It’s Friday, which is usually most people’s excuse for some kind of frippery. Not us though.

Today’s double header is from a reproductive health NGO called EngenderHealth.

The first video highlights the ‘Global Gag Rule’, which was part of the Bush administration’s effort to undermine women’s reproductive rights, through it’s simplistic and ideologically driven approach to family planning. Obama overturned the ‘Mexico City policy’ as one of his first actions as President.

The second video highlights how family planning is a key issue in pretty much every single major global issue, as part of EngenderHealth’s 3for1 campaign.

Both pretty simple nubs, so perfect for a Friday afternoon.

You can find out more about EngenderHealth’s work in this video and there’s lot of interesting stories on their YouTube channel.

Have a good weekend folks!


Permaculture Nubs _ FAIL.

Not sure how long I can maintain the ‘this is an important idea but there are no good videos out there about it’ defense for posting lame nubs but in anycase, here it is again. In the past six months permaculture has moved from being something I had never really heard of to a total omnipresence – first I had an email from my old boss in Singapore about a permaculture project he was working on, then my parents  told me they were going on a permaculture course and now I am involved in this project about the future and the whole thing is turning into a sort of exploration of the ways that people could adapt to and subvert permaculture lifestyles in cities. These people all ‘read different newspapers’ if you know what I mean.  Kind of makes me hopeful that, when there seems to be no obvious source of authority with sufficient power or influence to plan society, good ideas still have the power to spread and be adopted of there own acccord in some kind of swarm thing. Hope to see it make an appearance on open left soon.

Citizen Sane

Following on from yesterday’s wander into philosophy, a short detour into political philosophy via this animation from MachineOff, a Greek production house.

It’s a brief distillation of an essay (I think) by E.A.Rauter. I hadn’t heard of him before but a quick bit of internetting reveals he was a German teacher and journalist, who wrote about the effect of language and information. There seems to be very little about him or his work in English, which makes this video all the more of a find.

The video outlines Rauters’ thoughts on how information is used to construct  individuals sense of self and what this means for how we relate to the state and economy. It’s a bit longer than the average nub, but it’s thought-provoking stuff. It’s this kind of visualizing of an intellectual idea that formed our original idea of what a nub should be, so enjoy!

Existential crisis for the book trailer nub

Spent a dreadfully long time looking for some inspirational audio visual content today and found precious little. Why have Chris Anderson’s publisher not made a video of his new book? – maybe if they’re just going put the audio verion on spotify listening to the introduction takes the place of watching the nub. Is this the end of the book trailer nub?! Can it really be dead already?

Anyway. I’m kind of thinking that people who like philosophy enjoy discussing it and it’s also quite abstract – which means it should be well suited for a new nubgenre. I’m going to keep looking, but haven’t found anything really awesome yet.

Flatter to deceive

George Orwell famously described political language as being “designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”. But it’s a description that just as easily applies to advertising and marketing too.

Having recently completed a yoga course, I decided it was time to invest in the one piece of equipment required: a yoga mat. So, at first, all I needed was a mat. Nothing fancy, just a cheap, simple, basic mat to stop my knees from hurting when I kneeled on the floor. But then I found eco-mats. Did this mean other mats were ecologically unsound? In which case an ecologically sound mat was the only possible choice. That meant ‘cheap’ went out of the window. Now I was splashing out, I wanted the best possible mat for my money. No messing around, I thought, I want a mat for life., that would be the most ecologically sound choice. And if I’m going to have this mat as a long term mat I need the perfect mat, one that accords with my lifestyle choices and aesthetic sensibilities, a mat that expresses my identity (both actual and aspirational). I found that mat in the prAna Revolution. Look at the yogic surfers in the video, all chilled out, at peace with themselves and the universe whilst being surfy and cool. It convinced me; what I needed was an extra large, luxury, top-end mat, that was the only way for me to progress from numpty beginner to yogic master. I mean, how could I even hope to master my postures on a standard skinny width PVC mat with the possibility of my fingers touching the floor. I had to have it.

As I was working out how to get hold of this tangible representation of yogic mastery, my wallet, and self respect, was saved by three things. Firstly, a perfectly timed piece by Nirpal Dhaliwal, secondly a realisation that I had spent more time looking for a mat than actually practicing my yoga, and three this smug video.

Like lots of people I thought I was well versed in anti-consumerist ideology but watching this vid made me realise how easily I was being sucked into the game just the same. Watch how two advertisers (who look like rejects from Heartbreak High) demonstrate how to rip off people on e-bay and use their creative skills for evil. Like Flav said.. don’t believe it, boyeee.

Importance of facts

Nubs about privacy are an easy win – you can’t help but watch them and think they could be watching me now. In that rather endearing German way this video lays it on with a trowel. There are obviously some fairly prescient issues at hand here that apply as much in the UK as in Germany, but I think this video (that satirises a german government advertising campaign for national unity video) kind of muddies the waters by not referencing its sources e.g. ‘we can download all the files on your computer’ – where? how? says who? who can? Maybe I missed something. Also it claims that ‘There hasn’t been a single internationally planned terrorist attack in Germany’ – really? I think this counts doesn’t it? Kind of makes you sympathise with David Goodhart at Prospect who says that Liberal over-reaction makes it harder to have a rational debate about the database state.

Definitely file under nubaganda.

RIP Natalya Estemirova

Have altogether been feeling pretty dreadful about Chechnya. Partly because I’ve been reading Åsne Seierstad’s Angel of Grozny but mainly because of the murder of the Human Rights activist Natalya Estemirova last week. There have been loads of eulogies to her in the IHT over the past couple of weeks – I found this one quite moving.

She wandered the ruined republic wearing a skirt, blouse and heels, lipstick on, carrying her purse and presenting a straight face, perhaps warmed by a slight smile, to masked gunmen and victims alike. She could seem as proper as a chief librarian, ready to add to her archive, both on paper and in the mind, which revealed the Chechen wars for what they really were. How did she dare?… She was, improbably, a one-woman parallel government, providing services that the real government was unwilling to offer. She found the incarcerated. She hunted for hidden graves. She built cases against perpetrators, even when she found, as she often did, that they wore government uniforms.’

In the wake of her killing (probably at the hands of the Kadarovski the armed police force of Chechnya’s Russian puppet dictator Ramzan Kadyrov) Memorial, the human rights organisation she represented, have now pulled out of Chechnya, which I think will effectively end independent reporting of this kind from Chechnya. Somehow I don’t think Gordon Brown’s TED vision for connected digital technologies linking up with human consciousness to create a global society can really apply without people like Estemirova. Fact’s are subversive, but they are also ‘expensive’.

I have been trying to find a nub about Chechnya, but annoyingly there isn’t a great deal out there – the silent video I have posted here, is the nearest nearest thing I could find. I guess technically it’s nubaganda, but as everything pretty much checks out with Estemirova’s reporting, I’d rather call it a teachnub.