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Toms Shoes August 28, 2007

Posted by Tom in Environment, future, new world, Science Fiction (for now), social problems.
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I haven’t been suffering from writer’s block, or blogger’s block… I”ve been trying to find something really good…

Well, unless I’m wrong, I think have found another great New World Idea.

Toms Shoes

As far as I can tell this is a great idea and part of what I envisage in the future.

Business that gives to those who need.


By selling to those who have.

I might be wrong and I would like to research this further.

I like the idea.

In Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars series he writes about a new economy for Mars as it is being terra-formed.

It is an ecological economy in which giving is fundamental to the way the economy works.

I would like to read more about this so any suggestions are welcome.

Anyway back to the point, here is a quick video with a slightly gushy we’re going to save the world feel about Toms shoes


An interesting view of the world June 26, 2007

Posted by Tom in Environment, social problems, Techstuff.
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Seacat posted about this video the other day. It’s from the author of the book Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken and has a very interesting idea of how people with like minds are coming together to seek peace, social justice and a better environment. The video is worth watching if you have a few spare moments. I love this idea and will certainly look into it further.

What if…. June 12, 2007

Posted by Tom in Environment, social problems, Techstuff.
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I have heard arguments against global warming and I have heard people “rubbishing” the whole environmental movement. I personally think most are being selfish and lazy, after all it’s easy to say “someone told me otherwise and therefore I can continue my comfortable lifestyle”. I am currently reading a book all about overcoming our consumerist desires (more about that later) and I am beginning to see that we are all trapped like rabbits in the lights of a car. We know there is something wrong but we are unable to move. Why? Fear. When faced with such a difficult idea, that of going against our instincts (consume, work for money, work more and consume more (ok I’ve made it a bit too basic but I’m sure you understand)) we are stuck. Which is why the argument on this video is so good. Unless the author is wrong, we have no choice. Personally I’d rather run from a car that might never hit me than be hit by the car.
Note: there are many hoax emails on the web that say send this to 15 friends or you will suffer a pain worse than death (or something like that). I ignore them all. This is a wake up call not a “forward this email or else” hoax.

Thanks to seacat at What it’s like for the heads up :-)

Machine work May 22, 2007

Posted by Tom in social problems, Techstuff.
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One of the things I love about Portugal is the technical sophistication of the consumer experience.
I can pay bills online, at an ATM machine or in one of many shops. The ability to pay utilities bills, train tickets,and even tickets for a show at the ATM was liberating for me when I moved here 11 years ago.
One problem is that if you miss the deadline it was back to basics… queueing in a shop, speaking to an often miserable clerk, who was mostly there to annoy you and remind that you had forgotten to pay a bill on time.
For the first time in a few years this happened to me again (the Internet has helped me pay my bills on time).
This time I was pleasantly surprised when all I had to do was scan my bill and feed a machine notes. No queue and no grumpy worker.
Sadly this probably means the grumpy worker will have been laid off (or moved to some even less interesting post).

Top Greenhouse Gas emitters… China, US, Indonesia and Brazil May 16, 2007

Posted by Tom in Environment, future, social problems.

A non tech story… (though its complete inability to be solved with technological solutions makes it interesting)
I suppose the shocking news is that Indonesia and Brazil are top greenhouse emitters. They are, after all, not great industrial nations (Can you name a single product that is manufactured for international markets in either of these countries?) and I don’t really think of them as being large energy consumers like Europe or North America (or Australia for that matter).
More surprising is how much CO2 is produced from the deforestation process. I was sent a shocking article from today’s Independent (UK). In it, we learn that over the next twenty four hours more emissions will come from deforestation (slashing and burning) than from 8 million (yes, million) people flying from New York to London. That is (if my maths is correct) about 5555 people a minute.
I hate to push politics but this is pretty upsetting. It’s time for the world to put a price on leaving forests (particularly rain forests) untouched. It’s up to the UN at this week’s climate summit in Indonesia to find a solution. (Maybe legislation that enforces taxing use of the forests to subsidise non-use).
Quote from article:
“Standing forest was not included in the original Kyoto protocols and stands outside the carbon markets”

Stressless Cities with Urban Nature May 11, 2007

Posted by Tom in Alta de Lisboa, Cities, social problems.
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Next time you’re feeling stressed while walking around town… Stop, breathe in and remember to look for any signs of Urban Nature.

Modern Families April 29, 2007

Posted by Tom in family, social problems.
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Once upon a time children were sent off to work, often in other cities as the family could not support to keep them. While this has changed dramatically Family life is getting more difficult with modern pressures.
There is no time for the family any more. Everyday we are forced to think we need to work more and make more money. All of this leaves little time for the family. Which, when all is said and done, is the reason we are alive (if you follow similar lines of though to Richard Dorkins and Charles Darwin).
That’s why I like this blog (In Portuguese). Translated it’s called “Jewel of the Family” and it’s aim to encourage reflection on the modern family and search for new solutions for old problems.