Shelter is one of humanity’s most basic needs. But a house is a luxury beyond the wildest dreams of most people in the developed world–leading to dangerous and unsanitary shantytowns, which compound the problems of poverty and disease. The $300 House Project, for which designers were asked to figure out a way to construct a simple house for $300 or less, aimed to solve this problem, by creating cheap and simple to build houses that could be built on a massive scale. The winners–judged by luminaries like Yves Behar and Umair Haque–were recently announced.
Design is undergoing a revolution. Technology is empowering more people to create and disseminate designs, and professionals and enthusiasts are using it to share their work with the world. Open design is changing everything from furniture to how designers make a living.
Open Design Now: Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive surveys this emerging field for the first time. Insiders including John Thackara, Droog Design’s Renny Ramakers and Bre Pettis look at what’s driving open design and where it’s going. They examine new business models and issues of copyright, sustainability and social critique. Case studies show how projects ranging from the RepRap self-replicating 3D-printer to $50 prosthetic legs are changing the world.
via: Ars Technica
In a sure sign that the virtual currency Bitcoin has hit the mainstream, a new Trojan horse program discovered in the wild Thursday seeks out and steals victims’ Bitcoin wallets, the same way other malware goes for their banking passwords or credit card numbers.
Oh, the bailout was a massive scam? What a total shock.
via: Huffington Post
A newly-released study from the Congressional Research Service bolsters claims that the nation’s largest banks profited off the Federal Reserve’s financial crisis-era programs by borrowing cash for next to nothing, then lending it back to the federal government at substantially higher rates.
The report reinforces long-held beliefs that the banking system in essence engaged in taxpayer-financed arbitrage: They got money for free, then lent it back to Uncle Sam while collecting juicy returns. Left out of the equation are the millions of everyday borrowers, like households and small businesses, who were unable to secure loans needed to tide them over until the crisis ended.
Rising food prices are tightening the squeeze on populations already struggling to buy adequate food, demanding radical reform of the global food system, Oxfam has warned.
By 2030, the average cost of key crops could increase by between 120% and 180%, the charity forecasts.
It is the acceleration of a trend which has already seen food prices double in the last 20 years.
Half of the rise to come will be caused by climate change, Oxfam predicts.
It calls on world leaders to improve regulation of food markets and invest in a global climate fund.
“The food system must be overhauled if we are to overcome the increasingly pressing challenges of climate change, spiralling food prices and the scarcity of land, water and energy,” said Barbara Stocking, Oxfam’s chief executive.
There’s a knot in my stomach after reading this article. Hedge fund managers are buying up farmland because they’re scared of the apocalypse. No, hedge fund managers buying up farmland will create the apocalypse. Wall Street will do to agriculture what it did to real estate, manufacturing, et. al
via: The Observer
A study commissioned by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and released in January estimated the amount of private capital currently committed to farmland and agricultural infrastructure at $14 billion. It also estimated that future investments will “dwarf” what’s currently being thrown into land, by two to three times. Further down, the study makes a conservative projection that the amount of capital potentially entering the sector over the next decade will fly past $150 billion.
via Rolling Stones
They weren’t murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.
Thanks to an extraordinary investigative effort by a Senate subcommittee that unilaterally decided to take up the burden the criminal justice system has repeatedly refused to shoulder, we now know exactly what Goldman Sachs executives like Lloyd Blankfein and Daniel Sparks lied about. We know exactly how they and other top Goldman executives, including David Viniar and Thomas Montag, defrauded their clients. America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn’t leave much doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial.
see earlier post: Sedgwick Maine declares food sovereignty
In the state that made international news this year when three towns passed a food sovereignty ordinance, two bills that would have bolstered them at the state level met with defeat in Maine’s legislative Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.
Sponsored by Rep. Walter Kumiega, LD 366 was rejected by the Ag Committee on May 11. The raw milk bill would have obviated licensing for the direct sale from farmer to consumer and protected small operations from overly burdensome rules recently imposed at the bureaucratic level.
“Requiring someone with two cows or a handful of goats to invest ten thousand dollars or more to build an inspectable facility doesn’t make economic sense,” Kumiega told Food Freedom. “Hand milking is a perfectly acceptable method and does not need the same facilities that a machine milking operation does. LD 366 seeks to restore an exemption that was a standard practice up until two years ago, when it was changed by an administrative decision.”
In response to the Ag Committee’s issuance of a Majority Ought Not to Pass report on LD 366, Kumiega requested a roll call, which showed that by a vote of 80-70, the House accepted the Ag Committee’s recommendation not to pass the bill.
The bill goes to the Senate now, and will come back to the House for another vote, he said, advising that he may work on an amendment with a member of the Ag Committee and run it again.