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100 Years on a Dirty Dog: The History of Greyhound | Mental Floss
"But as much as drivers today love cruising I-4 through I-99, America’s expanding highways were a mixed blessing for Greyhound. Better roads meant quicker travel and fewer repairs, but they also encouraged the growing ranks of car owners to drive themselves on business trips and vacations. As any farsighted executive could see, this development, coupled with the increasing affordability of air travel in the 1950s and 1960s, spelled trouble for the bus industry. So Greyhound started buying all sorts of companies in all sorts of non-bus industries. That’s how Greyhound’s stable of businesses came to include such diverse businesses as Burger King, Dial Soap, Purex bleach, a package delivery service, and even a skin bank for burn victims.

Depending on whom you ask, this strategy was either the beginning of a decades-long loss of focus that ate away at Greyhound’s soul or a smart strategy for diversifying profits and protecting shareholders. “Greyhound was generating massive amounts of cash that probably wasn’t best invested in a slow-growth business like bus travel,” says Craig Lentzsch, Greyhound’s CEO many years later (1994-2003). “Shareholders did very well during those years.” On the flip side, it was during this time that Greyhound’s core business started to weaken: Buses started deteriorating, terminals became seedy and dangerous, and workers grew unhappy. “There were economic and cultural forces at work but Greyhound also lost sight of what made bus travel successful,” says Gabrick, the author. “It became a business of low aspirations.”

Whatever the verdict, where once the giant company was known, at least somewhat affectionately, as “The Hound,” consumers soon enough started calling it “The Dirty Dog,” with absolutely no affection at all. “It was pretty bleak,” says James Inman, a comedian whose book about a 1995 cross-country trip, Greyhound Diary, captures the zeitgeist of the Dirty Dog from the late 1970s until the mid 2000s. “It was a lesson in America’s class divide: broke people, unpleasant buses, rude drivers, horrible terminals. There was no romance of the road at all.”

There certainly wasn’t much at Greyhound HQ, which moved from Chicago to Phoenix in 1971. Sixteen years later, like Abraham casting Ishmael into the desert, the Greyhound Corporation spun off its U.S. bus operations. Newly liberated and headquartered in Dallas, Greyhound Lines returned to its roots, acquiring Trailways, its largest rival, that same year. Federal anti-trust lawyers, who take a dim view of mergers that create monopolies, might have blocked the deal in different times. But Trailways in 1987 was in financial trouble, and the government decided that saving jobs and retaining bus routes trumped other concerns. Plus, the bus business was struggling enough that few informed observers worried too much that Greyhound would try to price-gouge in the face of less competition.

How right they were. Three years later, in 1990, Greyhound faced its own financial cliff when its unionized workers went on strike. This labor stoppage, one of the longest and nastiest in American history, forced the company to drastically curtail operations, which resulted in big losses. So big, in fact, that soon after its union started picketing, Greyhound execs filed for bankruptcy protection, a move that allowed their company to keep operating during a whopping three-year strike. But that labor strife, which often turned violent, had a silver lining. In what might be called a reverse Eisenhower, this overwhelmingly awful turn of events sowed the seeds of Greyhound’s later revival.

Since 1972 Greyhound had been marketing directly to the Hispanic community, with great success, but the strike caused the company to cut many of the routes that catered to Spanish speakers. Not surprisingly, newer, smaller bus companies popped up to serve these passengers. They did very well, largely because many owners, managers and drivers spoke Spanish, which was not often the case on Greyhound. “Bus travel is a service industry,” says Lentzsch, the former president. “When you have Spanish-speaking drivers serving Spanish-speaking passengers in an English-speaking country, the experience will likely be a positive one.”

For Greyhound, though, the experience was negative, as the company struggled to get Hispanic customers back on its buses after settling its labor differences. Things got even worse as the ethnic-bus model was copied in various other ethnic communities around the U.S., resulting in the curbside buses that started popping up 10 to 15 years ago in major cities with large Asian populations like Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. These competitors also cut into Greyhound’s business, not only among Asian consumers but also students and other cash-conscious riders, as well as travelers who simply wanted to avoid airport security and bus terminals.

But Greyhound, which had merged with the Canadian bus company Laidlaw Inc. in 1999, was finally getting on its feet again. The company began to revamp its fleet, part of an “Elevate Everything” program that included new looks for buses, terminals and uniforms. Then, in 2008—one year after FirstGroup of England bought Laidlaw—Greyhound finally started exploiting the enormous opportunity in the discount and curbside bus business. The company launched (on its own and with partners) three different services: NeOn, BoltBus and Yo! Bus. Amenities like free WiFi, power outlets, leather seating and extra legroom began to appear on more and more of its buses. “I think it’s fair to say that Greyhound is once again proud of its product,” says Schwieterman.

Today, the company is getting more money from more trips from more passengers than ever. The average Greyhound passenger pays $52 to travel 355 miles, and last year the Dirty Dog’s buses covered 5.6 billion passenger miles—about 2.8 billion times the distance between Hibbing and Alice, Minn.

Carl Wickman would be proud."
us  greyhound  buses  history  2013  transportation 
10 days ago by robertogreco
Cooperatives: EarthBound - Polygon
"Is EarthBound the best game, my favorite game or both?

For the past few years, I've had an ongoing argument with my friend, the film critic and reporter Matt Patches. When he isn't evangelizing The Legend of Korra, Patches enjoys rapping about why and how we become so passionate about our favorite media. He believes that when we say a movie (or video game or television show or subway line) is our favorite, we are also saying it is the best.

In his words:
We're taught to think that there are objective standards for art. A movie earns points for its technical, dramatic and critical achievements. But in the end, the movie we love the most works to that effect because it's running on all the cylinders a great piece of art should. Best is an objective term that has no place in the subjective conversation of art, and if we're going to use it, it should be a substitute for favorite.

I'd long believed the opposite — that I can claim one game is my favorite and that another game is "the best." I wasn't sure why I believed this, besides the obvious pleasure of making Patches' face scrunch with frustration, like a constipated bullfrog.

After playing EarthBound this week, I crafted an answer. It's selfish, really.

Within minutes of booting EarthBound on Frushtick's Wii U, I was agitated by the middling fighting mechanics and slow pace. It's a fantastic, weird, bold and fascinating game. It's just not the best. Not for me, at least. But I think EarthBound's my favorite game, because I cherish the entirety of the experience. Sitting in my boxers on the linoleum floor of my family's kitchen, losing weekends to an adventure that, for the first time, felt familiar and believable to me. EarthBound also introduced me to the internet and forums and other people who loved video games. Looking over my shoulder, I can see the game was the starter pistol for my entire career.

So, by bending already warped definitions of favorite and best, I have two games I absolutely love. I can namedrop them in conversation and hold them up as examples of what I appreciate the most about this hobby. My favorite game is EarthBound.

Now the best game, that's a tough one."
earthbound  mother2  videogames  games  gaming  nintendo  2013 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The U.S. Needs a New Constitution—Here's How to Write It - The Atlantic
"Almost nobody uses the U.S. Constitution as a model—not even Americans. When 24 military officers and civilians were given a single week to craft a constitution for occupied Japan in 1946, they turned to England. The Westminster-style parliament they installed in Tokyo, like its British forebear, has two houses. But unlike Congress, one is clearly more powerful than the other and can override the less powerful one during an impasse.

The story was largely the same in defeated Nazi Germany, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, which all emerged from American occupation with constitutions that look little like the one Madison and the other framers wrote. They have the same democratic values, sure, but different ways of realizing them. According to researchers who analyzed all 729 constitutions adopted between 1946 and 2006, the U.S. Constitution is rarely used as a model. What's more, "the American example is being rejected to an even greater extent by America's allies than by the global community at large," write David Law of Washington University and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia.

That's a not a fluke. The American system was designed with plenty of checks and balances, but the Founders assumed the elites elected to Congress would sort things out. They didn't plan for the political parties that emerged almost immediately after ratification, and they certainly didn't plan for Ted Cruz. And factionalism isn't the only problem. Belgium, a country whose ethnic divisions make our partisan sparring look like a thumb war, was unable to form a governing coalition for 589 days in 2010 and 2011. Nevertheless, the government stayed open and fulfilled its duties almost without interruption, thanks to a smarter institutional arrangement.

As the famed Spanish political scientist Juan Linz wrote in an influential 1990 essay, dysfunction, trending toward constitutional breakdown, is baked into our DNA. Any system that gives equally strong claims of democratic legitimacy to both the legislature and the president, while also allowing each to be controlled by people with fundamentally different agendas, is doomed to fail. America has muddled through thus far by compromise, but what happens when the sides no longer wish to compromise? "No democratic principle exists to resolve disputes between the executive and the legislature about which of the two actually represents the will of the people," Linz wrote.

There are about 30 countries, mostly in Latin America, that have adopted American-style systems. All of them, without exception, have succumbed to the Linzian nightmare at one time or another, often repeatedly," according to Yale constitutional law professor Bruce Ackerman, who calls for a transition to a parliamentary system. By "Linzian nightmare," Ackerman means constitutional crisis—your full range of political violence, revolution, coup, and worse. But well short of war, you can end up in a state of "crisis governance," he writes. "President and house may merely indulge a taste for endless backbiting, mutual recrimination, and partisan deadlock. Worse yet, the contending powers may use the constitutional tools at their disposal to make life miserable for each other: The house will harass the executive, and the president will engage in unilateral action whenever he can get away with it." He wrote that almost a decade and a half ago, long before anyone had heard of Barack Obama, let alone the Tea Party.

You can blame today's actors all you want, but they're just the product of the system, and honestly it's a wonder we've survived this long: The presidential election of 1800, a nasty campaign of smears and hyper-partisan attacks just a decade after ratification, caused a deadlock in the House over whether John Adams or Thomas Jefferson should be president. The impasse grew so tense that state militias opposed to Adams's Federalist Party prepared to march on Washington before lawmakers finally elected Jefferson on the 36th vote in the House. It's a near miracle we haven't seen more partisan violence, but it seems like tempting fate to stick with the status quo for much longer.

How would a parliamentary system handle a shutdown? It wouldn't have one. In Canada a few years ago, around the same time Washington was gripped in yet another debt-ceiling crisis, a budget impasse in Ottawa led to new elections, where the parties fought to win over voters to their fiscal plan. One side won, then enacted its plan—problem solved. Most parliamentary systems, which unify the executive and legislative branches, have this sort of fail-safe mechanism. If a budget or other must-pass bill can't get passed, or a prime minister can't be chosen, then funding levels are placed on autopilot and new elections are called to resolve things. The people decide.

Arend Lijphart is a political scientist who has spent much of his career trying to answer the fundamental question, "What works best?" and he thinks he knows the answer. "Democracies work best if they are consensus instead of majoritarian democracies. The most important constitutional provisions that help in this direction is to have a parliamentary system and elections by [proportional representation]. The U.S. is the opposite system, with a presidential system and plurality single-member-district elections," he said an email, drawing on complex quantitative analysis he's done to compare economic and political outcomes across dozens of democratic countries with different systems.

If he had to pick any country whose system we might like to try on for size, he'd pick Germany. "Some aspects of it do need to change, of course," he says. Yet it's a nice bicameral federal system for a large country, like ours, but it has a proportional representation parliamentary system."

[via: https://twitter.com/maxberger/status/1061501440642949120

"America is the only presidentialist system (I.e. a separately elected legislature and executive) that hasn't lapsed into dictatorship.

Literally every single other presidentialist system in the world has failed.

It's only a matter of time before ours fails as well."
https://twitter.com/maxberger/status/1061838637795631105
us  constitution  government  2013  alexseitz-ald  presidency  latinamerica  bruceackerman  parliamentarysystem  politics  governance  authoritarianism  constitutionalcrisis  barackobama  teaparty  canada  consensus  juanlinz  democracy 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Daylight Saving Time Is America's Greatest Shame - The Atlantic
"The Energy Savings Are Minimal …
DST Is Bad For Your Health …
Time Shifts Are Bad For Your Productivity …
DST Is Not Financially Responsible …
DST Is Not Helping Any Farmers …
You Don't Even Like DST …"
2013  daylightsavingstime  time  us  alexanderabad-santos  waste  energy  lies 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The Reading Wars: Why Natural Learning Fails in Classrooms | Psychology Today
[via: https://twitter.com/cblack__/status/1056258640028491776 ]

"So, we have this puzzle. Out of school, children learn to read by what appear to be whole-word, whole-language methods. They read right off for meaning and they learn to recognize whole words and read whole passages before they pay much attention to individual letters or sounds. Phonics comes later, based on inferences that may be conscious or unconscious. Learning to read out of school is in some ways like learning oral language; you learn it, including the rules, with little awareness that you are learning it and little awareness of the rules that underlie it. But that doesn’t work well for learning to read in school. Learning there is better if you master the rules (the rules relating letters to sounds) before attending much to meaning.

The mistake of the progressive educators, I think, has been to assume that the classroom is or can be a natural learning environment. It isn’t, and (except in unusual circumstances) it can’t be. The classroom is a setting where you have a rather large group of children, all about the same age, and a teacher whose primary tasks are to keep order and impart a curriculum—the same curriculum for everyone. In that setting, the teacher decides what to do, not the students. If students decided, they would all decide on different things and there would be chaos. No matter how liberal-minded the teacher is, real, prolonged self-direction and self-motivation is not possible in the classroom. In this setting, children must suppress their own interests, not follow them. While children out of school learn what and because they want to, children in school must learn or go through the motions of learning what the teacher wants them to learn in the way the teacher wants them to do it. The result is slow, tedious, shallow learning that is about procedure, not meaning, regardless of the teacher’s intent.

The classroom is all about training. Training is the process of getting reluctant organisms to do or learn what the trainer wants them to do or learn. Under those conditions, methods that focus on the mechanical processes underlying reading—the conversion of sights to sounds—work better than methods that attempt to promote reading through meaning, which requires that students care about the meaning, which requires that they be able to follow their own interests, which is not possible in the classroom."
petergray  reading  howwelearn  education  unschooling  deschooling  2013  training  schools  schooling  wholelanguage  phonics  learning  progressive  curriculum  pedagogy 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Black Twitter: American Twitter gets its new terms from Black Twitter — Quartz
"African American English may be America’s greatest source of linguistic creativity.

A new study, led by Jack Grieve, a professor of corpus linguistics at the University of Birmingham in the UK, analyzed nearly 1 billion tweets to find out how new terms emerge on the platform. By looking at words that go from total obscurity to mainstream usage on Twitter in a short period of time, the research can begin to answer questions like: Is one part of the country more linguistically creative than the others? And do new words spread from a geographical origin outward, or does the internet allow them to emerge everywhere, simultaneously?

To some extent, the answer to both questions is “yes,” as I have written previously. But the study points out the particular importance of one community on Twitter in particular, concluding, “African American English is the main source of lexical innovation on American Twitter.”

To get to that result, the authors extracted billions of words from tweets by users in the United States. They then identified the words that were very uncommon around October 2013, but had become widely used by November 2014. After getting rid of proper nouns and variations of the same term, they settled on 54 “emerging words,” including famo, tfw, yaas, and rekt.

Identifying those terms allowed the researchers to analyze out how new words spread. That pointed to five “common regional patterns” of lexical creation: the West Coast, centered around California; the Deep South, around Atlanta; the Northwest and New York; the Mid-Atlantic and DC; and the Gulf Coast, centered on New Orleans.

Of those five, the Deep South is exceptional in the way it brings about new terms. Usually, a term starts in a densely populated urban area, then spreads to urban areas in other parts of the country. In the case of the West Coast, for example, terms tend to start in Los Angeles and San Francisco, then make their way to Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.

That doesn’t happen as much in the Deep South. There, the spread of creative new words appears to be driven more by culture than population density. Atlanta, the authors point out, is small relative to urban powerhouses like LA and New York. And terms that originate in the South do not spread by jumping to other cities; instead, they spread via areas with large black populations.

The map below shows the different regions the study uncovered; each county in the US is colored based on the pattern of spread it is most closely associated with. As you can see, the West Coast map shows several red hotspots well beyond California, popping up as far away as Seattle, Florida, and the Northeast. Several other maps look like that, too—the Northeast pattern has green splotches in Louisiana, the South, and Southern California; the Mid-Atlantic map shows deep purple in Chicago, Texas, and elsewhere. The Deep South, on the other hand, spreads straight out from the area around Atlanta, with only a very faint blue on top of San Francisco.

[maps]

That alone wouldn’t be enough to say that African American English is the “main source” of new terms on American Twitter. But the paper adds that three of the five patterns above seem to be “primarily associated with African American English.” That is to say, these patterns reflect the distribution of the black population in the US. Often, the study finds, the percentage of a county that is black appears to be more important than just the number of people living there in fueling linguistic creativity. In Georgia and North Carolina, for example, linguistically innovative areas “are not necessarily more populous but do generally contain higher percentages of African Americans.” This, they conclude, shows “the inordinate influence of African American English on Twitter.”

Many of the Black Twitter terms identified in the study will be familiar to any frequent Twitter user. Among the ones most associated with the Deep South region are famo (family and friends), fleek (on point), and baeless (single). But the fastest-emerging terms come from other places and cultures, too. Waifu, for example, a Japanese borrowing of the English word “wife,” is associated with the West Coast and anime."
blacktwitter  language  english  communication  invention  culture  2018  2013  nikhilsonnad  jackgrieve  linguistics  deepsouth  sandiego  portland  oregon  seattle  lasvegas  phoenix  westcoast  losangeles  sanfrancisco  california  atlanta  nyc  washingtondc  nola  neworleans  chicago 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Clayton Cubitt on Twitter: "Three step guide to photography: 01: be interesting. 02: find interesting people. 03: find interesting places. Nothing about cameras."
"Three step guide to photography: 01: be interesting. 02: find interesting people. 03: find interesting places. Nothing about cameras."
claytoncubitt  photography  edg  srg  glvo  classideas  howto  cameras  2013 
august 2018 by robertogreco
The GQ&A: Earl Sweatshirt | GQ
"Hip-hop heads world 'round: Earl Sweatshirt's major label debut, Doris, drops today. (But you already knew that.) In this revealing sit-down, BYARD DUNCAN gets the nineteen-year-old to open up about everything from his struggles with addiction to his time in Samoa to his girlfriend. Yup, girlfriend."
earlsweatshirt  2013  oddfuture  music  ofwgkta  rap  hiphop  thebenerudakgositsile 
july 2018 by robertogreco
M.C. Earl Sweatshirt: A Leaf in the Wind - YouTube
"Earl Sweatshirt is a nineteen-year-old m.c. and one of the more popular members of the Los Angeles-based hip-hop group Odd Future. Here, Earl riffs on inspiration, solidifying one’s identity, and what he’s (not) looking forward to."
earlsweatshirt  music  2013  video  rap  hiphop  oddfuture  ofwgkta  thebenerudakgositsile 
july 2018 by robertogreco
A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance - YouTube
"(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv) Follow a team of UCLA anthropologists as they venture into the stuffed-to-capacity homes of dual income, middle-class American families in order to truly understand the food, toys, and clutter that fill them. Series: "A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance" [11/2013] [Humanities] [Show ID: 25712]"

[via: https://twitter.com/xraytext/status/999109157612646406 ]

[See also: Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors
http://www.ioa.ucla.edu/press/life-at-home

and "Americans can spend a majority of their time in a few spaces in their home and still want large homes"
https://legallysociable.com/2018/06/03/americans-can-spend-a-majority-of-their-time-in-a-few-spaces-in-their-home-and-still-want-large-homes/

via: https://twitter.com/amandakhurley/status/1003283050782810113 ]
us  consumerism  consumption  hoarding  possessions  excess  2013  children  toys  accumulation  shopping  families  homes  housing  abundance  ethnography 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Threepenny: Sacks, On Libraries
"On the whole, I disliked school, sitting in class, receiving instruction; information seemed to go in one ear and out by the other. I could not be passive—I had to be active, learn for myself, learn what I wanted, and in the way which suited me best. I was not a good pupil, but I was a good learner, and in Willesden Library—and all the libraries that came later—I roamed the shelves and stacks, had the freedom to select whatever I wanted, to follow paths which fascinated me, to become myself. At the library I felt free—free to look at the thousands, tens of thousands, of books; free to roam and to enjoy the special atmosphere and the quiet companionship of other readers, all, like myself, on quests of their own."

[via: https://twitter.com/BillHayesNYC/status/988029111175172096 ]
libraries  oliversacks  2013  learning  howwelearn  education  roaming  books  unschooling  deschooling  informallearning  identity  informal 
april 2018 by robertogreco
A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought Alone on Vimeo
[password: BELIEVER]

[Seen as part of "Nothing Stable Under Heaven"
https://www.sfmoma.org/exhibition/nothing-stable-under-heaven/ ]

[See also:
http://mikemillsmikemills.com/films/sfmoma/
http://mikemillsmikemills.com/art-items/a-mind-forever-voyaging-through-strange-seas-of-thought-alone-for-sfmoma-project-los-altos/
https://talgroupinc.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/via-gizmodo-mike-mills-asks-children-of-silicon-valley-workers-about-the-future-of-tech/
https://www.sfmoma.org/project-los-altos-mike-mills/
https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/2014.229.3
https://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/the-organist/episode-18-a-mind-forever-voyaging
https://www.believermag.com/issues/201403/?read=interview_mills
https://www.paloaltoonline.com/blogs/p/2014/06/15/mike-mills--short-film-a-mind-forever-voyaging-through-strange-seas-of-thought-alone
http://sfaq.us/2014/03/sfaq-review-project-los-altos-sfmoma-in-silicon-valley/
http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/994326/sfmoma-and-the-kids-of-silicon-valley-grapple-with-digital ]

[trailer only: https://vimeo.com/90563906 ]

[Questions asked:

1. What kind of work do your parents do?

2. If you had to describe yourself in just three words, what would those words be?

3. How old do you think you’ll live to be? How long do you think you’ll live?

4. In your lifetime, towards the end of your life, like seventy years from now, seventy years into the future, do you think the world is going to be different? How is it going to be different?

5. Do you think in your lifetime, like in eighty or ninety years, computers will get so advanced that they will be self-aware, that they will have personalities, maybe even emotions or a soul?

6. What about you personally, can you list for me all the technology you have? Do you have a phone or tablet or computer?

7. Do you think that in the future people are going to be smarter than they are now or not as smart as they are now or the same?

8. Of all the stuff that you own, all the objects, if you could only keep one, what is the one thing you’d keep?

9. Do you think in the future there will be more or less poor people?

10. What about nature? Do you feel like seventy or eighty years in the future nature is going to be different, the environment?

11. Do you think that we are at risk in that way?

12. Do you think in the future, in the far-off future but you’re still alive when you are older than your parents, do you think that people will be different?

13. How would you describe adults and how are they different than kids?

14. Introduce yourself. What is your first and last name and your age?"
mikemills  video  children  2013  siliconvalley  future  classideas  sfmoma 
april 2018 by robertogreco
The CIA’s Most Highly-Trained Spies Weren’t Even Human | History | Smithsonian
"As a former trainer reveals, the U.S. government deployed nonhuman operatives—ravens, pigeons, even cats—to spy on cold war adversaries"
morethanhuman  multispecies  cats  pigeons  ravens  corvids  birds  animals  cia  2013  foreden 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Human cumulative culture: a comparative perspective [.pdf]
"Lewis G. Dean, Gill L. Vale, Kevin N. Laland, Emma Flynn and Rachel L. Kendal"

"Many animals exhibit social learning and behavioural traditions, but human culture exhibits unparalleled complexity and diversity, and is unambiguously cumulative in character. These similarities and differences have spawned a debate over whether animal traditions and human culture are reliant on homologous or analogous psychological processes. Human cumulative culture combines high-fidelity transmission of cultural knowledge with beneficial modifications to generate a ‘ratcheting’ in technological complexity, leading to the development of traits far more complex than one individual could invent alone. Claims have been made for cumulative culture in several species of animals, including chimpanzees, orangutans and New Caledonian crows, but these remain contentious. Whilst initial work on the topic of cumulative culture was largely theoretical, employing mathematical methods developed by population biologists, in recent years researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, biology, economics, biological anthropology, linguistics and archaeology, have turned their attention to the experimental investigation of cumulative culture. We review this literature, highlighting advances made in understanding the underlying processes of cumulative culture and emphasising areas of agreement and disagreement amongst investigators in separate fields."
lewisden  gillvale  kevinlaland  emmaflynn  rachelkendal  2013  culture  animals  human  humans  anthropology  biology  crows  corvids  multispecies  psychology  economics  cumulativeculture  apes  chimpanzees  orangutans  linguistics  archaeology  morethanhuman 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Critic and poet Fred Moten is profiled by Jesse McCarthy | Harvard Magazine
"IN 2013, a manifesto entitled The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study began making the rounds among the growing pool of nervous graduate students, harried adjuncts, un-tenured professors, and postdocs whirling through the nation’s faculty lounges. The Undercommons was published by the small anarchist press Autonomedia and made freely available for download; in practice, however, it circulated by word of mouth, copies of the PDF forwarded like samizdat literature for those in the know. On the surface, the text is an analysis of alienated academic labor at the contemporary American university. But it’s also more radical than that: it is a manual for free thinking, a defiant call to dissent within educational institutions that betray their liberal credos, filling their coffers even as they prepare students, armed with liberal arts degrees and “critical thinking” skills, to helm a social and economic order in which, “to work…is to be asked, more and more, to do without thinking, to feel without emotion, to move without friction, to adapt without question, to translate without pause, to desire without purpose, to connect without interruption.”

For those with little or no knowledge of black studies, the text’s deployment of terms like “fugitivity” and “undercommons” may seem baffling. To those in the circle, however, this lexicon of continental philosophy, remixed with a poetic and prophetic fire resembling Amiri Baraka’s, bears the signature of one of the most brilliant practitioners of black studies working today: the scholar and poet Fred Moten ’84."



"This past fall, Moten took up a new position in the department of performance studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, arriving from Los Angeles and a teaching appointment at the University of California at Riverside. In early September, his office was still a bare room with a single high window looking out over Broadway. He hadn’t had a chance to unpack his library, but already a small stack of books on jazz theory, performance, and quantum mechanics rested in a pile near his desk. It soon became clear, however, that he is the kind of thinker who keeps all his favorite books in his head, anyway. His Paul Laurence Dunbar is always at his fingertips, and he weaves passages from Karl Marx, Immanuel Kant, or Hortense Spillers into his conversation with equal facility.

In someone else this learnedness could come off as intimidating, but in Moten it’s just the opposite. Something about his composure, his relaxed attentiveness, the way he shakes his head with knowing laughter as he pauses over the direction he’s about to take with a question, instantly erases any stuffiness: one can imagine the exact same conversation taking place on the sidelines of a cookout. And then there’s his voice: warm, low, and propelled by a mellow cadence that breaks complex clauses into neat segments, their hushed, conspiratorial air approaching aphorism. At one point, Moten asked about my dissertation, which I confessed, sheepishly, was kind of a mess. His eyes lit up. He leaned back with a wide grin, his hands spreading out in front of him. “You know what a mess is?” He said. “In Arkansas, a mess is a unit of measure. Like of vegetables. Where my people come from folks might say: ‘You want a bushel?’ And you’ll say, ‘Nah, I want a mess.’ You know, like that great James Brown line: ‘Nobody can tell me how to use my mess.’ It’s a good thing to have. A mess is enough for a meal.”"



"One difficulty for outside readers encountering Moten’s work is that he tends to engage more with the avant-garde than with pop. It’s easy to see why the art world has embraced him: his taste gravitates toward the free-jazz end of the spectrum so strongly it’s as if he were on a mission, striving to experience all of creation at once—to play (as the title of a favorite Cecil Taylor album puts it) All the Notes. This spring, Moten is teaching a graduate course based on the works of choreographer Ralph Lemon and artist Glenn Ligon. In recent years he has collaborated with the artist Wu Tsang on installation and video art pieces, where they do things like practice the (slightly nostalgic) art of leaving voicemail messages for each other every day for two weeks without ever connecting, just riffing off snippets from each other’s notes. In another video short directed by Tsang, Moten—wearing a caftan and looking Sun Ra-ish—is filmed in “drag-frame” slow motion dancing to an a cappella rendition of the jazz standard “Girl Talk.”

By way of explanation, Moten recalls his old neighborhood. “I grew up around people who were weird. No one’s blackness was compromised by their weirdness, and by the same token,” he adds, “nobody’s weirdness was compromised by their blackness.” The current buzz (and sometimes backlash) over the cultural ascendancy of so-called black nerds, or “blerds,” allegedly incarnated by celebrities like Donald Glover, Neil deGrasse Tyson, or Issa Rae, leaves him somewhat annoyed. “In my mind I have this image of Sonny Boy Williamson wearing one of those harlequin suits he liked to wear. These dudes were strange, and I always felt that’s just essential to black culture. George Clinton is weird. Anybody that we care about, that we still pay attention to, they were weird.”

Weirdness for Moten can refer to cultural practices, but it also describes the willful idiosyncracy of his own work, which draws freely from tributaries of all kinds. In Black and Blur, the first book of his new three-volume collection, consent not to be a single being (published by Duke University Press), one finds essays on the Congolese painter Tshibumba Kanda-Matulu and C.L.R. James, François Girard’s Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, a comparison between Trinidadian calypso and Charles Mingus records composed in response to the Little Rock Nine, David Hammon’s art installation Concerto in Black and Blue, Wittgenstein and the science fiction of Samuel Delany, a deconstruction of Theodor Adorno’s writings on music and a reconstruction of Saidiya Hartman’s arguments on violence. Sometimes the collision can happen within a single sentence: “Emily Dickinson and Harriet Jacobs, in their upper rooms, are beautiful,” he writes. “They renovate sequestration.”

Taken together, Moten’s writings feel like a Charlie Parker solo, or a Basquiat painting, in their gleeful yet deadly serious attempt to capture the profusion of ideas in flight. For him this fugitive quality is the point. We are not supposed to be satisfied with clear understanding, but instead motivated to continue improvising and imagining a utopian destination where a black cosmopolitanism—one created from below, rather than imposed from above—brings folks together.

For Moten, this flight of ideas begins in the flight of bodies: in the experience of slavery and the Middle Passage, which plays a crucial role in his thinking. “Who is more cosmopolitan than Equiano?” he asks rhetorically, citing the Igbo sailor and merchant who purchased his own freedom, joined the abolitionist movement in England, and published his famous autobiography in 1789. “People think cosmopolitanism is about having a business-class seat. The hold of the ship, among other things, produces a kind of cosmopolitanism, and it’s not just about contact with Europeans and transatlantic travel. When you put Fulani and Igbo together and they have to learn how to speak to each other, that’s also a language lab. The historical production of blackness is cosmopolitanism.”

What can one learn from the expression of people who refuse to be commodities, but also once were commodities? What does history look like, or the present, or the future, from the point of view of those who refuse the norms produced by systems of violence: who consent not to be a single being? These key concerns course through the entirety of Moten’s dazzling new trilogy, which assembles all his theoretical writings since In the Break. At a time of surging reactionary politics, ill feeling, and bad community, few thinkers seem so unburdened and unbeholden, so confident in their reading of the historical moment. Indeed, when faced with the inevitable question of the state of U.S. politics, Moten remains unfazed. “The thing I can’t stand is the Trump exceptionalism. Remember when Goldwater was embarrassing. And Reagan. And Bush. Trump is nothing new. This is what empire on the decline looks like. When each emperor is worse than the last.”

* * *

A THESIS that has often been attractive to black intellectuals (held dear, for example, by both W.E.B. Du Bois and Ralph Ellison) was that the United States without black people is too terrifying to contemplate; that all the evidence, on balance, suggests that blackness has actually been the single most humanizing—one could even say, slyly, the only “civilizing”—force in America. Moten takes strong exception. “The work of black culture was never to civilize America—it’s about the ongoing production of the alternative. At this point it’s about the preservation of the earth. To the extent that black culture has a historic mission, and I believe that it does—its mission is to uncivilize, to de-civilize, this country. Yes, this brutal structure was built on our backs; but if that was the case, it was so that when we stood up it would crumble.”

Despite these freighted words, Moten isn’t the brooding type. He’s pleased to be back in New York City, where he’ll be able to walk, instead of drive, his kids to school. He’s hopeful about new opportunities for travel, and excited to engage with local artists and poets. His wife, cultural studies scholar Laura Harris, is working on a study of the Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica, who is currently being “re-discovered” by American artists and critics. “I circulate babylon and translate for the new times,” opens another poem in The Feel Trio, … [more]
fredmoten  2017  2013  highereducation  highered  work  labor  anarchism  race  slavery  blackstudies  dissent  radicalism  via:javierarbona  resistance  blackness  bodies  aesthetics  amiribaraka  dukeellington  adrianpiper  billieholiday  nathanielmackey  poetry  scholarship  academia  rebellion  subversion  karlmarx  marxism  hortensespillers  kant  paullaurencedunbar  attentiveness  messes  messiness  johnashbery  ralphellison  webdubois  everyday  writing  undercommons  margins  liminality  betweenness  alternative  preservation  uncivilization  decivilization  consent  empire  imperialism  body  objects  cosmopolitanism  charlieparker  basquiat  weirdness  donaldglover  neildegrassetyson  issarae  georgeclinton  tshibumbakanda-matulu  charlesmingus  samueldelany  saidiyahartman  clrjames  françoisgirard  davidhammon  héliooiticica  lauraharris  charlesolson  susanhowe  criticism  art  stefanoharney  jacquesderrida  jean-michelbasquiat  theodoradorno 
december 2017 by robertogreco
The Crunchy Rice at the Bottom of the Pot, How Different Cultures Cook and Eat It | Bon Appetit
"Don't waste the crunchy stuff at the bottom of the pot! It's a cherished treat from Spain to Senegal to Thailand. Here's how to make it even yummier"
rice  food  cooking  glvo  srg  2013 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Structure | The New Yorker
"He wrote Structur. He wrote Alpha. He wrote mini-macros galore. Structur lacked an “e” because, in those days, in the Kedit directory eight letters was the maximum he could use in naming a file. In one form or another, some of these things have come along since, but this was 1984 and the future stopped there. Howard, who died in 2005, was the polar opposite of Bill Gates—in outlook as well as income. Howard thought the computer should be adapted to the individual and not the other way around. One size fits one. The programs he wrote for me were molded like clay to my requirements—an appealing approach to anything called an editor."

[via: "Software written for an audience of one: I love John McPhee's meditation here -- https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/01/14/structure "
https://twitter.com/pomeranian99/status/935221709698949121 ]
customization  software  johnmcphee  howardstrauss  2013  small  audience  bespoke  individualization  personalization  audiencesofone 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Edwidge Danticat on Why 'All Immigrants Are Artists' - The Atlantic
"All your life is a work of art. A painting is not a painting but the way you live each day. A song is not a song but the words you share with the people you love. A book is not a book but the choices you make every day trying to be a decent person."
art  arts  edwidgedanticat  immigrants  immigration  making  being  living  life  everyday  leisureart  artleisure  creativity  invention  2013  leisurearts 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Geetha Narayanan at Conversations with Namu Kini - YouTube
"Geetha Narayanan, founder of Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology & Mallya Aditi International School tells Namu all about her life, work and philosophies. She has founded institutions, raised funds for movements, taught hundreds, inspired many more - and she doesn't seem to be slowing down!"
geethanarayanan  education  india  2013  interviews  technology  slow  slowness  sfsh  learning  pedagogy 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Zoom H1 Tutorial - YouTube
"Audio settings:
- WAV
- 48/16
- Auto level OFF
- Lo cut OFF"
zoomh1  howto  audio  recording  2013 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Doug Engelbart, transcontextualist | Gardner Writes
"I’ve been mulling over this next post for far too long, and the results will be brief and rushed (such bad food, and such small portions!). You have been warned.

The three strands, or claims I’m engaging with (EDIT: I’ve tried to make things clearer and more parallel in the list below):

1. The computer is “just a tool.” This part’s in partial response to the comments on my previous post. [http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=2158 ]

2. Doug Engelbart’s “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework” [http://www.dougengelbart.org/pubs/augment-3906.html ] is “difficult to understand” or “poorly written.” This one’s a perpetual reply. 🙂 It was most recently triggered by an especially perplexing Twitter exchange shared with me by Jon Becker.

3. Engelbart’s ideas regarding the augmentation of human intellect aim for an inhuman and inhumane parsing of thought and imagination, an “efficiency expert” reduction of the richness of human cognition. This one tries to think about some points raised in the VCU New Media Seminar this fall.

These are the strands. The weave will be loose. (Food, textiles, textures, text.)

1. There is no such thing as “just a tool.” McLuhan wisely notes that tools are not inert things to be used by human beings, but extensions of human capabilities that redefine both the tool and the user. A “tooler” results, or perhaps a “tuser” (pronounced “TOO-zer”). I believe those two words are neologisms but I’ll leave the googling as an exercise for the tuser. The way I used to explain this is my new media classes was to ask students to imagine a hammer lying on the ground and a person standing above the hammer. The person picks up the hammer. What results? The usual answers are something like “a person with a hammer in his or her hand.” I don’t hold much with the elicit-a-wrong-answer-then-spring-the-right-one-on-them school of “Socratic” instruction, but in this case it was irresistible and I tried to make a game of it so folks would feel excited, not tricked. “No!” I would cry. “The result is a HammerHand!” This answer was particularly easy to imagine inside Second Life, where metaphors become real within the irreality of a virtual landscape. In fact, I first came up with the game while leading a class in Second Life–but that’s for another time.

So no “just a tool,” since a HammerHand is something quite different from a hammer or a hand, or a hammer in a hand. It’s one of those small but powerful points that can make one see the designed built world, a world full of builders and designers (i.e., human beings), as something much less inert and “external” than it might otherwise appear. It can also make one feel slightly deranged, perhaps usefully so, when one proceeds through the quotidian details (so-called) of a life full of tasks and taskings.

To complicate matters further, the computer is an unusual tool, a meta-tool, a machine that simulates any other machine, a universal machine with properties unlike any other machine. Earlier in the seminar this semester a sentence popped out of my mouth as we talked about one of the essays–“As We May Think”? I can’t remember now: “This is your brain on brain.” What Papert and Turkle refer to as computers’ “holding power” is not just the addictive cat videos (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I imagine), but something weirdly mindlike and reflective about the computer-human symbiosis. One of my goals continues to be to raise that uncanny holding power into a fuller (and freer) (and more metaphorical) (and more practical in the sense of able-to-be-practiced) mode of awareness so that we can be more mindful of the environment’s potential for good and, yes, for ill. (Some days, it seems to me that the “for ill” part is almost as poorly understood as the “for good” part, pace Morozov.)

George Dyson writes, “The stored-program computer, as conceived by Alan Turing and delivered by John von Neumann, broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things. Our universe would never be the same” (Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe). This is a very bold statement. I’ve connected it with everything from the myth of Orpheus to synaesthetic environments like the one @rovinglibrarian shared with me in which one can listen to, and visualize, Wikipedia being edited. Thought vectors in concept space, indeed. The closest analogies I can find are with language itself, particularly the phonetic alphabet.

The larger point is now at the ready: in fullest practice and perhaps even for best results, particularly when it comes to deeper learning, it may well be that nothing is just anything. Bateson describes the moment in which “just a” thing becomes far more than “just a” thing as a “double take.” For Bateson, the double take bears a thrilling and uneasy relationship to the double bind, as well as to some kinds of derangement that are not at all beneficial. (This is the double-edged sword of human intellect, a sword that sometimes has ten edges or more–but I digress.) This double take (the kids call it, or used to call it, “wait what?”) indicates a moment of what Bateson calls “transcontextualism,” a paradoxical level-crossing moment (micro to macro, instance to meta, territory to map, or vice-versa) that initiates or indicates (hard to tell) deeper learning.
It seems that both those whose life is enriched by transcontextual gifts and those who are impoverished by transcontextual confusions are alike in one respect: for them there is always or often a “double take.” A falling leaf, the greeting of a friend, or a “primrose by the river’s brim” is not “just that and nothing more.” Exogenous experience may be framed in the contexts of dream, and internal thought may be projected into the contexts of the external world. And so on. For all this, we seek a partial explanation in learning and experience. (“Double Bind, 1969,” in Steps to an Ecology of Mind, U Chicago Press, 2000, p. 272). (EDIT: I had originally typed “eternal world,” but Bateson writes “external.” It’s an interesting typo, though, so I remember it here.)


It does seem to me, very often, that we do our best to purge our learning environments of opportunities for transcontextual gifts to emerge. This is understandable, given how bad and indeed “unproductive” (by certain lights) the transcontextual confusions can be. No one enjoys the feeling of falling, unless there are environments and guides that can make the falling feel like flying–more matter for another conversation, and a difficult art indeed, and one that like all art has no guarantees (pace Madame Tussaud).

2. So now the second strand, regarding Engelbart’s “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework.” Much of this essay, it seems to me, is about identifying and fostering transcontextualism (transcontextualization?) as a networked activity in which both the individual and the networked community recognize the potential for “bootstrapping” themselves into greater learning through the kind of level-crossing Bateson imagines (Douglas Hofstadter explores these ideas too, particularly in I Am A Strange Loop and, it appears, in a book Tom Woodward is exploring and brought to my attention yesterday, Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking. That title alone makes the recursive point very neatly). So when Engelbart switches modes from engineering-style-specification to the story of bricks-on-pens to the dialogue with “Joe,” he seems to me not to be willful or even prohibitively difficult (though some of the ideas are undeniably complex). He seems to me to be experimenting with transcontextualism as an expressive device, an analytical strategy, and a kind of self-directed learning, a true essay: an attempt:

And by “complex situations” we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers–whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years.

A list worthy of Walt Whitman, and one that explicitly (and for me, thrillingly) crosses levels and enacts transcontextualism.

Here’s another list, one in which Engelbart tallies the range of “thought kernels” he wants to track in his formulative thinking (one might also say, his “research”):

The “unit records” here, unlike those in the Memex example, are generally scraps of typed or handwritten text on IBM-card-sized edge-notchable cards. These represent little “kernels” of data, thought, fact, consideration, concepts, ideas, worries, etc. That are relevant to a given problem area in my professional life.

Again, the listing enacts a principle: we map a problem space, a sphere of inquiry, along many dimensions–or we should. Those dimensions cross contexts–or they should. To think about this in terms of language for a moment, Engelbart’s idea seems to be that we should track our “kernels” across the indicative, the imperative, the subjunctive, the interrogative. To put it another way, we should be mindful of, and somehow make available for mindful building, many varieties of cognitive activity, including affect (which can be distinguished but not divided from cognition).

3. I don’t think this activity increases efficiency, if efficiency means “getting more done in less time.” (A “cognitive Taylorism,” as one seminarian put it.) More what is always the question. For me, Engelbart’s transcontextual gifts (and I’ll concede that there are likely transcontextual confusions in there too–it’s the price of trancontextualism, clearly) are such that the emphasis lands squarely on effectiveness, which in his essay means more work with positive potential (understanding there’s some disagreement but not total disagreement about… [more]
dougengelbart  transcontextualism  gardnercampbell  2013  gregorybateson  marshallmcluhan  socraticmethod  education  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  learning  hammerhand  technology  computers  computing  georgedyson  food  textiles  texture  text  understanding  tools  secondlife  seymourpapert  sherryturkle  alanturing  johnvonneumann  doublebind  waltwhitman  memex  taylorism  efficiency  cognition 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Meet the Bird Brainiacs: Common Raven | Audubon
[See also:

"Crows and Ravens are Masters of Self-Control: New study shows that corvids know when patience pays off." (2014)
http://www.audubon.org/news/crows-and-ravens-are-masters-self-control-0

"Remarkably Curious and Intelligent, Crows and Ravens Deserve a Closer Look: A new book offers a close look at the lives of these wonderfully smart, charismatic birds." (2013)
http://www.audubon.org/magazine/may-june-2013/remarkably-curious-and-intelligent-crows-and ]
2016  ravens  corvids  birds  animals  alisaopar  2013  2014  nature  crows  intelligence 
july 2017 by robertogreco
City as Classroom (1977) – McLuhan’s Last Co-authored Book | McLuhan Galaxy
[posted about this here: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/162565662048/to-go-with-a-previous-post-from-today-and-some ]

"“City as Classroom: Understanding Language & Media” (1977) was the last book written wholly or partly by Marshall McLuhan and the only one entirely focused on education. His earlier “Report on Project in Understanding New Media” (1960), was the length of a short book, but was disseminated as an unbound stapled typescript. “City as Classroom” was co-authored by Eric McLuhan and Kathryn Hutchon (later Kawasaki), a former English student of McLuhan’s and a high school teacher in the Toronto District School Board. In this recently made available (by Bob Dobbs) audio recorded informal interview by Carl Scharfe, McLuhan talks about the initial inspiration for “City as Classroom” being Ivan Illich’s “Deschooling Society” (1970) in which the author wrote:

“A second major illusion on which the school system rests is that most learning is the result of teaching. Teaching, it is true, may contribute to certain kinds of learning under certain circumstances. But most people acquire most of their knowledge outside school, and in school only insofar as school, in a few rich countries, has become their place of confinement during an increasing part of their lives…. Most learning happens casually, and even most intentional learning is not the result of programmed instruction.” (p. 12)

Audio recording: http://fivebodied.com/archives/audio/catalog/McLuhan/MM-Hollander.mp3 [also available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX9j_3bxZU0 ]

Norm Friesen offers an acute discussion of “City as Classroom” in this excerpt from his essay “Education of the Senses: The Pedagogy of Marshall McLuhan” (2009):

McLuhan’s most detailed outline for pedagogical praxis is provided in a book deliberately designed for use in the classroom ‐‐ a co‐authored textbook developed specifically for high school students, titled The City as Classroom: Understanding Language and Media. This text is almost entirely performative or praxis‐oriented. In fact, it can be said to perform, through questions, exercises and imperatives, many aspects of McLuhan’s life‐long mediatic and pedagogical enterprise. Appropriately, it begins with a direct address to its student readers:

Let us begin by wondering just what you are doing sitting there at your desk. Here [in the pages that follow] are some questions for you to explore…The questions and experiments you will find in this book are all concerned with important, relatively unexplored areas of our social environment. The research you choose to do will be important and original. (1)

The book presents dozens of “questions and experiments,” getting students to manipulate and explore a wide range of characteristics of their social environments – focusing specifically on the environments presented by the classroom, the community and also by a wide range of contemporary mediatic forms, from the magazine to video recording technologies. You can read the full essay (pdf) here: http://learningspaces.org/files/mcluhan_educating_senses.pdf

cityasclassroom_redcover

An unidentified blogger on education writes about McLuhan’s last book thus:

[McLuhan] return[ed] to notions about the classroom that he had first begun to work out a quarter of a century before in Explorations. ‘Classroom without Walls’ (Explorations 7 [1957]) argues that the electronic information explosion has been so great that ‘most learning occurs outside the classroom’ (ExC 1). This has broken the hegemony of the book as a teaching aid and challenged the monopoly on education vested in official institutions of learning. Yet most educators persist in regarding the products of the mass media as entertainment, rather than as educative. McLuhan points out, however, that many literary classics were originally regarded in the same way, and that the English language is itself a mass medium. The educational imperative is, thus, to master the new media in order to ‘assimilate them to our total cultural heritage’ (2) which would ‘provide the basic tools of perception’ as well as developing ‘judgment and discrimination with ordinary social experience’ (3). This observation is the point of departure for City as Classroom, which outlines methods for training perception through a series of exercises in properties of the media, with the goal of helping students to understand the sociocultural context in which they live. The exercises encourage students to go out into the community and observe, listen, interview, research, and think about the way in which their classroom space influences what they can and cannot know — ‘What did the designers of traditional schools intend when they put thirty or so desks in rows, facing the front of the room? Why is the blackboard at the front? why is the teacher’s desk at the front?’ (4).” (pp. 220-221) http://tinyurl.com/lzjh94g [broken, see: https://web.archive.org/web/20130104071258/http://www.macroeducation.org/mcluhan-in-space-and-the-classroom/ ]

***

“We have to realize that more instruction is going on outside the classroom, many times more every minute of the day than goes on inside the classroom. That is, the amount of information that is embedded in young minds per minute outside the classroom far exceeds anything that happens inside the classroom in just quantitative terms now.” “In the future basic skills will no longer be taught in classrooms.” – McLuhan, M. (1966, April). Electronics & the psychic drop-out. THIS Magazine is about SCHOOLS. p. 38."
1977  marshallmcluhan  cityasclassroom  sfsh  tcsnmy  deschooling  unschooling  2013  ivanillich  neilpostman  schools  schooling  highschool  teaching  learning  pedagogy  media  richardcavell  ericmcluhan  kathrynhutchon  education  lcproject  openstudioproject  carlscharfe  normfriesen  alexkuskis 
july 2017 by robertogreco
5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students | Edutopia
"I also learned over the years that asking straightforward, simply-worded questions can be just as effective as those intricate ones. With that in mind, if you are a new teacher or perhaps not so new but know that question-asking is an area where you'd like to grow, start tomorrow with these five:

#1. What do you think?

This question interrupts us from telling too much. There is a place for direct instruction where we give students information yet we need to always strive to balance this with plenty of opportunities for students to make sense of and apply that new information using their schemata and understanding.

#2. Why do you think that?

After students share what they think, this follow-up question pushes them to provide reasoning for their thinking.

#3. How do you know this?

When this question is asked, students can make connections to their ideas and thoughts with things they've experienced, read, and have seen.

#4. Can you tell me more?

This question can inspire students to extend their thinking and share further evidence for their ideas.

#5. What questions do you still have?

This allows students to offer up questions they have about the information, ideas or the evidence."
inquiry  classideas  questioning  questions  2013  sfsh 
june 2017 by robertogreco
How Michelle Garcia told the story of Juárez, a city lost to violence, through its dogs - Nieman Storyboard
"The Al Jazeera America piece, reported with Mexican reporter Ignacio Alvarado Alvarez, haunts with its indelible portrait of pets paying the price when a terrorized place goes feral"

[Referring to:
"Mexico's city of dogs: A portrait of ambitions and failures in Ciudad Juarez"
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/4/city-of-dogs.html ]
michellegarcía  carolinamiranda  dogs  animals  multispecies  ignacioalvaradoálvarez  juárez  ciudadjuárez  pets  photography  journalism  juarez  mexico  2017  2013 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Espacio y sujeto | Arquine
"Pienso que la arquitectura comienza por la ropa y gradualmente va creciendo; de la ropa pasamos a las herramientas y de las herramientas al mobiliario, que prácticamente es como la primera morada."



"El problema viene cuando se relaciona con museos y se vuelve una nueva versión de iglesia. Como sucede en las iglesias, forma parte de la vida cotidiana donde las cosas no se tocan."



"Cuando veo o leo cosas demasiado abstractas siento que es algo que necesita de una creencia a la fuerza, como pasa con la religión, por esto mismo la arquitectura mas específica y detallada como Archigram da una esperanza que tal vez eso puede funcionar o pueda ser construida."
vitoacconci  art  design  museums  archigram  2013  clothes  clothing  wearables  experience  details 
april 2017 by robertogreco
MLE or multi-cultural London English - YouTube
"MLE or Multi-cultural London English is a mixture of accents for both British an foreign English speakers in the UK. This comes from the BBC's One show"
language  england  london  change  2013  linguistics  mle  cockney  evolution  english 
march 2017 by robertogreco
Cecilia Cissell Lucas, Commencement, May 19, 2013 - YouTube
"PhD graduate speech, University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Education, Social and Cultural Studies Program"

[transcript: https://pdiehl.blogspot.com/2013/06/you-must-see-hear-and-read-this-speech.html

"Good afternoon! Thank you all for being here, and for all of your support for one another over the years. And thank you also to those who would like to be here today, but could not. This includes my Mom, who always made fun of me for taking forever to graduate -- but she passed away a couple of years ago and I am missing her today.

Of course, death is not the only thing that keeps people apart. Friends and families are ripped apart every day in this country due to an immigration system which criminalizes and deports people without “documentation”; and due to a prison industrial complex which disproportionately criminalizes and locks up dark-skinned people.

I raise these issues at an education graduation not only to honor those who may not be able to be with us today, but to raise the question of what it means for educators to be there for and with our students.

I think the answer to this question is, simply: to love. Simple, but not easy. Love is a discipline that must be practiced rigorously, and often involves taking risks.

Bell hooks has argued that where there is domination, love is impossible because domination is the opposite of love. To love, then, means being committed to bringing about justice.

This is also a pragmatic issue in our classrooms, if we are concerned with equity. We know that social policies and structures impact our students. Poverty, hunger, and housing insecurity impact a person’s ability to learn. So do the daily micro- and macro-aggressions of racism, nationalism, sexism and homophobia – all of which are systems of domination. These issues require our engagement beyond the classroom. But as educators, we should also interrogate the ways in which our curricula, pedagogies, disciplinary practices and school policies are supporting and justifying, rather than countering, economic and social systems of domination.

For example, I am inspired by the strong and growing movement against high stakes standardized testing. However, aren’t all tests -- and isn’t grading itself -- “high stakes” in the context of a society that thinks it is okay to discriminate on the basis of educational achievement?

All of us know that while, yes, we worked hard to get into UC Berkeley and to be here graduating today, this does not necessarily make us any smarter or more hard-working than others who do not have these degrees. And certainly our credentials do not make us more or less worthy as human beings. But that is what our society teaches us when our credentials are correlated with greater income and greater positions of power and influence.

There is a movement for “college for all” – but even if everyone were to get a PhD, does this mean that there would miraculously be enough well-paying and meaningful jobs available for everyone? We are told we need to improve our schools so that we remain “globally competitive” and that we are being responsible parents when, if we have the resources, we remove our kids from public schools or insist on AP and honors tracks within schools – but what does this say about our attitude towards the worth of children in other countries, poor children and/or children who are left out of honors and AP?

In a ranked system there is no such thing as “no child left behind” because ranking means some people’s success depends on others being less successful; the term “race to the top” is at least more honest.

Can we refuse to participate in a system which brutalizes so many of our students in this way, and reclaim schools for the kinds of learning that can help us build more just and loving societies?

We deal with many institutional constraints, but we are not helpless. Many people are working to create change using a range of strategies: direct resistance, subversive actions under the radar, acquiring positions of decision-making power, and creating alternative institutions.

Regardless of the strategies, we need to remain aware of the ways in which we compromise with oppressive practices. And we need to be doing this work in collaboration with our students and communities because we need all of our efforts and insights to shift from a norm of domination to a norm of love.

This rigorous discipline of love also requires learning to distinguish between liberatory and oppressive perspectives. This means teachers should not attempt to be neutral. There is no such thing as neutrality. That which appears neutral typically appears that way because it resembles the norm. But when the norm is characterized by domination, that is what we end up supporting when we attempt to be neutral.

While I am raising many difficult issues, I am actually quite hopeful. Cornel West distinguishes between hope and optimism. Optimism, he says, is “based on the notion that there’s enough evidence out there to believe things are gonna be better.” Hope, however, looks at the evidence and says, “It does not look good at all. But gonna go beyond the evidence to create new possibilities based on visions that become contagious to allow people to engage in heroic actions always against the odds, no guarantee whatsoever.

And, the thing is, people have always done this. That is, people have always created liberatory visions that they’ve resiliently acted on against the odds. The question before us, as educators, is whether we are willing to join in that legacy of past and present love warriors.

In our classrooms, this means that instead of creating docile obedient bodies, we need to foster intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical daring. We also need to develop radical imaginations that can expand our sense of the possible. How many classrooms have you been in where you simultaneously developed rigorous analytical capacities, connected the classroom work to meaningful work beyond the classroom and experienced a learning process in which it was okay and even encouraged to publicly cry, laugh, rage, dance, be playful, be honest, be still, be unknowing, and take risks?

I ask my students to take many risks in the classroom, including trying things that might feel scary. It’s useful to practice in low-stakes situations so that we might be prepared in situations with higher-stakes consequences.

In the spirit of practicing what I preach, I’m going to conclude with something that feels scary to me. I don’t sing, and have certainly never done so into a microphone. So in the spirit of working together, I’m asking all of you -- in the audience and up on stage -- to please stand up and help me out; I know many of you know the words, and we’ll sing the chorus a few times so everyone can join in. If you don’t want to say “man,” you can say:

I’m starting with the one in the mirror. I’m asking her to change her ways. And no message could’ve been any clearer: if you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.

Know that the mirror is not just on the wall but also in the eyes of other people who help us to see ourselves and the world in clearer ways. So commit to each other. Commit to loving as fiercely and uncontrollably as possible. Shout it out in your own way, in your own languages of the tongue and of the body: love, love, love, love, love. Thank you.”]
cecliacissell  oppression  domination  love  teaching  education  pedagogy  curriculum  2013  cornelwest  optimism  hope  justice  socialjustice  radicalism  liberation  risk  risktaking  bellhooks 
february 2017 by robertogreco
The 18 flags of San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza - parker higgins dot net
[See also the comment left by James J Ferrigan III:

"There used to be a flyer available at S.F. City HAll information desk. The historical flags were, in 1964, conceived of as a memorial to JFK, as an homage to his love of history. The idea was a short hand of American history as told in 18 flags.

Originally maintained at no cost to the city, eventually the principals involved died off and the veterans lost the ability to maintain the poles and flags and the project was given over the the S.F. PArks & Rec. Dept.

In 1984 after a flag incident involving a Confederate Flag the California Hundred flag replaced the Confederate flag in the display.

The copyright to the pamphlet was help by the now defunct Paramopunt Flag Company, who supplied the flags until their acquisition by a another flags foreign company with little interest in community service.

Over the years the panphlets ran out and either through ignorance, apathy or both, the reason fro threse flags has been forgotten."]
flags  sanfrancisco  sfsh  parkerhiggins  civiccenter  2013 
february 2017 by robertogreco
Why I became a philosophy teacher: to get children thinking about the big ideas in life | Teacher Network | The Guardian
"The emphasis on knowledge in schools led Steve Hoggins to take up philosophy teaching and encourage more thinking and questioning in the classroom"



"I failed all my A-levels apart from one E grade in English. I had moved schools for sixth form and my priority was trying to be cool and having loads of friends. I spent more time in pubs underage drinking than doing my home work. I thought my life was over, then Lampeter University threw me a lifeline and said I could do a one-year diploma and then go on to do a degree but, by a strange administrative error, I ended up doing the degree straight away anyway.

My own experience of education means I can really relate to young people at both secondary and primary level who don't want to do something because they are told to do it. I can also understand and admire the brilliance of young minds who find a way to get round rules and still get to do what they want. These kids resonate with me."



"
In my final placement at a school in Bradninch in Devon I worked with a great year 6 teacher who was into doing critical thinking and I started experimenting with Socratic questioning. That same week I read a magazine article about Pete Worley from the Philosophy Foundation describing using philosophy in class. I remember thinking: "That's it! There's a philosophy shaped hole in the curriculum." We focus so much on knowledge, there isn't enough thinking going on.

So after my PGCE I came down to London and did a course with the Philosophy Foundation. I did my teaching practice at Rathfern Primary school in south east London, working at first with a year 6 class. The headteacher watched me delivering the session and encouraged me to apply for a full-time job as a class teacher to complete my NQT year.

So I started teaching a year 4-5 class. It was the worst year of my life. I was living alone without any network of friends or family and I found the work so hard. All the boxes to tick were a huge problem for me. Part of me said I can't do it and another part said the children shouldn't have to do it and I generally just fell to pieces.

I failed some lesson observations and the head was worried I'd fail my NQT year. I thought I should just leave the school but the head suggested I try working in early years and foundation stage (EYFS). I didn't know what else to do, so I took up the head's offer.

Teaching in EYFS was one of the best experiences of my teaching life. When you mark work of older children you do so on levels of certain criteria. So if you have a piece of writing that has terrible spelling, no connectives, no capital letters you have to give it a terrible grade, even though in its concept the piece of writing really made you think and was fascinating. The ideas in it can't be graded. I found that so depressing and frustrating.

But in EYFS you can approach a child anywhere, not just at the table; for example, at the water tray and ask questions and they can explore ideas. It's a lot more fluid, and you can find opportunities to hit the objectives."



"The first lesson I ever did with the year 8 and 9s at Harris Aspire was awful, they ground me to dust. But my work there is going from strength to strength. We've been able to cover really difficult issues in a really intense way, from beating children to whether we should obey laws and rules, so it's in a real-life context. My work in primary schools stays fun and friendly.

The effect on children of doing philosophy sessions is huge. The most obvious change is confidence in speaking out in front of a group. Children aren't expected to know the answer or to correctly guess the teacher's ideas. That's a big change from ordinary lessons. If you know something because the teacher has told you or because you read it in a book you can say it quite confidently. But when children can give a set of reasons for something that they've worked though, discussed and thought for themselves that gives an entirely different level of confidence.

I want to carry on doing this, my dream is for every child to do philosophy. Getting people thinking is a massive thing with life changing and potentially world changing consequences."
sfsh  education  teaching  pedagogy  learning  howwlearn  unschooling  deschooling  philosophy  stevehoggins  2013  classideas  writing  teachingwriting  howweteach  howwelearn 
january 2017 by robertogreco
John Berger, Written in the night: The pain of living in the present world
"I WANT to say at least something about the pain existing in the world today. Consumerist ideology, which has become the most powerful and invasive on the planet, sets out to persuade us that pain is an accident, something that we can insure against. This is the logical basis for the ideology's pitilessness.

Everyone knows, of course, that pain is endemic to life, and wants to forget this or relativise it. All the variants of the myth of a Fall from the Golden Age, before pain existed, are an attempt to relativise the pain suffered on earth. So too is the invention of Hell, the adjacent kingdom of pain-as-punishment. Likewise the discovery of Sacrifice. And later, much later, the principle of Forgiveness. One could argue that philosophy began with the question: why pain?

Yet, when all this has been said, the present pain of living in the world is perhaps in some ways unprecedented.

I write in the night, although it is daytime. A day in early October 2002. For almost a week the sky above Paris has been blue. Each day the sunset is a little earlier and each day gloriously beautiful. Many fear that before the end of the month, US military forces will be launching the preventive war against Iraq, so that the US oil corporations can lay their hands on further and supposedly safer oil supplies. Others hope that this can be avoided. Between the announced decisions and the secret calculations, everything is kept unclear, since lies prepare the way for missiles. I write in a night of shame. By shame I do not mean individual guilt. Shame, as I'm coming to understand it, is a species feeling which, in the long run, corrodes the capacity for hope and prevents us looking far ahead. We look down at our feet, thinking only of the next small step.

People everywhere, under very different conditions, are asking themselves - where are we? The question is historical not geographical. What are we living through? Where are we being taken? What have we lost? How to continue without a plausible vision of the future? Why have we lost any view of what is beyond a lifetime?

The well-heeled experts answer. Globalisation. Postmodernism. Communications revolution. Economic liberalism. The terms are tautological and evasive. To the anguished question of where are we, the experts murmur: nowhere. Might it not be better to see and declare that we are living through the most tyrannical - because the most pervasive - chaos that has ever existed? It's not easy to grasp the nature of the tyranny for its power structure (ranging from the 200 largest multinational corporations to the Pentagon) is interlocking yet diffuse, dictatorial yet anonymous, ubiquitous yet placeless. It tyrannises from off shore - not only in terms of fiscal law, but in terms of any political control beyond its own. Its aim is to delocalise the entire world. Its ideo logical strategy, besides which Osama bin Laden's is a fairy tale, is to undermine the existent so that everything collapses into its special version of the virtual, from the realm of which (and this is the tyranny's credo) there will be a never-ending source of profit. It sounds stupid. Tyrannies are stupid. This one is destroying at every level the life of the planet on which it operates.

Ideology apart, its power is based on two threats. The first is intervention from the sky by the most heavily armed state in the world. One could call it Threat B52. The second is of ruthless indebtment, bankruptcy, and hence, given the present productive relations in the world, starvation. One could call it Threat Zero.

The shame begins with the contestation (which we all acknowledge somewhere but, out of powerlessness, dismiss) that much of the present suffering could be alleviated or avoided if certain realistic and relatively simple decisions were taken. There is a very direct relation today between the minutes of meetings and minutes of agony.

Does anyone deserve to be condemned to certain death simply because they don't have access to treatment which would cost less than $2 a day? This was a question posed by the director of the World Health Organisation last July. She was talking about the Aids epidemic in Africa and elsewhere from which an estimated 68 million people will die within the next 18 years. I'm talking about the pain of living in the present world.

Most analyses and prognoses about what is happening are understandably presented and studied within the framework of their separate disciplines: economics, politics, media studies, public health, ecology, national defence, criminology, education. In reality each of these separ ate fields is joined to another to make up the real terrain of what is being lived. It happens that in their lives people suffer from wrongs which are classified in separate categories, and suffer them simultaneously and inseparably.

A current example: some Kurds, who fled last week to Cherbourg, have been refused asylum by the French government and risk being repatriated to Turkey, are poor, politically undesirable, landless, exhausted, illegal and the clients of nobody. And they suffer each of these conditions at one and the same second. To take in what is happening, an interdisciplinary vision is necessary in order to connect the fields which are institutionally kept separate. And any such vision is bound to be (in the original sense of the word) political. The precondition for thinking politically on a global scale is to see the unity of the unnecessary suffering taking place. This is the starting point.

I WRITE in the night, but I see not only the tyranny. If that were so, I would probably not have the courage to continue. I see people sleeping, stirring, getting up to drink water, whispering their projects or their fears, making love, praying, cooking something whilst the rest of the family is asleep, in Baghdad and Chicago. (Yes, I see too the forever invincible Kurds, 4,000 of whom were gassed, with US compliance, by Saddam Hussein.) I see pastrycooks working in Tehran and the shepherds, thought of as bandits, sleeping beside their sheep in Sardinia, I see a man in the Friedrichshain quarter of Berlin sitting in his pyjamas with a bottle of beer reading Heidegger, and he has the hands of a proletarian, I see a small boat of illegal immigrants off the Spanish coast near Alicante, I see a mother in Mali - her name is Aya which means born on Friday - swaying her baby to sleep, I see the ruins of Kabul and a man going home, and I know that, despite the pain, the ingenuity of the survivors is undiminished, an ingenuity which scavenges and collects energy, and in the ceaseless cunning of this ingenuity, there is a spiritual value, something like the Holy Ghost. I am convinced of this in the night, although I don't know why.

The next step is to reject all the tyranny's discourse. Its terms are crap. In the interminably repetitive speeches, announcements, press conferences and threats, the recurrent terms are Democracy, Justice, Human Rights, Terrorism. Each word in the context signifies the opposite of what it was once meant to. Each has been trafficked, each has become a gang's code-word, stolen from humanity.

Democracy is a proposal (rarely realised) about decision-making; it has little to do with election campaigns. Its promise is that political decisions be made after, and in the light of, consultation with the governed. This is depend ent upon the governed being adequately informed about the issues in question, and upon the decision-makers having the capacity and will to listen and take account of what they have heard. Democracy should not be confused with the freedom of binary choices, the publication of opinion polls or the crowding of people into statistics. These are its pretence. Today the fundamental decisions, which effect the unnecessary pain increasingly suffered across the planet, have been and are taken unilaterally without any open consultation or participation. For instance, how many US citizens, if consulted, would have said specifically yes to Bush's withdrawal from the Kyoto agreement about the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect which is already provoking disastrous floods in many places, and threatens, within the next 25 years, far worse disasters? Despite all the media-managers of consent, I would suspect a minority.

It is a little more than a century ago that Dvořák composed his Symphony From the New World. He wrote it whilst directing a conservatory of music in New York, and the writing of it inspired him to compose, 18 months later, still in New York, his sublime Cello Concerto. In the symphony the horizons and rolling hills of his native Bohemia become the promises of the New World. Not grandiloquent but loud and continuing, for they correspond to the longings of those without power, of those who are wrongly called simple, of those the US Constitution addressed in 1787.

I know of no other work of art which expresses so directly and yet so toughly (Dvořák was the son of a peasant and his father dreamt of his becoming a butcher) the beliefs which inspired generation after generation of migrants who became US citizens.

For Dvořák the force of these beliefs was inseparable from a kind of tenderness, a respect for life such as can be found intimately among the governed (as distinct from governors) everywhere. And it was in this spirit that the symphony was publicly received when it was first performed at Carnegie Hall (16 December 1893).

Dvořák was asked what he thought about the future of American music and he recommended that US composers listen to the music of the Indians and blacks. The Symphony From the New World expressed a hopefulness without frontiers which, paradoxically, is welcoming because centered on an idea of home. A utopian paradox.

Today the power of the same country which inspired such hopes has fallen into the hands of a coterie of fanatical (wanting to limit everything except the power of capital), ignorant (recognising only the reality of their own fire-power), hypo critical (two measures for all ethical judgments, one … [more]
johnberger  2013  presence  present  consumerism  pain  ideology  worldhealthorganization  aids  africa  health  healthcare  priorities  power  powerlessness  kurds  turkey  iraq  war  tyranny  baghdad  saddamhussein  democracy  decisionmaking  participatory  participation  dvořák  us  military  freedom  economics  capitalism  language  euphemisms  media  resistance  words 
january 2017 by robertogreco
THE 25 BEST FILMS OF 2013: A VIDEO COUNTDOWN on Vimeo
"25. Frances Ha
24. The World’s End
23. The Broken Circle Breakdown
22. The Bling Ring *
21. Pain and Gain
20. The Great Beauty
19. Blue Jasmine
18. Nebraska
17. Beyond the Hills -
16. Gatsby *
15. Stoker
14. The Act of Killing
13. Laurence Anyways
12. The Wolf of Wall Street *
11. Upstream Color *
10. Post Tenebras Lux -
9. Leviathan *
8. A Touch of Sin
7. At Berkeley -
6. Spring Breakers
5. The Grandmaster
4. Twelve Years a Slave -
3. Inside Llewyn Davis
2. The Wind Rises *
1. Before Midnight"

[* see it]
2013  film  editing  towatch  filmlists  davidehrlich  srg 
december 2016 by robertogreco
How America's 'Culture of Hustling' Is Dark and Empty - The Atlantic
"Q: You write about the "unnecessary," "wasteful," and "stupid" routines, obsessions, and goals that you once pursued and that most of American culture preaches as the means of accessing the good life—careers, professional ambition, the drive for prestige, etc. You have left that behind for a peaceful "retirement" in Mexico, but during your retirement, you've written five books. How do you differentiate between pointless hustling and meaningful work? You write that more people should "let the universe do its thing." How do we do that and strive for work that gives our lives a sense of purpose and source of meaning? 

A: The tipoff for me is somatic. Whenever a project comes to me, one that is right, that is genuine, I feel a kind of “shiver” in my body, and that tells me that it corresponds to something very deep in me, and that I need to pursue it. That has been my guide with literally every book I wrote. Trusting this kind of visceral reaction means that you are willing to let life “come and get you.” It means who you are is defined from the inside, not the outside. In terms of what’s really important, we don’t have much choice, and that’s as it should be. The decision is made by a larger energy or unconscious process, and when it’s right, you know it.

Most Americans have a dull sense that their lives are fundamentally “off”—because for the most part, they are. They hate their lives, but to get through the day, besides taking Prozac and consulting their cell phone every two minutes, they talk themselves into believing that they want to be doing what they are doing. This is probably the major source of illness in our culture, whether physical or mental.

In the film Definitely, Maybe, Ryan Reynolds works for an ad agency and says to himself at one point that he never imagined he’d be spending his days trying to convince people to buy Cap’n Crunch for their kids instead of Fruit Loops. As far as striving goes, Goethe wrote: “Man errs as long as he strives.” Sit still, meditate, just let the answer arise from the body. (It may take a while.)

Q: So much of American culture is results obsessed. You write in your book about appreciating pleasures as they come, whether they are sexual, intellectual, or emotional. Do you think much of happiness is about learning to appreciate pleasure in the moment and not attaching it some tangibly measurable result?

A: It took me a long time to understand that I, or, my ego, had no idea what was best for me. Some part of happiness undoubtedly derives from a Zen enjoyment of whatever is in front of you, but a big part of it is knowing who you are and being that person. This is ontological knowing, and it’s very different from intellectual knowing.

Q: Your message of detachment from materially measurable pursuits and your encouragement of leisure, creativity, and relaxed living is un-American (I mean this as a compliment). Why is American culture so addicted to speed, movement, action, and "progress"?

A: This is, in some ways, the subject of my book Why America Failed. America is essentially about hustling, and that goes back more than 400 years. It’s practically genetic, in the U.S., by now; the programming is so deep, and so much out of conscious awareness, that very few Americans can break free of it. They’re really sleepwalking through life, living out a narrative that is not of their own making, while thinking they are in the driver’s seat.

It’s also especially hard to break free of that mesmerization when everyone else is similarly hypnotized. Groupthink is enormously powerful. Even if it occurs to you to stop following the herd, it seems crazy or terrifying to attempt it. This is Sartre’s “bad faith,” the phenomenon whereby a human being adopts false values because of social pressure, and is thus living a charade, an inauthentic life. It’s also what happens to Ivan Illych in the Tolstoy story, where Ivan is dying, and reviews his life during his last three days, and concludes that it was all a waste, because he lived only for social approval."

[See also: http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/154822488046 ]
culture  hustling  via:austinkleon  morrisberman  work  hustle  society  productivity  ambition  careers  prestige  motivation  us  howwework  slow  retirement  2013  davidmasciotra  results  stress  pleasure  leisurearts  artleisure  knowing  creativity  life  living  consumption  materialism  authenticity  socialpressure  meaning  meaningmaking 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Don’t Call It Frisco: The History of San Francisco’s Nicknames — The Bold Italic — San Francisco
"San Francisco is a lot of things. It’s hippies, hipsters, vagrants, flagrants, artsy-fartsy people and more. You name it, and it probably lives here. And accordingly, no single nickname has ever really stuck for Saint Frank.

Riffs on the grand title of our city come and go. Many of them are “locals only” tags. But no major urban destination can escape the nicknaming process — just look at the Big Apple or the Windy City. Like most things San Francisco, there’s no consensus on which nickname — if any — is appropriate. We’ll leave that question for the comments section. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve discovered about the history of San Francisco nicknames.

The Great Debate: “Frisco”

The St. Louis–San Francisco Railway, known as the “Frisco,” began operating in 1876, but the nickname is as old as the American West. Herb Caen, the Pulitzer Prize–winning San Francisco Chronicle columnist, was adamant that no one call his fair city by such a sliced-up moniker. Instead, “Caress each Spanish syllable, salute our Italian saint. Don’t say Frisco and don’t say San-Fran-Cis-Co,” he advised. “That’s the way Easterners, like Larry King, pronounce it. It’s more like SanfranSISco.” Yet cultural forces ranging from Otis Redding (“headed for the Frisco Bay”) to Pink Floyd (the unofficial Darkness Over Frisco live album) to Google (search “Frisco,” and see what comes up at the top of the page) keep the name associated with San Francisco.

Here’s the thing with “Frisco”: nicknames are supposed to embody some overall characteristic, not just act as a lazy surgery of the city’s name. There’s a reason we don’t call New York “Nork” when we’re feeling saucy. It’s the “City That Never Sleeps” for poetic reasons. Just because “Frisco” sounds like a place (and it is in Texas and Colorado), doesn’t make it a good nickname. No one would get on the I-5 and head south for “Agles.”

(Pro tip: if an out-of-town friend calls it Frisco, avoid the soapbox. San Franciscans have a rep for being uptight jerks about the nickname. Don’t play into the stereotype. They’ll eventually notice you never call it that anyway.)

The Uncool One: “San Fran”

This suffers from the same lame laziness as Frisco, but with an added layer of sounding like someone trying to be hip. “San Fran” seems like a name that could and should work in conversation, but it’s just so out of the local vernacular that it never fails to trip alarm bells.

The Explain-y One: “Baghdad by the Bay”

Such a name may trigger worries of negative geopolitical undertones, but this was actually the title of a collection of Caen essays about San Francisco (and a persistent nickname he used). The reference to the ancient Iraqi capital — which is also near Babylon — was meant as an indication of the wide range of characters and cultures you found in San Francisco decades ago. This past decade has put our relationship with Baghdad in a tough place, though. Anyone hearing the phrase for the first time needs a delicate explanation. That’s not the sign of a great nickname. Sorry, Herb.

The Easy One: “SF”

“SF” is fine because it’s technically not a nickname, but an initialism. People travel to LA and DC without getting raised eyebrows. I use “SF” all the time (especially when flying out of SFO) and know plenty of others who do the same. It’s just not particularly endearing or interesting.

The Maybe-a-Century-Ago One: “The Paris of the West”

This was a common nickname at the turn of the twentieth century used to coax tourists and lure Easterners to move to our glorious city on the other side of the railroads. But no proud urban destination likes to be thought of as the “something else” to a better-known city, so it’s fallen out of use.

The Humblebrag One: “The Golden City”

Echoes of the gold rush make for a great nickname, but these days, when “the Golden City” is used by locals, it feels pretty self-indulgent.

Yes, there was gold in them hills, and yes, we still have golden sunsets, and the rolling hills shimmer gold most of the year. But San Francisco has a reputation for being a little too proud of itself, and “the Golden City” doesn’t do much to alter that. This is especially true with the modern tech gold rush and the debatable economic value it’s creating. “The Golden City” is really the kind of nickname that everyone except people from San Francisco should use.

The Locals-Only One: “The City”

“The City” is a local’s nickname not because of any exclusivity, but because if you are within a reasonable distance of another city, people will have no idea what you’re talking about. The capital letters don’t translate in conversation.
But when used appropriately, the nickname creates a nice recall of the days of the Old West, when San Francisco was the only metropolitan area within conceivable traveling distance. If you told someone in the Salinas Valley, “I’m heading to the City,” they’d know what you meant. Oakland and San Jose were still glimmers in the eyes of today’s giants. Everything between here and LA was wild ranching and farmlands. “The City” didn’t need capital letters.

The Intimate One: Fog City

To outsiders, fog is San Francisco’s gentle lover. The white duvet creeps through the hills each morning, wrapping us in a great amalgam of cloud and steel. Yet to locals, the fog can be a freezing pain in the ass, ruining bocce ball games and dates on the beach. Karl replaces that warm California sun with a menacing wind that feels like ghosts sucking out your soul. We do love him — HE IS BEAUTIFUL — but in the bittersweet way New Yorkers may love the fact that they never sleep. He’s woven into the city’s fabric — or, really, he is the city’s fabric — which makes for a pretty good nickname.

The Best One (So Far): “The City by the Bay”

Keep it simple. You can drive over the bridges a thousand
times and still catch yourself lost in the majesty of San Francisco
nestled against the water, islands, sailboats and sunshine of
the bay. Let’s call a spade a spade."
frisco  sanfrancisco  names  naming  nicknames  2013  calebgarling  herbcaen 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Canadian Oil Companies Trample on Our Rights | The Progressive
"Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn't make a corporation a terrorist."

[via: https://www.instagram.com/p/BNNgn6ID3JT/ ]
winonaladuke  frankmolley  activism  corporatism  corporations  capitalism  terrorism  2013 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Education Week: Taking a Relationship-Centered Approach to Education
"Let's play "what if" for a second.

What if schools used real-world scenarios to teach? What if learning were tied to complex problem-solving? What if students graduated from high school knowing how to negotiate peace treaties, stimulate depressed economies, and reduce obesity rates in America?

Now imagine a school where students and teachers decided collaboratively that the future of energy, the problem of inadequate access to safe drinking water, and the issues surrounding genetically modified organisms were among the topics of study. In this model, students would be taught to use skills and knowledge from the traditional disciplines—math, science, English, social studies, and so on—to take steps toward scaling and solving aspects of these complex issues. Teachers would work together, leveraging their content expertise in service of a problem. Students would navigate complex, unpredictable situations using a multitude of educational resources. This real-world problem-solving approach would partner with expert field practitioners, community members, research scientists, political leaders, and business owners, all showing students ways of addressing the pressing problems facing the world, from the local to the global.

Imagine how much richer this educational experience would be. Imagine how many more members of future generations would be engaged in tackling the world's toughest problems.

Sadly, there are very few schools like this in our nation, but not for a lack of trying. The heart of contemporary K-12 education reform is broad and disjointed: Curriculum standards, teaching strategies, school choice, teacher pay, quality and culture, and achievement gaps all take turns leading the charge. Alarmingly, the missing narrative is arguably the most important factor in preparing students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today's world: why we educate in the first place.

Right now, the vast majority of U.S. schools make use of a subject-centered approach to education, in which the emphasis is on gaining content knowledge, developing skills within disciplines, and advancing academic levels. In this view of learning, having young people master math, science, English, and other material theoretically equips them for life's next steps.

The hope in our current system is essentially this: Young people who command the disciplines will be "educated," thus enabling them to contribute meaningfully to society.

But as celebrated as that hope has been, what we need now is a relationship-centered approach to teaching and learning. Allow me to explain.

An educational purpose that includes, but ultimately rises above, the disciplines and highlights the relationships between them is the unequivocal way forward. We are all complexly related, to Earth and to each other, and these relationships are inescapable, inherently valuable, and increasingly interconnected. We would benefit from framing educational purpose around how we might improve the social (our relationships with each other) and natural (our relationship with Earth) worlds.

Mixing the disciplines to that end has clear benefits. To begin with, a relationship-centered approach to education has the potential to be considerably more interesting for students. A disturbing proportion of students—seven out of 10 in some national studies—are uninterested in school, primarily from its lack of perceived relevance. But having students examine topics that naturally transcend the disciplines—such as the Internet or world hunger or nuclear proliferation—can captivate and help students see the importance of their work. Giving students a say in the topics will go even further; the rapid exchange of information in this generation calls for rapid-fire exchanges of ideas in the classroom.

Another compelling benefit is that a relationship-centered approach demands that teachers plan curriculum together. Imagine groups of teachers from across disciplines reaching out to students, discovering their interests, and developing related curriculum. That kind of teamwork is not easy now.

Many educators' and policymakers' ongoing allegiance, spoken or unspoken, to the subject-centered approach is evident in how we prepare to teach in the classroom. Despite the emergence of up-to-date local, state, and national standards, learning outcomes remain divided into traditional subject areas. This division makes it natural and efficient for education leaders, administrators, and district officials to develop and map curriculum for each discipline independent of the other disciplines.

Thus, the planning process is a lonely one. With the exception of sharing best practices with colleagues and aligning curriculum, teachers are generally on their own.

The result of such isolated planning within the disciplines is costly: Students usually encounter potentially related standards in different classes, at different times in the school year, and with few connections between content areas. The subject-centered experience supposedly allows for specialization and makes certain that the accumulated wisdom of civilization is passed on to students.

But too often our disciplinary approach promotes compartmentalized thinking, fortifies intellectual barriers, and snuffs out cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural insights essential to addressing our world's greatest challenges. Our educational institutions are setting our students up for learned helplessness, Elizabeth Coleman, then the president of Bennington College, said in a 2009 speech.

When we focus instead on relationship-centered teaching and learning, teachers can implement curriculum mapping more successfully because they are involved in its development and can adapt it to their specific classroom and school situations.

Kim Marshall, a principal coach with New Leaders for New Schools, wrote in an Education Week Commentary in 2006 that when teachers "work together to plan multiweek curriculum units ... the result is more thoughtful instruction, deeper student understanding, and yes, better standardized-test scores."

Further, authorizing teachers to arrange standards around not just interdisciplinary topics but transdisciplinary problems can position students to offer creative solutions as they encounter related standards in all their classes, at the same time during the school year, and with multiple connections between the content areas.

Connections are the heartbeat of learning, and putting the disciplines to good use is at the core of innovation and progress. A subject-centered approach rigidly divides standards across the disciplines and stifles any impulse to collaborate and work in teams. A relationship-centered approach demands making connections and has a proven track record in students' formative years. Why, then, are we limiting that approach only to primary education?

Lastly, a relationship-centered approach to education can help close what many see as a growing gap between the number of job applicants with the necessary entry-level skills and the number of college graduates who cannot find work. Today, the ability to use whatever it takes to solve multifaceted problems is an essential ingredient for employment, yet our current educational philosophy gets in the way of this. Thankfully, philosophies can change.

In a way, we are all educators. We educate so that we can help leave the world a little better than we found it. Ignoring the local and global problems we face makes that impossible.

Imagine, instead, a world where conversations about important issues are validated and encouraged at a young age.

That is a world where change is possible. That is why we educate."
tylerthigpen  2013  education  relationships  sfsh  lcproject  openstudioproject  connectivism  transdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  disciplines  problemsolving  curriculum  teaching  howweteach 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Assistive Technology: Resource Roundup | Edutopia
"Resources by Topic:

• Getting Started
• Finding Assistive Technology
• Tips and Tools
• Resources to Address Specific Challenges
• Universal Design for Learning"
assistivetechnology  technology  2013  tools  teaching  education  udl  learning 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Prof Carla Rinaldi on 'Reclaiming Childhood' - YouTube
[For a quick taste, go to 52:15 https://youtu.be/dqgvW-IRXKg?t=3135:

"Schools, in general, they are considered as a place to learn to read, to learn to write, to be disciplined. Especially the schools for the youngest, they are the famous place to pre-: to pre-pare for the future, to pre-pare for life, to pre- pre- pre-. Pre-school, pre-reading, pre-writing. To take children to pre-ordained outcomes. Pre-, pre-. It’s time to really cancel pre- because school is not a preparation for life, but life. It is a real, deep important part of your life. […] School is life. […] Life itself is school, but for sure, school is life. And the question becomes more urgent nowadays because we are talking about the role of school in contemporary society. Contemporary that is a digital era, e-learning, everything. And somebody says maybe it's time to cancel schools. Why do we continue to build schools? Why does a society looking at the future have to continue to have a school? […] I think the answers still continues to be that we need to have good schools because they are a fundamental place of education of the citizen and communities. […] Not only a place to transmit culture, but nowadays more than ever a place to construct culture and values. Culture of childhood and culture from childhood. That means that the children are bearers and constructors of elements that can renew the culture. They are our best source for our renewing culture. […] The way in which they approach life is not something that we observe without them in our life, it is an amazing source for renewing our questions and our way of approaching life. They are the source for creativity, for creative thinking. They can be the source for changing the concept of ecological approach, holistic approach. We have to explain [these] to each other. Children know exactly what it means. […] We continue to talk about teaching nature to children. Children *are* nature."
carlarinaldi  2013  education  schools  teaching  sfsh  childhood  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  reggioemilia  children  agesegregation  aborigines  australia  pedagogy  inclusivity  accessibility  competence  life  living  meaning  meaningmaking  beauty  humanism  humanity  humans  humannature  self-discipline  thewhy  creativity  trust  parenting  unschooling  deschooling  listening  respect  knowing  relationships  joy  canon  otherness  howeteach  makingvisible  ethnography  welcome  reciprocity  community  interdependence  negotiation  rights  nature  culture  culturemaking  responsibility  duty  duties  authority  rule  freedom  co-constuction 
july 2016 by robertogreco
John Baldessari - Page - Interview Magazine
[via: http://austinkleon.com/2016/06/16/what-did-you-make-today-papa/ ]

"SALLE: You've been showing for a very long time in every conceivable context in the art world—on the page, on the gallery wall, in the movie theater. There's definitely times when it must have felt lonely. But it doesn't seem as though it ever kept you from doing it and doing more of it.

BALDESSARI: I still have that vestigial idea that all these other people are artists. I'm an artist wannabe.

SALLE: I guess that's what's kept you pure.

BALDESSARI: Well, maybe we never get rid of that.

SALLE: Do you think Richard Serra has his version of that feeling?

BALDESSARI: I have no idea. Although I remember a quote of his, when he first came into New York and was looking around at people doing sculpture. He said, "I can do this." I don't think I ever had that kind of self-assurance, but I admire it.

SALLE: Many artists have tried to embody a Borgesian sensibility—the "Library of Babel"—the roundabout, circuitous journey, that type of trope. It seems to me that your work does that better than most. You remind me of the Borges character who travels aimlessly around the globe without knowing why or without having any method or goal, only to discover at the end of his life that the map of his travels describes the outline of his face. Does that ring a bell?

BALDESSARI: Yeah. [laughs] That's true. I've always had this method of working: I think of following an idea to its logical trail—where would it take me—and instead of stopping there, I think, "What if I just kept pushing it a little bit further? Where would it go?"

SALLE: That seems to be one of the operating principles of your work. You can't account for how it got from this point to that point.

BALDESSARI: One of the games I play at night when I'm trying to go to sleep is that I start with a part of a word like E-A-S-T. Then I go through the alphabet. I start with A, okay, that doesn't work. B, okay, beast. I go to the end of the alphabet. You never realize so many words have E-A-S-T in them until you play that game.

SALLE: I've been playing word games with an 8-year-old girl. It's amazing what you can learn from a child.

BALDESSARI: I learned so much about art from watching a kid draw. I taught at the grade-school level. Kids don't call it art when they're throwing things around, drawing—they're just doing stuff. I think it's the first year of junior high school it ends, because the girls start drawing horses and the guys start doing fighter planes and tanks and that sort of thing.

SALLE: That marriage of word and image that we spoke of earlier—that simple binary operation of putting two things together and letting them stand, which I associate with your work from the early '70s—seems to be playing a bigger role in the work in the last four or five years.

BALDESSARI: For these fairly recent pieces, you've got high-end restaurant entrées and press clippings. People are thinking why, but in my mind, the more events escalate, the more we think about food.

SALLE: There's something very satisfying about the look of a flashcard—it speaks to the need for clarity. The aesthetic of the flashcard kind of sums up what was in the air during that time at CalArts as well. It was foundational.

BALDESSARI: That should be the goal for all art, to be as simple as a flashcard. There's that early videotape where I'm trying to teach a plant the alphabet with flashcards [Teaching a Plant the Alphabet, 1972].

SALLE: That's a crystalline presentation of it. Teaching a plant the alphabet takes on an almost Beckett-like, vaudevillian slapstick quality. Teaching a plant is so dumbly pedagogical—the sincerity of it.

BALDESSARI: Again, I'm just picking up on something in the culture. Back then, if you remember, there were people who thought one could communicate with plants.

SALLE: But do you agree with me on the Beckett-like, vaudeville-clown pathos on that work?

BALDESSARI: I think the idea of vaudeville clowns and court jesters is always to show the flaw, to point out what's not working and why it's not coherent. So I share a lot of that. I do think a lot of dumb humor is incredibly profound at the same time. An antisophistication can be kind of refreshing, I think."
johnbaldessari  2013  art  interviews  flashcards  children  borges  davidsalle  sfsh  play  worsplay  classideas 
june 2016 by robertogreco
When I Let Them Own the Problem
"There is essentially nothing left in this problem for students to explore and figure out on their own. If anything, all those labels with numbers and variables conspire to turn kids off to math. Ironically even when the problem tells kids what to do (use similar triangles), the first thing kids say when they see a problem like this is, “I don’t get it.”

They say they don’t get it because they never got to own the problem.

I wiped out the entire question and gave each student this mostly blank piece of paper and the following verbal instructions:"



"This lesson leaves me so full and proud. Their singing to the Stones while struggling in math makes me crazy in love with them."
math  teaching  mathematics  education  classideas  2013  geometry 
april 2016 by robertogreco
The “Other” Interface: Atomic Design With Sass – Smashing Magazine
"As front-end developers and designers, we’re constantly refining two interfaces simultaneously: one for visitors who load the website, the other for developers who have to tackle the code in the future, when adjustments or full-scale redesigns must be made. Yet we tend to assign the role of “user” to the first group, often forgetting that the code we write must work for developers in a similar way. We shouldn’t forget that developers are users, too.

If this is the case, then our convention for naming and organizing files is critical if we are to ensure active (and efficient) development in the future. But do we really design the partials, files and directories that make up this interface with a particular set of users in mind, with a set of clear goals, combined with precise, well-defined documentation? I don’t think we do.

Recently, I’ve been working on many different projects, each wildly different from each other. And the various problems I’ve faced while switching between the projects has made me wonder how we can drastically improve front-end accessibility.

We Need To Follow Atomic Design Principles In Our Style Sheets Link

Last month, in a post titled “Atomic Design,” Brad Frost argued that Web development could be improved. He suggested to developers that, instead of coding a form as a component that is reused throughout a website, they could style small modules — such as a placeholder, input field and text field — and then create each form by combining these chunks together. This process could be duplicated for navigational items, text with icons, floated objects and pretty much any other sort of front-end module that needs to be reused regularly.
“Atomic design gives us the ability to traverse from abstract to concrete. Because of this, we can create systems that promote consistency and scalability while simultaneously showing things in their final context. And by assembling rather than deconstructing, we’re crafting a system right out of the gate instead of cherry picking patterns after the fact.”

The theory is that by employing these distinct elements, a developer can speed up their workflow and write code more efficiently because they’re not forced to repeat themselves. This much appears to be common sense. Essentially, what Brad calls for is object-oriented design, which has been discussed in numerous articles and blog posts recently. That isn’t really what interested me about the idea, though — it was the naming convention that Brad chose.

He uses scientific terms to quickly describe what sections of a design should do; “atoms” are the discrete chunks (placeholders, labels, etc.), while “molecules” are combinations of these standard atoms. The simplicity here grabbed my attention, because ultimately what we’re discussing isn’t just a process for design, but also a distinction to be made in the user interface, as I mentioned earlier."
atomicdesign  robinrendle  2013  via:caseygollan  webdev  sass  css  frameworks  webdesign 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Earl Sweatshirt: ‘Canadians Are Weirdos’ - The New York Times
[See also:

"After Exile, Career Reset: Earl Sweatshirt Is Back From the Wilderness" (2012)
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/arts/music/earl-sweatshirt-is-back-from-the-wilderness.html

"Loose Cannons, Now Firing Freely: Earl Sweatshirt and ASAP Ferg, Hip-Hop Progressives" (2013)
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/arts/music/earl-sweatshirt-and-asap-ferg-hip-hop-progressives.html

"Review: Earl Sweatshirt’s Latest Album Goes to Dark Places" (2015)
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/24/arts/music/review-earl-sweatshirts-latest-album-goes-to-dark-places.html ]

"Q: The rap collective you’re a member of, Odd Future, became famous very rapidly after you were sent by your mother to a school for troubled youth in Samoa. Did missing out on that success further your resolve to sort through the behavior issues that got you there?
A: Hell, no. Not initially, and not the way that Odd Future was coming out — it was like a temper tantrum. It was perfect. But throwing a temper tantrum in a residential treatment facility is so much less cool than throwing a temper tantrum on TV.

Q: While you were in Samoa, your whereabouts were pieced together by fans and bloggers. Did it make you worry about how much information is available online?
A: One day I hope to not have a Twitter, to be sick enough that I don’t have to use the Internet. But since we came up online, I have to be online. Twitter is a real addiction, like the color of it, the process of it.

Q: When you came home to finish your senior year of high school last year, did you have a bad case of senioritis?
A: Oh, my God, I couldn’t concentrate at all! The combination of being a senior and having a career, being the only person in my high school who didn’t have a question mark about anything, just waiting for school to end? It was tight.

Q: You were just in Toronto. How was that?
A: It was crazy. Canadians are weirdos, though. They are so nice — overbearing nice, like grandmother nice. Toronto is like a city of grandmas.

Q: The rapper Drake is from Toronto. Is he grandma nice?
A: Dude, Drake is grandma nice. He was at Frank Ocean’s show in L.A. and got into an argument with Tyler, the Creator’s mom. I left and came back in the room, and she was apologizing to him for how she came at him, and he was saying: “It’s all love. I love you, Mom. I love moms.” Drake loves moms.

Q: Your mother is a law professor at U.C.L.A. Does she ever pressure you to go to law school or anything?
A: No. My mom’s down for what I’m doing now that she knows I’m not unraveling. When she sent me to Samoa, it wasn’t like, “No rap music!,” you know what I mean? I didn’t get thrown in the cellar for swearing.

Q: Rick Ross was dropped from Reebok because of a lyric about date rape on “U.O.E.N.O.” Odd Future’s music often crosses similar lines.
A: Rick Ross! If he was everything that he rapped about, he’d be the worst coke-dealing mass murderer ever. People got mad because he said something bad on a cool song. That was ridiculous on Reebok’s part. You picked up Rick Ross, he’s cocaine — that’s what his entire career is.

Q: I think Reebok was responding to the social-media outpouring.
A: Everyone’s like sheep on social media, like one person starts making noise, and everyone’s like, ‘Hey, yeah!’ and then you got a whole bunch of people making noise at you.

Q: In 2011, The New Yorker reported that your dad, the South African poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, had not listened to your music. Has he since?
A: I haven’t shown him any music. Like if I was a plumber, I wouldn’t bring a sink home to my parents. I’m not actively trying to bring my work into the house.

Q: Your parents gave you the middle name Neruda after Pablo Neruda. You can see why people are curious.
A: Yeah, it just happens to be that people like to associate poetry and rap music. I think that idea is kind of corny. I think rap music is rap music. I mean, are there heavy writing aspects of it? Absolutely. In a sense is it poetry? Yeah. I’ve heard that so much, growing up in a house with poetry. But I think people like to use that as a shortcut for who’s good and who’s not. It’s like the word “lyrical” — “lyrical” is the worst word in the entire world.

Q: So it’s not a shocking concept that rap could be poetry.
A: It’s actually so familiar that it’s annoying"
oddfuture  ofwgkta  earlsweatshirt  2013  interviews  keorapetsekgositsile  asapferg  rap  hiphop  thebenerudakgositsile 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Feminist FrequencyDamsel in Distress (Part 1) Tropes vs Women «
'The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects."
anitasarkeesian  criticism  media  videogames  criticalthinking  2013  games  gaming  via:anne 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Neoliberalism has hijacked our vocabulary | Doreen Massey | Opinion | The Guardian
"At a recent art exhibition I engaged in an interesting conversation with one of the young people employed by the gallery. As she turned to walk off I saw she had on the back of her T-shirt "customer liaison". I felt flat. Our whole conversation seemed somehow reduced, my experience of it belittled into one of commercial transaction. My relation to the gallery and to this engaging person had become one of instrumental market exchange.

The message underlying this use of the term customer for so many different kinds of human activity is that in all almost all our daily activities we are operating as consumers in a market – and this truth has been brought in not by chance but through managerial instruction and the thoroughgoing renaming of institutional practices. The mandatory exercise of "free choice" – of a GP, of a hospital, of schools for one's children – then becomes also a lesson in social identity, affirming on each occasion our consumer identity.

This is a crucial part of the way that neoliberalism has become part of our commonsense understanding of life. The vocabulary we use to talk about the economy is in fact a political construction, as Stuart Hall, Michael Rustin and I have argued in our Soundings manifesto.

Another word that reinforces neoliberal common sense is "growth", currently deemed to be the entire aim of our economy. To produce growth and then (maybe) to redistribute some of it, has been a goal shared by both neoliberalism and social democracy. In its crudest formulation this entails providing the conditions for the market sector to produce growth, and accepting that this will result in inequality, and then relying on the redistribution of some portion of this growth to help repair the inequality that has resulted from its production.

This of course does nothing to question the inequality-producing mechanisms of market exchange itself, and it has also meant that the main lines of struggle have too often been focused solely on distributional issues. What's more, today we are living with a backlash to even the limited redistributional gains made by labour under social democracy. In spite of all this, growth is still seen as providing the solution to our problems.

The second reason our current notion of wealth creation, and our commitment to its growth, must be questioned is to do with our relationship with the planet. The environmental damage brought about by the pursuit of growth threatens to cause a catastrophe of which we are already witnessing intimations. And a third – and perhaps most important – defect of this approach is that increased wealth, especially as measured in the standard monetary terms of today, has few actual consequences for people's feelings of wellbeing once there is a sufficiency to meet basic needs, as there is in Britain. In pursuing "growth" in these terms, as a means to realise people's life goals and desires, economies are pursuing a chimera.

Instead of an unrelenting quest for growth, might we not ask the question, in the end: "What is an economy for?", "What do we want it to provide?"

Our current imaginings endow the market and its associated forms with a special status. We think of "the economy" in terms of natural forces, into which we occasionally intervene, rather than in terms of a whole variety of social relations that need some kind of co-ordination.

Thus "work", for example, is understood in a very narrow and instrumental way. Where only transactions for money are recognised as belonging to "the economy", the vast amount of unpaid labour – as conducted for instance in families and local areas – goes uncounted and unvalued. We need to question that familiar categorisation of the economy as a space into which people enter in order to reluctantly undertake unwelcome and unpleasing "work", in return for material rewards which they can use for consuming.

This is a view that misunderstands where pleasure and fulfilment in human lives are found. Work is usually – and certainly should be – a central source of meaning and fulfilment in human lives. And it has – or could have – moral and creative (or aesthetic) values at its core. A rethinking of work could lead us to address more creatively both the social relations of work and the division of labour within society (including a better sharing of the tedious work, and of the skills).

There are loads of other examples of rarely scrutinised terms in our economic vocabulary, for instance that bundle of terms clustered around investment and expenditure – terms that carry with them implicit moral connotations. Investment implies an action, even a sacrifice, undertaken for a better future. It evokes a future positive outcome. Expenditure, on the other hand, seems merely an outgoing, a cost, a burden.

Above all, we need to bring economic vocabulary back into political contention, and to question the very way we think about the economy in the first place. For something new to be imagined, let alone to be born, our current economic "common sense" needs to be challenged root and branch."
doreenmassey  via:anne  neoliberalism  capitalism  ideology  language  customers  2013  markets  growth  inequality  labor  socialdemocracy  economics  vocabulary  howwetalk 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Speculative Ethnography | Ethnography Matters
"This month’s theme is about the relationships between ethnography and fiction. It is not necessarily something that we explored a lot here at Ethnography Matters, which is why it seemed an interesting topic for this September edition. Another reason to address this now is because of recent experimental ways of “doing ethnography” (e.g. the work by Ellis & Bochner or Denzin), as well as curious interdisciplinary work at the cross-roads of design, science-fiction and ethnography (e.g. design fiction)."

[Includes:
September 2013: Ethnography, Speculative Fiction and Design"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/09/17/september-2013-ethnography-speculative-fiction-and-design/
"This month’s theme is about the relationships between ethnography and fiction. It is not necessarily something that we explored a lot here at Ethnography Matters, which is why it seemed an interesting topic for this September edition. Another reason to address this now is because of recent experimental ways of “doing ethnography” (e.g. the work by Ellis & Bochner or Denzin), as well as curious interdisciplinary work at the cross-roads of design, science-fiction and ethnography (e.g. design fiction).

Of course, in Anthropology, the border between ethnography and fiction has always been very thin. Consider how ethnographers have written fictional novels or made speculative films, more or less based on field research. Also think about “docufictions” by Jean Rouch, a blend of documentary and fictional film in the area of visual anthropology. There are lots of reasons for using fictional methods, but there’s a general interest in going beyond scientific format/language by making ethnographic accounts more “engaging, palatable, and effective“."

"What Would Wallace Write? (if he were an ethnographer)"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/09/29/what-would-wallace-write-if-he-were-an-ethnographer/

"Ethnography and Speculative Fiction"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/09/27/ethnography-and-speculative-fiction/

"Ethnographies from the Future: What can ethnographers learn from science fiction and speculative design?"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/09/26/ethnographies-from-the-future-what-can-ethnographers-learn-from-science-fiction-and-speculative-design/

"Towards Fantastic Ethnography and Speculative Design"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/09/17/towards-fantastic-ethnography-and-speculative-design/ ]
ethnography  speculativeethnography  2013  annegalloway  lauraforlano  clareanzoleaga  jan-hendrikpassoth  nicholasrowland  nicolasnova  speculativedesign  speculativefiction  fiction  ethnographicfiction  anthropology  visualanthropology  documentary  fantasy  docufictions 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Review: At SCAD, Jessica Rankin’s “embodied” private moments, awash in time | ArtsATL
"In an art world saturated with the glossy, the slick, the unemotional and the impersonal, the work of New York-based Australian artist Jessica Rankin refreshes and delights. Private, unpretentious and meticulously labored, the six works in her exhibition “Passages” at Trois Gallery of the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta through May 31 — two large-scale 7-by-7-foot drawings and four embroidery “paintings” stitched on gossamer organdy fabric — present an artist quietly self-possessed.

While you might call her a landscape painter of sorts, Rankin’s work expounds and reconstitutes this traditional form by altering and re-altering the viewer’s geographical orientation. Geography, for her, is a mutable concept depending on where your eyes might be looking. Fashioning a perspective that is both above and below, she obfuscates the horizon line, giving the appearance of looking in multiple directions at once. What might be constellatory coordinates in the night sky could also be landmarks on a topographical map, or perhaps a pile of rubbish sitting beneath a fiery, setting sun, as in “Empty Night.”

The simultaneity that this multiplicity of orientations presents is one that the artist purposely constructs, for her work encapsulates the temporality of a discreet private moment — a memory, a thought, a phrase, a feeling — and places it concurrently within a broader, macro relationship to time — geological time, space-time or perhaps even timelessness — with equal conviction.

The daughter of a poet, Rankin articulates the nuance of these private moments with language she literally stitches with thread into the surface of the work. Her texts combine her own writing, overheard conversations and text she has found, seen or remembered. Interested in the way words are capable of communicating as well as miscommunicating, she relies on misspellings, misinterpretations and misunderstanding as the very content of the works themselves.

Partly influenced by the concrete poetry of the 1950s, the shape and rearrangement of Rankin’s text is equally as important as its verbal significance. Whimsical reconfigurations such as “WHO THISIS ISTHIS” or “PUSHINGSO METHINGA WAY” emerge as strange new utterances, as though learning to speak for the first time. In an interview published by White Cube, the London gallery that represents her, Rankin refers to these works as “brainscapes” and explains, “I realized that thoughts are not logical — they move around.”

Through the reshaping of language, she isolates our predetermined understanding of a word and its multiple cultural implications by reorienting the way we see it. Appearing as coordinates on these deeply personal cartographic works, words stop being words and instead become newfangled sounds and syllables steeped in poetic meaning. Some combinations take on a slow, deliberate, contemplative state. Others are so fraught and jumbled that you’re left wanting to escape the entanglement and confusion they conjure up."
2013  jessicarankin  art  embroidery 
february 2016 by robertogreco
A Flag for No Nations | booktwo.org
"This is the moment at which our ideas of technology as a series of waymarks on the universal march of human progress falter and fall apart. A single technology – the vacuum-deposition of metal vapour onto a thin film substrate – makes its consecutive and multiple appearances at times of stress and trial: at the dawn of the space age, in orbit and on other planets, at the scene of athletic feats of endurance, in defence and offence in the mountains of the Hindu Kush, on the beaches of the European archipelago. These are moments of hope as well as failure; moments when, properly utilised, technological progress enables us to achieve something which was beyond our capabilities before. And yet: we are still pulling bodies from the water wrapped in material which was meant to send us into space."



"Technologies are stories we tell ourselves – often unconsciously – about who we are and what we are capable of. By analysing their traces we may divine the progress they are capable of assisting, but they are not in and of themselves future-producing, magical, or separate from human agency. They are a guide and a hope. The reality of these technologies and the place of their deployment shows us plainly that another world is not only possible, but coming into being, should we choose to recognise and participate in it. Technology alone will not achieve such change, merely reflect back our failure to capitalise upon it. Its proper use is not as a bandage for the present, but as a banner for the future."
jamesbridle  techology  humanism  humanity  nasa  space  skylab  refugees  skylab2  1973  jackkinzler  josephkerwin  nationalmetallizing  jerryross  1988  hubbletelescope  spaceblankets  heatsheets  afghanistan  rubenpeter  2011  2013  2005  pakistan  lesbos  greece  lampedusa  2014  2015  2016  mediterranean  migration  chios  hope  flags  kimstanleyrobinson  technology 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Eduardo Galeano with Marie Arana - Lannan Foundation
"Eduardo Galeano was in the U.S. in May 2013 to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and to promote his new book, Los híjos de los días. The English edition, Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History, was published this spring by Nation Books. Mr. Galeano spoke about and read from the book, followed by a conversation with Marie Arana.

This event was part of the Lannan In Pursuit of Cultural Freedom series."

[video: https://vimeo.com/66616577
https://vimeo.com/66616115 ]

[See also:
http://www.lannan.org/events/eduardo-galeano-and-sebastiao-salgado-with-amy-goodman/
https://vimeo.com/12062512
https://vimeo.com/12062560
https://vimeo.com/12062878 ]
via:maxfenton  eduardogaleano  marieana  2013 
january 2016 by robertogreco
I want to live in a baugruppe | Grist
"Eliason introduces baugruppen here. The basic idea is that a group of people comes together to work directly with architects and designers, bypassing developers, to build a shared dwelling that they own collectively (a co-op, basically). Taking developers out of the picture saves money — 25 to 30 percent in Berlin, where baugruppen are common — and opens up space for much more ambitious, innovative, and sustainable architecture. It also fosters cooperation and community among members of the collective.

In this post, Eliason notes that many jurisdictions (Freiburg, Tuebingen, Hamburg, and Berlin) recognize the benefits of baugruppen and structure public policy to encourage them. “There are a number of solid reasons why cities should be interested in stimulating and facilitating such undertakings,” he says. “Jobs, affordable housing within city limits, maintaining or expanding the tax base, and stimulating development of vacant/awkwardly shaped/smaller lots developers may see as too risky are just a few.”

This post covers why baugruppen tend to save money over conventional developer-driven projects. I like this in particular:
For me, the big point on cost-effectiveness is that a member gets a unit tailored to their specific needs — as well as desired communal spaces if space and budget allows. Developers don’t normally fine-tune projects like this, as it would add even more cost and time. Additionally, development projects tend to be directed towards the average user, whom they try to appeal to, however there are some notable exceptions to this, especially here in Seattle. But before a BG even brings on an architect (assuming there isn’t one already in the group) — they’ll have discussed the type of lifestyle they would like to live, the type of building they would like to dwell in. A bunch of musically-oriented families founding a BG? They might plan a rehearsal space as part of the common area. Older couples might want a co-owned guest unit they could let their friends or children stay in, thus keeping their unit smaller and more affordable. Want a say in what color your facade is? How about typical finishes in common areas? BGs can offer that level of communal authorship.

This post is about the innovative efficiency and sustainability measures popping up in baugruppen. This one is about the wide variety of sizes and styles among them. And this one is about the communities that form around them:
There are a number of ways baugruppen are formed — some are initiated by friends or acquaintances that already share a common bond or set of core values. Others need additional members, and declare a strong central concept (bikes only! DINKS ok! Intergenerational granola-loving families!), a rallying cry for those that may be interested in joining up. …

Once formed, a large amount of community buy-in must take place. To actually build a baugruppe is no small feat. Like co-housing, the design process of many baugruppen is driven by future tenants. Concepts, themes and ideas are developed, processes are formulated to move project planning forward. The land situation must be worked out. Architects work with the owners on the design — both groups bringing needs and constraints to the table. This is not usually the case with developer-initiated projects, but on the best projects, it is this close collaboration with clients that really drives success. There has to be consensus amongst the members to move forward, schedules have to be maintained. This is a process of give and take — actual democracy in action! Though the process may take more time (e.g. weekly meetings for up to and over a year) and definitely involves challenges (There should be bike storage! The stairs should be yellow!) — it seems like a great way to engage your future neighbors while formulating a building that meets your needs in a way other models can’t or won’t. Imagine having a say in whether or not your building would have a roof terrace, or how your building engages the public! Want to implement ecological and social requirements for a project? Then do it! How about prioritizing car-free living like in Vauban? Go for it! This process seems to induce a greater sense of pride, respect and sense of community than other models — perhaps owing to the greater degree of trust and respect garnered through the planning process.


All the posts are filled with specific examples (and photos) of baugruppen. Check them out.

As Eliason says, this mostly seems to be happening in Germany (which is way ahead on community energy projects too). But it sounds like exactly the kind of thing I have in mind. And I know I can’t be the only one who dreams of sustainable urban living, with a community and a home that reflect my values."
cohousing  germany  baugruppe  housing  architecture  cities  2013  energy  development  efficiency  sustainability  baugruppen 
december 2015 by robertogreco
BBC - Future - Secret city design tricks manipulate your behaviour
"Hidden in our streets and buildings are "unpleasant designs" that force us to make certain choices, discovers Frank Swain. Once you know what they are, it will transform how you see your city."
architecture  design  frankswain  cities  urban  urbanism  2013  homeless  inhospitable  benches  furniture  surfaces  skating  skateboarding  skateboards 
december 2015 by robertogreco
PROSTHETIC ARM by Kaylene Kau at Coroflot.com
"Kaylene Kau from Taipei made the remarkable invention as part of a design school project. The limb would be able to grip many different objects by curling up with the help of a simple motor."

[via https://boingboing.net/2013/05/23/prosthetic-tentacle.html
via http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/05/24/prosthetic-tentacle_n_3330298.html
via http://additivism.org/post/133418748081/prosthetic-tentacle-invented-as-alternative-to ]
prosthesis  design  kaylenekau  2013 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The 'Standing Man' Of Turkey: Act Of Quiet Protest Goes Viral : The Two-Way : NPR
"As protests against the Turkish government enter their third week, activists are taking increasingly creative measures to maintain their momentum.

Over the weekend, police removed their tent city and re-opened Istanbul's Taksim Square to traffic, while maintaining a strong presence in the area. This might have seemed like the end of it for many protesters, until a lone man decided to take a stand, literally, against the government. For more than six hours Monday night, Erdem Gunduz stood motionless in Taksim Square, passively ignoring any prodding or harassment from police and people passing by.

His unusual form of protest has inspired activists in Turkey and around the world to assume the same pose. He's even become his own meme, as "standing man" (duran adam, in Turkish) supporters upload their own protest photos to Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere."

[via: "Me and a lot of my friends here are becoming more and more silent. Please imagine us like this: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/06/18/193183899/the-standing-man-of-turkey-act-of-quiet-protest-goes-viral …"
https://twitter.com/datatelling/status/520873386369900544

"(it's hard to pull off silent protest without embodiment. it's the body that forces you to notice the silence.)"
https://twitter.com/datatelling/status/520873755594469377 ]

[See also: http://duraninsanlar.tumblr.com/
via: "@datatelling great talk! Thanks for connecting the dots. I felt that I am hearing the voice that we need the most. http://vimeo.com/114393677 "
https://twitter.com/mahir_nyc/status/543992946115510272

"@datatelling also we should talk about #duranadam (silent man) protest next time we see each other :) an old tumblr > http://duraninsanlar.tumblr.com/ "
https://twitter.com/mahir_nyc/status/544266333320671233

and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmfIuKelOt4
via "@litherland reminds me of silent protests, too: standing man in taksim square and the silent protesters at UC Davis http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nmfIuKelOt4 "
https://twitter.com/datatelling/status/381530858387427328 ]

[related: Jen lLowe on disturbing data futures, quiet protest, and becoming more dangerous
http://vimeo.com/114393677 ]
silence  protest  turkey  2013  jenlowe  duranadam  mahiryavuz  resistance  quiet  ucdavis 
december 2015 by robertogreco
4 Ways Slow Design Will Make The Super-Fast World We Live In Better
"In part, that means slowing things down. For years, proponents of "slow design" have been advocating just that—building healthy, meaningful relationships with our stuff, our planet, and other people through local and artisanal products, DIY resourcefulness, and sustainable lifecycles and materials. While that conversation has been thought-provoking, "slow design" also includes a heavy dose of neo-Luddism and anti-consumerist sentiment that has slowed its march toward the mainstream.

The question remains: How might our collective longing to unplug realistically inspire new products (and product ecosystems) that fit within our competitive business landscape?

At Altitude, we found four ways to product-ize the best elements of "slow" while still living in a world where our technology moves faster than our brains:

1. EASE IT UP.

Slow used to mean inefficient. Now that technology has become less of a limiting factor, "slow" has taken on a more nuanced meaning. In certain contexts, such as virus-scanning software or medical diagnostics, slow is a reassuring signal for thoroughness and reliability, whereas faster-than-expected processing rates are signs of inaccuracy or lack of thoroughness.

In product design, slow can also improve functionality. Blindly chasing speed alone can come at the detriment of other, competing values. Altitude recently partnered with Oster to design their new A6 Clipper, and our research revealed that professional pet groomers actually preferred slower motor speeds because high clipping speeds created vibrations in their hands that reduced productivity and became painful over time.

2. CONTROL THE TEMPO.

If you manipulate workflow tempo through a product’s UI, it can make for a more emotionally satisfying user experience. That’s because it brings a human sensibility into a fast-paced, digital context.

User interface research by Chris Harrison, at the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon, has shown that people respond negatively to pauses or delays toward the end of moving progress bars. One study showed that when given the option, users preferred progress bars that were intentionally slower to start and which then ramped up in pace toward the end, "providing a sense of rapid conclusion."

There’s obviously no one-size-fits-all lesson about where to slow things down, but a product’s UI is often the place where the mechanical comes to life, and it’s important to design its graphical and temporal elements in ways that recognize common human biases and rhythms.

3. EMBRACE THE GRIND.

Sometimes, people want to take the harder route and invest valuable "elbow grease" in the activities they care about. There’s something about home-brewed beer and long-marinated steak that feels special precisely because of the effort they require.

The classic Chemex pour-over coffeemaker, a longtime design piece in the Museum of Modern Art, has seen a recent resurgence in popularity among Millennials. Though the product requires more effort than a Keurig or Nespresso machine, it offers a coffee brewing experience that feels meditative and deeply authentic in its simplicity. The process is evocative, a reminder of the way people made coffee before Starbucks and instant K-Cups appeared.

Similarly, Kamado-style cookers such as "The Big Green Egg," while more labor-intensive and complex than typical gas grills, enable people to slow-smoke specialty meats or pizzas; they provide an intriguing centerpiece for daylong social events.

4. DESIGN OBJECTS THAT APPRECIATE OVER TIME.

While most consumer products inevitably deteriorate with use, others actually become better. Cast-iron cookware is a great example because continued use seasons it and protects it from future rust. Similarly, new Birkenstock sandals look identical to every other off-the-shelf pair. But after months of wear, those sandals have literally molded to the unique contours of the owner’s feet. "Smart" devices of tomorrow might learn to do the same.

Connected products, such as the Nest thermostat, learn from our past behaviors and proactively recognize patterns in our daily decision-making. When we use a product over time—and it continues to perform as well as (or better than) it did when we first started using it—our emotional bond with it gets strengthened.

Ultimately, when I think of "slow design," my mind returns vividly to my grandfather’s old fly-fishing lures, all hooked into his outdoors vest. He owned some of those lures for 20 years and had deep emotional connections to and great stories about each one. They became part of the fabric of his fishing rituals, and of his life.

Today’s electronic gadgets are different. They’re faster, stronger, and less recognizable than the simpler tools of the past. But by incorporating elements of "slow design," we can create enduring products and innovative services that help consumers overcome their anxieties around modern technology—without having to completely unplug."
slow  slowdesign  design  process  jeremyfinch  chemex  chrisharrison  anti-consumerism  neo-luddism  sustainability  diy  resourcefulness  2013 
october 2015 by robertogreco
SF: Science Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far - Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology
"The British social anthropologist Marilyn Strathern, who wrote The Gender of the Gift based on her ethnographic work in highland Papua New Guinea (Mt. Hagen), taught me that “It matters what ideas we use to think other ideas (with)” (Reproducing the Future 10). Marilyn embodies for me the practice of feminist speculative fabulation in the scholarly mode. It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories. Marilyn wrote about accepting the risk of relentless contingency; she thinks about anthropology as the knowledge practice that studies relations with relations, that puts relations at risk with other relations, from unexpected other worlds. In 1933 Alfred North Whitehead, the American mathematician and process philosopher who infuses my sense of worlding, wrote The Adventures of Ideas. SF is precisely full of such adventures. Isabelle Stengers, a chemist, scholar of Whitehead, and a seriously quirky Belgian feminist philosopher, gives me “speculative thinking” in spades. Isabelle insists we cannot denounce the world in the name of an ideal world. In the spirit of feminist communitarian anarchism and the idiom of Whitehead’s philosophy, she maintains that decisions must take place somehow in the presence of those who will bear their consequences.[2] In this same virtual sibling set, Marleen Barr morphed Heinlein’s speculative fiction into feminist fabulation for me. In relay and return, SF morphs in my writing and research into speculative fabulation and string figures. Relays, cat’s cradle, passing patterns back and forth, giving and receiving, patterning, holding the unasked-for pattern in one’s hands, response-ability, Octavia Butler’s Patternmaster series. My debts mount. Again and again, SF has given me the ideas, the stories, and the shapes with which I think ideas, shapes, and stories in feminist theory and science studies. There is no way I can name all of my debts to SF’s critters and worlds, human and not, and so I will record only a few and hope for a credit extension for years yet to come. I will enter these debts in a short ledger of my teaching and publishing. I start with Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, a typescript of my curriculum vitae that was part of a file for consideration for promotion in the History of Science Department at Johns Hopkins in 1979-80, and a bottle of chalky white out. I had written an essay review of Woman on the Edge of Time for the activist publication, Women, a Journal of Liberation and duly recorded this little publication on the CV. “The past is the contested zone”—the past that is our thick, not-yet-fixed, present, wherewhen what is yet-to-come is now at stake—is the meme that drew me into Piercy’s story, and I was proud of the review. A senior colleague in History of Science, a supporter of my promotion, came to me with a too-friendly smile and that betraying bottle of white-out, asking me to blot out this publication from the scholarly record, “for my own good.”[3] He also wanted me to expunge “Signs of Dominance,” a long, research-dense essay about the semiotics and sociograms developed in mid-20th-century primate field studies of monkeys and apes.[4] To my shame to this day, I obeyed; to my relief to this day, no one was fooled. Piercy’s temporalities and my growing sense of the SF-structure of primate field work made me write two essays for the brave, new, hyper-footnoted, University of Chicago feminist theory publication, Signs, and to title the essays in recognition of Piercy’s priority and patterned relay to me.[5] I could not forget—or disavow—Piercy’s research for Woman on the Edge of Time, which led her to psychiatrist José Delgado’s Rockland State Hospital experiments with remote-controlled telemetric implants, and my finding in my own archival research Delgado’s National Institutes of Mental Health-funded work applied to gibbon studies in the ape colony on Hall’s Island. The colonial and imperial roots & routes of SF are relentlessly real and inescapably fabulated. Later, living (non-optionally, in really real SF histories) with and as cyborgs, Piercy and I played cat’s cradle again, this time with my “Cyborg Manifesto” and then her He, She, and It. Cyborgs were never just about the interdigitations of humans and information machines; cyborgs were from the get-go the materialization of imploded (not hybridized) human beings-information machines-multispecies organisms. Cyborgs were always simultaneously relentlessly real and inescapably fabulated. Like all good SF, they redid what counts as—what is—real. The obligatory multispecies story-telling script was written in 1960 United States space research, when Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline coined the word “cyborg” in an article about their implanted rats and the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space."
speculativefiction  scifi  sciencefiction  donnaharaway  toread  speculativefabrication  isabellestrengers  alfrednorthwhitehead  knowledge  ideas  philosophy  anarchism  marilynstrathern  octaviabutler  manfredclynes  nathankline  cyborgs  joannaruss  samueldelany  evahayward  katieking  gregorybateson  historyofconsciousness  hiscon  herscam  jamestiptree  suzettehadenelgin  linguists  linguistics  johnvarley  fredjameson  suzymckeecharnass  ursulaleguin  worlding  cat'scradle  anthropology  ethnography  gwynethjones  heidegger  kant  multispecies  sheritepper  laurenoyaolamina  helenmerrick  margaretgrebowicz  dogs  animals  marleenbarr  marilynhacker  sarahlefanu  pamelasargent  viviansobchack  margaretatwood  vondamcintyre  ericrabkin  laurachernaik  sherrylvint  joshualebare  istvancsicsery-ronay  shulamithfirestone  judithmerril  franbartkowsky  2013 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Interviews – Meet Antipode’s new Editorial Collective | AntipodeFoundation.org
[via: https://twitter.com/Keguro_/status/652837835440046081 ]

"Andy Kent: Could you tell us about Dear Science, a project you’ve been working on for a number of years now?

Katherine McKittrick: The title of my next research project and monograph, Dear Science, is borrowed from the musicians TV on the Radio (Interscope, 2008). It is an affectionate invitation to engage science and hold dear creative expressions of scientific knowledge. Dear Science suggests that there exists, between and across the arts and the natural sciences, a promise of intellectual collaboration and emancipatory possibility. The project emphasizes the ways in which the creative texts of those marginalized by social structures—in particular black cultural producers—demand from us an understanding of science and knowledge that challenges biological determinism. The research will look at the ways in which three areas of the natural sciences—biology, mathematics, and physics—emerge in the poetry, music, and visual art of black cultural producers.

I have been thinking about these kinds of questions for some time because I have noticed the ways in which blackness and race—while certainly social constructions—continue to be analysed as sites of degradation and unfreedom. So even as we claim that race is socially constructed, the black body is theorized as a social construction that is biologically inferior. So, I have been interested in how our political commitment to undoing the science of race in fact involves repetitively constituting and naming biologically deterministic categories. Underneath Dear Science, then, is an analytical web that addresses the limits of analysing science and studies of science within a framework that underscores and thus reproduces racial and gendered hierarchies and dichotomies.

These dichotomies and hierarchies do ‘work’ beyond the body and biological determinism, too: through the work of Sylvia Wynter and Aime Cesaire (among others), we can also notice the bifurcation of scientific knowledge and creative knowledge—and how particular communities are said to inhabit either side of this bifurcation. This epistemological splitting has led me to think about how black cultural producers utilize locution, imagery and sound to challenge and recast the colonial underpinnings of scientific knowledge as well as the analytical and interdisciplinary provocations that arise through imagining a black creative science. Early drafts have thought about these questions alongside the long poem Zong! by Nourbese Philip, the musical text Harnessed the Storm by Drexicya, Nas’ Untitled cover art, and two visual pieces by artist Joy Gregory, Memory and Skin and Blonde Collection. I hope to draw attention to the ways in which black creative artists provide a context through which science and creativity are enjoined and thus provoke new analytical challenges for cultural studies, science studies and black studies.

AK: One of the most striking things about your work is its ‘undisciplined’ nature; from your home in gender and cultural studies human geography meets black and anti-colonial studies…And that’s not the only border being trespassed: non-academic ways of imagining and knowing the world play an important role in your scholarship, from literature, poetry and music in Demonic Grounds and the book you co-edited with Clyde Woods, Black Geographies and the Politics of Place, to more recent work focusing on the writers Dionne Brand and Sylvia Wynter. I wonder if you might say something about these boundary-crossings and encounters, and the place of interdisciplinarity and different ‘expressive cultures’ in your research?

KMc: I have found that interdisciplinarity allows one to ask meaningful questions about race and social justice. The possibilities of interdisciplinarity are hopeful and resistant. It is an intellectually rewarding stance, for me—whose undergraduate training was in History and English Literature—to think outside the disciplinary box: this is an exciting analytical space where new ideas can be shared and debated. Methodologically, interdisciplinarity insists that we take a chance on what we do not know while also thinking about how the encounter of various intellectual traditions creates something new. Interdisplinarity and boundary crossing can also be frightening—Dear Science, for example, has brought a lot of new academic challenges to my life—physics, math, science studies—but these areas have pushed me to learn differently. I am not, of course, a physics, math, science studies expert; but engaging deeply with these areas has allowed me to take a chance on what I don’t know in order to think about the poetics of scientific knowledge as a legitimate entry into black and global intellectual history. It seems to me that if black people have been both excluded from and constituted by science—all too often rendered purely biological beings who are unscientific and unintelligent—they definitely have something to say about science that would challenge this worldview.

So how might we, as Edward Said asked, invite worldliness into our intellectual projects and struggles? And thinking with Frantz Fanon, how might we put together different kinds and types of knowledge in order to engender a decolonial perspective? How do we refuse to protect our intellectual property and welcome new ways of thinking? The world, as we know it, insists on encounter (colonialism, transatlantic slavery, and globalization pushed and push us together), and through this encounter something new is made possible. Interdisciplinary thinkers insist that knowledge is relational, multiple and equally valuable to understanding social justice. What I am trying to suggest is that interdisciplinarity, at its best, thinks with and beyond intellectual categories thus forcing us to think about race, gender and sexuality differently. To put it another way, if we breach the barriers between, say, the natural sciences and the humanities, might we also notice a worldview that newly attends to challenging practices of domination? This is, too, about intellectual activism and resistance to normalcy. Interdisciplinarity, at its best, loosens up disciplinary rigor, insists the intellectual histories of nonwhite and other marginalized communities are relevant, and reinvents what it is possible to know and who is a valid intellectual.

AK: Why were you interested in becoming an editor? And how are you finding work as part of an Editorial Collective?

KMc: I have been reading Antipode for a long time; it is a journal that raises important questions about how practices of inequity unfold geographically. The consistency of the journal also appeals to me—while I am an interdisciplinary scholar I like to engage with debates about the production of space precisely because, if I can riff off of Neil Smith, respatialization leads to repoliticization. Antipode has always delivered this kind sustained thinking about space and social justice and the journal is an amazingly comprehensive archive of Left geographic politics. And remember, too, some of the earliest writings on black geographies—I am thinking specifically about the great contributions by scholars such as Bobby Wilson in the 1970s—were published in Antipode. This history, alongside the hard work of the present Editorial Collective—who has maintained the journal’s intellectual integrity while also asking new questions about the place of the production of knowledge—interested me. My work as part of the Editorial Collective has been, to date, very insightful and interesting: each editor’s unique vision and scholarship is coupled with collaborative vision that, as mentioned above, is holding steady Antipode‘s history and positioning the journal as a place where new questions are being asked.

AK: Where, as you see it, is Antipode ‘at’? What do its papers look like? Where do you (want to) see the journal going?

KMc: The papers I have received have been very exciting and, I think, speak to the ‘new questions’ noted above. I have received some excellent papers on race, location and uneven geographies—with themes ranging from hip hop to community farming; all the submissions have focussed on the ways in which nonwhite communities are meaningful spatial actors who are not simply recipients of oppressive practices. This is to say that many of the papers I have engaged with are thinking about racial matters as heterogeneously articulated yet shaped by longstanding and powerful colonial practices. I really like the ways in which the thinking on difference—race, class, sexuality, (dis)ability, and so on—are working through the paradoxes of unfreedom and what is now being called neoliberalism: situating power and knowledge across locations, outside and within the hands of disenfranchised communities (although imagined and articulated differently), and reorienting where social justice and intellectual debate are taking place. For me, I am happy to continue these conversations—to build on intellectual and activist and social justice work that honours different kinds and types of knowledge and engenders new conversations about our collective political futures.""
katherinemckittrick  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  race  geography  interviews  antipode  science  culture  edwardsaid  worldliness  frantzfanon  decolonization  colonialism  globalization  2013 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Senongo Akpem - Responsiveness, being a chameleon - Video Archive - The Conference by Media Evolution
""In an increasingly global world we need design that is culturally responsive."

Senongo Akpem, Senior Designer at Cambridge University Press, talks about culturally responsive design. Senongo discuss how cultural variables can affect our perception, and how to build visual and cultural diversity into design in a thoughtful (and occasionally subversive) way."

[See also: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:0f1362374ca1 ]
senongoakpem  2015  culturalresponsiveness  highcontext  lowcontext  culture  design  webdev  webdesign  2013  ambiguity  directness  collectivism  individuality  power  relationships  powerrelationships  authority  slow  fast  messaging  speed  communication  difference  adapting  adaptation  universality  context  inequality  fastmessaging  slowmessaging  fastmessages  slowmessages  gov.uk  individualism  appropriation  punchingup  truthtopower  yinkashonibare 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Harvard art historian Jennifer Roberts teaches the value of immersive attention | Harvard Magazine
"I want to focus today on the slow end of this tempo spectrum, on creating opportunities for students to engage in deceleration, patience, and immersive attention. I would argue that these are the kind of practices that now most need to be actively engineered by faculty, because they simply are no longer available “in nature,” as it were. Every external pressure, social and technological, is pushing students in the other direction, toward immediacy, rapidity, and spontaneity—and against this other kind of opportunity. I want to give them the permission and the structures to slow down.

In all of my art history courses, graduate and undergraduate, every student is expected to write an intensive research paper based on a single work of art of their own choosing. And the first thing I ask them to do in the research process is to spend a painfully long time looking at that object. Say a student wanted to explore the work popularly known as Boy with a Squirrel, painted in Boston in 1765 by the young artist John Singleton Copley. Before doing any research in books or online, the student would first be expected to go to the Museum of Fine Arts, where it hangs, and spend three full hours looking at the painting, noting down his or her evolving observations as well as the questions and speculations that arise from those observations. The time span is explicitly designed to seem excessive. Also crucial to the exercise is the museum or archive setting, which removes the student from his or her everyday surroundings and distractions.

At first many of the students resist being subjected to such a remedial exercise. How can there possibly be three hours’ worth of incident and information on this small surface? How can there possibly be three hours’ worth of things to see and think about in a single work of art? But after doing the assignment, students repeatedly tell me that they have been astonished by the potentials this process unlocked.

It is commonly assumed that vision is immediate. It seems direct, uncomplicated, and instantaneous—which is why it has arguably become the master sense for the delivery of information in the contemporary technological world. But what students learn in a visceral way in this assignment is that in any work of art there are details and orders and relationships that take time to perceive. I did this three-hour exercise myself on this painting in preparation for my own research on Copley. And it took me a long time to see some of the key details that eventually became central to my interpretation and my published work on the painting."



"DECELERATION, then, is a productive process, a form of skilled apprehension that can orient students in critical ways to the contemporary world. But I also want to argue that it is an essential skill for the understanding and interpretation of the historical world. Now we’re going to go into the art-history lesson, which is a lesson about the formative powers of delay in world history."



"GIVEN ALL THIS, I want to conclude with some thoughts about teaching patience as a strategy. The deliberate engagement of delay should itself be a primary skill that we teach to students. It’s a very old idea that patience leads to skill, of course—but it seems urgent now that we go further than this and think about patience itself as the skill to be learned. Granted—patience might be a pretty hard sell as an educational deliverable. It sounds nostalgic and gratuitously traditional. But I would argue that as the shape of time has changed around it, the meaning of patience today has reversed itself from its original connotations. The virtue of patience was originally associated with forbearance or sufferance. It was about conforming oneself to the need to wait for things. But now that, generally, one need not wait for things, patience becomes an active and positive cognitive state. Where patience once indicated a lack of control, now it is a form of control over the tempo of contemporary life that otherwise controls us. Patience no longer connotes disempowerment—perhaps now patience is power.

If “patience” sounds too old-fashioned, let’s call it “time management” or “temporal intelligence” or “massive temporal distortion engineering.” Either way, an awareness of time and patience as a productive medium of learning is something that I feel is urgent to model for—and expect of—my students."
patience  slow  art  education  learning  teaching  pedagogy  howweteach  howwelearn  jenniferroberts  arthistory  2013  vias:austinkleon  slowpedagogy  presence  delay  time 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Anthony Ptak: Solving Problems Within Constraints - LocateFlow - YouTube
"An interview with Anthony Ptak, theraminist, artist, and educator. We explore the definition of creativity, how to move past creative blocks and we perform a creative exercise."
creativity  constraints  anthonyptak  2013  interviews 
september 2015 by robertogreco
The GoPro That Fell to Earth - Video - NYTimes.com
"In June 2013, members of the Grand Canyon Stratospheric Balloon Team and vedphoto.com launched a balloon with a camera into the stratosphere, where it burst. It was found by a hiker two years later."
via:austinkleon  gopro  cameras  space  earth  satelliteimagery  aerialimagery  2013  2015 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Learning how to learn
"Bateson himself uses the analogy of movement:

• Learning 0 is direct experience: I put my hand in the fire – it gets burned

Learning 0 is like the position of an object

• Learning I is what we routinely refer to as "learning": generalisation from basic experiences. I have experienced "hand in fire" and "being burned", and I won't do it again. This is straightforward and compatible even with behavioural views, as well as the cycle of experiential learning.

Learning I is its speed when it moves

• Learning II (which he sometimes called "Deutero-Learning") contextualises Learning I experiences. It is about developing strategies for maximising Learning I through the extraction of implicit rules, and also putting specific bits of Learning I in context: I don't generally risk getting burned, but I might do so to save someone else from a fire.

Learning II is acceleration (or deceleration)—a change in speed

• Learning III contextualises Learning II, and is not understood, but it may be the existential (or spiritual) level: What does it say about me that I would risk getting burned in order to ...?

Learning III is a change in the rate of acceleration — a change in the change of the change of position... The higher the level, the less we understand about the process, and although such higher level learning undoubtedly takes place, the more difficult it is deliberately to manage it.

Note that levels of learning are different from levels of understanding, as exemplified in Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives, and also to be distinguished from the similar terminology of Gagné.

This account does not do justice to Bateson's very complex thinking, which starts from posing the question why people get better with practice at doing fairly meaningless tasks such as remembering nonsense syllables.
The interesting question for academic practice is the qualitative shift required to move from Learning 1 to Learning II, which some people find more difficult than others, perhaps in specific subject areas. How do we help them to achieve it? This may be the biggest remaining problem in in pedagogic/andragogic practice.

Some clues are contained in

• reflection, in
• problem-based learning and action learning,
• situated learning,
• and even in intelligence,

but we still don't have reliable answers.

Rant

This is more properly located on my personal site, but I can't contain myself. In the UK, we have this misbegotten, patronising, arrogant, (insert whatever other insulting adjectives you favour) idea of "teaching" "key skills" at college level.

"Key skills"—derived from the generic skills employers say that they want—include "Communication" and "Application of Number" [the comparative of "numb"—sorry, but I am ranting] (what are the schools supposed to have been teaching for eleven years before students reach further education?) and "teamworking" and "improving own learning" etc.

Note that I refer above to "the generic skills employers say that they want"; there is some evidence, which I can't presently be bothered to look up, which suggests that there is a mismatch between what employers actually go for when appointing their staff, and what they say they go for when asked by trade and official bodies.
What is more, it is routine for universities to require the specification of key skills outcomes on the templates even for post-graduate courses. How patronising and infantilising can you get? Fortunately, most academics treat such requirements with the contempt they deserve.

It has been my misfortune for several years to have to observe some very gifted student teachers wrestling with the thankless task of getting learners to provide evidence of "key skills" competence. They have stopped an animated discussion in class, for example, to get students to "discuss"—in a very desultory fashion—some topic in which they have no interest whatever, in order to be able to tick a box on a competence check-list. It is even more stupid than the idea of "Liberal Studies", which is where I started my teaching career: at least that was "high-minded" in its conception.

What the education control-freaks fail to realise is that some things are only learned by experience and practice. You can't short-circuit the process by teaching them.

Rant over! The relevance of this to the present topic is that the "soft" key skills project confuses Learning I and Learning II: you cannot address the key skills (which are Learning II) by simply adding on more Learning I competences: this is precisely the "category error" against which Bateson inveighs But the key skills advocates (and here I risk alienating my closest colleague and friend) seem to believe that all skills are at the same level. "Application of Number", and IT skills may be Learning I, but the "wider" key skills ("Working with Others", "Problem Solving", "Improving Own Learning and Performance") and even the central key skill of "Communication"—which includes the "discussion" requirement—are clearly Learning II, and although we know they can be learned, we do not know how to teach them in any meaningful way."
gregorybateson  learning  howwlearn  jamesatherton  2013  problemsolving  actionlearning  situatedlearning  reflection  intelligence  context  transcontextualism  bloomstaxonomy  education  experientiallearning  behavior 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Pico Iyer: Where is home? | TED Talk Subtitles and Transcript | TED.com
"And if "Where do you come from?" means "Which place goes deepest inside you and where do you try to spend most of your time?" then I'm Japanese, because I've been living as much as I can for the last 25 years in Japan. Except, all of those years I've been there on a tourist visa, and I'm fairly sure not many Japanese would want to consider me one of them.

And I say all this just to stress how very old-fashioned and straightforward my background is, because when I go to Hong Kong or Sydney or Vancouver, most of the kids I meet are much more international and multi-cultured than I am. And they have one home associated with their parents, but another associated with their partners, a third connected maybe with the place where they happen to be, a fourth connected with the place they dream of being, and many more besides. And their whole life will be spent taking pieces of many different places and putting them together into a stained glass whole. Home for them is really a work in progress. It's like a project on which they're constantly adding upgrades and improvements and corrections.

And for more and more of us, home has really less to do with a piece of soil than, you could say, with a piece of soul. If somebody suddenly asks me, "Where's your home?" I think about my sweetheart or my closest friends or the songs that travel with me wherever I happen to be.

And I'd always felt this way, but it really came home to me, as it were, some years ago when I was climbing up the stairs in my parents' house in California, and I looked through the living room windows and I saw that we were encircled by 70-foot flames, one of those wildfires that regularly tear through the hills of California and many other such places. And three hours later, that fire had reduced my home and every last thing in it except for me to ash. And when I woke up the next morning, I was sleeping on a friend's floor, the only thing I had in the world was a toothbrush I had just bought from an all-night supermarket. Of course, if anybody asked me then, "Where is your home?" I literally couldn't point to any physical construction. My home would have to be whatever I carried around inside me.

And in so many ways, I think this is a terrific liberation. Because when my grandparents were born, they pretty much had their sense of home, their sense of community, even their sense of enmity, assigned to them at birth, and didn't have much chance of stepping outside of that. And nowadays, at least some of us can choose our sense of home, create our sense of community, fashion our sense of self, and in so doing maybe step a little beyond some of the black and white divisions of our grandparents' age. No coincidence that the president of the strongest nation on Earth is half-Kenyan, partly raised in Indonesia, has a Chinese-Canadian brother-in-law.

The number of people living in countries not their own now comes to 220 million, and that's an almost unimaginable number, but it means that if you took the whole population of Canada and the whole population of Australia and then the whole population of Australia again and the whole population of Canada again and doubled that number, you would still have fewer people than belong to this great floating tribe. And the number of us who live outside the old nation-state categories is increasing so quickly, by 64 million just in the last 12 years, that soon there will be more of us than there are Americans. Already, we represent the fifth-largest nation on Earth. And in fact, in Canada's largest city, Toronto, the average resident today is what used to be called a foreigner, somebody born in a very different country.

And I've always felt that the beauty of being surrounded by the foreign is that it slaps you awake. You can't take anything for granted. Travel, for me, is a little bit like being in love, because suddenly all your senses are at the setting marked "on." Suddenly you're alert to the secret patterns of the world. The real voyage of discovery, as Marcel Proust famously said, consists not in seeing new sights, but in looking with new eyes. And of course, once you have new eyes, even the old sights, even your home become something different."
picoiyer  2013  place  belonging  culture  japan  california  migration  international  thirdculturekids  global  roots 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Whitney Houston and the music of loneliness / Snarkmarket
[via a small collection on loneliness by Tim Carmody: https://twitter.com/tcarmody/status/609837487414988800 ]

"After the death of Whitney Houston, our reflections on Twitter included these thoughts on pop music, loneliness and connection."



"So many of Whitney Houston's hits, even the happy ones, are about loneliness."

"Yes. I've been nursing a theory that some of the best pop songs - dance songs particularly - have loneliness at their core."

"I mean, it's also ultimately about desire being the cause of loneliness and the engine that overcomes it. But the appeal to loneliness is how the song gets into your head. It's how you suture yourself into its world."

"We bind ourselves most strongly to characters that seem to express our particular vulnerabilities."

"Yeah, that's kind of what I mean by "suture" -- it's how we stitch ourselves into, imagine/identify ourselves in that world."

"Whitney is really about loneliness, shyness, insecurity, uncertainty -- and hope."

"It's like Proust; the other person doesn't really matter as much as the emotion, the memory, the first-person resolution."
loneliness  timcarmody  2013  mattthompson  whitneyhouston  music  desire  beachboys  royorbison  vulnerability  insecurity  shyness  uncertainty  emotions  love  connection  humans  beinghuman  hope  proust 
june 2015 by robertogreco
How straight or bendy are the roads?
"Where in the world has the straightest roads?

Using OpenStreetMap (OSM) data, I was able to see how bendy or straight the roads are all over the world. One theory I had was that Europe, where current roads are based on older roads that predate cars, would have more bends and curves than the USA, where current roads were (in many places) only put in in the last 150 → 100 years, and probably put in directly and dead straight.

[embedded map]

The Mid-west USA and Canadian prairies have the most straight roads. Nearly all of the roads there are straight. This broadly matches my theory.

Netherlands is very straight, but I'm not sure if that's because the Netherlands is just very flat, or due to the "way splitting" inaccuracy incorrectly reporting it as straight.

Measure the bendyness of a road

For all the highway's in OpenStreetMap, the 'bendyness ratio' is calculated as the length of the road divided by the straight line difference between it's end points. A dead straight road will have a ratio of 1.0, and the more bendy the road, the higher the ratio.

The I split the world into little boxes, and measured all the roads that were within that box. A road was considered 'straight' if the ratio was below 1.001, so this includes dead straight, and almost straight roads. The percentage of roads in the box which were straight (weighted by how long the road is), is considered the bendyness of that box. That's the colour in the above map.

Flaws and inaccuracies with this approach

Incompletness

Obvious one: OpenStreetMap is not complete yet, and is missing many roads that exist in the real world.

Roads in many boxes

In order to speed up the SQL query, it counts the enterity of a way (incl it's ratio) in the bbox's results if any part of the way is in the bbox. This means a very long way that passed through 2 (or more) bboxes will be counted twice.

Roads split into 2

It treats each single way element as a different road. If a way is split (into 2 ways) these will then count separately and one road that's very bendy, will appear as several less bendy roads. (e.g.: this way http://www.openstreetmap.org/?way=72436076 ). As an extreme example of this '2 element' ways, which will obviously count as perfectly straight roads. Ways in OSM are often split, not because they are separate roads, but due to how OSM stores data. To solve this, one needs a way to merge connecting ways together.

One approach to merge ways together to get 'real roads', is to merge ways whose endpoints touch if they have the same 'ref'. The ref(erence) of a road (e.g. "N1"), will often show you what is the "natural course of the road", as decided by local planners. Refs, unlike names, often have very little symbolic or sentimental connection, so local road planners are able to assign them much more freely, giving more accurate results. Here in Ireland, it's not uncommon for one long 'real road' to change names at arbitrary junctions.

Source code

The source code I used to generate is on Github: openstreetmap-bendy-roads.

Tools used

I used Osmosis to extract and slim down the original OpenStreetMap planet dump, and imported that into PostGIS with osm2pgsql. I used my own python script to create (in postgres) a new table with the results. Initially I used Quantum GIS (aka QGis) to explore the results, pick the right metric to use, and generate the colour scheme and how to split the data. The boxes were split using Jenks natural breaks classification method. After I had the right data to display, TileMill (which uses Mapnik) was used to generate the tiles in a MBTiles format. I used mbutil (again from MapBox) to split that mbtiles file into directory of tile images that can be uploaded to a dumb web server. The map on this page uses Leaflet to display on this page."
maps  mpping  data  osm  openstreetmap  streets  curves  rorymccann  2013 
june 2015 by robertogreco
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