HAPPY 4TH OF JULY: Complexity and Simplicity

Happy 4th of July!

“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits. “—Thomas Jefferson

COMPLEXITY AND SIMPLICITY : When confronting complexity, simplicity is a worthy first endeavor. Historically, even war has been resolved by simple “treaties” by marriage. The complex universe has been clarified by simple mathematical equations. All cultures have forms of simple unifying traditions, celebrations, foods, drink and merriment—a commonality. Despite trillions of dollars in expenditures, societal ills persist. Whether it be poverty, homelessness, education, transportation or international relations, isn’t it logical to aim resources at quick and relatively inexpensive solutions?

YOUTUBE: Billions in Change:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY7f1t9y9a0
The world is facing some huge problems. There’s a lot of talk about how to solve them. But talk doesn’t reduce pollution, or grow food, or heal the sick. That takes doing. This film is the story about a group of doers, the elegantly simple inventions they have made to change the lives of billions of people, and the unconventional billionaire spearheading the project.

NOTE: “Good stuff doesn’t come from money; and history tells us that.”—Manoj Bhargava

How one person and a small team can change the world, with free clean electricity by human-powered generators, clean energy by tapping the Earth’s heat, fresh water by desalination farms on barges, health improvement….

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DIVERSITY: AN INNOVATION MELTING POT:  For 240 years of American history, and a blink of time relative to other nations, a uniquely American confluence of cultures and ideas has begun a global experiment, which unites the many under democratic principles, law, liberty and justice for all. The strength and stability of the American society continues to be a beacon for people all over the world. This melting pot fuels America’s dynamism and palpably connects to every corner of the globe.

GIZMODO: The last 200 Years of U.S. Immigration in One Chart [see


http://insightfulinteraction.com/immigration200years.html [with
interactive detailed data]

Just how much has the United States depended on immigrants to build itself throughout its history? This chart lays out the last few hundred years of the nation’s immigration rates to show how pivotal it was.

The Last 200 Years of U.S. Immigration in One Chart

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CASE STUDY: HOMELESSNESS : As in the past, solving homelessness requires simply organization, design and speed. After the 1906 earthquake, 225,000 of the City’s 400,000 population were homeless. Quick and relatively inexpensive solutions followed—for shelter, food, hygiene and societal infrastructure. Pending housing solutions, even tents can be organized and linked to basic human needs.

Poverty and homelessness are not new. Many social safety nets arose from past crises. We’re now better equipped to solve homelessness. But unlike the past, when cheap lodging was a small fraction of weekly wages (25¢, 50¢, $1, $2…a night), the room-by-the-day, boarding houses, single-room occupancies and backyard shacks have disappeared.

48 HILLS: Why are so many people homeless in SF?
People who are homeless must have done something wrong with their lives. Even the rare sympathetic news media coverage focuses on drugs, mental illness, crime, job losses … there is never the suggestion that people who live on the streets are victims of a system that the political leadership either helped create or tolerates.

In reality, it is not the fault of the people who live on the streets; it’s our fault for forcing human beings to live there.

The message is that homeless people are different from the rest of us, that it must be their fault that they squat on blankets (huh?) and hold out hands. They are The Other, to be feared, and shunned, and patronized.

We have created this situation. And now we do a special project with hundreds of stories that ask why, oh why, are there are so many homeless people on the streets. Go figure.

48 HILLS: The deep roots of SF’s housing crisis
Berkeley professor explains that it’s not about Nimbys, it’s about capital markets, speculation, too much demand, and income inequality.

And he argues, correctly, that the housing crisis has more to do with speculation, finance, and economic inequality than with any claim that cities like San Francisco are too slow to build housing.

But developers are profit-seekers, so don’t expect them to be innocent bearers of what people need. It is absolutely necessary to question developers and city planners over what is to be built, how high, how big, and where. A livable city demands good design, historic preservation, neighborhood protections, mixed use, and social diversity, among other things, and figuring out what those things are should be a collective, democratic and, yes, conflictual process of politics and public debate.

HOODLINE: Controller’s Office Proposes Six New ‘Pit Stop’ Public Restroom Locations http://hoodline.com/2015/11/controller-s-office-proposes-six-new-pit-stop-public-restroom-locations?utm_source=individual-stories&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=stories

To determine where new Pit Stop restrooms would make the largest impact, the Controller’s office mapped all 274 publicly accessible restrooms in the city, including toilets maintained by the SF Public Library, Rec and Parks, the police and fire departments and other city departments.

Under the assumption that people are willing to walk up to 0.2 miles to access a restroom, the department then mapped the vicinities covered by existing public toilets.

While the Pit Stop program is intended for both locals and tourists, representatives of the Controller’s office said they wanted to narrow in on accessibility for homeless San Franciscans in particular. Therefore, they removed public toilets in fire and police departments, assuming that many homeless residents would not feel comfortable going to those locations to use the restroom.

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HOUSING VARIABLES: SMALLER, CHEAPER AND FASTER: Throughout the world, much less in our own history, all people can be housed by oversight of design variables, land-use and housing concepts—like micro units, tiny villages, cargo container dwellings, house boats, co-operatives, shared housing, boarding rooms, single-room occupancies, transitional housing, in-law units, multi-use facilities……

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NEW GREEN, SELF-SUSTAINING CITIES: Avoiding high construction costs and long timeframes in existing cities, new green cities may make more sense. Due to its compact size, San Francisco is already denser than Hong Kong and Tokyo. Rather than overstressing old infrastructure, new self-sustaining cities could produce their own energy/ water, recycle 100%, eliminate waste/ pollution, minimize cars, innovate public transit, centralize jobs and stabilize housing costs by design.

Zero Energy Communities are communities that have committed to moving to net zero – producing as much energy as the community consumes. Ed Mazria of Architecture 2030 describes his blueprint for a Zero Energy World in this video. Below is a description of what is happening in several cities in North America who are aspiring to become Zero Net Cities.

Case Study: Lancaster’s ZNE Goal [Zero Net Energy] :
In 2011, the City of Lancaster set a goal to become the first net-zero energy city, defined as producing or procuring more electricity within city limits from renewable sources than is consumed.

VIDEO: PulteGroup Zero Net Home in California:
PulteGroup’s reveals its newest innovation, an invisible house in Brentwood, California, which is an environmentally friendly zero net energy prototype working to erase its carbon footprint.

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Most Inspiring TV ad: “All the Good” (Hillary Clinton)
Often called the voice of God, actor Morgan Freeman has portrayed God twice and the U.S. President twice.

Most unique TV ad: Jane Kim as a fighter.

Follow-up: A one-two combination

NorthBeachCLEAN: Everyday, everyone picks up 1 piece of paper. If 20,000 residents pick up 1 piece of paper everyday, that’s 7.3 million pieces of paper per year. SaveNorthBeachVillage.org

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