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    US police under the spotlight

    A video of a US policeman calmly capsicum spraying unarmed sitting protestors has created an international storm. James Fallows has exhaustive coverage and Mark Bernstein summarises the story with key links and adds his own view in this excellent post Shame

    The walk of shame, as UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car before rows of silent students, was extraordinary. James Fallows wrote of the affectless sadism of the campus police, captured forever in film. If the euro collapse does usher in the second great depression, that video is going to become an icon and this behind-the-scenes account will someday be treasured the way we cherish stories of riding in the car with Martin.Bob Ostertag wrote a terrific piece on the shameful militarization of campus police. He doesn’t go far enough. Chancellor Katehi claimed that the quad was cleared because of “the encampment raised serious health and safety concerns.” Ostertag argues treats this as an error, a stupid failure of understanding and planning. But it’s not just a mistake.It was a lie. (Via Mark Bernstein)

    Perhaps all law enforcement officers should be trained in the fundamentals of non violent action to enable them to more appropriately respond to these situations. Thoreau's essay) is a good starting place (full text here), Ghandis' biography is another valuable source.

    Book - Ghandi Biography

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    Frightened by voluntary simplicity

    An article in the New York Times here tells of a couple who are shedding their possessions prior to starting a new life as organic farmers. What I found interesting was that they have had some hostile reactions on the blog they are keeping to document the journey. I suspect that many people find the idea of others who are stepping outside the norm and “letting it all go by” to be threatening.

    As a Subaru owner and former city escapee currently back in corporate life, the cover of this book appealed to me instantly. It was brought to my attention by this review at Cool Tools. It seems an increasing number of people are setting up alternative lives and documenting their efforts in blogs and books. No complaints from me as I enjoy this genre, as long as the accounts retain an authentic feeling. Some of my favourites include Urban Dreams, Rural Realities and the Nearings classic The Good Life. More on these another time.

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    Permaculture and online learning

    After years of exposure to Permaculture and having spent several years a decade ago implementing a disparate set of its common patterns at our previous property in Northern NSW, I am now taking a much deeper dive into it after enrolling in Geoff Lawton's Online Permaculture Design Course. Its been running a few weeks now and my partner and I are both finding it a revelation. So many concepts and themes that we had previously read about but not really understood are suddenly making sense. Geoff's an excellent teacher and the online format works perfectly for a couple of introverted types. We can take our time and review material as we go.

    There were elements of classic internet marketing1 wrapped around the promotion of the course that had me a little worried, those concerns have proven groundless and I can understand that using the marketing approaches that work makes sense when your goal is to get this material out to the widest audience and in a sustainable way.

    As a taster, check out this video Absolute in Abundance, they will want your email address however if you are at all interested in this stuff you will get a steady stream of really good links and content as a result.

    I would highly recommend that anyone who has been interested in doing a PDC but not found the time or the right teacher consider taking one of Geoff's courses.

    Meanwhile, check out the many videos and resources that are freely available at the Permaculture Research Institute. The links to several excellent related documentaries can also be found here. The site is an aggregator of several of my favourite authors including George Monbiot who has a new book - Feral - A manifesto for rewilding the world.

    Surfers interested in Permaculture should enjoy this chat with Geoff about the links between surfing and permaculture.

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    Groups with more women are more intelligent

    Tom Malone on collective intelligence and the “genetic” structure of groups

    The average intelligence of the people in the group and the maximum intelligence of the people in the group doesn’t predict group intelligence.

    and

    So how do you engineer groups that can problem-solve effectively? First of all, seed them with, basically, caring people. Group intelligence is correlated … with the average social sensitivity — the openness, and receptiveness, to others — of a group’s constituents. The emotional intelligence of group members, in other words, serves the cognitive intelligence of the group overall. And this means that — wait for it — groups with more women tend to be smarter than groups with more men.

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    Occupying wallstreet

    Tim Bray on Occupying Wall Street:

    • A large number of people in the finance business enriched themselves to the tune of billions in a manner that feels essentially like bald-faced theft. Nobody has been punished. Very few of these people even experienced much in the way of financial setbacks, because they were bailed out with other people’s money. As in, yours & mine.
    • The general degree of inequality, whether measured in money or power, seems unreasonable.
    • The political system seems structurally unable to take any action which runs counter to the interests of the finance-industry elite.
    I think those perceptions are broadly correct, and I think it’s reasonable to be angry about them, and to engage in political action: This is what politics is for. (Via ongoing by Tim Bray.)

    Right on - a succinct summary of why many people are emphasising with this movement.

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    Inspiring blogger - Matt Gemmell

    Matt Gemmell is such a good writer, his post Dear TextMate is a beauty and must reflect the thoughts of many former Textmate fans.

    His recent Simplicity post has me looking into Octopress.

    Another great piece by Matt, Accessibility for iPhone and iPad apps is must read for anyone designing a User Interface. I sent this to a friend who suffers the condition Matt was referring to and he was blown away by the insight shown.

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    The innovators secret weapon

    Great post over at MyMicroISV from Jarie Bolander. Very timely for me as I in the process to creating a day off a week to allow time to grow a new venture.

    The Innovator’s Secret Weapon

    • Keep an idea journal: An idea journal is an invaluable tool to find trends and cluster ideas. Just reading through a journal can give you all sorts of inspiration.
      • Have a hobby: Hobbies are great to spark creativity and innovation. I once had a friend who created an entire remote control toy business because he was sick and tired of not having enough frequencies to use.
    • Be well read: Reading a wide variety of topics and styles creates opportunities for cross over innovation. Great ideas will come from looking at a problem from a different perspective.
    • Take long walks: Wander, stroll, skip or run. Anything to get you out of a building and thinking. Many of my best ideas come when I’m working out.
    • Volunteer: Volunteering is not only tremendously rewarding but a great place for inspiration. You would be amazed at how much you can help an organization and yourself by just giving a few hours a week.
    • Help others innovate: Get out there and help someone else create. This is just like the recruiting others above and it’s for the same reason – the more brains, the better the idea flow.

    Jarie Bolander (Via MyMicroISV)

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    Off the map

    I noticed this post recommending the movie "Off The Map" recently.

    We watched it last night and really enjoyed it. We have been talking about it on and off all day today which is the sign of a movie that has gotten under our skin. I particularly liked the understated direction that let the landscape and the story unfold without joining all the dots for the viewer. Fascinating also to see the homesteading life depicted. I was scanning each frame for those small details that give authenticity and was not disappointed. We already had the Taos region on our destination list as we love native american jewellery, so now we have another motive to visit.
    (Via Cage Free Family)

    Reviews
    Tina Ferguson
    Some notes from the director Campbell Scott

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