The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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Study Shows One in Four Americans Don’t Know Earth Revolves Around Sun

One in four Americans unaware that Earth revolves around Sun: poll

I found this article in the Indian press.  It is an embarrassing indictment of our educational system.

Americans are enthusiastic about the promise of science but lack basic knowledge of it, with one in four unaware that the Earth revolves around the Sun, said a poll out today.
The survey included more than 2,200 people in the United States and was conducted by the National Science Foundation.

Ten questions about physical and biological science were on the quiz, and the average score – 6.5 correct – was barely a passing grade.

Just 74 per cent of respondents knew that the Earth revolved around the Sun, according to the results released at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

Fewer than half (48 per cent) knew that human beings evolved from earlier species of animals.

The result of the survey, which is conducted every two years, will be included in a National Science Foundation report to President Barack Obama and US lawmakers.

One in three respondents said science should get more funding from the government.

Nearly 90 per cent said the benefits of science outweigh any dangers, and about the same number expressed interest in learning about medical discoveries.

 


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A Large Corporate Low Wage Service Sector Makes For a Town Without a Soul

The Emeryville Tattler blog post, A Large Corporate Low Wage Service Sector Makes For a Town Without a Soul, delves into the debate about how to best develop the town.  The Tattler calls for a new paradigm – one that moves away from the “flawed auto-centric model” with “lots of shopping malls and drive-in drive-out lofts (formally condos, now morphing into one bedroom 100% rental projects).”  The author points out that this model “resplendent with fast food franchises and retail chain stores, also brings a plethora of low wage/ no benefits service jobs that seem to be attached at the hip with this brand of development.  So ubiquitous now is this kind of development in Emeryville, minimum wage/ zero benefits service sector jobs have fairly come to be seen as representative of Emeryville and its values by the greater community.” The Tattler states that the town can bring in a new municipal polity by ushering in and developing more businesses based on the cooperative model.

Businesses where the workers themselves own the enterprise represent a different model for how retail stores and other business can be refashioned in Emeryville.  These worker owned businesses offer a living wage and benefits for their workers. They also offer Emeryville residents a moral choice as they comport their daily transactions in the commons.

The most compelling part of the piece is the following comparison between Emeryville’s cooperative, Arizmendi Bakery vs. Panera Bread, your standard corporate chain store:

Arizmendi Bakery vs Panera Bakery
Arizmendi Bakery has operated at 4301 San Pablo Avenue since 2003 after former councilman John Fricke worked to attract the popular cooperative to the newly built Promenade site amid skeptical colleagues on the Council.  The bakery has been extremely popular offering a locally owned counter point to the national chain restaurant  I-HOP also in the Promenade development.
Arizmendi Bakery and Panera Bakery on 40th Street offers us a chance to directly compare the two business models:Arizmendi Bakery (worker owned cooperative model)-
  • pays at least $16 per hour
  • full health insurance and dental coverage for all
  • worker owned and democratically run
  • worker/owners share in year end profits
  • stipends paid for work related purchases
  • five Bay Area locations
  • Emeryville store is independently owned
Panera Bakery (standard Emeryville corporate model)-
  • pays employees $8.06 per hour
  • no benefits
  • stockholder owned and run by CEO and Board of Directors
  • more than 1500 locations across the US and Canada
  • corporate headquarters in St Louis MO
  • Emeryville unit sends its profits to the corporate headquarters

The post goes on to tout the additional benefits of worker owned cooperatives: Continue reading


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Dickensian Christmas Village – A Model for Today’s Cities?

Decorative Christmas villages: A model for sustainable living?

Jeff Turrentine reminisces about his love of scale-model Dickensian Christmas villages and how their inherent sustainability can serve as a model for today’s urban planners.

There’s a reason, I think, that human beings—wherever they happen to live—dream about disappearing into the inviting setting of an urban village, be it real and historic or fake and kitschy. In the visual shorthand of our collective unconscious, the scene functions as a reliable stand-in for our much more abstract and hard-to-define concept of community. On some intuitive level, we know that we owe much of our civilizational progress to the 12,000 years we spent interacting with one another in our shared spaces, public and private. The overlapping systems that eventually fused into what we call “culture” could never have done so without the regular opportunities for healthy intellectual, economic, and social collision afforded by the urban-village model. Continue reading


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The Cost of Conventional Food to Society

Dr. Stan Gardener shares his perspective on the cost society pays for conventional food in his article Pay the Farmer or Pay Pharma.  This was published in the Meridian Magazine by the LDS Church.  It is refreshing to see them take this on. If all the churches followed suit, we might see significant changes to our agricultural policy sooner rather than later.

What is the Cost to Society for Conventional Food?

Although there is much more to spraying food than just pesticides, let’s examine the costs of pesticide use.

The Textbook of Environmental Toxicology by J. Rose, printed in 2005, identified the following costs in the US from pesticide-related illness:

  • $6,759,000 Hospitalized poisonings (2380 x 2.84 x $1000/day)
  • $17,010,000 Outpatient poisonings (27,000 x $630)
  • $1,760,000 Lost work due to poisoning (4680 x 4.7 x $80/day)
  • $48,400,000 Cancer treatment (12,000 x $70,700/case)
  • $59,400,000 Cost of fatalities (27 x $2.2 M) Continue reading


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Research Shows Organic Milk Healthier

In thespec.com Sandi Doughton posts information on the first large-scale study to compare milk from organic and conventional dairies across the United States

…the researchers found significantly higher levels of heart-healthy fatty acids in organic milk. The reason is that organically raised cows eat more grass and less corn and other grain-based feed than their conventional counterparts, said lead author Charles Benbrook, of the university’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources. Continue reading


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Coordinated Assault Against Public Sector Service Revealed by The Guardian

Documents published by The Guardian Thursday reveal how a number of right-wing groups, funded by today’s oligarchs, plan to privatize the commons:

Conservative groups across the US are planning a coordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment,documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.

The strategy for the state-level organisations, which describe themselves as “free-market think tanks”, includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

The policy goals are contained in a set of funding proposals obtained by the Guardian. The proposals were co-ordinated by the State Policy Network, an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy at state level.

The documents contain 40 funding proposals from 34 states, providing a blueprint for the conservative agenda in 2014. In partnership with the Texas Observer and the Portland Press Herald in Maine, the Guardian is publishing SPN’s summary of all the proposals to give readers and news outlets full and fair access to state-by-state conservative plans that could have significant impact throughout the US, and to allow the public to reach its own conclusions about whether these activities comply with the spirit of non-profit tax-exempt charities. Continue reading


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Poetry in Afghanistan: New York Times Profiles Matiullah Turab

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The New York Times features the life and writing of Matiullah Turab. Mr. Turab is a popular poet who performs throughout Afghanistan and works during the day as a metalsmith.

With his unflinching words, Mr. Turab, 44, offers a voice for Afghans grown cynical about the war and its perpetrators: the Americans, the Taliban, the Afghan government, Pakistan.
War has turned into a trade
Heads have been sold
as if they weigh like cotton,
and at the scale sit such judges
who taste the blood, then decide the price
Though poetry is loved, it seldom pays. Some writers have taken government jobs, finding the steady paycheck and modest responsibilities conducive to their work. Mr. Turab, for his part, has stuck to his dingy garage on the outskirts of Khost City.
“This is my life, what you see here: banging iron, cutting it short, making it long,” he said. “I still don’t call myself a poet.” Continue reading