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Desconhecia completamente esta brutalidade

30.06.12

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"This mess we're in"

24.06.12

 

In the spring of 1932, in Compton, California, an unemployed World War I veteran walked out to the farms that still ringed Los Angeles. He offered his labor in return for a sack of vegetables, and that evening he returned with more than his family needed. The next day a neighbor went out with him to the fields. Within two months 500 families were members of the Unemployed Cooperative Relief Organization (UCRO).

That group became one of 45 units in an organization that served the needs of some 150,000 people.

It operated a large warehouse, a distribution center, a gas and service station, a refrigeration facility, a sewing shop, a shoe shop, even medical services, all on cooperative principles. Members were expected to work two days a week, and benefits were allocated according to need. A member with a wife and two kids got four times as much food as someone living alone. The organization was run democratically, and social support was as important as material support. Members helped one another resist evictions; sometimes they moved a family back in after a landlord had put them out. Unemployed utility workers turned on gas and electricity for families that had been cut off.

Conventional histories present the Depression as a story of the corporate market, foiled by its own internal flaws, versus the federal government, either savvy mechanic or misguided klutz, depending on your view.The government ascended, in the form of the New Deal; and so was born the polarity of our politics—and the range of our economic possibilities—ever since.

Yet there was another story too. It embodied the trusty American virtues of initiative, responsibility, and self-help, but in a way that was grounded in community and genuine economy. This other story played out all over the U.S., for a brief but suggestive moment in the early 1930s.

(...)

To say UXA and the other cooperative economies faced challenges is to put it mildly. They were going against the grain of an entire culture. Anti-communist “Red Squads” harassed them, while radicals complained they were too practical and not sufficiently committed to systemic change.

But the main thing that killed the co-ops was the Works Progress Administration and its cash jobs. Those WPA jobs were desperately needed. But someof them were make-work, while the co-op work was genuinely productive.

The co-ops pleaded with FDR's Administration to include them in the WPA. Local governments were helping with gasoline and oil. But the New Dealers weren't interested, and the co-ops melted away. For years they were period pieces, like soup lines and Okies.

Or so it seemed.

Today, the signs of financial and ecological collapse are mounting. We are strung out on foreign debt and foreign oil, and riding real estate inflation that won't last forever. Add the impendingc ollapse of the natural life support system, and the '30s could seem benign by comparison.

In this setting, the economics of self-help are increasingly relevant. The possibility of creating such an economy, though, might seem remote. In the 1930s, there still were farms on the outskirts of cities—family operations that could make barter deals on the spot. Factories were nearby too. Products were simple and made to last, and so could be scavenged and repaired.

(...)

Today's best ideas are often to be found among those rejected in the past. “We are not going back to barter, ”Carl Rhodehamel of UXA once said. “We are going forward into barter. We are feeling our way along, developing a new science.”

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Acho que já postei isto ...

19.06.12

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"Legionnaire In Algiers "

17.06.12

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Neo-Folk trying very hard not to be gay

17.06.12

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"Physicists Convert Information Into Energy"

15.06.12

 

 

Here's a fascinating piece of work. Build a tiny staircase and place a small polystyrene bead on the bottom step (a staircase is fairly straightforward to construct using electric fields).

It's easy to see the bead being jostled around by the random motion of molecules in the surrounding air, the well-known phenomenon of Brownian motion.

Most of the time, the Brownian motion tends to knock the bead down the stairs but sometimes the jostling is powerful enough to push the bead up a step.

Keep a close eye on the bead using a video camera and every time you see it go up a step, change the electric field so that it cannot drop back down again. This is like placing a barrier behind the bead.

As you repeat this process, the bead will move up the staircase, driven by Brownian motion.

This is exactly the experiment that Shoichi Toyabe at Chuo University in Tokyo and a few buddies have successfully carried out. The implication is that the bead is somehow able to extract energy from the environment, which at first sight, looks like a blatant violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics .

Of course, there's more to this than first appears. Toyabe and co's work is an experimental version of the famous Maxwell's demon. Imagine a box filled with air but divided in half by a barrier. Maxwell's demon is an imaginary being capable of opening the barrier to allow fast moving molecules through while closing it for slower ones.

Eventually, the fast moving molecules end up on one side of the barrier which becomes hotter than the other side, even though no energy has been added to the system.

The question is whether or not Maxwell's demon violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics which is that heat cannot flow from a cool to a hot system by itself.

The most recent thinking is that Maxwell's demon does not violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics because it has to measure the velocity of all the molecules before deciding which to let through and this requires energy. When this is taken into account, there is no violation.

But here's the curious thing. There is no conventional transfer of energy into the system: no heating or accelerating of molecules or some such. Instead, information itself seems to be the medium through which energy is transferred.

That kind of thinking has been a theoretical curiosity, until now. Toyabe and friends' have actually done it, the first experimental demonstration of this kind of energy transmission. In effect they've converted information into energy in this system.

There's no violation of thermodynamics here. These guys use a video camera to determine the position of the bead so when the camera's energy budget is taken into account, everything works out as the laws of thermodynamics predict.

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"Bodhisattva in metro"

15.06.12

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Queremos voltar sempre aonde fomos felizes.

14.06.12

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É a voz.

13.06.12

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Time flows unseen and unattended

13.06.12

 

"There are twenty years to go
And twenty ways to know
Who'll wear, who'll wear the hat

There are twenty years to go
The best of all I hope
Enjoy the ride
The medicine show

Thems the breaks
For we designer fakes
We need to concentrate on more than meets the eye

There are twenty years to go
The faithful and the low
The best of starts, the broken heart, the stone

There are twenty years to go
The punch drunk and the blow
The worst of starts, the mercy part, the phone

And thems the breaks
For we designer fakes
We need to concentrate on more than meets the eye

Thems the breaks
For we designer fakes
But it's you i take, cause you're the truth, not I

There are twenty years to go
A golden age I know
But all will pass will end too fast you know

There are twenty years to go
And many friends I hope
Though some may hold the rose
Some hold the rope

That's the end - and that's the start of it
That's the whole - and that's the part of it
That's the hide - and that's the heart of it
That's the long - and that's the short of it
That's the best - and that's the test in it
That's the doubt - doubt, not trust in it
That's the sight - and that's the sound of it
That's the gift - and that's the trick in it

You're the truth, not I, you're the truth, not I
You're the truth, not I, you're the truth, not I

You're the truth, not I, you're the truth, not I
You're the truth, not I, You're the truth, not I."

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