The Fungus

A ‘Think Tank’ blog that promotes the spreading of Peace, Love, Creativity, Awareness, Knowledge, Wisdom, Happiness and Purpose

TED Long therm thinking necessary in short term fire

Posted by thefungus on February 18, 2009

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How creativity is being strangled by the law.

Posted by thefungus on February 17, 2009

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John Frusciante’s New Album The Empyrean

Posted by thefungus on February 16, 2009

 

One of the greatest musicians alive, John Frusciante discusses some of his ideas on his latest album, The Empyrean…

Imrael

 

Lyrically this record became a concept album and was not initially written that way though I had a clear idea of what sort of things I wanted to write about.  I did not write the songs as a character but as myself. The form revealed itself as it took shape and I added songs to complete the flow I perceived. I also left off two songs since the singer’s words were somewhat from the inside out. All the remaining songs lyrical viewpoint is from the inside in. They are very personal, hence my being uncomfortable talking about them in any specific terms.  Even in the long “description” I wrote, I’m being very cagey. The actual experience was, and is, very specific and did not involve anything vague. But to explain it in plain terms would serve no purpose other than to make me look insane to people who have no correlating inner experience. What I’ve said so far is vague insomuch as it has to be to be open and universal. But I’ve said enough to where anyone who has had a similar inner experience may be gently directed towards finding some clarity in areas, which are confusing. I’m sharing it to the degree I am because I have, at times, been so lost in the course of my life, and have been gently directed towards making sense of lots of confusing things from reading certain writers and from obsessing on lyrics of rock songs about this same subject, of which I believe there to be many, though perhaps often unbeknownst to the writers of the songs themselves.

We are all reaching up in our own way and so even when we choose concrete things as the object of our desire, I feel that they are only symbols and that the real object of our desire is the creative force inherent in everything. It is what created us and perpetuates our lives, and so our creations are its creations.   Kind of like if you built a robot that could think and feel, and then it painted a picture, that picture would be the result of the precise structure of thought and feeling you endowed the robot with. We’re all grateful for what we’ve been given. Even when we are unhappy with everything, its “poor me”, showing that we still think of that “me” and its feelings, as having a lot of significance. It’s a pretty amazing thing to have this complex network of thought and feeling in these bodies. From where does it come?  We’ve traced the cause of matter to something that required the preexistence of time, the principles of motion, space and many other things. The laws of motion, time and the space everything exists into, all have an untraced cause. And likewise we don’t have any idea where things like perception and thought came from.  So why anything whatsoever exists, whether as actuality or potential, is unknown. I just attribute all these things to the creative force, since, though its essence is unknown, it is in plain view inside each one of us. And it becomes clearer the more generative and positive a persons thoughts and actions are, until it doesn’t seem unknown at all. Our own creative nature is a small version of the creative force we owe existence to, so we can understand that force for ourselves just by doing creative acts.

The life giving properties that the suns rays contain is something we imitate ourselves, whether by smiling at someone or telling a joke, or singing a song. It is a human need when you feel something inside to express it outwardly. And that life giving substance the sun shines out is a lot like our own creative actions. The sun is telling us that if you repeat an action every day (like learning something, playing something or making something), the object of your efforts will grow and grow. Your ability to express yourself or to give to the world around you will grow with your persistence in doing whatever that thing is you do. And even though the sun appears to go up and down, having its process of apparently rising up, peaking, going down, and then hiding, science has taught us that this only appears this way to our point of view and it is circling around, and shining at full strength always. Likewise our own ups and downs just appear as they do to us. In actuality we are thriving all the time.  Everything we do is directed towards shining our form of light.  We couldn’t do it if we were just peaking all the time, just as life as we know it would end if the sun always stayed at what appears to us as its highest point of strength. A person could never exceed at something if they just did it once in a while, it’s a hint and half that the thing we owe our existence to repeats its rounds every day. Persistence is an incredibly potent thing. We are lucky that life isn’t like dreams, in which the result of our actions is lost by the next dream. Here we have the ability to build a thing from day to day, whether it is skill at something or an actual edifice. Whether in the physical world or in our minds, this principle stands. We read one page of a book, and upon reading the next page its events appear to us as following the last one. In music, one note leads to the next, the new one heard in relationship to the ones, which preceded it. Or we learn the basics of something and then gradually learn that subjects complexities. These gifts are ours to do whatever we want with.

Trying and giving up go hand in hand. But it’s trying that deserves the attention of our will. Giving up is just breathing out. Breathing in is the one we need to remember to do.  Breathing out naturally follows. The important thing is just to keep breathing. To try and then just go through all that happens, including not trying. And so we hold our breath sometimes. These things aren’t problems. They are just living. As long as the message you send yourself is that it is important to you to be guided by the creative force inside you, in the long run you are on the same path as the sun. Of course you’ll seem to go up and down, and be in darkness and light. That’s life. The reality of it is that you are a shining star circling through space all the time. So by making your own circular actions (doing some creative or educational activity consistently) you will naturally become more of what you really are. And you are that already. It’s just a game to learn to be it more completely amidst environment, and the illusions of constant change and separateness. One entirety of everything is all there is, ever was, and ever will be.

Posted in Art, love, poetry, Sounds | 1 Comment »

A People’s History of American Empire by Howard Zinn

Posted by thefungus on February 16, 2009

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U.S. photographer Anthony Suau wins World Press Photo contest

Posted by thefungus on February 14, 2009

suau-worldpress-cp-6244582

World Press Photo of the year 2008 was taken by American photographer Anthony Suau for a Time piece on the troubled U.S. economy. Following an eviction, Det. Robert Kole ensures the residents have moved out of their home in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 26, 2008. (World Press Photo)

Image of officer searching foreclosed home captures top photo prize

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/artdesign/story/2009/02/13/worldpress-photo-suau.html

Celebrated American photographer Anthony Suau, whose lens has captured tragic conflicts and human crises from Ethiopia to South Korea, is the top winner of the 2009 World Press Photo competition.

For its prestigious Photo of the Year prize, the World Press international jury chose Suau’s image of a Cleveland, Ohio, sheriff’s office police detective — handgun drawn — searching a looted, debris-strewn home after the owners had been evicted.
The jury, comprising international photography professionals, also named winners in 20 other categories, including:

Canadian winners include Kevin Frayer of the Associated Press, who won third prize in the general news, singles category.

“The strength of the picture is in its opposites. It’s a double entendre,” jury chair MaryAnne Golon said in a statement released Friday.

“Now war in its classic sense is coming into people’s houses because they can’t pay their mortgages.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Hot Docs has $40,000 for best Canadian pitch

Posted by thefungus on January 26, 2009

Last Updated: Monday, January 26, 2009 | 5:58 PM ET Comments0Recommend5

Hot Docs, Toronto’s annual festival of documentary film, is offering a new $40,000 grant to the best Canadian pitch at this year’s Toronto Documentary Forum.

The forum, an international marketplace for the documentary industry held at the Toronto festival, allows filmmakers to rub shoulders from producers from around the world.

The best pitch award is part of the Canwest-Hot Docs Fund created last year to increase the quantity and quality of Canadian documentaries.

That fund has already handed out $584,000 to Canadian documentary makers.

Participants, to be selected by a group of industry professionals, will have 15 minutes to present their pitch to assembled financiers on May 6 and 7.

Hot Docs will also host the Good Pitch, a project by Britain’s Channel 4 and Sundance to link documentary makers interested in social change with others who might have the same interests.

The pitch process links filmmakers with NGOs, charities, ad agencies and media, as well as other potential sources of financing, to work toward a common goal.

The Good Pitch was created three years ago in Britain as a way of creating a market for films that would inspire people to give money, change laws or influence others.

“Films are the best medium for changing hearts, minds and lives, by bringing stories and issues to the widest possible audiences,” the Good Pitch website says. “Films inspire people to engage; with the characters, with the stories, with the issues.”

The Good Pitch is making its first tour of North America with the Sundance Institute and Hot Docs is its first stop.

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BC Elections Are Coming Up…

Posted by Change the Game on January 22, 2009

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fog

So here are a few useful links/blogs:

We’ll try and keep this list active and expand as we find more.  If you know of better ones, add them to the comments.

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Mel Lehan beats Gordon Campbell in 2009

Posted by Change the Game on January 22, 2009

It could happen, it just depends on how much work the people of Vancouver Point-Grey are willing to put into a campaign.

Mel at UBC Farm.  Image from the Georgia Straight

Mel at UBC Farm. Image from the Georgia Straight

Who is Mel Lehan? Well, for all you greenies, even David Suziki wants people to recognize and support the work Mel has done in the community.  The MAYOR OF KITSILANO is already getting geared up to take on “never likes to sit in the legislature and debate” guy.

What happened Last time…

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bAng* bAng*

Posted by thefungus on January 10, 2009

A Bid to Curb Violence Before It Is Learned

By MARC LACEY
Published: January 10, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/world/americas/11mexico.html?hp

MEXICO CITY — Over the Christmas holidays, Othón Cuevas Córdova, a Mexican congressman, had his life threatened, albeit in jest. His young nephew pointed a toy pistol that he had received as a gift at the lawmaker and said, “Tío, I’m going to kill you.”

Mr. Cuevas was not amused. He talked to the boy’s parents about the inappropriateness of giving a child a weapon, even a plastic one, in a country so overrun with violence. And he sped up the introduction in Mexico’s National Assembly of a legislative ban on the fabrication, importation and sale of toy guns and other warlike toys.

“The boy was so young he could barely say the words,” said Mr. Cueva, who is from Mexico’s southern Oaxaca State and represents the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution. “But from infancy, children are learning the culture of violence and we need to do something about it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Stop Gap Housing’ Idea Could Make Big Dent in Homelessness

Posted by Change the Game on December 22, 2008

A plan to house Vancouver’s homeless is taking shape on the drawing board of a local architect. It calls for the rapid erection of temporary villages assembled from the same type of modular units that mining companies provide for remote workers.

“Stop Gap Housing” is what architect Gregory Henriquez calls it.

“All of us in this community have long been advocates for permanent housing,” he said. “But we’ve gotten to the point where the numbers of homeless are so staggering that I’m left wondering if we will ever catch up doing it that way. I don’t think we can. I think there has to be a stop-gap measure. And that’s what this is.”

Henriquez, whose Woodward’s includes 200 units of social housing built to last hundreds of years, stressed that Stop Gap Housing would never replace permanent homes.

“It’s portable dwellings. It’s not meant to be a permanent fixture on the landscape. But it could serve for several years until we complete the construction of permanent housing,” he said. “I think it’s better than leaving people homeless.”

It’s also cheaper.

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Khoda by Reza Dolatabadi – http://www.vimeo.com/2074812

Posted by thefungus on December 20, 2008

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Music industry moves to disconnect file sharers in U.S.

Posted by thefungus on December 20, 2008

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2008/12/19/tech-music.html

The U.S. recording industry is shifting away from suing file sharers and toward working out deals with internet service providers that could see downloaders have their access cut off, but the issue in Canada is still muddy because of a lack of clear copyright law.

The Recording Industry Association of America on Friday said it was changing its approach to one it hopes will be more effective in persuading people to stop downloading music illegally. More than 35,000 Americans have been sued since 2003, but the percentage of internet users who pirate music has stayed steady at around 20 per cent, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Under the new approach, the RIAA will send an e-mail to an ISP when it believes one of the service provider’s customers is downloading music illegally. Depending on the deal set up with the service provider, customers will receive warnings, possibly followed by a slow-down in their connection speed and ultimately a cancellation of their access.

Read the rest of this entry »

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I Met the Walrus – the song remains the same

Posted by thefungus on August 7, 2008

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Craig Smith: ‘What are we so unhappy about?”

Posted by thefungus on June 25, 2008

My mom recently sent me this email explaining how 67% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way their country is going. The author explains that Americans are ‘spoiled brats’ because we have so much to be thankful for (electricity, running water, freedoms etc.) and that rather than look at the bigger picture we should be grateful for what our leaders are doing for us. Here is my response. I encourage you to check out the original email from Craig Smith, but essentially it’s neatly disguised pro-bush propaganda. Remember folks, interpret all the information you are exposed to and then come to your own conclusions; don’t let anyone think for you.

Dear Mom,

I like the emphasis on seeing the good and appreciating all that we have. We are truly blessed to be alive in the most exciting time in all of human history. Life is an amazing gift and to be able to truly live in the magic of the moment is what God asks of us. Re-read the 9 steps of spirituality by Brother Wayne Teasdale (I believe i sent this to you a long time ago… i’ll look for it again and re-send it to you)….. When you truly achieve oneness with yourself, with the universe, you have reached step 8. At this point you realize that selfless servitude to others to help them along their spiritual journey so that they may also achieve the oneness/satori/the zen etc… is part and parcel of our own spiritual quest. This means making a difference in the people’s lives that mean the most to you… family and friends can gain much strength from each of us…. However, it also means creating change on a more massive scale. Analyzing the politics/policies/laws/ etc. that impact our fellow man’s ability to be free, to have their basic needs met, and to realize that a MUCH better future is very easily possible if we actually become active members of society is how we can influence change on a major scale that ultimately can help more and more of us wake up from our daze and start to live life passionately again.

In many ways the average canadian/american lives life more comfortably than the wealthiest kings of past eras. In many ways our culture/lifestyle is preventing many of us from fully realizing our potential. There is a massive rise of anxiety and attention deficit disorders, depression, suicide, workplace violence, addiction… According to a 1992 World Health Organization study we are 3 times more likely to become depressed than our grandparents were at our age. A quarter of the US population will experience some symptoms of depression during their lives. While we may have adequate drinking water, police protection, clean hotels, etc. we as humans are still in a state of evolution. We work 8-10 hours a day (many of us in a job that we despise), we come home exhausted, put a microwave dinner in the microwave, turn on the reality t.v. and deep inside wish we were alive. Sure this cozy lifestyle is better than a lot of places in the world that experience great political and military turmoil. But are we truly better off and more ‘free’ than that tribe that was recently discovered in brazil that may be one of the last tribes that has not been exposed to the ‘real world’? The old evolution has always been about the efficiency of society… the agricultural revolution, the industrial/scientific revolution…. the new evolution is about the evolution of the individual… the new evolution is about the individual’s growth in the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical realm. Quantum mechanics (science) has come full circle… science originally branched from religion to seek truth and rationality and to get away from faith based logic….. what science is telling us now is that the power of our minds, the power of love, the power of living life in harmony with ourselves and with each other is helping us to realize the potential of our evolution. We are in the dawn of the new era… the age of aquarius is upon us… the spiritual prophets and visionaries have spoken about this time since the beginning of time. This is a new era of human consciousness…. We need leaders who are truly in tune with humanity, with the planet, with themselves to guide us. The policies of George Bush and Stephen Harper are steeped in corruption and evil… they are not true leaders…  They are not spiritually in tune with themselves, with the planet, or with humanity as a whole…George bush can go to church every single sunday but it doesn’t take a prophet to recognize that he is spiritually empty. We are all spiritual beings and we are no better or worse than any one else, therefore we cannot judge. However, we can recognize when someone is ‘in tune’ and we have to use our judgement when electing leaders, especially the leaders who make the most impact on all of humanity and the planet. We have much to be extremely grateful for, but if our good fortune is at the stake of someone else’s than we can not be truly satisfied until everyone has the same opportunities to be free and to pursue their spiritual journey. Killing the taliban and replacing them with warlords is not the solution… how long will it take before we wake up and learn from our mistakes? A visionary like Depak Chopra makes wonderful arguments about the political force of love and spirituality, and 4 years under the guidance and leadership of a man like him could make the whole world wake up. Big business, big agriculture, big pharma, big industry, big oil have benefited from spiritually inept, corrupt, dishonest, deceitful, evil ‘leaders’ like bush, reagan, harper etc. for too long. Unfortunately when a visionary leader comes into power in a country like venezuela or guatemala and tries to free their people from the chains of american ‘big’ interests, they get assassinated. The CIA has mingled in the affairs of every leader who displays courage, a desire for change, a desire to truly help the poor and disenfranchised and the CIA has readily admitted to doing unspeakable things. Read the book “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” to learn more about this, and to verify any doubts you may have. The countries that we love so much have done many horrible and unspeakable things around the world because of the greed and lust for power that our system creates. I love life to the brim; without living in a location as free as Vancouver I likely would not have evolved into the person that I am today. That being said, I think we need to look at the direction that we are headed in as a country and find the strength to do what is right…. in our day to day lives as well as on the political scene.

I have hope for obama. he sounds like he speaks the truth. I am also hesitant to place complete trust in him. I know that he is backed by a lot of very powerful men. I also know that he is upsetting a lot of very powerful men. I hope he is able to initiate major change, and I hope he is able to open up the eyes, the minds and the hearts of the American people to help America as a whole lose their ego. Disconnection from our ego is a very potent spiritual message delivered by many very wise spiritual men and women, and America as a whole needs to lose its ego. Gorbachev referred to it as America’s “winning complex”, the idea that America believes it is the best and needs to always win and be the best. This is a horrible trait in an individual…. arrogant, snotty, ignorant, bullyish, naive….. and it is very evident to the rest of the world that America displays these same traits in both their domestic and foreign policies. Neither America or Israel are any more God’s chosen people than the Australians, the Argentinians, the Bangladesh, the Rawandans, etc. and it is blasphemous to believe that. We are all God’s children, and until America the great wakes up, realizes that, and truly starts to act like that I will continue to be critical.

Yes we are extremely lucky… Yes there is a lot more goodness in our lives than bad… However, the arguments made by Craig Smith are redundant, superficial, and are part of the ‘old-paradigm’ evolution that  needs to be subject to de-emphasis. Sure, pumping money and fear into a war on terror might protect us from terrorists this year, maybe next, maybe even the next year. But eventually we need to take a step back and critically analyze the real issues that are causing terrorism because this ‘shield’ is artificial and will crack.

There are many authors, visionaries, poets, politicians etc. that communicate on a very deep level and are very worthy of all of our attention.

Posted in Human Rights, love, machine, poetry, resistance, science, Sessions-Reflections, spirituality, terrorism, The Goodness, USA 2008 election | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Canada must withdraw from ‘inhumane’ war: Taliban spokesman

Posted by thefungus on June 13, 2008

A Taliban spokesman is urging Canadians to pressure their government to pull its troops out of war-torn Afghanistan.

In an interview with CBC News, Qari Yousef Ahmadi said Canadians are involved in the war only because the United States influenced them to join.

“I ask the Canadian people to ask their government to stop their destructive and inhumane mission and withdraw your troops,” said Ahmadi, speaking on his cellphone from an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.

“Our war will continue as long as your occupation forces are in our land.”

Ahmadi, considered by Western media outlets to be a legitimate representative of the Taliban central council, said the Taliban will continue to fight occupation forces until they are driven out of the country, just as the Afghan mujahedeen resistance continued to fight Russian troops until they withdrew in the 1980s.

Ahmadi said if the public knew the truth about the Afghan war, they would be horrified.

He said NATO countries are hiding the true number of casualties they’ve had since the mission began in 2001.

Killing more civilians

He also argued that while NATO accuses the Taliban of killing more civilians than soldiers with their suicide bombing, the United States is killing even more civilians when it bombs villages and towns.

“I invite you to contact these people in the villages; you can find out for yourself,” he said.

Independent Canadian military analyst Sunil Ram said some of Ahmadi’s points are not completely off base. Ram said independent studies show that the American military has underestimated the number of U.S. soldiers killed and wounded.

Ram said Canada’s tally of dead soldiers is accurate — a total of 85 soldiers have been killed since Canada first sent troops to Afghanistan in February, 2002.

But Ram noted that the number of wounded has never been made clear.

He also agrees that the U.S. has done widespread bombings during the mission.

“The Americans will come in and flatten a village,” he said. “It’s standard tactic.”

Eradication of poppies ‘secondary’

Ahmadi also touched on the Afghan drug trade in his interview with CBC News, denying the allegations that the Taliban are funded by profits from poppy crops and the heroin trade.

He said that while the Taliban are against the drug trade, because they are Islamic, the organization is not focused on eradicating Afghanistan’s numerous poppy fields.

“Our priority is to expel the foreign soldiers who have invaded our countries,” he said. “At the moment, eradication of the poppies is a secondary issue.”

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“Turn on, tune in, drop out”

Posted by thefungus on June 12, 2008

“Turn on, tune in, drop out” is a counterculture phrase coined by Timothy Leary in the 1960s. The phrase came to him in the shower one day after Marshall McLuhan suggested to Leary that he come up with “something snappy” to promote the benefits of LSD. It is an excerpt from a prepared speech he delivered at the opening of a press conference in New York City on September 19, 1966. This phrase urged people to cultural changes through the use of psychedelics and by detaching themselves from the existing conventions and hierarchies in society. The phrase was derided by more conservative critics.

The phrase is derived from this part of Leary’s speech: “Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present — turn on, tune in, drop out.”

Leary later explained in his 1983 autobiography Flashbacks:

‘Turn on’ meant go within to activate your neural and genetic equipment. Become sensitive to the many and various levels of consciousness and the specific triggers that engage them. Drugs were one way to accomplish this end. ‘Tune in’ meant interact harmoniously with the world around you – externalize, materialize, express your new internal perspectives. Drop out suggested an elective, selective, graceful process of detachment from involuntary or unconscious commitments. ‘Drop Out’ meant self-reliance, a discovery of one’s singularity, a commitment to mobility, choice, and change. Unhappily my explanations of this sequence of personal development were often misinterpreted to mean ‘Get stoned and abandon all constructive activity’.

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Copyright law could result in police state: critics

Posted by thefungus on June 12, 2008

CBC News
The government has introduced a controversial bill it says balances the rights of copyright holders and consumers – but it opens millions of Canadians to huge lawsuits.

“We are confident we have developed the proper framework at this point in time,” Minister of Industry Jim Prentice told a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday. “This bill reflects a win-win approach.”

However, Liberal industry critic Scott Brison blasted the government for its lack of consultation with Canadian stakeholders and for not considering the implications of the bill if it passes.

“There’s no excuse for why the government has not consulted broadly the diverse stakeholders,” he said. “The government has not thought this through. It has not thought about how it will enforce these provisions.”

“There’s a fine line between protecting creators and a police state.”

Bill C-61 spells out consumers’ rights in how they are allowed to copy media. While existing laws make it illegal to copy books, newspapers, periodicals, photographs, videocassettes and music, the new bill would allow consumers to make one copy of each item per device owned, such as a computer or MP3 player. The bill would also allow consumers to record television and radio programs for later viewing, which is technically prohibited by existing laws.

The Conservatives’ bill, however, also contains an anti-circumvention clause that will make it illegal to break digital locks on copyrighted material, which critics say could trump all of the new allowances. CD and DVD makers could put copy protections onto their discs, or television networks could attach technological flags to programs that would prevent them from being recorded onto TiVos and other personal video recorders. Cellphones would also be locked down, so when consumers buy a device from one carrier, they will be unable to use it with another. Breaking any of these locks could result in lawsuits seeking up to $20,000 in damages.

University of Ottawa internet law professor Michael Geist, a vocal opponent of the legislation, said the anti-circumvention clause invalidates all the other new provisions.

“They’ve got a few headline-grabbing reforms but the reality is those are also undermined by this anti-circumvention legislation. They’ve essentially provided digital rights to the U.S. and entertainment lobby and a few analog rights to Canadians,” Geist told CBCNews.ca. “The truth of the matter is the reforms are laden with all sorts of limitations and in some cases rendered inoperable.”

Cory Doctorow, co-editor of the influential Boing Boing blog, said the anti-circumvention clause will lead to a revival of digital rights management, or the software that prevents media from being copied. The entertainment industry has for the past few years been moving away from protecting its content with DRM because consumers have shied away from buying restricted media.

“You have to wonder what they’re smoking on Parliament Hill if they think there’s this compelling need for DRM, given that the marketplace seems to be rejecting it left, right and centre,” he told CBCNews.ca.

YouTube uploads could bring lawsuits

People caught downloading music or video files illegally could also be sued for a maximum of $500, but uploading a file to a peer-to-peer network or YouTube could result in lawsuits of $20,000 per file.

Canadian internet service providers, meanwhile, would continue to be immune to lawsuits from copyright holders for infringements over their networks. The bill recognizes ISPs as intermediaries and would only require them to pass on violation notices from copyright holders to their customers.

Prentice deflected questions about potential lawsuits by saying the bill is necessary to modernize Canada’s laws and bring it up to date with its obligations under the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaty it signed more than a decade ago.

“You can get into hypothetical situations,” he said, “but the purpose of the bill has been to expand the balance of protection between consumers and copyright holders.”

“In fact, it touches each and every one of us, and it is no surprise to find so many different points of view with respect to copyright,” he said.

The bill will receive its second reading after Parliament’s summer break, which is expected to begin soon. Brison told CBCNews.ca that the Liberals plan to put together amendments to the bill over the summer.

Bill praised by video game, music industry groups

Some copyright holders voiced their support for the new bill. The Entertainment Software Association of Canada, the video game industry’s lobby group, praised the legislation for trying to protect Canada’s industries and artists from theft.

“It’s simple: Every time someone acquires an illegal copy of a video game, money, in turn, is not going to those Canadians who work so hard to develop and publish games. That’s money that cannot be reinvested in creativity, job growth and industry development,” Joan Ramsay, president of the group’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Copyright reform is essential to strengthen our competitiveness as an industry.”

A coalition of eight music lobby groups, including the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) and the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), jointly thanked the government for tabling the bill. The coalition, which said it represents 21,000 performers and 15,000 musicians, artist managers, music publishers, music retailers, manufacturers, record labels, and distributors and retailers of musical instruments, said the legislation was overdue.

“Vocal opponents of this bill will characterize it as mimicking what’s already been done in the U.S., but that’s oversimplifying things,” Stephen Waddell, ACTRA’s national executive director, said in a statement. “Around the world, 64 countries have already implemented the WIPO copyright treaties. Canada is at least going in the direction of finally catching up.”

Prices of computers, iPods could jump

Intellectual property experts said the bill is mixed in the benefits it would provide and the problems it would create.

Mark Hayes, partner in the intellectual property group of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto, said ISPs – which got the exemption from prosecution they wanted – and educational institutions, which would be able to copy materials from the internet that they previously could not, were among the winners. Consumers would also benefit because what they can do with their media has now been spelled out.

“They get some recognition of the rights to time shift and format shift,” he said. “Before, nobody knew what the rules were.”

Among the losers could be consumers shopping for electronics devices. The bill would raise the cost of electronics by extending the private copying levy, a tax currently in place on blank media such as CDs and DVDs, to any device with a hard drive.

“Owners of computers and iPods are probably going to end up paying quite a bit more for those products in the future,” Hayes said.

Downloading on the rise

According to the latest survey from Statistics Canada, one in five Canadians aged 16 and older said they had downloaded or watched TV or movies over the internet, an increase from 12 per cent in 2005.

The percentage of Canadians who downloaded music – either paid or for free – also increased from 37 per cent to 45 per cent in the two-year span. Part of that increase can be attributed to a change in methodology, as Statistics Canada for the first time included 16- and 17-year-olds in the study, a demographic more likely to download media than older groups.

Critics feared the bill will mirror the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which similarly brought in restrictive measures and opened the door for copyright owners to enact huge lawsuits against violators.

The minister was forced to retreat on introducing the bill in December after being hit with major public opposition. More than 20,000 people joined a protest group started on social networking site Facebook by University of Ottawa internet and e-commerce Prof. Michael Geist, an outspoken critic of the bill.

The opposition to the legislation has only grown since then, with the Facebook group counting more than 40,000 members before the bill was introduced. More than 1,000 new members joined the group on Thursday, with many expressing their outrage with the proposed legislation.

“I was a Conservative until this morning. This one has crossed the line,” one member wrote. “We need an election. NOW!”

Canadian artists, librarians and students, as well as a business coalition made up of some of Canada’s biggest companies – including Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp., as well as Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. – have expressed their opposition to any legislation that imposes harsh copyright restrictions.

Opposition widespread

The chorus of opposition was joined last week by a coalition of consumer groups – including Option consommateurs, Consumers Council of Canada, Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), and Online Rights Canada (OnlineRights.ca) – that wrote a letter to the two ministers. The consumer groups expressed dismay they had not been consulted on the legislation.

Prentice responded to questioning in the House of Commons last week by saying he would not introduce the bill until he and Heritage Minister Josée Verner were satisfied that it struck the right balance between consumers and copyright holders.

Geist has repeatedly attacked the government on his blog for its lack of consultation with the Canadian public on the issue. However, Prentice has met with U.S. trade representatives and entertainment industry lobbyists to discuss the legislation.

“Prentice should be honest about the core anti-circumvention rules that are likely to mirror the DMCA and run counter to the concerns of business, education and consumer groups,” Geist wrote on his blog. “Those rules are quite clearly ‘Born in the USA.'”

The government said a second reading of the legislation wouldn’t occur until the next sitting of the house. With the government breaking soon for the summer, such a reading would not occur until the fall.

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Disease, violence among perils for ‘uncontacted’ tribes

Posted by thefungus on June 10, 2008

In this photo released by Brazil’s indigenous peoples’ agency Funai, ‘uncontacted’ tribesmen react to an overflight by agency officials. Funai warns that illegal logging and mining are putting such communities at risk of disease and cultural annihilation. (Gleison Miranda, Funai/Associated Press)

More than 100 indigenous groups live in isolation

In May 2008, Brazilian officials released photographs of what’s believed to be one of the last groups of indigenous peoples in the world who haven’t had face-to-face contact with outsiders.

Indeed, there are more than 100 such tribes worldwide today, according to Survival International, an advocacy group for indigenous peoples.

Most of these groups have had some contact — indeed, some are engaged in conflict — with outsiders, but are considered “uncontacted” because there is no ongoing peaceful communication.

They remain isolated sometimes due to rugged terrain, such as the rainforest of the Amazon. Often times, though, these tribes have fled violent encounters with the outside world in the past and now choose to live apart from it.

Some uncontacted tribes have numbers in the tens … or fewer. One Brazilian tribe consists of only a solitary Indian called The Man of the Hole. He is believed to be the last known survivor of his people and survives in a shelter dug out from the ground, away from outside contact.

The Amazon regions in Peru and Brazil are home to most of the world’s uncontacted peoples. But several uncontacted tribes live in a number of other places around the world, such as West Papua and the Andaman Islands of India.

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/06/06/f-uncontacted-tribes.html

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A Talking Books panel gets into an intense debate on Human Smoke, Nicholson Baker’s new book about WW II

Posted by thefungus on June 10, 2008

People often refer to the Allied response in WW II when talking about “just” wars. American author Nicholson Baker sees things in a very different light, arguing that the world would have done better to pay heed to mid-century pacifists.

In Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization (Simon & Schuster), Baker takes direct aim at the assumption that the British and Americans acted without self-interest in countering Hitler’s aggression.

To create his unconventional history, Baker drew on articles, speeches, memoirs, letters and other historical documents of the time, culminating in the moment that the U.S. entered the war. He uses this “collage” of sources to bolster his claims that Roosevelt and Churchill were bigoted warmongers, compelled more by arms sales than by the desire to stop Hitler.

Best known as a novelist, Baker also focuses on the efforts of pacifists of the time, from the famous Gandhi to the lesser-known, including American Jeanette Rankin. The first woman elected to the American House of Representatives, she voted against declaring war on Germany, saying “I want to stand by my country. But I cannot vote for war. I vote no.” Later, she added, “I felt that the first time the first woman had a chance to say no to war, she should say it.”

Baker’s controversial re-examination of this pivotal time has sparked many strong reactions, including a heated debate in a recent episode of CBC Radio’s Talking Books.

Panelists Tom Jokinen, Antanas Sileika and Lynne Van Luven disagree about the quality of the writing in Human Smoke, as well as the validity of Baker’s interpretations. Find out why one panelist gets a stomachache just looking at this book, while another thinks it’s beautifully researched.

Listen to host Ian Brown and his guests talk about Human Smoke here:

http://www.cbc.ca/wordsatlarge/blog/2008/06/a_talking_books_panel_gets_int_1.html

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Tory attack on carbon tax is dishonest: economist

Posted by thefungus on June 10, 2008

A prominent resource economist has pronounced himself disgusted with “dishonest” Conservative attack ads on a Liberal carbon tax proposal that’s yet to be unveiled.

“The Conservatives — and I say this with great sadness because I don’t care which political party is in power — but if we’re going to do anything about climate change, we’re going to have to be honest with people,” Marc Jaccard of Simon Fraser University told CTV.ca on Tuesday.

“This is just totally dishonest.”

On the weekend, the Tories previewed ads aimed at the proposed carbon tax, painting it as Liberal Leader Stephane Dion’s “tax on everything.”

The ads are to start running Tuesday.

Jaccard, a co-author of the recent book Hot Air, said the Conservatives’ own policy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions won’t work because it doesn’t put a price on carbon for consumers.

“Their policy is to regulate industry and then have these offset loopholes where industry can subsidize consumers. But those are the types of policies that have never worked in the past,” he said.

The Conservatives have said their plan will cut Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent below 2006 levels by 2020. But many environmental groups join Jaccard in saying the plan won’t work.

If it did work, the Conservative plan wouldn’t see Canada’s Kyoto Protocol target — to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by six per cent below 1990 levels by 2012 — achieved until 2025.

The Liberals are said to be proposing putting a tax on carbon. While the policy has yet to be released, the Grits have said it will be “tax shifting” and “revenue-neutral,” meaning that any revenue collected would be given back in the form of income or other tax cuts.

In the House of Commons’ question period on Monday, junior minister Jason Kenney accused the Liberals of engaging in a massive tax grab to pay for billions in unbudgeted election promises.

Dion said the ads are “misleading and a lie.”

Honest dialogue

“I’m not a fan of Stephane Dion, but when you get a politician out there that’s trying to start an honest dialogue and say to people, ‘you know what? We won’t get our emissions down if there isn’t a price on them and that’s just the truth’,” Jaccard said.

“And to see politicians saying, ‘Maybe I can stay in power’ or gain more power, or maybe a majority government, by distorting this” disgusted him, he said.

“Every one of those ads should say, ‘Oh and by the way, your income taxes are going down if (the Liberals) do put in that tax,’ but it’s not there.”

The Liberals say their plan, unlike the Conservative one, offers offsetting tax cuts.

Dion has said the plan won’t drive up prices at the gas pump, where high oil prices have driven gasoline prices up to record levels.

Some of the Tory ads were to run at gas pumps in Toronto and other parts of southern Ontario.

But Fuelcast, the company that operates the pump-side advertising network, said Monday it won’t run the ads.

The Conservatives have said they have a binding contract with Fuelcast, but if the company doesn’t honour the deal, they will up their radio buy instead.

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We have to live life in the moment…

Posted by thefungus on June 6, 2008

We have to live life in the moment… As much as humans require grouping for support and kinship, ultimately we remain individuals. For as beautiful as loving human community is, no grouping or partnership can fully define us. For our own benefit, we mustn’t let it fully define who we are or we get lost in the idealism of the collective. We must come to terms with our own identity and truly love OURSELVES before any partnership can truly blossom. Wisdom is attained when life is lived in the moment. Embrace the moment… for life experienced in the moment will produce the questions that must be sought – and, magically, the answers will be given. Live to YOUR own, unique, individual potential… when we align with other independent, wise, talented, loving individuals the group dynamic provides room for the individual to grow. When we are aligned in human community, we must let the LOVE that we have filled ourselves with overflow into each member of the group. The group as a collective, and the individuals within the collective, will benefit, grow and evolve. Take advantage of every moment; use it as an opportunity to learn/grow/share/love/evolve. Being happy and content in the moment will keep us from needless worry about the future.

Life with too much structure, too much direction, too much pressure inhibits our ability to be alive in the moment. We need to nurture spontaneity, not seek to destroy it. Don’t be afraid to drift with the tides; we will all reach our own shoreline eventually. Tear down the constraints of habitual routine… our heart, body, mind and soul operate optimally when they are FREE.

Keep the magic alive,

D-F(ng)s

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My shortcomings…

Posted by thefungus on June 4, 2008

After contributing personal insights and thoughts to this blog, I’d like to share with you that I am far from mastering myself. That being said, I have made tremendous strides in myself (and seen the amazing results it has had in all aspects of my life) but I must confess that completely disconnecting from our ego is no easy task. I have achieved the state of shambala, I’ve reached the state of enlightenment…. I’ve had glimpses of life experienced in the ultimate zone…. but sustaining life in that zone is no easy task. I find that the hardest time constraining my ego is when i play organized competitive sports. It’s why I much prefer snowboarding (where I’m challenging myself and not an ‘oponent’) or bouldering with my buddies (and pushing ourselves to our limits) or playing hackey sack with myself than playing organized competitive sports. There’s something about the environment of competitive sports that I find very challenging… whether it’s my internal desire to win or the ego of my opponents, I really struggle playing competitive sports and remaining the master of myself. It’s so easy (and generally accepted) to jeopardize your integrity in order to win or satisfy the desires of the ego. I’m still working on this, and I’m not sure whether quiting competitive sports is the answer (and just removing myself from the negative atmosphere altogether) or whether overcoming my ego on the field by continuing to play is a challenge that I must confront.

I have already written extensively on this issue and one day I plan on sharing my insights into this topic by writing a book or a film. I’ll keep you posted.

Peace,

D

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Our potential…

Posted by thefungus on June 4, 2008

When you get to the state in your life that you can perceive everything to be beautiful (some call it bliss, or shambala, or just being in tune with yourself) then the next step in our evolution is to provide the necessary assistance or opportunities for others to get to that same level. When communities of people are capable of tuning themselves in alignment with their spirit we will see the evolution of the neo-human, and this is when we will see de-emphasis on the old paradigm that is plagued by war and greed and other negative aspects of an ego-driven society. Instead we will see emphasis placed on loyalty, truth, freedom, justice, and our collective potential is fascinating. As ‘far- out’  as it seems, the idea of experiencing life simultaneously in multiple universes unconstrained by time and space is gaining mainstream momentum amongst the scientific community…. crazy shit isn’t it??!!

Only through disconnection with one’s ego is this possible, and convincing the masses to live life with one’s ego in check is obviously an up hill battle in today’s whacked-out, consumer-crazed society. Our media/culture/society (the MACHINE) does everything it can to promote an abundance of the ego, but if we listen to the wise spiritual men and women throughout history, they all teach the importance of disconnecting with your ego. Pride with humility; honour with integrity; selflessness and servitude to others… We can only truly reach shambala and flourish when we are free to become the master of ourselves. Spreading the messages of love, the goodness, health, positivity and living life to your potential is the only way to truly effect change and it starts with all of us on our various journeys. Your positive attitude and selfless servitude to others will rub off on others that you meet and through your interactions with others you will be able to show them the true light of their potential.

Peace and Love to all, with a special shout out to Rufus!

D-F(ng)s

Posted in Consumption/Consumerism, love, machine, resistance, science, spirituality, The Goodness | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Net neutrality bill hits House of Commons

Posted by thefungus on June 1, 2008

This issue is certainly of grave importance; we must be wary of any legislation that threatens to regulate the internet….. kudos for the NDP for attempting to introduce legislation that would keep the internet more ‘free’. Interesting how this story doesn’t generate much discussion on mainstream media…

From CBC.CA May 28

The NDP has followed through with its promise to introduce legislation to the House of Commons that seeks to keep the internet open and free from control by service providers.

“This bill is about fairness to consumers,” said Charlie Angus, the NDP’s digital spokesman, in the House of Commons on Wednesday. “The internet is a critical piece of infrastructure not just for Canada but for the world … this bill protects the innovation agenda of Canada.”

The private member’s bill, C-552, is in reaction to moves by some of Canada’s largest internet service providers (ISPs), including Bell Canada Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc., to limit their customers’ uses of the internet. Bell, Rogers and a few others say a small percentage of customers have been congesting their networks by using peer-to-peer applications such as BitTorrent, so they have slowed the internet down at peak times of the day.

The ISPs’ actions have provoked outrage from internet users, with about 300 protesters taking to the steps of Parliament Hill on Tuesday. Critics have said the targeting of peer-to-peer applications is just the tip of the iceberg. If ISPs are allowed to decide which internet applications can and can’t be used, innovative new companies that were born from experimentation — such as Google, Amazon and eBay — may not happen in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Breakdown of Globalization

Posted by thefungus on May 28, 2008

Special thanks to Mo for sending the link to this incredible lecture

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