Archive for October 2012

BBC News – Viewpoint: Manuel Castells on the rise of alternative economic cultures   Leave a comment

“Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason interviewed Prof Castells in front of an audience at The London School of Economics for BBC Radio 4’s Analysis about his latest book Aftermath: The Cultures of the Economic Crisis.

Prof Castells suggests we may be about to see the emergence of a new kind of capitalism, with businesses growing out of the counter-cultures of the last 20 years. Here are some extracts from their conversation. :

Paul Mason: How big is this culture change?

“It is fundamental because it triggers a crisis of trust in the two big powers of our world: the political system and the financial system.

People don’t trust where they put their money and they don’t trust those who they delegate in terms of their vote.

It’s a dramatic crisis of trust and if there is no trust, there is no society.

“What we are not going to see is the economic collapse per se because societies cannot work in a social vacuum. If the economic institutions don’t work, if the financial institutions don’t work, the power relations that exist in society change the financial system in ways favoured to the financial system and it doesn’t collapse. People collapse, not the financial system.

“The notion is the banks are going to be alright, we are not going to be alright. So there is a cultural change. A big one. Total distrust in the institutions of finance and politics.

“Some people start already living differently as they can – some because they want alternative ways of life, others because they don’t have any other choice.

“What I refer to is about the observation of one of my latest studies on people who have decided not to wait for the revolution – to start living differently – meaning the expansion of what I call in a technical term ‘non-capitalist practices’.

“They are economic practices but they don’t have a for-profit motivation – such as barter networks; such as social currencies; co-operatives; self-management; agricultural networks; helping each other simply in terms of wanting to be together; networks of providing services for free to others in the expectation that someone will also provide to you. All this exists and it’s expanding throughout the world.”

Continue reading the main story

AN : Profound treatise ! Do read the whole article and delve further into what is actively happening in this transformational, disruptive thinking area of real economics.

http://goo.gl/6Prdv

via BBC News – Viewpoint: Manuel Castells on the rise of alternative economic cultures.

Disney Buys ‘Star Wars’ Producer Lucasfilm for $4 Billion – Bloomberg   Leave a comment

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) agreed to buy George Lucas’s Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion in cash and stock, adding “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” to a roster of film hits including “The Avengers” and “Finding Nemo.”

Lucas, 68, the sole owner, will receive half in cash and the balance in stock, becoming a major investor in the film, theme-park and TV company, according to a statement today from Burbank, California-based Disney. The first of a new trilogy of “Star Wars” films will be released in 2015, Disney said.

The deal brings Disney, which paid a combined $11 billion for Pixar and Marvel in the past decade, two of Hollywood’s most lucrative franchises. The “Star Wars” films have generated $4.54 billion in worldwide ticket sales, second to Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter,” according to Box Office Mojo. “Indiana Jones” pictures have collected $1.95 billion.

“Dating all the way back to Walt Disney’s day, we learned the value of great content, characters, storytelling and great imaginary worlds,” Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger said in an interview.

The acquisition complements Iger’s focus on sequels and film franchises, fitting the same profile as the Marvel purchase three years ago.

“If Disney is really trying to focus on the tent-pole, event pictures, and given that this is something that has huge carryover value in the parks and merchandise business, it certainly makes sense,” said Matthew Harrigan, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities in Denver. “This is just the paradigm of the sustainable Hollywood franchise.”

AN : This report underscores the need to have those who are economic-centric understand the value of creativity and the creative arts. Yes ultimately it is about pure ejoyment of the expression of our God given talents , but it is also that such creative expression can be measured and monetized.

Too much emphasis is laid on economics as a driver. George Lucas, Steve Jobs  et al opened whole new worlds, so to speak ,with their ways of thinking and what they thought up.

In another blog , ( http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/10/randy-wray-the-worlds-worst-central-banker.html ) the author reviewed commentary about the Central Banker for Argentina :

“The head of the Argentine Central Bank—Mercedes Marco del Pont–has been awarded the distinction as “the world’s worst central banker”. By whom, you might ask? Well, by Wall Street’s sycophantic press. Wall Street hates Mercedes. The woman, not the car.

Why? Well, for one thing she’s a woman. Wall Street hates female heads of central banks (take a look at the list of the top ten worst—3 out of 10 are female; then take a look at the 10 best, of which all but one are males.)

But that’s not anywhere near the most important reason. Ms. Marco del Pont kicked off the conference with a rousing talk, defending her central bank’s recent move away from a single mandate (inflation target) to pursuit of multiple mandates: financial stability, employment creation, and economic development with social equity.  

When Central Bankers begin to get the message and get out the message that economics is not enough…we are onto something.

Creativity has tremendous value….Lucas would surely attest to that.

http://goo.gl/BI8lf

via Disney Buys ‘Star Wars’ Producer Lucasfilm for $4 Billion – Bloomberg.

Posted October 30, 2012 by arnoneumann in creativity, Economic, Thinking

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Visual Thinking via swissmiss   Leave a comment

swissmiss.

Posted October 27, 2012 by arnoneumann in Visual_Thinking

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Eye Magazine | Genetics of the ‘open’ text   Leave a comment

Children’s information books communicate their content with an energetic visual language

The task of tracing visual language in book design is a challenge, but one that is useful to take up in order to help us understand how readers make meaning of what they read. Studying the lineage of some forms of layout also sheds light on how design fits into and contributes to culture in a wider sense. Children’s science books – the highly graphic and colourful ones published over the last 30 years or so in the UK – provide some excellent examples of complex visual language, partly because they tend to be more highly illustrated than books meant for adults. But how do diagrams, illustrations and different forms of text interact to produce ‘content’ in these books? Meaning does not reside in the book alone, but is dependent on context: the particular conditions of reading, and the wider social and cultural environment. This is an exploration of book design as a medium of communication.

http://goo.gl/CnBtG

via Eye Magazine | Feature | Genetics of the ‘open’ text.

Posted October 27, 2012 by arnoneumann in Books, design, Visualization

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Renewables: Australia’s a land of plenty   Leave a comment

“There has never been a scientific question as to whether renewable energy could provide 100 per cent of Australia’s energy needs,” said Mr Want, who is also chief executive of energy developer Vast Solar.

“The question is whether we as a society and as a nation see value in harnessing that resource — for domestic use and for export — and whether we are prepared to demand of our leaders that they design policies to achieve those ends.”

http://goo.gl/skzO0

via Renewables: Australia’s a land of plenty.

Posted October 26, 2012 by arnoneumann in Energy, Renewables

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Is Your Region Innovative, Productive, Creative, or Just Populated?   Leave a comment

Growth is a mantra that cities, as well as nations and states, everywhere quest after. A growing number of economists caution that growth for growth’s sake does not necessarily equate to higher living standards or increased happiness. A blue-ribbon international commission headed by Nobel Prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen has called for new, broader measures of economic performance and social progress. Plus, not all “growth” is the same. I’ve previously called attention to “growth without growth,” the misguided notion that adding population equals economic growth. ”

via Is Your Region Innovative, Productive, Creative, or Just Populated? – Jobs & Economy – The Atlantic Cities.

AN : we need to measure ourselves, our Cities and Countries with scales and aspects that do not only focus on fiscal and numerical aspects. Education opportunites, arts, cultural and recreational amenities, nature and sport venues etc are extremely meaningful. Why are they most often overlooked ? Probably because the trained individuals are trained in the thoughts and tools of economic measures. The article provokes us to more such aspects.

http://goo.gl/FGJUH

Posted October 25, 2012 by arnoneumann in Cities, creativity, Economic, Innovation

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High-Speed Photography Turns Water Droplets Into Liquid Sculptures   Leave a comment

The water droplet is the quintessential cliché of high-speed photography. Any Internet search will produce a dizzying number of bursting and rippling liquid surfaces. Yet in the right hands, even the familiar can be extraordinary. Markus Reugels, a German amateur photographer who has perfected the theme, has produced an exhaustive catalog of his favorite subject captured in every conceivable, fleeting pose.

AN : what would technology be without something to focus on…and what would that which  captivates  in turn reflect back except  inherent beauty of thought and design ?  Scientific and medical photography have revealved not only the mysteries of life but also its amazing symmetry and order. Pollen grains under magnification are unique to the point of being a botanical identification tool….at the same time they are objects of art in themselves.

Markus Reugels takes his passion and makes it come to life…even if it captures a millisecond of time.  Kudos to him and those who similarily follow their passion in capturing images for us to enjoy.

via 1 | High-Speed Photography Turns Water Droplets Into Liquid Sculptures | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

Posted October 22, 2012 by arnoneumann in Photography

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Every Leader Is an Artist | The Creativity Post   Leave a comment

“So let me suggest 12 artistic criteria for judging the art of particular leaders. To appreciate their leadership, we should ask about its …

Intent. Do they make an express commitment to achieve certain exceptional ends?

Focus. Do they highlight certain features of the business environment over others to separate the important from the trivial?

Skill. Do they demonstrate mastery or virtuosity in critical aspects of business; do they possess a foundation for understanding people, organizations, and the way work is accomplished?

Form. Do they combine their communications, structures, policies, etc. into a unified, coherent whole?

Representation. Do they convey meanings, in nonobvious and captivating ways, as opposed to giving simple directives and making straightforward declarations of fact?

Imagination. Do they make surprising and unconventional departures from the ordinary that create a new sense of awareness or understanding?

Authenticity. Do they present a stylistic distinctiveness that is an honest expression of their individuality and personal beliefs?

Engagement. Do they offer complex and challenging information that stimulates intellectual effort and imaginative contemplation?

Pleasure. Do they provide emotionally rewarding experiences that are shared among members of a group, promoting stronger bonds and fostering personal fulfillment?

Human significance. Do they facilitate personal reflection about who one is, what is most important, what is culturally valuable, and what is possible?

Context. Do they take actions that are commensurate with institutional practices, customs, demands, and norms, and communicate in a style that is understandable and appropriate?

Criticism. Do they welcome discourse and evaluation from others regarding how well they have performed and the amount of appreciation they should be afforded?”

AN : Full article worth the read . Insightful and thought provoking.

http://goo.gl/Ip8Kd

via Every Leader Is an Artist | The Creativity Post.

Posted October 21, 2012 by arnoneumann in art, creativity, leadership

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Skydive from space recreated in LEGO | Grist   Leave a comment

Skydive from space recreated in LEGO

By Jess Zimmerman

We wrote about Felix Baumgartner’s planned freefall from the edge of space last week, but the first attempt ended up being called off due to winds. He pulled it off over the weekend, though, falling for over four minutes and achieving supersonic speed. If you missed the jump, which sponsor Red Bull swears will have scientific validity but which will probably most serve to make people gasp and then feel depressed about the state of our public-sector space program, you can see it recreated at 1 to 350 ”

AN : this article from GRIST captures ,with the videos, both the real dive and the unreal dive (LEGO re-creation ). Either way, a superb accomplishment !

http://goo.gl/UB4R5

via Skydive from space recreated in LEGO | Grist.

Posted October 16, 2012 by arnoneumann in aerospace, LEGO

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Felix Baumgartner lands safely after record-breaking Red Bull Stratos jump   Leave a comment

“ROSWELL, N.M. — Austrian extreme skydiver Felix Baumgartner has become the only human being to break the sound barrier outside of an airplane after skydiving from 38 km above the earth.

After much anticipation and several scrapped attempts, Baumgartner landed safely in New Mexico slightly at about 2:20 p.m. ET Sunday.

We live to conquer fears and pursue dreams, may our attempts and accomplishments progress humankind,” Baumgartner said via Twitter after landing. ”

AN : Felix Baumgartner accomplished someting historic today. He did it with calculated risk and with a team. ( The article also has a video of the jump ). I think his quote above speaks for itself . Congradulations !

http://goo.gl/D2hnK

via Felix Baumgartner lands safely after record-breaking Red Bull Stratos jump | World | News | National Post.

Posted October 14, 2012 by arnoneumann in Space

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