robertogreco + 2010   645

The State of American Trade Schools
"Trade and technical schools are being praised and promoted by the Department of Education, corporate America, and industry associations. How well is the system working?"


"Though it may be fading a little, the stigma of intellectual inferiority still lingers around trade schools like the residual funk of an old dog who long ago left the room. The kids who skip college do so because they aren’t mentally up to the task. We know that’s not often true, but we think it anyway. The stigma is something trade and tech schools and community colleges are still fighting, and maybe always will.

“With no well-known status ladder … Americans have had to depend for their mechanism of snobbery far more than other peoples on their college and university hierarchy,” noted the social critic Paul Fussell. He agreed with author John Brooks in distinguishing “the two basic American classes, the college-educated and the not-college-educated.”

“I took AP physics in high school and I understood that was one of the smart-kid classes,” says 18-year-old Perry Tech plumbing student Zane Cruz. “Construction and welding were the dumb-kid classes.”

“You get out of high school and you’re told you have to go to college to become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer,” says Rodriguez. “They tell you being a mechanic is a shitty job, you should strive for something better. There’s a stigma to these jobs, no matter how well they pay.”

Like so many divides in America, this one also increasingly seems to be drawn along urban and rural lines.

“I do better recruiting at country schools with the guys who grew up on farms; not so much in the city,” says Hannah.

“The rural workforce has always been more amenable to sub-baccalaureate education,” says Carnevale. This has to do with income but also with culture. “In the South, they see the community college as providing rank-and-file professionals. That’ll never happen within 300 miles of Harvard.”

Hannah says a generational element is also at play. “Millennials think in terms of money and vacation,” he says. “That’s what I get asked the most, what kind of money and what kind of vacation do you have? A couple years ago we took a whole company class on how to deal with millennials.”

Inevitably, racism raises its dispiriting hand.

“That time we now think of as the golden age of higher education was a lot more male, white and affluent,” says Nassirian director of federal policy with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. “At the time this was thought of as social progress. Today, when higher education tends to be far more inclusive of different populations, college strikes many people as socialism.”

With so many ways to divide us, genuine educational reform will require both creative vision and plenty of sweat equity.

“It is in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”

Steve Jobs said that when launching the iPad 2 in 2011. Today, the challenge remains the same, and the payoff just as large. All we need are skilled people who know how to put all the pieces of this thing together and get the whole machine working like it’s supposed to."
tradeschools  vocationalschools  education  2010  chuckthompson  colleges  universities 
8 weeks ago by robertogreco
Frankétienne's spirals: chaos theory, minor literature and generic limits | Mary Cobb Wittrock - Academia.edu
"This article elucidates the distinct relationship between Frankétienne’s spiral writing and Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers’ contemporary chaos theory demonstrating that chaos theory is an important paradigm to consider in literary analysis of the twentieth and twenty-first century. The open-ended nature of Frankétienne’s spiral interprets the Arrow of Time as proposed by Prigogine and Stengers; that is, that time is not reversible and the future and the past do not have a direct, linear rela-tionship. In essence, Prigogine and Stengers proposed that order evolves out of chaos. Furthermore, the fractalized, noisy, chaotic schizophony illustrated in his works imitates the bifurcation process in chaos theory when a system, far from equilibrium, undergoes self-organizing iterations from chaos to either order or morechaos. As a result, this analysis will examine how two of Frankétienne’s works, Ultravocal and H’Éros-Chimères, challenge the limits of traditional genre theory, and will show that his schizophonic writing exists in a state ‘far from equilibrium’ allowing a deleuzian minor language and literature to be exposed."
frankétienne  marycobbittrock  2010  haiti  spiralism  literature  isabellestenger  ilyaprigogine  chaostheory 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Solidarities of Resistance: Liberation from Education: Reflections on education, colonization, and freedom | The Dominion
"In today's society, school is sometimes spoken about as a necessity for a happy life and as an inherent good. The concept of education is thought to be synonymous with learning, and separates those who are knowledgeable from those who are deficient. This is true even in radical pedagogy circles, where education is portrayed as a universal need and a means of liberation.

Only at the edges of radical movements are people calling the very concept of education into question, creating a culture of school resistance they say rejects the commodification of education and its connections to state building, and even genocide.

“Education is a concept that co-evolved with capitalist society, which has long been known by dissenters to be a tool for streamlining capital accumulation, with classrooms that resemble factory floors, and bells that mirror the break-time whistles,” says University of Victoria professor Jason Price. In his book In Lieu of Education, Ivan Illich pointed out that the word “education” only appeared in the English language in 1530, at which time it was a radical idea and a novelty.

“Schools have been functioning for some time to create students with obedient minds, rarely pondering beyond the controlled learning habits they promote,” says Dustin Rivers, an Indigenous youth from the Sḵwxwú7mesh Nation.

Before the process of education was commodified, says Rivers, “learning was present everywhere in my traditional culture. Even our word for 'human being' can be deciphered into a 'learning person'.”

Important skills were demonstrated through mentorship, and were inseparable from culture. “Some of these aspects of the traditional culture remain” says Rivers, "but it often does so in spite of institutions like schooling, politics, and occupations attempting to dissuade or direct focus towards lifestyles that don't reinforce traditional ways of life."

A look back through history indicates that the separation of learning from community and the natural world is not only intertwined with the rise of capitalism, but also with the formation of nation-states. “All nation-states practice a continual effort to homogenize, using for this purpose the institutions and particularly education,” writes Gustavo Esteva, author of Escaping Education.

In his book, Esteva notes that of the 5,000 languages left in the world, only one per cent exist in Europe and North America, the birthplace of the nation-state and where education is most prevalent. Thus, says Esteva, where education goes, culture suffers.

A Mexican study shows one impact of education on culture: In San Andres Chicahuaxtla, Oaxaca, 30 per cent of youngsters who attend school totally ignore their elders' knowledge of soil culture, and their ability to live off of the land; 60 per cent acquire a dispersed knowledge of it; and 10 per cent are considered able to sustain, regenerate, and pass it on. In contrast, 95 per cent of youngsters in the same village who do not attend school acquire the knowledge that defines and distinguishes their culture.

Schooling as a tool to homogenize Indigenous youth into national patterns is especially obvious in Canada and the United States, writes Ward Churchill in his book Kill the Indian, Save the Man. In both countries, says Churchill, genocidal policies designed to “compel the adoption of Christianity, reshape traditional modes of governance along the lines of corporate boards, and disperse native populations as widely as possible” were carried out through compulsory boarding schools. According to Churchill, these schools were administered with such vigour that the survival rate of children was roughly 50 per cent. According to the Assembly of First Nations, the last Canadian residential school closed in 1996.

“What came down through compulsory schooling was very harsh, very damaging, and very brutal for our communities,” says Rivers. “It still is to this day, because it is all a part of the assimilation process. There is a responsibility for us to find new paths, and new ways.”

“I have a lot of suspicion about the entire school model," says Matt Hern, a long time advocate for school resistance. "I think pretty much all its basic premises and constructions are suspect—bound up with a colonial and colonizing logic aimed at warehousing kids for cheap and efficient training of industrial inputs.”

School resistance is a movement that attempts to undermine dominant narratives around school, and to broaden the deschooling movement to create new ways of engaging and learning together. “I strongly believe we need counter-institutions, ones that can support people and their passions, assist different types of learning, introduce people to new subjects and experiences, pass knowledge down (and up!), provide meaningful work, pay fair wages if possible, build a community infrastructure, reach out to people from different backgrounds,” says filmmaker Astra Taylor.

There are many people in the deschooling community who are doing just that. Hern co-founded the Purple Thistle Centre with eight youth 10 years ago. Today, the Thistle is a thriving deschooling centre in Vancouver.

“We need to be building alternative social institutions—places for kids, youth and families that begin to create a different set of possibilities,” he says. “Something new that begins to describe and construct a different way of living in the world, and a different world.”

Unschooling is simply defined as life-learning. Unschoolers spend their time exploring, learning and doing their passion, often with rigour and on their own time. Unschooling does not mean anti-intellectual; in fact, according to proponents, it is the opposite. “Unschooling is that very moment when you are really sucked into something, whether it's an idea or project and you just want to study it or be involved in it, master it,” says Taylor.

There is certainly a strong emphasis on deschooling at the Thistle, but that does not mean the centre is only run and used by youth who are unschoolers. In fact, most of the youth are local schooled kids. Of the 25 youth on the collective, five are unschoolers, and a few have college degrees. Out of 200 plus youth who use the space, the ratio is the same.

The Thistle is not anti-school per se, rather it is about creating something new, according to Hern. “We wanted to rethink it all—rather than start with 'school' as the template—let’s start over entirely and create an institution that is for kids, by kids, has their thriving in mind, and takes that idea seriously, however it might look,” he says.

While there are also alternative schools with mandates aimed at undermining and changing conventional school, Hern says they are often part of the problem. “These schools are inevitably lovely, nurturing inspiring places, but if they are providing one more great opportunity for the most privileged people in world history, then they are regressive, not progressive projects. They are making the fundamental inequities of the world worse.”

Even the schools that challenge that status quo in a meaningful way are subject to corporate and government interference, he says. Although Taylor and Hern describe deschooling as a collective, grassroots effort, it is still very much on the fringe of society and social consciousness. The reasons are many; primary is the belief that school is inherently good for us.

“The stigma around drop-outs and incomplete graduations is daunting, and you rarely hear of a positive outlook on leaving school,” says Rivers. Despite this, he left school and became a thriving unschooler who has spent the past few years reconnecting and building his community. He currently runs Squamish Language workshops for his community on his reserve.

Indigenous people face an especially difficult stigma for resisting school. Cheyenne La Vallee, from the Sḵwxwú7mesh Nation, also left school to become an unschooler. “It’s considered shameful if you don't finish high school,” she says. “In my experience, I did face a lot of resistance to the idea of unschooling from family members and friends.”

La Vallee knew that schooling and colonization went hand in hand, but she had never "thought it through that the act of unschooling can be a direct link to begin the process of decolonization.”

“Once I left school I found a deep love for my family and myself, my community and culture, life and my landbase, where I got to actually learn my culture, language and land," says La Vallee. "Going back to my land taught me about how my ancestors lived and I saw that as a way to decolonize.”

“As an unschooler I felt very empowered as a citizen—I volunteered, I wrote a zine, I protested, I read widely, I made stuff—but when I briefly attended public high school I suddenly became a student, my interests were compartmentalized and my sense of agency was dramatically diminished," says Taylor.

Schools can be a barrier to ones own cultures and values. “School does everything in its power to make you feel disempowered and ashamed for being Indigenous, for being a youth, for being alive,” says La Vallee.

But leaving school isn't easy for many to imagine. “Narrowly describing de/unschooling as simply 'getting out of school' tends to privilege those with resources, time and money. Generally, middle-class, two-parent, white families,” says Hern.

The same can be said for homeschooling, says Hern. “I think there are some things that many schools do well and are worth considering and respecting. Schools tend to put a lot of different kids together and when you're there you are forced to learn to deal with difference: people who don’t look, act, think or behave like you do. That’s really important, and often deschoolers end up hanging out with a lot of people who are very similar to themselves.” Which is why he thinks deschooling needs to be a form of active solidarity and activism.

An important … [more]
carlabergman  mikejobrownlee  gustavoesteva  2010  resistance  liberation  education  unschooling  deschooling  vancouver  britishcolumbia  indigeneity  indigenous  society  learning  capitalism  accumulation  jasonprice  ivanillich  obedience  mentorship  culture  wardchuchill  genocide  firstnations  matthern  schools  schooling  purplethistlecentre  alternative  lcproject  openstudioproject  youth  grassroots  decolonization  homeschool  difference  activism  solidarity 
march 2018 by robertogreco
Wrong - By David H. Freedman - The New York Times
"Putting trust in experts who are probably wrong is only part of the problem. The other side of the coin is that many people have all but given up on getting good advice from experts. The total effect of all the contradicting and shifting pronouncements is to make expert conclusions at times sound like so much blather — a background noise of modern life. I think by now most of us have at some point caught ourselves thinking, or at least have heard from people around us, something along these lines: Experts! One day they say vitamin X / coffee / wine / drug Y / a big mortgage / baby learning videos / Six Sigma / multitasking / clean homes / arguing / investment Z is a good thing, and the next they say it’s a bad thing. Why bother paying attention? I might as well just do what I feel like doing. Do we really want to just give up on expertise in this way? Even if experts usually fail to give us the clear, reliable guidance we need, there are still situations, as we’ll see, where failing to follow their advice can be self-defeating and even deadly.

So I’m not going to spend much time trying to convince you that experts are often, and possibly usually, wrong. Instead, this book is about why expertise goes wrong and how we may be able to do a better job of seeking out more trustworthy expert advice. To that end, we’re going to look at how experts — including scientists, business gurus, and our other highly trusted sources of wisdom — fall prey to a range of measurement errors, how they come to have deep biases that lead them into gamesmanship and even outright dishonesty, and how interactions among them tend to worsen rather than correct for these problems. We’re also going to examine the ways in which the media sort through the flow of dubious expert pronouncements and further distort them, as well as how we ourselves are drawn to the worst of this shoddy output, and how we end up being even more misled on the Internet. Finally, we’ll try to extract from everything we’ve discovered a set of rough guidelines that can help to separate the most suspect expert advice from the stuff that has a better chance of holding up.

As I said, most people are quite comfortable with the notion that there’s a real problem with experts. But some — mostly experts — do in fact take objection to that claim. Here are the three objections I encountered the most often, along with quick responses.

(1) If experts are so wrong, why are we so much better off now than we were fifty or a hundred years ago? One distinguished professor put it to me this way in an e-mail note: “Our life expectancy has almost doubled in the past seventy-five years, and that’s because of experts.” Actually, the vast majority of that gain came earlier in the twentieth century from a very few sharp improvements, and especially from the antismoking movement. As for all of the drugs, diagnostic tools, surgical techniques, medical devices, lists of foods to eat and avoid, and impressive breakthrough procedures and technologies that fill medical journals and trickle down into media reports, consider this: between 1978 and 2001, according to one highly regarded study, U.S. life spans increased fewer than three years on average — when the drop in smoking rates slowed around 1990, so did life-expectancy gains. It’s hard to claim we’re floating on an ocean of marvelously effective advice from a range of experts when we’ve been skirting the edges of a new depression, the divorce rate is around 50 percent, energy prices occasionally skyrocket, obesity rates are climbing, children’s test scores are declining, we’re forced to worry about terrorist and even nuclear attacks, 118 million prescriptions for antidepressants are written annually in the United States, chunks of our food supply periodically become tainted, and, well, you get the idea. Perhaps a reasonable model for expert advice is one I might call “punctuated wrongness” — that is, experts usually mislead us, but every once in a while they come up with truly helpful advice.

(2) Sure, experts have been mostly wrong in the past, but now they’re on top of things. In mid-2008 experts were standing in line to talk about the extensive, foolproof controls protecting our banks and other financial institutions that weren’t in place in the late 1920s — just before those institutions started collapsing. Cancer experts shake their heads today over the ways in which generations of predecessors wasted decades hunting down the mythical environmental or viral roots of most cancers, before pronouncing as a sure thing the more recent theory of how cancer is caused by mutations in a small number of genes — a theory that, as we’ll see, has yielded almost no benefits to patients after two decades. Most everyone missed what was happening to our climate, or even spoke of a global cooling crisis, until we came to today’s absolutely certain understanding of global warming and its man-made causes — well, we’ll see how that turns out. How could we have been so foolish before? And what sort of fool would question today’s experts’ beliefs? In any case, the claim that we’ve come from wrong ideas to right ideas suggests that there’s a consensus of experts today on what the right ideas are. But there is often nothing close to such a consensus. When experts’ beliefs clash, somebody has to be wrong — hardly a sign of an imminent convergence on truth.

And, finally, (3) So what if experts are usually wrong? That’s the nature of expert knowledge — it progresses slowly as it feels its way through difficult questions. Well, sure, we live in a complex world without easy answers, so we might well expect to see our experts make plenty of missteps as they steadily chip away at the truth. I’m not saying that experts don’t make any progress, or that they ought to have figured it all out long ago. I’m suggesting three things: we ought to be fully aware of how large a percentage of expert advice is flawed; we should find out if there are perhaps much more disconcerting reasons why experts so frequently get off track other than “that’s just the nature of the beast”; and we ought to take the trouble to see if we can come up with clues that will help distinguish better expert advice from fishier stuff. And, by the way, if experts are so comfortable with the notion that their efforts ought to be expected to spit out mostly wrong answers, why don’t they work a little harder to get this useful piece of information across to us when they’re interviewed on morning news shows or in newspaper articles, and not just when they’re confronted with their errors?

Given that I’ve already started throwing the term “expert” around left and right, I suppose I ought to make sure you know what I mean by the word. Academics study “expertise” in pianists, athletes, burglars, birds, infants, computers, trial witnesses, and captains of industry, to name just a few examples. But when I say “expert,” I’m mostly thinking of someone whom the mass media might quote as a credible authority on some topic — the sorts of people we’re usually referring to when we say things like “According to experts . . .” These are what I would call “mass” or “public” experts, people in a position to render opinions or findings that a large number of us might hear about and choose to take into account in making decisions that could affect our lives. Scientists are an especially important example, but I’m also interested in, for example, business, parenting, and sports experts who gain some public recognition for their experience and insight. I’ll also have some things to say about pop gurus, celebrity advice givers, and media pundits, as well as about what I call “local” experts — everyday practitioners such as non-research-oriented doctors, stockbrokers, and auto mechanics.

I’ve heard it said, half kiddingly, that meteorologists are the only people who get paid to be wrong. I would argue that in that sense most of our experts are paid to be wrong, and are probably wrong a much higher percentage of the time than are meteorologists. I’m going to show that although the process of wringing useful insights and advice from complex subjects may indeed be an inherently slow and erratic one, there are many other, less benign reasons why experts go astray. In fact, we’ll see that expert pronouncements are pushed toward wrongness so strongly that in the end it’s harder, I think, to explain why they’re sometimes right. But that doesn’t mean we’re hopelessly mired in this swamp of bad advice. With a decent compass, we can find our way out. Let’s start by exploring some of the muck."
experts  expertise  authority  2010  davidfreedman  wrongness  science  medicine 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Frequently Occurring Surnames from the 2010 Census
"Tabulations of all surnames occurring 100 or more times in the 2010 Census returns are provided in the files listed below. The first link explains the methodology used for identifying and editing names data. The second link provides an Excel file of the top 1,000 surnames. The third link provides zipped Excel and CSV (comma separated) files of the complete list of 162,253 names. The top ten surnames are:

Name Number Of Occurrences
Smith 2,442,977
Johnson 1,932,812
Williams 1,625,252
Brown 1,437,026
Jones 1,425,470
Garcia 1,166,120
Miller 1,161,437
Davis 1,116,357
Rodriguez 1,094,924
Martinez 1,060,159"

[See also: https://www.census.gov/topics/population/genealogy/data.html ]

[via: https://source.opennews.org/articles/data-stories-arent-downers/ ]
names  naming  census  2010  data  classideas 
november 2017 by robertogreco
The Hit List – BLDGBLOG
"We might say with only slight exaggeration that the United States exists in its current state of economic and military well being due to a peripheral constellation of sites found all over the world. These far-flung locations—such as rare-earth mines, telecommunications hubs, and vaccine suppliers—are like geopolitical buttresses, as important for the internal operations of the United States as its own homeland security.

However, this overseas network is neither seamless nor even necessarily identifiable as such. Rather, it is aggressively and deliberately discontiguous, and rarely acknowledged in any detail. In a sense, it is a stealth geography, unaware of its own importance and too scattered ever to be interrupted at once.

That is what made the controversial release by Wikileaks, in December 2010, of a long list of key infrastructural sites deemed vital to the national security of the United States so interesting. The geographic constellation upon which the United States depends was suddenly laid bare, given names and locations, and exposed for all to see.

The particular diplomatic cable in question, originally sent by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to all overseas embassies in February 2009 and marked for eventual declassification only in January 2019, describes what it calls “critical foreign dependencies (critical infrastructure and key resources located abroad).” These “critical dependencies” are divided into eighteen sectors, including energy, agriculture, banking and finance, drinking water and water treatment systems, public health, nuclear reactors, and “critical manufacturing.” All of these locations, objects, or services, the cable explains, “if destroyed, disrupted or exploited, would likely have an immediate and deleterious effect on the United States.” Indeed, there is no back up: several sites are highlighted as “irreplaceable.”

Specific locations range from the Straits of Malacca to a “battery-grade” manganese mine in Gabon, Africa, and from the Southern Cross undersea cable landing in Suva, Fiji, to a Danish manufacturer of smallpox vaccine. The list also singles out the Nadym Gas Pipeline Junction in Russia as “the most critical gas facility in the world.”

The list was first assembled as a way to extend the so-called National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP)—which focuses on domestic locations—with what the State Department calls its Critical Foreign Dependencies Initiative (CFDI). The CFDI, still in a nascent stage—i.e. it consists, for now, in making lists—could potentially grow to include direct funding for overseas protection of these sites, effectively absorbing them into the oblique landscape of the United States.

Of course, the fear that someone might actually use this as a check list of vulnerable targets, either for military elimination or terrorist sabotage, seemed to dominate news coverage at the time of the cable’s release. While it is obvious that the cable could be taken advantage of for nefarious purposes—and that even articles such as this one only increase the likelihood of this someday occurring—it should also be clear that its release offers the public an overdue opportunity to discuss the spatial vulnerabilities of U.S. power and the geometry of globalization.

The sites described by the cable—Israeli ordnance manufacturers, Australian pharmaceutical corporations, Canadian hydroelectric dams, German rabies vaccine suppliers—form a geometry whose operators and employees are perhaps unaware that they define the outer limits of U.S. national security. Put another way, the flipside of a recognizable U.S. border is this unwitting constellation: a defensive perimeter or outsourced inside, whereby the contiguous nation-state becomes fragmented into a discontiguous network-state, its points never in direct physical contact. It is thus not a constitutional entity in any recognized sense, but a coordinated infrastructural ensemble that spans whole continents at a time.

But what is the political fate of this landscape; how does it transform our accepted notions of what constitutes state territory; what forms of governance are most appropriate for its protection; and under whose jurisdictional sovereignty should these sites then be held?

In identifying these outlying chinks in its armor, the United States has inadvertently made clear a spatial realization that the concept of the nation-state has changed so rapidly that nations themselves are having trouble keeping track of their own appendages.

Seen this way, it matters less what specific sites appear in the Wikileaks cable, and simply that these sites can be listed at all. A globally operating, planetary sovereign requires a new kind of geography: discontinuous, contingent, and nontraditionally vulnerable, hidden from public view until rare leaks such as these."

[via: https://twitter.com/jbushnell/status/933014185675513856 ]
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  geography  2011  wikileaks  bighere  geopolitics  military  2010  us  gabon  africa  middleast  israel  canada  germany  landscape 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Drew Dudley: Everyday leadership | TED Talk | TED.com
"We have all changed someone's life -- usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other's lives."
small  everyday  leadership  2010  drewdudley  slow 
november 2017 by robertogreco
New sculptures installed at Richmond Branch Library | Richmond District Blog
"To honor the first birthday of the renovated Richmond Branch Library, the SF Arts Commission recently installed two new sculptures in front of the building.

Entitled Touching Earth, the two disc shaped sculptures were created by artist Scott Donahue. The pieces are inspired by the transient nature of the Bay Area’s population in that everyone arrived here from elsewhere using different modes of travel. The artist himself initally rode into the Bay Area on a bicycle.

Located on either side of the walkway leading up to the library’s entrance on 9th Avenue, the sculptures are two concrete containers covered with bronze epoxy domes. On top of each dome is a relief map of the Bay Area.

The south side sculpture depicts the historical Bay Area, before there was any Golden Gate or Bay Bridges. Inset in the relief map are various small photos showing how people reached the Bay Area in the past: by foot, horse, ship, train or prairie schooner.

The north side relief sculpture shows a closer, more contemporary view of the Bay with the Richmond Library highlighted in the center. More modern methods of transportation are shown including a jet plane, a bicyclist, a ferry, cars and even the 38 Geary MUNI bus.

The pieces were commissioned as part of the Branch Library Improvement Program. Donahue’s proposal for the pieces was selected through a community-based process back in 2005.

Donahue got into some hot water last year when he was paid $196,000 by Berkeley’s public arts program to create two large statues honoring the history and daily life of the city of Berkeley. At the base of the statues were small medallions showing dogs doing what they do – biting each other, defecating, even having sex with each other.

Apparently in his original proposal to the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission, Donahue’s design didn’t show the tiny canine reliefs. Many Berkeley-ites were not thrilled with the artist’s irreverent, canine commentary on Berkeley life, nor the Commission’s oversight of it."
sfsh  richmonddistrict  sculpture  art  libraries  maps  mapping  sanfrancisco  berkeley  2010  bayarea  scottdonahue 
october 2017 by robertogreco
srishti archive | Designing Spaces for Learning - Talk by Geetha Narayanan
"Experience or experimenting, expanding or developing, remembering or copying are all choices designers and educators make as they engage with notions of learning and of change. This paper presents a set of four case studies that articulate the pedagogical visions of a collective who have been investigating the connections between context, culture, consciousness and learning. Set within learning spaces for the urban poor and the elite this paper positions that fostering deep connections between place, space and the child is critical to the development of consciousness and competence. Designing spaces for learning needs, as this paper argues for an appreciation of forms of knowing that juxtaposes primary ways of knowing with the analytic and the designerly. Speaker : Geetha Narayanan (Principal Investigator, Project Vision Design and Research Collective, Centre for Education Research, Training and Development, Srishti School of Art Design & Technology) Seminar Date: March 23rd, 2010 Venue: National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Indian Institute of Science Campus Time: 3.00 p.m. Respondents: Prem Chandavarkar (Architect) & Ampat Varghese(Faculty at Srishti)"

[See also: https://vimeo.com/11049855 ]
geethanarayanan  education  learning  design  architecture  experimentation  pedagogy  2010  context  culture  consciousness  schooldesign 
october 2017 by robertogreco
the past is another country (again) | sara hendren
From Bill McKibben’s introduction to the 2010 reissue of E. F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered:
“[One of Jimmy Carter’s] first acts in office was to get rid of twenty limousines, and then don a cardigan for a fireside chat where he discussed the ‘permanent energy shortage’ the nation faced. Toward the end of his presidency, he gave one of his most famous speeches, diagnosing a ‘crisis of confidence’ in the country and attacking materialism as the cause: ‘In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption,’ he warned. ‘Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns.’ And, at least at first, people agreed—his sagging poll numbers jumped. Indeed, there was a mainstream audience for this kind of thinking: That year the sociologist Amitai Etzioni reported to Carter that 30 percent of Americans were ‘pro-growth,’ 31 percent were ‘anti-growth,’ and 39 percent were ‘highly uncertain.’ Read those numbers again—a plurality of Americans were ‘anti-growth.’”

McKibben is marveling at “anti,” but I’m frankly just as nonplussed and a little wistful about such a high register of admittance to “highly uncertain.”
billmckibben  sarahendren  2017  2010  jimmycarter  materialism  capitalism  energy  uncertainty  consumption  us  amitaietzioni  sustainability  growth  environment  anti-growth  energycrisis  politics  history  excess 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Richard Walker: The Golden State Adrift. New Left Review 66, November-December 2010.
"Since the apotheosis of the state’s favourite son Ronald Reagan, California has been at the forefront of the neoliberal turn in global capitalism. The story of its woes will sound familiar to observers across Europe, North America and Japan, suffering from the neoliberal era’s trademark features: financial frenzy, degraded public services, stagnant wages and deepening class and race inequality. But given its previous vanguard status, the Golden State should not be seen as just one more case of a general malaise. Its dire situation provides not only a sad commentary on the economic and political morass into which liberal democracies have sunk; it is a cautionary tale for what may lie ahead for the rest of the global North."



"California’s government is in profound disarray. The proximate cause is the worst fiscal crisis in the United States, echoing at a distance that of New York in the 1970s. Behind the budgetary mess is a political deadlock in which the majority no longer rules, the legislature no longer legislates, and offices are up for sale. At a deeper level, the breakdown stems from the long domination of politics by the moneyed elite and an ageing white minority unwilling to provide for the needs of a dramatically reconstituted populace.

The Golden State is now in permanent fiscal crisis. It has the largest budget in the country after the federal government—about $100 billion per year at its 2006 peak—and the largest budget deficit of any state: $35 billion in 2009–10 and $20 billion for 2010–11. The state’s shortfall accounts for one-fifth of the total $100 billion deficit of all fifty states. These fiscal woes are not new. They stem in large measure from the woefully inadequate and inequitable tax system, in which property is minimally taxed—at 1 per cent of cash value—and corporations bear a light burden: at most 10 per cent. Until the late 1970s, California had one of the most progressive tax systems in the country, but since then there has been a steady rollback of taxation. In the 1970s, it was one of the top four states in taxation and spending relative to income, whereas it is now in the middle of the pack.

The lynchpin of the anti-tax offensive is Proposition 13, passed by state-wide referendum in 1978, which capped local property taxes and required a two-thirds majority in the state legislature for all subsequent tax increases—a daunting barrier if there is organized opposition. Proposition 13 was the brainchild of Howard Jarvis, a lobbyist for the Los Angeles Apartment Owners’ Association. Support for it came not so much from voters in revolt against Big Government as from discontent with rising housing costs and property-tax assessments. But it was to prove a bridgehead for American neoliberalism, which triumphed two years later with Reagan’s ascent to the presidency."



"The fiscal crisis overlays a profound failure of politics and government in California. The origins of the stalemate lie in the decline of the legislative branch, which has popularity ratings even lower than Schwarzenegger’s. Led by Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh in the 1960s, California’s legislature was admired across the country for its professionalism. But by the 1980s, under Speaker Willie Brown, it had become largely a patronage system for the Democratic Party, which has controlled the state legislature continuously since 1959. Republicans went after Brown and the majority party by means of a ballot proposition imposing term limits on elected officials in 1990. Term limits neutered the legislature, taking away its collective knowledge, professional experience and most forceful voices, along with much of the staff vital to well-considered legislation. Sold as a way of limiting the influence of ‘special interests’, term limits have reinforced the grip of industry lobbyists over legislators."



"Efforts to jettison Proposition 13, such as that by the public-sector unions in 2004, have been stillborn because the Democratic Party leadership refuses to touch the ‘third rail’ of California politics. Most left-liberal commentators attribute this impasse to an anti-tax electorate and organized opposition from the right, but this does not square with the evidence. Electorally, the Democrats have easily dominated the state for the last four decades: both houses of the legislature, one or both us Senate seats, the majority of the House delegation, and the mayoralties of Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco; and, from Clinton onwards, every Democrat presidential candidate has carried the state by at least 10 per cent.

Rather than electoral vulnerability, it is the Democrats’ fundamental identification with the agenda of Silicon Valley, Hollywood and financiers—and dependence on money from these sources—that explains their unwillingness to touch the existing system."



"The victor, septuagenarian Democrat Jerry Brown, was governor of the state from 1975–83 and mayor of Oakland from 1999–2007; his most recent post was that of state Attorney General. Once a knight-errant of the liberal-left, it was his blunders in dealing with a budget surplus that paved the way for Proposition 13, and his harping on the theme of an ‘era of limits’ made him a rhetorical precursor to neoliberalism. In Oakland, his main contribution was to revivify the downtown area through massive condo development in the midst of the housing boom; he was also instrumental in pushing through charter schools. Brown’s low-key campaign kept its promises vague, but adhered to a broadly neoliberal agenda: pledging to cut public spending, trim the pensions of public employees, and put pressure on the unions to ‘compromise’. He has a fine nose for the political winds, but lacks any strong connection to a popular base."



"Yet whites have continued to dominate electoral politics, still making up two-thirds of the state’s regular voters. The majority of colour is vastly under-represented, because so many are non-citizens (60 per cent), underage (45 per cent) or not registered to vote. Turnout rates among California’s eligible Latinos are an abysmal 30 per cent, and the number of Latino representatives in city councils, the legislature and Congress remains far below what would be proportionate; Antonio Villaraigosa is the first Latino Mayor of Los Angeles since the 19th century. The fading white plurality continues to exert a disproportionate influence on the state. Markedly older, richer and more propertied, the white electorate has correspondingly conservative views: for many, immigrants are the problem, the Spanish language a threat, and law and order a rallying cry. Even the centrist white voter tends to view taxes as a burden, schools of little interest, and the collective future as someone else’s problem."



"The current economic and fiscal crises are just the latest symptoms of the slow decline of California’s postwar commonwealth. Here, as much as anywhere in the us, the golden age of American capitalism was built on a solid foundation of public investment and competent administration. Here, too, the steady advance of neoliberalism has undermined the public sector, and threatens to poison the wellsprings of entrepreneurial capitalism as well. This is especially apparent in the realm of education, from primary to university levels. The state’s once-great public-school system has been brought to its knees. Primary and secondary education (K–12: from kindergarten to twelfth grade) has fallen from the top of national rankings to the bottom by a range of measures, from test scores to dropout rates; the latter is currently at 25 per cent. There are many reasons for the slide, but the heart of the matter is penury—both of pupils and of the schools themselves, as economic inequalities and budget cuts bear down on California’s children."



"The upper middle class shield themselves by simply taking their children out of the public-school system and sending them to private institutions instead; previously rare, such withdrawals have now become commonplace—along with another alternative for the well-off, which is to move to prosperous, whiter suburbs where the tax base is richer. If public funds are insufficient, parents raise money amongst themselves for school endowments. In July of this year, a combination of civil-society groups launched a lawsuit over the injustice of school funding, hoping to produce a ‘son of Serrano’ ruling."



"California has been living off the accrued capital of the past. The New Deal and postwar eras left the state with an immense legacy of infrastructural investments. Schools and universities were a big part of this, along with the world’s most advanced freeway network, water-storage and transfer system, and park and wilderness complex. For the last thirty years, there has been too little tax revenue and too little investment. To keep things running, Sacramento has gone deeper and deeper into debt through a series of huge bond issues for prisons, parks and waterworks. By this sleight of hand, Californians have been fooled into thinking they could have both low taxes and high quality public infrastructure. The trick was repeated over and over, in a clear parallel to the nationwide accumulation of excessive mortgage debt. As a result, California now has the worst bond rating of any state."
richardwalker  california  via:javierarbona  2010  politics  policy  proposition13  inequality  education  schools  publicschools  highereducation  highered  government  termlimits  democrats  neoliberalism  liberalism  progressivism  elitism  nancypelosi  jerrybrown  ronaldreagan  race  demographics  history  1973  poverty  children  class  economics  society  technosolutionism  siliconvalley  finance  housingbubble  2008  greatrecession  taxes 
april 2017 by robertogreco
California Today: A Chronicler of the State, in His Own Words - The New York Times
"Here are just a few highlights from Mr. Starr’s prose and interviews:

On recurring natural disasters (Los Angeles Times, Oct. 31, 1993)
Southern California has used technology to materialize an imagined society of garden cities and suburbs. Now and then, it must pay a price for its reordering of the environment.

On diversity (San Diego Union-Tribune, Sept. 10, 2000):
Is there any people on the planet, any language, any religion not represented in California this very morning? ... This diversity, then, is the persistent DNA code of California.

On California’s rising Latino population (New York Times, March 31, 2001):
The Anglo hegemony was only an intermittent phase in California’s arc of identity, extending from the arrival of the Spanish.

On the Central Valley (“Coast of Dreams,” 2004):
Mesopotamia, the rice fields of China, the Po Valley: the Central Valley stood in a long line of irrigation cultures which had, in turn, given birth to civilization itself.

On California at the millennium (“California: A History,” 2005):
California had long since become one of the prisms through which the American people, for better and for worse, could glimpse their future.

On the drought (The New York Times, April 4, 2005):
Mother Nature didn’t intend for 40 million people to live here.

On the Golden Gate Bridge (“Golden Gate,” 2010):
Like the Parthenon, the Golden Gate Bridge seems Platonic in its perfection, as if the harmonies and resolutions of creation as understood by mathematics and abstract thought have been effortlessly materialized through engineering design.
"
kevinstarr  california  diversity  socal  demographics  technology  history  identity  2017  2010  2005  2004  2001  2000  1993  drought  environment  goldengatebridge  engineering  infrastructure  mesopotamia  irrigation  civilization  society  latinos  future 
january 2017 by robertogreco
California Dreaming - The bankrupt Golden State (vpro backlight documentary) - YouTube
"California is a strong brand, the state of new beginnings, dreams and movie stars, of surfers and a wonderful climate. But the Golden State is bankrupt and the city of Los Angeles is running out of cash. Public services are being cut and unemployment keeps rising. At the same time, optimism, entrepreneurship and the belief in the power of America are stronger than ever.

In Los Angeles, we meet five people who are going through a transformation in their lives during this crisis. Justin and Christine lost their jobs and are now living in a van with their two young sons. Charles has gotten out of prison after fourteen years. Mizuko prepares her children for the future by making them at ease in virtual reality. Laura has taken advantage of the crisis by buying land cheaply and starting an urban farm and artists collective Fallen Fruit maps the abundant free 'public fruit' available in the city.

Who are the pioneers who are reinventing the new America and how do they see the future?

Director: Bregtje van der Haak"
california  2010  documentary  losangeles  homeboyindustries  mimiito  bregtjevanderhaak  greatrecession  fallenfruit  wendygeuel 
january 2017 by robertogreco
InternetBoard v1.0: "Solidarity" A UCSD Professor On Why He Will Strike 9/24 Source Mike Davis
""Solidarity" A UCSD Professor On Why He Will Strike On September 24

The UC strike com. asked me this morning to write a short piece on 'solidarity'*

Mike Davis
1331 33rd St
San Diego CA 92102
mdavis@ucr.edu

Many years ago in the faded Art Nouveaux splendor of a Gorbals (Glasgow) pub,
I met a man who told me an extraordinary story about his grandfather, a
coalminer who had been killed in a pit disaster before the First World War. A
methane explosion, followed by a roof collapse, had trapped his grandfather
and his mates deep in the mine, where they were eventually asphyxiated. When
rescuers reached their tomb days later, they found a final, defiant message
chiseled into the coalface: 'God save our union.'

The spirit of these doomed Scots miners isn't easily replicated in rational choice
models of social action. Nor can simple economic calculation explain the fervor
with which Lancashire cotton workers, whose wages depended upon Southern
cotton and the British domination of India, supported Lincoln and later Gandhi.
Likewise, from the 1934 San Francisco General Strike to Justice for Janitors in
the 1980s and 1990s, California working people have repeatedly translated their
passion for justice and dignity into the slogan 'an injury to one, is an injury to all.'

The labor and civil rights movements, to be sure, aren't fairy tales, and the
heroic moments are often counterbalanced by the petrification of militancy into
leaden bureaucracy and the selfish calibration of seniority. Solidarity is too
often an orphan. In our case, there are disheartening examples of the tenured
strata ignoring the recent picket-lines of catering workers, secretaries,
lecturers, and students.

UC faculty, indeed, are much like the residents of Jonathan Swift's city of Laputa:
distracted by their departmental micropolitics and the distribution of FTEs while
they float on a cloud above the existential distress of K-12 and community
education. The Senate faculty also must share responsibility with the Regents
for the system's transformation into a vast machine for the transformation of
public research into corporate profit. Most UC campuses now more resemble
gated communities than public temples of learning.

A lot of us have complained about this situation for years, but our discomfort
has seldom moved us to action. But the challenge is now epic-historic: equity
and justice are endangered at every level of the Master plan for Education.
Obscene wealth still sprawls across the coastal hills, but flat-land inner cities
and blue-collar interior valleys face the death of the California dream. Their
children - let's not beat around the bush - are being pushed out of higher
education. Their future is being cut off at its knees.

The September 24 strike movement, in my opinion, is most important because it
defends non-tenured employees and demands public disclosure of the Regents'
secret diplomacy. It is an elementary reflex of a progressive, humane
consciousness: an antidote to the staggering selfishness and elitism of Andrew
Scull and his Gang of 23.

A strike, by matching actions to words,, is also the highest form of teach-in.
This seed of resistance, of course, will only grow to maturity through cultivation
by unionized employees and students. They are the real constant gardeners,
and hopefully branches of a unified fight-back will quickly intertwine with the
parallel struggles of CSU, community college, K-12 and adult-education
workers.

The strike also provides a bully pulpit to counter the still widespread belief that
the UC system has a unique dispensation and can once again negotiate its own
special deal in Sacramento. Many of our colleagues are simply in denial. This
time around, the first-class passengers are in the same frigid water with the
kindergarten teachers and community college janitors.

The 24th is the beginning of learning how to shout in unison. And whatever the
outcome, it at allows us write our beliefs on the coalface.

* UPTE/CWA has voted to strike U.C. on September 24"
mikedavis  sandiego  ucsd  2010 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Robert King Wilkerson and Rigo 23 - YouTube
"Former Black Panther Robert King Wilkerson talks with artist/collaborator Rigo 23 and Creative Time Curator Mark Beasley about his experience and the use of voice both during and following 29 years of solitary confinement in Angola Prison. King was exonerated by the State of Louisiana in February 2001 and subsequently re-leased."

[via: http://archives.sfweekly.com/exhibitionist/2014/08/01/tourism-for-locals-the-truth-ful-art-of-rigo-23

"In the City , his most famous installations are his pop-art inspired traffic signs that are deceptive in their simplicity. One of his early and iconic works is 1995's "One Tree." The mural is located at 10th Street and Bryant at the entrance to HWY 101 South. Situated in a desolate industrial area in SoMa, it features a one-way sign that reads "One Tree" and is indeed pointing towards a single elm. It's the stark juxtaposition that acts as a reminder of the natural world when the viewer is confronted with one of the chief symbols of industrialization: a freeway.

In 1994, Rigo 23 teamed up with The TODCO Group, a community-based housing/community development nonprofit for San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, to paint the massive "Innercity/Home" on the side of an affordable housing high rise building. The mural can be seen from the HWY 101 and I-280.

So, naturally, 23's large "Truth" mural located near the Civic Center and UN Plaza would seem to have some connection or message with it facing City Hall, San Francisco Superior Court, the California Federal Court House, and UC Hasting's Law School.

Although a spectator could easily nod in agreement of this interpretation, Rigo 23 is drawing attention to a specific incident, and in that, maybe a much larger truth. He draws from world politics and political prisoners of the Black Panther Party and specifically the Angola Three. And in this piece, "Truth"commemorates the vindication of Robert H. King.

King, a former member of the Black Panther Party, was one of two of the Angola Three to be released from prison after spending 32 years incarcerated in a Louisiana prison — 29 of these years were spent in a solitary confinement cell with the dimensions of 6 x 9 x 12-feet. King’s conviction was overturned in 2001. (Below we've included a video where King and Rigo 23 discuss art, politics, and freedom during a panel discussion.)

Most importantly though, Rigo 23 has not only graced San Francisco with his works, but he has given back to the arts community as well. He was was one of the founders of the Clarion Alley Mural Project and his mosaic work graces a Tenderloin playground.

So next time you run into one of his murals, pause and think what the message of the work is and how it relates to your life, because the complexities and chaos of our society can easily be expressed with a navigational street sign and one word phrase, but it takes open minds and hearts to see the inspiration behind the work.

Truthfully."]
rigo23  robertkingwilkerson  blackpanthers  art  2010  sanfrancisco  blackpantherparty 
october 2016 by robertogreco
The Educator’s Secret and Modern Stupidity
[Followed by:

"The Educator’s Dilemma and the Two Big Lies"
http://www.lifelearningmagazine.com/0710/dilemma.htm

and "The Educator’s Folly and the Shadow of the Future"
http://www.lifelearningmagazine.com/1108/educators-folly.htm ]

"Several years ago, a distraught mother who knew I was an “educator” called me in tears. She had just come from a parent/teacher conference where she had been informed by her son’s kindergarten teacher that he was “four months behind.” (In kindergarten!) She imagined her son’s future possibilities slipping away and hoped I could give her some advice, or at least some sympathy. “Is there anything I can do for him?” she wondered.

I told her what her son’s kindergarten teacher should have known: that no two children are alike; that each child develops in his or her own mysterious way; that a child who is “four months behind” when he is five might be “two years ahead” when he is seven.

I told her that when Albert Einstein was her son’s age his teachers thought he was slow and simple-minded and that Thomas Edison was expelled from first grade because his teacher thought he was retarded. (In Edison’s case, we can have some sympathy for the teacher. It was probably difficult to assess his school work in the dim light.) “I’m sure that with a concerned parent like you,” I told her, “your son will be all right.”

This kindergarten teacher was probably not being malicious. She was probably doing what she had been trained to do; what she thought her job required her to do. How can we explain such an absurd situation?

In The Art of the Novel, the Czech writer, Milan Kundera, claims that one of the greatest ills facing the contemporary world is “the modernization of stupidity.” In pre-modern times, stupidity implied ignorance, “a simple absence of knowledge, a defect correctable by education.” In its modern form, however, stupidity is something else. It is “not ignorance but the nonthought of received ideas.”1

Modern stupidity is closely related to what Ivan Illich called “modern certainties,” ideas that have become so ingrained they are almost never questioned because we are hardly aware of having them. “Nonthought” also underlies the “modern superstitions” that Wendell Berry has criticized, for example, in books like Life is a Miracle.2


Ironically, the field of education is as rife with this “nonthought” as any other. One example of modern stupidity is the superstitious belief that there is such a thing as an “average child,” whom a five-year-old could be “four months behind.” In succumbing to what philosopher Alfred North Whitehead called “the fallacy of misplaced concreteness” – that is treating an abstraction as if it were a concrete reality – educators start their work in the wrong place.3

In his book Citizenship Papers, Wendell Berry recounts a conversation between a well-known, highly respected horse trainer and someone curious about his methods. “How do you train horses?” the latter asks. The former replies, “Which one do you have in mind?”4

If such a response makes sense for horses, then surely, given the complexity of human development, the answer to the question “How do you educate children?” must be “Which one do you have in mind?”

Instead of beginning with the pernicious abstraction of the “average child” and tracking students into the “gifted and talented” at one end of “the bell curve” and those needing “special education” at the other, we should try to free our approach to “education” from modern stupidity. Since no two children are identical, there cannot be one best way to educate all of them. And we should certainly stop frightening parents with pronouncements about their children’s status compared to some abstract and arbitrary standard."



"“Most of what we learn before, during, and after attending school is learned without it being taught to us. A child learns such fundamental things as how to walk, talk, eat, dress, and so on without being taught these things. Adults learn most of what they use at work or at leisure while at work or leisure. Most of what is taught in classroom settings is forgotten, and much of what is remembered is irrelevant.” 10

Ivan Illich was even more to the point when he said: “It is really an alienation to believe that learning is the result of teaching.” 11

The “science” upon which the structure of schooling rests is flimsy at best and certainly out-of-date. Roger Schank, the Director of the Institute for the Learning Sciences [sic] at Northwestern University, summed up the latest research about the approaches to “learning” used in schools this way:

“From elementary school to college, educational systems drive the love of learning out of kids and replace it with the “skills” of following rules, working hard, and doing what is expected…We all learn in a very specific way, and the method schools use in antithetical to this learning model.” 12

After reviewing the various claims educators have made for the “scientific” basis for their theories of “learning,” Bruce Goldberg concluded:

“There is no such thing as educational science. When the views that have been offered as scientific are examined closely, they turn out to be not scientific at all but rather a combination of personal taste and simplistic, distorted versions of philosophical theories about how the mind works.” 13

I think the obsession with science itself must be questioned. Philip Sherrard and others have shown that the assumptions upon which modern science is based inevitably dehumanize people.14 Scientists investigating human nature are confronted with a dilemma: Either human beings can be reduced to observable, predictable energy and matter, or we must remain unknowable to ourselves. And, as Wendell Berry observed, if we accept the reductive premises of modern science, we get caught in a paradox:

“Reductionism…has one inherent limitation that is paramount, and that is abstraction: its tendency to allow the particular to be absorbed or obscured by the general. It is a curious paradox of science that its empirical knowledge of the material world gives rise to abstractions such as statistical averages which have no materiality and exist only as ideas. There is, empirically speaking, no average and no type.” 15

There is no such thing, for example, as an “average child,” which brings me back to the anxious mother of the boy in kindergarten. When she had calmed down, I decided to take a risk and to share with her “The Educator’s Secret.”

Professional educators, at least those trapped in what Richard Mitchell (and Flannery O’Connor before him) called “educationism,” keep the secret because they want gullible people to believe their services are indispensable.16 They realize that if the general public knew about it, the entire project of compulsory schooling, which costs more than $500 billion each year in the United States, would be threatened.

“If you love your son and feed him,” I confided, “he will grow up.”

“And who knows?” I added. “Someday, he may come up with an idea that will light up the world.”"
culturaldarkmatter  darkmatter  ivanillich  2010  danielgrego  milankundera  alfrednorthwhitehead  education  unschooling  deschooling  schooliness  schools  teaching  howweteach  aldoushuxley  wendellberry  supersticion  skepticism  criticalthinking  children  scientism  educationism  sfsh 
august 2016 by robertogreco
CrimethInc. Ex-Workers’ Collective : Movies : The Chicago Conspiracy
"The Chicago Conspiracy / HD / 2010 / 94 Minutes / This documentary addresses the legacy of the military dictatorship in Chile by sharing the story of combatant youth who were killed by the Pinochet regime as a backdrop to the history of the military dictatorship and current social conflict in the area. The larger story is wrapped around three shorter pieces, which explore the student movement, the history of neighborhoods that became centers of armed resistance against the dictatorship, and the indigenous Mapuche conflict. The filmmakers, militant film collective Subversive Action Films, question their relationship to the documentary, taking a position as combatants. [1280x720]"
pinochet  chile  history  economics  crimethinc  documentary  towatch  2010  dictatorship  mapuche 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Stephanie Syjuco: Particulate Matter: Things, Thingys, Thingies
"Particulate Matter: Things, Thingys, Thingies
2010

Mixed media (cardboard, foamcore, colored paper, fabric), wooden pallets, digital video projection, exhibition checklist. At Gallery 400, University of Illinois Chicago, September 2010

Artforum.com review [http://www.stephaniesyjuco.com/reviews/review_artforumdotcom_10_2010.html ]

My handmade versions of over seventy objects designed by users of the free 3-D modeling program Google SketchUp exist somewhere between the bootleg, the copy, and the translation. Modeled from online designs that seem to lack value or utility, these strange objects explore the handmade in the digital-era of design, uniqueness found even within the copy, and collaboration’s relationship to outsourcing, as well as labor, authorship, and value.

Designed as a simple and easy-to-use version of CAD software, SketchUp has garnered a growing following of amateur designers who use it to model virtually everything from common household items to fantasy architectural designs. These digital designs can be uploaded to a freely-accessible database to “share” with other SketchUp users in their own projects.

I chose the objects based on their status as being nebulous and fuzzy. Mostly defined as "things" or "thingies," these virtual objects defied definition and lacked a utilitarian or recognizable reason for existence. But as objects uploaded to a shared database, they were somehow considered by their creators as valuable enough to want to make accessible to the general public. Unwanted and unloved, these "Thingies" float in a virtual version of outer space, and remind me of the notion of space junk—these random objects that increasingly clutter our world as offshoots and debris.

Over seventy objects were hand-constructed out of basic materials and laid out on wooden moving pallets, creating a layout that encouraged visitors to wander through pathways. The low platforms, usually associated with transporting bulk goods, served as a reminder of the physicallity of labor processes. The works were physically challenging and taxing to make, and I did my best as an outsourced worker to fabricate works that were never meant to see the light of day.

A map and exhibition checklist accompanied the show, allowing the visitors to wander through and find out more on the original designer's remarks ("random," "i dunno wat this is," etc)."
3dprinting  3d  googlesketchup  stephaniesyjuco  art  2010  design  objects  cad  sketchup 
may 2016 by robertogreco
Transcript | This American Life: 406: True Urban Legends
"Act One. What's That Smell?

Ira Glass
What's that smell? The way Steve Poizner sees it, he did something admirable, something daring, something unusual. And when I read his account of what he did, he seemed sincere about it too. He's a bit of a corny writer. Though even that, you can kind of forgive him. He's not a professional author.

At the age of 45, after starting one Silicon Valley company that he sold for $30 million and a second one that sold for $1 billion, Poizner didn't need to work anymore. He says, he wanted to do some good for people. And so he called a dozen public high schools and volunteered to be a guest teacher of some sort. One called him back, a high school called Mount Pleasant. And Poizner got into his car, drove the 15 miles from his neighborhood in Los Gatos in Silicon Valley to East San Jose."



"I heard about Steve Poizner and the controversy over whether his book got things wrong when a publicist for the book contacted our radio program. She wrote an email describing the incident at the bookstore this way, "Liberal activist took offense at how he describes the school, accurately, as plagued by gangs, teen pregnancy, and disrepair. They are trying to shut him up and discredit his argument about charter schools." Poizner makes a case for charter schools late in the book. "This is a classic case of liberals refusing to listen to simple facts and rational solutions."

So I read the excerpt of his book online. There's a full chapter, and Poizner links to it from his campaign website. You can read it yourself. And it raised more questions than it answered. It's a very odd chapter, all about Poizner's first days teaching a class at Mount Pleasant. There's scene after scene where he's floundering, standing in front of the class asking big, abstract questions. "Would you want to live in a country where the leader didn't want to lead, if the money issued by the government wasn't any good, or people were treated unfairly?" None of the students respond.

He's a rookie teacher. He doesn't know how to engage them yet. Nothing unusual there. But here's the strange thing. The conclusion Poizner comes to, again and again, during these scenes isn't that he's doing anything wrong, or he has anything to learn as a teacher. Instead, he blames the kids. They're tough. They're unmotivated. They lack ambition. They're wired differently.

The students, meanwhile, in every scene in the book-- I've read the whole book-- seem utterly lovely. Polite, they don't interrupt, they don't talk back. They just seem a little bored. His very worst student is a graduating senior, who's hoping to go into the Marines. Checking school records, I learn that Poizner's unmotivated, unambitious class included one of the school valedictorians, Charles Rudy, who graduated and went to college.

Could he be getting this so completely wrong, I wondered? Could he have written an entire book misperceiving so thoroughly what was happening in front of his own eyes and was now trying to use that book to run for governor? It seemed too incredible. And that's what brought me to San Jose last week to visit the school and its neighborhood."

[PLUS]

"Foreigners arrive in the United States believing all kinds of misinformation about us...misinformation that turns out to be true. Mary Wiltenburg tells the story."

[audio here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/406/true-urban-legends

"Act Two. Fleeing is Believing.

A retired millionaire tries to understand the reality of a tough, seedy, inner city neighborhood. But what if the neighborhood is none of those things? Ira Glass evaluates the claims of this millionaire, Steve Poizner, who is also running for governor of California."]
stevepoizner  2010  sanjose  losgatos  california  education  schools  perception  class  poltics  urbanlegends  via:robertsears  data  statistics  mountpleasanthighschool  eastsanjose  condescencion  refugees  immigration  culture  society  thisamericanlife 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Bite-size pieces
"Over the years I've noticed that just about everyone believes that everyone else uses the web as they do.

People who skim believe everyone else does too. People who skip over ads can't believe anyone looks at, or even clicks on them. People who search can't believe others don't.

It's such an irrational behavior that psychologists should add it to their known list of cognitive biases. I suggest they call it the Malkovich Bias - and define it as "the tendency to believe that everyone uses the web as you do."

The Malkovich Bias is especially prevalent in design and product development processes. It's usually an ugly and frustrating experience. Odds are good that you and your teammates don't use the web in the same way. So you've had conversations like...

"That needs to go above the fold because no one scrolls."

"That's nonsense. People scroll all the time. I do it on Google all the time."

"You might, but 78% of people don't." (I've actually seen someone reference made up stats on numerous occasions).

Rationally we can all accept that people are different and their approaches to the web differ, but that rational thought can be super tough to internalize.

Which is why I love usability testing. Much like traveling in a foreign country, we often witness behavior so counter to our own, that it makes us question our own dogmas. Similarly watching someone use the web in the exact opposite way we do, confronts and shakes our Malcovich Bias.

In a team setting, usability testing shakes the Malkovich Bias in profound ways. User testing shifts the debate. If a team witnesses a user struggle through something, everyone has a shared experience and understanding of that user's experience which serves as the starting point of the discussion and the eventual solution."
design  film  internet  productdesign  psychology  storytelling  difference  ux  ui  usabilitytesting  usability  2010  andresglusman 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Listening While Feminist: In Defense of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Persephone Magazine
[See also: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/19/baby-its-cold-outside-was-once-an-anthem-for-progressive-women-what-happened/ ]

"I’m a pretty voracious consumer and critic of American popular culture. I’m one of those 3rd wavers who believes that the deconstruction of all aspects of pop culture is an important aspect of feminism or any sort of progressive movement. Mass culture is the stew we all live in; when we learn to look at it critically, we can discuss the messages we’re soaking in every day. Sometimes we’re good at it, sometimes we’re bad at it, sometimes we get bogged down in the wrong details. But asking questions is important.

I’ve noticed over the last several years that some feminists have a strong dislike for the Frank Loesser song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Hattie wrote about one interpretation of the song last week, but with all due respect to my fellow Persephonine, I must heartily disagree with her view of it.

I’ve heard the take on “Baby” as “rapey” a couple of times over the years and the concern about the song usually centers in on one line: “Say, what’s in this drink,” which many contemporary listeners assume is a reference to a date rape drug. But narrowing in on this particular line divorces it from its own internal context, and having only passing familiarity with the song divorces it from its cultural context. You can (and should) read the lyrics of the song in their entirety here.

The structure of “Baby” is a back and forth conversation between the male and female singers. Every line the woman utters is answered by him, until they come together at the end of the song. When we just look at “Say, what’s in this drink,” we ignore the lines that proceed and follow this, which are what indicates to the listener how we’re supposed to read the context.

The song sets up a story where the woman has dropped by her beau’s house on a cold winter night. They talk in the first verse about how long she’s going to stay. She has “another drink” and stays longer, and then later in the evening it’s implied that she’s going to sleep over.

If we look at the text of the song, the woman gives plenty of indication that she wants to stay the night. At the time period the song was written (1936), “good girls,” especially young, unmarried girls, did not spend the night at a man’s house unsupervised. The tension in the song comes from her own desire to stay and society’s expectations that she’ll go. We see this in the organization of the song — from stopping by for a visit, to deciding to push the line by staying longer, to wanting to spend the entire night, which is really pushing the bounds of acceptability. Her beau in his repeated refrain “Baby, it’s cold outside” is offering her the excuses she needs to stay without guilt.

Let’s look at the lines. As she’s talking about leaving, she never says she doesn’t want to stay. Her words are all based around other people’s expectations of her — her mother will worry, her father will be pacing the floor, the neighbors will talk, her sister will be suspicious of her excuses and her brother will be furious, and my favorite line that I think is incredibly revealing, — “My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious.” Vicious about what? Sex. Unmarried, non-good girl having, sex.

Later in the song, she asks him for a comb (to fix her hair) and mentions that there’s going to be talk tomorrow – this is a song about sex, wanting it, having it, maybe having a long night of it by the fire, but it’s not a song about rape. It’s a song about the desires even good girls have.

So what is he singing while she’s talking about what other people think of her? He’s providing her with a list of cover stories, essential, excuses she can use to explain why she hasn’t or won’t go home. It’s cold out, it’s snowing, the cabs aren’t running, the storm is becoming a blizzard, she might get hurt trying to get home. He’s complimenting her as well, something that many criticisms of the song hone on — she has beautiful eyes, her lips look delicious, her hair looks swell. But this is standard romantic language. They are having an intimate time together and he’s far less constrained by societal expectations, so he can ask her to stay. It’s always assumed that she’ll turn him down. Except that she doesn’t want to. It’s her mother, her father, her aunt, the neighbors that want her to go home in a storm; she’s having a lovely time. (“I ought to say no, no, no sir, well, at least I’m gonna say that I tried.”)

So let’s talk about that drink. I’ve discussed solely looking at the lyrics of the song and its internal universe so far, but I think that the line “Say, what’s in this drink” needs to be explained in a broader context to refute the idea that he spiked her drink. “Say, what’s in this drink” is a well-used phrase that was common in movies of the time period and isn’t really used in the same manner any longer. The phrase generally referred to someone saying or doing something they thought they wouldn’t in normal circumstances; it’s a nod to the idea that alcohol is “making” them do something unusual. But the joke is almost always that there is nothing in the drink. The drink is the excuse. The drink is the shield someone gets to hold up in front of them to protect from criticism. And it’s not just used in these sort of romantic situations. I’ve heard it in many investigation type scenes where the stoolpigeon character is giving up bits of information they’re supposed to be protecting, in screwball comedies where someone is making a fool of themselves, and, yes, in romantic movies where someone is experiencing feelings they are not supposed to have.

The song, which is a back and forth, closes with the two voices in harmony. This is important — they’ve come together. They’re happy. They’re in agreement. The music has a wonderfully dramatic upswell and ends on a high note both literally and figuratively. The song ends with the woman doing what she wants to do, not what she’s expected to do, and there’s something very encouraging about that message."
feminism  2010  slaybelle  music  progressivism  culture  context  frankloesser 
december 2015 by robertogreco
TEDxNYED - Mike Wesch - 03/06/10 - YouTube
"Dubbed "the explainer" by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. After two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society."
michaelwesch  2010  papuanewguinea  anthropology  culture  cultureshock  socialmedia  seeinglikeastate  measurement  recodkeeping  relationships  census  society  conflictresolution  law  legal  media  systemsthinking  themediumisthemessage  change  internet  web  online  freedom  hope  surveillance  control  transparency  deception  massdistraction  participation  participatory  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  pedagogy  instruction  authority  obedience  compliance  collaboration  highered  highereducation  themachineisus/ingus  deschooling  unschooling  avisionofstudentstoday  digitalethnography 
september 2015 by robertogreco
The smart Dutch take on teen sex - Salon.com
"The Dutch could teach American parents a thing or two about the birds and the bees — namely, the virtues of respect and acceptance of teenage sexuality. I just stumbled across a fascinating study (via Sociological Images) that compares these divergent cultural attitudes toward doing the nasty (which, by the way, is much less likely to be cast as “nasty” or “dirty” in the Netherlands). The report, “Sex, Love, and Autonomy in the Teenage Sleepover” by sociologist Amy Schalet, spills plenty of ink describing the forbidding and fearful American view of premarital teen sex that is all too familiar to most of us stateside. It’s her description of parental attitudes in the Netherlands that really surprises, though.

A 2003 survey “found that two thirds of Dutch fifteen to seventeen-year-olds with steady boy- or girlfriends are allowed to spend the night with them in their bedrooms, and that boys and girls are equally likely to get permission for a sleepover.” Schalet writes:
Dutch parents, by contrast, downplay the dangerous and difficult sides of teenage sexuality, tending to normalize it. They speak of readiness (er aan toe zijn), a process of becoming physically and emotionally ready for sex that they believe young people can self-regulate, provided they’ve been encouraged to pace themselves and prepare adequately. Rather than emphasizing gender battles, Dutch parents talk about sexuality as emerging from relationships and are strikingly silent about gender conflicts. And unlike Americans who are often skeptical about teenagers’ capacities to fall in love, they assume that even those in their early teens fall in love. They permit sleepovers, even if that requires an “adjustment” period to overcome their feelings of discomfort, because they feel obliged to stay connected and accepting as sex becomes part of their children’s lives.

More generally, the country’s “moral rules cast sexuality as a part of life that should be governed by self-determination, mutual respect, frank conversation, and the prevention of unintended consequence.” It’s no coincidence that the country has also secured easy access (for both teens and adults) to contraceptives and other sexual healthcare.

The upshot of all this? Dutch teens are giving birth left and right and plagued by STDs! Oh, no, wait — the truth is actually the opposite of that. “In 2007, births to American teens (ages fifteen to nineteen) were eight times as high as in the Netherlands,” reports Schalet, and the Netherlands generally whoops on the states in terms of STD rates, too. What’s more, “it also appears that having sex outside of the context of monogamous romantic relationships isn’t as common among Dutch adolescents, especially older ones, as among their American counterparts.”

None of this surprises me. I grew up in a very atypical American household where my long-term boyfriend was frequently allowed to sleep over. Eventually, he was allowed to move in with us because of serious family issues on his part — but that’s a whole ‘nother story, believe me. My point is that I was allowed an unusual degree of autonomy over my own sex life. Instead of sneaking out of the house to have sex in the backseat of a car, I was engaging in playful exploration in my childhood bedroom with my first love — and my parents were right across the hall the whole time. I had no sense that sex was a naughty or shameful act; it was a fun and meaningful activity to which I felt fully entitled. And you know what? I consistently used condoms, I was on birth control pills and I insisted that both of us were tested for STDs.

I would never claim that sexual freedom is actually the key to safe sex among teens, and my anecdotal experience certainly shouldn’t be the basis for public or parental policy. But with regards to teen pregnancy and STD rates, the numbers just don’t lie: We need to be paying attention to the Netherlands."
sexed  teens  youth  education  sexuality  2010  netherlands  parenting  self-determination  children 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Austerity in Greece caused more than 500 male suicides, say researchers | World news | The Guardian
"Study finds clear link between spending cuts and rise in number of men who killed themselves between 2009 and 2010"

See also Sarah Kendzior on “The men who set themselves on fire” (2013): http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/10/men-who-set-themselves-fire-20131075515834438.html ]
economics  2015  greece  2009  2010  austerity  policy  suicide 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Mapping Segregation - The New York Times
[Some problems with this map. https://twitter.com/rogre/status/619004174580068353 ]

"New government rules will require all cities and towns receiving federal housing funds to assess patterns of segregation."
maps  mapping  nytimes  segregation  demographics  us  cities  census  housing  2015  2010  data 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Fred Moten - A look at Duke's preeminent poet | The Chronicle
"“It’s very difficult when your role models are Shakespeare and Milton,” he said. “Everyone has to come terms at some point with the fact that you’re not going to live up to that—and then you just keep going or you don’t.” What do you think?

He did, and although he may not be Shakespeare, Moten has had his own bit of success in the contemporary poetry world. Last year, the Poetry Society of America chose him as one of 16 poets honored for an outstanding first book of poetry, and published one of his poems, “Rock the Party, Fuck the Smackdown” in the literary journal A Public Space. PSA Programs Director Rob Caspar said Moten caught the group’s eyes—and ears—with poetry that was experimental and “radically lyric.” What do you think?

“There’s song and voice, at the heart of his work,” Caspar said, “but it’s a new and complex song, and a voice that probes and pushes as much as it celebrates.”What do you think?

As for how he thinks of his own writing, Moten explained to the literary journal Callaloo that he doesn’t see poems as neatly wrapped ideas or images. Instead, he believes that “poetry is what happens…on the outskirts of sense.”What do you think?

This unorthodox approach to writing extends beyond Moten’s own projects, spilling over into his teaching philosophy. In a Fred Moten English class, a standard essay on a piece of literature might be replaced by a sound collage or a piece of creative writing reacting to the reading. It’s an attempt, he said, to get his students to write like they actually want to write—not the way they think they need to for a class. What do you think?

“School makes it so that you write to show evidence of having done some work, so that you can be properly evaluated and tracked,” he said. “To me that degrades writing, so I’m trying to figure out how to detach the importance of writing from these structures of evaluation.” What do you think?

Second year English Ph.D student Damien Adia-Marassa said this means that Moten’s classes are never the same. Last Spring, Marassa worked as a “teaching apprentice” in one of Moten’s undergraduate courses, “Experimental Black Poetry,” for which he said there was never a fixed syllabus. What do you think?

“He just told us the texts he wanted to study and invited us all to participate in thinking about how we might study them,” Marassa said. What do you think?

But is Professor Moten ever worried that students will take advantage of his flexibility with structure and content? What do you think?

Actually, he said, he doesn’t care if students take his courses because they think they will be easy. What do you think?

“I think it’s good to find things in your life that are easy for you,” he said. “If someone signs up for my class because they think it will come naturally to them and it won’t be something they have to agonize over, those are all good things in my book.”What do you think?

In the Spring, Moten will switch gears as a professor, teaching his first creative writing course since arriving at Duke—Introduction to Writing Poetry. But whatever the course title may imply, he won’t be trying to teach his students how to write, he said. Instead, he hops they’ll come away from his class better at noticing the world around them. What do you think?

And he hopes to teach them to that, in order to write, you first have to fiercely love to read. That’s a skill he learned a long time ago, out in the flat Nevada desert, when he first picked up a book of poems and started to read, not knowing where it would take him. "
fredmoten  poetry  writing  teaching  howeteach  classideas  creativewriting  2010  noticing  observation  flexibility  teachingwriting  howweteach  school  education  structure  thinking  howwethink  sense  sensemaking  literature  pedagogy  evaluation  tracking 
may 2015 by robertogreco
A digital public space is Britain’s missing national institution | Technology | The Guardian
"An alternative to the internet as shopping mall is emerging – a place where creative assets can be redistributed for non-commercial use"

"A cynic might say that we have the internet we deserve. We were promised a democratic platform for change, for equality, for collaboration, yet are faced with a reality of weary cynicism, as author Charles Leadbeater wrote last summer, and an assumption that we cannot trust any organisation with our personal data.

We were told of flourishing startups and opportunities for all, yet the internet has amplified global inequalities, says Andrew Keen, a writer on the internet revolution, using the parlance of openness and opportunity to create an industry of disproportionately wealthy entrepreneurs.

And as the meaningful engagement of governments in the lives of citizens diminishes, we stare into a dystopian future described by Evgeny Morozov: Silicon Valley is heading towards a “digital socialism”, where benevolent corporations provide all the health, education, travel and housing employees could ever desire, negating the need for state provision. Ice that cake with the unpalatable truth about the reach of our government’s surveillance services and we might think our internet is already beyond help.

Commercial interests have shaped the internet, and have created such powerful organisations that governments now struggle to keep up – out-funded, out-lobbied and outwitted. Rather than reflecting the real world, the internet absorbs and amplifies it, re-presenting a version of our lives, our work and our culture, from the gross disproportion of privilege and access afforded to those even able to access the internet to the misogyny that cripples meaningful debate. Even acknowledging its infancy, the internet does not represent a version of ourselves of which we can be proud. From privacy and surveillance to our collective cultural record, where is the internet we are truly capable of? Quietly, excitedly, and in a modestly British way, there is an alternative emerging. Rather than the internet as shopping mall – defined and dominated by commercial interests – how could we build the public park of the internet?

Many of the concerns I have raised in this column – that we are primarily now consumers before citizens, that the ferocious disruption of technology is not being tempered with ethical oversight, about the failure of the BBC to embrace a digital future – all point in the same direction. We have a missing national institution.

The idea of a Digital Public Space was discreetly mooted by some of the BBC’s most overlooked and visionary staff as far back at 2010. February’s Warwick Commission report, a barometer for the UK’s cultural and creative health, picked out the project as one of six key goals, a digital cultural library of artistic and cultural assets.

What will be the digital legacy of the V&A, the British Library, the British Film Institute? These organisations at best are under represented in the digital world, at worst absent, outdated and woefully underfunded. The relentless, superficial, commercially motivated hyperspeed internet is built for the new, the now, the sellable – which is of course why these organisations need a digital manifestation more than ever. And that doesn’t mean being digitised by Google Books.

The internet is dominated by the US, and noisy voices of extreme libertarianism; witness Jimmy Wales on the Right to be Forgotten, who believes any accommodation of humanity by a search engine is censorship. Tell that to the wife of a murder victim, who asked that prominent mentions of her in outdated and disturbing articles about her husband’s death be de-indexed.

The Digital Public Space would be, in principle, equally accessible to anyone regardless of status or income, safe and private, and operating in the interests of users and not of the ecosystem itself. Creative assets – artworks, archives, films, books, photographs – could be reused and redistributed within the space, an antechamber to the main internet, but only for non-commercial use.

This is not a vision of the technological future imagined and engineered by the dominant young, white, male west coast developer who asks “can I build it”, rather than “should I build it”. There, the rule is build it first – ask questions about the social, cultural and ethical impact later. But this is public space by design, public by default, the internet at the service of the public.

With an intense and probably bruising runup to BBC charter renewal, the amorphous digital public space project still requires a leap of imagination. Given the mundanity of BBC priorities, it is unlikely to feature prominently in any negotiations and would not be BBC funded. But the BBC is only the shepherd of this project; this is a coalition of the willing, a call to action for the UK’s most powerful public institutions who can and will have a say in the future of the public internet. A more dynamic BBC might have already rebuilt itself as this kind of organisation, but it has fallen behind. Its digital executives wearily mourn the opportunity. “It hasn’t developed or kept pace with technology,” one says. “The UK deserves a world class digital technology brand without dominance of the US and with a crucial ethical underpinning. It’s our missing public institution.”

Leave aside our collective hangover about the power and impact of Britain’s voice, politically and economically, from a Victorian mindset about our rightful place in the world. Culturally, the UK is a powerhouse, and the best place in the world to start a meaningful discussion about the truly public, truly digital space that we deserve. It is the right time for that battle. Who is on board?"

[See also:
“The BBC, the licence fee and the digital public space” (Tony Ageh)
https://opendemocracy.net/ourbeeb/tony-ageh/bbc-licence-fee-and-digital-public-space
jemimakissa  digitalcommons  2015  uk  digitalpublicspace  bbc  2010  charlesleadbeater  digitalsocialism  publicspace  internet  online  commons  web 
march 2015 by robertogreco
No Panaceas! Elinor Ostrom Talks with Fran Korten - Shareable
"Fran: Many people associate “the commons” with Garrett Hardin’s famous essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons.” He says that if, for example, you have a pasture that everyone in a village has access to, then each person will put as many cows on that land as he can to maximize his own benefit, and pretty soon the pasture will be overgrazed and become worthless. What’s the difference between your perspective and Hardin’s?

Elinor: Well, I don’t see the human as hopeless. There’s a general tendency to presume people just act for short-term profit. But anyone who knows about small-town businesses and how people in a community relate to one another realizes that many of those decisions are not just for profit and that humans do try to organize and solve problems.

If you are in a fishery or have a pasture and you know your family’s long-term benefit is that you don’t destroy it, and if you can talk with the other people who use that resource, then you may well figure out rules that fit that local setting and organize to enforce them. But if the community doesn’t have a good way of communicating with each other or the costs of self-organization are too high, then they won’t organize, and there will be failures.

Fran: So, are you saying that Hardin is sometimes right?

Elinor: Yes. People say I disproved him, and I come back and say “No, that’s not right. I’ve not disproved him. I’ve shown that his assertion that common property will always be degraded is wrong.” But he was addressing a problem of considerable significance that we need to take seriously. It’s just that he went too far. He said people could never manage the commons well.

At the Workshop we’ve done experiments where we create an artificial form of common property such as an imaginary fishery or pasture, and we bring people into a lab and have them make decisions about that property. When we don’t allow any communication among the players, then they overharvest [the commons]. But when people can communicate, particularly on a face-to-face basis, and say, “Well, gee, how about if we do this? How about we do that?” Then they can come to an agreement.

Fran: But what about the “free-rider” problem where some people abide by the rules and some people don’t? Won’t the whole thing fall apart?

Elinor: Well if the people don’t communicate and get some shared norms and rules, that’s right, you’ll have that problem. But if they get together and say, “Hey folks, this is a project that we’re all going to have to contribute to. Now, let’s figure it out,” they can make it work. For example, if it’s a community garden, they might say, “Do we agree every Saturday morning we’re all going to go down to the community garden, and we’re going to take roll and we’re going to put the roll up on a bulletin board?” A lot of communities have figured out subtle ways of making everyone contribute, because if they don’t, those people are noticeable.

Fran: So public shaming and public honoring are one key to managing the commons?

Elinor: Shaming and honoring are very important. We don’t have as much of an understanding of that. There are scholars who understand that, but that’s not been part of our accepted way of thinking about collective action."



"Fran: Do you have a message for the general public?

Elinor: We need to get people away from the notion that you have to have a fancy car and a huge house. Some of the homes that have been built in the last 10 years just appall me. Why do humans need huge homes? I was born poor and I didn’t know you bought clothes at anything but the Goodwill until I went to college. Some of our mentality about what it means to have a good life is, I think, not going to help us in the next 50 years. We have to think through how to choose a meaningful life where we’re helping one another in ways that really help the Earth."

[via: http://solarpunks.tumblr.com/post/112050255339/theres-a-general-tendency-to-presume-people-just ]
elinorostrom  2010  economics  behavior  longterm  slow  community  communities  communication  organizing  business  problemsolving  fisheries  environment  sustainability  cooperation  collaboration  garretthardin  frankorten  collectivism  commons  landmanagement  governance  resourcemanagement  robertnetting  freeriding  freeriders 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Issey Miyake – A Piece of Cloth | Tokyo Telephone - Your Direct Line to Real Japanese Fashion
"A wee while ago now, my dear friend and I hotfooted it to the Barbican gallery in London to see their exhibition “Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion” – both being huge fans of Japanese fashion, street and couture, we felt the need to check it out! I won’t spoil the exhibition for those planning to see it too, but I will say that we left feeling slightly stuffed full after gorging our eyes and brains on the clothing & video installations; totally worth it. Being the shopper & book fiend that I am, I was very happy to note the excellent selection of Japanese fashion books on offer in the gift shop – quick, update your Christmas wish lists now!

I think I know what I’d like Father Christmas to bring me this year: a piece of cloth. Preferably from Issey Miyake!

[images]

Usually here at Tokyo Telephone we strive to bring you the most up-to-date goings on in the wonderful melting pot of Japanese fashion, but I really felt that Dai Fujiwara’s A-POC (A Piece of Cloth) collection for Issey Miyake at the turn of the millennium was well worth a mention despite being a decade old, ancient history in fashion terms.

Traditionally Japanese fashion , particularly that of the 1980s when the Miyake brand began to take hold, was monochromatic – black being the favoured colour of everyone from sombre suited salary men to the young fashion elite on the Tokyo streets. So when we turned a corner at the Barbican exhibition, it was literally and figuratively: confronted with mannequins locked inside bright red material stretching up to the ceiling and back again. At once elegant and uncomfortable (a combination that Japanese design does best!) it was a visual spectacle at the very least.

The concept is an unusual one, as all the clothes in the A-POC collection are cut from a single long roll of fabric. A video installation of the catwalk premier showed the Issey Miyake team cutting a vast swath of cloth, and as if by the wonder of their magic scissors, all sort of garments appeared: socks, hats, tops, dresses… sort of like paper dolls for post-yuppie generation.

[image]

I did mention that the concept was unusual, maybe not entirely original: of course I have to mention kimono. Made in the age-old way from a single piece of cloth, perhaps beautifully dyed silk, the kimono requires no real tailoring and fits everyone no matter their weight or height. However, despite the inherent similarities to the fundamental construction of kimono, A-POC feels futuristic nonetheless. With bright primary colours and aching minimalism, there’s the sense that this collection could have been dreamed by a sci-fi writer in the 1960s, clothes and humans alike produced on huge rolls; cut to fit your taste.

[image]

The genius of Issey Miyake doesn’t stop at A-POC either: with another nod to Japanese traditions, consider the origami-like intricate folds of the Pleats Please collection. Anyone who can turn the above tightly folded material into the dress below is well deserving of praise! Like all the best magic tricks, my brain hurts just trying to work out how it’s done…

[image]

Issey Miyake: genius, visionary, traditionalist, magician, architect, and more.

[video]

Love this animation showing the attention paid to movement and line – a bit mesmerising."
a-poc  isseymiyake  1999  fashion  fabric  textiles  sewing  2010 
february 2015 by robertogreco
[1004.4704] Homophily and Contagion Are Generically Confounded in Observational Social Network Studies
"We consider processes on social networks that can potentially involve three factors: homophily, or the formation of social ties due to matching individual traits; social contagion, also known as social influence; and the causal effect of an individual's covariates on their behavior or other measurable responses. We show that, generically, all of these are confounded with each other. Distinguishing them from one another requires strong assumptions on the parametrization of the social process or on the adequacy of the covariates used (or both). In particular we demonstrate, with simple examples, that asymmetries in regression coefficients cannot identify causal effects, and that very simple models of imitation (a form of social contagion) can produce substantial correlations between an individual's enduring traits and their choices, even when there is no intrinsic affinity between them. We also suggest some possible constructive responses to these results."

[See also: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3328971/ ]
homophily  contagion  via:vruba  networks  2010  cosmarhillashalizi  andrewthomas  social  socialties  socialcontagion  affinity 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Basic Income Grants Alleviate Poverty in Namibia
"The village school reported higher attendance rates and that the children were better fed and more attentive. Police statistics showed a 36.5 percent drop in crime since the introduction of the grants. Poverty rates declined from 86 percent to 68 percent (97 percent to 43 percent when controlled for migration). Unemployment dropped as well, from 60 percent to 45 percent, and there was a 29 percent increase in average earned income, excluding the basic income grant. These results indicate that basic income grants can not only alleviate poverty in purely economic terms, but may also jolt the poor out of the poverty cycle, helping them find work, start their own businesses, and attend school."

[via: https://medium.com/working-life/why-should-we-support-the-idea-of-an-unconditional-basic-income-8a2680c73dd3 ]
universalbasicincome  namibia  2010  economics  poverty  ubi 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Hundreds of Kids Arrested on an Unproven Hunch | Voice of San Diego
"It was a typical curfew sweep in City Heights and part of a dramatic rise in curfew enforcement by the San Diego Police Department. Police began conducting regular sweeps in 2008 and have since expanded their use to much of the city’s urban core.

In these neighborhoods alone, police have more than tripled curfew arrests in the last five years, forcing hundreds of more children to pay fines, participate in weeks-long diversion courses or fight police in court. And all of it’s been done on an unproven hunch.

When pushed to justify the arrests, police and elected leaders have claimed the sweeps are responsible for a recent drop in crime. They cite isolated crime statistics or anecdotal stories, but never an analysis of whether the program has actually been effective. No analysis has ever been done.

Proponents have argued their program saves lives and prevents kids from becoming victims of violent crime. They’ve also argued it prevents kids from becoming perpetrators of crime by pulling them from a dangerous environment and educating them about the risks of staying out late.

But an analysis of juvenile crime statistics by voiceofsandiego.org challenges whether either of these claims are true. Neighborhoods without the sweeps have reported greater drops in crime in the last five years than those with them.

VOSD reached that surprising conclusion by examining the two metrics of juvenile crime often cited by the program’s proponents: the number of violent crime victims and the number of juvenile arrests police made during curfew hours.

Where regular curfew sweeps have happened for at least the past two years, police reported a 47 percent decline in victims in the last five years. Where they haven’t happened, police reported an additional 17 point decrease."

[more on San Diego, City Heights, and curfews:

A reader's guide:
http://voiceofsandiego.org/2012/05/07/san-diegos-major-curfew-push-a-readers-guide/

http://voiceofsandiego.org/2010/03/23/the-curfew-police-hit-the-streets-of-city-heights/
http://voiceofsandiego.org/2010/02/09/curfew-enforcement-focused-on-city-heights/

http://voiceofsandiego.org/2012/03/22/san-diegos-unique-curfew-push-graphic/
"The program’s proponents here argue the sweeps have reduced crime by removing kids from a dangerous environment. They say children are less likely to become victims or perpetrators of crime when they’re not out on the streets.

But our analysis of crime trends questioned whether that’s true. In the past five years, places without the sweeps have reported equal or greater drops in crime than those with them.

It’s still unclear why law enforcement agencies across the state have reduced curfew arrests, though several criminologists suggested it may be related to funding. Hit by the economic decline, agencies across the state have cut their budgets or shifted resources in recent years."

http://voiceofsandiego.org/2012/04/18/police-gathering-curfew-stats-but-not-the-key-ones/
"Some residents and advocates have also expressed concern that the sweeps overreach and unnecessarily introduce good kids to the criminal justice system. While police often highlight arresting gang members, the program has also prompted them to handcuff kids walking home, still wearing soccer cleats.

Police have collected stockpiles of documents on their arrests and how the kids have been punished over the years, but haven’t taken the next step to figure out if those kids re-offend.

The new effort, Brown said, is only meant to examine whether the program’s educational aspects could be more effective, not whether the sweeps themselves have been.

Most kids found violating curfew are arrested and then given a choice about how to resolve their tickets.

They can pay a maximum $250 fine, fight the ticket in court or enroll in the diversion classes. The classes aim to educate at-risk youth about the dangers of crime, drugs and gangs, and why police conduct the sweeps."

http://voiceofsandiego.org/2012/06/07/curfew-sweeps-push-san-diego-explained/

http://www.speakcityheights.org/2014/06/curfew-sweeps-bring-mixed-reactions-from-hoover-students/
http://www.speakcityheights.org/2012/05/better-to-be-safe-than-sorry-city-heights-youth-curfew-sweeps/
http://www.speakcityheights.org/2012/04/letter-are-curfew-sweeps-worth-dividing-the-community/

https://www.change.org/p/san-diego-city-council-stop-curfew-sweeps-in-san-diego-california ]
sandiego  cityheights  curfews  lawenforcement  discrimination  2012  2010  children  youth  teens  racism  racialprofiling  police  policy  data  keegankyle 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Tony Comstock's Kōan of Silence » Blog Archive » Art with a Capital A
"In my films there is no ennui, no cynicism, no boredom or brutality, no disenfranchisement, disconnection, or disaffection. These are the proven cinematic devices used to signal “But this is art,” – devices I intentionally banish from my films. I want to create a sexual and cinematic environment devoid of the familiar landmarks found in art,and scrubbed clean of the familiar hiding places that allow people to watch lovemaking with clinical detachment.

In my films the human condition is a joyful condition. In my films human beings revel in their ability to connect with one another; physically, mentally, emotionally. In my films people know what they want and get what they want. My films are idealistic, passionate, and compassionate. In short, my films are a refutation of everything that art, and especially art films have tried to teach me about love and sex. Where art is expected to be cool and detached, my films are lush; where art is expected to be coy, my films are frank; where art is expected to celebrate pain, my films celebrate pleasure.

But these films are also a refutation nearly of everything I was taught about the art game.

What I was taught is that what can be said is more important that what is seen; what can be argued is more important than what is felt; and that anything anything anything can be art, so long as the “artist’s statement” is sufficiently clever. (Of course the trump card is “You are simply too unsophisticated to understand why this is art.”)

Well guess what? I’m calling bullshit.

I’m calling bullshit on the fraud and the fakery, the mannered ugliness and studied brutality. I’m calling bullshit on the clever artists statements, cunning manifestos, wine and cheese receptions, director’s Q&As, panel discussions. I’m calling bullshit on all of it.

I’m calling bullshit on the fact that the same night police were sent to prevent the screening of ASHLEY AND KISHA the cultural elites were across town at ACMI watching DESTRICTED, and chattering about it as if the film was anything other that a crass publicity stunt, calculated precisely in accordance with cultural norms, and challenging nothing.

I’m calling bullshit on being told I have to choose between the chardonnay sippers and the talk show hosts. I’m not picking sides because they’re on the same team.

I’m calling bullshit on the cheap provocation, with everyone lining up for their meager share of another 15 minutes of media fame.

I’m calling bullshit on the fundraising letter that will go out from the right and the golf-clap that will rise up from the left.

I’m calling bullshit because after it’s all over, nothing will have changed. (After it’s all over, loving, consensual sex between adults, shown as the most joyful of human pleasures will still be among the most radical and subversive subjects a photographic artist can focus his camera upon.)

But mostly I’m calling bullshit on the silly idea that art is a justification.

Art is vocation. Art is avocation. As entertainment, or hobby, or even mere whimsy, art is important. But in an era when everything from toilet bowls to bags of trash are called art, if you want to defend a grown man spending his time with naked 12 year-olds and taking pictures, you’re going to have come up with a better reason than art.

Tell me you just don’t think it’s a big deal; that we are entirely too hysterical about all this stuff. I’ll listen. I may or many not agree, but I’ll listen.

Tell me you’re not sure how you feel about Mr. Henson and the parents who provide him with his “vehicles”, but you feel cautious about handing the decision about what a parent should or should not do over to the state. I’m all ears; and once we’ve hashed that out we can discuss parental notification laws.

But do not tell me it’s okay because Bill Henson was making art; I’m no more ready to accept that than to accept that Ed Gien’s art making excuses, justifies, or even mitigates what he did. You do something criminal, you get punished. You do something reprehensible, you get shunned. You make some art along the way, that’s a footnote.

Do not tell me it’s okay for a middle-aged man to spend his time taking naked photographs of 12 year old girls, so long as he’s making art. My family and I live every day of our lives on the wrong side of this unanswerable and meaningless question about what is and what is not art. We know what happens when the state says “No, that’s not art.” We live every day with the possibility that we will be deprived of our livelihood, our property, our freedom because somewhere someone in a position of power might ask this question about our films, and then answer as they see fit.

Lastly, I’ve seen in the last few days that some of the photos in question are now available to be seen online, but with the naughty bits covered by black bars. This is quiet possibly the low point in this whole farcical episode, and to illustrate my point, I would propose that we conduct another thought experiment:

Let us suppose that a photographer were to create photographs of children that even the most liberal of minds would readily recognize as evidence of child abuse. Now let us suppose that she were to display these photographs with the naughty bits covered with black bars so as to render the photos devoid of the sort of details that are commonly use by art critics and censors to distinguish between what is art and what is not; the sort of details the Australian Office of Film and Literature insisted that I remove from DAMON AND HUNTER before they would declare it to be art, and allow it to be screened at the Sydney International Gay & Lesbian Documentary Film Festival.

Would these photographs be provocative? No doubt. Challenging to our sensibilities? I’d hope so. Would they be art? Maybe, but it doesn’t matter. The photos would be evidence of a crime and the people who made them would be criminals."

[via: https://twitter.com/CaptDavidRyan/status/552233813494231042 and
https://twitter.com/CaptDavidRyan/status/552160885763215360 ]
tonycomstock  art  artascover  law  legal  2010  via:davidryan  artasdefense  edglien  2008  billhenson  photography  film  fraud  fakery  decency  responsibility  socialjustice  artgame  ennui  frankness  detatchment  coyness  pleasure 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Kay Ryan on creative writing "workshops" - Austin Kleon
"Kay Ryan on creative writing "workshops" [http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/article/171211 ]
Workshop. In the old days before creative writing programs, a workshop was a place, often a basement, where you sawed or hammered, drilled or planed something. You could not simply workshop something. Now you can. You can take something you wrote by yourself to a group and get it workshopped. Sometimes it probably is a lot like getting it hammered. Other writers read your work, give their reactions, and make suggestions for change. A writer might bring a piece back for more workshopping later, even. I have to assume that the writer respects these other writers’ opinions, and that just scares the daylights out of me. It doesn’t matter if their opinions really are respectable; I just think the writer has given up way too much inside. Let’s not share. Really. Go off in your own direction way too far, get lost, test the metal of your work in your own acids. These are experiments you can perform down in that old kind of workshop, where Dad used to hide out from too many other people’s claims on him.


See also: Brian Kitely on the subject [http://www.austinkleon.com/2009/06/24/how/ ]:
The standard American workshop is a lazy construction. The teacher asks students to bring in stories or poems to class, sometimes copied and handed out ahead of time, sometimes not. The class and its final arbiter (usually the teacher) judge the merits of the story or poem. Few ask the question, “Where does a story come from?” The standard American workshop presumes that you cannot teach creativity or instincts or beginnings. It takes what it can once the process has already been started. Most writing teachers say, “Okay, bring in a story and we’ll take it apart and put it back together again.” I say, “Let’s see what we can do to find some stories.” The average workshop is often a profoundly conservative force in fiction writers’ lives, encouraging the simplifying and routinizing of stories….I use exercises in my workshops to derange student stories, to find new possibilities, to foster strangeness and irregularity, as much as to encourage revision and cleaning up after yourself, and I don’t worry much about success or failure.
"
austinkleon  2010  kayryan  briankitely  writing  workshops  sharing  process  peerreview  storytelling  strangeness  makingthestrange  irregularity  discovery  revision  howwewrite 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Mexico celebrates its unique street sounds this week - USATODAY.com
"MEXICO CITY — From the earsplitting whistles of yam vendors to the squeeze horns of bakers delivering bread, Mexico can be a cacophony of strange sounds.
A series of four notes on a pan flute means the scissor-sharpening man is in the neighborhood. A ringing hand bell means the garbage truck is here. In parks on weekends, balloon vendors announce themselves with a buzzing plastic whistle.

The sounds are not just noise, say some. They are part of Mexico's culture, and the government is celebrating them, including "sound walks" through cities, performances of recorded street noise and a contest to choose "The Most Beautiful Sound in Mexico."

"People who come from other countries may be bothered by all this noise, but for Mexicans, these sounds are part of our identity," said Álvaro Hegewisch, director of Mexico's Fonoteca Nacional, or National Audio Archive.

GALLERY: The sounds of Mexico
To capitalize on the street sounds, the government has declared this week to be National Sound Week, which runs through Sunday.

During the week, government-run radio stations will play two-minute segments featuring Mexico's "endangered sounds," such as the tip-tap of cobblers hammering nails into leather or the notoriously out-of-tune organs played by Mexico City's organ grinders.

One spot features the sound of typing on manual typewriters used by public scribes or typists who serve illiterate Mexicans. The scribes fill out legal documents, government forms or take dictation for letters for customers and are found seated behind desks on sidewalks next to government offices and courts. The scribes are becoming fewer in number as literacy rises in Mexico.

'Most Beautiful Sound'

In Mexico City's Chapultepec Park — one of the few quiet corners in this metropolis of 20 million — listeners will gather to hear "soundscapes," or compilations of street noise, from India, Vancouver, Canada, and Mexico City itself. Other soundscapes feature the forests of Mexico's Michoacan state, the jungles of Chiapas and Indian dances from Papantla.

At an event in the east coast city of Veracruz, audiences will listen to sound effects re-creating events from the 1910-20 Mexican Revolution.

The National Audio Archive is inviting citizens to describe their favorite Mexican sounds through a page on its website. The sound mentioned the most will be named "The Most Beautiful Sound in Mexico" next Monday.

Mexico's unique sounds have long inspired outsiders.

Author D.H. Lawrence described the hum of a Mexican market as sounding "as if all the ghosts in the world were talking to one another."

The sounds of a Mexico City dance hall inspired composer Aaron Copland to write the tone poem El Salon Mexico.

In Calling Mexico, a short story by Ray Bradbury, a dying man in Illinois dials Mexico City just to hear the street noise: "a thousand people in another sunlight, and the faint, tinkling music of an organ grinder playing 'La Marimba.' "

Many of Mexico's sounds are kept alive by the country's street vendors. In Mexico City, thousands of roaming tamale carts play the same recording, a froggy voice that shouts "Riiiiiiiiiicos tamaaaaaaales oaaaaaaxaqueños!" ("Delicious Oaxacan tamales!")

Ice cream vendors ring a set of six small bells mounted on their carts. Sellers of roasted yams use a steam whistle attached to their rolling ovens.

"It's like a code that everyone knows. I make a certain sound, and everyone knows it's me," said Eleuterio Hernández, a bread seller.

He honked a squeeze horn while navigating a cart full of muffins and rolls through Mexico City's Coyoacan neighborhood.

In many cities, a loudspeaker can often be heard intoning "Refrigerators ... air-conditioners ... mattresses ... metal drums" with no explanation. It's a junk collector, looking for metal to buy.

Starting preservation efforts

Many parts of Mexico still have a town crier who shouts the day's headlines, or a community watchman who speeds through neighborhoods at 1 a.m., tooting a slide whistle to let everyone know all is well.

There are websites decoding the sounds. Cancunassist.com, a website for foreigners in Cancun, lists them under a section titled "What's all the noise in the street?"

In recent years, the government has started trying to preserve the country's sounds.

In 2008, it opened the National Audio Archive to computerize recordings and protect the originals in climate-controlled vaults. The agency now has some 274,000 tapes and records, from radio soap operas to recordings of dying Indian languages made by anthropologists.

"People from abroad have no idea what all these sounds mean to us," said Georgina Sanabria, academic director for the audio archive. "But for us, they're important, and we want to preserve them.""

[Gallery: http://mediagallery.usatoday.com/The-sounds-of-Mexico/G1725]
publicscribes  mexico  sound  cities  urban  urbanism  street  2010  raybradbury  dhlawrence  vendors  knifesharpeners  recordings  audio  soundscapes 
september 2014 by robertogreco
More Educator Luddites Please
"The educator luddites I have in mind are people who have always understood school to be more than test prep and who see themselves as far more than the agents of a standardized testing industry. I see them leading the way to create inquiry driven schools where students and teachers are not too busy to think. Schools where the technology serves the learning rather than drives the teaching and where the demand for original work is a collaborate effort to solve compelling problems to which no one present knows the answer. In such a school, the curriculum is not driven by the textbook, the flow of information is not unidirectional, learning is networked and students and teachers work together across the boundaries of age and experience as active seekers, users and creators of knowledge. In this rosy picture, individual schools form a kind of globally aware and networked cottage industry of creative learning.

In order to start that journey we need a collective effort to figure out how to negotiate the changing world and make sense of it. Here, in a small collection of nutshells, are some observations about the context for the work:

1. The web is changing (us). For the most part we are oblivious to the bigger picture as we take each new gadget, or shift, or industry upheaval for granted. For the cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch, the machine is us and the machine is using us. In his prescient and chilling short story written in 1906 “The Machine Stops”, E. M, Forster imagined a world dependent on an all-powerful, all-knowing machine where humans became shrunken, feeble underground creatures alienated from nature and the natural landscape. In Forster’s story, the machine falters and fails. In our world, it does not look as if the machine is going to stop anytime soon. And that, according to Professor Wesch, means we are going to need to rethink a few things, including: copyright, authorship, identity, ethics, aesthetics, rhetoric, governance, privacy, commerce, love, family and ourselves.

2. In the networked world of ubiquitous and mobile access, boundaries are fluid and hierarchies broken. The ownership of knowledge is changed and the flow multidirectional. Students come to school wired and ready to join the knowledge stream. Learning needs to be organized around these networks and not contained in the traditional one way flow of teacher to student.

3. We have to think off the world of the web and interactive technology as a new ecosystem – one in which any person, in any place, at any time can participate, contribute, communicate, produce, share, curate and organize. It’s an ecosystem that has the potential to make prosumers of us all. That is, producers and not just consumers of information and media content. Anyone with a connection can generate content and the tools of social media mean it can be Stumbled, tagged in Delicious, uploaded to YouTube, sampled in Moviemaker, voted on at Digg, pushed in an RSS feed, shared on Facebook and Tweeted to the world. And then someone can create an interactive commentary, put it to music and turn it upside down, again. This interactivity blurs boundaries. As the New Yorker cartoon put it: “On the net, no one knows you are a dog”. Expertise and value may be perceived without the limiting filters of age, status, nationality or appearance.

4. We have both an explosion of creativity and an incessant need for problem solving and ethical thinking. Information, misinformation and disinformation are fast moving and in fluid abundance. In Teaching as a Subversive Activity Postman and Weingarten wrote of the need to develop “crap detectors” to filter the disinformation, propaganda and hype. To some www means a world wild web of mayhem, mischief and malice. But with a sense of purpose, and the skills of filtering and information navigation, it also holds great promise and potential.

5. Reading and writing are becoming less of a solitary and silent activity characteristic of the print era and more of a social activity. E-reading enables readers to interact with each other as well as the text and digital text is always on the move.

6. We are headed toward ubiquitous access and ever more speed. As quotidian objects such as umbrellas and shopping carts become digitized we are being linked with products just as we are linked with each other. Building community and creating relationships are what people, and social media, do well.

This then is the sea in which schools can swim, or – if they allow themselves to become irrelevant – sink. Professor Wesch had his list and here is my list of some of the things that schools may need to begin to rethink:

Classroom and school design; the school day and the schedule; segregation of learners by age and rather than by interest, passion and commitment; the segregation of knowledge into subjects; grading and assessment; social relationships, adult learning, the role of teacher, peer-to-peer learning and the isolation of the learner; textbooks, curriculum development and the sources of information; the nature of literacy; the nature of learning, creativity and the place of technology; citizenship and community; teamwork, collaboration, plagiarism and cheating; digital footprints, transparency and privacy; partnership with parents other adult learners; learning in the world and learning in school; what counts and what gets counted and how and by whom; and the dress code. (I added the last item because sometimes it’s useful to have a topic that gets everyone thoroughly engaged and busily distracted from important work.)

Above all it means a definition of education as going beyond the acquisition of knowledge. Critical thinking and digital literacy are essential but they don’t go far enough. We need to educate children for active and ethical participation. They need to be contributors and creators of knowledge and that means engaging in solving real problems from the very start.

Change is always hard. Socrates feared the effects of literacy on memory. He argued against it as harmful to young minds, short circuiting the arduous intellectual work of examining life. The scholar Elizabeth Eisenstein, who has written extensively on the effect on the world of the Gutenberg and the print revolution, has said it may be too soon to assess the full impact of that centuries old shift. If it’s too soon to gauge the effect of printing then we can only dimly imagine the effects of social media and the digital age.

Media has transformed our society before, but never at this dizzying rate. The unforeseen and unintended consequences of this revolution that sweeps all before it loom for many as dark clouds threatening the very roots of civilization. And here we are – smack in the epicenter. Unless we want to take ourselves right off the grid we had better start trying to make sense of it.

Educator luddites will be those who can learn with others, in and out of school, against the grain of narrowing definitions and toward what it means to be an educated citizen in a networked world.
I think it is our collective task to engage in the work of social imagination and envision our schools as we want, and need, them to be.

For schools it means some hard work and we are going to need all the help we can get."

[See also: http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/toward-luddite-pedagogy/
via: https://twitter.com/JosieHolford/status/504761003876179968 ]

[Previously bookmarked here: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:726a0951079b ]
josieholford  2010  technology  luddism  michaelwesch  luddites  education  schools  schooling  change  media  internet  web  online  progressive  knowledge  learning  howwelearn  unschooling  deschooling  civilization  slow  sloweducation  slowpedagogy  criticalthinking  digitalliteracy  curriculum  howweteach  teaching  literacy  literacies  multiliteracies  cheating  plagiarism  creativity  purpose  values  grading  assessment  grades  isaacludlam  maxinegreene  socialimagination  civics  citizenship  writing  reading  networkedlearning  community  relationships  tcsnmy  neilpostman  charlesweingartner  crapdetection  social  socialmedia 
august 2014 by robertogreco
a meditation on personal translation | clusterflock
[Links to comment by India, quoted here]

"“personal translation — the way we interpret ourselves for others”

What a useful term.

Incidentally, Deron, I mentioned this to AmandaAndrewKelsey the other day, but you should know that I can’t stop thinking about what you said at CFstock last year (which IIRC you also posted here somewhere) to the effect that the survival methods we learned to get us through our childhoods are what will destroy us as adults. I definitely got the gist, but I’m still trying to translate that into thoughts I can use.

Thank you."
presentationofself  identity  codeswitching  translation  2010  vangogh  interpretation  relationships  survival  childhood  trauma  via:tcarmody 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The Journey West (East of Borneo)
"Coming from New York we found all this both exhilarating and baffling; Los Angeles seemed to be a city hiding in plain sight. There was plenty to see, interesting people to talk to, all easily accessible by the sporadically flowing freeway. But that veneer of easy connectivity masked a deeper, and more troubling, sense that nothing was easily available, a misleading perception of nothing going on. This was a city of outposts and easily missed landmarks connected by a sprawling, historical disposition not to connect; a deeply unsociable city – not unfriendly, just unsociable, the opposite of places like New York or Paris with their gabby rush to embrace and discard. When we left Los Angeles we had some ideas for future articles, but we didn’t have a satisfying grasp on the place.

REALLIFE Magazine was very much the project of a walk-around city. We had an editorial point of view, which was that we wanted to provide a forum for younger artists who saw themselves operating in a post-conceptual landscape, with an interest in connecting to issues of everyday life. That is to say we were still working in the shadow of a well-known history, a narrative of progress and upset that we tended to accept as more or less given. The wrinkle in that acceptance was an ever-present conviction that the somatic experiments of Surrealism held out a lot more promise than our more academic peers allowed. Our editorial process had a trajectory, but it was one easily, and willingly, sent off track by an interesting chance encounter. We sought openness within a structure framed by opinion, and sought that through the old-fashioned networking of the street. Los Angeles proved fatal to this method, and the magazine came to an end shortly after the two of us moved here in the early ’90s.

In 2002, after a ten-year break from the business side of art magazines, I joined the editorial team of Afterall, a self-described “journal of art, context and enquiry” that had begun as a counterweight to the market-driven art talk prevalent in London in the ’90s, and that maintained a purposefully old-school attitude to the idea of the art journal as something deliberately out of time. The founders, an artist and a curator, designed an editorial process that took the form of a twice-yearly seminar to discover the most interesting artists to discuss. When they invited me to join them, the idea was to expand this method; investigating international art from two separate but simultaneous perspectives, that of London and Los Angeles. For several years this proved to be a rich, intense, and very productive experiment. And then an intellectual exhaustion set in and the project drifted into an ill-defined state of ennui. Paradoxically the root of this exhaustion was our lack of rootedness; in a fundamental way the journal had no point of view, only a premise. Unmoored in the jet stream, our two bases separated, buffeted by argument without end.

In the 21st century the ramifications of this rootlessness and the practical challenges facing publishing began to require ever more radical responses. The small bookstores that had once supported small magazines were closing at an increasing rate. Museums were turning their bookstores into gift shops. Fluctuations in the currency markets made it increasingly difficult to budget production costs in an international context, and then the huge economic crash made everything impossible. But the biggest challenge of all was the Internet, which manages to make everything simultaneously local and international. When Susan and I were publishing REALLIFE Magazine we had a substantial subscriber base, a much larger figure across the United States than Afterall ever achieved, despite significant institutional backing. But of course before the Internet, people had to subscribe to little magazines if they wanted to keep up-to-date, whereas now we inhabit the complex world of websites, blogs, aggregators and Twitter feeds, and can keep informed by the instant.

What this all suggested to me was that what an art publication could be now was something both more participatory and more traditionally edited. I still believe that people may actually like some editorial guidance – the most successful blogs seem to be the most opinionated. But these blogs tend to a linear, one-thing-after-the-other format that runs counter to the open horizontality of communication offered up by the hyperlink. Discussions flare, and can become engrossing, but they tend to be one-dimensional, focused on one issue at a time. I found I was hungering for a more complex participation. As a writer I have become accustomed to working in a way that allows skipping back and forth as a text builds, checking references, finding new evidence as a result of lateral moves across the Internet. A few online publications allow readers a similarly multifaceted experience, although most quarantine reader participation in the shadow zone reserved for comments. Until now no art publication has offered this kind of experience.

As you navigate the site today you will discover that East of Borneo incorporates the benefits of online media not only for timely art-related content, but also for lively dialogues and the sharing and distribution of research and archival material. Our articles incorporate and offer the materials—video, audio, links and texts—that the author drew from. Users can upload their own relevant contributions, creating a growing archive of associated content. Topics will develop depth over time as material accrues, becoming substantial repositories of information and interpretation.

What we imagined was an intricately interwoven site that would allow us to build an archive of Los Angeles, past and present, using the power of a networked collectivity to create depth and complexity. To some Web 2.0 is old news, but established magazines are only slowly awakening to its challenges and possibilities. East of Borneo’s genesis has been long and deliberative: several years of thinking past the delights and constraints of the printed page, and one very intense year of thinking through the actual possibilities of current online publication.

I am tremendously proud and excited about all this, and hope you will share my enthusiasm. Visit us often to watch the site grow in both content and interactivity as we roll out further features. Visit us often to upload that telling image, indispensible text, incredible link. Join us on this journey."
eastofborneo  losangeles  thomaslawson  art  history  2010  artjournalism  journalism  1980  publishing  online  linear  onlinemedia  epublishing  bookstores  cities  urbanism  nyc  urban  accretion  interpretation  internet  howwework  archives  networks  networkedcollectivity  collectivity  depth  complexity  howwewrite  howwethink  linearity 
august 2014 by robertogreco
What is technography?
"Technography has recently been proposed as an interdisciplinary methodology for the detailed study of the use of skills, tools, knowledge and techniques in everyday life. This paper argues that technography is a useful methodological approach for the integrative study of social–technical configurations. Technography focuses on how teams or networks of farmers, technicians and engineers, amongst other actors, solve problems. The key characteristics of the technographic approach are discussed, using examples drawn from agricultural production. The concept of performance helps to distinguish technography from some common agronomic as well as social science approaches to technological change. We conclude that technography, which is basically a methodology, needs to be complemented with a social analysis of concrete political, economic and cultural processes that co-evolve with technological change."
via:ablerism  2010  technography  technology  everyday  tools  agriculture  farming  methodology  interdisciplinary  performance 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Open-Assembly No:1. Loughborough. Insects, Worms, Mushrooms, Birds and Students | Dismal Garden
"An outdoor meeting and discussion place commissioned by Radar, Loughborough University that offers a situation where new associations between a variety of local actors can be explored. These actors include birds, insects, mushrooms, worms and students. The sculpture incorporates design elements from defensive street furniture, the ecology movement and the middle class British garden."
2010  nilsnorman  multispecies  multispeciesdesign  ecology  place  birds  animals  insects  mushrooms  worms  gardens 
july 2014 by robertogreco
FRONTLINE/WORLD . Rough Cut . Ecuador: Dreamtown | PBS
"Over half the squad that took Ecuador to the World Cup in 2002 and 2006 originate from the valley, where people are 90 percent Afro-Ecuadorian. This ethnic minority, originally brought to Ecuador as slaves, now make up about five percent of the overall population.

But in the areas they live, there is little evidence of government investment. I visited towns without electricity, schools, or other basic services and infrastructure.

Many Afro-Ecuadorian families, like that of Anibal Chala, one of the young players in the story, are forced to move to major cities, such as Quito or Guayaquil, to look for better opportunities.

Having lived in the United States for more than 20 years, when I return to Ecuador, it's discouraging to see the lack of acceptance toward Afro-Ecuadorians. Each time I visit, I hear the typical barrage of stereotypes: "They are lazy;" "they are thieves," "they are aggressive."

Yet, in recent years, those attitudes have begun to change, perhaps because of the success of Ecuadorian futbol and national pride in the country's players of African descent.

"Now it is futbol that is saving us," says Ulises De la Cruz, an international futbol star, who played in two World Cups for Ecuador. Ulises, like many other soccer heroes from El Chota Valley, has not forgotten his roots and uses his sports success to bring social progress to these communities.

He opened a nonprofit organization called FundeCruz to rebuild his hometown. His projects have brought a medical center, clean water, roads, schools and a gym to the valley.

It's De la Cruz's success that keeps other young hopefuls like 13-year-old Anibal and 23-year-old Carlos Maldonado determined to make it and lead their families out of poverty. But reality is another story -- only 10 players out of thousands make it professionally each year.

Ecuador did not make it to the 2010 World Cup, losing in a heartbreaking home defeat to Uruguay, but the young Afro-Ecuadorian players in El Chota Valley continue dreaming of soccer as a ticket out."
ecuador  2010  race  worldcup  visibility  sports  stereotypes  futbol  football  bettybastidas  soccer 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Eastside Projects | BOOK
[See also (careful with link: http://www.theshowroom.org/programme.html?id=589,595 ]

"BOOK (2010)
edited and designed by James Langdon
Published by Eastside Projects
165 x 240 mm, 216 pp., softcover
ISBN 978-1-906753-22-1

* Sold Out Enquire for price of archive copies info@eastsideprojects.org

Works by:
Åbäke, Vito Acconci, Tauba Auerbach, Bedford Press, Ulises Carrión, Melissa Dubbin + Aaron S. Davidson, Daniel Eatock, Will Holder, Jeremy Jansen, Kelly Large, Fraser Muggeridge Studio, OK/RM, Simon Starling, Werkplaats Typografie

‘Book’, functions as a mobile extension to the exhibition, 'Book Show' [http://eastsideprojects.org/past/book-show/ ]. Including a facsimile reprint of Ulises Carrión’s ‘The New Art of Making Books’ as it originally appeared in the journal Kontexts; an illustrated text by James Langdon and additional works, both existing and newly commissioned."
ulisescarrión  2010  books  artbooks  jameslangdon  taubaauerbach  srg  artistsbooks 
may 2014 by robertogreco
How to Minimize Politics in Your Company - Ben's Blog
[via: http://www.vox.com/2014/5/15/5719916/why-salaries-shouldnt-be-secret ]

"As I developed as a CEO, I found three key techniques to be extremely useful in minimizing politics.

1. Hire people with the right kind of ambition—The cases that I described above might involve people who are ambitious, but not necessarily inherently political. All cases are not like this. The surest way to turn your company into the political equivalent of the US Senate is to hire people with the wrong kind of ambition. As defined by Andy Grove, the right kind of ambition is ambition for the company’s success with the executive’s own success only coming as a by-product of the company’s victory. The wrong kind of ambition is ambition for the executive’s personal success regardless of the company’s outcome.

2. Build strict processes for potentially political issues and do not deviate—Certain activities attract political behavior. These activities include:

• Performance evaluation and compensation
• Organizational design and territory
• Promotions

Let’s examine each case and how you might build and execute a process that insulates the company from bad behavior and politically motivated outcomes.

Performance and compensation—Often companies defer putting performance management and compensation processes in place. This doesn’t mean that they don’t evaluate employees or give pay raises; it just means they do so in an ad hoc manner that’s highly vulnerable to political machinations. By conducting well-structured, regular performance and compensation reviews, you will ensure that pay and stock increases are as fair as possible. This is especially important for executive compensation as doing so will also serve to minimize politics. In the example above, the CEO should have had an airtight performance and compensation policy and simply told the executive that his compensation would be evaluated with everyone else’s. Ideally, the executive compensation process should involve the board of directors. This will a) help ensure good governance and b) make exceptions even more difficult.

Organizational design and territory—If you manage ambitious people, from time to time, they will want to expand their scope of responsibility. In the example above, the CFO wanted to become the COO. In other situations, the head of marketing might want to run sales and marketing or the head of engineering may want to run engineering and product management. When someone raises an issue like this with you, you must be very careful about what you say, because everything that you say can be turned into political cannon fodder. Generally, it’s best to say nothing at all. At most, you might ask “why?”, but if you do so be sure not to react to the reasons. If you indicate what you are thinking, that information will leak, rumors will spread and you plant the seeds for all kinds of unproductive discussions. You should evaluate your organizational design on a regular basis and gather the information that you need to decide without tipping people to what you plan to do. Once you decide, you should immediately execute the re-org: don’t leave time for leaks and lobbying.

Promotions—Every time your company gives someone a promotion, everyone else at that person’s level evaluates the promotion and judges whether merit or political favors yielded the promotion. If the latter, then the other employees generally react in one of three ways:

a. They sulk and feel undervalued

b. They outwardly disagree, campaign against the person, and undermine them in their new position

c. They attempt to copy the political behavior that generated the unwarranted promotion

Clearly, you don’t want any of these behaviors in your company. Therefore, you must have a formal, visible, defensible promotion process that governs every employee promotion. Often this process must be different for people on your own staff (the general process may involve various managers who are familiar with the employee’s work, the executive process should include the board of directors). The purpose of the process is twofold. First, it will give the organization confidence that the company at least attempted to base the promotion on merit and second, the result of the process will be the information necessary for your team to explain the promotion decisions that you made.

3. Be careful with “he said, she said”—Once your organization grows to a significant size, members of your team will, from time to time, complain about each other. Sometimes this criticism will be extremely aggressive. Be very careful about how you listen and the message that it sends. Simply by hearing them out without defending the employee in question, you will send the message that you agree. If people in the company think that you agree that one of your executives is less than stellar, that information will spread quickly and without qualification. As a result, people will stop listening to the executive in question and they will soon become ineffective.

There are two distinct types of complaints that you will receive:

a. Complaints about an executive’s behavior

b. Complaints about an executive’s competency or performance

Generally, the best way to handle complaints of type 1 is to get the complaining executive and the targeted executive in the room together and have them explain themselves. Usually, simply having this meeting will resolve the conflict and correct the behavior (if it was actually broken). Do not attempt to address behavioral issues without both executives in the room. Doing so will invite manipulation and politics.

Complaints of type 2 are both more rare and more complex. If one of your executives summons the courage to complain about the competency of one of their peers, then there is a good chance that either the complainer or the targeted executive has a major problem. If you receive a type 2 complaint, you will generally have one of two reactions: a) they will be telling you something that you already know or b) they’ll be telling you shocking news.

If they are telling you something that you already know, then the big news is that you have let the situation go too far. Whatever your reasons for attempting to rehabilitate the wayward executive, you have taken too long and now your organization has turned on the executive in question. You must resolve the situation quickly. Almost always, this means firing the executive. While I’ve seen executives improve their performance and skill sets, I’ve never seen one lose the support of the organization then regain it.

On the other hand, if the complaint is new news, then you must immediately stop the conversation and make clear to the complaining executive that you in no way agree with their assessment. You do not want to cripple the other executive before you re-evaluate their performance. You do not want the complaint to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once you’ve shut down the conversation, you must quickly re-assess the employee in question. If you find that they are doing an excellent job, then you must figure out the complaining executive’s motivations and resolve them. Do not let an accusation of this magnitude fester. If you find that the employee is doing a poor job, there will be time to go back and get the complaining employee’s input, but you should be on a track to remove the poor performer at that point."
benhorowitz  2010  management  leadership  officepolitics  politics  work  workplace  business  behavior  psychology  groupdynamics  relationships  administration  organizations  promotions  conflict 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Carrito De Technologia | Facebook
"Carrito de Technologia was born June 11, 2010 as a Border Corps art project. It was conceived by Perry Vasquez and and designed and built by Armando de la Torre. It was part of the exhibition Here Not There at MCASD."

[Photos: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carrito-De-Technologia/125698760795074?id=125698760795074&sk=photos_stream ]

[See also: http://www.perryvasquez.com/performance/bordercorps3.html ]
paleteros  perryvazquez  2010  bordercorps  art  sandiego  mcasd  armandodelatorre  technology 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Social Software Sundays #2 – The Evaporative Cooling Effect « Bumblebee Labs Blog
"The people who most want to meet people are the people who the least number of people want to meet. The people who are the most desperate to date are those who the least number of people want to date. The people who are the most eager to talk are the ones who the least number of people are interested in hearing. It is the ignorance of this fundamental principle that I see at the heart of so many failed social software designs. This is what I call the Evaporative Cooling problem and one I believe must absolutely be tackled head on by the designers of any communal gathering product unless they want to see their product descend into a squalid lump of mediocrity.

The Evaporative Cooling Effect is a term I learned from an excellent essay by Eliezer Yudowsky that describes a particular phenomena of group dynamics. It occurs when the most high value contributors to a community realize that the community is no longer serving their needs any more and so therefore, leave. When that happens, it drops the general quality of the community down such that the next most high value contributors now find the community underwhelming. Each layer of disappearances slowly reduces the average quality of the group until such a point that you reach the people who are so unskilled-and-unaware of it that they’re unable to tell that they’re part of a mediocre group.

Evaporative Cooling is a dynamic that can apply to both real world and online communities but the affordances of the Internet make it particularly susceptible to Evaporative Cooling. By looking at real world social structures, we can get some clues as to both what causes Evaporative Cooling and what are effective ways of preventing it."
community  design  networking  psychology  social  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  via:sha  eliezeryudowsky  communities  scale  size  2010 
april 2014 by robertogreco
América Latina existe | Edición impresa | EL PAÍS
"La primera sorpresa nos la dio el presidente Lacalle con la revelación de que el nombre de América Latina no es francés. Siempre creí que sí lo era, pero por más que lo pienso no he logrado recordar de dónde lo aprendí y, en todo caso, no podría probarlo. Bolívar no lo usó. Él decía América, sin adjetivos, antes de que los norteamericanos se apoderaran del nombre para ellos solos. Pero, en cambio, comprimió Bolívar en cinco palabras el caos de nuestra identidad para definirnos en la Carta de Jamaica: somos un pequeño género humano. Es decir, incluyó todo lo que se queda por fuera en las otras definiciones: los orígenes múltiples, las lenguas indígenas nuestras y las lenguas indígenas europeas: el español, el portugués, el inglés, el francés, el holandés.

Por los años cuarenta se despertaron en Ámsterdam con la noticia disparatada de que Holanda estaba participando en un torneo mundial de béisbol -que es un deporte ajeno a los holandeses- y era que Curazao estaba a punto de ganar el campeonato mundial de Centroamérica y el Caribe. A propósito del Caribe, creo que su área está mal determinada, porque en realidad no debería ser geográfica sino cultural. Debería empezar en el sur de los Estados Unidos y extenderse hasta el norte de Brasil. La América Central, que suponemos del Pacífico, no tiene mucho de él y su cultura es del Caribe. Este reclamo legítimo tendría por lo menos la ventaja de que Faulkner y todos los grandes escritores del sur de los Estados Unidos entrarían a formar parte de la congregación del realismo mágico. También por los años cuarenta, Giovanni Papini declaró que América Latina no había aportado nada a la humanidad, ni siquiera un santo, como si le pareciera poca cosa. Se equivocó, pues ya teníamos a santa Rosa de Lima, pero no la contó, quizás por ser mujer. Su afirmación ilustraba muy bien la idea que siempre han tenido de nosotros los europeos: todo lo que no se parece a ellos les parece un error y hacen todo por corregirlo a su manera, como los Estados Unidos. Simón Bolívar, desesperado con tantos consejos e imposiciones, dijo: "Déjennos hacer tranquilos nuestra Edad Media"."



"Creo que todos terminamos de acuerdo con la conclusión del ex presidente Lacalle de que la redención de estas Américas está en la educación. A la misma habíamos llegado en el Foro de Reflexión de la Unesco el año pasado, donde acabó de diseñarse la hermosa idea de la "Universidad a distancia". Allí me correspondió sustentar una vez más la idea de la captación precoz de las aptitudes y las vocaciones que tanta falta le hacen al mundo. El fundamento es que si a un niño se le pone frente a un grupo de juguetes diversos, terminará por quedarse con uno solo, y el deber del Estado sería crear las condiciones para que ese juguete le durara a ese niño. Soy un convencido de que ésa es la fórmula secreta de la felicidad y la longevidad. Que cada quien pueda vivir y hacer sólo lo que le gusta, desde la cuna hasta la tumba. Al mismo tiempo, todos estamos de acuerdo, al parecer, en que debemos estar alerta contra la tendencia del Estado a desentenderse de la educación y encomendarla a los particulares. El argumento en contra es demoledor: la educación privada, buena o mala, es la forma más efectiva de la discriminación social.

Un buen final para una carrera de relevos de cuatro horas, que puede servirnos para disipar las dudas de si en realidad la América Latina existe, que el ex presidente Lacalle y Augusto Ramírez nos lanzaron desde el principio sobre esta mesa como una granada de fragmentación. Pues bien, a juzgar por lo que se ha dicho aquí en estos dos días, no hay la menor duda de que existe. Tal vez su destino edípico sea seguir buscando para siempre su identidad, lo cual será un sino creativo que nos haría distintos ante el mundo. Maltrecha y dispersa, y todavía sin terminar, y siempre en busca de una ética de la vida, la América Latina existe. ¿La prueba? En estos dos días la hemos tenido: pensamos, luego existimos."
2010  gabrielgarcíamárquez  education  latinamerica  identity  colonialism  privatization  caribbean 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Fast Path to a Great UX - Increased Exposure Hours
"As we've been researching what design teams need to do to create great user experiences, we've stumbled across an interesting finding. It's the closest thing we've found to a silver bullet when it comes to reliably improving the designs teams produce. This solution is so simple that we didn't believe it at first. After all, if it was this easy, why isn't everyone already doing it?

To make sure, we've spent the last few years working directly with teams, showing them what we found and helping them do it themselves. By golly, it actually worked. We were stunned.

The solution? Exposure hours. The number of hours each team member is exposed directly to real users interacting with the team's designs or the team's competitor's designs. There is a direct correlation between this exposure and the improvements we see in the designs that team produces."

[via: http://tinyletter.com/danhon/letters/episode-sixty-we-have-always-been-at-war-our-independence-day-spimes-duh ]
design  research  usability  ux  observation  understanding  empathy  2010  learning  administration  leadership  management  tcsnmy  attention  exposure  exposurehours  organizations  fieldwork  fieldvisits  ethnography  listening  noticing 
april 2014 by robertogreco
nicoleslaw: The Old Poems In My Closet
"I used to write poetry. I used to call myself a poet.

The evidence is packed away in my closet. Dozens of journals of juvenilia are sandwiched in an air-tight plastic container between a box of black and white prints and a tub of steel film reels.

I think about going through the old poems in my closet to revisit the memories or turn the metaphors into something useful.

The thing about a poem is that I cannot change it after the fact. I can’t edit my past. And I can’t force the last decade of my life into a poem, or even a phrase, that I scribbled down with fourteen-year-old hands. So I don’t.

I just keep moving them, from house to house, to remind myself that I used to write poetry—and I will again."
nicolefenton  2010  poetry  adolescence  poems  writing  archives  memories 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 208, Louise Erdrich
[From the intro]

"After invariably classifying Erdrich as a Native American ­writer, many reviewers proceed to compare her work to that of William Faulkner or Gabriel García Márquez: Faulkner for her tangled family trees, her ventriloquist skill, and her expansive use of a fictional province no less fully imagined than Yoknapatawpha County; García Márquez for her flirtations with magical realism. But so strange are Erdrich’s narrative rhythms, and so bonded is her language to its subject matter, that it seems just as ­accurate to call hers a genre of one."



"The next day, while Erdrich attended a wedding in Flandreau, South Dakota, her sister took me the remaining two hundred miles to Minneapolis, where, three days later, Erdrich and I reconvened at her bookstore and Native American arts shop, Birchbark Books. Here, Erdrich’s eldest daughter, Persia, decides which children’s books to stock. Taped to most of the shelves are detailed recommendations handwritten by Erdrich herself. An upside-down canoe hangs from the ceiling, suspended between a birch-bark reading loft and a Roman Catholic confessional decorated with sweetgrass rosaries."



"Crowded into a bookshelf beside a worn armchair in the center of the room are the hardbound spiral notebooks in which, in a deeply slanted longhand, Erdrich still writes most of her books—sitting in the chair with a wooden board laid across its arms as a desk."

[Erdrich's words]

"I was a model child. It was the teacher’s mistake I am sure. The box was drawn on the blackboard and the names of misbehaving children were written in it. As I adored my teacher, Miss Smith, I was destroyed to see my name appear. This was just the first of the many humiliations of my youth that I’ve tried to revenge through my writing. I have never fully exorcised shames that struck me to the heart as a child except through written violence, shadowy caricature, and dark jokes."



"My father is my biggest literary influence. Recently I’ve been looking through his letters. He was in the National Guard when I was a child and whenever he left, he would write to me. He wrote letters to me all through college, and we still correspond. His letters, and my mother’s, are one of my life’s treasures.

[Interviewer asks "What are they about?"]

Mushroom hunting. Roman Stoics. American Indian Movement politics. Longfellow. Stamp collecting. Apples. He and my mother have an orchard. He used to talk about how close together meadowlarks sit on fence posts—every seventh fence post. Now, of course, they are rare. When I went off to college, he wrote about the family, but in highly inflated terms, so that whatever my sisters and brothers were doing seemed outrageously funny or tragic. If my mother bought something it would be a cumbersome, dramatic addition to the household, but of course unnecessary. If the dog got into the neighbor’s garbage it would be a saga of canine effort and exertion—and if the police caught the dog it would be a case of grand injustice."



"We are wired to have a period of language opportunity. It is harder to learn languages after the age of eight or ten. In addition, Ojibwe is one of the most difficult languages to learn because its verbs take on an unusual ­array of forms. There’s no masculine or feminine designation to the nouns, but instead they’re qualified as animate or inanimate. The verb form changes ­according to its status as animate or inanimate as well as in regard to ­human relationships. The verbs go on and on. Often when I’m trying to speak Ojibwe my brain freezes. But my daughter is learning to speak it, and that has given me new resolve. Of course, English is a very powerful language, a colonizer’s language and a gift to a writer. English has destroyed and sucked up the languages of other cultures—its cruelty is its vitality. Ojibwe is taught in colleges, increasingly in immersion programs, but when my grandfather went to government boarding school he wasn’t allowed to speak Ojibwe. Nor were Indian students in Catholic boarding schools, where my mother went, as so many of our family were Catholic."



"Every Catholic is raised to be devout and love the Gospels, but I was spoiled by the Old Testament. I was very young when I started reading, and the Old Testament sucked me in. I was at the age of magical thinking and believed sticks could change to serpents, a voice might speak from a burning bush, angels wrestled with people. After I went to school and started catechism I realized that religion was about rules. I remember staring at a neighbor’s bridal-wreath bush. It bloomed every year but was voiceless. No angels, no parting of the Red River. It all seemed so dull once I realized that nothing spectacular was going to happen.

I’ve come to love the traditional Ojibwe ceremonies, and some rituals, but I hate religious rules. They are usually about controlling women. On Sundays when other people go to wood-and-stone churches, I like to take my daughters into the woods. Or at least work in the garden and be outside. Any god we have is out there. I’d hate to be certain that there was nothing. When it comes to God, I cherish doubt."



"Before coming to Dartmouth, I won a scholarship to an American Legion summer camp and was trapped with the John Birch Society. So I had a strange, brief flirtation with the right. I voted for Richard Nixon. But then Nixon was a hero to a lot of Native people. Despite everything else, he was one of the first presidents to understand anything about American Indians. He effectively ended the policy of termination and set our Nations on the course of self-determination. That had a galvanizing effect in Indian country. So I voted for Nixon and my boyfriend wanted to kill me and I didn’t know why. Why was this so important? Nixon was even running against a South Dakota boy, George McGovern. But McGovern had no understanding of treaty rights, and I also thought I was voting in accordance with my father, because he kept saying George this, George that, what a demagogue. Then about a year ago, I said, Dad, I thought we were both against George in that election. And he said, I was talking about George Wallace."



"He [Erdrich's father] gave me those nickels [one for every story Eldrich wrote as a child], remember? It didn’t occur to me that my books would be widely read at all, and that enabled me to write anything I wanted to. And even once I realized that they were being read, I still wrote as if I were writing in secret. That’s how one has to write anyway—in secret. At a certain point, you have to not please your parents, although for me that’s painful because I’m close to my parents and of course I want them to be happy."



"INTERVIEWER

You said before that your bookstore is a way you have of meeting with other people. Is the business still working?

ERDRICH

Birchbark Books is still here! In fact, doing well. But I’m not a business person. At first I looked at the bookstore as a work of art that would survive on its own artfulness. Now I get that it’s a business, but it is also much more. Any good business is about its people. Marvelous people work at Birchbark Books. That’s why it’s still alive. Walking into a huge bookstore feels a bit like walking into Amazon.com. But walking into a small bookstore, you immediately feel the presence of the mind that has chosen the books on the shelves. You communicate intellectually with the buyer. Then, if you’re lucky, you meet another great reader in person—our manager, Susan White, ready with ideas for you. People need bookstores and need other readers. We need the intimate communication with others who love books. We don’t really think we do, because of the ease that the Internet has introduced, but we still need the physical world more than we know. Little bookstores are community services, not profitable business enterprises. Books are just too inexpensive online and there are too many of them, so a physical bookstore has to offer something different. Perhaps little bookstores will attain nonprofit status. Maybe one fine day the government will subsidize them, so they can thrive as nonprofit entities. Some very clever bookstore, probably not us, is going to manage to do that and become the paradigm for the rest.

INTERVIEWER

What do you do to differentiate your store?

ERDRICH

We attract writers, especially Native writers, and we host literary events, which means, again, the bookstore is more than a business—it is an arts organization. We support a number of Native artists: basket makers and jewelers and painters. We sell medicines grown by a Dakota family: sage, sweetgrass, bear root. My sister Heid and I launched an affiliated nonprofit press that will publish in the Ojibwe and Dakota languages. With a small bookstore, you get to encourage your eccentricities. It’s quite a wonderful thing, this bookstore. I thought it would be a project for my daughters and me, some work we could do together, and that has happened. Each daughter has worked in the store.

There’s something very wrong in our country—and not just in the book business. We now see what barely fettered capitalism looks like. We are killing the small and the intimate. We all feel it and we don’t know quite why everything is beginning to look the same. The central cores of large cities can still sustain interesting places. But all across our country we are intent on developing chain after chain with no character and employees who work for barely livable wages. We are losing our individuality. Killing the soul of our landscape. Yet we’re supposed to be the most individualistic of countries. I feel the sadness of it every time I go through cities like Fargo and Minneapolis and walk the wonderful old Main Streets and then go out to the edges and wander through acres of concrete boxes. Our country is starting to look like Legoland.

INTERVIEWER

Do you find any shortage of good books being published these days?

ERDRICH

… [more]
louiseerdrich  writing  2010  interviews  culture  feminism  religion  bookstores  minneapolis  reading  howweread  howwewrite  community  gabrielgarcíamárquez 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Archizoom: Open City
"“Open city: Thinking while building” is an exhibition produced by Epfl (Lausanne) with the School of Architecture and Design at the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile."

"Since its creation in the 1950s, the Chilean school Escuela de Arquitectura y Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso favours community-based learning, cultivates experimentation at the 1:1 scale, and dedicates itself to promoting artisanal building techniques.

The founders of the school of Valparaíso base their architectural thought on poetry, with the poem Amereida acting as a guide. Poetry expresses and architecture creates. Thinking and building are not two autonomous acts that follow one another. There, poetic reflection and material experimentation meld.

Ephemeral construction is also one of the approaches taught by the university. Architecture is not imposed on its users and will last only if its users accept it, thus remaining open to appropriation and transformation. At the community’s service, these architectural works arising from poetic interpretation are first and foremost the fruit of a collective endeavour.

Every ten years, the Valparaiso school organises an event in which it presents its curriculum and specific approach. There have been six exhibitions since its creation, the first of which centred on history and memories of the school. The latest one celebrated the school’s sixty years and moved away from such focuses, instead concentrating on consolidating links between Latin America and other continents. Titled “World, the relationship with the others”, it adopted as its guide such terms as “openness” and “hospitality”.

To understand these reflections, a taller (“workshop” in spanish) lasting two weeks is organised for Swiss and Chilean students by the Epfl in collaboration with Pucv and the Eth in Zurich. The exhibition will present installations and ephemeral constructions created during this exchange to the public."

[See also: http://www.domusweb.it/it/notizie/2010/11/08/amereida.html
http://www.domusweb.it/en/interviews/2012/06/06/cazu-zegers-poetics-of-the-territory.html

"Open City" by Alastair R. Noble (.pdf)
http://dspace.lafayette.edu/bitstream/handle/10385/46/Noble-Sculpture-vol26-no4-2007.pdf ]
opencity  amereida  valparaíso  chile  architecture  design  pucv  ead  cazuzegers  2013  2010  2012  ciudadabierta 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Reading Design · An A List Apart Article
"An Entirely Incomplete List of Things a Non–Illiterate Designer Should Know Before Being a Designer:

• That text will inevitably be read before it is looked at

• That words themselves make remarkably effective clip art

• That the self–conscious layering of messages usually subtracts more value than it adds

• That the practical value of white space towers over its value as a design element

• That the deep symbolism of a design decision, referring perhaps to a treasured memory of the designer, is irrelevant to the person attempting to glean something from the work

• That print designers who gauge their work on the screen, and web designers who gauge their work exclusively on their own machines, are arrogant in their disregard

• That the physiobiology of reading is one that demands easy points of exit and entry

• That simply paying attention to the design of type, or distinguishing it as “fine” or “invisible” or “classical” is like making a big deal about putting salt on a boiled egg

• That letters are not pictures of things, but things

• That words are not things, but pictures of things

• That arbitrarily altering (or allowing software to alter) the shapes of letters, and the spacing between letters and words, is done at one’s own risk

• That emphasis comes at a cost

• That overstating the obvious can be effective, but not all the time

• The precise point at which a quantity of information no longer requires assistance to be differentiated from another

• The knowledge to back up design decisions clearly without falling into a fog of hidden meaning, or so–called “creativity”"
deanallen  typography  design  webdesign  alistapart  2010  usability  ux  interactiondesign  graphicdesign  whitespace  reading  howweread  words  letters  webdev 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Morals Without God? - NYTimes.com
"Over the past few years, we have gotten used to a strident atheism arguing that God is not great (Christopher Hitchens) or a delusion (Richard Dawkins). The new atheists call themselves “brights,” thus hinting that believers are not so bright. They urge trust in science, and want to root ethics in a naturalistic worldview.

While I do consider religious institutions and their representatives — popes, bishops, mega-preachers, ayatollahs, and rabbis — fair game for criticism, what good could come from insulting individuals who find value in religion? And more pertinently, what alternative does science have to offer? Science is not in the business of spelling out the meaning of life and even less in telling us how to live our lives. We, scientists, are good at finding out why things are the way they are, or how things work, and I do believe that biology can help us understand what kind of animals we are and why our morality looks the way it does. But to go from there to offering moral guidance seems a stretch.

Even the staunchest atheist growing up in Western society cannot avoid having absorbed the basic tenets of Christian morality. Our societies are steeped in it: everything we have accomplished over the centuries, even science, developed either hand in hand with or in opposition to religion, but never separately. It is impossible to know what morality would look like without religion. It would require a visit to a human culture that is not now and never was religious. That such cultures do not exist should give us pause."

[See also: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mind-reviews-bonobo-and-atheist/ ]
animals  atheism  ethics  philosophy  religion  belief  fransdewaal  via:anne  sciene  evolution  morality  primates  relationships  giving  brain  denbosch  hieronymusbosch  life  living  darwin  altruism  empathy  pleasure  charity  inequity  inequityaversion  dogs  2010  charlesdarwin 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Twitter / tcarmody: Inside each of us is a little ...
"Inside each of us is a little boy, a shy, lovesick girl with a curse, a demon made of fire, and a shape-shifting wizard with no heart."
timcarmody  2010  twitter  hayaomiyazaki  multitudes  miyazaki  howl'smovingcastle 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Why Parents Hate Parenting -- New York Magazine
"Of course, this should not be a surprise. If you are no longer fretting about spending too little time with your children after they’re born (because you have a year of paid maternity leave), if you’re no longer anxious about finding affordable child care once you go back to work (because the state subsidizes it), if you’re no longer wondering how to pay for your children’s education and health care (because they’re free)—well, it stands to reason that your own mental health would improve. When Kahneman and his colleagues did another version of his survey of working women, this time comparing those in Columbus, Ohio, to those in Rennes, France, the French sample enjoyed child care a good deal more than its American counterpart. “We’ve put all this energy into being perfect parents,” says Judith Warner, author of Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety, “instead of political change that would make family life better.”"
parenting  via:tom.hoffman  2010  policy  anxiety  politics  families  us  france  happiness  judithwarner 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Jon Kolko » Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking: The Drivers of Design Synthesis
"Designers, as well as those who research and describe the process of design, continually describe design as a way of organizing complexity or finding clarity in chaos. Jeff Veen, founder of Adaptive Path, has noted that "Good designers can create normalcy out of chaos."[1] 1 Jeff Veen, The Art and Science of Web Design (Indianapolis: New Riders Press, 2000). Jim Wicks, Vice President and Director of Motorola's Consumer Experience Design group explains that "design is always about synthesis—synthesis of market needs, technology trends, and business needs."[2] During synthesis, designers attempt "to organize, manipulate, prune, and filter gathered data into a cohesive structure for information building."[3] Synthesis reveals a cohesion and sense of continuity; synthesis indicates a push towards organization, reduction, and clarity.

Yet despite the acknowledged importance of this phase of the design process, there continues to appear something magical about synthesis when encountered in professional practice: because synthesis is frequently performed privately ("in the head" or "on scratch paper"), the outcome is all that is observed, and this only after the designer has explicitly begun the form-making portion of the design process. While other aspects of the design process are visible to non-designers (such as drawing, which can be observed and generally grasped even by a naive and detached audience), synthesis is often a more insular activity, one that is less obviously understood, or even completely hidden from view. Designers may follow a user-centered discovery process to immerse themselves in a particular subject or discipline, and then go "incubate" that material. After a period of reflection, they will produce a tangible artifact as a visual representation of the reflection. When synthesis is conducted as a private exercise, there is no visible connection between the input and the output; often, even the designers themselves are unable to articulate exactly why their design insights are valuable. Clients are left to trust the designer, and more often than not, the clients simply reject the insight as being "blue sky" or simply too risky.

For example, a designer developing a new digital device might study the use of digital devices used in the workplace. Typically, a designer will observe four or five users as those individuals conduct their work. The designer will ask questions of each user about their jobs and record details of their responses. The designer might also take screen shots or photographs of the tools being used, and probe for details about each item. The designer will then return to the design studio. In the privacy of his or her natural work place, the designer will attempt to make sense of what he or she has learned. The goal is to find relationships or themes in the research data, and to uncover hidden meaning in the behavior that is observed and that is applicable to the design task at hand.

The user research sessions will produce pages of verbal transcript, hundreds of pictures, and dozens of artifact examples. Because of the complexity of comprehending so much data at once, the designer will frequently turn to a large sheet of paper and a blank wall in order to "map it all out." Several hours later, the sheet of paper will be covered with what to a newcomer appears to be a mess—yet the designer has made substantial progress, and the mess actually represents the deep and meaningful sensemaking that drives innovation. The designer will have identified themes, and will better understand the problem he or she is trying to solve; the designer will have discovered "the whole," as described by Daniel Fallman: "Fieldwork, theory, and evaluation data provide systematic input to this process, but do not by themselves provide the necessary whole. For the latter, there is only design."
design  sensemaking  jonkolko  2010  magic  transparency  process  synthesis  fieldwork  jimwicks  jeffveen  howwework  bluesky  risk  messiness  demystification  canon 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Taking Care of Youth and the Generations (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics): Bernard Stiegler: 9780804762731: Amazon.com: Books
"Bernard Stiegler works systematically through the current crisis in education and family relations resulting from the mesmerizing power of marketing technologies. He contends that the greatest threat to social and cultural development is the destruction of young people's ability to pay critical attention to the world around them. This phenomenon, prevalent throughout the first world, is the calculated result of technical industries and their need to capture the attention of the young, making them into a target audience and reversing the relationship between adults and children.

Taking Care exposes the carelessness of these industries and urges the reader to re-enter the "battle for intelligence" against the drive-oriented culture of short-term ("short-circuited") attention characteristic of the negative aspects of the new technologies. Long-term attention, Stiegler shows, produces retentions of cultural memory mandatory for social development—and for the counteracting of ADD and ADHD. Examining the history of education from Plato to the current quagmires in France and the United States, he tracks the notion of critical thinking from its Enlightenment apotheosis to its current eradication. Stiegler is unique in combining the most radical of theoretical constructs—such as "grammatization"—with quite traditional values, values he proposes we re-address in our not-so-brave new world."
via:bobbygeorge  books  toread  youth  add  adhd  education  attention  payingattention  2010  bernardstiegler  marketing  capitalism  technology 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Level 2 Gallery: Alejandro Cesarco. Present Memory | Tate
"Uruguayan artist Alejandro Cesarco pays special attention to the construction of narratives and the practices of reading and translating. ‘I am interested in cataloguing, classifying, appropriating and reinterpreting texts’, he has said. Through different conceptual strategies and a range of media, including prints, books, videos and installations, he explores the various meanings of words and images in relation to context, experience and subjectivity.

Present Memory, a newly commissioned video, features an intimate portrait of the artist’s father, a doctor recently diagnosed with cancer. Using a 16mm camera, Cesarco filmed him in his medical practice in Montevideo with a series of close-ups and medium shots. He later projected this footage onto the same room and recorded the film screening with a video camera. The resulting video is now being shown at three different sites across the museum. Conceived as a projection of a projection, its repetition creates a visual echo and activates a sense of déjà vu every time the viewer re-encounters it.

The work documents both a constructed and anticipated memory of the father, through which the artist also explores the writing of his personal narrative amidst the museum’s writing of its own history and memory."

[Interview: http://bombsite.com/issues/1000/articles/5057 ]

[Program: http://felipsiswoof.tumblr.com/post/29389136081 ]

[See also: http://www.cesarco.info/ ]
2010  alejandrocesarco  memory  reading  translating  uruguay  artists  nostalgia  narrative  narratives  translation  meaning  words  context  experience  subjectivity  pauldeman  classification  reinterpretation  belatedness  meaningmaking  assemblage  appropriation  art 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Messages The City Wants Us To Hear – The New Inquiry
"Some excerpts from Timothy “Speed” Levitch’s Speedology (2002)

1. The Fastest Way to Adventure is to Stand Still

Boredom is an illusion. Boredom is the continuous state of not noticing that the unexpected is constantly arriving while the anticipated is never showing up. Boredom is anti-cruise propaganda.

2. The City as Autobiography

We are not visitors, tourists, nor inhabitants of New York City; we are New York City. The city is our moving self-portrait and a living art installation carved out on an island of rock, even the cracks of the sidewalk are crying out on the topic of our lives. The city is a profound opportunity to understand ourselves.

3. This is No Time for Historical Accuracy

Nothing I say can possibly be defended. I am not interested in being right or wrong; my priority is to be joyous.

As a tour guide, I approach history the same way Charlie Parker would approach a jazz standard. I am not here to recapitulate the notes exactly as they were composed but to find myself within the notes and collaborate with what has been before me to chase after everything I could ever be. My study of history is mostly an attempt to impress women.

4. Fear is Joy Paralyzed

Society— the greatest self-hatred the earth has ever witnessed— is a mediocre improv comedy piece we’re all living despite ourselves, one that would be impossible without fear effectively taking on ingenious disguises throughout the adventure of each and every day […] We do not have agendas, agendas have us.

5. Gregariousness is Great

New York City is a summoning of souls and a tribal ceremony of collected ancient agonies and conflicts brought to a new landscape for healing. A New Yorker is someone who runs wild with healing.

6. The Soul is the Only Landmark

Salvation is seeing everything as it already is.

7. Being Alive is Sexy

The world is an involuntary orgy.

8. What is Created is Destroyed

Many decry the destruction of Pennsylvania Station, the great beaux arts railroad terminal that was knocked down and replaced by the fourth Madison Square Garden. They ask, “If the city is a great teacher, why would it destroy a great building and put a lousy one in its place?” the answer: Pennsylvania station was too beautiful. The anecdote may be a catastrophe from a preservationist’s point of view, but it is a masterpiece from a dramatist’s. It’s just the way Tennessee Williams would have written it. Many will then ask, “Why is the city issuing forth these dramas?” The answer: the city wants to entertain us.

9. The Most Significant Thing About Suffering is That We’re All Doing It

[…]

10. Our True Selves Are the Greatest Parties Ever Thrown

You are a better party than you have ever been to. […] To live in a city is to realize that life is a procession of different versions of ourselves that we meet over time. Evolving is the meeting between who you were and who you just became.

11. Having Faith in Humanity is Supposed to be Fun

Fun is active faith. Faith is the celebration of “I don’t know.” The city is a bravely unfolding movie entertaining us so effectively we are hypnotized by it. The movie is a comedy about mammals in a movie taking the movie seriously and deciding it is a tragedy.

12. I Am Not Getting Laid

I want to make it clear, from the beginning, that I am not currently getting laid as I write this and this fact colors everything I say. It’s the one statement that makes perfect sense of Nietzsche’s work.

Bennett Miller’s 1998 documentary, The Cruise is one of the greatest films ever made about New York City."
boredom  cities  nyc  history  accuracy  fear  joy  society  life  living  2010  timothylevitch  speedology  2002  suffering  humanity  faith  nietzsche  bennettmiller  destruction  creativity 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Text Patterns: the desire of the Sybil
"It’s generally understood that books are read differently in different generations: cultural changes bring themes and images to the forefront that might have been invisible, or wholly subdued, to a previous generation of readers. It took the rise of Romanticism and its associated revolutions to cast Milton’s Satan in a heroic light; existentialism made King Lear seem to be, not some strange figure from an obscure past, but our contemporary.

This can happen to lesser works as well. Recently I was re-reading The Lord of the Rings and began to wonder how it might be read fifty years from now, assuming that our scientists are able to extend the human lifespan significantly. Might it not be that Bilbo and Gollum will become more significant figures in the minds of future readers? And might not the Ring itself take on a different aura of meanings?

Think of Bilbo, in appearance “unchanged” in his eleventy-first year, who nevertheless confesses, “I am old, Gandalf. I don't look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. . . Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right.” And think of Gollum, to whom the Ring has given “unnaturally long life”: in the end, “He hated it and he loved it, as he hated and loved himself.” In the lives of these two characters the One Ring does not appear as a Ring of Power so much as a Ring of Immortality, a ring that gives biological life without the means to enjoy it or profit from it. How many people in the future will identify in a particularly strong way with Bilbo and Gollum in this respect? — and maybe especially with Gollum, who unlike Bilbo is unable to relinquish the Ring, unable to escape or even lessen its power over him. Will biological life become all the more precious to people as they enjoy it less, according to the implacable law of diminishing returns?

Similarly, what will future generations make of that terrifying epigraph to Eliot’s poem The Waste Land, taken from Petronius’s Satyricon? The epigraph concerns the Cumaean Sybil, who made the mistake of asking the gods for extraordinarily long life without also asking for youth, so that her body wthered and shrank almost to nothingness. One of the main characters of the Satyricon, the ludicrous Trimalchio, says, “For I myself once saw with my own eyes the Sibyl hanging in a cage, and when the boys asked her, ‘Sibyl, what do you want?’ she answered ‘I want to die.’”"
books  time  thinking  constellationalthinking  context  2010  literature  meaning  meaningmaking 
october 2013 by robertogreco
PaperCity | Arts | Art + Social Consciousness = A Couple Called de Menil
"Imagine a contest held to anoint the most influential art couple of all time. Surely the top vote-getters would be Houston’s John and Dominique de Menil, catalytic philanthropists whose lives intersected — and impacted — not only modern art, but architecture, film, human rights and politics in ways that positively, profoundly and humanistically altered 20th-century and 21st-century history in Texas and beyond. (The Dia Art Foundation was established by Menil progeny, for example.) Now a volume arrives that chronicles their legacy: Art and Activism: Projects of John and Dominique de Menil."
johndemenil  dominiquedemenil  art  history  houston  2010  texas  demenil  books 
july 2013 by robertogreco
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