USA to Stop Landmine Procurement and Production

Unfortunately not every country has signed the Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personal land mines. Recently the largest producer of armaments, the USA, has opted to stop production of landmines. The army has also committed to not purchasing new landmines.

“Our delegation in Maputo made clear that we are diligently pursuing solutions that would be compliant with and ultimately allow the United States to accede to the Ottawa Convention – the treaty banning the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of APL,” Caitlin Hayden, National Security Council spokeswoman, said in the statement.

Now mines are rarely used in conflicts, and even countries that have not signed up abide by most of its rules.

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3D Printing for Peace

3D printing got a lot of attention recently because an American organization found a way to print a handgun. A direct reaction to that has been to launch a contest to promote the true potential of 3D printing by having a contest which encourages people to create designs that better the world.

It’s obvious that 3D printing isn’t inherently evil and that it can really shake up a lot of existing industries. Just think about printing your own replace parts for objects in your home or even printing food. Last year I put up a short primer on 3D printing on my game design blog.

The contest is being run by Michigan Tech and this is what the contest is looking for:

  • low-cost medical devices
  • tools to help pull people out of poverty
  • designs that can reduce racial conflict
  • objects to improve energy efficiency or renewable energy sources to reduce wars over oil
  • tools that would reduce military conflict and spending while making us all safer and more secure
  • things that boost sustainable economic development (e.g. designs for appropriate technology in the developing world to reduce scarcity)

Find out more at Michigan Tech.

Clearing Minefields With Help From the Wind

In 1997 many nations of the world signed the Ottawa Treaty which banned the use and trade of land mines. The majority of countries signed on, but countries from Russia to the USA to even Armenia still need to commit to not using such dangerous weaponry. As a result of the use of these mines entire regions of nations are unable to be used.

Clearing land mines is expensive and very dangerous, which is where this really nifty idea comes in for using a nifty device to help clear the mines.

Mine Kafon | Callum Cooper from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

Via Reddit.

Iceland is the Most Peaceful Country on Earth

Iceland is a beautiful country and it’s one that is known for weathering the current economic calamity by fining bankers instead of punishing average people. It turns out that their attitude towards helping the average person and respecting the environment makes it the most peaceful country on the planet!

Iceland is one of the most progressive nations on the planet: its welfare system offers health care and higher education for each of its 320,000 citizens; it is powered in large part by renewable geothermal energy (see volcanoes, above); and it was one of the first countries in the world to legalize gay marriage.

Read more.

Humans Are Nice!

That’s right – people are good! You might think that the world is a dangerous place or what have you, but, when you get down to it people just hate violence. Indeed, we as a species are measurably opposed and troubled by violence against other people.

The implications of this seemingly obvious result are really interesting. The idea of physically harming someone right in front of you is considered to be the most potent moral circumstance. Sarah McLaughlin talking about dog adoption behind sappy music might make you change the channel, but kicking a stray dog in the face will seriously mess with your conscience. How about a better example. Take the following moral dilemma:

A runaway trolley is about to run over and kill five people, but a bystander who is standing on a footbridge can shove a man in front of the train, saving the five people but killing the man. Is it permissible to shove the man?

Across cultures, genders, ages, and races, the result is essentially the same and has been replicated countless times: over 90% of respondents consider this act impermissible. People just don’t want to have to do the pushing themselves. When a “lever” is added to the problem, and the person questioned can now drop the bystander onto the tracks without physically touching him, the result is flipped and 95% of people find it permissible.

Read more here.
Here’s the research paper.

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