Home

Here is a list of recent additions to our site. If you’re new here, head on over to our Introduction for a quick orientation.

Evolution and Its Implications

A belief in evolution is one of the core Practopian principles. But to say that we believe in evolution means quite a bit more to us than simply a denial of creationism. We also mean to imply that we believe in natural selection as a process for improving things, including human culture.

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Basic Info   |   2018 May 22


To simply see human beings

If I ask you all today to look around and tell me who you see…. When you look around, I don’t want you to see black, white, Asian, I don’t want you to wonder if a person is Democrat or Republican, gay or straight.

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Quotation by Charles Woodson   |   2018 May 20


Institute for New Economic Thinking

We advance sound economic ideas to better serve humanity.

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Link   |   2018 May 20


The best way to predict the future is to invent it

Don’t worry about what anybody else is going to do…. The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Really smart people with reasonable funding can do just about anything that doesn’t violate too many of Newton’s Laws.

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Quotation by Alan Kay   |   2018 Apr 24


Worshipping the divine right of capital

Future economic historians may look back wryly at this period when we worshipped the divine right of capital while looking down on our ancestors who believed in the divine right of kings.

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Quotation by Tim O'Reilly   |   2018 Apr 24


Governance is essential

The simple maps of idealized markets leave out many real-world details that must be dealt with in order for the market to actually function properly. Governance is essential.

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Quotation by Tim O'Reilly   |   2018 Apr 24


In the thrall of a vast, world-spanning machine

We are already in the thrall of a vast, world-spanning machine that, due to errors in its foundational programming, has developed a disdain for human beings, is working to make them irrelevant, and resists all attempts to bring it back under control.

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Quotation by Tim O'Reilly   |   2018 Apr 16


To end up here in a pile of bones

Not until we showed them some of the stuff we got at Dachau, that George Stevens photographed with his crew, did it actually impinge itself on the mind of the horror, the horror of this whole thing. Man, the highest of all the animals… the Man who created God…

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Quotation by Frank Capra   |   2018 Apr 16


Information is Beautiful - Rhetological Fallacies

A complete interactive list of errors and manipulative tactics often used to try to persuade us of things that aren’t necessarily true, with examples.

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Link   |   2018 Apr 15


A 76K Monthly Pension - Why States and Cities Are Short on Cash

Governments are struggling as mounting pension obligations crowd out the rest of their budgets. Oregon faces a severe, self-inflicted crisis.

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News Item   |   2018 Apr 14


Talking Openly about Hierarchy

By Herb Bowie

I sometimes think that at least half of the confusion we currently experience in our civil discourse stems from our inability to speak openly and honestly about the nature of hierarchy.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Apr 13


Creatively Maladjusted

There is a need now more than ever before for men and women in our nation to be creatively maladjusted. And I say to you that I choose to be among the maladjusted.

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Quotation by Martin Luther King Jr.   |   2018 Apr 12


An edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It understands that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

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Quotation by Martin Luther King Jr.   |   2018 Apr 12


When machines are considered more important than people

When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

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Quotation by Martin Luther King Jr.   |   2018 Apr 12


Guided missiles and misguided men

When scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men. When we foolishly maximize the minimum and minimize the maximum, we sign the warrant for our own day of doom.

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Quotation by Martin Luther King Jr.   |   2018 Apr 12


Has Trump Made the Working Class Great Again?

And yet, even if they do make more than female and black workers, white men still aren’t able to outearn their parents – a bleak commentary on the American Dream.

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News Item   |   2018 Apr 12


the biological evolution of Homo sapiens was usurped by socio-cultural evolution

Many biologists and social scientists have noted that with the development of human culture, the biological evolution of Homo sapiens was usurped by socio-cultural evolution.

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Quotation by Jürgen Klüver   |   2018 Apr 11


The Unraveling of The Common Good

By Herb Bowie

I’ve recently read The Common Good by Robert B. Reich, and can recommend it heartily. It’s a lovely little book that can help remind us all that we have obligations to the societies in which we live and work, and that contributing to the common good should be a daily calling for all of us.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Apr 10


Bathing in mystery and confusion

I don’t mean to suggest that we have the final answers; we are bathing in mystery and confusion on many subjects, and I think that will always be our destiny. The universe will always be much richer than our ability to understand it.

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Quotation by Carl Sagan   |   2018 Apr 09


The only sensible procedure for a critic

The only sensible procedure for a critic is to keep silent about works which he believes to be bad, while at the same time vigorously campaigning for those which he believes to be good, especially if they are being neglected or underestimated by the public.

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Quotation by W.H. Auden   |   2018 Apr 09


We are idealists and we are realists

We are idealists and we are realists. We are dreamers and we are builders. We are experiencers and we are experimenters. We long for certainties, yet we ourselves are full of the ambiguities of the Mona Lisa and the I Ching. We ourselves are a part of the yin-yang of the world.

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Quotation by Alan Lightman   |   2018 Apr 09


A Traditional Remedy for the Facebook Problem: Competition

By Herb Bowie

Facebook has been in the news lately due to renewed privacy concerns, and many observers have called for various solutions, including pledges from CEO Mark Zuckerberg to do better, as well as increased government regulation.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Apr 05


Population Reference Bureau

Population Reference Bureau works to improve the well-being of people everywhere by promoting informed decisions about population, health, and the environment.

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Link   |   2018 Mar 27


The divine literatus

View’d, to-day, from a point of view sufficiently over-arching, the problem of humanity all over the civilized world is social and religious, and is to be finally met and treated by literature. The priest departs, the divine literatus comes.

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Quotation by Walt Whitman   |   2018 Mar 20


Set off from the rest by a line drawn

Of all dangers to a nation, as things exist in our day, there can be no greater one than having certain portions of the people set off from the rest by a line drawn – they not privileged as others, but degraded, humiliated, made of no account.

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Quotation by Walt Whitman   |   2018 Mar 20


Empty half the Earth of its humans. It's the only way to save the planet

Cities are part of the system we’ve invented to keep people alive on Earth. People tend to like cities, and have been congregating in them ever since the invention of agriculture, 10,000 or so years ago. That’s why we call it civilisation.

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News Item   |   2018 Mar 20


It's sports and it's all love

At the end of the day, it’s sports, and it’s all love. I feel for both sides. – Commenting on stopping on the court after a game to console Devin Davis, an opponent who was sobbing on the court, despondent over missing two crucual free throws.

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Quotation by Moritz Wagner   |   2018 Mar 19


Public morality

Moral guidance about what is right or decent can be found both in religious teachings and in our contemporary understanding of what we owe one another as members of the same society. As I have suggested, they overlap.

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Quotation by Robert B. Reich   |   2018 Mar 17


Public Truth

Reviving the common good also depends on each of us taking responsibility for finding, sharing, and insisting upon public truth.

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Quotation by Robert B. Reich   |   2018 Mar 17


To differentiate truth from falsehood

It is the civic responsibility of all of us to check the facts we read or hear, to find and depend upon reliable sources, to share the truth with others, and hold accountable those who lie to us or suppress the truth.

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Quotation by Robert B. Reich   |   2018 Mar 17


A Practopian Approach to Gun Issues in the US

By Herb Bowie

The recent Florida school shooting has again propelled issues surrounding gun violence into the forefront of our national dialogue. The Core Practopian beliefs may seem very broad and general, but I’d like to illustrate how they can be usefully employed in a specific debate such as this one.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Feb 27


Living with the strains of complexity

Political society wants things simple. Political scientists know them to be complex…

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Jan 29


Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Jan 29


The institution of the family

The institution of the family is decisive in determining not only if a person has the capacity to love another individual but in the larger social sense whether he is capable of loving his fellow men collectively.

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Jan 29


That community asks for and gets chaos

From the wild Irish slums of the 19th century Eastern seaboard, to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history; a community that allows a large number of men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to….

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Jan 29


Technology Education for the Youth of Today

By Herb Bowie

I came across a couple of things recently that got me thinking about the value of technology education, and what that training should look like. The first item that caught my attention was Kirk McElhearn’s blog post about “The Tech Industry’s Tunnel Vision about Coding and Language.”

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Blog Post   |   2018 Jan 22


A working simple system

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over beginning with a working simple system.

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Quotation by John Gall   |   2018 Jan 21


Rough consensus and running code

We reject: kings, presidents, and voting. We believe in: rough consensus and running code.

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Quotation by David D. Clark   |   2018 Jan 21


Intelligence plus Character

We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

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Quotation by Martin Luther King Jr.   |   2018 Jan 16


To save man from the morass of propaganda

Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half truths, prejudices, and propaganda.

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Quotation by Martin Luther King Jr.   |   2018 Jan 16


An ordinary person, doing an ordinary job

I don’t want you to forget it. No matter where you are today, somebody helped you to get there. (Yes) It may have been an ordinary person, doing an ordinary job in an extraordinary way. Some few are able to get some education; you didn’t get it by yourself.

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Quotation by Martin Luther King Jr.   |   2018 Jan 16


Intelligent guides of family planning

For the Negro, therefore, intelligent guides of family planning are a profoundly important ingredient in his quest for security and a decent life. There are mountainous obstacles still separating Negroes from a normal existence.

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Quotation by Martin Luther King Jr.   |   2018 Jan 16


You have your position because of the events of history

No matter where you stand, no matter how much popularity you have, no matter how much education you have, no matter how much money you have, you have it because somebody in this universe helped you to get it. And when you see that, you can’t be arrogant, you can’t be supercilious.

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Quotation by Martin Luther King Jr.   |   2018 Jan 16


Books are key to understanding the world

For 99 percent of the tenure of humans on earth, nobody could read or write. The great invention had not yet been made. Except for firsthand experience, almost everything we knew was passed on by word of mouth.

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Quotation by Carl Sagan   |   2017 Dec 05


Art and the Eye of the Beholder

By Herb Bowie

I’ve noticed that Big Thinkers – people like Ken Wilber and Yuval Noah Harari – tend to get confused about art and why it matters.

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Blog Post   |   2017 Nov 15


The brightest goat in the herd

As any farmer knows, it’s usually the brightest goat in the herd that stirs up the most trouble, which is why the Agricultural Revolution involved downgrading animals’ mental abilities.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2017 Nov 06


The system has been shaping and reshaping our minds

For thousands of years the system has been shaping and reshaping our minds according to its needs. Sapiens originally evolved as members of small intimate communities, and their mental faculties were not adapted to living as cogs within a giant machine.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2017 Nov 06


I'll take the big sordid dirty crooked city

The other part of me wanted to get out and stay out. But this was the part I never listened to.

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Quotation by Raymond Chandler   |   2017 Oct 27


Flexible cooperation with strangers

To the best of our knowledge, only Sapiens can cooperate in very flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers. This concrete capability – rather than an eternal soul or some unique kind of consciousness – explains our mastery of planet Earth.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2017 Oct 15


Help! Help! The Robots are Coming!

By Herb Bowie

Many pundits today are predicting a future of robots equipped with artificial intelligence so powerful that they will essentially render great swaths of humanity obsolete. Let me just make a few points concerning such imaginings.

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Blog Post   |   2017 Aug 23


Discovering that I am Nobody

We are all aware, if we have ever tried it, how empty and ghostly is a life lived for a long while in absolute solitude. Free me from my fellows, let me alone to work out the salvation of my own glorious self, and surely (so I may fancy) I shall now for the first time show who I am.

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Quotation by Josiah Royce   |   2017 Jul 30


The wonder remains

Philosophy begins in wonder. And, at the end, when philosophic thought has done its best, the wonder remains.

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Quotation by Alfred North Whitehead   |   2017 Jul 29


Loss of Fertile Land Fuels Looming Crisis Across Africa

Climate change, soil degradation and rising wealth are shrinking the amount of usable land in Africa. But the number of people who need it is rising fast.

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News Item   |   2017 Jul 29


Hands that must work

We have hands that must work, brains that must think, and personalities that must be developed.

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Quotation by Lauretta Bender   |   2017 Jul 18


Our American Identity: Where To Next?

By Herb Bowie

Like many of my fellow citizens, I’ve been struggling in recent months to understand exactly what it means to be American these days – to identify the central elements of our collective identity that still bind us together as some kind of unified whole.

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Blog Post   |   2017 Jul 13


Earth's sixth mass extinction event under way

Researchers talk of ‘biological annihilation’ as study reveals billions of populations of animals have been lost in recent decades.

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News Item   |   2017 Jul 10


Remember the Population Bomb? It's Still Ticking

Lesotho’s experience since the 1970s is an even stronger case study of what happens when development plans ignore the reality that such efforts can be a recipe for exploding human numbers.

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News Item   |   2017 Jun 15


In Defense of Balance

By Herb Bowie

When I founded The Society for Practical Utopians, I based it on a fundamental set of beliefs, divided up into principles and values. And the very first value, the one given preeminent position, is balance.

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Blog Post   |   2017 Jun 12


Push Outward

Search for what is good and strong and beautiful in your society and elaborate from there. Push outward. Always create from what you already have. Then you will know what to do.

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Quotation by Michel Foucault   |   2017 Jun 07


Couldn’t everyone’s life become a work of art?

What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialized or which is done by experts who are artists.

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Quotation by Michel Foucault   |   2017 Jun 07


Art is a lie that makes us realize truth

We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.

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Quotation by Pablo Picasso   |   2017 May 24


Living happily ever after

Living happily ever after is not the end of a fairy tale. It is the common purpose that all life seeks.

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Quotation by Bob Mandel   |   2017 May 22


It is foolish to view realism and idealism as incompatible

I consider myself a realist. I have certainly seen my share of the world as it really is and not how I wish it would be.

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Quotation by John McCain   |   2017 May 08


Imagination is not a means of making money

In America the imagination is generally looked on as something that might be useful when the TV is out of order. Poetry and plays have no relation to practical politics. Novels are for students, housewives, and other people who don’t work. Fantasy is for children and primitive peoples.

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Quotation by Ursula K. Le Guin   |   2017 Apr 21


You are going to have to make it different

I once addressed, on a Christmas day many years ago, on behalf of the United Nations, an audience of about two thousand school children in London.

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Quotation by Jacob Bronowski   |   2017 Apr 21


Excitement from Art

The excitement we derive from a work of art is mostly the excitement of seeing connections that did not exist before, of seeing quite different aspects of life unified through a pattern.

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Quotation by Anthony Burgess   |   2017 Apr 21


Moral Sawdust

At some period in this person’s growth, certain brain tissues had died and turned to moral sawdust.

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Quotation by John Dickson Carr and Cecil Street   |   2017 Apr 20


Defending the pursuit of learning

If the pursuit of learning is not defended by the educated citizen, it will not be defended at all. For there will always be those who scoff at intellectuals, who cry out against research, who seek to limit our educational system.

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Quotation by John F. Kennedy   |   2017 Mar 26


Our privileges can be no greater than our obligations

But this Nation was not founded solely on the principle of citizens’ rights. Equally important, though too often not discussed, is the citizen’s responsibility. For our privileges can be no greater than our obligations.

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Quotation by John F. Kennedy   |   2017 Mar 26


A Compact, Extensible, Open-Source Belief System for the 21st Century

By Herb Bowie

It often seems that there is little in this modern world that any two of us can agree on.

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Blog Post   |   2017 Mar 26


A bicycle for our minds

I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. Humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list. It was not too proud of a showing for the Crown of Creation.

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Quotation by Steve Jobs   |   2017 Mar 18


Practopian Creed

A stand-alone document encapsulating our Mission, Principles and Values.

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Core Writing   |   2017 Mar 18


Human Population Growth

By Herb Bowie

If sustainability is the most serious issue of our time, then human population growth is certainly one of the most vital tools we have for making progress in this area. Let’s look at the topic of human population growth from a number of different perspectives.

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Issue   |   2017 Mar 18


When old men plant trees

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

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Quotation by anonymous   |   2017 Mar 16


Life is a series of daring adventures from a secure base

Human development research offers a different formula: All of life is a series of daring adventures from a secure base.

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Quotation by David Brooks   |   2017 Mar 07


Global Footprint Network

Advancing the science of sustainability, the Global Footprint Network is changing how the world manages its natural resources.

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Link   |   2017 Mar 06


The cost of a polluted environment: 1.7 million child deaths a year

More than 1 in 4 deaths of children under 5 years of age are attributable to unhealthy environments.

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News Item   |   2017 Mar 06


Thralls to group instincts

Maybe bees and ants don’t mind being thralls to group instincts but people, I feel, do. And so the question that human beings must ask is, “How do I live my own life and survive, even prosper, while sharing the load of the greater culture?”

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Quotation by Walter Mosley   |   2017 Feb 26


This faith in consciousness

We are ambivalent, combative, stubborn, wildly changeable beings that have the natural schizophrenic facility to love and hate at the same time.

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Quotation by Walter Mosley   |   2017 Feb 26


Accidents of birth

Today Americans still feel that by and large, every individual is responsible for constructing his or her own fate – the classic pursuit of happiness – and there is still much debate in the United States about the extent to which, if at all, an individual’s success or failure is also shaped by….

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Quotation by Anu Partanen   |   2017 Feb 21


Nordic societies have simply taken the job of government seriously

Overall the secret to Nordic success is not complicated. Nordic societies have simply taken the job of government seriously. They make mistakes and have their troubles, but they keep tweaking their systems in search of improvements, and they work hard to balance the books.

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Quotation by Anu Partanen   |   2017 Feb 21


You can simply focus on raising a human being

Imagine, then, what it’s like to be a Nordic parent.

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Quotation by Anu Partanen   |   2017 Feb 21


The US remains astonishingly backward when it comes to education

It’s an unfortunate fact that the United States remains astonishingly backward compared to almost all other advanced Western countries when it comes to education, because in America, what predicts how well a child will do in school is not a child’s aptitude or hard work, but the status of the….

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Quotation by Anu Partanen   |   2017 Feb 21


Independence, freedom and opportunity for every member of society

At the same time, the Nordic theory of love has become an overarching philosophy about how to structure a society.

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Quotation by Anu Partanen   |   2017 Feb 21


The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life

This 2016 book by Finnish-journalist-turned-American-citizen Anu Partanen offers a comprehensive comparison of American culture and governmental policies vs. those of the Nordic nations.

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Link   |   2017 Feb 21


Facts are Facts

Facts are facts; they are ascertainable through honest, open-minded and diligent reporting; truth is attainable by laying fact upon fact, much like the construction of a cathedral; and truth is not merely in the eye of the beholder.

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Quotation by Peter Kann   |   2017 Feb 20


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution – a # 1 international bestseller – that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”

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Link   |   2017 Feb 20


Capitalists who worship only at the feet of capitalism

Democratic capitalism is a wonderful device precisely because it maximizes the ability of individuals within society to singly and collectively pursue the ends that they find to be important and meaningful; the accomplishments of a capitalistic society are noble and grand to the extent….

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Quotation by Herb Bowie   |   2017 Feb 17


Cultural, as opposed to biological, evolution

Our capacity, through language, to manipulate the mental world and so deal imaginatively with the world of experience has been a major factor, perhaps the major factor, in giving humans the overwhelming advantage over other species in terms of cultural, as opposed to biological, evolution.

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Quotation by Edwin G. Pulleyblank   |   2017 Feb 16


A Man of Value

Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.

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Quotation by Albert Einstein   |   2017 Feb 15


The point of modern propaganda

The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.

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Quotation by Garry Kasparov   |   2017 Feb 05


Inequality.org

The Web’s leading portal to data, analysis, and commentary on income and wealth inequality.

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Link   |   2017 Feb 04


The Left Hand of Darkness

This is a book about an envoy from a foreign land, and a mad king; power-hungry regents and political schemers; the meaning of patriotism and the making of a traitor; about bravery and endurance; about taking in strangers and showing them kindness; about borders and border-crossings; about….

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Link   |   2017 Jan 31


Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year

Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016 — trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014.

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News Item   |   2017 Jan 18


A Meaningful Life

As Nietzsche put it, if you have a why to live, you can bear almost any how. A meaningful life can be extremely satisfying even in the midst of hardship, whereas a meaningless life is a terrible ordeal no matter how comfortable it is.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2017 Jan 13


The World Empire enforces World Peace

Most countries no longer engage in full-scale war for the simple reason that they are no longer independent.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2017 Jan 13


Our Social Order Now in a State of Permanent Flux

Over the last two centuries, the pace of change became so quick that the social order acquired a dynamic and malleable nature. It now exists in a state of permanent flux.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2017 Jan 13


How Not To Be Ignorant About The World

Watch this if you’d like to be smarter than the average chimpanzee.

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News Item   |   2017 Jan 13


The Real Story About Fake News Is Partisanship

Partisan bias now operates more like racism than mere political disagreement, academic research on the subject shows. And this widespread prejudice could have serious consequences for American democracy.

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News Item   |   2017 Jan 11


Another Way to Think about the US Elections

By Herb Bowie

I was recently puzzling over the still surprising victory of Donald Trump in the recent US Presidential elections, when it occurred to me that there is another way to think about this whole chain of events.

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Blog Post   |   2016 Dec 29