‘We have 25,000 genes, not 100,000. That’s 6,000 genes more than a microscopic worm has, and 15,000 less than a rice plant has. Far from being the most sophisticated machine on the planet, the human being is just an ordinary creature.’Massive Change, by Bruce Mau.

Well that’s a turn up for the book – there I was thinking I was the most complex information processing system in the known universe and I am brought back with a bump by a lowly rice plant. We have obviously made more of those gene than the rice plant has, which goes to prove that it’s not what you got- it’s what you do with it that counts.

On a more serious note and still related to us ‘using what we got’,when I went to get the hyperlink for ‘Massive Change‘ I noticed that they have a YouTube sampler for the movie ‘11th Hour‘. I haven’t seen the movie yet but if the reviews are anything to go by, it is well worth seeing.

…and before I wander too far from the original point – ‘Massive Change‘ is an incredible book – the pictures alone make it worth the cover price. Images of the immense impact we are having on the earth, both the beautiful and the ugly. However the message and information about the world we live in, makes Massive Change a really important book. Just a few snippets…

Learning to share: to imagine that any one closed group could salve the complex problems we face today is folly. The free and open software movements promise to overcome our territorial attitudes and take advantage of our collective potential.

According to the United Nations, Europeans spend $11 billion per year on ice cream, $2 billion more than the estimated total money needed to provide clean water and safe sewers for the world’s population.

…and a few words about the economic phenomena that is Wal-Mart …

Wal-Mart is the retail behemoth that it is today because of the integrated supply-chain system that supports its infrastructure. Made up of electronic data interchange networks and an extranet used by Wall-Mart buyers and 10,000 suppliers, it culls information about sales and inventory levels in every store. The extranet’s database holds more than 100 terabytes of data – the equivalent of more than five times the entire contents of the U.S. Library of Congress. Wal-Mart has stores in more than ten countries including nearly 3,200 outlets in the United States alone. Based on revenues – $244.6 billion in sales in 2002 – it is the world’s biggest company. It is also the larges employer in the world, with 1.3 million employees, and plans to hire 800,000 more over the next five years. Viewed as a piece of global economy, Wal-Mart is the nineteenth-larges economy in the world. Its sales on the day after Thanksgiving in November 2002 were 1.42 billion. This means that Wal-Mart’s revenue on one single day was larger than the annual gross domestic product (GDP) of 36 separate countries. It has more people in uniform than the U.S. Army, and if the estimated $2 billion it loses through theft each year were incorporated as a business, Wal-Mart would rank No. 694 on the Fortune 1,000.