Thursday, December 15, 2016

Friday Thinking 16 Dec. 2016

Hello all – Friday Thinking is a humble curation of my foraging in the digital environment. My purpose is to pick interesting pieces, based on my own curiosity (and the curiosity of the many interesting people I follow), about developments in some key domains (work, organization, social-economy, intelligence, domestication of DNA, energy, etc.)  that suggest we are in the midst of a change in the conditions of change - a phase-transition. That tomorrow will be radically unlike yesterday.

Many thanks to those who enjoy this.
In the 21st Century curiosity will SKILL the cat.
Jobs are dying - work is just beginning.

“Be careful what you ‘insta-google-tweet-face’”
Woody Harrelson - Triple 9


The Life-Extending Health Benefits of Optimism

The A.I. systems that drive our cars will teach us to trust machine intelligence over the human variety — car accidents will become very rare, for example — and when given an opportunity to delegate a job to a robot, we will placidly do so without giving it much thought.

In all previous technological revolutions, people who lost their jobs mostly moved to new ones, but that will be less likely when the robots take over. A.I. that can learn from experience will replace many accountants, lawyers, bankers, insurance adjusters, doctors, scientific researchers and some creative professionals. Intelligence and advanced training will no longer mean job stability.

Gradually the A.I. era will transform the essence of human culture.
As A.I. takes over, the remaining jobs may dwindle to a fraction of what they were, employing perhaps 10 percent or even less of the total population. These may be highly creative or complex jobs that robots can’t do, such as senior management, directing scientific research or nursing and child care.

In the dystopian scenario, as jobless numbers rise across the globe, our societies sink into prolonged turmoil. The world could be engulfed by endless conflicts between those who control the A.I. and the rest of us. The technocratic 10 percent could end up living in a gated community with armed robot guards.

There is a second, utopian scenario, where we’ve anticipated these changes and come up with solutions beforehand. Those in political power have planned a smoother, gentler transition, perhaps using A.I. to help them anticipate and modulate the strife. At the end of it, almost all of us live on social welfare.

LIU CIXIN - The Robot Revolution Will Be the Quietest One

There’s a whole swath of America that I think feels that they don’t have a sense of purpose. They don’t have pride. They don’t feel respect. If a basic income works financially, fine — anything to try to deal with the income disparity is a useful thing up to a certain amount. Some people are literally starving in America right now, which is crazy. But work is not just about money. It’s about purpose. The money is there after that to give you a sense of pride, of purpose, of structure. Work is much more of a social thing and a psychological thing than it is about a financial thing. If we don’t have to work and we all have free money, what’s going to give us purpose?

Joi Ito Explains Why Donald Trump Is Like the Sex Pistols

Increasing returns are the tendency for that which is ahead to get further ahead, for that which loses advantage to lose further advantage. They are mechanisms of positive feedback that operate—within markets, businesses, and industries—to reinforce that which gains success or aggravate that which suffers loss. Increasing returns generate not equilibrium but instability: If a product or a company or a technology—one of many competing in a market—gets ahead by chance or clever strategy, increasing returns can magnify this advantage, and the product or company or technology can go on to lock in the market. More than causing products to become standards, increasing returns cause businesses to work differently, and they stand many of our notions of how business operates on their head.

A Short History Of The Most Important Economic Theory In Tech

As the 1960s studies on air-traffic controllers suggested, to be good in a specific domain you need to know a lot about it: it’s not easy to translate those skills to other areas. This is even more so with the kinds of complex and specialised knowledge that accompanies much professional expertise: as later studies found, the more complex the domain, the more important domain-specific knowledge. This non-translatability of cognitive skill is well-established in psychological research and has been replicated many times. Other studies, for example, have shown that the ability to remember long strings of digits doesn’t transfer to the ability to remember long strings of letters. Surely we’re not surprised to hear this, for we all know people who are ‘clever’ in their professional lives yet who often seem to make stupid decisions in their personal lives.

As the American educationalist Daniel Willingham puts it:
[I]f you remind a student to ‘look at an issue from multiple perspectives’ often enough, he will learn that he ought to do so, but if he doesn’t know much about an issue, he can’t think about it from multiple perspectives … critical thinking (as well as scientific thinking and other domain-based thinking) is not a skill. There is not a set of critical thinking skills that can be acquired and deployed regardless of context.

Why schools should not teach general critical-thinking skills

In my study of technology, I was really surprised to discover that in fact, on the planetary global scale, that there’s been no technology that’s gone extinct. Nothing. There are more blacksmiths alive today than ever before in history. There are more people making telescopes by hand than ever before in history. There are more masters at flint-making, arrowhead-making, than ever. I’m talking about absolute numbers, not percentages. The point is that the option for those who want to master something is still there.

There just aren’t going to be many of that particular species, whatever it is. If you’re an Excel jockey, there will certainly be a role for you for a long, long time — but there may not be many of you. [In the future] it will be easier to find that person. For whatever reason, in the year 2070, if you need it, you’ll be able to find the three people in the world who can still do Excel.
I think most of the mastery, though, will be at the meta-level. If you want an answer, you’ll ask a machine.

Wired founder Kevin Kelly on letting go of AI anxiety

The hue and cry about fake news and the death of traditional journalism - may be a bit nostalgic for a past that never really existed. This is longish article - but well worth the read.


Journalism has never been better, thanks to these last few decades of disruption. So why does it seem to matter so little? Reflections on the media in the age of Trump.
For the last two decades, the rules of political reporting have been blown up. And I’ve cheered at every step along the way. Not for me the mourning over the dismantling of the old order, all those lamentations about the lost golden era of print newspapers thudding on doorsteps and the sage evening news anchors reporting back to the nation on their White House briefings. Because, let’s face it: too much of Washington journalism in the celebrated good old days was an old boys’ club, and so was politics—they were smug, insular, often narrow-minded, and invariably convinced of their own rightness.

Kevin Kelly is definitely one of my hero’s and always worth the listen or read. The title is self-explanatory - a counter to the panic about AI (not that there isn’t reason for concern, there is - but there’s reason for concern about all technology - just as there’s reason for forthcoming benefits). Having read his new book I highly recommend it.
Our intelligence is so central to our identity, that when someone suggests that we can synthesize it, and install into other things, it immediately empties us of our identity and we say, “What are we going to do?” If there’s a suggestion in any way that it’s better, that other things are better, then it’s like, “That’s game over for us.” There’s a direct 1–2 step. Nobody has had any trouble making that step to, I’m not relevant, I’m not needed. I think that scenario, where these AIs come and take over, is very Hollywood, it’s very cinematic. That story is so clear that it’s very hard to have an alternative story.

Wired founder Kevin Kelly on letting go of AI anxiety

How machines and humans together will transform the future of work
If anyone can calm fears of a robot apocalypse, it’s Kevin Kelly. Over the years — first as the founding executive editor of Wired, then as the author of books like What Technology Wants and Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World — he has become one of the 21st century’s most prescient theorists not only on the future of technology but also on our constantly evolving relationship with it.

In his latest book, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that Will Shape Our Future, Kelly writes about the unstoppable trends that we often fear when it comes to technological progress. In a recent interview with Slack, he laid out his vision of the future of work and some simple reasons why we may want to reconsider some of our deep-rooted anxieties about it.

This is another article - this one highlighting the current state of automation in the creation of news. What’s coming is a blend of AI, Intelligence, surveillance and news. As powerful as these tools become - they will not compete with humans - but humans with assemblages of tools & humans, will compete with other humans with different assemblages.
At the end of 2014, Reuters started a project called News Tracer. The system analyzes every tweet in real time—all 500 million or so each day. First it filters out spam and advertising. Then it finds similar tweets on the same topic, groups them into “clusters,” and assigns each a topic such as business, politics, or sports. Finally it uses natural language processing techniques to generate a readable summary of each cluster.

The age of the cyborg

… news organizations such as AP, Reuters, and many others are now turning out thousands of automated stories a month. It’s a dramatic development, but today’s story-writing bots are little more than Mad Libs, filling out stock phrases with numbers from earnings reports or box scores. And there’s good reason to believe that fully automated journalism is going to be very limited for a long time.

At the same time, quietly and without the fanfare of their robot cousins, the cyborgs are coming to journalism. And they’re going to win, because they can do things that neither people nor programs can do alone.

Apple’s Siri can schedule my appointments, Amazon’s Alexa can recommend music, and IBM’s Watson can answer Jeopardy questions. I want interactive AI for journalism too: an intelligent personal assistant to extend my reach. I want to analyze superhuman amounts of information, respond to breaking news with lightning reflexes, and have the machine write not the last draft, but the first. In short, I want technology to make me a faster, better, smarter reporter.

Let’s call this technology Izzy, after the legendary American muckraker I. F. Stone, who found many of his stories buried in government records. We could build Izzy today, using voice recognition to drive a variety of emerging journalism technologies. Already, computers are watching social media with a breadth and speed no human could match, looking for breaking news. They are scanning data and documents to make connections on complex investigative projects. They are tracking the spread of falsehoods and evaluating the truth of statistical claims. And they are turning video scripts into instant rough cuts for human review.

This is a Ontario public policy think-tank piece well worth the read.

Working Without a Net

Rethinking Canada’s social policy in the new age of work
This report explores the implications of new technologies on Canada’s economy and labour market and the adequacy of current social programs and policies supporting workers.
Millions of Canadians might lose their jobs to automation in the next decade. Hundreds of thousands of others could see their full-time positions replaced with short-term, temporary gigs.

What will happen to the people currently holding these jobs? Will they end up cycling through unemployment benefits, drawing down their personal assets and surviving on social assistance? Will they have access to robust, effective training to re-skill and upgrade their skills for new opportunities?

What if they require access to medicine or mental health services, or their ability to afford housing diminishes? How long will it take them to re-enter the labour market as new tasks and types of jobs emerge, and will their new roles make them part of the ever-expanding precariously employed workforce?

These are vital questions that Canadian governments must start grappling with today. Autonomous vehicles are already on the road, robo-advisors are dispensing financial counsel and even lawyers and reporters are starting to see automation take over routine functions. The role of digital sharing economy platforms in creating micro-tasks that offer more supplemental income opportunities but less permanence and security must also be considered as a key part of the technological wave disrupting labour patterns.

This report argues that prevailing economic and labour market trends combined with emerging technological factors are creating a growing number of workers with little or no attachment to Canada’s social architecture. Absent transformational policy change to recognize the new world of work, Canada’s social policies and programs will prove woefully inadequate to sufficiently insure enough people to meet the challenges ahead.

This is another aspect of robotics, drones and AI transforming the employment landscape - signals supporting the need to seriously consider a guaranteed livable income.
“We think there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of robots on the ground eventually around the world,” said Allan Martinson, chief operating officer of Starship Technologies, based in London and started by the co-founders of internet telephone company Skype.
Starship’s delivery robots work this way: Customers use a smartphone mobile application to order their delivery. A text alerts customers — “You have a robot waiting for you outside” — when the robot is near their home or business. A person must be present to receive the delivery because only the customer has a unique code to unlock the robot’s box.

Delivery Robots Are Showing Up On City Sidewalks

Humans: Don’t look up for drone deliveries. Self-driving delivery robots already have arrived on some city sidewalks.
Designers of futuristic cityscapes envision delivery drones dropping off your packages from the sky and driverless cars taking you to work. But the robotic delivery invasion already has arrived in the form of machines that look like beer coolers on wheels scooting along the sidewalks.

The ground-bound robots, developed by the science fiction-sounding company Starship Technologies, will be showing up any day in the nation’s capital and in Redwood City, California. They could soon be in up to 10 cities, ferrying groceries and other packages over what the company calls the “last mile,” from a neighborhood delivery “hub” to your front door, all for as little as $1 a trip.

A second company, TeleRetail, plans to test its sidewalk robots in Washington and other cities, including Mountain View, California, next year.
Like driverless cars, the delivery robots use cameras, GPS and radar to “see” their urban environment and navigate through it.

The robots are the first of what the companies foresee as a wave of inexpensive, high-tech, electricity-driven alternatives to gasoline car-driven shopping trips and delivery trucks that contribute to traffic gridlock and pollution. Urban futurists see the little robots as an integral part of a digitally based “smart city” landscape — although it will take time for humans to adjust to them, and they come with privacy concerns.

Here is some fodder to throw into the debates about the impact of video games on people.
“Children who have profound visual deficits often expend a disproportionate amount of effort trying to see straight ahead, and as a consequence they neglect their peripheral vision,” said Duje Tadin, associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences at Rochester. “This is problematic because visual periphery—which plays a critical role in mobility and other key visual functions—is often less affected by visual impairments.”

Video Game Helps Children With Poor Vision to See Better

Studies going back several years have shown that playing action video games (AVG) can help improve visual acuity. A new study by vision scientists at the University of Rochester and Vanderbilt University found that children with poor vision see vast improvement in their peripheral vision after only eight hours of training via kid-friendly video games. Most surprising to the scientists was the range of visual gains the children made, and that the gains were quickly acquired and stable when tested a year later.

This a fascinating summary of research looking at not so much numeracy but quantitative ‘numerosity’ capacity in the animal kingdom. Could it be that some deep form of accounting is inherent in living systems - despite not being able to count? This is well worth the read and thought - accounting and social fabric may very well be entangled.

Animals give clues to the origins of human number crunching

In zoos and barnyards, scientists search for deep evolutionary underpinnings of mathematics
When Christian Agrillo runs number-related experiments in his lab, he wishes his undergraduate subjects good luck. For certain tests, that’s about all he says. Giving instructions to the people would be unfair to the fish.

No one seriously argues that animals other than people have some kind of symbolic numeral system, but nonhuman animals — a lot of them — can manage almost-math without numbers.

“There’s been an explosion of studies,” Agrillo says. Reports of a quantity-related ability come from chickens, horses, dogs, honeybees, spiders, salamanders, guppies, chimps, macaques, bears, lions, carrion crows and many more. And nonverbal number sensing, studies now suggest, allows much fancier operations than just pointing to the computer screen that shows more dots.

News stories on this diversity often nod to the idea that such a broad sweep of numberlike savvy across the animal tree of life could mean that animals all inherited rudiments of quantification smarts from a shared ancestor. Some scientists think that idea is too simple. Instead of inheriting the same mental machinery, animals could have just happened upon similar solutions when confronting the same challenge. (Birds and bats both fly, but their wings arose independently.)

This is quite a long piece - but it is highly worth the time for anyone thinking about the problems of knowledge, KM and the ubiquitous interfaces that enable us to share internal thinking-visualization-auditory-kinesthetic representations to our languages (including math). Just as important is how we represent common languaging internally in unique ways. How we ‘know’ and how we say we know are very complex - the conception and design of new forms of interface - is our challenge if we are to begin to truly think in new ways.

Thought as a Technology

Have you ever felt awe and delight upon first experiencing a computer interface? An interface that surprised you with its strangeness, with a sense of entering an alien world?

Some people experience this when they play imaginative video games, such as Monument Valley, Braid, or Portal. For some people, it occurs when they first understand how a spreadsheet program can be used to model a company, an industry, or even an entire country. And for some people, it occurs when they first use a programming language based on particularly powerful ideas, such as Haskell or Lisp.

My own first experience of this awe and delight was when I used the program MacPaint.

How do we know? How do we come to comprehend a totally novel phenomena? Generally we initially colonize the new with a metaphor we are familiar with. But not all of us have metaphors that are easily shareable. This is a fascinating 11 min video TED talk.

Different ways of knowing | Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet has linguistic, numerical and visual synesthesia -- meaning that his perception of words, numbers and colors are woven together into a new way of perceiving and understanding the world. The author of "Born on a Blue Day," Tammet shares his art and his passion for languages in this glimpse into his beautiful mind.

This is a wonderful must view 1 hr video of Daniel Dennett talking about technology, memes, evolution and so much more.

Information, Evolution, and intelligent Design - With Daniel Dennett

Daniel Dennett explores the first steps towards a unified theory of information, through common threads in the convergence of evolution, learning, and engineering.

The concept of information is fundamental to all areas of science, and ubiquitous in daily life in the Internet Age. However, it is still not well understood despite being recognised for more than 40 years. In this talk, Daniel Dennett explores steps towards a unified theory of information, through common threads in evolution, learning, and engineering.

Daniel Dennett is known as one the most important philosophers of our time, with controversial and thought-provoking arguments about human consciousness, free will, and human evolution.

He is also a writer and cognitive scientist, using neuroscience, linguistics, artificial intelligence, computer science, and psychology to inform his philosophy, particularly his philosophies relating to evolutionary biology and cognitive science.

And talking about new ways of thinking - this is a must view 14min video. It is thus far the best explanation of dark energy I heard yet.

Chameleon Particles and Dark Energy - Sixty Symbols

Dr Clare Burrage is among those searching for the elusive (and thus far hypothetical) Chameleon Particle.

The concerns of a surveillance society and loss of privacy - aren’t decreasing anytime soon - unless we completely re-imagine what privacy as security of self means. While this article highlights another breakthrough diagnostics AI tool using face-recognition software - the inevitability of this spreading to all other face-recognitions applications is assured.
The mobile app automatically photographs a patient, uploads that photo to a server, and analyzes the facial features within seconds to generate a list of syndromes that match identified similarities. Each syndrome is accompanied by information from the London Medical Databases, which curates syndromes and maintains a collection of images of dysmorphology.

Diagnosing Disease with a Snapshot

Many genetic conditions come with clues in a person’s face, and new technology can help doctors diagnose them.
Karen Gripp, chief of the Division of Medical Genetics at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, noted that her patient, a toddler girl, had a high forehead, thick eyebrows, and a long philtrum—the space between the nose and the lip. She experienced seizures and had coarse, curly hair, though that hardly seemed noteworthy due to her African-American ethnicity. A cleft palate plus an arachnoid cyst on her spinal cord had already been repaired by the time Gripp was called to see her.

The symptoms didn’t line up neatly with any conditions Gripp had considered.
Many genetic conditions have a “face”—a distinctive constellation of features that provides a clue to a potential diagnosis. But identifying disease by observing a patient’s features, a practice known as dysmorphology, is one of geneticists’ biggest challenges. The most skilled dysmorphologists tend to be older doctors who’ve been around the block, which makes sense; the more patients you see over a lifetime, the more features you observe. But even the most experienced practitioners haven’t laid eyes on every disease out there.

As part of her detective work, Gripp asked permission to take a picture of the patient and upload it to Face2Gene, a facial recognition software tool that can aid in rare disease diagnosis. Face2Gene compares pictures of a patient’s face with those of disease composites and returns a series of potential diagnoses, from most plausible to least.

For Gripp, the technology proved illuminating. Hajdu-Cheney syndrome was one of Face2Gene’s top suggestions for the toddler. But an exome analysis of the child’s protein-coding genes revealed a mutation implicated in lateral meningocele syndrome, a condition with which Gripp was more than familiar.

Increasing resistance to current antibacterial drugs has been a salient issue for at least a decade or more. However, with increasing knowledge of DNA, genomics, proteomics hope may be on the near horizon.
"You can tailor their sequences in such a way that you can tune them for specific functions," de la Fuente says. "We have the computational power to try to generate therapeutics that can make it to the clinic and have an impact on society."
"In this single molecule, you have a synthetic peptide that can kill microbes—both susceptible and drug-resistant—and at the same time can act as an anti-inflammatory mediator and enhance protective immunity," de la Fuente says.

Antimicrobial peptides can kill strains resistant to existing antibiotics

A team of researchers at MIT, the University of Brasilia, and the University of British Columbia has now engineered an antimicrobial peptide that can destroy many types of bacteria, including some that are resistant to most antibiotics.

Over the past few decades, many bacteria have become resistant to existing antibiotics, and few new drugs have emerged. A recent study from a U.K. commission on antimicrobial resistance estimated that by 2050, antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections will kill 10 million people per year, if no new drugs are developed.

To help rebuild the arsenal against infectious diseases, many scientists are turning toward naturally occurring proteins known as antimicrobial peptides, which can kill not only bacteria but other microbes such as viruses and fungi. A team of researchers at MIT, the University of Brasilia, and the University of British Columbia has now engineered an antimicrobial peptide that can destroy many types of bacteria, including some that are resistant to most antibiotics.

Another key advantage of these peptides is that while they recruit immune cells to combat the infection, they also suppress the overactive inflammatory response that can cause sepsis, a life threatening condition.

More good news as personalized medicine continues to be advanced.

Personalized Cancer Vaccine Prevents Leukemia Relapse in Patients

A majority of patients in a small clinical trial have been in remission from a deadly type of cancer for more than four years.
Levy joined an early-stage clinical trial led by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, testing a cancer vaccine for acute myeloid leukemia. After an initial round of chemotherapy, he and the other trial participants received the experimental vaccine, a type of immunotherapy intended to “reëducate” the immune cells to see cancer cells as foreign and attack them, explains David Avigan, chief of Hematological Malignancies and director of the Cancer Vaccine Program at Beth Israel.

Now results from the trial suggest that the vaccine was able to stimulate powerful immune responses against cancer cells and protect a majority of patients from relapse—including Levy. Out of 17 patients with an average age of 63 who received the vaccine, 12 are still in remission four years or more after receiving the vaccine, Avigan and his co-authors at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report. The researchers found expanded levels of immune cells that recognize acute myeloid leukemia cells after vaccination. The results appear today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Thinking about the zero-marginal cost of renewable energy - here is a research report that expands the saving as it is amortized over time.

Solar panels have paid their energy debt – or are very close to it

Between now and 2018, the photovoltaic solar panel industry will have avoided more greenhouse gases emissions than it has released in 40 years of development. Amy Middleton reports.
Researchers in the Netherlands calculated the global solar panel – or photovoltaic – industry will also break even within the next couple of years when it comes to greenhouse gases too.

“Over the whole life-cycle of a [photovoltaic] system, it pays back the energy invested and greenhouse gas emissions released during its production multiple times,” Atse Louwen from Utrecht University and colleagues write in Nature Communications.

Since 1975, installed photovoltaic capacity increased from less than one megawatt to almost 180 gigawatts in 2014. At the same time, the financial cost dropped from almost UD$100 per watt to around 65c per watt. For every doubling of solar panel usage, they found, energy used during production decreased by up to 13%, while the industry’s greenhouse gas footprint dropped by up to a quarter.

Admitting that some aspects of their model are debatable, the researchers say a conservative break-even point for energy cost and gas emissions should occur somewhere between 1997 and 2018.
So, either it’s already happened, or it’s just around the corner – which means the full benefits of the industry are yet to be felt, the researchers write.

The evidence of the huge transformation in global energy geopolitics is increasingly self-evident. Incumbents are fighting their mightiest to ‘sustain’ the old paradigm.

Latin America is set to become a leader in alternative energy

The power of the Andean sun
BESIDE the Pan-American Highway, almost 600km (375 miles) north of Santiago, Chile’s capital, lies El Romero, the largest solar-energy plant in Latin America and among the dozen biggest in the world. Its 775,000 grey solar panels spread out across the undulating plateau of the Atacama desert as if they were sheets of water. Built at a cost of $343m by Acciona Energía, a Spanish company, last month El Romero started to be hooked up to the national grid. By April it should reach full strength, generating 196MW of electricity—enough to power a city of a million people. A third of its output will be bought directly by Google’s Chilean subsidiary, and the rest fed into the grid.

El Romero is evidence of an energy revolution that is spreading across Latin America. The region already leads the world in clean energy. For almost seven months this year, Costa Rica ran purely on renewable power. Uruguay has come close to that, too. In 2014, the latest year for which comparable data exist, Latin America as a whole produced 53% of its electricity from renewable sources, compared with a world average of 22%, according to the International Energy Agency.

Not only is the development and implementation of renewable energy platforms accelerating - so are investors withdrawing from carbon energy projects. The looming conflict between energy paradigms and the energy geopolitics of incumbents is heating up (pun intended) but the fire may be going out for the incumbents.
“It’s clear the transition to a clean energy future is inevitable, beneficial and well underway, and that investors have a key role to play,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement announcing the news.

Fossil Fuel Divestment Has Doubled in the Last 15 Months

A little over a year ago, it was big news that thousands of people and hundreds of institutions controlling more than $2.6 trillion in total assets had pledged to remove their investments from stocks, mutual funds, and bonds that invest in fossil fuel companies. My colleague at the time wrote that this was an “astonishing figure,” a sign that major investment firms were taking seriously a plan to fight climate change with their wallets. A year later, that number has doubled.

According to a report by DivestInvest, a philanthropy helping to lead the movement, more than 688 institutions and 60,000 individual investors worth $5.2 trillion have pulled their investments from fossil fuel companies and have reinvested a portion of their assets into clean energy companies. In September 2015, 436 institutions and 2,040 individuals worth $2.6 trillion had divested. For comparison, the total net worth of investors who had pulled out of the fossil fuel market was just $52 billion in September 2014.

This is an inspiration to every country.

Sweden’s recycling is so revolutionary, the country has run out of rubbish

Sweden is so good at recycling that, for several years, it has imported rubbish from other countries to keep its recycling plants going. Less than 1 per cent of Swedish household waste was sent to landfill last year or any year since 2011.

“Swedish people are quite keen on being out in nature and they are aware of what we need do on nature and environmental issues. We worked on communications for a long time to make people aware not to throw things outdoors so that we can recycle and reuse,” says Anna-Carin Gripwall, director of communications for Avfall Sverige, the Swedish Waste Management’s recycling association.

Over time, Sweden has implemented a cohesive national recycling policy so that even though private companies undertake most of the business of importing and burning waste, the energy goes into a national heating network to heat homes through the freezing Swedish winter. “That’s a key reason that we have this district network, so we can make use of the heating from the waste plants. In the southern part of Europe they don’t make use of the heating from the waste, it just goes out the chimney. Here we use it as a substitute for fossil fuel,” Ms Gripwell says.

Every single person - has a story. And it’s a story that touches every other person - a story make illuminates our common humanity. This video is well worth the 5 min view. This is really more than patient care - it makes visible what we share in our journeys through life.

Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care   

Patient care is more than just healing -- it's building a connection that encompasses mind, body and soul.

If you could stand in someone else's shoes . . . hear what they hear. See what they see. Feel what they feel. Would you treat them differently?

Here’s a large-scale study that supports my personal philosophy - optimism is the most pragmatic stance we can take to orient ourselves in life.
The study complements several pieces of past research, including one study that found optimism can strengthen the immune system, and another that links a positive disposition to better heart health.

The Life-Extending Health Benefits of Optimism

A new large-scale study finds women who maintain a positive outlook on life are less likely to die prematurely.
There are many ways to reduce your risk of premature death. New research suggests the standard list — don’t smoke, exercise, eat healthy food — should be expanded to include an additional item: stay optimistic.

A study that followed 70,000 women over eight years found those who maintained a positive attitude were significantly less likely than their pessimistic counterparts to succumb to cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, and infection.

While this is partly explained by the fact that optimists are more likely to engage in healthy behavior, it also provides additional evidence that a hopeful attitude has a direct, positive impact on our bodily systems.

That said, the overall effect of optimism remained strong even after taking into account the aforementioned socioeconomic factors — and even held true after controlling for the women’s health-related behaviors. This suggests that, while the better health habits of optimists certainly play a role in lowering mortality, some other mechanism also appears to be at work.

On a Personal Note
The Kickstarter Campaign I’m part of is in its final week - we are over 80% of our goal. Please consider helping us meet our goal for this innovative social enterprise for adults on the Autism Spectrum.

Like many parents with young adult children with Autism Spectrum disabilities we worry about the future of our children.

A team of Ottawa community & family members and advocates are working to open a ground-breaking community social-studio for adults with Autism and Intellectual disabilities. theSpace will focus on the ‘social nature’ of creative learning and self-efficacy – enabling generative community engagement – and rich opportunities for younger and older adults with Autism---across their life course.

theSpace is a safe third space—to drop in and find the ready opportunity to create, connect with others, feel a sense of belonging, membership and genuine personal agency! Learning where work is play and play is work.
We seek start-up funds via a ‘Kickstarter’ campaign -launched today & only 5 days to raise the funds we need.

This initiative it is both a prototype for those with cognitive disabilities but also anticipates a more general transformation of both social and creative community spaces.

All donation help - Please pass along the links

The Kickstarter Campaign webpage is here

No comments:

Post a Comment