Global Education Project]

American Censorship Day: This is NOT a Drill

This one is pretty simple.  If you like the internet, whether it be Facebook, Ape Con Myth or anything in-between, you’ve got a little work to do.  Today, Congress begins hearings on PROTECT-IP, a bill that will allow for widespread and systematic censorship of the internet.  And today, the internet is fighting back.

Fight for the Future sums up the situation here:

The word is Congress might try to push this through by the end of the month.  There is no time to waste if you have any interest in wasting more time on the internet in the future.  Write your representatives, sign a petition, and if you’ve got the time and gumption, call your representatives to follow up.

This is not a joke.  This is not a drill.  If you’re getting tired of having to do this kind of stuff, let your representative know that too.


The Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park was dismantled last night and this afternoon a judge ruled that the protestors could no longer camp on the site, but the trumpets have been sounded and all parties are being called back to Re-Occupy.

Here’s your live stream of the action:

It might be a long night.  If that stream fails, check out OccupyStreams.org for more.

Meanwhile, this Thursday will mark the two month anniversary of OWS and the recent round of raids is only going to redouble sentiment for November 17th’s International Day of Action.

Find out what’s happening in your neck of the woods and join in before you’ve really got nothing to lose.

The Civilization Kit

What would you need to start your own civilization?  Not just a living in huts making fire with sticks scenario either.  Taking advantage of every technology we’ve come up with since those days, what would really be required to start from scratch?

Coming up with the list alone is a challenge.  Thankfully Marcin Jakubowski isn’t going to stop there.  He founded the Open Source Ecology project to create the Global Village Construction Set.  The current roster includes fifty machines covering habitat, agriculture, industry, energy, materials and transportation.

The plan is to produce prototypes of each machine and create documentation so that anyone could build them on their own.  They estimate on average that it will be eight times cheaper to do so.  Eight of the machines have been prototyped to date by groups around the country for building and testing at Open Source Ecology’s headquarters in Missouri, the Factor e Farm.

They’ve got a ways to go, but you can help them get there by joining in their already successful campaign on Kickstarter to continue their buildout.  In the meantime, you can go ahead and start thinking about what you are going to build with your Compressed Earth Block Press.

[Open Source Ecology via Boing Boing]

How Much of Our Industry is Unnecessary?

Ape Con Myth’s mission is to find out if the Ape Con Myth is true.  What is the Ape Con Myth?  It’s a theorized phenomenon in which humanity continues to struggle for survival despite having the means to end the struggle.  Our belief is that this state of humanity already exists in 2011.

Bertrand Russell thought it was here in 1932…

These selections are from his essay, In Praise of Idleness, which is short and worth a full read even if you still lack the leisure time to do so.

Copyright Triple Threat – Meet S.968, S.978 and H.R. 3261

You almost have to admire the tenacity of the Copyright Crusaders.  They do not let up.  If it wasn’t for the vague and obnoxious legislation they produce, they could be role models for us all.

Let’s start with the obnoxious.  You know how you break the law every time you sing “Happy Birthday”?  That’s about the level S.978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, is working on.  Consider for a moment what you think the punishment should be for, say, posting a video of yourself singing along to a song on YouTube.  Where ridicule from our peers would have once sufficed, now the Senate might raise the penalty to five years in jail, which should sound familiar.

(The Original Overkill)

It’s important to note that the actual bill stipulates the streaming be for commercial purposes because that’s where the vague side of their equation comes into play.  While they always mean to be going after the bad guys, the language of these bills always leaves it open such that it could be applied to any (enormous) number of innocent cases.

In response to S.978, Fight for the Future has taken the most obvious (and seemingly) innocent case in the book.  They started the Free Bieber campaign to point out how American’s young singing sensation got his start by streaming his own renditions of popular music on YouTube and therefore would be guilty.  And though his lawyers aren’t too happy about the campaign, the Bieber himself has chimed in, suggesting that the sponsor of this bill, Sen. Amy Klobucher (D-MN), be “locked up”.  Meanwhile, Demand Progress has a petition for you to sign if you think a five year sentence might be a little too much.  While it would be nice to think the federal government has better things to do, their record says they do not.

Sadly that was just the appetizer of this story.  Now we get to the real mouthfuls.  S.968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT-IP) and the crazier House version, H.R. 3261, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), lay out an incredible expansion of power enabling the government and private parties to effectively create a blacklist of websites found to offend the very broad language used to qualify an infraction.

The entertainment unions have endorsed SOPA and offered a window to the problem along the way.  From their statement:

“Left unchecked, these rogue websites threaten the vitality of the online marketplace by stealing the work of American innovators and undermining legitimate business.”

If you’ve ever navigated the pathetic selection of movies available legally online, you might question the movie industries’ understanding of the online marketplace.  Change a couple of words and you get the other side of the story:

‘Left unchecked, these rogue bills threaten the vitality of the online marketplace by censoring the work of American innovators and undermining legitimate business.’

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a petition against PROTECT IP going, but after you sign it, we need to start thinking bigger.  Last year  it was S.3804, Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, and this year it’s back, repackaged and pushing for more than it was already denied.  They’ll keep coming back with this until they get what they want or what they want is taken off the table.  Perhaps a constitutional amendment is in order, or maybe a counteroffer.  All we need is a representative crazy enough to sponsor a bill for rolling back copyright duration to 15 minutes.  That might get them to consider something in the middle.

There are sensible solutions to these problems.  All they have to do is accept them and we can all move on.

P.S. Heads-up Europe, they’re coming for you too.

Corporate Voltron Forms Giant Ironic Bow-Tie

Whether you  think the world is too large and diverse to be controlled by a relatively small group of gigantic companies or assume that it’s not and they do, a small team in Zurich has finally done the work to find out.  The short of it?  It’s not and they do, sort of.  Here’s what it looks like:

What is that?  It’s 1,318 companies in 26 countries and their 12,191 links.  At the core of this network, the study found that 147 transnational corporations (TNCs) form a “super entity” with control over 40% of the economic value of all 43,060 TNCs in the world.

Who would be the tight-knit group at the core of a “giant bow-tie structure” of TNCs?  That’s right, financial institutions. It’s not really a surprise though.  Banks are financing this little tragic comedy we’ve got going on here. The goal of the study, The network of global corporate control (PDF), was not to unearth a conspiracy, but to confirm the existence of such an economic Voltron so that we might further assess it’s nature and potential risk to the global economy.  And considering the banks’ track record, it’s about time.

[via Boing Boing]

Say Hello to Your PostNatural World

Don’t let the continued debate over genetically modified foods fool you.  Field tests of GMO’s have been going full steam ahead.  Below you can see what was tried out in April 2007 alone.

If you missed yesterday’s Millions Against Monsanto in honor of World Food Day, there’s still two weeks left in October, which just happens to be Non-GMO Month.  Remember, knowing is half the battle, even with genetically modified foods, and that’s the half we’re still working on.  Tell the FDA that the least they can do is label it.

[Map from Center for PostNatural History (Thanks, Mason!)]
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