Friday, 30 September 2011

Gamification Indigenous traditions

Gamification was used the indigeous people of the Plains such as The Cheyenne, the Arapaho, the Sioux and the Crow.

The plains People were a highly complex warrior culture dominated by a spiritual connection with nature and strong family bonds. Children were especially cherished and boys – with the future of the tribe depending on their skills as hunters and fighters – were trained to aspire to greatness on the field of battle. So a rigorous training regimen and system of achievement and award was created to ensure the development of boys into proficient warriors.(could a system like this be used to develop children and adults into more sustainable inhabitants).

While killing an enemy in combat was considered honorable, the greatest honor was bestowed upon those men who could get close enough to his enemy to touch him and then return to safety. This was called a coup (pronounced coo). (also performed with bears)
To expose oneself to the dangers of such an act was the epitome of bravery, for it entailed great risk to the man attempting it.
the man who had done this was given special honours that he could display openly to convey his prowess.

A brave was a young man who had been rigorously trained for war, but who had not yet proved himself on the field of battle. A warrior, on the other hand, was a man who had counted coup. By rule one could count as many as three coups on one enemy by touching him as described, by riding him down, by capturing his weapons or clothing, touching his tipi and in some cases stealing his horse. But in order for a coup to count it had to be witnessed and then officially recognized by tribal council.
He had proven himself worthy of respect and responsibility
– for bravery of this kind was indicative of his strength, his cunning and leadership qualities, he was now seen as an example to follow and given his first eagle feather.

Eagle feather head dresses
were worn by a great Native American chief. The feathers on the head dress each have their own meaning and the marks and notches on each feather indicates something.

The Golden Eagle was the most spiritually significant animal among the many the Plains peoples’ revered. Its feathers were symbolic of the rays of the sun. Thought to be a connection between man and god.
A man’s first coup was marked by a single upright feather worn in his hair. A feather dyed red indicated the enemy had been killed. A feather worn horizontally indicated a second coup, and the third was marked by a feather worn pointing down. Some Plains tribes used red spots, red bars and clipped tips to indicate types of coups and kills.
This rather ingenious system of achievements and awards gave boys
something to aspire to and men a way of measuring the success and leadership qualities of other men.

the very same skills required in
taking a coup happened to also be the same required for stalking buffalo, running them down on the back of speeding horse, steering with only their knees while aiming and firing a bow. Thus a boy would put himself through years of intense training, all in pursuit of a feather. A powerful badge indeed.

a man’s
record and deeds were broadcast to everyone, signifying his status and earning him respect – an amazing example of how humans use images and symbols to influence behaviour.

Every stitch of clothing an Indian wore, every object he owned, every weapon, tipi and horse was decorated with the symbolism of his achievements or his various spirit guides.Every mark on an Indian’s body had meaning. Every adornment was arranged by careful design. Face paint, earrings, hair styles, how he held his bow or gun, the decorations on his horse and home all combined to tell the complex story of his life, a story that his friends and enemies could read from a distance. Imagine wearing your Facebook page and your entire Twitter feed along with your Flickr stream and LinkedIn profile. The complex visual codes of the Plains Indians served to indoctrinate initiates into the culture and reinforce their tribal and family structure. It brought them closer to the spirit and closer to nature.

In a way gamification was also used in scouting in relation to their badge system of achievement.

Scout Badges

Gamification of animals: Play helps deal with stress

The lush riverside vegetation sways as a herd of elephant wends its way between the broken pools. Standing at the top of an embankment, a half-grown male is watching a larger elephant trudge up the slope toward it.

Without warning, the youngster squats down on his haunches (just like a dog) and launches himself down the slope. Slithering at a good speed, he collides (with an audible thump) into the elephant below, sweeping them both, in a flurry of waving limbs and trunks, to the foot of the hill. There, lying on their stomachs, the pair jousts, twisting and parrying with trunk and tusk.

Meanwhile up above, an onlooker waits, scuffing his feet impatiently and swinging his trunk from side to side. He seems to be waiting for them to clear the trail, but when the two finally begin to traipse up the slope, he squats and whooshes down to create a three-elephant pile up. What these elephants are up to is a mystery.

Everyone knows that young animals play to prepare for adulthood But as far as science is concerned, there’s not one iota of evidence to support these myths.

There is evidence that play does help animals to survive and breed.

Long-term research on American brown bears has revealed that cubs who romp a lot are more likely to survive to independence, even after taking into account the cub’s (and its mum’s) condition, and the availability of food (15).

extra playful individuals go on to make better mums, rearing more little ankle-biters in their first breeding season (13).

Plunk two little rats together and it’s almost impossible to stop them whooping it up. But thwart a young rat’s zeal for play (by rearing it alone or with drugged companions that won’t play) and you create an adult that loses its cool in social situations.

When things start getting edgy, play-deprived rats either succumb to rat-rage or scarper, quaking, to a corner. And the lack of play is responsible, because if you let an isolated rat fool around for just one hour daily, it turns into a normal chilled dude (16).

And there’s also evidence that primates (including humans) behave in the same way (17, 18).

So does merrymaking teach young critters how to read the intentions of others (19)? Or perhaps it boosts their confidence by letting them experience winning and losing in a non-threatening way (20)? I have to admit that if I had to put money on it, I’d go for the theory about stress.

I still think part of it is about training and practising skills.

You see when a baby animal
experiences stress, its brain changes so that it’s subsequently less sensitive to stress hormones. This means that, as an adult, the critter recovers more rapidly after a hair-raising experience (21). And we know that play (which normally consists of exciting ‘flight or fight’ behaviors) activates the same neurochemical pathways as stress (22). So maybe young animals are using play to prime or fine-tune their own stress response.

The other very important thing we’ve learnt from the humble rat is that w
hen they’re reared with lots of companions and interesting objects, they develop larger brains than rats that grow up in austere surroundings. These enriched rats not only have heavier cerebral cortexes, with more neural connections, they learn more quickly too.

Researchers teased apart the factors that promoted this brain growth and found that sensory stimulation and arousal (even together) couldn’t increase cortical growth unless they were coupled with interactive behavior (i.e. play or training). And it was play that had the biggest impact; in fact,
the more a young rat played, the more rapidly its brain grew (23).

So it turns out that fun isn't just about training for becoming an adult it makes you live longer through being less stressed and being able to cope with stress better.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Other interesting Gamificiation articles: look in

Why animals play:
Gamification in indigenous tribes:

gamification in animals:

Gamification talks:

Meaningful play:

Tinkering school:

Gamification- enriching or appreciating mundance experiences and tasks

Games and play make tasks more enjoyable and fun which all humans enjoy in some way.

Make life into a game:
Or is life already a game? competition to make the most money, get the most friends and .......

is the use of game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences.(see the world peace game).
Typically gamification applies to non-game applications (also known as "funware"), in order to encourage people to adopt the applications or lifestyles. It also strives to encourage users to engage in desired behaviors in connection with the applications.

(Funware- the use of game mechanics in non-game contexts to encourage desired user actions and generate customer loyalty. Funware typically employs game mechanics such as points, leaderboards, badges, challenges and levels example FarmVille).

Home | MyFarm

In the UK and Spain they have gone a bit far by literally creating the face book game in real life instead of looking at why people enjoy playing farm ville aka development,, learning achievement and competition. Then taking these ideas to educate people in a fun and engaging way.

Could gamification be used to make a more sustainable lifestyle more enjoyable

Why do people enjoy playing games? co operation, competition, development, achievement.

Gamification used by indigenous tribes how they made everyday tasks into games and ceremonies providing more enriching experiences and education: pre Hunting preparations, festivals of seasons, harvesting songs and harmony movements, coming of age. Ceremonies and practices to make life more enriching.


Gamification in nature:

Animals such as Lions learn(education) and train their skills through play fighting.
Play is how they gather information about the environment they live in, what foods to eat, how to hunt and how they should live within a group.

Africn Lions play fighting

"lion's social system is based on teamwork and a division of labour within the pride, and an extended but closed family unit centred around a group of related females.Usually several lions will work together to hunt prey." African Lion Data - info on Lions

Grizzly Bear Cub photos
Guess Who
Playing helps animals learn about objects and their environment (does playing in nature help kids learn about how tot world and nature works?)
Hippopotamus at the National Zoo


Do older animals play less? why in human society is it taboo for adults to play as much as children? although adults just play different games aka checkers or chess rather than hide and seek.When you get older can you only play structured games or do they loose their imagination? as kids games seem to have more imagination.
"Can't teach an old dog new tricks"
Are adults they expected to have already done all their learning as a child?

Can playing be learning to co-operate rather than competition? team building classes, part of the team being other peers and nature.)

Could I design fun game education devices- School education or even adults through fun aquaponic system.

Based on ideas from initial research into how tasks such as collecting wood or making an oven can be fun and engaging.

Before setting off to gather winter fuel for months now, Rich recites the first verse of Good King Wenceslas each time. suggest the task is made more enriching by making it into a ceremony.

"we had a great time trampling straw into it and shaping it into a domed oven" satisfaction in the process? what made it fun? was it sociable? learning? development?

"saw right away that we had made the third Lomond." Did it feel like an achievement?

Monday, 26 September 2011

"Indigenous Knowledge and Bioprospecting"

"Indigenous Knowledge and Bioprospecting" by John Hunter
"Indigneous Knowledge and Bioprospecting" -Painted by John Hunter

This painting focuses on the themes of the rebirth of Indigenous cultural and ecological diversity, the importance of unity and diversity among the different races, consultation and a celebration of spiritual knowledge.

This conference, Indigenous Knowledge and Bioprospecting, will provide a forum where Indigenous peoples, scientists, and lawmakers will consult about this situation. The consultation will focus on three key areas related to Indigenous Knowledge and Bioprospecting.

1. Respond to Indigenous Needs
2. Value Indigenous Knowledge
3. Enhance Biocultural DiversityIdentify the elements of the 'inextricable link' between indigenous culture and biodiversity in order to explore the potential interdependence of humanity, biodiversity and indigenous cultures.Indigenous Knowledge and Bioprospecting Conference

Examination of three main hypotheses in this area:

1) Indigenous cultures conserve or enhance biological diversity.

2) Biological diversity directly enhances cultural diversity.

3) Large-scale social systems reduce both cultural and biological diversity.

(see Eric A.Smith, "On the Coevolution of Cultural, Linguistic, and Biological Diversity"
in On Biocultural Diversity: Linking Language, Knowledge and the Environment, ed. Luisa Maffi, 2001, Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press)

1.Responding to Indigenous needs

2.Valuing Indigenous Knowledge

engagement with the diversity and sophistication of Indigenous knowledge systems represents a potential 'second enlightenment' for global civilisation.

focusing on the potential collaborative relationships between western scientific methodology and Indigenous ecological knowledge.

Note the following contrast may intentionally emphasize the differences between Traditional ecological knowledge and western science, but it is acknowledged that there are varying degrees of how this is manifested in sometimes more integrated ways on both sides. It is suggested that a genuine consultation between both "communities of knowledge" will demonstrate creative benefits for both.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge:

  • is recorded and transmitted through oral tradition;
  • is learned through observation and hands-on experience;
  • is based on the understanding that the elements of matter have a life force. (All parts of the natural world are therefore infused with spirit);
  • does not view human life as superior to other animate and inanimate elements; all life-forms have kinship and are interdependent;
  • is holistic (whereas western science is reductionist)
  • is intuitive in its mode of thinking (whereas western science is analytical);
  • is mainly qualitative (whereas western science is mainly quantitative);
  • is based on data generated by resource users. (As such it is more inclusive than western science, which is collected by a specialized group of researchers who tend to be more selective and deliberate in the accumulation of facts);
  • is based on diachronic data (whereas western science is largely based on synchronic data);
  • is rooted in a social context that sees the world in terms of social and spiritual relations between all life-forms. (In contrast, western science is hierarchically organized and vertically compartmentalized); and
  • derives its explanations of environmental phenomena from cumulative, collective and often spiritual experiences. Such explanations are checked, validated, and revised daily and seasonally through the annual cycle of activities."
See Martha Johnson, Research on Traditional Environmental Knowledge: Its Development and Its Role, in Lore: Capturing Traditional Environmental Knowledge 3, 4 (Martha Johnson ed., 1992).

3.Enhancing Biocultural Diversity

Identify the elements of the 'inextricable link' between indigenous culture and biodiversity in order to explore the potential interdependence of humanity, biodiversity and indigenous cultures.

Examination of three main hypotheses in this area:

1) Indigenous cultures conserve or enhance biological diversity.

2) Biological diversity directly enhances cultural diversity.

3) Large-scale social systems reduce both cultural and biological diversity.

(see Eric A.Smith, "On the Coevolution of Cultural, Linguistic, and Biological Diversity"
in On Biocultural Diversity: Linking Language, Knowledge and the Environment, ed. Luisa Maffi, 2001, Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press)

Indigenous Knowledge and Bioprospecting Conference

Pachamama Alliance: New Dream

"Bringing forth an
Environmentally sustainable
Spiritually fulfilling
Social Just
Human Presence on this Planet."
Pachamama Alliance

"It has become clear to me that we are working on nothing less than the sustainability of life itself and that moves me to my core. Thats ultimately what the Pachamama Alliance is, not out of some arrogance but out of the profound humility of being alive at a time when we can live the most meaningful lives any generation of human kind has ever lived."
Lynn Twist, Co-Founder, The Pachamama Alliance

"Rather than a clash of cultures we are noticing a powerful merger between two different worlds. Each committed to exchange their gifts they offer each other. Gifts of practical knowledge combined with deep ancient wisdom. That can ultimately bring about an entirely new future and a new dream."

Alliance between indigenous knowledge and the modern world

"this dynamic interconnected complexity that scientists are finally discovering to be the truth about life on planet earth. Is the same truth that our ancestors have been telling us all along."

Third Lomond Hill: Unconscious Mimicry

"I don't think anyone had consciously designed it that way, but it was very satisfying to see artifice mimicking nature without conscious intention."

"I did my permaculture design course at Monimail Tower just over two year ago. One afternoon we made a clay oven for making pizzas. The clay had been dug up locally by someone who was building a house extension, and we had a great time trampling straw into it and shaping it into a domed oven, placed just outside the house.
A little later, as we were having dinner in the house, I looked out through the big picture window at the oven we had made and at the Lomond hills beyond, and saw right away that we had made the third Lomond. The shape was uncannily like that of East Lomond."

Mark O'Reilly
Academic Achievement Teaching Unit, University of Dundee
(Allotment Lot group)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Gaia Theory to Deep Ecology-Schumacher college

Schumacher College: From Gaia Theory to Deep Ecology

World Game

The playing of World Game was an idea proposed by Buckminster Fuller. The idea was to "make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone."
He publicly proposed the concept in 1961 as the core curriculum at the (then new)Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

World Game - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



-Wasteful behaviour
-Loss of understanding of natural systems
-Loss of connection with natural world
-The worry of taking life for granted
-The worry that children of the future may not be able to enjoy life as we do
-People do not want to spend all their time and energy growing their own food


-Local Food Production- Specifically Urban food production-Urban farming-Permaculture, aquaponics-get plants and animals to do the hard work
-Natural systems re-education
-Freedom of being able to sustain self

Initial Data: stories, anecdotes and photos -Connection with nature

Part of my initial research data was gathered by asking members of the public for anecdotes, stories and photos relating to an experiences of nature, natural systems or an experience you have had with reconnecting with nature, even if it was a short as one word.

-"I've had a think about one word that could maybe invoke the feelings of being outdoors surrounded by nature. (I'm not even sure that there is such a word in English - maybe there is in another language....)

Something like "joy" - but more a mixture of inner peace and contentment with a rush of excitement and energy (the latter a feeling that you see expressed with dogs when they get let of their leads in the park and run around in great loops of happiness). "

(Is there a word in another language for the feeling of being in nature? freedom and happiness)
-"I did my permaculture design course at Monimail Tower just over two year ago. One afternoon we made a clay oven for making pizzas. The clay had been dug up locally by someone who was building a house extension, and we had a great time trampling straw into it and shaping it into a domed oven, placed just outside the house.
A little later, as we were having dinner in the house, I looked out through the big picture window at the oven we had made and at the Lomond hills beyond, and saw right away that we had made the third Lomond. The shape was uncannily like that of East Lomond.
I don't think anyone had consciously designed it that way, but it was very satisfying to see artifice mimicking nature without conscious intention."

Mark O'Reilly
Academic Achievement Teaching Unit, University of Dundee
(satisfying process- process becomes fun, mimicking nature unconsciously)

-"For me personally, I found it quite empowering when I learned to make
bread. It became much easier, but only started when I bought a
breadmaker, from there I moved on to making it by hand and now I make
pizza without even looking at a recipe book.

I think I started making bread because I wanted to taste better bread,
the supermarket loaves weren't that good, and the breadmaker made it
easier but not necessarily as good as I expected. Trying the pizza
dough by hand made me realise that
I could do better without a
I think it is like when I started cycling, I did it for
affordable transport but found so much more to the experience and it
became a passion

(Better quality and more satisfying with less technology, making a more sustainable lifestyle into an enjoyable experience.)

-"I just ran a Wild Food Walk down here in St Andrews. A whole bunch of people showed up. Around 40 in total. I led them through some of the wilder parts of St Andrews and they really enjoyed it. Some had never actually gone looking for St Andrews' wilder side and were pleasantly surprised to discover it so close and accessible."

(allot of interest getting back nature, learning outdoor foraging skills and finding wilder areas
just outside their back door.)
-"I got into permaculture by living and working at Monimail Tower Project in North East Fife. It's a very diverse site which aims to be self sufficient on Veg, Fruit and Fire wood.
I attended a one day introduction with Ed Tyler and instantly connected with permaculture Ethics, Principles and Design Process."

(Ethics, Principles and design process)
-"I thought that on our Chritmas mailing this year we'd put the first verse of Good King Wenceslas as Rich has been gathering winter fuel for months now! It's what he says each time he sets off!

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gathering winter fuel"

Rich Philip, Dundee Resident

(Making mundane task into a tradition or game)

-"I went cycling on my own on the N1 this summer (see picture attached). I'd say that experience reconnected me with nature."


"I do wonder how something so beautiful as this view can be the creation of methods so ugly. The colours are so astounding; the mix of the synthetic and the natural, fizzing electrons of sodium and neon ignited by bucket loads of electricity and then the lapis lazuli, the deep blue of evening, bathing it all in calm. One a reminder of finite energy and the other of continuity. Planets revolving round one another, the night which always comes after the day, as it has done for centuries. It dulls down the pang of worry that fifty years from now, young adults like me will look out a window and won’t see this, because bucket loads of energy can no more be created and they will never have anything like this to light up the darkness again. I hate that because they won’t have the fuel to fly planes like this one, aerial views will be for the pleasure of birds only. I curse that I have a carbon footprint like everyone else but then again rejoice at images such as these. I am a walking contradiction. Is it just the yin and yang of life or can we tip the balance? The beads of light a translucent map tracing the footfall of humanity, it’s parasitic habitation of the gentle blue land lit up in glorious flames.

Just one of those fleeting thoughts I thought I should write down because
I’ll forget it tomorrow and take for granted hot water and lightbulbs and bright bright computer screens upon which I record these words"

( The mixing of synthetic and natural design can be beautiful. The worry that children of the future will not be able to enjoy life as we do. The worry of taking life as we currently live for granted.)

"Coming accross animals, happy, in their natural environment, always inspires me and gives me cause for introspection. If I could describe myself with any animal it would be these dear fellows- teenage Mallard ducklings. They’ve lost almost all their cute yellow down and are quite grown up size wise. All this counts for nothing because they only have wing stubs at the moment. They’re at the mercy of gravity and so still completely dependent on their mum for safety and food. Do they feel as trapped and chained as I sometimes do? Or are they excited because flying is surely tantalisingly close and only a few months growth divides them from the feeling of air under feathers and the sweet sweat, tears and ecstasy of survival?"

(trapped and reliant on others for our survival, freedom comes from being able to sustain yourself, or is survival about having to rely on others and them rely on you equally?)


(I have omitted peoples names to maintain confidentiality)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Doing "More with Less" Initial Research

Part of my preliminary research for my 4Th year design project was looking at my role model Buckminster Fuller who's main principle was doing "more with less".

So I started asking myself who actually tries to do more with less? or who even does it unconsciously. Doing less with more is quite a broad philosophy but it generally can be encapsulated by being more efficient.

"Why has an oak tree not produce a leaf that is square?so that it can spread itself as far as it can. An average full grown oak tree has between 3-5 acres of leaf surface. Even though it only occupies a much smaller surface than that."
Mark Evans, Permaculture Design

Seen as the sun moves across the sky, the oak tree has worked out that maximum sunlight is achieved by having leaves in an irregular pattern rather than square, reduces over shadowing.
How we can stack a much larger surface into a small area by playing with pattern.

Electronics Industry:
"The electronics industry for example are constantly redesigning and reducing the size of microchips and controllers and gadgets are generally getting smaller and more efficient. This naturally reduces the amount of raw materials used, the amount of transport required, and the energy required to power the product is generally reduced. A few years ago lots of people bought satnavs and tom toms - shame when you can now have it on your mobile as an app for free!!! There are many examples of this."
Paul Taylor,
Partner Manager at Cloudapps (Sustainability Reporting Software reduces operational costs, enhances brand value and eliminates compliance risk.)CloudApps - Align. Engage. Sustain.


"We are constantly striving to reduce our impact on the environment both locally and globally. Until recently, all our carrier bags and some other plastic wrappers were degradable which meant they were not suitable for recycling as general plastic.

DEFRA commissioned a report that said that degradable additives in plastics offer no environmental benefit and therefore we have stopped using degradable additives in carrier bags, and we are running through the old stock.

The retail sector had an agreement with WRAP (a Governmental organisation that works in partnership with businesses and consumers ) to reduce carrier bags by 50% reduction over the last 3 years

The Co-operative have exceeded this target with 56% reduction.

We have light weighted 26 wine bottles, saving 273 tonnes of glass per year and 86 tonnes of CO2. This saves enough glass to make a further 600,000 wine bottles.

As the leading Ethical Retailer we need to reduce food wastage and the packaging enables the fruit and vegetables to have a longer shelf life. It is also less likely to be bruised or damaged when handled."

Jackie Evans

Customer Relations Officer

Buckminster Fuller general view:

"Solving the very complex problem of how we make Earth's finite resources and 'energy income' sustain a human population that could reach over 9 billion by mid-century, without destroying our ecosystems in the process, will require design innovations to re-engineer our world's life support systems. Just as this year's computer is higher performance and lighter weight than last year's, or compact fluorescent light bulbs use less energy and last longer than the comparable incandescent light, it is only by increasing the overall efficiency of our global infrastructure-doing more with less, as he observed nature doing constantly-that we can realize the dramatic potential of comprehensive success for all humans."

Fuller, R. B. Operational manual fo spaceship earth. Lars Muller Publishers. Page 10