N e x t N o w Collaboratory

Connective Intelligence for Collective Action

The New Science of Remote Causation

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on March 29, 2013

We’re supporting this campaign/experiment to determine if something real is being measured….

I Controlled a Huge Freakin’ Laser With My Mind!  The New Science of Remote Causation by Tam Hunt, UC Santa Barbara

Reprinted from the Santa Barbara Independent Journal, Wednesday, March 27, 201Image


I contrive no hypotheses. ~ Isaac Newton, discussing gravity in Principia Mathematica

Isaac Newton, perhaps the greatest scientist who ever lived, did of course make many hypotheses about gravity. In fact, he developed an incredibly profound general theory of gravity that united such seemingly different phenomena as a falling apple and the circling of the planets around the Sun. His theory of gravity stood firm for over two centuries before Einstein argued convincingly that Newton’s theory was incomplete. (Einstein’s general theory of relativity renders Newton’s theory a “limiting case.”)

What Newton refused to do, however, was speculate about exactly how gravity works its magic. Gravity just is, and Newton apparently recognized that his era’s scientific knowledge was not sufficient to go beyond the equations that formed his theory of gravity. He contrived no hypotheses1 as to the mechanism behind gravity, but he recognized fully that it seemed to be some kind of “action at a distance” that operates quite differently than through direct contact, which is how the world around us operates more generally.

Cause and effect is what physics is all about, and science more generally. What causes what? Even though we can never make definitive statements about what caused what, we can probe correlations and make reasonable inferences.

The most familiar form of causation is the direct contact of push and pull. A billiard ball bounces directly away from the cue ball due to the direct contact of ball upon ball. The energy from the pool cue is transferred by the pool player’s arm to the cue ball and then to the second ball.

But even this extremely simple form of cause and effect is not as simple as matter pushing matter. Rather, the electromagnetic force that holds the molecules of the balls together is the intermediary for these actions. Electromagnetism is in fact the most important force at our scale of reality: It holds all molecules together and it allows us to see, hear, touch, etc. The billiard balls don’t actually touch. Rather, the electromagnetic forces generated by the molecules in each ball repel each other.

Gravity keeps us, as well as apples, on terra firma, and plays a very large role in the universe outside of the scale of human life. But it is electromagnetism that forms the basis for life and much of our existence as earth-bound organisms, due to its attractive/repulsive qualities at the molecular level.

What’s behind the various forces of nature?

Electromagnetism – the combination of electricity and magnetism, which we know now are different aspects of a single force – was described comprehensively by Maxwell and others in the 19th Century. These scientists developed what are now known as “Maxwell’s equations,” even though their modern form wasn’t actually Maxwell’s work. While we can describe electromagnetism quite well mathematically, and predict its workings based on these equations, there is still no consensus as to what electromagnetismactually is.

The photon is a massless particle that carries the electromagnetic force. Einstein stated around 1955, shortly before his death: “A full 50 years of deliberate brooding have not brought me any closer to the question: What is the [photon]? Today every clod thinks he knows it, but he deceives himself.” Einstein had for decades tried unsuccessfully to develop various field theories of electromagnetism and the other forces, but still couldn’t say what the photon really is. For Einstein, in his later work, fields were fundamental. Despite significant development of field theory since Einstein’s era, we’re not much closer today in understanding what the photon is.

Similarly, we still don’t know the mechanism for gravity with any certainty. Einstein’s general relativity suggests that matter and energy literally curve space, and gravity simply reflects the easiest path for matter and energy to follow as it moves through curved space. It’s a two-way street, then, with matter/energy curving space and curved space causing matter/energy to change its trajectory.

However, the Standard Model of particle physics, based on the other pillar of modern physics – quantum mechanics – suggests that gravity works through the exchange of “gravitons” (boson particles) between massive bodies. The Higgs Boson is yet another way in which today’s physics attempts to explain gravity, and it made big news in 2012 due to evidence suggesting it had actually been found by the Large Hadron Collider.

Reconciling these two different models, general relativity and quantum theory, is the objective of theories of quantum gravity, none of which are yet widely accepted. String theory is the most popular approach to quantum gravity, though it has yet to lead to any experimental verification, and it suggests, through its “brane cosmology” approach, additional ideas on gravity that go beyond both the quantum mechanical and general relativity notions of gravity.

So who’s counting? How many forces are there?

Anyway, my point is to show that our physical understanding of cause and effect is still quite nascent and always evolving. While there is a broad consensus that there are only four fundamental forces or interactions – gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear force – there are also serious efforts underway to explain key observations through additional forces.

For example, dark energy, which is thought to comprise the majority of the matter/energy in the universe (about 70%), would itself constitute a new force. Specifically, dark energy is posited as the force behind the accelerating expansion of our universe, and also of the very early inflationary period that saw our universe expand from minute dimensions to a sizeable fraction of its current size in literally millionths of a second.

Yet another possible new force or interaction is suggested by the strong evidence for quantum entanglement, which appears to operate far faster than the speed of light. In 2008, a Swiss team led by Daniel Salart showed that entanglement operates at, at the least, 10,000 times the speed of light. What’s behind this effect? No one really knows yet, but apparently it is not one of the traditional four forces.

So, even without getting very exotic in our survey of different physical theories (which is certainly a relative notion given the extremely broad array of theories in physics today!), we can make a good argument that there should be at least six fundamental forces. A seventh force is compound interest. Einstein declared that “the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.” Okay, that’s a joke…

Action at a distance

Now, here’s where I’m going with all of this discussion about cause and effect, and forces of nature: While action at a distance, mediated by fields or force particles like the photon or graviton, is very much part of our mainstream physical and cosmological theories, action at a distance when it comes to human causation is far too often dismissed as impossible or as wacky “woo woo” science. And despite its wide recognition in physics, we still don’t know much about the actual mechanisms behind such action at a distance, for example, with respect to gravity or quantum entanglement.

In fleshing out a more complete understanding of the physical world, and the role of mind in the physical world, we are gathering substantial evidence that the human mind may have a broader causal role than has been assumed. It seems clear that human minds can directly impact more than just our immediate bodies. Dean Radin’s excellent book, Entangled Minds, surveys the field of what is known often as parapsychology or extrasensory perception.

The data in this field are certainly debatable and the effects are clearly subtle, if they are indeed real. If they weren’t subtle, there would be far less controversy surrounding them. However, there is one area of parapsychology that I’ve found pretty convincing, and I’ve now been personally involved with research in this area – I’m referring to work with random number generators (RNGs) and the influence of mass celebrations on the output of electronic RNGs.

This is a really interesting area of research but it takes a little background to explain it. Traditional random-number generators include dice, coins, shuffled cards or any physical device used to produce a random outcome. Modern RNGs, however, are small electronic devices that produce zeros and ones (bits) randomly (hence the name). They’re traditionally used in cryptography, gambling, and other areas by producing true randomness and thus foiling attempts to algorithmically discover passwords or predict outcomes. However, there is a more recent tradition of using RNGs to probe the impact of minds on matter, and the evidence produced is increasingly convincing that there is a causal link between mind and matter.

Probably the best way to explain this area of science further is to explain the experiments that I’ve been involved with recently. I’m a visiting scholar in psychology at UC Santa Barbara (under Professor Jonathan Schooler) and I’m also a regular Burning Man attendee (a “Burner” in the parlance of this sub-culture). I’ve met some very interesting people by being a regular at this massive celebration in the Nevada desert. About 50,000 people attend each year, celebrating music, art, and collaborative creation.

A few years ago I met Cassandra Vieten, the executive director of research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) in Petaluma, California. IONS focuses on frontier science, which includes working toward a better understanding of the relationship between mind and matter. IONS was founded by Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon. Mitchell was so inspired by a profound spiritual experience as he hurtled back to Earth that he wanted to re-direct some scientific attention to phenomena that are too often denied as impossible by mainstream science. IONSwas the result.

Vieten, Schooler (another Burner), and I were chatting at the Burn in 2010 about the research that IONS does, and we decided it would be awesome and fun to do some RNG experiments at Burning Man. Many past experiments have shown a correlation between mass celebrations, like New Year’s Eve in Times Square, and a deviation from randomness in RNGs. The reasonable inference from these correlations is that there is a causal link between the mass focus on a single event, and whatever mechanisms produce the random events in the RNG.

The twist in our idea was that we decided to add a huge freakin’ laser to our experiment, connecting the output of the RNG to a laser in order to show, visually, any deviation from randomness. This would, we hypothesized, create a positive feedback loop and the effect would be enhanced.

We turned this idle talk into reality in 2012 by completing our first experiment on the Playa, which is where the Burning Man event is held each year. It worked! We obtained strong evidence of a correlation between the collective focus of thousands of minds on the burning of the Man (which happens on Saturday night every year), and the burning of the Temple (another major structure that is integral to the Burning Man celebration, on Sunday night), and the output of our RNGs.

Figure 1 shows the key result of our experiment: a strong spike in deviations from randomness during the burning of the Man, with a p value of 0.004. (A p value of 0.05, which means one-in-twenty odds of the result occurring due entirely to chance, is considered standard in most areas of science; a value of 0.004 is far more significant and means that the odds of our results occurring entirely due to chance were four in one thousand).

Unfortunately, our huge freakin’ laser wasn’t very huge and it didn’t function very well due to various technical problems. So we’re going back this year, in August, to repeat the experiment and use a really big laser, in collaboration with other more experienced laser technicians. We’re going to use a 30-watt laser rather than the one-watt laser we used last year. A 30-watt laser is easily visible across the whole Playa, so the positive feedback loop should be substantial. Yes, it’s huge!

But what does it all mean?

At the end of the day, what does all this mean? Who cares if there’s a tiny impact from mass celebrations on the output of zeros and ones from a little electronic device? Well, first, we think it’s just really cool and intriguing that this stuff works at all. It’s denied as impossible by many scientists today. Personally, I think the really powerful result of this research is to show that we could in theory,if we can amplify what are obviously very subtle effects, use just our minds to influence macroscopic events in the world around us.

There is an ironic convergence of traditional science and this frontier science, when we consider that “mind reading” using electromagnetic technologies is advancing quickly. Using various types of brain imaging, we can now tell what words subjects are thinking (from a pre-selected list only, at this point); and monkeys have used the power of their minds, implanted with electrodes, to control mechanical arms.

It may be the case that using electromagnetism alone will be the more fruitful path to manipulating macro events with thoughts alone. However, understanding that there may be other ways for mind to influence matter is really important for a more complete physical understanding of the universe, and it may give rise to more options for helping physically disabled persons to transcend their disabilities, allow us to create interesting new forms of entertainment, and perhaps help in many other human endeavors.

We’re in the middle of a crowd-funding campaign to pay for the laser and other equipment for round two of our RNG experiment at this year’s Burning Man. If you’re inspired by these ideas, please contribute something to our Indiegogo campaign or spread the word more generally:

Who knows – you may be helping to usher in a really exciting paradigm shift in how we understand physical reality. And maybe you too can one day control a huge freakin’ laser with your mind!

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NextNower Gwen Gordon Gets SERIOUS About Play: Support the SERIOUSLY! film campaign

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on September 6, 2012

About a year ago, Gwen Gordon and I were playing together, exploring cosmologist Brian Swimme’s Powers of the Universe:

Seamlessness – the source of all powers, the ground of being, pure generativity; Centration – the power of concentration and exhilaration, how the Universe centers on itself; Allurement – the power of attraction, how things hold together; Emergence – the power of creativity, how the Universe transcends itself; Homeostasis – the power of maintaining achievement, what the Universe values; Cataclysm – the power of destruction, living in a Universe where things break down; Synergy – the power of working together, mutually enhancing relationships; Transmutation – the power to change the self, disciplines and constraints; Transformation – the power to change the whole, communion and intimacy; Interrelatedness – the power of care, how the Universe responds to the other;  Radiance – the power of magnificence, how the Universe communicates.

Gwen had studied with Brian and understood that all the powers of the universe are at PLAY together and so generate the play of evolution. Brian taught that evolution itself is extravagant play, and we humans are like the champagne, the climax of play, bringing our special powers of adventurous play to the ongoing, greater evolutionGwen could feel the truth of this, and decided to take her insights Seriously: 

Support the film by visiting the Kickstarter Campaign Page

This from Brian Swimme:

In Robert Bellah’s massive new book on the deep roots of our religious sensibilities, he offers his view that at our very core — forming the basis of our deepest creative capacities – is play.  And yet, in the long and tortured development of civilization, we have constructed several religions that regard play as frivolous and ignorable, especially when compared to the aims of contemporary industrial societies.   Gwen Gordon, a graduate of PCC, is attempting to make a difference here.  She is devoting her life to educating the world in a different way of being human, a way that returns us to this playful mode of being.  Some of you might want to get involved in one way or another.

What we understand is that play is also a form of collective, connective intelligence, which is another reason we’re supporting this film.  NextNowCollab is an experiment in social synergy, focusing on  projects that use technology (inner and outer) to enhance connective intelligence that sources our creative capacity to consciously evolve our world.  We work at all levels: personal (connecting to our own inner intelligences), social (creating more intelligent, synergistic groups and activity for the exponential interconnectivity of social innovations), and planetary (a whole system shift).  

If the idea of PLAY as a form of connective intelligence resonates with you, please consider spreading the word (and the fun) by supporting Gwen’s campaign for the film, Seriously!  A movie about PLAY

WATCH THE TRAILER at www.seriouslythemovie.com

This is from Gwen Gordon, the filmmaker:

An endless stream of serious news crosses our screens everyday – the theater of politics, the perils of ecological collapse, the specter of economic uncertainty. But what can we do? After all, most of us are already exhausted and overwhelmed by the immediate concerns pressing on our personal lives. Amidst this pressure, how are we supposed to unleash the full genius, creativity, and sheer life force it will take to meet the really big challenges of our time? 

In the face of uncertainty, our overwhelming tendency is to become tight and rigid. But you can’t untie a knot with a knot. Whatever it will take, it needs to help us stay present, open, and flexible…and work better together! 

What makes that possible? Where do we see people engaging the unknown with creativity, intelligence, and grace…together? Simple. Wherever there is PLAY!  Think about it! When we play together we’re cooperating, adapting, learning, creating, and solving problems!  After all, the universe has been playing for 14 billion years on the edge of chaos, trying everything under the sun (including the sun), making big messes, trying again,  learning, evolving…and now we have broccoli, jellyfish, giant Sequoias, and fleas that live inside the nostrils of hummingbirds. As cosmologist Brian Swimme says, “Life itself has evolved as and through play.” 

I used to live above a preschool playground. The bell rang every morning and children burst through the doors into the schoolyard screaming with pleasure. They built stuff and smashed it down, there was climbing and falling, hitting and hugging. It was all there..the raw workings of the universe itself! The universe was playing!

And yet, as critical as play is to our survival, schools continue to cut recesses and arts programs and children are getting less play time then ever in history. The APA has just declared a play crisis. And adults aren’t doing much better. We’re taking fewer vacation days and working longer hours than ever (the U.S. ranks as one of the most overworked, depressed nations in the world). We need a serious play intervention, a perspective shift that ennobles play as an evolutionary imperative…and gives us all permission to be the spontaneous, free creatures that we really are.

I’m making Seriously! A movie about play! to shine a bright light on the vital importance of play in every area of life through a chorus of play experts, gripping stories, a promiscuous red ball, and a menagerie of playmates. 

Watch the film teaser at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dMUcGhz1lg

Posted in Collective Intelligence, Cultural Creatives, Member Event, Social Action | 2 Comments »

Beyond Charity

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on May 19, 2012

Our breakdowns are too systemic to be solved by “charity” but the idea of these new millionaires embracing real social entrepreneurship is a good one.

From Open Forum–On Facebook IPO

Manjunath Kiran / AFP/Getty Images
The ‘Facebook’ logo is reflected in a young Indian woman’s sunglasses as she browses on a tablet in Bangalore on May 15, 2012. World’s popular and leading social networking company Facebook Inc., founded in a Harvard dorm room by Mark Zuckerberg whose current value exceeds 100 billion USD, will be making an initial public offering (IPO) which is slated to be Silicon Valley’s biggest-ever. AFP PHOTO/Manjunath KIRANManjunath Kiran/AFP/GettyImages 

Facebook is going public on Friday. The company’s market valuation at the end of its first day of trading could top $100 billion. Instantly, scores of Facebook employees will become millionaires.

But what happens the following day? These newly wealthy folks will eventually have to ask themselves an important question: What should I do with this money?

As a couple who was fortunate enough to face that question when we benefited from Juniper Networks’ IPO more than a decade ago, we would urge Facebook’s employees to consider devoting a share of their newfound wealth to philanthropy.

They are well suited to charitable giving, but not just because they have money. They’ve proved that they rapidly can build a successful, innovative organization from scratch – as well as identify needs within a community and then meet them. Skills like these are crucial to solving the difficult social, scientific and political problems plaguing our world today.

The beneficiaries of Facebook’s IPO will soon find themselves with seemingly limitless options for their money. Previously unimaginable lifestyles will be within reach – but so will the ability to help people and causes in life-changing ways. And while it may be tempting to take care of all the friends and family who come calling, an ad hoc approach to charity can grow overwhelming – and lead to well-intentioned but counterproductive giving.

We chose to establish a nonprofit foundation to give our philanthropy a focused mission and structure – and to ensure that our good intentions yielded positive results.

In the same way, Facebookers who choose charity can take the lessons they’ve learned in their professional pursuits and apply them to their philanthropic goals.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provides an instructive model. It has a history of thoughtful, targeted and effective philanthropy. Metrics for success are clearly defined, and resources flow where those metrics indicate they can have the greatest impact.

The Gates foundation’s investments in vaccinations and antibiotics have saved millions of lives and generated billions in economic activity in Africa. But it has also admitted disappointing results from investments in small schools – and has worked to figure out why.

Such willingness to try new approaches to solving social problems – and to evaluate candidly whether they’re working – comes directly out of the culture of entrepreneurship embodied by Facebook and other Silicon Valley firms.

This week, many of Facebook’s employees will find themselves with newfound riches. They should enjoy the fruits of their labor.

But the world also needs their smarts – and their resources. Putting some of that money toward philanthropy could change the world – perhaps even more than their company has.

Kerry Olson and Dave Katz are co-founders of the Firelight Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the well-being of children made vulnerable by HIV, AIDS and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

This article appeared on page A – 16 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/16/ED1S1OIUV2.DTL#ixzz1vHIooa7c

Posted in Economic Justice, Social Action | Leave a Comment »

Welcome 2012: Occupy Love

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on December 30, 2011


Our wish for 2102 is that this year we will recognize the value of our hearts in true connective intelligence, and we will finally, collectively, Occupy Love.

Consider that the heart has its own intrinsic nervous system, a bundle of neurons in the heart that actually qualifies as a brain. Our heart brains communicate information to the brains in our heads—in fact, more information travels from the heart to the head than the other way around, the only organ for which this is true.  But we have to be receptive, in a psychophysiological way, to receive its subtle signals.

I’ve been looking for and have found some subtle signals within the Occupy movement that this could be a movement to promote change through love instead of chaos; that there’s an opportunity to replace old patterns of change based on being AGAINST that are slow and not resilient with ones that transcend based on being FOR.

So for our last post of 2011, I’m including links to those signals within Occupy.  May they get ever brighter.  At the end of the list is a special Vimeo treat created by NextNower Manuel Maqueda, and we echo his wish for us all:

May you flow like a big river, graceful, peaceful, and yet unstoppable in your great power, to bring about the profound changes we need in 2012 for the benefit of all.

Happy New Year 2012

If We Get OWS Right We Get Everything Right:  Ian MacKenzie:  Ultimately, we are protesting not only on behalf of the 99% left behind, but on behalf of the 1% as well. We have no enemies. We want everyone to wake up to the beauty of what we can create.  And within it the short film:  OWS: The Revolution is LoveOccupy4Love:  “Occupy4Love is a beacon for heart-centered individuals, groups, and organizations that are supporting the Love in Occupy”. Facebook page  Occupy Evolution:  “Supporting the Occupy movement in reaching its full evolutionary potential.”  The planned film, Occupy Love: “Occupy Love will be a moving, transformative feature documentary that asks the question: how are the economic and ecological crises we are facing today a great love story?”  Occupy Your Heart: “There is no higher wisdom than a loving heart.”  The 100% for a Peaceful Occupy:  This group was created for the coming together of the people that want to stand up for a peaceful, non-violent Occupy.  From John Steiner:  Compassion is Our New Currency:  “Young activists have spoken to me about the extraordinary richness of their experiences at Occupy, and they call it love.”  From the Daily Kos: Occupy Your Heart:  “They may not understand it on an intellectual level, but they showed me that when they occupy their hearts with love fear falls away.  And now I get it.  It’s not bravery or courage that propels the success of OWS, it is love.  When we occupy our hearts with love, fear flees and cannot stand against the power that emanates from the heart.

Also of interest:  Occupy Your Soul by Michael Meade

Recuerdos de los ríos Amazonas y Ucayali by Manuel Maqueda

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THRIVE Movie Premiers 11.11.11

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on November 8, 2011

Thanks to NextNowers Vic Desotelle and Bill Daul for circulating to our NextNowNetwork community.  The website is interesting.

“My name is Foster Gamble and I’ve spent nearly a lifetime trying to figure out what happened that could account for the staggering agony and deprivation on this planet.  I set out on a journey seeking to answer questions like, is it even possible for humans to thrive?  I found a code, a pattern in nature, that’s been embedded in arts and icons throughout the centuries.  Truth hidden.”

Posted in Collective Intelligence, Conscious Evolution, Cultural Creatives, Democracy, Digital Earth, Ecological Footprint, Economic Justice, Peace, Social Action, Social Tech, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

Gone in 60 Nanoseconds (Repost)

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on October 8, 2011

All I can say is *Just In Time* (and I have a new favorite joke).

By , Published: October 6

“We don’t allow faster-than-light neutrinos in here,” says the bartender.A neutrino walks into a bar.

— Joke circulating on the Internet

The world as we know it is on the brink of disintegration, on the verge of dissolution. No, I’m not talking about the collapse of the euro, of international finance, of the Western economies, of the democratic future, of the unipolar moment, of the American dream, of French banks, of Greece as a going concern, of Europe as an idea, of Pax Americana — the sinews of a postwar world that feels today to be unraveling.

I am talking about something far more important. Which is why it made only the back pages of your newspaper, if it made it at all. Scientists at CERN, the European high-energy physics consortium, have announced the discovery of a particle that can travel faster than light.

Neutrinos fired 454 miles from a supercollider outside Geneva to an underground laboratory in Gran Sasso, Italy, took less time (60 nanoseconds less) than light to get there. Or so the physicists think. Or so they measured. Or so they have concluded after checking for every possible artifact and experimental error.

The implications of such a discovery are so mind-boggling, however, that these same scientists immediately requested that other labs around the world try to replicate the experiment. Something must have been wrong — some faulty measurement, some overlooked contaminant — to account for a result that, if we know anything about the universe, is impossible.

And that’s the problem. It has to be impossible because, if not, if that did happen on this Orient Express hurtling between Switzerland and Italy, then everything we know about the universe is wrong.

The fundamental axiom of Einstein’s theory of relativity is the absolute prohibition on speed faster than light. Einstein’s predictions about how time slows and mass increases as one approaches the speed of light have been verified by a mountain of experimental evidence. As velocity increases, mass approaches infinity and time dilates, making it progressively and, ultimately, infinitely difficult to achieve light speed. Which is why nothing does. And nothing ever has.

Until two weeks ago Thursday.

That’s when the results were announced. To oversimplify grossly: If the Gran Sasso scientists had a plate to record the arrival of the neutrinos and a super-powerful telescope to peer (through the Alps!) directly into the lab in Geneva from which they were being fired, the Gran Sasso guys would have “heard” the neutrinos clanging against the plate before they observed the Geneva guys squeeze the trigger on the neutrino gun.

Sixty nanoseconds before, to be precise. Wrap your mind around that one.

It’s as if someone told you that yesterday at drive time Topeka was released from Earth’s gravity. These things don’t happen. Natural laws don’t just expire between shifts at McDonald’s.

Not that there aren’t already mysteries in physics. Neutrinos themselves are ghostly particles that travel through nearly everything unimpeded. (Thousands are traversing your body as you read this.) But that is simplicity itself compared to quantum mechanics, whose random arbitrariness so offended Einstein that he famously objected that God does not play dice with the universe.

Aphorisms don’t trump reality, however. They are but a frail, poignant protest against a universe that often disdains the most cherished human notions of order and elegance, truth and beauty.

But if quantum mechanics was a challenge to human sensibilities, this pesky Swiss-Italian neutrino is their undoing. It means that Einstein’s relativity — a theory of uncommon beauty upon which all of physics has been built for 100 years — is wrong. Not just inaccurate. Not just flawed. But deeply, fundamentally, indescribably wrong.

It means that the “standard model” of subatomic particles that stands at the center of all modern physics is wrong.

Nor does it stop there. This will not just overthrow physics. Astronomy and cosmology measure time and distance in the universe on the assumption of light speed as the cosmic limit. Their foundations will shake as well.

It cannot be. Yet, this is not a couple of guys in a garage peddling cold fusion. This is no crank wheeling a perpetual motion machine into the patent office. These are the best researchers in the world using the finest measuring instruments, having subjected their data to the highest levels of scrutiny, including six months of cross-checking by 160 scientists from 11 countries.

But there must be some error. Because otherwise everything changes. We shall need a new physics. A new cosmology. New understandings of past and future, of cause and effect. Then shortly and surely, new theologies.

Why? Because we can’t have neutrinos getting kicked out of taverns they have not yet entered.

letters@charleskrauthammer.com

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Inaugural BlueMind Summit

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on June 1, 2011

From NextNower Manuel Maqueda of Trash Island and Plastic Pollution Coalition, and whose organization BlooSee is a sponsor of the BlueMind Summit:

How does the ocean affect our brain?

Why does the sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste of the ocean set our souls at ease?

How does our “brain on ocean” behave?

These questions and much more are the subject of the BlueMind Summit, an unprecedented gathering that will bring together neuroscientists, ocean scientists, experts in technology forecasting, photographers, explorers, yogis, writers, artists, ocean advocates…

It will take place June 2, 2011 at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco

The BlueMind Summit is the brainchild of Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a noted sea turtle biologist, an ocean advocate, and a Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences.

You can watch the BlueMind Summit live June 2, 2011, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm PST (GMT-8) at http://justin.tv/calacademy

More information: http://bit.ly/Blue_Mind

Posted in Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

U.S. Peace Index makes TIME, USA Today

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on April 27, 2011

NextNow Collab met Steve Killelea in 2007 while preparing the Fifth International Symposium for Digital Earth.  Steve couldn’t make it to present at the conference but thanks to our ISDE5 team member Tim Foreman we caught up with him between flights at the San Francisco International Airport where he introduced The Peace Index.  We’ve been waiting all these years and it’s amazing to see the Peace Index of the United States completed and launched earlier this month.  Now, it’s making the news.

From their website and other sources:

Just two weeks ago, the Institute for Economics and Peace launched the first-ever United States Peace Index (USPI) and we have already seen a tremendous response.  Nearly 200 news stories have featured the report, with the USPI as a must-read story on USA Today and featured in TIME, the Huffington PostThe Washington Times and The Guardian, amongst many others.  We were overwhelmed not only by the level of the response but also by its positive tone.

The USPI ranks the 50 U.S. states according to their levels of peacefulness, identifies the environments associated with peace, and estimates the cost savings and additional economic activity of increased peace.  Click here to watch a short video about the findings.

The report finds that in the U.S., reductions in violent crime and incarceration to levels equal to Canada would yield an estimated $361 billion in direct savings and additional economic activity, and potentially create 2.7 million jobs.  It also shows that peace is linked to health, education, and opportunity but not related to political affiliation.

This research aims to further understand the types of environments that are associated with peace and to help quantify the economic benefits that could result from increases in peace, leading to a more informed discussion around these opportunities. The Index is now being used as a resource for policy discussions, with an op-ed on the report published by a U.S. Congressman and as a tool for advocacy.  Download the full report:

More on the index:

The inaugural United States Peace Index, created by the international think tank, Institute for Economics and Peace is the first-ever ranking of the fifty U.S. states based on their levels of peace. The U.S. Peace Index (USPI) shows Maine is the most peaceful U.S. state, while Louisiana is ranked the least peaceful.

The USPI report reveals that peace in the United States has improved since 1995 primarily driven by a substantial decrease in homicide and violent crime.

KEY FINDINGS

  • First-ever ranking of peace in the U.S. shows the nation has become more peaceful since 1995
  • Reductions in violence and crime to levels equal to Canada would yield an estimated $89 billion in direct savings, $272 billion in additional economic activity, and potentially create 2.7 million jobs.
  • New York, California and Texas record highest increases in peace since 1991, while North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana see largest declines
  • Peace is significantly correlated with factors related to  economic opportunity, education and health
  • Peace is politically neutral – neither Republican nor Democratic states have an advantage

Economic Impact – potential to create 2.7 million jobs

The Institute for Economics and Peace estimates that at a time when states and lawmakers in Washington are struggling to balance budgets, the USPI shows reductions in violence, crime and incarcerations to the same levels as Canada would result in $361 billion in savings and additional economic activity. This additional economic activity has the potential to create 2.7 million jobs, which would significantly reduce unemployment.

Education and health outcomes correlate strongly with peace

The USPI also finds that a state’s ranking is strongly correlated with various socio-economic factors including the high school graduation rate, access to health insurance and the rate of infant mortality. Significant economic correlants included the degree of income inequality and the rate of participation in the labor force. Meanwhile, factors such as median income and a state’s political affiliation had no discernable impact on a state’s level of peace.

WATCH THE VIDEO:


Posted in Peace | Leave a Comment »

Happy Earth Day. Now Text TREE.

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on April 22, 2011

This is what Times Square will look like between 10am-1pm tomorrow for Green World Campaign’s launch of “ReGreen the World” and TEXT TREE initiative. When you make a donation of $5 to plant 5 trees, the “treemometer” will go up turning Times Square into an urban forest. TEXT TREE to 85944. Follow @texttree on twitter and facebook at facebook.com/greenworldcampaign.

From NextNowCollab partner Marc Ian Barasch and Green World Campaign.  Text TREE and show your support for the planet.

On Friday, April 22, from the heart of Times Square, the Green World Campaign will launch a year-long initiative to “ReGreen the World.”  Supported by Earth Day New York, the GWC’s dazzling animated graphics will swirl across jumbo screens day and night, inviting spectators—and people across the country– to Text TREE to 85944 and ReGreen the World. It will be spectacular, with more than 10 jumbo screens involved—including the building-sized NASDAQ and American Eagle—turning Times Square into a virtual forest at regular intervals.

Go to vimeo.com/greenworld/texttree to see the video.

We’ll be using the same technology—text2give–deployed by the Red Cross for disaster relief. Here’s the basic way it works: When the word “tree” is texted to the number 85944 by anyone from anywhere in the U.S., a $5 donation will automatically be charged to their cellphone bill. The Green World Campaign will use this to plant 5 trees on degraded land from Kenya to Mexico, from India to the Philippines. Trees help restore biodiversity, reduce atmospheric CO2, revitalize soil and support economic self-sufficiency in struggling indigenous communities.

A $5 donation can be made right now–and repeated up to 5 times.

And here’s a cool feature: Contributions texted on Earth Day, April 22, between the hours 10 a.m and 1 p.m. EDT, will show up in real-time on a giant Toshiba display in Times Square.

So, we’re asking people to donate starting now, but especially to donate on the 22nd to visibly demonstrate how global citizens can work together to really “move the needle” for people and the planet. Anyone, anywhere in the U.S., at any time, can Text TREE to 85944 and $5 will go on the cell phone bill to plant trees to restore the ecology and economy of the world’s poorest places. And they will be able to go to the GWC to check our collective progress.

It will be like a national positive feedback loop of what we’re achieving together, what global citizens can do to tangibly change the world now and for generations to come (with a technology that has mostly been used until now for temporary relief efforts).  This is going to roll out in many other forms after Earth Day in the public domain.

PHOTO: This is our Green World Campaign-produced screen content for our Times Square “ReGreen the World” text TREE Earth Day initiative. It will be on 10 jumbo screens in Times Square this Friday, April 22, 2011 (including the building-sized NASDAQ and American Eagle screens) as part of Earth Day New York 2011, turning the urban environment into a virtual forest at regular intervals. This work supports the United Nations Year of Forests 2011.

PSA designed and donated by leading ad agency David & Goliath (L.A., Frankfurt, London) and Stockholm-based FilmTecknarna. Production was funded by a grant from the U.K.-based CBD Charitable Trust. Technical coordination of this complex project will be overseen by Tal Yarden, a leading New York video designer and multimedia programmer. An interactive “treemometer” created by leading game designer Greg Roach will display real-time updates of contributors, creating a unique “positive feedback loop” in public space. Project partners include EarthWays Foundation, CauseCast, the One Spirit Learning Alliance, Culture Shock Marketing, the Streaming Museum, Iva Kaufmann & Associates, Greg Roach & Spirit Quest World and Imagination, Inc.

Posted in Digital Earth, Ecological Footprint, Social Action, Social Tech, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

Cultural Creatives 1.0 – The (R)Evolution

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on March 30, 2011

This is a rendering of what 80 million points of light on a map of the United States might look like.  Those Points of Light are the Cultural Creatives.

From the website and other sources:

Cultural Creatives 1.0 – THE REVOLUTION is a documentary made by Frygis Fogel, an Hungarian independent filmmaker, on the topic of the Cultural Creatives, people who are taking an interest in improving the quality of life and making it sustainable for future generations. It is NOT a global organization or any kind of political movement, yet there are an increasing number of people showing an enormous change in consciousness, providing examples through their own initiatives, and giving humanity an opportunity to find solutions to the issues of the 21st century. The Cultural Creatives comprise over one third of the adult populations of the US, Europe, Japan, and many major cosmopolitan cities worldwide, all with a similar mindset. In the midst of many world crises, they are anticipating the future as an abundant opportunity.

Featuring many key figures from Europe and the U.S., this is the first documentary film to look with scientific thoroughness at the world of Cultural Creatives. It shows that a great mass of people think differently from the way propagated by the media and promoted by the establishment. By the end of the film it becomes evident that this huge mass, were it to become aware of its power, could change the world. Because Cultural Creatives are unstoppable and their number is continuously rising, the values they champion could soon become core values for human civilization generally.

Cultural Creatives are emerging without anybody organizing their presence, without anyone seeking to create political power from their existence, and without any group having any interest in them. They are emerging simply because in real historical development the growth of human consciousness can not be stopped, no matter how much today’s establishments and intellectual elites try to ignore and even hide their appearance.

So they are all here, among and around us: 80 million Cultural Creatives in the United States and 120 million in Europe, all with a similar mindset – the citizens of a new world. They are the ones who are really preparing the future and its new social structures for us, and are doing so right now. They are the ones who anticipate the future as an astonishing opportunity never before available to mankind throughout the whole course of its history here on earth. Their message: The time is ripe to take the shaping of social life into our own hands.

The principle researcher for the Cultural Creatives is Dr. Paul Ray of the Institute for the Emerging Wisdom Culture at Wisdom University, a partner with NextNow Collaboratory on various State of the World Forum initiatives.

Posted in Collective Intelligence, Cultural Creatives, Democracy, Economic Justice, Social Action, Social Tech, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

 
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