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Old 03-30-2011, 05:44 AM   #2376
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http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/28/m...eaf-signs-dea/

MIT professor touts first 'practical' artificial leaf, signs deal with Tata to show up real plants
By Christopher Trout posted Mar 28th 2011 3:54PM
A professor at MIT claims to have Mother Nature beat at her own game. Dr. Daniel Nocera says his invention is ten times more efficient at photosynthesis than a real-life leaf, and could help to bring affordable alternative energy to developing countries. Described as an "advanced solar cell the size of a poker card," the device is made of silicon, electronics, and inexpensive catalysts made of nickel and cobalt. When placed in a gallon of water under direct sunlight, the catalysts break the H2O down into hydrogen and oxygen gases, which are then stored in a fuel cell -- the energy produced is apparently enough to power a single house for a day. Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen scientists try to one-up nature, in fact, we've seen solar-powered leaves before, but this thing actually looks poised for the mass market -- Nocera signed a deal with Tata in October. Full PR after the break.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:45 AM   #2377
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Trixie Bedlam's photo captures a poignant moment of bedbug existentialism.

anyone can see (via Warren Ellis)
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:47 AM   #2378
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:49 AM   #2379
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http://www.gizmag.com/prevue-home-4d...concept/18254/

PreVue would offer parents a live 4D baby watch window during pregnancy



Checking the health of a baby inside the womb using ultrasound has been going on for a good many years and can be a useful tool for detecting problems early. A new concept from industrial designer Melody Shiue proposes using the technology to enhance the bond between parents and the growing fetus. PreVue would take advantage of developments in e-textile research and advances in ultrasound technology to offer mother and father a live window into the various stages of their little treasure's development... Continue Reading PreVue would offer parents a live 4D baby watch window during pregnancy
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:29 AM   #2380
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http://technoccult.net/archives/2011...=Google+Reader

The Most Anxiety-Producing Jobs Are Those In Which the Workers Have Little Control Over Their Day to Day Activities

In your research, which jobs did you find to be the most stressful?

You might think that jobs that require the biggest amount of work or the longest hours would be the worst, but that’s not actually the case. The most anxiety-producing jobs are the ones in which the employee has very little control over what he or she does during the workday. One of the more compelling studies that I talk about in the book compares musicians in smaller, chamber groups with those that play in a larger orchestra. The former proved to be a lot less anxious than the latter because they got to decide their own schedule. Orchestral musicians tend to be at the mercy of a tyrannical conductor who decides when they play, what they play and when everyone can take a bathroom break. The notion of executive stress syndrome — the idea that bosses and corporate executives experience much higher levels of anxiety than their underlings — has proven to be total bull****. Executives tend to have more control over what they’re doing, and they often displace their anxieties on the people that work beneath them.

So a run-of-the-mill production assistant is more stressed out than an air traffic controller?

We love to point a finger at air traffic controllers, but we may need to stop. Objectively speaking, their job has gotten more stressful in the last quarter-century. There are fewer of them employed now and they’re dealing with more traffic than at any point in the history of air travel. The difference is that Ned Reese, who headed the training for our country’s air traffic controllers for a number of years, has completely radicalized the selection process. Rather than pick people based on their physical proficiency, he began hiring controllers with a very a specific psychological makeup. We might see their work as stressful, but they tend to think of it as simply challenging.

Salon: “Nerve”: Why is America so anxious?

(via Alex Pang)
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:47 AM   #2381
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:29 AM   #2382
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http://www.gizmag.com/solarball-crea...e-water/18270/

Student-designed Solarball creates drinkable water



The Solarball is a student-designed device that creates clean drinking water through evaporation and condensation (All photos courtesy Monash University)
Image Gallery (3 images)

When he set out on a trip to Cambodia in 2008, Industrial Design student Jonathan Liow had no idea it was going to be a life-changing experience. Upon seeing the poverty and poor living conditions in that country, however, he decided that he wanted to build things that could help people. After hearing about the need for cheap and effective water purification in Africa, he proceeded to create the Solarball for his graduate project at Australia's Monash University. The ball is reportedly capable of producing 3 liters (about 3 quarts) of drinkable water per day, using nothing but polluted water and sunlight.

Users start by pouring dirty water into the Solarball. That water proceeds to get heated by the Sun's rays, which shine in from 360 degrees through the ball's transparent upper section. Condensation forms on the inside of the ball, and is guided down to a spout via an internal gutter that runs around its diameter. What comes out is pure, clean water, as the contaminants are left behind in the unevaporated water.

Liow – who has since graduated from Monash – said that one of the main challenges in the design was "to make the device more efficient than other products available, without making it too complicated, expensive, or technical." The plastic used in its construction is food-safe and entirely recyclable, and we would hope it's UV-tolerant.

The Solarball has since been named as a finalist in the 2011 Australian Design Awards - James Dyson Award, and will be displayed at the Milan International Design Fair. Liow is currently in the process of looking for funding to get the ball manufactured and distributed on a large scale.

It would be interesting to see how it performs as compared to products utilizing SODIS water purification, in which the heat and radiation of sunlight are used to kill pathogens in tainted water.

Via Inhabitat
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:33 AM   #2383
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http://hackaday.com/2011/03/30/stupi...8Hack+a+Day%29



Sometimes people build things for the simple challenge of building. This is one of those cases.

The gentleman you see in the image above is [Jörg Sprave] of The Slingshot Channel. He is a self-proclaimed “Supid Expert” on the subject of slingshots and has taken his love of flinging things at absurd velocities to a whole new level.

His latest creation is a machete slingshot, which is really more accurately described as a machete crossbow. Measuring over six feet long, the impressive apparatus fires a specially altered machete with an insane amount of force using thick rubber bands. In the test firing shown in the video below, the machete is embedded up to the hilt in six layers of very thick cardboard, requiring quite a bit of work to remove.

As he states in the video while brandishing his bloodied forearm, building such a device is extremely dangerous, and should be limited to “Stupid Experts” . In no way should you attempt to build one of your own.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:38 AM   #2384
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http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ll.html?page=2

Wind and wave energies are not renewable after all

Quote:
Humans currently use energy at the rate of 47 terawatts (TW) or trillions of watts, mostly by burning fossil fuels and harvesting farmed plants, Kleidon calculates in a paper to be published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. This corresponds to roughly 5 to 10 per cent of the free energy generated by the global system.

"It's hard to put a precise number on the fraction," he says, "but we certainly use more of the free energy than [is used by] all geological processes." In other words, we have a greater effect on Earth's energy balance than all the earthquakes, volcanoes and tectonic plate movements put together.

Radical as his thesis sounds, it is being taken seriously. "Kleidon is at the forefront of a new wave of research, and the potential prize is huge," says Peter Cox, who studies climate system dynamics at the University of Exeter, UK. "A theory of the thermodynamics of the Earth system could help us understand the constraints on humankind's sustainable use of resources." Indeed, Kleidon's calculations have profound implications for attempts to transform our energy supply.

Of the 47 TW of energy that we use, about 17 TW comes from burning fossil fuels. So to replace this, we would need to build enough sustainable energy installations to generate at least 17 TW. And because no technology can ever be perfectly efficient, some of the free energy harnessed by wind and wave generators will be lost as heat. So by setting up wind and wave farms, we convert part of the sun's useful energy into unusable heat.

"Large-scale exploitation of wind energy will inevitably leave an imprint in the atmosphere," says Kleidon. "Because we use so much free energy, and more every year, we'll deplete the reservoir of energy." He says this would probably show up first in wind farms themselves, where the gains expected from massive facilities just won't pan out as the energy of the Earth system is depleted.

Using a model of global circulation, Kleidon found that the amount of energy which we can expect to harness from the wind is reduced by a factor of 100 if you take into account the depletion of free energy by wind farms. It remains theoretically possible to extract up to 70 TW globally, but doing so would have serious consequences.

Although the winds will not die, sucking that much energy out of the atmosphere in Kleidon's model changed precipitation, turbulence and the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface. The magnitude of the changes was comparable to the changes to the climate caused by doubling atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (Earth System Dynamics, DOI: 10.5194/esd-2-1-2011).
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:50 AM   #2385
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http://www.blacklistednews.com/?news_id=13294

Sock Puppet Planet: The Secret State's Quest for 'Persona Management Software'

Quote:
Not since AT&T whistleblower Marc Klein's 2006 revelations that U.S. telecommunications giants were secretly collaborating with the government to spy on Americans, has a story driven home the point that we are confronted by a daunting set of invisible enemies: the security and intelligence firms constellating the dark skies of the National Security State.

As echoes from last month's disclosures by the cyber-guerrilla collective Anonymous continue to reverberate, leaked HBGary emails and documents are providing tantalizing insight into just how little daylight there is between private companies and the government.

The latest front in the ongoing war against civil liberties and privacy rights is the Pentagon's interest in "persona management software."

A euphemism for a suite of high-tech tools that equip an operative--military or corporate, take your pick--with multiple avatars or sock puppets, our latter day shadow warriors hope to achieve a leg up on their opponents in the "war of ideas" through stealthy propaganda campaigns rebranded as "information operations."
Quote:
Corporate Cut-Outs

Following up on last month's revelations, The Guardian disclosed that a "Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an 'online persona management service' that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world."

That firm, a shadowy Los Angeles-based outfit called Ntrepid is devoid of information on its corporate web site although a company profile avers that the firm "provides national security and law enforcement customers with software, hardware, and managed services for cyber operations, analytics, linguistics, and tagging & tracking."

According to Guardian reporters Nick Fielding and Ian Cobain, Ntrepid was awarded a $2.76M contract by CENTCOM, which refused to disclose "whether the multiple persona project is already in operation or discuss any related contracts."

Blurring corporate lines of accountability even further, The Tech Herald revealed that Ntrepid may be nothing more than a "ghost corporation," a cut-out wholly owned and operated by Cubic Corporation.

A San Diego-based firm describing itself as "a global leader in defense and transportation systems and services" that "is emerging as an international supplier of smart cards and RFID solutions," Cubic clocks in at No. 75 on Washington Technology's list of 2010 Top Government Contractors.

Founded by Walter J. Zable, the firm's Chairman of the Board and CEO, Cubic has been described as one of the oldest and largest defense electronics firms on the West Coast.

Chock-a-block with high-level connections to right-wing Republicans including Darrell Issa, Duncan Hunter and Dan Coates, during the 2010 election cycle Cubic officers donated some $90,000 to Republican candidates, including $25,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and some $30,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org.

With some $1 billion in 2009 revenue largely derived from the Defense Department, the company's "Cyber Solutions" division "provides specialized cyber security products and solutions for defense, intelligence and homeland security customers."

The RFI for the Air Force disclosed by Anonymous Ragan reports, "was written for Anonymizer, a company acquired in 2008 by intelligence contractor Abraxas Corporation. The reasoning is that they had existing persona management software and abilities."

In turn, Abraxas was purchased by Cubic in 2010 for $124 million, an acquisition which Washington Technology described as one of the "best intelligence-related" deals of the year.

As The Tech Herald revealed, "some of the top talent at Anonymizer, who later went to Abraxas, left the Cubic umbrella to start another intelligence firm. They are now listed as organizational leaders for Ntrepid, the ultimate winner of the $2.7 million dollar government contract."

Speculation is now rife that since "Ntrepid's corporate registry lists Abraxas' previous CEO and founder, Richard Helms, as the director and officer, along with Wesley Husted, the former CFO, who is an Ntrepid officer as well," the new firm may be little more than an under-the-radar front for Cubic.

Amongst the Security Services offered by the firm we learn that "Cubic subsidiaries are working individually and in concert to develop a wide range of security solutions" that include: "C4ISR data links for homeland security intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions;" a Cubic Virtual Analysis Center which promises to deliver "superior situational awareness to decision makers in government, industry and nonprofit organizations," human behavior pattern analysis, and other areas lusted after by securocrats.

The Guardian informs us that the "multiple persona contract is thought to have been awarded as part of a programme called Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), which was first developed in Iraq as a psychological warfare weapon against the online presence of al-Qaida supporters and others ranged against coalition forces."

"Since then," Fielding and Cobain wrote, "OEV is reported to have expanded into a $200m programme and is thought to have been used against jihadists across Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East."

While CENTCOM's then-commander, General David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee last year that the program was designed to "counter extremist ideology and propaganda," in light of HBGary revelations, one must ask whether firms involved in the dirty tricks campaign against WikiLeaks have deployed versions of "persona management software" against domestic opponents.

While we cannot say with certainty this is the case, mission creep from other "War on Terror" fronts, notably ongoing NSA warrantless wiretapping programs and Defense Department spy ops against antiwar activists, also involving "public-private partnerships" amongst security firms and the secret state, should give pause. 
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:59 AM   #2386
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Old 03-31-2011, 12:18 PM   #2387
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http://hackaday.com/2011/03/30/robot...8Hack+a+Day%29


Robotic bird flaps away last bits of privacy



This really gives a lifelike look to the eye in the sky. In case you were worried that every part of your life wasn’t being recorded by a surveillance camera, the Festo Bionic Learning Network has come up with a drone that will be hard to discern from the wildlife.

Watch the video after the break. We’re not 100% certain that it’s not fake, but it looks real enough (the mark of a truly amazing design). You’ll see the robo-bird flapping away both from a fixed point on the ground, and from a camera view behind the head of the device. It propels itself both by flapping and rotating the wings and is capable of taking off, flying, and landing autonomously.

It’s bigger than the hummingbird drone that was developed for DARPA, but we think that it sticks out less when caught at a glance. No word on the intended use for the device, but we’re sure that some of you are enjoying the nostalgia of the mechanical owl from Clash of the Titans, and that’s why we want one.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:54 PM   #2388
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on the "bottleneck theory" of human history mentioned earlier, it is often linked to the Toba mega volcanic eruption:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:52 PM   #2389
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:54 AM   #2390
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:56 AM   #2391
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Charles Schulz's Peanuts comics often conceal the existential despair of their world with a closing joke at the characters' expense. With the last panel omitted, despair pervades all.

http://3eanuts.tumblr.com/page/2
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:59 AM   #2392
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http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/31/z...-the-fly-like/



Zdenek Kalal's object tracking algorithm learns on the fly, likely to make next 007 flick (video)

Microsoft's own OneVision Video Recognizer may be novel, but if the folks in Redmond are seriously looking to take things next-level, they should probably cast their gaze across the pond. Zdenek Kalal, a researcher at the University of Surrey, has just created what may be the most sophisticated vision system known to the civilian world. In essence, it takes the mundane task of tracking objects to an entirely new platform, enabling users to select an object on the fly and have the algorithm immediately start tracking something new. Within seconds, it's able to maintain a lock even if your object twists, turns, or leaves / returns. Furthermore, these "objects" could be used as air mice if you force it to track your digits, and if you teach it what your staff looks like, you'll have a fully automated security scanner that can recognize faces and grant / deny access based on its database of white-listed individuals. Frankly, we'd rather you see it for yourself than listen to us extolling its virtues -- vid's after the break, per usual.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:08 AM   #2393
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http://www.kurzweilai.net/source-cod...ulated-reality

Source Code movie combines mind-uploading, parallel universes, time travel, simulated reality

In the science-fiction movie Source Code (April 1 release), a secret program called “Source Code” sends an Air Force officer back in time to cross over into another man’s identity and relive the last eight minutes of the passenger’s life on a train.

[+]The mission: find a bomb that exploded on the train, killing everyone on board, to prevent another terrorist attack in six hours.

“People like Ray Kurzweil have suggested that one day, if we can actually map out the entire brain and how it works, we can take one person’s consciousness and transport it into another’s.” — Jordan Wynn, producer of Source Code.

“I’m sure that within a couple of decades, we’ll have workers controlled by people with helmets performing deadly tasks, maybe at some point extracting information from the parallel universe.”— Physicist Michio Kaku



trailers @source link
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:43 AM   #2394
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http://www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=14760

Feds forbid scientists probing Gulf dolphin deaths from speaking to media



Last month dolphin corpses began washing up on the Gulf Coast in alarming numbers. Well, more dead dolphins continue to be found, bringing the total this year up to 114 -- 100 more than the average number of dead dolphins that washed ashore during the first three months of any year between 2002 and 2007.

So, naturally, there are quite a few people interested in what might cause such dramatic increases in marine mammal mortality. But Mississippi’s WLOX reported recently that government testing on the animals has been slow to commence, and Reuters reported over the weekend that a gag order has been put into place forbidding wildlife biologists at the National Marine Fisheries Service to talk to the media about their findings.

Reports Reuters:

The gag order was contained in an agency letter informing outside scientists that its review of the dolphin die-off, classified as an "unusual mortality event (UME)," had been folded into a federal criminal investigation launched last summer into the oil spill.

"Because of the seriousness of the legal case, no data or findings may be released, presented or discussed outside the UME investigative team without prior approval," the letter, obtained by Reuters, stated.

One veteran biologist-- speaking on the condition on anonymity -- told the news agency that fellow government scientists are "confused" and "angry" about the order because it leaves outside "marine experts out of the loop completely" and it "throws accountability right out the window."

Meanwhile, Gulf Coast residents already convinced that their government is either lying to them about the situation in the Gulf or doing everything in its power to suppress bad news (or both) aren’t likely to find such reports reassuring.

"The government’s full of more crap than a bathroom at a Taco Bell," one Louisiana fisherman told this reporter over the weekend. "Anybody down here with a lick of sense knows that."

(Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP)



Article from: news.yahoo.com
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:50 AM   #2395
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http://io9.com/#!5786651

10 Mysterious Underground Cities
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:27 AM   #2396
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http://www.disinfo.com/2011/03/china...-in-two-years/

China ‘To Pass United States In Science’ In Two Years

Posted by JacobSloan on March 30, 2011

MAI0002272_PFor years we were warned that American students trailed other nations’ in math and science — now the chickens have come home to roost. The BBC reports that in 2013 China will pass the United States as the global leader in scientific output. But can scientific progress really be measured? And, must it be viewed as a battle between nations? This issue may be as much about Western fears as anything else:

The country that invented the compass, gunpowder, paper and printing is set for a globally important comeback. China is on course to overtake the US in scientific output possibly as soon as 2013 – far earlier than expected.

That is the conclusion of a major new study by the Royal Society, the UK’s national science academy. The study, Knowledge, Networks and Nations, charts the challenge to the traditional dominance of the United States, Europe and Japan. The figures are based on the papers published in recognized international journals listed by the Scopus service of the publishers Elsevier.

In 1996, the first year of the analysis, the US published 292,513 papers – more than 10 times China’s 25,474. By 2008, the US total had increased very slightly to 316,317 while China’s had surged more than seven-fold to 184,080. After displacing the UK as the world’s second leading producer of research, [China] could go on to overtake America in as little as two years’ time.

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Posted in: China, Education, Geopolitics & Globalization, Science & Technology
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:51 PM   #2397
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http://inhabitat.com/scientists-deve...-wind-turbine/

Timon Singh
Scientists Develop Solar-Powered Wind Turbine for Ultimate Energy Generation

Read more: Scientists Develop Solar-Powered Wind Turbine for Ultimate Energy Generation | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:57 PM   #2398
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http://www.realitysandwich.com/grab_...your_community

Grab a Shovel and Revitalize Your Community!

As a part of the next stage of the Evolver Social Movement, we will be hosting and supporting national and global initiatives that evolvers can partake in to help transform their local communities in the world. For the second installment of the Evolver Action Alerts, we are teaming with Transition US and 350.org to grow food, conserve water, save energy and build community.

Transition US is a nonprofit organization that provides inspiration, networking and training for Transition Initiatives across the United States. They seek to build resilient communities that can weather challenges such as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. This is in order to engage people in their communities, resulting in lives that are more sustainable, equitable and socially connected.

Amidst a dizzying array of crises and mounting despair, together we must bring the hope of transition and show what we are capable of with our heads, hearts and hands aligned in action. It’s time for action, rooted in a shared vision and voice.



Think of a project for your community about: Food, Water, Energy or Community and register here.



NOTE: In the coming months I will be facilitating the Evolver Action Alerts, if you have any issues you'd like to shed light on, leave it in the comments section!
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:19 PM   #2399
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:25 PM   #2400
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