EthicalStores - a new ethical product marketplace

EthicalStores launched just last month and is aiming to become a new one stop shop for ethical goods, clothing, food and more.

Somewhat similar to renowned crafts site Etsy in its design, anyone can sign up to EthicalStores and list their product(s) on the website. The twist is, however, that all items are vegan, cruelty-free, and ethically superior to that which you'd find elsewhere. It takes a matter of minutes to get a product listed, where users can leave images and descriptions of the products they want to sell.

 EthicalStores is a new online marketplace for ethical products

EthicalStores is a new online marketplace for ethical products

Customers can then find the products via search functions, or a featured products section on the front page of the site, as well as featured businesses that appear in the sidebar. 

In addition, EthicalStores is a non-profit organisation. Volunteers from all around the world have collaborated in making EthicalStores a reality. With a mission of promoting ethical products and lifestyles on a global scale, EthicalStores is aiming to grow and stock a wide variety of products for every area of one's life. At this point in time, the store is stocking anything from beauty products, to jams and preserves, and homeware items that would make great gifts for others... or a fitting addition to your own kitchen.

To find out more about EthicalStores, head to www.ethicalstores.com.

Become the Icon

TrueIconText
cropped-TrueIconFull.png
cropped-TrueIconFull.png

Deciding on a logo is hard. In your head you hold your hopes and aspirations for what your business will be. In your hand you hold a poorly sharpened pencil, hovering just over a scrap of paper. Between your right frontal brain, the pencil nib and the paper is the potential to draw the best, most awesome logo the world has ever known. Sadly, what comes out looks more like the ravings of a prisoner of Bastille.

But you draw and you discuss and you drink more coffee than you should. And eventually, caffeine jitters setting in, and you give up. Or at least that’s our experience.

Fortunately, there are people out there who can help. People who make logos and corporate brands for a living. Our man was Kurt Henderson.

Kurt listened patiently as we nattered on about what it is we sell, about our ethics and spluttered out half-formed ideas of our own.

After a little back and forth, we’ve happily arrived on what you see before you. First and foremost True Icon is about fashion - our logo needed to look good. But crucially, we also want to spread the word about ethical consumer choices. We aim to prove that you don’t have throw your morals out the window in search of looking and feeling good. It is from the idea of spreading the word that we arrived upon our speech-bubble inspired logo.

As True Icon grows, we hope the logo will grow with us. No brand ever comes complete with brand identity and values, these are attached as the company progresses. Logos are vessels to be filled. For now, we’re just pleased to have a fine looking vessel.

A big thanks has to go to Kurt. What you see before you is the result of his patience, keen eye and understanding of our needs as clients.

All the best and now that our logo is sorted, expect further news on our first range of products shortly.

Kai and Rob

P.S. We like to interview everyone we work with at True Icon and Kurt was kind enough to oblige.

Kurt Henderson: An Interview

How did you get into graphic design?

Design entered my life from creating custom forum interface graphics for gaming clans. From there on I focused on mastering photoshop thus tailoring my designs towards all the different industries. It's been a fascinating experience.

What past experiences/clients do you have?

The Hugo Boss simplicity design was quite interesting to work with when I was in my teens. Throughout University I carried out some work for M&S, Spotify, Reading & Leeds festival which were all great opportunities to express my creativity.

Which project have you most enjoyed?

I think there where milestones for me where I could easily say I enjoyed a project far more than another. They are all equally important to me and all play a huge part in my life. I mostly enjoyed being a 13 year old boy with many dreams and aspirations, that was the project I enjoyed most, and still do, I'm still that 13 year old boy deep down.

What inspires/influences you?

My inspiration derives from many different sources, I have my favourite designers who inspire me of course, but my belief to think outside the box grasping onto various elements that make that ever so curious side of my brain light up.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into design?

Yes, plenty, but there's a very important lesson for all of us we need to learn. If you want to excel, finding a synergy that binds your love for design with a personal experience or aspiration. Then you'll find you naturally 'need' to design.

Where can we find out more about you and your work?

My work can be found on my website: kurthenderson.com or Deviantart.com with the user name Ckygfx. Hope you enjoy what you see.

Google and Nestlé: A Chocolate Dipped Expose

 Google are getting more than just chocolate on their hands dealing with Nestlé

If you’re interested in technology you may have heard that Google have decided to name their latest Android update ‘Android Kit Kat’. This follows on from a succession of confectionary inspired updates including Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwhich and Jelly Bean.

But this latest update is the first time Google has affiliated itself with a particular brand. It turns out the decision could have been a doozy of a mistake leaving a fair few Android users disgruntled to say the least. Is it because Google are ‘Selling out?’ Not so much. It has more to do with the shady goings on at the company responsible for the Kit Kat, Nestlé.

 What’s so bad about Nestlé?

Nestlé are infamously the subject of a boycott that initially began in the late 70’s and early 80’s as a result of their aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes but has gone on to reveal numerous human right infringements and ethical misdoings. The boycott continues to this day with Nestlé habitually shirking responsibility for their marketing strategies or shifty business dealings.

Nestlé market their baby formula as an effective substitute for breastfeeding. A strategy that has directly lead to health problems and deaths among infants in less economically developed countries and poorer families. Groups such as the International Baby Food Action Network and Save the Children were among those who instigated the boycott in the late 70's by arguing that Nestlé were responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of infants and have plunged many more families into a spiral of poverty, illness and malnutrition.

How? By adopting one of the oldest marketing strategies in existence: freebies. Nestlé have been known to give free samples in some underdeveloped countries to persuade mothers to use their formula, an approach with dire consequences. When mothers switch from using breast milk for a prolonged time they cease producing milk. No longer able to breast-feed, parents become reliant on a product that is no longer free and that they are unable to afford adequate quantities. With little choice but to use the Nestlé formula, parents dilute the the mix to make it last longer. In these cases children rapidly become malnourished and are often exposed to dirty water sources. UNICEF estimates that formula-fed children are between 6 and 25 times more likely to die of diarrheal and four times more likely to die of pneumonia than a breast-fed child in underdeveloped nations.

Nestlé have been evasive on this subject for over 30 years, although if they were in the room with me right now, they would argue they have a response online. In the interest of fairness, here it is - make of it what you will.

And then there’s more.

 Here’s a list of some of the other ventures Nestlé have been involved in:

  • Promoting infant formula with misleading and harmful strategies.
  • Using suppliers that violate human rights. Examples include buying from cocoa suppliers known to the use of child slaves and purchasing milk from Mugabe.
  • Controlling and abusing water sources in its bottled water opperations.
  • Promoting unhealthy food to children.
  • Aggressively anti-unionist activities and denying the rights of workers.

If you’d like to know more about Nestlé’s shenanigans or read up on particular case studies head on over to the Nestlé Critics Portal (ignore the initial vexing audio, it’s a very informative site).

I’ve also included a full list of Nestlé products below to give you an idea of the scale of the problem. But for now…

Back to Google.

The Nestlé boycott is one of the largest and most well-known on-going product boycotts. So why on earth would Google, a company with the motto – “Do no evil” want to affiliate themselves with a company with such a mirky-past? I'm going to guess this one comes down to money.

I know this is the second post I’ve written about Google’s questionable adherence to their motto so you’d be forgiven for thinking I have a chip on my shoulder. Honestly, I don’t. I get it, I get that like all companies, every decision at Google comes down to making dollar. I’m sure Android Kit Kat will be lucrative and bring with it numerous marketing opportunities.

But if someone from Google ends up reading this, or more likely one of their super smart algorithms scans it, I just want them to know; I saw promise in you Google. Your motto gave me hope. If only one multi-national, awesomely powerful company would base itself on ethical foundations and succeed. And damn it Google, you came so close to being that company.

So know this, I’m not angry with you. I’m just disappointed.

As for you Nestlé... no words.

Android_KitKat-578-80

THE NESTLE BOYCOTT LIST

Candy and Chocolate: Baby Ruth Bit-O-Honey Butterfinger Carlos V (“the authentic Mexican chocolate bar”) Chunky Gobstoppers Goobers Laffy Taffy Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip Nerds Nestle Abuelita chocolate Nestle Crunch Nips Oh Henry! Oompas Pixy Stix Raisinets Runts Sno-Caps Spree Sweettarts Wonka 100 Grand

Frozen Foods: Lean Cuisine (frozen meals) Lean Pockets (sandwiches) Hot Pockets (sandwiches) Stouffer’s (frozen meals)

Baking: La Lechera (sweetened condensed milk) Libby’s Pumpkin Nestle Tollhouse Morsels and baking ingredients

Ice Cream: Dreyer’s (ice creams, frozen yogurts, frozen fruit bars, sherbets) Edy’s (ice creams, frozen yogurts and sherbets) Häagen-Dazs (ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, bars) Nestle Delicias Nestle Drumstick Nestle Push-Ups The Skinny Cow (ice cream treats)

Pet food: Alpo Beneful Cat Chow Dog Chow Fancy Feast Felix Friskies Frosty Paws (dog ice cream treats) Gourmet One Pro Plan Beverages: Coffee-Mate Jamba (bottled smoothies and juices) Milo Powdered Beverage and Ready-to-Drink Nescafé Nescafé Café con Leche Nescafe Clasico (soluble coffees from Mexico) Nescafe Dolce Gusto Nesquik Nestea Nestle Juicy Juice 100% fruit juices Nestle Carnation Malted Milk Nestle Carnation Milks (instant breakfast) Nestle Hot Cocoa Mix Nestle Milk Chocolate Nestle Nido (powdered milk for kids) Ovaltine Taster’s Choice Instant Coffee Specialty items: Buitoni (pasta, sauce, shredded cheeses) Maggi Seasonings Maggi Taste of Asia

Infant Formula: Nestle Good Start Gerber Pure Water (for mixing with formula)

Baby Foods: Cerelac Gerber (cereals, juice, 1st Foods, 2nd Foods, 3rd Foods, etc.) Gerber Graduates (snacks, meal options, side dishes, beverages, Preschooler meals/snacks, etc.) Mucilon NaturNes Nestum

Accessories: Gerber – cups, diaper pins, pacifiers, bowls, spoons, outlet plugs, thermometers, tooth and gum cleanser, bottles (all of these are made by Gerber)

Breastfeeding supplies: Gerber Seal ‘N Go breast milk storage bags, bottles, nipples, nursing pads, Breast Therapy warm or cool relief packs, Breast Therapy gentle moisturizing balm (all of these are made by Gerber)

Bottled Water: Arrowhead Deer Park Gerber Pure Water Perrier Poland Spring Pure Life S. Pellegrino Vittel

Breakfast Cereals: see joint ventures below

Performance Nutrition: PowerBar Boost

Miscellaneous: Jenny Craig

Joint Ventures (in which Nestle is partnered with another company): Nestlé SA has several joint ventures. These are some of the larger ones:

Beverage Partners Worldwide, formed in 2001, is a joint venture between the Coca-Cola Company and Nestlé S.A. It concentrates on tapping markets in the beverage sectors, particularly ready-to-drink coffee and teas, such as Nestea.

Cereal Partners Worldwide is a joint venture between Nestlé and General Mills. From what I understand, in the USA, the cereals are made by General Mills. In the UK, they are made by Nestle.

Laboratories Innéov is a joint venture between Nestlé and L’Oréal, formed in 2002. Cosmetics included in are: L’Oreal Maybelline Garnier Lancome

Dairy Partners Americas is a 50/50 partnership between New Zealand dairy multinational, Fonterra and Nestlé and was established in January 2003. The alliance now operates joint ventures in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia.

Just What Is 'True Icon' Anyway?

 

Welcome to my long overdue explanation of what True Icon means to me. When Rob and I started the site we agreed we’d each write what the site was about and what it meant to us as our first posts.

Well, Rob stuck to our promise while I wrote my post months ago and subsequently scrapped it. I’m a perfectionist who eventually, grudgingly, settles for less than perfect; this time in the form of a stream of conscious blast of blogging.

So what does True Icon mean to me? When Rob first came up with the name and the tag “Become the Icon” it grew on me over the space of the next 5 minutes to encompass a lot of what I wanted the site to be. I’m not sure if it came endowed with meaning that took me 5 minutes to understand (It’s a strong possibility) or if I subscribed my own meaning to it. At this point it probably doesn’t matter.

So what is it? In short, we want True Icon sell ethical and stylish clothes. Both Rob and I have been vegan for a number of years and we’ve found ethical ‘fashion’ to be at best highly suspect. We’re hoping to provide organic, fair trade and fashionable clothing for both men and women as soon as possible. As you can probably tell from the state of the site at the moment, neither of us our web designers; we’re working on the shop functionality and going over every aspect of our products to make sure they’re as ethical as they can possibly be.

In the meantime, we’re throwing out material on anything and everything that we care about. Loosely broken into categories:

Culture: be that books, games, music, films or what have you. It’s a broad title but if it’s good enough for the Guardian, it’s good enough for me.

Fitness: We’re both fitness obsessed and we think everyone should be. Expect posts on workouts, diets, Martial Arts and how to generally make yourself into a superhero.

Essays: In which we cover topics in depth that we have been thinking about recently. This is a bit of a “File as Misc.” section.

Food: Always vegan. Nearly always healthy, fitness focused, quick and convenient. Apart from the odd indulgence including Oreo Ice Cream and Raw Food Vegan Snickers (both coming soon!). Check out the True Icon Rule of 7 for an explanation of the types of food we cook.

Technology: It has a larger and larger part in all our lives and almost everyone is fascinated by some part of it – we fall under the category of ‘almost everyone’, so here it is.

Fashion: Last but by no means least. We’ll cover brands and products we back as well as debates around just what exactly ethical fashion is anyway.

The link in all this is that we will cover things from an ethical standpoint. So if you’re an ethical dude or dudette, or you’d like to be, you’re in the right place

Finally getting onto the subject of the name, it’s easier to approach from our tagline “Become the Icon”.

I’ve heard a lot of vegan jokes over the years. But my favourite?

How do you know if someone is vegan?

Don’t worry. They’ll tell you.

It’s genius.

We’ve all met the preachy vegan types. They’re so stoked with themselves and their attitude to life.

“Would you like a crisp Mark?”

“Umm... no thanks. I take my crisps cruelty free.”

This is a slight exaggeration and in reality things are a little more nuanced. But no matter what way you look at it, no matter what type of vegan you are - it’s so very, very true.

It’s true about any ethical or moral choice. I wouldn’t be vegan if I didn’t think it was the right thing to do. And if I think it’s the right thing to do it would follow that I want others to be vegan as well.  And what better way to get people to be vegan than telling them about it, right?

But there are different ways to let people know.


1)   You can bombard them with facts.

Facts about why meat is bad, why diary is bad, why animal testing is bad. Facts about how these things damage the environment, global society and perhaps even your health.

Facts about how bee’s numbers are critically low, how we’re over fishing to the brink of disaster, how inefficient beef production is. Ad infinitum, ad infinitum, ad infinitum.

The reaction is unlikely to be a favourable one. It’s a bit like telling someone their hair is crap and that you don’t like their music taste and then asking them to buy your latest record. It’s not going to work.


Option two then.


2)   You can set an example.

Live your life to its fullest and live it ethically. Be an informed, healthy, attractive individual.

People might comment on your food, your clothes, your energy levels or physique. At this point, if you like, you can mention you’re vegan or vegetarian or that your clothes are fair-trade, ethical and just downright awesome in every way.

They’ve asked, so let them know. Let them know that being vegan is one of the best things you’ve ever done for you.

Over time they’ll see how you live your life and they’ll start to see that maybe they could make some changes. Maybe how you live will work for them too.

I’ve seen this with so many of my friends, family memebers and collegues. They come to making ethical choices in their own time and in their own way. They might not go vegan but they might shop more locally, eat less meat or avoid animal tested products.

Anyone with an ethical conscience wants immediate change. And it can happen. We will fight for it with pen and with fire, with protest and with boycott.

But first we need to set an example of how life can be.

That’s what True Icon means to me. I hope to set an example of just how easy and enjoyable it is to live a compassionate and considerate lifestyle. Most importantly, I hope you’ll join me.


________________________________________________________________________________


If you’ve read this far – major props. Please get in touch with us and let us know how we can make the site better and what you’d like us to cover. We’d love to hear from you.


Cheers, Kai

Kai@trueicon.co.uk & Rob@Trueicon.co.uk

Google's Climate Change Scientists Question Company Morals

inhofe

In a letter to the company’s CEO and Chairman, Google’s climate scientists have spoken out against the company’s financial support for Senator James Inhofe.

Inhofe is known for declaring climate change “a hoax on the American people”. Such comments have led Google’s climate scientists to question the company’s motivation for backing the Senator.

Google has supported environmental science research since the formation of its Google Science Communication Fellows group in 2011. Google’s scientists are involved in climate change research and discussions with other scientific bodies, the US government and private sector.

17 Fellows signed the letter to Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt and CEO Larry Page on August 1,2013 asking them to “display moral leadership and carefully evaluate their political bedfellows.”

Google announced their support for Senator Inhofe in on July 11, 2013. A public petition was signed by over 150,000 people using the mantra “Don’t Fund Evil” – a play on the company’s tagline “Don’t Be Evil.”

Despite the petition and internal letter, the fundraiser went ahead as planned. As well as receiving donations from Google, Inhofe has received strong political backing from oil and gas corporations in the past.

Google management maintains that although it disagrees with Inhofe on climate policy, they nonetheless share interests in Oklahoma that have led to Google’s support of the Senator.

The letter from Google’s scientists shows the effect of big money on business and politics in America. The American democratic system is defined by a one man one vote system but is increasingly in a position where only the rich and elite can afford to run for power and corporate interests hold more sway than environmental and individual needs.

You can read the full letter below:

The 17 signatories of the following letter were all Google Climate Science Communication Fellows in 2011:

Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman) and Larry Page (CEO)

Google Inc.

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway

Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

August 1, 2013

Dear Dr. Schmidt and Mr. Page,

Google has earned its reputation as one of America’s most innovative and forward-thinking companies, and has shown climate leadership by improving its own environmental performance and investing in clean energy technologies.  That’s why it was deeply troubling for us, as Google Science Communication Fellows, to learn about Google’s July 11, 2013 fundraiser supporting Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe’s 2014 re-election campaign.

Among his most notorious statements, Senator Inhofe has outrageously claimed that climate change is "a hoax on the American people" and, in the absence of a shred of factual evidence, accused climate scientists of being "criminals."

The reality that human activities are causing major disruptions to our global climate and that these disruptions pose serious risks to society is accepted by virtually every climate scientist and by the world’s leading scientific organizations.  Yet for more than a decade, Senator Inhofe has attacked and demeaned the very scientists who have worked tirelessly to better understand the threat and to warn us of the risks posed to the environment, our communities, and our children.

In the face of intensifying heat, rising seas and extreme weather, corporate leadership and private sector innovation will be essential to developing clean energy technologies and implementing more sustainable business practices.  So too will be political dialogue, bipartisanship, and cooperation. That’s why we’re strongly supportive of the outreach efforts of former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis, who today leads the Conservative Climate Coalition.

Yet sadly, over the past decade, the polarization and gridlock that has derailed efforts to address climate change owes much to Senator Inhofe, who by relentlessly attacking the scientific community has undermined efforts at cooperation and consensus building.

Given Google’s commitment to educating the public about climate change, why would the company align its political efforts with Inhofe? In responding to criticism, a Google spokesperson acknowledged “while we disagree on climate change policy, we share an interest with Senator Inhofe in the employees and data center we have in Oklahoma.”

But Inhofe's assault on the scientific community is not a difference in climate policy; it's a strategy designed to promote dysfunction and paralysis; to destroy the reputation of scientists and the legitimacy of their institutions; and to undermine our ability to find common ground.

Such a strategy conflicts with the data-driven, problem solving culture that has enabled Google’s business success and is arguably contrary to its corporate philosophy of “Don’t Be Evil.”

In 2011, as participants in Google’s science communication fellows program, we witnessed first hand the company’s unique culture.  At its Mountain View headquarters, we were introduced to new communication technologies and strategies for effectively translating climate science to a broad audience.

At the time, we were proud to be part of Google’s investment in science education; inspired by the creative, talented, and passionate people we met; and eager to apply new tools and strategies in our public outreach activities.  But Google’s recent support for Senator Inhofe forces us to question the company’s commitment to science communication and to addressing climate change.

Nearly every large company must – and should – work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle. We also recognize the difficulty that corporations sometimes face in reconciling their core principles with their short-term business priorities.

But in the face of urgent threats like climate change, there are times where companies like Google must display moral leadership and carefully evaluate their political bedfellows. Google’s support of Senator James Inhofe’s re-election campaign is one of those moments.

The Signatories were all Google Climate Science Communication Fellows in 2011:

  • Brendan Bohannan, Professor, Environmental Studies and Biology, University of Oregon
  • Julia Cole, Professor, Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, The University of Arizona
  • Eugene Cordero, Professor, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose State University
  • Frank Davis, Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Andrew Dessler, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University
  • Simon Donner, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia
  • Nicole Heller, Visiting Assistant Professor, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
  • Brian Helmuth, Professor, Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences and School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University
  • Jonathan Koomey, Research Fellow, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University
  • David Lea, Professor, Dept. of Earth Science, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
  • Kelly Levin, Senior Associate, World Resources Institute
  • David Lobell, Associate Professor of Environmental Earth System Science, Stanford University
  • Ed Maurer, Associate Professor & Robert W. Peters Professor, Civil Engineering Dept., Santa Clara University
  • Suzanne C. Moser, Director, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting and Social Science Research Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University
  • Matthew C. Nisbet, Associate Professor, School of Communication, American University, Washington D.C.
  • Whendee L. Silver, Professor of Ecosystem Ecology, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley
  • Alan Townsend, Professor, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado Boulder

Note:  Affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement by an individual’s institution or organization.

How a visco-elastic-polymer can teach you to seize the day

pitch drop

The longest running science experiment of all time is on going in Australia - you can see it live here.

It might not seem like much but believe it or not there are hundreds of people around the world watching this live stream and waiting. Waiting for the chance to see something that no human being one earth has ever seen before.

In 1927 physics professor, Thomas Parnel, teaching in Queensland Australia wanted to show his students that physics can be deceiving. To demonstrate he used a substance called pitch.

Pitch looks and acts like rock. It’s heavy, solid looking and you can break it with a hammer. But pitch isn’t a rock -  it’s a ‘visco-elastic-polymer’ - which means that over many years it moves like a liquid.

Heated up, pitch melts. In 1929 Thomas Parnel heats his pitch up and pours it into a glass funnel and lets it cool, he snips the bottom of the funnel and waits for the pitch to form a drip and eventually, to drop.

This happens very slowly. 1930 goes by. 1931 goes by, ‘32, ’33 and ‘34 until finally in 1935, eight years after the experiment began the pitch drops. But no one sees it.

Cut to 1961. John Mainstone, another Physics professor from Australia makes it his life’s work to see the pitch drop. Cut to 2013. He’s been waiting 52 years – during which time the pitch has fallen 7 times, unwitnessed.

In 1962 Mainstone misses a drop. 8 years later he misses another. 9 years later it’s looking like it will drop on a Friday afternoon. He goes home for the weekend but decides to check on it Saturday evening – no drop. He comes back Monday morning and it’s fallen.

Even worse, in 1988 he goes to get a cup of coffee, comes back 15 minutes later and it’s dropped.

In 2000 he sets a camera up to record the event but the camera fails and he misses it again.

9 drops have occurred since 1927 and still no one has witnessed the event. Now, in 2013 we’re due a 9th. There are 3 webcams filming 24/7 with people all across the world tuning in to see the event. And it could literally happen any. Minute. Now.

So why bother with this experiment? Scientifically it’s interesting to see how the pitch drops. Mainstone is interested to see from a mechanical point of view how it becomes imperative that the pitch should drop. What pushes it over the edge?

But as well as the scientific value of this experiment, there is a much profound philosophical element. This singular event can teach us to be present in our lives. To seize the day.

In today’s world if you want something – you can get it. If you want to see a film, you can go to the cinema, buy the DVD or (shock-horror!) download it. If we want to see how a band sound live, you don’t need to wait for them to come to our town – you can just go on youtube. If you want to hear an album – you can get it straight to your phone, wherever you are, almost immediately. We have forgotten how to wait.

The Pitch experiment is different. People have been waiting decades for this event. And when the pitch does drop, it will drop in a 10th of a second.

Less than a minute later, the pitch drop will be on youtube for all to see. But the magic won’t be there. Decades of time stretch out before the drop will be witnessed and decades will stretch out after where anyone can see it. But it won’t be the same as having been in the moment.

This is one of those things that you cannot buy. It simply doesn’t conform to modern societies tendency to want it all and to want it now. And that’s beautiful.

So much of our lives is spent recording what we do. We go to shows and hold our phones above our heads to snap a low-grade image or record a low quality film with terrible sound. We tweet about where we are, what we’re doing and who with. We flick through facebook while we’re at the pub or the park with friends to see what everyone else is doing. We get in lifts and pull out our phones like anti-awkwardness devices.

When we do these things, whether intentionally or not we are divorcing ourselves from the present. We do them either because it doesn’t suit us to be there (as in the lift) or because we want to hold onto the moment forever (as at the show). Both are impossible desires.

The past is nothing but shared memories, culture and reconstruction. The future is unknowable and unknown. We are and always will be in the present. The pitch reminds us of this and it reminds us to live.