Saturday, November 29, 2008

...and they're owned by monsanto.

we have a track called "disco 3000" on our first album. it's about the future where some things have changed and some have stayed the same. it begins with "scientists have cured hunger and disease so now they spend all there time making people look beautiful..." and the refrain goes->

disco 3000
everyone is beautiful
and they're owned by monsanto...

the lyric was meant as a jab at the the general trend of corporate ownership of everything. why do companies do so many negative things as they grow? people just tend to get out of touch as they rise in these organizations (bankers anyone?). here's a little expose on monsanto.

Some more here->

this is not to say i'm universally opposed to genetically modified foods. i'm an engineer and problem solver and i believe that we can sometimes improve on our environment. you can read about the success of Norman Borlaug to develop sustainable crops for 3rd world countries here->
most of first world genetically modified food ends up being used to create bigger corporate farms rather than creating a culture that supports small local farms. the difference between large corporations and small local farmers is equally or more important than the difference between GM and non-GM.

the biggest problem with monsanto is not the engineering but the ownership of something that shouldn't be owned by a corporation. at some point i'll take the time to build a big rant about the damage done by patents and copyrights but that is for another day.
want to read more about food? check out michael pollan.

UPDATE: another nice monsanto movie...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

20,214,016,272 Trees *

That's the number of trees per day that we should be able to plant, theoretically, if we follow the example set by the Republic of Macedonia (population: 2 million) on Wednesday.

Korab mountain, the highest mountain in the country (source: wikipedia)

Thousands of Macedonians took to the hills on November 19, 2008 to plant 6 million trees in a single day! Imagine the possibilities if we were to organize similar efforts in our own communities.

This story is inspiring on so many levels, but in particular, I think it demonstrates the tremendous potential of collective action around a positive cause.

For folks in the Boston area, I'd like to point you toward one of my favorite local tree promoting (and urban renewal) organizations, Eagle Eye Institute. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Eagle Eye works to transform the lives of underserverd urban youth in Boston and the New England area through innovative environmental education programs, particularly around trees.

Check them out. They are always looking for volunteers, and I can testify that they do great work.

* I've based my ~20 billion tree estimate on the current global population at the time of this writing. I have defined "we" as all of us.

Monday, November 17, 2008

ELP sends a million thanks to everybody who came to rock with us at the sweet new Thirsty Ear Pub last Friday night! There was a lot of love in that room.

In humble consideration of Thirsty house rules and in deference to our lovely planet Earth, the band went out on a limb and staged a very different version of the ELP concert experience. We set out to be soft and sustainable yet raucous and rocking. Given the enthusiastic crowd response, we think it was a good first effort at this new aesthetic.

All rockers arrived at the venue sans-cars, transporting their equipment with their very own electric laser legs. Cullen carried his drums (and his brushes) with him on the "T." Jess carried her keyboard and stand. Dan carried his bass. Conspicuously missing? Amplifiers. Big, bulky, heavy amplifiers. Everybody just plugged right into the house mixer which ran right into the house PA.

Everybody, that is, except Grant, who walked in with his trusty 1953 Magnatone Varsity amp in a backpack. Weighing in at a paltry 8 lbs, and consuming a mere 8 W of electricity during the performance, the Maggie was a more than suitable complement to broadcast the tones of the Gibson SG.

It was a far cry from the sonically bombastic ELP performances of yore, and those shows will continue, but we all feel that this new "low-impact" approach to musical merrymaking is fun, refreshing, and thoroughly rewarding. We hope you agree. Come see us at the Lilypad in Inman Sq (next to 1369 Coffee House) on December 14th, 2008 to hear us do the low-key thing one more time.

If it's the massive decibels you crave, then be sure to hear us at All Asia Café on December 5. We're bringin' the noise for that one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

war is not the answer, straight from the masters of war

2 articles worth reading if you like to think about war and the future of humanity.

General Gavin on why the future of regional stabilization and national security is not war or military might but it is the creation of a stable middle class in developing countries. It is sad to know he gave this advice decades ago and was totally ignored. It's worth considering the other forces involved and how to better craft messages so they actually result in policy change.

Of course, we must mention War is a racket by Smedley Butler. This is another great example of a writing that should of had a greater impact but somehow missed the general public and the powers at be were able to continue at speed after a lull. It is interesting to consider this article as well and its failure to actually deliver the message it contains so clearly to some of us.

How do you craft the next message? That we are looking forward to. Perhaps our man Barack or the next one will make it happen.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

new york times special edition

i find this to be super inspiring work.
so many great articles. i'm looking forward to 2009!
i love the HSBC ad. a great touch.

for all you new yorkers, check the dr z ad!

the times perspective on the project with some stats->

"In an elaborate operation six months in the planning, 1.2 million
papers were printed at six different presses and driven to prearranged
pickup locations, where thousands of volunteers stood ready to pass
them out on the street.


forgot to mention this old classic->
Tribute to Reggie complete with a six million dollar friend of Reggie. And the entire story.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Na-na-na! Na-na-na!

Hey hey hey....


No matter your political affiliation, you will probably agree that this is one of the coolest applications of nano-tech to date. MIT alum and ELP friend, John Hart, and his team of nanofabbers made these little faces from carbon nanotubes, tiny hollow cylinders of carbon that are tens of thousands of times thinner than a human hair, yet several times stiffer and stronger than steel.

Besides being great little campaign giveaways for the nano-scale voting block, John says, "carbon nanotubes and other nanostructures are building blocks for many important technological advances, including high-performance solar cells and batteries, new methods of diagnosing and treating disease, next-generation computer processors and memory, and lightweight composite materials."

That's nanochange we can believe in.