Open source peace events

Celebration of Peace

The How Weird Street Faire is the World Peace Through Technology Organization’s annual festival, and an experiment on how to create a peace event that allows “opposing” sides to find common ground and similarities. We identified some elements that could help lead to peace between people, including electronic music, synchronized group dance, inspiring visionary art, a collective expansion of consciousness and awareness, a diverse group of people, an open mind, and a lot of fun. Then we applied them on a large scale in a public venue with amazing results. We found that those elements are the ideal ingredients to a peace event.

The need for creating peace has only grown in the years since we started the faire 16 years ago. We want to share what we have learned, and open source the elements of a peace event, in the hope that more of these events can help bring peace to the world.

We encourage all people to make their own peace events. We need more gatherings that can bring different people together. Please let us know what you learn and what elements you find to be useful for bridging divides and connecting people. As the Dalai Lama explained, one of the best things that people can do to bring peace is to hold festivals with music and art that bring people together.

How Weird Street Faire - Celebration of Peace



Music is a bridge, connecting everyone. Music is the ideal medium for crossing barriers, and uniting diverse people. Music knows no boundaries. More than any other form of communication, music is able to transcend differences between people. Music has the power to change us physically, directly affecting the emotions and the chemical balance of the body. Music inspires us and takes us to other places. Music can lift our spirits and increase our creativity. Music can heal people. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said recently, “There are no languages required in the musical world. In this era of instability and intolerance we need to promote better understanding through the power of music.”

Electronic music plays a key role in the How Weird Street Faire, and one of the reasons why the faire attracts people from all over the world. Electronic music is the most diverse and globally listened to music in human history. Every culture and every country has DJs playing and creating music, and communities forming wherever people dance together. In some places it is the mainstream culture, in others it is alternative or underground, but electronic music is present everywhere on the planet.

How Weird features the full spectrum of electronic music styles, bringing different communities together to connect them to each other and encourage cooperation and mutual appreciation. This gathering of the tribes at How Weird creates a unique music festival that is always full of surprises. Faire participants are encouraged to see and experience all the different music stages, and try something new. Great care has been taken by each stage to create a high quality environment to enjoy the music and dancing, and have a maximum amount of fun. Electronic music is a good choice of music for helping to create peace, as represented by the cultural motto of “peace, love, unity, and respect”.


Dance is a fun activity that everyone can participate in, and find common ground and similar interest with anyone else. It is a very effective way of connecting with others. Dance and music are powerful ways to reach a deep meditative state, used for thousands of years with much success. A meditative state is helpful for bringing inner peace, and building the foundations for lasting peace with others. Dancing in a group also synchronizes the individuals on a collective level, enabling deeper understanding and acceptance of others, and forming coherence among the group. In spite of our differences, when we dance to the same beat, we become one.

A Cambridge University study published in the Psychology of Music journal in 2012 found that “interacting with others through music makes us more emotionally attuned to other people,” resulting in an increase of compassion and understanding of others. Another article in the American Psychological Association journal Emotion in 2011, called “Synchrony and the Social Tuning of Compassion” described how “synchronized movement evokes compassion” in groups of people. Science is noticing the same things that we did, that dancing together creates very deep connections and increases empathy, which leads to peace. As Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at Cambridge University, explained, “Any problem immersed in empathy becomes soluble.”

For the third year, the How Weird Street Faire will participate in National Dance Week, a massive celebration of all forms of dance. Cultures all over the planet have enjoyed dance since before the written word, it is a universal expression of life. As Nelson Mandela once said, “It is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world.”


Visual art, like music and dance, is a form of communication that bridges separations, and speaks directly to the heart and soul. Art can lead to greater understanding and appreciation of others. How Weird showcases many kinds of expression, including visionary art. We found that being surrounded by visionary art helps to recreate those states of awareness, and lay the foundation for deeper connections and understanding to take place. Music, dance, and art have always been recognized as having powerful effects on human consciousness, and being a fundamental part of our existence.


The How Weird Street Faire tries to raise people’s consciousness through music, art, dancing, and ideas. By viewing the world from a wider perspective, the connections between us become more apparent, as well as our common interests. By raising our level of awareness and understanding, we make it easier to live in peace, to develop connections between people, and to find solutions to the many problems facing humanity at this time. As Albert Einstein explained, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”


The How Weird Street Faire celebrates extreme diversity and individual expression. Those attending and participating in the faire are a vast multitude from all over the planet, and perhaps other planets as well, representing a very unique and interesting mix of sentient beings. All of them potentially finding common ground and connecting with each other and new communities. There are babies and small children to young adults to elderly, and all in between. There are very wealthy attendants, and struggling students and artists. There are people of different politics and religions and perspectives, that have chosen to attend the same faire and enjoy the same activities. The extreme diversity of people at How Weird is testament to the universal appeal of inspiring art and music, and the desire of all people to celebrate peace. That deep connections are made, and a collective cohesion is formed, is proof that these elements can unite even the most extreme differences.

The faire is open to people of all ages, all backgrounds, and all points of view. Everyone is encouraged to be accepting of others, and to appreciate the differences between us. One faire participant explained why he liked the faire, “Instead of trying to bring us all into one line, we all get to enjoy what makes us different.”

AN OPEN MIND (or as we say “being weird”)

We chose the name “How Weird” as a play on Howard Street, the street where the faire took place. At first, we thought everyone would see the play on words, and didn’t really appreciate our own weirdness. Over the years, we grew to embrace being weird. We found that celebrating weirdness encouraged people to freely express themselves, and readily accept others. If everyone is weird, all viewpoints are equally valid, and everyone has an opportunity to be appreciated. Suddenly, the person who was an outsider is now a valuable part of the community. Differences between people become so great, that they become something interesting and amusing rather than dividing. Similarities that would usually remain elusive are brought out, enabling connections where none could have been imagined before. Being weird means doing things differently, and seeing the world in a unique way. Being weird enables us to step outside of preconceived notions and stereotypes, and think things we normally wouldn’t think. Having a festival of weirdness is an excellent way to open people’s minds, and prepare them to accept others no matter how different they are.

We weren’t the only ones who noticed these traits of weirdness. Being weird used to evoke emotions of fear and intolerance. In our modern world of rapid changes and extreme complexity, weird has become a desirable attribute, especially in the technology industry, which continues to play a major role in How Weird’s regional environment and immediate neighborhood. Weird has become associated with being creative and innovative. Thinking in a weird way has become the popular key to “stepping outside of the box”, as we try to solve the planet’s problems, as well as our own. Being weird somehow plays a part in creating an effective peace event. Perhaps, like clowns and jesters, being weird gives people permission to tear down preconceptions and rewrite all the rules, placing them in a position to find new ways of living and interacting with others. Being weird encourages people to open their mind and accept new perspectives. Being weird allows people the opportunity to be outside of their usual way of doing and seeing things, and try a fresh approach. Plus being weird is fun.

Having people arrive in strange and colorful costumes reinforces the element of weirdness and unexpectedness, that anything is possible. At first, we just liked wearing costumes. But soon we noticed that it is an excellent way to encourage individual expression and acceptance of others. Costumes enable people to be themselves. Individual costumes break down the associations with groups or ideologies, and allow people to appreciate others based solely on their creativity and interests.

How Weird inspires peace by bringing people together and allowing them to experience a place where everyone is accepted no matter what their background is. At How Weird, everyone is appreciated for having a unique perspective that is valuable to the whole. We encourage having an open mind by embracing the weirdness within us all, the things we do differently, the things that make us unique. What political or religious affiliation someone has makes little difference when they are in an outrageous costume, dancing in the middle of the street. How Weird provides a place where people can be understood by their similar passions. At How Weird, people are surrounded by unexpected opportunities to connect with others and find common ground. Despite the extreme diversity at the faire, it is all one community.

The extreme participation of the faire goers, especially the costumes and dancing, encourages a level of acceptance and appreciation rarely seen at a public event. It is an environment that fully embraces inclusion and appreciation. By accepting others’ perspectives, we increase our capacity for empathy and understanding. Allowing yourself and others to be weird can be an important lesson in peace. In a place where everyone is weird, then every way of seeing things becomes equal, and differences are more appreciated. This leads to collective empathy and understanding. If this level of respect for each other was the standard way of dealing with each other, there would be no more wars.


The faire is a lot of fun. Peace is fun. Fun makes everything better. Having a positive attitude helps to connect with others and appreciate them. Plus it’s hard to fight when you’re having fun. Fun often results in smiles, which are very contagious. Smiles help to make people happy, even at a distance. And happy people are at peace.

Buckminister Fuller noticed that to create change, you need to built something new that makes the old way obsolete. We feel that in order to create a new world that is sustainable and at peace, we need to build something that is better and more fun. Peace is badly needed now, so that we may thrive on this planet and coexist with each other. It is through music, art, and the imagination that peace is always possible.



Three short films about peace

Errol Morris, the acclaimed filmmaker and writer, just produced three short films about peace. Each film highlights an inspiring moment in the lives of Nobel Peace Prize winners Leymah Gbowee from Liberia and Lech Walesa from Poland, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bob Geldof from Ireland. He was able to interview these subjects through a Visa commercial being filmed to air during the World Cup games. The commercial was interviewing these subjects about soccer. Morris asked if he could also ask them about peace, and everyone agreed. The results are three thought provoking films that show the possibilities of what one determined person can do.

Errol Morris explained how he “interviewed five of the world’s greatest peacemakers, and chose to feature the three who told the most compelling stories on camera. But it was a privilege to meet and to interview every one of them. David Trimble, whose participation in the Good Friday Agreement helped bring an end to Northern Ireland’s Troubles, and Oscar Arias Sanchez, who brokered the Esquipulas peace agreement that ended decades of internecine strife in Central America, were no less inspiring than the three included here.”

When Morris asked Leymah Gbowee “whether the women’s movement in Liberia needed her. She said no. It was the opposite. She needed it. Through her activism, she was able to restore her own faith in humanity and in the power of each and every individual to effect positive change. I was truly moved by her remark, perhaps because I feel the same way. I needed these people to remind me that there is still the possibility of doing good in this world and the possibility of helping other people. That one person can make a difference.”

Below is the first of the three films, featuring 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, the peace activist who brought the women of Liberia together to stop the civil war there. You can watch all three films here:

The Dream – featuring Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee

“We have various ideas about what makes a hero. Courage, determination, and fearlessness. But, often what makes a hero is a refusal to accept the status quo…
a persistent refusal to accept the world the way it is.” – Errol Morris

Peace is life.

Sociologist Jane Addams, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, observed that “peace is not merely an absence of war, but the nurture of human life.” Peace is a celebration of our co-existence, a necessity in our collective struggle to survive and flourish, and an acknowledgement of our inter-connections and mutual needs. Peace is recognizing within others the same things that are inside of you. Peace is combining of efforts to increase our collective potential.

Peace is not the opposite of war. Peace is our natural state, required by the core unit of the family to survive.
War is a specific type of failure of human spirit and reason, an illness, a mistake.

We are living in a time of exponential technological growth, and overall change. To survive and flourish, we now need to rapidly expand our understanding and awareness, and focus on cooperation in an increasingly inter-connected world. Much of the focus of technology today is on military and security use, on means of control. It is essential that these tools be used in an open and transparent way. We could achieve so much more if we used these tools for peace.

Napoleon Boneparte once noted that “those who have changed the universe have never done it by changing officials, but always by inspiring the people.” The World Peace Through Technology Organization wants to inspire you to live in peace. We want to educate you with stories and information, and expand your perspective through creativity and art.

The reality of war

World Beyond War is a global movement to end all wars. They have listed some of the myths and facts about war, and why it’s bad for everybody…

War is not inevitable.

War has only been around for the most recent fraction of the existence of our species. We did not evolve with it. During the most recent 10,000 years, war has been sporadic. Some societies have not known war. Some have known it and then abandoned it.

War is not “natural” or healthy.

A great deal of conditioning is needed to prepare most people to take part in war, and a great deal of mental suffering is common among those who have taken part. In contrast, not a single person is known to have suffered deep moral regret or post-traumatic stress disorder from war deprivation.

War is not a permanent part of our culture.

Any feature of a society that necessitates war can be changed and is not itself inevitable. The military-industrial complex is not an eternal and invincible force. Environmental destructiveness and economic structures based on greed are not immutable.

Ending war is possible.

Human societies have been known to abolish institutions that were widely considered permanent. These have included human sacrifice, blood feuds, duelling, slavery, the death penalty, and many others. Ending all war is an idea that has found great acceptance in various times and places. It was more popular in the United States, during the 1920s and 1930s, then it is today. It is the reason that the United Nations was created. In recent decades, the notion has been propogated that war is permanent. That notion is new, radical, dangerous, and without basis in fact.

War is not “defense”.

The U.S. War Department was renamed the Defense Department in 1947, and it is common in many countries to speak of the war departments of one’s own and all other nations as “defense.” But if the term has any meaning, it cannot be stretched to cover offensive war making or aggressive militarism. If “defense” is to mean something other than “offense,” then attacking another nation “so that they can’t attack us first” or “to send a message” or to “punish” a crime is not defensive and not necessary.

War preparation is also not “defense”.

The same logic that would claim that attacking another nation is “defensive” can be used to try to justify the permanent stationing of troops in another nation. The result, in both cases, is counterproductive, producing threats rather than eliminating them. A defensive military would consist of a coast guard, a border patrol, anti-aircraft weapons, and other forces able to defend against an attack. The vast majority of military spending, especially by wealthy nations, is offensive.

Defense does not need to involve violence.

Evidence shows that the most effective means of defense is, far more often than not, nonviolent resistance. The mythology of warrior cultures suggests that nonviolent action is weak, passive, and ineffective at solving large-scale social problems. The facts show just the opposite. People under attack can refuse to recognize an attacker’s authority. Peace teams from abroad can join the nonviolent resistance. Targeted sanctions and prosecutions can be combined with international diplomatic pressure. There are alternatives to mass violence.

War makes everyone less safe.

War mythology would have us believe that war kills evil people who need to be killed to protect us and our freedoms. In reality, recent wars involving wealthy nations have been one-sided slaughters of children, the elderly, and ordinary residents of the poorer nations attacked. And while “freedom” has served as a justification for the wars, the wars have served as a justification for curtailing actual freedoms.

War does not bring stability and is not moral.

War can be imagined as a tool for enforcing the rule of law, including laws against war, only by ignoring the hypocrisy and the historical record of failure. War actually violates the most basic principles of law and encourages their further violation. Murder is the one crime that we’re taught to excuse if it’s done on a large enough scale. Morality demands that we not so excuse it. War is nothing other than murder on a large scale.

War erodes our liberties.

Just look what is happening in America now, as a result of our endless wars. Freedom is being compromised in the name of security. The War on Terror and the War on Drugs have been the excuses used to increase control on the population, and limit what we do.

War threatens our environment.

The world’s militaries are the leading cause of pollution and environmental degradation. Plus a major motivation behind some wars is the desire to control resources that poison the earth, especially oil and gas, which are then used instead of clean alternatives.

We need the money we spend on war for other things.

It would cost about $30 billion per year to end starvation and hunger around the world. That sounds like a lot of money to you or me. But if we had trillions of dollars it wouldn’t. And we do. It would cost about $11 billion per year to provide the world with clean water. Again, that sounds like a lot. Let’s round up $50 billion per year to provide the world with both food and water. Who has that kind of money? We do. But we’re spending that money on war, which is impoverishing us. The world spends around $2 trillion every year on militarism, of which the United States spends about half, or $1 trillion. The effects of war and other violence cost the world trillions more. A study published by the Institute for Economics and Peace found that violence cost the world $9.46 trillion in 2012 alone. That’s 11 percent of gross world product. By comparison, the cost of the financial crisis was just 0.5 percent of the 2009 global economy.

Of course, we in the wealthier parts of the world don’t share the money, even among ourselves. Those in need of aid are right here as well as far away. But imagine if one of the wealthy nations, the United States for example, were to put $500 billion into its own education (meaning “college debt” can begin the process of coming to sound as backward as “human sacrifice”), housing (meaning no more people without homes), infrastructure, and sustainable green energy and agricultural practices. What if, instead of leading the destruction of the natural environment, the United States was leading the world in creating a sustainable future.

The potential of green energy would suddenly skyrocket with that sort of unimaginable investment, year after year. But where would the money come from? $500 billion? Well, if $1 trillion fell from the sky on an annual basis, half of it would still be left. After $50 billion to provide the world with food and water, what if another $450 billion went into providing the world with green energy and infrastructure, topsoil preservation, environmental protection, schools, medicine, programs of cultural exchange, and the study of peace and nonviolent action?

U.S. foreign aid right now is about $23 billion a year. Taking it up to $100 billion — never mind $500 billion — would have a number of interesting impacts, including the saving of a great many lives and the prevention of a tremendous amount of suffering. It would also make the nation that did it the most beloved nation on earth. A recent poll of 65 nations found that the United States is far and away the most feared country, the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world. Were the United States responsible for providing food and schools and medicine and solar panels to the entire world, instead of military actions, then the idea of anti-American terrorist groups would be laughable and probably non-existent.

Imagining a world without war.

Rethinking our priorities

Hayes Brown wrote a column for Think Progress on how Americans have spent enough money on a broken plane to buy every homeless person a mansion. We are giving much needed money to a few private companies to continue the racket that is war…

Just days before its international debut at an airshow in the United Kingdom, the entire fleet of the Pentagon’s next generation fighter plane — known as the F-35 II Lightning, or the Joint Strike Fighter — has been grounded, highlighting just what a boondoggle the project has been. With the vast amounts spent so far on the aircraft, the United States could have worked wonders, including providing every homeless person in the U.S. a $600,000 home.

It’s hard to argue against the need to modernize aircraft used to defend the country and counter enemies overseas, especially if you’re a politician. But the Joint Strike Fighter program has been a mess almost since its inception, with massive cost overruns leading to its current acquisition price-tag of $398.6 billion — an increase of $7.4 billion since last year. That breaks down to costing about $49 billion per year since work began in 2006 and the project is seven years behind schedule. Over its life-cycle, estimated at about 55 years, operating and maintaining the F-35 fleet will cost the U.S. a little over $1 trillion. By contrast, the entirety of the Manhattan Project — which created the nuclear bomb from scratch — cost about $55 billion in today’s dollars.

Buying Every Homeless Person In The U.S. A Mansion

On any given night in 2013, the Department of Housing and Urban Development concluded, there were an estimated 600,000 homeless Americans living on the streets. Numerous studies, however, have showed that rather than putting money into temporary shelters or incarceration, communities have saved millions of dollars by investing in permanent homes for the homeless. A recent report showed that in one Florida community, it cost taxpayers an estimated $30,000 to take the homeless off the streets through traditional methods, but only around $10,000 per person to give them permanent housing and provide job training and other support. Expanding that concept to the Federal level, even taking into account things like varying real estate prices around the country, it’s possible that $7.4 billion would be more than enough to start a program nationwide. With the full amount spent on the F-35 at its disposal, the U.S. could afford to purchase every person on the streets a $664,000 home.

Boosting Funding Needed To Rebuild America

The United States is falling apart. A lack of funding for bridges, roads, and other infrastructure has led to collapses across the country and the more than 63,000 bridges that have been labeled as “structurally deficient.” The Department of Transportation’s total budget request for next year is $90.1 billion, part of a four-year budget of $302.1 billion with $199 billion set aside to rebuild America’s roads and bridges. Obama has for the last two years called for a $50 billion lump sum to be added to the on top of DOT’s budget to help address the growing need, and twice Congress has rejected this proposal. If the U.S. were to have channeled the $298 billion is has spent so far on the F-35 — and continued spending at that level for the next six years — the U.S. would be halfway towards closing the $1.1 trillion gap in investment needed in infrastructure, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. In addition, a report from the Center for American Progress, citing Moody’s Analytic’s chief economist, estimates infrastructure investment generates $1.44 of economic activity for each $1 spent. That sort of claim can’t be duplicated in the spending on the F-35.

Imagine what we could achieve with peace, and different priorities.

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.”
– Dwight Eisenhower, 1953

Hugs not war… in space!

On Tuesday May 27, 2014, the three astronauts preparing to blast off for a six month stay on the International Space Station held a press conference at the Russian cosmodrome facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Alexander Gerst of Germany, Maxim Surayev of Russia, and Reid Wiseman of the United States answered questions about their trip, the 40th expedition aboard the ISS. For weeks, hostility between Russia and the US and Germany had been building, with their international cooperation in space at risk. The topic of politics, and the ongoing situation in Ukraine came up when a Russian journalist from NTV asked, “Because of the events in Ukraine that we all know about, the relationship between the United States, Russia, and Germany became pretty tense. Do you feel this tension on the level of your team?”

Instead of answering out loud, the three astronauts stood up and hugged each other. “This is our answer,” astronaut Wiseman said in Russian. “Yes, this is our answer for everyone to see,” cosmonaut Suraev added.

Hugs not war... in space

Commander Maksim Suraev then gathered his crew together for a collective self portrait of three smiling friends, with all of the journalists in the background. “Space is without borders, we fly to an international space station where we do experiments that come back to Earth and benefit all of us – they benefit all humankind,” he said.

The crew docked safely with the ISS early Thursday morning, six hours after blasting off, and are currently in orbit around the Earth.

ISS astronauts
“Space is without borders.”

What does a peace event look like?

Sophie Kerr once said, “If peace only had the music and pageantry of war, there’d be no wars.” Peace is needed everywhere, and so are celebrations of peace. The Dalai Lama expained recently that one of the best things people can do to create peace is to have festivals that bring people together. Peace events can bring different communities and individuals together to find common ground and form connections that will expand peace.

The people attending a peace event should be as diverse as possible, coming from many places and of mixed demographics. The event should encourage self-expression and inclusiveness. Each person should feel free to be themselves, and accept others for who they are. By accepting others, we lay the foundation for deep understanding and peace.

There should also be a cultural and artistic element to a peace event, that allows people to find similarities across political, religious, and social barriers. Art and music are universal in their reach, providing an ideal background for common interests to be discovered. A peace event needs to provide a platform for connections and relationships to form, and new ideas to be sparked. Peace events should be a place for personal transformation and collective growth.

These are the elements of the How Weird Street Faire, a peace event held in the streets of downtown San Francisco. This year’s faire was on Sunday May 4, 2014, and was attended by over 25,000 people. The people come to the faire from around California, from across the entire US, from Canada and Mexico, and South America, and Europe, and Africa, and Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. The ages range from babies to senior citizens, although most are young adults. Many of the people wear colorful costumes, which offer the opportunity to fully express their unique perspectives to others, and creates an environment where others’ perspectives are respected and admired.

How Weird is a place where weird is normal, and creativity is valued over everything else. Being weird leads to discoveries and seeing things differently, exploring new ideas and new realities. By honoring weirdness and uniqueness, the How Weird Street Faire has created a peace event that welcomes everyone, no matter how different you are. How Weird is a place where anyone can feel accepted, and is encouraged to accept others.

The How Weird Street Faire brings a very diverse group of people together through music, art, and culture. The primary music used is electronic dance music, because it has the widest appeal and use around the world currently. How Weird tries to bring all the different communities of electronic dance music culture together, to showcase the full range of what is going on in this vibrant area, and as a peace-building project to build connections between all the different electronic dance music communities and unite them for a day.

The primary action used to get diverse people to interact with each other at the faire is dance. Dance is a highly respected art form, a powerful therapeutic tool, and a great form of exercise. Traditionally, dance has been one of the primary expressions of human culture, used for communication, community building, healing, and religious ceremonies throughout the world. Preceding the spoken and written word, dance transcends differences, and is an ideal way to connect people on many levels. And it’s a lot of fun.

The How Weird Street Faire is a fun and inviting place. Everything about How Weird is positive and supportive of others, it is a true celebration of peace. The faire creates an ideal community of peace for a day, which then inspires others to help make their community more ideal, and more peaceful. We hope to bring the faire to other places soon, and seed new peace events around the world. The How Weird Street Faire is a project of the non-profit World Peace Through Technology Organization, showing the world what peace looks like, and a demonstration of what is possible.


The 15th annual How Weird Street Faire
The 15th annual How Weird Street Faire

Peace… the final frontier.
This is the voyage of our beloved Spaceship Earth.

Our ongoing mission: to discover new ideas and new perspectives, to raise our awareness and understanding, and to live in peace as one planet – in harmony with the cosmos as we collectively dance across time and space.

The Space Apps Challenge

This weekend is the third annual International Space Apps Challenge, a NASA incubator innovation program. The challenge is a global collaboration between government agencies, organizations, academic institutions, and individuals from across the planet. Over 9,000 people participated simultaneously in last year’s event from over 50 locations. This year features almost 100 locations spanning six continents, including 31 locations in North America, 29 locations in Europe, 15 locations in South America, 10 locations in Africa, 9 locations in Asia, and 4 locations in Australia and New Zealand.

In San Francisco, the Space Apps Challenge will take place at Constant Contact, located at 85 2nd Street, just a few feet from where the How Weird Street Faire takes place. San Francisco’s event is organized and run by former Space Apps winners SpaceRocks. The SpaceRocks team was one of two San Francisco teams selected for global judging in the 2013 NASA Space Apps Challenge, winning an honorable mention globally in the “Galactic Impact” category for the SkyLog social stargazing app.

Space Apps Challenge

The 2014 worldwide hackathon will take place April 12-13. Participants from all around the world will develop mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualization, and platform solutions that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on Earth. The challenge encourages entrepreneurs, technologists, thinkers, and developers to create and deploy data-driven visualizations and simulations that will help people understand and solve problems related to life on earth and space. More than 200 data sources, including data sets, data services, and tools will be made available. This event will bring tech-savvy citizens, scientists, entrepreneurs, educators, and students together to help solve challenges relevant to both space exploration and social needs. This year, the challenges will be organized in five themes: Earth Watch, Technology in Space, Human Spaceflight, Robotics, and Asteroids. About half of the challenges are in the Earth Watch theme, which supports NASA’s focus on Earth science in 2014. The challenges range from turning your smartphone into a satellite to monitor air quality, to designing a space-greenhouse.

According to NASA, “the event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and life in space.” One of the winners from 2013 was the Greener Cities Project, which was honored in the “Galactic Impact” division. The Gothenburg, Sweden based team behind Greener Cities Project set out to complement NASA satellite climate data with crowd-sourced microclimate data obtained through low-cost sensors, network connectivity, and urban gardens, thus providing higher resolution environmental monitoring capability. The Kansas City-based Sol project, which was described as the world’s first interplanetary weather application, won last year’s Space Apps Challenge for “Best Use of Data”. Sol allows users to select a planet and view the weather on that world.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in the challenge, even if they have no programming experience. The International Space Apps Challenge is an opportunity for people to build, create, and invent new solutions to challenges of global importance. NASA explains that “the exploration of space is, by necessity, a unified international effort – and diversity of experience and perspective inevitably produces a better product. The Challenge exemplifies the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration by utilizing openly available data, supplied through NASA missions and technology, and the talent and skill of passionate volunteers from around the planet to advance space exploration and improve the quality of life on Earth. The idea of a Challenge is so compelling because it acknowledges the fact that the world is facing serious challenges – and that we all have to work together to approach them. While there are prizes offered for great solutions, the main challenge we focus on is enabling 48 hours of highly engaged collaboration- and discovering what we can create when that happens.”

An empathy revolution

Roman Krznaric spoke at TEDxAthens in 2013 about how to start an empathy revolution. The goal is to go “from me to we, seeing the world from other perspectives, understanding others and our connection to them.” He talked about how to harness the power of empathy through technology and tools. Empathy can be taught when you bring diverse people together to meet, and they begin to see life through each other’s perspectives. Differences spark curiosity, that can be used to find connections.

Roman Krznaric is a cultural thinker and writer on the art of living. This talk is based on his new book Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution. Roman is a founding faculty member of The School of Life in London, and advises organisations including Oxfam and the United Nations on using empathy and conversation to create social change. He is also founder of the world’s first Empathy Library. He has been named by The Observer as one of Britain’s leading lifestyle philosophers.

Empathy can be taught and shared.

“Empathy is like a universal solvent.
Any problem immersed in empathy becomes soluble.”

– Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at Cambridge University

How Weird in Space – Peace Frontiers

The World Peace Through Technology Organization is excited to announce
the 15th annual How Weird Street Faire on Sunday May 4, 2014
in Downtown San Francisco, Earth, Sol, Milky Way.


On May the Fourth, the How Weird Street Faire will once again fill the streets of downtown San Francisco with a celebration of peace and creativity. The faire will feature art, music, performances, technology exhibits, peace activities, unique vendors from around the world, and much more. The universe is invited to participate in the greatest street faire in this galaxy, and the start of the San Francisco festival season.

The How Weird Street Faire is a project of the non-profit World Peace Through Technology Organization, which aims to inspire peace through music and art. The faire brings many different types of people together to foster connections, find similarities, accept differences, and celebrate diversity. How Weird encourages uniqueness and creative expression, with thousands of people in colorful costumes from all over the world being weird for a day.

The How Weird Street Faire is going to be a part of National Dance Week again this year. In honor of the festivities, there will be a special National Dance Week stage showcasing all kinds of dance from around the world. And there will be plenty of opportunities to dance yourself at stages by some of the best music collectives in the world, providing music from the many genres of electronic dance music. How Weird is a fusion of motion, energy, talent, and collaborative weirdness unlike anything you’ve experienced before… an example of how fun peace can be.

For more information on the faire…

Peace final frontier