Date archives "April 2018"

Salt Water Rice For A World of Rising Tides

More than half the global population relies on rice to survive, but meeting that demand is difficult due to the increasing scarcity of freshwater, which is required for rice cultivation. To get around the problem, an 87-year-old Chinese scientist named Yuan Longping is developing a new high-yield strain of rice that grows in saltwater.

Header photo by Arthur Yeti on Unsplash

A Solarpunk Manifesto

Step aside, Cyberpunk, Steampunk: here comes Solarpunk.

Solarpunk intends to wrench science fiction from both Steampunk’s magical tech fantasies and Cyberpunk’s tech-gone-wrong. If the energy substrate of the Steam era was coal, and that of the Cyber era was oil, Solarpunk foreshadows and aims to anticipate environmental catastrophe by skipping to solar. As Solarpunk manifesto-writer Adam Flynn writes, if “steampunk is ‘here’s yesterday’s future that we wish we had,’” and “cyberpunk was ‘here is this future that we see coming and we don’t like it,’” then “Solarpunk might be ‘here’s a future that we can want and we might actually be able to get.’”

Thx BruceS/Wired; header photo by Andreas Gücklhorn on Unsplash

Indigenous Engineering in Australia

These efforts have been around for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of years. Wow.


In the 1840s, the eel traps of Budj Bim were described as the work of ‘civilized men’. But it took another 135 years for more appreciative European eyes to examine the complexity of western Victorias Aboriginal fishery.

Rather than living passively off whatever nature provided, the Gunditjmara actively and deliberately manipulated local water flows and ecologies to engineer a landscape focused on increasing the availability and reliability of eels.

Manipulation of the landscape involved stone structures (such as traps and channels) dating back at least 6,600 years. Eel aquaculture facilities (ponds and dam walls) pre-date contact with Europeans by many hundreds (and possibly thousands) of years.

As Lourandos pointed out more than three decades ago, and Bruce Pascoe reveals in his recent award-winning book Dark Emu, differences between hunter gatherers and cultivators, and foragers and farmers, are far more complex and blurred than we once thought.

And there’s much, much more to explore and celebrate:



Courtesy ‘Merki’ this week on Twitter’s ‘IndigenousX‘ rotating account. (Follow!)

Header photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash


The Versatile Jackfruit: Meat Substitute?

You can tell this (‘Now This Food’) video was assembled by people who aren’t familar with Jackfruit. It doesn’t taste like meat! Kind of like um, chewy/stringy banana custard? (I could eat it all day).

And it’s not ‘pungent’ – doesn’t smell bad unless it’s seriously spoiled. (Thinking of Durian perhaps? A smaller, more spiky, pineapple sized fruit?) Jackfruit may be frozen or (horror) canned in brine before reaching the USA / Europe.

But it IS versatile and CAN easily be seasoned to taste. If YOU want to say it tastes like pork or chicken, go ahead.  Just know that Asians have opinions.

If people want to use it as a meat substitute? Go ahead!  You can even order it from Amazon, if you’re not fortunate enough to live where it grows. 

Jackfruit ‘fusion food’ ahoy!

For those new to Jackfruit, below you can see how BIG they are and how to cut one up.


Sex, Death and Dementia

Tasmania’s experimental Mona gallery is collaborating on the design of a care village for the elderly.
Australia’s first “dementia village” will be sited just outside the Tasmanian capital Hobart. Everything about the design of the village, Korongee, will be dementia-friendly. the 12 or so homes will be built on cul-de-sacs to keep the feel of local streets, and the businesses – including a cinema, supermarket and beauty salon – will be staffed by 350 people with dementia training.

Header photo: Matthew Bennett on Unsplash

BourneCoin: Eastbourne, UK joins neighbors in issuing Community Currency

BourneCoin began as an experiment, when a tiny group of Eastbourne residents decided to create a town money. The idea was to stimulate the local economy and encourage wealth to stay in the area.
 “A flagship workshop with designers and users in the Towner Art Gallery reflected and celebrated the birth of something new in town: a local currency with the potential to facilitate all sorts of formerly hidden and isolated activities in the community.”
The project aims to create a local community currency in Eastbourne and surrounding areas, stretching to Brighton, Uckfield, Lewes, and Hastings. Organisers say it will be in digital form and in printed notes, and being a local platform, they argue it will allow people to ‘take back control’ of their data.

The State Of The Bubble (April 13, 2018)

Some days we open the newspaper and feel we are all doomed.

So I started The Bubble as a modest Facebook Group, for a respite from media overload. It became the one thing I could share with all my friends and family, without hesitation. And now it’s a web site, thanks to help from friends. I’d never expected it would grow this big and travel so far.

There are some simple rules: No drama. No hurtful speech or news. And of course, accentuate the positive.

There’s no one perfect future. We aim to share granular items on Culture, Society, Environment, Technology,Health, Economy, Science plus “Wow Cool” and “Adorable” moments.

If you want to make the world a better place? It’s not enough to critique; we need clear visions of what will replace our faulty systems. It’s worth pondering how it will look, taste, shape, feel and function.

I’m continuing to ‘export’ over a thousand posts from the original Facebook group (started in late 2016) .  Feel free to join us with your thoughts, comments, items to share on our social contacts below.

John Weeks, Editor

Twitter / Facebook / Email

Header image: Angela Acosta




Re-wilding: Re-introduced ‘Fishers’ Thrive In Cascade Mountains

“Fishers” are slim furry, forest-dwelling relatives of weasels, mink and otters in North America. But they’ve been extinct in the Pacific Northwest since the 1900s. Until scientists attempted to re-introduce them in the Cascade mountains.


Biologists released a handful of the endangered, weasel-like animals in 2008, but now they must find out if the population is sustaining itself.

Header photo courtesy Earthfix