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A message from EverdayRebellion.net….

A message from EverdayRebellion.net….

Help us change the world through spreading creative non-violent protest methods on our cross-media platform everydayrebellion.net and support our Kickstarter Crowdfunding campaign to keep Everyday Rebellion alive!
Click here to see our Kickstarter campaign and help us with a donation:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/145429668/everyday-rebellion-the-art-of-change

WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Over the course of the last 5 years we were working on EVERYDAY REBELLION – The Art of Change – a documentary and cross-media project celebrating the power of creative, nonviolent protest and civil disobedience around the world. Our goal was to give a voice to the people who try to change violent and repressive systems with non-violent tactics.

We decided to build the multi-awarded web-platform everydayrebellion.net order to create a creative hub for activists worldwide to be inspired and to spread the creative non-violet tactics. On the platform activists can upload their own material but also watch and download a growing number of video-tips, checklists, tutorials and books in different languages for their daily rebellion. But now we have a problem now!

We ran out of funds for the maintenance of the Everyday Rebellion platform and the outreach campaign to spread the film and improve the new mobile app. Our project is a non-commercial one so we don’t have any banners or sell space for commercials on the platform.

That’s why…

WE NEED YOU AND WE COUNT ON YOU!
SUPPORT THE CONTINUATION OF OUR PLATFORM EVERYDAYREBELLION.NETWITH YOUR DONATION ON KICKSTARTER!

New York Times Off Color: Kristina Wong uses humor to talk about race

Off Color, a video series, highlights artists of color who use humor to make smart social statements about the sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious ways that race plays out in America today. Dating in Los Angeles is not easy. Just ask Kristina Wong, a Chinese-American performance artist and writer who says she wants reparations for “yellow […]

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Questions for Planning a Campaign – a worksheet courtesy of the CDC

http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/socialmarketing/training/pdf/SM_Planning_Questions.pdf

Doing some research for our book and I came across this worksheet from the Centers for Disease Control. Those who have taken our workshop will be familiar with some of these ideas. This list of questions can help you get started in knowing what decisions you’ll need to be making as you move through the […]

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Restaurant Calorie Labeling and Obesity: Does it Work?

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/27/upshot/calories-on-menus-a-nationwide-experiment-into-human-behavior.html

A 620 calorie Starbucks Venti White Hot Chocolate is over 1/4 your recommended calories for the day1. But would knowing that change what you order? As calories on menus goes nationwide, this New York Times article asks “does it work?” and there are arguments on both sides. “There are very few cases where social scientists […]

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How do people get new ideas?

On Creativity by Isaac Asimov

A recently discovered essay by the great SF writer written back in 1959, giving advice to a think tank working on missile defense projects: “How do people get new ideas?”

ON CREATIVITY

How do people get new ideas?

Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties, so that the evolution of a new art form, a new gadget, a new scientific principle, all involve common factors. We are most interested in the “creation” of a new scientific principle or a new application of an old one, but we can be general here.

One way of investigating the problem is to consider the great ideas of the past and see just how they were generated. Unfortunately, the method of generation is never clear even to the “generators” themselves.

But what if the same earth-shaking idea occurred to two men, simultaneously and independently? Perhaps, the common factors involved would be illuminating. Consider the theory of evolution by natural selection, independently created by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.

There is a great deal in common there. Both traveled to far places, observing strange species of plants and animals and the manner in which they varied from place to place. Both were keenly interested in finding an explanation for this, and both failed until each happened to read Malthus’s “Essay on Population.”

Both then saw how the notion of overpopulation and weeding out (which Malthus had applied to human beings) would fit into the doctrine of evolution by natural selection (if applied to species generally).

Obviously, then, what is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected.

Undoubtedly in the first half of the 19th century, a great many naturalists had studied the manner in which species were differentiated among themselves. A great many people had read Malthus. Perhaps some both studied species and read Malthus. But what you needed was someone who studied species, read Malthus, and had the ability to make a cross-connection.

That is the crucial point that is the rare characteristic that must be found. Once the cross-connection is made, it becomes obvious. Thomas H. Huxley is supposed to have exclaimed after reading On the Origin of Species, “How stupid of me not to have thought of this.”

But why didn’t he think of it? The history of human thought would make it seem that there is difficulty in thinking of an idea even when all the facts are on the table. Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. It must, for any cross-connection that does not require daring is performed at once by many and develops not as a “new idea,” but as a mere “corollary of an old idea.”

It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others.

Consequently, the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits. (To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.)

Once you have the people you want, the next question is: Do you want to bring them together so that they may discuss the problem mutually, or should you inform each of the problem and allow them to work in isolation?

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. (The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.)

The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.

Nevertheless, a meeting of such people may be desirable for reasons other than the act of creation itself.

No two people exactly duplicate each other’s mental stores of items. One person may know A and not B, another may know B and not A, and either knowing A and B, both may get the idea—though not necessarily at once or even soon.

Furthermore, the information may not only be of individual items A and B, but even of combinations such as A-B, which in themselves are not significant. However, if one person mentions the unusual combination of A-B and another unusual combination A-C, it may well be that the combination A-B-C, which neither has thought of separately, may yield an answer.

It seems to me then that the purpose of cerebration sessions is not to think up new ideas but to educate the participants in facts and fact-combinations, in theories and vagrant thoughts.

But how to persuade creative people to do so? First and foremost, there must be ease, relaxation, and a general sense of permissiveness. The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome. The individuals must, therefore, have the feeling that the others won’t object.

If a single individual present is unsympathetic to the foolishness that would be bound to go on at such a session, the others would freeze. The unsympathetic individual may be a gold mine of information, but the harm he does will more than compensate for that. It seems necessary to me, then, that all people at a session be willing to sound foolish and listen to others sound foolish.

If a single individual present has a much greater reputation than the others, or is more articulate, or has a distinctly more commanding personality, he may well take over the conference and reduce the rest to little more than passive obedience. The individual may himself be extremely useful, but he might as well be put to work solo, for he is neutralizing the rest.

The optimum number of the group would probably not be very high. I should guess that no more than five would be wanted. A larger group might have a larger total supply of information, but there would be the tension of waiting to speak, which can be very frustrating. It would probably be better to have a number of sessions at which the people attending would vary, rather than one session including them all. (This would involve a certain repetition, but even repetition is not in itself undesirable. It is not what people say at these conferences, but what they inspire in each other later on.)

For best purposes, there should be a feeling of informality. Joviality, the use of first names, joking, relaxed kidding are, I think, of the essence—not in themselves, but because they encourage a willingness to be involved in the folly of creativeness. For this purpose I think a meeting in someone’s home or over a dinner table at some restaurant is perhaps more useful than one in a conference room.

Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

To feel guilty because one has not earned one’s salary because one has not had a great idea is the surest way, it seems to me, of making it certain that no great idea will come in the next time either.

Yet your company is conducting this cerebration program on government money. To think of congressmen or the general public hearing about scientists fooling around, boondoggling, telling dirty jokes, perhaps, at government expense, is to break into a cold sweat. In fact, the average scientist has enough public conscience not to want to feel he is doing this even if no one finds out.

I would suggest that members at a cerebration session be given sinecure tasks to do—short reports to write, or summaries of their conclusions, or brief answers to suggested problems—and be paid for that; the payment being the fee that would ordinarily be paid for the cerebration session. The cerebration session would then be officially unpaid-for and that, too, would allow considerable relaxation.

I do not think that cerebration sessions can be left unguided. There must be someone in charge who plays a role equivalent to that of a psychoanalyst. A psychoanalyst, as I understand it, by asking the right questions (and except for that interfering as little as possible), gets the patient himself to discuss his past life in such a way as to elicit new understanding of it in his own eyes.

In the same way, a session-arbiter will have to sit there, stirring up the animals, asking the shrewd question, making the necessary comment, bringing them gently back to the point. Since the arbiter will not know which question is shrewd, which comment necessary, and what the point is, his will not be an easy job.

As for “gadgets” designed to elicit creativity, I think these should arise out of the bull sessions themselves. If thoroughly relaxed, free of responsibility, discussing something of interest, and being by nature unconventional, the participants themselves will create devices to stimulate discussion.

 

When NOT to march (or rally)

More than 400,000 people took part in the People’s Climate March last month in New York City. (Survival Media Agency / Robert van Waarden)

When NOT to march (or rally)

by Andrew Willis Garces

On an ordinary Tuesday evening in April 2007, dozens of union janitors gathered outside a downtown office building in Sydney, Australia, to celebrate a victory: After a long fight, another cleaning contractor had agreed to sign up with the janitors’ union. Singing “Don’t Stop the Cleaners” to the tune of “Don’t Stop Believin’” and pounding drums and shaking noisemakers, the assembled janitors listened to union leaders talk about their next target: the cleaning contractor of that very office building in front of them, which was still nonunion. After sending this message, cheering and chanting, the group marched back to the union office for a celebratory barbecue.

As this example shows, marches and rallies can be a great way to celebrate a big campaign victory (and gear up for the next one). They’re accessible, often relatively simple to plan, and can easily incorporate participation from many kinds of people. Good marches and rallies have a few functions. They can be a good place to announce you’ve reached a new stage, or otherwise serve as a movement’s marking point, such as the 1963 March on Washington. They can inspire your grassroots base with new energy. Or, ideally, they can move you past the finish line and into your campaign victory lap.

But too often we use marches and rallies in place of any other public action to put pressure on decision-makers and build support for our campaign. They’re good for partying or as a mass mobilization after grassroots support is built — but there are many more effective ways to create low-risk opportunities for gathering people together. On the heels of the People’s Climate March last weekend, where more than 300,000 people gathered to demand international action on climate change, it’s important to take the time to reflect on what marches can accomplish — and what other tactics can be used instead.

Continue to read about alternatives to marching and rallying and when this tactic is best initiated in this article by Andrew Willis Garcés. 

 

The Ark: Faith Leaders at Climate Change

AUBRUN ARKCAA had the privilege of working with faith leaders, activists, and community organizers last spring for a collaboration through the Auburn Seminary. 

This fall, they turned their dreams into ideas and their ideas into action at NYC’s Climate March on September 21, 2014, building their very own Ark to sail down the streets of New York City.

The Ark was built through collaboration between Auburn and GreenFaith, along with friends at Catholics United, Sojourners, the World Council of Churches, Judson Memorial Church and Middle Collegiate Church.

Isaac Luria, Vice President of Auburn Action at the Auburn Seminary, described the inspiration for the float sharing,

“The ark appeared in a collective dream with other faith-rooted activists and organizers about how our wisdom traditions could speak to this urgent moment with radical creativity and dramatic flair”

We love the idea of the Ark! Read more about their inspiration and motivations for the project in their article, “Why We are Building an Arc.”  Great creative activism in action!

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we-are-ark

NYPD ♥s CLIMATE JUSTICE

NYPD_hearts_climate_justice-10

Steve Lambert and Victoria Estok approached NYPD officers along the People’s Climate March, showed them their sign, and asked if they could take a photo together. See them all

Often in political marches, the police and those marching are painted in opposition, but one of the purposes of the People’s Climate March was showing that the climate crisis affects everyone. These photos are a reminder that the climate crisis cuts across politics, and allows the NYPD to become participants (or at least be photographed alongside participants).

Victoria Estok is in the photos, Steve Lambert shot them. They said “Most were good sports about it. In fact, some of the most intimidating looking turned out to be the most kind.”

Steve Lambert is also the co-director of the Center for Artistic Activism.

Note: Officers mentioned to us they are not allowed to make political statements. These photos are not meant to show any endorsement by individual officers, and only demonstrate good will towards the participants.

The future and why we are terrible at predicting it « You Are Not So Smart

I am listening to the You Are Not So Smart Podcast and reminded of how often Stephen Duncombe and I encounter these faulty visions of the future. Thing like “We’ll never be able to do _______.” or “That’s just not going to happen.” come up in our workshops because we all have such a hard time being able to imagine realities outside our own.

Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just how our brains work. However, we do need to work harder to envision alternate futures. Since no one knows what will really happen in the future, pretending there will be an ever-present hegemony, capitalism, racism, or whatever problem is just another form of resignation.

We don’t know what’s possible, so we might as well work toward justice, equality, balance, peace, and a richer humanity.

Here’s some info from the podcast:

If you love educational entertainment – programs about science, nature, history, technology and everything in between – it is a safe bet that the creators of those shows were heavily influenced by the founding fathers of science communication: Carl Sagan, David Attenborough, and James Burke.

In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast we sit down with James Burke and discuss the past, the present, and where he sees us heading in the future. Burke says we must soon learn how to deal with a world in which scarcity is scarce, abundance is abundant, and home manufacturing can produce just about anything you desire.

james BurkeJames Burke is a legendary science historian who created the landmark BBC series Connections which provided an alternative view of history and change by replacing the traditional “Great Man” timeline with an interconnected web in which all people influence one another to blindly direct the flow of progress. Burke is currently writing a new book about the coming age of abundance, and he continues to work on his Knowledge Web project.

We also sit down with Matt Novak, creator and curator of Paleofuture, a blog that explores retro futurism, sifting through the many ways people in the past predicted how the future would turn out, sometimes correctly, mostly not.

Together, Burke and Novak help us understand why we are to terrible at predicting the future and what we can learn about how history truly unfolds so we can better imagine who we will be in the decades to come.

After the interview, I discuss a news story about how cigarettes affect the way your brain interprets cigarette advertising.

YANSS Podcast 020 – James Burke and Matt Novak ponder the future and why we are terrible at predicting it « You Are Not So Smart.

#ThinkBikes campaign

The AA Charitable Trust, part of the U.K.’s Automobile Association made this video as part of their #ThinkBikes campaign not exactly a new concept but this PSA definitely stays with you …