Tag Archive for 'United States'

Seattle Food Forest!

Full seven acre proposal to be built over the next few years.

Full seven acre proposal to be built over the next few years.

My awesome friend Evan sent me this lovely link!

A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.

Via Take Part

What a great use of permaculture! The article goes on to say:

What

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started as a group project for a permaculture design course ended up as a textbook example of community outreach gone right.

Via Take Part

For more information you can also read this article and of course, visit the Beacon Food Forest Website!

Also, I found this movie through their website! Yay plants! Plant power!

U.S. Territorial Acquisitions Map

screen-shot-2010-02-11-at-83842-pm

A great map showing how the U.S. slowly grew to become the groovy conglomeration of states it is today.

The Color-Your-Own Electoral College Map

Tomorrow will probably be a significant day to American history. That’s right, the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election will be held.
Due to the US voting system it’s important who is considered most eligible by each and every state. The winning candidate in each state gets a certain amount of votes in an electoral college, and who has the most votes there may call himself the next President of the United States.

Now, Election Day is always quiet exciting since results come dropping in state after state, not just all at once. For example, New York wakes up earlier than California so the NY results will probably get in earlier then the ones from CA.

It may become a little messy keeping track of the results. You can go for a slid of paper with all the states and jot down the results as they come in, or you can download the Create-Your-Own Electoral College Map and put it up your wall.

Just color in every state with a blue or red crayon after you’ve received the result, and at the end of the day you’ll have a map that is awesome-ish and even cooler then the one they show you on NBC. The map is available in a ridiculously high resolution through flickr.

Have a great Election Day and the best of luck when voting.

-jdh

Democracy Decentralized – Citizens.gov and the Wish Cake

Hello SuperForesters!

Jackson here.

I just had a thought, and this may strike some as intensely naive, but hear me out and if you like, let’s please discuss further in the comments section.

I was sitting here thinking about the U.S. Government.

Now, from what I understand, our government is there to provide a myriad of services and fulfill many needs. Its primary function, one could argue, is the aggregation of the needs and wishes of us, the citizenry. As in, we want to see something happen, we tell our Senators and House Representatives, and they work to craft those wishes into laws and statutes.

Admittedly, this is not a perfect system, as a lot of filler and fluff get in the way of our wishes and the eventual laws and statutes they become. That is because our Senators, Representatives and elected officials are all humans, with disparate motives and ideas of what is right, what should be allowed, what might offend, etc.

So the equation, radically simplified, seems to be: We want X and say so, the government takes X and adds it own spices and seasonings, and eventually the entire “wish cake” is put into the “Democracy oven” to cook.

As is quite obvious, sometimes we the citizenry disagree entirely with the seasonings and spices added to the wish cake, which can change and alter the very nature of the wish cake to the point where it is no longer recognizable to the original wishers.

Which leads us to my question: Why not get a computer program to do it?

This is hardly a novel thought, but one that should be seriously considered. If the human element is throwing our cooking process out of whack, resulting in strange and unsavory baked goods, then it seems pretty obvious that the human element must be removed from the equation.

If our elected officials job is ostensibly to act as a “wish-aggregator,” turning our hopes and desires into laws, then truly we have more efficient ways of aggregating wishes, ones that don’t need to add their own spices to an otherwise perfectly good mix.

It is easy to call “foul” on this line of thinking, as it rests on the idea that every citizen has access to a computer. But that’s exactly my point: Every citizen should have access to a computer and the internet.

(I would love to see a map of the U.S. that plots approximately every states level of internet access. Then I would love to see those numbers compared to a whole host of other data: voting trends, literacy rates, quality of life indexes, etc. I think the results would be profoundly interesting, and probably pretty unsurprising.)

Getting the entirety of the U.S. online is a very important goal, one that I will happily work to support and nourish. Because once we are all online, or have easy access to the internet, it is inevitable that the role of “wish aggregator” will be taken out of human hands and given to more efficient, less easily swayed systems.

The inevitability of this move is grounded in the U.S. Government’s justifying its existence using an equation of scarcity. This scarcity comes from: It is hard to find men and women who are capable of governing, (i.e. listening to the populace and turning desires into laws.) Or at least, it used to be.

Now, one could simply set up a program to do it.

This would allow any wish or desire (fill in the hole on Main street, more tax incentives for clean energy programs, end a war, start a war, end a genocide) to become law simply by accruing the necessary critical mass, vote wise. If enough citizens want something to be so, it is so, with nothing lost in transition.

What then will be the role of centralized government? If our wishes and desires are aggregated and made into law by a computer program, accessible by anyone, why would we still need a centralized government? Tradition?

My main point is this: Centralization in any way, shape or form is unhealthy to the growth of a system. That is because any damage or breakdown of the central system affects all that rely upon it. Blackouts are a perfect example. The grid gets overloaded and shuts down, and everyone loses power.

That’s a silly way to do things, now that we have the capability and technology necessary to decentralize our power production. If every building has a solar array, there is no such thing as a blackout.

Apply this thought to our lovely Democracy.

If every state is a fully functioning Democracy, (as it should be) with no need to rely on external sources for validation and funding, our country will be all the better for it. Decentralization of Democracy via the internet is absolutely vital to the sustained growth and health of our miraculous nation.

Because when every vote is counted, when every wish is heard and given the chance to accrue momentum, we will have an actual Democracy on our hands. By the people, for the people.

Instead of a chicken in every pot, it’s now a White House in every kitchen. A president in every living room. Sounds great to me.

What do y’all think? Am I an idiot? And if so, how big of one? And why?

Let’s discuss, SuperForesters!

Love to All,

-Jackson

(the lovely image above courtesy of Durham Press)

foldUScandidate

What would be more awesome then presidential candidates? Right! Foldable presidential candidates!
And that’s where foldUScandidate comes in. The website hosts pdf files containing templates of respectively: the candidates (Obama and McCain), their wives and the running mates (Biden and Palin). For the Clinton fans they also have a file for Hillary, yay!

So the idea is that you download a file, cut it out, put some glue on the destined lines and fold your candidate! After you’ve crafted a few you can do fun things with it. For example hold your own debates, use them in your puppet theatre, or you can let them… dance!

How awesome. There’s also a flickr photostream where users from around the world can share their presidential-puppet-creations.

-jdh

Yay!: US to Propose CO2 Emissions Rules!

Good Morning All,

This was on Reuters this morning:

“WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Bush administration, which has resisted regulating carbon dioxide emissions, this spring will propose rules that could affect everything from vehicles to power plants and oil refineries, the top U.S. environmental official told Congress on Thursday.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson said the agency will issue proposed rules “later this spring” on “the specific effects of climate change and potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary and mobile sources.”

Sweet. Big changes in the ever sweeter-smelling wind.

Here’s the article: CO2 Rules