From void into vision, from vision to mind, from mind into speech, from speech to the tribe, from the tribe into din.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

World Game Notes: MOOCs, Global Displays, and Existing Technological Opportunities

"Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous behaviors that will avoid extinction."  R Buckminster Fuller
MOOC [Massive Open Online Course]: Power Agriculture: Sustainable Energy for Food
Feb 1st - March 27, 2016“Details: Around one third of the energy used worldwide goes into the production and processing of food from field to table. Given the current energy system mix, the agrifood industry sector is however heavily dependent on fossil fuel inputs for production, transport, processing and distribution, and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. With a continuously growing world population the need for food and for energy to produce it is increasing. At the same time millions of farmers and processors in developing countries and emerging economies lack access to clean energy technologies for irrigation, drying, cooling, storage and other processes. Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) seeks to identify and support new and sustainable approaches to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy solutions for increasing agriculture productivity and/or value in developing countries.”

There is now technology to show this and other MOOCs’ proceedings on, among other things, a dynamic spherical screen like the iGlobe (  Currently, MIT’s Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences is hosting a two foot diameter iGlobe. 
“If you have data or interactive models you'd like to see visualized on the sphere... learn how it can be done and to figure out better ways and how to present information using the iGlobe.  Or try to make a compelling environmental movie using the sphere, an auxiliary screen, and sound.  Or come if you'd just like to experiment with the way things look projected on a spherical surface.”

There are open sessions with the IGlobe display every Thursday in January 2016 from 11am to 12pm at MIT, Building 54-1827, 21 Ames Street, Cambridge, the Green Building, the tallest building on campus.  Glenn Flierl, Professor of Oceanography, is the host.
NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] also has a program called Science on a Sphere, 
“a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages.”

These ongoing activities approach R Buckminster Fuller’s idea of a World Game:  
The goal of the World Game is to "make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone." 

Today, we have the technology to play the World Game online in real time with interactive maps and satellite images updated frequently.  Imagine World of Peacecraft or the Final Fantasy of a sustainable, restorative economy and ecology for everybody, all 100% of the human population with a significant number of that 100% participating as co-designers, for the benefit of all who will allow the benefit of all.
An online, ad hoc “Dashboard for Spaceship Earth” can also be cobbled together from existing resources with some of theseWorld Game Dashboards and Visualizations:
clock of various Earthly vital statistics
Breathing Earth - carbon output, births and deaths
AP's interactive map of countries, emissions, and climate goals (2009)
NASA's Aqua/AIRS animation on carbon, watching the Earth breathe - associated with Solutions Journal
Environmental Performance Index 
Arctic Jet Stream
Yale's Environmental Performance Index ( is global in scope. 
And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( tracks everything from temperature change to carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. 

Terralingua is tracking something unique they call Vitality Index( 
What are other groups tracking? 
What global measures are there for biodiversity, ocean health, arable land, rainforest, ice coverage, number of species, etc? 
realtime wind/temperature Earth:
The Skeptical Environmentalist ( has a lot of interesting statistics and comes from another perspective. 
UNESCO ( has good statistics about education and science from a global perspective.
NASA's Earth Observatory ( has some cool maps and interesting analysis of what is happening on earth as seen by satellites. 
For example, while biodiversity is going down, the total amount of life on earth as measured by Net Primary Productivity has actually increased on average by 6% from 1982 to 1999.
Crisis Commons ( and CrisisCamps like this 2010 one for Haiti in Boston are already a kind of narrow World Game:
Saturday, February 13, 2010 CrisisCamp will bring again together volunteers in Boston, MA to collaborate on technology projects which aim to assist in Haiti's relief efforts by providing data, information, maps and technical assistance to NGOs, relief agencies and the public.
The Buckminster Fuller Institute ( is preserving and continuing Fuller's work and OS Earth ( runs corporate and student simulations based upon the World Game.
There are disaster preparedness ( and humanitarian assistance training ( simulations online. Bright Neighbor ( is a community resilience software package marketed to city and town governments.  [There is also which has worked with Occupy Sandy in NYC and helps cities and towns prepare for recovery before the disaster happens.]
One game designer, Jane McGonigal has built a number of real world problem solving games, including SuperStruct for the Institute for the Future ( in 2009 and Evoke, in 2010. The first challenge in that game is a famine in Tokyo ten years from now. There are ten challenges to be completed in ten weeks. McGonigal's writings are at 
John Robb of Global Guerrillas ( theorizes about "a real world company that operates like a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. One reason I believe that this type of venture would work (and that my dream wasn't purely a fantasy) is this simple insight: MMOs with persistent environments (aka 'worlds') have proven an ability to incentivize tens of millions of players to do billions of hours of work...."
Those incentives are
"Improvement in status (level).
Gain new capabilities (new tools) and skills.
Earn in-game faux money (to purchase new tools and status enhancing items)."
In-game faux money becomes real money all the time these days.
Additional Links:"  The Cost of Life is a pre-earthquake game of rural life in Haiti (Ayiti) from UNICEF. The object of this game is to follow one family for four years. It is not an MMO.  and are both sites trying to compile permaculture and transition town information as it applies to Haiti
Enersa (  is a Haitian group doing solar as a cottage industry.
For more information contact Richard Komp, PhD, Director of Skyheat Associates <>.  His report on a 2007 visit is at [pdf alert]
Ozone Hole Watch
International Institute for Sustainable Development on climate policy
Gamification of Systems Thinking
urban world app from McKinsey "offers previously unavailable data from a proprietary MGI database of more than 2,600 cities around the world”
10 science games doing real research, including a game to find cropland at
There is a board game version that approaches the World Game called the World Peace Game ( developed by John Hunter for Fourth Graders and other elementary school students.  I've talked with him and he knows about Buckminster Fuller's World Game but has his hands full with his won World Peace Game.  He has been working with a gaming group at MIT to make a digital version of the tabletop version of the game.
These are all resources I’ve collected over the years and are not intended to be examined all at once, only to give you an idea of what is already out there and available now.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Zero Net Energy - January 2016 edition

Greenbuild Unity Home - prefab, affordable net-zero home can be built in less than three days to LEED v4 Platinum and net zero-energy standards and with the largest collection of Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified building products ever used in a residential project.

zHome:  the first net zero energy townhome complex in the United States (built in 2011 in Issaquah, WA) with benchmarks of net zero energy use, a 70% reduction in water use, a 90% construction recycling rate and the use of only low- and non-toxic materials among other specifications

Net Zero Energy Buildings Technical Reports

DOE's A Common Definition for Zero Energy Buildings

Presentations from Building Carbon Zero California 2015

Net zero 1910 school to lofts conversion in Amsterdam

Architecture at Zero 2015 winners

Zero Net Energy Roadmap for local governments (California)

Zero net energy building controls report

Market Data:  Zero Net Energy Homes (paid access only it seems)

Zero net energy laboratories

Seattle region near net zero community (including one HERS -1 rated, net positive house)

From energy efficiency lighting expert Fred Davis: - February 18-19, 2016 in San Diego, CA

Sidmore Owings and Merrill build a net zero energy school in Staten Island, NYC's first

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