Friday, September 30, 2011

Templet i Damanhur, verdens åttende underverk

Hall of the Earth: An amazing room built on the 'supernatural' visions of its creator. Photo: Hazel Courtney
It has come to be known as the eighth wonder of the world. Beneath a suburban house in northern Italy lies a massive underground temple built entirely in secret by a group of non-architects, working around the clock for 15 years. Dug out of the rock without building or excavation plans, it was all overseen by a middle-aged former insurance broker. - Atlas Obscuria
Selvsagt er ikke dette templet bygget av vestlige arkitekter, med sine dogmer kunne de aldri ha skapt noe så vakkert. Og selvsagt har det ikke blitt bygget ut fra noen "master plan", virkelig skjønnhet er alltid evolvert ut fra tid og sted. Templet i Damanhur er evig skjønnhet!
Det er en del av vårt yrke at det blir ramaskrik hver gang noe nytt bygges. Det er fordi et nytt bygg alltid innebærer at folks minne av et sted endres. Men etter 10-15 år venner man seg til det nye og tenker at man faktisk kan like det. - President i Norske arkitekters landsforbund Kjersti Nerseth
Noe så patetisk! Naturligvis venner man seg til selv de mest nihilistisk-ideologiske stjernearkitektenes mange påfunn, fordi sansene sløves. Dette er jo også meningen med våre dagers kapitalistmodernisme, at sansene skal sløves, slik at vi umerkelig glir inn i rollen som passive konsumenter. I den tro at vi er individualister!

Samtidig rører vi her ved et paradoks, fordi New Age er en konsumentspiritualitet hvor man setter sammen en passende religion fra hylleutvalget. Omtrent som på Ikea. Allikevel er det i dag i første rekke nyreligiøse miljøer som har forlatt modernismens dogmer, og funnet veien tilbake til et spirituelt uttrykk som er dypt rotfestet i universets geometrier og vårt følelsesliv.

Dette i sterk kontrast til Den Norske Kirke, som oppfører den ene irreligiøse arbeidskirka etter den andre, hvor Guds fravær er det mest åpenbare (eller kanskje vi heller burde si åpenbarte). Mens i templet i Damanhur kan man skue Guds nærvær ned i minste detalj.

Skulle ikke kirken være verdens lys og jordens salt? Hvorfor gjør den da alt i dens makt for å overlate denne oppgaven til de nyreligiøse miljøene?

Les mer:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Nese" for god arkitektur?


Ny forskning viser at hjernen automatisk rangerer lukter etter behag og ubehag, og at denne rangeringen er lik for alle mennesker. Christopher Alexander mener vi har den samme egenskapen i møte med god og dårlig arkitektur, og at "velluktende" og "illeluktende" arkitektur rangeres likt av alle mennesker, vel å merke som ikke har fått "sløvet" sansene av modernistisk propaganda. Dette basert på våre nedarvede neurale instinkter, eller overlevelsesinnstinkter. Når alt kommer til alt er vi evolvert ut av naturen. Det er dette The Phenomenon of Life, av Christopher Alexander, omhandler. Ei bok vel verdt å lese!

We assumed from the beginning that everything was based on the real nature of human feeling and - this is the unusual part - that human feeling is mostly the same…. in every person…[T]he pattern language is …a record of that stuff in us which belongs to the ninety percent of our feeling, where our feelings are all the same. - Christopher Alexander

Les artikkelen fra Science Daily: Scientists Discover an Organizing Principle for Our Sense of Smell Based On Pleasantness.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Great Essay Showing the Stupidity of Measuring Success in GDP


The Great Domain of Cost-Plus: The Waste Production Economy

Excerpted on P2P-Foundation here.

Related:

Human Scale for Human Space (and some great examples from history)

Scale is fundamental to urban design. If you get it right, and achieve a well-proportioned space between buildings, you have a sound basis to build upon. Even if the architecture is far from perfect, the public realm you create can be decent and comfortable. If you get the scale wrong and your master plan is built, even the most lustrous architecture won’t remediate the failure of space-making; people might still use it for utilitarian reasons (think the parking lot of a Wal-Mart), but will not enjoy it. - Galina Tachieva

File:Mostar Old Town Panorama 2007.jpg
Mostar - Old Town panorama. The picture was taken from the minaret of Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, which is just opposite Stari Most ("The Old Bridge") looking on the same part of the Neretva river. Please click on the picture! Photo: Ramirez

File:Tallinn old town model.jpg
Tallinn old town model. Surely this is a generated structure, like ALL sustainable environments, manmade or nature made. Photo: Jennifer Boyer

File:Old Town Hall Berkhamsted.jpg
Old Town Hall of Berkhamsted. Photo: Robert Stainforth
  
File:Chania old town.jpg
Old town of Chania. Photo: Jose Concalves

File:Entrada Ayuntamiento Sanlucar Barrameda.JPG
Main entry of the town hall of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz, Spain. Ancient palace of the dukes of Montpensier, 19th century. Photo: Hispalois

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dangerously Addictive: Why We Are Biologically Ill-Suited to the Riches of the Modern World

But living now in relative abundance, when the whole world is a shopping mall and our appetites are no longer constrained by limited resources, our craving for reward--be that for money, the fat and sugar of fast food, or for the novel gadgetry of modern technology--has become a liability and a hunger that has no bounds. Our nature has no built-in braking system. More is never enough. - Peter C. Whybrow

Plaza Blok M. Mall in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Jonathan McIntosh 

Read the whole chapter from The Post Carbon Reader (pdf): Dangerously Addictive: Why We Are Biologically Ill-Suited to the Riches of Modern America.

Related:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vi Alexandrinere

An excellent summary by Slavoj Zizek. I could not have written a better one myself. Of course, there exists a fundamental disagreement between my group of architect/philosopher friends, many of them Alexandrians (after Christopher Alexander), and most contemporary architects and academics. We believe that architecture is an extension of human cognition and symbiotic interaction with the environment. The latter group, on the contrary, believe in severing this millennial connection so as to create a hostile inhuman environment that expresses certain human psychoses. Contemporary architects don’t quite put it in this way, but either they are being dishonest, or they are fooling themselves. - Nikos A. Salingaros

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Right to the City

We live in an era when ideals of human rights have moved centre stage both politically and ethically. A great deal of energy is expended in promoting their significance for the construction of a better world. But for the most part the concepts circulating do not fundamentally challenge hegemonic liberal and neoliberal market logics, or the dominant modes of legality and state action. We live, after all, in a world in which the rights of private property and the profit rate trump all other notions of rights. I here want to explore another type of human right, that of the right to the city.
The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from that of what kind of social ties, relationship to nature, lifestyles, technologies and aesthetic values we desire. The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights. - David Harvey
Although I'm not an ideologist, in fact I consider myself a fractalist relying on the wisdom of nature and the universe, I find the following essay I found today from New Left Review on the P2P-blog, highly useful. Read the rest of the essay by David Harvey: The Right to the City.

The west side of Manhattan, New York

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World

Tracing this golden thread of wisdom and the inner need to maintain harmony in the world and within ourselves demonstrates how beautifully this principle has been woven into the fabric of Western civilization. Clearly the idea is not some wishy-washy, New Age invention of the late twentieth century. Far from it. It is a very precise priniple indeed acknowledged as central by some of the greatest thinkers the world has ever seen. From Pythagoras and Plato to Shakespeare and Ficino, from Giorgione, Bach and Handel to Wordsworth, Poussin and Blake, all of these great artists were very clear that there is a harmony to the world that must be maintained.

- Prince Charles of Wales, from his new book Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Naturen kan ikke måles i kilowatt-timer

Flott leserbrev fra Forum for natur og friluftsliv i Oppland!
Hensynet til biologisk mangfold, livet i og rundt elvene har måttet vike for et stadig økende kraftbehov. I dag er to tredeler av våre største vassdrag regulert, sju av de ti høyeste fossene er lagt i rør, 21 av de 25 største innsjøene er regulerte og 130 av de 200 største vassdragene utbygd.
Les hele innlegget her.

Trollfoss i Lardal kommune. Foto: EsP72

Where Good Ideas Come From



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Paralyzed by Too Many Damn Choices


Renata Salecl: The Paradox of Choice (Animated). From the RSA.

I recently moved into a new house and had to choose from a list of about 30 energy suppliers. Who has time and motivation to go through such a list to find the best supplier for you? To make it simple I just asked my father which supplier he used, and picked the same one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Livet regjerer

Fra dagens utgave av P2P Foundation:

This week we are presenting the book “Life Rules. Why so much is going wrong everywhere at once and how Life teaches us to fix it” by Ellen LaConte.

According to David Braden, Ellen discusses 9 aspects of “Life’s /Eco/nomic Survival Protocol” that continuously puts life into upward spiral in spite of the geologic history of crises that life has faced. Her analysis is insightful and fascinating.

In this first part, we reproduce a short interview with the author by Robert Jensen:

Les intervjuet her.

Norge, en ensom sosialdemokratisk svale

Norge er i dag den siste sosialdemokratiske svale (i alle fall som er i godt hold), foret av store kapitalinnput fra olje, gass, fisk og bergverksdrift. Som sådan er vi som en magnet på våre omgivelser, Sverige, Polen, de baltiske land etc., og vår befolkning er forventet å passere 6 mill. innen år 2030 (selv i dag har vi kun en selvforsyningsgrad på ca 35 prosent).

Norge i dag er en illusjon, den siste sosialdemokratiske illusjon. Alternativet er ikke kapitalismen, men INTEGRATIV ECOSOSIAL DESIGN! (Dette begrepet skal jeg komme tilbake til seinere.)

Les artikkelen av dr. Immanuel Wallerstein: The social-democratic illusion.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stygge bygninger er uvitenskapelige og irreligiøse!

Our educated world remains ignorant about the distinction between science and technology, unfortunately. Science helps us understand the universe and ourselves. Technology applies scientific results to master processes that we can manipulate so as to better our lives. It is also applied to kill people directly, destroy nature, and threaten our own survival. Or to save us from our stupidity. Tools can be used for either good or evil.
Modernism, in my view, was a massive but unscientific application of technology to shape the world into an industrial image. It was unscientific because no thought was ever given to discovering how human beings interact with their environment, or whether we need certain specific geometrical features like we need nourishment and air, or to understanding how human being interact with each other to create a city. Modernist architects just drew forms on paper that looked like machines, and those in power built them. Again, to show the total lack of science here, when the first projects proved to be dehumanizing disasters, nobody was allowed to say that. And even if someone did, there was no revising those failed building and urban typologies because they were a central part of the ideology of industrial modernism. We still have them with us today. You dare not criticize them. This is not science! - Nikos A. Salingaros
Les hele intervjuet hos The Philadelphia Society: JAMES KALB INTERVIEWS NIKOS SALINGAROS

Intervjuet er nå også publisert hos The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia: James Kalb Interviews Nikos Salingaros on Architecture’s Influence on Society and Consumerism


Relatert:

Uten jobb og fri, er dette mulig?

Ja, ifølge Douglas Rushkoff er det det. Les hans artikkel i CNN: Are jobs obsolete?

Kan vi igjen fri oss fra arbeidets lenker?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hånddrevet Alfa vaskemaskin

Jeg elsker "low-tech"

The Wealth of Nature (book) & Adam Smith Got it Way, Way Wrong!

The Wealth of Nature book cover

I love the way John Michael Greer’s latest book, The Wealth of Nature, opens, with a good skewering of the premise on which the modern pseudo-science of economics depends. Exposing 18th century philosopher Adam Smith’s thinking in The Wealth of Nations as flawed, Greer goes on to explain what Smith missed, why it’s important, and how we can turn the error in history around. - Lindsay Curren

Read the article: Adam Smith got it way, way wrong!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Economics of Happiness - Official Trailer

Relatert:

Hellige arbeidskirker?

Jeg er så inderlig lei av moderne arbeidskirker!

Hvorfor kan ikke kirkearkitektene innse at dette
nødvendigvis må lede til dette?
Før arkitektene bygger flere arbeidskirker bør de nok arbeide litt med seg selv. Fysikken, matematikken og biologien har talt, det er intet mindre enn Guds egen stemme vi hører!

Trær, en viktig del av klodens kjølesystem

Foto: Samuli Lintula

Ikke nok med at trær binder store mengder CO2, de bidrar også betydelig til å kjøle ned atmosfæren gjennom fordampning. Skogene kan berge vårt klima!
— Scientists have long debated about the impact on global climate of water evaporated from vegetation. New research from Carnegie's Global Ecology department concludes that evaporated water helps cool Earth as a whole, not just the local area of evaporation, demonstrating that evaporation of water from trees and lakes could have a cooling effect on the entire atmosphere. These findings, published Sept. 14 in Environmental Research Letters, have major implications for land-use decision making. - Science Daily
Les artikkelen: Water Evaporated from Trees Cools Global Climate, Researchers Find

Relatert:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Genenes favoritt - steinalderdietten

Dette er de lykkeligste menneskene i verdenshistorien, også ernæringsmessig! La oss vende tilbake til steinalderen, også kjent under betegnelsen Edens Hage eller Paradis.

Steinalderdietten inneholder kalorimessig omtrent like mye av fett, protein og karbohydrater. Denne tredelingen begrenser risikoen for de fleste livsstilsrelaterte sykdommer. Selvsagt!

Les artikkelen i dagens utgave av Forskning.no, Genenes favorittdiett.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Economics Unmasked

As is clear from the title, the book argues that modern neoclassical economics is a mask for power and greed, a construct designed to justify the status quo. Its claim to serve the common good is specious, and its claim to scientific status is fraudulent. Herman Daly, The Daly News

Hvordan selge dine ideer?

Personlig er jeg elendig til å selge mine ideer, særlig muntlig. I forsamlinger makter jeg ikke å fange interessen, og trekker meg vanligvis raskt tilbake i meg selv. Mangler jeg fullstendig all sjarm og medfødte evner? Eller er dette noe som kan læres? I USA er retorikk et viktig skolefag, selv kan jeg ikke huske å ha vært borti temaet gjennom min skolegang.

Uannsett, australske Michelle Bowden kan muligens komme med noen gode tips til hvordan å fenge interessen, hvordan å selge dine ideer i en konkurransepreget verden.
"Michelle is Australia’s presentation skills expert. She’ll show you how to present your ideas and influence people using techniques that actually work."

Finn gode tips her, hennes webside finner du på michellebowden.com.au. Les også gratis nedlastbare utgaver av How to Present Magazine.

Nytt håp for tinnitusofre

Tinnitus, en vanlig årsak til selvmord, kan ifølge dagens utgave av Science Daily trolig kureres ved å reprogrammere understimulerte neuronbaner i hjernen.
According to coauthor Shaowen Bao, adjunct assistant professor in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley, tinnitus -- pronounced TIN-it-tus or tin-NIGHT-us -- is most commonly caused by hearing loss. Sustained loud noises, as from machinery or music, as well as some drugs can damage the hair cells in the inner ear that detect sounds. Because each hair cell is tuned to a different frequency, damaged or lost cells leave a gap in hearing, typically a specific frequency and anything higher in pitch.

Experiments in the past few years have shown that the ringing doesn't originate in the inner ear, though, but rather in regions of the brain -- including the auditory cortex -- that receives input from the ear.

Bao's experiments in rats with induced hearing loss explain why the neurons in the auditory cortex generate these phantom perceptions. They showed that neurons that have lost sensory input from the ear become more excitable and fire spontaneously, primarily because these nerves have "homeostatic" mechanisms to keep their overall firing rate constant no matter what.

"With the loss of hearing, you have phantom sounds," said Bao, who himself has tinnitus. In this respect, tinnitus resembles phantom limb pain experienced by many amputees,

One treatment strategy, then, is to retrain patients so that these brain cells get new input, which should reduce spontaneous firing. This can be done by enhancing the response to frequencies near the lost frequencies. Experiments over the past 30 years, including important research by Merzenich, have shown that the brain is plastic enough to reorganize in this way when it loses sensory input. When a finger is amputated, for example, the region of the brain receiving input from that finger may start handling input from neighboring fingers.
Les artikkelen: Tinnitus Discovery Could Lead to New Ways to Stop the Ringing: Retraining the Brain Could Reanimate Areas That Have Lost Input from the Ear

Nå også på Forskning.no: Håp om tinnitus-kur

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Inaktivitet avler inaktivitet

Jeg fant ingen sofagris, så det får nøye seg med en sofahund. Foto: Patti Haskins
Skremmende forskningsfunn presentert i dagens utgave av Science Daily! Vår moderne livsstil leder til reduserte mengder mitokindrium i musklene, noe som igjen gjør det vanskeligere å trene, hvoretter vi faller inn i en nedadgående spiral. Takk og lov er det i det minste trapp i vårt nye hus, samt en planløsning som gjør at denne nyttes flittig.

Vi må etablere en ny samfunnsstruktur basert på New Urbanism og permakultur, hvor man bygger opp et finmasket nettverk av smarte koblinger som innbyr til fysisk aktivitet og mellommenneskelig kontakt.

Sakset fra Science Daily:
The researchers found the mice without the muscle AMPK genes had lower levels of mitochondria and an impaired ability for their muscles to take up glucose while they exercise.

"When you exercise you get more mitochondria growing in your muscle. If you don't exercise, the number of mitochondria goes down. By removing these genes we identified the key regulator of the mitochondria is the enzyme AMPK," said Steinberg.

Thousands of scientists around the world are working on AMPK but the McMaster team is the first to demonstrate its essential role in exercise. Their research appears in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Steinberg said the findings are important for individuals who find it difficult to exercise, such as the obese, asthmatics and people in wheelchairs. Their inability to exercise may lead to other complications such as diabetes and heart disease.

The study, he thinks, has a message for couch potatoes. "As we remove activity from our lives due to emerging technology, the base level of fitness in the population is going down and that is reducing the mitochondria in people's muscles. This in turn makes it so much harder for people to start exercising."
Les artikkelen her.

Relatert:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Piscataquis Village Project


I just got an email from Tracy Gayton about their new village project in Maine, USA. Is it possible to create something like this in Norway? Visit their Facebook profile here. Read my article on Village Towns here.

Saxed from their profile:

This proposal is to create a compact, car-free, village of 125 acres, on a site totaling 500 acres in southern Piscataquis County. Development of the site would be guided by a set of zoning and building covenants specifically composed to create a space, as it is built out, to resemble traditional villages of Europe and early North America, in which foot or bicycle was the primary or sole method of... transportation. This site would be declared a car-free zone. Motor vehicles would be parked at the perimeter of the development in a green belt of at least 375 acres, which would also be acquired as part of this project. The green belt, other than the area designated for vehicle parking, would also be a zone for allotment gardens, small scale agriculture, playing fields, outdoor recreation and park-like green space.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Nature by Numbers


I found this lovely little film on the astonishing blog of Kristian Hoff-Andersen.

Related reading:

Introduction to Food Sovereignty: Food and Democracy (Download the E-Book!)


Download the Food and Democracy e-book
(1.75mb PDF)

Regular contributor Marcin Gerwin has put together an excellent collection of articles to create a highly readable e-book focusing on food sovereignty — the necessity for it, the challenges to achieve it, and the solutions associated with it.

Produced by 17 authors from around the world, attacking the same topic and interconnected issues from different angles, this is a great read and is not only a valuable overview of the crisis we face but ships with excellent holistic suggestions for how we can extricate ourselves from it.

Read it, enjoy it, and please do circulate it!

Nice work Marcin! - Craig Mackintosh

German Military Peak Oil Study – Full English Translation


This article is saxed from the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia and written by Craig Mackintosh.


Peak Oil: Security policy implications
of scarce resources
Download PDF (1.77mb)
In previous articles (here and here) we’ve linked to the German language version of a study recently undertaken by the German military on the topic of peak oil, and we also linked to a couple of English summary-only translations as well. Now we can link you to a full English translation!

It’s great that this landmark document is being made more accessible.

It’s quite a fascinating analysis, where you can begin to envision some of the oft-not-discussed implications of peak oil — like how oil can be used by producer states as a weapon to enforce their particular ideologies and/or political and economic agendas on oil-dependent states. Current allegiances between nations may be broken up and reshuffled as politicians prioritise good relationships with oil-rich countries, not matter what those countries might be doing in other areas. Hypocrisy can become the new norm, as authoritarian regimes get empty for-show lectures on human rights on the one hand, whilst being mollified and propped up with oil dollars on the other.

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