Helsinki's ambitious plan to make car ownership pointless in 10 years

By Jim Meyer

Finland's capital hopes a 'mobility on demand' system that integrates all forms of shared and public transport in a single payment network could essentially render private cars obsolete.


 

The Finnish capital has announced plans to transform its existing public transport network into a comprehensive, point-to-point "mobility on demand" system by 2025 – one that, in theory, would be so good nobody would have any reason to own a car.

Helsinki aims to transcend conventional public transport by allowing people to purchase mobility in real time, straight from their smartphones. The hope is to furnish riders with an array of options so cheap, flexible and well-coordinated that it becomes competitive with private car ownership not merely on cost, but on convenience and ease of use.

Subscribers would specify an origin and a destination, and perhaps a few preferences. The app would then function as both journey planner and universal payment platform, knitting everything from driverless cars and nimble little buses to shared bikes and ferries into a single, supple mesh of mobility. Imagine the popular transit planner Citymapper fused to a cycle hire service and a taxi app such as Hailo or Uber, with only one payment required, and the whole thing run as a public utility, and you begin to understand the scale of ambition here.

That the city is serious about making good on these intentions is bolstered by the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority's rollout last year of a strikingly innovative minibus service called Kutsuplus. Kutsuplus lets riders specify their own desired pick-up points and destinations via smartphone; these requests are aggregated, and the app calculates an optimal route that most closely satisfies all of them.

The future is always changing. Back in the day, they promised a flying car in every garage. Now that the future is almost here, it’s looking like a no-go on the winged Chevy. In fact, in Helsinki, Finland, the future could mean empty garages. Turns out that in an age when we carry the sum of all human knowledge around in our pants pockets, some better ideas come up.

The Finnish capital is planning a comprehensive and flexible smartphone-enabled travel network that could be online by 2025. The system will combine small buses, self-driving cars, bicycles, and ferries. Users will simply enter their destination into an app and the system will suggest where to transfer from car to bike, for instance, and arrange for the vehicles — and do it all for one easy and inexpensive payment.

Adam Greenfield at the Guardian has more on the plan:

  • Helsinki aims to transcend conventional public transport by allowing people to purchase mobility in real time, straight from their smartphones. The hope is to furnish riders with an array of options so cheap, flexible and well-coordinated that it becomes competitive with private car ownership not merely on cost, but on convenience and ease of use.
  • Subscribers would specify an origin and a destination, and perhaps a few preferences. The app would then function as both journey planner and universal payment platform, knitting everything from driverless cars and nimble little buses to shared bikes and ferries into a single, supple mesh of mobility. Imagine the popular transit planner Citymapper fused to a cycle hire service and a taxi app such as Hailo or Uber, with only one payment required, and the whole thing run as a public utility, and you begin to understand the scale of ambition here. …
  • All of this seems cannily calculated to serve the mobility needs of a generation that is comprehensively networked, acutely aware of motoring’s ecological footprint, and – if opinion surveys are to be trusted – not particularly interested in the joys of private car ownership to begin with.
It’s no wonder the Finns are out ahead on this one. Traveling by car in Finland, a land where the roads seemed paved with danger, is a terrifying proposition. There are a staggering 3,000 to 4,000 reindeer-related collisions annually in Northern Finland alone. Compare those frightening figures with L.A., where there hasn’t been a single reindeer related accident in months. Why, even Maija, Finland’s beloved traffic safety reindeer, isn’t safe.

Helsinki isn’t the only city trying to put personal car ownership in the past. There’s a similar, smaller effort afoot in downtown Las Vegas, of all places. But in compact Helsinki, it’s a system that makes a lot of sense. And now that futurists have given up on the flying car, they can get to work on that practical jetpack they’ve been promising.

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's 6-Course Dinner

By Emily Thomas
Huffington Post 



According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, American families throw out about 25 percent of their groceries each year, often because they don't maximize the food's full use -- for example, some people throw away broccoli stems and only use the florets -- or they don't know how to store perishable items correctly. What's more, according to the World Resources Institute, about one-third of all food produced worldwide gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems annually.

Josh Treuhaft, a recent master's graduate of the Design For Social Innovation program at the School of Visual Arts, first cooked up the supper club idea for his thesis project, "Eat Everything." He then decided to test out the concept on a bigger audience.

"There’s all these people in [New York City] who spend extraordinary amounts on food, spend hours talking about their food and taking pictures of their food," Treuhaft told The Huffington Post. "So I wondered, 'Would people be interested in eating great meals in a social setting that is experiential, but do it in a way that’s raising awareness about the fact that there’s all this food that’s getting thrown away?'"

He quickly found out the answer was "yes."


"It’s a very common misconception people have that when you’re food browns it will make you sick -- it might make you gag, but it’s not unsafe," Treuhaft says. "On the flip side, molds are a different issue. There are some molds that are unsafe and others that you can just cut off. It's a lot of grey areas." READ entire story >>

Baking Soda -- True Enemy of the Pharmaceutical Industry


From: Why Don't You Try This?

No-one will believe the idea that something so cheap and simple such as Baking Soda can exceed the effectiveness of even the most expensive pharmaceutical drugs.

At one stage it was common knowledge that baking soda could easily cure a common cold, as well as support a number of other ailments. I have heard stories of people who have sworn it to have rid their cancer. 

There are 1000s of reasons to use baking soda but one overall reason is that sodium bicarbonate is a natural substance that will not harm us, our children or the environment because is it not a chemical compound that effects nature in any kind of negative way. 

Baking soda is a compound that is found throughout nature, in the ocean, in the soil, in our foods and in our bodies. Baking soda is a neutralizer of many other compounds, this makes it exceptionally effective as a medicine in the age of toxicity. 

Baking Soda (Sodium bicarbonate) is already in wide use and has been for decades. It is used routinely to keep the toxicity of chemotherapy agents and radiation from killing people or from destroying their kidneys. In relation to bicarbonate, millions of people in the world either consume bicarbonate ions in drinking water or they have been treated clinically with bicarbonate in medical centers, hospitals or emergency. 

Baking Soda helps to save countless lives every day. Life-threatening asthma in children can be resistant to treatment with bronchodilators and systemic corticosteroids. A Recent research suggests that administering in intravenous (IV) form can significantly improve pH and PCO2 in children with life-threatening asthma. 

At the University of Arizona they are looking at using baking soda as a potential treatment for cancer. Robert J. Gillies and his colleagues have proven that pre-treatment of mice with sodium bicarbonate results in the alkalinization of the area around tumors. This type of treatment has been found to “enhance the anti-tumor activity” of other anticancer drugs. Only this year the same researchers reported that bicarbonate increases tumor pH (makes it more alkaline) and also prevents spontaneous metastases . They showed that sodium bicarbonate taken orally increased the pH of tumors and also reduced the formation of spontaneous metastases in mice with breast cancer. It also reduced the rate of lymph node involvement. 

Unfortunately over the years modern diets have seen a rise in unhealthy acidic pH conditions. An imbalanced pH will disrupt cellular activities and functions to extreme levels as ph drops further. Excessive acidic pH leads to cellular deterioration which eventually brings on serious health problems such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and heartburn. It is face that the biological life works best in a non-acidic environment proving again just how useful baking soda is. 

Baking Soda is being proven time and time again as being one of the most useful substances in the world, its no surprise that pharmaceutical companies don't want doctors or anyone else to know too much about it. 

Everyday people are looking for alternative treatments for cancer, kidney and other diseases – let others know how simple baking soda is an important medicine and one of the safest there is. Just make sure to buy and use organic baking soda that contains no aluminum!



The Man Who Lives Without Money

"If we had to clean our own drinking water, we probably wouldn't shit in it."

Irishman Mark Boyle tried to live life with no income, no bank balance and no spending. Here's how he finds it. The man who lives without money.

If someone told me seven years ago, in my final year of a business and economics degree, that I'd now be living without money, I'd have probably choked on my microwaved ready meal.

The plan back then was to get a ‘good' job, make as much money as possible, and buy the stuff that would show society I was successful. For a while I did it – I had a fantastic job managing a big organic food company; had myself a yacht on the harbour.

If it hadn't been for the chance purchase of a video called Gandhi, I'd still be doing it today. Instead, for the last fifteen months, I haven't spent or received a single penny. Zilch. 


The change in life path came one evening on the yacht whilst philosophizing with a friend over a glass of Merlot. Whilst I had been significantly influenced by the Mahatma's quote “be the change you want to see in the world”, I had no idea what that change was up until then. 

We began talking about all major issues in the world – environmental destruction, resource wars, factory farms, sweatshop labour – and wondering which of these we would be best devoting our time to. 

Not that we felt we could make any difference, being two small drops in a highly polluted ocean. But that evening I had a realization. These issues weren't as unrelated as I had previously thought – they had a common root cause. 

I believe the fact that we no longer see the direct repercussions our purchases have on the people, environment and animals they affect is the factor that unites these problems. The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that it now means we're completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering embodied in the ‘stuff' we buy. 

Very few people actually want to cause suffering to others; most just don't have any idea that they directly are. The tool that has enabled this separation is money, especially in its globalized format. Take this for an example: if we grew our own food, we wouldn't waste a third of it as we do today. If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn't throw them out the moment we changed the interior d├ęcor. If we had to clean our own drinking water, we probably wouldn't shit in it. 

So to be the change I wanted to see in the world, it unfortunately meant I was going to have to give up money, which I decided to do for a year initially. So I made a list of the basics I'd need to survive. I adore food, so it was at the top. There are four legs to the food-for-free table: foraging wild food, growing your own, bartering and using waste grub, of which there far too much. On my first day I fed 150 people a three course meal with waste and foraged food. Most of the year I ate my own crops though and waste only made up about five per cent my diet. I cooked outside – rain or shine – on a rocket stove. 

Next up was shelter. So I got myself a caravan from Freecycle, parked it on an organic farm I was volunteering with, and kitted it out to be off the electricity grid. I'd use wood I either coppiced or scavenged to heat my humble abode in a wood burner made from an old gas bottle, and I had a compost loo to make ‘humanure' for my veggies. I bathed in a river, and for toothpaste I used washed up cuttlefish bone with wild fennel seeds, an oddity for a vegan. For loo roll I'd relieve the local newsagents of its papers (I once wiped my arse with a story about myself); it wasn't double quilted but it quickly became normal. 


To get around I had a bike and trailer, and the 55 km commute to the city doubled up as my gym subscription. For lighting I'd use beeswax candles. Many people label me an anti-capitalist. Whilst I do believe capitalism is fundamentally flawed, requiring infinite growth on a finite planet, I am not anti anything. I am pro-nature, pro-community and pro-happiness. And that's the thing I don't get – if all this consumerism and environmental destruction brought happiness, it would make some sense. But all the key indicators of unhappiness – depression, crime, mental illness, obesity, suicide and so on are on the increase. More money it seems, does not equate to more happiness. 

Ironically, I have found this year to be the happiest of my life. I've more friends in my community than ever, I haven't been ill since I began, and I've never been fitter. I've found that friendship, not money, is real security. That most western poverty is spiritual. And that independence is really interdependence. 

Could we all live like this tomorrow? No. It would be a catastrophe, we are too addicted to both it and cheap energy, and have managed to build an entire global infrastructure around the abundance of both. But if we devolved decision making and re-localized down to communities of no larger than 150 people, then why not? For over 90 per cent of our time on this planet, a period when we lived much more ecologically, we lived without money. Now we are the only species to use it, probably because we are the species most out of touch with nature. 

People now often ask me what is missing compared to my old world of lucre and business. Stress. Traffic-jams. Bank statements. Utility bills. Oh yeah, and the odd pint of organic ale with my mates down the local.