Archive for December, 2013

New perspectives: What’s Wrong with TED Talk

December 31, 2013

Benjamin Bratton, Associate Professor of Visual Arts at UCSD and Director of The Center for Design and Geopoltics at CALIT2, asks: Why don’t the bright futures promised in TED talks come true? Professor Bratton attacks the intellectual viability of TED, calling it placebo politics, middlebrow megachurch infotainment, and the equivalent of right-wing media channels. Does TED falsely present problems as simply puzzles to be solved by rearranging the pieces?

We tell stories to explain reality. The only problem is we are telling stories to reinforce a fairy tale reality, that is divorced from reality.

We tell fairy tales of a world in which we are in control, or if not, we soon will be. The only discussion remaining, how we dish out the spoils sustainably.

Only that is not the world in which we live. It is a myth, only it is a highly destructive myth if we continue to believe it to be a reflection of the world in which we live

Should we not tell stories of the world how it is?

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Amoeba and Stone

December 31, 2013

Singer-songwriter Abi Moore, with title track from her album Amoeba and Stone to be released early February 2014.

I am strongly reminded of Fairport Convention and Sandy Denny.

Serendipity and discovery: I came across Abi Moore (not literally) in Stokes on High Bridge whilst having a cappuccino. I learnt I had missed a concert she gave at Stokes at the Collection.

Unlike too many, Abi Moore demonstrates good use of social media and the net, she uploads her albums to bandcamp and sells direct.

Cappuccino and a cookie at Stokes on High Bridge

December 30, 2013
Stokes on High Bridge cappuccino and peanut cookie

Stokes on High Bridge cappuccino and peanut cookie

I was lucky to find a table free at Stokes on High Bridge. I had a cappuccino and a peanut cookie.

Lincoln is fortunate in that it has a strong indie coffee shop culture and has not been blighted by Starbucks and Costa, as have too many town, but I learnt from one of the girls in Stokes, that slowly slowly, Costa is adding more coffee shops.

I picked up a couple of their newsletters.

Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

The building dates from 1540, and is one of the rare surviving examples of a building on a bridge. High Bridge rests on its original Norman foundations, and is still held up by Norman arches.

Stokes was founded in 1902 by Robert Stokes. By 1919, he had been awarded over 30 gold medals for his coffee. He moved to the present location on High Bridge in 1937.

Stokes is still a family business.

David Peel, grandson of R W Stokes, was at the age of 11, helping his grandfather blend tea, he earnt one shilling an hour. Later he went to work in the London tea trade, literally going down to the docks to meet the tea being landed from India and China, and tasting up to 300 teas a day. An era sadly long gone

Now himself retired, I had the honour of meeting David Peel when I was invited to coffee roasting almost a year ago, and I am fortunate to be able once again to be invited to coffee roasting.

Afternoon in Lincoln

December 30, 2013
Café 44

Café 44

Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

I would have gone into Lincoln this morning, but a storm, heavy rain, strong winds. This afternoon was a brief pause, until the next storm hits. Very cold, with a strong wind blowing and steadily got colder as the temperature dropped.

I looked in the Central Market. I had hoped to find Karl Svarc. My main reason for going into Lincoln. I was in luck, I found him, only he had forgotten the album he was bring in for me. He kindly let me have a copy. I again suggested a sign to let people know his albums are available. How can people buy, if they do not know? And again suggested he must upload his albums to bandcamp. He said others have made the same recommendation. His website is being revamped. It makes sense, upload his music to bandcamp, then embed the albums on his revamped website.

Last time we talked, he told me he had all of the Paulo Coelho books, but was not aware of Manuscript Found in Accra. I let him know that as of tomorrow, it is out in paperback.

I also suggested he check out Daniel Berkman, who last year toured in the US with Steve Lawson.

Master kora-maker Alieu Suso of the Gambia

the late Master kora-maker Alieu Suso of the Gambia with the kora he made for Daniel Berkman

A kora is a multi-stringed traditional West African instrument, somewhere between a harp and a lute.

I was pleased to learn The Lawn has not been sold, as the City Council could not find a buyer. But it should never have been for sale, it belongs to the local community, not the local council, it is not theirs to sell. There are moves afoot to register the Lawn as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act. Once registered, the local community has first refusal to buy, and six months within which to raise the money. The Lawn meets the criteria, but can the local council, that has engaged in wilful neglect to allow the building to fall into rack and ruin, be trusted?

I was pleased to find Café 44 had not closed down as I thought last week, when I found it boarded up. talking to the owner, he said they had closed for Christmas. I had a quick look at the art on display in the back room, but no time to stop for a coffee.

Sincil Street, all that now remains of the historic core of the town centre, is under threat of redevelopment for yet another tacky shopping centre. Yet another example of the City Council out of touch with reality.

After all the rain, I was surprised to find the River Witham not high and fast flowing.

I was lucky to find a table free at Stokes on High Bridge. I had a cappuccino and a cookie.

Lincoln is fortunate in that it has a strong indie coffee shop culture and has not been blighted by Starbucks and Costa, as have too many town, but I learnt from one of the girls in Stokes, that slowly slowly, Costa is adding more coffee shops.

The town centre very busy, far busier than last week on Christmas Eve, even when I left a little after 4pm, by now very very cold.

Our life is a constant journey …

December 30, 2013
Our Life is a Constant Journey ...

Our Life is a Constant Journey …

From Aleph, a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway, by Paulo Coelho.

Thanks to Pandora.

Kahsatstenhsera: Indigenous Resistance to Tar Sands Pipelines

December 29, 2013

Kahsatstenhsera gah-sad-sdanh-se-ra is a Kanienkeha:ka (Mohawk) word that means Strength in Unity. This short documentary details contemporary Indigenous resistance to tar sands pipeline expansion, in particular the Line 9 and Energy East pipelines, which threaten the health of our territories in the northeast of Turtle Island. It includes the voices and perspectives of Dene, Wolastiqiyik, Mi’kmaq, Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Wet’suwet’en land defenders.

Unrecorded Beam

December 29, 2013
Unrecorded Beam

Unrecorded Beam

Poetry of Henry David Thoreau set to music performed by Billy Bottle & The Multiple.

Avant-garde jazz.

Unrecorded Beam is expected to be released sometime around 24 February 2014.

The Alchemist: two hundred and eighty-three weeks in New York Times best-seller list

December 29, 2013
The Alchemist two hundred and eighty-three weeks New York Times best-seller list

The Alchemist two hundred and eighty-three weeks New York Times best-seller list

Today, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho has notched up two hundred and eighty-three consecutive weeks in the New York Times best-seller list.

Last week No 8, this week has crept up to No 6.

A marvellous year ending for a book that was first published twenty-five years ago.

Dreams from endangered cultures

December 28, 2013

We are seeing an unprecedented loss of species, a cataclysmic loss, the Sixth Extinction.

But this is nothing compared with the loss of our diverse cultures.

The Earth can only exist because it is breathed into existence by human conciousness.

If you believe a mountain houses a mountain spirit, whose displeasure you must not incur, or it is a pile of rocks to be mined and exploited, determines the respect you have for the mountain, how you treat the mountain.

Are you likely to log a forest, if the trees house the spirits of your ancestors?

What we have is different realities, different ways of looking at the world, one more in touch with the natural world.

Each and every culture is a unique answer to what it is to be human.

A rainbow world or a monochrome world dominated and controlled by global corporations and the corrupt politicians in their pocket?

In a thousand years time, assuming humankind survives that long which is highly unlikely, will cultural historians look back and see this as a time when Man destroyed cultural and ecological diversity, the very diversity that was necessary for survival?

Do we want diversity or zombies that sit in front of widescreen TVs, all thinking the same thoughts, assuming of course they are even capable of thinking?

In the West we have an ignorant, arrogant world view, where we see other cultures different to our own, that do not not lead meaningless lives, sat in front of a widescreen TV, engaged in consumerism, eating junk food, as somehow inferior, underdeveloped in need of development, or in other words, to turn them into inferior copies of our own meaningless existence.

The West sees itself as superior, further along a path called Progress.

If we are to survive Climate Chaos, we need diversity, diversity of culture, diversity of eco-systems.

A slightly longer version of this article posted on Medium.

Brida

December 27, 2013

Brida by Paulo Coelho.

The deal is, if you like the audio book, then please buy the book, treat a friend.