Thursday, November 17, 2011

Remember Spain

Spain is definitely high on my personal "places along the way" list... read and experienced IRL...

James R. Martel (SFSU): What Equality Would Actually Look Like: Lessons from Anarchist Spain on Equality, Temporality and the Art of the Possible .... The Genius of El Cid: How the Spanish superhero — outnumbered and under siege — broke out of Valencia, crushed a Muslim army, and inspired Christian crusaders. 
An interview with Javier Fernandez Sebastian on the Ibero-american world as another political powerhouse for modernity during the Revolution Age, thanks to the analysis of the history of concepts in the English and Portuguese speaking Atlantic. 
.... Many will remember Spain’s socialist prime minister for his mishandling of the economic crisis, but his legacy in other areas — particularly social reform — is substantial. 
From Books and Ideas, Jeanne Moisand on protectionism and the birth of Catalanism .... A review of Sovereignty and the Stateless Nation: Gibraltar in the Modern Legal Context by Keith Azopardi. 
.... Atlas Obscura visits the Josep Pujiula Labyrinth, a wonderland replication in progress by one persistent man.
Read all of Remember Spain at Omnivore

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On the Travelogue

A map of Marco Polo and Ibn Batutta's routes through the Old World

The Significance of the Travelogue

It seems as inevitable that voyaging should make men free in their minds as that settlement within a narrow horizon should make men timid and servile. HG Wells, 1922
The first men were wanderers and their lives, if brutish and short, were a journey too, marked by constant movement and discovery. Unsettled and unencumbered, early man explored the globe. He left Africa 70,000 years ago. Thirty thousand years later, he reached Australia, and by the time a new man – the farmer – was sowing the Fertile Crescent’s first crops, the wanderer was navigating the Amazon River in a dugout canoe.

Agriculture brought settlement, cities and, six or seven thousand years ago, writing. Although man first wrote to keep account books, by 2600 BCE he was starting to inscribe his people’s tales in clay and stone, giving a stable, solid structure to narratives told loosely by earlier men. Writing made final what had been fluid before, which suited man’s new stability and the growing scale of his society, and like everybody who has sought a place in the world since, the first writers were primarily concerned with explaining their origins.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reading as an unrelenting vice

Books are places along the way just as reading is transportations as well as an unrelenting vice. Bora Cosic (an unfamiliar writer but one with whom I share reading habits and books and am now encouraged more like compelled to explore) writes about the reading practices of a number of writers, most if not all European, as well as interweaving comments about his own throughout.

But I am not alone. I have read books that no one else has read, says Paul Valéry. Books from technical disciplines, these interest me. Balzac systematically read dictionaries, not specific entries but from start to finish, as if following a narrative. How many interesting things there are to read, which at first glance might seem irrelevant and meaningless. One woman expected Erasmus to write something that would help her husband get a grip on himself, tells Roland Barthes. Or as Claudio Magris mentions, Montecuccoli wrote his aphorisms on the art of war in a Stettin prison, during his hiatus from the Thirty Years War. Were I a poet, I would dedicate the most beautiful poem to roux soup, admits Bela Hamvas. "A Meditation Upon a Broomstick" is the title of an essay by Swift. I would give everything to find out what a German wrote about a lemon peel, as Rousseau says, what Erasmus wrote to bring a neurotic man to reason, or Montecuccoli's "Art of War".

Reading has only recently become a silent act. Two hundred years ago everyone read aloud.

'via Blog this'

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A List Apart: Articles: The Content Strategist as Digital Curator

That's what I've been doing in one form or another as long as I've been online, well ahead of the buzz . Recognition is past due but I hope it doesn't ruin the fun for me.
The term “curate” is the interactive world’s new buzzword. During content creation and governance discussions, client pitches and creative brainstorms, I've watched this word gain traction at almost warp speed. As a transplant from museums and libraries into interactive media, I can't help but ask what is it about this word that deserves redefinition for the web?
Content Strategist as Digital Curator
Curation has a distinguished history in cultural institutions. In galleries and museums, curators use judgment and a refined sense of style to select and arrange art to create a narrative, evoke a response, and communicate a message. As the digital landscape becomes increasingly complex, and as businesses become ever more comfortable using the web to bring their product and audience closer, the techniques and principles of museum curatorship can inform how we create online experiences—particularly when we approach content.
Read the rest of A List Apart: Articles: The Content Strategist as Digital Curator

Monday, August 8, 2011

a new world order of maps

Timothy Erik Strom (Southern Cross): Space, Cyberspace and Interface: The Trouble with Google Maps. From Penn State, a series called the Geospatial Revolution Project. In the emerging field of “spatial humanities,” scholars are using mapmaking software to recreate vanished landscapes and envision history as it really happened. Mapmaking has a new challenge far more involved than depicting the traits of the physical world. A new world order of maps (Google and MapQuest) changes how we engage with cities. Creative Cartography: Here are 7 must-read books about maps. Restoring a 1770 map, found at the Brooklyn Historical Society, entailed boiling old books to get the right aged color. From Strange Maps, Fank Jacobs on Nazis up the Mississippi and other Axis invasion scenarios. From GeoJunk, while some artists use paint or charcoal, the artist Nikki Rosato prefers to make portraits of the human body using old road maps; and here is a brief history of maps. Ingenious Flat Earth Theory revealed in old map, with the Earth as an inverse toroid. From GeoCurrents, Martin W. Lewis on a key to map of geopolitical anomalies; delusional mapping: A review of The Comanche Empire by Pekka Hamalainen; and an article on microstates in cartograms. Maps with only words, known as “Typographic Maps”, are becoming increasingly popular (and more). Know your meme: “The World According to X” (a.k.a “How X Sees the World” or “The X World”) is a series of world map satires that are labeled with various geopolitical stereotypes and jokes to reflect the biased worldview of country X. Everybody, meet Kergolus: This little furry thing is a geo-mascot, shaped like the territory it symbolises. Mapping the human condition: What the empire of love has to do with the intellect forest and the bay of agoraphobia.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Muslim Representations of the Crusades

If, as August Nitschke argued, “groups can be understood most clearly when we ask: how do they look at their enemies?” then a good litmus test for Middle Eastem Islamic attitudes with regard to Western Christianity during the Middle Ages should be provided by the Crusades. Were they really that “great debate between East and West” that Edward Gibbon wrote about? When one begins to peruse the Islamic sources a paradox leaps immediately to the eyes: though the First Crusade was preceded by, generated, and was followed by a powerful outburst of religious enthusiasm (not to say frenzy) on the Christian side, among Muslims one encounters at first very little religious animosity towards the invaders, and certainly no corresponding religious resurgence. Panic, anguish, and hatred were indeed created by this forceful irruption into Syria- Palestine in 1097-1100, yet they lack an Islamic dimension. This is to be explained in part by the fact that the Crusades were viewed by the Syrians as an extension of Byzantine military campaigns aimed at the reconquest of Northern Syria in the tenth and eleventh centuries; campaigns which were on the whole (with one exception, the campaigns of Nicephoros Phocas and John Tzimisces in the third quarter of the tenth century) devoid of religious characteristics: a war between states, not between inimical religions. Such a perception was rendered plausible by the fact that the Crusaders came to Syria via Constantinople and that Western Europeans (Franks) had been known in the Middle East in the past, especially as mercenaries of the Byzantine Empire (p. ex. during the 1071 battle of Manzikert).


Monday, July 25, 2011

The mythological city

Still collecting interesting sites, book reviews, images, articles about city spaces, real and imagined, and citylit. Is it simple aggregation ot thoughtful research? Does it matter? Probably not.

Wendl's article addresses marking and reading cityspace, aka semiotics of the city ~ graffiti, advertising, signs and public arts ~ all ways of marking cityspace and leaving messages that not all will read the same way.

El Dorado imagined, minus advertising or graffiti: tabula rasa
"Whether it is prehistoric paintings on the walls of caves or the graffiti and advertising we see all over the walls of our modern cities, people need to mark out their space, distinguish it from the untamed wilderness. Peter Wendl asks why we still need to produce signs and icons in public spaces."
Urban Graffiti: imagining the authentic city

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Lost City of Z

No, I haven't been to the Lost City of Z (or sworn to secrecy if I had), but it's a city, a mythic one at that. Besides, New York (and with it The New Yorker) is one of the places along ~ literally and literarily. The closing passage of the article, evoking "lo real maravilloso," is reminiscent of similar passages in both Carlos Fuentes' La Región Más Transparente (Where the Air is Clear, 1958) and Alejo Carpentier's Los pasos perdidos (The Lost Steps, 1953)

When he vanished, Fawcett and his party had been trying to uncover a lost civilization hidden in the Amazon, which Fawcett had named, simply, the City of Z. In the next seven decades, scores of explorers had tried and failed to retrace Fawcett’s path.... [until]
An archeologist named Michael Heckenberger was doing field work in the Kuikuro village....Because of the prevailing notion that the Amazon was a counterfeit paradise—and because no stone city had ever been found—most established archeologists had long ago abandoned the remote Xingu. “They assumed it was an archeological black hole,” Heckenberger told me. “Fawcett was probably the last person who came in here looking for lost cities."
Some of the musicians and dancers were circling through the plaza, and Heckenberger said that everywhere you looked in the Kuikuro village “you can see the past in the present.” I began to picture the flutists and dancers in one of the old plazas. I pictured them living in mound-shaped two-story houses, the houses not scattered but in endless rows, where women wove hammocks and baked with manioc flour, and where teen-age boys and girls were held in seclusion as they learned the rites of their ancestors. I pictured the dancers and singers crossing moats and passing through tall palisade fences, moving from one village to the next, along wide boulevards and bridges and causeways.
The musicians were coming closer to us, and Heckenberger said something about the flutes, but I could no longer hear his voice over the sounds. For a moment, I could see this vanished world as if it were right in front of me.

From Troy and Rome on, falls, like foundings, of great cities are always the matter of myth no matter how real

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a new way to look at cities

"Cities of the sky: From Dubai to Chongqing to Honduras, the Silk Road of the future is taking shape in urban developments based on airport hubs — welcome to the world of the 'aerotropolis' (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). A new way to look at cities: We can delight in the aesthetics of other necessities."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

GeoTrio: another tool for your PLN

GeoTrio lets you create a virtual tour of just about anyplace on a map. You type in addresses or locations and easily create multiple “stops” that show the Google Street View snapshots of the area. You can also upload your own images.

But that’s not all.

What really makes GeoTrio stand out is the ability to easily make an audio recording for each stop on the map.

In many ways its similar to Tripline, which you can read about on The Best Sites Where Students Can Plan Virtual Trips (I’m adding GeoTrio to that list, too). Tripline is “slicker” and lets you grab images off the Web. However, it does not have the ability to provide audio narration.

Assignment for students:

Use this to plan a trip to someplace you've always wanted to visit or create a presentation to show your online friends about your home town or some place special to you.

Other: teaching, presentation, marketing, even site development tool

Posted via email from Meanderings

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

what the egyptian revolt means

Herbert Bix (Binghamton): The Middle East Revolutions in Historical Perspective: Egypt, Occupied Palestine, and the United States. Gimme Fuel, Gimme Fire: What the Egyptian revolt means for nuclear proliferation. How does protest topple a government? (and more at The Monkey Cage) Tina Rosenberg on what Egypt learned from the students who overthrew Milosevic. A look at how shy U.S. intellectual Gene Sharp created the playbook used revolutions (and more). This is not an Islamic revolution: Olivier Roy on how the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia show that Islam is now less potent politically, even as its social dominance grows. Immanuel Wallerstein on the World Social Forum, Egypt, and transformation. New World Order: Joseph Nye on Egypt, the information revolution, and the struggle for power in the twenty-first century. The Al Jazeera Effect: The inside story of Egypt's TV wars and how Saudi Arabia could be next. Why Mideast tumult caught scholars by surprise: Revolutions are easy to predict, but their timing sure isn't. Can the mass protests in Tunisia and Egypt succeed even though they have failed to produce real political leaders? "We all know our way back to Tahrir Square": Jon Bailes on Egypt, democracy and neoliberalism. The importance of these 21st century democratic revolutions for the rest of Africa cannot be overlooked. Robert Zaretsky on Egypt and the Longue Duree: What Braudel has to teach about the crisis. What's next after a revolution? Mohammadbagher Forough on promises of countries yet to come.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Perspectives on Egypt


An Egyptian protestor decries the government’s theft of billions from
the pension fund. Photo by Jessica Winegar.

“I rushed to Tahrir as did thousands of Cairenes. My subway car was filled with young people who had spontaneously invented chants that expressed their joy. One of these was, ‘They said we were the youth of Kentucky (Fried Chicken), but we were the ones who protected you (Egypt).’ (It rhymes in Arabic.) Another: ‘We are the youth of the internet, not those only concerned with dating.’ I sat across from one man in his late 70s who sat with a smile on his face, staring at the teen and twenty-something men in amazement and admiration, with tears of joy in his eyes.  He kept saying to me in English, ‘Revolution. Revolution.’

“He was going to Tahrir too, and when I got there, amidst the massive celebrating crowds, I saw countless older men and women, some quite old and in wheelchairs or with canes. They walked with their spouses, and/or children and in many cases grandchildren. Some of the mothers and grandmothers ululated. Fathers and grandfathers participated in the moving cheer, ‘Lift your head up, you are Egyptian!’ It seemed that they had once been able to lift their heads up in pride as Egyptians, and although now many were stooped from the effects of living under an oppressive dictatorship, they were clearly so thrilled that their offspring could now lift their heads proudly and that they were among the fortunate ones to live to see this day.”

So observed Jessica Winegar F’09, assistant professor of anthropology at Northwestern University, amidst the jubilant atmosphere in Tahrir Square when word came that President Mubarak had stepped down. She and other ACLS Fellows—from California to the Middle East, from computer labs to the streets of Cairo—understand the revolution as a moment both reshapes and is shaped by history.

Watching the revolution unfold in Egypt, Iza Hussin F’07, assistant professor of legal studies at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has been “struck by the uncertainty there has been about what these events ‘mean’ for the states, participants, and region.” Omnia El Shakry F’07, associate professor of history at the University of California, Davis, adds that media coverage of these events has lacked “any real sense of history.”

Jesse Ferris F’08, F’07, vice president for strategy for the Israel Democracy Institute, sees the roots of today’s revolution in Nasserism, and particularly the advent of the Egyptian military complex:

“Mubarak is only the fourth in a chain of military officers who have assumed the Presidency since the Free Officers overthrew the monarchy in the revolution of 1952. The structure of the regime has remained largely unchanged since the days of Nasser. A small cast of ex-officers stands atop an enormous bureaucracy intertwined with a bloated national party apparatus, all three of which are sustained in power by two parallel security structures: the military and an assortment of internal security forces. Although it has not seen action in decades, the military remains the most significant power broker in Egypt, and its power has been magnified over the years by the construction of a vast military-industrial complex that is thoroughly entangled with the civilian economy.”

El Shakry, however, argues that Egyptian society under Nasser was “equally characterized by an ideology and practice of social welfare,” a social contract between the state and the people in which “democratic political change was exchanged for piecemeal social reform” and the reinforcement of existing social relationships.

El Shakry reminds us that Egypt experienced three revolutions in the twentieth century: the 1919 revolution that ended British colonial rule; the 1952 military coup that brought Gamal Abdel Nasser to power; and the 1974 neo-liberal Intifah, or opening, that led to a free-market economy and strengthened the private sector at the expense of Nasser’s social safety net. This led to an “immense polarization of wealth, drastically exacerbated since the 1990s, [which] has left many Egyptians consumed by the search for food, shelter, and human dignity, with an estimated 40 percent living below the poverty line.” The ongoing decline in the quality of life set the stage for the 2011 revolution. For many of today’s older protesters, demonstrations are not new, Winegar notes; many of them have a history activism, fighting “against the privatization of health insurance and the theft of billions of pension funds.”


Demonstrators in Cairo. Photo by Jessica Winegar.

Winegar is currently in Egypt at work on her ACLS fellowship project on state secularism and the Islamic revival.  She describes this as a multi-generational revolution, and watches as Egyptians who grew up during the different regimes bring the past to life in their activism. Under Mubarak, many “upper middle class Egyptians in their fifties and sixties who had been leftist student activists in the 1970s . . . watched their youthful dreams of creating a just society crumble before their eyes, as neoliberal capitalism, authoritarianism, and corruption, took vicious root in Egypt.  They themselves sought greater stability in their lives and so, with marriage and children, they hunkered down in decent apartments and built comfortable lives for themselves and their families . . .  Their 1970s street activism had, in the Mubarak era, been limited to signing intellectuals’ petitions, writing the occasional article, or going to the occasional demonstration and being cordoned off by the security police.” In 2011, they assembled in Tahrir Square, joined neighborhood watches, and argued with pro-Mubarak neighbors.

“I also saw many pro-democracy demonstrators in their late sixties and seventies,” she continues. “These men and women had been raised on Nasser’s revolutionary language; their childhood, teens, or twenties had been filled with the promise of a just and prosperous society.  But their potential was curtailed by the steep decline in quality of life from the later Nasser years through Sadat and Mubarak.” Like their younger counterparts, “their struggle, and their disappointment, was marked on their bodies.” Many, including the relatively privileged, suffer from the ailments of a stressful life and poor health care: high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, mental stress, and cigarette addiction.”

The revolution transformed perceptions. After Muburak stepped down, “We never thought this would happen” became a common refrain, but Winegar concludes, “It was as clear as day.” Ferris agrees that the revolution could have been predicted, though “knowing that an event will happen is not the same as predicting when it will happen.” In this case, the overthrow of the Tunisian government and the Egyptian military’s restraint allowed the inevitable to finally unfold.

While Winegar was in Tahrir Square, Todd Presner F’06, professor of Germanic languages and literatures at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues at the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities were creating “HyperCities Egypt,” a digital map of Cairo that locates and archives tweets from the uprising, bringing Egyptian voices to the rest of the world while also preserving them for the future. This program is based on “HyperCities Berlin,” an interactive, web-based research platform for analyzing the cultural, architectural, and urban history of a city space built with funding from the ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship program.

Presner explains:

“We wanted the world to be able to hear these voices coming out Egypt since they add a very different perspective and dimension when compared to traditional broadcast media. To date, we have archived and mapped more than 300,000 tweets coming out of Egypt since the project began.  These are searchable and can be studied by scholars interested in understanding the roles that social media played in documenting and fomenting the revolution in Egypt.  At the project’s core are values central to the next wave of digital humanities: harnessing new technologies to expand the global public sphere, animating the archive in new ways, and using technologies to increase the purview, relevance, and importance of the humanities in the world."

Can humanities scholars tell us what is next for Egypt? Ferris argues that the emergence of a “genuine multi-party system” is unlikely, and that the “rapid population growth, scarce natural resources, a chronic shortage of wheat, and insufficient exports”—challenges that have persisted since Nasser’s time—will prove challenging to any future government. Instead, he sees a two-party system backed by the army, as emerged in Turkey in 1950, as one possibility, and a new secularist or Islamic dictatorship as another possibility. Hussin adds that “Islam never did, nor does it now, promise a monolithic shari’ah state, but presents a plethora of resources for mobilization, locally defined institutions, and the construction and contestation of new identities.”

She further describes the 2011 revolution as a “moment of making,” one that humanities research can illuminate in all its richness. We can look to engaged researchers to answer questions such as those posed by Hussin: “What structural elements of the moribund regime will become underpinnings of a new order? What symbols, logics, and languages of power will the new civic culture adopt, and what will it make anew?” As scholarship on Egyptian politics and society shows us, history is a process, and each day is informed by the day before. 

Read more: 
"Egypt's Three Revolutions: The Force of History behind this Popular Uprising" by Omnia El Shakry F'07
New UCLA project streams Twitter updates from Egypt unrest on digital map of Cairo 

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Haitian Renaissance: Youth Paint a New Country

Rebuilding can take many forms, use different materials ~ but all to the same end.... renewal of spirit, hope, possibilities.

Islande Henry with one of her paintings on women's rights. 
Photo: Allyn Gaestel.

By Beverly Bell

"Everyone expects there to be a new problem daily in Haiti.  I can’t concentrate on problems each day,” said Roseanne Auguste, coordinator of a youth art program in the sprawling, under-resourced Port-au-Prince section of Carrefour-Feuilles. The program is run through the community clinic Association for the Promotion of Family Integrated Health (APROSIFA).

Roseanne swept her hand across hundreds of paintings and drawings waiting to be packed up for an upcoming art show. “And people come and say Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I hate to hear that. There’s so much richness in this country.”

Roseanne, who is director of APROSIFA as well as a nurse and community organizer, held up one painting. It featured two hands nurturing a brilliantly colored women’s head; the hands seemed to be helping the woman open her mouth. “They’re envisioning all this despite the earthquake,” Roseanne said. 

“These kids hear about violence every day,” Roseanne said. “We have to concentrate on what another country could be.  That’s what interests me. If we had cultural centers in each shantytown, imagine what we could do. Culture and citizenship… if youth came and talked about this every day, found different ways to express their views on the matters, we could have a different country.”

APROSIFA’s youth art program began in 2009 in a couple of cement-block rooms in the back of the clinic. A few professional artists donated their time to teach.  Today, 68 youth from ages 8 to early 20s are painting and sculpting. A few of the youth who began learning two years ago are now teaching the others.

The artwork represents the daily stuff of Haitian life, like forms of labor, scenes inside village huts, vodou imagery, and landscapes.

Read the rest of the story at

Posted via email from Haven at Harbor Homes

Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt Rising Up

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Standing Our Ground on Sustainability

Read our mission statement. Sustainability is part of it. Obviously, the Community Garden fits right in there, so does our involvement with the Farmers Market Steering Committee, both individually and as an organization.

And the music? you might ask. The creativity in iCreate. Human sustainability. "Spiritual nourishment" Gregor Samsa would say (from The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka)

So where does this belong? Another feature, say "Sustainability," or perhaps under "Virtual Community Garden." "La Vida Locavore" is high on the list for a sidebar feed. What do you think? Let me know.

Vanessa, resident Ariadne

La Vida Locavore

Standing Our Ground on Sustainability

by: Jill Richardson

My latest on Alternet is titled "Have Corporations Hijacked the Word 'Sustainable'? It's based on a trend I've seen over the past year or two. Sustainable means "capable of being maintained at a steady level without exhausting natural resources or causing severe ecological damage." Easy enough to understand, right? But over and over, I hear Big Ag interests (who are not always corporations, but are certainly serving corporate interests) say that sustainable is defined as "producing more food off of each acre while using less natural resources."

To compare these two definitions, imagine we are talking about cars instead of agriculture. Let's say you're driving a Hummer. And you want to be "sustainable." Obviously, the Hummer won't do. Should you swap out the H2 for a Ford Expedition? Now, the Expedition can produce more with less resources than your Hummer. That is, it can go more miles using less gas. But is it "capable of being maintained at a steady level without exhausting natural resources or causing severe ecological damage." Absolutely not.

How about a Prius. Wow, that can REALLY go more miles on less gas compared to a Hummer. But if we all drove Priuses, could that be maintained at a steady level without exhausting natural resources or causing severe ecological damage? Sadly, probably not.

To get to the point where we meet the true definition of sustainable, we'd likely need a very robust public transportation system, much of which is powered from renewable clean energy like wind and solar, plus bike trails, and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles that plug into an upgraded grid powered by renewable clean energy. And honestly, maybe that wouldn't be sustainable (based on the true definition of the word). But it would be helluva lot closer to it than a Ford Expedition.

So back to agriculture, clearly the Big Ag guys are trying to take us on by redefining "sustainability" in terms of yield. And they've already managed to hoodwink an awful lot of influential people into thinking that they will always win a contest based on yield, even though science proves otherwise. Here, in the industrialized world, we'd likely see a slight decrease in yield if we switched to organic agriculture, but we'd still have enough to eat, and some data indicates that we'd do better during periods of weather extremes (like droughts) than if we continued with chemical ag. In the non-industrial world, things are entirely different. Since the farmers there can't afford too many chemicals to begin with, switching to organic will actually INCREASE their yields by 80%.

But even if that's the case, even if sustainable ag can match or beat industrialized ag on yield, sustainability is STILL not a question of yield. It's a question of whether a system can be maintained over the long term without using up natural resources and wrecking the earth. Crop rotation, intercropping, cover crops, and composting can all do that; nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides cannot.

Posted via email from Mountainair NM

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Haitian remembrances, in their own voices

Anniversaries are supposed to be celebrations, not catalogs of destruction, marked by delays and frustration. I can't help but recall that the 1st year is the paper anniversary and think on the symbolism, "Paper represents fragility, a delicate nature, but can also denote the acquisition of knowledge." Fragility, yes. Knowledge, to be hoped for. 

Blogger DocCrof writes, "Google and NewsNow are saturated with earthquake-anniversary stories, with few adding anything useful to our understanding of Haiti."

After going through my feed reader  skimming and tagging anniversary stories, looking for standouts for an anniversary remembrance post, I'm of the same mind. The post excerpted below, itself compiled from other posts by Haitian bloggers, caught my attention for its authentic and unadulterated voices. 

Perhaps later, I'll return to the anniversary stories, pick out a few for sharing links and images. 

Today marks one year since the devastating earthquake struck Haiti. Haitian bloggers are remembering…

The Livesay Haiti Weblog writes:

On 1/12/2010 at 4:53pm the landscape of Haiti was irrevocably changed. Despite great tribulation and loss the heart and spirit of the people endures. Today an entire country stops to remember those they lost. Please pray for them and with them.... There is no week in our lives in 38 years that is as vivid and clear in our memories as a year ago this week. 

Pétion-ville cemetery by caribbeanfreephoto, used under a Creative Commons Licence.

Karlito's Blog posts an image that “you possibily have been seeing this image pop up pretty much everywhere on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, BBm) today”, explaining:

Late last night as I was thinking about a way to commemorate the one year anniversary of Haiti”s devastating earthquake, It came to mind that I didn’t need to do much, I just needed to be a survivor, so I created this little image symbolically.

We need to be there not only to tell a story, the story, our story as we remember it to our children and our grandchildren but also to help built a better and safer future for them. We need to be survivors everyday so that every step we make forward in this life be the reflection of our gratitude for the blessings that God has bestowed upon us everyday since that day. Nothing is greater then the gift of life.

National Palace, by caribbeanfreephoto, used under a Creative Commons Licence

On Twitter, the hashtags for the one-year anniversary of the earthquake are #remember #Haiti - and Tweeple have been using the micro-blogging platform to do just that. Bloggers on the ground in Haiti continue to weigh in. The Apparent Project Blog writes:

The last few days have been hard. Somehow I wish the calendar wasn't cyclical, because I'm not really ready to remember what happened a year ago.... I heard that they resurrected the Iron Market and it opened yesterday.... It was a place of significance for me and I cried as I saw the beautiful historical marketplace crumpled on the ground in the wake of the quake. I think for me it will be a moment of joy to see it rebuilt. The one thing that is fixed. The one thing that has been restored and repaired.

Indeed, @RAMHaiti posted several tweets about the inauguration of the rebuilt Iron Market…and a few about the stark contrast of the new facility to other areas of the capital:

Tent city, Juvenat by caribbeanfreephoto, used under a Creative Commons Licence

Today, whether it was through tweets, poetry or suggestions about ways in which to move forward, there is no doubt that this sad anniversary was top of mind in the regional blogosphere. Perhaps Shelley Clay sums it up best - today is important to remember because it is about the Haitian people:

It is January 12th. A baby is coming into the world today. A country is on her knees today. I will spend my day waiting for news of a boy or girl, probably go down to see the beautiful Iron Market, probably cry a little, hug my kids a lot, and remember what happened one year ago. God Bless Haiti this year!

All photos used in this post are by caribbeanfreephoto, used under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Creative Commons License. Visit caribbeanfreephoto's flickr photostream here.

Posted via email from Haven at Harbor Homes

Sunday, January 9, 2011

cities rise and fall

How nice to find a city something to blog (re-purpose) for places, among other functions, also designated citylit destination ~ all the more so when I'm behind on posting. All MLA'd out too, without even attending. Appropriate for places along the way though, all those LA images, plus irresistible "MLA in LA" (aka "MLALA") inspired juxtapositions ~ Academy in Hard Times, End of the Univeristy as We Know (and other examples of the genre), The Day of the Locust and so on.

From Lapham's Quarterly, a special issue on The City. From City Journal, Victor Davis Hanson on the destiny of cities: Throughout history, forces both natural and human have made cities rise and fall; Asian megacities, free and unfree: How politics has shaped the growth of Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul; and Brandon Fuller and Paul Romer on cities from scratch and a new path for development. From THES, a review of The Just City by Susan S. Fainstein; and a review of City Life by Adrian Franklin. There is a growing understanding that it is actually “love” that will be the prime force in the future economy of successful 21st century cities. The 30 most dynamic cities on Earth: Which metropolis is leading the world out of the recession? The answer is Istanbul — and the rest of the list is equally surprising. Mario Polese on seven reasons why big cities matter more than ever. Ross Perlin on ten megacities of the near future. What makes a city grow and thrive, and what causes it to stagnate and fall? Geoffrey West thinks the tools of physics can give us the answers. Tom Vanderbilt on how a planned highway can change a city, even if it never gets built. A new era for the city-state: Joel Kotkin on the New World Order. An article on predicting the climate-changed city of the future. An innovator in every apartment: Conor Friedersdorf on how cities should unravel their pre-digital regulations.

... time enough tomorrow (or whenever the rest of the convention post-mortems roll in) to blog collected observations and links.

Posted via email from Meanderings

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Art as a public good

Aviad Heifetz makes the case for treating beauty as a public good, and therefore for public funding of the arts.
Beauty cannot be provisioned in a decentralized market. Unlike with vaccinations, the problem has nothing to do with free riding. The point is that there is no way in which beauty can be marketed: there can be no promo to genuine surprise. We cannot form demand for an experience which will alter our outlook, because the new outlook makes no sense to us before we actually have it. Our only chance to have beauty is to commission it by a centralized, public initiative.
One argument Heifetz doesn’t make is that, in the midst of the Second Great Depression, public funding of the arts would put people back to work. Just as the Works Progress Administration did during the first Great Depression. Together, the Federal Art Project, the Federal Music Project, the Federal Theatre Project, and the Federal Writers  Project provided employment to thousands of struggling cultural workers and gave the nation hundreds of thousands of new cultural artifacts. Visual artists decorated post offices, schools and other public buildings with murals, canvases and sculptures; musicians were to perform with symphony orchestras and community singing concerts; new forms of theater were created in New York City, while touring companies traveled the country performing old and new plays; and published state and local guidebooks, organized archives, indexed newspapers. and collected folklore and oral history interviews.
Yes, beauty is a public good and, especially right now, we could use a lot more of it.