cooperation

Crocodiles work as a team to hunt their prey

Recent studies have found that crocodiles and their relatives are highly intelligent animals capable of sophisticated behavior such as advanced parental care, complex communication and use of tools for hunting.

New University of Tennessee, Knoxville, research published in the journal Ethology Ecology and Evolution shows just how sophisticated their hunting techniques can be.

Crocodiles and alligators were observed conducting highly organized game drives. For example, crocodiles would swim in a circle around a shoal of fish, gradually making the circle tighter until the fish were forced into a tight “bait ball.” Then the crocodiles would take turns cutting across the center of the circle, snatching the fish.

Sometimes animals of different size would take up different roles. Larger alligators would drive a fish from the deeper part of a lake into the shallows, where smaller, more agile alligators would block its escape. In one case, a huge saltwater crocodile scared a pig into running off a trail and into a lagoon where two smaller crocodiles were waiting in ambush — the circumstances suggested that the three crocodiles had anticipated each other’s positions and actions without being able to see each other.

Vladimir Dinets. Apparent coordination and collaboration in cooperatively hunting crocodilians. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1080/03949370.2014.915432

The Perfect Tie for Every Outfit

The piece: http://tartangrand.com/product/kensington-tie/

Most guys don’t wear ties every day so when you get a chance to look a little bit spiffy, I think it’s important to make the best of it. How I judge a tie is by the number of compliments I get on it. Average ties blend with your look. Great ties create your look.

This past week, I was lucky enough to stumble across a fantastic piece from an independent Canadian brand, Tartan Grand. They call it the Kensington Handmade Tie and it’s a 100% wool skinny tie that I love to wear with white and neutral coloured shirts. The first thing that caught my attention was the subtle details of the design. It’s a salt and pepper-ish light grey with little specks of colour that make the tie really stand out.

And I was extremely impressed with the quality of the wool construction. With a lot of the wool ties I come across, the wool is either too soft or too tough and often a little too thick. This one is a balanced piece. What’s more important in fashion than balance?

It’s a versatile piece that works well with casual and formal outfits. I’ve worn it to both with excellent results.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with what I got. You can buy it here for a $34: http://tartangrand.com/product/kensington-tie/ and you can use my exclusive promo code “MENSTYLE1” for 15% off. Watch out for a contest for a free tie next week!  

Helen Keller, "On Competition," 1918

People who think about such matters realize that the competitive system by which the affairs of the world are conducted today has not proved satisfactory. Growing numbers perceive that there may be a better plan, a better social order. It is self-evident that our institutions should make us all reasonably happy. That the majority of human beings upon this planet are not happy is obvious. People more and more are recognizing that some fundamental changes in the method of conducting the world’s business must take place before all departments of human endeavor coordinate, and that until coordination is secured, there will be injustice, exploitation, waste and wars. Now competition is one of the primary obstacles in the way of coordinating man’s efforts to secure justice, freedom, efficiency and lasting peace.

We have been taught that competition is healthy, necessary, that to destroy it would be to sap the springs of energy and individualism. It is insisted, without it life would be harder and more unpleasant even than it is. No more work would be done than was absolutely necessary. The business man would not rise early. He would not spend the whole day in his office. Industry and trade would stagnate. No new markets would be opened; there would be no fluctuation of prices; there would be no excitement, no incentive. Life would become dull, monotonous. Life would not be worth while without the keen edge of competition. Men would lost ambition, and the race would sink into dull sameness, compared with which peas in a pod would present a pleasing variety.

This whole argument is a fallacy. Whatever is worth while in our civilization has survived in spite of competition. Under the competitive system the work of the world is badly done. The result is waste and ruin. Things will never be better until cooperative production is substituted for competitive production.

Primarily; industrial life is rent by competition. Profit is the aim, and the public good is a secondary consideration. Competition sins against its own pet god efficiency. In spite of all the struggle, toil and fierce effort the result is a depressing state of destitution for the majority of mankind. Competition diverts man’s energies into useless channels and degrades his character. It is immoral as well as inefficient, since its commandment is, “Thou shalt compete against thy neighbor.” Truthfulness, honesty, consideration for others, such a rule does not foster. But it does foster selfishness, want of sympathy, cheating, adulteration of goods and the making  of worthless cheap wares. Competitors are indifferent to each other’s welfare. Indeed, they are glad of each others’ failure because they find their advantage in it. Compassion is deadened in them by the necessity they are under of nullifying the efforts of their fellow-competitors.

This order is founded upon injustice and supported by force. It gives the land on which all must live into the hands of a few; it squanders vast sums on war, and meets the demands of working-men for higher wages and better conditions with indifference or resistance. Under such a system unhappiness is the rule, and happiness the exception. Disease is common; sound health is rare. The majority are in want while the minority live in luxury.

Finally, to every nation comes a moment when “a good war” is the only remedy for internal disorder. “A good war” is the comfort of despair. That is the sort of war [World War I]that is rending the world today. “Each for himself” is a selfish, soulless rule. “Each for all” is much more stimulative and effective. Cooperation, or combined control, achieves a far greater result not only for the whole, but also for the individual.

Competition is wasteful of labor and laborers. It exploits the workers to such an extent that they are too poor to buy what they themselves produce. In a fever of production competition piles up masses of goods for which there is no market at home. As a consequence of over-production we have armed competition of governments, and the world is periodically plunged into war with the object of opening foreign markets for the surplus. The present world war is a monstrous example of the warfare of competition. Look at all the commercial countries at this moment. What is the supreme aim of their governments? Markets. All over the world they are hunting for undeveloped countries to “shoot” their commodities into, while millions of their own people are hungry, cold and naked. Thus we have the amazing spectacle of great armies and navies composed of the exploited workers competing with each other, enduring terrific hardships and unimaginable sacrifice, in order to dispose of the fruits of their own labor for the benefit of a privileged few in their respective countries! What an outrageous, unthinkable state of affairs! For these reasons competition is a great sin, the cause of incalculable misery, waste and ruin. None of the evils enumerated in this indictment is accidental or temporary. They are an inevitable result of the present social order. Away with this order then — this competitive, capitalistic order with its ruling of class by class, its courts of injustice, its hypocrisies, its clashing interests, its shocking contrasts, its  wars and its uncertain peace. I say, this competitive system has been a long, costly experiment, and has failed.

I really, really dislike...

…the way that people discourage any solidarity between oppressed groups for fear that someone somewhere might make the mistake of thinking that our oppression is too similar.  I understand where the fear comes from, because I’ve seen the same train wrecks passing for advocacy that everyone else has.  But I seriously believe that losing the potential for solidarity between oppressed groups is a far more serious problem.

And I think that this discouragement is a symptom of a larger problem.  Where basically, people are going so much on their feelings, that they don’t think through a situation.  They don’t think through which situation is worse.  They just think through that one situation feels bad (and I know it’s more than that it feels bad, but the bad feeling is what people go on to make these decisions), so then it becomes a situation that must be avoided at all costs.  Even if the costs are so high that they could destroy a lot of important possibilities for solidarity, cooperation, mutual understanding, and helping each other in general.

6

An Earth Day Thought: Cooperation Is A Survival Tool

by Michael Keller

Every sunrise is a new breath of life. The morning comes and our star once again bathes us in the energy upon which the whole machinery of being runs. And life responds with every day’s beginning—plants grow; animals graze, browse and hunt; fungi, bacteria and insects slowly bring all of us back into the soil. When the night comes, much of life becomes quiet. Even then, though, many organisms remain at work, taking advantage of the darkness to give birth, take prey, and otherwise make their way in a crammed world. The Earth is beautiful and brutal—such is the nature of life.

Creatures breathe from almost every place on our planet, from the hydrothermal vent communities in the crushing pressure and pitch black abyss of the ocean’s floor to the microbes catching rides through the stratosphere on Sahara Desert dust storms. It’s a constant competition among individuals and species. Yet an exquisite adaptation to succeed in the bloodsport of survival has arisen over evolutionary time—cooperation. Many of us come equipped to work together so that we may individually and collectively live a little better.

"Organisms are inherently competitive, yet cooperation is widespread," wrote Columbia University’s Dustin Rubenstein and James Kealey in a 2010 paper in the journal Nature. ”Genes cooperate in genomes; cells cooperate in tissues; individuals cooperate in societies.”

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The motivation does not seem to be, ‘Let’s do this together,’ ” says Melis, now an assistant professor of behavioral science at Warwick Business School in the U.K. “It’s, ‘Let me try to do this alone, and if I can’t, we’ll do it together.’ ” Tomasello has discovered that young children, by contrast, find that working together can be a reward all its own. When adults deliberately drop objects in his experiments, babies of 14 months will crawl over to pick them up and hand them back. Toddlers open doors for experimenters whose hands are full. They do it without being asked and without being rewarded. Once they get the idea that they are partnering, they commit to joint intentionality. If a partner is having trouble, they stop and help. They share the spoils equally. “They really understand that we’re doing this together, and we have to divide it together,” Tomasello says.

We cannot separate class antagonisms entirely from race antagonisms without being disingenuous. There is a hierarchy that does not exist within a strict polemical analysis of proletariat and bourgeoisie. Because of institutions like heteronormativity, patriarchy, and white supremacy, as well as the petty bourgeoisie, we have several interwoven strata where people experience very unique forms of oppression. Reducing everything, collapsing all oppressed peoples’ experiences and all peoples in power into two monolithic pieces warring with each other is reductionist, however at times useful. It erases people and their lived experiences. This is what intersectionality is all about, recognizing that some oppressions are unique and hurt people in ways which others are not, addressing this reality through correcting our own complicity, healing, and learning to fight back together with strategy and tactics which fit and facilitate the liberation of all the oppressed. But we cannot do this unless we are genuinely interested in speaking and acting with each other about our realities.

”We were fed up with making meaningless TV programs so we both decided to quit our jobs. We came up with the idea to travel the world in 365 days and to meet a stranger a day. Every day we shoot a small clip and ask that stranger for their story. I call it ‘the pursuit of humanity’ but Carl thinks that sounds a bit dicky. So far we have traveled to more then 20 countries and shot over 200 docobites.”
”What has been biggest struggle so far?”
”When you have been filming all day long and you post that clip online and it goes completely unnoticed. We don’t like to complain about it because this is the best thing that has ever happened to us but it can be pretty tough sometimes. 
”What have learned from this journey so far?”
”That whatever your passion or dream is, life doesn’t become easier when you choose to pursue those dreams. In fact it becomes harder because suddenly you do something you actually care about. But In the same time everything you do does become fuller of meaning”

I met Carl and Epiphany about a week ago they stopped by Amsterdam for their project 365 docobites. As an independent blogger/photographer I know how hard it can be to survive sometimes. They shot this clip of me while I was working and I can only say that they did an amazing job. Thank you both so much!

Here is the link of the docobite they made about Humans of Amsterdam:
http://365docobites.com/post/100011927312/humans-of-amsterdam-if-we-are-strangers-its