Friday, September 27, 2013

Fukushima Crisis Demands Global Take-Over

Fukushima Crisis Demands Global Take-Over

"We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis."
—Harvey Wasserman, author and activist

GRAPHIC: Sign here button
Email the U.N. Secretary General and the U.S. President now!

Fukushima’s owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), does not have the resources to handle 1,300 spent fuel rods now sitting in a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air, with the potential to spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima.

The situation demands a coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers our species can muster.

Chernobyl’s first 1986 fallout reached California within ten days. Fukushima's in 2011 arrived in less than a week. A new fuel fire at Unit 4 would pour out a continuous stream of lethal radioactive poisons for centuries.

Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says of full-scale releases from Fukushima, "This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival."

This crisis comes just as the Obama Administration is trying to provide a $8.3 billion loan to build the first new nuclear plants in the U.S. in almost 30 years. Tell President Obama to loan that $8.3 billion to a Fukushima emergency clean-up instead.

Tell the United Nations to lead that effort immediately.

Click to Email President Obama and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Please forward this email to everyone!

-- The RootsAction.org team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.

P.P.S. This work is only possible with your financial support. Please donate.

Background:
Harvey Wasserman: Crisis at Fukushima 4 Demands a Global Take-Over
AFP: Fukushima Dumps 1,000 Tons of Polluted Water into Sea

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stats & Facts of the Google Empire - The Wishpond Blog

[Infographic] Stats & Facts of the Google Empire - The Wishpond Blog

Even though we think of it as a search engine, Google has so many arms that it now encompasses aspects of everything from content consumption to mobile phones.
In this infographic we’ll see just how much it has grown and how big of a part of our lives it is.


image

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to Change the World by Building a Swarm - Shareable

How to Change the World by Building a Swarm - Shareable


In 2005, Rick Falvinge of Sweden launched a new political party, the Swedish Pirate Party, on a platform to reform copyright and patent laws. It's now the third largest party in Sweden, it won two European Parliament seats in 2009, and it inspired the International Pirate Party movement with representation in over 60 countries. The rise of the party has been remarkably fast. In Swarmwise: The Tactical Manual to Changing the World, Falvinge describes how he did it with a unique, decentralized organizing architecture that leverages the power of technology and the crowd to spread ideas and work across diverse groups of people.
Falvinge defines a swarm as: “a decentralized, collaborative effort of volunteers that looks like a hierarchical, traditional organization from the outside. It is built by a small core of people that construct a scaffolding of go-to people, enabling a large number of volunteers to cooperate on a common goal in quantities of people not possible before the net was available.”
The key is decentralization. The founder must set the vision and goal and then release control of messaging and branding, delegate as much authority as possible, and embrace the fact that the only way to lead is to inspire.
A swarm has a shared direction, values and method. Informal leadership is strong, and focuses on everyone’s contributions. The main benefits to swarm organization are:
  • Speed of operation
  • Next-to-nothing operating cost
  • Large number of devoted volunteers
  • Open and inviting to anyone
  • No recruitment process
  • Multiple solutions tried in parallel
  • Transparent by default
Step One: Find an idea to change the world that people can get excited about.
This is critical. The idea must be a game-changer- so exciting, revolutionary and provocative that it will sell itself. Your idea must have four key attributes to be worthy:
  • Tangible: You must have concrete goals with specifics on when this goal should happen, where it will happen, and how it will happen. In the case of the Swedish Pirate Party, the goal was to elect an open-information platform candidate to the European Parliament in the next election. Period.
  • Credible: You must present the goals as realistic and doable.  The key is to strike a balance between a change-the-world idea and pure fantasy.
  • Inclusive: There must be a role and room for participation for everyone, and everyone must see not only how they will personally benefit form the idea but also ho they can be a part of making it happen.
  • Epic: The idea must be a big one, capable of changing how things are done on a broad scale, and people must see the scope of the idea’s impact when it is presented.
Step Two: Do the Math
You need to figure out, at the outset, the size of your audience and the percentage of those people you need on board to make the idea happen.  The specifics of the math will vary for each situation, but in general
% Convert = # People Needed to Succeed/ #Stakeholders
In the case of the Swedish Pirate Party’s goal of winning a seat in the European Parliament:
¼= 225,000 votes needed/ 1 million file-sharing stakeholders
Therefore, the Swedish Pirate party needed to convert 1 in 4 people to their way of thinking.
Step Three: Launch the idea.
The idea is then launched. The stake must be out in the ground, rough and unpolished though it may be.  If the idea is worthy (see Step One), thousands will gravitate to it; it will spread like a virus.  In the case of the Swedish Pirate Party, Falvinge posted a website with a manifesto and immediately had hundreds of people engaged- the makings of a swarm. It’s like magic!
Step Four: Build the Swarm Scaffolding
In the first several days, the scaffolding for the swarm must be constructed methodically as follows:
  • Divide the swarm into discussion forums by a maximum of thirty geographically based subdivisions with 7-30 members, up to 150, per subgroup. The units of organization can be set using a wiki, web form, etherpad, or traditional forum.
  • Instruct each subgroup to introduce themselves to one another and select a leader. Refrain from giving instructions on leader selection- the ability to self organize is key ot the success of the swarm.
  • Contact leaders in person to get to know then
  • Consider creating a transparent subgroup for group leaders to facilitate communication and coordination.  This may take place in an open forum.
In the first four weeks, each subgroup must set and accomplish their first task, meet informally, and welcome newcomers as they arrive.  A concierge role is likely to ne needed.
Step Five: Organize the Swarm
In the first six to eight weeks, a scaffolding of officers is built as the support structure for swarm development, organization and operation. Group dynamics theory dictates that no more than seven people can effectively work closely.  All local geographies should split off once the group exceeds seven.
A coordinator group can oversee areas of contiguous geography until the total number of swarm members exceeds about 35 people, it must split off into another geography unit or risk blocking the growth of the swarm.
After about a month, a layer of officers can be inserted between the leaders and the local geographic groups to better facilitate communication, so that the leader communicates with five or six leaders, and each of them communicates with five or six leaders of local geographic groups.
Illustration:
:
In summary, keep formal working groups in the scaffolding to about seven people. When several groups are working together, try to keep the size at or below thirty. Pay close attention to when informal swarm groups approach 150 people in size. When that happens, take steps to break them up in smaller subgroups.
The idea is to function without central planning; each swarm unit is self-functioning, adhering to the overall goal but implementing tasks in it’s own way according to its own context.
There are three swarm activity levels:
  • Officers= people in the scaffolding, people who have taken on the formal responsibility of upholding the swarm.
  • Activists- the actual swarm, the people that make things happen on a huge scale passive supporters
  • Passive supporters- people who agree with the goals as such, but haven’t taken any action
And four functional leaders for each geography, in order of extroverted to introverted), each with a deputy:
  • Public Relations: Interacts with “oldmedia” i.e. newspapers, radio, etc.
  • Activism- Supports activism with practical details
  • Swarmcare- Welcomes new activists.
  • Information technology - Maintain web and social media infrastructure
Step Six: Set the Vision, Let the Swarm Disseminate the Message
The swarm leader sets the vision, but the local groups disseminate the message. The particulars may change according to the local audience, and only the local group will know how to best convey it.  Four classical methods are available for conveying the message: handing out flyers, placing posters, having tables at events, and staging rallies or street protests.
Set up a communications hub that “oldmedia” can latch onto, like a WordPress blog. Issue press releases on the website. The founder is the avatar of “oldmedia” representation. The founder should be present at all rallies and public events and be available for “oldmedia.”
The founder should write the op-eds.  Opportunities include op-eds about upcoming events the warm has an opinion on, responses to large news events, counter=points to published opinion pieces.
Step Seven: Lead the Swarm
The leader must be a leader and a visionary, not a project manager. The leader must inspire and set the organizational tone of decentralization.  It is important to identify key milestones and a timeline so that everyone sees progress happen, and can feel a sense of urgency.  Public measurement of success, or gamification, is an important method to motivate people.
The leader will progress form direct hand-holding, to explaining, to encouragement, to recognition.
The swarm is not a democracy.  It operates by consensus.  The goal is not to create losers but to have everyone buy in to the program. To resolve conflict, make a rule: no one gets to tell anyone else what to do.  If people don’t like it, they will leave and the swarm will correct itself.
There will be “mavericks” and “organizational astronauts” who will not buy into this management style. Do not capitulate to them.  Eventually, they will adapt or leave.
Step Eight: Grow and Mobilize
The swarm will grow form the edges.  Off –line relationships are key to making tis happen. People at the edges of the swarm need to have “heartbeat” meetings or messages once per week to maintain motivation.
Mass communications tools like texting are great for rapid mobilization.
It is important to look professional and be noticeable. Wear bright colors. Be professional, respectful, and make sure each member of the swarm feels values by constant recognition.
Step Nine: Don’t Shoot for the Moon: Aim Higher
As the swarm grows and succeeds, the founder must be aware of the weight of his or her words and actions.  The swarm can get lax, it is important to be constantly on-message and relentless about getting message out.
A successful swa

Chipotle's "The Scarecrow" ad is brilliant critique of Big Ag and factory farms : TreeHugger

Chipotle's "The Scarecrow" ad is brilliant critique of Big Ag and factory farms : TreeHugger

Facebook is Doomed?

Facebook is Doomed | LinkedIn

When India's Economic Times asked me to compare Google with Facebook, the comparison struck me as odd. Google is exploring uncharted territory and staking its claims to the next trillion-dollar market opportunities. Facebook is mired in the past and squeezing every penny it can out of its customers to justify its inflated stock price. Unless it happens to luck out by buying the right company, it seems to me, Facebook is doomed.
I am posting that article here to see whether anyone really disagrees.


So do you agree?   GOOGLE  UP   FACEBOOK DOWN?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Education - Creative Commons

Education - Creative Commons



With the internet, universal access to education is possible, but its potential is hindered by increasingly restrictive copyright laws and incompatible technologies. The Education program at Creative Commons works to minimize these barriers, supporting the CC mission through consulting, education, and outreach on using the right technologies and licenses to maximize the benefits of open educational resources (OER) and the return on investment in publicly funded education and research programs. Our work cuts across all levels of education (K-12 to postsecondary) and sectors of industry (nonprofit to corporate).

Saturday, September 7, 2013

9 Essential Lessons for Changing the World | Angela Maiers

9 Essential Lessons for Changing the World | Angela Maiers

9 Essential Lessons for Changing the World

Posted: 07/16/2013 11:37 am

Schools have a standardized system and protocols in place for every aspect of student learning -- except one.
Schools have no system at all in place to teach students how to bring about change in the world.
Few, if any, schools offer a set of lessons and practices that guides students through the process of how to approach a problem, insist that change can happen and make it so.
If we believe that today's students are society's change agents, creators of innovations that will disrupt the status quo and transform our world, then we need our classrooms to be a place where they experience the changemaking process.
Last month, I had the pleasure and privilege of helping 350 changemakers realize their potential and extend their reach and ability to make an impact in the world.
I now know unequivocally that all children can be inspired, equipped and mobilized to make a difference in the world, if they understand and are taught the following lessons:
1. You Must Own and Share Your Genius
When we spoke these following words to students: "YOU ARE A GENIUS and the WORLD NEEDS YOUR CONTRIBUTION," we were not just saying it to make them feel good. Each and every one of us has an opportunity and an obligation to take this message to heart.
Our talents and skills are not intended only to be used for our own good. They're meant to be shared as an offering to the world. A gift in the truest sense of the word.
Answering the question, "What is my genius?" holds out the promise of achieving both power and impact.
2. Vulnerability is Power.
Every student, teacher, mentor and speaker had the opportunity to tell their story.
We listened to story after story of failure, of fear, of humility, of embarrassment, of projects gone wrong, of an idea not turning out as planned or desired. Yet, time after time, these so-called "failures" were in fact life-defining lessons, teachings that led to a transformative experience, a new life purpose and hard-earned success. It's only when we expose our darkest fears and our greatest mistakes that true growth occurs.
3. Don't Follow Your Heart -- Follow Your Heart Break
Rather than stressing about finding our elusive "passion," we embraced an attitude of compassion.
Operating much like its close cousin, compassion opens us up to feeling others suffering so we can make ourselves useful to them in their moment of need. Perhaps it should not be surprising that the word compassion derives from the Latin root com and passio, as well as the Greek word patheia. Taken together, this literally translates as "[to] suffer with affection."
In a process we call "HeartBreaking Mapping," we strategically and empathetically explored the suffering happening in the world and worked together to discover ways we could use our talents and genius to be useful to those in need.
4. Passion Matters
The world is not changed by people who sort of care.
The world is not changed by learners who sort of learn.
The world is not changed by leaders who sort of lead.
Sort of caring will get you run over by someone who actually does care.
Sort of learning is the path to ignorance-a road that starts comfortably enough, but soon leads to disengagement and despair.
Who changes the world? People who are fiercely passionate
The world is changed by people who are fully and completely, relentlessly sometimes, unreasonably committed to something they love. People with the focus and excitement to bound through the inconveniences and over obstacles.
When you're passionate about your work and about the people you are doing your work with and for, there are no limits to what is possible.
Nothing in this world has ever or will ever be accomplished without passion.
5. Take Your Ideas Seriously -- We Do
If students have an idea, however big or small or crazy or epic or ridiculous, we asked that they write it down, pursue it and most importantly, share it with others.
Sharing your idea and asking for help can change everything. We practiced sharing our needs and gives and used every new and emerging technology to ensure this happened.
6. You can't do this alone. (Seriously, you CAN'T do this alone).
We are smarter together.
Anyone that's built a thriving business or led a successful project knows this already. You need to surround yourself with people who make you fulfilled, that make you smarter, that support you when you succeed and love you when you fail, that constantly push you to be the best you can be.
To demonstrate the power of community, we invited our network to join us. Business Innovation Factory provided a community of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, teachers, mentors and friends, united in the pursuit of self-potential and social impact.
When students understood that their community had their back, everything changed.
7. Dwell in Possibility
Realize the impact you could have. Embrace the possibility, the insane possibility that you can make a difference in the world.
These are powerful possibilities that are difficult for the average citizen, let alone the average high school student, to take seriously.
The moment students began to dwell in the possibilities, they were capable of so much more than they had given themselves credit for. This was the moment creativity was unleashed.
This new belief becomes contagious. And that's when responsibility set in.
Students started to realize their ideas, those possibilities are not just there to casually dream. They had responsibility to work collaboratively, honor all contributions and not let one idea or dream be held back.
8. Once you make an impact, you can't go back.

I cannot tell you the joy I experienced watching these young learners and leaders working together as a community of intention, engagement, passion and love; with the mission of becoming their best selves, living the lives they were meant to live and creating positive social change.
I cannot explain the feeling of gratitude and pride I felt knowing that the work we did in those two days directly impacted the way students (and myself, and other mentors and staff) see their lives and what they are capable of achieving in this world.
And now that I've felt that, and having known 100 percent what it feels like day after day to NOT be making a direct impact in anyone's life, I know we cannot go back to teaching and learning without meaning.
We refuse to. Until we can ensure these lessons are taught in every classroom, we will not rest or waste my time doing anything less impactful.
Which brings me to our last and final lesson.
9. Do Not Waste Time
The most dangerous word in the English language is tomorrow.
The time to dare, to make a difference, to embark on something worth doing,
IS NOW.
You already have permission
You have permission to create, to speak up and stand up.
You have permission to be generous, to fail and to be vulnerable.
You have permission to own your words, to matter and to help.
Do Something Epic -- NOW!
The world is ready. The world is waiting.
When we asked students, which of these lessons was most valuable, they responded in this way.
It is my hope in sharing this with you that we may we hold our world to this new standard we know it's capable of.
More than anything, that is what this event was about; to liberate the genius you have sitting in your classrooms now and leverage their collective abilities as changemakers to create differences in their lives and the world.
A Plus's for all!

Send Mallory to the Bammys | Indiegogo

Send Mallory to the Bammys | Indiegogo

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity | Video on TED.com

Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity | Video on TED.com



Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

 How are young kids reacting to a system in which their individual abilities, interests and passions are limited instead of liberated?

 "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." - Pablo Picasso via



Ken Robinson: How to escape education's death valley | Video on TED.com

Ken Robinson: How to escape education's death valley | Video on TED.com




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why the future is yours

Why the future is yours 


Why the future is yours

This post was written by Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever who has set out an ambitious vision to double its size while reducing its overall environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact.
Paul recently joined the B Team, a Virgin Unite initiated not-for-profit formed of a group of global business leaders to create a future where the purpose of business is to be a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit.
Every day, when watching the news, we see pictures of famine and floods, droughts and demonstrations, confronting us with the effects of increasing resource scarcity, climate change, food security, civil unrest and poverty. We see the increasing numbers of people left behind.
Many wonder how on earth we are going to address all these challenges. They feel overwhelming and not a little confusing. We should not lose sight of the fact that there is also plenty of ‘good’ to write home about. We've succeeded in nearly halving child mortality rates since 1990, for example, and polio cases have decreased by more than 99 percent since 1988.
But this is still a time of volatility, revolution, of uncertainty and ambiguity and increasing complexity. The challenges are pressing and distressing, and it can be difficult to know where to begin to address them—there are no quick fixes for what ails us.
What many people forget is that we have an emerging power to make fundamental shifts in the state of the world – the power of youth.
And we also have an evolving and emerging tool called technology.
The masterful 20th century designer Charles Eames once said, “Beyond the age of information is the age of choices.”
We're racing through the information age—more than 95 percent of all information on the planet is now in digital form, and four out of every six people is using the Internet—which means it's time to use the information we have to make some of the serious choices we need to make about our future on planet earth.
With this as a backdrop, Unilever, in partnership with the Cambridge Programme for Sustainable Leadership and Ashoka Changemakers, has launched a search for practical and tangible innovations created by young people that help make sustainable living commonplace: the Unilever Sustainable Living Entrepreneurs Awards
I am a firm believer in the power of youth (I have three boys myself, all in their twenties). The youth of today, by the way, are 50% of the population in emerging markets and 100% of its future population. Their imagination, their strength of purpose, their genuine concern are all things that attract me to young entrepreneurs. Yet we don't always harness that power, and too often we exclude many of the young from the most important issues. We want to change that.
I am also a believer in the power of technology. The change in Egypt two years ago was organised by Facebook, with a running commentary on Twitter and illustrated on Youtube. There are, famously, more mobile phones in India, than toilets. And who better to utilize the power of technology than the youth for whom it is second-nature? And to utilise it to deliver social responsibility, not egocentricity, to the market, and to crowd out profiteering by creating more space for volunteering.
This is why I am optimistic that tackling the world's pressing challenges is a real possibility. I would even go so far as to say that tackling them is a probability.
The technology we now have at our fingertips allows for the spread of good ideas faster than ever before. It allows forward-thinking leaders to scale-up proven solutions to change the way the world does business—it's not just about reducing negative impacts, but also about making positive contributions.
The young give us hope because young people are certain their best days still lie ahead – which explains why they're absolutely convinced they can change the world for the better. As their parents, teachers, neighbours and friends, we want nothing more than to leave young people with a world of opportunity, which gives our work meaning.
And meaning for us? Responsible, equitable growth that is decoupled from environmental impact and makes a positive contribution to society. This kind of meaning, this mission, will be the new normal in business. It must be.
Sustainability makes good business sense and we're all on the same team at the end of the day. That's the truth about the human condition. We have caused, directly and indirectly and over time, a great majority of the challenges our communities struggle with today. It's up to us to properly address them.
Unilever is working on it, but we won't succeed alone.
If we all act together; business, governments, NGOs and citizens – and especially the young – just imagine the good we could create. We not only need the help the young can give us, but their enthusiasm, ambition, drive and ideas too. Today over half the world’s population is under 30. In some countries the figure is more like two-thirds. This gives me hope. There is a new, more entrepreneurial spirit among today’s young people. Young people have the opportunity, the responsibility and duty to be that catalysts for change. They all have the potential to be leaders and change-makers.
To paraphrase a line by the great British playwright George Bernard Shaw, and made famous by the US politician Robert F. Kennedy:
“Some people see the world as it is and ask: what can I do?
"Young people see the world as it could be and say: together we can.”
Will you join us?
By . Tweets at @ashoka

Rebelmouse