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tsuomela : decline   59

Electric Forecast Calls for Increasing Blackouts -
Two scary things stand out about America’s failure to shore up its grid over the last 15 years. The first is that the grid’s frailties are getting worse as our weather is getting weirder. The second is that the U.S.’s inability to sort out the right mix of public and private investment and get on with the process of building the grid we need reflects that we no longer quite believe in the common good. It’s not just a power failure, it’s also an optimism failure.
electric-grid  electricity  energy  infrastructure  america  decline  declension-narrative  environment  climate-change  global-warming 
july 2012 by tsuomela
DARK AGES AMERICA -- Blog for Morris Berman
Morris Berman is well known as an innovative cultural historian and social critic. He has taught at a number of universities in Europe and North America, and has held visiting endowed chairs at Incarnate Word College (San Antonio), the University of New Mexico, and Weber State University.
weblog-individual  america  decline 
january 2012 by tsuomela
American Class System - We Are Not All Created Equal, by Stephen Marche - Esquire
In ten years, the next generation will no longer have the faintest illusion that the United States is a country with equality of opportunity. The least they're entitled to is some honesty about why.
america  inequality  decline 
december 2011 by tsuomela
Stumbling and Mumbling: The decline of newspapers
"What I mean is that it’s tempting to blame newspapers’ troubles on the rise of the internet and on regulation. But I suspect there are other things at work."
news  journalism  media  decline  future  internet  online 
october 2011 by tsuomela
The death of Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs and America's decline | The Economist
"As bad as their politics has got, Americans could always comfort themselves with the knowledge that their business leaders, entrepreneurs and workers were the most dynamic and innovative in the world. But they may look back on 2011 and see three events that undermine that story: the downgrade of America’s credit rating
JobsSteve  death  business  american  decline  politics  entrepreneurship 
october 2011 by tsuomela
Views: Get Out While You Can - Inside Higher Ed
"Tenure won’t save us from a higher education collapse. Start making alternative career contingency plans now because this collapse could be sudden and catastrophic. "
education  disaster  collapse  decline  future 
september 2011 by tsuomela
Hunger Artists (TIAA-Cref Edition) | Easily Distracted
"The grand vision that defenders of a purer humanities enunciate, if it has existed at all, existed vigorously before the university systems of today, before the comfortably professional and middle-classness of professorial lives today, and might reasonably be expected to exist in some other form after them, if they should disappear or markedly transform."
humanities  college  academia  crisis  decline  future  promotion 
september 2011 by tsuomela
Science, Superstars
"What, if anything, is the world trying to tell us? On some level it seems that things are getting harder — it is tougher to be a dominant player in sports given global talent pools, better training, more mimicry, etc. Similarly, science in many important areas does seem stalled, with progress proceeding glacially, whether it is drug discovery, or fundamental physics, or energy."
science  discovery  history  sts  decline  innovation  funding  research  bibliometrics 
july 2011 by tsuomela
What Happens If Science Becomes a Low-Yield Activity? « The Scholarly Kitchen
"And what if science becomes — or has become — lower-yield? Is that a reason to reconsider funding policies? Rationally, looking at the cost-benefit may already have effects on resource and funding allocations.

Is it unreasonable to assume that science will continue to produce large, demonstrable advances and insights of the size and importance of the major breakthroughs?"
science  discovery  history  sts  decline  innovation  funding  research  bibliometrics 
july 2011 by tsuomela
Chris Hedges: This Time We’re Taking the Whole Planet With Us - Chris Hedges' Columns - Truthdig
"This time when we go down it will be global. There are no new lands to pillage, no new peoples to exploit. Technology, which has obliterated the constraints of time and space, has turned our global village into a global death trap. The fate of Easter Island will be writ large across the broad expanse of planet Earth."
decline  declension-narrative  rant  future  global-warming  climate  change  decay 
april 2011 by tsuomela
AmericanScience: A Team Blog: David Brooks and American Science
On David Brooks - The Social Animal and Sean Kelly, Hubert Dreyfus - All Things Shining. "Why does this matter? Both Brooks and Kelly/Dreyfus find fault with a supposedly quintessential "individualism" in today's world. To me, what's interesting is not their shared diagnosis, but where they turn as they seek to prescribe something for the ailment they've uncovered."
social-science  culture  decline  declension-narrative  solutions  politics 
march 2011 by tsuomela
The United States of Charlie Sheen - Umair Haque - Harvard Business Review
"On the contrary: Charlie Sheen is the tired face of the American dream, in ways that we don't often enough have the backbone, wisdom, or grace to (want to) admit, starting with a hilariously bankrupt definition of "success."

What's wrong with this stunted definition? It's simply, simplistically about zero-sum, near-term WINNING — in a way that chronically, systemically undervalues the future, nature, other people, society, and even our own selves."
america  decline  culture  celebrity  fame  value 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Open Left:: The pedagogy of the oppressors: The Cold War university & the roots of our current crisis
"On further reflection, however, I believe I have a clearer view of what's going on here.  Yes, conservative hegemonic warfare plays an important unacknowledged role.  But it has been successful in part because of the nature of the so-called "liberal establishment" which defined itself  in the context of the Cold War."
...Mario Savio, free speech at Berkeley, Clark Kerr and the uses of the university, administrator overreach, decline and fall of liberal education
education  conservatism  markets  ideology  cold-war  economics  meritocracy  academia  decline  liberal  liberal-arts  corporatism 
december 2010 by tsuomela
Jim Quinn: Lies Across America « naked capitalism
Americans are so committed to their automobiles, hyper-consumerism, oversized McMansions, and suburban sprawl existence that they will never willingly prepare in advance for a future by scaling back, downsizing, or thinking. Our culture is built upon consumption, debt, cheap oil and illusion. Kevin Phillips in American Theocracy concludes that there are so many Americans tied to our unsustainable economic model that they will choose to lie to themselves and be lied to by their leaders rather than think and adapt:

A large number of voters work in or depend on the energy and automobile industries, and still more are invested in them, not just financially but emotionally and culturally....In the United States more than elsewhere, a preference for conspicuous consumption over energy efficiency and conservation is a signal of a much deeper, central divide.
future  gloom-and-doom  decline  america  economics  debt 
december 2010 by tsuomela
Collapse? What Collapse? Societal Change Revisited | Science/AAAS
An eclectic group of scholars who met recently at the University of Cambridge argues that true social collapse is a rare phenomenon. They say that new data demonstrate that classic examples of massive collapse such as the disintegration of Egypt's Old Kingdom, the end of the Classic Maya period, and the vanishing of pre-Columbian societies of the U.S. Southwest were neither sudden nor disastrous for all segments of their populations. Rome, for example, didn't fall in a day; recent work underscores the fact that the sack of Rome was just one step in a long and complex spiral of decline that affected peoples of the empire differently. This emphasis on decline and transformation rather than abrupt fall represents something of a backlash against a recent spate of claims that environmental disasters, both natural and humanmade, are the true culprits behind many ancient societal collapses.
history  declension-narrative  decline  gradualism  social-collapse  collapse  archaeology 
november 2010 by tsuomela
Breaking News: Humanities in Decline! Film at 11. — Crooked Timber
between 1974 and 1985, humanities enrollments did, in fact, decrease by 18.2 percent.  But enrollments in the social sciences fell much further, by 33.7 percent, and even in the physical sciences the drop was a considerable 19.4 percent.  Where did those students go?  To business (a 65.3 percent increase), engineering (up by 92.2 percent), and computer science (a staggering, but altogether historically appropriate, increase of 627.3 percent).
humanities  academia  decline  college 
november 2010 by tsuomela
Thomas Friedman's Latest Entry In The Long History Of American “declinism.” | The New Republic
For whatever reason, it is clear that for more than half a century, many of America’s leading commentators have had a powerful impulse consistently to see the United States as a weak, “bred out” basket case that will fall to stronger rivals as inevitably as Rome fell to the barbarians, or France to Henry V at Agincourt.
america  decline  declension-narrative  history  elite  opinion 
october 2010 by tsuomela
David Bromwich: One More War, Please
Something is rotten in our democracy. Like a family where everything goes wrong and nobody says a word, we suffer a load of unasked questions that have under them still more questions. Do Americans always need a war? That is a first question. It did not seem so before 2001. And the attacks that America endured then, attacks whose misery we have returned a hundredfold against actual and imagined enemies -- did those events and the interpretation put on them by Cheney and Bush (and ratified, with an agreeable change of tone, by Barack Obama ) trigger a mutation in the American character? In relation to the Constitution and our place in the world of nations, 2001 in that case must have assumed the status of the Big Bang in the universe of politics. Useless even to think of anything that came before.
To say we now act as if we need a war may underrate the syndrome. We seem to require three wars at a given time: a war to be getting out of, a war we're in the middle of, and a war we aim to
america  war  military  foreign-policy  empire  decline  politics  Obama  Barack 
august 2010 by tsuomela
The Creativity Crisis - Newsweek
Overwhelmed by curriculum standards, American teachers warn there’s no room in the day for a creativity class. Kids are fortunate if they get an art class once or twice a week. But to scientists, this is a non sequitur, borne out of what University of Georgia’s Mark Runco calls “art bias.” The age-old belief that the arts have a special claim to creativity is unfounded. When scholars gave creativity tasks to both engineering majors and music majors, their scores laid down on an identical spectrum, with the same high averages and standard deviations. Inside their brains, the same thing was happening—ideas were being generated and evaluated on the fly.
creativity  innovation  psychology  learning  education  pedagogy  teaching  america  decline 
july 2010 by tsuomela
Blame the childish, ignorant American public—not politicians—for our political and economic crisis. - By Jacob Weisberg - Slate Magazine
The more compelling explanation is that the American public lives in Candyland, where government can tackle the big problems and get out of the way at the same time. In this respect, the whole country is becoming more and more like California, where ignorance is bliss and the state's bonds have dropped to an A- rating (the same level as Libya's), thanks to a referendum system that allows the people to be even more irresponsible than their elected representatives. Middle-class Americans really don't want to hear about sacrifices or trade-offs—except as flattering descriptions about how ready we, as a people, are, or used to be, to accept them. We like the idea of hard choices in theory. When was the last time we made one in reality?
america  politics  culture  government  history  decline  declension-narrative 
february 2010 by tsuomela
The Gathering Twilight, Part the First « Easily Distracted
For our own velvet revolution, for at least a possibility of moving the ball forward past this stagnant, curdled moment in American life, I think what we’ll all have to do is take the risk of authenticity, to develop a grown-up taste for the rough edges and honest imperfections of lives as they are lived. In our politicians, in our public figures, in ourselves. To stop carrying water for liars or telling simplified fabulisms because we think that will serve some end that we deem necessary. To drop our deflector shields. Living and speaking within a world of acknowledged ambiguity, uncertainty, and imperfection is an end in and of itself.

Otherwise, 21st Century American life is going to amount to just us, the online comments threads, and those wonderful people out there in the dark…a long slow fading as we dreamily revisit over and over again our old glories, waiting endlessly for our close-up.
decline  declension-narrative  america  culture  politics  future 
january 2010 by tsuomela
The Atlantic Online | January/February 2010 | How America Can Rise Again | James Fallows
James Fallows on American problems and potential decline. Some history of the perennial American declension narrative, current strengths (education), and problems (political structure/will).
america  history  declension-narrative  decline  culture  politics  public-sector 
january 2010 by tsuomela
They’re at it again.
The doom-cryers who assert we don’t read any more—or, if we do, it’s not the right kind of reading, not the literary reading we all used to do every single day back in the Golden Age of universal literacy.
reading  survey  culture  gloom-and-doom  declension-narrative  decline  literacy 
march 2009 by tsuomela
Sweet Juniper! - Where the wild things aren't
"We take our kids to the zoo and think we're teaching them about wildness, but really we're teaching them about dominion. A lesson in the power of fences. While all the time, along our highways, outside our very windows, wild things are there. Waiting."
zoo  photography  photos  michigan  detroit  urban  decline  abandoned-buildings 
february 2009 by tsuomela

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