Saturday Reading: The Top 7


“You’ve got to find out what you love”: Steve Jobs’ convocation address at Stanford consists entirely of three stories. Read it to find out why he dropped out of college, why he was fired from Apple, how he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and how these events made him what he is. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” Great advice. Thanks to Avi Solomon for the link.

Couch Surfing: The latest addition to the Gift Economy is this database of people all over the world with couches available for travelers. The idea is that you reciprocate, but like file sharing somehow there seems to be more than enough givers to make up for those without couches to offer in return. Anybody tried this? Thanks to Andy M. for the link.

Gaviotas. Colombia: Energy Independent Community: Kind of an ‘unintentional intentional community’ story about a village that uses ingenuity (the children’s see-saw helps power the water pump) and environmental and social consciousness to get itself off the grid and stay clear of the turmoil that is destroying so much of this once-lovely country. From John Emerson’s Social Design Notes blog via Lavonne’s Born Famous blog.

Cyrus Kar Finally Freed from Iraq: American conservative ex-Navy Seal Cyrus Kar has finally been freed from an American-run jail in Iraq after an ordeal of 50 days. Read the background to find out what innocent people can expect to go through in the incompetent and brutal US-Iraqi detention system. Imagine if Kar didn’t have US citizenship and friends in high places.

Eating Oil: How Much it Takes to Produce a Calorie of Food: An excellent article by Andy Jones in Resurgence explains how it now takes between 0.5 and 500 calories of energy (mostly oil used in fertilizers, chemicals and transportation) to bring one calorie of food to your table. This energy deficit shows that the West relies on foreign oil for a lot more than powering its SUVs — and that massive agricultural subsidies and artificially depressed oil prices have made our entire food system wildly inefficient and dysfunctional. Jones has three solutions: (1) Certification and other voluntary approaches by farmers and consumers, (2) Tax shifts to encourage more efficient local production and distribution, and (3) Government policies and fiscal support for local production and distribution (and an end to subsidies). A must read.

Growing Animal Proteins from Tissue: A fascinating, promising, and somewhat scary article about how we might be able to grow very nutritious food in the laboratory from tissue. A ton of questions about cost (talk about ‘eating oil’), ethics, safety, etc. But if it could bring the end of factory farming and the end of hormones and toxic chemicals in our foods, it’s worth looking at. Thanks to Doug Alder for the link.

GM Gene Migrates to Create Superweed: Modified genes from crops in a GM canola crop trial have transferred into local wild plants, creating a form of herbicide-resistant “superweed”. I previously reported  how Colombian drug dealers had developed a coca plant resistant to the oceans of Monsanto Roundup that the US has been dumping on that country. Looks as if nature is following suit. Is anyone surprised? Thanks to artist/photographer Ed Buziak, an example of whose extraordinary work (portrait lens, soft-focus) is reproduced above, for the link. 

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5 Responses to Saturday Reading: The Top 7

  1. Doug Alder says:

    I guess it could be scary Dave, it really all depends on how business approaches it. My biggest concerns are what is going to be used for nutrient solution and is there waste product from that (is it continually recycled until used or does it get flushed down the drain), If there is waste nutrients going down the drain then what happens in the environment from that? Of course the other question that you touch on is what is the oil cost in going this route? I can’t see it being higher than what it costs to farm acreage and it would be compatrable to what was discussed earlierregarding dozens of large office type towers converted to hydroponics (again what happens to the waste nutrients)

  2. zach says:

    Excellent speech by Steve Jobs. Thanks for posting that. My favorite quote: “You are already naked.” Just excellent!

  3. zach says:

    On second thought, regarding his question: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” I think most people would answer “Spend the day with my family and friends.” With this answer “work” becomes largely irrelevant. So then what?

  4. daniel says: your name via credit card. We charge your credit card $25that is too much!

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Doug: Absolutely — if it requires more calories in oil to produce than it yields, and creates as much waste, we’re no further ahead.Daniel: I thought this was a bit hokey too, but it’s strictly optional and is a way to defer the costs of the site (and he’s up front about that). Rather than lower the price he needs to increase what he does for it — e.g. get references from others, do background checks etc.

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