What Does An Adaptation Technologist Do?

Have you ever asked yourself who the people behind frontline aid work are and how did they end up dedicating their professional lives to pursuing solutions to age-old plagues such as war, famine, natural disasters or drought? These brave individuals are known as Climate Change Adaption Technology Specialists, and they help and train affected communities by introducing them to self-sufficiency and focusing on effective, sustainable, recovery solutions.

Implementing effective strategies for sustainability in aid work is very sought after. Assisting post-disaster and poverty-stricken areas by designing sustainable systems that can withstand climate change can make a real difference to the quality of life and help communities rebuild quickly. 

Most methods of adaptation involve technology, materials, equipment, and most importantly diverse forms of knowledge. The forms of technology for adaptation are often quite familiar and have been tried and tested over generations, such as coping with floods by building houses on stilts or by cultivating floating vegetable plots. Other more recent forms of adaptation involve the use of advanced materials, science, or remote satellite sensing. Take for example how Adaptive Technology is the focus of an extended Egyptian climate project.

If you have an adaptive mindset and enjoy fostering innovative solutions to global environmental issues, training is available worldwide.

Green Warrior Permaculture‘ specializes in frontline aid work and for anyone interested in becoming a professional Climate Change Adaption Technology Specialist, they offer a 2-year apprenticeship program. Once the initial 10-week hands-on internship is completed, the trainee will be assigned to various projects at one of their many field school sites. Students can develop projects to test their skills and gain experience alongside other Permaculture teachers and practitioners. “Permaculture Aid gets real results by helping the people restore their community using local resources. They grow their way out of poverty”. 

Students practice in the field, where they develop all the necessary skills to bring self-reliance to people needing aid. Students must complete several small-scale projects, such as construct safe wells, build community infrastructures, implement waste management solutions, or build nurseries, to list but a few. The projects are conducted in real communities, where students get to solve real problems.

Upon completion of the 2-year program, one is qualified to co-teach for 2 years, after which one can open their own Permaculture Field School, with the option of branching out on their own or by joining forces with a guild of trainers. 

A 10-week Climate Change Adaption Technology Specialist apprenticeship is also being offered, as a stand-alone course, for those with some previous experience. Courses can be customized for people with specialized skills or previous experience in the field. 

These courses are run through Green Warrior Permaculture’s new facilities at the ‘Centre of Advanced Permaculture’. All of Green Warrior Permaculture’s programs and field courses focus on how to adapt and mitigate climate events. More in-depth information on Green Warrior Permaculture field courses can be found on their website: https://greenwarriorpermaculture.wordpress.com/category/what-is-a-green-warrior/

If Green Warrior’s program is not the right fit or location for you, check out these other options for training as an Adaptation Technology Specialist:



The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat and the Expert Group on Technology Transfer carried out an extensive review of adaptation technologies and assessed their possibilities in five sectors:

  • Coastal zones
  • Water resources
  • Agriculture
  • Public health
  • Infrastructure

This review gives you a pretty good idea of the challenges that lie ahead for mankind and the opportunities to make a difference. The review is published as a technical paper, and can be found on the UNFCCC website (www.unfccc.int).

The global climate system has always confronted human societies with extreme weather events and we can expect future climate change will simply exacerbate these type of events, increasing their scale, duration or intensity, which should be possible to adapt to some extent by modifying or extending existing technologies.

If you are interested and would like to read an in depth publication which provides an overview of the old and the new, clearly showing us that we have been using existing knowledge to adapt to changing environments and that new adaptation technologies and methods are available and are being developed. Download this publication as a reminder of what is possible and how you can make a difference by becoming an Adaptation Technologist.

How To Tell Quality Fabric From Cheap Fabric

If you stop to think about it, fabric is one of the most important components in our daily lives. From the clothes we wear, to the upholstery of our home furniture and cars, to our bed linen.  The fabric used will determine the value, comfort, and durability of the item in question. Not all fabrics are suitable for all applications and not all fabrics are alike when it comes to quality.

I grew up with a seamstress for a mother. Spent many days down long aisles of fabric stores in Montreal’s St-Laurent area, the heart of the city’s garment industry back then. Rows and rows of shelves lined with fat rolls of fabric. An infinite array of textures and colors to choose from. You could always tell who worked in the store since they had measuring tapes hanging around their necks and long sharp scissors always on standby.

The best part of going fabric shopping with my mother was that I was allowed to touch the merchandise on display. This never happened anywhere else. I mimicked my mother’s meticulous perusals of fine threads. I listened to her rumblings when she was not satisfied with the quality or price. Without realizing it I was learning about the fine art of textiles through my fingertips and my mother’s unintentional coaching.

As a consumer, you owe it to yourself to know the difference between valued fabrics and cheap fabrics. Whether you are buying new furniture for your home, a new suit, special dress, or bed linen, the fabric used will make all the difference. If you are going to spend money on a classic suit, special dress, or important piece of furniture for your home or office, you’ll want it to last and to look good after some wear or use.

Cheap or ill-suited fabrics in upholstery will quickly turn that new sofa into a junkyard piece as the fabric stretches, thins, fades, easily stains, and rips at the seams. When it comes to clothes or bed linen, your comfort is largely dictated by the fabric used. High-quality fabric will ensure that your suit or tailored summer dress will not turn into an incubator on a hot day. 

When it comes to bed linen, the sensation on your skin when you come into contact with finely woven Egyptian cotton, versus regular cotton is notable even by a novice.  Egyptian cotton sheets may cost more, however, the longer you use them, the more cost effective they become. Let’s just say that you get your return on your investment. What makes Egyptian cotton special is partly the high number of threads per square inch. Egyptian cotton sheets resist pilling, easily absorb vibrant color dyes, and are so much softer than most other sheets. I purchased two sets of Egyptian bed linen and comforter covers, and I’ve never looked back. They look and feel as good as when I purchased these 12 years ago, the colors are as vibrant as day one, and every night when I slip into bed my skin thanks me for not having bought Ikea bed linen. 

If you’re like me your bed linen is part and parcel of your home decor, so why not invest a little extra in top-quality Egyptian cotton that you know you can enjoy for years to come. Enjoy not only for its esthetic values but also for that unprecedented and truly lush experience that only the finest of fabrics can give you. 

Textiles can be seductive, exciting, intimate, and, even shocking in some instances. Take for example to use of PVC for fetish wear. Lace, silk, and satin have long been considered sensual textiles. Why is this? Because as you touch these fine fabrics your senses are awakened through your skin and touch. Who doesn’t like the soft furry feel of mohair knit or the provocative touch of plush velvet? The delicious draping of silk taffeta is something for our eyes to behold. Textiles offer us a multisensory experience. 

How To Tell Quality Fabric From Cheap Fabric

Whether you are buying a suit or bed linen, start by reading the label. It helps if you have some knowledge of textiles. Here are some useful pointers to help you understand the difference between quality and cheap fabrics.

  • Fiber Weave: High-quality fabrics feature fibers that are closely and tightly woven together. There should be no obvious gaps between fibers as that’s often an indication of weakness in the fiber quality and they can tear easily. High-quality fabrics have a more well-balanced combination of vertical and horizontal weaves, which make for a stronger fabric surface.
  • Color: Look out for unevenness in tone throughout the surface of the fabric. There should be no streaks or spots. Test fabrics for colorfastness as well.
  • Thread Count. This refers to the number of thread strands per inch. A higher thread count means the fabric is tighter and more durable.
  • Finish. The fabric should show no uneven weaves, unusual creases, or stretching in the corners.
  • Price. Quality comes at a price, and usually cheap items are an indication that corners have been cut either by using cheap material or cheap labor (or both). The price point should match the item in appearance and quality.
  • Finished Product. High-quality linens and apparel have a distinct appearance. The seams should be well sewn. The buttons should be clean and even.
  •  Longer fibers, such as those in Egyptian cotton can be spun into a finer yarn. Fine yarn can be more tightly bound, which makes the resulting fabric stronger and more durable.

High-end, natural textiles typically come with a price, however, when building a solid, timelessly elegant wardrobe, these fabrics are worth the investment. Silk, cashmere, leather, and linen have long been highly acclaimed, sought after, and expensively priced for obvious reasons.

There’s also a case to be made for sustainability. Instead of buying a cheap garment which will fall apart at the seams and need replacing in no time, try spending a little extra and you will have saved in the long run. Aside from having that favorite suit, dress, jacket or sofa still looking and feeling new for many years ahead, clothing or furniture made with quality fabrics can be resold at a good value.

Whether you are investing in your home or wardrobe, learn to recognize quality fabrics, make smart purchases and you’ll never look back.  

Beginners Guide On Using Hickory and Mesquite For Smoking Meat

The heat is on! Summer is here and it’s perfect for grilling and smoking meats outdoors. For those of you not familiar with using smoke for cooking, it is important to understand the variety of woods that can be used, whether you are smoking brisket, pork ribs, fish, or poultry. Think of using smoke in the same way as you would use spices, garlic, ginger, curry, or basil in a dish you are preparing. Each one of these will give a distinct flavor to your dish and will either work for or against your dish, depending on how you use them.

Meat should be smoked prior to grilling for that special flavor. You don’t need a dedicated smoker. Here are some handy solutions for smoking meat using your gas or charcoal grill.

If you’re new to smoking meats, you should familiarize yourself with a variety of woods to choose from, suitable for smoking meats. Many fruit trees are suitable for smoking meat. Apple, cherry, pear, plum, and almond woods will lend a sweet, fruity flavor to most meats.  Apple wood is a very fine option as it results in a light, fruity, sweet smoky flavor.

We’ll start with Hickory and Mesquite since these are amongst the most popular woods used for smoking meat. Both Hickory and Mesquite are high-quality hardwoods, so in order to choose between these two firewoods, you’ll need to know more about their individual characteristics, flavor, smoking point, and burning time.

Hickory vs Mesquite

In order to get the best results, when choosing which wood to use when smoking meats, a good place to start would be to examine the differences between Hickory wood and Mesquite wood. These are both hardwood trees, which means they make for high-quality firewood.

If we were to measure Hickory and Mesquite on a spectrum that spanned from mild to strong, we would find Hickory in the middle, along with other woods, such as maple and oak. These woods are excellent for smoking pork and bold enough to smoke beef, and game meats as well. Mesquite is in another category, all of its own. It produces the strongest tasting smokey flavor and should be used in moderation, or combined with other woods when smoking lighter meats. Let’s have a closer look at the characteristics of these two fine hardwoods.

Hickory Chips


Hickory is the longest-burning wood of the two, it is high-quality firewood and because it has quite a high heat output, Hickory tends to last longer than many other kinds of wood and delivers consistent smoke throughout the entire cooking period.

Hickory is a versatile smoking wood that works well with most types of meats and is the classic choice for bacon and turkey. Just about anyone is familiar with hickory bacon. Hickory produces a strong-flavored smoke, slightly more intense than alder and other fruitwoods, such as cherry wood or applewood, and Hickory has a milder profile than Mesquite wood does. Many Pitmasters will pick Hickory because it adds a dark coloring to smoked meats.

Hickory is a clean-burning wood that provides longer slower smoking times and can be mixed with other wood types if desired. With Hickory, you’ll have less to worry about when cooking different types of meats together or steaks of various thicknesses. Hickory is a simpler choice, for anyone who is new to smoking meat.

Mesquite Chips


Mesquite is also a prized wood for both smoking and grilling meats because it produces a lot of heat and gives the meat a deep flavor. Mesquite has a unique, pleasant scent and flavor, both strong and tangy. However, Mesquite burns faster than Hickory.

Mesquite also produces long-lasting coals, although not as long-lasting as Hickory. More smoke is produced when using Mesquite than any other type of smoking wood because it contains higher levels of Lignin, which gives us that fantastic BBQ smokey flavor when burned

It is recommended that Hickory be used as the base, and Mesquite be added either at the beginning or near the end of the smoking process. Mesquite should be added in small amounts, or you risk turning the meat bitter tasting, and so as not to overpower the meat.

Generally, when smoking light meats, Mesquite should be used moderately. For those who prefer a more robust smokey taste, then Mesquite is for you. However, remember that if you need longer cooking times, Hickory is a better choice.

Depending on the meat you are smoking there are some combinations that are proven to be winners. The general rule of thumb is that Mesquite is more suitable for smoking dark red meats. and game, because of its strong-flavored attributes. Meats that need less cooking time are best for smoking with Mesquite wood, as these don’t risk staying on the grill long enough to turn bitter.

Is Hickory or Mesquite Preferable On Different Meats ?

Smoking meat before and during grilling

Hickory or Mesquite For Chicken

Poultry is an excellent meat to add flavor to by smoking. Poultry meat will take on any wood smoke and will work with most woods. It is a matter of personal taste. Super strong woods like mesquite may be overwhelming for those people who prefer a milder smoked chicken flavor. Hickory is not as strong as Mesquite and works wonders with Turkey and Chicken.

Hickory or Mesquite For Ribs

Both Hickory and Mesquite work well for smoking ribs. Hickory is the preferred choice for a traditional Southern barbecue. It imparts a strong, sweet smoky flavor to meats and is used mainly to smoke pork shoulders and ribs. Mesquite will give a more robust smoky taste to your meat dishes, which works very well for ribs and any other strong-flavored meats.

Hickory or Mesquite For Pork

Traditionally Hickory is used for smoking pork. Hickory will give a rich flavor and darker coloration to the meat. You could try adding a little Mesquite at the end to add a little extra smoky and tangy flavor.

Hickory or Mesquite For Brisket

Mesquite can be an acquired taste, however, if you’ve been dying to try Mesquite for smoking, then brisket lends itself perfectly to the task. Since it is a richer meat than most, it can handle the stronger smokey flavor of Mesquite. Being a fast-burning wood makes Mesquite the ideal choice for authentic Texas-style brisket.

Hickory or Mesquite For Steak

Mesquite burns faster than Hickory and is suitable to use for quick cooks like steak. Mesquite will add color to smoked meats, although it’ll be a bit lighter in color than meat smoked with Hickory. If you have not used Mesquite before then try mixing it, using Hickory as a base.

Hickory or Mesquite For Burgers

Both Hickory and Mesquite are favorites for smoking burgers. Hickory will impart a nice, bacon-like taste and aroma, whereas Mesquite will lend burgers a steak-like quality.

Hickory or Mesquite For Pulled Pork

You’ll find people debating online on whether to use Hickory or Mesquite for Pulled Pork. Generally, Hickory is favored, but in the end, it is a matter of personal taste.

Hickory or Mesquite For Jerky

If you like that bacon flavor in your Jerky, then Hickory should do it or try adding a little Mesquite if you want your Jerky a little smokier, and stronger-flavored.

Hickory or Mesquite For Bacon

Hickory has been a longstanding favorite for Bacon. For those who enjoy stronger smoke-flavored bacon, you’ll find Mesquite bacon to be tangy, savory, and surprisingly delicious.

Smoking does more than add flavor to meat dishes, it also tenderizes and adds an appealing color to the meat itself. Hickory is partially popular because it gives the meat a rich, dark color, which makes the meat more appealing and appetizing to the eye.

Although Hickory is the more popular smoking wood, Mesquite is perfect for wild game, beef brisket, duck, and lamb. For some people’s taste, Mesquite might be too strong, used for smoking chicken, fish, or even ribs, and pork shoulder. Mesquite also adds some color to the meat, but generally, not the rich, color that Hickory imparts.

Mesquite and Hickory both have their unique flavor and are high-quality smoking woods. However, the general consensus is Mesquite should be used sparingly unless you would rather opt for a richer, deeper, and stronger taste. When you need longer cooking times, as for poultry, and you prefer a slightly milder, sweeter, taste, Hickory is the right pick. For shorter cooking times, Mesquite can be used, depending on personal tastes.

The rule of thumb is to smoke the lighter meats, with the milder woods, in this instance, Hickory, and the heavier meats with the stronger flavored woods, such as Mesquite.

If you don’t have much experience with smoking meats and you want to play it safe, Hickory is a good wood to start with. It’s easy to over-smoke meat with Mesquite and you risk the meat tasting bitter as a result. With Hickory wood, you don’t risk changing the taste of the meat, and it won’t turn bitter even if you over-smoke it. Hickory is forgiving and more flexible than Mesquite. Hickory will lend a deep and rich quality to your dishes and is an exceptional choice for any meat you want to smoke, from beef to pork, poultry, and fish.

You can experiment by simultaneously using a mix of Hickory and Mesquite, or Hickory with other mild fruit woods such as cherry or apple. Hickory and Mesquite combined together, will result in a flavor that is stronger than Hickory but lighter than Mesquite. You’ll appreciate the earthy yet sweet and mellow flavor that the blend of Hickory and Mesquite will give your meat dishes.

If you’ve never tried smoking meat, when grilling, you have truly missed out on one of the great culinary pleasures. Smoked meat is super tasty, and tender beyond comparison. The results will astound your palate.

Relocating Can Be A New Lease On Life

It is a known fact that moving and/or relocating is one of the most stress-inducing events one can sign up for.

Studies indicate that those who grew up with frequent moves show an increased risk of suicide, substance abuse, and possible early death. It has also been noted that people who move frequently are more likely to leave relationships behind along with physical possessions. Makes sense.

As a child, my family moved to different parts of the city, over the years. This meant new schools, new friends, and losing sight of old friends. For me, it also meant a language change from French to English, with serious implications and readjustments. For a young child, simply moving 4km away is enough to impact their lives and friendships.

I’ve often wondered whether all the moving about, as a child, starting with my parents leaving Europe for Canada when I was barely two years old, turned me into the restless spirit I came to be.

I have recently completed yet another gargantuan move, leaving the city behind and closing the final chapter on twenty years of my life. I have often referred to my life as a book, trilogy, or chapters because I feel I have lived many lives already, enough to write several unrelated novels.  

This recent move is a life changer, but no more than when I chose to relocate to a new continent, across the ocean, and start from scratch, which included learning a new language. I will admit to having suffered stress and anxiety surrounding my moves or relocations, but ultimately these are always a rebirth for me. 

I’ve never felt suicidal or hopeless, as a result of my numerous relocations to different cities and countries in both North America and Europe. I chose to. No one ever put a gun to my head, forcing me to leave behind friends, family, and a great-paying job that I actually enjoyed.  

Life often dictates our moves. When I was younger I was looking for greener pastures, new experiences, challenges, and growth as I moved across Canada and the USA. I eventually took a leap and landed in Europe. A leap of faith would be more accurate.

A part of me believes that these leaps of faith are very much akin to time travel, or rather leaping in time. For those familiar with the idea of parallel universes, you will understand when I say that making big leaps at the right time is also a way of crossing over to those parallel universes.

Another way of explaining it, is that relocating can offer the opportunity of starting with a clean slate. You can reinvent yourself. Find new stimulus and motivation. Meet new people, make new friends and embark on new adventures. It is a way of getting out of a rut and growing. It is not for everyone. In a world where stability, continuity, and connections are valued, those who choose a nomadic lifestyle, embark on a brave endeavor.

The beauty of life is that no matter where we go, we will connect with kindred spirits. I came to realize, from a very young age, that time and space can’t stand in the way of kindred spirits.

In Milan, I spent 20 years that slightly resembled normality, where all I did was move to different locations within the city of Milan. Following one year of lockdowns, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I had no more use or desire for city life and I have relocated to a small town surrounded by lakes, nature and a lot less people.

I have everything I need, and it is the perfect setting for a writer. It is never too late to start over and do it all different. Relocating is not a magical solution to anything. Distance will not erase any outstanding personal issues. You may land a better paying job and resolve economic issues or find love, however, personal issues are never left behind. These are like your shadow, at the first sign of light they will creep up again.

I recommend spending some quality time in the location you plan to move to. Remember that you’ll experience a new location and culture differently when you are visiting as a tourist, as opposed to being a resident. Inform yourself well, so you are prepared for the changes that await you. Familiarize yourself with laws regulating taxes, wages, property rentals and purchases, driver’s license, and so on.

If you are considering moving to a country where English is not the spoken language, you had better start learning the local language, especially if you are thinking of setting up base for a while. You can’t expect to integrate into the culture if you don’t have at least a basic understanding of their language.

Relocating can provide the right stimulus for your personal growth and evolution, if you know what you want to achieve and you are committed to your own personal path.

The Evolution Of The Seductive Shoe

Fashion is ephemeral, constantly throwing new styles, shapes and colors at us as it mirrors societal changes. Historically, Fashion turned what used to be a necessity into an artistic expression of the times, cultural norms, sensibilities, sexuality and morals. Fashion ushered in a world where novelty, rapid changes in taste, and societal trends attributed a new significance to clothes and footwear.

As early as the mid 14th century, Fashion had become a system of rules by which people could express their disapproval through ridicule, criticism and ostracism. Fashion was driven and associated to extravagance and wealth.

Louis XVI’s brother, Count d’Artois, was known to order 365 pairs of shoes per year, revealing him to be far more of a shoe hound than Marie Antoinette ever was. Although in all fairness, it should be pointed out that in mid century France, interiors, even in palaces, were very dirty, muddy and often there was animal excrement about. For those who could afford to, shoes were disposable and replaced on a daily basis.

The Turning Point For Shoes

French Silk Damask Shoe with buckle c. 1760-65

Until the 14th century, shoes for men and women were similarly fashioned, sporting flat soles and almond shaped toes. With the shortening and tightening of clothing, in the mid 14th century, for both men and women, shoes came into full view for the first time and this caused ripples throughout all of society. Shoes had become as important as a hat, and needed to be “au courant,” lest one wanted to be the brunt of ridicule.

French Silk Damask shoes with fold-over tongue, trimmed with silver lace c. 1720-30

This was a turning point for shoes, when they went from being a necessity to becoming a fashion statement and an indicator of societal status, which still holds true to this day. The infamous first lady, Imelda Marcos, was heavily criticized for her collection of fancy footwear, amounting to 3000 pairs of shoes. She was a hard contender to beat. Some quick calculations clearly demonstrate that with 3000 pairs of shoes, to her name, Imelda Marcos could not have worn the same pair of shoes more than once, for a period amounting to eight years.

Platforms, pumps, stiletto-heeled sandals or ballerina flats, shoe trends come and go and return. An ongoing debate, has been raging since the late 1800’s, with regards to high heels, posture and related injuries, and pointed toes were also put into question. Health concerns influenced the mainstream and by 1904 the masculinization of women’s footwear was well underway. These concerns resurfaced again decades later, which gave birth to Dr. Scholl and Birckenstock shoe Brands.

Very few fashion items have been regarded with as much passion as shoes. In 1939 the editor in chief of American Vogue pled with the Fashion Guild to stop the promotion of the open-toed, open-backed shoe. She represented a large number of consumers, who at the time, preferred good old fashioned closed shoes. The real issue with open-toed shoes was that women’s stockings, at the time, had toe and heel reinforcements, a small detail, which nevertheless was considered in bad taste, and going bare legged was entirely out of the question. Stockings without reinforced toes and heels hit the market in 1940 and women have not looked back since. By the 1990’s, most women had opted for comfort and freedom and chose to leave their legs bare.

New heel styles were introduced by the early 20th century. Oxford pumps and sandals dominated shoe fashion in the 1930’s. Toe baring sandals were first introduced in the late 1920’s, as beachwear. Platform shoes, which made their first appearance in the late 1930’s, were originally classified as beachwear. Platforms saw periodical comebacks over the decades as these were reinterpreted by designers.

If 19th century rules of fashion, whereby popularity was the ruler by which a design’s success was measured, were applied in today’s market, then it would be correct to say that the biggest selling shoe style of the past 80 years has been the rubber soled trainer, which went on to take many shapes and styles. The personal fitness rage, which took over the 1980’s, ushered in some creative takes on sports footwear, including sneakers with stiletto heels.

Boots And Wartime Restrictions

Until the late 1780’s women only wore boots for horse riding, at some point they began wearing boots for walking as well and so it was that the fashion for boots gained popularity. Boots became the chosen footwear for bicycling and walking until skirt hems rose, and the shafts of boots grew taller. Unfortunately wartime saw a demand on leather required for military use and as a result, in 1917, boot height was restricted to eight inches in England.

Boots have come a long way since, and boot lovers can now choose boots for functional purposes, such as work boots, motorcycle boots and climbing boots, or simply choose to wear boots as a fashion or sexual statement.

American Nylon Stockings Boots with Plexiglass heels – 1967-

Shoes And Sexuality

“Shoes figure prominently in stories and fairytales, including Cinderella (a highly sexualized tale in it’s more original versions), Puss ‘n’ Boots, Seven League Boots, The Wizard of Oz, The Red Shoes, and The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe, as well a more contemporary tales. Shoes and our desire for them are the objects of art, satire, museum exhibitions, [and] films. And they are the objects of a growing number of histories, catalogs, essays, and tributes…As all of this attention suggests, what we wear on our feet is far from a matter of indifference or utilitarianism” 

It has been reported that that 80% of shoes are bought for purposes of sexual attraction.

Since the mid 14th century, fashion has faithfully continued to be influenced by popular culture. Designers have since skillfully broken the boundaries of gender roles and identities in clothing and footwear. Take for example these Oxford Pump knock offs for men.

The Future Of Shoe Design

We’ve seen futuristic shoe design such as the self-lacing Nike or gravity defying moonwalker boots, and maybe these are an indication of what to expect in the future of shoe design. However if we’re to use the last 700 years, in the history of shoe design, as any indication of what to expect in the future, then it is safe to say that shoe design will continue to take inspiration from the past, and add a new twist or some extras. here and there. There is rarely a style that is completely new. Take for example these black leather colonial pumps, with silver buckles, by John Fluvog c. 1984.

These were clearly influenced by colonial Fashion, which in turn was influenced by earlier trends dating as far back as the 14th century France, flat with exaggerated pointy toes.

These leather pumps by John Fluvog were clearly inspired by Colonial fashion, which in turn had found inspiration in earlier designs, as far back as 1795, as can be clearly noted in the long pointed toes and flat heels. Buckles were also trendy for men’s shoes as far back as 1760 France.

The consensus is that the future of shoe design will be centered around sports and comfort. I am willing to wager that shoes who’s sole purpose is seduction, even at the price of comfort, will continue to be coveted and desired by both men and women, far into the distant future.


  • The Seductive Shoe by Jonathan Walford
  • Psychology Today

Vitruvian Dreams

Edwin is back on campus, on a gloriously sunny spring day, his favorite time of year, when the promise of love is in the air. He feels light on his feet and his joints don’t ache. As he brushes his hands through his hair, he is instantly joyed at finding a whole head of hair. He’s a young man again and he is at the height of his manhood.

He spots a group of young men from his fraternity and swaggers his way over towards them. There is a newcomer to the group, Patrick, who he is striking in every sense of the word. Even in his dream state, Edwin re-experiences the powerful magnetic draw, pulling at his every limb and organ, urging him to merge with Patrick. This is exactly how he had felt when he had first set eyes on Patrick.

He would do anything to live this moment forever. If he could stop time, this would be his final destination. Patrick’s smile is blinding, erasing everyone and everything else surrounding Edwin, till only he and Patrick are left.

Patrick and the bright light, which Edwin is reveling in, disappear without warning as Edwin gets sucked in and devoured by a beastly darkness clutching at him, plunging Edwin deep into emptiness. His downward chute comes to an abrupt halt. He finds himself naked, in a dimly lit room. In the center of the cold and barren room sits an antique gilded wooden bed, with four posts.

A man is tied naked and spread eagle, to two of the bedposts, oddly resembling Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. A golden-colored silk rope is tightly twisted around the man’s neck.

Edwin moves closer to the bed, but can’t see the man’s face because the head is bent forward and to the side in an unnatural position.

Edwin inches closer to the bed, when he finds the rope in his hands, which a moment ago had been tightly strung around the hanging man’s neck. He drops the rope, which is now searing through his flesh like molten metal. The stench of his fear and burning flesh combined with that of death permeates the room

“No, no, this can’t be happening again. A few more seconds is all I needed Patrick.” Edwin hurriedly starts to untie Patrick from the bed, all the while muttering to himself. “I never wanted this to happen, Patrick, you meant the world to me.”

The weight of Patrick’s dead body is proving difficult for Edwin to handle. The corpse falls forward, violently slamming Edwin to the floor.

Panic washes over Edwin as he scuffles and twists his way out from underneath the corpse. “This is just a dream, just a dream, nothing bad can happen to me here.”

“It was supposed to be a game, this was not supposed to happen, Patrick, believe me, I loved you, I’ve never loved anyone since you.”

In the ’70s the Fraternity initiation ceremonies had steered in many directions, and new grounds were being tested after the stonewall riots took place in 1969.

Edwin had swung both ways, at first. In retrospect, he realized he’d dated women so as not to stand out from the crowd, and to not disappoint his father, who was the sort of man who believed in perfection. An example in the community. Reliable, organized, and prudent. A man who loved to compartmentalize life. These same traits had another side to them, they had made his father overly critical and demanding, conservative and judgmental. Unable to look at a person as a whole person. Edwin had often wondered what his mother had seen in his father, aside from his being highly reliable.

His father had been a doctor and young Edwin had followed in his footsteps, although at the best of times it felt more like a shadow was following him. Edwin had been driven by the uncompromising desire to be special, to experience something more than the ordinary. As a young man, Edwin considered himself an intellectual rebel, unlike his father.

“Stop your daydreaming and get moving Edwin. Can’t you see the corpse needs immediate attention?” Edwin looks up to find his father leaning over, peering at Patrick’s naked corpse. He is not comforted by this new twist, since his father has been dead for many years.

Edwin’s father moves around the young corpse. “After four to six hours, rigor mortis begins to spread throughout the body. The pooled blood stains the skin a blackish color. Give us a hand here Edwin,” he says as he deftly turns the body over onto its back.

“At six hours muscles continue to spasm sporadically. Anaerobic processes, such as the liver’s breakdown of alcohol, continue. At eight hours the body starts to rapidly cool. This is called algor mortis.” He stands and turns to Edwin who sits terror-stricken, in a corner, holding on to his twisted limbs.

“My guess, Edwin, is this young man has been dead longer than 24 hours. You know as well as I do that Rigor Mortis ends at the beginning of this stage and the body becomes pliable again, but there isn’t much time.”

“We need to move quickly if we want the body to be presentable. If we fail to do so, the undertaker will not be able to position the body for presentation at the funeral, fold his hands and such.”

“Come on help me put him on this gurney.” A gurney magically appears, as often happens in dreams.

His father, it turns out, is as efficient in death and dreams as he had been in life. “Please let this be over. I want to wake up now,” Edwin screams.

His deceased father pays no attention to Edwin’s outburst and begins to move the corpse.

“Stop, don’t you touch him, you hear me?” Edwin cries. “You can’t take him away from me!” Edwin starts a painful crawl, on all fours, slowly making his way towards Patrick.

“At 24 to 72 hours, internal microbes putrefy the intestines and the pancreas begins to digest itself. This process liquefies the insides.” Edwin, are you listening?”

“In three to five days, decay starts to produce large blisters all over the body. We must hurry, otherwise, it will most likely not be presentable for viewing at the funeral. If we wait much longer, a bloody froth will begin to trickle from the mouth and nose.”

Edwin wakes up inside his dream pod, heaving and drenched in sweat and vomit. He bursts out of the pod, like a drowning man fighting for air. At first, he is disoriented, then relief washes over him. He’s back. His right hand unknowingly brushes his hair, or what is left of it, yes he’s back. He checks the timer and sees the dream program ran for exactly 15 minutes, as it had been set to run.

These had been the longest 15 minutes of Edwin’s life. Simply thinking of his father had been enough to conjure him up in the dream. A caricature of his father at best. Although Edwin realizes he is more shaken by his father’s sudden appearance than having to relive Patrick’s deathday, which is always painful and terrifying when it does happen. His father’s appearance and his rundown on the decomposition of Patrick’s corpse, with clinical precision, have left Edwin deeply shaken.

Since that fateful day, when Patrick ceased to be, Edwin has been in pursuit of atonement. Some way to pay for his unforgivable act of love.

The dream pod is Edwin’s golden chariot. The perfect vehicle to guide him towards redemption.

At first, the dreams had been devastating, but in time, Edwin began to enjoy the suffering and longings which the dreams unleashed in him. The threshold between pain and pleasure had long ago been blurred for Edwin.

When he dreams of Patrick’s death, even with all the gut-wrenching fear, pain, loss, and guilt, afterward Edwin feels lighter and serene for a short while, before returning to his otherwise hollow, guilt-ridden existence.

Words And Ideas Can Change The World

The words Dame, Damsel, and Fishwife were long ago eradicated from the English language. The term “Art of Manliness” which was quite in vogue, was long ago relinquished, along with other words and phrases which referred to a way of life, values, and beliefs which no longer applied.


In the late 90s, we crossed a bridge, where technology and the internet forever changed our lives, and impacted our means and modes of communication, beyond return. Along the way, we lost words, phrases, and their meanings, and we gained new terms which gave shape and a means to communicate and express ourselves in ways that were more in line with our technologically driven lives.

Words such as “email”, “Internet”, “Facebook”, “Google”, “Youtube”, “emojis”, “Twitter” and “apps”, were not part of our vocabulary until not so long ago. The name Google has even become a verb.

The internet has pushed the boundaries of language. Barely one decade ago, many were concerned that social platforms were dumbing down language while fostering a generation of screen-obsessed illiterates. On the other end of the spectrum, you would find people, such as Linguist David Crystal, who described texting as “one of the most innovative linguistic phenomena of modern times.”

The media’s concern over the demise of language, due to the internet, has died down since the early 2000s. The internet has given us permission to break the rules. We’ve repurposed design principles and components, embraced lowercase text, punctuation is optional when texting, and we use emojis to convey tones, gestures, and moods.

There is a theory that claims that you can’t feel or think things for which you have no words. With this in mind, is it possible we have lost something along the way, something which amounts to more than words or outdated phrases? Conversely, what have we gained?

Perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, it is more accurate to say that not only language, but our use of language is evolving, so it can more accurately reflect and express the world we live in.

Some say the digital world has had a homogenizing effect on language. The meaning of phrases and words have been altered, creating what George Orwell might have referred to as “Newspeak,” a term which referred to idea that language can corrupt thought and that the powers that be use language to restrict, rather than broaden, ideas.

Take for example the term “politically correct,” which has taken on new dimensions as of late. The term “politically correct” has had a multitude of definitions, over time. It was used to describe what was considered to be politically wise and was often used as a vehicle for ironic self-mockery. This phrase hasn’t just changed its meaning, it has changed its targets, especially when related to issues of multiculturalism and diversity. In her article ‘Politically Correct’: The Phrase Has Gone From Wisdom To Weapon, Kate Chow explains how and why.

In a contentious piece for the Hollywood Reporter Bill Maher stated Americans “have been choking on political correctness and overly careful politicians for the last generation or two and are sick of it.”

The internet may have set to pasture the rules of grammar and punctuation for our texting purposes, however, never before has it been so important to observe the way we use words. Never before have so many people, globally, been alert, watching, and listening. Never before have so many had an outlet to speak up.

In the virtual landscape, which has become our preferred way to communicate and gather data, we need to observe the way we use words and how words are being used on us. It is words and ideas that change the world. Words have power.

Would You Rather Go To Mars Or Save Earth?

Almost two decades have been marked by record-breaking hurricanes, floods and heatwaves. It is snowing plastic in the Arctic, our shorelines and marine life are choked and bound in plastic, yet conditions continue to deteriorate further. Since the 2020 pandemic began, there have been an estimated 194 billion disposable face masks and gloves being tossed every month, washing up on shorelines, worldwide.  

Almost 15 years ago, ‘sustainability’ became an overnight household term. From one day to the next, practically every existing corporate company had put in place a sustainability program, recycling bins, dedicated staff and budgets. Never before have the concept and implications of sustainability reached so far, as they have in the last two decades. Yet in the blink of an eye, it has been put to rest with the arrival of Covid-19. 

The long term impact of our day to day actions, on the environment, have been a concern for mankind far longer than most of us realize. As far back as the 17th century, Forestry was the first economic activity where people were confronted with the long term issues surrounding forestry and sustainability.  

Following the USA’s first landing on the moon, in the 1970’s, there was a strong stirring with concerns for the future of our planet. In just a few decades we’ve reached a critical point. Now that we have the resources, tools, knowledge and technology to save our planet, those with the means to do so have turned their eyes, power and wealth towards Mars.

New Frontiers To Fight Over Are In Cyberspace Or Outer Space

In the midst of a global pandemic, China managed 140 launches into orbit. With an exhaustive five year program for their new orbital space station, the retrieval of Martian samples and a Jupiter exploratory mission, for starters. 

India launched its ‘Defense Space Research Organization’ which is charged with finding and implementing defense applications for India’s entire spectrum of space technologies and protecting India’s interests in space.

So far, NASA, China and the United Arab Emirates all launched missions to mars in July, 2020. Always follow the money if you want a glimpse of the future. We are living at a time when the new frontiers to fight over are in cyberspace or outer space. 

We all know where Musks stands when it comes to ensuring the survival of the human race. He is a firm believer that a permanent and self-sustaining presence on Mars is needed, in case earth is left uninhabitable and he has put his money where his mouth is.  

A Martian city is being designed in the Dubai desert, made up of pressurized bio-domes, covered with transparent polyethylene membrane, like those we’ve seen in many sci-fi movies and series. 

So far, NASA, China, and the United Arab Emirates have all launched missions to Mars in July, 2020. Always follow the money if you want a glimpse of the future. We are living at a time when the new frontiers to fight over are in cyberspace or outer space and 2021 promises to be a competitive race for all invested parties.

We were promised a sustainable future, with cars that don’t burn oil, a future where central power stations would be redundant, and carbon emissions, a thing of the past. Where industries no longer dump toxic waste into our waters. We have the resources and the technology to do all this and we are already seeing important changes in the automotive industry.

Surely between climate and marine policy advisors, activists, technology, and science, we should stand a chance of saving the planet, but will this happen? How can this happen when countries, governments, top scientists, researchers, architects, and tycoons are invested in an evacuation program to Mars?

Regardless of the scope, ambitions, and investments being made with this race towards Mars, one thing is clear, Mars represents something other than a solution to our dying planet, and it will permanently alter our world’s geopolitical equilibrium. New powers will emerge. 

Earth Or Mars?

I have a foreboding that sometime soon the planet will be polarized and split into two, between those that believe the future of the human race can only be ensured by colonizing Mars and those that believe we can fix Earth. Which of these two factions would you side with?

Call me old world, but I happen to love planet earth and have intuitively known since I was a child, that it was the only planet I could call home. Sure, like most kids, I had my share of fantasies about space travel, and going to the moon, after all my generation grew up with the space race between Russia and the US and witnessed the first landing on the moon. 

As magical, life-changing, and mind-bending it was to watch Neil Armstrong do his moonwalk, I was grateful we had earth. 

It has been said that Modern man often lives detached from his environment and has long lost the understanding that we are one with nature. Perhaps we don’t deserve this exotic paradise we named earth. Perhaps we deserve to live under plastic domes on a desolate, unwelcoming planet such as Mars?  If so, how will future generations feel about not having had the chance to live their lives as earthlings? In most sci-fi stories, they always want to find a way back to earth, even if it means dying.

If nothing else, at least our stories speak loud and strong about our passionate love for planet earth.  In a world divided by frontiers, race, religion, and politics surely we must be able to identify as earthlings, at the very least.

It is frustrating to see so much money and resources being invested in a space race when these powers could join forces to save our planet. How ironic and sad, to think that all that awaits human civilization, in the near future, is a desolate, harsh planet where people live in bubbles, imitating earth.