Last week RPK took an afternoon to tour the newest addition of the remodeled North Carolina Museum of Art. The sleek aluminum exterior is surrounded with sculptures, fountains and seating areas. Upon entering the brightly lit and clean white foyer, I almost thought I’d walked back into RPK.

I came to my senses, sort of, when I saw a massive, glowing man sitting sideways on the back wall, hugging his knees. To my right was a huge projector screen with a magical tree blowing back and forth with sparkling branches.

A couple favorite pieces to mention: a modern day twist of the Mona Lisa, upside down and  made of spools of thread. In front her was a glass ball that revealed the piece right side up within (Devorah Sperber, After the Mona Lisa 2).

In an enormous, neon yellow canvas patched with discarded items and fabric, El Anatsui expresses his Ghanian heritage in Lines That Link Humanity.

Designed by New York-based architects Thomas Phifer and Partners, the new addition showcases more than 5,000 pieces from antiquity to present day. The visit was a treat and inspired our creative minds.

by Dave Avis Brand Futurist The Republik Sergeant Creative Ops

Photo Credit: © NCMA Contemporaries
Art by: Devorah Sperber


I was recently introduced to the popularly growing location-based service called Foursquare. A friend began referring to himself as ‘mayor’ of various local venues, as the social networking service is based on a game-like premise, sparking my competitive nature to become involved and earn top rank wherever my heels take me.

While Time ranked such location-based technology as no. 1 on their list of 10 Tech Trends for 2010, my ambitious spark waned as I considered the dangers of sharing this personal information. Do I really want people knowing where I am 24/7? Please Rob Me.

Aside from privacy concerns, there are incentives. Whenever you check in at your location, you are updated with other nearby places of interest. Then, as your number of visits increase at a particular place, more credibility is lent to your user review.

As other similar location-based services will continue to emerge, such technology is said to develop on already existing social networks like Facebook soon.

by Jenn Yaga Brand Futurist The Republik Corporal Public Relations Ops


YouTube Video Shows How to Charge A Phone
Using Electrolytes and An Onion

There’s nothing more to say besides watch the video. Ok. I’ve got an apple… now what?

by David Avis Brand Futurist The Republik Corporal Creative Ops


We believe the ten change agents below show great promise for bringing about a variety of improvements to mankind. To put our money where our mouth is, The Republik is going to make a $50,000 donation to the agent of change that gets the most votes. You can only vote once, so make it count. Below the poll are links to websites of the ten contenders. Final votes will be tallied on November 4 and we’ll announce the winner right here shortly thereafter. Thanks for participating in our little effort to support those who want to change the world for the better.



About the change agents:

The Pickens Plan
Spearheded by T. Boone Pickens, founder and chairman, BP Capital Management, the Pickens Plan calls for building new wind generation facilities that will produce 20% of our nation’s electricity and allow us to use natural gas as a transportation fuel. The combination of these domestic energies can replace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports in less than 10 years.

Aravind Eye Care Hospital
At age 65, instead of retiring, Dr. G. Venkataswamy mortgaged his home and opened Aravind Eye Care to perform free or low-cost cataract surgery on poor Indians. In his first year, Dr. V. performed over 5,000 surgeries.

Today, Aravind is the largest and most productive eye care facility in the world. From April 2007 to March 2008, about 2.4 million persons hav received outpatient eye care and over 285,000 have undergone eye surgeries there.

Grameen Bank
Founded by 2006 Nobel Peace winner, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank (GB) has reversed conventional banking practice by removing the need for collateral and created a banking system based on mutual trust, accountability, participation and creativity. It’s goal is to eradicate poverty from the world.

Largely due to Grameen’s work, Bangledesh is the only country in the world on course to reach the millennium development goals of reducing poverty by one half by 2015.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)
Founded by the inventor of the Segway, Dean Kamen, FIRST was created “To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes.”

Its mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills.

FIRST students are:
– More than 3 times as likely to major specifically in engineering.
– Nearly 4 times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering.

Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC), University of California, San Francisco
SynBERC’s vision is to catalyze biology as an engineering discipline to allow researchers to design and build standardized, integrated biological systems to accomplish many particular tasks. Just as technicians can now assemble off-the-shelf electronic components to build computers, SynBERC foresees a day when engineers will assemble biological components into host organisms to achieve specific functions.

SynBERC is currently working on:

a.) Construction of a custom-built E. coli bacteria that will hunt down cancer cells and destroy them
b.) Development of a bacterium for customized chemical synthesis to create a super-strong silk
c.) Development of a bacterium to produce cheap biofuels from corn and other plants

A Swarm of Angels
A Swarm of Angels (ASOA) is an open source film project, whose aim is to make the world’s first Internet-funded, crewed and distributed feature film. The Film will be written, funded and distributed over the Internet. The plan is to gather a group of 50,000 people who each contribute £25 ($47.50) to join the project.

The film will be released under a Creative Commons license, and people are free to share, remix, and, distribute the film anyway they like.

Population Services International (PSI)
PSI is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. that harnesses the vitality of the private sector to address the health problems of low-income populations in more than 60 developing countries. With programs in malaria, reproductive health, child survival and HIV, PSI promotes products, services and healthy behavior. Products and services are sold at subsidized prices rather than given away in order to motivate commercial sector involvement. In 2007, PSI estimates that its programs directly prevented more than 156,000 HIV infections, 2.6 million unintended pregnancies, more than 149,000 deaths from malaria and diarrhea and 19 million malaria episodes.

Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Atlas is committed to discover, develop and support ‘intellectual entrepreneurs’ worldwide who can advance the vision of a society of free and responsible individuals. Atlas believes a free society can be achieved through respect for private property rights, limited government under the rule of law, and the market order.

Atlas discovers, develops and supports intellectual entrepreneurs by leveraging its position at the center of a worldwide movement to bring attention to all sorts of experiments at the task of furthering the free society.

Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders, USA (DWB-USA) was founded in 1990 in New York City to raise funds, create awareness, recruit field staff, and advocate with the United Nations and US government on humanitarian concerns. It assists victims of disasters and conflicts worldwide by supporting relief projects conducted primarily by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) affiliates. MSF is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that provides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, negligence, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters. In 2007, MSF-USA raised $152.1 million and sent 200 aid workers to work overseas.

Accion International
ACCION International is a private organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need – microenterprise loans, business training and other financial services – to work their way out of poverty. A world pioneer in microfinance, ACCION was founded in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. ACCION International’s partner microfinance institutions today are providing loans as low as $100 to poor men and women entrepreneurs in 25 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the United States. In the last decade alone, ACCION partners have disbursed more than 22.4 million microloans totaling more than $17.4 billion; 97 percent of the loans have been repaid.

by Robert Shaw West Brand Futurist The Republik Companies Chairman/CEO


If a guy in a lab coat asks you to shock the sh*t out of someone in the name of science, would you do it? Sure, you would. Even if the shockee is in the next room screaming for mercy. Unless, that is, you’re in the 20% of respondents who have a heart. Think about that next time you’re walking around the mall: Eight out of ten of those people you see would torture the life out of a puppy if a dude in a lab coat asked them to. Read more here.

by Jacqueline Stevenson Brand Futurist The Republik Corporal Strategic Ops

Photo Credit: Pipette in Research Lab
Jeff Miller, UW-Madison, University Communications
© Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System


Photographer, Li Wei, creates cutting-edge photography using low-tech techniques.

“Li Wei is changing the way we look at photography through the creative use of good old fashioned special effects.”

by David Smith The Republik

Photo Credit: © Li Wei |