Monday, 2 July 2012

I, Human

"És az akarok lenni, aki akkor voltam, 
Mikor az akartam lenni, ami most vagyok."
/ And I wish I were who I used to be,
when I wanted to be who I am now.
-- Rapülők - Nem adom fel / I don't give up

Perspective is everything
by Rory Sutherland

The profound truth of this otherwise simple statement is quite striking to me. Why do we always forget this? It is so apparent and so obvious in many situations and it even helps you feel better and optimistic about your own life. Yet, we always want something else we have at the moment.

Still on perspective, also in a slightly different meaning: Esref Armagan, the blind painter

This interesting experiment suggests that our ability to understand perspective in the geometrical sense is somehow hard-wired in our brain and it does not need having ever seen anything at all. Although, the question remained unanswered (not even raised), whether Mr Armagan could be simply taught to use perspective or he himself discovered it?! I cannot see why somebody in the past could not have just told him, that the far ends of any objects' parallel edges are seemingly converging. You don't need to understand this, just remember it, as any 3D drawing computer program can do that. Nevertheless, I have to admit, I won't ever paint like Mr Armagan, with or without perspective. I just try to be objective.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Global issues

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Albert Bartlett, physicist

Abundance is our future
by Peter Diamandis

I have quite few positive forecasts so far. To keep a balance, watch this, one could hardly find a more optimistic one. But let me add just a few thoughts that came to mind after watching 'Abundance is our future': Diamandis says that we are pessimistic by nature, and always look out for a possible danger. Indeed, this pessimism is probably hard-wired in our mind by evolution. But might evolution be excessive in doing so?? I pretty much doubt this, and I tend to think that we are not pessimistic enough. Just watch almost any other movie on the list. We still keep destroying the planet and carry on pollution on a catastrophic scale. We carelessly push to the limit of extinction many species for whatever reason, in many cases just because of some superstition or (and which is almost the same) for some religious practice. We still consume much more than we can afford on the long term. The example with aluminium cannot be applied to many elements which, for example, eventually ends up in our waste-water like phosphor. We may solve the energy crisis and the drinking water shortage, but still it is a huge question mark how do we tackle climate change. It is a fact that many are already suffering from it and also fact that many are still questioning the anthropogenic nature of global warming. Also fact that we are consuming an excessive amount of antibiotics, and by doing so, we make bacteria resistant to them. Population is still growing, although we may stop around 10 billion, some reason. To conclude, I would be happy to share the optimism of the speaker, but I cannot forget about the mainly careless attitude of most of the people towards the environment, and also about the harm we have already done to the planet and most of which is just impossible to undo. Nevertheless, he makes some good points and this is why I can recommend this film to everyone.


by Bill Maher

This is one of my personal favourite, but at the same time one of the most tragic film to me. It looks like, no matter how big problems we have to face to save our world, we rather turn our back to them, and make even more troubles to each other. And all this in the name of God! This is more than tragic. This is religulous!

"Religulous is a 2008 American comic documentary film written by and starring comedian Bill Maher and directed by Larry Charles. The title of the film is a portmanteau derived from the words "religion" and "ridiculous". The documentary examines and mocks organized religion and religious belief."


The Lightbulb Conspiracy
(Planned Obsolescence)

"This is the story of companies who engineered their products to fail." -

"Planned Obsolescence is the deliberate shortening of product life spans to guarantee consumer demand."

"Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."
- Kenneth Boulding, economist


The Earth is full
by Paul Gilding

"Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Paul Gilding suggests we have, and the possibility of devastating consequences, in a talk that's equal parts terrifying and, oddly, hopeful. Paul Gilding is an independent writer, activist and adviser on a sustainable economy."

This talk is in a striking contrast with the one titled 'Abundance is our future', see above. I wish I could see Paul Gilding and Peter Diamandis debating in front of their audience.


There's No Tomorrow
by Incubate Pictures

I like the film, although this is the most depressing one, I saw about our future on Earth. Many experts also say that it is rather pessimistic than realistic regarding our remaining oil reserves. Nevertheless it is definitely worth watching.


Money As Debt

Money As Debt                                         
Money As Debt II  - Promises Unleashed   
Money As Debt III - Evolution Beyond Money

"Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal - that there is no human relation between master and slave." - Leo Tolstoy

To my understanding, the main problem consists of the following factors: firstly, most of your money is actually somebody else's debt, which is just a promise for the future, and nothing with real value at the present time, like gold. Banks literally create money out of nothing just by lending it, thus lowering the purchasing power of the currency and causing inflation; secondly, banks are constantly making money on these loans, ie. they do earn interest on something that they do not own at all! On the top of this, banks don't let all this interest money earned back, and so they make it unavoidable to pump even more new money into the system in an ever accelerating rate to pay back the interest. Result: we keep spending money, behind which there is no real current value, thus forcing others into deep debts. It looks like even though it is impersonal, there do exist masters and slaves in this system. To avoid the collapse, this circle of money creation has to go on forever, which eventually exploits the poor and our environment. Hopefully, this system, which cannot be fixed, will be replaced by a sustainable one before we use up all our resources and destroy the world as we know it!.. 


Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
by Jared Diamond

"Diamond's book deals with "societal collapses involving an environmental component, and in some cases also contributions of climate change, hostile neighbors, and trade partners, plus questions of societal responses" (p. 15). In writing the book Diamond intended that its readers should learn from history (p. 23)."


A 40-year plan for energy
by Amory Lovins

"In this intimate talk filmed at TED's offices, energy innovator Amory Lovins shows how to get the US off oil and coal by 2050, $5 trillion cheaper, with no Act of Congress, led by business for profit. The key is integrating all four energy-using sectors—and four kinds of innovation."

This is an exceptionally positive movie especially compared to 'There's No Tomorrow'. I am afraid this prediction sounds too good to prove correct.