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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.


    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.


    How to accomplish more by doing less

    Rings true to my own experience How to Accomplish More by Doing Less

    It's not just the number of hours we sit at a desk in that determines the value we generate. It's the energy we bring to the hours we work. Human beings are designed to pulse rhythmically between spending and renewing energy. That's how we operate at our best. Maintaining a steady reservoir of energy — physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually — requires refuelling it intermittently

    Stress isn't the enemy in the workplace. Indeed, stress is the only means by which we can expand capacity. Just think about weightlifting. By stressing your muscles, and then recovering, you gradually build strength. Our real enemy is the absence of intermittent renewal.



    Urban chickens

    Eating Locally: Backyard Chickens at Keeping chickens in the urban backyards was commonplace in Australia during the depression and war years and is making a welcome comeback. I wonder how many people are actually able to kill and eat their chickens. I have tried and it takes some getting used to!. Having the chooks for eggs alone is the easier route and very worthwhile as we have posted about before.


    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.


    VW and the darkside

    Sophisticated campaign orchestrated by Greenpeace using the same Star Wars theme that feature in the latest VW adds. The aim is to raise pressure on Volkswagen to put more effort into bringing its green technology to bear across its fleet. Worth checking the video's out and sign up..

    There is good in Volkswagen. We feel it -

    Volkswagen is a big part of many of our lives – indeed many rebel vehicles are VWs. But it seems the bosses at Volkswagen have been seduced by the dark side of the Force and left us with little choice but to challenge them. But it’s not too late. There’s a chance that together we can turn Volkswagen away from the dark side and into a Force for good, leading to a brighter future for us all. via


    Organic vs local

    These days we have a reasonable range of organic food available to us locally whether through the supermarket, our local shops and/or box deliveries. However, in common with nearly all modern food, much of it travels substantial distances before it gets to us. In addition it is often out of season for our local environs. This has created a modern conundrum where shoppers seeking to buy organic must often choose a product with many air and road miles included in its true cost of availability. From a purity of food perspective the decision is easy, always choose the organic or biodynamic product. But if you are concerned about your carbon debt or eating in season, its sometimes seems that buying locally grown non organic is a better choice. This dilemma is nicely captured in a cartoon by Mike Adams.

    The article accompanying the cartoon at is worth reading and goes into some detail to explain the options shown in the cartoon. Here in Australia we are relatively less affected by this problem than Europe in particular, where a great deal of the fruit and vegetables available seem to have been air freighted from the Mediterranean or the US. The ideal arrangement is to grow some foods yourself (homesteaders may grow nearly all their needs) and also to live near a variety of small farmers who produce the other products that you need. It is then possible to enter into schemes like Community Supported Agriculture where farmers and consumers establish direct trading relationships. The next best thing is a local farmers market, which fortunately are starting to become more common and feature a expanding range of products. I recently found the web site of the 1466group, two couples who have joined forces to farm biodynamically and to setup a Community Supported Agriculture system on the mid North Coast of NSW. As someone who tried to move away from the city and eventually came back for various reasons, I admire their efforts and wish them every success. Check them out here.


    CNN occupy wall street

    I had missed the interesting social experiments Ruskofff describes, the local media is adopting its usual superficial view.

    CNN: Occupy Wall Street is not a Protest but a Prototype

    “Occupy” is anything but a protest movement. That’s why it has been so hard for news agencies to express or even discern the “demands” of the growing legions of Occupy participants around the nation, and even the world. Just like pretty much everyone else on the planet, occupiers may want many things to happen and other things to stop, but the occupation is not about making demands. They don’t want anything from you, and there is nothing you can do to make them stop. That’s what makes Occupy so very scary and so very promising. It is not a protest, but a prototype for a new way of living. (Via Douglas Rushkoff.)

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