GOOD-Partnerships

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all time favorite ships → kotetsu/barnaby

It was fun going after criminals with you, and listening to your silly lectures… when you first started calling me by my first name, I was so happy I went drinking by myself.

The Fact That Changed Everything: Will Allen and Growing Power Vertical - by Bora Chang

“It was part of my proposal to the city that I would to teach kids about how to grow food and about food systems—that was my other purpose,” says Allen. “Because when you educate kids, they take that back to their homes and tell their parents.” In effect, Allen had sown the seeds for altering the existing food system, especially in inner cities, and established a way to push for food and social justice. “Everyone, regardless of economic status, should be able to access healthy, nutritious foods,” says Allen.

Continue reading on good.is

Illustration by Jessica De Jesus

This content is brought to you by GOOD, with support from IBM. Click here to read more stories from The Fact That Changed Everything series and here to read about other Figures of Progress.

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“You have. You’re not the same person I met a year and a half ago.”

When I look back on the last 18 months, I often categorise it as a kind of…grand experiment. The results of which have demonstrated to me, much to my surprise, that I am capable of change.

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Our relationship is predicated on One Holmes and One Watson. It’s a delicate homeostasis. And it doesn’t function properly if there are two Holmeses and no Watsons. So while I am sensitive that this is likely a ripple effect from the tragedy, turning yourself into me in response, is not good for our partnership.
I am not turning myself into you. I am finding my way through my situation. Whether or not that works for you is irrelevant. This is where I am right now, and this is how I need to be.

So I just made a connection that had never occurred to me before and I now feel dumb for not realizing this before now, but now I’m feeling.

Obviously Maka is one of those really intense Good Students who always wants to sit in the very front row right in the middle so that she’s in the best position to hear well and take good notes and develop rapport with her professors by making frequent eye contact during lectures and all that stuff. And Soul, by contrast, is pretty obviously that dude who always wants to sit at the back of the classroom so he can sleep.

But you notice where they sit in all of their classes? Right in the middle of the room.

They compromised.

There are five Tragedy Comics left in the series after this installment. Worry not though. readers, I will continue offering illustrated mediations on the human condition by expanding the formats and forms presented here for your enjoyment. Happy new year to you all.

Infographic: The Rise of Americans With No Religion
GOOD Partnerships and Column Five contributed in Religion and Mindfulness

Today, one in five in the American public doesn’t identify with any religion, the highest share since Pew Research Center began this poll in 2007. Who makes up this group, and what implications does the growing trend have for secularization, politics, and spirituality?

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and you’re so tired of just being alive // you’re so sad you could just cry //  I’d sing you the sweetest songs and hold you so long // and make you forget all the reasons you talked about leaving this place //  if you’re thinking about leaving I could give you a reason to stay

Announcing Coding for GOOD: 16 Steps to Become a Coder

GOOD and Apollo Group are excited to announce the launch of Coding for GOOD, an opportunity to gain skills in coding and, for one lucky participant, a chance to work with us here at GOOD. It’s our effort to bridge the skills gap through real-world application.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn what goes on behind the scenes of your favorite websites or apps, now is your chance. And guess what, it’s really not as hard as you think. Through Coding for GOOD you’ll learn step-by-step in easy to follow lessons the rules for HTML, CSS, Java Script and how to use APIs.

To get started, you’ll need to work your way through the sixteen free coding lessons found here. Each lesson will walk you through the topic and give you a challenge to test what you’ve learned. If you get stuck, each challenge has a video to help you along.

Then, starting Monday, December 3 you’ll have a chance to be hired onto the GOOD Tech team as a junior engineer. Just showcase your mastery of all of the lessons by submitting a final project and a panel of judges will select three candidates to be flown to Los Angeles in January to compete in the hack-a-thon. The winner will have the opportunity to join the team of coders here at GOOD.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your coding lessons here.

This content was produced by GOOD with support of Apollo Group
Illustration by Corinna Loo 

Private Gain to a Few Trumps Public Good for the Many

Congress is in recess, but you’d hardly know it. This has been the most do-nothing, gridlocked Congress in decades. But the recess at least offers a pause in the ongoing partisan fighting that’s sure to resume in a few weeks.

It also offers an opportunity to step back and ask ourselves what’s really at stake.

A society – any society — is defined as a set of mutual benefits and duties embodied most visibly in public institutions: public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.

Public institutions are supported by all taxpayers, and are available to all. If the tax system is progressive, those who are better off (and who, presumably, have benefitted from many of these same public institutions) help pay for everyone else.

“Privatize” means “Pay for it yourself.” The practical consequence of this in an economy whose wealth and income are now more concentrated than at any time in the past 90 years is to make high-quality public goods available to fewer and fewer.

In fact, much of what’s called “public” is increasingly a private good paid for by users – ever-higher tolls on public highways and public bridges, higher tuitions at so-called public universities, higher admission fees at public parks and public museums.

Much of the rest of what’s considered “public” has become so shoddy that those who can afford to do so find private alternatives. As public schools deteriorate, the upper-middle class and wealthy send their kids to private ones. As public pools and playgrounds decay, the better-off buy memberships in private tennis and swimming clubs. As public hospitals decline, the well-off pay premium rates for private care.

Gated communities and office parks now come with their own manicured lawns and walkways, security guards and backup power systems.

Why the decline of public institutions? The financial squeeze on government at all levels since 2008 explains only part of it.

The slide really started more than three decades ago with so-called “tax revolts” by a middle class whose earnings had stopped advancing even though the economy continued to grow. Most families still wanted good public services and institutions but could no longer afford the tab.

Since the late 1970s, almost all the gains from growth have gone to the top. But as the upper-middle class and the rich began shifting to private institutions, they withdrew political support for public ones.

In consequence, their marginal tax rates dropped – setting off a vicious cycle of diminishing revenues and deteriorating quality, spurring more flight from public institutions.

Tax revenues from corporations also dropped as big companies went global – keeping their profits overseas and their tax bills to a minimum.

But that’s not the whole story. America no longer values public goods as we did decades ago.

The great expansion of public institutions in America began in the early years of 20th century, when progressive reformers championed the idea that we all benefit from public goods. Excellent schools, roads, parks, playgrounds and transit systems would knit the new industrial society together, create better citizens and generate widespread prosperity.

Education, for example, was less a personal investment than a public good – improving the entire community and ultimately the nation.

In subsequent decades – through the Great Depression, World War II and the Cold War – this logic was expanded upon. Strong public institutions were seen as bulwarks against, in turn, mass poverty, fascism and then Soviet communism.

The public good was palpable: We were very much a society bound together by mutual needs and common threats. It was no coincidence that the greatest extensions of higher education after World War II were the GI Bill and the National Defense Education Act, or that the largest public works project in history was called the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act.

But in a post-Cold War America distended by global capital, distorted by concentrated income and wealth, undermined by unlimited campaign donations, and rocked by a wave of new immigrants easily cast by demagogues as “them,” the notion of the public good has faded.

Not even Democrats still use the phrase “the public good.” Public goods are now, at best, “public investments.” Public institutions have morphed into “public-private partnerships” or, for Republicans, simply “vouchers.”

Outside of defense, domestic discretionary spending is down sharply as a percent of the economy. Add in declines in state and local spending, and total public spending on education, infrastructure and basic research has dropped dramatically over the past five years as a portion of GDP.

America has, though, created a whopping entitlement for the biggest Wall Street banks and their top executives – who, unlike most of the rest of us, are no longer allowed to fail. They can also borrow from the Fed at almost no cost, then lend out the money at 3 percent to 6 percent.

All told, Wall Street’s entitlement is the biggest offered by the federal government, even though it doesn’t show up in the budget. And it’s not even a public good. It’s just private gain.

We’re losing public goods available to all, supported by the tax payments of all and especially the better-off. In its place we have private goods available to the very rich, supported by the rest of us.

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Carles Puyol and Gerard Piqué are the original odd couple, two men who shouldn’t be friends but have turned out to be the perfect partnership – good together and good for each other. Very, very good… If Puyol’s influence on Piqué is immediately obvious and a little cliched – the serious, experienced old pro guiding the renegade, cocky young star – it is not a one-way street. Piqué has changed Puyol’s career too. More than that: Puyol admits that Piqué has changed his life… Opposites don’t just attract, they enhance – and these two could hardly be more different. (x)

Infographic: What Do Small Businesses Mean to You?

Quick, can you name five small businesses in your neighborhood? If you’re like most Americans, you can probably think of even more than five. After all, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms in America – that’s nearly 6 million companies. Small businesses (defined by the Small Business Association as companies with less than 500 employees) employ about half of all private sector workers. But aside from employing millions of Americans, studies show that many of us also think highly of these types of businesses and even have an emotional connection with them. Here’s what Americans have to say when it comes to small businesses.

Design by Deeplocal

This post is brought to you by GOOD, with support from UPS. We’ve teamed up to bring you the Small Business Collaborative, a series sharing stories about innovative small businesses that are changing business as usual for their communities and beyond. Learn how UPS is helping small businesses work better and more sustainably here.

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(*whispers*…can we also have Starfighter swing dancing??)

i, uh…i set out to do a little Starfighter-swing-dance-fanart because i’m super excited about trying to meet hamletmachine at Otakon this year and i’ve been really pining for the dance floor recently, but…um…it may have gotten a little out of hand.

it was only my intention to do like maybe two quick little things but it turned into like ten. i-i’m not sure what happened. f^^;

…so anyway. enjoy Praxis in a horrible sweater-vest?

hamletmachine’s characters from Starfighter dancing to moves found in this video (WATCH IT WATCH IT WATCH IT watch it it’s really good okay.)

(and there’s one more picture here)

Infographic: From Energy Production to Electricity Consumption
GOOD Partnerships and Focus the Nation and Oliver Munday contributed in Environment, Energy and News

It’s Energy month at GOOD, so we’ve teamed up with Portland, Oregon’s Focus the Nation, an organization that’s empowering youth to make smart environmental choices in their communities. This infographic is part of a series exploring our use of energy resources.

Powering on your computer is more than just pressing a button. The flow of electricity is made possible from multiple energy sources, whether they’re imported and exported fossil fuels, like natural gas, petroleum, and coal, or domestically-produced nuclear electric power and renewable energy. Check out our latest infographic above that shows how the electricity around us flows from source to consumption. You can follow the U.S. electricity flow from production on the left to consumption on the right, with energy’s measured in quadrillion British ton units (Btu). With all this electricity wasted, it is clear we need to conserve our energy sources.

What is primarily fueling the activities of our modern economy today are the fossil fuels which have stored the sun’s energy over more than a millenium, coupled with nuclear power, which has been around for only the last five decades. If the United States is to prepare for a more sustainable future, it must start turning to renewable energy to meet our energy needs, using sources like hydroelectric power, biomass, geothermal, solar-photovoltaic, and wind.

To learn more about the Energy discussion on GOOD, visit our Energy hub and follow Focus the Nation.