Archive for March, 2010

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an inspiring story about a young African man named William Kamkwamba who built a wind generator from scrap parts to provide  power for his family’s farm. It is an excellent story, following the life of  a young boy growing to become a young man.  We learn of the path he took to attain his remarkable feats, along with the hardships his family and community faced.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

As an avid renewable energy enthusiast who’s built a few model VAWTs , what drew me to this story originally was the creation of a low cost wind generator. Wind power is very abundant, and relatively easy to harness. There is a vibrant Internet community sharing easy Do-It-Yourself plans for very efficient systems, all for free. In the right conditions, a system costing a few thousand dollars could power an entire household.  If you are somewhat mechanically inclined and have the space, check out the open source Lenz2 design for a great starting point.

While my initial goal was to learn more about the windmill, what I found is this book really makes clear the plight of those who live in poverty. Over 2 billion people live in moderate or extreme poverty, and William’s story really brings home what life is like for these people.

Another striking realization reading this book is how these conditions are happening right now.  Without seeing it firsthand, or in this case reading about it, the concept  of global poverty remains abstract… sure it is happening, but it’s not quite real.

Hearing this story, feeling their pain, refuels my desire to rid the world of these conditions… to end the worse forms of poverty on earth so that our species is no longer suffering. I mean, come on people, it’s 2010 already. With every new day, we have more power to help than ever, so what are we waiting for?

Well, the truth is not so much that we are waiting… it’s that not enough people know about or care about the plight of others.  We all have our own problems and our own lives to live so it’s easy to remain oblivious.  But this is a luxury that will continue to evaporate as our world moves forward into a new stage of evolution.

We’ve discussed the Global Consciousness before, which is the interconnection of all human minds, spanning the globe. The Global Consciousness is still a long ways off, but with each step we take fowards, our world becomes more and more able to feel the pain of others.

Modern communication tools, like cell phones and the Internet, will continue to make it harder for us to ignore the plight of those who have it the worst off, making it more likely that someone who is in a position to help will actually help.

Imagine, for example, if you saw a streaming web cam into the lives of villagers going through a famine… you could see their pain, hear their suffering.   The formerly abstract notion of others starving in the world would instantly become real, and many of us would spring to action to help.

Or imagine if on a video-chat site like Chatroulette, you came face-to-face with a starving child begging for food. While some of us could still turn a blind eye, not everyone would flip the channel.  Someone would step up to help.

These are simple examples to illustrate a broader trend.  Thanks to the Internet, our world is becoming more and more self-aware. We will no longer be as oblivious to the pain and suffering of others.

We are forming a new organism, a super-entity, comprised of all the individual humans coming together. The more we come together, the more the pain of others becomes our own, and the more compelled we will be to help out. Like an organism, the world of the future will work to heal itself where it hurts.

A Better World With Every New Day

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

No matter when you read this, the following statement will always be true:  We’ve never been closer to making world peace a reality than we are right now.  This statement will always be true because with every new moment, our world gets a little bit better, and each step we take forward brings us one step closer to world peace.

Our world has been consistently improving for centuries, and will continue to get even better at accelerating speeds. This isn’t some dream… it is firmly rooted in reality. One source that confirms this is Indur Goklany, whose book The Improving State of the World brings credible research and reliable facts to support his thesis, which is that our world is getting better and better.

Here are a few of his key findings:

  • Global Poverty has been on the decline for centuries
  • We are living longer, healthier lives than ever before
  • We are better educated than our parents generation, and our children will be better educated than us
  • Pollution is down in developed nations
  • Pollution will drop in developing nations as they learn from what developed nations have already done
  • Food supplies have increased almost 25 percent per capita in the past 50 years

Goklany credits the continued improvements to mutually reinforcing, co-evolving forces he calls the cycle of progress. This same phenomenon is something we’ve been referring to as The Snowball Effect, and it shows us how each step towards a better world makes it easier to take the next step, meaning we are approaching a better world at an accelerating pace.

One of the best notions of world improvement is how the impacts are felt most dramatically by those at the bottom. Tiny improvements that would barely impact those of us in developed nations can have huge ramifications for those who live in extreme poverty. A small improvement to one’s standard of living can mean the difference between life or death. Just one step up can provide an opportunity to climb out of the trap of extreme poverty. (like with John and his MoneyMakerPlus)

This really brings home the fact that every one of us truly has the power to make the world a better place… and our world will only get better as more people become aware of this.

As our world improves, it will decrease the levels of suffering.  As suffering drops, so too will tension. With less tension, we will have less violence, less war, and ultimately, more peace. As well, we come to see that our world really isn’t doomed, it will be easier for more of us to find peace within ourselves. A world full of humans embracing inner peace will be one more ingredient contributing to world peace.

Our world is getting better with every new day. Soon, a revolution of optimism will take hold of our planet as we come to recognize how we are truly on the brink of achieving world peace.

World Peace is Coming – new site

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

A new domain has been setup at WorldPeaceIsComing.org as a way of organizing all the videos specific to world peace into one area.  As well, this site will be the central hub for the upcoming release of the book “World Peace is Coming”, due out this year.

Chatroulette – Peer into a baby Global Consciousness

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Chatroulette is a novel site that hooks up random strangers with web-cams.  It is a lot like the site Omegle, but instead of solely text-based chatting, you get audio/video, which is probably why it has exploded in popularity.

The first time I was on, there was less than a thousand people.  Now, there looks to be multiple servers, with over 20,000 people on each.  It is quickly reaching the mainstream, with sites like 4chan, Collegehumor, and popular youtubers spreading the word.

One of my favorite outcomes of this new phenomenon is Chatroulette improv, where musicians (and others) do improv based on their interactions, like the following one by Merton:

After spending several hours on this site, I’m as enthralled as ever… and I can’t help feeling like this is another step towards the next level of human consciousness… the global consciousness.

Global consciousness – the techlepathic link of all the willing people of the planet – is what lies in our future.  It will arise as our abilities to read and write thoughts (thanks to advanced neuroscience) combine with ever expanding networking technologies.  With each step we take towards this new state of existence, we will be stepping towards a more peaceful world… as we come to see the rest of humanity as part of our own extended family.

Seriously, check it out.  It is fun, entertaining, and enlightening.  And as you do, you will, in a way, be like a newborn opening your eyes to the world for the first time.

Note – about 20% of the time it is some guy masturbating, so be prepared for this, and always keep your mouse ready to click on to the next one.

World Peace is Coming – It’s Flash Mob Rule, Baby

Friday, March 12th, 2010

One of the key factors to making world peace a reality will be our newfound powers of communication and community building.  We are uniting like never before, and the implications will be profound.

For one, we are gaining new means of dialogue, and dialogue is an integral step in the peacebuilding process.  Just getting people to talk is often the first step in conflict resolution.

Dialogue can also rehumanize an enemy.  Often, warring parties will dehumanize their foes, painting them as evil, irrational death dealers, but dialogue can make these misconceptions evaporate, and it is that much harder to kill someone who we come to see as a fellow human being.

Our new communication tools are also letting us spread important information that our mainstream media rarely, if ever, discusses.  Issues like the Military Industrial Complex, the Distrubtion of Wealth, or how our world has been consistently improving for centuries are all empowering forms of knowledge.

And, thanks to our growing powers of community, we will become more and more able to do something about it.  Facebook has exploded in size in just a few years.  Fast forward a few more years, and we will have groups large enough to rival corporations and governments in terms of power and influence.

Combine the size and might of our ever expanding groups with the speed of Twitter and instant messaging, and boom… we have some truly revolutionary power in our hands.

Look at what today’s flash mobs can do for a glimpse into the power we are unleashing.  A few hundred people, united at the same time and place for the same reason can really shake things up.  Now imagine instead of just 100, we had 100,000 people acting in unison.

Global Flash Mobs… mobilizing to action, in real time, all with shared goals, could truly shift the power back into the hands of the people.  We will be able to harness this power to make our world everything we want it to be… egalitarian, progressive and peaceful.

World Peace is Coming! – Closer Every Day

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

With each passing day, we are getting closer to having world peace become a reality.  We’ve been progressing forward for centuries, and the past four decades have been especially fruitful.  We have more of the good things, and less of the bad things.  Don’t believe it?  Check out this graph:

Graph of our Progress

In this graph, we can see that the good things, like life expectancy, GDP, freedom and access to water are all on the increase.  This is great for our world.  As well, bad things like war deaths, extreme poverty, and illiteracy have consistently been on the decline, which is also some great news.

If we project forward based on present trends, the graph will look something like this:

Graph of projected progress

As we can see, within 20 years, war deaths and extreme poverty should be eliminated.  We’ve discussed the ties between poverty and war before, so it can be expected that as we see a decline in one, we see a corresponding decline in the other.

But, when we take into account the accelerating rate of progress and how each step towards a better world makes it easier to take the next step (thanks to the snowball effect), it isn’t unrealistic to expect an end to extreme poverty and war to arrive even sooner.  Fantastic news!!!

Source of graph