Tags: collapse*

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  1. In the city of Kampot in southern Cambodia, the extraction of sand from an estuary on the Praek Tuek Chhu river is increasing and sand extraction is so common in Asia currently that the continent may deplete all of its sand in the not-too-distant future.

    A 2016 investigation revealed that Singapore imported some $752 million in sand from Cambodia. However, Cambodia only reported that they had exported $5.5 million worth of sand to Singapore. The discrepancy between the figures compelled officials in both countries to curb all sand exports in July.

    "It was a systematic fraud," said Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, co-founder of Mother Nature, an environmental group in Cambodia. "Taxes were evaded for 95 percent of the exports."

    Other countries in Asia, including Indonesia and Vietnam, have restricted sand exports over the last few years due to environmental damage. In the same vein, India had limited licenses for sand exportation.
    https://sputniknews.com/environment/2...ce-doom-asian-infrastructure-projects
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-07)
    Voting 0
  2. They conclude that “If Americans reduced their mean beef consumption from the current ~460g per person per week to ~200g per person per week, the US beef industry could become environmentally sustainable by the narrow definition of this paper.” Easy. Just have one weekly burger instead of two.
    https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/...e-sustainable-cut-beef-eating-in-half
    Voting 0
  3. "we have run out of world to commodify. And now commodification can only cannibalize its own means of existence, both natural and social." - @mckenziewark
    https://conversations.e-flux.com/t/mc...this-is-not-capitalism-its-worse/3657
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-12-28)
    Voting 0
  4. an endlessly growing population is not sustainable, even if they live like peasants.

    That said, overpopulation is not, in my view, the main driver of planetary collapse today. The main driver is capitalism. The human population has roughly tripled since WWII. But our consumption of resources has multiplied many many times greater than population growth: We use something like 6 times as much steel as in 1950, 15 times as much aluminum, thousands of times more plastic and on and on. That ravenous overconsumption of resources, and its associated pollution, is overwhelmingly driven by the requirements of capitalist reproduction, the ceaseless invention of new needs and so on, not by human reproduction. Yes we need to reduce the human population, if only to give other life forms some space and resources. But there are easy ways to do so without using force like the Chinese government. Instead of building grandiose blingfrastructure and space shots to glorify the Communist Party, China’s so-called communists could have prevented their current overpopulation problem if they had spent that money on providing adequate old age pensions and social security so that peasant farmers don’t have to raise multiple kids in the hopes that one or two will live to support them in their old age. Amazingly, this is still the “social security sytem” for hundreds of millions of Chinese.

    So overpopulation is a real problem. But if we don’t overthrow capitalism, Mother Nature is going to solve the overpopulation problem in a hurry, but in a most unpleasant manner. That’s why I don’t concern myself much with the population problem. I don’t mean to ignore it. But I think its very much a secondary driver compared to capitalism.
    http://www.resilience.org/stories/201...talist-overdevelopment-bigger-problem
    Voting 0
  5. Average land use area needed to produce one unit of protein by food type, measured in metres squared (m²) per gram of protein over a crop's annual cycle or theaverage animal's lifetime. Average values are based on a meta-analysis of studies across 742 agricultural systems and over 90 unique foods.
    https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/la...-use-per-gram-of-protein-by-food-type
    Voting 0
  6. This report examines using human waste as feedstock in a small-scale bioreactor to produce methane gas for cooking and heating. While the use of biogas produced from livestock manure is commonplace, I am interested in the feasibility of building a household reactor that instead utilizes human waste as its primary input.
    http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2010/ph240/cook2
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-20)
    Voting 0
  7. It turns out the Romans were lucky. The centuries during which the empire was built and flourished are known even to climate scientists as the “Roman Climate Optimum.” From circa 200 BC to AD 150, it was warm, wet, and stable across much of the territory the Romans conquered. In an agricultural economy, these conditions were a major boost to GDP. The population swelled yet still there was enough food to feed everyone.

    But from the middle of the second century, the climate became less reliable. The all-important annual Nile flood became erratic. Droughts and severe cold spells became more common. The Climate Optimum became much less optimal.

    The lesson to be drawn is not, of course, that we shouldn't worry about man-made climate change today, which threatens to be more severe than what the Romans experienced. To the contrary, it shows just how sensitive human societies can be to such change — now amplified in speed and scope by human activity.
    https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017...e-change-disease-toppled-roman-empire
    Voting 0
  8. Ask Järvinen what difference money for nothing has made to his life, and you are marched over to his workshop. Inside is film-making equipment, a blackboard on which is scrawled plans for an artists’ version of Airbnb, and an entire little room where he makes shaman drums that sell for up to €900. All this while helping to bring up six children. All those free euros have driven him to work harder than ever.

    None of this would have been possible before he received UBI. Until this year, Järvinen was on dole money; the Finnish equivalent of the jobcentre was always on his case about job applications and training. Ideas flow out of Järvinen as easily as water from a tap, yet he could exercise none of his initiative for fear of arousing bureaucratic scrutiny.

    In one talked-about case last year, an unemployed Finn called Christian was caught carving and selling wooden guitar plectrums. It was more pastime than business, earning him a little more than €2,000 in a year. But the sum was not what angered the authorities, it was the thought that each plectrum had taken up time that could have been spent on official hoop-jumping.
    Iain Duncan Smith
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    ‘For Iain Duncan Smith, poverty was the rotten fruit of broken families, addiction or debt.’ Photograph: Bloomberg/via Getty Images

    That was Järvinen, too, until this year. Just as with so many Britons on social security, he was trapped in a “humiliating” system that gave him barely enough to feed himself, while refusing him even a glimmer of a hope of fulfilment.

    So what accounted for his change? Certainly not the UBI money. In Finland, €560 is less than a fifth of average private-sector income. “You have to be a magician to survive on such money,” Järvinen says. Over and over, he baldly describes himself as “poor”.

    His liberation came in the lack of conditions attached to the money.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentis...oct/31/finland-universal-basic-income
    Voting 0
  9. Malka shrugged, looked away. "Back to the banker thing, Sergei," she said, "since Nera did bring it up. I get why you work with money -- it still makes a lot of the world go round. You take Frankfurt's various exports and patents and Swiss bank accounts and whatever, and buy us whatever we can't make here. I get that, and I get why it would be a high-rep job; we need it, and most people would find it boring. But you told me you worked for money -- not just with money." She crossed her arms beneath her breasts, where her top shimmered electric blue. "Why?"

    Sergei smiled the long-lipped, eyebrow-cocked smile of someone who is amused in advance at the reaction they're about to get. "I like money," he said.

    "What, you mean, like, physical money?" Malka said. "Like you collect coins and bills? That's cool, I guess."

    "No," Sergei said. "I mean I like money. I like exchange. Abstracted exchange. Simplicity. You give me something, I give you something. We're quits. You don't have to decide what kind of person I am, if you like me, how distant I am from you in social space. We could be masked strangers in a privacy zone. You want something from me, you give me money. I don't care who you are. I don't care what you want it for."

    Comments were flashing in, but Nera didn't stop to read them. Queasy, she thought of the hunch of her father's shoulders in his starched white uniform and red tie, behind the florist counter at the supermarket. She recalled the burn of tear gas at the back of her throat, the sound of shattering windows.

    Jörg looked like he was the proud owner of a performing dog; Malka, like she was equally disgusted and turned on. Or maybe a little more turned on.

    "Huh," Malka said. "'Masked strangers in a privacy zone'...? You know the 'raw swingers'? They hook up with strangers for sex with their services totally turned off. No peeking at comments or reviews or social map -- so they have no idea if it's going to be a total nightmare, right? That's the point, I guess, part of the thrill. They've got this whole thing about how it's so much better when it does work, because of the risk and the authenticity and whatever. So are you saying this is like that, Sergei? You do stuff just for a marker of hoarded value... you don't even know why. You don't know what the effect of your actions are, what you're contributing towards, or what people will say..."

    Pink Floyd ~ Money

    "Pink Floyd: Money." Credit: jah~ off n on

    "All you know is you want the money," Nera said.

    Malka nodded. "Pure greed, no connections, heedless of consequences. That's it? It's a kink? Like a... sick thrill?"

    Sergei laughed. To his credit, he looked a little discomfited. "I guess you could look at it like that."

    "Oh, don't underplay it," Jörg said. "Sergei -- you've written about this. It's a philosophy." Nera glanced at him, and she recognized his expression. A year ago she would have called it an eager openness -- his fascination with the unending variety of people and ideas Frankfurt's flow brought bobbing to his door. But she'd been in his collection of flotsam. Drifter Nera, banker Sergei, autie-genius Tomas, the Finns and Peruvians grilling in the kitchen; they all ended up part of Jörg's menagerie, and by means of them all, he somehow ended up rating as a life-artist instead of a pompous, lecturing do-gooder.

    "Well," said Sergei. "Okay. I think it's more than just kinky." He glanced sidelong at Malka. "Money is... clean. It severs connections. That's not always a bad thing. You say you know what the effect of your actions are. But you don't really know -- you don't trace them all in detail. You don't have time. You just go with the consensus. With fashion."

    "Sure, sure, ratings and fashion are all we have," Malka said. "That's not a new argument or anything, and we are all concerned, I'm sure, with the plight of the low-rated. Nera has done quite a bit of visiting with at-risk lonelies, did you know that? But money seems like a weird solution to that problem, doesn't it?"

    "No," he said, and there was a little bit of a quiver in his voice that made Nera wonder what history it pointed to, "no, it doesn't. With money, poverty is empty of meaning. It's not a judgement on your life and works. It doesn't mean no one likes you, that you're obnoxious or boring. If you're poor in a money economy, you know what you need to do: make money. It's not as... wounding."

    "That's stupid," Nera said. Jörg and Malka turned to look at her, eyebrows raised -- her voice was too loud, too harsh. Her heart was beating fast. "It's dead easy to get your ratings up when they fall. Your services tell you how."

    "Your services tell you how," Sergei retorted. "You have skills, you're charming. You're rated as trustworthy. People want you to babysit their kids. Carry their packages. Cook their food. It's not that easy for everyone."
    https://www.shareable.net/blog/the-guy-who-worked-for-money
    Voting 0
  10. Boston - Drone technology is more often associated with outside activities. However, drones can also be used internally to a business, such as in a warehouse. Technologists have developed a system that allows aerial drones to read RFID tags tens of meters away.
    http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-an...t-inventory-mismatches/article/504812
    Voting 0

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