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Archive for the 'Uplift' Category

Jan 10 2009

2007 Good Ancestor Workshop

Jonas Salk said, “The most important question we can ask ourselves is, “are we being good ancestors.”  Here is a summary of the Uplift Academy’s 2007 Good Ancestor Principle Workshop held in Encinitas, Ca. Feb, 2007. Produced by Tom Munnecke.  Includes comments by Jonas Salk, David Brin, Frederick Turner, Heather Wood Ion, Jamais Cascio, Tom Munnecke, Mark Frazier, Michael Strong, Judith Rosen, and Diedre Taylor.  Music by Jim Mackay, editing by Silas Haggerty of Smoothfeather Productions, Tom Munnecke, and Rob Constantine.

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Jan 07 2009

James Fowler in Conversation with Tom

This is conversation between UC San Diego Political Scientist James Fowler with Tom Munnecke and Heather Wood Ion on James’ research of happiness, obesity, drinking, and more based on the Framingham Heart Study data. He provides some provocative evidence that social networks might propagate happiness in a contagious fashion, more powerfully than unhappiness. We also talk about the spread of loneliness, ways of researching empathy, centralized “smart center” networks vs. smart edges, group selection, the work of happiness and elevation by Jonathan Haidt, and ways we might construct networks of uplift. Videography by Robert Foxworth, music by Kevin MacLeod. Taped Jan 6, 2009 at the UC San Diego Faculty Club. This video is also archived at the Internet Archives.
See also James’ paper on genetic basis of Social Networks
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Jan 03 2009

Singularity discussion at Good Ancestors 2007

Including David Brin, Ben Goertzel, Vernor Vinge, Frederick Turner, Jamais Cascio, Deidre Taylor, Lenore Ealy, Tom Munnecke.
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Dec 22 2008

Barbara Marx Hubbard in Conversation with Tom

Barbara Marx Hubbard has a conversation with Tom Munnecke about Conscious Evolution, the visions of Jonas Salk, Buckminster Fuller, and Abraham Maslow, her new book about Supra Sex, as well as her vision of a better world.  Jon Haidt appears briefly.  Filmed at her home in Santa Barbara, Ca. Dec. 10, 2008.  Videography by Jeremy Saville, music by Kevin MacLeod.
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Oct 14 2008

Building Ties: Heather Ion’s Ideas for Resilient Communities

Published by under Uplift

David Brin and Harold KoenigHeather Wood IonMick PattinsonHarold KoenigMick Pattinson and Charles Smith"Mug" shot of Tom Munnecke

In the midst of our financial turmoil, I invited some folks over for a Saturday morning coffee to talk about potential positive responses to the various crises we faced. David Brin, Heather Wood Ion, Charles S. Smith, Mick Pattinson, and retired Admiral and Navy Surgeon General Harold M. Koenig, MD attended.

Heather is co-author of Against Terrible Odds: Lessons in Resilience from Our Children and a long-time researcher on how cultures respond to catastrophes. Continue Reading »

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Aug 14 2008

Meeting with Jim Fruchterman, Benetech

Jim Fruchterman, Founder of Benetech I had a great meeting this week with Jim Fruchterman, founder and CEO of Benetech in Palo Alto, CA. Jim is a MacArthur Fellow, and a leading thinker in ways that technology can be used to address the needs of the most disadvantaged. His most recent project, Bookshare, is undergoing explosive growth: 

Bookshare.org dramatically increases access to books for the community of visually impaired and otherwise print disabled individuals. This online community enables book scans to be shared, thereby leveraging the collections of thousands of individuals who regularly scan books, eliminating significant duplication of effort. Bookshare.org takes advantage of a special exemption in the U.S. copyright law that permits the reproduction of publications into specialized formats for the disabled.

Benetech is also active applying technology to literacy, human rights, and the environment.

In my first career, I’ve seen what kind of intellectual horsepower the government or industry can throw at their projects.  Getting this kind of energy applied to those least able to afford it, however, is a challenge that Jim has tackled well.  It’s wonderful to see someone thriving and doing Good at the same time.

Here’s where folks can contribute to Benetech.

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Aug 04 2008

Micro Philanthropy in the Telegraph

Murray Gell-Mann and Tom Munnecke in Santa Fe, NMIt’s always fun to see ideas evolve over time. Heather Wood Ion and I wrote a paper Towards a model of Micro Philanthropy as part of a workshop on Complexity and Philanthropy I held at the Santa Fe Institute with Murray Gell-Mann in May, 2002 (pictured at left).  Six years later, the Telegraph in UK recently quoted me on the subject in an article, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s charity donation: Broke? You can still be a philanthropist

Micro Philanthropy has hit Wikipedia, so I guess that makes it real.   Peter Dietz and others have picked up on the idea through Social Action Network, too.

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Jun 12 2008

David Ellerman on Resilience at 2008 Good Ancestor Workshop


This is a portion of the discussion at the 2008 Good Ancestors Principle workshop in Encinitas, Ca. Feb 19, 2008. It includes discussions by David Elleman, Dorion Sagan, Valdis Krebs, Frank Mosca, Frederick Turner, and Tom Munnecke, discussing some of the concepts behind resiliency in systems, including the work of Buzz Hollings.

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Feb 15 2006

What’s working in Belize

Published by under Uncategorized,Uplift

I was at a Botanical Garden in Belize last December, and asked my usual “what’s working here?” question. She spoke of a 7 million Euro grant from the European Union for some community development projects, but held little hope for the money getting past the “sticky fingers” of government officials. I asked, “what else is working?” and she said that farmers were getting long term contracts from Cadbury to grow organic cacao. These provided the farmers with a steady income, and got them to stop engaging in slash and burn farming techniques.

Seems like a win-win-win situation for all concerned. Farmers get income, learn sustainable agricultural practices, Cadbury gets its profits, and chocolate lovers around the world get their chocolate.

Speaking of Chocolate, check out Chocolate Dividends being set up by Greg Wolf, my fellow fellow at Stanford’s Digital Visions Program.

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Jan 30 2006

For God’s Sake, Please Stop the Aid

Published by under Uplift

I’ve been reading the words of Kenyan Economist James Shikwati and his interview: For God’s Sake, Please Stop the Aid!:

Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa’s problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn’t even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.”

at some point, this corn ends up in the harbor of Mombasa. A portion of the corn often goes directly into the hands of unsrupulous politicians who then pass it on to their own tribe to boost their next election campaign. Another portion of the shipment ends up on the black market where the corn is dumped at extremely low prices. Local farmers may as well put down their hoes right away; no one can compete with the UN’s World Food Program. And because the farmers go under in the face of this pressure, Kenya would have no reserves to draw on if there actually were a famine next year. It’s a simple but fatal cycle.”

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