Turning Weapons Into Instruments, Pedro Reyes "Disarm": Pedro Reyes creates second generation instruments from dismantled guns. With a team of musicians and new media studio, Cocolab, Reyes has made mechanized instruments from these one-time harmful weapons.
"It is the redemption of this metal, that could have taken your life or mine."
The short documentary "Dance of the Honey Bee," is narrated by Bill McKibben, and takes a look at the determined, beautiful, and vital role honey bees play in preserving life, as well as the threats bees face from a rapidly changing landscape.
In a perfect world, all children would have at least one teacher this special. Jeffrey Wright uses wacky experiments to teach children about the universe, but it is his own personal story that teaches them the true meaning of life.
A now yearly tradition, Mr. Wright gives a lecture on his experiences as a parent of a special needs child. His son, Adam, now 12, has a rare disorder called Joubert syndrome, in which the part of the brain related to balance and movement fails to develop properly. Visually impaired and unable to control his movements, Adam breathes rapidly and doesn’t speak.
This annual lecture about Adam, and the meaning of life, love and family is what leaves the greatest impression on Jeffrey Wright's students.
“When you start talking about physics, you start to wonder, ‘What is the purpose of it all?’ ” he said in an interview. “Kids started coming to me and asking me those ultimate questions. I wanted them to look at their life in a little different way — as opposed to just through the laws of physics — and give themselves more purpose in life.”
Mr. Wright starts his lecture by talking about the hopes and dreams he had for Adam and his daughter, Abbie, now 15. He recalls the day Adam was born, and the sadness he felt when he learned of his condition.
“All those dreams about ever watching my son knock a home run over the fence went away,” he tells the class. “The whole thing about where the universe came from? I didn’t care. … I started asking myself, what was the point of it?”
All that changed one day when Mr. Wright saw Abbie, about 4 at the time, playing with dolls on the floor next to Adam. At that moment he realized that his son could see and play — that the little boy had an inner life. He and his wife, Nancy, began teaching Adam simple sign language. One day, his son signed “I love you.”
In the lecture, Mr. Wright signs it for the class: “Daddy, I love you.” “There is nothing more incredible than the day you see this,” he says, and continues: “There is something a lot greater than energy. There’s something a lot greater than entropy. What’s the greatest thing?”
“Love,” his students whisper.
“Wright’s Law” recently won a gold medal in multimedia in the national College Photographer of the Year competition, run by the University of Missouri. The filmmaker, Zack Conkle, 22, a photojournalism graduate of Western Kentucky University is also a former student of Mr. Wright’s. He says that he made the film because he would get frustrated trying to describe Mr. Wright’s teaching style.
On the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, GRITtv host Laura Flanders talks to journalist Arun Gupta and organizer Marina Sitrin about the movement’s impact and future role in American life and politics.
“Occupy has lifted all organizing boats,” says Gupta. “We saw that in New York City, for example, the Occupy movement helped Teamsters win a better contract with Sotheby’s… They [also] helped fast food workers at Hot & Crusty unionize, which is remarkable that you have fast food workers who unionized.”
Sitrin describes renewed momentum in terms of the personal self-esteem of the 99%. “In the past, to be unemployed, to be in foreclosure was something you kept secret. It was something to be ashamed of,” Sitrin told Flanders. “The power of Occupy and the slogan is to say, ‘Well, wait a minute. I’m the 99%. I’m the majority. I can feel empowered.’”
The Arctic ice we all depend on is disappearing. Fast. Soon it could be ice free for the first time since humans walked the Earth. This would be not only devastating for the people, polar bears, narwhals, walruses and other species that live there - but for the rest of us too.
Oil companies are using melting sea ice to drill for more of the oil that is causing global warming in the first place. In fact, Shell’s Arctic fleet will be arriving any day now to begin exploratory drilling off the coast of Alaska this summer. That's just madness. It's time for us to take back sanity from those who have lost the plot.
Our leaders won't listen to her, but they'll listen to you. What do you have to say to those who want to destroy the Arctic?
Greenpeace, Jude Law, Radiohead and hundreds of thousands of people around the world are coming together to demand we save the Arctic from oil drilling, industrial fishing and militarization. Join us at http://www.savethearctic.org
Peter Adamson with the Office of Research at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), discusses the international data contained in Report Card 10, a first-ever analysis of new data from the European Union's Statistics on Income and Living Conditions household surveys reveals the extent of child poverty and child deprivation in the world’s advanced economies.
As debates on austerity and social spending cuts rage, some 13 million children in the EU, plus Norway and Iceland, are found to be "deprived", lacking basic items necessary for their development.
Meanwhile, 30 million children live in relative poverty in 35 countries with developed economies. Of the 35 wealthy countries studied by UNICEF, only Romania has a child poverty rate higher than the 23 percent rate in the U.S.:
Particularly striking in Report Card 10 are the comparisons between countries with similar
economies, demonstrating that government policy can have a significant impact on the lives of children. For example, Denmark and Sweden have much lower rates of child deprivation than Belgium or Germany, yet all four countries have roughly similar levels of economic development and per capita income.
“The report makes clear that some governments are doing much better at tackling child deprivation than others,” said Mr. Alexander. “The best performers show it is possible to address poverty within the current fiscal space. On the flip side, failure to protect children from today’s economic crisis is one of the most costly mistakes a society can make.”
In a report last August, the child poverty rate was at 20 percent in the United States, and this is an important passage to note on those findings:
"People who grew up in a financially secure situation find it easier to succeed in life, they are more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to graduate from college, and these are things that will lead to greater success in life,” Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told the AP. “What we are looking at is a cohort of kids who as they become adults may be less able to contribute to the growth of the economy. It could go on for multiple generations.”
These reports should haunt every man and woman who enters a voting booth in November. "Second in child poverty only to Romania."
[Photo of the teepee that led to Wednesday's Occupy Oakland raid - via @geekeasy]
Khali Johnson was arrested for "basically littering," which could somehow turn into his third strike and a lifetime in prison.
You may recall that I told you all about the situation with Khali last month, after his arrest during a December 16th Oakland Police raid. There was great concern because Khali had been held in detention unusually long, appeared at each court hearing severely bruised and didn't have access to his prescribed psychiatric medication.
The threat of life imprisonment looms for Occupy Oakland activist Marcel Johnson - better known by his alias, Khali - after a third-strike arrest during the demonstration. Having spent about 15 years incarcerated already, 38 year-old Khali said he was trying to turn his life around by distributing food to the needy at the Occupy Oakland encampment, where he was a frequent, vocal, sometimes endearing presence. On December 16 he was arrested outside City Hall for violating anti-encroachment laws — namely, for a dispute about a blanket — which normally wouldn't have warranted more than a few hours jail time. Since Khali was in fact violating his probation terms for a different case in Sacramento, he was taken to Santa Rita and made to serve some jail time in lieu of going to trial, his attorney Dan Siegel explained. There, Khali was held in solitary confinement and not given his psychiatric medications, which might explain why he got into an altercation with a peace officer — the exact circumstances of which are still widely disputed. Now, Khali faces a felony assault charge in place of his original misdemeanor. As of Friday, December 23, Khali's bail was set at $580,000, according his attorney, Dan Siegel.
Siegel won't be representing Khali in the assault case, but luckily was able to convince a judge to order a medical evaluation that hopefully will explain the altercation between Khali, and the officer in Santa Rita. The next scheduled court date for Khali is January 9th in Pleasanton where he will face that potential "third strike," and bail that would be completely out of reach as Khali is homeless, with no money or possessions to his name.