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ties and insight | sara hendren
"Jill Lepore on the writing of Rachel Carson, in the new New Yorker:
Carson’s father died in 1935, followed, two years later, by her older sister, leaving Carson to care for her mother and her nieces, ages eleven and twelve; she later adopted her grandnephew, when he was orphaned at the age of four. These obligations sometimes frustrated Carson, but not half as much as they frustrate her biographers. For [these biographers], Carson’s familial obligations—in particular, the children—are nothing but burdens that “deprived her of privacy and drained her physical and emotional energy.” They mean this generously, as a way of accounting for why Carson didn’t write more, and why, except for her Sun articles, she never once submitted a manuscript on time.

But caring for other people brings its own knowledge. Carson came to see the world as beautiful, wild, animal, and vulnerable, each part attached to every other part, not only through prodigious scientific research but also through a lifetime of caring for the very old and the very young, wiping a dying man’s brow, tucking motherless girls into bed, heating up dinners for a lonely little boy. The domestic pervades Carson’s understanding of nature. “Wildlife, it is pointed out, is dwindling because its home is being destroyed,” she wrote in 1938, “but the home of the wildlife is also our home.” If she’d had fewer ties, she would have had less insight."
"
care  caring  jilllepore  rachelcarson  children  emotionallabor  vulnerability  science  age  aging  nature  understanding  howwelearn  wildlife  sustainability  biographies  biographers 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Impakt Festival 2017 - Performance: ANAB JAIN. HQ - YouTube
[Embedded here: http://impakt.nl/festival/reports/impakt-festival-2017/impakt-festival-2017-anab-jain/ ]

"'Everything is Beautiful and Nothing Hurts': @anab_jain's expansive keynote @impaktfestival weaves threads through death, transcience, uncertainty, growthism, technological determinism, precarity, imagination and truths. Thanks to @jonardern for masterful advise on 'modelling reality', and @tobias_revell and @ndkane for the invitation."
https://www.instagram.com/p/BbctTcRFlFI/ ]
anabjain  2017  superflux  death  aging  transience  time  temporary  abundance  scarcity  future  futurism  prototyping  speculativedesign  predictions  life  living  uncertainty  film  filmmaking  design  speculativefiction  experimentation  counternarratives  designfiction  futuremaking  climatechange  food  homegrowing  smarthomes  iot  internetofthings  capitalism  hope  futures  hopefulness  data  dataviz  datavisualization  visualization  williamplayfair  society  economics  wonder  williamstanleyjevons  explanation  statistics  wiiliambernstein  prosperity  growth  latecapitalism  propertyrights  jamescscott  objectivity  technocrats  democracy  probability  scale  measurement  observation  policy  ai  artificialintelligence  deeplearning  algorithms  technology  control  agency  bias  biases  neoliberalism  communism  present  past  worldview  change  ideas  reality  lucagatti  alextaylor  unknown  possibility  stability  annalowenhaupttsing  imagination  ursulaleguin  truth  storytelling  paradigmshifts  optimism  annegalloway  miyamotomusashi  annatsing 
november 2017 by robertogreco
My Grandmother’s Shroud - The New York Times
"When my grandmother, my mother’s mother, died in late June in Nigeria, I was in Italy, at a conference. I wasn’t with her when she slipped into a coma or, three days later, when she died. When my brother told me the news, I called my mother and other members of my family to commiserate with them. She was buried the day of her death, in keeping with Muslim custom, and I couldn’t attend her funeral. My mother, visiting friends in Houston, would also miss the funeral.

I opened my computer and began to search my folders for pictures of my grandmother. On each yearly trip to Nigeria for the past several years, I went to see her in Sagamu, a town an hour northeast of Lagos, where she was born and where she lived for most of her life. On these visits, she would say: ‘‘Sit next to me. I want to feel your hands in mine. Be close to me. I want your skin touching mine.’’ I was always happy to sit with her and to hold hands with her. Afterward, I took photos. I have photos now of her alone, in selfies with me, in the company of my mother and my aunts. In these photos, she has surprisingly smooth skin, hardly any gray hair and, in most of them, a trace of amusement. In one, especially touching photo, my wife, Karen, applies polish to her nails.

To remain close to our dead, we cherish images of them. We’ve done so for millenniums. Think of the Fayum portraits, which show us the faces of Egyptians during the Imperial Roman era with stunning immediacy. Images — paintings, sculptures, photographs — remind us how our loved ones looked in life. But in most places and at most times, portraiture was available only to society’s elites. Photography changed that. Almost everyone is now captured in photographs — and outlived by them. Photographs are there when people pass away. They serve as reservoirs of memory and as talismans for mourning.

My grandmother was born in 1928. Her given name was Abusatu, but we called her Mama. Mama’s father, Yusuf, was a stern imam in Sagamu, and Yusuf’s father, Salako, was said to have been even more severe. But Mama herself was serene and good-natured, kind and tolerant. She was deeply consoled by her religion but not doctrinaire. Of her five daughters, two (including her firstborn, my mother) married Christians and converted to Christianity. It made no difference to Mama. The family had Muslims, Christians and some, like myself, who drifted away from religion entirely. Mama loved us all. An example of her unobtrusive kindness: While I was a college student in the United States, she sent me a white hand-woven cotton blanket. I never knew why and didn’t ask. But it is to this day the most precious piece of cloth I own.

I was leaving Rome when I received the sad news of Mama’s death. She was approaching 89. The end came swiftly, and she was surrounded by family. You could say it was a good death. But why couldn’t she have lived to 99, or to 109, or forever? Death makes us protest the fact of death. It makes us wish for the impossible. I could objectively understand that it was unusual to have had a grandmother in my 40s, and that my 67-year-old mother was equally fortunate in having had a mother so long. My father was 5 when his mother died, and he has been mourning her for longer than my mother has been alive. But the grieving heart does not care for logic, and it refuses comparisons. I mourned Mama as I left Italy for New York.

I mourned her but did not, or was not able to, weep. I arrived in New York in the late afternoon, perhaps at the very moment Mama was being interred. My mother had forwarded a couple of photos taken by my cousin Adedoyin to my wife’s WhatsApp. Karen reached for her phone and showed me the pictures. They were a shock. One was of Mama, dead on her hospital bed, wearing a flowery nightdress and draped in a second flowery cloth, the oxygen tube still taped to her nostrils. Her right arm was limp at her side, and she was not quite like someone asleep but rather like someone passed out, open and vulnerable. The other photograph, which seemed to have been cropped, showed a figure wrapped in a shroud, tied up with white twine, set out on a bed in front of a framed portrait: a white bundle in vaguely human shape where my grandmother used to be. I burst into sudden hot tears.

What did these photographs open? Imagination can be delicate, imposing a protective decorum. A photograph insists on raw fact and confronts us with what we were perhaps avoiding. There she is, my dear Mama, helpless on the hospital bed, and I cannot help her. Days later, I would find out from my mother that in this first photograph, Mama was still in a coma and not dead yet. But looking at the second photograph, the one in which she is incontrovertibly dead, my thoughts raced through a grim logic. I thought: Why have they wrapped her face up? Then I thought: It must be stifling under that thing, she won’t be able to breathe! Then I thought: She’s dead and will never breathe again. Then my tears flowed.

Mama’s life was hard. An itinerant trader of kola nut and later the owner of a small provisions shop, she was one of my late grandfather’s five wives and by no means the best treated. She never went to school, and the only word she could write was her name, sometimes with the ‘‘s’’ reversed. But when Baba died more than 20 years ago, Mama moved out of his house and lived in the two-story house that my mother built her. She was a women’s leader, a kind of deaconess, at the local mosque. She went to parties, to market and to evening prayers. She lived in the security of her own house, in the company of her widowed second daughter, my aunt. In those later years, life became easier.

‘‘She has a single obsession,’’ my mother used to say, ‘‘and that’s her burial rites.’’ Mama insisted that she be buried the same day she died. ‘‘She’ll say, ‘And I must not be buried at the house,’ ’’ my mother said, ‘‘ ‘Because what’s rotten must be thrown out. And for seven days, food must be cooked and taken to the mosque and served to the poor.’ ’’ And most important, my mother said, Mama would reiterate that in a cupboard in the room next to the meeting room in her house was her robe, the one she must be buried in. It was of utmost importance to her to meet her maker wearing the robe with which she approached the Kaaba, the holiest shrine in Islam.

The hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, which she undertook in 1996, when she was 68, transfigured my grandmother. Through that journey, through her accomplishment of one of the central tenets of Islam, she sloughed off her old life and took on a new one, one that put her into a precise relationship with eternity. The year of her journey, thousands of Nigerian pilgrims were turned back, because of meningitis and cholera outbreaks. My grandmother was one of a few hundred who got through. When she returned from Mecca, many of her townspeople took to calling her ‘‘Alhaja Lucky.’’ And as though to fit the name, she wore the serene mien of someone who was under special protection.

My mother, an Anglican Christian, financed the journey, knowing what it would mean to her mother to fulfill this final pillar of the faith. But possibly, she had no idea how much it would mean. She anticipated the social satisfaction Mama would get from it but had not counted on the serious existential confirmation it provided.

In the last few years, I often thought of Mama’s pilgrimage robe. I thought about how fortunate she was to have something in her possession so sacred to her, something of such surpassing worth, that she wished to have it on when she met God. And she had her wish: Beneath the plain white shroud in which she was sheathed after she died was that simple pilgrimage robe.

I look at the various photographs from Alhaja Lucky’s last years on my computer. None of them really satisfy me. Many are blurry, most are banal. I really like only the ones of her hands: They remind me of her wish to have her hands touched by mine. But the photograph I cannot stop thinking about is the one Adedoyin took, of Mama in her funeral shroud. The image reminds me of newspaper photos of funerals in troubled zones in the Middle East: an angry crowd, a shrouded body held aloft. But Mama was not a victim of violence. She died peacefully, well past the age of 88, surrounded by family.

Nevertheless, the custom is connected. It is a reminder that the word ‘‘Muslim’’ — so much a part of current American political argument, and so often meant as a slur — is not and has never been an abstraction, not for me, and certainly not for millions of Americans for whom it is a lived reality or a fact of family. A lead headline in The New York Times just a few days after Mama’s burial read: ‘‘Travel Ban Says Grandparents Don’t Count as ‘Close Family.’ ’’ The headline was about travel restrictions on visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries. Nigeria was not on the list, but the cruelty and absurdity of the policy was vivid. It felt personal.

On the night of Mama’s burial, I lay down to sleep in my apartment in Brooklyn. I couldn’t shake the image of my cousin’s photograph. I went into the closet and took out the white cotton blanket Mama sent me all those years ago. It was a hot night, high summer. I draped the blanket over my body. In the darkness, I pulled the blanket slowly past my shoulders, past my chin, over my face, until I was entirely covered by it, until I was covered by Mama."
2017  tejucole  photography  death  memory  nigeria  aging  relationships  hajj  islam  purpose  grief  mourning  grieving  customs  objects  textiles  immigration  us  policy  connection  families  tolerance  religion  acceptance  mecca  eternity  belief  spirituality  burial  life  living  change  transformation  talismans 
july 2017 by robertogreco
What the West Can Learn From Japan About the Cultural Value of Work - The New York Times
"A few weeks ago, in a Kyoto tempura bar, I watched a lone chef, a man in late middle age, cooking behind a counter for his 11 customers. The set menu had 15 items on it. That meant that at any given moment, he was keeping track of 165 pieces of food, each subject to slightly different timing and technique. He wrote nothing down and expended no apparent effort. It was a demonstration of total mastery. This didn’t look so much like a job as a life: His work was his whole being.

That’s a thing you notice in Japan, the deep personal investment people make in their work. The word shokunin, which has no direct translation, sums it up: It means something like “master or mastery of one’s profession,” and it captures the way Japanese workers spend every day trying to be better at what they do.

Shokunin culture can have a side that, to those of us raised on a more brutally capitalistic worldview, verges on the ridiculous. Outside the Sanjusangendo temple in Kyoto, I saw a man standing with a yellow glow stick, pointing pedestrians toward the sidewalk instead of to the parking lot nearby. Presumably, if a vehicle had come, he would have pointed it toward the lot. “That guy is basically a sign,” my son said. He was right — and this was a job you often see in Japan, often in relation to vehicular access: a person performing a job that in any other developed society is either automated away or ignored.

On another occasion, while waiting at a bus stop in the seaside city of Kobe, I found myself watching a group of five men who were drilling a hole. Or rather, one of them was; the other four were watching him. For the whole 30 minutes, that’s all they did. But they didn’t do it reluctantly, or while checking their smartphones, or gossiping, or anything. It was like a demonstration: “All other techniques for watching a guy dig a hole are incorrect. This is how you watch a guy digging a hole.”

“People whose jobs involve literally doing nothing,” an American teacher said to me after I got off the bus and described this scene. At the time, though, I was left thinking something different: that what I saw were people who had a strong feeling that their work was meaningful. For these workers, the value they attached to work wasn’t simply its economic value to them. A train conductor bows on entering and exiting a train compartment; a department-store worker does the same thing coming or going from a shop floor, whether observed or not, whether the store is heavingly busy or almost deserted. It’s clear that there are deep cultural differences at work here, not all of them benign; the reason Japanese has a word for “death from overwork” is because it needs one. You could even argue that work has too much meaning, is too freighted with consequences for individual identity, in Japan.

Among economists, Japan is a byword, a punch line, a horror story. The boom of the late ’80s and early ’90s — during which it became popular to imagine a Japan-dominated economic future, the subject of Michael Crichton’s thriller “Rising Sun,” for instance — was followed by a spectacular stock-market crash. The Nikkei share index hit a high of 38,957 on Dec. 29, 1989. Over the next two decades, it fell 82 percent. Twenty-seven years later, it is still only at less than half that 1989 value. Property values crashed along with share prices, which turned large parts of the financial system into zombie banks — meaning banks that hold so many bad assets that they are essentially broke, which means they can’t lend money and therefore cease to fulfill one of a bank’s central roles in the modern economy, which is to help keep the flow of credit moving.

The Japanese economy ground to a halt. Inflation slowed, stalled and turned to outright deflation. Add Japan’s aging and shrinking population, contracting G.D.P. and apparently unreformable politics, and you have a picture of perfect economic gloom.

It doesn’t feel like that when you visit, though. The anger apparent in so much of the developed world simply isn’t visible in Japan. A student of the culture would tell you that public displays of anger are frowned on in Japan; a demographer would point to the difficult prospects faced by young Japanese, paying for an older generation’s lavish health care and benefits that they are unlikely ever to enjoy themselves. The growth numbers would seem to imply a story about stagnation. But unemployment is almost nonexistent — at 3 percent, it’s among the lowest in the developed world. The aging of the society is visible, but so is the distinctive liveliness of the various youth cultures. I’ve been to plenty of stagnant places, and lived in one or two as well, and contemporary Japan isn’t one of them.

Why? A big part of the answer, I think, lies in the distinctive Japanese attitude toward work — or more specific, toward meaning in work.

Work is good, but meaningful work is better. I wonder whether our shiny new Western world of work — post-manufacturing, un-unionized, gig-based, insecure — offers as much sense of meaning as work once did, or as it still seems to in Japan. In Derek Walcott’s epic poem “Omeros,” a wide-ranging reimagining and mash-up of Homer’s Aegean and the contemporary Caribbean, he writes admiringly and respectfully of his protagonist, Achille, a St. Lucian fisherman. Achille is a man “who never ascended in an elevator,/who had no passport, since the horizon needs none,/never begged nor borrowed, was nobody’s waiter.” Near the end of Walcott’s long, meditative, elusive poem, that line gave me a jolt. What’s so bad about waiting tables? Is there really something so lessening, something analogous to begging or borrowing, about being a waiter?

The answer to that question for lots of people is yes. This isn’t a general human truth about workers at all times and in all cultures, because there are places where waiting and where service in general are deeply respected jobs. But it’s apparent that the new service work has many people doing things that aren’t congruent with their sense of their identity. A life is the story of a life, and that story, for many, has become one of decline and loss, of reduction in self-esteem. The tension in status between different types of work is one theme of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle” — indeed, that is essentially what his struggle is, the gap between the narrator’s sense of what he should be doing, as a writer, and what he actually does all day, as a homemaker: “Clean floors, wash clothes, make dinner, wash up, go shopping, play with the children in the play areas, bring them home, undress them, bathe them, look after them until it is bedtime, tuck them in, hang some clothes to dry, fold others, and put them away, tidy up, wipe tables, chairs and cupboards.”"
ork  labor  mearning  japan  culture  economics  2016  johnlancaster  purpose  aging  shokunin  manufacturing  anger  resentment  derekwalkcott  service 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Meet the Perennials
"Gina Pell on the Perennials, the growing group of people who aren’t bound by age in the way most people in society used to be.
We are ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages. We get involved, stay curious, mentor others, are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded, risk takers who continue to push up against our growing edge and know how to hustle. We comprise an inclusive, enduring mindset, not a divisive demographic.

This is an idea that’s been gathering steam for some time. In 2006, Adam Sternbergh wrote Up With Grups for New York Magazine.
Let’s start with a question. A few questions, actually: When did it become normal for your average 35-year-old New Yorker to (a) walk around with an iPod plugged into his ears at all times, listening to the latest from Bloc Party; (b) regularly buy his clothes at Urban Outfitters; (c) take her toddler to a Mommy’s Happy Hour at a Brooklyn bar; (d) stay out till 4 A.M. because he just can’t miss the latest New Pornographers show, because who knows when Neko Case will decide to stop touring with them, and everyone knows she’s the heart of the band; (e) spend \$250 on a pair of jeans that are artfully shredded to look like they just fell through a wheat thresher and are designed, eventually, to artfully fall totally apart; (f) decide that Sufjan Stevens is the perfect music to play for her 2-year-old, because, let’s face it, 2-year-olds have lousy taste in music, and we will not listen to the Wiggles in this house; (g) wear sneakers as a fashion statement; (h) wear the same vintage New Balance sneakers that he wore on his first day of school in the seventh grade as a fashion statement; (i) wear said sneakers to the office; (j) quit the office job because-you know what?-screw the office and screw jockeying for that promotion to VP, because isn’t promotion just another word for “slavery”?; (k) and besides, now that she’s a freelancer, working on her own projects, on her own terms, it’s that much easier to kick off in the middle of the week for a quick snowboarding trip to Sugarbush, because she’s got to have some balance, right? And she can write it off, too, because who knows? She might bump into Spike Jonze on the slopes; (l) wear a Misfits T-shirt; (m) make his 2-year-old wear a Misfits T-shirt; (n) never shave; (o) take pride in never shaving; (p) take pride in never shaving while spending $200 on a bedhead haircut and $600 on a messenger bag, because, seriously, only his grandfather or some frat-boy Wall Street flunky still carries a briefcase; or (q) all of the above?

As part of a package of 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now, Catherine Mayer wrote about Amortality for Time Magazine.
Amortals live among us. In their teens and 20s, they may seem preternaturally experienced. In later life, they often look young and dress younger. They have kids early or late — sometimes very late — or not at all. Their emotional lives are as chaotic as their financial planning. The defining characteristic of amortality is to live in the same way, at the same pitch, doing and consuming much the same things, from late teens right up until death.

Cowell is one of their poster boys; so too is France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, as mercurial as a hormonal teenager. Madonna is relentlessly amortal. It’s easier to diagnose the condition in the middle-aged, but there are baby amortals — think Mark Zuckerberg, the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, who looks set to comport himself like a student geek to the end of his days. The eldest amortals, born long before the first boomer wave, are still making mischief around the world.

As centers of culture, big cities have always been places where people could go to not act their age. The internet has become another of those places — no one knows you’re a dog or 43 years old or 14 years old — and the sort of reinvention that’s commonplace online has leaked out into the real world."
people  society  socialnorms  millennials  2016  adamsternbergh  catherinemayer  age  aging  amortals  reinvention  agelessness  via:lukeneff 
november 2016 by robertogreco
BBC - Capital - Is full-time work bad for our brains?
"If you’re over 40, working more than 25 hours a week could be affecting your intelligence, new research suggests."
work  labor  psychology  health  brain  aging  2016  via:kenyattacheese  fatigue 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Akira Kurosawa to Ingmar Bergman: “A Human Is Not Really Capable of Creating Really Good Works Until He Reaches 80” | Open Culture
"Dear Mr. Bergman,

Please let me congratulate you upon your seventieth birthday.

Your work deeply touches my heart every time I see it and I have learned a lot from your works and have been encouraged by them. I would like you to stay in good health to create more wonderful movies for us.

In Japan, there was a great artist called Tessai Tomioka who lived in the Meiji Era (the late 19th century). This artist painted many excellent pictures while he was still young, and when he reached the age of eighty, he suddenly started painting pictures which were much superior to the previous ones, as if he were in magnificent bloom. Every time I see his paintings, I fully realize that a human is not really capable of creating really good works until he reaches eighty.

A human is born a baby, becomes a boy, goes through youth, the prime of life and finally returns to being a baby before he closes his life. This is, in my opinion, the most ideal way of life.

I believe you would agree that a human becomes capable of producing pure works, without any restrictions, in the days of his second babyhood.

I am now seventy-seven (77) years old and am convinced that my real work is just beginning.

Let us hold out together for the sake of movies.

With the warmest regards,

Akira Kurosawa"
akirakurosawa  ingmarbergman  age  aging  appreciation  1988  creativity  film  filmmaking  tessaitomioka 
july 2016 by robertogreco
When and Why We Cry In Films - YouTube
"We might assume that the moment we cry in films is when something very sad or troubling is occurring. But the truth is rather stranger. We often break down is when things are particularly lovely."
grace  innocence  loveliness  goodness  crying  human  humans  aging  schooloflife  film  emotions  sadness  happiness 
july 2016 by robertogreco
McDonald's: you can sneer, but it's the glue that holds communities together | Business | The Guardian
[Tweeted previously:
"“Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy.” When our public institutions no longer serve the public."
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/742821334476951554

and noting
"Same with other chains (like Starbucks, KFC) in my neighborhood. Places for youth to assemble too, when programs come with too many strings."
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/742821897553874944

"When many lower-income Americans are feeling isolated by the deadening uniformity of things, by the emptiness of many jobs, by the media, they still yearn for physical social networks. They are not doing this by going to government-run community service centers. They are not always doing this by utilizing the endless array of well-intentioned not-for-profit outreach programs. They are doing this on their own, organically across the country, in McDonald’s.

Walk into any McDonald’s in the morning and you will find a group of mostly retired people clustering in a corner, drinking coffee, eating and talking. They are drawn to the McDonald’s because it has inexpensive good coffee, clean bathrooms, space to sprawl. Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy."



"In almost every franchise, there are tables with people like Betty escaping from the streets for a short bit. They prefer McDonald’s to shelters and to non-profits, because McDonald’s are safer, provide more freedom, and most importantly, the chance to be social, restoring a small amount of normalcy.

In the Bronx, many of my friends who live on the streets are regulars. Steve, who has been homeless for 20 years, uses the internet to check up on sports, find discarded papers to do the crossword puzzle, and generally escape for a while. He and his wife Takeesha will turn a McDonald’s meal into an evening out. Beauty, who has been homeless for five years, uses the internet to check up on her family back in Oklahoma when she can find a computer to borrow.

Most importantly though, McDonald’s provide many with the chance to make real and valuable connections. When faced with the greatest challenges, with a personal loss, wealthier Americans turn to expensive therapists, others without the resources or the availability, turn to each other.

In Sulfur Springs, Texas, in the late morning, Lew Mannon, 76, and Gerald Pinkham, 78, were sitting alone at a table, the last of the morning regulars to leave. She was needling him about politics. (“I like to tease the men who come, get them all riled up, tell them they just don’t want a female as president.”) Both are retired, Gerald from working for an airfreight company, and Lew after 28 years as a bank teller.

When I asked Lew about her life, she started to tear up, stopped for a second, and composed herself. “Life is hard. Very hard. Seven years ago I lost my husband to leukemia. Then three years ago I lost one of my sons. Health complications from diabetes. When my son died, I had nobody to help me, emotionally, except this community here. Gerald lost his wife three years ago, and we have helped support each other through that.”

She stopped again, unable to speak from tears. After a moment of silence: “I look composed on the outside. Many of us do. But I struggle a lot on the inside. This community here gives me the support to get by.”"

[Update: Kenyatta Cheese blogged this with the following notes:
http://finalbossform.com/post/145925082985/mcdonalds-you-can-sneer-but-its-the-glue-that

I’ve learned through @triciawang that spaces like these are known as third places in sociology. Third places are neutral, accessible spaces where people can meet with old friends and be exposed to possible new ones.

Tricia spent a decade living in, mapping, and understanding third places in Beijing, Wuhan, Brooklyn, Bangalore, and Oaxaca. (She’s badass that way.)

She taught me that Starbucks and Pizza Hut serve a similar role among young folks in China, especially for people who don’t necessarily feel comfortable sleeping in the third places that are internet cafes.

Small note on how this connects to @everybodyatonce: tv networks and creators sometimes ask us if they should create a dedicated app or website for their fandoms to which we almost always say no.

Much like the government-run community center, a dedicated app creates an unnecessary barrier to entry for new fans and requires you to program the space in the same way that you need to program and organize physical space. By meeting fans in neutral spaces (tumblr, twitter, IG, LJ, even reddit), you build bigger community by supporting the culture that already exists. ]
2016  chrisarnade  community  cities  mcdonalds  poverty  society  inequality  elitism  us  bureaucracy  elderly  aging  economics  civics  lowerclass  precarity  classism  thirdspaces  kenyattacheese  triciawang  beijing  starbucks  china  brooklyn  wuhan  bangalore  oaxaca  pizzahut  kfc  everybodyatonce  fandom  socialmedia 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Sobering IMF report on U.S. economy cites dwindling middle class, growing income equality | PBS NewsHour
"A new outlook issued Wednesday by the International Monetary Fund drew some startling conclusions about the U.S. economy. The report asserts that the American middle class is gradually shrinking, the seven-year economic recovery is starting to slow and the pronounced income equality divide may become worse without intervention. Judy Woodruff talks to Christine Lagarde of the IMF for more."
middleclass  cities  economics  us  2016  incomeinequality  inequality  disparity  urban  aging  consumption  poverty  participation  work 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Inclusive on Vimeo
"Learn how human-led design makes a deep and connecting impact, leading to innovative and inclusive solutions.

Learn more at inclusivethefilm.com

Participants:
Catharine Blaine K-8 School
Susan Goltsman - MIG, Inc
Will Lewis and Ted Hart - Skype Translator
TJ Parker - Pillpack
Graham Pullin - University of Dundee
The High School Affiliated to Renmin University Of China (RDFZ) Beijing
Jutta Treviranus - OCAD University
Mike Vanis - Interaction Designer"
inclusion  inclusivity  microsoft  via:ablerism  2015  design  catharineblaine  susangoltsman  willlewis  tedhart  tjparker  grahampullin  juttatreviranus  mikevanis  video  documentary  audiencesofone  sewing  aging  retirement  work  ambientintimacy  memory  nostalgia  presence  telepresence  inclusivedesign  technology  translation  healthcare  prescriptions  playgrounds  seattle  sanfrancisco  captioning  literacy  communication  hearing  deaf  deafness  skype 
june 2016 by robertogreco
being an artist and parent in a city of riches? w/Tim Devin by a-small-lab
"Part of a series of 'art' conversations for summer art, not-school 2016 in and around Mairangi Bay Arts Centre - small-workshop.info/sans2016/

Tim Devin (www.timdevin.com/) is a Boston-based artist, librarian, parent and more. His work supports the need for information and feeling connected that are essential for people having a say in their communities and the world at large. This discussion starts from three points coming out of his project "How to be an Artist and a Parent?" - how to be a "good parent" and also do the other stuff you need to do, the question of what happens to a community life pressures slowly hinder people from being creative, and the fact that both Boston and Auckland are going through huge transformations right now.

Provided in collaboration with Mairangi Arts Centre, with support of Creative Communities Scheme"

[Shared on Twitter: "Listening…"
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/686288610660757504

"making some connections to friendships, community, and housing https://tinyletter.com/metafoundry/letters/metafoundry-54-nominative-determinism … + http://www.vox.com/2015/10/28/9622920/housing-adult-friendship … + http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/how-friendships-change-over-time-in-adulthood/411466/ "
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/686288881134649344 ]
parenting  art  chrisberthelsen  2016  timdevin  community  cities  neighborhoods  somerville  japan  newzealand  realestate  slow  local  politics  housing  zoning  urban  urbanism  activism  friendship  age  aging  education  unschooling  deschooling  aukland  labor  work  gentrification  development  children  creativity  cognitivesurpluss  lcproject  openstudioproject  small  rents  inequality  economics 
january 2016 by robertogreco
How our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult - Vox
[via: https://tinyletter.com/metafoundry/letters/metafoundry-54-nominative-determinism ]

"In the Atlantic, Julie Beck has a great new piece on "How Friendships Change in Adulthood." [http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/how-friendships-change-over-time-in-adulthood/411466/ ] It will ring true for Vox readers of, uh, a certain age. Like my age, for instance. Old, is what I'm saying.

I do think, however, that Beck left out an interesting piece of the puzzle. Our ability to form and maintain friendships is shaped in crucial ways by the physical spaces in which we live. "Land use," as it's rather aridly known, shapes behavior and sociality. And in America we have settled on patterns of land use that might as well have been designed to prevent spontaneous encounters, the kind out of which rich social ties are built.

We get by with a little less help from our friends

It's a familiar tale that Beck tells: Early in life, friendships are central to our development and sense of self. This is true right up through to those early post-collegiate years, when everyone is starting out in their professional lives.

And then people get married. They have kids. Their parents get older and need more care. They settle into careers. All those obligations — spouses, kids, family, work — are things we have to do. Friendships are things we choose to do. And that means, when time contracts and things get busier, friendships get bumped.

So as we get older, time with friends tapers off. "[In a study we did,] we asked people to tell us the story of the last person they became friends with, how they transitioned from acquaintance to friend," researcher Emily Langan told Beck. "It was interesting that people kind of struggled":
In a set of interviews he did in 1994 with middle-aged Americans about their friendships, [researcher William] Rawlins [of Ohio University] wrote that, "an almost tangible irony permeated these adults' discussions of close or ‘real’ friendship." They defined friendship as "being there" for each other, but reported that they rarely had time to spend with their most valued friends, whether because of circumstances, or through the age-old problem of good intentions and bad follow-through: "Friends who lived within striking distance of each other found that… scheduling opportunities to spend or share some time together was essential," Rawlins writes. "Several mentioned, however, that these occasions often were talked about more than they were accomplished."


This is a sad story. People almost universally report that friendships are important to their happiness and well-being. They don't want to lose touch with friends and stop making new ones. They lament it constantly. (I can testify to all of this firsthand.)

But as the habits of family and work settle in, friendships become an effort, and as every tired working parent knows, optional effort tends to get triaged.

Is this an inevitable state of affairs?"
cars  housing  sociology  suburbs  aging  2015  friendships  parenting  work  life  happiness  well-being  juliebeck  davidroberts  williamrawlins  baugruppen  baugruppe 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Sweden's Minister of the Future Explains How to Make Politicians Think Long-Term | Motherboard
"Kristina Persson’s job is rather unique. Just over a year ago, Stefan Löfven, Sweden's current social democratic prime minister, decided the 70-year-old from Österstund would be the perfect figure to lead the country's new ministry of future issues, strategy and cooperation.

The idea behind the creation of such a ministry was a simple one: for Sweden to remain competitive tomorrow, it might, unfortunately, have to take unpopular steps today—and since politics and politicians, given elections and interests, tend to focus on the short-term, a watchdog for the long-term was needed.

It's easier said than done, as politics show us every day. Can you think of a politician willing to risk re-election for a better future they cannot benefit from? Most probably wouldn't. (Just look at American politicians' responses—or lack thereof—to climate change.) To understand a little more about how the new ministry works, how to plan the future, and why the Swedes always seems to be two steps in front of everybody else, I spoke with Persson.

Motherboard: Let’s start with the basics. What does long-term mean for you and your ministry?

Kristina Persson: Well, it really depends on the issue we are taking into consideration. It can be 5, 10 or even 50 years. Climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed with policies that looks at a 50 years or longer time spa\n, while the expansion of international cooperation is something we are working on with much shorter-term objectives.

Q: Can you tell us what are the areas you are focusing on?

A: The ministry is organized in three strategic groups. The first is concerned with the future of work, the second with the green transition and competitiveness, while the third one is what we call "global cooperation." Each strategic group brings together people with different backgrounds. Some come from the business community, others from civil society, trade unions, and academia. This variety is of the uttermost importance as the questions we are trying to address are complex, and finding solutions needs the cooperation of all of society’s stakeholders. No one [can be] excluded.

Q: Can you give us an example of your work?

A: Let’s take into consideration the "future of work" macro-area. There is no point trying to resist technological change and the expected automation of a great number of jobs in the coming years. Such an attitude would be shortsighted.

So the real question is not how we can try to delay the process. On the contrary, given the coming technological changes, how can we best prepare? And again, how can we guarantee that Sweden’s unemployment rate remains low and the level of social welfare the same as today? You see, these are not easy questions and if we want to find answers, we better start working now.

Q: Your ministry is a kind of odd one. You work across ministries rather than on your own agenda?

A: Yes, by its very nature the ministry of future issues overlaps with responsibilities of other ministries. For example, we work on issues that are the competence of the ministry of employment, the ministry of finance, as well as the foreign ministry. This makes our mission an extremely interesting one I believe. I think the best way to describe us is like a sort of internal government think tank whose role is to constantly remind others to include the long-term in the decision making process.

Q: That sounds quite complex, how is it to work with others?

A: It’s not always easy given the different perspectives of the different institutions involved. Yet ministries understand the importance of what we are doing and have always been quite cooperative.

We live in a world that is transforming at an unprecedented speed, a world that is constantly challenging and disrupting the old ways we are used to do things. Given the context, I believe that if politics wants to remain relevant and be useful to citizens, it needs to change its approach. It needs to experiment with new ways and new solutions. This is what we are doing at the ministry and it's quite ground breaking. A lot of colleagues from other countries have expressed interest in my work and I hope a similar institution will soon be developed in other parts of the world.

Q: I have a bit of a provocative question: Is there something undemocratic underlining your Ministry? Is it not as if you were saying that people only look at the short-term, and are unable to think long-term, so let’s create an unelected body to deal with that.

A: I can understand your point, but I disagree. If you think about it, most ministries have a top-down approach. By this I mean they decide on a specific policy and then, given they have a budget and political leverage, they have the power to implement it. This is a vertical approach, the opposite of the horizontal one we promote here at the ministry.

Rather than going top-down, we promote inter-ministerial collaboration and force decision makers to confront the long-term issues despite the fact this is harder to do sometimes. The product of our efforts are suggestions, never impositions, and I think this is very democratic. Also, whatever policy we might suggest has to be embraced other ministries in order to become a reality since we don’t have a budget and the political capital to push it through parliament.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you think that needs to be addressed other than climate change?

A: The demographic problem. Sweden, as well as the rest of Europe, has to cope with an increasingly ageing population. This raises questions about the present pension schemes and their sustainability. The issue is simple: who is going to pay for the pension benefits if in most European countries pensions will represent a higher percentage of GDP and fewer people will be part of the active labour force. We need to start thinking and acting now.

Q: When you are working, does anyone say something like "Oh my god, it's Kristina nagging about the long-term again"?

A: [Laughs] No, it has not happened yet."
kristinapersson  sweden  politics  policy  longterm  longnow  future  goodancestors  democracy  climatechange  aging  sustainability 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Welcome to 12 — Human Parts — Medium
"Welcome to 12

Welcome to your voice cracking on its way down.

Welcome to anger, to fists that ball up before thoughts.

Welcome to your body as a fog with unclear edges that nevertheless hits things hard.

Welcome to your mind galloping faster, to making more things to gallop over.

Welcome to the edge of the endless content of desire.

Welcome to publicity, to shame, to the cruelty of others as they look for themselves.

Welcome to the collision of your life and the fully indexed, searchable, unforgetting expression of it.

Welcome to power, to strength and speed, to the ropes of muscle in your limbs.

Welcome to all sorts of coarse hair.

Welcome to the feeling of smooth skin as foreign and therefore a revelation.

Welcome to reaching the tops of things.

Welcome to the feeling that those songs you stream could have leaked from your own heart.

Welcome to jokes about having some dirt on your upper lip, to people pretending to flick away a caterpillar under your nose.

Welcome to a talk about how to choose a lather, brush or gel, how to run a blade along your face without a ribbon of blood unspooling on your cheek.

Welcome to shaving for pretty much ever.

Welcome to being the object of desire, to the heat of another’s need on your neck.

Welcome to not being an object of desire and knowing it.

Welcome to all the naked people.

Welcome to sex and love and pain.

Welcome to talking and not talking about sex and love and pain.

Welcome to the intoxication of aloneness, of being responsible only for yourself.

Welcome to not just witnessing my ignorance but being disappointed by it.

Welcome to feeling not just not understood but not understandable.

Welcome to hugging your mother (still) with your arms above hers.

Welcome to your body as coil, as wire wound tight.

Welcome to not fitting in the world, to a world of new edges.

Welcome to the inflated currency of now.

Welcome to the puzzle of self, one that deepens in its solving."
adolescence  children  robinmeeks  2015  parenting  aloneness  bodies  body  puberty  pubescence  publicity  shame  skin  aging  love  pain  sexuality  self  identity 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Present Perfect Trailer - YouTube
"Present Perfect explores the very real experience of aging in America- both growing up, and growing old. Help us bring this incredible story to life. Go to http://www.presentperfectfilm.com/sup... to support this film!"
aging  preschool  agesegregation  us  2015  youth  agedesegregation 
september 2015 by robertogreco
White aging means post-millennial America is becoming more diverse everywhere | Brookings Institution
"While media attention continues to focus on the racial issues in America’s biggest cities and its most racially diverse regions, newly released census data make plain why we need to expect a more racially diverse America everywhere. It is because the rapidly aging U.S. white population is no longer contributing to gains in the number of the nation’s youth. The new statistics, for July 2014, show that the median age of whites has reached an all-time high of 43.1, while the national median age is 37.7. For Hispanics the median age is 28.5, and for those of two or more races it’s 19.8."
us  demographics  diversity  aging  2015  race 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Older Adults & Programming for People with Dementia | Art Museum Teaching
"The Museum of Photographic Arts, in San Diego, CA offers two notable programming initiatives for people with memory loss, and what I find most interesting is their approach to both engagement and assessment. The first program, Seniors Exploring Photography, Identity and Appreciation (SEPIA) promotes “art-based dialog and opportunities to create photographic images.” While it is designed for all seniors, MOPA has adapted the program for people with cognitive impairments, who make up about a quarter of the program’s audience, according to MOPA Lifespan Learning Coordinator Kevin Linde. The program is not too technical, offers choices, and provides experiences not focused on the participants’ memory loss.

The second MOPA offering is in partnership with the Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of California, San Diego, and three other museums in Balboa Park. The Memories at the Museum program, modeled after the Museum of Modern Art’s Meet Me at MoMA, focuses on conversation and interaction while engaging with art. Participants with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s can stimulate their verbal and visual abilities by discussing artwork in a comforting environment with their care partner.

So how do we know we are successful in our programs for people with memory loss? As I mentioned, assessing “learning outcomes,” as they are usually identified by museum educators, is not really helpful or appropriate for people with memory loss. Instead, MOPA focuses on measuring participant engagement, health, well-being, and positive feelings.

For instance, in March, MOPA piloted a four-week album-making course, My Life Through the Lens, based on the SEPIA program with the Shiley-Marcos Research Center. They blended together evaluative tools from the SEPIA program and those developed by Shiley-Marcos. A program evaluation survey posed multiple-choice plus open-ended questions and program participants could self identify as a caregiver or person with memory loss. Questions such as “what effect did the program have on your mood?” and “what effect did the program have on your relationship with your family member or friend?” helped MOPA understand the affective impact of the program. Kevin shared the survey results with me and I was pleased to learn that a number of participants felt the program had helped to increase their feelings of togetherness, closeness, and strengthening relationship bonds between the person with memory loss and the care partner.

I find it particularly exciting that the affective benchmarks developed for MOPA’s memory loss programs are being incorporated into the museum’s assessment of programs for all visitors. When I asked Kevin about this, he shared that the programs for seniors inspired MOPA to take a look at what works across the board in the museum and focus on the overall visitor experience.

What if all museums measured their success by visitor engagement, happiness, and health in addition specific learning outcomes? Kevin says that MOPA continues to focus on improving its evaluation and understanding the impact of the programs beyond the one or two hours when the visitor is at the museum. It is critically important to include the caregiver in both the programming and the evaluation. While working with other museums is helpful, partnering with social service organizations and non-traditional partners (such the Alzheimer’s Association and local universities) is also vitally important to serving growing older adult audiences with memory challenges."
museums  dementia  memory  memories  memoryloss  2015  aging  mopa  lisaeriksen 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Ethnography for aging societies: Dignity, cultural genres, and Singapore's imagined futures - FISCHER - 2015 - American Ethnologist - Wiley Online Library
"Social theory generated in and about Singapore lies in psychic depths and archive fevers of an immigrant society subjected to accelerated social changes that devalue the lives of those marked by aging. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Singapore, weaving together four kinds of data sets—gerontology psychiatric research and intervention; changing ritual forms; analytically phenomenological, paraethnographic theater and stories; and student video and drama projects—I argue that new literacies, pedagogies, and practices can foster enriched community life in posttraumatic, aging societies. Focusing on meaning and affect, and referencing Derrida on hauntology, archive fever, survie, and grammatology (as syntax of social configurations within which aging occurs, or, sociocultural texts, narratives, and symbols), I build on the ethnographic literatures on aging and explore strong metaphors of monstrous history (taowu), ghosts (hantu), obliviousness brought by prosperity (fat years), and intercultural repetition compulsions of unfilial children (Lear)."



"Histories’ shadows, ghosts, and specters are always present in the tangled political maneuverings of Southeast Asian nation-states. The elderly, often silenced, are among the keepers of these stories, the quotidian and lived realities coursing beneath the nationalist propaganda used by power holders to justify their “national interests” or “national security.” Ancestors’ graves are places for the fading and ever more haphazard retellings, particularly in Singapore, where graveyards are steadily being removed, producing legacy ghosts that not frequently, but also not infrequently, are said to cause bulldozers used in new construction to break down, requiring the rites of Taoist priests to smooth the way (e.g., Comaroff 2009)."

[via: http://justinpickard.tumblr.com/post/120173878395/histories-shadows-ghosts-and-specters-are ]
dignity  singapore  ethnography  elderly  aging  ancestors  graves  ghosts  2015  society  grammatology  hauntology  jacquesderrida  michaelfischer 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Assistive Technologies and Design: An Interview with Sara Hendren | superflux
"SF: You think a lot about the "the future of human bodies in the built environment". What are the most important insights you have gained in your research so far, about how the human body and prosthetics adapt to the built environment, or the other way around? How can we design a more symbiotic relationship, that is inclusive, but also unique to individuals?

SH: Those are questions I think about all the time! I’d say broadly that design researchers need much, much more user interview data than we have now—too often there’s a very small sampling of data that’s used to represent human-centered design research with user-experts. Because aging and sightedness and autism and so many other conditions are wildly various, we need much bigger and more robust data sets for understanding wayfinding and product use. See Boston’s Institute for Human-Centered Design’s new user expert lab as an example. They want to be as large a resource as possible, and one that clients can access and pay for when doing market research.

I also think there’s so much more thinking to be done at the systems level, rather than at the product level—but it should be systems research where designers and artists are key contributors at every stage. I think, for example, in cultures like the US and the UK, there’s a pretty narrow focus on individual independence as the only goal worth seeking out—and that independence is thought to be delivered solely via personal technological devices.

But what about community support programs that would be points of contact throughout a city, for help when a person with developmental disabilities needs help after a bus line has been rerouted, or when an elderly person needs assistance getting groceries in the door/shoveling snow? These kinds of systems would help people get and stay employed and stay in their homes for longer than might otherwise be the case.



"SF: What according to you are the drivers / weak signals / to which inclusive design for cities should be paying attention? From a technological, as well as social and cultural perspective?

SH: I think designers should first try to be more granular in their approach to “canonical” disabilities: blindness, deafness, and so on. I’d think, for example, about the gradations of sightedness that tend to get overlooked in tech for vision impairments: Most people who are technically blind, after all, *do* have some kind of visual field. They see high contrasts or bright lights only, perhaps. But they don’t operate in total darkness and they do use their vision to see.  There’s much more to be done with design accordingly, especially with *editing* cities for enriched use. Like: consider the high-contrast black and yellow markers along stairs and crosswalks and subway platforms and so on. What would users say about making those more tactile environments—even more than they are now? What else would they like to see in structural and architectural forms that could be better imagined or augmented, again with partial and low vision in mind? This would also address aging and the overall slow degeneration in vision as well."
sarahendren  2014  assistivetechnology  technology  design  community  blindness  deafness  impairment  disability  vision  aging  sight  sightedness  autism  difference  disabilities 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Japan’s rural schools run out of students | World news | The Guardian
"Urban migration, dwindling birthrates and an ageing society are combining to present Japanese education authorities with a big problem"



"The education ministry in Tokyo suggests two courses of action for these small schools. One is to integrate them with bigger ones, which the local district has ruled out for now. The second is to cooperate with nearby schools by holding joint lessons and by using technology.

The Aone school has only three joint classes with its closest neighboring school each year — though it’s just 20 minutes away – and decided IT was too complicated, even in high-tech Japan.

There are no computers in the classrooms. Masaaki Hayo, a professor at Bunkyo University, said this stems from an entrenched belief that education must entail direct communication, that using technology is a form of neglect.

“If schools follow government-approved curriculums, some activities can only be done in a [bigger] group. IT can be a way to create a bigger group of children and have them be more active,” he said. And that would help keep endangered schools open.

Chiharu Yamaguchi, the mother of the only two girls, moved to Aone nine years ago when she got married. She was shocked at how small the town was.

“I was worried about sending my kids to the school, but we decided to try it and I got to know the school and the parents and the teachers,” she said, as she waited by the school gate to walk her daughters home. “And that got rid of my worries.”"
japan  rural  schools  aging  2015  demographics  urbanization 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Refugees don’t need our tears. They need us to stop making them refugees | Anders Lustgarten | Comment is free | The Guardian
"Migration illustrates one of the signal features of modern life, which is malice by proxy. Like drones and derivatives, migration policy allows the powerful to inflict horrors on the powerless without getting their hands dirty. James Brokenshire, the minister who defended cutting Mare Nostrum on the nauseatingly hypocritical grounds that it encouraged migration, never has to let the deaths his decision helped to cause spoil his expensive lunch with lobbyists. It doesn’t affect him.

But it does affect us. Right now we are a diminished and reduced society, bristling with suspicion and distrust of others even as we perversely struggle with loneliness and alienation. We breathe the toxic smog of hatred towards immigrants pumped out by Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins, and it makes us lesser people.

Forget the fact that this society wouldn’t work without migrants, that nobody else will pick your vegetables and make your latte and get up at 4am to clean your office. Forget the massive tax contribution made by migrants to the Treasury. This is not about economics. Far too often, even the positive takes on migration are driven by numbers and finance, by “What can they do for us?”. This is about two things: compassion and responsibility.

Lampedusa, my play currently running at the Soho Theatre, focuses on two people at the sharp end of austerity Europe. Stefano is a coastguard whose job is to fish dead migrants out of the sea. Denise is a collector for a payday loan company. They’re not liberals. They don’t like the people they deal with. They can’t afford to. As Stefano says: “You try to keep them at arm’s length. There’s too many of them. And it makes you think, about the randomness of I get to walk these streets, and he doesn’t. The ground becomes ocean under your feet.”

But eventually, the human impact of what they do breaks through. And in their consequent struggles, both Stefano and Denise are aided by a friendship, reluctant and questioning, with someone they formerly thought of as a burden. This is compassion not as a lofty feeling for someone beneath you, but as the raw reciprocal necessity of human beings who have nothing but each other. This is where we are in the utterly corrupted, co-opted politics of the early 21st century. The powerful don’t give a shit. All we have is us.

But equally important is responsibility. In all the rage about migration, one thing is never discussed: what we do to cause it. A report published this week by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reveals that the World Bank displaced a staggering 3.4 million people in the last five years. By funding privatisations, land grabs and dams, by backing companies and governments accused of rape, murder and torture, and by putting $50bn into projects graded highest risk for “irreversible and unprecedented” social impacts, the World Bank has massively contributed to the flow of impoverished people across the globe. The single biggest thing we could do to stop migration is to abolish the development mafia: the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Investment Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

A very close second is to stop bombing the Middle East. The west destroyed the infrastructure of Libya without any clue as to what would replace it. What has is a vacuum state run by warlords that is now the centre of Mediterranean people-smuggling. We’re right behind the Sisi regime in Egypt that is eradicating the Arab spring, cracking down on Muslims and privatising infrastructure at a rate of knots, all of which pushes huge numbers of people on to the boats. Our past work in Somalia, Syria and Iraq means those nationalities are top of the migrant list.

Not all migration is caused by the west, of course. But let’s have a real conversation about the part that is. Let’s have a real conversation about our ageing demographic and the massive skills shortage here, what it means for overstretched public services if we let migrants in (we’d need to raise money to meet increased demand, and the clearest and fairest way is a rise in taxes on the rich), the ethics of taking the cream of the crop from poor countries. Migration is a complex subject. But let’s not be cowards and pretend the migrants will stop coming. Because they won’t. This will never stop."
migration  refugees  2015  malice  immigration  modernity  borders  compassion  responsibility  anderslustgarten  europe  eu  somalia  syria  africa  middleast  demographics  aging  ethics  morality  poverty  economics  iraq 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, and America’s cultural generation gap | Brookings Institution
"Underlying these trends is an emerging cultural generation gap, which I write about in my book “Diversity Explosion.” This gap reflects the increasing social distance between older whites—baby boomers and seniors—and younger, more racially diverse Gen Xers and millennials. The former grew up in the homogenous 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, years of low immigration, segregated minorities, and little interaction between the large white population and the mostly black racial minority population. As white baby boomers became older and more concerned with their own finances and economic well-being, they became more conservative on many dimensions, including voting and party identification. Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center and others show boomers and seniors to be less open to new immigrant groups and minorities, and more averse to a bigger government with more services (and higher taxes) than younger more diverse generations who, in addition to favoring greater government support for domestic programs, are more progressive on an array of social issues, from same-sex marriage to immigration reform. In essence, older white Americans do not see younger Americans as “their” children and grandchildren and have lost a common connection.

This perception needs to be corrected since, as the younger white population declines and older whites retire from the labor force, racial minorities, especially growing new minorities—Hispanics, Asians, and multiracial Americans—are more crucial to the nation’s future. The continued divided politics of race and age simply reinforce this old misperception."
generations  segregation  race  racism  aging  us  2015  generationalwarfare  marcorubio  hillaryclinton  economics  politics  policy  immigration  diversity  minorities 
april 2015 by robertogreco
THE WONDER YEARS, Involuntary Memory, and Mourning | judgmental observer
"This scene was just one of many that has resonated with me in new ways since I began rewatching The Wonder Years, some 24 years after it first aired. This experience has resulted in a doubled viewing position. On the one hand, I am watching as a 35-year-old and so the historical and cultural touchstones that I missed when I was 12 (the changing meaning of the suburbs in America in the 1960s; the anti-war movement; the students protests of 1968; The Feminine Mystique) are suddenly visible and significant. But at the same time, as I watch, I am still watching as a 12 year old."
thewonderyears  memory  nostalgia  childhood  parents  2015  via:jslr  amandaannklein  television  tv  proust  memories  mourning  age  aging  relationships 
april 2015 by robertogreco
My First Post on Family and Tribe | Best of Rob's Old Radio Posts
"Friday, March 28, 2003
I have been working on a research proposal to study the family and had this aha at least an aha for me today. Does the family exist anymore? So here are my musings

——————————————————————————————————————-

If we really look at the data for North America (WASPS) the family as we think of it is already dead! What I mean by the “family” is a two parent unit with at least one grandparent so that there are three generations involved all providing value to each other as a social unit in a rough world. We think that this is the family and I suspect that we think that we should hold this up as a model. Little knowing of course that for more than 4 million years we raised our children and did our work in a small 30-5 person unit that combined work and society called a tribe. Little knowing that all primates except us still use this arrangement. My aha was maybe that .our search for June Cleaver is getting in the way of the fact that June is dead and was never a good model anyway I wonder if looking for June obscures a possible return to the tribe and the deinstitutionalization at last of our western society?

What are the remnants of June today? What is the reality today? Most WASP families ( Most immigrant families still adhere to the larger extended model – by the way look at how much better their kids are doing at school) have only one parent – female (why are boys in trouble?) Very few have a grandparent in the mix and most grandparents are often not even in the same city. Elderly parents are also increasingly institutionalized. I fear that our society is becoming a society of one who interacts only with institutions and not with real people.

Children our greatest asset have become for most of us a huge economic drain. In their younger years they go to expensive daycare, they demand fashion and toys and have a closer connection to TV than to any other influence. As teens they need even more economic support: on PEI every teen has to have a car. If they go onto university the drain is even greater. Then after a few years on their own they often return home – sometime as single parents – and seek to be looked after all over again!!!! When do our children grow into adults? No wonder our wasp birthrate is below replacement. That itself is a sign of a powerful set of forces.

Tell that I am exaggerating. What do the stats tell us?

So long as we assume that the June Cleaver Family is alive, we think that we can and should go back to it. We feel guilt but we know that we cannot go back. So long as I feel that I should be somehow living my grandparent’s life, I am stuck. Here is the aspiration aspect - We want to strive for a better social unit. We can see a new model in business – the Wal-Mart response model. Can we see the new family emerging????? It must be but so long as we think that the old family is it, we won’t be able to see the new one.

Be assured that a new unit is emerging and will emerge. If we can describe it, it will become real for many people very quickly – they will aspirationally jump to a model that works. The prize is a big one for us as people, for business and for our nation.

This may then end the idea that we are only a disconnected individual whose only relationships are at work, whose children are in daycare and whose parents are in a home and whose protector is the state. For I sense that it is our growing dependence on institutions that has played a major role in why the 1950’s family has collapsed – it may also be worth studying these trends as well. It is surely important to know why we have come to this.

Putnam blames work and TV. He sees TV as a relationship blocker and as a community influence that drives a world of things over relationships and a world of passivity over exploration. I include for blame our school system where we teach the institutional Cartesian model as the main curriculum and where we deny all that we know about primate learning process. Kids who don’t fit are drugged. (30%?) I blame Daycare where we rely on a few strangers to park our small children at the most important learning period of their lives. Most of all we need to ask ourselves about the pull of the workplace out of the home where work has replaced most other relationships and has broken the bond of parent child and in many cases between spouses. Why have we put away all other relationships for those at work?

I bet that we are going to find that the tribe (a combined social and economic unit) is emerging again. You see this is the idea of Free Agent Nation where up to 50 million North Americans have left the traditional workplace and work for themselves mainly at home and who have set up networks of support for both work and social issues such as their kids and parents. I feel this among many of blogging out there who have built working relationships out of personal relationships. I have been touched at the help that I have received from many of you and I feel good that I can reach out in a way that is not possible in the traditional work place. I sense that blogging will itself create little tribes of co workers who also really care for each other. The more we work at home, the more we interact in a tribal way with our kids. I work with my son – it is my greatest joy. mainly he teaches me.

Daniel Pink I think provides us with a model for finding the new family. Pink himself went around America and discovered this group, saw its common elements and gave it a label. All of us who live like this suddenly understood what we were doing and how to do this better. We have a model and with a model we have power.

His book is having a profound impact as it enables individuals who thought that they were alone to see that theory make up a pattern. I suspect that the new family is located in this group who have healed the breach between work and life and who aspire to a living and not a paycheck. These people reject all institutions as do most of our kids. I wonder if we looked with fresh eyes that we might see that for many of us – a new family based on the tribe is emerging and that it is something that if we talk about more, will become more clear and more helpful"
robertpaterson  2003  families  economics  junecleaver  aging  elderly  children  institutions  society  relationships  interdependence  individualism  daycare  care  emotionallabor  tribes  danielpink 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Who Cares – The New Inquiry
"The supposedly natural emotions of love and compassion are used to compel many people, especially women, to work for free."



"Reports of neglect and abuse in hospitals and care homes appear with alarming regularity. Received narratives blame “burn-out”: understaffing, low wages and squeezed margins transform overworked and overstressed carers into monsters. The proposed solution is extra vigilance and “Compassion Training.” Shifting the question of working practices and worker wellbeing onto the terrain of compassion is a sleight of hand. It implies that care workers should police themselves and their colleagues rather than fight collectively for better pay and conditions. By this account, compassion flows in one direction only, from nurse to patient, and never between nurses, or from the nurse to her or his own family and friends."



"Of course, the majority of care workers—parents but mostly mothers, children but mostly daughters, spouses but mostly wives—never receive any wages at all. Within families, and other close interpersonal relationships, love and guilt are the mechanisms by which caring labor (cleaning, wiping, feeding and so on) is extorted from a largely female workforce. Perhaps this is what nurse-lecturers are really alluding to when they ask students to imagine their patients as their mothers. When women, who dominate caring professions, take their capacity to care away from the private sphere and sell it on the labor market instead, the same mechanisms—love and guilt—are called upon to bridge the shortfall in staff, resources and wages that characterize many caring institutions, whether they are run for profit or by the state."



"In the SCUM Manifesto, Valerie Solanas proposes that “thrill-seeking females overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.” In her vision of post-revolution society, all work will be performed by machines. Caring labor will be eliminated and will no longer be constitutive of expressions of love between individuals. Instead, women will spend their newfound leisure time expressing love for each other through intellectual discourse and great projects (e.g. curing death).

While increased leisure time and revolutionized interpersonal relationships have not yet been forthcoming, technology has already been employed in a range of caring tasks from baby formula milk or TV as babysitter to animal robots. However, we remain a long way from machines raising the next generation of workers and carers. As demonstrated by Harry Harlow’s heartbreaking experiments raising baby monkeys in isolation chambers with inanimate robot mothers, the task of reproducing socialized primates is complex and nuanced. So far, despite the deficiencies of some human carers, we do not have a machine that can care for the sick or bring up a child.

Many feminist theorists disagree with Solanas’s analysis. They argue that while in patriarchal capitalist societies women are overburdened with the tasks of love and care, these tasks are an inherent part of what it means to be human. For example, Selma James, co-founder of the International Wages for Housework Campaign, defends care work like this: “Mothers feeding infants, in fact all caring work outside any money exchange, is basic to human survival—not exactly a marginal achievement. What, we must ask in our own defense and in society’s, is more important than this?”"



"Is it possible to imagine a restructured society in which love remains the primary motivation for engaging in care work but where this labor is provided freely, without exploitation? We might assume that rich women love their families, but just as they don’t work in the factories where their iPhones are made, they rarely perform the hard graft of caring labor themselves. Instead they employ nurses and nannies. The reason that some working class women perform care work for rich people as well as for their own families and communities is not that they experience love more intensely. Or if they do, perhaps they experience it more intensely because they are required by capitalism to perform this labor. Ultimately they do it because they do not have a choice.

There are potentially a million different possible ways to treat the sick, raise children or organize intimacy. It’s at least imaginable that in a different social form we could cure ourselves with shared knowledge of pharmacologically active substances, or that sick people might choose to meditate on their pain alone, or countless other examples. In a fully communized society, it might be possible to retain both love and iPhones, but the conditions of their production and consumption would need to be radically transformed. It might be necessary, as Solanas suggests, to de-couple love from care work. Whatever happens, we must stop taking it for granted that women care and want to care. And we must begin to investigate the meaning of that caring."
care  caring  emotionallabor  2014  economics  lauraannerobertson  love  healthcare  gender  aging  children  parenting  childcare  eldercare  housework  homemaking  capitalism  labor  work  valeriesolanas  patriarchy  silviafederici  employment 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Tickler File Forever (Ftrain.com)
"When I see people older than myself in difficult circumstances—losing a job, faltering in a career, writing terrible prose, finding themselves dependent on younger people who don't respect them—I do not pretend that such embarrassments won't come to me, but I do try to take precautions by adding notes into my online calendar.

Some of these notes are typically annoying things that a person in his 30s might say to a person in his 70s: “Make sure you've been taking care of your health,” is there for 2025, but it should of course have been there for 1985, too. And “Don't stay too long in one place,” is down for December, 2032. “Machines probably doing everything, accept it,” for April 2060.

“Remember that transitions are painful,” is there for August, 2020. I can't remember what inspired that one, but it must have been something extra-awful.

“Younger people are taking over now, which is probably fine,” is something I have for myself in 2024, when I'm 50. And for 2075, when I'll be 101: “It's totally okay and likely better for everyone if you're dead,” In the “Description” field for that event is simply: “Start smoking.”

One day my wife came into my office and said, surprisingly: “You should have thought seriously about having children by now.” Then she shook her head and squinted at me.

I did not disagree, but I was confused.

“That popped up as a text message,” she said. “I was in a meeting. I thought it was from you, that you'd just sent it to me.”

She showed me the message on her phone. She shares my schedule. I'd added that calendar item three or four years before.

“I turned off alarms,” I told her. “I totally would have missed that if you hadn't caught it.”"
paulford  writing  calendars  notification  aging  gtd  future 
november 2014 by robertogreco
What ‘age segregation’ does to America - Ideas - The Boston Globe
"IT MAY SOUND STRANGE to us now, but until the late 19th century, according to historian Howard Chudacoff, age wasn’t such a defining fact about people’s lives. A professor at Brown University and the author of the book “How Old Are You? Age Consciousness in American Culture,” Chudacoff found that for most of the country’s history, people of different ages tended to mingle: Families were bigger, generations often worked side by side, and kids and adults got their entertainment at the same county fairs. Schoolchildren, meanwhile, were often assigned to classes based on how much they knew rather than when they were born.

All that changed with the Industrial Revolution. Child labor laws kept children out of dangerous factory jobs; older people were also deemed badly suited for new kinds of physically demanding work. Society began to divide people up into distinct stages. “Standardization spilled over into many different facets of life,” Chudacoff says, including the way people thought about the passage of time. Schools introduced so-called age-batching; birthdays became a bigger deal. In health care, pediatrics and gerontology broke off from the rest of medicine.

Today we divide people into generations and micro-generations almost obsessively, spending energy and marketing dollars trying to understand how millennials are constitutionally distinct from Gen-Xers. In dividing everybody into categories—tweens, thirtysomethings, senior citizens—our society implicitly treats age as a force that separates us."



"Among the broad societal effects that age segregation can have, experts say, is ageism, with young people regarding senior citizens as alien or feeble, and older folks dismissing younger generations as untrustworthy hooligans. “If you don’t have places where people can connect, if you have institutions that are focused on different age groups,” said Nancy Henkin, executive director of Temple University’s Intergenerational Center, an organization that promotes age-mixing, the result can be “negative stereotypes and people feeling isolated from each other.” This hurts both sides. Studies have shown that seniors in retirement homes benefit when they spend time reading to children and playing with them, while young people are given the chance to absorb wisdom and life experience.

Age segregation can even have costs among more closely linked groups. A study by husband and wife anthropologists Beatrice and John Whiting looked at age-mixing among children in six different cultures, and found that older kids who spent time with younger ones learned to be nurturing, while the younger ones learned valuable lessons about how to be part of a system where they were less dominant. Kids who only played with their exact peers, on the other hand, learned to be competitive."



"Rogoff, for her part, has compared the relationship between kids and adults living in West Newton and the Guatemalan town of San Pedro. She found that the Guatemalan children spent a lot more time around adults who were doing work, and frequently emulated work in their pretend-play—for instance, making imaginary tortillas out of dirt. In West Newton, Rogoff said, children seldom saw adults working, and time spent with parents was more often devoted to “child-focused activities” and conversations about “child-related topics.” “We’ve overdone it,” Rogoff said. “We wanted to protect kids from working in factories 100 years ago...but we have excluded so much from the life of the community that they don’t feel like they have anything to contribute, and they don’t have as much opportunity to learn.”"
age  aging  agesegregation  standardization  2014  history  children  elderly  us  maps  mapping  competition  nurturing  tcsnmy 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Failing the Third Machine Age: When Robots Come for Grandma — The Message — Medium
"In fact, automation usually follows this path: first, the job is broken down into pieces, and “lower-end” pieces are first outsourced to cheaper labor (China in the 20th century or rural laborers that fled to cities in 19th century), then automated and replaced with machines, then integrated into even more powerful machines.

And this automation always moves up the value chain. First, the machine does the arithmetic, but the human is still solving the integrals. Then Matlab comes for the integrals. Next, machines are doing mathematical proofs, and so up it goes the value chain, often until it hits a regulatory block, hence Silicon Valley’s constant desire to undermine regulation and licensing. Doctors are somewhat safe, for example, because of licensing requirements, but technology can find a way around that, too: witness the boom in cheaper radiologists located in India, reading US-based patients x-rays and MRIs; and “homework tutors” that tutor US-based kids remotely from China.

For example, it was nurses who used to take blood pressure. Then it became nurse’s assistants or physician’s assistant—much lower-paid jobs that require less training. Then came machines that perform a reasonable job taking your blood pressure, and the job became even less skilled. More and more, you only see your doctor for a few minutes so that her highly-paid time is dedicated to only that which she can do—is licensed to do—, and everything else is either automated or done by someone paid much less.

This arrangement has advantages but it is not without trade-offs. Your doctor will miss anything that requires a broader eye and reflection, because she’s spending very little time with you, and the information she has about you in front of her is low bandwidth—whatever the physician’s assistant checked on a chart. She may or may not notice your slightly pale skin if it’s not noted on the chart. Most of the time, that’s okay. Sometimes, though, patients spend months and years in this “low-bandwidth” medical care environment while nobody puts two-and-two-and-three-and-that-pale-skin and wait-didn’t-you-have-a-family-history-of-kidney-disease together.

Occasionally, loss of holistic awareness due to division of labor between humans and machines ends up in disasters."



"It’s those face-to-face professions, ones in which being in contact with another human being are important, that are growing in numbers—almost every other profession is shrinking, numerically.

No there won’t be a shortage of engineers and programmers either—engineers and programmers, better than anyone, should know that machine intelligence is coming for them fairly soon, and will move up the value chain pretty quickly. Also, much of this “shortage”, too, is about controlling workers and not paying them—note how Silicon Valley colluded to not pay its engineers too much, even as the companies in question had hoarded billions in cash. In a true shortage under market conditions, companies would pay more to that which was scarce. Instead, wages are stagnant in almost all professions, including technical ones.

Many of these jobs BLS says will grow, however, are only there for the grace-of-the-generation that still wants to see a cashiers while checking out—and besides, they are low-paid jobs. Automation plus natural language processing by machines is going to obliterate through those jobs in the next decade or two. (Is anyone ready for the even worse labor crisis that will ensue?) Machines will take your order at the fast-food joint, they will check out your groceries without having to scan them, it will become even harder to get a human on the customer service line.

What’s left as jobs is those transactions in which the presence of the human is something more than a smiling face that takes your order and enters into another machine—the cashier and the travel agent that has now been replaced by us, in the “self-serve” economy.

What’s left is deep emotional labor: taking care of each other.

And emotional labor is already greatly devalued: notice how most of it is so little paid: health-aides and pre-school teachers are among the lowest paid jobs even though the the work is difficult and requires significant skill and emotional labor. It’s also crucial work: economists estimate a good kindergarten teacher is worth about $320,000 a year, when measured as adult outcomes of those children she teaches well. (And yes, devalued emotional labor is mostly a female job around the world—and the gendered nature of this reality is a whole other post).

And the argument, now is that we should turn care over to machines as well, because, there is a “shortage of humans”.

What are seven billion people supposed to do? Scour Task Rabbit hoping that the few percent who will have money to purchase services have some desires that still require a human?

Turning emotional labor to machines isn't just economically destructive; it’s the very description of inhuman.

In my view, warehousing elderly and children—especially children with disabilities—in rooms with machines that keep them busy, when large numbers of humans beings around the world are desperate for jobs that pay a living wage is worse than the Dickensian nightmares of mechanical industrialization, it’s worse than the cold, alienated workplaces depicted by Kafka."



"So where to go? Here’s where not to go. Expecting all care work to be unpaid and done voluntarily (almost solely by women) is not the path forward.

I don’t mourn if Deep Blue beats Kasparov. Chess is a fine game, but it’s a pretty rigid game, invented by us as a game exactly because it doesn't play to our strengths—that’s why it’s a challenge and a game worth playing. If we were naturally good at it, there’d be no point to it as a game. I don’t mourn not having to dig ditches—though abandoning our flesh as if it were irrelevant is turning out not to be a good idea. Many of us hop on exercise machines that go nowhere to counter our coerced sedentary lifestyle, a development surely bemusing to our ditch-digging ancestors.

But surely we should mourn if we put our elderly and our children in “care” of metal objects animated by software because we, the richest society globally the world has ever seen, with so much abundance of wealth that there are persistent asset bubbles—indicating piles of wealth looking for something anything to invest in—as well as hundreds of millions, if not billions, of under and unemployed people around the world looking for a way to make a living in a meaningful way, cannot bring together the political will to remain human through taking care of each other, and making a decent living doing so."
automation  capitalism  economics  jobs  work  labor  2014  relationships  zeyneptufekci  edtech  care  caring  purpose  dehumanization  humanism  humans  society  childcare  aging  elderly  industrialization  emotionallabor  shrequest1  softskills 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Japan's ageing population could actually be good news - health - 07 January 2014 - New Scientist
"The conventional view is that this is bad news: shrinking numbers hobble economic growth and the ageing population is a major financial burden. But Eberstadt says there is another side. The proportion of Japan's population that is dependent on those of working age isn't unusual, he says, it's just that it has almost twice as many over-65s as children. Consequently Japan spends less on education. And because the Japanese are the world's healthiest, care bills are also lower than in other nations.

Japan's economy has been growing slowly for two decades now. But that too is deceptive, says William Cline of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington DC. Thanks to the falling population, individual income has been rising strongly – outperforming most US citizens'.

With 127 million people, Japan is hardly empty. But fewer people in future will mean it has more living space, more arable land per head, and a higher quality of life, says Eberstadt. Its demands on the planet for food and other resources will also lessen."
japan  population  2014  demographics  aging  future  economics  environment  health 
january 2014 by robertogreco
From the Abundance of the Heart… — This Happened to Me — Medium
"And yet many have been my idle words over the years. I wonder how much harm they have done to others, and even to me. I did not publish my first book until I was nearly 40, and while I used to regret that late start, I now am thankful that I didn’t get the chance earlier in life to pour forth yet more sentences to spend my latter years regretting. A handful of times over the years I have drafted essays only to realize, before submitting them, that I did not want to say what I had written there; and a few other times I have had cause to thank editors for rejecting pieces that, had they been published, would have brought me embarrassment later.

In some cases the embarrassment would have been because of arguments badly made or paragraphs awkwardly formed; but in others because of a simple lack of charity or grace. An essay begins with an idea, but an idea begins with a certain orientation of the mind and will — with a mood, if you please. We have only the ideas that our mood of the moment prepares us to have, and while our moods may be connected to the truth of things, they are normally connected only to some truths, some highly partial facet of reality. Out of that mood we think; out of those thoughts we write. And it may be that only in speaking those thoughts do we discern the mood from which they arose. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” — a terrifying judgment, when you think of it."
alanjacobs  words  power  regret  speech  2013  communication  time  embarrassment  slow  idlewords  thinking  truth  change  aging 
september 2013 by robertogreco
The Old Ones | The American Conservative
"Among the young there’s a strong investment in believing that no one has ever walked the paths they’re walking — just as among the old there’s an equally strong investment in believing that there’s nothing new under the sun."



"So good for Oliver Sacks, not only that he’s still thinking vigorously and writing well at 80, but that people are listening. But how many other sources of expertise and wisdom — perhaps uniquely valuable and otherwise inaccessible expertise and wisdom — are we ignoring because they’re old? Who is still out there with something to say that we need to hear, and could hear if we took the trouble? In whatever field of inquiry we care about, we need to seek them out and find them and pay attention to them — before it’s too late."
alanjacobs  2013  oliversacks  aging  age  old  new  nothingnewunderthesun  neoteny  ideas  readiness  impact 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Smile Because it Happened
"“Smile Because it Happened” is the latest project to come from our Digital Ethnography class (ANTH 677: Digital Ethnography Field Methods). We have become known for finding “community” where many people thought community would not exist. Until now, the communities we have studied were online. This project represents our first foray into the “real world.”

We chose the Meadowlark Hills retirement community because it is such a clear attempt to reclaim a sense of community at a time in which we are more disconnected than ever. The central hallway presents itself as the welcoming, walkable and lively small town downtown that only exists in the outside world as a shell of what it once was in the hollowed out ghosts towns of the Midwest. Based on progressive “elder-centered” living philosophies, Meadowlark represents one of the most impressive intentional community-building efforts we have yet to find in our studies – one that is all the more impressive by their own recognition that their own intentions to build community might get in the way of community itself. As we discovered during the making of this documentary, community is more like a happening to be lived, rather than a structure to be built.

For most students, this is their first exposure to video creation as well as their first exposure to real ethnographic research. But there is an unexpected freshness to the eye of the novice. Instead of doing traditional “documentary” video, we try to convey the blooming, buzzing complexity of a culture in whatever ways we can imagine. We seek to inspire empathy and a sense of connection between the audience and the subject, and all of our productions strive to achieve what we call “profound authenticity” – giving the viewer and the subject a sense of wonder about those things that otherwise seem mundane and trivial.

As readers of this blog will know, I am do not like to simply “cover” the material as a teacher. I believe that much of what needs to be learned in our courses can only truly be learned through real-life practice, so I work with students each year to find an inspiring project that allows them to put their whole selves into it. In this regard, this was probably the most successful project we have ever done. Students had to face their own fears of death, they had to grieve for those they lost, and they had to overcome their insecurities to reach across a generational divide that was both wider and narrower than they had imagined.

This was also the most challenging project we have ever done. Some of those challenges are featured in the final cut, but there were others that are not so neatly processed into a video story – or into any story at all. Working with the biggest themes of the human condition often leaves us with such irresolvable issues. Those are the ones that will stay with us long after the project is over, slowly working us over and continuing to challenge us.

How do you even begin to express thanks to a group of students who gave of themselves so fully, or to the residents who gave up their time and stories, or to the staff who so graciously hosted and guided us throughout the semester? I hope the video itself might be seen as an expression of our collective gratitude for one another. When we premiered this video to over 100 residents and staff at Meadowlark last month, I told them that I felt as if I were hugging the whole room as I clicked “play.” It was such a very special experience for all of us."

[Video link: https://vimeo.com/68388753 ]

"Ten university students move into Meadowlark Hills, a retirement community that CBS News calls 'a new kind of nursing home.' Unlike traditional nursing homes built on the model of the hospital, Meadowlark is built on the model of community, complete with a 'downtown' central hallway that features a bar, theater, cafe, restaurant, and salon. Meadowlark is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) and they gave the students a room in the Independent Living portion of the campus to live in for one semester. This is their story."
michaelwesch  meadowlarkhills  retirement  anthropology  aging  retirementhomes  documentary  nursinghomes  ethnography 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Futures Project | Centre for the Living Arts
Futures Project (May—January 2014) is a nine-month program that will examine  future possibilities for the Gulf Coast, with focus areas that are both expected and unexpected.

Futures Project will feature a group exhibition of emerging and established visual artists from around the world in our 16,000 square ft. gallery. In addition to the exhibition, the CLA will organize an extensive slate of educational and public programming to compliment and amplify Futures Project.

Artists’ projects are considered a springboard for new conversations, and the CLA welcomes their input and ideas for all public programs and activities. A different topic relating to the future will be examined each month through film screenings, public forums and conversations, studio classes and workshops for all ages, plus special programming for teens and seniors.

Topics under consideration for monthly programming include:
Future of:

Childhood & aging
Home, place & immigration
Race, class & ethics
Communication, information, knowledge & wisdom
Education & learning, success & failure
Health, wellness & spirituality
Environment, climate change, prediction & politics
Art & cultural organizations
Mobile & downtown economic development
centerforthelivingarts  art  futures  childhood  aging  home  place  immigration  race  class  ethics  communication  information  knowledge  wisdom  education  learning  success  failure  health  wellness  spirituality  environment  climatechange  prediction  politics  culture  mobile  economics  development  2013  2014  2x4  candychang  dawndedeaux  tomleeser  kennyscharf  artpark  xavierderichemont 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Paris Review - The Art of Poetry No. 91, Jack Gilbert
"He failed out of high school and worked as an exterminator and door-to-door salesman before being admitted, thanks to a clerical error, to the University of Pittsburgh. There he met the poet Gerald Stern, his exact contemporary. Gilbert started writing poetry, he says, because Stern did."



'INTERVIEWER: Do you think it’s important for American writers to live abroad?

GILBERT: At least at some point—so you have something to compare to what you think is normal, and you encounter things you aren’t used to. One of the great dangers is familiarity."



"INTERVIEWER: Did being removed from the literary community benefit you?

GILBERT: Sure.

INTERVIEWER: What did you like most about it?

GILBERT: Paying attention to being alive. This is hard—when I try to explain, it sounds false. But I don’t know any other way to say it. I’m so grateful. There’s nothing I’ve wanted that I haven’t had. Michiko dying, I regret terribly, and losing Linda’s love, I regret equally. And not doing some of the things I wanted to do. But I still feel grateful. It’s almost unfair to have been as happy as I’ve been. I didn’t earn it; I had a lot of luck. But I was also very, very stubborn. I was determined to get what I wanted as a life.

INTERVIEWER: Do you think that your idea of happiness differs from most people’s idea of happiness?

GILBERT: Sure. I’m vain enough to think that I’ve made a successful life. I’ve had everything I’ve ever wanted. You can’t beat that."



"INTERVIEWER: Did school influence you as a young writer?

GILBERT: No, I failed high school; I got into college by mistake. I failed freshman English eight times. I was interested in learning, but I wanted to understand too, which meant I was fighting with the teachers all the time. Everybody accepted the fact that I was smart but I wouldn’t obey. I didn’t believe what they said unless they could prove it.

INTERVIEWER: Was your defiance—your resistance—ultimately an advantage?

GILBERT: Yes and no. It takes much longer if you have to find it all and do it all for yourself. My mind was not available for the impress of teachers or other people’s styles. The other arts were important to me. At one time I was working in photography with Ansel Adams. He offered to help me with my photographs if I would help him write his books, which was fine until we ran short of money and the woman I was with finally said she was tired of cooking pancakes.

INTERVIEWER: How did you get involved with Ansel Adams?

GILBERT: I was teaching a class and some of his students got to know me. I wish I’d been able to continue working with him, but it was either him or the woman. I chose the woman. After that I went to Italy and everything went into my falling in love for the first time. I did some painting there and won a fourth prize. I wish I had continued with painting and photography—novels too. But I was excited.

INTERVIEWER: What was Ansel Adams like?

GILBERT: Very German.

INTERVIEWER: Have you ever looked to other writers for inspiration?

GILBERT: I liked many writers but never found a teacher."



"INTERVIEWER: Do you think this has anything to do with the fact that so many poets come out of M.F.A. programs and go right on to teach?

GILBERT: If I answer that I’ll get into a rant, but I’ll tell you—I think poetry was killed by money. When I started out, no poet in America could make a living in poetry except Ogden Nash. And he did it with light verse."



INTERVIEWER: You taught in universities very rarely, only when you had to—just enough so that you could travel and write. Do you think writing poetry can be taught?

GILBERT: I can teach people how to write poetry, but I can’t teach people how to have poetry, which is more than just technique. You have to feel it—to experience it, whether in a daze or brightly. Often you don’t know what you have. I once worked on a poem for twelve years before I found it."



"INTERVIEWER: What, other than yourself, is the subject of your poems?

GILBERT: Those I love. Being. Living my life without being diverted into things that people so often get diverted into. Being alive is so extraordinary I don’t know why people limit it to riches, pride, security—all of those things life is built on. People miss so much because they want money and comfort and pride, a house and a job to pay for the house. And they have to get a car. You can’t see anything from a car. It’s moving too fast. People take vacations. That’s their reward—the vacation. Why not the life? Vacations are second-rate. People deprive themselves of so much of their lives—until it’s too late. Though I understand that often you don’t have a choice."



"INTERVIEWER: It sounds like even in your San Francisco days you sustained a rather remote life away from others. Is solitude important for you?

GILBERT: I don’t know how to answer that because I’ve always lived a life with a lot of quiet in it—either alone or with someone I’m in love with."



"INTERVIEWER: Is being childless good for a poet?

GILBERT: I could never have lived my life the way I have if I had children. There used to be a saying that every baby is a failed novel. I couldn’t have roamed or taken so many chances or lived a life of deprivation. I couldn’t have wasted great chunks of my life. But that would be a mistake for other people. Fine people. Smart people."



"INTERVIEWER: Do you keep to a work schedule?

GILBERT: No, I have an approximate rhythm, but I don’t like the idea of anything creative being mechanical. That’ll kill you. On the other hand, if I was not satisfied with how much I’d written in a year, then I would set out to write a hundred poems in a hundred days. I force myself to write poems even though I don’t approve of it because it does keep something alive. So I guess I have a little bit of a pattern that I live by. For instance, the other day I woke up at one in the morning and worked until four in the afternoon. I do that a lot. I can do that because I don’t have to accommodate anybody but me.

INTERVIEWER: So discipline is important to you?

GILBERT: Yes, because I’m lazy. If you have it in you, you want to create, but I won’t force myself—because it’s dangerous. People who are organized are in danger of making a process out of it and doing it by the numbers."



"INTERVIEWER: What’s your relationship with the contemporary literary community now?

GILBERT: I don’t have one.

INTERVIEWER: Does that bother you?

GILBERT: No. Why? Why would it bother me? Those people are in business. They’re hardworking.

INTERVIEWER: Don’t you work hard?

GILBERT: Not in the same meaning of the word hard. I put in a lot of effort because it matters to me. Many of these people who teach would do anything not to teach. I don’t have any obligations. I don’t have a mortgage. These people are working hard at a great price.

INTERVIEWER: I’m struck by how rarely I see your poems in anthologies and how 
often I see the same poems by other poets over and over again. Do you think there’s a disadvantage to spending most of your life abroad or outside of literary circles?

GILBERT: It’s fatal, which is all right with me.

INTERVIEWER: Do you ever feel any professional antagonism toward other writers?

GILBERT: Them toward me or me toward them?

INTERVIEWER: You toward them.

GILBERT: No.

INTERVIEWER: Do you feel it from them toward you?

GILBERT: Sure. I contradict a lot of what they’re doing. I don’t go to the meetings and dinners. I don’t hang out."



"INTERVIEWER: Have you ever followed a particular religion?

GILBERT: Presbyterianism. Till I was about seven, I guess. My mother never went to church, but she was a believer. She loved God and believed God would be good to her. She sang when she cleaned the house on Sunday mornings.

INTERVIEWER: Do you consider yourself religious now?

GILBERT: I’d like to be. I think I’m very religious by temperament. I think it would be a great comfort to believe. But you don’t have a choice. Either you believe or you don’t. It’s not a practical matter. Religion is a beautiful idea, but I don’t have a choice.

INTERVIEWER: Where does your preoccupation with mythology and the gods come from?

GILBERT: Careless reading. I never read mythology or any fiction as if I were in a class. Myths give shape to what I feel about the world and my instinct about what I’m looking at. They inform what I think about the past."



"INTERVIEWER: Have you ever thought of writing your memoirs?

GILBERT: Yes. Every once in a while someone asks to do it for me. Sometimes I’m interested because I’ve forgotten so much of the past and I like the idea of walking through my life. What’s more, it’s a profound experience to be with people from my past again. To be with my memories. Things that I thought I’d forgotten all of a sudden become visible, become present.

INTERVIEWER: Like a film?

GILBERT: Different than that. It’s more like a feeling rising from the tops of my knees. Then I start remembering. It’s complicated; a child seldom remembers anything before he’s four years old. I just wonder how much I know, how much I’ve been through, that I no longer remember."



"INTERVIEWER: Does the United States—Northampton—feel like home to you now?

GILBERT: No, I don’t have a home. Not anymore. When Linda’s not teaching anymore we’ll probably leave this lovely Massachusetts world for another fine world. To be happy. Very happy."
jackgilbert  jackspicer  allenginsberg  anseladams  poems  poetry  writing  howwewrite  teaching  learning  dropouts  education  life  living  happiness  loneliness  solitude  quiet  love  children  parenting  community  purpose  experience  travel  livingabroad  expatriates  business  mfa  mfas  obligations  work  labor  howwework  relationships  inspiration  geraldstern  familiarity  difference  routine  process  success  photography  ogdennash  aging  death  organization  laziness  schedules  interviews  parisreview  nomads  nomadism  belonging  place  memory  memories  forgetting  religion  belief  myths  reading  howweread  mythology  sarahfay  idleness 
may 2013 by robertogreco
The Referendum - NYTimes.com
"Yes: the Referendum gets unattractively self-righteous and judgmental. Quite a lot of what passes itself off as a dialogue about our society consists of people trying to justify their own choices as the only right or natural ones by denouncing others’ as selfish or pathological or wrong. So it’s easy to overlook that hidden beneath all this smug certainty is a poignant insecurity, and the naked 3 A.M. terror of regret."

“It’s tempting to read other people’s lives as cautionary fables or repudiations of our own.”

"One of the hardest things to look at in this life is the lives we didn’t lead, the path not taken, potential left unfulfilled. In stories, those who look back — Lot’s wife, Orpheus and Eurydice — are lost. Looking to the side instead, to gauge how our companions are faring, is a way of glancing at a safer reflection of what we cannot directly bear, like Perseus seeing the Gorgon safely mirrored in his shield."
adulthood  aging  children  life  living  decisions  tradeoffs  2009  timkreider  judgement  unschooling  cv  comparisons  choices  self-righteousness  certainty  undertainty  insecurity  regret 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Diagnosis - Human - NYTimes.com
"I fear that being human is itself fast becoming a condition. It’s as if we are trying to contain grief, and the absolute pain of a loss like mine. We have become increasingly disassociated and estranged from the patterns of life and death, uncomfortable with the messiness of our own humanity, aging and, ultimately, mortality.

Challenge and hardship have become pathologized and monetized. Instead of enhancing our coping skills, we undermine them and seek shortcuts where there are none, eroding the resilience upon which each of us, at some point in our lives, must rely."
psychology  grief  depression  add  adhd  diagnosis  2013  tedgup  psychiatry  medicine  mortality  aging  humans  beinghuman  resilience  pharmaceuticals  pain  shortcuts  life  living  society  us  coping 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Don't Trust Anyone Over 70 - By Gautam Mukunda | Foreign Policy
"It may be a fraught subject, but aging often has enormous effects on people's personalities and cognitive function. Some leaders can maintain their vitality and abilities into extreme old age, but after enough time in office, a leader's performance probably will decline, perhaps precipitously. And, although many scholars argue that leaders have little impact on foreign policy because political systems tend to produce dispensable candidates, there are specific circumstances in which individuals become enormously important -- one of the most notable being when they change radically once in office, surprising the system. This is precisely what happens to anyone who spends a long time in senior government positions, because of both the effects of power itself on those who wield it, and the effects of age on every human being."

"Even beyond the immediate effects of illness, aging can have pronounced effects on personality. Put simply, in general people really don't mellow with age. Instead, Jerrold Post and Bert Park have shown that they tend to become exaggerated versions -- almost caricatures -- of themselves, with their normal tendencies and patterns becoming intensified. This tendency is particularly likely to affect foreign policy. The aggressive can become belligerent, the passive, apathetic. Tendencies that would otherwise have fallen within an acceptable range can suddenly become problematic -- a shift that, when it happens to a head of government, is particularly likely to upset foreign policy."

[Readability link: https://www.readability.com/articles/xfhqcte8 ]

[Goes well with http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2013/03/01/facebook-college.html and http://www.aeonmagazine.com/world-views/nigel-warburton-cosmopolitanism/ ]
age  aging  intellect  thinking  problemsolving  pope  popebenedict  leadership  power  personalities  government  decisionmaking  2013  illness  termlimits  ceos  limitations  jerroldpost  bertpark  rosemcdermott  willpower  roybaumeister  jontierney  congnition  personality 
march 2013 by robertogreco
In Korea, Changes in Society and Family Dynamics Drive Rise in Elderly Suicides - NYTimes.com
"The woman’s death is part of one of South Korea’s grimmest statistics: the number of people 65 and older committing suicide, which has nearly quadrupled in recent years, making the country’s rate of such deaths among the highest in the developed world. The epidemic is the counterpoint to the nation’s runaway economic success, which has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries.

That contract was built on the premise that parents would do almost anything to care for their children — in recent times, depleting their life savings to pay for a good education — and then would end their lives in their children’s care. No Social Security system was needed. Nursing homes were rare.

But as South Korea’s hard-charging younger generations joined an exodus from farms to cities in recent decades, or simply found themselves working harder in the hypercompetitive environment that helped drive the nation’s economic miracle, their parents were often left behind. Many elderly people now live out their final years poor, in rural areas with the melancholy feel of ghost towns."
socialcontract  2012  korea  society  capitalism  wealth  money  aging  suicide  confucianism  parenting  poverty  socialsafetynet  families  care  retirement 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab | TAGlab
"The Technologies for Aging Gracefully lab (TAGlab) designs software, systems, and experiences that support aging through the life course."



"Who We Are
TAGlab is comprised of talented individuals with backgrounds in computer science and engineering, human-computer interaction and human factors, graphic and interface design, and psychology.

Our Projects
We work with researchers and clinicians to find ways that digital media can help people remain vigorous and independent, strengthen ties to family and community, and preserve their identity as they age.

Outreach
The TAGlab is dedicated to building partnerships in our community. Together with community-based agencies and senior organizations, we raise awareness about our research and actively investigate the technology needs of our aging population."
aging  behavior  via:spencerbeacock  utoronto  interfacedesign  psychology  design  ui  compsci  engineering 
february 2013 by robertogreco
You Won’t Stay the Same, Study Finds - NYTimes.com
"When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have changed over the years. But when we look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same, a team of psychologists said Thursday, describing research they conducted of people’s self-perceptions.

They called this phenomenon the “end of history illusion,” in which people tend to “underestimate how much they will change in the future.” "
memory  past  future  change  endofhistoryillusion  perspective  time  aging  personhood  self-perception  2013  psychology 
january 2013 by robertogreco
The Heart Grows Smarter - NYTimes.com
"It’s not that the men who flourished had perfect childhoods. Rather, as Vaillant puts it, “What goes right is more important than what goes wrong.” The positive effect of one loving relative, mentor or friend can overwhelm the negative effects of the bad things that happen.

In case after case, the magic formula is capacity for intimacy combined with persistence, discipline, order and dependability. The men who could be affectionate about people and organized about things had very enjoyable lives."

"Over the past half-century or so, American culture has become more attuned to the power of relationships. Masculinity has changed, at least a bit.

The so-called Flynn Effect describes the rise in measured I.Q. scores over the decades. Perhaps we could invent something called the Grant Effect, on the improvement of mass emotional intelligence over the decades. This gradual change might be one of the greatest contributors to progress and well-being that we’ve experienced in our lifetimes."
dependability  order  discipline  persistence  whatmatters  leadership  happiness  life  aging  georgevaillant  grantstudy  change  psychology  culture  2012  emotions  success  responsiveclassroom  response  socialemotionallearning  socialemotional  intimacy  friendship  mentorship  mentoring  mentors  emotionalintelligence  tcsnmy  relationships  davidbrooks 
november 2012 by robertogreco
David Bowie: the godfather of ch-ch-change | Dorian Lynskey | From the Observer | The Observer
"When you're young, you're still 'becoming'; now at my age I am more concerned with 'being'. And not too long from now I'll be driven by 'surviving', I'm sure. I kind of miss that 'becoming' stage, as most times you really don't know what's around the corner."
stages  life  being  becoming  self-defintion  discovery  aging  identity  youth  2012  davidbowie 
september 2012 by robertogreco
To the Teens | Justin The Librarian
"In your teens and twenties, a lot of people will look at you and your ideas and think they’re a bit bizarre and out there.  However, when you get into your late twenties/thirties something interesting happens…now that you’re older, people start to understand that you’ve had the experiences and matured enough that what you’re doing must be legit.  It’s kind of awesome.  Remember how I helped bring video games into the library for people to play and borrow?  When I talked about how libraries should be doing that when I was younger, people thought I was crazy.  When I got older and did it people thought it was a really great move.  Being 28 years old and having gone through years of video gaming helped me get to do that “crazy thing.”  So, yes, your bones may hurt a bit more (it happens) but you get to do a lot of cool shit when you’re older."
growingup  videogames  gaming  games  families  ideas  change  maturation  2012  adolescents  teens  youth  portland  maine  librarians  libraries  justinhoenke  aging  advice 
september 2012 by robertogreco
A (Real) Conversation with Bryan Cranston - YouTube
"In the fall of 2010, a PR rep invited me to the set of THE HANDLERS (an Atom.com-now-Comedy-Central web series) to interview Bryan Cranston about the production and maybe sneak some BREAKING BAD questions in.

It might, to date, be the best interview I've ever done. NOT because of any interview skill I have, but because I expected to only get 10 minutes of his time, and so only had 10 minutes of questions prepared. However, when my 10 minutes were up, I expected the crew to pull him away, and THEY DIDN'T.

I don't know what you would do if you were sitting opposite Walter White without anything to ask, but my solution turned out okay: I asked him questions about his life. And he answered, and in doing so revealed himself to be the coolest, most genuine guy.

So please enjoy me being very awkward with Bryan Cranston. Who, at least in 2010, was very much the best."
aging  kindredspirits  cv  creating  groceryshopping  shopping  lessthings  whatmatters  making  living  life  breakingbad  interviews  2012  experiences  possessions  things  bryancranston 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Aporia. Writing and lesser things by Mills Baker. Capitalism has been the first to show what man’s....
"Of course, one errs if one denies that she might also develop any number of manifestly necessary, vital, life-saving and life-improving ideas; even Marx could not deny that it was, after all, this system which has at last shown “what man’s activity can bring about.” It is only a matter of considering the basis of our youth culture: it is not any axiom or principle we’ve discerned through the millennia, nor any scientific theory which supports the infantilization of culture and the empowerment of youth. It is capitalism’s constant revolutions which empower the young, separate them from their forbears, given them their unearned sense of historical apotheosis, and relegate tradition- or elder-based phenomena like “wisdom” to the margins of culture."
politicaldiscourse  policy  politics  change  culture  youthculture  johnlancaster  humanity  progress  ageism  aging  youth  kakistocracy  society  innovation  2012  generations  revolution  capitalism  karlmarx  millsbaker 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Institute on Care at the End of Life | Duke Divinity School
When death is seen as a medical episode, care of the dying is too often isolated solely as the responsibility of the medical system and death is seen as a failure; but when death is recognized as a basic part of life, care for the dying remains integral to the lives of  families, friends, and community members. If we hope to recover the practice of dying well, we must attend to the complexities of the social, cultural, moral, theological, public policy, medical and economic issues involved in living and dying.
eldercare  via:litherland  aging  death  healthcare  medicine  life  policy  economics 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Months to Live - With Faith and Friends, Convent Offers Model for End of Life - Series - NYTimes.com
[Notes and emphasis by @litherland, I agree.]
A convent is a world apart, unduplicable. But the Sisters of St. Joseph, a congregation in this Rochester suburb, animate many factors that studies say contribute to successful aging and a gentle death — none of which require this special setting. These include a large social network, intellectual stimulation, continued engagement in life and spiritual beliefs, as well as health care guided by the less-is-more principles of palliative and hospice care — trends that are moving from the fringes to the mainstream.
“We approach our living and our dying in the same way, with discernment,” said Sister Mary Lou Mitchell.
Few sisters opt for major surgery, high-tech diagnostic tests or life-sustaining machinery. And *nobody can remember the last time anyone died in a hospital*, which was one of the goals in selling the old Mother House, with its tumbledown infirmary — a “Bells of St. Mary” kind of place — and using the money to finance a new facility appropriate for end-of-life care.
*** “Hospitals should not be meccas for dying. Dying belongs at home, in the community.” ***

Wow:
Dr. McCann said that the sisters’ religious faith insulated them from existential suffering — the “Why me?” refrain commonly heard among those without a belief in an afterlife. Absent that anxiety and fear, Dr. McCann said, there is less pain, less depression, and thus the sisters require only one-third the amount of narcotics he uses to manage end-of-life symptoms among hospitalized patients.
eldercare  via:litherland  life  living  hospitals  death  faith  religion  nuns  endoflife  aging  community 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Elderly Animals | Isa Leshko Photography
"By depicting the beauty and dignity of these creatures in their later years, I want to challenge people’s assumptions about these animals and inspire reforms to the treatment of farm animals."
animals  age  aging  photography  via:Anne  isaleshko 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Webstock '12: Matt Haughey - Lessons from a 40 year old on Vimeo
"Matt will cover a bunch of lessons he’s learned in the past decade of life as he embarks on turning 40. They eschew much of the Techcrunch/ReadWriteWeb/Mashable world by focusing on taking a longer term view of your work and focusing on life/work balance and having a happy life as well as a fulfilling career."

["Semi-transcript": http://a.wholelottanothing.org/2012/03/my-webstock-talk.html
community  portability  backup  platformagnostic  urls  permanence  simple  attention  time  relationships  cv  metafilter  longterm  37signals  small  slow  bootstrap  lifestylebusiness  aging  wisdom  lifelessons  startups  webstock12  webstock  longnow  meaning  purpose  work  happiness  fulfillment  life  matthaughey  work-lifebalance 
march 2012 by robertogreco
A Sharper Mind, Middle Age and Beyond - NYTimes.com
"To isolate the specific impact of schooling on mental skills, Dr. Lachman & her colleagues tried to control for other likely reasons one person might outshine another—differences in income, parental achievement, gender, physical activity & age. After all, we know that the children of affluent, educated parents have a raft of advantages that could account for greater mental heft down the road. College graduates are able to compound their advantages because they can pour more resources into their minds & bodies.

Still, when Lachman & Dr. Tun reviewed results, they were surprised to discover that into middle age and beyond, people could make up for educational disadvantages encountered earlier in life."

[This doesn't make much sense to me. Is this really the cause & effect? "[A] college degree appears to slow the brain’s aging process." Or are people inclined to go to college wired this way, or the jobs that they're likely to have after college allowing them to keep their minds sharp?]
dementia  margielachman  knowledge  genecohen  brain  intelligence  howardgardner  psychology  patriciacohen  williamosler  neuroscience  mind  minds  aging  education  age 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Retail in Japan: Turning silver into gold | The Economist
"THE Ueshima coffee shops that dot Tokyo seem like any other chain. But look more closely: the aisles are wider, the chairs sturdier and the tables lower. The food is mostly mushy rather than crunchy: sandwiches, salads, bananas—nothing too hard to chew. Helpful staff carry items to customers’ tables. The name and menu are written in Japanese kanji rather than Western letters, in a large, easy-to-read font. It is no coincidence that Ueshima’s stores are filled with old people.

Ueshima never explicitly describes itself as a coffee shop for the elderly. But it targets them relentlessly—and stealthily. Stealthily, because the last thing septuagenarians want to hear is that their favourite coffee shop is a nursing home in disguise."
aging  japan  retail  users  userexperience  user-centered  coffeehouses  elderly  age  2011  via:russelldavies 
august 2011 by robertogreco
danah boyd | apophenia » The Unintended Consequences of Obsessing Over Consequences (or why to support youth risk-taking) ["As I get older, I’m painfully aware of my brain getting more ‘conservative’ (not in a political sense)."]
"I’m worried about our societal assumption that risk-taking without thinking of the consequences is an inherently bad thing. We need some radical thinking to solve many of the world’s biggest problems. And I don’t believe that it’s so easy to separate out what adults perceive as ‘good’ risk-taking from what they think is ‘bad’ risk-taking. But how many brilliant minds will we destroy by punishing their radical acts of defying authority? How many brilliant minds will we destroy by punishing them for ‘being stupid’? It’s easy to get caught up in a binary of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when all that you can think about is the consequences. But change has never happened when people simply play by the rules. You have to break the rules to create a better society. And I don’t think that it’s easy to do this when you’re always thinking about the consequences of your actions."
teens  creativity  youth  danahboyd  unintendedconsequences  risktaking  risk  learning  innovation  rulebreaking  rules  rulefollowing  adolescence  brain  conservatism  radicalism  anarchism  2011  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  divergentthinking  criticalthinking  problemsolving  tcsnmy  parenting  schools  education  consequences  mindset  age  aging 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Guernica / Forgotten but Not Gone
"There was at least one place, I would discover, where that “instant” of Borges persisted, a land where Borges lived on as both Borges and “I,” legend and life. That place is Texas. Starting in 1961, Borges made five visits to the state—first, to teach for a semester in Austin as a visiting professor; then to lecture on Cervantes and Whitman as a literary celebrity. When Borges died on June 14, 1986, the University of Texas’s main campus lowered its flags to half-mast, a rare tribute for a writer and a perplexing honor for one without deep Texas roots. Why had Texas so embraced Borges? And why had Borges continued to return there throughout the final twenty-five years of his life?

In early January, I began to investigate what seemed a long-forgotten romance."
borges  texas  history  ut  literature  childhood  reading  writing  aging  age  meaning  2011  kafka  kierkegaard  blindness  utaustin  carterwheelcock  ercibenson  argentina  waltwhitman  cervantes  ficciones 
july 2011 by robertogreco
From Personalized to Empathetic Technologies | Institute For The Future
"Which brings me to a very different, but increasingly important type of technology for the next decade: Tools that give us the ability to empathize with each other's situations.

Probably the most well-known example of this sort of empathetic technology comes from MIT's Age Lab, which helps people experience the future effects of aging. AGNES, or the Age Gain Now Sympathy System, is a full-body suit that physically strains the body of the wearer to give that person the brief physical experience of being decades older."
empathy  technology  iftf  simulation  aging  physical  simulations 
april 2011 by robertogreco
YouTube - Jonathan Harris : Today
"When Jonathan Harris ( http://number27.org ) turned 30, he began a simple ritual of taking one photo a day and posting it to his website before going to sleep, along with a short story. He called this project, 'Today'.

This is a short film about Jonathan's project, made a few weeks after he stopped it, by his friend, Scott Thrift: http://mssngpeces.com

Jonathan's 'Today' project is viewable here: http://number27.org/today.php?age=30 "
storytelling  jonathanharris  memory  photography  time  life  documentary  2011  today  aging  classideas  experience  sensemaking  privacy  space  growth 
april 2011 by robertogreco
In Tsunami's Wake, Tough Choices For Japan's Elderly : NPR
"The area of northeastern Japan hit by the tsunami is called Tohoku. It is largely rural, agrarian, traditional — and, in a country that already has the oldest population in the world, Tohoku is where you find the most seniors.

Soon, the government must decide whether to rebuild some two-dozen destroyed seaside cities and towns in the northeast, or move the residents to higher ground elsewhere. Relocation, if it happens, will be hardest on the elderly.

The fishing town of Yamada was in slow decline even before the epic tsunami swallowed it whole. In the past three decades, Yamada had lost 26 percent of its population, mostly young people who moved to larger cities in search of opportunity. Today, 28 percent of the city is older than 65, and the decisions they must make after the tsunami are wrenching."
age  aging  japan  demographics  change  reconstruction  tsunamis  2011  agewars  generations  classideas 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Everyday for iPhone
"Take a picture of yourself. Every day. Set reminders. Get into the habit. The more pictures you have, the better your Everyday app will be.

Line up your face with an adjustable grid or use an overlay of the last picture you took.

Publish to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Flickr. Or have it upload automatically.

Make a movie. You'd be surprised how great the effect of a time lapse video of your face can be. Watch yourself change, just like a real person."

[via: http://lonelysandwich.com/post/4005075829/everyday-for-iphone ]
iphone  daily  everyday  photography  noahkalina  oliverwhite  williamwilkinson  applications  ios  timelapse  time  aging  change  video  facebook  twitter  tumblr  flickr  adamlisagor 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Book Club for Life - reading books masterpieces | Ask MetaFilter
"I'm 30. Each year until I'm 60 I want to read a masterpiece by an author the same age as I am when s/he wrote it. Help compile my list.

This is for a sort of lifetime book club I'm planning with a dear friend who lives halfway across the world.

We don't mind cheating a little bit; even if the author wasn't exactly our age when the book was first published, it's fine as long as s/he attained that age in the year of publication. (So The Mysteries of Udolpho would be an acceptable choice for this year, for example, even though it was published in May 1794 and Ann Radcliffe didn't turn 30 until July of that year.)

No limitations on genre, and we'll consider works of poetry and music if they're epic enough to sustain a year of contemplation and conversation."

[via: http://twitter.com/tcarmody/status/41693970912256000 ]
books  lists  metafilter  booklist  reading  latebloomers  age  aging  cv  bookclub  lifetime  toread 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Japan not alone in demographic conundrum | The Japan Times Online
"Takashi Kadokura says China's working age population will begin to peak at around 2015…

Japan & South Korea both have national pension & health care systems, but I doubt whether China will be able to create a stable system that can protect its enormous population," he said…

"It took France 150 years for its elderly ranks to increase from 7% to 14% (of the overall population)," Shin said.

"It took Japan only took 36 years, but for South Korea, this took place in 26 years, an astoundingly fast pace," he said, noting the South was using Japan as a case study to set up countermeasures.

Shin explained that in South Korea, private-sector corporations, instead of the government, were traditionally responsible for employees' well-being, taking care of their insurance and other social security-related concerns.

And while the nation's social security system was generally similar to that of Japan, Shin said the government only recently introduced a national pension scheme."
japan  china  korea  southkorea  pensions  economics  aging  future  population 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Digital age leaves myopic Japan facing manufacturing crisis | The Japan Times Online [Why can't they get their five-part series linked together? It's not that difficult.]
"[F]ive-part series exploring how Japan and its East Asian neighbors are separately handling five common issues."

1. Title above: "The priorities for gadget makers today are now quick software design, global module procurement, and the ability to assemble a product in any country where cheap labor is available. This has rapidly eaten into the relative competitiveness of Japan's pyramid-style manufacturing groups, METI said. The pyramid model remains successful in only a handful of fields, most notably automobiles and single-lens reflex cameras, METI said."

2. Japan not alone in demographic conundrum: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110103a3.html

3. Emerging carmakers put mainstays in panic: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110104a2.html

4. Trade pacts one thing, immigrant labor another: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110105f1.html

5. Japan far behind in global language of business: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110106f1.html
japan  china  korea  economics  demographics  trends  manufacturing  future  history  growth  aging  cars  language  immigration  migration  hierarchy  flexibility  competitiveness 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Conservativism Boosts Elderly Self-Esteem | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. Miller-McCune.
"New research finds the elderly have a psychological incentive to embrace cultural conservatism: Such beliefs prop up their self-esteem."
age  aging  conservatism  pyschology  self-esteem  politics 
january 2011 by robertogreco
The Answer Sheet - Why technology scares (some of) us -- and what to do about it
"For older learners our fear of failure is sometimes so acute, we don’t allow ourselves to fail during any step of the process. At least when it comes to technology, younger learners seem to have an ease about failing early and often on their path to mastery. It would probably serve us older folks well to remember the following:

We don’t have to learn it all at once.

We can learn it at our own pace. It’s not a race.

We can learn something together with other people.

We can make as many mistakes as we need to until we master what we want to know.

Maybe we older folks could even relax enough not to force some of our old school values on today’s children. Do we really need to use school to test and to grade and to sort and to rank quite so much? Is learning a race? How will our children ever win a race to the top if they learn to fear getting started?"
culture  aging  education  learning  technology  social  unschooling  deschooling  failure 
november 2010 by robertogreco
BBC News - The mystery of Japan's missing centenarians
"Japan is growing older as its population declines. It now has the world's highest proportion of elderly with more than 20% of the population aged over 65. By 2050 this figure will be close to 40%.

The National Institute of Population and Social Security research estimates that a third of Japanese over 65 live alone.

Many also die alone - a modern phenomenon that has inspired the word kodokushi, or lonely death."
japan  age  aging  death  kodokushi 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Innovation Grows Among Older Workers - Newsweek
"It turns out that many of the most common stereotypes about aging are dead wrong. Take the cliché of the youthful entrepreneur. As it turns out, the average founder of a high-tech startup isn’t a whiz-kid graduate, but a mature 40-year-old engineer or business type with a spouse and kids who simply got tired of working for others, says Duke University scholar Vivek Wadhwa, who studied 549 successful technology ventures. What’s more, older entrepreneurs have higher success rates when they start companies. That’s because they have accumulated expertise in their technological fields, have deep knowledge of their customers’ needs, and have years of developing a network of supporters (often including financial backers). “Older entrepreneurs are just able to build companies that are more advanced in their technology and more sophisticated in the way they deal with customers,” Wadhwa says."
aging  business  economy  employment  research  innovation  creativity  age  entrepreneurship  cv  experience  stereotypes 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Right on Cue - Culture - The Atlantic
"What I do know is that, like Rooney, I couldn't name a Lady Gaga song if I heard one right now. But I also know that my son knows more of my music than I know of his. He can recognize Nas, but I can't recognize, say, Drake. In other words, you'd do a lot better banking on my ignorance than his.

Age, like all power constructs, (race, gender, class) encourages it's own ignorance. To not know is a luxury of power. You don't have to know Their Eyes Were Watching God. But I damn sure better know The Scarlet Letter. (It's bad enough I'm slipping on Twain.) Age turns ignorance into a luxury, and worse, if you don't recognize it as a luxury you start to think everyone is as clueless as you. And of course you're clueless that any of this is even going on. It's just a bad look all around."

[via: http://kottke.org/10/08/digging-in-the-crates-or-why-my-generation-is-into-history ]
ta-nehisicoates  age  aging  media  music  ignorance  andyrooney  knowledge  awareness  generations  wisdom 
august 2010 by robertogreco
The value of older people « Snarkmarket
"When I see my grand­mother, I don’t ask her about the names of plants or when the best time is to plant cer­tain flow­ers, even though I know that she (and not I) know this stuff cold. I don’t even (at least always) ask her to sew my split pants seat or loose jacket but­ton, even though she’s the one in the fam­ily who’s got the sewing machine and knows how to use it.
experience  wisdom  childhood  grandparents  snarkmarket  relationships  understanding  timcarmody  age  aging 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Is Italy Too Italian?: From Taxis to Textiles, Italy Chooses Tradition Over Growth - NYTimes.com ["Roughly one-quarter of Italy’s G.D.P. is off the books."]
"Economists...see a country w/ a service sector dominated by guilds..., a timid entrepreneur class...a political system in thrall of older voters who want to keep what they have, even if it dooms the nation to years of stasis.

They see a society whose best & brightest are leaving & not being replaced by immigrants, because Italy has so little upward mobility to offer.

To Professor Giavazzi, the future here doesn’t look like Greece. It looks like Argentina.

“Before World War II, Argentina was rich. Even in 1960, the country was twice as rich as Italy.” Today...you can compare the per capita income of Argentina to that of Romania. “Because it didn’t grow. A country could get rich in 1900 just by producing corn & meat, but that is not true today. But it took them 100 years to realize they were becoming poor. & that is what worries me about Italy. We’re not going to starve next week. We are just going to decline, slowly, slowly, & I’m not sure what will turn that around.”
italy  argentina  guilds  economics  growth  politics  aging  age  policy  immigration  2010  stagnation  markets  china  globalization  local  slow  manufacturing  crisis  deficits  savings  society  decline  blackmarkets  offthebooks  protectionism  jobs  craftsmanship 
august 2010 by robertogreco
New Visions of Home: Change Observer: Design Observer
"The world is tumbling over the precipice of a major demographic shift. By 2030, it is estimated that 25 percent of the developed world’s population will be over 65 — an unprecedented proportion in human history. A century ago, that number was a mere 3 percent. In the U.S., the population over 65 is expected to double to 71.5 million in the next 15 years. Investment firm T. Rowe Price now advises retirement savings until age 92. ... Below is a sample of inventive approaches to living as we age. Few of these projects suggest “senior living”; in fact, many combine thoughtful programming with sophisticated aesthetics, and all have a human-centered approach."
aging  architecture  housing  europe  trends  us  design  retrofitting  cohousing  multigeneration  vertical  density  denmark  small  smallhomes  lifelonglearning  seniors  affordability  world  population  urban  urbanism  switzerland  portland  oregon  leed  designobserver  australia  uk 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The shock of the old: Welcome to the elderly age - opinion - 08 April 2010 - New Scientist
"Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now. Meanwhile, women around the world have 1/2 as many children as their mothers. & if Japan is the model, their daughters may have 1/2 as many as they do.
age  aging  science  transhumanism  demographics  elderly  history  population  via:kottke  culture  data  statistics 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Adult Learning - Neuroscience - How to Train the Aging Brain - NYTimes.com
"Teaching new facts should not be the focus of adult education, she says. Instead, continued brain development and a richer form of learning may require that you “bump up against people and ideas” that are different. In a history class, that might mean reading multiple viewpoints, and then prying open brain networks by reflecting on how what was learned has changed your view of the world...“There’s a place for information,” Dr. Taylor says. “We need to know stuff. But we need to move beyond that and challenge our perception of the world. If you always hang around with those you agree with and read things that agree with what you already know, you’re not going to wrestle with your established brain connections.”"

[via: http://snarkmarket.com/2010/4636 ]
education  learning  brain  memory  adults  neuroscience  teaching  science  history  books  psychology  health  cognition  aging 
january 2010 by robertogreco
The Referendum - Happy Days Blog - NYTimes.com
"The Referendum is a phenomenon typical of (but not limited to) midlife, whereby people, increasingly aware of the finiteness of their time in the world, the limitations placed on them by their choices so far & the narrowing options remaining to them, start judging their peers' differing choices w/ reactions ranging from envy to contempt. The Referendum can subtly poison formerly close & uncomplicated relationships, creating tensions between the married and the single, the childless & parents, careerists & the stay-at-home...The problem is, we only get one chance at this, with no do-overs. Life is, in effect, a non-repeatable experiment with no control. In his novel about marriage, “Light Years,” James Salter writes: “For whatever we do, even whatever we do not do prevents us from doing its opposite. Acts demolish their alternatives, that is the paradox."...One of the hardest things to look at in this life is the lives we didn’t lead, the path not taken, potential left unfulfilled."
happiness  life  psychology  culture  marriage  parenting  choices  relationships  via:kottke  regret  time  limitations  limits  options  children  perspective  choice  philosophy  aging  emotions  love  midlife  careers  families  health  referendum  envy  contempt  decisions  competitiveness  jealousy 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Seed: The True 21st Century Begins: From the fevered mind of Bruce Sterling and his alter-ego, Bruno Argento, a consideration of things ahead.
"The year to come is best approached as a learning opportunity. It offers a golden chance to bury our dead prejudices and learn how to properly feed the living. Once we stop shaking all over and scolding Americans, we will recognize the tremendous potential this new century offers the people of the world. The sun still shines, the grass still grows, we are still human. If we stopped pretending to be puppets of an invisible hand, we would not fret over the loss of the 20th century's strings. We might see that life is sweet."
brucesterling  brunoargento  crisis  copyright  futurism  italy  21stcentury  environment  economics  politics  science  future  aging  us  military  2009 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Japan for Sustainability - Kakegawa Declares Itself a "Slow Life City"
"SLOW PACE: We value the culture of walking, to be fit & to reduce traffic accidents. SLOW WEAR: ...beautiful traditional costumes... SLOW FOOD: ...Japanese food culture...dishes & tea ceremony & safe local ingredients. SLOW HOUSE: We respect houses built with wood, bamboo & paper, lasting over 100 or 200 years & are careful to make things durably...to conserve our environment. SLOW INDUSTRY: We take care of our forests, through our agriculture & forestry, conduct sustainable farming with human labor & ultimately spread urban farms & green tourism.
slow  sustainability  slowlife  japan  education  sloweducation  slowlearning  meaning  community  aging  industry  happiness  environment  life  local  simplicity  2002  slowfood  homes  housing  walking 
november 2008 by robertogreco
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