Thursday, 20 March 2014

Why Sensationalizing Serious Issues does [Chicken] Little for the Cause

Image: Planetary Destruction 

“It is always the novice who exaggerates.”

Take a look at the following 3 headlines:
  1. GMOs will unleash global killer 'ecocide' across the planet, warns prominent scientist

  2. Research reveals the deadly dangers of excess calcium

  3. It's not just the sugar that destroys your teeth: Carbonated beverages are all made with acid
Read more: Natural health news

Look, we get it: the world is a noisy place and audiences have ADHD. Every media outlet out there is competing against every other source of distraction: from high-brow artistic documentary to so-called serious mainstream journalism to forthright infotainment.

Then there’s all the noise of the web. Let’s be honest: most of it is just that…noise. Yet many producers of web content will tell you they are far less biased than mainstream media outlets. Really? What that means in their mind is less fettered by editorial oversight and responsibility (FOX News notwithstanding).

Make no mistake: advertising-supported web blogs are no less biased than any other media outlet. Because they have to attract and retain audiences without the benefits of traditional networks, in a world where it is easier for users to click-away even than it is for viewers to change the channel, in many ways they are even more biased.

Web properties tend to gravitate to a certain basket of issues relevant to their target audiences, just like any other media source. And, some might argue, just like most editorial content, web properties tend to champion causes around those issues.

The problem, I find, with how the web—and to some degree mainstream media as well—present stories around issues and causes is getting ridiculous. Forget all sizzle no steak, we’re all just getting whacked in the face by an empty hot fajita pan.

How are we supposed to take seriously the journalistic integrity of new stories when one after the next sound the alarm of some looming apocalyptic scenario?  Calcium? Deadly? Really?

And when you actually read the stories, many are quite boring and straightforward. It was the headline that took hyperbole to new heights (or lows).

I partly blame social media. Facebook, Twitter, etc. The whole goal, it seems, of social media marketing is the precious click-thru, that holy grail of web activities that web properties sell to advertisers and sponsors: eyeballs.

No one is going to click to find out the dangers or health risks of consuming too much calcium…they’d rather watch paint dry. But CALCIUM CAN KILL YOU!? Now there’s a message you haven’t seen in a “Milk: it does a body good” TV ad campaign! Must be something to it! Gotta check it out!

Ridiculous. And sad.

Many of the issues being raised are important. Many of the causes are, indeed, just and worth giving a fair hearing. But a fair hearing demands a fair, measured, honest telling! As the above quotation from C.S. Lewis suggests, it’s no time for amateur hour, but that’s how these media properties come across.

Look, PeapodLife has a blog. We’ve got a non-profit arm called which also has its blog. We know what it’s like attracting and keeping eyeballs. We write about contentious and thought-provoking issues. And we’re not even journalists or a bona fide media outlet.

Still, at PeapodLife we turn to nature as our guide. We follow the example of an ecosystem which—sorry to say, techies—is an infinitely more complex network carrying information human beings cannot begin to process. Yet it is simple, dignified, and at times vividly beautiful. There’s an essential truth to it.

Beautiful. And enlightening.

Maybe we don’t always succeed, but we do our very best to bring nature’s very best to you…in all we do…so you can be at your very best. Anything short of that, we leave to others.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Original Social Net Working
Nature Shows us the Way to Authentic Relationships

What is the connection between Social Networks and Being Lonely?
Published by 1622Shimi

“Always watch and follow Nature.”
~ Egyptian Proverb, The Temple of Luxor

The award-winning video, The Innovation of Loneliness by Shimi Cohen, describes in simple words and animation the problem with today’s technocratic culture as it relates to what might be called real social connections.

In a nutshell, Cohen’s argument is this: we have engineered a whole new approach to loneliness.

Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and even business networking sites like LinkedIn have increased human connectivity and social networking on a quantifiable scale not fathomable even a few decades ago, but there’s a reason for that, Cohen argues…humans simply can’t handle it.

Cohen explains for monkeys grow in numbers until the size of the social group is no longer viable, then they splinter into two social groups and go their separate ways. Once upon a time, families, villages, tribes, etc. also likely followed a similar dynamic.

Even in empirical, hierarchical structures, large numbers of individuals must be broken down into manageable-sized “units.”

•    Countries > Provinces > Cities > Neighbourhoods
•    Armies > Divisions > Companies > Units

This is just plain common sense when you think about it. Seriously, how many real, meaningful relationships can you maintain? People have always organized themselves in such ways because of the natural limits imposed by our necessity for authentic social interactions.

We need social nets that work, not social networks. What comfort can we take from scrolling through endless portraits of all our Facebook “friends?”

A single Rainforest Ecosystem from PeapodLife contains more living organisms than all the “friends” on Facebook combined, ever. The difference is, PeapodLife friends are not measured in quantity, nor are they organized by cold algorithms and crude databases.

PeapodLife follows the laws of nature in its highest expression. A community of organisms impossible to comprehend—let alone organize—by means of the human intellect, miraculously woven into a beautiful, self-organizing web focused on the success of every last inhabitant: including you.

No other technology comes close.

Here’s a vivid example of how nature shows us what a real relationship is; and what beauty emerges when we watch how the original “social net” works, even after 20 years.

Not a new story but worth watching again and again!
Uploaded by EVOLVE Campaigns 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Why there are NO GOOD I.T. COMPANIES left
(if there ever were any to begin with)

Image Collage by PeapodLife: No Good I.T. Companies.
Image Credit: I.T. Company Logos,  Source: eGexa Download: All best IT Companies Logos

Simplicity is DEAD in the Digital Age.

I just spent the better part of an hour trying to UNDO the stuff which the too-clever-for-their-own-good minds at Google INFECTED my gmail account with.

Because of Google’s irrational insistence that any changes within any application on their platform must automatically populate across all other applications in said platform and irrevocably alter my Google account as a whole, I am unable to actually make any use of certain customization options within Gmail.

I’ll spare you the gory details. You’re not interested anyway. If you’ve used any form of I.T. within the past few years, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

Case in point: Microsoft Office’s arbitrary auto-formatting anomalies.  Take its insistence that a line beginning with an asterix (*) MUST mean you are starting a bulleted list; or a number MUST mean it’s a numbered list; or some other formatting change that is automatically spread like an infection.

And yes, I know all about “styles and formatting.” I have been using Word for over 15 years, observing each new version become progressively more efficient at its ability to confound and frustrate. 

Then there’s Adobe, where we get the inverse problem. Creative Suite is a suite in name only, as there is no uniformity in the graphic user interface, short-cut keys, menus, etc. Oh, there is some consistency: just enough to give you a false sense of security. But you’ll soon be searching Google for the way to do in PhotoShop what you know exactly how to do in Illustrator. And yes, Adobe’s help files are useless. 

Let us not imagine this phenomenon is limited to computers. The new breed of tablets and “smartphones” have spawned an entire new strain of patience-testing anomalies.

How about intelligent keyboards which automatically insert a space after a period and capitalize the next letter, so that URL’s you try typing into your browser end up looking like this: “Www. Thewebsiteineed. Com” until, that is, you go back and manually delete the spaces so the browser will work. And don’t even get me started on so-called intelligent prediction, voice recognition, etc.

Now I know what you’re thinking: I can “opt-out” of these features. Just turn them off. Why should I have to do that? They are good features when they actually work. I don’t want to opt out of not wearing a seatbelt, I expect that seatbelt to work. If it doesn’t work, it shouldn’t be there in the first place.

What a concept. Call me old fashioned, but there was a time when you bought a tool to do a job and unbelievably, it did so: hammer, toaster, typewriter, guitar, telephone, et al. Where and when, exactly, did we as a society exempt the digital age from the same standards as the analog one? When did it become a “best practice” to consistently overpromise and under deliver?

The mantras of the digital age are faster, smaller, smarter; feature-packed functionality; style over substance; gimmick over purpose; quantity over quality. Nowhere is quality, integrity, simplicity and intuitive human-centric design at the forefront. No, not even at Apple (but I’ll not get into details, because I don’t feel like sifting through reams of hate mail from zealous Macheads and iOS users).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s handy having a smartphone. It’s convenient and I’d be hard-pressed to live without it, now that I no longer commit anyone’s telephone number or email to memory. But there is something very wrong with the digital age and how companies from Microsoft to Google to Apple abuse their power, influence and ubiquity in our lives.

Does it have to be this way?

We are products of our environment. Anyone who works in I.T. is surrounded by electromagnetic fields of zillions of bits moving across fractal spaghetti networks at hyperspeed, a condition which results in a culture of error since our primitive animal minds cannot keep up with the complexity and speed.

All an I.T. company would need to do is take a page from analog artists and craftspeople of the past: SLOW DOWN a little, and turn to nature for guidance, inspiration, imagination and rejuvenation.

Hey Google, forget the foosball and pool tables, how about an indoor rainforest ecosystem from PeapodLife? If Adobe’s separate application teams develop a harmonious, symbiotic relationship with a rainforest ecosystem, their applications will work in harmony and symbiosis with each other and users.

Immersed in the electromagnetic field of a high-order ecosystem (both calming and revitalizing), developers can find new inspiration, imagination, solutions; unlock nature’s secrets to managing infinite complexity; and embody the perfection of a measured, ordered pace of development in their work.

The result: beauty, depth, peace and harmony. How’s that for a “new feature-set” for the digital age?

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Surprise! Sugar Ain’t Good For You!
World Health Organization takes its foot out of its mouth and puts it firmly down.

Video: Reducing sugar intake The World Health Organization says we should reduce our sugar intake by two-thirds, to about six teaspoons a day. 

"Sugar might become the new tobacco in terms of risk"
~ Dr. Francesco Branco, head of nutrition for health and development, WHO
Source: CBC news | Health: Lower sugar intake to less than 5% of daily calories, WHO says
The World Health Organization (WHO) has had an epiphany.  Hold onto your hats: sugar is bad for you. Did we just blow your mind!?  Chances are, not really.

If you’re even remotely interested in nutrition, health & wellness and the like, you’ve probably already seen, read and heard reams of information on the perils and evils of the dreaded “white powder.”

What has taken so long for the WHO to come around and reflect what is far and away the consensus among nutrition and healthcare professionals is simple: industry pressure.

The WHO has made statements about sugar consumption in the past, but they have stopped short of changing the maximum recommended intake of sugar because the processed food industry—and the sugar growers which fuel it—gave such tremendous pushback.

So, just as with tobacco, we had years—if not decades—of weakly-worded recommendations lacking any real teeth. In the meantime? Consumption of sugary products was on the rise, as the following infographic illustrates…

Infographic: The National Sugar Rush

So How ‘toxic’ is sugar? Research suggests links to deadly diseases but some doctors and food industry representative are skeptical. Surprise, surprise.

There seems to be a tremendous amount of research and scientific evidence, but the industry will likely NEVER agree with the science. Exactly how the tobacco industry dragged its heels for decades in the face of hard science and countless illnesses and deaths at the hands of their product.

Image: “Eat Less Sugar…you’re sweet enough already.”

It’s good advice, really.

We too often search for quick fixes, intense pleasures, instant gratification, all of which are actually filling some deep subconscious emotional/psychological void in our lives.

But we all know sugary foods have little to no value. According to the WHO’s recent statement, sugar is 10 times more addictive than cocaine.

When we look at all the hidden sources of sugar, it turns out that the average Canadian consumes about 40kg (or 20 bags) of sugar. That is about 26 teaspoons a day, more than double the new recommendation of 10 teaspoons.

PeapodLife believes that part of the problem that we face with all this toxic food we eat, prepared by an industry built on exploitation, consumed in houses that are toxic indoor environments, is that it all fits together.

Why would we expect part of “the big machine” to produce anything different than how the rest of the machine works?

Healing our environment is one proactive step we can take today to break the cycle of toxicity, junk, exploitation. Installing a vibrant, living rainforest ecosystem in our homes, workplaces and schools fills our lungs with purity, our hearts with beauty, our bodies with vitality, and our minds with clarity.

There is no way we can stomach toxic foods when we live in an ecosystem. Our relationship with the orchids, moss, bromeliads, and countless other organisms forbids it. Our responsibility as active members of the ecosystem demands we uphold our place in the order of things.

Exploitation and toxicity have no place in a high-order rainforest ecosystem, any more than they have a place in our lives, our diets, society as a whole and the wider environment of the planet.

Image: A real estate investor gets up close and personal with PeapodLife’s Angolo model at The Property Show.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Stress is not the Enemy; Our own Psychology is
Forget the War on Stress; Declare Peace on Life Instead

Image Collage: Know Your Enemy : Your Face Here
Image Background: Know Your Enemy
Image Foreground: Your Face Here

“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”
~ Mark 3:24

As human beings, we like to declare war on things. We declare war on drugs, war on crime, war against AIDS, and in our own minds, we’ve probably declared war on STRESS.

How ironic is that? There can be no doubt: there are few activities more stressful than going to war. The irony here is that there is no stress in the world. Stress is our own reaction to circumstances. Or to quote Dr. Wayne Dyer, “There is no stress in the world, only people thinking stressful thoughts.”

Image: Dr. Wayne Dyer
Image Source: Facebook | Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

For you or I, even the most routine brain surgery is stressful. For a seasoned brain surgeon, who must have a perfectly steady hand, stress is not an option.

The reality is, we are often our own worst enemy when it comes to stress, especially chronic stress which, apparently, can rewire your brain and create mood disorders. In fact, there are at least five ways we subject ourselves to stress on an ongoing basis.

5 Ways we Load-Up on Stress:

It may seem hard to believe, but we do tend to cling to stress. Here are five ways we don’t make matters any easier for ourselves when it comes to stress:

  1. Avoiding exercise – We all know regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Unfortunately, when we view it as “extra effort,” it’s all too often one of the first activities we cut from our schedule when life seems too much. “I’m too tired to exercise” is an excuse which sounds so good to us after a hard day or tough week.  If we really observed ourselves, however, we would find that exercise can invigorate and revitalize, leaving us energized and more able to take on the pressures of life.

  2. Neglecting PTSD Treatment – Many of us suffer from chronic stress related to unresolved trauma. There are a number of different approaches to dealing with PTSD, and even simple physical exercises which can help alleviate the symptoms. Our ability to remain calm and relaxed regardless of our circumstances is greatly boosted when we deal with the hidden baggage we carry which causes us a great deal of grief.

  3. Busy-ness and Over-Commitment – Some of us feel uncomfortable doing nothing. Like the busy mind that can’t quiet down in meditation, we constantly keep ourselves occupied with tasks, fill our schedules with commitments, and then repeat our “to-do list” incessantly to ourselves and others. We may also develop a kind of martyr-complex, taking on way too much responsibility, feeling unable to say “no” to family, friends, employers, etc.  We must observe ourselves carefully to recognize that this self-imposed source of chronic stress is really a mask for very negative and counter-productive (if not self-destructive) psychological traits. 

  4. Eating Junk – We are what we eat. If we eat garbage, we will feel like garbage. Period. Sure, we may feel the “sugar rush” in the short term—like any drug—but the “crash” which follows always leaves our heart-mind-body with “a terrible hangover.” The 2004 film, Super-Size Me vividly explored the stress eating junk food can have on us. Sadly, junk food is cheap, fast, convenient, addictive, accessible 24/7, and presses all of our “comfort food” hot buttons. In other words, it’s a drug, and we are all too easily susceptible to the downward spiral of feeling stressed, eat junk food, feel better for a while then feel even more stressed later > eat more junk food, etc.

  5. Attachments and Self-Sabotage – Possibly the 500 lb. gorilla of the bunch, self-sabotage is what compels us to do the opposite of what we know is best for us.  Self-sabotage makes us say or do the opposite of what we really long for. We are not talking about competing voices in the head, here. Self-sabotage isn’t the inner dialogue debating which flavour of potato chip you should buy, it’s the almost automatic tendency to perpetuate habits which go directly against what we feel intuitively we must do.

Source: How chronic stress rewires your brain and creates mood disorders

PeapodLife knows that dealing with stress is all about healing our own thoughts, feelings and actions. Forget declaring war on stress, focusing all your energies on external circumstances, all the while ignoring the sinister sabotage teams lurking within yourself!

Imagine if you had—not an ally; let’s lose the war analogy once and for all—a friend, a supporter, a nurturing community of beings whose sole purpose is not just survive but thrive. Imagine if, as a part of that one entity, you were also raised to a level of optimal balance in your life.

Now you know how and why PeapodLife “declares peace on life.”