mfioretti: smart rural*

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  1. “If everyone was to behave like us then the world would be a better place — we would be able to get rid of guilt, inequality, competition, greed and anger.”“If we all ate less and were less materialistic the world would be a better place.” “Only by changing ourselves can we change the world, by our living example.”

    This is the one foundational belief system of every intentional community that all members can agree on. This was also the justification that the hippies used for practically everything. The theory goes like this: Instead of acting in the world, all you have to do is become a peaceful, non-violent person — a model human, and others will follow your model. This is how you change the world, by focusing entirely upon yourself.

    The results of this experiment are, generations later, clear — changing yourself became a vast industry of self-help books and courses, dietary, fitness and personal “spiritual” planning regimes — a form of obsessive self-focusing and self-policing, which, it turns out, corporations are very happy to encourage.

    The Final Test of the Blank Slate: Children

    There is one other final and hard-to-face factor that is an unintended consequences of Utopian alternative parenting experiments. There is a reason that the average life of a Utopian project is the time to takes to settle and begin to raise children.

    Children are the authoritative test of the theory that humans are born a blank slate and that all behavior is conditioned “by society” — of Rousseau’s potent idea that man is “born free but is everywhere in chains.” Children of Utopians should behave very differently than “old world” children, because they have been brought as blank slates into an egalitarian environment, and have been raised with positivist behavioral conditioning.

    But the children of Utopians fail every test: they are selfish, they grab and steal, they fight, and love competitive sports, they bully and they lie — just like all other children. Lying, it turns out, is a necessary developmental stage in learning. These naturally dishonest, violent creatures disprove the theory of human mind as a blank slate upon which images of perfection can be drawn.

    As the behaviorist J. B. Skinner (creator of Walden Two) realized, you can’t pass what you’ve learned on through your DNA so any achievements in equality achieved have to be repeated from scratch. Utopian behavioral engineering is an ongoing struggle against something that Utopians deny even exists — human nature. Not only are Utopian parents horrified by the little dictators that they have spawned, they find that they themselves have horrible anti-Utopian cravings to put their children above all the others. The maternal bond and the need for privacy also seem to be pan-cultural. Children brought up communally suffer neglect, as other adults find ways of refusing to care for children that are not their own. The lack of childcare and of constancy in who is “mother and father” leads to kids not being taken care of at all, falling between the cracks, leading to abuse and damaged children. People care a lot more for their own kids than they do for other kids as an obligation. One frequently hears Utopians complaining that someone else’s children are ruining everything.

    As for mothers — we discovered after the 1970s that “free love” communes turn into coercive systems in which women are forced to sleep with men they don’t want to. They also lead to male dominated harems. John Humphrey Noyes, the father of “perfectionism” and “complex marriage” fathered 58 children in his commune in the 1850s. Another Utopian collective in Holland was so radical that it’s male leader removed the age of consent and slept with his own daughters and those of other parents. While, the Friedrich’s Hoff Commune, led by Viennese performance art guru, Otto Muehl, collapsed with Muehl being given a “seven year prison sentence for widespread sexual abuse of minors.” Variations on this sickening story have been repeated with convicted sex offender and cult leader William Kamm and Warren Jeffs with his “50 brides.” When a charismatic leader takes control and demands that others de-condition themselves, exploitation is tolerated and then becomes the norm. All of this is done, with the coercive Utopian alibi that all capitalist and patriarchal behaviors and boundaries must be swept away. Auroville, which attempts to be government-free, and money-free, has been plagued with growing reports of the crimes of Sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape and murder.

    No matter how much Utopian communities try to get rid of the idea of sexual ownership — the female desire to chose a mate may be a constant for our species. It does however ensure the continuation of competitive behaviors, which leads us once again to hierarchies. To get rid of this, female choice would have to be stopped, a process that we associate with cultures that are oppressive.

    The Shakers who were celibate and only adopted children became extinct after their adopted children refused to adopt the rules of Shakerism. The Harmony Society died out because it refused to reproduce. And the experiment in Fourierirsm known as Brook Farm ended after with many child related problems, one of which being when the children refused to be placed at the bottom of the Fourierist redistribution hierarchy and were forced to clean the toilets.

    So many intentional communities create trouble for themselves by trying to replace the nuclear and extended family structure with other forms of mating and child rearing, only to find that mothers and children simply want to leave.

    Intentions Are Not Enough

    One of the great mistakes we make in interpersonal behavior, is to judge people by their intentions and not by the real outcome of those intentions. To let them off with saying “we meant well.” The same is true for wider society and the many and repeated failures of applying Utopian ideas to reality are nearly always excused by the same means — people say “but we meant well” or “it’s still a good idea, it just hasn’t worked in practice yet.”

    It could be that the greatest failing of intentional communities is contained within this very formulation. A community that is based upon declaring intentions is apt to be fearful of outcomes that would disprove those good intentions and invalidate them. So, the burying of facts about failure (moral, practical, political) would appear to be one of the secret tasks of those who live by intentions alone, who, rather than trying to address problems as they arise would rather bury the results, hide the outcomes and continue as if good intentions were all that was required. It is precisely this denial of outcomes that leads intentional communities to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Good intentions are clearly not enough but we shall undoubtedly continue to witness the communities of those who live by the constant re-affirmation of good intentions alone, continuing to fail and to bury the evidence of their failure in order to “keep on believing.” A result of this is that intentional communities will not learn from their mistakes, and will keep on springing up, not as a force that will gather momentum or lead to progress as we move through history, but as a ceaseless eruption of the same good intentions beset by the same systemic problems and doomed by internal contradictions to fail, all over again.
    https://areomagazine.com/2018/03/08/why-utopian-communities-fail
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  2. Anche il modello economico del magazzino è diverso da quello della grande distribuzione: gli agricoltori e i contadini sono proprietari dei loro prodotti fino all’arrivo alla cassa del supermercato, dove viene imposta una commissione che va dal 22% al 32% da lasciare al magazzino; fino a lì i produttori sono responsabili dei loro prodotti con il consumatore, con cui trattano il prezzo faccia a faccia. Un altro obbligo dei produttori è la presenza nel supermercato in almeno due mezze giornate al mese. Questa presenza è apprezzata dai consumatori perché in questo modo hanno una trasparenza del prodotto che acquistano del 100%.



    “È la fine dell’anonimato alimentare“, sottolinea Denis. “Abbiamo necessità del ritorno del consumatore con cui ci si confronta e per cui ci adeguiamo al suo bisogno! Per esempio dei clienti ci hanno chiesto gli involtini primavera per il Capodanno cinese……e li abbiamo finiti tutti velocemente!”.



    Dentro al magazzino Coeur Paysan si possono scoprire e ritrovare varietà di frutta e verdura dimenticati nella grande distribuzione: è un cambio nutritivo e gustativo! In più si possono trovare prodotti freschi ad un giusto prezzo che remunera correttamente i piccoli produttori. Non è difficile immaginare che questo supermercato possa far nascere altri piccoli magazzini, basta che questa esperienza venga conosciuta e divulgata a più persone possibile
    http://www.italiachecambia.org/2018/0...-lidl-trasformano-mercato-contadino/#
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2018-03-10)
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  3. the mirror combines high efficiency with minimal material requirements and therefore has the possibility to become a mass-produced economical workhorse for various applications such as around-the-clock cooking and operating as a decentralized multi-functional power source.

    We left the conference not only with appreciation for our work, but also with concrete proposals for further cooperation in developing the prototype to market-readiness.

    The knowledge and certainty gained by working with the technology and seeing it functioning – melting metal, cooking for 15 people long after sunset, resisting wind and rain – confirms the importance of creating a working demonstration model of the mirror.
    https://www.tamera.org/article-ultralight-membrane-mirror
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  4. “I’ve also met a mayor who is determined to revitalize his small town and bring in new businesses.”

    This can’t work. There are thousands of small towns that are losing population. If they are all competing to attract new businesses, be prepared for massive abuses by Business. None of them will pay taxes.

    The guy moving back after MIT and Microsoft sounds nice but certainly isn’t scalable. The more education people get, the less likely they are to move to a rural area. This is one of the reasons why there is a doctor shortage in rural America even though doctors make more is absolute dollars, not to mention after cost of living in rural areas. They have to work non-stop in rural places, send their kids to mediocre schools, have nothing to do socially and be isolated from others with their education level. You can’t get many immigrant doctors out there either because they risk getting treated like crap.

    http://www.physicianspractice.com/blog/do-rural-doctors-make-more-money-have-higher-job-satisfaction

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/national/in-a-midwestern-town-that-went-for-trump-a-muslim-doctor-tries-to-understand-his-neighbors/2017/07/01/0ada50c4-5c48-11e7-9fc6-c7ef4bc58d13_story.html
    http://www.theamericanconservative.co...ck-in-americas-struggling-small-towns
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  5. By Kali Akuno and Gyasi Williams, for Cooperation Jackson and the Community Production Cooperative: The Third Digital Revolution 1 » , a revolution in cyber-physical integration and personal fabrication, is changing the world, and changing humanity, culturally and physically, in the process. The Third Digital Revolution is marked by technological and knowledge breakthroughs that build on the first two Digital Revolutions, and the three Industrial Revolutions that preceded them, which are now fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds—including the human body. The main technologies of this revolution include advanced robotics, CNC (computer numeric control) automation, 3D printing, biotechnology, nanotechnology, big data processing, artificial intelligence, and of course these autonomous vehicles we’ve been hearing so much about of late. As a result of these developments, soon millions of people will be able to make almost anything with their personal computer or smartphone and fabrication technology in their own homes. Truly, a new era of technological innovation is upon us. One that could enable many of the social freedoms envisioned by scientists and science fiction writers for over a century.
    https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/countering-fabrication-divide/2018/01/23
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  6. The study examined data collected from 40 municipal broadband providers and private throughout 2015 and 2016. Pricing data was collected predominately by visiting carrier websites, where pricing is (quite intentionally) often hidden behind prequalification walls, since pricing varies dramatically based on regional competition.

    In many markets, analysts couldn’t make direct comparisons with a private ISP, either because the ISP failed to meet the FCC’s 25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up standard definition of broadband (a problem for countless telcos who refuse to upgrade aging DSL lines), or because the ISP prequalification website terms of service “deterred or prohibited” data collection.

    But out of the 27 markets where they could make direct comparisons, researchers found that in 23 cases, the community-owned ISPs’ pricing was lower when the service costs and fees were averaged over four years.
    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/ar...-terrified-of-community-run-broadband
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-17)
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  7. Indian agriculture is going to witness Internet of Things (IoT) applications soon as SenRa, a pan India Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWANs) provider for long range-based (LoRa®-based) IoT applications, and Skysens, a Turkey-based LPWAN technology provider, today announced their partnership to bring cutting-edge, low-cost, and long-range solutions to India. The collaboration between the two companies will provide needed solutions in a growing IoT market in India and will provide more efficient and environment friendly offerings. This LoRa® ecosystem partnership brings a combined knowledge of LoRaWAN technology, to include network services, connectivity, and end-device expertise.

    "We are excited to announce our partnership with Skysens. We believe partnerships like this will bring innovative solutions to address some of the current challenges which are present in India today," said Ali Hosseini, Chief Executive Officer of SenRa. "For example, agriculture is the main source of livelihood for about 48% of the Indian population. Due to lack of resources and ongoing climate changes, it is more critical than ever to provide farmers the tools they need to produce crops and manage their limited resources. Leveraging solutions such as Skysens soil sensors, provide farmers the ability to monitor their soil and determine the health of their crops in real-time,” Hosseini added.
    https://www.ruralmarketing.in/industr...tech-disruption-in-indian-agriculture
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-07)
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  8. The business model is unusually communal. The field is “open” in the sense that he sells his produce to 320 people in the immediate neighborhood, who each pay between €220 and €320 per year, depending on their income, for the right to come and harvest food on his land.

    “The important thing is that everyone can join and the strongest can bear the heaviest weight,” Troonbeeckx said, recounting that part of the motivation behind his socially supportive model came from seeing his mother left far worse off after his parents divorced.

    “Since I’m not into international markets or the multinational economic system, I can create my own economy,” he said, looking out over a field of pumpkins and winter salad leaves.

    Troonbeeckx’s farm, though nowhere near as big, follows a similar ethic.

    He employs complex rotational methods that allow his cows to eat the grass, fertilize the soil and then change location to a new pasture so that vegetables can be planted using his newly-enriched soil. But getting such projects off the ground is much harder than it looks — in his first years of farming, he had to work in a restaurant just to makes ends meet.

    “Only people who have dreamt of being a farmer since a child should do it. It’s something that burns deep insides,” Troonbeeckx said. “If that fire does not burn then do not do it.”
    https://www.politico.eu/article/flemi...conventional-wisdom-on-eu-farm-policy
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-04)
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  9. The dominant narrative is that increases in mobile phone ownership and internet use signify development progress. The Sustainable Development Goals use mobile phone registrations and internet use as proxy indicators for sustainable evelopment. It was the statistics about increased levels of smartphone ownership and social media use in the Philippines that led us to base our research there. However once we were on the groun we learned quickly that these binary indicators disguise more than they reveal. Our study provides evidence that increases in mobile ownership can occur alongside widening technological and socio-economic inequalities. The people who were most able to make their voices heard on participatory governance platforms in the Philippines were ‘the usual suspects’: largely urban, middle-class and university-educated.

    What we learned in the Philippines was that development cannot really be understood in the binary terms of statistics on how many people are (not) connected. It is possible to 'connect the unconnected' at the same time as increasing inequality. In the Philippines new classes of device ownership and connectivity are forming that partly reflect and sometimes amplify patterns of existing privilege and disadvantage.

    Technology is changing rapidly, and uptake is expanding, but digital divides and economic inequalities are growing at the same time. The most disadvantaged remain unconnected whilst the already privileged race further and further ahead. It is those with the most disposable income, digital literacy and social capital that are first to own and make effective use of each new generation of technology. Those with least technology access experience new disadvantages.

    This does not mean that disadvantaged people are not active in appropriating technology to their advantage wherever possible – they are. Nor does this mean that development initiatives should not use digital technologies – they should. What it does mean is that digital development initiatives wishing to avoid unconsciously excluding those with lower-class device ownership or connectivity must conduct effective market research and on the basis of the research then 'design for equity'.
    http://www.appropriatingtechnology.org/?q=node%2F282
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  10. Who decides what the city really needs and will operate going forward? With a smart city comes a significant amount of decision making on what to do, who will do it, why and when to do it. The answers to the questions are not easy and can have massive repercussions. Take, for instance, the challenge of gentrification and urban displacement, which has long been framed simply as a symptom of wealthier people moving in to communities and effectively nudging out lower-income individuals. However, public investment can play a critical role in this process too. Perhaps the most shining, unfortunate example of this is what San Francisco Federal Reserve researchers refer to as “transit-induced gentrification” in which public investment in transit—light rail, buses, subway—attracts affluent individuals. So much so that several studies have found that transit investments can alter the demographic composition of the surrounding neighborhood, resulting in pushing out lower-income individuals and creating new problems within the city. Potential outcomes like these should prompt questions about who should be making these decisions about public investments associated with smart cities. Finding pathways to figure out what the public wants from its city (and perhaps more importantly, what it does not) is critical. This requires citizen participation early in the process and throughout. The New Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network released a report, “India’s Smart Cities Mission: Smart for Whom? Cities for Whom?” The report highlights the massive problems with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to build 100 smart cities by 2020. Among the problems is the focus on technology of the future instead of issues of the present such as an agrarian crisis, insufficient civil rights for women, forced evictions to make room for the implementation of smart city projects, and so on.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...inconvenient-truth-about-smart-cities
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